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Soon: Nancy Pelosi To Make Statement On Impeachment At 9AM ET; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Make Announcement Regarding Impeachment Proceedings; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Interviewed on Continuing Impeachment Hearings; Navy Sailor Opens Fire at Pearl Harbor Shipyard. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired December 5, 2019 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: -- give the American people an update on the impeachment inquiry. Sources tell CNN that Pelosi has been quietly taking the pulse of her Democratic caucus on whether they are ready to move ahead to impeach President Trump. Here's what we know at the moment. The White House has until tomorrow to decide whether its lawyers will take part in the impeachment inquiry. Next week the Judiciary Committee will hold another hearing. This with one of the staff lawyers from the Intel Committee. A vote on articles of impeachment and a full vote in the House on impeachment could come before Christmas.
Tonight, Speaker Pelosi takes part in an exclusive CNN town hall. That's 9:00 p.m. eastern, moderated by Jake Tapper. Good timing, Jake.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What timing, because whatever she announces this morning, Jake can ask much more about it tonight.
We're also getting new information this morning about how the White House wants to handle a likely Senate impeachment trial. White House lawyers met behind closed doors with Republican senators. The bottom line is they want to call witnesses in the Senate. We'll discuss how that might work.
This follows a day when the House heard from legal scholars, three of them making the case of what amounts to impeachable offenses.
Joining me now is House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Leader, thank you so much for being with us. What we are going to hear from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in less than an hour?
REP. STENY HOYER, (D-MD) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: You're going to hear it from Nancy Pelosi, not from Steny Hoyer. She's going to make whatever announcement she intends to make. But clearly, she wants to keep the American people informed about what we perceive to be an extraordinarily serious and somber time in this country. The consideration of whether or not acts have been committed by the president of the United States which undermine our national security, put our Constitution at risk, and undermine the voting processes which is the essence of democracy.
BERMAN: As far as you know, is the impeachment process moving forward?
HOYER: Well, the impeachment process, obviously, hearings occurred yesterday, so the answer to that question is an obvious, yes, it is moving forward. The Judiciary Committee is considering facts which have been presented to them by various different committees, the Intelligence Committee, the Government Oversight Committee, and other committees as well, as to whether or not the facts that have been produced to date and, frankly, have been really uncontested. I think there's a consensus, except from Republicans who are pounding on the table, not on the facts or the law because I don't think either one support their position. But it is moving forward, and the committee is doing its constitutional responsibility of considering the facts.
BERMAN: It is December 5th right now. There are two-and-a-half weeks more of working time that Congress has before Christmas. What can you tell us about what the schedule will look like in terms of impeachment over the next two-and-a-half weeks?
HOYER: First of all, I think it is important to remember that this investigation essentially started when Rob Rosenstein in May of 2017, two-and-a-half years ago, appointed Mr. Mueller to look at whether or not there had been abuses of power. That went on for well over a year. Hearings have been held in the Judiciary Committee and five other committees in the House of Representatives about this issue as well.
So this is a process that is going on for over two-and-a-half years. It is now coming, I think, to a close at some point in time in the relatively near future. We don't know what that near future is. We're not going to put a timeline on it. The facts will dictate how quickly the Judiciary Committee can reach a conclusion.
BERMAN: You brought up a --
HOYER: I would imagine -- yes, I did, but let me just conclude by saying, I don't know specifically what Speaker Pelosi will be saying. I've had a lot of discussions with her, but I presume she will be trying to update the American people on the status of the proceedings.
BERMAN: We look forward to that along with you at 9:00 this morning. In the meantime, you brought up Rod Rosenstein and the Mueller report and Mueller investigation. Should I take that to mean that you think that elements of the Mueller investigation will be part of articles of impeachment?
HOYER: What you should take it to mean is that for years, this has been very carefully considered, looked at. All of that information is available to the Judiciary Committee. They will be considering all of the information. My point is this is not a rush to judgment. In fact, as you probably know, over the last two-and-a-half years we've had three votes on whether or not to pass an impeachment resolution, and it has been rejected by the House of Representatives with the majority of Democrats voting against it because they wanted a very considered, thoughtful, careful review of what is a very serious responsibility that we take very much to heart. But we've made an oath when we were sworn in to protect the Constitution and laws of this country. That's what we're doing.
BERMAN: Leader Hoyer, you say it is not a rush to judgment. You are making that case loudly this morning. Yesterday Professor Jonathan Turley was suggesting the opposite in his opposition to impeachment right now.
HOYER: He was wrong.
HOYER: Because it's not a rush to judgment. It's been two-and-a-half years of one or other bodies looking at this. In the Clinton administration you had the Starr report. That took some period of time. And then there was a report to the Congress. Mueller reported to the attorney general because he was not a special prosecutor but a special counsel working for the Justice Department. In our opinion, that report was mischaracterized by the attorney general.
BERMAN: Leader, what he was saying is that you should have -- you should wait, perhaps, to get the firsthand witnesses like Mick Mulvaney or Rudy Giuliani or Mike Pompeo or John Bolton.
HOYER: Yes, as is so frequently the case, this is a strategy of duck and bob and weave, of delay that the president has pursued in the private sector and in the public sector. The reason I make the point, this has gone on for two-and-a-half years. And who has obstructed witnesses from coming forward? Who has told them not to testify? Who has told them not to give us documents? Not just on the impeachment but on so many other fronts as well, where this president has instructed people who he has some authority over, don't testify. Luckily, some very courageous, patriotic Americans said, no, I have information that I think is important for my country to have, and I'm going to give it, even under the threats of the president of the United States. As a matter of fact, Ambassador Yovanovitch was threatened while she was testifying, unfortunately.
BERMAN: So Leader Hoyer.
HOYER: Having said that, I think he's wrong, as I said. This has been a long, thoughtful, careful process from a number of different entities, including Mr. Mueller.
BERMAN: One of the things we have heard from Democrats repeatedly over the last three months this process has been going on is that you continue to do the work for the American people. You continue to pass other legislation. Well, there is an issue where the clock is ticking, and that's on USMCA, NAFTA, the revision over NAFTA, the trade deal. And as of now, the House has not voted on it, hasn't taken direct action on it.
HOYER: That's correct.
BERMAN: Senator Portman in the Senate on the Republican side says taken as a whole, it looks more like an agreement that would have been negotiated under the Obama administration. There are some aspects that Democrats have been calling for, for decades. So why -- HOYER: Right, John, let me say, the Chamber of Commerce, and we
agree. What the chamber has said is an agreement that's not enforceable is not worth the paper it's written on. So we believe that the agreement that has been drafted, USMCA, is an improvement, but it's only an improvement you can enforce it, if the provisions that make it better than be enforced on behalf of labor, on behalf of the environment, and on behalf of its contents.
There has not been an enforceable action under NAFTA in over two decades. As a result, we have been asking the administration and, unfortunately, it's my understanding that Mexico at this point in time is reluctant to agree to enforceable provisions. If they're not enforceable, then signing a paper pretending that it's a document that will move us forward we don't think is appropriate.
But we want to have a vote on USMCA. I'm hopeful that we can reach agreement and get the enforcement provisions that we need. We've discussed it with Mr. Trudeau of Canada. I think he will be in agreement. I would hope that Mexico would also agree, and we can get that agreement on the floor and passed before, perhaps, the end of the year.
BERMAN: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, thank you very much for being with us this morning. Along with you, we look forward to hearing from the House Speaker in less than an hour on what she will say about impeachment. Thank you, sir.
HOYER: Thanks, Jonathan.
INGRAHAM: Breaking overnight, a Navy sailor opens fire at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii killing two civilian employees before taking his own life. CNN's Josh Campbell is live for us in Honolulu with the breaking details. Josh, what have you learned?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This began at 2:30 p.m. local time. The sound of gunfire erupting here at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. This is just outside of Honolulu. That incident sending this installation into a state of lockdown. We now know the result was three people killed, including a gunman. We're told that that suspect was an active duty U.S. Navy sailor who was assigned to the USS Columbia, a Los Angeles class attack submarine that was undergoing maintenance here at Pearl Harbor. His two victims that were deceased were civilian shipyard employees. We're also told by authorities that a third civilian was also injured. That person remains in the hospital in stable condition.
Authorities are not yet releasing the names of either the shooter or the victims. That remains part of this investigation. I can tell you as a military reservist, this is the nightmare scenario when you have someone with authorized access to an installation that enters and then conducts an act of violence. That, again, the nightmare scenario that remains part of this investigation.
And John, finally, I can tell you, as far as motive, right now authorities say they don't know why the person came here and opened fire. They don't yet know if the suspect knew his victims or whether they were chosen randomly. That remains part of this investigation this morning by both the defense department and NCIS.
BERMAN: Josh Campbell, I've got to say, we're lucky to have you there scrambling to get there overnight. Please keep us posted on the developments this morning.
We're just minutes away now from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is going to make an announcement on the impeachment investigation. What will she reveal? Stay with us.
CAMEROTA: OK. We have breaking news. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will make an announcement at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Something about the impeachment investigation.
BERMAN: I think it's probably something important, too.
CAMEROTA: OK. I mean, will she lay out the articles of impeachment? Will she lay out the timeline? Will she address whether there are charges that go beyond the Ukraine scandal? So many possibilities.
Joining us now, CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash, and CNN senior political analyst, John Avlon.
So, Dana, I mean, maybe she's just laying out next steps. Maybe it's just a status report.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's likely. I mean, frankly, it is likely. I don't see her standing in front of the cameras ticking off the articles of impeachment. That's just -- that's not her style.
And it's, you know, that's the kind of thing she would wait for the Judiciary Committee to formally have a discussion about which, according to one of the members you had on this morning, they haven't technically done yet. They are being secretive inside Pelosi world and even among some people who talk to her a lot who I've communicated with this morning saying don't speculate about exactly what she's going to say.
CAMEROTA: Too late.
BASH: Exactly. Having said that, look, we are at a critical point. We are at a point where a leader should get up and say, here's where we are. Here's where we're going next and she knows her role as a leader if she knows nothing else.
BERMAN: I want to quibble with one word. Is this just a schedule update? That in and of itself say big deal in this case because we want to know. BASH: And the schedule, obviously, is u is, we're ready to decide and
hear what the articles of impeachment are, how narrow they will be. Again, I don't think she's going to detail those, but to say that that's going to be the next step.
BERMAN: John, what do you think the considerations are, the political considerations are right now for Speaker Pelosi? She's been -- Manu Raju has been reporting she's been taking the temperature of the caucus the last several days, talking to them hearing.
What's on her mind?
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, one is an issue of speed, how quickly do you proceed with the vote?
Second and big question, frankly, is whether they include anything outside the Ukraine investigation. Do they keep this narrow or say there's a pattern of behavior? The president did this call the day after Mueller testified on Capitol Hill and some people said the Mueller report included a road map for impeachment on obstruction.
I think that's a big question. I don't think it's going to be answered in the affirmative, but we shall say. It's one of the big decisions that she and she alone is in a position to answer.
BERMAN: We could get body language on that this morning.
AVLON: We could get body language on that.
BERMAN: No, I'm surprise, because that really is an important question. And Speaker Pelosi who knows politics and vote counting better than anyone, I'm not sure she wants to keep that question left hanging out there for the next two weeks.
BASH: And she is hearing, she's having private consultations, as Manu reported with her caucus. If she's hearing what I'm hearing from members who are in Trump districts, people who flipped districts, it's keep it narrow, keep it away from Mueller and do it fast.
AVLON: Other folks are saying, let's get the most investigation, the most bang for our buck. Still open questions, and areas that have not been adequately dugged to.
CAMEROTA: Jeffrey Toobin, your thoughts?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, the three words you're never allowed to say on cable news, I don't know. So, I don't know what she will say.
But I do think -- John makes a really excellent point there that the issue of what you include in the impeachment is so important and does any of the Mueller evidence come in? And if so, how does it get presented to the House Judiciary Committee?
We do know that next week, at least according to my sources, next week, there will be some sort of presentation from the Intelligence Committee, probably from lawyers to the Judiciary Committee about the Ukraine findings. You know, Ukraine is, obviously, baked in to what impeachment is going to be. But the question of, does any of the Mueller evidence come in and in what form? Do they simply give a copy of the Mueller report? Do they have any witnesses?
I certainly don't think Robert Mueller is going to be testifying again. We've seen that movie. But I do think that the question of what the evidence is and how it's presented is very important, and that's something I suspect in some form we'll hear from speaker Pelosi in 40 minutes.
CAMEROTA: OK. Should we move on to what Giuliani is --
BERMAN: We have two preeminent experts on Giuliani. We have John Avlon who worked for Giuliani for years, but we have a texting buddy with Giuliani also.
BASH: Aren't we all?
CAMEROTA: You two are. I mean, that's why it's important to have both of you today.
BERMAN: Let's get the reporting first on what's going on. Rudy Giuliani is overseas somewhere, for some reason, it's top secret where he is. He won't confirm he's in Ukraine or traveled to Ukraine which "The New York Times" reported.
But what does he tell you he's doing?
BASH: Well, he says -- let me just say that there is a Ukrainian official who just wrote a Facebook post that CNN is reporting about his meeting with Giuliani in Ukraine.
CAMEROTA: Complete with pictures.
BASH: Cat is out of the bag.
AVLON: Cat's out of the bag.
BASH: Cat's out of the bag, he's there. OK? Duh. That's the official word for that.
He won't say it and he won't say what he's doing officially, at least to me and perhaps to others, but he is broadly insisting that he is still on a mission, which he calls one to clear his client, to vindicate his client. And at this point, that means vindicating himself because he's so become somebody at the center of this who knows and says that he understands that he is the fall guy and doesn't want to be that.
But the fact he's still pursuing this, even in the case of his two associates under federal indictment, associates dealing with Ukraine, is fascinating, and it shows how he is a dog with a bone, and he's not letting it go.
CAMEROTA: John, you worked with him for seven years. What is Rudy doing?
AVLON: I think Rudy genuinely believes that he is playing investigator, that he is defending his client, that he is going to clear his name in the process and believes they will dig up evidence of corruption against the Bidens that will vindicate him and everybody else.
That said, obviously, there are questions about judgment of going out there abroad and getting in bed politically with some folks who have their own agendas when the whole Ukraine impeachment is going on. I'm sure it's causing a lot of agita at the State Department and the White House.
BASH: And the Trump campaign.
AVLON: Yes, and the campaign.
And I think he's also got -- and he's confronting the fact that at least one of his associates, Lev Parnas, who seems to be cooperating with authorities, is trying to distance himself from. He's a bad apple, but he's not going to tell the truth. That is a -- you're negotiating with various elements of reality here, and I think there are questions about the judgment of pursuing it. But it shows how much he believes what he's doing is on the right side.
BERMAN: Two things. One, Sean -- even Sean Duffy --
AVLON: Even Sean Duffy --
BERMAN: You can start a lot of sense that way, not particularly comfortable with what's going on right now in Rudy Giuliani world. Not a lot of Republicans are.
Second point, Jeffrey, Democrats like Joe Lockhart who was here suggested what this shows is that there is no sanction on the president for the actions that took place. The effort to get Ukraine involved in the U.S. election. If there are no sanctions, what you'll see is more of what we're seeing today. People like Rudy Giuliani working on behalf of the president to stir up trouble like this.
TOOBIN: Well, I -- you know, I think one of the most revealing comments of this whole controversy is the president saying at the White House, I guess a couple of months ago now, that China should start an investigation of Biden, too. That the president believes that his political interests are identical to the national interest of the United States.
So he is allowed to use his power, not to advance anything except the re-election of President Trump. That's what Rudy Giuliani is doing. That's what the president thinks is appropriate. And that's what in significant ways this impeachment is all about, is that whether the president is allowed to use $390 million of taxpayer money as leverage to get information not that helps the country but that helps the president.
That is the core of this dispute and, you know, as the president says, we'll see what happens.
CAMEROTA: All right. Jeffrey, Dana, John, thank you all very much.
Now to this. Hillary Clinton sitting down for a rare and revealing interview with, of all people, Howard Stern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I called him, you know, that terrible night and said --
HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK HOST: Oh, you did call him that night?
CLINTON: Oh, I did. I said, you know, I said, look, you know, Donald, I want you to be a good president. I'll do whatever I can to help you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK. So what President Trump told her on that concession call and much more from the former secretary of state and Howard Stern.
BERMAN: This was fascinating. Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and first lady, appearing on the "Howard Stern Show" for the first time. They covered a wide range of topics, including losing the election and her life before the president, her love life before President Clinton.
CNN's Jason Carroll here with the highlights.
This was really interesting.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, lots to unravel here.
Stern has been trying to get this interview with Clinton for years. She's out promoting the new book she wrote with her daughter Chelsea called "The Book of Gutsy Women." And she made a few gutsy comments during that 2 1/2-hour interview.
CLINTON: You know, I went to the inauguration of Donald Trump, which was one of the hardest days of my life, to be honest.
CARROLL (voice-over): Call it Hillary Clinton unplugged. Sort of.
STERN: Bill was the first guy you loved? CLINTON: No, no.
CLINTON: No, there was somebody before him.
CARROLL: For 2-1/2 hours, the former Democratic presidential candidate talked about her personal life and politics with Sirius XM's Howard Stern.
CLINTON: I don't know if I was too nice, but I was certainly very careful. And the reason is, look, I grew up at a time when if you were going to get through a door as a woman, you did not react to anything.
CARROLL: Among the highlights, how Clinton felt about President Trump's victory and inauguration.
CLINTON: I mean, obviously, I was crushed. I was disappointed, and I was really surprised because I couldn't figure out what had happened.
STERN: And you hadn't even written a losing speech when you lost that night.
CLINTON: No. No.
STERN: You had only victory in mind.
CLINTON: And everything was pointed in that direction. You put on the best face possible and, you know, Bill and I are sitting with George and Laura Bush.