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Impeachment Hearings Continue; Judiciary Committee Holds Key Hearing On Trump Impeachment; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) Is Interviewed About The Judiciary Committee Hearing Today. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired December 9, 2019 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): Point of orders, they're rules of decorum. And I don't believe that the gentleman from Florida meant to violate them. And I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But more than once, he referred to a New York lawyer. And if he could just explain what he meant, then I'm prepared to withdraw my point of order.
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): It's not a point of order. That's not a recognizable point of order.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, the point of order regarding the schedule.
NADLER: The point of order regarding the schedule. There's no point of order regarding the schedule.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
Well, on this case, there is...
NADLER: There is no point of order regarding the schedule.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you answer my question?
NADLER: The gentleman will suspend.
There is no recognizable point of order regarding the future schedule.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A parliamentary inquiry, will you recognize that?
(CROSSTALK) NADLER: No.
Ms. McBath is recognized.
REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Goldman, I want to follow up on just one part of President Trump's conduct that -- excuse me -- I asked our constitutional scholars about last week.
The investigative committees found evidence that President Trump intimidated, threatened and tampered with prospective and actual witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, correct?
DANIEL GOLDMAN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: Yes.
MCBATH: And, Mr. Goldman, it is a federal crime to intimidate or to seek to intimidate any witness appearing before Congress. Is that right?
GOLDMAN: Yes. There's a little bit more to it, but that's the gist of it, yes.
MCBATH: Mr. Goldman, am I correct that President Trump publicly attacked witnesses before, after and even during their testimony?
GOLDMAN: That is correct.
MCBATH: I'd like to quickly go through some examples.
On Twitter, the president tried to smear Ambassador Bill Taylor, a former military officer who graduated at the top of his class at West point, served as an infantry commander in Vietnam, and earned a Bronze Star and an Air Medal with a V Device for Valor.
He was attacked for doing his duty to tell the truth to the American people, correct?
GOLDMAN: He did his duty by testifying, yes.
MCBATH: President Trump also attacked other Trump administration officials who testified before the Intelligence Committee, including Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman, who is the director for Ukraine on the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, the special adviser on Europe and Russia with the office of the vice president.
Am I right?
GOLDMAN: That is right, yes.
MCBATH: Mr. Goldman, I think another troubling example of this is the president's treatment of Ambassador Yovanovitch.
When you questioned Ambassador Yovanovitch, you asked her about the president's remark that she would -- and I quote -- "go through some things."
She told you that that remark sounded like a threat. Is that right?
GOLDMAN: Yes. In the July 25 call, that's where -- when President Trump said that.
MCBATH: Ambassador Yovanovitch is a career professional who served in Republican and Democratic administrations. She was once caught in live crossfire during a coup attempt.
And here's how she described that experience in her very own words:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I later served in Moscow. In 1993, during the attempted coup in Russia, I was caught in crossfire between presidential and parliamentary forces.
It took us three tries, me without a helmet or body armor, to get into a vehicle to go to the embassy. We went because the ambassador asked us to come. And we went because it was our duty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCBATH: It was our duty. Even under such duress, this is a public servant who did her duty.
And as she testified before you and the Intelligence Committee, the president tweeted yet another attack against her. Is that correct?
GOLDMAN: During the testimony, yes.
MCBATH: At a rally, the president further attacked Ambassador Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State George Kent, foreign affairs commission official with decades of bipartisan service.
I just have to say I am so deeply saddened that our president has attacked our brave public servants. These attacks are an abuse of his power, and they betray our national interests.
My Republican colleagues until now have agreed with me that this behavior is not OK, that, in America, we protect witnesses and people who tell the truth. We want people to come forward. We protect witnesses in our community.
I, myself, am no stranger to these kinds of attacks. They are not OK.
I want to read a partial statement by Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, who is a military officer and a public servant.
In his opening statement to the Intelligence Committee, Mr. Vindman said -- and I quote -- "I want to say that the character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible." I ran for Congress because I care urgently about health care, gun violence prevention, and our veterans. Those are the urgent policies for me and many of my colleagues.
But these witnesses, these public servants, stood up and courageously told the truth. And I must be courageous and stand up for them as well.
And I yield back the balance of my time.
NADLER: The gentlelady yields back the balance of her time.
A few minutes ago, Mr. Biggs asked unanimous consent to admit an article from Politico into the record.
REP. GREG STANTON (D-AZ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We have heard today from some suggesting that this process has somehow been unfair.
Mr. Goldman, let's clear up that record.
Minority members on the investigative committees had access to all witness depositions. Is that correct?
GOLDMAN: Yes, and all the documents.
STANTON: And were they allowed to ask questions of every witness?
GOLDMAN: The minority was given equal time to the majority for every single interview, deposition or hearing that we did.
STANTON: And the minority were allowed to call their own witnesses to the live hearings. Is that correct?
GOLDMAN: They were also -- yes. And they did. They -- and they got three witnesses.
They were also allowed to call their own witnesses for the depositions. They chose not to do that. The only witness they requested for the deposition was Chairman Schiff, who is not a fact witness to this investigation.
STANTON: Mr. Goldman, why did the investigative committees decide to conduct initial depositions behind closed doors?
GOLDMAN: Best investigative practice when you're doing a fact-finding mission is to keep the information closed.
And the reason is exactly what I described earlier with Ambassador Sondland, who, first of all, the day before his deposition, he spoke with Secretary Perry about his testimony. That is the type of tailoring that can happen when people are engaged in misconduct, and they try to line up their stories.
So if you keep the information closed, they can't line up their stories. And I think, frankly, part of the reason why Ambassador Volker and Ambassador Sondland's public hearing testimony was so different from their deposition testimony is because the hearing -- the initial depositions were in closed session, before we then released all the transcripts to the public.
STANTON: And this isn't unprecedented, because in both the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiries, there were either closed-door depositions or grand jury proceedings at the beginning of the inquiries.
GOLDMAN: That's correct. Nor is it unprecedented in Congress. This is actually a rule in the House rules that was passed by Republican Congresses.
It was used in Benghazi. It was used by a number of committees for the past decade or so.
STANTON: And, for clarity, President Trump has received all procedural protections afforded to other presidents facing impeachment. Is that correct?
GOLDMAN: That is right.
In the Judiciary Committee, he's had all of the options. Our inquiry was not the Judiciary Committee's investigation. That is where -- the president's ability to present evidence.
Of course, if the president wanted to present evidence in the Intelligence Committee, he could have provided documents, he could have provided the witnesses that we asked for him. But he obstructed, rather than cooperate.
STANTON: And the president has been invited to participate in the House's impeachment inquiry, correct?
9STANTON: And has the president declined the invitation?
GOLDMAN: That's my understanding, yes.
GOLDMAN: Twice thus far, yes.
STANTON: In fact, the president not only refused to participate, but he has also tried to stop Congress from obtaining evidence.
Isn't it true that the president has refused to produce any documents in response to the impeachment inquiry's subpoena to the White House?
STANTON: Not a single one?
GOLDMAN: Not a single document.
STANTON: The president also directed all of his agencies to refuse to produce documents. Is that right?
GOLDMAN: That is also true.
STANTON: Based on the president's order, federal agencies have ignored more than 70 specific requests or demands for records from the investigative committees. Is that correct?
And if I could just add, this would...
STANTON: Quickly, please.
GOLDMAN: This would ordinarily be a document case. If you were prosecuting this case, you would be basing -- basing it on the documents. So the fact that those documents are being withheld is quite significant.
And it's quite remarkable that we have built the record we have on the witnesses.
STANTON: The president's order to obstruct Congress didn't just extend to documents. At the president's direction, witnesses also refused to testify. Is that right?
GOLDMAN: That's correct.
STANTON: And, in total, more than a dozen members of the administration defied lawful subpoenas or requests for testimony or documents, as we see on the slide?
Between testimony and documents, that's correct.
STANTON: And isn't it also true that, when witnesses chose to follow the laws and testify, the president denied those witnesses access to the documents they needed to properly prepare for their testimony?
GOLDMAN: For some of them, that's correct.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: But I also must acknowledge that this process has been challenging and, in many respects, less than fair.
I have not had access to all of my phone records, State Department e- mails, and many, many other State Department documents.
And I was told I could not work with my E.U. staff to pull together the relevant files and information.
These documents are not classified. And, in fairness, and, in fairness, should have been made available.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The State Department has collected all materials in response to the September 27 subpoena that may contain facts relevant to my testimony.
I have no such documents or materials with me today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STANTON: The president was not denied the right to participate. Quite the opposite. The president has chosen not to participate. And he has consistently tried to obstruct the impeachment investigation to ensure no one testifies against him, that no one produces a document that may incriminate him, and to engage in a cover-up to prevent the American people from learning the truth.
I yield back.
NADLER: The gentleman yields back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, may I just say something for five seconds? Mr. Chairman, please?
NADLER: The gentlemen -- for what purpose is the gentleman seeking...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, this is the witness.
Can I just say something for five seconds?
NADLER: Mr. -- the gentlelady Ms. Dean is recognized.
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Goldman, some have argued that we should wait, that we're moving too fast, that we should try to get more evidence.
Let's examine why these arguments are without merit. President Nixon stated during the Senate Watergate investigation -- quote -- "All members of the White House staff will appear voluntarily when requested by the committee. They will testify under oath, and they will answer fully all proper questions" -- end quote.
During the investigation of President Clinton, Ken Starr interviewed White House staff. President Clinton also provided written responses to 81 interrogatories from the House Judiciary Committee. Unlike his predecessors, President Trump has categorically stonewalled
Congress' investigation at every turn. Indeed, as far back as April, the president expressed his intent to stonewall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, we're fighting all the subpoenas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: More recently, on October the 8th, White House counsel Pat Cipollone echoed this sentiment in a letter reflecting the president's instruction that all executive branch officials not testify in this impeachment inquiry.
Are you aware of that letter, Mr. Goldman?
GOLDMAN: Yes, I am.
DEAN: And, Mr. Goldman, is it fair to say that President Trump is the only president in the history of our country to seek to completely obstruct an impeachment inquiry undertaken by this House?
GOLDMAN: That is correct. It is unprecedented.
DEAN: And, in fact, pursuant to President Trump's order, 12 executive branch officials refused to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry, 10 of whom defied congressional subpoenas. Am I right?
DEAN: Given the president's sweeping directive not to cooperate with Congress, did the investigative committees believe that there was any chance that other administration officials would come forward, if subpoenaed?
GOLDMAN: No, it became clear that the president was trying to block everything and block everyone.
And, eventually, they came up with an alternative reason to write an opinion to prevent people from coming, which is quite an aggressive view that they took. But it was quite clear that they were trying to block every single witness.
DEAN: Some have said that the investigative committees should have gone to court. Did you decide not to go to court?
GOLDMAN: We thought about it a lot, because, obviously, there are additional witnesses. And we want this to be as thorough an investigation.
But as you can see from the Deutsche Bank case or the McGahn case, it takes months and months to go through the appeals court. And that's effectively what the president wants, is just to delay this as long as possible, until the next election. DEAN: Let's take a look at that exact case, the McGahn case, because we're all intimately aware of it.
On April 22, this Judiciary Committee served a subpoena for testimony to White House counsel Don McGahn. And after McGahn refused to testify on May 21, the committee filed a lawsuit on August the 7th to compel his testimony.
And even though we did request expedited ruling, it was another three- and-a-half months before Judge Jackson found the Constitution does not allow a president to kneecap congressional investigations, because, as the judge wrote -- and I put up on this screen -- quote -- "Presidents are not kings."
As you know, McGahn has appealed, and a hearing is set for January the 3rd now of next year. As we sit here today, eight months since we issued that subpoena, would you agree it's likely we will not have an appeals court ruling for many months to come?
GOLDMAN: It's quite possible that it could be several more months. And then there may be the Supreme Court.
McGahn may appeal to the Supreme Court. And, conceivably, that could take another many months, year, more?
GOLDMAN: It depends on whether it's this term or it gets pushed over to the next term, yes.
DEAN: And given this delay, illustrated by the McGahn example specifically, would you agree that, if we go to court to enforce the investigative committees' subpoenas, we could face another months- or years-long delay to hear testimony?
And there's an ongoing threat, because the president is trying to cheat to win the next election. It's not a -- it's not something that happened in the past. It's continuing in the future. So we cannot delay and just wait for the courts to resolve this, when the reason why we would have to go to the courts is because the president is obstructing an investigation into himself.
DEAN: And the urgency is not just about our elections, but also our national security. Am I right?
GOLDMAN: That is a critical component to it.
DEAN: Let me end with this.
What is plain is that we cannot wait. What is plain is that wait means never. We must not let this president disregard, defy and delay justice. This president has shown that he repeatedly abuses the power entrusted to him by the people.
Every moment we wait is another opportunity to chip away at the foundation of our Constitution so carefully crafted by our founders.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and yield back.
NADLER: The gentlelady yields back.
I yield to Ms. Jackson Lee for a unanimous consent request.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Goldman, mr. Castor.
I'd like to submit or ask unanimous consent to insert in the record referred in my questioning statement of administration policy, Department of Defense appropriation.
NADLER: Without objection.
LEE: August 5.
NADLER: Without objection.
LEE: And the call dated July 25.
NADLER: Without objection.
REP. KELLY ARMSTRONG (R-ND): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Mr. Castor, it's been a long day. It's been a long couple months. You have been in the middle of this. And I know previously you wanted to say something. So...
STEVE CASTOR, REPUBLICAN COUNSEL: Thank you.
I have resistance my -- my willingness to be athletic here in the afternoon. But I want to say a few things.
First of all, the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee submitted a number of subpoenas, and we never got a vote. And it was -- there was a motion to table. It disposed of them.
Ranking Member Nunes sent a letter on November 8 asking for witnesses. Ranking Member Collins sent a letter on December 6 asking for witnesses. Some of these witnesses would have touched at the heart of the issue that our members are concerned about.
And that is, were Ukrainians trying to interfere with our elections? I mean, this is a fact that is meritorious of investigation. The Ukrainians ought to investigate it. And to the extent it happened here in the U.S., we ought to be investigating it. And so to the extent that hasn't happened, Republicans have attempted
to -- to do that during this process. So, I would like to say that.
And I have a couple other things, Mr. Armstrong, if I may.
ARMSTRONG: Go ahead.
CASTOR: Ambassador Sondland is relied on. And he went from a witness that was not very favorable to very favorable at his hearing.
And one of the -- one of the remarkable statements at his hearing was that everyone was in the loop. He types up this e-mail to Pompeo, to the secretary. And the e-mails that he used to demonstrate that everyone was in the loop are not conclusive at all.
He talks about this statement that was going back and forth during the early part of August. First of all, Volker said all along that he didn't think the statement was a good idea. Volker and Yermak toyed around with the statement.
And, ultimately, both sides decided that it wasn't -- it wasn't a good plan. So they didn't do it. And so the fact that Sondland is e- mailing the secretary talking about this statement and so forth, it's just -- this doesn't show that everyone's in the loop.
Ambassador Hale testified to us that people at the State Department, they don't just e-mail the secretary. I mean, the secretary gets e- mail, of course, but it's not like this.
There's a whole secretariat that filters his e-mail. And so it's not -- e-mailing the secretary of state is not quite as simple as I think Ambassador Sondland made it seem here.
So I just wanted to address that.
We talked a couple times about the reliability of George Kent's notes. One of ambassador Volker's assistants, Catherine Croft, testified. And it was a rather startling piece of testimony.
She was asked whether Kent's notes would be reliable, sort of a typical question, everyone expecting the answer to be yes, except she said, no, I don't think Kent's notes would be reliable.
So I think that's important to put on the record, that there is evidence that perhaps Mr. Kent felt some emotions about some of these issues, and his notes, at least according to one State Department official, might not, in fact, be reliable.
The CNN interview that there's been discussion about, OK, there was discussion about possibly doing a statement, which was -- was canned. There was -- maybe there was discussion of a CNN interview, but we did not really get to the bottom of that.
That was sort of this amorphous fact that was out there. Ambassador Taylor testified that he was worried it would happen, but we didn't -- we didn't really talk to anyone that could tell us precisely what was going to occur in the CNN interview and whether President Zelensky was actually going to do it.
If you look back at the statement that Yermak and Volker were talking about, Yermak wasn't comfortable doing it. And so when it comes to the CNN interview, it's possible that Yermak would have advise President Zelensky not to say what people thought he was going to say.
So, anyway, I'm sorry, Mr. Armstrong.
ARMSTRONG: No, you have worked hard and you deserve it.
I just want to end it and summarize with this, that you can -- because you cannot prove a crime, and the chairman went on TV yesterday and said they would get a conviction in three minutes, but my question is, for what quiet?
The Mueller conspiracy fell flat. The obstruction charge was abandoned when the public hearing was over. Campaign finance is a nonstarter. Victim of conspiracy or the victim of bribery and extortion says he's not a victim.
Because you can't prove any of it does not mean you can use all of it. And that's no way to prosecute a case and it is no way to proceed with impeachment.
NADLER: The gentleman yields back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman?
NADLER: Ms. Mucarsel-Powell is recognized.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman?
NADLER: Ms. Mucarsel-Powell Is Recognized.
REP. DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL (D-FL): Thank you, Chairman.
And, Mr. Goldman, I want to come back and highlight what I think is the biggest national security threat. And that's foreign interference into our elections.
And I can tell you that, in Florida, we're extremely concerned about the security of our elections and the potential for election interference with foreign governments, especially Russia, because Florida, my home state, was a victim of Russian hacking in 2016.
And there's every indication that they're trying to do the same thing right now.
Our country was founded on the premise that our elected officials are elected by the people. But President Trump doesn't share these ideas. He has and continues to demand foreign interference in our elections. He doesn't want the American people to decide.
He's inviting foreign interference, allowing foreign governments to decide that for us.
Mr. Goldman, it's been confirmed that President Trump's campaign actively sought Russia's interference in our 2016 elections, correct?
GOLDMAN: What special counsel Mueller said is that President Trump did invite them and solicit them to hack Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Ultimately, the Trump campaign, I think, it was welcome -- knew about the interference, welcomed it, and utilized it.
And in 2016, Trump said, "Russia, if you're listening," and within five hours, Russian intelligence targeted the e-mails of Trump's opponent.
On October 3, 2019, when asked what he hoped President Zelensky would do about the Bidens, this is what President Trump said:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens. It's a very simple answer.
They should investigate the FBI, because how does a company that's newly formed and all these companies, if you look at -- and, by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MUCARSEL-POWELL: And let me just point out the president doesn't mention corruption, does he, Mr. Goldman?
GOLDMAN: No, he doesn't.
As I said, it was -- it became quite clear in all of his comments and all of the other witnesses that any mention of corruption or anti- corruption was really meant -- and the evidence showed this -- was really a euphemism for the investigations.
And Trump is not only asking -- President Trump -- excuse me -- is not only asking Ukraine, but he also says China should start investigating his political opponents.
The president's pattern of behavior is incredibly disturbing. Russia, Ukraine, China, he's inviting three countries to help him in his reelection campaign.
And, Mr. Goldman, I don't see any reason to believe he wouldn't ask any other governments, for example, Venezuela, correct?
GOLDMAN: He could. I mean, at this point, he has shown not only a willingness to do it multiple times.
But I think, more importantly for all of the members' consideration, he's also shown a lack of contrition, a lack of acknowledgement that what he is doing is wrong and that it is wrong.
And if you don't recognize that it is wrong, then there is no reason why you won't do it again, if you have already done it.
I mean, we saw Giuliani in Ukraine just three days ago. And last night, I want to point out that "The Washington Post" actually released an article saying that Rudy Giuliani has been now advising on how to open a back channel between President Trump and Maduro.
So I'm very worried about that.
Now, I don't think we have any time to wait to see if any countries are now going to take him up on the offer to help him in his reelection campaign.
Mr. Goldman, did the investigative committees reach any conclusions about the ongoing threats, the continuing risk that the president poses?
GOLDMAN: Yes, for the same reasons that we just discussed.
I mean, and I think the June television interview with George Stephanopoulos this year where the president indicated that he would once again welcome foreign interference is another data point to understand where it is.
And I would just say to Mr. Reschenthaler, who was questioning -- who was saying that he's got such a great record, and that the Democrats just don't want him to win, the question is, if that is the case -- and that very well may be the case -- then why does he need to cheat to win the election? Why can't he just go on his own platform?
I think the Constitution demands that the president follow the rule of law and fight to keep our elections fair, free of corruption, and free of Russian interference -- excuse me -- foreign interference.
Now, I know that I was elected by the people of Florida, and I work only for the people of this country. I'm not going to let, while I'm in office, anyone interfere in our elections or threaten our democracy. The continuing pattern of behavior we have seen from this president should be warning to the American people that it is a beginning of a dictatorship, which I have seen in Latin America. I have witnessed men in office abuse, the power, inviting foreign interference, and also obstructing any checks on their power.
The Constitution, the Constitution has no partisan allegiance. We cannot allow this behavior from this president or any future president. Our democracy depends on it.
NADLER: The gentlelady yields back.
I recognize Mr. Jordan for the purpose of a unanimous consent request.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman?
NADLER: I recognize Mr. Jordan for the purpose of a unanimous consent request.
JORDAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The majority's witness was wrong when he said that we were able to subpoena people and get our witnesses here.
NADLER: A unanimous consent...
JORDAN: We were not. So I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the two letters sent to Chairman Nadler and the other one to Chairman Schiff.
NADLER: Without objection, the material will be entered into the record.
Ms. Escobar is recognized.
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And many thanks to our witnesses who've spent the entire day with us. We're very grateful.
Despite what our Republican colleagues have stated over and over again, their own witness, Mr. Castor, has agreed that these investigations have indeed produced direct evidence, direct evidence which any objective observer, in my opinion, would regard as overwhelming.
That evidence proves that the president solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election, pressured Ukrainian President Zelensky to publicly announce unfounded investigations, conditioned a White House meeting -- the president conditioned to White House meeting and $391 million on the announcement of the investigations.
And then the president covered up his conduct and obstructed the investigation. Those findings reflect a serious abuse of power by the president.
Yet we are being asked to ignore what we have seen with our own eyes and what we have heard with our own ears.
So, Mr. Goldman, I'd like your help in responding to some of the claims that my Republican colleagues have made today.
ESCOBAR: The president and his allies say that there was no quid pro quo. In other words, they claim that the president wasn't withholding the aid in exchange for the manufactured political investigation.
Isn't it true that the aid was withheld, and that there has been no logical explanation for the withholding of that aid?
GOLDMAN: There's common sense that leads one to conclude that the aid was withheld for the investigations, and then there's also direct evidence, in that the president's own words to Ambassador Sondland on September 7 said the same thing.
ESCOBAR: Thank you.
President Trump knew he had leverage over President Zelensky. And, in fact, David Holmes testified that Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that President Zelensky will -- quote -- "do anything you ask him."
Is that correct?
GOLDMAN: That is what Ambassador Sondland said, yes -- or, actually, that's what President Trump -- Ambassador Sondland said to President Trump.
ESCOBAR: You testified earlier that evidence shows that the Ukrainians, in fact, did know that the aid was being
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): This concludes today's hearing. We thank all of our presenters who are participating. Without objection, all members who have five legislative days to submit additional written questions for the presenters or additional materials for the record.
Without objection, the hearing is adjourned.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You've been watching the second House Judiciary Committee meeting in the impeachment probe.
Lawyers for Democrats and Republicans, they've offering dueling testimony for nine and a half hours about whether the president committed impeachable acts, Democrats arguing the Ukraine scheme subverted democracy for President Trump's political gain and remains a serious danger to U.S. elections, Republicans denying the president did anything wrong, accusing democrats of pushing impeachment out of fear Mr. Trump will be re-elected. There's a lot to discuss.
And, Dana Bash, let's start with you right away. These are fiery words coming from Democrats and the Republicans.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. All of the testimony from witnesses that we have seen in public, what we read with regard to depositions, all coming together all day long, more than nine hours, I believe, this hearing took, and coming together from the lawyer for the Intelligence Committee Democratic side, two of them, and the here on the Republican side, presenting their cases.
And you could see and feel, it's almost palpable, the frustration and the -- just the tension, the partisan tension we know exists, that we see exists and we hear exists really come through in kind of in a personal way throughout the day with a lot of this questioning.
But after this is done, I mean, the key thing to remember, that this is a formality. They didn't have to do it. But this is expected of the Judiciary Committee to present their case for impeachment and now the real work begins or it continues because it has been going on behind the scenes, and that is actually drafting the articles of impeachment, which Jerry Nadler, the Judiciary chair, said could happen, we could actually see votes on those articles at the end of the week.
BLITZER: At the end of this week in the House Judiciary Committee.
Laura, he made it clear in his final statement there, the chairman, Jerry Nadler. He wants to go forward quickly with articles of impeachment against the president.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He does. He talked about that pattern, of course, as well. I mean, you talked to him yesterday on CNN the idea that the pattern is that me is going to go back in time to 2016 as well, is that part of it going forward?
But also what you saw here at the end with the ranking minority statement was the idea that of, look, these are disputed facts because we say that's the case. That's not actually what a disputed fact in fact is. It has -- it is actually reasonable to dispute that and disagree.
And what you're seeing here is essentially no one has been able to undercut the very clear facts laid out. It has not been the sexiest of hearings, I will admit that, but no one undercut the actual substance of anything and that's probably why they want to go forward.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Can I just say to Laura's point as someone who tried to watch it all day long. BLITZER: Since 9:00 this morning.
GANGEL: As a friend of mine from Texas said, that's a hot mess. We have hearing fatigue. We watched extraordinary hearings with incredible witnesses. And today, what we saw were people yelling and pounding the table, frequently confusing the issue.
And I don't think either said did themselves much good today. I think it was hard for Democrats to sum up their case, and the Republicans spent as much time fighting over requesting a vote for recess and yelling for Adam Schiff. I think if average voters watch this today, this is why they don't like Washington.
SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: I think one thing to keep in mind, though, when we're talking about what the Democrats accomplished today, what the Republicans accomplished today, this is about putting things on a particular type of record, saying we've done this investigation and moving it to the judiciary, these are the facts that are relevant to the impeachment inquiry.
And so, yes, to the extent that we are having a little bit of hearing fatigue, that work is really, really important to lay that kind of foundation. I do think one thing we saw today was Democrats presenting a case -- a coherent case what they believe happened. On the other hand, we saw Republicans talking about process of arguments, talking about Adam Schiff not being there to testify and talking about the whistleblower. What we didn't hear much of was even a substantive defense of the president's conduct.
We actually saw the minority counsel, Steve Castor, sort of begin in his opening statement, not great facts to work with, but I think he did the best job anybody could presenting a defense. But whenever it came to the Republican members' questioning, it really fell apart. They didn't even try to suggest the president hadn't done something wrong. Instead, it was just a game of sort of distraction and, frankly, disinformation of trying to sort of tell people, don't look here, look over there.
BLITZER: Phil Mudd?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Oh, man, is happy hour over yet? I mean, look, there's a couple of questions. This is a serious moment.
I think there is a fact here. The president asked for a favor related to a political adversary. Is that acceptable or not? There's a lot of smoke here, there's not a lot of fire. There's one question. He clearly asked for a favor, he used the word. So, is that acceptable or not?
That said, I would -- this was such a disappointing afternoon. One fact, how many Democrats asked the Republican witnesses questions? How many Republicans asked Democratic witnesses questions? This is not a hearing. This is not an investigation. This is a
validation. I want you to say what I hear from my party's perspective, instead of what I want to hear from a U.S. citizen's perspective.
I'm glad I started out as a dishwasher at the holiday inn and not congress, because I'm not -- that was really disappointing. They didn't have a real hearing.
BASH: Well, ion fairness -- no, in fairness to the Democratic witness, they were -- they were there to present the investigation that's already taken place. I mean, you're not --
MUDD: Sure, but how many cross questions was there?
GANGEL: I'm just not sure it was effective. They were there to do that. But I don't know how many people watched very much of this because of all the yelling and --
COATES: But part of the reason for that is, remember, they're not fact witnesses. They are -- a fact witness is somebody who has first hand observation of what went on, describing the underlying events. Their role was to be attorneys and present evidence. They did that.
Which is why it's curious the notion of, where is Adam Schiff and that refrain coming in, also not a fact witness. And for the record, we're talking about the presidential value of how these have gone down, Leon Jaworski, they did not testify, they gave a report in the Watergate hearings.
They're now saying the process is so unfair particularly when the president of the United States has been invited to participate in the process over all of this time and he still has declined to do so. It is hard to have a straight-faced argument that says you were unfairly treated.
GANGEL: To Laura's point and to Phil's point, I think that's what was most interesting today. Who wasn't there? The White House wasn't there.
We have seen from start to finish Republicans yell about process and not being fair. We have yet to see a White House defense.
BLITZER: The key question, are any Democrats going to shift their position as a result of 9 1/2 hours of testimony today? Any Republicans going to shift? It was strictly, almost certainly along party lines a vote to impeach the president.
BASH: Well, the honest answer is we don't know. But what we do know is, based on everything we've seen and heard from members of Congress and both parties -- no, it is not likely to do that. But to Susan's point, this is a very grave, very unique effort that
the House of Representatives is going through, the impeachment of a president of the United States of America. They have to do this. It just isn't willy-nilly legislation. I mean, this is a no-brainer they have to go through these incredibly important motions.
What still -- look, there's still a lot that is TBD. Most importantly, it's how broad these articles of impeachment will be. Whether or not they're going to stick to what the Democratic lawyers pretty much tried to focus their evidence on when they presented it. President abused his power with his call to Ukraine and allegations of the quid pro quo and obstruction of Congress.
The open question is whether or not we'll have articles of impeachment and obstruction of justice based on everything that happened in the second part of Mueller report which didn't exonerate him but laid out examples of obstruction of justice and that's a very real debate right now that is continuing to go on. The suggestion from Jerry Nadler and others was that they'll talk about Mueller has a pattern of things that the president did and could do if they don't stop him with --
BLITZER: Well, almost everything today was strictly involving Ukraine.
BASH: Which was noteworthy.
BLITZER: Everybody, stand by.
I want to bring in Congressman Eric Swalwell. He's a Democrat taking part in today's hearing and serves on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, so, what do you think Democrats accomplished with today's hearing?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): We showed the country facts that the president got caught cheating. And this wasn't asking someone to help him cheat in his election. He asked a foreign government and he used $391 million of your taxpayer dollars to try to do it.
I laid out and a lot of my colleagues laid out facts that are just not in dispute. We may not know everything the president said but there are about 12 facts, key facts that are just not in dispute here. Any fact we don't know, it's only because the president has blocked us from knowing.
BLITZER: Was today the last Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment?
SWALWELL: We don't have any other hearings scheduled, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, what's going to happen next?
SWALWELL: We're going to contemplate the evidence we received today, consider what the constitutional scholars told us last week what the president is exposed to and then put forward articles that reflect holding the president accountable.
BLITZER: When is that going to happen?
SWALWELL: We're going to be meeting later this evening to go through the evidence and make next steps. I'll leave that to the chair and the speaker.
BLITZER: But you think the House Judiciary Committee will vote on articles of impeachment by the end of this week?
SWALWELL: I'm not going to put a time line on it, but we want to move expeditiously, fairly, but also with the urgency of a crime spree in progress. The president's lawyer was over in Ukraine. They are emboldened to believe they can continue this cheating scheme. We have to make sure the elections are pure and held with integrity.
BLITZER: Because as you know, the assumption is you'll vote in favor of articles of impeachment this week an next week, it will go to the House floor for all the members of the House of Representatives to debate and discuss. Is that still the game plan?
SWALWELL: Again, Wolf, move fairly, move swiftly but also make sure that we do it with the urgency of an upcoming election. There's no timeline -- again, we want to get it right because of what's at stake.
BLITZER: During the course of today, there was strictly almost completely focus on Ukraine. Nothing really coming up during nine and a half hours of testimony involving the Mueller report. Do you think the articles of impeachment will strictly focus in on Ukraine?
SWALWELL: I can promise you that if there are articles, it will include the pattern of conduct that a leopard doesn't change its spots and this president has asked foreign governments to help him cheat for his benefit, and has obstructed investigations into his conduct. He did that with the Russia involvement in the last election. He's done that with Ukraine. And that's certainly will be shown to the American people.
BLITZER: As you and your committee members, the Democratic majority, draft these articles of impeachment in the next 24, 48 hours, let's say, are you taking into consideration something your fellow Democrats, moderate Democrats who flipped seats back in 2018 who were elected in districts that President Trump carried in 2016 would might be vulnerable going into the 2020 election as a result of this?
SWALWELL: We want every member, whether they're Republican or Democrat, to be able to defend the decision to hold the president accountable and that's I think, Wolf, our duty.
That above politics or any other consideration.
BLITZER: Well, so how concern are you, though, that some of these more moderate Democrats from Republican districts who won in 2018 might become vulnerable and you guys could lose potentially the majority going into the next election?
SWALWELL: I would actually credit many of those vulnerable Democrats for the position we're in today, which was that national security Democrats, about seven of them, who had served in the military or intelligence community before coming to Congress came forward expressing outrage and concern about what the president asked the Ukrainians to do and they thrust us, you know, with a unified caucus to be able to hold the president accountable.
So, they in part helped us get here and we will do everything to make sure that we all can defend whatever we do.
BLITZER: Congressman Swalwell, thanks so much for joining us on this very, very busy day.
SWALWELL: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Historic day indeed.
You know, if we take a look, Jaime, at the dilemma these members of the House and eventually, presumably, if it goes to the Senate, they have. That they have some serious issues. They got to debate within their own selves.
GANGEL: Absolutely. The Republicans I've spoken to on the House side think they are holding the votes. They do not think that anything today changed and they feel pretty confident they will hold the Republicans on party lines.
We have a different question for the Democrats because some of them are in districts that are Trump districts and the question will be Nancy Pelosi, as Dana knows, is very good at counting votes. So, she will see where those are. And I imagine she will give some people some hall passes who she feels need to vote.
The other thing I think will be interesting to see is whether some of those Democrats will vote for some counts and not for others. So, someone might vote for obstruction of Congress and not on the others, just see.
HENNESSEY: Look, and the reality is here, nobody knows exactly how the politics are going to play out. When ever you don't know how the politics are going to play out, you might as well just do the right thing. The decision about what articles to include, whether to include, proceed to fall vote, which does appear to be sort of a foregone conclusion at this point, these are really important questions for the future of our democracy, for the future of the office of the presidency, for the balance of power.
And so, I do think one thing we are seeing in the shifting of the tone of prominently Democratic members at this point is really moving into a recognition of the seriousness of the task before them and the task now is not necessarily to count the vote or try to analyze the politics but to determine what does the institution Constitution require them to do.
BLITZER: You go ahead, Phil.
MUDD: You know, I don't -- I buy half of that. But when you're Adam Schiff and you finish hearings and people give you a standing ovation in the Democratic Caucus for hearing, I got to step back and say, Nancy Pelosi wants me to say the caucus is somber about this, a standing ovation for this process is completely unacceptable. When members of the party sit back and say, I've decided to impeach before I've heard a hearing, unacceptable.
I think these charges are serious. The president needs hearing but for the Democrats to say we meant from day one to consider this as a somber exercise, that doesn't smell right to me. They went -- some of them meant from day one to say, I've already made a judgment and I don't care what the hearings are. It's not good for the country.
BLITZER: Because it looks, Dana, as if there's articles of impeachment that pass the Judiciary Committee this week. They go to the floor of the full House, all 435 members can vote. It will pass the House of Representatives setting stage for a trial in the Senate, where almost certainly the president of the United States will not be convicted and removed from office. You need 67 senators to do that, two-thirds majority, it doesn't look like that's feasible.
BASH: No, it doesn't, unless something changes in the Senate trial, which is possible. It is possible that somehow they can compel John Bolton to testify there. It just depends on how things go. It's a Republican controlled body as opposed to the House.
I wasn't at the house caucus meeting, so I don't know exactly why Adam Schiff was applauded. But there is support for him in the way he conducted the hearing.
BASH: Not necessarily for impeaching the president. So, I'm not so sure that's the case. I hear where you're coming from.
BASH: I do hear where you're coming from, I do hear where you're coming from, because everything -- everything is looked at through a partisan lens.
BLITZER: Go ahead.
COATES: I really don't think -- I don't buy the talking point that says this entire exercise was about a pre-determined outcome. That's been said over and over again. I do think that the -- it's not an impeachment in search of fact pattern. I think the fact pattern presented itself through the Ukrainian call and there was a call to duty.
Now, I don't think that -- I understand the idea and the notion that you must be somber when you exercise the authority but you have a constitutional obligation to at least investigate the matter and they are doing that. So, there is somber, there is gravitas, but also the expectation as a voter that you perform your job objectively.
BLITZER: Another historic day here in Washington. More to come.
To our viewers, thanks very much for watching.
CNN special coverage continues right now with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT".