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House Democrats to Release Articles of Impeachment; Interview with Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) on Pending House Articles of Impeachment; Justice Department Inspector General Releases Report on FBI Investigation into Trump Campaign. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired December 10, 2019 - 08:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- for our U.S. viewers, House Democrats about to make a huge announcement on impeachment. NEW DAY continues now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Articles of impeachment will be unveiled after a contentious final day of House hearings on the subject.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is the impeachable offence? Why are we here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He used his power, betrayed his oath, and corrupted our election process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To impeach a president over eight lines in a call transcript is baloney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each of us took an oath to defend the Constitution. The president is a continuing threat to our democracy.


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

BERMAN: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, December 10th, it's 8:00 in the east. And the breaking news this morning, we're awaiting a major announcement on Capitol Hill. Very shortly, House Democrats will announce the formal articles of impeachment. These are the impeach charges against the president of the United States.

Sources tell CNN they will move forward with at least two articles -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The key number there is two, and likely only two. There is still some debate among Democrats about including elements from the Mueller report, but at this point, it appears unlikely. A vote in the Judiciary Committee on those articles is expected by the end of the week, within days, and then a vote in the full House on impeachment next week. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The impeachment drama is certainly on

President Trump's mind, as well as the just-released inspector general's report which found that the FBI's Russia probe was justified and it was carried out without bias. This morning President Trump is lashing out at his own FBI director on Twitter after Christopher Wray said this in a new interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the FBI did not spy on the Trump campaign?

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Well, that's not a term at the FBI we use to describe our work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any evidence the FBI targeted the Trump campaign unfairly?

WRAY: I don't.


BERMAN: Much more on that in a moment. But first, the impeachment announcement coming imminently. I'm joined by Congresswoman Katherine Clark. She's the vice chair of the Democratic Caucus, a member of House leadership. Congresswoman, thank you very much for being with us. We are awaiting this announcement in less than an hour now. What will that announcement be?

REP. KATHERINE CLARK, (D-MA): We are anticipating, John, that we are going to see at least two counts of articles of impeachment. And that will involve what the facts have shown us. And the facts are uncontested that this president betrayed his oath of office, he has endangered our national security, and he has threatened and presents a clear and present danger to our elections in 2020.

We anticipate there will be, all of that will be captured in the article of impeachment dealing with abuse of power, and that there will be an obstruction article as well because of all the barriers to getting to the truth that this White House and president have tried to put between the American people and the facts.

BERMAN: An obstruction of Congress article as opposed to obstruction of justice. And the reason I bring that up is because obstruction of justice would have to do with the Mueller report and the legal investigation that was under way there. You say at least two articles at this point. Do you believe there will not be a third article that deals specifically with the allegations in the Mueller report?

CLARK: We are going to see in just about an hour where it is. But what we know is that there is a pattern with this president of obstruction. Ten counts laid out in the Mueller report. A president who said in June he would gladly take dirt from the Russians again if offered. A president who got on a call with the president of Ukraine and said do us a favor, though. And has tried to withhold all of the testimony from key witnesses. If this president really thinks that there is nothing about his behavior that is called into question, he should have been more forthcoming with the documents and the witnesses requested by Congress.

BERMAN: But why is it that you seem to know that there will be articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress but not obstruction of justice? It seems there's certainty about the first two. What's the hold-up with the third? Is there still a debate ongoing at 8:04 a.m. eastern time about whether to include something that has to do with the Mueller investigation?

CLARK: I think there is no debate here about today's the day for accountability. Today is the day that the Democrats in the House are saying we have to look to protect our Constitution, we have to look to protect our democracy, while we continue doing the work of the people.


Just this week, we're going to be doing a prescription drug bill. Last week we voted to expand and protect the right to vote. We are going to be looking at hopefully getting a trade deal done by the end of the year that will be good for climate change and good for American workers. This is the work that House Democrats are doing. This is a threat to our democracy that this president has posed.

And sometimes I feel like I come to work here in a hall of mirrors where it's raining out and the Republicans say the sun is shining. We have serious allegations that have arisen out of this impeachment inquiry. We followed the truth, and the truth brought us to today. We will see the particulars of the articles of impeachment shortly. But it's a solemn day for our country.

BERMAN: We're about 55 minutes away from that announcement when we expect, again, two articles, probably not a third. But you brought up something very interesting there. You brought up this trade deal, which may very well be announced today. That is an agreement between House Democrats and the White House on USMCA, which is basically the new NAFTA. And the dean of the Massachusetts delegation, Richie Neal, the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, says "I think it's fair to say we're doing great.

By any objective standard, this is substantially improved. We've constructed, I believe, a template for the future." What does it say to you that House Democrats can reach a deal with the administration on something as major as this new trade deal on the very day that articles of impeachment are being announced?

CLARK: This is exactly what we have been doing since we took the majority in the House in January, doing the "for the people" agenda, making sure that we are working to raise the minimum wage, equal pay for women. And now a trade deal that will help protect American jobs, protect the environment, and give us the crucial enforcement pieces that we need. That is what was lacking in NAFTA. And we are here working for American families and American workers.

BERMAN: I've been reading from Democratic activists on Twitter overnight and in the morning, asking why would they give President Trump a victory on USMCA in these weeks of impeachment. How do you respond to that? CLARK: The victories we're concerned about are victories for the

American people and creating good American jobs. It is not about a win or not a win for the president. He wins when we all work for the American people. That is what this president has failed to do that has resulted in the articles of impeachment.

BERMAN: Just one last question. You are a member of House leadership. Among your many jobs is to help get Democrats elected and reelected to the house. How will you provide cover for some of the Democrats who are in swing districts or more Republican districts on this imminent impeachment vote?

CLARK: The House Democrats that are in swing districts don't need cover because they're doing what's right. They are following the truth. And that is what we -- what we said we would do when we took an oath of office to defend and uphold the Constitution. So we're not worried about the political ramifications. We are worried about the future of our democracy.

BERMAN: Congresswoman Katherine Clark from the commonwealth of Massachusetts, great to have you on with us this morning. Thank you very much. And along with you, we're waiting for this announcement now in less than one hour.

CLARK: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK, John, President Trump is lashing out at his FBI director this morning for agreeing with the inspector general report and debunking President Trump and Rudy Giuliani and their conspiracy theories about Ukraine. What does this mean for Director Christopher Wray? That's next.



CAMEROTA: Breaking news. President Trump hitting back at his FBI director in the wake of the Justice Department Inspector General report which finds that the FBI was justified and unbiased in the origins of the Russia investigation. Joining us now, CNN political analyst David Gregory and CNN correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Let's just listen to some of what Chris Wray, the FBI director, has said on "Good Morning America." Let's just start, I guess, with S- 12,just for fun.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on the findings in the inspector general report, is the FBI, was it part of some deep state?

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: I think that's the kind of label that is a disservice to the 37,000 men and women who work at the FBI. That's not a term I would ever use.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the FBI did not spy on the Trump campaign?

WRAY: Well, that's not a term at the FBI we use to describe our work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any evidence the FBI targeted the Trump campaign unfairly?

WRAY: I don't.


CAMEROTA: OK. Well, that's the opposite of what President Trump has said for the past three years. Here's what President Trump just said this morning a few minutes ago. "I don't know what report current Director --"

BERMAN: Current, right? Current director.

CAMEROTA: "-- of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn't the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men and women working there."

Jeffrey Toobin, that doesn't bode well, calling someone "current director." What do you see?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It doesn't bode well, but there has been this tremendous lying operation, even by the standard of the Trump administration, of lying about what this report said. It did say that certain lower level FBI employees behaved improperly, and in the seriously bad way.


But at the core accusation that the FBI targeted the Trump campaign, spied on the Trump campaign, is just a complete repudiation in this report. And, you know, to pretend otherwise is just a disgrace.

BERMAN: You know, I have to say in this interview that Christopher Wray did, the current FBI director as the president has now taken to calling him, Wray went even further than just the inspector general report. He was asked about Ukraine and the conspiracy theory the president has been spreading that Ukraine attacked the 2016 election.

And listen to how the current FBI director answered that question.


CHRIS WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

There's all kinds of people saying all kinds of things out there. I think it's important for the American people to be thoughtful consumers of information, to think about the sources of it, to think about the support and predication for what they hear. And I think part of us being well protected against maligned foreign influence is to build together an American public that's resilient that has appropriate media literacy and that takes its information with a grain of salt.


BERMAN: I swear, it sounds like he's saying don't listen to the president on this.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And don't listen to the president's favorite network. Basically, networks is what he is saying.

BERMAN: Well, I'm not sure there's any separation there. It's one in the same thing.


BERMAN: But it's amazing when the FBI director is saying, consider your sources. And one of those sources in some cases is the president.

PHILLIP: Yes, absolutely. But I also felt like he was talking to the president in the other part. Like I think the American people need to pay more attention and be more resilient to this kind of thing, because he might be talking to the president, saying, hey, Mr. President, Rudy Giuliani is telling you all of this stuff. Rudy Giuliani is running around in Ukraine talking to people who have all kinds of ulterior motives for really spreading this kind of conspiracy theory. Consider that source, too.

So, you know, it's a real -- really important message and it goes to the heart of all of this which is that what is happening in this Ukraine investigation is that it really unfolded an effort by Russia to create a divide between the United States and its ally in Ukraine. In part by spreading this conspiracy theory which Dr. Fiona Hill, a Trump appointee, testified is at its source from Russian intelligence services. And the president of the United States is one of the individuals spreading that conspiracy theory.

That's why, for Christopher Wray, there's really no debate about this. He doesn't have to beat around the bush because he's living in a world that is based in fact.

BERMAN: Currently.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Also, if you pay attention to those people who are closest to the workings of government, to the workings of our intelligence agencies, they are the ones who are -- who understand the importance of their jobs and the importance of the institutions of government. Like Christopher Wray appointed bee the president, like Tom Bossert who work forward President Bush, and was a homeland security adviser to this president, like Fiona Hill, like the national security adviser John Bolton, all of whom didn't think there was any merit to any of this. It's only the president and those elected allies who were trying to spread something that Russia would like spread about Ukraine. And that is the real answer. I mean, it's going back to what Jeffrey

said. It's shocking the level of deceit that's going on about what actually happened. But there are people in this government who believe in institutional integrity and Christopher Wray is one of them who is not going to allow the FBI to be battered despite mistakes they've made in their investigation.

BERMAN: As long as he's running it.

GREGORY: Right. No, and I think that's right, the current director -- look. We know this president will fire an FBI director if he doesn't like the direction in which he's investigating.

CAMEROTA: That's it, Jeffrey. I mean, there you go, because what Christopher Wray is saying, and I applaud that he's calling for media literacy. Not all news is created equal. Obviously, people have learned that over the past few years. They need to consider the source.

I mean, I'm basically quoting him here in terms of media literacy he talked about. But how long can he last when the president is tweeting about him like that.

TOOBIN: And when the Department of Justice, the attorney general, Wray's direct supervisor, is on a tirade about this report because it wasn't critical enough. And the -- the attorney general issued this scathing comment about -- long statement about how the report was unsatisfactory and, you know, was not damning enough.

And then his investigator, John Durham, who used to have a decent reputation, who was known as a genuine law enforcement professional, he set his credibility on fire when he attacked the report saying, well, I have different conclusions, even though he hasn't released anything and is presumably in the middle of his report.


He denounced the inspector general's operations. So Christopher Wray is isolated now and I would say in deep peril for the future of his job.

PHILLIP: But I would also note that today, the president's going to be meeting with the Russian foreign minister which was the last time years ago when he fired James Comey. He bragged to the foreign minister about doing that. And I think he has actually learned his lesson from that. That created a huge problem for him. It spawned the Mueller investigation.

So I think that's why a lot of people believe that despite the president's tweet this morning, he understands that now is not the time to push Christopher Wray out. And notably, Christopher Wray has been saying this kind of thing for a long time. He's been defending his FBI against the president for a long time. And so far, he's remained in his job.

So, you know, I'm not sure the president is willing to really produce -- provoke yet another constitutional crisis by firing his FBI director over something like that.

BERMAN: The only thing that's new is when he says consider the source and don't believe everything you hear, dot, dot, dot, parenthetically from the likes of the president. That may be a new bridge that may be too far.

Abby, David, Jeffrey Toobin, our current guests and current friends, thank you.


CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys.

In just hours, President Trump will meet with the Russian foreign minister as Abby said. An Oval Office visit what we first found out about from the Russians. What can we expect given everything that happened last time with the spilling of classified information?



BERMAN: All right. Later today, a high-ranking Saudi official will travel to Pensacola to meet with U.S. officials investigating Friday's shooting at the naval air station that left three American service members dead. Now the FBI presumes the attack was an act of terrorism, but a word the president has seemed reluctant to use in this tragedy.

Joining us now is Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group and G Zero Media.

Ian, what has struck people as odd is the language and the approach the president has taken in regards to this attack. For instance, one of the initial things he said out loud after wasn't to say, why did the Saudis send this person or what are they doing to investigate. Listen what he said about the Saudi reaction initially.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia. They are devastated in Saudi Arabia. Likewise, the crown prince. They are devastated by what took place in Pensacola. And I think they're going to help out the families very greatly.


BERMAN: David Sanger of "The New York Times" wrote a piece saying this struck people many as just odd the president's first instinct appeared to be to defend the Saudi royal family here.

IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: Made it clear Stephen Miller probably didn't vet that statement. In the sense this is not radical Islamic terror, which Trump, of course, criticized Obama for not wanting to say a million times. On the other hand, it's probably better for the United States writ

large that Trump isn't overreacting to an act of terror in the United States than the fact that he's providing cover for the Saudis. And let's be clear. There are things he's done recently that have also not provided cover for the Saudis.

When the Saudis were hit by Iran, this major, the most important oil refining facility in the world, everyone said, oh, Trump's going to react militarily. He did not. And the Saudis were extremely worried about that.

What's consistent about this? That Trump does have ideology, that what's most important to Trump, is he going to pursue his own personal agenda wherever that takes him? And I think that's actually quite consistent even though it creates all sorts of paroxysm among those who don't like those policies.

CAMEROTA: Well, I also see consistency in the hypocrisy.


CAMEROTA: The hypocrisy.

Here's what Donald Trump tweeted. This was on October 21st, 2012 when President Obama was president. Ft. Hood shooting should be declared a terror attack. Respect the wounded and dead.

Here is how Fox TV went ballistic when there was a shooting like this and Obama was president. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it take? What evidence does it take for our president to admit this was an act of terror?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this is not workplace violence, anybody with a brain between their two eyes knows that fact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a terrorist act if, in fact, this was motivated in such a way. What does that say about Barack Obama and our government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a hard time saying the words Muslim terrorist. And so does Obama. He has a hard time saying it.


BERMAN: Where did that guy go?


BREMMER: He's no longer.

CAMEROTA: Where did Hannity go? What does it say about our president and our government if you don't say those words? BREMMER: So, obviously, there's not consistency on these pieces.

Having said that, we also know that in terms of terrorist attacks in the United States, white nationalism has been responsible over the last year for vastly more deaths than radical Islamic terror has.


BREMMER: I know that. I'm simply saying that there are an awful lot of people that are really angry at Trump because they're just always really angry at Trump.

CAMEROTA: No, I'm saying that there are people who said that he doesn't call out facts and truth. I mean, OK. We'll take your white nationalism on. Why doesn't he call that out?

BREMMER: I'm saying because it's not useful to the agenda he's pushing. In this case, if there's no ideology, if it had nothing to do with terrorism, what it has to do is, does Trump find it expedient in the service of his goals. Here the service of his goals is the Saudis actually are the largest purchaser of American arms in the world and the first trip that Trump made outside the United States was not to Canada, like most American presidents do, it was actually to the kingdom.

CAMEROTA: And he also has personal investments there.

BREMMER: Yes. Well, all this is of a piece. It doesn't in any way surprise me if it had been a Muslim from Iran and they wouldn't have been training on a U.S. base, to be clear, but if it had been some other part of the United States, God forbid, Trump's response --