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Judiciary Committee Vote Sends Impeachment to Full House; Supreme Court to Hear Trump Appeal to Block Subpoenas for his Financial Records; Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) is Interviewed about Impeachment; Rudy Giuliani Seen at White House as Judiciary Committee Approves Trump Impeachment Articles; Online Anti-Semitism Fuels Alarming Rise in Violence; Impeachment Then and Now: Clinton Versus Trump. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired December 13, 2019 - 17:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. We're following multiple breaking stories this hour. The stage is now set for House Democrats to impeach President Trump next week and now that the Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment in party line votes.

Also breaking, we've just learned that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal from President Trump to keep his financial records out of the hands of House Democrats and prosecutors investigating him.

Lots of news going on right now, let's go to Capitol Hill. Our congressional correspondent Manu Raju is with us. Manu, certainly, it looks like the president will almost certainly be impeached by Christmas. What is next?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, virtually no doubt the president will get impeached likely by Wednesday and a majority of the House is expected to vote to impeach the president. The third time this happened in American history. And in a sign today that some moderate Democrats, swing Democrats particularly freshmen who came from districts that President Trump carried or that had been very close split between Republicans and Democrats, some are starting to signal that they are going to vote for articles of impeachment and they signed today.

Max Rose of New York who is a freshman Democrat announced his support for two articles - those two articles of impeachment. Another Democrat freshman from Nevada who comes from a swing district, she -- Susie Lee she also announced her support for those two articles of impeachment. Several other freshmen Democrats still have not said, we'll see how they ultimately come down. But the expectation among Democratic leaders that they'll have enough votes, a majority, to impeach this president next week on those two counts, one about abuse of power, the other on obstruction of Congress. Now after those two articles are approved, eventually, then it will go to the Senate setting up a trial for January. And already Republicans in the Senate along with the White House are starting to discuss their strategy to fight back. Mitch McConnell met with the White House Counsel Pat Cipollone yesterday behind closed doors. We're told from our sources that they came up - they discussed close coordination, plans to continue the coordinate as they go forward and figure out how to deal with this and try to push off these charges, eventually get to a vote to acquit the president in January. But the coordination between the - between the Senate majority leader and the president's top aides is prompting some serious concern from Democrats who say that is not the role that the Republican senators who are jurors should play.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): The foreman of the jury, Mitch McConnell, the guy that decides all the rules, is actually going to coordinate with the defendant. That makes no sense whatsoever. It is an outrage.


RAJU: We do expect though the Republican senators are being very clear here, they do not expect that there will going to be enough votes in order to take this president out of office. Mitch McConnell said as much last night. He's been saying that for weeks. He doesn't expect any Republican defections at the moment. There are some Republican senators including Mitt Romney who told me earlier this week that he's keeping an open mind on whether or not to convict the president.

But of course you need 20 Republican senators to do just that. If all 47 Democratic senators were to vote to remove the president from office, at the moment 20 Republicans, let alone one seems unlikely - highly, highly doubtful. And first, though, Wolf, the question is how many House Republicans vote to impeach the president next week. And talking to Republican congressmen, including moderates, they are signaling to me that they're going to vote with the president so expect total unity from House Republicans in defending the president. Wolf?

BLITZER: Manu Raju up on Capitol Hill. Stand by. Let's get some more on these historic developments right now. Our political correspondent Sara Murray is with us. Sara, this will continue to be a very bitter partisan battle.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Wolf. We saw it play out last night and again today. There were hours and hours of debate. There was plenty of partisan rancor, but tonight the president is one step closer to being impeached.


MURRAY (voice-over): Following a bitter debate and a party line vote, Donald Trump now faces two articles of impeachment before the full House of Representatives.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The question now is on article one of the resolution, impeaching President Donald J. Trump for abusing his powers.

MURRAY: Democrats insisting the Trump's actions more than met the constitutional threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Raskin votes aye.

Ms. Jayapal?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ms. Jayapal votes aye.

Ms. Demings?


MURRAY: Republicans loudly voiced their objections.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): My vote is no.

NADLER: Has every member voted who wishes to vote?

GOHMERT: Chairman, may I ask how I am recorded?

NADLER: How is the gentleman recorded?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Gohmert, you are recorded as no.

GOHMERT: I want to make sure.

MURRAY: The committee approved one article for abuse of power, arguing the president pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival by withholding a White House meeting and U.S. security aide.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, there are 23 ayes and 17 noes.

NADLER: The article is agreed to. The question now is on article two of the resolution, impeaching President Donald J. Trump for obstructing Congress.

MURRAY: It approved the second article for obstructing the investigation into Trump's misconduct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, there are 23 ayes and 17 noes.

NADLER: The article is agreed to. The resolution is amended as ordered, reported favorably to the House.

MURRAY: The final vote exposing partisan tensions.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): I give notice of intent to file dissenting views.

NADLER: Notice is heard. Without objection, the committee is adjourned.

MURRAY: As the top Republican on the committee stormed out.

The two party line votes move President Trump another step closer to being the third U.S. president ever to be impeached.

NADLER: Today is a solemn and sad day. For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary Committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president for abuse of power, and obstruction of Congress. The House will act expeditiously.

MURRAY: Today's proceedings came on the heels of a contentious committee debate that stretched past 11:00 p.m. on Thursday. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler shocked his colleagues by abruptly pausing the marathon session and delaying votes until this morning.

NADLER: It is now very late at night. I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days and to search their consciences before we cast our final votes. Therefore, the committee will now stand in recess until tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.

COLLINS: Mr. Chairman, you chose not to consult the ranking member on a schedule issue of this magnitude.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the -- this is the kangaroo court that we're talking about.

MURRAY: The move prompted howls of protests from Republicans.

COLLINS: This was the most Bush League thing I have seen, forever. This committee has lost all relevance. I'll see you all tomorrow.

MURRAY: Democrats deemed at necessary and accused Republicans of trying to force Democrats to vote on articles of impeachment in the dark of night. After a vote on the House floor, it will be up to the Senate to decide whether to remove the president and majority leader Mitch McConnell is already vowing that won't happen.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We all know how it is going to end. There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office.


MURRAY: Now, of course, Mitch McConnell there is confident about how this all ends. But we're still waiting to see how a Senate trial would take shape, Wolf. And whether the president will use that opportunity to try to more vigorously defend himself.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens on that front. Thanks very much. Sara Murray reporting.

And the other breaking story we're following. The U.S. Supreme Court has just said it will consider whether the House and a New York prosecutor can subpoena President Trump's longtime accounting firm and banks for his financial records. CNN's Kara Scannell is working the story for us. And, Kara, I understand this means the president's financial records will stay private at least for now?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Wolf. That is right. All of these subpoenas are now on hold until the Supreme Court takes up this case and big developments there tonight. They're saying that they will hear these cases efforts by Donald Trump to block subpoenas for his financial records that involve one case which is a grand jury subpoena by prosecutors in Manhattan who are investigating the president and his company. They had subpoenaed his accounting firm seeking his tax returns. That case brings big issues about presidential immunity.

There are two other subpoenas that are also on hold right now. Those are from the Democrats in the House who had subpoenaed Donald Trump's accounting firm and his banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One. That case sets a big separation of powers issues having to do with congressional oversight of the president.

Now these cases are two very important constitutional issues and however the Supreme Court rules on this will have implications far beyond the Trump presidency. Wolf?

BLITZER: How long before we learn the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on these cases and clearly could the ruling impact the 2020 election?

SCANNELL: So the Supreme Court has set out a calendar for this. They are expecting to hear oral arguments in these cases in March. That means a decision is expected by June right in the middle of the presidential contest. Wolf?

BLITZER: Interesting indeed, potentially very, very significant. Kara Scannell, thank you for that report.

Let's get some more on the breaking, the Supreme Court decision to hear the president's appeal. Our chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is joining us right now. So, what's the reaction? What are you picking up over there, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, the president's outside legal team, they are welcoming this move by the Supreme Court. We have a statement from Jay Sekulow, the president's principal counsel outside of the White House. It says, "We are pleased that the Supreme Court granted review of the president's three pending cases. These cases raise significant constitutional issues." And the statement goes on to say, "We look forward to presenting our written and oral arguments."

Obviously, Wolf, the president's legal team wants to keep those financial records and his tax returns under wraps. Those financial records, those tax returns are sort of like the Holy Grail as you know to the president's critics. They've been after those documents for some time.

But President Trump on another front is ripping into House Democrats after the Judiciary Committee approved those two articles of impeachment earlier today while the president is painting himself as the victim and claiming he still wants to hear from the whistleblower.


Mr. Trump may be thinking twice about his hopes for a circus-like trial in the Senate. A source familiar with the discussions over here at the White House says the president is hearing out his lawyers who are advising him that a shorter trial is the way to go as that source put it to me, Wolf, quote, "you just don't know what's going to erupt in a longer trial."


ACOSTA (voice-over): Just days away from a historic vote on impeachment in the House. President Trump acknowledged what is coming.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it is a horrible thing to be using the tool of impeachment which is supposed to be used in an emergency.

ACOSTA: The president and his team are already coordinating with Senate Republican leaders on the trial to come after next week's expected impeachment vote in the House. Mr. Trump sounded open to the idea pushed by most GOP senators of a shorter trial that limits the potential for bombshells even as he mused about his preference to grill the whistleblower who exposed his alleged scheme with Ukraine to drudge up dirt on Joe Biden.

TRUMP: I'll do whatever I want. Look, there is -- we did nothing wrong. So I'll do long or short. I wouldn't mind a long process. Because I'd like to see the whistleblower who is a fraud --

ACOSTA: True to form the president twisted the facts to claim his likely impeachment is already a political gift, arguing that his poll numbers are skyrocketing when they are really not.

TRUMP: My poll numbers as you know have gone through the roof.

ACOSTA: Arriving at White House, the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani who just wrapped up a trip to Ukraine that he's touting as beneficial to Mr. Trump. Giuliani told "The Wall Street Journal" that as he landed back in the U.S., Mr. Trump asked him what did you get? More than you could imagine, Giuliani responded. Giuliani told Trump from a Sinclair Television that the president still faces an attempted coup in the U.S. with zero evidence to back that up.

ERIC BOLLING, HOST, SINCLAIR: Who is leading the coup?


BOLLING: Democrats are using the FBI to remove Trump from office?

GIULIANI: And the FBI and law enforcement has become intimidated by the press. They're afraid of the press. .

ACOSTA: There are few signs the Republicans will defy the president and the Senate where the GOP is in control. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will be deferring to the White House.

MCCONNELL: I'm going to take my cues from the president's lawyers but if you know you have the votes you can certainly make a case for making it shorter rather than longer since it is such a weak case.

ACOSTA: Democrats aren't sure about that one.

He shouldn't be worried about working with the president and doing the president's bidding. That's not the role that the Senate plays.


ACOSTA: Now in light of the controversy over the president's dealings with Ukraine, the White House is now shrinking the number of officials who are listening into to Mr. Trump's conversations with foreign leaders. The White House has done this before when other embarrassing revelations have emerged from these calls and no surprise they are doing it again but that once again, limits the number of administration officials who are keeping tabs on the president's behavior, his actions, on these calls. That means fewer potential whistleblowers. Wolf?

BLITZER: Jim Acosta at the White House. Thanks very much.

Let's get some more on all of these. Joining us now Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass of California, a member of the Judiciary Committee. Congresswoman, thank you so much for coming in.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Thanks for having me.

BLITZER: So you cast two of the most important votes you will cast earlier today in the House Judiciary Committee in favor of these two articles of impeachment. Take us into the room. What was going through your mind?

BASS: Sure. You know, myself and my other colleagues, I think we all felt sad. We felt sad that it had come to this. But in addition to feeling sad, I also feel a little fearful. Because I'm always worried as to how the president is going to react and what is he going to do. Will he do something erratic like pulling the troops out of Syria or how will he respond?

BLITZER: Why do you fear -- in response to the impeachment you think?

BASS: Well, I mean, I just worry that when he's backed against a corner he tends to make erratic decisions or do erratic things and since there are so many people not around him now, everybody around him is kind of there temporarily. But overall, the caucus, the Democrats, we all talked before we went out to cast our votes and I will tell you that the feeling in the room was a sense of seriousness, the pressure of that, but also feeling sad that it had come to this where we felt we had absolutely no choice but to act.

BLITZER: When the roll call was going on, not just the Democrats, the Republicans too. You could see a very somber look on almost everyone's face as they say aye or nay in response to the response. At what point did you learn that the Chairman Jerry Nadler was going to postpone the final vote until this morning? Because it was after 11:00 at night after, what, 14 hours of discussion that he said, you know what, there is not going to be the final roll call tonight and it is going to be in the morning.

BASS: Actually, when he did. Because we thought that we would be finished much earlier but it seems though the Republicans were filibustering because they just kept talking, they offered more amendments than we expected.


And so, when it was really clear that there was going to be no end in sight. And I guess they wanted us to vote after midnight and we felt that this was such an important decision to do. We needed to do it when the -- at the sunrise, not in the middle of the night.

BLITZER: The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, the ranking to do. We needed to do it when the -- at the sunrise, not in the middle of the night.

The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, the ranking member, Doug Collins, he issued a scathing statement among other things saying this, "Today's vote highlights the pettiness of last night's delay and the folly of articles of impeachment that allege no crime and establish no case." What is your response to it?

BASS: Well, my response is that they don't really have anything else to say. I mean, the facts were uncontested. We know what the president did. They didn't really even challenge it. They just mainly focused on process. They believe that we hate the president and this is why we're doing this.

But you remember, Wolf, a few weeks ago after the Ukraine scandal broke, you know that several Republicans came forward and said that it was inappropriate. And then the president slapped them immediately and said that what he did in the phone call was perfect. And so then they all - you know, stood in line.

And so I think that they felt the only thing that they could do was to argue the process. But abuse of power, the threat to our national security, the corruption, they really didn't challenge any of the content, any of the substance as to why we put the articles of impeachment forward.

BLITZER: The final vote, we're hearing next Wednesday.

BASS: Right.

BLITZER: Is that what you're hearing as well?

BASS: I think so. I think so. We have other very important things to do next week. One we have to keep the government funded and the other things is we have the USMCA, the major trade deal. And so this is obviously the most important thing we're going to do. But when we do it, I'm sure we'll do it at the light of the day. It will not be late at night.

BLITZER: Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday late morning or some point like that. Tuesday the government spending bill to keep the government open and no more government shutdown. Wednesday the impeachment and Thursday the U.S./Canada/Mexico trade agreement.

BASS: Right.

BLITZER: And then you guys go off on recess holiday.

BASS: Right. After we fund the government.

BLITZER: All right. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

BASS: Thank you.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for coming in. Stay with us for more on the breaking news. We'll take a closer look at what happens when the full House takes up the articles of impeachment against President Trump next week.



BLITZER: The House Judiciary Committee today approved two articles of impeachment against the president. The full House will consider those two articles next Wednesday. We are told. Let's discuss the historic moment that we're all watching very closely right now. And Gloria, it doesn't happen every day, impeachment along these lines.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it doesn't. And as you were speaking with the congresswoman, you both pointed out what a serious moment it was and how somber it was in the committee when it occurred. But what we saw over those -- what was it, 14 hours of debate, I can't even remember any more, was two different universes really. Where the Republicans not only defended the president but said the phone call was completely appropriate and there was nothing wrong with it and that he wasn't trying to help himself. He said -- used the word "us." So that meant that he was really talking on behalf of the country. And then of course, they made the case that it was not anything close to impeachable and of course, the Democrats you know voted for two articles of impeachment, you know, obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

BLITZER: I'm told, you know, Chris, the president's so irritated, so angry when he sees a picture of these four presidents who have now faced serious prospects of impeachment, Andrew Johnson in 1868, Richard Nixon 1974, Bill Clinton in 1998 and now Donald Trump. He hates this notion of being lumped with them.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR AT LARGE: What is interesting about it is he's not a student of history in any meaningful way but he is a big believer in wanting to be the history books. We always hear him say, I'm the best president. Got more done than anyone since Abraham Lincoln. He tasted the George Washington made a mistake because he didn't put his name on Mount Vernon, put his name on the city.

But regardless, this is someone who spends a lot of time thinking about his legacy and really interest, more accurately probably his brand. And he will now be in the history books no matter what happens next November in a way that you know he will think is more beneficial for him politically speaking but is not something he wants, he's aware of. You know, and he -- look 124 tweets over the last 24 hours. The guy tweeted a lot. There is no chance that I've ever got up to 124 tweets and re-tweets. I think that speaks to his mindset. He's frantic.

BLITZER: He's angry about all of this.


BLITZER: And you know, Sara, he's worried about his legacy because if he is impeached by the full House of Representatives next Wednesday, that is going to be there.

MURRAY: That is going to be there. And you know it's going to be there regardless of anything else that is happening. You know he would love his legacy to be about how the economy is booming even if they move to do this impeachment and there are big gains for the Republican Party in 2020. You know, certainly, Bill Clinton party was vindicated in some ways after he was impeached. But that impeachment still stands as this huge mark over the Clinton presidency, just as it will with Donald Trump's presidency assuming he is impeached as we expect. And regardless, essentially, of whatever happens after that.


BLITZER: It was a strict party line vote in the House Judiciary Committee. 23 Democrats in favor of the two articles, 17 Republicans all opposed to the two articles. Is it going to get a little bit more complicated when it comes up for a vote on the full House next week?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, House Democratic leaders are expecting some defections I'm told by aides on Capitol Hill that could be half a dozen if not more. I think that they can afford to lose about 17 Democrats. And they do, to be clear, believe Democratic leaders that they have the votes to impeach President Trump. But I think all eyes are on some of these moderate Democrats who represent districts that were carried by President Trump in 2016. That certainly where Republican groups outside groups have poured millions of dollars in advertising trying to escalate pressure on those members and that is part of why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi really sought to keep these articles of impeachment narrow in their focus to try and protect some of those moderate Democrats who are taking this vote of conscience. But they do, again, I want to reinforce, expect to have the votes next week.

BORGER: But she's not what we call whipping this vote. She's not --

BLITZER: Nancy Pelosi.

BORGER: Nancy Pelosi. She's not saying to people, you have to do this. Because she knows that for some people it is a very difficult vote in their district. And she said you have to vote your conscience. The Republicans on the other hand are saying to people, you have to do this because we need to be unanimous. We need to be unanimous against this and support the president of the United States. And Donald Trump has been tweeting about that. Saying that Republicans have never been as united and what he's likely to say is look at us, we were united.

CILLIZZA: Fake it until you make it.

BORGER: They couldn't be united.

CILLIZZA: One other quick thing to add to Gloria's point. We know that Donald Trump has been sort of one by one or in small groups talking to Republican senators for weeks now in advance of the Senate impeachment trial in which people will say, can he do that? Yes, he can. Remember, the rules of impeachment, there is not many. 67 senators needed to remove and John Roberts presides and other than that -

MURRAY: To make up the rest.


BLITZER: Everybody stand by, we've got a lot more we need to report on. And Rudy Giuliani is just back from Ukraine. He was over at the White House today. We'll discuss when we come back.



BLITZER: We're back with our experts.

You know, Sara, the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, just back from Ukraine, was over at the White House today. He told the "Wall Street Journal" he has uncovered, quote, more than you can imagine. What is he up to?



MURRAY: So he went on this -- this trip to Ukraine to meet with more people who have been peddling this really bad information this whole time. You know, the conspiracy theories about Ukraine being the ones that meddled, the conspiracy theories about the Bidens, the conspiracy theories about Marie Yovanovitch.

And, you know, he went back for another dose of this stuff, even amid concerns that, you know, this is all part of essentially Russian propaganda effort. But Rudy Giuliani, once again, believes he has struck gold, which should be a concern.

And I think it is a concern for a lot of Republicans around the President. It does not seem to be a concern for President Trump right now, which is why it's an even bigger concern for everyone around him.

BORGER: If you were the President's lawyers and you had the President calling Rudy Giuliani, as the "Wall Street Journal" reported, while he was, you know, touching down and on the runway, saying, what did you get, what did you find, you'd be worried because doesn't that indicate to you that the President still wants to argue this crazy conspiracy case and take everyone down a rabbit hole during his trial in the Senate?

I mean, you know, if Rudy Giuliani is feeding him all this information that comes from corrupt politicians that are completely discredited, what's he going to do with it?

CILLIZZA: And I think one --

SIDDIQUI: And that's sort of the key --

CILLIZZA: Go ahead, Sabrina, I'm sorry.

SIDDIQUI: That's really key here because it really reinforces how both the President as well as Rudy Giuliani are completely undeterred by the impeachment proceedings in Congress as well as federal prosecutors are probing Giuliani's business ties, that Giuliani still felt that he could openly travel to Ukraine to try and continue and dig up dirt on the Bidens.

And I think it's really telling as we move toward the next phase of this impeachment proceedings when they go to the Senate trial, and the President is working closely in tandem with Republicans to kind of dictate the direction of those proceedings.

Because there is some disagreement over whether or not to call further witnesses and the President still wants the Bidens to appear. Right now, Mitch McConnell is trying to stave off those efforts.

But also, because Mitch McConnell has said that he's confident that they will not, of course, vote to remove the President from office, the President is going to continue during the election cycle to try and dig up dirt on the Bidens and to float these conspiracy theories, and there really won't be any lessons learned from this entire process.

CILLIZZA: And just one other thing, I know, we've obviously -- if you watched television in the last week, you're very familiar with the July 25th transcript between Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump. [17:35:00]

But one thing that's in there that is -- we overlook a little bit, Donald Trump is now on the phone with the President of Ukraine, the thing he brings up first that he wants him to look into is, to Sara's -- this totally debunked idea that somehow Ukraine has the physical server that was hacked by the Russians because a rich Ukrainian -- he's not Ukrainian. He's Russian now. He was an American citizen, but -- but -- yes.

But the fact that -- aside from everything else about that call, the fact that that's the thing that he brings up, speaks to, this is someone who operates on conspiracy theories and just keeps waiting for the big one to come over the hill, and Rudy Giuliani sells him that he's got it.

BORGER: And the one person Republicans are not defending --


BORGER: -- is Rudy Giuliani. To a tee.


BORGER: They wish he would just go away somewhere and get out of this story. But he keeps placing himself front and center, which is where the President seems to want him to be.

CILLIZZA: Yes, that.

BLITZER: OK, let's see what he got.


BLITZER: He says more than you can imagine. We'll see if that's true.


BORGER: I don't think we can imagine.

BLITZER: Everybody, stick around. There is more breaking news we're following. Following these historic developments up on Capitol Hill, the House Judiciary Committee approving two articles of impeachment against President Trump, sending impeachment to a vote in the full House next week.



BLITZER: New Jersey's Attorney General now says this week's deadly attack on a kosher supermarket in Jersey City is being investigated as an act of terrorism and a hate crime. The attack comes amid an alarming global rise in anti-Semitism fueled by online Web sites. CNN's Melissa Bell has a closer look in this exclusive report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two stones marked by hate. But cultural centers, town halls, schools. In all, 42 anti- Semitic attacks in the Bas-Rhin region of Alsace in just 18 months.

This cemetery in the village of Westhoffen is just the latest to be desecrated. One hundred and seven of its tombs were found marked with swastikas earlier this month. And although the clean-up operation is now underway, for a region as troubled as this one by anti-Semitic attacks, the stain will be harder to remove.

YOAV ROSSANO, HEAD OF HERITAGE, ISRAELITE CONSISTORY OF BAS-RHIN, FRANCE: This kind of symbol touches more than you think. It is awakening the history. Party of the family line died in Auschwitz and in the Holocaust, so to see it here where I live. There is a disease in this society.

BELL (voice-over): France's Interior Minister visited Westhoffen, announcing the creation of a national task force. When the graveyard at Quatzenheim was attacked, it was the French President who came. Another case that remains unsolved.

A source close to the investigation says that locals are believed to be responsible. Locals who may have been incited by global Web sites. While the hunt for the culprits continues, we wanted to find out where they are finding encouragement.

Two French-language sites registered in Panama and the Bahamas and enabled to stay online by an American company, White Europe and Participatory Democracy, both showed pictures of the attacks in Alsace.

White Europe celebrating these exemplary actions by the proud people of Alsace that show us the way. Reached for comment, White Europe told us they stand behind their posts. Participatory Democracy told CNN that while they don't condone the attacks, they do believe that it's all a Jewish conspiracy.

Both sites celebrating the number 14, a reference to a slogan coined by the late American White Supremacist David Lane and which was also found graffitied on one of the Westhoffen tombs.

BELL (on camera): Both of these sites use the American Internet infrastructure company, Cloudflare, which provides protection from cyber-attacks.

Both sites celebrate anti-Semitism and that, here in France, is a crime.

Now, in the past, Cloudflare has discontinued its services to 8chan in the wake of the El Paso mass shooting and to the American neo-Nazi blog, Daily Stormer. So why the different treatment when it comes to hate speech that is in French?

Cloudflare has not responded to CNN's questions. BELL (voice-over): CNN also found that Facebook, which does not allow

Daily Stormer posts to be shared, did allow posts from both the French sites until CNN reached out for comment after which it blocked them.

Twitter allowed sharing from all three sites but told CNN that it's taking action to prevent linking to such content.

We asked France's Interior Minister in an exclusive interview if the United States was doing enough to help tackle the problem.

CHRISTOPHE CASTANER, MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR OF FRANCE (through translator): No, because there is a clear difference of culture. It is not about opposing French of European culture or American culture, but clearly, on these subjects, there is a belief in the freedom to say anything and everything. I believe that there is no freedom when it is us and our fundamental values that are being attacked.

BELL (voice-over): The tomb of Guillaume Debre's family was amongst those desecrated in Westhoffen. He has yet to show a picture of it to his young daughters.

GUILLAUME DEBRE, GRANDPARENTS' GRAVES WERE DESECRATED: It's a few marking (ph) on sacred stone. It's a few marking (ph) that spell out hate. And in this country, generations have understood what hates mean and what it could lead to.


BELL (voice-over): The last Jew in Westhoffen was buried last year. Roger Kahn (ph) hid during the Nazi occupation, escaping the camps and dying peacefully in his sleep at 88. But with Web sites celebrating attacks on tombs like his, the question is whether it's in peace that he will now be allowed to rest.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Alsace.


BLITZER: Thank you, Melissa, for that report. Very, very disturbing.

Up next, impeachment then and now. Similarities between Bill Clinton's case and President Trump's and some significant differences.



BLITZER: Two decades after the last impeachment of an American President, history is on track now to repeat itself but with some notable differences.

CNN's Brian Todd is working on the story for us. Brian, some are looking to Bill Clinton's impeachment as a possible guide to what comes next.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some are, Wolf. And there are some striking similarities but there are also some big differences between the Clinton trial 21 years ago and now, especially in how some leaders in Congress are handling the process.


NADLER: -- objection. The hearing is adjourned.

TODD (voice-over): One gavel drops and others will follow as Congress sets the stage for the third impeachment trial in American history, the fourth time Congress has considered removing a president.

Tonight, the impeachment process for President Trump is drawing strong comparisons to the last time Congress moved to impeach, the 1998 and '99 trial of Bill Clinton, and a capital city that some analysts believe is even more bitterly partisan and take no prisoners.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CO-AUTHOR, "IMPEACHMENT: AN AMERICAN HISTORY": Where people can't talk to each other anymore. Where there is contempt for those who disagree. Where the basic respect that's like the -- the lubricant that keeps our government working has disappeared.

TODD (voice-over): There have been key differences in how those trials played out.

Bill Clinton's impeachment trial for lying about the Lewinsky affair came after a Special Prosecutor, Ken Starr, spent years investigating him. This time, a whistleblower's complaint about Donald Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian President led the House Intelligence Committee to investigate Trump.

Both impeachment inquiries went through the House Judiciary Committee, but it's how the Senate handles impeachment which is drawing stark comparisons.

In 1998, Republican Senator Trent Lott, the majority leader --


TODD (voice-over): -- worked closely with Democrat Tom Daschle, the minority leader to agree on how the trial would proceed.

This time, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not coordinated, so far, with his Democratic counterpart Chuck Schumer but coordinated with Trump's team.

MCCONNELL: now, I'm going to get my cues from the -- from the President's lawyers.

TODD (voice-over): McConnell did say, previously, he would try to agree on rules with the Democrats, and he says he's not the only one who has coordinated with the White House.

MCCONNELL: President Clinton and the Democrats in the Senate were coordinating their strategy. We're on the same side. TODD (voice-over): Tom Daschle says that while he didn't coordinate

with the Clinton White House, his staff did. Nevertheless, critics say the optics for Mitch McConnell at the moment aren't great.

NORMAN ORNSTEIN, RESIDENT SCHOLAR, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Imagine if you had a murder trial and the head juror was in bed with the alleged murderer, would we view that as the way the criminal justice system is supposed to work? We would be outraged.

TODD (voice-over): Then there is the difference in how the two presidents handled impeachment and discussed their own conduct.

TRUMP: Nothing was done wrong. Zero was done wrong.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned.

NAFTALI: President Clinton sought to get on with the job of being president. That doesn't mean that behind the scenes, he wasn't obsessed with the impeachment. By contrast, President Trump's understanding of being president involves being aggressive, taunting his enemies.

TODD (voice-over): And while the intensity of the media coverage hasn't changed --

BLITZER: That could, in fact, lead to impeachment proceedings.

TODD (voice-over): -- analysts say the political divide in America now seems even more harsh than it was 21 years ago.

ORNSTEIN: We are living in a tribal era in our politics. You've got Republicans who largely believe that Democrats are evil people trying to destroy our way of life, and you have Democrats looking at Republicans as evil people protecting a president who's in bed with Vladimir Putin.


TODD: Another comparison experts are keeping an eye on tonight is how much political damage will be done to the party which brings the impeachment charges.

After the 1998-99 trial of Bill Clinton, the Republicans who brought the charges against him suffered serious impeachment backlash, losing several seats in Congress in the next election.

Analysts don't expect the Democrats in Congress who are bringing these charges against Trump to suffer quite as many losses, but they do say the moderates from each party could take hits depending on how they vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, good report. Brought back a lot of memories.

Up next, the stage is now set for the House of Representatives to vote next week on impeaching President Trump following a historic Committee vote on two articles of impeachment.




BLITZER: Happening now, headed for impeachment. President Trump is a crucial step closer to the ultimate sanction by the House of Representatives after a fiercely partisan vote by the Judiciary Committee.