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Schumer Demands Four Witnesses In Impeachment Trial; Schumer & McConnell Clash Over Impeachment Witnesses; Rep. Chris Coons (D-DE) Is Interviewed About His Thoughts On Republicans Calling For No Witnesses; Trump Defends Giuliani's Trip To Ukraine To Dig Up Dirt On Biden; Giuliani Admits His Role In Ousting Former U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine; GOP Rep. Chabot: I Would Have Considered Censuring Trump; Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Is Interviewed About Impeaching Trump. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 16, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Clarissa Ward, thanks so much for that report. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Chuck Schumer doubles down in his demand for witnesses at Trump's Senate impeachment trial, Mitch McConnell says no. But his words tonight coming back to haunt him.

Plus, it's all for love. Trump's new rationale for why Rudy Giuliani does what he is doing. This as Giuliani tonight makes a jaw dropping admission.

And voters give a Democratic lawmaker an earful on impeachment. She tells us why she is willing to lose her job over her vote. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a huge battle. The top two senators clashing over Trump's impeachment trial.

The Democratic Leader Senator Chuck Schumer saying the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, is kowtowing to President Trump.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): For him to talk to the President is one thing. For him to say I'm going to do just what the President wants is totally out of line.


BURNETT: Schumer announcing today that he wants four witnesses at the trial and his list includes the Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and the former National Security Adviser John Bolton.


SCHUMER: I haven't seen a single good argument about why these witnesses shouldn't testify or these documents be produced, unless the President has something to hide. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Of course, Trump has blocked those witnesses from testifying so far. And McConnell is backing Trump saying he doesn't want witnesses. Which is actually really curious because McConnell, circa 1999, argued in favor of witnesses that Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Every other impeachment has had witnesses. It's not unusual to have witnesses in a trial. The House managers have only asked for three witnesses. I think that's pretty modest.


BURNETT: It actually is. I guess it was. I mean, look, it's not just that McConnell has completely changed his tune now that it's his party in the White House, so now he thinks completely the opposite.

It's also that if McConnell actually thought Trump was a truth teller, he would go along with Chuck Schumer and have those witnesses. Why do I say that? Well, because here's what Trump has said about Mick Mulvaney testifying.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd love to have Mick go up, frankly. I think it'd do great. I'd love to have him to go up. I'd love to have almost every person go up.


BURNETT: Well, McConnell knows that Trump right there is not telling the truth. Because, well, to say it again, Trump blocked Mick and Bolton and all those others from testifying already. So McConnell knows that Trump right there is not being honest, but he's backing him anyway.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill. So Manu, obviously, Schumer and McConnell, there were some who would hope they would have a meeting. It would be collegial and private and they would come out with an agreement, but that is not what we have seen so far.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, but we do expect them to talk in the coming days ahead. Mick Mulvaney said he have more to discuss about this topic tomorrow.

But when you're talking to Republican senators, tonight, they're making very clear they are siding with McConnell and the notion that there should be no witnesses who should come forward. The Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told me, "No." He does not want to hear from Mick Mulvaney or John Bolton.

And senator John Cornyn who's a member of the Senate Republican leadership told me, he says, "I don't see any benefit of bringing forward other witnesses who could 'supplement' the record." He said the evidence that was produced by the House so far should be enough and he faulted the House Democrats for not going to court to get those witnesses to come forward, expect more Republicans to go down that route as well.

But Erin, what could change the calculus ultimately is if there are more Republican senators, four specifically, who break ranks and demand testimony. On the floor of the Senate when the trial takes place, there could be motion to try to compel some of these witnesses to testify and just 51 senators could vote and compel any of these witnesses to come forward.

And there are 47 Democrats if forward to break ranks that could change the calculus on the floor. One of those potential defectors, Mitt Romney, told me just moments ago that he did not want to comment specifically about these witnesses if they should come forward. He said he wants to talk to his colleagues then he will make a decision.

So a lot of these decisions will be made in the days and weeks ahead. But the Republican leadership is making clear they want a short trial. They don't want him win any witnesses and they want to move forward, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much.

And I want to go now OUTFRONT now to the Democratic Senator from Delaware, Chris Coons, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has endorsed Joe Biden for president.


Senator, I appreciate your time. So you heard Manu going through the math there, Mitch McConnell says no witnesses and he just needs 51 senators to agree with him on that to block it. He's got 53 Republicans, but you heard Manu going through that perhaps there are some of them who may support witnesses, may not ultimately support removing the President from office, but they would support witnesses in a more fulsome trial.

Do you see any of them right now stepping up going against the majority leader and siding with Schumer on this?

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Well, I think it's possible, Erin. If they put the country's best interests ahead of narrow or partisan interests, because frankly the President didn't put on a defense in the House. The House impeachment inquiry saw witness after witness testify that President Trump did the things that he's alleged to have done and the President blocked folks who were in the room, who were part of the decision making process to hold up the military aid to Ukraine or to demand the sort of quid pro quo that's allege.

That's how leader Schumer came up with this list of four witnesses. They're the folks who could clear President Trump, if President Trump would allow them to testify. So if you're going to have a fair trial, we've got all of the evidence and the witnesses that were developed by the House Intelligence Committee through their inquiry.

What we don't have is the folks who the President blocked from testifying. If the President's got a defense, this would be the moment for him to present it and there may will be four Republican senators who say, we should hear from the folks who can answer the question what did the President know and when did he know it and why did he make these decisions.

BURNETT: So Senator John Cornyn is making the case, obviously, a member of GOP leadership. But he's saying, look, if this is what you all wanted, then you should have had the House Democrats pursue through the courts, get this testimony so it was part of the record. And I'm referring, obviously, to Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, anybody else that Senate Democrats are now asking to hear from.

Do you think House Democrats ended their work too soon, that they should have pursued that themselves?

COONS: Well, I think it would have taken literally months to go to a court and to compel compliance with congressional subpoenas. That's what we've seen in previous investigations when the House has been run by Republicans and by Democrats in different periods in modern history. Courts are very reluctant to enforce congressional subpoenas to testify.

I'll remind you even President Nixon during the Watergate hearings and Watergate inquiry, directed his cabinet and his closest advisors to comply with congressional subpoenas. President Trump despite saying publicly, "Oh, sure, I'd love for Mick Mulvaney to go up and testify," is the one who chose to direct his cabinet, his subordinates to not testify.

So I frankly think it's a red herring to suggest that it's the House Democrats' fault that they didn't spend months going to court to try and get President Trump's closest advisors to testify.

BURNETT: What do you think, McConnell obviously - well, maybe he didn't remember exactly what he said in 1999 but certainly he remembered his point of view. Does he - he doesn't care? I mean, it's almost absurd. He's saying the exact opposite. He's making Chuck Schumer's argument as well or better than Chuck Schumer is himself about a modest, only three witnesses back in 1999. I mean, what do you say to Mitch McConnell?

COONS: Well, this is another challenging moment where Majority Leader McConnell, rather than simply being the majority leader of the Republican caucus, should be taking steps that are in the best interest of history, of the standing of the Senate and our constitutional order and of our national security. And that means holding President Trump accountable.

There's nothing about his recent record with regards to the impeachment inquiry that suggests he's about to do that, but that is what the role of the majority leader of the Senate should call him to do. BURNETT: We spoke a few weeks ago and it was right after one of the

most contentious impeachment hearings in the house. And that night you were rather subdued, Senator. You seem down about it.


BURNETT: You said when you tried to talk to your Republican friends in the Senate, they either try to change the subject, they wouldn't talk about it and you said it's been frankly quite difficult to get anyone to concede that the President's defense stands in tatters. Have any of your Republican friends since then told you that they might vote to convict Trump. Have you sensed any change?

COONS: No. What's striking to me is how a number of my colleagues who when the whistleblower report was initially covered in the press said, oh, well, if that happened, that clearly be a bad thing for America, that might well be impeachable. There's no one that I've spoken with in the Republican caucus today who is saying that they believe that President Trump committed an impeachable offense.

That's because they're, I think, redefining what is an impeachable offense downward. And they're saying, yes, he might have put some pressure on Ukraine. Yes, he might have dangled aid, but that's not really impeachable. I continue to have conversations.


I've got colleagues in both parties who'd like to see both sides get to present their case, but hope that the impeachment trial won't interfere with our doing the business of the American people. We've got big bills moving this week on appropriations and defense, but I haven't found anyone who is saying privately or publicly that they would consider voting to remove the President who's in the other party.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time. Senator Coons, thank you.

COONS: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Rudy Giuliani's stunning admission tonight. He needed America's Ukraine Ambassador 'out of the way'. So he admits it, President Trump tonight standing by him.


TRUMP: He's a great person who loves our country and he does this out of love.


BURNETT: Plus, impeachment against impeachment but open to censure, to censuring Trump. A Republican says that may have been the way to go.

And could she lose her job over impeachment? A freshman Democrat, a pro Trump district takes a major, major risk tonight.



BURNETT: Tonight, it was for love. The president defending Giuliani's recent trip to Ukraine where Giuliani continued his quest to dig up dirt about Trump's political rival, Joe Biden.


TRUMP: He's a very great crime fighter. He was probably the greatest crime fighter over the last 50 years, very smart. He was the best mayor in the history of the city of New York. He's a great person who loves our country and he does this out of love, believe me. He does it out of love.


BURNETT: Love or money, OUTFRONT now Gloria Borger, CNN Chief Political Analyst, Joe Lockhart, former Clinton White House Press Secretary and Mike shields, CNN Political Commentator and former Chief of Staff at the RNC.

Gloria, let me start with you. President Trump says Giuliani is doing this out of love.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, I think Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump in many ways are in all of this together. When you think about these two gentlemen who have been talking about this for a very long time, they're the ones who believe, of course, that Ukraine also interfered in the election. They may be the only two who really believe that, at least that's what Rudy Giuliani is trying to prove.

And I think if you were to ask a lot of Republicans inside the White House and outside the White House about whether they believe the President should continue to yoke himself so closely to Rudy Giuliani, they would say absolutely not. But for now, at least, as long as Giuliani is defending the President, the President will defend Rudy.

BURNETT: And Joe, to this point, remember when Giuliani said this about Trump.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: They say things written like he's going to throw me under the bus.


GIULIANI: When they say that, I say, "He isn't, but I have insurance."


BURNETT: All right. His excuse for that afterwards did not add up, which is he was talking about real insurance.


BURNETT: Got thrown under a bus, just to make it clear. Do you think that explains why Trump is standing by Giuliani?

LOCKHART: No, I think Trump thinks right now that crazy uncle Rudy is his best defender. He went over to Ukraine in a move that, I think, baffled anyone who has any political sense at all in the middle of the impeachment trial and he's still defending him and that's the litmus test for Trump. The 'will you defend me' and Rudy will.

BURNETT: So it's not about fear that Rudy could turn on him.

LOCKHART: I don't think so. But he's not defending him well. I mean, when he tells The New Yorker that here's exactly why I pushed the ambassador out, here's why I slimed her and used others in the government to slime her to get her out, because she was getting in the way of my dirty tricks operation. That doesn't help the President.

BURNETT: I mean, Mike, Rudy Giuliani is currently under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York in part for his work in Ukraine. And Trump campaign sources, they're telling us that they're worried about it. They're worried Rudy is a liability for the President. Why do you think, Mike, that the President does not see it like that right now? I mean, clearly, he doesn't.

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think there's two things. First of all, the President is never going to back down. One of the reasons why the President's supporters love him so much is because in their description they saw a Republican who finally wouldn't back down and compromise and will stick to his guns through thick and thin.

And so he has gone down a path where he wants to find out what exactly went on with Burisma, with Hunter Biden and Joe Biden when he was the Vice President of the United States and he's going to keep talking about that until he gets his answers. And if Rudy is the one who's going to go find them, he's going to back him up.

I think secondly, he believes something did happen and he wants to find out what happened. He really believes that -- and it looks very fishy that things went on with Hunter Biden and his father while he was the sitting vice president and the President wants to get to the bottom of it. He thinks there's a counter narrative that is worth talking about and he's not going to let what's going on including an impeachment stop him from getting what he thinks is the truth.

BURNETT: And Gloria, here's the thing, to the point that Mike is making, Giuliani is not mincing words. He's making it very clear. He's not hiding behind what he's doing. They're doing the best defenses to say, that's right, I did it. Damn right and here's why.

The new interview in The New Yorker, Giuliani admits his role in getting rid of Marie Yovanovitch. Not trying to deny it, not trying to say, I wasn't running a shadow policy. In fact, saying, yes, you're right, I was and I got rid of her. She was terrible.

He says, "I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way. She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody."

OK. Well, he is from his own words. Now, by the way, what were those investigations about? Here's what they were about.


GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election DNC server and Burisma.

KURT VOLKER, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SPECIAL ENVOY TO UKRAINE: Mr. Giuliani also mentioned both the accusations about Vice President Biden and about interference in the 2016 election.

BILL TAYLOR, TOP U.S. DIPLOMAT IN UKRAINE: These investigations were pursuant to Mr. Giuliani's request to develop information, to find information about Burisma and the Bidens.



BURNETT: And so Giuliani is owning it, Gloria. And to make it clear, perhaps that would be fine if it didn't go against what even Trump's own Homeland Security Adviser said were the facts, right?

BORGER: Right.

BURNETT: I mean, that's the reality. But Giuliani, obviously, believes that's right, own it.

BORGER: Right. And lots of Republicans are saying, well, what the President was really talking about, what he really meant on that phone call was he's interested in investigating corruption. And what Rudy Giuliani makes clear is that he was interested in investigating the Bidens and Marie Yovanovitch who, of course, supported reformers stood in his way.

And when the President told those folks sitting in his Oval Office, Sondland and Volker and Perry, when he said to them, "Talk to Rudy," what he was talking about was not corruption. He was talking about those same investigations that he wanted announced, which is what Rudy Giuliani was doing for him.

So what this makes clear is that Rudy Giuliani is working on behalf of the President of the United States who wanted these investigations. It wasn't about corruption. It was about an announcement of investigations against his political rival to hurt him.

BURNETT: All right. Go ahead, Mike.

SHIELDS: Erin, I think it's important to also talk just to establish what it is that Rudy didn't like about the ambassador. He claims that he has documents that showed that she was stopping visas from people that could travel to the United States and testify as a part of the case that he was building.

So he believed that they're investigating corruption, the sitting Vice President of the United States intervening on behalf of his son's company who has no business sitting on the Board of an energy company and then bragging about it. He wants to find the truth about that and what he is saying is that the sitting U.S. ambassador who wasn't originally appointed by Trump was blocking visas for people coming to the United States to testify on it.

BURNETT: But Mike, the one thing about all of this that I find frustrating and I understand you're trying to make some points here, except when you look at what Joe Biden was doing at that time, he was going ahead and probably going ahead with executing formal U.S. policy which was put out there and mirrored the policy of every single one of our allies. So I mean when you say that it's almost like it's acting like, oh, Joe Biden was trying to do the secret thing.

SHIELDS: I don't know they're telling them not to fight on the Crimea.

BURNETT: It's just inaccurate and I don't want that to keep getting somehow put out there even though I feel like I have to reinvent the wheel when I correct it.

SHIELDS: Well, I was just telling you what Rudy is saying. I think it's important if you're going to say he was just flagrantly saying I was trying to get rid of the ambassador. He has a reason that he is stating, there was a reason why he was opposed to her over the investigation he was conducting.

BORGER: Who is he though?

LOCKHART: But the truth is ...

SHIELDS: We can find out the truth later, but that's what he's claiming.


LOCKHART: And Erin, all of this completely defies any human logic. The new President of Ukraine was in a very powerless position and needed this military aid. If there was any evidence that any of this was true, that Hunter Biden had done something wrong or that Joe Biden had acted improperly, they would have turned this over.

What in fact happened and Rudy Giuliani now had three years to produce evidence. Rudy Giuliani remember famously and we'll all remember this said before the Mueller report, "I'm issuing your counter report." Well, we're still waiting for that because it doesn't exist.

He doesn't have this evidence and all they're trying to do is change the subject here. And the President and Rudy Giuliani think that they can just throw anything up against the wall, no matter how dishonest it is and we'll all just run after it. Well, the clock has run out on that and he's made clear in this New Yorker story that on behalf of the President, he ran a career foreign service officer out of her job and her job was fighting corruption in order to allow Rudy Giuliani to inject corruption into Ukraine.

BURNETT: In so doing, Gloria, he is not disputing any of the fact witnesses who testified under oath.

BORGER: No. That's right. No, he's not. I mean, they were all saying that she was drummed out by the White House at the highest level. Well, Rudy Giuliani does not work at the White House, but he happens to whisper in the ear of somebody very high up in the White House who does and that is the President of the United States.

And so it's very clear that this was part of their scheme to try and produce some evidence such as it is against Joe Biden, which honestly doesn't really exist. And so, it's a scheme, it seems to me, that they invented with each other, and they're in this together. And everybody would like Rudy Giuliani to go away except for one person and that's the President.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. I appreciate all of you taking the time tonight. And next, a Republican says he might have been open to censuring President Trump. Notice my past tense.


And voting for impeachment. Will come back to bite Democrats in November.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And if that's not what my district wants for me, then I will move along.




BURNETT: New tonight, a top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee who's against impeaching Trump says he would have been open to censuring President Trump instead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you support censuring Trump over what he did?

REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): It hasn't been offered.


CHABOT: So I think it probably would have been smart had the Democrats done that.


Whether there would have been support, I'd have to think about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you support censure or do you think that would be in the (inaudible) ...

CHABOT: I would consider it, but I would have to consider it at that time.


BURNETT: Congressman Chabot, by the way, was one of the House managers who helped Republicans make their case to impeach President Clinton.

OUTFRONT tonight, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who is the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Good to have you with me tonight, Congresswoman.

So, at this moment, of course, no signs that any Republican will support impeachment. Do you believe Congressman Chabot when he says a motion to censure the president could have gotten more support?

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well, I haven't thought about it, but it really doesn't mean anything. The fact of the matter is we have moved forward with impeachment, the Judiciary Committee has put it out and it's going to be on the floor on Wednesday, and we're going to vote on it. So the discussion about censure is just meaning less at this point, and I don't -- I haven't thought about it.

BURNETT: So, a group of freshmen Democrats led by Congressman Dean Phillips right now is pushing Speaker Pelosi to name Justin Amash, a congressman who was a Republican, but is now an independent. He supports impeachment and he will vote for the article.

To support him as an impeachment manager for the Senate trial, if the House votes to impeach Trump. What do you think about that, about using Justin Amash in that way?

WATERS: I don't -- I don't think very much about that. I think that our managers must be committed to the proposition that we have taken up impeachment, our judicial committee has basically voted it out, and we have a responsibility to move forward, bring it to the floor. And I don't buy the idea that someone who's already determined that they're going to leave the Democratic Party because they don't believe in impeachment of this president should be one of our managers. I don't think that makes good sense.

BURNETT: Amash, of course, was a Republican, now he's an independent technically, but he's voting for the articles. Would you consider him?

WATERS: Well, I think one of the things we have to do is --

BURNETT: Well, I think you're talking about Van Drew. WATERS: Oh, yes, that's exactly --

BURNETT: Yes, I'm talking about Justin Amash. I'm sorry, Congresswoman.

WATERS: No, I still that -- this is a decision about the leadership, and while Mr. Phillips certainly can make a recommendation, all of the recommendations will be taken into consideration. But in the final analysis, the leadership led by Nancy Pelosi will make that decision.

BURNETT: So the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins, obviously we saw him, we saw a lot of him last week, made this prediction about your party and his and President Trump during last week's hearings.


REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): The other problem I have is it's going to be never ending, impeach him over and over again, investigating him over and over again. I guess I'm waiting for the committee hearing schedule in February to see what we're investigating next.


BURNETT: Congresswoman Waters, will you rule out impeaching Trump again?

WATERS: Let me just say that, you know, his comments are just, you know, comments of a frustrated individual who does not support impeachment and he's not only been on the air time and time again, ranting and raving about the impeachment process, and so I pay no attention to what he has to say.

BURNETT: So, you know, Republicans, though, to this point, they say that your party has been looking to impeach President Trump when he was elected because you don't like him. You have looked for item after item and finally you have found one. You did say less than two weeks into his presidency, that you wanted to see him impeached, congresswoman, for other reasons than we are obviously sitting here now talking about.

What do you say to your Republican critics, when they say, look, they have been saying this since the beginning, so, you know, they're just looking for excuses.

WATERS: Well, they say these things because they cannot refute the facts. As a matter of fact, when I observed this president and the way that he conducted himself during the primary elections, the way he called names, the way he lied, the way he talked about grabbing women by their private parts, I never thought we would hear a president talk like that.

And also, I had done some research, I knew about his alignment with Putin, I know about Manafort, and the relationship was and the fact that he had been sent there by Putin, in essence to head up the president's campaign because I believe, even though I don't have the facts to prove it, I believe that Putin wanted to lift the sanctions. He's always wanted to lift these sanctions that were placed on him because of his interfering and encouraging into Crimea.

And so, I believe that they wanted to elect President Trump and Trump, I believe agreed. I will always believe this, that he agreed that if he got elected, he would lift those sanctions. He would like to do it.


He's not been able to do it, but when they talk about we're just making things up, and he talks about this as a witch hunt, there are too many facts. This president will not condemn Putin for hacking into the Democratic National Committee, will not condemn him for hacking into our election system. These are facts.

Seventeen of our intelligence agencies have said this. Are these patriots or not? I mean, what do they think about our democracy being undermined by the president of the United States of America? If they want to say we just don't like him, they don't really care about what happened to this democracy. Don't have an appreciation for the Constitution.

And the fact that the constitution gives us the responsibility to impeach when we see this president or any president who is not go ahead for the country, who's undermining our country, who's putting us in danger, who's aligning himself with the foreign country to interfere in our elections. Those are facts.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Waters. I appreciate your time tonight.

WATERS: You're welcome. Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the cost of voting in favor of impeachment, should Democrats be worried.


REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): If you live your life only looking at polls and only figuring out how to keep this job another two years, you are in it for the wrong reasons.


BURNETT: Plus, what is it about impeachment that makes reasonable people do this?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me finish. Let me talk.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here's what's happening now.




BURNETT: Tonight, a freshman Democrat says she's willing to lose her job over her impeachment vote.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the minute, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin took the stage, it became clear just how deeply divided her Michigan district is over impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

SLOTKIN: OK. Well, I'm thrilled to see such a great turnout today.

CARROLL: From start to finish, a vocal group at Monday's town hall shouted their opposition to Slotkin's decision to vote yes on two articles of impeachment.

SLOTKIN: You guys, let's try to have a civil conversation.

CARROLL: Slotkin spelled out her decision to vote for impeachment, telling the audience before reaching that decision, she reread the Constitution and House rules.

SLOTKIN: OK. So I'm just going to continue because I've got the mic. So the thing that was different for me is this very, very basic idea that the president of the United States would reach out to a foreign power and ask for an investigation for personal political gain.

CARROLL: Supporters and critics of Slotkin taken aback by the scene in the room.

JOHN LIPOSKY, MICHIGAN VOTER: I don't like the shout outs, OK. I don't do them myself. OK.

CARROLL (on camera): but you disagree with her stand on impeachment?

LIPOSKY: Well, obviously, because again, I'm making other assumptions. OK. You have to be prejudice to go along with the impeachment.

CARROLL: How did you think the town hall went?

LINDA HARTNER COFFMAN, MICHIGAN VOTER: I was so disappointed that they were like little kids in the back screaming like closing their ears, no, no, no, they won't even listen to her.

CARROLL (voice-over): When it was over, a moment for the congresswoman to reflect more on her decision. (on camera): Who was the first person that you told when you reached

your decision?

SLOTKIN: My husband.

CARROLL: His reaction?

SLOTKIN: Well, he was in the Army for 30 years. I've got a stepdaughter in the army now. These are things that are very close to our hearts.

There is nothing more important than making sure foreigners don't get to play a role in any way in our elections.

CARROLL (voice-over): As for any potential political fallout in 2020, Slotkin says this is one decision that is bigger than politics.

SLOTKIN: The ballot box will tell us. You know, all I can tell you is if you live your life only looking at polls and only figuring out how to keep this job another two years, you are in it for the wrong reasons, and we need a different generation who thinks differently, and works harder and focuses on what's important, not just what's politically expedient, and if that's not what my district wants from me, then I will move along.


CARROLL: And, Erin, given all that the congressman heard from all of her critics, I asked if there was any way she might be able to reach them with her point of view. She said despite all she heard, the folks in her district are reasonable people, people who fall somewhere in the middle, and she said, but look, at the end of the day, if they don't understand her point of view, so be it, she's willing to pay the price -- Erin.

BURNETTT: All right. Thank you very much, Jason Carroll.

And OUTFRONT next, don't give it to the Senate. Top constitutional expert Laurence Tribe has advice tonight for Democrats.

And the topic that is breaking up some television families and it seems perhaps some real ones, too.



BURNETT: New tonight, no Senate trial. One of the nation's premier constitutional law experts Laurence Tribe says in an op-ed tonight that if Mitch McConnell doesn't agree to Chuck Schumer's request for things like live witnesses, then the House should impeach Trump but and this is the crucial word, but refuse to hand it over to the Senate.

Laurence Tribe is a constitutional law professor at Harvard and author of the book "To End a Presidency: The Power of the Impeachment". And he is OUTFRONT tonight.

Professor Tribe, it's great to have you.

So, you're writing that you think the House --


BURNETT: -- should go ahead with the impeachment of the president but then refuse to formally allow the Senate to have a trial, why?

TRIBE: Well, I didn't say refuse permanently. What I said was that senator Schumer has made an entirely reasonable proposal for a meaningful trial with actual witnesses. That's what a trial is, and until and unless Mitch McConnell agrees to hold a trial and not just, you know, a pretend trial, a faux trial, we shouldn't just hand the impeachment articles over to him.

After all, the president wants to be exonerated. He doesn't want to have things end where they are now, which as of Wednesday is going to be a conclusion by the House of Representatives, not just that there should be a trial, but that he is guilty. Guilty of abusing his power to get a foreign government to help him in the election. Guilty of shaking down a foreign government.

And as long as that's the state of affairs, there's a lot of pressure on McConnell to do something that is a reasonable accommodation with Schumer. That leverage should be used rather than simply tossing the articles of impeachment into a meaningless ritual. That's what I argued.

BURNETT: And so, you know, you refer to it as a whitewash, as a contempt of trial in your op-ed, you say McConnell is letting the president and his legal team call the shots.

But just explain, Professor, then, when you say the House should refuse to allow McConnell to hold a trial like this, you're saying that Schumer should be using this leverage, how can the House do this?


How it easy would it be for them to actually do what you're suggesting?

TRIBE: Well, a lot of important things aren't easy to do. But this one is relatively easy. The House should wait until McConnell makes some reasonable agreement. If he doesn't, Schumer should press. At that point, if there's going to be a trial, there has to be one that Schumer gins up on his own.

You need two hands to clap. You need a prosecution. The House should wait with appointing managers until McConnell makes steps to make it a real trial.

If the House simply caves in, if Schumer, who has made an entirely reasonable set of proposals, every bit as reasonable as we've ever had, if Schumer just caves to McConnell, that's awful. Seems to me we have to remember one important thing. After Wednesday, if the Senate doesn't hold a trial, then not only will Trump be only the third president impeached, he will be the first president ever to have been found by the House to have committed high crimes and misdemeanors without an exoneration by the Senate. He needs that exoneration.

And you can't get an exoneration if you don't have a real trial. That's the dilemma in which the president finds himself.

BURNETT: So now to this point about a real trial, right? So let's just say it happens and you get witnesses and things go the way that, you know, senator coons said earlier that, he doesn't have a single friend that has indicated there's any way shape or form in this world they would to remove this president.

Look, Lindsey Graham has come out and honest about it, he has said he is not an impartial juror. Here he is, Professor.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I am clearly made up my mind. I'm not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations and the process.



TRIBE: He has disdain for the Constitution, Erin. He's got to take an oath. Not an oath to have a blank mind, but an oath to at least listen to the evidence.

And if he says, I don't care about the oath, I don't care about the Constitution, well, then in the end all of the senators who do that, unlike Elissa Slotkin, who cares about things other than her own re- election, are going to have to pay the price in history. They may not pay the price at the polls, but there are more important things than the poll.

BURNETT: Just so I know -- I understand your point. I'm hoping you can have me understand this. Look, Lindsey Graham is -- I understand the frustration the people have with Lindsey Graham. But he's not alone. There are Democrats who have made up their minds, right? Here are just a few of them.

TRIBE: Uh-huh.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now, I would like to just see us do the Ukraine issue, because it is so clear and it is such a clear violation of law.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): I don't know that it leads in any other direction except to vote yes, which is what I believe I will do, based on everything I know. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, when he

made that call to the head of Ukraine, he's digging up dirt on an opponent. That's illegal conduct.


BURNETT: Haven't they already made up their minds, too? Do you have -- do you share the same frustration with them that you do with Graham?

TRIBE: Absolutely. I like those people. They're my friends, but I think anybody who says, I don't care what the evidence shows, I don't care if there's exonerating evidence, is making a big mistake.

That's why I like what Senator Schumer said. Namely, it looks like he's guilty, it looks like the president abused his power but he should have a chance to exonerate. That's what I want. That's a fair trial.

BURNETT: All right. And I appreciate your time, Professor Tribe. Thanks very much for coming on tonight.

TRIBE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And we'll be right back.



BURNETT: There's so much anger over the impeachment debate you may want to hear Jeanne Moos' version to smile.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When "SNL" mocked family gathering split over impeachment --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who on earth could vote for Trump after this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could anyone not vote for Trump after this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you think is going to get voted off "The Masked Singer" next week?

MOOS: Who knew that split would divide the TV family on "The View."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are senators that are --


MOOS: Whoopi told Meghan McCain to clam up.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Girl, please stop talking. Please stop talking right now. MOOS: It's as if the whole country is "The View," engaged in a

massive tug of war over impeachment, represented by this re-elect Trump banner.

Normally, cool heads have turned hot.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The president is a coward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a low life.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a low life.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Get your words straight, Jack!

MOOS: Fast talkers can't spit out the words fast enough.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): This is the -- I'm just beyond words at this point.

MOOS: Even fictional characters are feeling the friction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Trump derangement syndrome. You're just as bad as you're accusing him of being.


MOOS: Senator Lindsey Graham seems to be almost arguing with himself. Compare to what he said back with Bill Clinton's impeachment.

GRAHAM: Don't decide the case before the case's end. This bothers me greatly.

MOOS: Two decades later.

GRAHAM: I am trying to give a pretty clear signal, I've made up my mind.

MOOS: We're all mad.

JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW EXPERT: My wife is mad, my kids are mad. Even my dog seems mad.

MOOS: Even an elevator is not a safe space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on you, sir. Trump 2020. Trump 2020. Trump 2020. God bless America.

MOOS: Impeachment is pushing our buttons and, unlike Whoopi, we can't end the argument by going to break.

GOLDBERG: We'll be right back.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll be exposed for your treason.

MOOS: -- New York.


BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" begins right now.