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Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) Discusses Standoff over Senate Impeachment Trial & Democrat Sen. Doug Jones Saying Gaps in Impeachment Case; Amy Klobuchar Hoping to Capitalize on Momentum after Standout Debate Performance; Saudi Arabia Sentences Five to Death in Khashoggi Murder; John Bolton Criticizes Trump over Approach to North Korea; Homelessness in America Rises 3rd Consecutive Year Led by California. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired December 23, 2019 - 11:30   ET



REP. BRENDAN BOYLE (D-PA): -- or at least announce that there was going to be a sham investigation simply for politics, in order to help President Trump's re-election campaign.

New evidence like that or new testimony of those who didn't come forward during the House proceeding, I think that's incredibly relevant. We need to hear that during a Senate trial.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is also interesting in hearing what you're saying, you talk about kind of the narrative throughout the testimony in the House. Now, just this weekend, we have one Democratic Senator say that the case coming from House Democrats, from the House, has gaps.

Let me play for you what Democratic Senator Doug Jones said just this weekend.


SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): I'm trying to see if the dots get connected. If that is the case -- and i think it's a serious matter and I think it's an impeachable matter. But if those dots aren't connected and there are other explanations consistent with innocence, I will go that way, too.

I've got to make sure that -- what I really want to see, though, is to fill in the gaps. There are gaps.


BOLDUAN: There are gaps, he says. I mean, this is a Democratic Senator who, at least at the moment, appearing open to voting to acquit the president. What do you say to that, what he said?

BOYLE: Yes -- what I hear Senator Jones saying is he's willing to be fair. That he's willing to be an open-minded juror.

I also recognize that Doug Jones is a Democratic Senator in an overwhelmingly deep red state. So he is in a tough position. He's not necessarily representative of the entire Democratic Senate caucus and certainly not representative of what we have in the House.

But again, though, his overall position is not --


BOLDUAN: -- doesn't have anything to do with how the -- what color the state is or, you know, blue or red, or how it's comprised, right?

BOYLE: No. I'm simply saying, though, that I understand that impeachment for him and voting for a conviction would be very difficult for him politically. And I very much empathize with the position he would be in.

However, i don't disagree with what the overall point of what I heard him saying is that he's going to be open-minded juror. He wants to be dictated by the facts.

I would hope that we would have 100 members of the United States Senate that would be dictated by the facts because, if they are, what they see is an overwhelming body of evidence.

It's the reason why my Republican colleagues in the House didn't even argue the facts. They didn't even attempt to present a defense. Instead, they went on these wild conspiracy theories and just threw around words like "hoax" or comparing it somehow to the proceeding that Pontius Pilot undertook 2000 years ago.

Saying these outlandish things because they couldn't dispute what Ambassador Yovanovitch said, what Ambassador Bill Taylor said, what Colonel Vindman said. The facts of this case are overwhelming.

BOLDUAN: Let us see what facts end up getting presented in the Senate trial. First and foremost, when it will begin.

Congressman, thank you for coming in.

BOYLE: OK. All right. Thank you. Happy holidays.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. You, too.

Coming up for us, on the ground in Iowa. Can a breakout debate moment move the needle with voters there right now? Amy Klobuchar, she's betting on it.



SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thank you. Thank you, everyone.




BOLDUAN: One of the candidates with the standout performance in the Democratic debate last week is racing to capitalize on that momentum, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. She raised $1 million in the 24 hours following the debate.

Right now, the only number that matters to her is 99. That's the number of counties in Iowa. The number of counties she's pledged to visit before the caucuses in February, and before a Senate impeachment trial, of course, could pull her off the trail.

With 6 percent support among voters in Iowa, up from 3 percent in September, is Senator Klobuchar hitting her stride? If she is, can she make up a lot of ground in a short amount of time?

CNN's Kyung Lah went to Iowa to find out.


KLOBUCHAR: The Midwest is not flyover country to me. I live here.

I hope you saw the debates.



KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator Amy Klobuchar believes now is her upswing. The Minnesota moderate crisscrossing 27 counties in Iowa.

KLOBUCHAR: Hurry up. Get on the bus.

LAH: From rural to suburban venues.

KLOBUCHAR: We have 40-some days left. We have this incredibly important impeachment hearing. I don't know when I can come back.

LAH: As a Senate trial looms and the clock ticks.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, everybody.

This will be our 79th county.


LAH: Inside the Klobuchar campaign, their come-from-behind strategy is to meet Iowans face-to-face.

KLOBUCHAR: It's one of the counties that --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's one of the Trump counties -- Trump Obama counties.

KLOBUCHAR: -- Obama won and then Trump won.

LAH: And chip away at the more moderate candidates polling higher.

(on camera): When people in those rooms say, why should I, when I have a new person like Pete Buttigieg or someone who's, you know, tested like Joe Biden, why -- why should I consider someone like you?

KLOBUCHAR: I think I'm the right package. I like to joke that 59 is the new 37 to Mayor Pete, that I'm someone that's in between the ages. I am a new generation of leader.

LAH (voice-over): An argument of her Midwest experience, sharpened from the debates to the stump.


KLOBUCHAR: All right, got a little taller.

LAH: She's won in Trump districts, urban, suburban, and rural. So when they heckle --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you going to pay for it?

LAH: -- she'll tangle to convince them.

KLOBUCHAR: A question was raised there from the peanut gallery about how we pay for things. I have actually outlined how I'm going to pay for every single thing that I have proposed.

I don't think that Donald Trump has some kind of monopoly on votes in rural America or in suburban America. Not for a second. And you saw a lot of suburban and rural voters that voted for women, they voted for Democrats, including Independents and moderate Republicans.

So, the evidence is there that people want a check on this guy.

LAH: The hard part, getting Iowans to decide.

JEFF BUTLER, IOWAN DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I like Pete, and I -- and I like Amy. They've always been my top two.

LAH (on camera): What is going to push you to decide?

BUTLER: I get to meet Amy tonight.

LAH (voice-over): After he's listened to her?

BUTLER: I probably went from 50/50. Now I'm 78 percent for Amy.

LAH: We did find a number of voters pledging to caucus for Klobuchar, including Judith Anderson, just won over.

JUDITH ANDERSON, IOWAN DEMOCRATIC VOTER: Her sense of humor and relating to people directly was a wonderful experience.

LAH (on camera): Did the debate have anything to do with it? ANDERSON: Oh, lord, yes.

LAH (voice-over): But overwhelmingly, many were like Jan Morris.

(on camera): How many?

JAN MORRIS, IOWAN DEMOCRATIC VOTER: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight --

LAH (voice-over): There are so many to choose from, she says.

MORRIS: There's 17

LAH (on camera): MORRIS: Seventeen candidates. You've heard --


MORRIS: I personally heard speak, yes.

Amy is definitely in the running.

LAH: Do you feel you're running out of time as far as making a decision?

MORRIS: Oh, no. February 2nd, maybe February 3rd.

LAH: That's when you'll make a decision?


KLOBUCHAR: Thank you very much, guys.


LAH (voice-over): For the candidate working on an upset, the slow grind continues.


LAH: The Klobuchar campaign says they will hit 96 counties by the end of today. By the end of Friday, they will have hit every single county in this state, a total of 99 counties here in Iowa, Kate.

The campaign claiming that they will be the only campaign, she will be the only candidate on that January debate stage to have done so this cycle -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Kyung, great stuff. And also, Klobuchar says something really important which is the Midwest is not flyover country. And obviously, as a Midwesterner, I'm biased to it. Especially in presidential politics, a lot more folks need to be paying a lot more attention to that.

It's good to see you. Great stuff.

LAH: You bet. BOLDUAN: Coming up next for us, Saudi Arabia announces death

sentences for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Who is being held accountable for the journalist's killing and who is not?



BOLDUAN: More than a year after the brutal murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia has now sentenced five people to death for his killing.

It was 14 months ago that the "Washington Post" columnist walked into the Saudi consulate -- you see the video there in Istanbul -- expecting to get documents for his upcoming wedding with his fiancee waiting outside, only to be met by officials, the CIA says, acted on orders from Saudi crown prince -- the Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

These men allegedly planned, organized, and carried out his murder, then dismembered his body.

What do these death sentences in Saudi Arabia mean now?

CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, has been following this and joins me now.

Nic, you have five men who were sentenced, three other officials close to the prince were cleared. What is this all about?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the Saudis are linked to a trial they say have been conducting the proper auspices of the judiciary over the past year to the international community.

It appears remarkably to be a process that's lacked any transparency whatsoever. No cameras allowed in the courtrooms. No independent international monitors allowed in either.

However, the Saudis are announcing they've got a result, that five people are charged with the death penalty. They are responsible for the actual killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Another three have got jail terms for covering up, that's the way the Saudis are putting it, and three others are being let off completely.

The most interesting fact, i think, is the three who are being allowed to go free because they are the ones who are closest to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who the CIA believe had a role in calling for this killing.

Kahtani is one, a close adviser of the crown prince, a general, the deputy head of Saudi's main intelligence service. Again, very close to the crown prince, allowed to go free.

We've heard also from the White House, a senior administration official, saying that this is an important step in holding those responsible for this terrible crime accountable. And we encourage Saudi Arabia to continue with a fair and transparent judicial protest. That from the White House.

The foreign secretary here in the U.K. used a slightly different language. He said the Saudis should hold all of those accountable for this killing to justice. Jamal Khashoggi's eldest son has said this has restored his faith in the Saudi judiciary.

BOLDUAN: A little bit confusing, everything in there because when you hear from that White House statement that a fair and transparent judiciary process, and the one fact you pointed out, that the cia concluded that the crown prince himself was the one that was personally involved with and ordered the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, it's hard to square those two things together.


But it's good to see you, Nic. Thank you for bringing this to us.

Coming up for us, the president's national security adviser, John Bolton, laying into the president and his policy toward North Korea. Why does John Bolton suggest president is bluffing?


BOLDUAN: Here is a quote for you. "The idea that we're somehow exerting maximum pressure on North Korea is just, unfortunately, not true."

That's not from a Democrat. That's from the president's former national security adviser, John Bolton, in an interview with "Axios," throwing out nothing short of a complete rebuke of Trump's North Korean policy.


This comes amid another tense moment. North Korea threatening the United States with a Christmas gift.

CNN's Paula Hancocks has more.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, just a couple days away from Christmas, of course, the question is, what is this Christmas gift that Pyongyang had threatened to give to Washington.

We know there had been recent satellite imagery that officials have been poring over. It shows increased activity at two sites. One, a launch site where we've seen in recent weeks two tests suspected to be engine tests.

And also another site where there has been production of ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, that could hit mainland United States. Administration officials have told CNN they believe North Korea is preparing to carry out some kind of test, whether it's engines or some components in their missile program.

We also have a source familiar with North Korean thinking telling CNN that they think Kim Jong-Un will take a harder-line policy when it comes to the United States, but not necessarily will there be an ICBM test or a nuclear test around Christmas. They say that is less likely.

And it is what we have been hearing from some officials as well, saying that North Korea simply doesn't want to anger its main ally and trading partner, China, and that kind of test could backfire for them.

Now, we also know that, ahead of the weekend, being a key meeting with Kim Jong-Un and his top military officials. We understand from state- run media that Kim Jong-Un briefed them on a, quote, "complicated internal and external situation," saying they had been discussing military steps in order to bolster the military arsenal and military forces within North Korea itself.

There will be a big meeting with Kim Jong-Un and his officials at the end of the year. And, potentially, on his New Year's address, we will find out exactly what he has in store for 2020 -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Paula, thank you so much.

Consider this now. Homelessness in America rose for the third consecutive year. That's driven, in large part, due to a spike in homelessness in one state: California.

Here's CNN's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Is it somewhat comfortable?



KUSH: It's very uncomfortable.

SIMON (voice-over): Each night, Lauren Kush climbs into the back of her Toyota Prius, turning it into a bed.

KUSH: My knees basically get -- are to here and my torso barely fits in here, so it's like this.

SIMON: She is part of a surging population of homeless in California living in their vehicles, cars, and RVs.

Sixteen thousand in Los Angeles County alone, more than a quarter of the nearly 60,000 homeless throughout the county.

MEGAN SUE BELAFONTE, HOMELESS AND LIVING IN AN R.V.: Even though it's on wheels, it's still a house.

SIMON: Megan Sue Belafonte and Sharhonda Beavers are living in this rickety RV on the outskirts of San Francisco.

SHARHONDA BEAVERS, HOMELESS AND LIVING IN AN R.V.: I like being in control and I get to change my neighbors all the time.

SIMON: Without it, they say they'd be on the streets living in a tent.

BELAFONTE: Over medium, you flip over.

SIMON: Here, they say they can spread out and cook their own meals.

It's an element of the crisis far less visible but no less painful for people like Megan Sue, who says she was evicted from her home three years ago after her husband died of cancer.

BELAFONTE: I didn't have the money for first, last, and a month's down payment. I didn't have any credit because it was all in my husband's name.

BEAVERS: I try to save all my receipts.

SIMON: Homeless advocates say the growing number of people living in their vehicles has prompted a need for so-called safe parking spaces.

EMILY KANTRIM, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, SAFE PARKING LA: The two largest populations that apply to a safe parking program, seniors over the age of 62 on a fixed income, and people under the age of 40 saddled with college debt.

SIMON: Emily Uyeda Kantrim manages the nonprofit Safe Parking LA, which works with churches and other organizations to provide parking spaces at night for the homeless.

This lot in L.A.'s Koreatown has security guards, basic restroom facilities, and is situated in a quiet neighborhood allowing occupants to get some rest.

SIMON (on camera): How long do people typically use the lots?

KANTRIM: I mean, it could be anywhere from a week to -- very sadly, it could be over a year for someone who is -- has very high needs, that's working with a case manager.

SIMON (voice-over): San Francisco has opened up its first safe parking lot, joining other Bay Area cities like San Jose and Oakland.

Pioneered by Santa Barbara more than 15 years ago, safe parking lots have reached other states as well, including Oregon and Washington.

KUSH: I don't have to worry about being raped. I don't have to be worried about being robbed in the middle of the night.

SIMON: Lauren, now an Uber driver, calls the L.A. lot a lifesaver. She's been using it since June.

A college graduate, she worked a number of decent-paying jobs before things bottomed out. She recently enrolled in a computer coding class, determined to make a better life for herself.

KUSH: I am going to be an office worker again. I'm not going to be here doing this. I'm moving out of this situation.


SIMON: Making a night's rest enabled, she says, by a safe parking safe all the more important.

Dan Simon, CNN, Los Angeles.