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House Votes on Impeachment Mangers, Sending Articles to Senate; House Releasing New Documents on Ukraine. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired January 15, 2020 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And the middle part, I did what I could to have a fair trial and justice and Constitution I know is right. Pushing against the tide that's what McConnell is trying to keep flowing and move fast.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: That is such a good argument they can say. You can understand how voters would say, yes, it is my decision.
But Democrats, we heard today, what they were messaging, I think a lot of us have watched and said their messaging hasn't been that great around impeachment. But today sounded very cogent and sounded like strong arguments.
One was you can vote a president out of office if he does something wrong basically or you can impeach them. They basically said, what we heard from the Democrats and the impeachment managers and speaker was what he is trying to do is affect this upcoming election.
So in a way it delegitimizes that as an option and impeachment is the option. What did you think?
SOPHIA NELSON, FORMER HOUSE COP INVESTIGATIVE COUNCIL: I want to push back on one thing. Impeachment is not in the hands of we the people. It's in the House of the House and Senate. The framers were clear. The House had the ability to impeach.
NELSON: No. I agree with what you're saying.
NELSON: And I'm pushing back on what you're saying.
BASH" No, no. I totally agree with you when it comes to what the Constitution says. What I'm saying is we have never had a president impeached on trial in the Senate in an election year, where in 11 months or less than 11 months, people will go to the ballot. That just gives these Senators an out politically.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It's political coverage, no question. That was the reason for impeachment because you weren't supposed to wait for an election. There was a word we heard a lot today, Dana mentioned Speaker Pelosi
mentioned it, a hyphenated word, I think, cover-up. You heard that messaging over and over again.
You heard Jerry Nadler, one of the strongest today. He said quote, "Any trial that doesn't allow witnesses is not a trial, it's a cover- up."
Then, you heard Adam Schiff again say," cover-up." I think we will hear that over and over and that's the political messaging.
BASH: Can I put one other dynamic into this conversation? We're talking so much about the politics of Mitch McConnell and the Senate majority and people up for reelection to help them keep it.
The politics for the president at the heart of this are totally different. His campaign even though is not a pleasant thing to have impeached as part of your legacy, his campaign is like, OK, bring it on because they believe --
BASH: -- they're stirring up -
BASH: -- galvanizing supporters to raise money and even for potential voters who are on the fence who are convinced this is unfair.
KEILAR: One of the other parts of the visuals surrounding the president, this, Alan, could push into and likely will the State of the Union. As you reflect on that, what is that going to look like?
ALAN FRUMIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Very awkward.
FRUMIN: I believe it will be very awkward, especially since, if it pushes into the State of the Union, the president, as the speaker indicated, has been impeached, and that's a feta accompli.
FRUMIN: I don't remember Bill Clinton was in the same posture/
GANGEL: Yes, yes.
FRUMIN: He was an impeached president yet delivered his "State of the Union" address. Awkward, unprecedented, no.
KEILAR: I want to say on the screen. I think it says time remaining, zero, right? Zero minutes and zero seconds.
(CROSSTALK) KEILAR: Ten people left to vote, got it.
BASH: It's 228.
KEILAR: So they have the votes.
KEILAR: But everyone wants to get on the record here, right? Everyone wants to have their chance to vote. This is what happens a lot with House votes. But the time is up. Why isn't it -- this has to, gaveled to a close. Like in the Senate, what the House is supposed to do and what they do. This is more than 10 minutes.
NELSON: Talking about politics, Adam Schiff is one of the managers I think will get interesting. He's been someone they attacked quite a bit.
Isn't he one of the ones they want to call as one of their witnesses?
NELSON: Oh, this could get really ugly, yes.
The president is relentless on Adam Schiff on Twitter and his rallies and they will use him as a whipping boy for lack of a better word. Not that he's afraid of that. I don't remember the Clinton managers attacked like that.
BASH: The president pretended like it wasn't happening back then, totally different world.
NELSON: True. No Twitter either.
KEILAR: What do Republicans who handle them, who want witnesses or are open to it, look like they can move in that direction, how concerned are they about preventing a situation where Democrats get to hear from John Bolton, but Republicans say, you know what, we want to hear from John Bolton, but Republicans say, you know what, we want to hear from hunter Biden or Adam Schiff.
How likely -- Dana, you have a good read on it.
BASH: They're all votes. It depends on how it's proposed. BASH: They're all Republicans. I can't image it's proposed as a package deal by Democrats.
KEILAR: Let's listen in. I think the House - I think this is --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
Pursuant to class A, rule 20, the unfinished business is the question on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal, which the chair will put to a vote. I'm agreeing to speaker's agreement, all for it, aye, and against it, no.
The ayes have it.
In the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. The journal stands approved.
For what purpose does the gentlemen from New York -
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): I recommend they revise and extent their remarks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without objection, so ordered.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The chair lays before the House a communication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The honorable speaker, House of Representatives, Madam, pursuant to the permission granted in clause --
KEILAR: So, this is done, as we expected, right, a bit of a foregone conclusion. We want the final vote on this.
What was the final vote on this, Eric?
Let's listen back in actually and then we will discuss the final vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With best wishes signed sincerely, Cheryl L. Johnson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The chair lays before the House a communication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The honorable, the speaker House of Representatives, Madam, I write to respectfully tender my resignation as a member of the committee on Financial Services. It has been an honor to serve --
KEILAR: This is done, right? The impeachment manager's resolution has passed, as we expected. Now, it's onto the Senate.
Wrap this up for us, Dana. This is a big moment for the House. They still have the walk over, but largely, they are finished with the official business.
BASH: As we started this conversation, this was the last act in this really remarkable extraordinary step that the House -- any House takes, when it comes to a president of the United States, the ultimate attempt at a punishment, impeachment of a president.
He was impeached before Christmas. This was a last step for them to send their managers, or prosecutors to the Senate.
KEILAR: I want to go to Manu, who is at Capitol Hill
Manu, the vote, 228-193.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. There was a Democratic defection. Looks like it was Collin Peterson, Democrat from Minnesota, who voted against those articles of impeachment from the start. That's the only Democratic defection we saw.
The other defection on the Republican side, former Republican now Independent, Justin Amash, someone who supported impeachment.
The other Republicans voted in line. Justin, the Independent, voted with the Democrats in naming those managers.
And 228-193, concluding the House portion of this impeachment inquiry that started in September, that led to the president's impeachment in late December.
And now we set the stage for transferring articles of impeachment to the Senate and that Senate trial, ceremonial aspect, and will continue through the course of the day and see a procession of House managers walking to the Senate, where they have the articles of impeachment, where they will be formally read aloud and tomorrow morning House managers will do that.
Senators get sworn in and chief justice gets sworn in and articles remain in place.
Looming over all of this, how long will this impeachment trial take. We expect about a week or so for House Democrats to make their case, similar amount of time, six hours per day, four days on each side, probably take about a week or so for each side to make their case.
Then, we expect the questions to the managers and White House team and about three days of questions we're expecting from Senators to question people making their case on each side. Will they bring in witnesses and subpoena for documents? Those are questions the Democrats and Republicans have to make on the floor of the Senate.
That will be a dramatic event and votes that put members in a difficult spot whether they should subpoena witnesses extending this trial for even longer. A lot of uncertainty in days and weeks ahead how this will play out, wrapping up the House portion of impeachment inquiry sending articles of impeachment over to the Senate which should occur in a matter of minute -I Brianna?.
KEILAR: Thank you, Manu.
Let's head to Pennsylvania Avenue to Kaitlan Collins at the White House.
You have news there. Tell us. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT; The administration
just held a ground call with reporters, meaning we can use the information and senior administration official, and can't say who it is with the information, detailing what exactly the president impeachment strategy is going to be.
They repeated things you heard from the president. They do believe this is a trial charges should be dismissed outright. But Manu has made clear they do not believe it is something the Republican Senators have an appetite for. And Mitch McConnell said it yesterday. It doesn't appear it its likely.
The White House says they are predicting a trial that does not go longer than two weeks. They don't think it will take longer than that because they think they have an easy case. That's the timeline they presented us with.
Still no clarification whether the president is taking that trip out of the country next week. Supposed to be out of the country on the day McConnell predicted this trial will get started. And at this point, we expect the president is still expected to go.
The other big question, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi naming who her impeachment messages are, we are still waiting to see if they include Republican members on the House team.
He has people like Senator McConnell telling him, it's not a good idea, has a lot of risk with it and won't appeal to more moderate Republican Senators. But the president wants to listen to his own instincts here. He wants his most ardent defenders onto the floor making his case.
Right now, during that call, officials said they have not announced who will be on the team and do expect to do so in the future but did not detail exactly when that is going to be.
I want to point to one other thing they did talk about, John Bolton, former national security advisor, who has been a wild card, who offered to testify if he is asked to testify before the Senate and no decision made about witnesses.
There will be a fight if they do, do that. They think it will be extraordinary to have the former national security advisor to testify about conversations with the president and those conversations are at the center of what this impeachment is all about.
KEILAR: They sure are.
Katlin, thank you for letting us know what you're getting out of the White House. We appreciate that.
More evidence from an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal pro bono lawyer. as part of surveillance of an apparent diplomat the president warned would be, quote, "going through some things."
Plus, what the newly revealed later exposes about the president's role trying to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son.
KEILAR: As Senators await the articles of impeachment to be delivered only hours from now, there's a new twist in the case. House Democrats released record documenting how the president's associates pressured Ukraine's president to investigate his political rivals. But evidence of a surveillance campaign of U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Our CNN senior national correspondent, Alex Marquardt, is here to take us through the new records.
ALEX MARQUART, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A huge new trove of evidence that not only reinforces how deeply Rudy Giuliani was involved in Ukraine, that irregular channel, you remember it was called.
But documents revealing a much darker side to the story, specifically efforts by Giuliani and his team to have U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch removed by President Trump he ended up doing.
Let's look at this first. This is a letter from Rudy Giuliani to the newly elected president of Ukraine asking for a meeting, quote, "In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent."
Remember, Giuliani is not a diplomat and had no role on the administration but already working on digging up dirt on the Bidens. Then his associate, Lev Parnas was texting to someone, Robert Hyde, who appears to be watching and monitoring Yovanovitch.
They are moving her tomorrow, Hyde tests. He writes, "She's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off".
He then goes on to say, next slide, "She is next to the embassy, not in the embassy." That speaks to the level of surveillance he was carrying out if that was indeed true.
He also appears to offer Parnas something nefarious, saying, they, we don't know who they are referring to, willing to help if you would like a price. guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money, what I was told.
His lawyers said Hyde had a dubious mental state. After seeing in that transcript what he said in the July 25th phone call with Zelensky. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you think when President Trump told President Zelensky and you read that you were going to go through some things?
MARIA YOVANOVITCH, FORMER UKRAINE AMBASSADOR: I didn't know what to think, but I was very concerned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you concerned about?
YOVANOVITCH: She's going to go through some things. It didn't sound good. It sounded like a threat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you feel threatened?
YOVANOVITCH: I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Now, in April Yovanovitch was told in the middle of the night to get on the next plane back to D.C., and then she was removed from her role as ambassador. Now we're learning she might have been watched, indeed stalked in Kyiv,
And we should note that the State Department has not yet said anything out one of their most respected diplomats being possibly under threat, not just a political threat during her time as ambassador.
KEILAR: Alex, Thank you for that and making that also clear.
Dana back with me now. And I'm joined by national security attorney, Brad Moss. And also the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, John Hurst.
Thank you, sir, so much for being with us.
And I mean, I saw you watching -- you've seen the report, but you were watching very closely to what I thought was a very good explanation of this back and forth. What did you think as you were hearing that is this?
JOHN HURST, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Well, the first thing is we don't know if it's true. This could just be very ugly boasting by this gentleman.
If it is true, of course, it's appalling. It's outrageous, and it seems to me that there should be some statement from either the department -- State Department overall or a senior official expressing that something like this is completely unacceptable.
Ambassador Yovanovitch did a terrific job in Ukraine under difficult circumstances. She was apparently removed as a result of a smear campaign, which had about this much substance to it, and this suggested maybe something even worse than that was in play, although, again, we don't know.
KEILAR: We don't know because there's potential reason to believe that Robert Hyde is not a reliable person, right? Or is Lev Parnas, right? These are some of the questions. Is this real?
If even there was discussion of some sort of surveillance of an ambassador, what do you make of that, Bradley?
BRADLEY MOSS, CNN ANALYST: That is extremely chilling and disturbing that this was -- these were people in the president's inner circle, Lev Parnas is part of the president's -- was part of the president's legal team assisting Rudy Giuliani during the Mueller probe.
Robert Hyde is constantly in all these different photos and videos with members of the president's inner circle including the president and House leader McCarthy at the world series game here in D.C.
A few months back. These are people in the president's inner circle engaging in what I would politely call thuggery. They were surveilling and tracking a U.S. ambassador.
They were talking about price quotes for things to get rid of her or to deal with her. It is a felony to threaten the life of a U.S. government official.
KEILAR: And let's just put this into context about who this ambassador was. As you said ambassador, this is someone who in your view and the view of many people in your space was doing a good job under difficult circumstances.
This is someone who at the time was very much serving U.S. interests in the Ukraine.
So let's get back to the reason of why she would be someone who President Trump, Rudy Giuliani wouldn't like?
BASH: Well, that's exactly right, and so the fundamental question is as you both said, we don't know if these are real, meaning we don't know if they actually acted on surveilling, acted on the things that they were saying that they were going to do, or if they were just boasting.
But the fact that there are unanswered questions is really key to why and how House Democrats -- we just saw seven of them appointed managers in the president's impeachment trial -- are no doubt going to try to inject this into the trial to try to get the answers to those questions whether through -- maybe not through these characters but more broadly because it goes to the heart of why the president was impeached.
It goes to the heart of the question did he direct anybody to withhold aid, congressional approved military aid to a U.S. ally Ukraine, in exchange for demanding a political investigation of his opponent Joe Biden.
KEILAR: Ambassador, can you speak to why it's so important for the State Department to come out and explain what may or may not have happened here or expressed some support. What does it mean for people in the foreign service to not have that backing, which has big concern of a number of officials coming out of the State Department?
HURST: It's simple. Any commander's supposed to take care of their troops. If you want them to do the job assigned to them, you've got to take
care of them when they do it. And this has been a serious management issue in the department over
the past, what, now, nine months since this campaign guess Ambassador Yovanovitch began no later than last march.
She has been taken down by a smear effort with no real talking back, certainly not publicly by senior people in the department.
Now, it is true, it is true that then secretary -- Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Maria Yovanovitch after she came back and said you did a great job, but that's not the same thing as a ringing public defense of her. If you want the people to do the job our national interests demand, you take care of them.
KEILAR: It's a national security issue you could easily argue, Brad.
MOSS: Absolutely. These unresolved issues as Dana mentioned, what will State Departments say? Was there a threat assessment? Was this part of the reason she was pulled out?
And if this was why she was pulled out, why was the decision to remove her as opposed to refer this to the FBI for possibly felony and criminal investigations?
There are too many unanswered questions to just, you know, sweep this under the rug.
# Bradley, Ambassador, Dana, thank you so much for the discussion.
The House voting moments ago to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. What the White House is saying about that and how the trial is likely to play out next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST; All right, here we go. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me on this historic day.
In just a couple of hours the articles of impeachment against President Trump will be physically walked from the House of Representatives over to the Senate where a trial is expected to begin next Tuesday.
After the House approved mostly along party lines, a resolution to send them over along with the selection of these seven Democrats as impeachment managers.
[13:50:06] Earlier, they joined Speaker Pelosi to defend the delay in transmitting the articles and also took aim straight at Senate Republicans.