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Impeachment Trial Forces Four 2020 Dems Off Campaign Trail; Andrew Yang's Wife Evelyn: My Doctor Sexually Assaulted Me; Senators Sworn In For Trump's Impeachment Trial As President Disputes Newly- Revealed Evidence; Trump Insists He Doesn't Know Giuliani Associate Implicating Him In Ukraine Scandal; Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Discusses What She Thinks About Lev Parnas' Public Testimony About President Trump; Nonpartisan Government Watchdog Concludes Trump Admin. Broke Law By Withholding U.S. Aid To Ukraine; GOP Sen. McSally Calls CNN Reporter "Liberal Hack" For Asking Question About New Evidence In Trump's Trial; Intelligence Officials Ask Congress Not To Hold Public Hearings On Worldwide Threats, Fearing Trump's Anger; Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) Discusses About Intelligence Officials Asking Congress To Not Hold Public Hearing; Impeachment Trial Forces Four 2020 Dems Off Campaign Trail; Andrew Yang's Wife Evelyn: My Doctor Sexually Assaulted Me. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 16, 2020 - 19:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: To all of our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room." Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the historic impeachment trial of President Trump beginning in the Senate as President Trump pushes back against new evidence that has just emerged.

Plus, intelligence officials quietly asking Congress not to hold public hearings on global threats. The reason they don't want to anger Trump.

And Evelyn Yang, the wife of 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang is revealing something tonight she kept secret for years. Something that she didn't even tell her husband about for months. It is a CNN exclusive interview. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, the fate of Trump's presidency now in the hands of the Senate.


MICHAEL STENGER, UNITED STATES SENATE SERGEANT AT ARMS: All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, President of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And with that proclamation by the Sergeant at Arms, the

historic impeachment trial of President Trump is now underway. The Chief Justice John Roberts and 99 senators are swearing in this afternoon.


JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: Will all senators now stand or remain standing and raise their right hand?

Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws so help you God?



BURNETT: And so they swore and then each senator signed an oath book vowing to be impartial. Already though a new twist, the President now in that high stakes back and forth with one of Rudy Giuliani's associates about his actions regarding Ukraine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your response to Lev Parnas who says that your efforts in Ukraine were all about 2020, you just wanted Joe Biden out? What's your response?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't him. I don't know Parnas.


BURNETT: Well, there's going to be an answer to whether that's true or not. Trump says he doesn't know him, Parnas point blank calling Trump a liar.



He's lying. He's lying.


BURNETT: Well, someone is lying and it is the Senate's job to get to the bottom of Parnas' damning claims, which is why Democrats continue to pound the table demanding to hear from witnesses.

Manu Raju begins our coverage tonight on Capitol Hill. Manu, what more are you learning about what happens here? Now the trial has formally begun, what happens now?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a lot of unpredictable twists and turns are going to come in this historic trial that could take a couple of weeks. Potentially, it could go longer. It really depends about how votes come down on the Senate floor and those votes could begin as soon as Tuesday.

That's when the Senate will reconvene. At that point, they will take up an organizing resolution that will set the terms of the trial. That organized resolution has been drafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Democrats have objected to that resolution because it does not guarantee upfront witnesses and documents.

And Democrats tonight are signaling that they could start to force votes on the Senate floor as soon as Tuesday to put the Senate on record. But Republicans are pushing back, including some who have said they're going to be open to witnesses, Susan Collins of Maine Republican for one said that she would not be open to having those witnesses agreed to upfront. She says he wants to consider that later on in the trial after the opening arguments happen, after the senators have their opportunities to ask questions.

So those are going to be the big questions in the days ahead, whether or not there will be four Republicans who would break ranks or more with the 47 Democrats to force senator or anyone to come forward, witnesses. Also, the Democrats will agree to any Republican witnesses. Those negotiations will happen on the side, so Erin right now they're going to decide as they're going to put together their briefs, their arguments that they're going to make next week and then those big votes will take place in just a matter of days, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu. These days, of course, are now upon us. And tonight, another rand now at the center of the Ukraine scandal is speaking out and Alex Marquardt is OUTFRONT with the details.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani turning on his old boss and the man they were working so hard for in Ukraine, President Trump.


PARNAS: I idolized him. I mean, I thought he was the savior.


MARQUARDT (voice over): Lev Parnas says everyone knew what was going on in Ukraine.


PARNAS: President Trump knows exactly what was going on. He was aware of all of my movements.


MARQUARDT (voice over): Including Trump. During a media blitz that helped show prosecutors he's willing to cooperate, Parnas revealing how significant the pressure was in the quid pro quo with Ukraine. Investigate the Bidens or else.


PARNAS: If they didn't make the announcement, basically, there would be no relationship.



MARQUARDT (voice over): Parnas who was born in Ukraine but raised in America says he told officials in Kiev, there would be no military aid or a White House meeting for the new president unless they announce the Biden investigation.


PARNAS: The only thing we cared about, and were the team, was to get Zelensky or Poroshenko or somebody to make on the press release an announcement into the Biden investigation.


MARQUARDT (voice over): Also in the balance, Parnas said was the attendance of Vice President Mike Pence at Zelensky's inauguration. No announcement, no Pence.


PARNAS: ... that Pence wouldn't be at the inauguration and they would be no visit to the White House. There would be basically - they would have no communication.


MARQUARDT (voice over): There was no Biden announcement and Pence canceled his trip.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In terms of who knew about what you were doing in Ukraine, did Vice President Pence know?

PARNAS: Of course.


MARQUARDT (voice over): Pence's office responded that Parnas will say anything to stay out of prison. Parnas has said that when he was just 16 years old, he worked at a New York real estate company selling Trump Organization apartments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PARNAS: ... loved him. I mean, when the FBI came to my house to raid,

my wife felt embarrassed because they said I had a shrine to him. I mean, I had pictures all over.


MARQUARDT (voice over): Trump has denied knowing Parnas despite numerous photos showing the two together.


PARNAS: Every time he says that, I'll show them another picture.

COOPER: He's lying.

PARNAS: He's lying.


MARQUARDT (voice over): The administration is also accusing Parnas of lying in these new interviews.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Nobody on TV like that is under oath. And he obviously is desperate to get attention.


MARQUARDT (voice over): Claiming his credibility is in question since he's been charged with four counts of campaign finance violations.


PARNAS: I thought they're going to shut me up and make me look like the scapegoat and try blame me for stuff that I haven't done.


MARQUARDT (voice over): In the end, Parnas insists that everything he did was under Giuliani's instruction and for the President's political gain.


PARNAS: That was the most important thing is for him to stay on for another four years and keep the fight going. I mean, there was no other reason for doing it.



MARQUARDT: Now, with those major campaign finance charges hanging over Parnas' head, there is very good reason to question his credibility. But pretty much, Erin, everything he is saying when it comes to the President holding up that military aid for Ukraine and that White House meeting in exchange for investigations, that lines up with what multiple other witnesses have already testified to under oath in front of Congress, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Alex, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT tonight, Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan who is Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. And I appreciate your time, Senator.


BURNETT: Of course, Lev Parnas is being charged with violating the law, could go to jail for that. But presumably things he says on other topics, if untrue could be used against him when it comes to things like sentencing. Do you trust the new information that we're hearing from Lev Parnas that everything was about getting the announcement of this investigation into Joe Biden and that he was doing this at the behest of Rudy Giuliani and the President of the United States.

STABENOW: Well, Erin, it's good to be with you. And I think first of all, the most important thing is that this is not the first time we've heard this. The House had witnesses come forward. People have testified. A case has been made.

And in fact, what he's saying in plain language that - I don't know him, certainly, but he's certainly someone that we should listen to in terms of verifying the other people that have come forward. I also want to mention that the President surrounded by people that have been indicted or imprisoned.

And in fact today, the General Accounting Office also said he broke the law when he did what he has done, which is withhold ...

BURNETT: Withhold the aid, yes.

STABENOW: ... withhold the aid without congressional approval. So the President of the United States according to an unbiased governmental accounting source has now said that he broke the law as well.

BURNETT: And we're getting much more on that in a moment. I do want to ask you though, Senator, the President said again today that he does not know Lev Parnas, he doesn't know anything about the letter that Parnas delivered to President Zelensky from Giuliani. The letter where Giuliani said he had a very specific task and he wanted to meet just a couple of days. He only needed 30 minutes of time and he was doing all of that with the 'knowledge and consent' of the President of the United States.

That is what the allegation is. That's what the letter from Giuliani says. Here's what President Trump said about Parnas today.


TRUMP: I don't know Parnas. I don't know anything about the letter.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Do you think this trial will prove that President Trump is a


STABENOW: Well, first let me say that this whole process is a very sobering one. I take it very seriously, but what you just showed really is laughable in the sense that we have seen over and over again, proof that what the President has said is not accurate.


And so in my mind, I mean, it's our responsibility to listen to all of the evidence, hear witnesses, by the way, witnesses and documents, that is the big question right now. And if the President wants to put forward his own case, this is his opportunity to do that.

So it's going to be at this point, I think, important and all of us are going to have to decide when we're voting on witnesses versus documents, do we want to hear the truth or do we want to hide the truth. And I think that's the big question.

BURNETT: And it is a huge question and you and your colleagues took a very important oath today.


BURNETT: And the oath was to 'do impartial justice' sworn in by the Chief Justice of this nation.


BURNETT: But like to be honest let me just show you here, Senator, what some of your colleagues on both sides of the aisle, senators, have said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wasn't in any doubt (inaudible) ...

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This impeachment proceeding is definitely about Donald Trump who pretty clearly has broken the law.


BURNETT: Is everyone really impartial?

STABENOW: Well, here's what I know and I know that colleagues in my side of the aisle were all talking afterwards today after we raised our hand and then had to sign a book regarding our pledging to be impartial in signing the oath. It's a very somber time and I think that we take it very seriously.

I know that my Democratic colleagues take this very seriously, but I also know that the General Accounting Office said today, clearly, unequivocally, the President broke the law, so that's also clear.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Senator Stabenow.


BURNETT: Thank you. Good to talk to you.

STABENOW: You too.

BURNETT: And next, the government watchdog group, you just heard Senator Stabenow referenced this, says Trump broke the law when he withheld military aid, which would shatter what has been his defense.


TRUMP: There's no crime.

There's no crime.

There is no crime whatsoever.


BURNETT: Plus, U.S. Intelligence officials asking Congress not to hold public hearings on worldwide threats. This is an annual thing. It's always done. Why don't they want to do it?

Plus, three of the top 2020 candidates off the trail so they have to be in Washington for Trump's impeachment trial. How big of a disadvantage is this with just days to go before the Iowa caucuses?



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump broke the law. That's the conclusion of the Government Accountability Office. The GAO is a federal investigative agency and it concluded that the Trump administration broke the law when it withheld U.S. aid to Ukraine.

So this is a significant conclusion and the big question is how will it affect Trump's impeachment trial. OUTFRONT now, former Press Secretary for President Clinton Joe Lockhart and Carrie Cordero who was Counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Carrie, when you're in a situation where you're in a trial which is about whether somebody broke the law, this is a trial, of course, with even a different standard which is a high crime and misdemeanor. But this is that the GAO is concluding an actual law was broken and that this order to withhold the aid, obviously, according to those unredacted emails reviewed by the website Just Security did come from the President of the United States. That's what the white Budget official says, an email came directly from President Trump. How significant is this conclusion from the GAO on the eve of the trial? CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER COUNSEL TO THE U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL

FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: Erin, I think it's a significant decision by the GAO and it's significant not only because of their conclusion, which was that the withholding of the security assistance to Ukraine violated a particular act. The reason it's so significant is also because of what GAO is and because it's such a credible institution.

So GAO is a government agency that works for Congress on a nonpartisan basis to give it advice. And so I think the credibility that they lend to this decision, in addition to the conclusion that this withholding of assistance violated the law is very significant on the eve of the trial, which will start next week.

BURNETT: And Joe, it comes as Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani who was helping him in Ukraine to dig for dirt in the Bidens. He's now speaking out saying he did all of it at the behest of Rudy Giuliani and the President and it was all about getting this investigation announced into Joe Biden and there was no other reason for it other than for the President to win reelection. It's pretty black and white.

And he says Trump knew exactly, exactly everything that was going on and that Trump is a liar when he says he doesn't know Parnas and what was happening. Trump again today, though, said he did not know Parnas. That he knew nothing about him and I played that a moment ago.

So I want to play this because Trump does have a pattern of lying when it comes to who and what he knows. So when he knows somebody or about something that he doesn't want to that it looks bad, he just says he doesn't. Unfortunately, it's often not true. Here he is.


TRUMP: I don't know anything about David Duke, OK?

David Duke just joined. A bigot, a racist, a problem.

I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It's not my thing.

This just came out. Wikileaks, I love WikiLeaks.

Look, I didn't know Manafort well.

Where's Paul? Paul Manafort. Oh, good, you made it. Paul Manafort has done a fantastic ...


BURNETT: Joe, I can give you four more of those. I can give you eight more. I could give you a lot more, Stormy Daniels, Gordon Sondland, it's a clear pattern.

JOE LOCKHART, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes. Listen, and it's a mistake that politicians make all of the time. All he'd have to do is say, yes, I know the guy. I've met him a few times. He's a friend of someone. He's Rudy's friend. But by saying he doesn't know them, every time a new picture gets

released, every time there's something, another tidbit, it takes on this outsized importance. So it's bad to have a president who's a liar, but this is just dumb politically.

And I think you pair that up, as Carrie was saying, with what GAO did today, which is Lev Parnas maybe not the best witness here.


He's under indictment. But GAO is pristine white glove, everybody in town knows who they are in their nonpartisan nature. And they've taken away the fundamental foundation of what was left for the Republican defense, which was, hey, no crime was committed. They clearly say a law was broken.

The only thing the White House has left now is to say that you don't have any first hand corroboration and that makes the case for witnesses. So it's a mystery to me what their defense will be.

BURNETT: And yet, when you ask them about witnesses or new information to get to the bottom of this, Carrie, some of them are dismissive. And today there was this incredible and frankly shocking moment that was beneath the dignity of how a senator should behave. And that is what Republican Senator Martha McSally said to our Manu Raju when he asked her a question. He said, "Should new evidence be included in the impeachment trial?" And I want to play this exchange.


RAJU: Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?

SEN. MARTHA MCSALLY (R-AZ): Man, you're a liberal hack. I'm not talking to you.

RAJU: You're not going to comment, Senator, about this?

MCSALLY: You're a liberal hack, buddy.


BURNETT: It's somewhat shocking thing to see, Carrie. It was beneath the dignity of the office of a U.S. Senator to speak like that. What is your reaction to that exchange?

CORDERO: Well, first of all, it was a completely fair question by our reporter, but it just shows that there are some members of Congress and really to see a senator act that way on the day when they are taking such an important oath. Members of Congress who are allies of the President just sometimes seem to forget or they are just sort of abdicating their independent role as a separate branch of government.

And what they've seen is that the President beats up on the press and so then they think that that's what they have to do too in order to gain his support or in order to get that extra tweet or to get access to fundraising or whatever it is that he's providing to them. But it's harmful to Democracy because what they are doing is they're attacking a fundamental part of American freedom and American life. And so I just think it's really unfortunate when members of Congress start acting like the President.

BURNETT: And Joe, it just demeaned the office, I think as Carrie points out, on the day you're taking the solemn oath to speak like that.

LOCKHART: Yes. Listen, I think, you have these moments in all politicians' lives where you reveal your character and Senator McSally revealed her true character. I think it also is a reflection of the political game that's going on within the Republicans and Carrie alluded to it.

Republicans really have to decide right now particularly on the question of witnesses, whether they're going to stand with the President or stand on the side of getting more information at a fair trial. Martha McSally showed today where she's going. We're going to have to watch the rest of them and see where they go.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.

And next, U.S. Intelligence officials may have found a way to prevent upsetting the President, what is it?

And Andrew Yang's wife, Evelyn, in an emotional and exclusive interview. She opens up for the first time about something she had been silent about for years, being sexually assaulted, allegedly by her doctor.


EVELYN YANG, WIFE OF ANDREW YANG: I remember trying to fix my eyes on a spot on the wall and just trying to avoid seeing his face as he was assaulting me.




BURNETT: Tonight, scared of angering the President. U.S. Intelligence officials asking Congress not to hold its annual public hearings on worldwide threats. Now, this request is coming at a time where the U.S., of course, faces a lot of conflicts, almost getting into a war with Iran after killing its top commander.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has gone ahead anyway, sent a letter, inviting the Acting DNI, Director of National Intelligence to testify.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT. So Kaitlan, tell us the reporting that you have. Why are Intelligence officials reluctant to hold the hearing? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what sources are

telling my colleague, Zach Cohen, is that a lot of it has to do with the President's anger after they testified publicly last year. You'll remember back then right about a year ago today, the President was so mad as he was watching those highlights that sources told us he was literally screaming while watching people like Dan Coats, the former Director of National Intelligence, talk about things like Iran, North Korea and the like, because they were contradicting a lot of what you hear from the President publicly.

So now these Intelligence officials have made this request saying they don't want them to testify about this publicly. And as you've noted, you can imagine why given what you were just talking about, the Soleimani strike. All of these issues where you've seen these officials contradicting themselves in recent weeks.

So while it's not the expectation that this request is going to be granted, it hasn't been any kind of a formal request and we do still believe this report, this report that tells us the biggest threats, essentially, worldwide is still going to be public. You've seen these officials make clear, it is not something they're going to talk about publicly because essentially they are worried about angering President Trump.

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

OUTFRONT now, Asha Rangappa, former FBI Special Agent who knows a lot about these briefings, obviously FBI is involved in them. And Republican Congressman Mike Turner, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which would be holding one of those hearings on the worldwide threat assessment.

Congressman, as we were talking about, as you came out, obviously your committee has these hearings. You get classified briefings behind closed doors, but this is the one that the world sees, the American public see comes along with a document. And you hear the reporting, that top Intelligence officials don't want to do this.

After last year when they did, President Trump go back to school, what's wrong with you, guys. It turned into a big fiasco. Are you OK with them not giving a public assessment?

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Well, there's a document that is the public assessment that is available for the public. And I know I hate responding to things that are like one source or unnamed sources about what people are saying that the President might think or feel. But I can tell you having served through three administrations, there's a number of reasons why the public portion is different than the classified portion that we receive and sometimes many times administrations are reticent to do the public portions.


I've actually sat through one, where an Obama official in the public portion of a Russia threat assessment contradicted themselves, then in the classified version, because the threats you're listening to, and that's really the environment they're in.

It's not really the president of the United States as the audience. The world is the audience. Allies are listening. The threats are listening. And they also take from what this presentation is what they should do next and what U.S. policy is going to be.

BURNETT: So, Asha, the thing is, though, and I understand the point, right, they've got different audiences. And yet last year -- you know, and this is our reporting.

I know, Congressman, you always say what you just said there, but this is reporting from multiple sources. It's vetted. It's how news organizations operate. They're saying they don't want to do it because of what Trump will say. They don't want to be belittled and demeaned and humiliated after they say what they're going to say.

Is that a problem, Asha?

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: That is a problem. It tells you off the bat what they would say would not align with what the president has been saying or what the president is thinking. This is exactly why it makes him angry.

And I think what you see here is basically an undermining of two fundamental pillars of democracy which is transparency and accountability. Transparency into what do these intelligence heads think are threats directly from their mouths and accountability in terms of is the president responding to them effectively and for this president in particular, is he telling the truth about them.

BURNETT: So, on this point, OK, you got a closed door briefing on Iran.


BURNETT: You were told what you were told, and you were red sent about it because it's classified. President is allowed to declassify --

TURNER: Absolutely.

BURNETT: -- which he does sometimes with no rhyme or reason. He appeared to declassify or make up, I don't know, all I know is he said there were four embassies being targeted by Iran and his own national security adviser and secretary of defense are unable to back that up.

This is -- this is what we're talking about. What are they going to say in public? Let me just play the president and play Secretaries Esper and Mr. O'Brien.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies. MARK ESPER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I didn't see one with regard to four


ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Look, it's always difficult with the exquisite intelligence we have to know exactly what the targets are.


BURNETT: Do you want to hear them publicly explain why he said one thing and they have been unable publicly to even say he's right?

TURNER: Well, there's a couple of reasons and I think it's not an inconsistency. One, you have the president is able to say things they're not even if I had --

BURNETT: Once he says it, it's then unclassified.

TURNER: That is not correct. Once he says it, it is not. And the information I have cannot then be revealed.

But the second thing is there's a number of sources of information. There's even foreign intelligence sources that we receive. There's classified briefings that president has that the secretary of defense doesn't have, that depending upon what the need is, what the action is.

So, the information the president is receiving is much broader than the rest of us are going to be seeing. They didn't contradict him. They said we don't have that information. I didn't see that information, which again is -- does not say that they're contradicting him.

I want to say one thing with what Asha said.

BURNETT: Let me give Asha a chance to get in on that. So, when Trump says I can reveal I believe it would have been four embassies, and his own secretary of defense who was responsible for ordering troops to launch a drone attack, I didn't see one with regard to four embassies, you don't see that as a contradiction?

RANGAPPA: I see it as a contradiction and I think if the secretary of defense is not seeing the same information that the president of the United States is, that is a problem in and of itself. I also think that from people who have been in these, you know, highly sensitive meeting that that would be almost impossible that the secretary of defense sees the presidential daily briefing. They are the ones advising him on the options that are available in this particular case with the military strike.

So, I feel like it would -- I mean, I would hope that as a congressman you would be incredibly disturbed.

TURNER: Well, you know, as you know, you haven't had a classified briefing in 15 years. And even the time period you did, you did not have access to the type of information that goes into the policy decision making or even the world threats brief that we have to hear in the intelligence --

BURNETT: But are you saying you want an answer to this question, you're fine with it being behind closed doors or you're just fine with that?

TURNER: No, I think there is certainly a utility to having the public hearing. But what I was going to say to Asha's prior statement is that the public hearing, the public presentation of this information is not about the president of the United States. This is not about challenging the president of the United States and what he said.

This is about people who choose and want to do us harm. And so, all of our questions with president are to national security and this public threats briefing, the world threats briefing, the classified portion should be how do we make America safe.

BURNETT: OK, that's true.

But, Asha, shouldn't it also be aren't our elected leaders responsible for telling us the truth about what the threats we face before we decided we're going to war over them?.

RANGAPPA: The bottom line is, if they're afraid to tell the truth, then we have a fundamental issue on these pillars of democracy that I mentioned before. They themselves are afraid to come forward because of what they think the president will retaliate against them or any other blow back. That is -- that is a big problem.


BURENTT: We're going to see what happens with Chairman Schiff and his --

TURNER: And the world report -- the world threats report is public itself, so the transparency is you have the opportunity to read it and you can make your own conclusion about what the administration is saying and what the report says.

BURNETT: But no questions from elected representatives. But I see your point, yes, we will -- we will get the paper --

TURNER: We get the question.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And next, Trump touting his accomplishments as his impeachment trial is about to again in the Senate. Are Democrats paying close attention?

And the wife of Andrew Yang in an exclusive revealing she was sexually assaulted allegedly by her doctor.


EVELYN YANG, WIFE OF ANDREW YANG: What happened to me should have never happened. He was arrested in his office. And he was let back to work. (END VIDEO CLIP)


BURNETT: Tonight, I'd rather be in Iowa. Those were the words of Bernie Sanders today as he formally became a juror in President Trump's impeachment trial which will take Sanders off the trail in Iowa with just really a couple of weeks, I mean, the final days before that vote.

And, of course, Sanders is not alone. Senators Warren and Klobuchar also will be in Washington as their rivals are able to just go everywhere they need to go in Iowa.


OTUFRONT now, David Axelrod, our senior political commentator.

David, 18 days to the Iowa caucuses. And after this weekend, that's it for Senator Warren, Senator Sanders, and Senator Klobuchar.

Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg today held five events in Iowa. Multiply that times 18 days. Joe Biden holding events going to continue on the campaign trail as well.

I mean, who's going to be hurt the most by missing this time?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, it's a nightmare for all those senators who have juror duty now and can't be in Iowa. You plan your campaign for a year and then you get down to the final stretch when you have to be there and you can't be there.

You know, when I worked for Barack Obama, he was barnstorming the state for weeks before the caucuses, sometimes doing as many as 10 events a day. And they are sitting there mute in the United States Senate because their duty requires it.

I think Amy Klobuchar is the one who suffers the most from that because she needs to move up in Iowa. Her whole campaign is leveraged on the idea that she can win in the Midwest and she'll do well in Iowa. But that requires her presence. So, she's going to suffer for this.

But it's not good for Sanders or Warren. They're better known so they may not -- and they have better resources so they may not experience as much of a hit, but it's not good.

BURNETT: And all of them meanwhile have to deal with this. I mean, just listen to what Trump said today talking about you guys are doing impeachment trial, here's what I'm thinking about.


TRUMP: Yesterday, as you know, China passed and that's something that is extraordinary.

Today, we just had passed the USMCA. It's going to take the place of NAFTA which was a terrible deal.


BURNETT: David, stock market record high, unemployment, 50-year low. How --


BURNETT: -- how does this do for any Democrat, an economy that people can say whatever about where it's going, but right now it's doing well?

AXELROD: Yes, no, look, the economy is a huge plus for him right now. No matter what people may feel in their individual -- the general sense is that the economy is doing very well. And that rebounds to his benefit.

What's a mystery is why he's not doing better in the polls given how good the economy is. Strategically, strategically, he should be touting these things instead of engaging in talk about impeachment.

BURNETT: Which of course he also did today in all caps on Twitter.

Thank you very much.

And next, a remarkable story of strength. The wife of Andrew Yang opening up for the first time about a sexual assault that she says happened to her while she was pregnant. She is speaking out to help others and hear next how she finally found the courage to tell her husband.


YANG: I told him. And he cried.




BURNETT: Tonight, breaking her silence. Evelyn Yang, the wife of 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, is revealing a secret she kept for years, something she didn't even tell her husband for a long time.

Yang is now speaking out about being a survivor of sexual assault. She's sharing her story exclusively with our Dana Bash. I do want to warn you, that her story is graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Evelyn Yang has a story so secret she never even shared it with most of her own family. But spending time with her husband, presidential candidate Andrew Yang, on the campaign trail and hearing so much gratitude from voters for talking about son Christopher's autism made her feel newly empowered.

EVELYN YANG, WIFE OF ANDREW YANG: Meeting people and seeing the difference that we've been making already has moved me to share my own story about it, about sexual assault.

BASH: It was 2012; she was pregnant with her first baby and found an OBGYN who had a good reputation. Dr. Robert Hadden. Initially she says her visits were routine. But after a few months, things changed.

YANG: It started with inappropriate questions around how intimate I was with my husband, sexual activity. Just very inappropriate probing questions that were unrelated to my health.

The examinations became longer, more frequent, and I learned that they were unnecessary most of the time. Most women don't know what you're supposed to get when you're pregnant. I didn't know that you're not supposed to get an exam every time you went to see the doctor.

I feel like I put up with some inappropriate behavior that I didn't know at the time was straight up sexual abuse, slash sexual assault until much later. And I regret having put up with that because it ended up in a sexual assault that was indisputable -- quite blatant.

BASH: Yang says the worst assault happened when she was seven months pregnant.

YANG: I was in the exam room, and I was dressed and ready to go. And then at the last minute he kind of made up like an excuse. He said something about, I think you're -- you might need a C-section. And he proceeded to grab me over to him and undress me and exam me internally, ungloved. And at first I was a little bit like, what's going on here.

BASH: And there was no one else in the room?

YANG: No. No. In fact, when I think back to most of our exams, I don't think there was somebody in the room. Yes.

BASH: You thought to yourself this isn't just inappropriate banter, this is much different.

YANG: Oh he -- I mean at that moment I knew that was -- I knew it was wrong. I mean I knew -- I said -- I knew I was being assaulted.

BASH: She said she thought she was the kind of person who would run away. But she couldn't.

YANG: I imagined myself as someone being, you know, like I would throw a chair at him and run out yelling bloody murder. It's not what happened. I was confused, and then I realized what was happening and then I just kind of froze like a deer in headlights, just frozen.

I knew it was happening. I remember trying to fix my eyes on a spot on the wall and just trying to avoid seeing his face as he was -- as he was assaulting me. I was waiting for it to be over.

BASH: She left that day and never went back.

Did you tell your husband Andrew?

YANG: No. I didn't tell anyone. I didn't tell anyone what happened. I -- I didn't tell Andrew or my family because I didn't want to upset them. I thought this happened to me, I can -- I can process this.


I can deal with it. I can compartmentalize it. And --

BASH: And did you?

YANG: I tried, but I just didn't want to affect others, and I certainly didn't want Andrew blaming himself for not being able to go with me to these doctor's visits. Because honestly if he was with me in the room -- if anyone was with me in the room -- this obviously wouldn't have happened.

And at the time he was traveling a lot for his nonprofit, and most of the scheduling just didn't work out.

BURNETT: Many months later after her baby was born a letter came in the mail, Robert Hadden had left his practice.

YANG: I Googled him, and there it was -- there was a headline that said that he had assaulted another woman, and she reported it to the police. And at that moment everything just stood still. It was this sense of relief of finally realizing that I wasn't alone in it. He still picked me, but that it wasn't because of -- right, it wasn't something that I did, it was -- you know, this was a serial predator, and he just picked me as his prey.

BURNETT: It was at that point she told husband Andrew.

YANG: I just needed to tell someone, you know? I needed to share it at that moment because it felt so big to me, and I needed that support. And I told him -- and he cried. I mean, he wasn't bawling, but he -- but he -- there were tears. And he said it's because he remembered when I told -- when I came home one day ranting about pervy (ph) doctors.

I said something like, why do they let men be gynecologists, it makes no sense -- and he remembered that I had made this comment. And he felt so bad -- he felt guilty that he didn't make the connection or ask me more.

BURNETT: She found a lawyer who discovered the Manhattan district attorney had an open case against the doctor. Several other women had come forward with similar stories of being assaulted by him.

YANG: And that was just life changing, it felt so good to not be alone in this.

BURNETT: She worked with an assistant district attorney who was collecting information from 18 women, including Yang, with allegations against Hadden. Yang testified before a grand jury which indicted Hadden on multiple felony sex charges.

YANG: Every time I talked to the ADA the case was going great, and she was always telling me how strong this case was, how we were going to put him in jail, how he wasn't going to be able to do this to anyone ever again.

And all of a sudden there was this drop-off, I didn't hear from her for months.

BURNETT: Finally in February 2016, she was told the D.A. agreed to a plea deal with the doctor -- he would lose his medical license, register as the lowest level sex offender but not go to jail.

YANG: He was getting off with a slap on the wrist, basically.

BURNETT: Not just that, although he was charged on nine counts involving six accusers, he only pleaded guilty to two charges involving two women -- Evelyn Yang was not one of them.

YANG: They said that the punishment was the same regardless of how many counts he plead guilty to, that the punishment would have been the same, so it didn't matter. And I thought, well, it matters to me -- for obvious reasons. And it wasn't until after MeToo, and the Weinstein case came out that the victims in this case realized that we were betrayed twice.

First --

BASH: That's how you feel? You feel that you were betrayed twice?

YANG: Oh, absolutely, it's like getting, you know, slapped in the face and punched in the gut. The DA's office is meant to protect us, is meant to serve justice, and there was no justice here.


BASH: The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, is the same one that was lenient with Jeffrey Epstein over his registering as a sex offender, and also initially failed to prosecute Harvey Weinstein.

When asked for a response, the D.A.'s office told CNN that obtaining a felony conviction was the goal in this case and while we stand by our legal analysis and resulting disposition of this difficult case, we regret that this resolution has caused survivors pain.

Though Hadden was not a big name like Weinstein or Epstein, Yang says he did have a powerful protector, Columbia University, which runs the medical facility where he practiced.

YANG: The fact that it's a, you know, name brand university behind this doctor and using their influence to protect themselves at the expense of the victims in the case.

BASH: Some six weeks before Yang says she was assaulted, police went to Hadden's office and arrested him. Another patient told police he sexually assaulted her and licked her vagina during an exam. The arrest was voided, and he went back to seeing female patients.

YANG: What happened to me should have never happened. He was arrested in his office, and he was let back to work.

BASH: Without anybody in the room.

YANG: Without a -- without a chaperone. I mean at the very least the bare minimum would be to make sure that there's an aide all the time. I -- and that's what's very painful is knowing that actually what happened to me could have been prevented.

BASH: Yang's attorney says there are at least 32 women who now accuse Hadden of sexual assault. Most of them, including Yang, are part of civil suits against Columbia University, its affiliates and Hadden.

Among the allegations, accusing Hadden of aggressively penetrating and groping their bodies and genitalia, forcing them to strip naked, groping their breast, digitally penetrating them, and licking their vaginas.

The suit also claims Columbia knew about allegations against Hadden, received numerous complaints of serious misconduct and kept the complaints secret to avoid negative publicity.

The law suit is still ongoing. Hadden denies all the allegations against him except the ones he pleaded guilty to.

CNN sent detailed questions to Columbia, including why Dr. Hadden was allowed to return to work after his initial arrest, but the University only responded that the allegations against Hadden were abhorrent and they deeply apologized to those who's trust was violated.

Yang fought in court for more than two years to keep her identity anonymous, which makes going public now even more remarkable.

Why do you want to do this now? What do you want to accomplish now?

YANG: My personal life and this growing public life, they're - they're (ph) not separate. In this case, my experience with the sexual assault and then what happened, all that happened afterwards is such a powerful and upsetting example of the truth that women are living with everyday.

And I just happen to be able to have a platform to talk about it. I need to use that voice. I feel like it's something that's an obligation but also a privilege and a gift that I get to share my story now and also help other women.

The process of getting to this point is very hard. You know I -- like I haven't slept in days. This is very hard to come out with, but I -- I hope it's -- and I -- I have to believe that it's worth it.


BURNETT: Dana, it's such a powerful story. And the fact that she -- she feels this privilege to use her voice is so -- so powerful.

The moment when she finally told her husband, Andrew Yang, what had happened was especially moving.

BASH: It was. They -- ironically today is their wedding anniversary, and he tweeted that out this morning. He gave us a statement about what his wife just did and said I'm extraordinarily proud of Evelyn for telling her story and that his heart breaks every time he has to think about what she went through.

BURNETT: Well, what -- what's also, you know, so incredible is that she's one of 32 women now, from -- from what you're reporting, who have accused this doctor, and yet you're saying, you know, only -- he's only admitted in two cases. No jail time. I mean can he be prosecuted for any of this now?

BASH: Well, as part of Hadden's plea deal, the D.A. agreed not to prosecute him for any known offensive. At the time of the plea that was 18 women. Now that number, as you said, is 32 women who have accused Hadden of sexual abuse.

Their attorney says they want justice. They want to see him behind bars. But whether he's going to be actually tried for additional allegations is really unclear, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Well, it's incredible that she had the -- the ability, the power, and -- and so movingly the privilege as she said to speak. Thank you, Dana.

And thanks to all of you for joining us.

Anderson starts now.