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Trump Lases Out as Impeachment Begins; Pompeo Silent Amid Reports of Surveillance of U.S. Ambassador; MLB Sign-Stealing Scandal Grows; Information Since Impeachment Passed in the House. Aired 6:30- 7a ET
Aired January 17, 2020 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's legal team will run their defense. What do we know about how his lawyers are preparing. We'll also talk about the president's mindset with Maggie, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think it should go very quickly. It's a hoax. It's a hoax. Everybody knows that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That was President Trump lashing out as the Senate impeachment trial begins. The president's tweets and public statements suggest his impeachment is weighing on him.
Maggie Haberman is back with us.
So what do we know about what's going on behind the scenes at the White House?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I -- you know, it's the wonderful thing about the Twitter feed, you know, sometimes it's an act and sometimes it's actually exactly what it looks like. And in the last 48 hours, and even before that, we have seen the president is obviously very frustrated. He would like this to be over but also wants to have witnesses. He wants there to be a motion to dismiss and he's frustrated that there isn't one. He doesn't understand why there isn't one. He's concerned about how his defense team will do during what is going to be this televised spectacle because he understands how much that matters to people who will be paying attention.
And I do assume a lot of people are going to be watching these proceedings because this is historic. Even people, I think, who are kind of numbed by what's been going on in Washington.
He doesn't do -- look, none of us do well when we don't know what's coming next. And this is the ultimate case of we don't know what's coming next because the rules are arcane and unusual and procedural and most people don't know them. We were just discussing how many people even in D.C. don't know them.
And so I think when you have something for Trump that he can't control, this is the ultimate. And it's about his legacy. He's extremely big on his legacy not being tarnished.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I've been saying Republicans were telling me, one of the things that they feared most was what they don't know, what's around the next corner, what evidence might come out.
HABERMAN: That's right.
BERMAN: The other thing they fear is the president and how he will react to all of this.
HABERMAN: Yes, Yes. Yes.
BERMAN: They know --
HABERMAN: With reason.
BERMAN: Right. They know he's watching and they don't know how he'll react if he doesn't like how their defense is. They don't know how he will react if they don't like that they're not standing up for him enough.
What we saw from Martha McSally yesterday, and everyone has weighed in on that. I mean it was -- it was wrong and shameful what she said. But that's a perfect example of how senators on Capitol Hill, I think, are dealing with the president watching over them. They're afraid.
HABERMAN: Well, they're afraid -- I mean McSally I think is an unusual case. Number one, I think what she did to Manu was despicable. He's one of the best reporters that I've ever worked with. I worked with him at "Politico." I obviously work with him here. He is one of the fairest people that I have ever met. And so turning him into a fundraising gimmick, I understand that she thinks it's clever, but it's actually just pretty degrading to a separate institution in our democracy.
We saw this in the House where there were Republicans who thought there was a benefit to just going all in on Trump. You saw Elise Stefanik do it. She ended up having this huge fundraising day. McSally is in a tough race. She is being outraised in terms of money. She has clearly decided that it is better to lash her fortunes to the president. And so I think she's a unique case.
But I do think that there are a lot of senators who are wary of the tweet. I think that Susan Collins is the opposite. And I think it's really interesting that she, after hearing from Parnas, I mean if you talk about what Nancy Pelosi did accomplish by delaying these articles, it has created a space for more to information at least to emerge publicly, whether it emerges at the trial is a different thing. But for Collins, she's a -- and you know, is in a really tough race.
She's got a tough seat and see that Mitch McConnell is really concerned about preserving. And he is going to listen to her in ways that he might not listen to other senators.
So we know that McConnell doesn't want witnesses. We know that McConnell wants to go -- this to go quickly. We know McConnell was frustrated the president was tweeting over the weekend about a motion to dismiss. He made that clear to his caucus.
We don't know much else about what the next couple of weeks really are going to bring, other than that it's -- the outcome seems preordained, but, maybe not.
CAMEROTA: The president also seems frustrated, and I guess understandably, that the things -- the other legislative things that are being accomplished --
CAMEROTA: The China deal --
CAMEROTA: USMCA are not getting as much attention because of impeachment.
HABERMAN: I think he's frustrated on his own. But, honestly, I think he's also thinking of them as counterprogramming to this week. And I think he is annoyed that that hasn't worked.
And that event that he did for the China deal the other day, it was like all but reading from the phone book because he was reading down this list of names as the vote was taking place in Congress and he was well aware that that vote was coming.
I think you're going to see a lot more of that kind of thing.
BERMAN: He delays, though. In the -- the fact -- you know, they can't make the claim that he's not obsessing about this --
BERMAN: Because he actually will make --
HABERMAN: Well, they will make it, but he's --
BERMAN: They will. You're right.
HABERMAN: He's going to -- right.
BERMAN: I should rephrase that. They will make the claim it will be a lie (ph).
HABERMAN: Right. It won't be believable, but it will be said.
BERMAN: Because he's delaying events.
HABERMAN: Right. Yes.
BERMAN: You know, to time them with the impeachment --
BERMAN: Which he's actually clearly watching.
HABERMAN: Right. And then -- and he tells aides to go out and say I'm not watching this and then he undermines the aides. It's just -- there's a reason that you have seen people time after time not want to go out on a limb for him because he saws the branch off and this is going to be another example.
Of course he's watching. Like, who wouldn't be watching? Bill Clinton was pretty consumed by his impeachment too. So it's not really a surprise. It's just far more accessible by all manners of television.
CAMEROTA: What do we know about his legal team? What's going to look like? What are they going to say? What's their role going to be?
HABERMAN: We're going to know in the next couple days a lot more answers to that question. We're going to know who's going to be on the team. So far what we know for sure is it's going to be some combination of Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone, the White House council. Jay Sekulow is very familiar with being on TV. Pat Cipollone, not so much. And he is a big question mark, not just for people watching, but also, I think, for the president on how he'll do.
And, for the first time, they're really going to lay out a defense. And we don't quite know what that's going to look like yet, so we'll see.
BERMAN: Such a big unknown.
BERMAN: One of the major things.
As this trial begins, people think, oh, we've heard this before. No.
HABERMAN: No, this is -- we are going into new territory. They didn't put on a traditional defense during the House hearings. This will be a first.
CAMEROTA: Maggie, thank you, for all of that.
HABERMAN: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: All right, it has been days since new evidence emerged that the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was being surveilled by a private citizen before being removed from her job. So far we've still not heard from the secretary of state about this.
[06:40:00] He's in charge of U.S. diplomats overseas. How come not one single node of concern for the former ambassador to Ukraine? We have new details about that, next.
CAMEROTA: And, later, the wife of Andrew Yang, in an emotional interview. She opens up for the first time about being sexually assaulted allegedly by her doctor.
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EVELYN YANG, ANDREW YANG'S WIFE: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: You're going to hear more of Evelyn Yang's exclusive interview with Dana Bash.
CAMEROTA: The secretary of state is still silent three days after new evidence suggests that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was being followed and/or spied on and/or threatened by a President Trump supporter before she was fired. A trove of documents reveal it may have been ordered by associates of Rudy Giuliani.
The government of Ukraine is launching a criminal investigation into this matter.
CNN's Sam Kiley is live in Kiev, Ukraine, with more.
What have you learned, Sam?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, it's a really rather extraordinary statement made by the ministry of internal affairs. I'll read a part of it to you in which they said that they are conducting investigations because of allegations that would indicate illegal surveillance of her, that is the U.S. ambassador's, electronic gadgets were interfered by the private persons at the request of U.S. citizens.
This is an extraordinary situation in which the government of Ukrainian is investigating whether or not Americans spied on one another or Ukrainians were asked to spy on Americans at the request of Americans.
A bizarre situation. One really that's also displaying a degree of anger now over this whole controversy here in the Ukraine, which, of course, you'll recall goes back to Donald Trump's suspension of military aid in the middle -- to the Ukraine in the middle of a war they're having against Russian-backed rebels in the east.
BERMAN: All right, Sam. Sam Kiley for us in Kiev. Sam, thank you very much for that reporting.
And, again, the important thing to remember here is the Ukrainians are investigating this and have expressed concern. We've heard no concern from the State Department or the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about this at all.
All right, the sign stealing scandal in baseball has claimed some huge names already, but now there are new allegations that even go to the next level. Allegations that Astros players were wearing stuff that may have helped them steal these signs. Details in the "Bleacher Report," next.
CAMEROTA: Social media is buzzing, alleging that the Astros used concealed devices to notify each other of certain pitches. This cheating scandal continues to grow.
Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."
What now, Andy?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, you know, Major League Baseball tells CNN in a statement that they explored wearable devices during the investigation of the Astros but they found no evidence to substantiate it. But that certainly didn't stop Twitter from going crazy over this yesterday. Many people point out Jose Altuve (ph) was pleading with teammates that he didn't want his jersey ripped off before he even touched home plate after a walk-off home run to beat the Yankees in the ALCS. Agent Scott Boris relating a statement to "The New York Post" on Altuve's behalf saying, I have never worn an electronic device in my performance as a Major League player. And Commissioner Rob Manfred's report released on Monday, he stated, the investigation revealed no violations of the policy by the Astros in the 2019 season or 2019 post season.
But the fallout from this scandal continuing yesterday as the Mets and new manager Carlos Beltran mutually agreeing to part ways. Beltron was the only player named in Manfred's report on the Astros sign-stealing scandal. He didn't even get to manage a game for the Mets. In a statement Beltran said, in part, I've always taken pride in being a leader and doing things the right way and in this situation I failed. I'm very sorry.
Beltran joins the Astros A.J. Hinch and Red Sox Alex Cora to be fired over this scandal. Major League Baseball says they're still investigating the Boston Red Sox's use of technology to steal signs during their 2018 World Series winning season.
You know, John, as an Astros fan, this is like a nightmare that I seem to not be able to wake up from. But I can't complain too much because I just think about how angry the Dodgers and Yankees fans over -- are over all of this. BERMAN: Yes, and the cheating is clear. We see exactly what they did
and we know what was wrong with it. It makes it hard.
SCHOLES: Yes, that it does.
BERMAN: All right, Andy, thank you very much.
So the opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial, they will be next week. We've learned so much new over the last four weeks since the president was actually impeached. That happened one month ago.
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig here to walk us through it.
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, John, it is really remarkable just how much new evidence and how important that evidence has been that's come out just in the last few weeks, days, even hours.
So let's start with this batch of emails that we saw only because a judge specifically ordered the White House to release it. Now, these emails are internal within the White House, the Office of Management and Budget. And what I found so interesting is there's an email from Michael Duffey, this is one of the four people that Chuck Schumer have said he wants as a witness, where Duffey talks about the hold on the aid and talks about how it -- the sensitive nature of the request.
As a prosecutor, I'm getting out my yellow highlighter. I'm going, sensitive nature?
BERMAN: I mean it -- consciousness.
HONIG: Consciousness of guilt. If it's legitimate, it it's legal, what's so sensitive?
CAMEROTA: And that's why you're also supposed to keep it under your vest is what he's saying.
HONIG: Exactly. And, by the way, the fact that it was held back, that the White House has held back everything, I think raises alarms.
And then we had this other email that was totally redacted until on organization called Just Security got to see what was behind the redactions. And at this point, as a prosecutor, putting away my yellow pen, I'm getting out my red pen, clear direction from POTUS, president of the United States, to continue the hold. I mean that's the heart of the matter, clear direction from the president right there.
The great thing about these emails, they show you what's going on under the hood as it was happening. It's great evidence from a prosecutorial standpoint.
CAMEROTA: I mean that one -- clear direction from POTUS -- doesn't that need to be in the Senate trial? That's new evidence that has come out since the House.
CAMEROTA: How could you ignore that one?
HONIG: I mean I would stamp "Exhibit A" on that and lead off the trial with that. I mean it tells you exactly what you need to know.
Second big thing --
BERMAN: Why is this man smiling?
HONIG: John Bolton, why is he smiling? Why is there so much attention on John Bolton? Well, his testimony -- now, he, of course, has now said, if subpoenaed in the Senate, I will come forward and testify.
What's so powerful potentially about his testimony? We know from other people's testimony that Bolton was involved in at least two different meetings with Donald Trump. One one-on-one and one with two other senior members of the administration. Both times they were trying to convince Donald Trump, you have to release this aid to Ukraine.
Now, we know the end result, Trump said no, but we need to know what happened during these meetings. It's so important. They talk about first-hand evidence, direct evidence. Why did Donald Trump refuse? What were his reasons? That's the first thing.
Of course the second thing, we remember Fiona Hill testified that Bolton called this whole thing a drug deal. I know we've heard that a bunch of times but let's just reflect for a second.
Bolton is an experienced lawyer. He's been around D.C. He worked for the Department of Justice. The thing about drug deals, they're illegal.
BERMAN: You know, I didn't go to law school, but I would ask Ambassador Bolton, were I questioning him, Ambassador, what did you mean when you called it a drug deal?
HONIG: Yes. Why did you use that phrase?
And then, of course, the other memorable phrase is when Bolton referred to Rudy Giuliani him as a hand grenade. I mean the thing about hand grenades is, they blow up. So what did you mean by that when you used that phrase to describe Rudy Giuliani?
CAMEROTA: You haven't even gotten to Lev Parnas yet.
HONIG: We have to get to Lev Parnas, of course. The big news, this is just, the last few hours we've really learned all this.
Let's just start by remembering, Lev Parnas is under indictment by the Southern District of New York, my old office. He actually brings back, to my mind, the memory of a lot of cooperating witnesses. People who've committed bad acts and now want to help themselves get a lower sentence. And there's some question about, did Trump know him? He denies it. There's a lot of photos of Parnas and Trump together.
But Lev Parnas has told us a lot of really interesting things over the last couple days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEV PARNAS: It was never about the corruption. It was never -- it was strictly about the Burisma, which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.
President Trump knew exactly what was going on.
I think Bolton is a very important witness because I think between me and Bolton, we could fill in all the dots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HONIG: You know, so, to me there are a couple things that Lev Parnas says that are strongly corroborated, that we've seen backed up elsewhere, including this idea that it was never about corruption, it was always about winning the 2020 election. When you're dealing with a witness like Lev Parnas you need to be very careful, as a prosecutor, as a House manager, you need to make sure he's backed up. A lot of what he says is backed up. Other things I think need further examination, need to be supported.
One other thing Lev Parnas has given us is this interesting letter from Rudy Giuliani to President Zelensky. And there's a couple of interesting things in here where Rudy says, I am private counsel to President Donald J. Trump. Private council. Just to be precise, I represent him as a private citizen, not as president of the United States. And Rudy says, I am acting with his, Trump's, knowledge and consent.
I mean, again, why is Rudy doing this? The whole question here is, was this something being done in the best interest of the country --
CAMEROTA: Which is what the president has claimed in terms of busting corruption.
CAMEROTA: He's spelling out, uh-uh, that is explicitly not what we're doing.
HONIG: Exactly. Rudy is saying, no, it's not about the best interests of the country, it's about the bests interests of Donald J. Trump, the individual. So that's another great document that I would love to have had as a prosecutor if I was prosecuting this case.
BERMAN: And the question is, will this be part of the trial?
HONIG: Yes, so it's a big question. There's really two ways this could go. One, it could go to Chief Justice Roberts. We know from the Constitution, we saw him sworn in yesterday. He will preside. Or it could go to the Senate itself. It's going to come down to a majority vote. Of course, the pressure is on, in particular, these five senators to see if they will vote, these five Republican senators to see if at least four of them will vote in favor of witnesses. Susan Collins, as we said, sort of has flip-flopped back and forth almost daily, but she now says she's likely to support a motion for witnesses. If four of them are on board, we will see witnesses at the trial.
BERMAN: You know what's most confusing, I think, to the American people? It could go to both Roberts and the Senate.
BERMAN: No matter what Roberts says, the full Senate can overrule and make the ultimate decision.
HONIG: Exactly. So it's going to be fascinating to watch it play out.
CAMEROTA: Elie, thank you for reminding us of all that has come out just since the president was impeached.
HONIG: Thanks, guys. My pleasure. Looking forward to it.
CAMEROTA: Great to see you.