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House Managers Make Their Case Against Trump; Senate Wrapping Up Day One Of Opening Arguments; Trump Lawyer Responds To Day One Of Opening Arguments. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 22, 2020 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): The Washington Post article also reported that and these - this is a quote, emails show OMB Director Vought and OMB staffers, arguing that withholding the aid was legal, while officials at the National Security Council and State Department protested. OMB lawyers said that it was legal to withhold the aid, as long as they deemed it a "temporary" hold.
You should be able to see these documents. But the White House has withheld them from Congress.
So, the House can't verify the news report. But you could. You - you - you could do that if you could see these documents. You should subpoena them, and there is no reason not to see all the relevant documents.
Now, the lengthy delay created by President Trump's hold prevented the Department of Defense from spending all Congressionally-appropriated funds by the end of the fiscal year, as we've mentioned before.
That meant the funds were going to expire on September 30th because, as we know, unused funds do not roll over to the next fiscal year.
This confirmed the fears expressed by Cooper, Sandy, and others, concerns that were discussed within the relevant agencies in late July, and throughout August, approximately ultimately $35 million of Ukraine military assistance, that's 14 percent of the DoD funds remained unspent by the end of the fiscal year.
In order to make sure that Ukraine did not permanently lose the $35 million of critical military assistance that had been frozen by the White House, Congress had to pass a provision on September 27th, three days before the funds were to expire, to ensure that the remaining $35 million could be sent to Ukraine.
Now, George Kent is an anti-corruption and rule of law expert. He told us that American anti-corruption efforts pri - prioritized building institutional capacity, support for the rule of law, not the pursuit of individual investigations, particularly of political rivals.
Here's how he explained their approach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE KENT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: U.S. efforts to counter corruption in Ukraine focus on building institutional capacity, so that the Ukrainian government has the ability to go after corruption, and effectively investigate, prosecute, and judge, alleged criminal activities, using appropriate institutional mechanisms, that is to create and follow the rule of law.
That means that if there are criminal nexuses for activity, in the United States, U.S. law enforcement should pursue the case.
If we think there has been a criminal act overseas, that violates U.S. law, we have the institutional mechanisms to address that. It could be through the Justice Department and FBI agents assigned oversees, or through treaty mechanisms, such as the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
As a general principle, I do not believe the United States should ask other countries to engage in selective, politically associated investigations, or prosecutions, against opponents of those in power, because such selective actions undermine the rule of law, regardless of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOFGREN: Now, David Holmes concurred during his testimony. Holmes also compared the official approach that we believe in, that we promulgate across the world, with what the President and Mr. Giuliani actually were doing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID HOLMES, POLITICAL COUNSELOR AT THE U.S. EMBASSY IN UKRAINE: So our long-standing policy is to encourage them to establish and build rule-of-law institutions that are capable and that are independents and that can actually pursue credible allegations.
That's our policy. We've been doing that for quite some time with some success. So, focusing on particular cases, including particular cases where there is interest of the Presidents, it's just not part of what we've done. It's hard to explain why we would do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOFGREN: Unfortunately, we do know the explanation. We know why President Trump wanted President Zelensky to announce investigations, because it would help him in his election.
Now, on September 18th, approximately a week before he was supposed to meet with President Trump, at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, President Zelensky spoke by telephone with Vice President Pence.
During her deposition, Jennifer Williams testified, and she is the - was Vice President Pence's assistant, she testified that Vice President Pence basically reiterated that the hold on aid had been lifted, and asked a bit more about how Zelensky's efforts were going.
Now, following her deposition, and while preparing for her testimony, at the open hearing on November 19th, Williams reviewed the documents. They've not been produced to us by the White House. And those documents refreshed her recollection of Vice President Pence call with President Zelensky.
Now, the White House blocked Williams from testifying about her refreshed recollections of the Vice President's call when she appeared at the open public hearing. They claimed that certain portions of the September 8th - 18th call, including the information that Williams wanted to tell us about, were classified.
On November 26th, she submitted a classified addition to her hearing testimony, where she provided additional information about the Vice President's September 18th telephone call with President Zelensky.
The Intelligence Committee provided this classified addition to the Judiciary Committee. It has been sent to the Senate for your review. Now, I've read that testimony. I'll just say that a cover-up is not a proper reason to classify a document.
Vice President Pence has repeatedly said publicly that he has no objection to the White House releasing the actual transcript of his calls with President Zelensky.
And yet, his office has refused many requests by the Committee to declassify Williams' addendum, so the American people could also see the additional evidence about this call.
We urge the Senators to review it. And we ask again that the White House declassify it.
As the House wrote in two separate letters, there is no basis to keep it classified. And again, in case the White House needs a reminder, it's improper to keep something classified just to avoid embarrassment or to conceal wrongdoing.
Now, we've been through a lot of facts today. We've seen the President's scheme, a shakedown of Ukraine for his personal benefit, was, I believe, an obvious abuse of his power.
But this misconduct, the scheme, became exposed. Congress asked questions. The press reported. Non-political officers in the government expressed concern. The whistleblower laws were activated.
As this happened, there was an effort to create an after-the-fact misleading record to avoid responsibility for what the President had actually been doing. These were not the only efforts to hide misconduct. And the misconduct continued.
Congressman Schiff will review some of those items.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): So, we have about 20 minutes left in the presentation tonight. I'd like to now go through with you the President's efforts to hide this corrupt scheme, even as it continued well into the fall of last year.
On August 12th, a whistleblower in the Intelligence Community submitted a complaint, addressed to the Congressional Intelligence committees. This explosive document stated that President Trump had solicited foreign interference from Ukraine to assist in his 2020 re- election bid.
The complaint alleged a scheme by President Trump to "Use the power of his Office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election."
The complaint stated that the President had applied pressure on Ukraine to investigate one of the President's main domestic political rivals, and detailed the involvement of the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
The complaint also stated that the whistleblower believed that the President's activities "Pose risk to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. government's efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections."
Under the law, the whistleblower was required to file the complaint with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, which was then required to vet and assess the complaint, and determine if it warranted reporting to the Intelligence Committees.
The law gives the Inspector General 14 days to conduct an initial review and then inform the Director of National Intelligence about his findings.
On August 26th, the Inspector General sent the whistleblower complaint and the Inspector General's preliminary determination to the Acting Director of National Intelligence.
The Inspector General wrote that based on a review, his review of the complaint, its allegations constituted an urgent concern, and appeared credible under the statute.
The Inspector General confirmed that the whistleblower acted lawfully in bringing the complaint, and credibly raised a legitimate concern that should be communicated to the Intelligence Committees of Congress.
The Director of National Intelligence quickly informed the White House about the complaint.
Under the law, the Acting Director of National Intelligence was required to forward the complaint, and the Inspector General's determination, to the Congressional Intelligence committees, no later than seven days after he received it.
The legal requirement is extremely clear.
Upon receipt of the transmittal from the ICIG, that is the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, the Director shall, within seven calendar days of such receipt, forward such transmittal to the Congressional Intelligence committees together with any comments the Director considers appropriate.
Yet, despite the clear letter of the law, the White House mobilized to keep the information in the whistleblower complaint from Congress, including by inviting the Department of Justice to render an opinion as to whether the complaint could be withheld from Congress.
The statutory deadline of September 2nd when the Inspector - when the Director of National Intelligence was required to turn it over to Congress came, and went, and the complaint remained hidden from Congress.
Finally, on September 9th, a full week after the complaint was required to be sent to Congress, and once again, an urgent concern, the Inspector General, one week after it was required to be sent to Congress, the Inspector General wrote to the leaders of the Intelligence committees to inform them that the Director of National Intelligence was withholding a whistleblower complaint in direct contravention of pact - past practice and the law.
On September 24th, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, announced that the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.
The next day, the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on the Trump administration to provide the whistleblower's complaint immediately to the Congressional Intelligence committees.
Later that day, the White House publicly released the summary of the July 25th call between President Trump and President Zelensky, and permitted the Acting Director of National Intelligence to provide the whistleblower's complaint and related to documents to the Congressional Intelligence committees.
The President himself was happy to discuss the motivations for the scheme in public. That day, in a joint press availability, with President Zelensky, at the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump reiterated that he wanted Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --to do more on Joe Biden and the investigations.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: No. I want him to do whatever he can. And this was not his fault. He wasn't there. He's just been here recently. But whatever he can do in terms of corruption, because the corruption is massive.
Now, when Biden's son walks away with millions of dollars from Ukraine, and he knows nothing, and they're paying him millions of dollars, that's corruption. When Biden--
(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHIFF: Finally, the day after President Trump explained to the public that he wanted Ukraine to investigate former President - Vice President - former Vice President Biden, on the morning of September 26th, the Intelligence Committee publicly released declassified redactions of two documents, the whistleblower's August 12th complaint, and the Inspector General's August 26th transmittal to the Acting Director of National Intelligence.
Even after the impeachment inquiry into the Ukraine matter began, President Trump and, his proxy, Rudy Giuliani, have continued to publicly urge President Zelensky to launch an investigation of Vice President Biden, and alleged 2016 election interference by Ukraine.
On September 30, during his remarks, at the swearing-in of the new Labor Secretary, President Trump stated--
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now, the new President of Ukraine ran on the basis of no corruption. That's how he got elected. And I believe that he really means it.
But there was a lot of corruption having to do with the 2016 election against us. And we want to get to the bottom of it, and it's very important that we do. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: So, here he is, his meeting at the United Nations, September 30, and he's still pursuing this bogus CrowdStrike conspiracy theory with the President of Ukraine.
On October 7 - 2nd, in a public press availability, President Trump discussed the July 25th call with President Zelensky, and stated the conversation was perfect, it couldn't have been nicer. He then linked his notion of corruption with the Biden investigation.
On October 3rd, in remarks before he departed on Marine One, President Trump expressed his hope that Ukraine would investigate Vice President Biden and his son.
President Trump actually escalated his rhetoric, urging not only Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, but China too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what - what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly.
TRUMP: Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the Bidens. It's a very simple answer.
They should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that's newly formed - and all these companies, if you look at - and, by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with - with Ukraine.
So, I would say that President Zelensky - if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: The same day President Trump tweeted that he has an absolute right to investigate corruption. That really means is he feels he has an absolute right to investigate or get foreign countries to investigate his political opponents.
The President sent a similar tweet the next day, once again linking corruption with the Biden investigation.
"As President, I have an obligation to end corruption, even if that means requesting the help of a foreign country or countries. It is done all the time. This has nothing to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens. This does have to do with corruption."
I've - give him credit for being so obvious. This has nothing to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens, but you got to investigate the Bidens. I guess that's just a coincidence.
President Trump continued to demonstrate his eagerness to solicit foreign assistance related to his personal interest.
Here's what's OK, he said, if we feel there's corruption like I feel there was in the 2016 campaign, there was tremendous corruption against me, if we feel this corruption, we have a right to go to a foreign country.
President Trump added that asking President Xi of China to investigate the Bidens is certainly something we can start thinking about.
Even last month, even last month, the President and Giuliani scheme continued.
During the first week of December, Giuliani traveled to Budapest, Kiev, and Vienna, to meet with the former Ukrainian government officials, as part of a continuing effort to dig up dirt, political dirt, on Vice President Biden, and advance the theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
Asked about his interviews of foreign Ukrainian prosecutors, Giuliani told The New York Times that he was acting on behalf of his client, President Trump. "Like a good lawyer, I am gathering evidence to defend my client against the false charges being leveled against him."
Indeed, evidence obtained by the House from Giuliani's associate confirms that he had been representing himself, in as early as May 2019, as President Trump's personal lawyer, doing Donald J. Trump's personal bidding in his dealings with Ukraine. This letter, May 10th, 2019, from Giuliani to Zelensky, says among other things, "However, I have a more specific request. In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump, and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th, or Tuesday, May 14th.
I will need no more than a half an hour of your time. And I will be accompanied by my colleague, Victoria Toensing, a distinguished American attorney, who is very familiar with this matter.
Please have your office let me know what time or times are convenient for you, and Victoria and I will be there."
Well this is evidence recently obtained, showing his effort to get that meeting, in May, with Zelensky.
Giuliani told The Wall Street Journal that when he returned to New York from this most recent trip, on December 7th, President Trump called him as his plane was still taxiing down the runway.
"What did you get," he said President Trump asked. "More than you can imagine," Giuliani replied.
Giuliani claimed that he was putting his findings into a 20-page report that the President had asked him to brief the Attorney General and the Republicans in Congress.
Shortly thereafter, on the same day, President Trump told reporters, before departing on Marine One, that he was aware of Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine, and that Giuliani was going to report his purported findings to the Attorney General and Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Rudy Giuliani tell you why he was going to Europe? And do you approve?
TRUMP: Well, I just know he came back from someplace, and he's going to make a report, I think, to the Attorney General and to Congress. He says he has a lot of good information. I have not spoken to him about that information.
But Rudy, as you know, has been one of the great crime fighters of the last 50 years. And he did get back from Europe just recently, and I know - he has not told me what he's found.
But I think he wants to go before Congress and say - and also to the Attorney General and the Department of Justice. I hear he's found plenty, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: Three days after that, those remarks on December 10th, Giuliani confirmed to The Washington Post that President Trump had asked him to brief the Justice Department and Republican Senators on his "Findings" from his trip to Ukraine.
Giuliani stated "He wants me to do it. I'm working on pulling it together and hope to have it done by the end of the week."
That Friday, December 13th, Giuliani reportedly met with President Trump at the White House. And, on December 17th, Giuliani confirmed to CNN that President Trump has been very supportive of his efforts to dig up dirt on Vice President Biden in Ukraine, and that they are on the same page.
The following day, on December 18, 2019, the House of Representatives approved the two articles of impeachment you are considering in this trial. Since the House voted on these articles, evidence has continued to come to light, related to the President's corrupt scheme.
Among other things, Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, press reporting, and documents provided to Congress, from Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, further corroborate what we already know about the President's scheme.
As Giuliani again said, on December 17th, President Trump has been "Very supportive" of his efforts to dig up dirt on Vice President Biden and they are "On the same page."
Parnas further corroborated what we already know about President Trump's scheme that he was responsible for withholding military aid, and sustaining that hold, and that his personal attorney, Mr. Giuliani, was working at the direction of President Trump himself.
On December 20th, new emails were released showing that 91 minutes after President Trump's call with the Ukrainian President Zelensky, a top Office of Management and Budget aide asked the Department of Defense to withhold - to hold off on sending military aid to Ukraine. So, those were new documents that came on December 20th.
On December 29th, revelations emerged from OMB Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's role about them, about that role in the delay of aid, and efforts by lawyers at OMB, the Department of Justice, and the White House, to justify the delay, and the alarm that the delay caused within the administration. Those records just became available on December 29th.
On January 2nd, newly un-redacted Pentagon emails, which raised serious concerns by Trump administration officials, about the legality of the President's hold on aid, became available.
On January 6th, former Trump National Security Advisor, John Bolton, announced that he would comply with a Senate subpoena compelling his testimony. His lawyers stated that he has new relevant information.
On January 13th, reports emerged that the Russian government hacked the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, almost certainly in an effort to find information about Vice President Joe Biden's son, in order to weaponize that information against Mr. Biden, and in favor of Mr. Trump, just as Russia did against Secretary Clinton in favor of then- candidate Trump in 2016. That brings us up to January 13th of this year. Last week, House committees received new evidence from Lev Parnas that further demonstrates that the President was a central player in this scheme to pressure Ukraine for his political gain.
And also, last week, the Government Accountability Office found that President Trump violated the law when he withheld that aid.
Last night, we had a further development, when more redacted emails from the Office of Management and Budget were produced. I think Representative Crow showed you these. These are among the documents that were just released.
I'm sure that if we could read under those redactions, it would be a very perfect email. But you have to ask what is being redacted here. What is so important to keep confidential during the course of an impeachment inquiry?
As you can see, right up until last night, evidence continues to be produced. The truth is going to come out.
Indeed, the truth has already come out. But more and more of it will. More emails are going to come out. More witnesses are going to come forward. They're going to have more relevant information to share.
And the only question is do you want to hear it now? Do you want to know the full truth now? Do you want to know just who was in the loop? Sounds like everyone was in the loop. You want to know how broad this scheme was?
We have the evidence to prove that President Trump ordered the aid withheld. He did so to coerce Ukraine to help his reelection campaign. He withheld a White House meeting to coerce the same sham investigations.
We can, and will, prove President Trump guilty of this conduct, and of obstructing the investigation into his misconduct.
But you and the American people should know who else was involved in this scheme. You should want the whole truth to come out. You should want to know about every player in this sordid business.
It isn't within your power to do so. And I would urge you, even if you are prepared to vote to convict, and impeach, and remove this President, to find out the full truth about how far this corruption goes, because I think the public has a right to know.
Now, today - well yesterday, we made the case for why you should hear this additional evidence and testimony. This morning, I introduced you to the broad sweep of the President's conduct.
And then, during the course of today, we walked you through a factual chronology, in real time, about how this plot unfolded. And during that factual chronology today, you saw that, in March of
this year, Giuliani began that smear campaign against Ambassador Yovanovitch, in order to get her fired by President Trump, something he would later admit was necessary to get her out of the way, because she was going to be in the way of these two investigations.
This is the supposed anti-corruption effort by the President to get rid of a woman who has dedicated her career to representing the United States, often in dangerous parts of the world, to fighting corruption, and to promoting the rule of law.
This plot begins with getting her out of the way with the President saying that she's going to go through some things. This anti- corruption reformer, this U.S. patriot, this plot begins with getting her out of the way.
And tellingly, and this says so much about the administration, tellingly, it wasn't enough just to recall her or fire her. The President could done - have done that anytime. No, they wanted to destroy her because she had the audacity to stand in their way.
So, we heard in March about the effort to get rid of her, and it succeeded. And guess what message that sent to the Ukrainians about the power the President's lawyer has?
The Ukrainians were watching this whole saga. They were hearing his interviews. They were seeing the smears that he was putting out. And this attorney for the President, working hand in hand with these corrupt Ukrainians, was able to get a U.N. Ambassador yanked out of her job.
Proof positive, you want a window to this President? You want entree to this President? You want to make things happen with this President? You go through his lawyer. Never mind the State Department. Never mind the National Security Council. Never mind the Defense Department. You go through his lawyer. That's March.
April, Zelensky has this huge victory in the Presidential election. He gets a congratulatory call from the President. The President assigns Vice President Pence to go to the Inauguration.
May, Giuliani is rebuffed by Zelensky, cancels the trip to Ukraine, the one where he wanted to go, remember, meddle in the investigation, because Giuliani says enemies of Trump surround Zelensky. Guess that means he didn't get the meeting, and they must be enemies of the President.
Of course, the Ukrainians know why he wants that meeting.
May, Trump disinvites Pence to the Inauguration. Pence is going, Giuliani's rebuffed, Pence ain't going. That's May.
Instead, May 23rd, we have this meeting at the White House, and there's a new - a new party in town, The Three Amigos. They're going to be handling the Ukraine portfolio.
And they're told "Work with Rudy. Work with Rudy." Ambassador Sondland, Ambassador Volker, Secretary Perry, "Work with Rudy."
And as you saw in June, Giuliani's pushing for these investigations, and they're trying to arrange these meetings, and trying to make this happen.
And also, in June, the Defense Department announces they're going to release the military aid. And the President reads about this. And then he stops it. He stops the aid.
In July, on July 10th, you heard in the chronology, there's that meeting at the White House, the meeting in which Sondland blurts out in this meeting between Ukrainians and Americans, "Hey, they've got a deal."
They're trying to get this meeting, and there's a debate about where the meeting's going to happen, and when it's going to happen, and Sondland says, "Hey, we've got a deal with Mulvaney here. We're going to get this meeting, and you're going to do those investigations."
And Bolton stiffens, and abruptly ends the meeting. That was the first meeting that day.
And then, Sondland brings the delegation to a different part of the White House, and they have the follow-up meeting, where he makes it even more explicit, this drug deal is made even more explicit.
And Dr. Hill is told by Ambassador Bolton, "You need to go talk to the lawyers. I don't want any part of this drug deal they're cooking up." That's July.
July is the month where that email goes from Sondland to Pompeo, and others, and everybody is in the loop. July is the month where the hold is implemented with no explanation.
July is the month where Mueller testifies about Russia's systemic interference in our affairs. July is the month after Mueller testifies that the President believes he has escaped accountability.
The next day, in July, is of course the July 25th call, in which the President asks for his favor.
And July is the month, July 26 is the date of the call between President Trump and Ambassador Sondland, you know the one, "Zelensky loves your ass. He'll do anything you want." "Is he going to do the investigation?" "Yes. He's going to do the investigation."
July is the month of that conversation between Sondland and David Holmes, where Holmes says "Can you - can you tell me candidly here what the President thinks of Ukraine? Does he give a blank about Ukraine?"
"No. He doesn't give a blank about Ukraine. He only cares about the big stuff." "Well there's kind of big stuff here in Ukraine like a war with the Russians."
"No, no, no, big stuff that affects him personally like the Biden investigation that Giuliani wants." That's the month of July.
August, we have that meeting between Giuliani and Yermak in Madrid. August, we have the back-and-forth about the statement.
"No, you go first, and you commit, and publicly announce investigations, and then we'll give you date." "No, you go first. You give us the date and then we'll announce the investigations."
"Well we'll give you a statement that doesn't mention the specifics." "No, no, you give us the statement that mentions the invest - investigations." That's the month of August.
August is also the month where it becomes clear that it's not just the meeting anymore. It's everything.
Everything is conditioned on these investigations, the relationship, the money, the meeting, Sondland and Holmes testify, is as simple as two plus two equals four. That's August.
September, Sondland says to Yermak, "Everything is conditioned on public announcement." So, message delivered. No ambiguity. The Ukrainians are told quid pro quo. Taylor texts "This is crazy to withhold aid."
September's the month, September 7th, in particular, Trump and Sondland talk on the phone, and the President has a conversation, where he says, "No quid pro quo," except here's the quid pro quo. Zelensky's got to go to the mic. And what's more? He should want to do it.
September is also the month where the investigations begin in Congress. September's the month where after those investigations begin, after the President knows he's been caught, the aid is finally released.
And September is the month where Pence and Zelensky are on the phone, and Jennifer Williams has classified information to share with you that I hope you will take a look at, because it is relevant to these issues. That's September.
October, Trump admits yes, if it wasn't obvious enough, he wants Ukraine to investigate his political opponent. October is the month where he invites another nation, China, to investigate his opponent.
This is the broad outline of the chronology that we went through today. Tomorrow, we will go through the law, the Constitution, and the facts, as they apply to Article One. That is the plan for tomorrow.
We've introduced the case. We've gone through the chronology. And tomorrow, we will apply the facts to the law, as it pertains to the President's abuse of power.
And let me just conclude this evening by remarking again on what brought us here. What brought us here is that some courageous people came forward, courageous people that risked their entire careers.
And one of the things that's been so striking to me about that, as I watch these witnesses, like Marie Yovanovitch, and Ambassador Taylor, and David Holmes, and others, Dr. Hill, is how much these dedicated officials were willing to risk their career, the beginning of their career, or the middle of their career, or late in their career, when they had everything to lose.
But people senior to them, who have every advantage, who sit in positions of power, lack that same basic commitment, lack that same basic willingness, to put their country first, and expose wrongdoing.
Why is it that Colonel Vindman, who worked for Fiona Hill, who worked for John Bolton, and Dr. Kupperman, why is it that they were willing to stick their neck out, and answer lawful subpoenas, when their bosses wouldn't?
I don't know that I can answer that question. But I just can tell you I have such admiration for the fact they did.
I think - and - and - and - and I think this is some form of cosmic justice that this Ambassador that was so ruthlessly smeared is now a hero for her courage. There is justice in that.
But what would really vindicate that leap of faith that she took is if we show the same courage. They risked everything, their careers. And yes, I know what you're asked to decide may risk yours too. But if they could show the courage, so can we.
I yield back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, Sir.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: Pursuant to the provisions of Senate Resolution 243 of the 100th Congress, a single one-page classified document, identified by the House Managers, for filing with the Secretary of the Senate, that will be received on January 22nd, 2020, shall not be made part of the public record, and shall not be printed, but shall be made available pursuant to the Standing Order from the 100th Congress.
The Majority Leader is recognized.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Mr. Chief Justice, colleagues were almost through for the evening. We'll convene again at 1 o'clock tomorrow.
Before we adjourn, I'd like to acknowledge that tomorrow is the official last day for this term's Senate Pages. This group of-- (APPLAUSE AND STANDING OVATION)
MCCONNELL: In addition to witnessing this unusual event that we're all experiencing, they're - they're studying for their final exams as well, and we wish them well, as they head off back to boring, normal, high school.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Mr. Leader, let me just add my thanks and gratitude for all of us.
It is rare, particularly these days, when a 100 Senators, from both sides of the aisle, of every political persuasion, get up and give someone a standing ovation, but you deserve it.
Thank you for your good work, and we hope you have beautiful and successful lives.
MCCONNELL: So, Mr. Chief Justice, I ask unanimous consent that, on Tuesday, January the 28th, from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M., while the Senate is sitting as a court of impeachment, and that notwithstanding the Senate's adjournment, the Senate can receive House messages and executive matters, committees be authorized to report legislation and executive matters, and Senators be allowed to submit statements for the record, bills, resolutions, and co-sponsor requests, and where applicable, the Secretary of the Senate, on behalf of the printing - of the Presiding Officer, be permitted to refer such matters.
ROBERTS: Without objection, so ordered.
MCCONNELL: Finally, I ask unanimous consent that trial adjourn until 1:00 P.M., Thursday, January 23rd, and this also constitute the adjournment of the Senate.
ROBERTS: Without objection, so ordered. Senate is adjourned.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, good evening everybody. I am Chris Cuomo.
You've been watching special live coverage of the Trump impeachment trial, opening day arguments for - for real now, right? Yesterday was largely procedural, what the rules of the road would be. This was the first day of the Democrats making the case.
And the question is who was effective, on what bases, and what is the measurement of that effective? What is the goal here? Is it public sentiment? Is it to get to the point of needing witnesses? Is it to turn a few key Senators on the Republican fringe, or is it a combination?
We've been watching the House Managers all day long, largely Congressman Schiff. He has certainly come to the fore in terms of the main maker of the case for the Democrats, at least to this point.
He has been methodically laying out, often repetitively, but that's part of the strategy that will take you through tonight, laying out all the different aspects of why what they know so far, and that part is key, what they know so far is damning on the issue of abuse of power.
Now, the reason he's qualifying it the way he is, and others as well, is this is also a play about witnesses, OK? So, it was a big day.
Let's break down what worked, what didn't, what it means going forward, Michael Isikoff, Susan Glasser, and Manu Raju.
My mentor, it is good to have you with me tonight, to walk our way through history.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, YAHOO! NEWS CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, yes.
CUOMO: What do your eyes and your senses tell you about this first day effort?
ISIKOFF: Well I thought Schiff's performance tonight was maybe his best, and probably his - the most significant, because actually, remember, this is the first time we've heard the case laid out in prime time, so that counts a lot right there.
But I thought he did, just as a matter of lawyering, we can leave aside, you know, the merits of the case, but as a matter of lawyering, he did a really brilliant job of laying out the facts, but then bringing it back, at each moment, to the need for witnesses, and documents, like when he brings up Ambassador Taylor is going to write - writes a first-person cable to the Secretary of State.
And Schiff says, "Would you like to see that cable? I'd like to show it to you. But we can't because the - the White House won't let us see it."
At each stage, "Would you like to see the notes of the conversation between Taylor and Sondland when Sondland is making clear that the - the President wants Zelensky in a box.
Would you like to see those notes to test the credibility of that testimony? Yes. I'd like to show them to you. But we can't because the White House won't let us."
So, I thought he - he brought things back to what is going to be the most crucial votes in this whole matter, next week, on documents and witnesses. That's the ballgame right there.
CUOMO: This time, next week, will be probably the biggest moment.
CUOMO: Let's deal with now, and we'll get to there.
Susan, so the strategy of "What I can show you is bad. What I can't show you is probably worse," now, the gamble there is in how compelling are you to the Senators that there's really more for them to know? How was that case made? What needs to be done in addition?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, THE NEW YORKER STAFF WRITER: Well, you know Chris, it's interesting. I - I was in the chamber for most of the day, in the press gallery, and watching the Senators.
On the Democratic side, some of them even got up, and walked over to the video screens, especially when Schiff and the other House Managers were presenting "Here's the documents you don't have. Here's the information you don't have."
You know, Kirsten Gillibrand was standing right below me, like eagerly - eagerly scribbling notes, you know, that seemed to be very detailed.
I noticed some of the Republican Senators, as well, seem to pay extra attention to this question of "Here's what you don't know. Here's what you aren't being told," when it was more specific. The more specific, the better.
You know, Senators love a good speech about the Founding Fathers.
But, in many ways, I think that the heart of today's arguments that really resonated, and where they seem to actually be paying some attention, had to do exactly with "Here's the document you don't have.
Here's the memo that we know exists and that you haven't heard about. Here's this tweet, you know, and here's the context behind it." So, I thought the more specific they got, in many ways, the better.
CUOMO: So, you have the documents, and then you have the big ticket, which would be the witnesses.
Manu, yesterday, the only Republican to move on any vote was Susan Collins, on one of the amendments that meant almost nothing.
It was an amendment about how much time you get to respond. She didn't even move on the amendment about whether or not that Chief Justice could arbitrate differences. The Chief Justice lost in a straight party-line vote.
What is the theory of these three or four Senators that people keep talking about, actually being in play?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well I can tell you, Chris that it's unlikely that there would just be four Senators who would break ranks, if they were to be enough, a majority vote, because no Republican Senator wants to be vote number 51.
If there is enough support in the Senate to subpoena document, subpoena witnesses, there is more likely going to be 53 or 54 votes. That means there would have to be more than four potentially, in order to move forward, maybe five, maybe six, maybe seven, maybe eight, to do just that.
And, at the moment, that is not in the realm of possibility. That could certainly change.
But talking to Republican Senators, people who are on the fence, people who are in Republican leadership, it is highly unlikely, at the moment that they will vote to subpoena witnesses and documents.
Now, that could change because some Members are still holding their cards pretty close to their vest.
Susan Collins has indicated that she would vote to subpoena most likely witnesses and documents, also Mitt Romney has indicated that he wants to subpoena, talk to John Bolton. Lisa Murkowski suggested an openness to it.
But who is the fourth? Who is the fifth? Who is the sixth Senator? Uncertain and unclear, at the moment.
People look at Lamar Alexander, for one, the Tennessee Republican. I've talked to him many times over the last several weeks, and he's taking it very careful, he's very cautious about it. He's a retiring institutionalist.
But he's also very close to Mitch McConnell. He's been critical of the House process too. And there's lot of skeptics that he would be vote number 51.
So, if you're going by the theory that you need to have about 53 Senators in order to move forward, getting the other two is on - who those other people are is unclear.
Even people like a Cory Gardner, who's up for re-election in Colorado, in a swing state, someone - one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country, he also needs the President's support in order to win reelection.
RAJU: He has been very circumspect about saying anything critical about the President so far.
So, a lot of questions about whether the Democrats can succeed because their goal right now, Chris, is, as you know, is to extend this trial by getting those subpoenas for those witnesses and documents.
The question is can they do that? And we don't know the answer to that yet.
CUOMO: All right, three steps to the analysis, I want help with.
First, Manu, quickly, what sense do you get, because you have such tremendous access to people on both sides, how many Republican Senators say they don't know what happened?
JAY SEKULOW, OUTSIDE LEGAL COUNSEL FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: First question of course is what's the relevance between the timeline-- RAJU: They don't know what happened in Ukraine or they--
RAJU: --don't know what happened in the - you know, it's a good question, Chris.
CUOMO: Give me a quick answer, so I can go to Sekulow.
RAJU: I would say a handful. I would say most of them--
RAJU: --contend they have a sense of what happened.
RAJU: A handful say they don't.
CUOMO: Yes. And that's going to be important. We'll pick up the analysis. Here's the Head of the President's defense team, Jay Sekulow.
SEKULOW: --some of the errors in the case that they presented.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you prepared from moderates to kind of come out and say they want to see the memo like the Taylor memo to Pompeo, and situations like that? Are you?
SEKULOW: When it's - look, these are questions, first of all, that the Senate has to address. They will determine what will go in the record and what will not, under the rules that were adopted.
So, our position, right now, is the Senate - we are governed by a Senate resolution. And that's exactly what we're going to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What really stands out in your mind today, the first thing you want to refute when you get to speak beginning on Saturday?
SEKULOW: Well it's - I thought it was interesting that they're - they're making the references to the career people that were in the various agencies.
But you - when you read the transcripts, they also said things that were very positive about the President and the President's policies. So, we may be talking about some of that. But we probably won't get to talk about that for a couple of days, I suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Managers talked about - they - they repeatedly told the Senators, "Do you want - you could see this document. You could subpoena this document." Why shouldn't the Senators? Why do you oppose them to see those--
SEKULOW: I - I said this, this morning. I said it yesterday. I'm going to say it again. The Constitution protects Executive privilege. There is a reason for that. Despite what Manager Nadler said, you cannot call the Executive privilege an other nonsense.
There is constitutional privileges at stake that don't just affect this Presidency, by the way, that affect the Office of the Presidency for other Presidents that come.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --briefly, have you been speaking to the President throughout the--
SEKULOW: I would never discuss with you if I had a conversation with the President or why I stepped out of the chamber.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the President tweeting during this, responding in real-time? He tweeted, "No pressure," for example.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During the Democrats' case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is his mood now?
SEKULOW: Well I've been in a - I've been in a - I'm sure he's fine. I've been in a hearing all day, as you all have been. So, I mean, I - I'm - look, I'm not going to comment - I'm not going to have conversations about the President's mood.
I think this - this whole fact that we're here is ridiculous. I mean, think about why we're here. I said at the beginning of - when we spoke yesterday, which seems like about two weeks ago.
But the truth of the matter is why are we here? Are we having an impeachment over a phone call? Or has this been a three-year attempt to take down a President that was duly-elected by the American people?
And we're doing this with 10 months to go to a general election. It's pretty dangerous for the Republic, in my view.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not make - sorry - why not make the motion to dismiss if this (OFF-MIKE).
SEKULOW: Because I want to let them try their case and we want to try our case. Because we believe, without a question, the President will be acquitted. There is not a doubt.
SEKULOW: All right, one, one more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ruling out a motion to dismiss at any point in the trial?
SEKULOW: I don't - I - those of you that know me, no, I don't rule out anything. Nothing is ruled out. But, at this point, the way the procedures are set up - I'm sorry - the way the procedures are set up, at this point, here's what I believe is going to happen.
They're going to - it looks like they're goings to spend tomorrow and Friday. And then, I suspect we'll start on Saturday. And then we'll go probably another day or two. But who knows? I mean, we've got to make that determination with our team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then what do you think happens?
SEKULOW: Then there's questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
SEKULOW: Two days of that. Then there's a - probably a half-day argument on the - will there be witnesses or not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what's--
SEKULOW: So that's probably, you know, a day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your prediction on where--
SEKULOW: Oh, I, look, we're - my prediction is the President of the United States will be acquitted of the--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the - on the witnesses.
SEKULOW: You know what? I don't - I don't - I don't predict on witnesses. I'm prepared. All right, all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't think the President--
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some - some Republicans--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --tweeting during any of this is affecting the Senators when they read the tweets?
SEKULOW: I'm not concerned about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some Republicans have said--
SEKULOW: Last question, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --that they found illuminating, enlightening. They're not saying that, you know, obviously they automatically buy the Democrats' case. But does it concern you--
SEKULOW: Illuminating, enlightening, and I'm not questioning what - what you're saying they said. I haven't had a chance. I mean obviously I've been in the - in the proceedings.
Is there anything we've learned today that we have not heard for the last three months?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Kennedy said that it took - well nine out of 10 Senators would have absolutely no idea, and the 10th would be lying. Are you concerned that--
SEKULOW: Wait, what - what - what did he say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said nine out of 10 Senators would have no idea what really went on in the hearings, and the 10th one would be lying. That's a hear--
SEKULOW: Because the hearings don't make sense to people? Is that what they're saying?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --Senators have been--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --learning stuff--
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're learning.
SEKULOW: You know--
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he says he's learned a lot and then a lot of Republican Senators have as well.
SEKULOW: OK. OK. OK. At the end of the day, I believe without a question, the President of the United States will be acquitted. Thank you, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SEKULOW: See you tomorrow.
CUOMO: Now, little interesting color there. That's Jay Sekulow, OK? He was picked for reasons of his comfort, his flamboyance, the trust that the President has in him.
Remember, Sekulow was part of the team with Ms. Raskin, who's also on this team that convinced this President that if he sat down across from one of Mueller's investigators, it would be a huge mistake. So, there's trust because that was probably the best legal advice he's ever gotten in his life.
But in terms of the connection between the White House and the defense, Hogan Gidley, a member of the Press Secretary staff was standing right behind him in that press conference. They are in lockstep, as should be with the lawyers.
Should it be like that with the GOP Senators, with the Senate Majority leader? Now, that's a very different question, especially, when remember, not only is this the first time we've done this with a first-term President, right, who has to run again during this process.
It's the first time we have seen a Party try one of its own. When it was Clinton, the Republicans were in control. With Trump, the Republicans are in control. And that is obviously having a huge influence.
So, in terms of where we are, Mike, when - when you look at this, his thing is "It's all about this, all about this," which, by the way, I've argued from the beginning, boy, are they betting on people not reading this.
They keep saying "Read the transcript." If you just read through the summary of the transcript, there's plenty in here that makes you think it was imperfect.
How does that work as a defense? How is it holding up under scrutiny?
ISIKOFF: You know, I've said all along that this is Watergate in reverse. In Watergate, you had a year-and-a-half investigations that led to the smoking-gun tape.
We have the smoking gun from the get-go, from the start with this, the transcript. It's clear. He's bringing up Biden, you know, and in - demanding or asking for investigations right from the start.
That was the strongest piece of evidence that the Democrats have had. They had it from the start. They've filled in a lot of blanks in it. But nothing that they've come up with trumps how strong and how damning the transcript is.
The fact is, though, it's been out there, and it clearly has not persuaded Republican Senators--
ISIKOFF: --up till now. So, whether it's going to (OFF-MIKE).
CUOMO: Jim, two questions for you. Jim Baker is with us, obviously, of FBI fame, always a friend of the show, always very helpful. Thank you for being with us in such a historic occasion.
First, the - the decision not to charge bribery, to do abuse of power, and then include a bribery analysis as by way of explanation, do you think that was the right move with the - the conflation of law and politics necessary for this process?
JIM BAKER, FORMER FBI GENERAL COUNSEL, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL SECURITY & CYBERSECURITY, R STREET INSTITUTE: Is it the right move? That's a great question.
I think the answer is no, it probably was not a great move because it opened up a - a set of legal arguments for the President's team to make to the Senate that, at the end of the day, I'm not persuaded by them, but they - they sound like they might work in this context.
And they might give the Senators something to lean on, you know, this idea that - that a crime was not committed somehow, even though you don't need that to - to impeach and remove the President. But it did open a door that I think, upon reflection they might have been able to close had they phrased that slightly differently. That said, I mean, there is language in the - in the articles that clearly can be read to mean that there was bribery afoot here.
And so, you know, but, again, I think it - it did open a door that I think the President's team is going to really push on when it's their turn to talk.
CUOMO: Yes. Jim, thank you.
Karen, real quickly, just in case it - Susan, sorry. Susan, just in case, Manu Raju is gone. Help me with this, Susan.
The idea of if it turns out 50-50, if it turns out 50-50 on witnesses, what happens, because the VP can't vote as the President of the Senate. Can the Chief Justice vote? I mean, what do they do if it's 50-50?
GLASSER: Yes, look, I think, he, as the Presiding Officer, presumably, he would have that ability.
Not only that, there is a lot of curiosity. There is presumably such a strong interest in the Constitution in allowing the Senate and the House to exercise their constitutional power to impeach and try the President.
You know, you could imagine that Roberts might feel there is a strong case. A lot of people would be fascinated. As you know, Chief Justice Rehnquist did not play a substantive role in Bill Clinton's trial 21 years ago. So far, you know--
CUOMO: He was playing in poker.
GLASSER: Exactly. So far, it caused a great stir when Chief Justice Roberts, last night, reproved both sides to - to get their act together and not be so inflammatory and partisan. But that's hardly a substantive intervention in the case.
That would be making, you know, basically constitutional history--
CUOMO: It's interesting.
GLASSER: --were he to play a substantive role in this. I - I think that the, to me, the House Managers really were pitching at those undecided Republican Senators today, in trying to--
GLASSER: --make the appeal for witnesses. I thought that's what their case was for today.
CUOMO: Well we'll see. We keep talking about it and it'll be interesting if it winds up 50-50, then what happens.