Return to Transcripts main page


Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) Discusses Impeachment, John Bolton Bombshell, Need for Witnesses; Shaquille O'Neal Opens Up on Kobe Bryant; NYT: Bolton Was Concerned Trump Granted Favors to Autocrats; Trump Attorney Compares Trump Actions to Obama Asking Russia to "Give Me Space" Ahead of Re-election. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired January 28, 2020 - 11:30   ET




DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage of the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump. I'm Dana Bash, on Capitol Hill.

I'm joined now by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, of Virginia.

Thank you so much for joining me.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Dana, glad to.

BASH: Just a couple of quick things that are bubbling in these hallways as we have been talking this morning.

First of all, Mitt Romney told my colleague, Manu Raju, he would be -- he thinks it would be fair if there are witnesses, to have a Republican called witness and a Democratic witness. What is your response to that?

KAINE: I don't disagree with that. But, Dana, we have a process, file a motion for a witness, and with 51 gets the witness.

It shouldn't be a deal like one for one. If you want a witness, the Republicans could have filed motions for witnesses last week. I hope they will say we need witnesses and documents in a trial. Every trial has them.

Them they should file who they want and we file who we want and then, hopefully, we'll get witnesses and documents.

BASH: Because the way that it works is there are -- you were saying, there are votes. You have to vote on presumably every witness.

KAINE: Absolutely.

BASH: Unless there's a package deal what Romney is saying. You're saying Democrats won't go for -- KAINE: I don't think so. If they think witnesses are necessary, I

agree with them. That's positive. You think witnesses will make this a fair trial, great. You put down the witnesses you want, we'll put the ones in we want, we'll have a vote.


And then there's rules. The witnesses are deposed. In the depositions, the parties can object, if either irrelevant are hearsay, stuff is not admissible. The chief justice can review the transcript and strike out the portions that shouldn't be made available to the Senators. And then we get the depositions and, hopefully, live testimony within bounds.

But they always had the ability to seek witnesses. And maybe they're finally realizing if this was a trial in traffic court, we would have witnesses or documents. An impeachment of a president should be conducted not at a lower standard but a higher standard.

BASH: Under the scenario you pointed out, if the Republicans want Hunter Biden, for example, they have the votes in theory. They have 53 Republican Senators. They only need 51.

KAINE: They can decide who they think is fair. They have the votes. All they need is 51 and they get the witness.

Again, the witness testimony is still subject to rules about relevancy, et cetera. But all that gets worked out as they're being deposed and the material presented to the Senators is only the material probative on the impeachment case.

BASH: Let's talk about John Bolton. Senator Lankford, of Oklahoma, has an idea to take the manuscript that the publisher clearly has, -- they have given it to the NSC, the "New York Times" has seen it as well -- to bring it to the Senators, have the Senators be able to read John Bolton's book manuscript in a classified setting. Lindsey Graham signed on to that, too.

What is your sense?

KAINE: Necessary, not sufficient. There's no substitution for somebody being under oath. A manuscript isn't written under oath. I want somebody under oath.

As the White House counsel has argued two days in a row, the greatest engine for the discovery of truth is cross examination. Both sides should have the ability to examine and cross examine what John Bolton said.

Would I like to read the manuscript? I sure would. It would prepare me to have better questions for the witness. But the witness needs to appear and to be under oath.

BASH: What about the White House argument, which they're making, I can tell you, as we speak, among other arguments they're making to Republican Senators in the hopes of stopping this witness train from leaving the station, saying this is just going to take so long, it is going to end up in court, and this whole process will be protracted.

KAINE: The oath we took said we will do impartial justice. Didn't say we'll do expedited justice. Didn't say we'll do drive by or drive through justice. It said we'll do impartial justice.

You know my background. I tried cases for 17 years, cases from traffic court to the U.S. Supreme Court. I never had a case where there weren't witnesses and documents. You have to have those if you're going to be true to your oath to do impartial justice.

When I see the White House counsel making really passionate arguments on the floor -- and there's some good lawyers -- but they're telling us, but of course, you can't look at the documents or witnesses. Is makes me like, wait a minute, is that because you're confident of your case or are you telling me things that you know, when I look at the witnesses and documents, they'll be undermined?

I think they're making a case but they don't want us to see the real evidence because the evidence would undermine their case.

BASH: I want to ask you about the big picture, which is the impeachment, the conviction, potentially.

KAINE: Right.

BASH: Although it is farfetched right now, given the numbers, of a president.

What Alan Dershowitz said last night, even specifically on this Bolton issue, was that if -- even if everything that Bolton said is true, he had a conversation with the president about this quid pro quo, that's not impeachable.

KAINE: So, first, I don't want anybody, no matter where they teach law school, to tell me what is relevant to my determination. I'm a U.S. Senator, I'm the one who gets to --


BASH: Did he offend you?

KAINE: It wasn't offensive. He was making an argument, and in an appropriate way, but don't tell me what I should think is relevant. I'm the Senator. You run for the Senate if you want to make that determination. Don't tell me what I think is relevant.

No, he was raising a point that is a good point. I think this is the point that both sides have to grapple with. Impeachment is about three things. What are the facts? Most of the facts are agreed to or not challenged. Do the facts equal the two charges, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress? They generally do.

But do they meet it at such a high level so that it's a high crime and misdemeanor that warrants removal from office? That was probably the real point that Dershowitz was making. He lost me when he says, you don't need to look at the evidence. Don't tell me that. The point he was making is, you have to make sure that it is not a low crime or misdemeanor, but a high crime and misdemeanor because removal is serious. I get that. I think both sides -- that's why we have to be impartial jurors and grabble with the third question.

BASH: Senator, thank you.

KAINE: Absolutely.

BASH; Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

KAINE: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: We're going to take a quick break. We have a lot more of our coverage coming up, including an interview with Senator Lankford about his proposal that I just talked to Senator Kaine about for the Senators to read the Bolton manuscript.


Stay with us.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Basketball fans around the world are still mourning the loss of Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the helicopter crash that killed him and eight other people, including his young daughter.


Bryant was beloved for his skill and love of the game. Today, the Lakers and Clippers agreed to postpone their scheduled game tonight to allow fans, players, to grieve.

TAPPER: And for the first time, we are now hearing from a man who, along with Bryant, formed one of the NBA's most iconic duos, Shaquille O'Neal. He and Bryant won three consecutive NBA championships together in L.A. Their disagreements on and off the court were well documented.

But now, heartbroken over the news of his former teammate's death, Shaq opened up about their relationship.


SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, FORMER NBA STAR: I'm not doing well. I'm sick. I'm just getting over the death of my sister. And I haven't been sleeping after Aisha's death because it is just, you know, not thinking about just the good times, but thinking about the times when I could have did something or I could have said something or I could have did something different or could have loved her more or I could have showed her more support. And the same thing hit when I found out this news. You know, I figured

somebody was playing around. Didn't want to believe it. And then everybody is calling me. Is that true? Is it true? So now I'm saying, please don't be true. Please don't be true. Please don't be true.

I'm watching and you get the confirmation. And sad enough, then you hear his daughter is with him. I didn't do anything. I haven't eaten. I haven't slept. I'm looking at all the tapes, but I'm sick right now.

And I know some idiot is going to bring up the relationship with me and Kobe had. Our relationship was that of brothers. When I saw Kobe and his daughters, loved them. He saw my kids, loved them. Look at my kids' tweet, Instagram, he talked to Shareef (ph) yesterday morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was checking in on your son, not an hour before his death.

O'NEAL: So all the stuff that is documented between us, never a dislike. Just, listen, this is what brothers do.

And, you know, the only thing that is sad to me is I'm not going to be there, he's not going to be here when he walks into the Hall of Fame.




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Former National Security Adviser John Bolton's possible testimony is the talk on Capitol Hill, especially following revelations that Bolton wrote in a new memoir that the president told him the hold on Ukraine was to start an investigation into Joe Biden.

That's the only bit of news coming from Bolton. According to the "New York Times," a person familiar with the manuscript says Bolton talked with Attorney General William Barr about fears that the president was cozying up to autocrats, granting personal favors to leaders in China and Turkey.

Joining me now if former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

Director, it may be obvious to some, but explain why would the president giving personal favors to foreign nations be a big deal if it had benefits for U.S. policy or for any reason?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: First, Anderson, what struck me about this, it appears to be very consistent with the pattern that the president has fallen of deference to autocrats in general.

If there were, for example, commercial or business interests in either case, either Turkey or China, well, that's -- again, it fits this general pattern of corruption. And what the other thing that was interesting to me about it,

Anderson, was that he spoke to the attorney general about it, not necessarily -- or at least what's been revealed so far, he spoke to the attorney general, not the secretary of state. So --


COOPER: Why is that significant to you?

CLAPPER: Well, I guess what it implied to me is that Bolton apparently thought that there was -- apparently thought there was perhaps a criminal concern here as opposed to a policy one.

It seemed to me if he were just concerned about it from a policy standpoint, he would have talked to the secretary of state rather than the attorney general.

COOPER: One of the president's attorneys made the case that he didn't do anything different from President Obama's time in office. I just want to play what they said.


ERIC HERSCHMANN, PRESIDENT TRUMP IMPEACHMENT ATTORNEY: President Obama solicited interference of a foreign government, Russia, in the 2012 United States presidential election.

He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the government of Russia to "give him space," quote, unquote, on missile defense that would benefit his re-election and influence the 2012 United States presidential election to his advantage.


COOPER: I wanted to give you a chance to respond to what you think about that argument.

CLAPPER: It strikes me as -- when I first heard about it, I didn't know what he was talking about. I wondered whether this was a reference to the on-mic exchange between President Obama and Medvedev, who I think then -- I guess he was the president then in 2012.

COOPER: Yes, that's right.


CLAPPER: To me, that's a real stretch to assert or allege that this somehow was soliciting Russian involvement in our election. I just don't get that connection. It's not -- it's not logical to me.

COOPER: Director James Clapper, always good talking to you. Appreciate it. Thank you.

CLAPPER: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: As the president's legal team prepares for their last day of

opening arguments, a warning from the White House that a vote to call witnesses could spark a, quote, "nasty court battle."

Stand by.