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Don Lemon Tonight
House Democrats Subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani; President Trump Wants To Know Whistleblower's Identity; Americans Divided On Whether To Remove Trump Or Not; Fact-Checking The President's Claims; Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) Is Interviewed About Rudy Giuliani, Mike Pompeo, President Trump, Whistleblower Complaint, Adam Schiff, And House Intelligence Committee; New CNN Poll Shows Support Growing For Impeachment; Jessye Norman, International Opera Star, Dies at 74. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired September 30, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
We've got five big headlines that we're going to cover in the hour ahead.
As the investigation into the Ukraine scandal heats up, House Democrats subpoena Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer for documents. So how deeply involved is Giuliani in this growing scandal? We're going to look at his ongoing role.
President Trump unleashing a blizzard of misleading and false statements related to the Ukraine scandal. We're going to fact check what he's saying.
As a House investigation pick up speed President Trump is trying to smear the whistleblower who's now tentatively scheduled to testify. We'll hear from a congressman who sits on both the intel and oversight committees.
And CNN has a brand-new poll on how Americans are feeling about the possible impeachment of the president. But the impeachment inquiry is a balancing act for the Democrats especially for freshmen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KENDRA HORN (D-OK): I think it's important that we take the time to do it deliberately and intentionally and thoughtfully. And then any decision that I think will be based on facts and the evidence that is presented.
REP. ANDY KIM (D-NJ): As long as I continue to show I'm doing this out of what's best for the people. About our national security. I hope that's something that people here can understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: We're going to get to our breaking news first tonight on the
Ukraine scandal. Joining me now for the big picture, Mr. Mark McKinnon, Susan Glasser, Evan McMullin as well. Good evening. Thank you all for joining us. I appreciate it.
Evan, you first. House Democrats have now subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani. This investigation is moving really incredibly fast. So many people close to the president have been named or tied to the scandal. You say that we're not just looking at a lawless president but a lawless enterprise? What do you mean by that?
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Look, I think early in the Trump presidency he was surrounded by what we used to call the adults in the room. John Kelly, H.R. McMaster, even Jeff Sessions. Mike Pompeo was considered one of them.
Those people are gone now. And we transition into another phase in which there were sort of acting officials in some of these positions. It was a little bit nebulous. You sort of assumed that, you know, there were people who wouldn't participate in some of Trump's worst excesses but maybe didn't have the gravitas to stand up to him either.
But now I think we've entered into a new phase the revelations of today especially but over the last week in which you see Pompeo now is participating in the July 25th phone call between President Trump and Zelensky, at least as a listener and not, you know, not doing anything about it.
So, you start to wonder, OK, what role is he playing? Is he participating himself, is he encouraging directly or indirectly the president's abuses, vis-a-vis, Ukraine, and using his official powers to try to push for election assistance?
You see Barr now going abroad meeting with our allies overseas putting pressure on them to assist in effort to undermine the findings of U.S. intelligence and U.S. law enforcement about the Russian attacks on the country in 2016.
And so, it's metastasizing this corruption. And where you have now people in these very senior positions who are fully participating in this abuse of power. And I think that's a new phase for us that is being confirmed by the news of today and this week.
LEMON: Basically, you're saying these are extraordinary times --
LEMON: To put it shorthand, to shorthand it. Mark McKinnon, you said the president's lawyer, why do you say the president's lawyer has to lawyer up right now? I mean, that's a sign of how bad times we're in.
MARK MCKINNON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, THE CIRCUS: Well, because he's being dragged in front of -- he's being subpoenaed. He's going before the committees.
LEMON: Didn't he kind of drag himself though in front of everything? MCKINNON: Sure, he did. Absolutely. And as Evan said, you have this
whole constellation of people around him now and the adults in the room have left including most recently John Bolton.
I'm really struck, Don, like I'm pulling back from this and trying to look at this at 50,000 feet. And the really crazy thing about all this is the president having dodged a $32 million investigation and the Mueller report rather than say OK great, we're going go on and govern this country, do some good stuff. Ask all his henchmen to go out and investigate the election that elected him. He didn't lose it. He won it.
And instead of like having Pompeo and Barr run the Justice Department and run foreign policy, go, you know, go to Australia, go meet with Ukrainian president. You know, go investigate these things.
And so, in this, it's in words of talking about treason and spies and conspiracy. Very Nixonian at a time when he should have been sort of free from that shackle to go ahead and govern and bring the country together.
LEMON: It makes no sense. That's what I said about this whole --
MCKINNON: And by the way, it's because of James Comey that Donald Trump was elected.
LEMON: That's right. Listen, a lot of it makes no sense. Even the whole Ukraine thing with Joe Biden and his son. If there's a prosecutor who is not doing his job, and who is not investigating who is not prosecuting, why put somebody in there who would have the possibility who would investigate you or prosecute -- prosecute you if --
MCKINNON: Well, that's the big lie.
LEMON: It makes no sense.
MCKINNON: That's the big lie that the Trump forces are trying to spin right now. That Biden was trying to get a prosecutor back up is one, he was getting a prosecutor that wasn't prosecuting his son off the case to get a prosecutor on the case who would -- who could --
LEMON: I've been saying since this came out. I mean, if you really, really think about it, it makes absolutely no sense. It would, the Bidens it would appear would be trying to do the exact opposite of what happened.
Susan, let's bring you in here. The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo that we're learning about. A sources telling CNN that he was on the July 25th call between President Trump and Ukraine's president. Pompeo was subpoenaed by three house committees last week. How much does he have to answer for?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, look, first of all, I think it's a really important and excellent point that Evan has made tonight. Which is to say that Donald Trump didn't do any of this all by himself.
He has been surrounded by people who have facilitated and enabled him to engage in this. I'm struck by the fact that so many people were aware in fact of President Trump and Rudy Giuliani's obsession with Ukraine. And I think that's what it was for months and months and months.
Remember, they forced out the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine months ago. And you know, we still don't know -- we know Rudy Giuliani was publicly attacking the Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch before she was forced out.
We know that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, didn't really do anything to defend her. Certainly, not publicly. What role did President Trump play, if it all, directly in this? His own son Donald Trump, Jr. was involved in it.
So again, it's been for months and months. And so, Pompeo knew about that. And I'm not surprised at all to learn that he was on the phone call. It seems to me that he was well aware. John Bolton was not on the phone call we've nor learned.
But clearly, he, as well was aware of the president and Giuliani's obsession with this. The fact that they were pursuing a debunked conspiracy theory. That is exactly what the former Trump homeland security adviser said publicly yesterday. That he told the president it was a debunked conspiracy theory.
So, you know, the president is surrounded by people who are helping him carry these things out and I think they are going to have to answer a lot of questions.
MCKINNON: I don't understand why Pompeo hasn't come out and volunteered that he was on the call and defend the president. I mean, why did -- why did he have to be outed that he was on the call?
LEMON: Why? You tell me.
MCKINNON: I mean, it seems like if you had nothing to hide and you thought it was a perfectly perfect call and you were the secretary of state say I was there.
MCKINNON: The president is right.
LEMON: Evan, CNN is learning tonight that President Trump pressed Australia's prime minister to help Attorney General Barr with looking into the origins of the Russia investigation. And it appears to have happened at Barr's suggestion.
You said that Barr is fully engaged in undermining the public's understanding of what happened in 2016. Why do you say that?
MCMULLIN: Well, he's going around meeting with our allies encouraging them to participate in this politically motivated investigation to again, undermine the findings of U.S. law enforcement intelligence.
Why is he about 2016, why is he doing that? I think the first goal of their effort, Barr and the president and Giuliani's effort in this regard is to keep Trump's base tethered to him to sow enough doubt in their minds that when they see this new damming information come in, they don't quite trust it as much.
Because, look, we heard this from Mueller. But now we've heard other information. Actually, it didn't play out the way it didn't happen the way Mueller said it did.
So, I think that's the first goal there. To try to hold onto that base. But I think there's also a broader, a broader desire there to sow enough doubt in the minds of Americans more broadly maybe some independents too about whether we can know the truth about foreign election interference.
I think they're -- I think Trump hopes to discourage Americans on that front so that, you know, we just conclude or enough of us conclude that we just can't for sure know the truth.
If that's the case it makes it easier for the president and his foreign backers to repeat 2016 in 2020.
LEMON: Interesting. Susan, listen, there's a new CNN poll, it says that 47 percent of Americans say President Trump should be removed from office, while 45 percent are opposed. The highest level of support for impeachment that we've seen in a CNN poll in a year.
And there are other polls that are out there beside -- that show that the numbers ticking up for people who support impeachment. How worried should the White House be right now?
GLASSER: Well, look, I have always felt that, you know, the polls would be lagging rather than leading indicators on this. And you know, they're reflecting a pretty dramatic change.
First of all, in the fact set we have an entire new investigation that didn't exist a week ago. We weren't sure that impeachment would go forward. Now it seems as though it's a near certainty that it will.
You know, the question obviously is how much hemorrhaging on the Republican side will there be. Democrats have remained pretty strongly against Trump. Both in terms of their overall disapproval of the president in public opinion polls and their support for impeachment.
So, the numbers in that CNN poll that I saw earlier have really gone up among republicans. Now they're still low. I think at something like 14 percent in that survey, Don. But to me, that's the number that I'll be watching to see whether there's increasing pressure on these Republican elected officials in both the House and the Senate to actually speak out.
Right now, it's a pretty deafening silence that we have heard from people who generally speaking have taken a moralistic tone towards other politicians accused of wrongdoing but have been very silent when it comes to Donald Trump.
LEMON: If I can just get -- just get a little bit more time with you, Mark, just for a second here if you can go quickly for me. You're out talking to folks, you're doing, you know, The Circus on Showtime. Is this reading at all? The impeachment?
MCKINNON: Yes. It's interesting. Even though the number is low among Republicans. It's doubled in just a few days which is interesting. By the way, that number doesn't just say let's support the process of impeachment. It says impeachment. That means removal from office.
LEMON: Not been great.
LEMON: They said impeachment.
MCKINNON: And so, I've talked to Republicans over the last few days and for the show on Sunday. And you can see them sort of, you know, man the ramparts with the talking points and trying different messages. But you can see behind the facade that it's a little different thing going on.
And, you know, as they're going to be with right until they're against him. And as soon as they see blood and the first sign of blood is those voters moving and especially Republicans. So, it's going to be there until they're not.
LEMON: In the business we call it green room talk. But for folks say in the green room but they don't say, necessarily say not on camera when the cameras are rolling.
Thank you all. I appreciate it. Fascinating conversation.
Rudy Giuliani claims that he was -- he has what he calls tape recordings on Ukraine. Is he bluffing? We have to discuss next.
LEMON: Rudy Giuliani seems to be right in the middle of President Trump's efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on his rivals. Now Democrats are demanding documents from Giuliani in three of his associates related to those efforts. The former New York City mayor has also been doing a media blitz. Tossing out a lot of irrelevant and contradictory information. And just weird conspiracy theories.
Let's discuss now with Laura Coates and Asha Rangappa. Conspiracy theories, is that a strong enough term for what he's saying? I don't know. You guys will have to tell me. Good evening to both of you. Laura, Giuliani said that it would be up to the president if he
testifies or not. Does the president have a claim of executive privilege here?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I don't think so. And here's why. Executive privilege is actually determined by trying to make sure the president of the United States has candor with his cabinet members to carry out his position as the head of the executive branch and the president.
Well, he doesn't seem to be working in that particular role for what was Rudy Giuliani, number one. Number two, it's not in service or getting advice as the president of the United States, rather as a candidate for presidency. And even in terms with attorney-client privilege, Don, there's not a whole lot to stand on here because Giuliani has already said he's not really working in a legal capacity. He's doing so for some other purpose.
And if that's the case, just because you and I are having a conversation or with Asha because we happen to be attorneys does not mean that everything you communicate with us is about attorney-client privilege.
And by the way, if Congress asks him to come in, it's compelled testimony nonetheless.
LEMON: Asha, who elected Giuliani or signed off on his appointment or to do, to be doing the business of the United States? Do you remember any of that?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I don't.
RANGAPPA: You know, he's been kind of deputized as inspector gadget or whatever he is.
LEMON: By Barney Fife.
RANGAPPA: You know, and I think that's one of the big questions, Don, is, you know, has he just gone rogue, has he been doing this kind of at the president's behest or has he been coordinating with either officials from the Department of State, or people at the Department of Justice, as the whistleblower complaint says that he has suggested. I mean, what is his role? What is he doing? Why is he there?
LEMON: Well, that's why I ask you because --
RANGAPPA: What is his point.
LEMON: -- when asked if he would testify, he says he's considering it and wonders if the White House would let him use video tapes and tape recordings. H showed screen grabs of what he said were texts with the State Department. I mean, do you think he's bluffing? If he does have such recordings, how would that impact things?
COATES: Well, I think --
LEMON: You can both have it.
RANGAPPA: Yes. Go ahead, Laura.
COATES: Please, please, Asha.
LEMON: Go ahead, Laura, go for it.
RANGAPPA: Making sense with Rudy --
COATES: We both had to pause.
RANGAPPA: Rudy is a --
COATES: Thinking in our minds like, yes, let's try to get in the mind of Rudy Giuliani. But let me just say, the notion here of if you have tapes, please. Because the track record of this particular attorney or personal lawyer of the president of the United States, if there are actually evidentiary support to show that he in fact is somebody who -- remember when the Logan Act and Michael Flynn was accused when back in --
COATES: -- when he first because -- first was in office or first was a member of the president's cabinet about doing the bidding on behalf of the U.S. without actually being a member of the government in some way. Remember way back then. Well, if there is evidence to support that number one, he is doing that, that there are people who are higher up than him that actually are in federal government that have sanctioned it. It's great to know about that.
And by the way, the reason that he actually is already giving this maybe in a see why mode -- but because he's done so, he's undermine his argument about saying I can't talk about other matters that may or may not be privilege. You've given us half, you've opened up the door, keep going.
LEMON: Giuliani has traveled to Warsaw. He's traveled to Madrid as well. He's met with multiple Ukrainian nationals. He claims to have coordinated with the State Department planned and cancelled a trip to Ukraine. Is he the lynchpin in this investigation, Asha?
RANGAPPA: I think he's one of the lynchpins. He, you now, like I said, he's definitely connected with potentially people from the State Department, potentially people from the Department of Justice, definitely to Donald Trump and to this phone call. But I think that Attorney General Barr is also a lynchpin and possibly
an even more consequential one because he has been acting in an official capacity. And has also been involved in some pretty big decisions.
For example, the OLC opinion not letting the whistleblower complaint make it to Congress. The decision to shut down any kind of further investigation into potential wrongdoing from that whistleblower complaint. And we also know now that he too has been flying around the world and meeting with people for, I guess, to look at things for Trump.
LEMON: I mean, Asha --
RANGAPPA: I'm sorry. I'm trying to --
LEMON: You're trying to be kind.
Listen, it's incredible that the president is threatening the whistleblower. Trying to convince people that the whistleblower is some kind of spy. I mean, but let's remember, whistleblowing is not only legal, it is protected. That's for Asha again.
RANGAPPA: Yes. I mean, this is clearly -- this is the entire point of a whistleblower statute, is to provide a legal mechanism for people who see wrongdoing in the government. In this case, in the intelligence community, to report that misconduct or wrongdoing or violations of law and to remain protected because of the repercussions that such reporting can have on their position and also to protect them from retaliation.
And so, basically, what you have is the president now, you know, going on national television and saying that he wants to find out who this person is and retaliate which is in contravention of the law.
LEMON: Laura, listen, I have to go. You know how it is to sit here. Just quickly, is it -- it's obviously for -- it's unprecedented for a president then to be doing this. Is there any sort of recourse from the whistleblower from the attorney to stop the president from doing this?
COATES: Well, really, it's a political recourse in terms of the president of the United States acting in way that is an abuse of power. Because that ultimately is what they're going to be accusing him of --
COATES: -- if he were to undermine the anonymity.
LEMON: All right.
COATES: It's called impeachment.
LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
LEMON: As a scandal surrounding the Trump administration grow the president and his supporters are throwing around plenty of wild claims trying to muddy the waters around the impeachment inquiry. So, can we do some fact checking please?
Daniel Dale is here, CNN's own. Thank you, sir for joining us. In a tweet today the president repeats a false charge that whistleblower rules were changed just before the whistleblower complaint about the Ukraine call was filed. I heard all weekend his people saying the same thing. Where does that claim come from?
DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: This came from an article on the conservative web site the Federalist. And the article was just wrong. I don't need to get too deep into it. Basically, the theory was that the rules were changed from a rule that required firsthand direct knowledge of an allegation to a new rule that allowed secondhand knowledge indirect information.
In fact, the rule was never changed. You never had to have firsthand knowledge. You were always allowed to give information you heard from others so nothing changed. And the article was based on a misunderstanding of a document that wasn't properly explained.
LEMON: Yes. And they say it with vigor and emphatically and --
DALE: They do.
LEMON: -- they're wrong. Daniel, the president and his defenders say Biden inappropriately used his influence as vice president and called for the firing of a prosecutor they claim was investigating his son. Who else was calling for that Ukrainian firing? And why?
DALE: So, basically, the western world was. The entire Obama administration including quite vociferously the ambassador to Ukraine at that time, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and a bunch of others.
And the reason was that this prosecutor, Viktor Shokin was widely seen as unwilling to prosecute any kind of elite corruption. In fact, he was accused by some of being corrupt himself. And in this case involving a natural gas company in Ukraine for which Hunter Biden sat on the board, he was accused even in that case of failing to investigate properly.
So I think you can make an argument that Vice President Biden intervening to try to get that guy fired actually made it more likely that the company would be investigated rather than less likely as Biden's critics are alleging.
LEMON: Listen, Daniel. Ever since House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff paraphrased and added some analysis to Trump's Ukraine call transcript that occurring with the acting DNI, he has become the president's target on Twitter.
Just today, he said this, "Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a fake and terrible statement pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian president, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people. It bore no relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for treason?" Fact check this for us, please.
DALE: I did a fact check of what Schiff said. I said that what he said was confusing. It was a confusing paraphrase. I think Trump can make a fair argument that it was even misleading. But it's not illegal. In fact, the Constitution has a whole clause that basically says you can say whatever you want in the House and the Senate or in committees of the House and the Senate.
It is not illegal much less treason. You know, we have seen over and over the president alleged treason for things that are just not even close. He is just making up his own definition of a word that has an actual specific meaning in the Constitution.
LEMON: This doesn't really sound like Trump. It bore no relationship to what I did. It sounds like someone either helped him. I bet someone else wrote it for him.
DALE: Who knows?
LEMON: Yeah, it doesn't sound like him. Thank you. We'll be right back.
DALE: Thank you.
LEMON: The House Intel Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committee subpoenaing President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, for documents, texts messages, phone records or any other communication related to Ukraine.
Giuliani responding to the subpoena tonight tweeting, and I quote here, I have received a subpoena signed only by Democrat chairs who prejudged this case. It raises significant issues concerning legitimacy and constitutional and legal issues including inter alia, attorney client, and other privileges. It will be given appropriate consideration.
So let's discuss. Joining me now is Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat on the House Intel and Oversight Committee. Good evening. Interesting.
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Good evening.
LEMON: Doesn't sound like he's going to comply. I mean, the White House stonewalled every attempt to force cooperation. So, what are you going to do if Rudy Giuliani refuses to turn over those documents?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think we'll have to pursue different remedies potentially including contempt as well as other potential avenues but I have to say that Rudy Giuliani, when he talk about attorney-client privilege, you know, doesn't mind breaking attorney-client privilege whenever he talks about his conversations with the president, especially about Ukraine which he has done on TV several times.
LEMON: Yeah. Well, he told ABC News that he would not testify if called, then he said that it would be up to the president. How do you overcome executive privilege if it does come to that?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, you know, executive privilege can never shield misconduct. And what were -- what is being alleged here in the complaint is basically a scheme of misconduct involving Rudy Giuliani and President Trump, where they tried to seek assistance from the Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 elections for the personal political gain of Donald Trump at the expense of our national security. And therefore, I don't think an assertion of executive privilege would shield that type of misconduct.
LEMON: In his many interviews, Giuliani talks in circles, he contradicts himself.
LEMON: He throws out all sorts of diversions and distractions. If he does come before the committee, how do you keep it from becoming a circus?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, you know, it's basically one step at a time right now, Don. We have asked for his documents. We'll then talk to his associates and then decide whether to bring him in at that point. I'm not sure that Chairman Schiff has made a decision on that. I really want to defer to his good judgment on that. However, it is true that Rudy Giuliani likes to have a public forum for whatever he has to say.
LEMON: CNN is reporting, congressman, tonight that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the July 25th phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. That report seems to contradict what Pompeo told ABC News. This is just over a week ago. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: What do you know about those conversations?
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: So, you just gave me a report about I.C. whistleblower complaint, none of which I have seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: It seemed like an artful dodge there. He didn't need to read the report to know if he was on the call. Do you think he straight up lied?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I don't know. But there is a press report today that Mr. Pompeo was on the call and maybe even associate of his.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Acting Director of National Intelligence Maguire told me in my questioning that more than a dozen officials were on that call and he thinks that they all took notes. We'll quickly know whether or not Pompeo was on the call. But if he was, I don't understand what he was doing just sitting there, watching as the president was compromising our national security --
KRISHNAMOORTHI: -- by trying to have another power interfere in our elections and at the same time hurting a very vulnerable ally and trying to coerce them with withholding aid. Remember, the State Department in part administers aid to other countries including the Ukraine, so Mr. Pompeo would know exactly why that aid was withheld in the days and weeks leading up to that phone call.
LEMON: Adam Schiff who is the House Intel chairman, confirming that the whistleblower is tentatively scheduled to testify before the committee as the president continues to attack and smear that individual. Watch this and then we will discuss.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Mr. President, do you now know who the whistleblower is?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're trying to find out about a whistleblower. When you have a whistleblower that reports things that were incorrect --
LEMON: I mean, it really is just unbelievable. What is the House Intel doing to make sure that this whistleblower will not be put in danger by the president or by anyone else as a matter of fact?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you for asking that question. That's a top of mind concern for us on the Intelligence Committee. We have to protect this whistleblower so we're trying to make arrangements with the director of National Intelligence to be able to elicit his testimony in a way where he can remain anonymous.
The director of National Intelligence, Mr. Maguire, as I mentioned before, came before us last week and he pledged that he would do everything to protect the whistleblower.
That's extremely important, especially in the case of a president who has called him a political hack, has said that he and his associates are likened to spies, and you know, where he appears to want to retaliate against the whistleblower. So we need to talk to him ASAP and at the same time we have to help protect his identity.
LEMON: Congressman Krishnamoorthi, thank you for your time.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you.
LEMON: Support for impeaching President Trump rising among independents and Republicans but there are some signs Democrats have a delicate balancing act moving forward.
LEMON: CNN has a brand new poll on how Americans feel about impeachment. I want to look at the numbers with Neera Tanden, Alice Stewart, and Tara Setmayer. The gang is all here.
Hello, one and all.
Tara, I'm going to start with you.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.
LEMON: Let's start with some news that the House of Representatives argued in a new court filing today, that it needs information from the secret grand jury used in Robert Mueller's investigation to help in the current impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, and it hints that the president may have been interested in more help from foreigners in the 2016 presidential election than has been previously confirmed. Is -- this is just the beginning, isn't it?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is. I mean, every day, something else -- the amount of information that's coming out -- the dam is breaking. And none of it is good for the president, none of it. If you look at the way that Republicans have been reacting, they have been arguing process. They have been throwing out conspiracy theories, flat out lying in some cases. They're not really speaking to the substance of what's going on here.
The bottom line is the president of the United States tried to get help from a foreign government to benefit his reelection campaign, period. He withheld aid in order to do it. Now we see that there's a pattern developing. And then they covered it up because they didn't want people to know. Because White House officials were so alarmed, they put it on a secret server.
This is a terrible fact pattern for the president of the United States and every elected Republican should be horrified by this. His reaction now retweeting about civil wars and treason and everything else is something else that Republicans should be horrified about. And yet they remain silent. So, Democrats have a good hand here. I hope that they don't blow it.
LEMON: Boy, you said a lot.
NEERA TANDEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR FOR HILLARY CLINTON: Me, too.
LEMON: I hope they do. Let's go on. I want to talk about the polling and everyone can get their thoughts in. Let's see, Neera. Let's look at this latest CNN poll.
LEMON: Forty-nine percent of Americans believe that congressional Democrats are in favor of impeachment because they believe President Trump committed an impeachable offense. One-third, which is 38 percent, believed Democrats are just out to get Trump at all costs. Is that a warning for Democrats not to overplay the hands, sort of what Tara said, don't blow it?
TANDEN: You know, I if you look at the polling on this, I actually think this polling and other polling shows the views on impeachment, particularly an impeachment inquiry which is a question in front of us, has strong majority support.
What I noted about that poll is the president has a pretty significant base of supporters that listen to him on issues that really does demonstrate -- 38 percent is very far from the majority.
TANDEN: Support for an impeachment inquiry was in the 30s just 10 days two weeks ago. It is now at 55 percent, 56 percent. And most importantly and most worrying for the president, 25 percent to 30 percent of Republicans support an impeachment inquiry, which is the question in front of us today.
That is before we get all the facts. After the facts, the numbers on impeachment itself may grow amongst Republicans, and I think that is a deep worry for the White House.
LEMON: Well, Alice wants facts. As a matter of fact, she wrote in a CNN op-ed that Adam Schiff will become the boy who cried wolf if nothing materializes from the whistleblower complaint. But the whistleblower has already -- Alice, has already been proven right on at least three counts: The president is strong on Ukraine's president, the record of the call was moved to a high security server, and calls with other world leaders, Putin, MBS were hidden.
LEMON: I mean he's proven credible as the I.G. said.
STEWART: Look, I think the substance of the phone call that the president had with the Ukrainian leader, it was inappropriate, it was certain ill advised, but that call in and of itself in my view and many others, it is not an impeachable act and that certainly will be debated and can be discussed as we get further information.
When we have a whistleblower report that is -- it is something that is credible based on the nature of the report, how it was laid out, the way it was written, using legal counsel to avoid any kind of legal scrutiny. But we still have a lot of hearsay evidence, second-hand information, and news that is based on news accounts. That would never be admissible in a court of law and it should not be the cornerstone of an impeachment inquiry.
However, that being said, when we had a week ago the public sentiment, two-thirds against impeachment and now the numbers, the CNN poll virtually half and half for impeachment, and NPR-Marist poll just the other day half and half for impeachment inquiry, that is not good. Those are not the way the numbers should be going if you're in support of keeping the president where he is.
But we do need to get more information. I do expect we should hear from the whistleblower. But any attempt by the Democrats to get ahead of themselves and set expectations that they cannot meet, that will completely backfire. And the problem is they're taking Joe Biden down in the process because he is going to have to answer for what he did with Ukraine as we move further in this.
SETMAYER: He didn't do anything with Ukraine. He didn't do anything with Ukraine. He was following what the official U.S. government position was, what the position of the IMF was, what the position of our western allies was at the time. Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor in Ukraine, was corrupt because he was not investigating corruption. He was not doing anything to benefit his son.
You can have an argument about what his son was doing on those boards, but Joe Biden did absolutely nothing wrong. So I hope that Democrats start to continue to stop this narrative about oh, Joe Biden's got some kind of corruption going on. There is zero. That is a conspiracy theory falsehood --
LEMON: Well --
SETMAYER: -- that was being pushed --
TANDEN: And Joe Biden --
SETMAYER: -- by Rudy Giuliani.
LEMON: OK. But here's the thing that no one has said. I've been saying this. I think (INAUDIBLE) tried to say it yesterday, but the guy -- I forgot who was -- just talking all over him.
SETMAYER: Oh, Jim Jordan.
LEMON: Jim Jordan.
TANDEN: Jim Jordan. SETMAYER: Yeah.
LEMON: Why on earth would Joe Biden call for someone to step down, who was not prosecuting people --
LEMON: Who was not following up on investigation --
LEMON: -- if he wanted to be not followed up on? Why would you put someone in there who might -- if you were doing something wrong, who might prosecute you?
SETMAYER: Right. They wanted someone to prosecute --
LEMON: It makes absolutely no sense. OK. Neera, I've got less than a minute. The same CNN poll shows that -- sorry. Go on.
TANDEN: Sorry. Go ahead.
LEMON: Unlike the Mueller report -- let's do this one. Unlike the Mueller report, Democrats are moving quickly -- you know, Mueller, who was stone cold silent here. The inspector general is out defending the whistleblower.
SETMAYER: Thank God.
LEMON: Saying that his information wasn't just second-hand as the president and his allies say. Have Democrats learned valuable lessons from the Mueller investigation because it wasn't just second-hand? And guess what, a whistleblower, it allows second-hand information if so, and it also allows hearsay --
SETMAYER: And it was investigated.
LEMON: Go on, Neera.
TANDEN: Let me just also say -- let me just say about this. We are in an impeachment inquiry. That is akin to a grand jury process where hearsay and other things are allowed. But let's be clear about this. What's really important is that this process will move quickly and aggressively, and I think that we've seen with Schiff is that he's going to go to everyone who has information, including Rudy Giuliani. And if they don't actually participate --
LEMON: We are out of time.
TANDEN: -- then they will actually --
SETMAYER: They have the road map in front of them.
LEMON: Thank you all. I've got to go. I appreciate it. STEWART: Inquiry and it is not an --
LEMON: I'll see you next time. Thank you very much.
STEWART: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Listen. There's some sad news tonight in the opera world that we must report to you.
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LEMON: American soprano Jessye Norman, an international star, died today here in New York City. "The New York Times" reports that Norman's family said she died of complications from a spinal cord injury she suffered in 2015. Jessye Norman is celebrated for her sumptuous voice. She was a multiple Grammy Award winner during a career that spanned half a century. She was 74 years old.
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