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Don Lemon Tonight

Newly-Released Recording Includes Trump Demanding Firing of Yovanovitch; Trump's Defense Team Repeats Conspiracy FBI Debunked; NPR Reporter: Pompeo Shouted, Cursed Over Ukraine Questions. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 25, 2020 - 22:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: The veterans who fought on wars demands an apology for that disrespect. The military and its supporters are trying to highlight the gravity of traumatic brain injuries. Will an apology come? Be on the lookout for that.

That's all for us tonight. Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT, D Lemon, now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: What a time to be alive. And when you hear things like that and you just compare that to the great oratory that we heard last night from Adam Schiff, and it makes you long for the time when we had people who were in leadership who are contemplative, who thought about what they were going to say, who could actually form sentences and were able to put thoughts together that would make you feel safe and feel a sense and a degree of comfort when the American people needed to hear comfort.

If you don't know what's happening with our troops, all you have to do is say what a horrible thing that happened to our troops, we are sorry that they had to be put in that position. I am checking on their conditions and we wish them the very best, and as soon as I get the adequate and right information, I will update the American people as soon as possible, because we are keeping them at the top of our thoughts and prayers, and we want them to be in the best condition as possible. How easy was that?

CUOMO: It's real easy if you're not worried about what that answer means to you. See, his sole guiding principle is how do I look in this. If these people are hurt because of the bombs in Iran, then that means I was supposed to do something. That looks bad for me, so let me just deny they're hurt and then when he gets asked that question, well, you don't think traumatic brain injury is serious? Nah. Why? Because he's thinking about himself.

Not all the men and women who have to deal with them and all the work of people trying to destigmatize it as no big deal.

LEMON: Let me just put it here. All those things I said are true. The men -- our men and women in uniform, they do a hell of a job, and we are thinking about them, and we want them to be well, and their safety comes first. So, I'll leave it there and I'll say again, what a time to be alive with what's happening in our country right now. Well see --

CUOMO: You know what they want the most? We always hear from them, right, why they fought? The truth.

LEMON: The truth.

CUOMO: The truth from our leaders.


CUOMO: Have a good show, bud.

LEMON: Thank you. Appreciate it.

This is CNN TONIGHT, I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.

Well, we have news about the issue at heart at the heart of the impeachment trial. The newly released recording of the president. THE president at a private dinner in 2018 with donors, donors including Rudy Giuliani, associates, his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, in a moment that may be when the president first begins to think about how withholding aid would give him leverage over Ukraine. Listen.


LEV PARNAS, GIULIANI ASSOCIATE: They have everything there. They're just right now waiting for your support a little bit to make sure, because obviously if they go on their own, Russia won't let them do it because they'll cut off a lot of their revenue.

TRUMP: How long would they last in a fight with Russia?


PARNAS: I don't think very long. Without us, not very long.

TRUMP: Without us?

PARNAS: Without us, no. But Russia also, keep in mind talks a big game, but they're not ready to -- he's not -- they don't -- they're not ready to play.


LEMON: So if you were listening, if you're listening, the key exchange there in a few -- maybe you heard it, maybe you didn't, but I will just talk it. Here's the key exchange there. The president asking how long Ukraine would last in a fight with Russia, and the man believed to be Parnas answering, not very long without U.S. aid.

Only about a minute later there is this exchange about then Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Listen again.


PARNAS: She's basically walking around telling everybody, wait, he's going to get impeached, just wait. It's incredible. It's like --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She'll be gone tomorrow.

PARNAS: Yes, well --

TRUMP: What's her name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't remember the name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So one of the things that will be, now that we have a secretary of state that's been sworn in --

TRUMP: Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK?


TRUMP: Do it.


LEMON: Now, I need to point this out because this has been used by Trump apologists -- this has been a Trump apologist talking point. I should point out that the ambassador herself has denied ever disparaging the president, denied it under oath, calling it a smear campaign against her, and as far as the president's claim he doesn't know Parnas and Fruman. Well, that claim he has repeated over and over, it is clearly not true.

The recording released by Parnas' lawyer just hours after the president's team began their impeachment defense today. Joseph Bondy saying he made it, quote -- made it public, quote, in an effort to provide clarity to the American people and the Senate as to the need to conduct a fair trial with witnesses and evidence.


And with Team Trump beginning their opening arguments just as you'd expect, they seem to be speaking directly to an audience of one. One who was watching in the White House, and according to a Republican source, was extremely pleased, which is no surprise since it was almost as if they took their opening directly from the president's tweets. OK? So how many times have you seen him tweet I did nothing wrong?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAT CIPOLLONE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: We believe that when you hear the facts, and that's what we intend to cover today, the facts. You will find that the president did absolutely nothing wrong.


LEMON: A verbal tweet from him, same as the president. Well, the fact is, here's a fact, Democrats presented a whole lot of evidence. Nearly 24 hours worth of evidence that the president did do something wrong. That he abused the power of his office in an attempt to force Ukraine to announce investigations that would help his re-election effort. And obstructed Congress to try and cover it up.

Then there's another favorite of this president, no quid pro quo.


MIKE PURPURA, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: President Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that there was no quid pro quo and no pressure on them to review anything.


LEMON: No quid pro quo and no pressure, a toffer (ph). Now, it appears to be true that President Zelensky said there was no pressure on them, but you'd expect him to say he was under no pressure. He is dependent on the United States to help him fight deadly Russian aggression. So really it's in his best interest to agree with the president, right? He needs the aid, he needs the help. And as for the no quid pro quo claim, let's remember what Ambassador Gordon Sondland said about that.


GORDON SONDLAND, AMBASSADOR to the E.U.: Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.


LEMON: That's pretty clear. But it didn't stop the president's lawyers from trying to claim Ambassador Sondland doesn't know what he's talking about.


PURPURA: The ambassador's mistaken belief does not become true merely because he repeated it many times and apparently to many people.


LEMON: I should point out the ambassador didn't just say there was a quid pro quo, he repeated it under oath. And then there's one of the president's favorite tweets, read the transcript.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CIPOLLONE: They didn't talk a lot about the transcript of the call which I would submit is the best evidence of what happened on the call.


LEMON: Uh, actually, they did talk a lot about the transcript, the rough transcript. The transcript that includes President Trump saying, "I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with the whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike. I guess you have one of your wealthy people -- the server, they say Ukraine has it."

And this is really something. The president's legal team arguing this.


PURPURA: Not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else.


LEMON: Kind of sounds like they're arguing -- they're making the Democrats' argument for them. If you want witness testimony, call witnesses.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): They made a really compelling case for why the Senate should call witnesses and documents. They kept saying there are no eyewitness accounts, but there are people who have eyewitness accounts, the very four witnesses and the very four sets of documents that we have asked for.


LEMON: Well, we will find out sometime next week whether four Republicans will vote with Democrats to call witnesses and admit new evidence. We shall see.

I want to get to that newly released recording of the president at a private dinner back in 2018 talking about Ukraine. And joining me now, CNN's Sara Murray, Kaitlan Collins as well. They have been working all day and doing a heck of a job at this. Well, thank you so much for joining us, both of you.


I'm going to start with you Sara. Let's talk about this new tape, and then we're going to get to impeachment. We're getting new details about that recording where President Trump is heard demanding the firing of Ambassador Yovanovitch. What can you tell us about it?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You know, this is what we're going to play for you a portion of what is an almost 90- minute tape, and it is the president talking to a man he says he didn't even know, Lev Parnas, about efforts to fire then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Listen to what the President said.


PARNAS: The biggest problem there I think where we need to start is we've got to get rid of the ambassador. It's, she's still left over from the Clinton administration.

TRUMP: Where -- the ambassador? Where, of Ukraine?

PARNAS: Yes. She's basically walking around telling everybody, wait, he's going to get impeached, just wait. I mean, it's all -- it's incredible. It's like --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She'll be gone tomorrow.

PARNAS: Yes, well --

TRUMP: What's her name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't remember the name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So one of the things that will be, now, that we have a secretary of state that's been sworn in --

TRUMP: Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK?


TRUMP: Do it.


MURRAY: Get her out, take her out. Don, there are a couple of notable things there. One, how eagerly the president laughs up what Lev Parnas has to say about the then-ambassador to Ukraine. Two, that Marie Yovanovitch testified that she never said this about President Trump, that he was for sure to get impeached. And of course, three, the great irony that President Trump ended up impeached anyway.

LEMON: Kaitlan Collins, President Trump claims he doesn't know Lev Parnas, but now we have not just photos but we have a recording. What's the White House saying about these conversations now?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, when they were asked about this tape, initially, when we just had the transcript, we hadn't actually gotten that audio Sara just played, they said, well, the president is president and he has the right to pick whatever ambassadors he wants. And that's of course true. That is every administration the president normally picks their ambassadors. It can be whoever the president wants, but that raises a few questions. One being if the president did want his own ambassador to Ukraine, why didn't he fire her or remove Marie Yovanovitch when he first took office?

That recording was from spring of 2018. Of course, she was not removed until 2019, a year later after that tape had been recorded. So it really raises questions about exactly what was the campaign behind that. And you hear the president there, he doesn't even know what her name is. He's asking Lev Parnas, what is her name? He says he doesn't know.

But also it speaks to the larger picture of if you listen to more of that audio tape and as Sara said, it's really long, the president is asking him about Ukraine, about the energy they have, about how they would respond if they didn't have U.S. assistance, how easily Russia could defeat them. Really getting a lot of information about Ukraine from this random associate of Rudy Giuliani's who has since been indicted, when that's typically information a president would get from a national security adviser or the secretary of state or someone of that realm, not just someone at a donor dinner at the Trump hotel.

LEMON: Yes. I'm glad you mentioned that because we're going to play more of that tape coming up shortly on this program, so stick around, everyone. Be patient. We've got more of that coming.

Sara, so let's talk about impeachment now. When it comes to this impeachment trial, what is the latest on witnesses? Actually, the Republicans began their case today, does anyone think Democrats have the four votes that they need?

MURRAY: You know, look, there have been a couple Republicans who have indicated they would be interested in witnesses. Mitt Romney, of course is one of them, Susan Collins is another one. But I think that the sort of further we've gotten into this, the more you've seen people actually move away from that. And I think that this is a really hard place if you are sort of a moderate Republican to buck what Mitch McConnell obviously wants, which is to get this other with which what the president wants which is to get this over with. And it's the kind of thing where it's really hard to see them get to four people voting on witnesses if you don't have more than that.

You know, if there is something that happens in the next few days and suddenly creates a groundswell of senators clamoring for witnesses, if you can get five, if you can get six, you're in much safer territory. But to be the fourth person in that vote is an extremely difficult place to be. I have to imagine that that is on anybody's mind as they're considering this. You know, I think they all are listening to these proceedings or doing their interviews afterwards, they're trying to pretend like politics are not a part of this, but that's not the reality of here. Politics are a part of this, and everyone is thinking about that as they're making their decision about whether to vote for additional information. And I think that what we're learning in these new tapes that come out tonight and everything we've learned over the last couple of weeks is that there is a lot of information out there. There is a lot we still don't know.

LEMON: You guys are carrying the network today, so thank you very much. We appreciate it. And we're going to see you guys later. So, thanks for joining us. All right, we'll see you guys soon. We've got a lot more to come on that recording of the president. There's a lot more of that conversation pertaining to Ukraine and you're going to hear it next.



LEMON: More on that recording of President Trump at a dinner in 2018 talking with Lev Parnas, the indicted Giuliani associate, the president claims he doesn't know. I want to bring in now CNN Legal Analyst Anne Milgram, also John Dean who was Nixon White House Counsel, Global Affairs Analyst Max Boot, and Rob Astorino, a member of President Trump's -- the president's 2020 re-election advisory counsel. Good to have all of you on. Thank you so much, joining us on a Saturday night. This is a date. I guess it is.


LEMON: A date night, right. Friday night is actually date night and you were here with me on date night last night. So now I guess, you know, it's a thing.

So John, listen, the latest recording where you hear President Trump at this 2018 dinner, talking about Ukraine, talking about Marie Yovanovitch, the former Ukraine ambassador. Parnas' attorney saying there's even more recordings. How much of this new evidence is there out there we aren't even going to see in this trial?

DEAN: Apparently a lot. We know that Parnas has other recordings, his lawyer has said so. You know, it -- that's one of the risks the Senate is facing right now. They're going to have to -- they're going to try to push this through for a vote, and for the next year stuff will be dribbling out.


And it will change obviously the dynamics of what they voted on.

LEMON: Trump says that Ukrainians are great fighters and you hear him talk about the javelin missiles. And this is all happening in 2018. This was before we even -- you know what I mean, this all came to a head. Why is this happening then, Max?

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that's a great question. I think that's one of the things that we don't know the answer to. Why is it that Parnas was plotting with Trump even before he hooked up with Giuliani? I mean, at the very least that certainly shows that Trump was surprised, being disingenuous when he said he didn't know Parnas. I mean, here they are chatting. I mean, normally a president does not talk about who he's going to fire and hire, and, you know, how he's going to deal with foreign countries with people that he doesn't know. So clearly they have a relationship.

And this is yet another reason why it's a tragedy that we are not getting President Trump under oath because he really needs to testify and come clean. But that's one of the many things that is not happening as the Senate is so eager to proceed with the sham trial which Mitch McConnell, midnight Mitch, hopes to wrap up next week, even as new evidence is emerging.

LEMON: Well, I mean, this is about the president. We're not even getting people who are saying that they're willing to be subpoenaed.

BOOT: Right.


BOOT: Exactly. They're terrified to have John Bolton who is a Trumpite testify.

LEMON: Yes. Imagine though, I mean, if you're in a trial and you said, no, I don't want any witnesses in this trial.

ANNE MILGRAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That kind of like the case. I have to say like for me watching this, it's really hard to watch. I've tried a lot of cases in both state and federal court and there are always witnesses, there are always documents, and that's, you know, the defense has no obligation to put on anything.

LEMON: Maybe this will set a precedent in, you know, to a reasonable --

MILGRAM: It would be a bad --

LEMON: -- people will say --

MILGRAM: It would be a bad precedent.

ROB ASTORINO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You try a lot of cases but you would never have taken a case to trial unless it was complete, and that's what they said, it was complete.

LEMON: That's not true.

ASTORINO: And now they will --

LEMON: It's not discovery work.

ASTORINO: Yes, sure. You weren't going to go without --

LEMON: -- discovery works.

ASTORINO: -- a big question mark, right?

MILGRAM: But here's -- I mean, this is not a real trial, right? And we've talked a lot about I think, how it's different but, look, if this were a real criminal investigation, there would have been subpoenas issued, the president couldn't have blocked any of the documents or the witnesses.

ASTORINO: Totally different. MILGRAM: And so all those people would have been before the grand jury and it would all be being presented right now before the Senate if this were a real trial.

LEMON: But let me ask you --

ASTORINO: And Congress is not -- the executive branch is not subservient to the --

LEMON: But they're coequal branches of government.

ASTORINO: Exactly. But Congress doesn't have --

LEMON: And Congress also has.

ASTORINO: They have, and so does the president. And you're excluding that, that the president has said -- what if a cop shows up at somebody's house, and says I'm coming in your house. Whoa, whoa no, not unless I see a search warrant. Would the prosecutor charge that person obstruction of justice --

LEMON: OK. You're --

ASTORINO: -- because they have their right --

LEMON: -- you're speaking out of both sides of your mouth --

ASTORINO: No, I'm not.

LEMON: -- because you're saying this is not a --


LEMON: -- you're saying it's not a criminal trial, but then you're also talking about a cop --

MILGRAM: This is exactly what we heard today --


MILGRAM: -- what we heard today --

ASTORINO: He has rights.

MILGRAM: -- throughout the Senate was --

ASTORINO: He has rights.

MILGRAM: -- they haven't put forward all the evidence. They haven't met their burden of proof. You cannot have it both ways. It is either criminal --

ASTORINO: The House can have both ways.

MILGRAM: No, no --

ASTORINO: --that they're all set --

LEMON: Let her finish.

MILGRAM: The House and the Senate are -- it is exactly the same. The United States constitution gives the power to the House to impeach and the power to the Senate to try. They are both equal in being able to make up the rules of how they do this. Now, we -- there are rules of fundamental fairness, there are some precedent for investigations, not a lot for impeachment, but the idea that the House is bound by all these rules and the Senate is bound by none and can have a trial without witnesses is beyond belief, right.

And so I think --

ASTORINO: You just said it. They can do whatever they want. They make up the rules just as the House --

MILGRAM: But then you --

ASTORINO: -- made up their own rules to do it in secret.

MILGRAM: -- cannot say that there are any violations in the house process, right? If you want to say that this is a pure political process, and that there's absolutely, that there don't need to be witness, there doesn't -- there don't need to be fairness, and even that the president of United States can say, I don't honor this impeachment inquiry so I'm not giving you any evidence, that to me you just can't argue --

ASTORINO: They responded exactly to what the -- when the House demanded things they didn't just say no, we're not giving you anything --

LEMON: You're an attorney, right?

ASTORINO: -- they respond -- no, I'm not.


ASTORINO: I play one on TV.

LEMON: OK. So, you're not an attorney. Are you a prosecutor?



ASTORINO: But you know what, I have common sense --

LEMON: Were you an attorney?


ASTORINO: --and so does the American people.

LEMON: OK, OK. So then -- ASTORINO: But I did go to social studies and I did read up on the

constitution --


ASTORINO: -- and most of the American people understand this too --

DEAN: Look, I'm --

ASTORINO: -- that we have coequal branches of government, you're correct.

LEMON: Right.

ASTORINO: But everything that you're saying, the case you're making is, the president is subservient and he's not. He exerted the powers he has.

LEMON: Rob, he is subservient --

ASTORINO: He is not.

LEMON: -- to the American people. Yes, he is.

ASTORINO: Well, so is Congress.

LEMON: Yes, he's subservient to the American people. He works for the American people and in the sense he does work for the Congress --

ASTORINO: No, he don't --

LEMON: -- because he does have to answer to the Congress --

ASTORINO: Yes, he --

LEMON: -- under the --


LEMON: Yes, he does.

ASTORINO: No, he doesn't.

LEMON: Yes, he does.

MILGRAM: Look --

BOOT: They have to answer to the -- look, answer the constitution.


There were so many absurdities in that brief statement today from the Trump lawyers. But one of the most absurd was they were saying that this process is unconstitutional. It's in the constitution. The constitution itself -- ASTORINO: Obstruction of Congress because the president decided -- the

executive branch decided, no, we don't agree with what with what you're demanding, there's a process for that. And Congress said no, give it to us.

MILGRAM: The process is called impeachment and that's exactly where we are right now.

ASTORINO: The process is going to the courts --

LEMON: I don't understand, Rob, how you sit -- hold on. Hold on, please, please, please. Hold on, gentleman. John, you're next. I don't understand how you're sitting here arguing with someone who has studied the constitution at a law school and has also practiced it in a courtroom and is a prosecutor --

ASTORINO: This is a political process --

LEMON: -- and you're going to say to her and you're going to tell her --


LEMON: -- what she doesn't know and she's actually practiced it for years? It does not make sense.

ASTORINO: She might know the courtroom but we're not in a courtroom, are we not?

DEAN: But --

LEMON: Go ahead, John.

ASTORINO: You just said, right?

LEMON: Come on. Rob.

ASTORINO: This is --

LEMON: Go ahead.

ASTORINO: You're making the -- you're both making the case --

LEMON: Please, he haven't spoken yet. Go ahead.

ASTORINO: -- that Congress is --

LEMON: Please, Rob.

ASTORINO: -- superior to the president and they're not.

LEMON: Go ahead. Just -- hold on. They --

DEAN: The constitution says each of these bodies have sole power.

ASTORINO: Yes. DEAN: Sole power to investigate and impeach, sole power to try.


DEAN: They can make up any rules they want to.

ASTORINO: So the Senate's doing that.

DEAN: And the House did that. And --

ASTORINO: Right. What's the problem?

DEAN: -- so we're -- it is a constitutional proceeding.

ASTORINO: So if they don't want to have witnesses, what's the problem?

DEAN: But what's the public gets though that it's being short circuited.

ASTORINO: You just said they can make up whatever rules they want.

LEMON: No --

ASTORINO: The House decided to go --

LEMON: Rob, nobody is --

ASTORINO: -- in private.

LEMON: Rob, nobody is stopping them.


MILGRAM: OK. Wait, hold on.

LEMON: What they're saying is that the president cannot block the process. That is an obstruction --

ASTORINO: No, it's not.

LEMON: -- of the Congress.

ASTORINO: He's using his authority as well to say, I disagree --

LEMON: OK. Let somebody else talk, please.

ASTORINO: -- and there is a process --

LEMON: Let somebody else talk. Go on.

MILGRAM: So, two points that are, I think really important which is the first is that it is always been the case that the power of Congress is and the words of the Supreme Court, the power of Congress is at its zenith. It's at its highest point in impeachment. There is nothing else like this in the United States of America and this is constitutionally provided for. And again, you have a Department of Justice who has said the president can't be charged criminally. How we hold the president accountable is through this process.

The second thing, and I heard this today, and I've heard it repeatedly during the trial, and so let's just clear it up. The testimony that is received or the evidence that is received in something called the skiff is a secure place. When I was attorney general, I ran the criminal justice system in New Jersey, I was top secret cleared and beyond, and what you do is you go into this room, Republicans and Democrats go in it, there are never windows, there -- it is never open to the public, and this is where you see classified --

DEAN: It's not a bunker.

MILGRAM: It is not a bunker. There is nothing that can be further from the truth. So I think it's really important for whether --

ASTORINO: Should things leaks from there?

MILGRAM: -- it's Democrats or Republicans --

ASTORINO: Selectively?

MILGRAM: -- nothing should leave.

LEMON: Finish your point and then hold on. Just finish your point.

MILGRAM: It's really important that we understand. There's a lot of misinformation that's being pushed out, frankly, by the president's lawyers and others in a way that just it's not correct. And whether it's a Democratic or Republican president, we should all understand there's secure information, there's a way the government deals with it. Everybody has to play by the same rules.

BOOT: So, I mean, basically what you heard today from the president's lawyer and I think what you're hearing tonight, basically, is an attempt to deflect and distract from the actual core of the case, which is the president of the United States extorted a foreign country to help in his political campaign, and the president's lawyers and defenders are throwing up all this smoke about process questions, which are basically irrelevant to the heart of the matter, which what is we need to keep the focus on here.

LEMON: All right, I got to go. I got fact-check this. We're going to that right now after this break.



LEMON: President Trump's defense team starting their counter argument today after three days of detailed presentations from House Democrats. The president's team used about two hours of their time before adjourning until Monday. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone opening the defense argument by promising the senators this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CIPOLLONE: We believe that when you hear the facts, and that's what we intend to cover today, the facts. You will find that the president did absolutely nothing wrong.


LEMON: So did they get the facts right?

Joining me now, CNN's fact-checker extraordinaire Daniel Dale. Good evening, sir.

So the president's defenders repeating a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine that has been at the heart of the scandal. Listen.


PURPURA: President Trump then turned to corruption in the form of foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking a foreign leader to help get to the bottom of all forms of foreign interference in American presidential election.

JAY SEKULOW, OUTSIDE LEGAL COUNSEL FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Mr. Schiff and his colleagues repeatedly told you that the intelligence community assessment that Russia was acting alone responsible for the election interference, implying this debunked the idea there might be, you know, interference from other countries including Ukraine.


LEMON: So Daniel, the Intel community has debunked this, right?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: It has. I don't need to really fact-check it myself because FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, fact-checked it himself in an ABC interview in December and he said, we have no indication that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. We know that senators have been briefed by others in the Intel community and have been told, this is basically a Russian conspiracy operation to try to convince people that Ukraine is guilty of what Russia is actually guilty of.

So no, there's no apparent basis for this. They keep teasing the suggestion that they're going to have something as they present the rest of their argument. We'll see. But they certainly haven't presented it yet.


LEMON: The president's legal team also arguing today Ukraine didn't know the military aid was being held. Listen.


PURPURA: President Zelensky and high-ranking Ukrainian officials did not even know, did not even know the security assistance was paused until the end of August, over a month after the July 25 call. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What do we know about this?

DALE: Well, Don, this one's a bit murky. So we do have testimony from a variety of officials who said that the Ukrainians did not raise the issue of the aid freeze with them personally until at least the end of August, which is when Politico wrote about this. However, we also had testimony from Laura Cooper, a Pentagon official, who said that her office or the Department of Defense, received an e-mail from the State Department on July 25th, the very same day that the Trump/Zelensky call, in which they were told that the Ukrainian embassy in Washington was aware in some unknown way of the situation with the aid. And we had a deputy foreign minister in Ukraine tell the New York Times that indeed they were aware in July.

So we don't know for sure, but there's evidence to support both sides here.

LEMON: White House counsel Pat Cipollone also attacking the impeachment process here today. Here it is.


CIPOLLONE: If you were really confident in your position on the facts, why would you lock everybody out of it? From the president's side?


LEMON: That's just not true.

DALE: It's not true. So Trump lawyers were prohibited from the House Intelligence Committee, but Republican committee lawyers were allowed into those meetings. And then when the process moved to the House Judiciary Committee, the Trump team was explicitly formally invited, and they declined the invitation to participate there.

LEMON: The man who has his work cut out for him, Daniel Dale, our fact-checker. Thank you, Daniel. Appreciate it.

DALE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: An NPR reporter says the secretary of state shouted at her, in a profanity-laced tirade, after she asked him about Ukraine, and then tried to mapsplain her with a pop geography quiz. But it's the secretary's response today you really won't believe. That's next.



LEMON: A reporter says that the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, screamed obscenities at her in a tirade after an interview this week. In that interview, NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly pressed Pompeo over whether he owed former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch an apology.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I have defended every State Department official. We've built a great team, the team that works here is doing amazing work around the world.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, "ALL THINGS CONSIDERED" HOST, NPR: Sir, respectfully, where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?

POMPEO: I've defended every single person on this team. I've done what's right for every single person on this team.

KELLY: Can you point me towards your remarks where you have defended Marie Yovanovitch?

POMPEO: I've said all I'm going to say today, thank you. Thanks for the repeated opportunity to do so. I appreciate that.


LEMON: Well, Kelly then described exactly what happened after the interview when Secretary Pompeo called her back into his private living room at the State Department.


KELLY: I was taken to the secretary's private living room where he was waiting and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted. He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. He asked, do you think Americans care about Ukraine? He asked the F-word in that sentence and many others. He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes.

He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marked. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, people will hear about this. And then he turned and said he had things to do, and I thanked him again for his time and left.


LEMON: In an official statement, the secretary of state now says that Kelly lied to him and insinuates that she identified Bangladesh on the map, not Ukraine. And he says and I quote here, NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview, and then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post- interview conversation off the record. It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.

This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this administration. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity. It is worth noting that Bangladesh is not Ukraine.

It is worth noting that Ukraine and Bangladesh are on different continents, over 3,000 miles apart. It is also worth noting that Kelly has a master's degree in European studies from Cambridge University. And it's pretty much impossible to believe that she would point to a country east of India in South Asia instead of a country west of Russia in Europe.

Nice try, NPR says in their statement that, "Mary Louise Kelly has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity and we stand behind this report."

A lot to talk about. Wajahat Ali, Rick Wilson are here to do that. They're next.



LEMON: Oh as I said, NPR is standing by their reporter after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused her of lying. It is the latest in a growing list of incidents involving Pompeo and journalists.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN Contributor Wajahat Ali and Rick Wilson. Rick is the author of "Running Against the Devil." Good evening, gents. Good to see both of you.

So, quite the story that we have here. Secretary of Pompeo is calling Kelly -- calling her a liar but she says that she told them that she would -- not only did she ask about Ukraine and she followed up in writing but she says that she never agreed for the exchange after the interview off the record.

So, Rick, who do you think is a liar here?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, Mike Pompeo has become one of the high priests of Trumpism. In the core of Trumpism is a war on the media. And so I think Mike Pompeo is trying to cast himself as this hero and to please Donald Trump. This isn't about whether or not she could correctly identify Ukraine on a map, this is part of their performative, you know, media hatred that they engaged on the daily.

LEMON: Wajahat, I want to bring you in. Mary Louise Kelly told NPR, an NPR co-host that before ending the interview, Pompeo, quote, leaned in and glared at her and then he tried to give her a pop quiz. I mean, what is with this intimidation mode?

WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, this is the pathetic insecurity of the spineless amoebas of men such as Mike Pompeo and the other men in Trump's administration, right?


I mean, look, this is a recurring theme with Pompeo. He tried to intimidate a female reporter of the USA Today in May, he really doesn't like it when female reporters in particular actually asking questions in our intelligence and do follow-ups. Our colleague in an affiliate in Nashville in August, same thing happened, and this time around he throws F bombs, he brings out a map. I mean, why does he have a map of without countries? That's so strange. And then she points it out. And who should we believe? Mary Louise Kelly, a veteran journalist or Mike Pompeo who this month alone has lied to the American public about imminent threats, right? And this man from Harvard has redefined imminent in a way which is completely the opposite of imminent. And then it was imminent threat to not imminent then one embassy then four embassies. No casualties, 11 casualties, and now 34 casualties with soldiers suffering very traumatic brain injuries.

So, who are you going to believe o? Mike Pompeo or Mary Louise Kelly who has the tapes? I'm going with Mary Louise Kelly.

LEMON: OK. So let's see. Let's look at the -- OK. In the statement, Rick, the last line Pompeo's statement says, it is worth noting that Bangladesh is not Ukraine. First of all, Kelly has a master's degree in European studies from Cambridge University.

WILSON: Right.

LEMON: Also, he doesn't really say that she couldn't identify Ukraine on a map. He insinuates -- it's just a petty attempt to put her down, right? Is that what this is?

WILSON: Of course. Of course. It's -- he's just trying to demean her, and obviously it's false. And look, he also knows deep in his heart that Donald Trump couldn't find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it. He knows that this is, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world, and so that's partly him playing to their base and playing to their audience, you know, credulous boomer rube demo that back Donald Trump, that wants to think that Donald Trump's a smart one, and y'all -- y'all elitists are dumb.

ALI: You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling even though --

WILSON: Your math, your reading.

ALI: Yes, your reading, you know. Your geography knowing other countries. Sipping your latte.

WILSON: All those lines on the map.

ALI: Only them elitists know where Ukraine is. Sorry. I apologize.

LEMON: Oh my god.

ALI: But you know what -- it was Rick's fault. I blame Rick.

LEMON: Oh my God.

ALI: But in all honesty --

WILSON: Blame Rick, why not.

ALI: -- you know what NPR should do. LEMON: Sorry, hold on. Wait, wait. Give me a second. Hold on. Hold on. That was good. Sorry. Rick, that was a good one. I needed that. OK, so listen let's go back to business here.

ALI: But can I tell you what NPR should do? NPR should take a black sharpie, circle it all around that whole subcontinent around Bangladesh and Ukraine and just be like, there, there is Ukraine right on the middle. Just in honor of Donald Trump.

LEMON: A U with a crane on it. That is hilarious.


LEMON: All right, so listen, Rick, this incident between Pompeo and Kelly, it's not the first time that he's bristled under tough questioning from journalists. I want you to watch this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you do enough to defend the ambassador privately and publicly against the smear campaign that was being waged against her? And will you speak to that now?

POMPEO: Oh ma'am, you have some of your facts wrong so you should be careful about things you assert as facts before you state them. Again, you've got your facts wrong. Sounds like you're working at least in part for the Democratic National Committee when you phrase a predicate of a question in that way. It's unfortunate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And just finally, you know that there's been no proof of any misdoing on the part of Vice President Biden.

POMPEO: You all keep repeating that line as if you're working for the DNC.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm definitely not working for the DNC. I'm an independent journalist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what good really is the word of the U.S. in light of the president's treatment of the Kurds? Has that undercut U.S. credibility?

POMPEO: Yes. The whole predicate of your question is insane.


LEMON: Part of a pattern, right? And his disdain for the press, you know, Rick?

WILSON: Look, he's defining the dignity of that office down to the lowest possible level. This is Trumpism corrupting everything about everyone who surrounds him. This is Mike Pompeo who is not -- a graduate of both West Point and Harvard, who knows much better than this, but this is the performative douchiness that they do to please Donald Trump. He doesn't -- he knows that those was going to be played and that Trump is going to see them and like them.

That's who he's performing for. It's an audience of one. And he knows that Mary Louise Kelly is a pro and she's not some DNC plant but he wants to please Trump.


This is a food chain inside Trump world and whoever sucks up the most, and whoever is the guy who claps the longest when Saddam is speaking is the guy who gets the most rewards. And right now, Mike Pompeo is ahead in shoulders above all the rest of the field on that front.

LEMON: I've got to go. Thank you, both. Thanks a lot. Stay tune.

I got to go put my eye liner back on, mascara. That was a joke. I'm not wearing either. Thank you both. We'll be right back.