Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Special Reports
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) Is Interviewed About What He Can Say To The Whistleblower's Complaint That He And Others Have Read Today; White House Released Transcript Of President Trump's Conversation; More Democrats Want To Impeach President Trump; Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) Is Interviewed About Her Take On The Transcript That Was Released By The White House. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired September 25, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Another historic night as a president facing the specter of impeachment tries what another White House under fire, the Nixon White House once called a modified limited hangout that telling some but not all.
I'm Jake Tapper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, Jake. I'm Anderson Cooper. This is a CNN special report. The impeachment inquiry.
TAPPER: And tonight, Anderson, Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill got their first glimpse of that classified whistleblower complaint that has rocked the Trump presidency and prompted Democrats in the House to launch an official impeachment inquiry.
The whistleblower according to a Justice Department memo released earlier today was concerned that President Trump sought to pressure Ukraine to, quote, "help the president's 2020 reelection campaign."
Also, today, the White House released a rough transcript of that July 25th phone call, which in part spurred the whistleblower to come forward. So, concerned about the actions of the president.
On that call President Trump clearly and openly pressed Ukraine's President, Zelensky, to work with Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer and with Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate his potential 2020 Democratic opponent Joe Biden and Biden's son Hunter.
Now the Biden's we should note the Ukrainian prosecutor already said there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by them. Now whether he is gaslighting or truly of the belief that there was nothing inappropriate about his actions, President Trump tried to argue today that the transcript, the rough transcript would exonerate him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's a joke. Impeachment for that? When you have a wonderful meeting or you have a wonderful phone conversation? (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: By releasing the rough transcript did not exonerate the president and those some Republicans are sticking by the White House talking points insisting there is nothing to see here.
There already appear cracks in that facade with Republican Senator Ben Sasse who read the whistleblower complaint this evening calling it very troubling.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney calling it troubling in the extreme. Republican Senator Pat Toomey calling it inappropriate.
Now the principle that the president violated is as then Governor Pence in the vice presidential debates of 2016 called it pretty basic stuff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Now you all need to know out there, this is basic stuff. Foreign donors, and certainly foreign governments cannot participate in the American political process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Indeed. Now so much of what we do know about this scandal has been admitted by President Trump or Rudy Giuliani. Stated out in the open. This afternoon sitting with Zelensky President trump again noted how much military aid the U.S. has given Ukraine under his administration while calling Hunter Biden corrupt and noting, wink, wink, because Zelensky is known for fighting corruption.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When Biden's son walks away with millions of dollars from Ukraine and he knows nothing and they are paying him millions of dollars, that's corruption. I think that's a horrible thing. I think that's a horrible thing.
TAPPER: Sometimes, Anderson, it almost seems like President Trump is all but daring the legislative and judicial bodies of the United States to live up to the checks and balances of the American system whether and how they will remain unclear.
COOPER: It's amazing to see that Pence sound bite from it seems like a long time ago. It wasn't. That said, Jake, what is becoming clear is we may soon be learning a whole more about the allegations at the center of this. There is a lot we don't know including from the whistleblower.
Now late tonight, we learn that he or she agreed to meet with lawmakers on the House intelligence committee according to correspondents obtained by CNN, it would be on the condition that the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire who is testifying tomorrow approves appropriate security clearances for the whistleblower's legal counsel so they can be there with their client.
Also, tonight, late new details in "the New York Times on some of the specifics of the original complaint by the whistleblowers as well as the scope of it. The Times citing two people briefed on the matter reports there, quote, "There are multiple White House officials as witnesses to potential presidential misconduct who could corroborate the complaint. Adding that the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, interviewed witnesses."
Noa also, separately, the Times is reporting that lawmakers may be interested in the call the president made to Ukraine's president back in April. And of course, tomorrow acting DNI Maguire testifies before the House intelligence committee. We're going to get to all of this in the special hour ahead.
TAPPER: You bet, Anderson. But we're going to start where everything started this morning, the rough transcript of that phone call between the Ukrainian president, desperately needing American aid, facing Russian military forces and an American president seeking to have his political foes investigated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The call begins with President Trump congratulating the Ukrainian president on his party's recent big win in the parliamentary elections.
President Zelensky response, quote, "I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge," end quote.
Zelensky is following a rule that many world leaders have picked up on the key to President Trump's heart, flattery will get you everywhere.
President Trump response, "Well, it is very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. The U.S. Congress had approved nearly $400 million in aid for Ukraine, this year alone."
But just before the phone call President Trump had put a hold on that. President Trump goes on to say, quote, "The United States has been very good to Ukraine. I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine," unquote.
That specific line "I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily" is under a lot of scrutiny. It's unclear exactly what President Trump meant by that. Was he in fact, pushing Zelensky to step up?
President Zelensky tells Trump, "We are almost ready to buy more javelins from the United States for defense purposes." Javelins are shoulder fired missiles. The $400 million aid package to
Ukraine included $250 million in military aid.
The president response to that by saying "I would like you to do us a favor." And he mentions the firm CrowdStrike. CrowdStrike investigated a data breach of the DNC during the 2016 election and concluded that the Russians were behind the hack.
CrowdStrike is also at the center of Rudy Giuliani's investigation into how former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was implicated for the work he did in Ukraine.
President Trump goes on to say "I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it." Zelensky responds by saying, "We are open to any future cooperation."
He doesn't say no to Trump's request for this favor.
Zelensky goes on to say, "I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently." This confirms that Zelensky was already aware of Giuliani's efforts to investigate both the Manafort situation and the role that Joe Biden played in Ukraine while his son Hunter Biden sat on the board of Ukrainian company.
Zelensky then says, "I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly." Trump then asks Zelensky to listen to Giuliani and says "I will ask him to call you along with the attorney general."
Trump is now heading Attorney General Barr to Giuliani's quest to investigate a political rival of Trump's. And President Trump then mentions Joe Biden by name. Saying, "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son. That Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that."
It's unclear what prosecution Trump is talking about and there is no public evidence that Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, was himself under investigation.
President Zelensky then says, "The next prosecutor will look into the situation. Specifically, to the company that you mentioned in this issue."
President Trump again says, "I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call."
This is now the fourth time he's brought up Giuliani's name. The call ends with Trump saying "Congratulations on a fantastic job you've done." And a simple thank you from President Zelensky and bye, bye.
COOPER: With that, as the backdrop, the whistleblower complaint landed in Congress, specifically the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney sits on the House panel. I spoke to him just before air time.
Congressman Maloney, obviously, the complaint is classified and there is certainly a lot you cannot say. You have read it. What was your overall reaction to what you read?
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Well, as you point out, I can't discuss the details but I'll tell you, you know, it's very well written. It's very credible. And it absolutely should have been delivered to Congress under the statute.
So, I think, you know, my biggest take away is and my questions for the acting director of national intelligence will center around why it was withheld when the statute is crystal clear that it's supposed to be delivered.
COOPER: Do, you know, the argument is that because it had something to do with the president, that that was an unusual situation for the DNI and therefore that's why they went to their general counsel who then suggested going to the Department of Justice. Would you -- do you buy that explanation?
MALONEY: Well, you have to ask yourself when 15-USC section 3033 which is the whistleblower law, makes no provision for going to the Department of Justice, it doesn't say you go check your jurisdiction, it doesn't say you do a classification review internally, it doesn't say you check with the White House.
It says you get the complaint and if the inspector general has said it's credible and urgent, you send it to Congress within seven days and you can comment on it. It says that.
So, the real question, I think the hard question for the acting director of national intelligence is why did you stop it?
COOPER: The New York Times tonight is reporting that the whistleblower believed President Trump's actions with regard to the president of Ukraine created a national security risk. That is obviously a heavy charge to levee at a sitting president of the United States. Based on what you read, do you agree with that?
MALONEY: Well, if we're talking now about the call summary memo that was released public today, I think it's an extraordinary document and I have to tell you, it kind of breaks your heart.
I mean, I know everybody runs for their partisan corners but just stop and think about it for a minute. You have the president of the United States calling a foreign leader who is desperate for American assistance and he is forced to engage in this exercise where he agrees to investigate a political opponent of the president when he's talking about U.S. military assistance, when he's talking about the importance of a relationship. COOPER: I can't understand how the president or anyone around him
with a straight face can say that this is about U.S. concern over ongoing corruption in Ukraine because just basically, if you are the president of the United States, and you are really concerned about current corruption in Ukraine, you have many levers of government. You don't need to have Rudy Giuliani skulking about in, you know, meeting with Ukrainian officials and --
MALONEY: Well, this is transparently. An inappropriate attempt to smear a political rival using military and foreign assistance as leverage over a vulnerable foreign leader and soliciting help in your political campaign from a foreign individual, a foreign government. It's flat out wrong, it's probably illegal, it more than justifies an impeachment inquiry.
COOPER: There are a lot of moving parts to this and it seems like there are a lot of other people who will have to be interviewed as not just the, you know, director of national intelligence tomorrow. It's not just the whistleblower.
I mean, there is Giuliani, there is the ambassador of Ukraine who was ousted. There's, you know, apparently, according to Times reporting people in the White House who had information about this and there are concerns the whistleblower had about how the records of this were being handled.
Do you see this as a long process with a lot of people needing to be interviewed?
MALONEY: The thing that popped out at me about the memo that was released today was not just the president's disgraceful conduct. It was that - it was that he identified two people --
MALONEY: -- as his go-betweens with the Ukraine government. Rudy Giuliani but also the attorney general of the United States who as we know heads the Justice Department that said, you know, this is outside the I.G.'s jurisdiction.
Boy, if that's not a conflict, I don't know what is. So, Bill Barr also has some very tough questions to answer and he should recuse himself from any further involvement in this.
COOPER: Congressman Maloney, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
MALONEY: Thank you.
COOPER: There is much more ahead including President Trump's reaction to all of this and his rising non-reaction, as well.
Also, tonight, the mood on Capitol Hill among lawmakers who may end deciding the president's fate. That and more as our CNN's special report, the impeachment inquiry continues. [23:15:00]
TAPPER: It is more than a little mind blowing how much news came at us all day, all day, not to mention the precedents that were being broken including the notion that diplomatic conversations should be kept secret.
COOPER: Yes. It even caught the Ukrainian president off guard. Speaking to reporters he said he thought the White House would only publish President Trump's side of their conversation. Apparently, live and learn.
President Trump, meantime, also broke precedent holding a press conference kind of unlike any we've seen from him, which is saying a lot.
CNN's Jim Acosta has that along with some late view reporting. So, first of all, I understand you have new details on the reaction to the whistleblower complaint.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. I talk to a lawmaker who has seen the whistleblower complaint, and keep in mind, you know, some of these lawmakers are being cautious about what they can say about all of this as this declassification process is underway.
But according to this lawmaker who has seen the whistleblower complaint, there are multiple dimensions to the whistleblower complaint, more dimensions than what was first reported according to this lawmaker.
This lawmaker said that the scope of the involvement of multiple aides inside the Trump administration in terms of putting pressure on the Ukrainian president, President Zelensky is bigger than what was previously thought.
And according to this lawmaker, it is because of that scope that there are likely going to be calls for multiple Trump aides to testify on top of this whistleblower.
It is unlikely that just hearing from this whistleblower according to this lawmaker is going to be sufficient at this point, according to this lawmaker who saw the complaint, Anderson, the scope of this effort that was applied to President Zelensky of Ukraine is, quote, "shocking." That's according to that lawmaker.
COOPER: Right. And "The New York Times" is also been reporting tonight that, I mean, this has been an interest of President Trump's Ukraine, in particular, since, essentially, since he was in office and certainly, back in April --
COOPER: -- there was a call and obviously, the involvement of Giuliani has been going on for quite some time.
I'm wondering what you make of the press conference today because certainly the president seemed --
COOPER: -- you know, he's been -- he was talking repeatedly about the long day he had. He had meetings all day and he'd been to the U.N. for three days. It certainly seemed a bit rambling to say the least and there were just a lot of things which were not true.
ACOSTA: Anderson, that's right. And to your first point I will tell you I did talk to a source close to the White House who know the president's thinking who has said that the president has been seething over this Ukraine issues, this allegations that he believes are relevant involving former Vice President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden for months.
So, yes. The president has been angry about this for some time.
But getting back to the press conference we saw a lot of that anchor -- anger on display. But, Anderson, what we did not get were very many answers.
The president rambled on for a good 30 minutes before taking questions and then when he did take questions he tried to stir -- clear of questions about this investigation. He was trying to get questions about the economy and the markets as you said in a couple of points but he never really explained what he meant when we said we would like you to do us a favor in terms of what the president said to President Zelensky.
Also, no explanation as to what Rudy Giuliani was doing over Ukraine hitting all this pressure points with the Ukrainians. According to the president, reporters should go ask Rudy what he was doing out there.
ACOSTA: Anderson, Jake?
COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Jake, the president will tell you, I mean, he was basically saying everybody does this, senators, this is normal behavior accused without any evidence whatsoever that the Obama administration had done this against him. That's just not, this is not normal.
TAPPER: No, and U.S. senators pushing Ukraine to cooperate with the Justice Department investigations is not the same thing as a president privately trying to get a foreign country to specifically start an investigation of its own into his political rivals.
Let's chew over all this with our experts joining us now. We have CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash here with me in studio, we also have with us Van Jones, host of CNN's "THE VAN JONES SHOW," and CNN Political Analyst, David Gergen, and Carl Bernstein.
Dana, let me start with you. It really does seem like President Trump thinks that he did not do anything wrong here and he doesn't understand why anybody is objecting to this.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, which is I think classic Trump. Vintage Trump, right? That that this is the way that he operates and he has been doing so for so many years. It is the code that Michael Cohen talked about. The difference now is that he's not a businessman in New York. He's the president of the United States.
And that is why what we saw in black and white today, even though it was just a summary, really not even a transcript, it is so jarring for so many people to see yes, the Democrats are the ones who are coming out and saying that publicly, obviously, going as far as saying we should start an impeachment inquiry.
The Republicans are for the most part lock stepped but there are cracks in that.
BASH: There are some cracks because it is hard to kind of brush aside what is right there when it comes to what is appropriate conduct for a president of the United States.
TAPPER: And David, as somebody who's worked in the White House for multiple administrations, what do you think the strategy was behind putting this rough transcript out there, why would they do that if it's so incriminating?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Jake, I think they made a real blunder, which underscores the fact that they are living in a bubble and the president himself, you know, woke up today thinking, having said I'll put the transcript out there, the summary out there this will all go away completely misjudged.
The environment in which he finds himself which tells me he's a more isolated figure and his staff is not serving him well to arrive at this point. He really looks like he's sort of being -- you now, the fight right now the struggle right now is who can control the narrative. What story is the country going to draw from this and right now, frankly, Nancy Pelosi is winning that struggle against Donald Trump.
TAPPER: And it certainly makes you think that maybe John Kelly exerted a lot more control --
TAPPER: -- in retrospect than it appeared.
TAPPER: Van Jones, let me bring you in. The president in that press conference took a page from the Trump playbook and tried to blame Democrats and everyone else for what he had done but the truth of the matter is, this isn't done. You don't ask foreign leaders to investigate your political rivals.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that was the whole point, the whole Mueller investigation trying to figure out had he done this and now we have him saying well, this time I did it.
I don't think people on the other side understand that the -- this scared the bejeebers out of Democrats. The idea that you might have Donald Trump sitting there calling foreign leaders and now we got to run against Donald Trump and 10 foreign nations? Like at what point does this thing stop? And I think that's really why you saw a Pelosi saying we got to do something.
I do want to say I'm a flashing yellow light of caution though on this whole idea of the impeachment because there is a risk for Democrats. Number one, you're going to suck out all the oxygen for the primary for our issues.
Number two, you're going to make Trump a martyr in the eyes of a lot of people but the main thing is you don't actually solve the problem. If the problem is the president of the United States possibly bringing in foreign powers, he could be impeached and not removed and keep doing it.
So I think in this -- until they're actually filing these articles of impeachment, there needs to be a serious effort to pull us back from the brink and to solve the actual problem that needs to be some new set of laws, some new set of initiatives to say you just can't do this.
I'm much more interested in preventing future misconduct than try to punish past misconduct because you could impeach this guy every day of the week and he still is going to be there and he might keep doing this.
TAPPER: All right. We're still going -- we're going to talk about impeachment later in the show. Carl, I want to stay focused on today's machinations the release of that rough transcript, et cetera and a number of times in this transcript you see President Trump bringing up Attorney General Barr.
In fact, not once, not twice, five times in the rough transcript he brings up Barr, that Barr will be working in coordination with the Ukrainians and with Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney in an effort to investigate Vice President Biden.
Are you surprised that President Trump sees Barr as kind of like his own private detective/personal attorney?
BERNSTEIN: Not at all. All you have to do is look at Barr's handling of the Mueller inquiry but more than that, Barr at the present time is conducting an investigation supposedly of deep state action against Donald Trump and the whole idea that all of the Mueller investigation was somehow a deep state conspiracy.
Barr is at the heart of an investigation indeed looking at some of these Ukraine questions. What we saw today was unambiguous evidence of the corruption of the presidency of the United States by a corrupt president.
There's nothing ambiguous in that summary, and then to see Donald Trump as others have mentioned go hold that press conference that seemed almost stream of consciousness of grievance, I think you can see he's again trying to make the conduct of Hillary Clinton, the press, all those enemies the issue rather than his own conduct.
TAPPER: And we've had breaking news all day from daybreak until sunset, Dana Bash you have some more news for us.
BASH: That's right. That is tomorrow is going to be yet another roller coaster ride because the complaint that was delivered in a classified way to Capitol Hill today --
TAPPER: The whistleblower complaint?
BASH: -- of the whistleblower, thank you, is -- has been declassified according to two sources including Chris Stewart, a Republican member of the intelligence committee who tweeted that we don't expect to see it until tomorrow, there's going to a link to it presumably online but it's big news.
Right now, we have reporting from sources about what it says. Tomorrow we'll be able to read it for ourselves just like today we were able to read the summary of this phone call.
TAPPER: This is the whistleblower complaint that Mitt Romney and Ben Sasses and other Republican senators have called very troubling or troubling in the extreme.
Everyone, stick around. Just ahead, we're going to talk with a freshman Democratic member of Congress about today's events and why she supports this impeachment inquiry. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: As we first reported a moment ago, two sources are telling our Dana Bash that the whistleblower report has been declassified and could be released as soon as tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, the number of House Democrats who now support an impeachment inquiry is growing quickly as we learn more about President Trump's dealings with Ukraine. Another 19 House Democrats threw their support to the impeachment inquiry today.
COOPER: Yes, that includes independent Congressman Justin Amash that makes 216 who favor the inquiry, it doesn't mean that they all support actual impeachment but they do at this point support the inquiry, 218 votes are needed to actually impeach President Trump in the House.
Earlier I spoke to Congresswoman Katie Hill, a freshman Democrat who represent a swing district in California. She's also vice chair of the House oversight committee.
COOPER: You've read the rough transcript of -- that was released by the White House. You haven't seen the whistleblower complaint because that's limited to intelligence committees. Is it clear to you that the president was asking for a favor and there was a quid pro quo even if it may have been unspoken?
REP. KATIE HILL (D-CA): It's completely clear to me that there was -- that the president was asking for a favor. He says it explicitly in the transcript that he was asking for a favor from -- even in order to speak with the president, he said that he needed to -- he needed to bring up this issue about Joe Biden and his son.
So, to me, it -- you don't have to have an explicit you do this and then I will restore military funding or the U.S. will be an ally. It can be implied and we see that over and over again in so many situations that there is an implied threat or an implied intimidation and that's exactly what was happening here.
COOPER: It's also, you know, the president today at a press conference was actually saying well, look, this is what senators and people in Congress and other presidents do, though he says he didn't do it. Is this -- I mean, to people who see this kind of stuff in movies, you see mob bosses doing it, is this something that presidents do?
HILL: No, this is absolutely not something that presidents do. First of all, presidents don't freeze aid to one of our allies that is currently being invaded by one of our adversaries, which is Russia in the Ukraine. And he froze it. He wouldn't even talk to the president of that country until the president agreed offline that he would have this conversation about Biden and his son.
And then he had the conversation said I'm going to have my personal attorney follow up with you. Not his, you know, not somebody from within administration, his personal attorney.
COOPER: Right. Not somebody from the embassy, not somebody from the correction unit of the --
COOPER: -- Treasury Department.
HILL: Correct. Somebody who is separately --
COOPER: Rudy Giuliani.
HILL: Yes. Exactly. And then not even restoring that aid until after this whistleblower complaint was about to be released. He didn't restore it until September 11th.
So, you know, none of this is precedent and none of this is normal. We can't act like it should be normal in any way, shape or form. And you're right. We see this from mob bosses. We do not see this from presidents.
COOPER: The New York Times tonight reported that it wasn't just the phone call itself that the whistleblower was concerned about but the way the White House handled records of the phone call. And we don't know exactly what that means, but it certainly seems like -- and again, according to what other members of Congress who have read the report have said, is that the whistleblower names people who had information and essentially is giving a road map to where the investigation might go next.
HILL: Yes, I mean, I think we, you know, having not seen it myself, I'm -- I want to know what the intelligence committee is going to find out tomorrow. I'm going to be watching just like everybody else when the DNI comes in and I would imagine that that's going to give us very clear directions on the additional information that we need.
And frankly, this is so disturbing, the more that we know, the more disturbing it is. This is just not normal, and this president needs to be held accountable.
COOPER: CNN is reporting tonight that the whistleblower has tentatively agreed to meet with lawmakers if the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire who is testifying tomorrow, is able to get clearance, appropriate clearances for the attorneys for the whistleblower.
Obviously, Maguire answers to the White House. Do you think there will be resistance from the White House to allow that to occur so that this whistleblower can testify or do you think they have no other choice but to allow this?
HILL: I mean, I would imagine that they are going to put forth any resistance they can. There may not be an option at this point. I think that doing -- you know, connecting these investigations and pushing forward under the impeachment inquiry umbrella is really important and it shows that we are -- we are using the maximum pressure that we can possibly and if we don't get this information, then, you know, we're not going to have any choice but to move towards full impeachment, I don't think.
So, you know, I think that this is -- this is a really telling moment and if we don't have the ability for the whistleblower to come forward, that in and of itself should show great alarm.
COOPER: Congresswoman Hill, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
HILL: Thank you.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Just ahead, Jake gets reaction from the panel to the breaking news, two sources saying that the whistleblower's complaint has been declassified and may be released as early as tomorrow morning.
COOPER: Well, as astonishing as the day has been, we're right on the brink of another one. The acting director of national intelligence testifies. And as we learned just a few minutes ago, we could also see the declassified whistleblower complaint.
TAPPER: Reaction now from our team of political professionals. Dana, what more are you learning about this declassification?
BASH: We don't know any of the details about the timing. What we're told is that it has happened. This is according to two sources familiar with the declassification and I might add, Chris Stewart, a member of the intelligence committee --
BASH: -- said so in a tweet.
TAPPER: Republican from Utah.
BASH: A Republican from Utah said so in a tweet. So, they are also getting word clearly through the Republican chain that this has happened.
It makes sense in many ways. If they are going to declassified, which Adam Schiff said today he would make it happen, that it would occur before this big hearing that we're going to see tomorrow with the acting director of national intelligence coming before Congress to have it all kind of out in the open at once.
It is kind of amazing the warped speed, though, that the administration is suddenly acting with given how much they have stonewalled an issue after issue after issue on this the one issue we now know from Nancy Pelosi and sources within the Democratic caucus that they are narrowing in on, they're not going to broaden it at this point, narrowing in on with the impeachment inquiry, they are finally getting serious on a at least a little bit of transparency.
TAPPER: And Van, there is still so much we don't know. We know about the -- what -- the transcript that we got from the White House, so that phone call from July that rough transcript but we don't know the contents of the whistleblower complaint, which supposedly has much more than just that one phone call. We should see it tomorrow.
We don't know the contents of other phone calls between President Trump and the Ukrainian president. We're told that there was one in April, as well. We don't know about Rudy Giuliani's activities but seems like regardless of what comes out of that, everyone -- pretty dug in at this point at least on Capitol Hill. JONES: Here is one thing that we do know. One person can make a huge
difference. There's somebody inside that federal bureaucracy that they saw something and it bothered them. And they decided they were going to do something and they didn't leak it. They didn't go out and try to, you know, they went through the chain of command and said I just don't think this is right.
And as a result of that one person saying I just don't think it's right and trying to use the mechanisms that America's government created for people like that, here we are tonight.
And so, one person could make a difference. I don't know where these leads but please, I think we should be very, very proud of that person for standing up. Hopefully, this works out in some great way, that some miracle at all ends happily but one person makes it. We know that tonight. We know that.
TAPPER: And David, the president attacked Speaker Pelosi today saying that she has lost her way, that she's been taking over by the radical left and as far as he's concerned, she's, quote, "no longer speaker of the house."
This seems to be President Trump once again embracing a foil. He had one in Robert Mueller.
TAPPER: Do you think this is just a preview of what's to come over the next few months? He's just going to talk about, you know, the squad, Ocasio-Cortez, et cetera, Tlaib plus Nancy Pelosi?
GERGEN: He'll try. I don't think he's going to get very far with arguing about socialism when the issue is about national security and abuse of power.
And I do think -- I think something that's fund mentally changed in this sense, Jake, for several months the Democrats have been pursuing various investigations and the White House has been more successful than anyone you might have imagine in stonewalling. They have given away very, very little.
On this one, I think the dynamic is reversed, in which the Democrats actually have much more leverage than they had in the past starting with this report from the whistleblower. That person I think is absolutely -- Van is absolutely right. They have been extremely brave, putting career and possibly physical safety at risk.
But coming up with that road map, as Anderson called it, is really important for the committee. There's are a lot of internal soliciting which would have taken months has now been done for them. They know the name of the witnesses. They can act expeditiously.
And very importantly, Carl may speak to this, my sense is that the president can no longer claim executive privilege if members of his staff are called as part of this investigation. It seems to me he's waived executive privilege now by putting all this information out there.
And therefore, the, for the first time we'll really be able to get some key players up here and it may look a lot like what our memories of John Dean, Alex Butterfield and others testifying way back in Watergate.
TAPPER: And speaking of Watergate, Carl Bernstein, CNN is reporting that the whistleblower has tentatively agreed to testify before members of Congress and in closed session if acting DNI -- Director of National Intelligence Maguire agrees and I think, as well, if his or her lawyers can be present. That seems like a pretty big deal.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a very big deal as is the release that's coming tomorrow of the whistleblower -- of the inspector general's report because what we are seeing here is that Donald Trump has lost control of the narrative.
Up until now, he has been able to, a large extent, especially in the Mueller investigation, to keep the press, to keep investigators, to keep his own party and even to keep the Democrats fighting on the ground that he has laid. He has laid the battlefield. And in the Mueller investigation, that's one of the reasons he wasn't able to prevail to the extent that he did.
Now, he's up against Nancy Pelosi and a set of facts that is absolutely overwhelming. It's like a mudslide. And he has produced this mudslide and it's starting to overwhelm all the things that have worked for him before and that is going to include what we're going to hear up there tomorrow on the Hill and what the inspector general has found as testified on our air tonight by those members of the committee who have seen what the inspector general said. They are genuinely horrified.
TAPPER: And Dana Bash, Republican have been defending President Trump. People like Lindsey Graham, et cetera, have been calling this a nothing burger, et cetera. But you do see cracks in the facade.
BASH: We do.
TAPPER: Not just the Romneys and Ben Sasses who have criticized, but also there was a unanimous vote in the Senate yesterday for the White House to turn over the whistleblower complaint to the committees.
BASH: That was so big. I mean, how many times have we said, you know, until we're blue in the face since the president took the White House that Republicans won't stand up to him? Well, they did with that vote. And that is in large part why the whistleblower complaint was delivered in a classified way today, likely declassified and publicly tomorrow.
The cracks are important and Ben Sasse, in particular, saying not just I'm troubled but everybody on the Republican side -- not just the Democratic side, Republican side, hold your fire, stop circling the wagon. TAPPER: Stop saying there is nothing there.
BASH: Yes. Stop saying there is nothing there. And I think circling the wagon was the term that he used because we have to just take a breath and look at this.
TAPPER: Thanks, everyone. We're going to put it all in perspective next. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Adding quickly to the breaking news on the whistleblower complaint, a source now telling CNN's Jim Acosta that that complaint will arrive tomorrow morning with minimal redactions.
COOPER: And over the past couple nights, Jake, on 360, we've been noting how truly historic each day has been. Tomorrow certainly looks to be no exception with the declassification of the complaint as well as the testimony from the acting director of the DNI. We'll all be watching for that.
But what I'm curious about with the declassification on this, Jake, is according to those who have seen the whistleblower complaint, the original one, it actually name names of people in the White House who were witnesses to this or have information. I assume the declassification will mean those names are redacted.
TAPPER: Yes, that will be interesting to see what has been redacted, what hasn't. Also, I mean, it's just people talk about this being a Rorschach test. It's just so unusual that you have Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, other Republicans reading this, being alarmed, being disturbed, and yet you have other Republicans seeing this and saying, it doesn't seem like a big deal to me.
I'm really fascinated, really can't wait to see what's in there.
COOPER: Yes. Well, certainly a lot still to learn. And hopefully, we'll learn a lot more tomorrow and in the days ahead.
That does it for us tonight in this special report.
TAPPER: We're going to be back at the same time tomorrow. The news continues right after the breaks. Stay with us.