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White House in Crisis: The Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 27, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] CABRERA: Starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And good evening. Welcome to CNN's special coverage, WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS: THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY. I'm Erin Burnett.

It has been 33 days since Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment investigation into President Trump. Since that day, Congress has heard nearly 75 hours of testimony. From nine key witnesses. Nine witnesses who have painted a damming picture of a president who was willing to withhold military aid to Ukraine until that country launched investigations into his political enemies, including former vice president Joe Biden.

Through the course of the next two hours, we're going to take a close look at the pieces of the puzzle that are becoming clear. We will also tackle the lingering and very important questions, what more do Democrats need before they can begin writing Articles of Impeachment that will stick? Have we seen only the tip of the ice burg when it comes to the testimony? Will the president's own party stick with him? That is of course a crucial question.

And we begin tonight our special coverage with Erica Hill.


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shockwaves rippling through the White House and Capitol Hill.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Bombshell developments in the impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Testimony that Democrats called detailed, damning and disturbing.

HILL: Before the bombshell, there was a phone call.


HILL: A perfect call with a foreign leader that left some officials so concerned. Its record was moved to a secure server. And a whistleblower filed a complaint. Then, a picture painted by career diplomats and officials in closed-door sessions suggested there was much more to learn.

(On camera): For the better part of three weeks the secure room just behind me has played host to testimony described as explosive, damming and disturbing. Only lawmakers on the relevant committees and their staff are allowed inside. No one else. And no devices. We're not even allowed to film the door. Journalists camped out here for up to 20 hours a day. Waiting for information to trickle out. Details that have filled in some gaps while raising new questions and avenues of investigation.

(Voice-over): October 3rd, Kurt Volker. The first official to testify in the impeachment inquiry, Volker was named in the whistleblower's report. One day after it was made public, he resigned as special envoy to Ukraine. Volker arrived on Capitol Hill armed with text messages that show U.S. official dangling a White House meeting. On July 25th, just before the controversial phone call, Volker writes, "Assuming President Z convinces Trump he will investigate, get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail down a date for the visit to Washington. Good luck."

On August 9th, a text from E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland to Volker. "I think POTUS really wants the deliverable." Going on to suggest Volker should ask the Ukrainian president's aide for, quote, "a draft statement so that we can see exactly what they propose to cover."

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): It basically substantiates every aspect of the whistleblower's complaint that the president of the United States coerced a foreign power to help himself politically.

HILL: Republicans seem to hear something different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no quid pro quo.

HILL: In more than nine hours of closed-door testimony, Volker also raising concerns about the role of Rudy Giuliani.

October 11th, Marie Yovanovitch. The former Ukraine ambassador removed from her post in May, defying orders from the administration not to appear. A career diplomat with more than three decades of service. Yovanovitch is also hoping to clear her name.

REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): I just sat through eight hours that went like a New York second.

HILL: Lawmakers riveted by her account that it was President Trump who pressured top State Department officials to remove her even though one told her she'd done nothing wrong.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That shed a new light on the president's efforts to remove this key diplomat from a post at a time when his personal attorney is seeking investigations into his rivals.

HILL: October 14th, Fiona Hill. The president's former top Russia adviser who worked under John Bolton. While she left before the July 25th phone call, Hill testified she was witnessed to other moments leading up to it that concerned her including Rudy Giuliani who she said Bolton referred to as a, quote, "hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up." And what she saw as, quote, "wrongdoing" related to U.S. policy in Ukraine, which she tried to report. HECK: I've been in Congress seven years and I have never had a

witness that came across as a substantive per minute as she did.


HILL: Detailing one meeting with Sondland that left her so concerned she says Bolton urged her to tell the White House lawyers about, quote, "whatever drug deal these guys are cooking up."

Meantime, Republicans shifting focus to the closed-door process.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The tragedy here and the crime here is that the American people don't get to see what's going on in these -- in these sessions.

HILL: October 15th, George Kent. The senior State Department official testifying he raised concerns about Hunter Biden's work in Ukraine in 2015. More recently, Kent, who was once posted to the embassy in Kiev, focusing his concern on Giuliani's targeting of Marie Yovanovitch and efforts to allegedly circumvent official diplomatic channels. Kent noting he had been sidelined.

October 17th, Gordon Sondland.

GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE E.U.: President Trump has not only honored me with the job of being the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., but he's also given me other special assignments including Ukraine as I mentioned.

HILL (on camera): Gordon Sondland who initially was blocked from testifying did in fact appear on October 17th.

RAJU: We were not expecting him necessarily to throw the president under the bus, in a way that he kind of did. The fact that he did raise concerns about the president's push back on the efforts to strengthen that alliance, namely getting that meeting with Zelensky and Trump was pretty surprising for someone who's a Republican donor and someone close to the president.

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): His basis thesis here is that, look, I was just trying to do my job, he's just trying to get a meeting. Didn't really know what Giuliani was up to.

HILL (voice-over): The most jaw-dropping testimony, however, was still to come.

October 22nd, Bill Taylor. Called out of retirement to help in Ukraine, Taylor began the day with a 15-page opening statement in which he detailed as a, quote, "irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy making with respect to Ukraine." And highlighted efforts to tie congressionally approved military aid for Ukraine to investigations into Biden and the 2016 election.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): You could hear a pin drop literally as the ambassador has laid out in his opening statement. HILL: "On July 18th, I heard a staff person for the Office of

Management and Budget say there was a hold on security assistance to Ukraine. A directive had come from the president." Taylor also explaining this text exchange with Ambassador Sondland. "Are we now saying that security assistance and White House meeting are conditioned on investigations?" To which Sondland responded, "Call me." Taylor says, in that call, Sondland said everything was dependent on Zelensky publicly announcing investigations.

REP. ANDY LEVIN (D-MI): This is the -- my most disturbing day in Congress so far.

REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): It means more people will probably get to come back in and re-answer some questions.

HILL: The president quick to dismiss Taylor's testimony.

TRUMP: Here's the problem. He's a never Trumper and his lawyers a never Trumper.

HILL: Erica Hill, CNN, Washington.


BURNETT: And joining me now, John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel, Ambassador Nancy McEldowney. She has served in the State Department for 31 years under both Republican and Democrat presidents. She's also known Bill Taylor, who we just saw Erica talking about, for 25 years. David Gergen, former presidential adviser to four presidents and Elliot Williams, former federal prosecutor and former deputy assistant attorney general.

All of you are going to be with us for this special programming tonight.

John, look, you know, Erica really went through with we know now from the testimony that we have seen. You heard Ambassador Taylor's testimony. He laid out evidence of a quid pro quo. What more do investigators need to know? All right. What is left for them to know before they would move ahead with Articles of Impeachment?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I think that the abuse of power is a pretty clear article. It's already been laid out by the conversation that the president reported himself, by the witnesses, and there is no set standard of proof needed in the House or the Senate, one, to impeach and two, to later convict and remove. This is in the conscience of each member who votes.

But I think clear and convincing evidence if not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt always does the job.

BURNETT: And Elliot, what more then do we need? Obviously, the transcript itself of the phone call was the Ukrainian president brings up aid. Trump says but first I need a favor. And since then it's gotten much more detailed about the level of specificity that the president asked for in terms of investigations into Joe Biden. What more is needed?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Frankly, you can file Articles of Impeachment today. But what you're doing now is filling in the gaps.


Prosecutors, lawyers do this all the time. Look, this involves the State Department on diplomacy matters. It involves witnesses from the Defense Department and the White House. And we will be hearing from some of these seven more over the course of the week or so. At that point, they can file an Article of Impeachment and vote on it.

I think the one thing, though, even prior to that, what you would have is public hearings because you do have to get the public behind this. A lot of this testimony has happened in private. And that's OK, that's part of the process naturally but you would put this on the record, Ambassador Sondland, Bill Taylor, and let the American people hear from them directly.

BURNETT: And David Gergen, right, because now we have seven more people at least that we know of, who are scheduled to be deposed. And when I say deposed, I mean, they do that behind closed doors. That's the process. The Democrats and Republicans in the committees are allowed to be in the room and ask questions. Gordon Sondland is likely to come back, right, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. John Bolton. We know they need to hear from him. They're working on that now. I mean, who do they need to hear from from here, David, before they would, as Elliot says, put a public schedule out of the people they're going to basically bring back?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think Elliot is right. They do need to fill in the gaps. But there are also documents that a lot of these people have been witnesses have not yet turned over because they have been blocked by the State Department or others. Yes, I think we need those documents in order to continue building a case, at least the Democrats do. And I think it's extremely important that they move fairly soon to give the Republicans what seems to be a more of a role so that the Republican argument is this is a totally unfair process diminishes.

By giving Republicans a chance to interview people in the open, for example, I think will really help, by putting the transcripts out will help. Ultimately, I have to go back to what Elliot is saying, I think the most important thing they have to do is build and more evidence to bring the country around, to bring the population around, especially people in the middle that this is serious. And it's consequential.

It may have started out seeming like what's the point. Why is this such a big deal. We now know it was central to the president's reelection efforts. He turned things upside down in his administration to try to get this dirt on Joe Biden. And people have to understand that just how big a deal that is.

BURNETT: And Ambassador, look, Bill Taylor's testimony as we know was reverberating among Republicans. Right? Several of them responded to that, saying, look, this is -- this is a moment when we realize something happened that is unacceptable. What else do lawmakers need to hear? To verify that what Ambassador Taylor said is 100 percent true. And I don't say that to imply that he would have misled. Obviously, that's not the case. But some of the things that he did say came from other people. Right? Gordon Sondland talked to the president. Sondland then tells Bill Taylor. So in order to confirm what the president told Sondland obviously we need a little bit more information. What more is needed?

NANCY MCELDOWNEY, SERVED IN STATE DEPARTMENT FOR 31 YEARS, MOST RECENTLY AMBASSADOR TO BULGARIA: Well, Erin, I think the basic facts have already been laid out. We've got the transcript of the president's phone call. We've seen what Ambassador Taylor did in terms of his opening statement for the deposition. But there are a number of other players who can come forward and offer some important information.

I think it will be very important to hear next week from people who worked as the NSC. Tim Morrison, Cupperman, others, who were on that phone call so it's not secondhand people who heard directly what was said. But I think it's also important when you look at the role that the State Department has been thrust into and that Rudy Giuliani is running some sort of shadow foreign policy. That we hear from people like Mike Pompeo and his deputy. So people who have been involved throughout the process. So that they can also bring forward evidence about what really was going on in U.S. foreign policy.

BURNETT: All right. All of you, please stay with me. As I said, with us for this special coverage.

Next, putting the squeeze on Ukraine. So it was more than just a phone call from President Trump. But it was a whole lot more. And it's important to understand all of that. We will be live from Kiev.

Plus, the rules of impeachment. What exactly are they? Well, two people who wrote the books on it, on American history, join me. And a handful of Republicans have spoken out against the president. Is it just the beginning or not?



BURNETT: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage, THE WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS. Tonight a clearer picture of just how long President Trump and his allies put the squeeze on Ukraine to carry out investigations linked to the president's political rivals.

Now Trump and his team have long maintained that they didn't pressure the president of Ukraine. In fact they even cite the Ukrainian president himself.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: We spoke about many things. And so, I think and you read it that nobody pushed it -- pushed me. Yes.

TRUMP: In other words, no pressure. There was no pressure, no blackmail, no nothing.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The most important reaction is from President Zelensky himself who said no, I didn't feel pushed. I didn't feel pressured.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Zelensky said there was no pressure.


BURNETT: So, they're hanging it on President Zelensky. So it is important to notice this, Zelensky desperately needs Trump and his American aid. Right? What he says publicly is not what matters. What matters is what Zelensky really thinks and feels. And there's reporting on that.


We understand that CNN from a source that the Ukrainian President Zelensky and his team felt pressure from the Trump administration and Rudy Giuliani, not just now, not just when you saw Trump and Zelensky together a few weeks ago, back in May. In early May. They felt pressure to publicly launch investigations that would benefit Trump personally. And this is huge for many reasons including the fact that date, early May, is before Zelensky even formally took office.

Zelensky knew what he had to do to be in Trump's favor. After all Trump and the United States were keeping Ukraine out of Russian hands. Trump was a crucial patron. And Zelensky knew that he needed to do what he needed to do to make President Trump happy.

Everyone is back with me.

John, what does it tell you what the Ukraine's president, well, obviously, he says something when he's sitting next to Trump, which then gets recited by Pence and Pompeo and Trump, and on and on. But the reporting obviously shows the opposite that he felt pressure. All the way back before he even formally took office. He knew what Trump wanted. What does that say to you?

DEAN: It says -- excuse me. It says to me he's under pressure, and was under pressure before that call. The call may not have been direct pressure. He said he wasn't pushed. Trump was the one who said he wasn't pressured. I don't think there's any question this man is between a rock and a hard place and really couldn't do more than say he was not pressured or not pushed.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, Elliot, obviously they say, well, look what he says. I would expect him to say nothing otherwise. I mean, after all, Trump is still president and he is getting the aid.

WILLIAMS: Right. And most importantly, regardless of what he thinks, the impeachable offense is committed based on the president's intent. If the president intends to withhold the aid, and if the president intends to violate his oath of office by self-dealing or acting for personal -- or, you know, going after one of his political rivals, that's the problem. So regardless of whether Zelensky felt pressured or felt -- I mean, that's certainly indicative and, you know, sort of probative, of whether the president committed the offense. But, again, what we're paying attention to here is the fact the president intended to do it.

BURNETT: Right. And certainly all signs show that to be the case from what we understand.

Ambassador, you know, you've been there. You've been in these situations. So can you put the context around this? Why would the Ukraine -- because there are Republicans out there saying, oh, I want to hear from the Ukrainian president. So we know what the Ukrainian president will most likely say publicly which is what he said there when he was next to President Trump. We also know the reporting shows that that's false. Why would the Ukrainian president say he was never pushed to launch the investigations if that is not true?

MCELDOWNEY: Well, it's clear. First of all, he was on the world stage sitting directly next to the president who is providing crucial assistance to his country. His country is occupied by Russia. There is an active war that is under way. So he is -- he's absolute in an impossible situation. But we know the Ukrainians had said, look, previously, if you want an investigation, file an official request. Go through the justice attache at our embassy. Work through official channels. But no, for months before there had been this informal pressure, that's what was driving him and he is trying to navigate through.


GERGEN: Erin, when the most powerful person in the world, the person who holds your future in their hands, calls you and asks for a favor, you know what that message is. You must do this. I want this, this is serious. He called him up to ask him for a favor. I don't think there's any doubt that he was under pressure. And all the reporting supports that proposition. I think this is a very weak read for the Republicans to hang their hats on.

BURNETT: Right. Certainly, we'll see if they drop it because it's certainly obviously the truth appears extremely clear.

All of you staying with me, as I said, for the next two hours.

Next, what does it take to impeach a president? Well, two experts, well, foremost experts in this country are my guests. Plus Republican support for Trump is not rock solid. Should he be worried or not?



BURNETT: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is CNN special coverage, THE WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS: THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY.

Just what exactly does it take to impeach a sitting U.S. president? Joining me now are two people who know frankly the most about this subject. Author of "American Dialogue: The Founders and Us," Joseph Ellis who also won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation." And Brenda Wineapple, the author of "The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation."

And I appreciate both of you taking the time. And this is the perspective that so many people around the world want to have right now.

Brenda, Republican Senator John Cornyn tells CNN that he is now reading your book about Andrew Johnson on his kindle. He was very explicit. OK, so, but this shows a level of this is a sitting senator, someone who has often staunchly defended the president. He wants to read this and understand the import of this moment. What should the takeaway from your book be for him?

BRENDA WINEAPPLE, AUTHOR, "THE IMPEACHERS": Well, among other things it's one of the takeaways is that a president cannot and should not abuse power, and obstruct justice and will not get away with it. And that's what happened in 1868. The House eventually impeached Andrew Johnson. And whatever you think of Andrew Johnson and the fact that he was finally acquitted, the House did do that.

[20:30:00] So, that's one thing to take away from him. The other to take away from him, is that there were men of -- they were all men at the time.

There were men of probity, they were solemn, they were serious about what they were doing. And they want us to do the best for the country. And they trying to act in the best way possible, even going beyond partisanship and think about the fate and the future of the nation.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Which is perhaps an important thing. I know like John Cornyn who are taking this very seriously to note. I mean, Jo, the constitution says of impeachment, and I just -- I just want to read it here, right? Cite the constitution.

The President, Vice President, and all Civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

And then there's Hamilton and Federalist Papers number 65, he talks about the grounds for impeachment, including those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.

But, either standard, Jo, do you think there are grounds to impeach President Trump from what you know now?

JOSEPH ELLIS, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR: Short answer, yes. The term high crimes and misdemeanors is confusing to a lot of Americans for good reason. A high crime is treason, murder, and misdemeanor is like jay-walking.

What Hamilton is saying in the Federalist Papers and what the founders were saying -- the framers, during the three times they debated executive power in the constitutional convention, was that Republics were vulnerable to leaders who played to the prejudices and the passions and the emotions of the electorate, and that the executive branch was dangerous.

The monarchy was the ghost at the banquet throughout the Philadelphia Convention, and they wanted to reassure themselves that they would be able to remove a chief executive, if he violated certain values that put the Republic at risk, that through themselves not crimes.

They didn't think impeachment should happen often. It should be a last resort. It was a kind of nuclear option. But you didn't have to commit a crime, you had to violate principles that, let's say, unbalance the constitution or expanded executive power in a dangerous state dictatorial direction.

BURNETT: Which I think is significant when you say it's also about values. Brenda, in your book, you write, in 1868, the highly unlikable President Johnson was impeached and then brought to trial in the Senate by men who could no longer tolerate the man's arrogance and bigotry, his apparent abuse of power, and most recently, his violation of the law.

You then wrote, Andrew Johnson was not a statesman. He was a man with a fear of losing ground, with a need to be recognized, with an obsession to be right. Heedless of consequences, he baited Congress and bullied men, believing his enemies were enemies of the people.

Look, you started working on this book six years ago. But, obviously, there are many Republicans who would substitute names in those sentences and wonder what it means for the big decision in front of them.

WINEAPPLE: Well, what it means is that, it seems like we're going forward in, you know, a very clear way. Because almost -- I didn't intend to write it this way. But, you know, we've gone from, say, abuse of power or bullying men, in bullying ideas, to the violation of a law.

And as Joseph Ellis just explained, you don't need to violate a law to have an impeachable offense. But it was finally, the violation of a law called the Tenure of Office Act that got the House of Representatives to vote overwhelmingly to impeach Johnson. When before that, there had been many who were reluctant, even though they thought that he was unfit for office.

BURNETT: So, Jo, President Trump invoked the Founding Fathers earlier this week. He was asked about his possible impeachment. He went to the Founding Fathers. Here's what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that it's a forgone conclusion that the House will impeach?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think they want to, any Democrats wants to, because they're not going to beat me in the election. So, of course, they want to impeach. Why would they want to impeach me? It's so -- it's so illegitimate. That it cannot be the way the founders, our great founders meant this to be.


BURNETT: Just to reiterate, Jo, you won the Pulitzer Prize for your book on the Founding Fathers. Is the President, right?

ELLIS: Succinctly, no. Of course, impeachment -- I mean, the -- Jerry Ford, the -- when he was Republican Head of the Minority in the Senate said, impeachment is whatever a majority of the Members of the House decide it to be.

[20:35:14] It's a political category, and not a legal category. There's some truth to that, but I think that overstates it. That there has to be a sufficient preponderance of evidence that the person is violating principles that are central to the growth and the stability of the Republic.

And I think that there's enough evidence on the table beyond the Ukraine matter. The -- especially the obstruction of justice, not allowing witnesses to testify, not allowing his tax records to be -- to be obtained. I mean, remember, Ronald Reagan said, trust but verify.

And so, why doesn't he turn his tax records over. So that, there are all kinds of reasons that add up to a bill of indictment, which is what I think the House is going to deliver. Remember, however, a sitting president has never been successfully removed from office. That is, Nixon left on purpose, I mean, on his own will. But the vote against Johnson, lost by one.

BURNETT: Right. Right. As what I was saying, that eventually acquitted. And that does show the hurdle in front of them, even if they, of course, successfully do so --

ELLIS: Right.

BURNETT: -- in the House, as with Bill Clinton. The Senate, at this point, does not look that it would go the same way. We'll see what happens. I appreciate both of you taking the time. I hope that this add a lot of value for our viewers who I know have a lot of questions about what the Founding Fathers wanted, what the constitution says, the Federalist Papers, thank you both.

WINEAPPLE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, much more of our special coverage, WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS, shifting Republican support from Trump -- for Trump. So, just who can he count on, on the GOP side? Plus, we will go live to Ukraine. How is Trump impeachment news playing there?




BURNETT: Welcome back to CNN Special Report, THE WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS, as impeachment in the House grows more likely, the big question has now become whether the Senate will vote to remove Trump from office. Here are the numbers, there are 47 Democrats and Independents and 53 Republicans, OK?

These numbers are really important, because to remove a president from office, you need 67 senators voting for, which means all the Democrats, the Independents and at least 20 of the Republicans, OK? Right now, we don't even formally have one of them on board.

Joining me now is a former Ohio governor, John Kasich, a Republican. He is the author of the new book, It's Up to Us Ten Little Ways We Can Bring About Change. And Governor, I really appreciate your time. So, here's the thing, you know, the President has already dismissed people criticizing him in the Republican Party, as never Trumpers, OK?

You have been a long-time critic of the President, but, you did not come out in favor of impeachment until a week ago, all right? You waited. You waited through Mueller, you waited until you had more facts on Ukraine, and only a week ago, did you come out in favor. So, do you think others are like you and on the edge, on the verge, or not?

JOHN KASICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF OHIO: I don't think at this point, Erin, to be honest with you. I think -- I think what's going to move Republicans, first of all, are public hearings. And I've been urging that the House, the vote on impeachment inquiry which they haven't done, I think is a big mistake. Setting rules up for the minority. It's important, it relates to fairness.

Secondly, I know at some point here, they're going to have public hearings, so people can actually hear witnesses talk about what's happened. And right now, it's sort of selected leaks and stories here and there. But ultimately, I really believe that it's going to require Republicans, not just Democrats, and some Independents.

But Republicans, to say, that there's enough here, that we think the President should be impeached, and then you go to the trial, and that's going to depend. I also believe on where the bulk of Republicans are. It doesn't have to have all of them, but you've got to have some in the Republican Party saying, yes, this is bad.

BURNETT: And look, some of them have indicated that, all right, but then they haven't gone, so far, as to say it's impeachable, right? I mean, you've heard criticism from Collins and Murkowski and Sasse and, of course, Romney. And, you know -- you know, Cornyn is reading up on impeachment, at least, he's reading Brenda's book who was just on.

But as you know, the President does what he always does, Governor, right? He comes out and slams people who criticize him. Mitt Romney is the one in his sights, right now. And here's what he said just recently about Mitt Romney.


TRUMP: They don't have a Mitt Romney in their mitts. They don't have the Mitt Romneys of the world. They don't have Mitt Romney in their mitts. They don't have people like that. They stick together. You never see them break off. But you don't have the Mitt Romneys of the world. You don't have people that will go against the party.


BURNETT: He's obviously talking about Democrats, right? He's saying the Republicans -- you know, the Democrats are all together. They don't have a Mitt Romney. They don't have a Mitt Romney.

KASICH: Right.

BURNETT: Do you think though, Governor, that Mitt Romney, who has been incredibly vocal in his criticism, will actually follow through and put his career and his legacy on the line, and vote to impeach?

KASICH: Well, he's -- first of all, this is what everybody says when the Democrats were in charge. They say, oh the Republicans stick together. And the Republicans say, well, the Democrats stick together. In terms of what Mitt Romney's going to do, I don't have a clue, Erin, nobody does. I think he's going to look at the evidence. This is clearly something that's bothered him.

[20:45:12] This is something that has gotten inside of his conscience. And I don't think he's going to put his career on the line if he votes this. And, I mean, that's not -- there's no -- there's no profiles encouraged here, by looking at this information, that a President of the United States held up military aid, so that the leader of another country would investigate his political opponent.

To me, it's pretty cut and dry. It's pretty simple. And we saw the Chief of Staff say it. And we saw the Ambassador Taylor who had a very powerful testimony. What I believe Republicans are going to probably pivot to is to say, oh well, you know, yes, maybe there was a quid pro quo. But, you know, we're a year out. And why don't we just have an election.

And I don't think we should take him out for this. That's where, I think, they're going. Unless, the public says, no. That's not acceptable.

BURNETT: So that's where you get to the public hearings. But today, you know, the President announces al-Baghdadi, right? The ISIS leader --


BURNETT: -- you know, is dead, that he killed himself when he was cornered. And, obviously, the President is excited about this because his own party slammed him over Syria. He thinks that this is going to help --

KASICH: Well, we're all excited about it.

BURNETT: -- shore him up. Absolutely. But, he -- you know, is this politically going to help him with his own party?

KASICH: Well, yes. I mean, any time something like this happens. When, you know, a major victory in terms of taking care of somebody who's, you know, the force of evil, it's always going to play to the benefit of the person in charge. And so, no doubt about that.

But, do I think that's lasting? No, I don't think it's lasting. I think, Erin, what it gets down to is the question I just -- you know, I raised a little bit ago, do you think this raises to the level that a president should stop, should not do that.

And does -- do members of the Republican Party, when hearing about this and making it clear and crystallize, they say, OK. That's enough. We can't tolerate that. That's not good for this president, it's not good for the next one. And that's what we have to keep our eye on. It's been shifting a little bit, in terms of where people are on this, but there's a long way to go.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Governor, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

KASICH: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And just ahead in our Special Coverage, THE WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS, we are going to go live to Ukraine, where the media is not holding back on its coverage of the Trump impeachment inquiry.




BURNETT: Welcome back to CNN's Special Coverage, THE WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS. The impeachment inquiry of President Trump is dominating attention in the United States and around the world. So, how is the story playing out in Ukraine?

Well, one Ukrainian newspaper puts it this way on its front page, Shady Cast of Characters Engineers of Trump-Ukraine Scandal. Here is Clarissa Ward tonight, reporting from Kyiv.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ukraine is still front and center in the U.S.' political crisis, more than a month after the impeachment inquiry began. The country has gone to lengths not to take sides and risk much needed bipartisan support from the U.S. But Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, admits it is an uncomfortable position to be in. During a recent press conference, he joked to journalists that he really wanted to be world famous but not for this. At the English language Kyiv Post, the political scandal is very much frontpage news. The paper recently made waves with this headline, that quickly went viral.

I mean, this one is so striking to me, because you're talking about the Shady Cast of Characters, here they all are, and there is the President of the United States. Did you know that it would create such waves, online, when you came out with this cover?

OLGA RUDENKO, DEPUTY CHIEF EDITOT, KYIV POST: No. No. We did not see it coming. We did not expect we will be making it at all.

WARD: Did you have a moment, at all, thinking are we going to get in trouble, at all, for having a picture of President Trump right under the word, shady?

RUDENKO: Not really. I mean, we're not making anything up here. Here is his personal attorney who has been making these dealings in Ukraine. And here's Trump, it's not farfetched. It's all very clear they're all connected.

WARD: Anti-corruption activist Daria Kalenuik has spent years investigating many of the figures on the Ukraine side, and was disturbed to see the White House, dealing with such dubious characters.

DARIA KALENUIK, ANTI-CORRUPTION ACTIVIST: We don't see (INAUDIBLE) the clearer picture what was happening during the last half a year. It is outrageous.

WARD: Outrageous?

KALENUIK: It's absolutely outrageous. It's very disappointing. I could never believe that something like that could happen.

WARD: On the streets of Kyiv, few Ukrainians have such strong opinions about America's political turmoil.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you care about the story?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me too. Yes, we don't care so much about the story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A problem of the president of United States is not about us. We have our own problems.

WARD: Chief among them, for President Zelensky, the war against Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country. Ukraine depends heavily on U.S. military aide in that fight. Kalenuik says that those who understand what is at stake here, are uneasy.

Do you think people are angry? KALENUIK: Absolutely. People are angry and scared. And I will explain why people are scared. It is existential need for Ukraine to have the support of United States. We want to live under the Western values, under the values of liberal democracy. But in order to resist the pressure from Russia, we need to rely on the support of our Kyiv partners.

WARD: But as America's political crisis deepens, Russia's hand is only strengthened, leaving Ukraine with few good options, but to try to ride out the storm.


Now, people here, Erin, who are following this closely, do understand that, in fact, America's political turmoil is directly connected to the war that is going on against those Russian-backed separatists because it's important to remember, nearly $400 million in military aide was withheld for months.

[20:55:16] That could've had a devastating impact on the conflict, if it had gone on much longer, Erin. And that's exactly why the political leaders here feel it's crucial for them not to become piggy in the middle, in America's political crisis. Erin?

BURNETT: All right, Clarissa, thank you very much. So powerful that a woman that she was speaking to, said this was an existential need for Ukraine to have the aide from United States.

Coming up, more on the WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS: THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY. All roads lead to Rudy Giuliani. So, tonight, you're going to hear and see them, and know -- find out what we don't know yet about Trump's point person on Ukraine.

And mounting questions for the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was on that call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president. Plus, two impeachment insiders who were on very different sides of the Bill Clinton impeachment, what did they think this time.