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The White House in Crisis; The impeachment Inquiry. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 10, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. This is WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS, THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY. I'm Don Lemon. And for the next two hours, we're going to step back and we're going to take a look at the big picture for you.
Think of this as the view from 30,000 feet. If you were feeling overwhelmed by the avalanche of news, and there has been a lot of it, tonight we'll tell you exactly where we are right now in the impeachment process. A big week behind us, a big week ahead. We're going to tell you what all this means and what happens next.
It has been a whirlwind week. 2,677 pages of testimony from eight witnesses, one after another. And page after page tying the president of the United States to efforts to shake down Ukraine, to force them into investigations that could help him politically here at home. The testimony devastating to the president. But in the week ahead, we're going to hear from three of the most important witnesses answering questions on live TV with millions of people across this country hanging on every single word.
First we have Bill Taylor. Bill Taylor is the top diplomat in the Ukraine. We have State Department official George Kent. And former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. What they say will be crucial to the investigation and to the Democrats' efforts to connect the dots and convince the American people that the president's conduct is impeachable. One House Democrat leadership aide telling CNN, they have to start strong, saying, quote, "The first hearing has got to be a blockbuster."
We're going to get into all of that tonight. But first, here's Alex Marquardt with where we stand in the investigation right now.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The committee ought to release the entire record of all of their witnesses.
REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY): No transparency, no accountability, no due process.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After repeated calls for transparency from the president and his defenders, last week Republicans finally got what they were asking for. Or did they?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: The case for impeaching President Trump is about to become a live TV blockbuster.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: The first transcripts from the impeachment inquiry.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Here you go, hot off the presses.
MARQUARDT: Next week, open hearings are scheduled, following the thousands of pages of testimony released of eight of the witnesses at the heart of the Ukraine saga. McKinley, Yovanovitch, Volker, Taylor, Kent, Sondland, Vindman, and Hill. Account after account further confirming one consistent theme.
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It looks like the president and his inner circle were engaged in efforts to extort the Ukrainian government to do their political bidding.
MARQUARDT: Among the first transcripts released was that of former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch who testified that the shadow Ukraine policy led by Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, was a, quote, "partisan game," a game that would eventually result in her own removal from Ukraine.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER: She was sworn in as ambassador, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in 2016. She was unexpectedly recalled from her post in May, months earlier than expected.
MARQUARDT: Fiona Hill, the White House's former top adviser on Russia, testified that the ousting of Yovanovitch, a well-respected career diplomat, was a turning point.
VINOGRAD: This was a politically motivated move. It was orchestrated by Giuliani based upon interests that had nothing to do with foreign policy.
MARQUARDT: Yovanovitch testified that late last year she learned from Ukrainian officials about a concerted campaign by Giuliani and a former Ukrainian prosecutor to undermine her and that they were going to, quote, "do things, including to me."
George Kent, the top State Department official on Ukraine, corroborated her story, testifying that a Ukrainian prosecutor was behind the campaign.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This was like a thriller. All these people spreading rumors, undermining her position.
VINOGRAD: There is a history of this. You'd expect her to be smeared by corrupt Ukrainians and Russian interests because she was implementing U.S. foreign policy with respect to anti-corruption. What's new is that President Trump and Rudy Giuliani really allowed themselves to believe these conspiracy theories. MARQUARDT: Yovanovitch told lawmakers that she learned she was being
sent home at 1:00 a.m. with a phone call from the State Department. She was told, "This is about your security. You need to come home immediately. You need to come home on the next plane."
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): That smear campaign orchestrated by this irregular channel was successful in removing a U.S. ambassador.
MARQUARDT: On the July 25th call, the president told his Ukrainian counterpart, Yovanovitch is going to go through some things. Asked by House investigators if she felt threatened, Yovanovitch responded yes.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard very, very bad things about her for a long period of time. Not good.
MARQUARDT: The campaign to remove the U.S. ambassador disturbed many others at the State Department as well, including Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who went to his boss three times, according to his testimony, urging Pompeo to release a statement in support of Yovanovitch, which Pompeo has publicly denied.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: And in May when that took place, he didn't say a thing to me.
VINOGRAD: It's deeply troubling when the secretary of State is lying to the American public about anything and most certainly when he's lying about any step to protect a member of his staff.
MARQUARDT: Perhaps the most stunning development of the week came not from a transcript but instead a correction to one. A three-page addendum from longtime Republican donor turned diplomat, ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A really stunning reversal. The president's ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, suddenly remembering, it appears, there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
AVLON: This was a major flip-flop.
MARQUARDT: In his new testimony, Sondland not only reversed his position, he also recalled that it was he who told Ukrainian officials about the holdup. "I said that the resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anticorruption statement."
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): That's his opinion. All I can say is that the president of Ukraine didn't believe that. The president of the United States on the phone call didn't say that.
VINOGRAD: There seems to be a distancing that's underway between the White House and Ambassador Sondland. Now that Sondland has changed his story a bit and said that he understood that there was a quid pro quo.
MARQUARDT: While Sondland's reversal may have been the week's most surprising news, the testimony from the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, may prove to be the most damning to the Trump defense.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sources tell CNN White House official appear the most concerned about Bill Taylor.
AVLON: Bill Taylor has the respect of generals, of former secretaries of state, of former presidents. And it is more difficult for them to demonize him as a radical.
MARQUARDT: Taylor testified that he was told about a meeting on September 1st between Sondland and a top aide to President Zelensky in which Sondland told the aide, "The security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation. Everything was dependent on such an announcement." That kind of announcement, says Taylor, could create a, quote, "nightmare scenario."
VINOGRAD: If President Zelensky went out publicly and said that he was willing to investigate Burisma and this 2016 election issue, it would look like he was a pawn of President Trump's. So that could diminish Democratic support for Ukraine going forward.
MARQUARDT: While Trump defenders like Congressman Jim Jordan argue that in the end it all worked out, Ukraine got the aid they needed, Fiona Hill told investigators the damage has already been done. "The manner in which we got to this point," she said, "has been extraordinarily corrosive."
It got to this point because the orders were coming from the top, the president's office. In a just-released transcript, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told lawmakers there was no ambiguity, that in order for Ukraine's president to get a meeting at the White House, they were told they had to investigate the Bidens.
TRUMP: It's a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt.
MARQUARDT: Vindman and Hill both saying it was acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney who told Sondland to make it clear to the Ukrainians they would not get a White House meeting unless they started investigations, a quid pro quo that Mulvaney admitted to before walking it back.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We do that all the time. Get over it.
MARQUARDT: As dramatic as last week was, this week promises to be even more so as we now move into the next phase, open hearings. Public testimony scheduled later in the week for Ambassador Taylor, George Kent, and Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, all of whom offered that damning testimony about quid pro quo and the rogue Ukraine policy. Now they're expected to do it in front of the cameras.
Washington bracing for yet another historic week -- Don.
LEMON: Alex, thank you very much. Appreciate that.
I want to bring in now Dana Bash and Laura Coates.
Good evening to both of you.
Dana, let's start with you. A devastating week for this president. Multiple people from inside his administration testifying that he tried to shake down Ukraine's president. What is the most damning evidence and where does the investigation stand right now?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's what you just said, it's the totality of what Alex just put in his -- in his excellent piece. And it is based on the fact that it wasn't just the reporting that our team and others did in talking to lawmakers after these closed-door depositions, but the actual depositions themselves, the transcripts. We see now in black and white a pattern of all of these officials having stories that match up. And that story is a quid pro quo.
And I think, as Alex said, of all of those, perhaps the most important this week was Gordon Sondland who is not a deep stater, he basically bought his way into the ambassadorship, he did it the old-fashioned way, the swampy way as Trump would say, by giving $1 million to his inauguration.
He changed his testimony because he realized he was not on the same page with the people telling the truth.
LEMON: Laura, these public hearings will bring life to these transcripts on cable and on broadcast networks. Now the burden is on the Democrats really to tell Americans the story of what happened, why this is wrong, why it's impeachable. How do they do it?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they have to do a consistent narrative. They have to really craft and be storytellers, truth tellers nonetheless, Don, but storytellers. They have to give the American people essentially a timeline of events from the early skepticism of someone like Ambassador Taylor to the skepticism of Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and how these individuals who were not working side-by-side had different moments when they each said, independently, something is wrong here and I must report it up the chain.
They have to show a series of people who were essentially in their own right whistleblowers, who internally went to the powers that be and said, there's a problem, we have to fix it, this is not right, this is not what we do. Now if they fail to kind of weave that story line and get muddled down into discussions about Latin terms or the ideas of trying to revisit something else, they will lose the audience. And why that's so important of course is remember, this is essentially
the first bite at the apple. They will have these Articles of Impeachment discussion, presumably they'll actually pass the House. The second bite at the apple is the actual trial themselves. But in order to persuade the Senate to even have a snowball's chance in hell of trying to convict, let alone remove the president, the American people have to follow along in this particular way. Bite-sized pieces, consistent story line, compelling testimony.
One more point, remember, it was Mr. Butterfield who in behind closed doors in the Nixon Watergate hearings was the one to say, yes, he actually did have recording devices. They knew it beforehand. It wasn't until he went in front of the cameras and repeated it that it really had the gravitas they needed.
LEMON: Who knows, maybe there's one here. And we'll see where all of this goes.
Dana, Laura mentioned Latin terms. And I've been saying for weeks, why does everyone keep saying quid pro quo. It only offers a sound bite to the president.
LEMON: To sort of distract from the substance of what's coming out from these witnesses. After weeks of talking about quid pro quo, we are starting to hear different language now. Representative Eric Swalwell used the word extortion today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): We have enough evidence from the depositions that we've done to warrant bringing this forward. Evidence of an extortion scheme, using taxpayer dollars to ask a foreign government to investigate the president's opponent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Dana, is using that kind of pointed language part of a strategy for Democrats now?
BASH: It sounds that way. Leon Panetta, the former Defense secretary, was on CNN this week and he said that Democrats should just use the word "bribery." That that's what he -- what it is, that's what quid pro quo, the Latin term, means in English, something for something else, which is bribery. So what you just heard from Eric Swalwell, you're right, speaks to exactly what Laura was saying, which is that this is it. I mean, this is the whole ball game, this -- beginning of these public hearings, and the whole notion of impeachment has to do with public opinion.
Nancy Pelosi didn't want to bring impeachment up for months and months and months because she said the public is just not there. They weren't there before this Ukraine situation happened. But they fundamentally believe and hope that these public hearings help to bring the public even further behind, not just the Democrats who support it, not just some independents, but perhaps some, you know, disenchanted Republicans. That's a tall order, though.
LEMON: Laura, I want to talk about how the president and his allies have attacked the whistleblower as part of their offensive strategy. They want to expose the name and question him or her in the public hearings. But this week, the whistleblower's lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to the White House legal counsel saying, and I quote here, it says, "Let me be clear, should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client."
Laura, what are the consequences of outing the whistleblower?
COATES: Remember, the whole spirit of the Whistleblower Protection Act is to ensure that no whistleblower who's reporting on an abuse of power, who has inside knowledge and an expertise, that the rest of us would not be able to have by virtue of not being in the room, not being on the call, not being privy to information, would not be retaliated against.
Now, retaliation takes many, many forms. It can include firing. It can be internal sanction in employment. It can also include actual physical threats and violence. And remember, we're talking about a member of the intelligence community as well. We have a way of covering that community for a good reason because of the safety risks inherent in the job. And so the president, by encouraging people to look the whistleblower is a form of retaliation.
But also importantly here, remember, this is akin to shooting, although figuratively, the messenger. This whistleblower complaint has been corroborated not just by more than a dozen witnesses.
COATES: But, Dana, you well know, the president and his team released a pseudo-transcript that also confirmed details. So I'm not sure why the whistleblower is nothing more at this point than an UPS delivery driver.
LEMON: Well, Laura, listen. Listen, I'm out of time but just quickly. So legally responsible if something happened to the whistleblower?
COATES: I think it's a stretch to connect the dots, frankly. It may be more of a tangential, but the spirit of it is in stack there, that if the president or any member of the federal government is encouraging a violation of the spirit of the law, there should be consequences.
LEMON: All right, Dana.
BASH: And just one quick sentence.
LEMON: Yes, quick. BASH: The whistleblower is a Republican red herring. We have moved
beyond that at this point. They're trying to distract by focusing on that.
LEMON: Thank you, both. I appreciate it.
Next, all the president's men. What are the consequences for them as the impeachment inquiry barrels ahead?
WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS: THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY continues.
LEMON: Mike Pence. Mike Pompeo. Mick Mulvaney. Bill Barr. The departing Rick Perry. All the president's men at the highest level of the administration could be in a world of trouble as the impeachment investigation barrels ahead.
Here's Tom Foreman with more.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, when it comes to the tightest circle around Trump, all the president's men could suffer political fallout from the Ukraine scandal starting with Vice President Mike Pence who is facing the classic questions, what did he know and when did he know it?
One of his aides has testified in private before House lawmakers about concerns she had about the now-infamous phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. Pence has not gone into any details about the president pushing the Ukrainians to investigate Joe Biden and his son, or why military aid was being withheld, yet he is sure of this, nothing bad happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: But the American people should read the transcript. And they will see that the president did nothing wrong. There was no pressure, there was no quid pro quo. The president simply raised issues, uh, of -- of importance and interest to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also in the hot seat. And he jumped into it early, evading questions about this call between Trump and the Ukrainians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: The "Wall Street Journal" is reporting that President Trump pressed the president of Ukraine eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden's son. What do you know about those conversations?
POMPEO: So you just gave me a report about a whistleblower complaint, none of which I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: The problem? He failed to admit that he was on that call. He has since pushed back against lawmakers' questioning State Department employees, calling it intimidation and bullying, all while allowing the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine to be shoved out of her job for what appear to be purely political reasons.
Soon-to-be former Energy secretary Rick Perry says he has done nothing wrong, still his contact with Ukrainian officials came under intense scrutiny especially after Trump said Perry wanted him to call the Ukrainian president about an energy deal, not the Bidens. Perry has also declined to testify.
Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, he is the one who initially admitted the quid pro quo, said, yes, military aid was withheld from the Ukrainians to force this investigation into Democratic e-mails, happens all the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULVANEY: I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy. I'm talking to Mr. Karl. That is going to happen. Elections have consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: And later he said his words were misconstrued, there was no deal, yet he was involved in holding up that money and he has been subpoenaed and he has said he will not testify, citing absolute immunity.
And finally, Attorney General William Barr. He's wrapped up in the Ukrainian scandal in part because President Trump put him there, telling the Ukrainians on that phone call, talk to Barr and talk to my personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. They'll help you get going on this Biden investigation. Barr has been traveling around the world looking into the origins of the Russia investigation, but he could face very tough questions along with all the rest of the president's men as the impeachment process rolls on -- Don.
LEMON: Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
Could all the president's men be in legal jeopardy? And if they are, will they face a loyalty test from this president? I'm going to talk to two men who were right in the center of Watergate, John Dean, Philip Lacovara, next.
LEMON: Top members of the Trump administration getting caught up in the web of the impeachment inquiry. And what happens next could come down to one very familiar question, what did they know and when did they know it?
Let's discuss now. John Dean is here, as well as Phillip Lacovara.
Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Good to see both of you.
John, as Tom just reported, the president is the focus of this impeachment inquiry but there are numerous questions about the involvement of all the president's men.
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No question, Don. One of the interesting things that the way this is unfolding is there is no parallel criminal investigation. Under normal circumstances, the Department of Justice would be looking into this. Barr took a pass on it, said there's no campaign act violation. He didn't really go elaborate much beyond that. But that's one of the -- that's got to be a difficulty for a number of these witnesses who are no-shows. They don't want to go up there and be forced to testify or be forced to take the Fifth Amendment. So this is playing out in real time for a number of these people in a potential criminal setting.
LEMON: Philip, the president expects total loyalty, we've discussed this a lot. But as more damning evidence comes out that implicates the people who are closest to him, are we going to see the limits of that loyalty tested?
PHILIP LACOVARA, FORMER COUNSEL TO WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTORS: I think, at some point, some of these people around the President, are going to start looking out for their own hides.
[20:30:10] I think you've already seen Bill Barr who, so far, has been a fairly faithful acolyte of the President's, beginning to distance himself, trying to say that he really didn't have any role in the President's suggestion to President Zelensky of Ukraine.
That Bill Barr would be in touch with him, about getting the dirt that the President was looking for. Nevertheless, Barr has been running around the world, as I think Dana pointed out in the earlier segment, trying to get intelligence officials in England and Italy and Australia, to come up with some information.
But more recently, he's been trying to say he has no role in any of this. And I think that's an example of the likelihood that some of these people are going to recognize that if they're on a ship that's, if not going to sink, at least, get battered in the waves, they don't want to be on board.
LEMON: Maybe listing, right? So, John, listen, starting on Wednesday, it's the first time that we're going to see televised testimony. You know something about that. Let's roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL OF RICHARD NIXON: I began by telling the President that there was a cancer growing on the presidency, and if the cancer was not removed, the President himself would be killed by it. I also told him that it was important that this cancer be removed immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, we have Taylor, Kent, Yovanovitch, all expected to testify this week. Are Democrats starting with their strongest witnesses first? Is that their strategy, John?
DEAN: It appears they have very good witnesses with wonderful credentials, true public servants, who have careers in government that are not partisan in any way, and they do know the story. So, they can lay it out for the public, in a way that has really not been done at this point.
I think that it's encouraging that a lot of people will be watching this. I understand some of the networks are going to set aside their regular programming to look at this. So, that's good because it will reach the broadest possible audience.
LEMON: Yes. Speaking of audiences, let me -- let me ask you this, would it be helpful, John, to run -- to re-run the testimony at night, on broadcast or cable networks?
DEAN: Very. I can't tell you, Don, how big an impact, huge impact, that had during Watergate. When PBS did it, it's what really put PBS on the map. They really were just a struggling startup at that -- at the time Watergate was unfolding, and they did the rebroadcast at night, and people became glued to them. And learn what they couldn't learn because they have days jobs, at night.
So, I think it would be a very good thing if somebody does it at night.
LEMON: And put ratings aside, regardless of how it rates and do a public service.
LEMON: Phil, I got to ask you, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine is Bill Taylor. Bill Taylor outlined the shakedown when he was behind closed doors. How damning, do you think, that is going to be, when presumably, he describes it on camera?
LACOVARA: I think that's extremely important testimony. Taylor really sets the narrative for the whole thrust of this aspect of the impeachment investigation. And it's not surprising that he will be the first witness out of the box.
Adam Schiff, who's running this whole process for Speaker Pelosi, is an extremely smart, skilled courtroom lawyer. He knows the importance of getting the narrative set from the first witness, from the get-go.
Taylor is a credible, articulate witness. And I think he's going to be able to frame the issues in a way that will carry the momentum through the balance of the public testimony by other witnesses, all of whom, as far as we can tell from the transcripts, line up fairly precisely with Taylor's testimony. And now, we even have Ambassador Sondland, on whom the President had tried to rely, in saying Sondland had denied that there was any quid pro quo, finally relenting and admitting, yes, he, on further reflection, agrees that there was a quid pro quo. And he was part of passing along those demands to the Ukrainians. So, I think, Schiff's got the right lineup of witnesses who will tell a compelling story.
LEMON: Philip, John, thank you so much, I appreciate it.
Polls show that about half of Americans support impeaching President Trump. But, what do voters have to say? CNN reporters across the country have been asking. That's next.
LEMON: With public hearings beginning Wednesday, in the impeachment inquiry, polls show that Americans are pretty much split on whether or not they support the investigation. So, how do voters feel? CNN's reporters fanned out across the country to find out. Athena Jones wraps it up for us.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a hoax.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump, insisting he's not worried about the impeachment inquiry, set to ramp up on Capitol Hill this week, delivering a familiar message to reporters, Friday.
TRUMP: This is just like the Russian witch hunt.
JONES: It's a message that has become a mantra.
TRUMP: The deranged, delusional, destructive and hyper partisan impeachment witch hunt.
JONES: One his supporters in battleground states across the country, are echoing.
TRUMP: To make America great again.
[20:40:04] JONES: In Michigan, which Trump won, by just under 11,000 votes, after President Obama carried the state, twice, some Trump supporters blasted the Democrats.
JAMES MEISTROM, FINANCIAL ADVISOR: Oh, I think it's a total witch hunt, just like President Trump says. I think that the Democrats are really just trying to overturn the results from 2016. And I think it's going to fail miserably.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President is doing a great job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Trump's got it.
JONES: And they praised the President's performance.
STEVEN PLACE, WORKER, UPS: Look at the real estate. I mean, house goes on a market, it's gone, in a week, if it takes that long. I mean, the economy is just booming.
JONES: But in Georgia's sixth congressional district, which elected a Democrat to Congress in 2018, after Trump won it narrowly in 2016, some voters said they were tired of a president who feels he's above the law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not just let the ballot box determine the fate of the president?
MARLA CURETON, REGISTERED DEMOCRAT: It's the level and the depth of what is going on. The extent to which the administration feels above the law, our minds just continue to get blown, and there has to be a limit.
JONES: Former Republican Tamara Stevens supports impeaching the President, even if it energizes Trump supporters.
TAMARA STEVENS, FORMER REPUBLICAN: Asking for an investigation and dirt on your chief political opponent in 2020? I mean, he could potentially be going up against Biden. This is what he was asking for. That has a value that well exceeds $1 million.
So, how people can excuse that and say, oh, it was -- it's no big deal, it's just part of diplomacy and that's how --
JONES: Steven says there's an important difference between the Ukraine investigation and the Russia investigation, Trump spent two years, slamming.
STEVENS: This is looking forward to 2020 and trying to mess around with an election that we've got coming up. That's a whole new ball game.
JONES: Republicans in her district, not surprisingly, disagree.
DEBBIE FISHER, GEORGIA REPUBLICAN: I think it is a sham. And it's not as much the impeachment itself, as the process, that they are going to, that is unprecedented in the history of this country.
JONES: And in Pennsylvania, which went for Trump in 2016, going red for the first time since 1988, voters split largely along party lines, with Democrats ready to throw the book at Trump.
BLAIR ELLIOT, REGISTERED DEMOCRAT: We're seeing the evidence in real time, almost. And I think that that's good enough for me, to think that he's ready to go.
MIKE LAWS, REGISTERED DEMOCRAT: I think he's violated the law, trying to exploit money that was already appropriated from the Congress, and holding that up, saying, I need a favor? JONES: And Republicans standing by the President.
GARRETT GUMMER, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: I don't think David Copperfield or if Harry Houdini was living, they could pull a quid pro quo out of that transcript.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you explain away testimony from others who say, they had concerns about the call?
MILO MORRIS, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: Those are not data points. That's opinion. And I don't know that we can necessarily try somebody, based on somebody else's or a set of opinions.
JONES: Independents were similarly split.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have seen enough evidence in reading the transcripts and watching a variety of news sources that looks like a lot of abuse of power.
JIM LUNDBERG, INDEPENDENT VOTER: Things he has done are reprehensible and I'm embarrassed that he's our president. But, I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know if those things rise to the level of high crimes.
JONES: But back in Michigan, even those who support the inquiry have a clear warning for Democrats. Don't let this sidetrack you from tackling the issues that are top of mind for voters, like healthcare and jobs.
CHRISTINE WILLIAMS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN: I think it's important that the inquiry be going on. I also think it's important that we not be distracted by it and that there's actually governance going on as well.
JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, New York.
LEMON: Athena, thank you very much. Next, we're going to go live to Moscow, where CNN's Matthew Chance tells us how Russians feel about the impeachment inquiry and about President Trump.
LEMON: Russians are eagerly following the impeachment inquiry, and they're not happy about even the remote possibility that President Trump could be removed from office. It turns out, he's quite popular in Russia. CNN's Matthew Chance explains.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the burger bars of downtown Moscow, Trump is a favorite on the menu. The Trump burger? Great. What's in -- what's in the Trump burger?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like angus beef.
CHANCE: Angus beef?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And --
CHANCE: No bologna? No bologna?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no.
CHANCE: OK. Good.
And the President, like the burger, is popular with Russian diners.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow, this is so wonderful, man, because this special -- he has special hair.
CHANCE: You love his hair?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is so strange, but I like this -- he's strong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And funny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I'm telling the truth, and Trump will happen to dismount, another president would be like, much more strict for Russia.
CHANCE: Much more critical of Russia?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CHANCE: The truth is, many Russians see President Trump as a rare friend in the White House, what will be lost if he's impeached.
[20:50:04] On Russian state television, tightly controlled by the kremlin, support for Trump and the impeachment battle is absolute.
After all, it is Russia, they sometimes joke, that got him elected. Allegations of election meddling are officially denied, but often referenced even on serious news shows with a wink.
Have you lost your minds that you want to remove our Donald? Asks the host of this weekly current affairs program.
They say Trump is weakening the United States, says one of his guests. Yes, he is. And that's why we love him, he adds. The more problems they have, the better for us. It's no secret some Russians are taking pleasure at the political discord in the United States.
Impeachment, according to Republican members of Congress, in a recent open letter to the Wall Street Journal, is what Vladimir Putin wants. But the fast-moving impeachment process may be too chaotic, even for the Russian president. He wants crippling sanctions lifted, arms control deals, and a working relationship with the White House. Virtually impossible, he says, in such a toxic political environment.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (via translator): How can we cooperate with them when they are so engaged in their domestic political affairs? Obviously, this is always the case during an election campaign, but this domestic political race has gone a little over the top. I don't think it's ever been like this, in the history of the United States.
CHANCE: Like Russia itself, its views on Trump and his possible impeachment are complicated and contradictory. They relish the chaos but crave stability and have little time for opponents of their American friend.
What about people who say he's not a good president, he should not be president? What do you --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is foreign people. This is people who think only this, because this is president, like this.
LEMON: Matthew Chance joins me now, live from Moscow. Matthew, hello to you. You're there, in Moscow, the main reason Ukraine wanted this military aid in the first place, is because it needed to protect itself against Vladimir Putin's military mind.
CHANCE: That's right, Don. I mean, there's already been a big chunk of Ukraine that's been annexed by Russia, the Crimean Peninsula. And, you know, for the last several years since 2014, Russia has been backing rebels and even using its own forces, although it denies that, in a conflict in the east of the country, in which thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.
And so, yes, this money that was given by the United States continues to be given, is important for Ukraine to defend itself and to, you know, hold the line against what is essentially an expansionist Russian state, right next door to it.
LEMON: Matthew, Ambassador Bill Taylor talked about this in his testimony, saying, Ambassador Volker and I could see the armed and hostile Russian-led forces on the other side of the damaged bridge across the line of contact. Over 13,000 Ukrainians had been killed on the war, one or two a week. To this day, that continues. More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without U.S. assistance.
They were clearly desperate for this money.
CHANCE: Absolutely. And, you know, as every day goes past, more Ukrainians die, more people die, on that front line. Even though President Zelensky of Ukraine, who was elected into office earlier in the year, on a promise of bringing the war to an end, it still continues. He's taken some steps, recently, actually, to try and resolve that, try and get peace talks resumed, he's recognized the rebel areas and given them special status, which was a precondition for peace talks to resume. There's been a prisoner swap, he's withdrawn from key towns. But, you know, there are still people being killed on the ground, even now, as we speak.
LEMON: Yes. I was going to ask you what's happening there now. Can you elaborate more on that?
CHANCE: Well, I mean, look -- I mean, within the past, you know, 24, 48 hours or so, there have been more moves made by President Zelensky in Ukraine to, sort of, meet some of the conditions to allow those peace talks to resume.
They've been withdrawing from key towns in the -- in the conflict zone, right up in the front line where they're facing off against the Russian-backed rebels, in the hope that in the weeks and in the months ahead, all the parties can get together and try and, sort of, bring an end to this fighting, permanently.
But that's proving quite a challenge, domestically, for President Zelensky because he's facing a lot of, sort of, hard line opposition within his own country. Nevertheless, you know, these are the efforts that are under way right now, Don.
LEMON: Matthew Chance, thanks for clarifying, no bologna on that Trump burger. We appreciate that, live from Moscow. Thank you very much.
[20:55:08] One of the President's advisers keeps coming in the -- coming up in the impeachment inquiry, even in the White House, rough transcripts of the Ukraine call. So, what is Rudy Giuliani up to? We're going to dig into that, next.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone, to WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS: THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY. I'm Don Lemon.