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Erin Burnett Outfront

Pelosi: "No Choice" But To Move Forward With Impeachment; Vote On Articles Of Impeachment Could Come Next Week; Dem Warns: Don't Include Mueller Probe In Articles Of Impeachment; Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) Is Interviewed About Pelosi's Comment On Hating The President; Top GOP Sen. Grassley Warns Trump Not To Testify In Possible Senate Trial If He Is Impeached By House; McConnell Tells WH No Way To Avoid Impeachment Trial In Senate As Grassley Warns Trump Not To Testify; Giuliani Is Back In Ukraine Meeting With Fringe Lawmakers; Giuliani Back in Ukraine Meeting with Fringe Lawyers; Biden Slams Voter Over Question on Son: You're a Damn Liar". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 05, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You could tweet the show @CNNSITROOM.

"Erin Burnett Outfront" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, don't mess with me. Speaker Nancy Pelosi goes full steam ahead on impeachment. What now? The House Assistant Speaker is my guest. Plus, Rudy Giuliani, he's back in Ukraine and there are pictures tonight to prove it. What's he doing? He says he's working for his client, by the way. And why are some Democrats moving to the right? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, an impeachment vote is happening. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today taking the irrevocable step of asking for formal articles of impeachment. She said in a press conference, "Don't mess with me."

Now, despite her announcement, this is happening. President Trump says he's not concerned.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you worried, sir, about the stain impeachment might have on your legacy?



BURNETT: In fact, the President claimed on Twitter today that not only is he not afraid he wants to hurry it up. "If you're going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business."

Of course, the reality is that Trump's claim to have no worry and not worry about his legacy sure seems like a lot of talk. After all, this is the same Donald Trump who said, "The scandals were devastating. He was impeached," about Bill Clinton's legacy saying it wasn't possible for Clinton to have a legacy as a great president because, "Very few presidents were impeached. So that hurt him very much."

Well, obviously, now he says he feels differently and that even as Trump says he wants an impeachment and a fast one, his own party isn't on the same page. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell taking the exact opposite stance as the President in terms of how fast this could go. He's accusing Pelosi of moving too quickly.

McConnell tweeting, "This morning, Speaker Pelosi delivered a speech to advance her rushed and partisan impeachment process."

Rushed, even though the President of the United States says he wants it fast. So it's Pelosi and Trump versus McConnell? All right. So why do Republicans think that Speaker Pelosi is doing this and moving ahead? Well, here's House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy today.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): This is the day the nation is weaker, because they surely cannot put their animosity or their fear of losing an election in the future in front of all the other things that the American people want.


BURNETT: Animosity, a charge Pelosi took on head on today when asked.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hate the President, Madam Speaker?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't hate anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because Representative Collins ...

PELOSI: I was raised in a Catholic house, I don't hate anybody, not anybody in the world. So don't you accuse me of ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not accuse you.

PELOSI: You did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked a question.

PELOSI: You did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Representative Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing this simply because they don't like the guy.

PELOSI: I have nothing to do with it. Let me just say this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

PELOSI: I think the President is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our dreamers, of which we're very proud. I think he's in denial about the climate crisis. However, that's about the election, this is about the election. Take it up in the election.

This is about the Constitution of the United States, and the facts that lead to the President's violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone.

I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the President. And I still pray for the President. I pray for the President all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.


BURNETT: OK. So why is she doing this, moving ahead with articles now? Well, I want to have you listen again to that one key line.


PELOSI: This is about the Constitution of the United States and the fact that leads to the President's violation of his oath of office.


BURNETT: You would think that Republicans would understand that logic, right, because here's what they said back in 1998, of course, when Bill Clinton was the one being impeached.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a constitutional duty.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.


BURNETT: Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill. Manu, you've been there all day talking to Democrats and Republicans. Do you have any indication that anyone is opening the door, is switching sides on their vote for impeachment?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Republicans certainly are not there. One Republican Congressman Francis Rooney who has kept the door open to supporting impeachment, signaled to me that he may be shutting the door.


He said in his view the Democrats are 'rushing to judgment' because they have not gone to court to fight to get some of those witnesses in the White House.

The President has blocked from coming to testify including Mick Mulvaney, the Acting White House Chief of Staff, others -- some Democrats who have oppose moving forward on impeachment inquiry similarly will likely be opposed when it comes time to vote, two in particular, Max Rose of New York who told me today that he's not - sorry, Erin, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey you told me earlier today that he's not prepared to move forward on articles of impeachment as well as Collin Peterson of Minnesota signaling that he probably wasn't going to be there either.

Some Democrats too are warning about moving too broadly on the articles of impeachment. That's Max Rose of New York. He told me that he got behind in supporting, moving forward on an impeachment inquiry if we're narrowly focused on the issue of Ukraine. But increasingly Democrats signaling that they may go beyond Ukraine and include some other elements of the President's behavior, namely how he sought to undermine the Mueller probe as detailed in the Mueller report.

A lot of Democrats want that included in the articles of impeachment as part of obstruction of justice. But some Democrats are worried about going too far. So that debate, Erin, going to take place behind the scenes in the coming days as Democrats draft multiple articles of impeachment and those votes, of course, could happen before Christmas, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT tonight, Assistant House Speaker Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. And Congressman, you saw Speaker Pelosi today and she was walking away from the podium, obviously, when she decided to return on this issue of hating the President.

She felt she wanted to do that. She said, "Don't mess with me." And look, she rarely comes back like that. Is this now deeply personal for her?

REP. BEN RAY LUJAN (D-NM): Look, I think that a person that was asking that question try to make this personal. The Speaker as she always does was very clear without response. This is not about anything else except defending the Constitution of the United States.

We don't hate the President. That's not what this is about. This is about making sure that we're getting to the bottom of the answers to all of these questions. The clear evidence that has now presented itself, where the President of the United States has abused his power has undermined our elections and has put his own personal gain ahead of our national security.

That's what the Speaker is making abundantly clear. And I would hope that even Kevin McCarthy, that he would understand, this is not about an election. This is about defending the Constitution of the United States of America.

And I certainly hope that the Minority Leader and Kevin McCarthy understands his responsibility to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and uphold our obligation to the country.

BURNETT: OK. You bring Kevin McCarthy and today, as you know, he said he expects some in your party, Democrats, to oppose articles of impeachment. It looks like he's right. I mean, one of the two Democrats who voted against formalizing the inquiry at the beginning, Congressman Jeff Van Drew, Manu just mentioned him, but he told Manu tonight that he plans to vote against the articles. That's where he is right now.

Let me just play it so you can hear it, Congressman Lujan.


REP. JEFF VAN DREW (D-NJ): Unless there's something, again, that I haven't seen, haven't heard before, that has been my position. For reasons that I've staked out. For numerous reasons. The reason I just staked out, you know, be careful what you wish for.


BURNETT: Is that embarrassing coming from a Democrat?

LUJAN: Each and every one of us has an obligation to review the facts that are presented in front of us. And I know that the evidence that I've read in the transcripts, in the report that was made available by the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, lays out very clearly where I believe and the report lays out that the President has abuse his power has broken the law.

And we need to make sure as the Congress, as laid out by the founders that we hold this president accountable. Again, no one is above the law. And I think it's critically important that we come together and that we hold this president accountable.

BURNETT: On the other side of the ledger, one Republican who has signaled, as you know, that he was open to voting for impeachment thinks that this is all going too fast. He's gone into that camp and that could possibly cost you his vote. Here's Congressman Francis Rooney today.


REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R-FL): I think they would be better serving American people if they slowed down, fought the privilege, got the first-hand people, do the thorough kind of thing that's been done before instead of a rush to judgment.

RAJU: You think it's a rush to judgment?

ROONEY: I do. You have these all these people, the John Dean types, who are in the room with the President. We ought to hear from them. That bothers me. I got to say.

RAJU: Is that enough for you to consider voting against articles of impeachment?

ROONEY: It might be.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [19:10:02]

BURNETT: So is he looking for an excuse? I mean, I understand you guys, if you fight this to court to try to get those individuals, Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, that this isn't going to end anytime soon. You could be talking months, right?

So you're between a rock and a hard place. Do you think that Congressman Rooney is looking for an easy off ramp here to just find a way to vote against this?

LUJAN: Look, I hope what my colleagues understand is from the very beginning with the call notes that were released, we found out directly from the call with President Donald Trump and the President of Ukraine that Donald Trump asked the President of Ukraine for a favor and was holding out hundreds of millions of dollars in funds for national security purposes.

After that we have the President's Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, confessed on national television about this crime. And we've also had the President's personal attorney and Rudy Giuliani admit guilt by the President. So the evidence was clear from the very beginning. Witness after witness, record after record that's been made available shows the crimes that I believe have been committed and that the report clearly lists out.

So I'm not certain what our colleagues are looking at, but if they just look at the evidence that's been presented, the confessions that have come from the Trump administration themselves, including Mick Mulvaney and the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, they can see for themselves what's occurred. And again, it's critically important that as the chairs of the committees come together now and draft articles of impeachment, that we take time to read those and review those before they come up for the vote before the House.

BURNETT: All right. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, thanks.

LUJAN: Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she's going to be taking questions. A live CNN TOWN HALL tonight. Jake is going to moderate that and it starts at 9 Eastern right here on CNN.

And next a top Republican giving Trump some advice tonight on the senate impeachment trial. His message, "Don't testify." Plus, Rudy Giuliani's secret trip to Ukraine is not a secret anymore. He's there. We got the pictures. And two fringe lawmakers he met with there outed Trump's personal attorney on photos.

And Joe Biden gets in the face of an Iowa voter who challenged him about his son.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're a damn liar, man. That's not true. And no one has ever said that.




BURNETT: Republican Senator Chuck Grassley warning President Trump not to testify in a possible Senate trial if he is impeached in the House. This as we learned Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is telling the White House there is no way to avoid this senate trial.

McConnell only needs a simple majority to dismiss an impeachment trial. That's all he would have, majority and it's over, not even going to happen. But even with a majority Republican Senate, there are enough Republicans who want a full process and a fair trial to ensure that a vote to dismiss the impeachment out of hand would fail.

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT at the White House. And Pamela, tonight the White House has to admit this reality and prepare for that trial.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The White House, Erin, is now looking ahead to the inevitable this anticipated Senate trial focusing on the communications and legal strategies. In fact, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone will take the lead in that trial. He has been talking regularly with the Republican lawmakers.

And more than two dozen lawyers and his office, they have spent the last few months mounting a robust defense, building that defense of President Trump researching what past presidents have done, looking at past impeachments. As they prepare to argue, President Trump was well within his rights to put conditions on a meeting with Zelensky and hold up military aid that the Democrats say was an abuse of power of his office.

Now, the President said today as we heard, Erin, he's not concerned being impeached by the House. That it will be a stain on his legacy. He called the inquiry a hoax, something we've heard many times before. But sources say, Erin, that President Trump has dreaded becoming the third president in history to be impeached.

With that said, it seems to be that he has accepted that reality today calling on Democrats to vote quickly to impeach him so that the probe can go to the Senate where the White House believes it could score political points and distract from the central allegation surrounding the President. Trump also claims to have already settled on witnesses in a Senate trial, including the Bidens, Speaker Pelosi and House Intel Chair Adam Schiff.

But, Erin, while that may be a White House wish list, it's ultimately up to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to decide who will be called and it's far from certain which witnesses if any will be called to testify, back to you.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT now, David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Reporter Nia

Malika Henderson and former Assistant FBI Director and Republican State Senator in Nevada Greg Brower.

David, let me start with you. What does it tell you that Mitch McConnell has point blank told the White House that he does not have the Republican votes to dismiss a potential Senate trial if President Trump is impeached.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER ADVISER TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: Well, he may have two different groups, we're not quite sure how many members are in each group. One group would be something -- you say Mitt Romney would be behind. He's not sure that there's enough there to justify a trial and he wants to get it behind us.

But there's another group, Erin, and this is the one you really get interested in. It's how many Republicans think actually that they will benefit politically from having a trial. They haven't had a chance yet to run. The House Democrats have been running the show so far. This is their first opportunity on the Republican side to run the show and they can start making some rhetorical points and factual points they hope that will reverse public opinion and bring a majority up against the whole proceeding and majority against ouster.

But I don't think we know at this point how many people are in each group.


BURNETT: All right. So Nia, I mean here's what we have heard from Republicans in the House about this impeachment investigation, because to David's point they're the ones who've been doing most of the talking. Here they are.


REP. MATT GAETZ (D-FL): What we see in this impeachment is a kangaroo court and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo.

REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY): This whole thing is a fairy tale.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): Those of you at home, it's time to change the channel, turn down the volume or hide the kids. Put them to bed. Now I yield to Mr. Schiff for story time hour.


BURNETT: I mean, they're treating it completely like a farce, disrespecting the process and the concept. Do you think Senate Republicans will talk like this or will we see a difference there, Nia?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: David there talks about sort of the two groups of Republicans there, maybe they're even more than that. But I do think you have a group, maybe people like John Kennedy, people like Lindsey Graham, who may be talking like the folks over in the House, like folks who are just die-hard Donald Trump fans, some of them are up for reelection, Lindsey Graham, for instance.

But then there are people like Mitch McConnell who is an institutionalist. Even somebody like Mitt Romney, you think of Susan Collins, you think of Lisa Murkowski sort of the more independent minded folks there who are also up for reelection, particularly somebody like Susan Collins. They want a trial in an event in the Senate that is befitting the institution of the Senate.

Remember what the Senate is known as, it's kind of known as the cooling chamber, right?


HENDERSON: If passions run hot in the House as we saw in some of those comments there, we cooled off in the Senate. It doesn't really do, of the senate, sort of as a brand and Mitch McConnell was somebody who's an institutionalist. Do them any good to let this turn into a circus, but I do agree with David, they'll certainly try to change public opinion and probably continue to try to make a dent into Biden.

But listen, there are risks to that too, because if you're trying to call Biden as Donald Trump wants to do, then what about Mick Mulvaney, what about Bolton and folks like that.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, and Greg, to that point Republicans have said they want to hear from people like Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, even Adam Schiff, the House Intel Chairman. Of course, Democrats want the others. They want Mike Pompeo. They want Mick Mulvaney. They want John Bolton.

The question though is obviously you've got a republican controlled Senate, so this is a different set of math and system that we're going to see than we just saw in the House where Adam Schiff could shut anything the Republicans wanted down. So do you think we're going to see any of these people as witnesses?

GREG BROWER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: I doubt it. I think that with respect to the Republicans, most Republicans in the Senate, I think, understand that those Republican House witnesses, if you will, Biden, and Biden and Schiff are really irrelevant in that. And no ordinary trial with witnesses of such little or no relevance ever be allowed to testify.

And for the Democrats in the Senate, I think like the Democrats in the House, they're comfortable with the fact that if witnesses like Pompeo, Mulvaney, Bolton are not going to testify, they're perfectly OK with taking in an adverse inference from their absence, assuming that if they had anything exculpatory to offer with respect to the President that they would be there at the President's insistence. And if they're not there, well, that means that they have nothing favorable to offer.

BURNETT: In which case, David, it would seem that it's hard to drag this out. I mean, if they don't have a heck of a lot of new people, then how can they take it a long period of time?

GERGEN: I think that's absolutely right. What is the question for me is in the House we had not one single Republican, can I can remember, who thought that the President did anything wrong, he did anything inappropriate. That they had some curiosity and wanted to hear from Mulvaney and Bolton and Pompeo and the like.

And now if the same thing happens in the Senate, I think that's risky for the Republicans to sound anything like the House members and to take that view that nothing happened here, let's just move along. Because then it looks like they're accomplishes, frankly, in building a stone wall and they're not challenging the President at all at with that question.

BURNETT: And, of course, there's been more than 70 documents, 12 witnesses that the White House has refused to provide so far. All right. Please stay with because next Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine. We got new photos and this is a secret trip but the people that he was meeting with, the fringe lawmakers who have pushed conspiracy theories, allegations, well, guess what they're the ones who posted the picture. So there you are, Rudy, in Ukraine.

And the President fighting back on impeachment by insulting Nancy Pelosi. What did he say?



BURNETT: Tonight, Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine. A Ukrainian lawmaker, well, he posted this picture on Facebook today showing him meeting with Giuliani. The lawmaker is a fringe political figure in the country who was called for an investigation into Hunter Biden and has pushed the debunked claim that Ukraine meddled in the U.S. election which, of course, President Trump's own former National Homeland Security Advisor has said is completely bogus as has the entire Intelligence Community.

Giuliani has been playing coy about his whereabouts, but he did seem to inadvertently reveal he was in fact in Ukraine in this interview.


ERIC BOLLING, AMERICA THIS WEEK: Are you in Ukraine also gathering evidence to support your own defense?

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I am not here to -- I don't have to defend myself. I didn't do anything wrong.



BURNETT: Everyone is back with me.

Greg, why do you think Giuliani is playing this cat and mouse game and what he's up to? Obviously, he is in Ukraine.

GREG BROWER, FORMER GOP STATE LAWMAKER: Yes, Erin, it's really hard to explain. I saw someone earlier describe this as -- it's like a pilot to a dark comedy television series, and I don't know that I can come up with a better description than that. This is -- it's bizarre. He doesn't seem to be -- I can just tell you from a former prosecutor's perspective and a defense lawyer's perspective, he doesn't seem to be helping himself out at all with the things he's doing and saying while clearly under investigation and likely the target of a serious and ongoing criminal investigation.

So I can't explain it.

BURNETT: I mean, Nia, a reporter for a pro-Trump media outlet tweeted out pictures of Giuliani meeting with a former prosecutor general for Ukraine for a report they're working on together apparently, and I want to play for you what Giuliani said in this interview with Eric Bolling when asked what he was doing in Ukraine.


ERIC BOLLING, HOST: What's the Ukraine trip all about?

GIULIANI: Well, I can't really describe it. I can't even confirm it. All I can tell you is that I am doing today all day, and all night maybe, what I've been doing for a year and a half. I'm representing my client.


BURNETT: His client is the president of the United States, Nia. So, Giuliani, just to take a step back here and to make it loud and clear. Giuliani would be in Ukraine right now digging up dirt on the 2016 election and Hunter Biden on behalf of the president of the United States today.

HENDERSON: That's right. And listen, this will be a very shallow dig because there's really no dirt to find. I mean, one of the problems that the president has created for himself is that he really wanted to make this Hunter and Joe Biden and DNC server thing stick and he got himself impeached on the way to trying to make it happen. So, you see Rudy -- or possibly impeached. It looks like this will happen out of the House and you see Giuliani there seeming to partner with a conservative outlet and they're working on some sort of documentary.

We know that Rudy Giuliani is a conspiracy theorist, right?


HENDERSON: He didn't want to come before the House. He's happy to hide behind Twitter and hide behind television and outlets and he promised to bring his charts and graphs and this is something he's not going to do. So, he is playing this sort of cat and mouse game that he loves so much because he's also a bit of an attention whore in addition to being a conspiracy theorist. BURNETT: So, David, here's -- you know, the president -- the defense

that some have had for the president, oh, he cared deeply about corruption. Now, obviously, he didn't bring it up on the call with the Ukrainian president and he himself on the White House lawn told reporters that what he wanted was an investigation to Joe Biden.

So, he's already said himself that that was what he cared about and not corruption overall. But you got Giuliani there now continuing to pursue the exact same two things that some Republicans are trying to say weren't an issue. Hunter Biden and the 2016 election right now.

I mean, there's -- there's no way for them to try to look the other way when something like this is literally punching you in the face, is there?

GERGEN: I -- this goes to one of the deepest fears many have about what's going on with the president and this administration. They don't seem to learn anything from the mistakes that are made. In fact, they doubled down.

You know, it really was odd that the day after Mueller issued his report that feeling exonerated from the president the next day calls the president of Ukraine to do -- to shake him down, and what we have here is we've all heard now just as you point out forever, it seems, about Burisma and you know, the Bidens and you know, going after Hillary and the server and we thought everybody wouldn't touch this again, certainly not --


BURNETT: This boldly.

GERGEN: But here on the impeachment proceeding they go with -- who is Giuliani meeting with in Kyiv. He's meeting with the man whose father was KGB and head of intelligence of Ukraine. The man himself went to a KGB school, graduated from a kgb school in Moscow. This man has also belonged to a pro-Russian party in the parliament of the Ukraine and this is the guy he's doing business with now?

BURNETT: It's incredible.

GERGEN: And they want to convince us this is all on the up and up?

BURNETT: It's incredible.

Greg, in a word, is there any way that he's doing this on behalf of his client if his client does not know about it?

BROWER: Well, he could -- he could be doing it on behalf of his client because he believes that it's good for his client even though his client isn't actually directing it. I think that's probably --

BURNETT: That's the out Trump will have.

BROWER: -- been a big part of what Giuliani has done throughout this process. BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.


BURNETT: And next, the White House working behind closed doors on an impeachment strategy.


So, what is it?

And Joe Biden not having it with a voter who tried to call him out.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You said I set up my son to work in an oil company. Isn't that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack!



BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump slamming Nancy Pelosi. Trump tweeting, quote: Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit. She said she, quote, prays for the president. I don't believe her. Not even close.

It comes after Pelosi said this after the president this morning that she prays for the president all of the time.

Joe Lockhart served as White House press secretary for President Clinton. Jim Schultz was the former associate White House counsel for President Trump.

Joe, you know Nancy Pelosi. The president says -- she says she prays for the president. He says I don't believe her, not even close.

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I've known Nancy now for over 40 years when I got into politics working with her at the DNC, and the one -- like there were a couple hard and fast rules in politics and one is you don't question someone else's faith. It's just wrong.

And I know her to be a devout Catholic. I know her family has a connection to Georgetown and the Jesuits like I do, and it's just completely --

BURNETT: You believe she prays for him --

LOCKHART: I absolutely --

BURNETT: -- and genuinely prays for him.

LOCKHART: I absolutely do and I think she -- it's in the context of praying for the country, praying for her family and praying for her constituents and I have no doubt and it's just wrong to question anyone else's faith.


BURNETT: Look, it's an odd conversation to be having, obviously, but it came up. She did today. She was -- you know, she came back to the podium, Jim. People weren't expecting her to do that and said I pray for him.

JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: She also said, don't mess with me. Some of this -- some of this is pure theater, on both sides, right? You're going to see that on both sides. Some of that is pure theater.

And, look, she may firmly believe that she is praying for the president. She's also going for his jugular. There's no doubt about that either.

BURNETT: Well, that's I think we can all agree on that. Now, she'll say, obviously, the motive for that is probably different from the one you would put on it, but yes.

I mean, OK, so Jim, I want to ask you the White House is working on the strategy, right? They have been told by Mitch McConnell he doesn't have the votes to dismiss this because there are Democrats want a trial for whatever reason. And so, it's going to the Senate.

So, take us behind the scenes in the White House. What are they doing? How hard are they going to fight for, say, Hunter Biden to testify in the Senate?

SCHULTZ: So, this doesn't just -- I mean, they've been preparing this all along. Look, and this thing was contrived from the beginning and they had a lot of lawyers from day one planning a strategy.

BURNETT: Even though they said they didn't?

SCHULTZ: I'm sure that there were people preparing for this.

One, if you're going to prepare for trial, you don't prepare for trial in two days. Any good lawyer isn't going to prepare for trial in two days. I guarantee you, Pat Cipollone, who's a tremendous liar -- great lawyer has been preparing and preparing, preparing for this with very smart lawyers in the White House counsel's office.

In addition, I think that they're really focusing -- are they going to call Hunter Biden? Who knows? A lot of it comes down to, you know, within the confines of what the Republican Senate wants to do, as well and there's certainly going to be some of that going on, they're overseeing it and it's a political process and I'm sure the American people, if they feel that the American people want to hear from Hunter Biden or Joe Biden or Adam Schiff. Adam Schiff is certainly someone they're considering calling.

BURNETT: So, Adam, I mean, should Adam Schiff just testify if in exchange, the Democrats get, I don't know, John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney? LOCKHART: Well, I will say first, one of the things having gone

through the impeachment is you have to have a legal strategy, but it's more important to have a political and communications strategy and they don't have one. Today, we heard two strategies. All of the Republicans on the Hill said, slow down. The president said speed this thing up and they've been at odds.

BURNETT: Right, because their one witness yesterday gave them an out.


BURNETT: He said, it's going too fast. That was the out. So, they took it.

SCHULTZ: Right, so --

BURNETT: And your former boss comes out and contradicts the whole thing.

SCHULTZ: Yes, look, he wants -- politically, he wants to get this thing over with and start governing again and have the administration start focusing on the things they need to focus and get this thing over with. So, yes, I can see the president coming out and sure, he's his own communications director at times, right? And he manages his own communications. So, he's going to speak to the American people about what he wants and certainly on the Hill are looking for their way through this as well saying, look, how can I vote for this?

There are all these things that could have gone up to the courts, Democrats chose not to because they wanted to ram it through.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, except for if you have nothing to hide, one would argue one just --

SCHULTZ: Hold on, they're also protecting -- protecting the executive branch for the future. No doubt about it. You're not -- if you're a lawyer in the White House you're not rolling over on the executive privilege issues. No question about it.

LOCKHART: But let me jump in there, because the White House has yet to assert executive privilege. What the White House asserted which no White House asserted was something called absolute immunity. They haven't said -- all White Houses in the past have negotiated with Congress and said, well, this is privileged and they fight about that, but we'll give you that.

Nixon did it, Clinton did it, I don't know what Andrew Johnson did, I was a young child when he was impeached. But --

SCHULTZ: On Fast and Furious, Obama said, pounds sand, so did Holder. And they went to the courts and eventually it got worked out after they went to the courts.

LOCKHART: And yet, eventually --

SCHULTZ: So, no, Obama White House has done that in the past. LOCKHART: I'm talking about impeachment.

BURNETT: Impeachment --

SCHULTZ: OK, it's still subpoenaing the testimony of witnesses from the executive branch, whether it's an impeachment or general investigation.

LOCKHART: And testimonies of executive branch employees and officials have been subpoenaed throughout our country's history.

SCHULTZ: Sure they have.

LOCKHART: And this is the first White House that has said blanketly we won't negotiate with you over this, you are not getting anyone. You are not getting documents. You're not getting phone records and you're not going to get any witness testimony.

And on top of that, they argue that we didn't do anything wrong and the Democrats won't bring out the exculpatory evidence. Well, the exculpatory evidence if they had insisted would come from the people the president is blocking. This is not -- Donald Trump is not someone who's interested --

BURNETT: Even Gordon Sondland said, let me have my phone records, state department.

SCHULTZ: But certain -- you know, there are certain fundamental issues that are germane to the executive branch that are going to have future implications. It's something they certainly have to think about as a lawyer, you know, you have to think of the future of the executive branch generally because that's who these lawyers represent in the end.

LOCKHART: And if Donald Trump gets his way, the congressional branch will have no power at all.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. Good to see you both back together.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Joe Biden taking no prisoners when a voter confronted him.


BIDEN: You want to check my shape, let's do push-ups. Let's do whatever you want to do.


BURNETT: And Jeanne on Pelosi's power play. It was not the first time.


BURNETT: You are a damned liar. That is Joe Biden. That's what he said having a heated exchange with a voter in Iowa over his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while Joe Biden was vice president.


IOWA VOTER: You're selling access to the president just like he was.

BIDEN: You're a damned liar, man. That's not true. No one has ever said that.

IOWA VOTER: I didn't say you were doing anything wrong, I said --

BIDEN: You said I set up my son to work in an oil company. Isn't that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack.


BURNETT: OK. Obviously very contentious, but this is what's interesting. That voter later said that if Biden was the nominee he would still vote for him, and this comes amid signs Biden and other moderates are showing renewed strength in the Democratic race for 2020.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.



MAGGIE WILLEMS, IOWA DEMOCRAT: I identify as a Democratic socialist, progressive policies speak to me. That's what I prefer.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maggie Willems is a proud liberal, but two months before the voting begins, she's in a moderate mood.

WILLEMS: I also understand that I'm not representative of the whole electorate and we need to be sure to select a candidate that can defeat Donald Trump.

ZELENY: Here in Mount Vernon, and in towns across Iowa, Willems and other Democrats are thinking hard about electability as they search for the best candidate to defeat President Trump. For most of the year, the Democratic race has been driven by left-leaning proposals from the Green New Deal to Medicare-for-All to free college.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When we give up on the big ideas, we give up on the people.

ZELENY: But in the final weeks of 2019, moderates are fighting back, like in this ad from Pete Buttigieg, where he takes a thinly veiled swipe as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren's plans. PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are some voices

saying that doesn't count unless you go even further, unless it's free even for the kids of millionaires. But I only want to make promises that we can keep.

ZELENY: Worried about Trump win reelection, a pragmatic awakening is under way for some voters like Willems, a teacher who once thought she might once support Warren.

WILLEMS: I would say that politically, I agree with nearly everything that Warren has to say.

ZELENY: When we first met Willems on Labor Day, she was weighing two options.

WILLEMS: Biden would be my pragmatic choice and Warren would be a leap of faith in my heart.

ZELENY: But now she's ruled out both. Souring on Warren's embrace of Medicare-for-All, and skeptical of Biden's appeal to younger voters. She is leaning towards Buttigieg.

WILLEMS: He has the ability to maybe talk across the aisle that more overtly progressive candidates might not.

BIDEN: Let me tell you, if you can't bring the country together, we're in real, real, real trouble.

ZELENY: While Sanders and Warren are still electrifying the party's liberal base, Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar are steering the conversation to the middle, saying it's critical to appeal to a broader swath of voters.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You want to put someone on top of our ticket that brings people with them and doesn't shut them out.

BIDEN: Not a joke.

ZELENY: The message is resonating with Katie Haverkamp, an independent voter who plans to take part in the Iowa caucuses for the first time because of her disdain for Trump.

(on camera): So, what kind of Democrat are you looking for?

KATIE HAVERKAMP, IOWA INDEPENDENT: I'm looking for someone that is moderate, that is a strong leader and has integrity.

BIDEN: Thank you. It's good to be back.

ZELENY (voice-over): She and her mother came to see Biden when his bus tour passed through Iowa falls. They hope to check out Buttigieg soon.

Back in Mt. Vernon, Willem's social studies classroom is decorated with posters from campaigns gone by. She said finding a candidate to motive Democrats and win over Trump voters is her chief concern.

(on camera): How often do you think about electability?

WILLEMS: Often, and try and think of that middle third and how they might be persuaded to vote for the Democratic ticket.


ZELENY: Now, the 2020 race is still remarkably unsettled here, Erin, with less than two months before the Iowa caucuses. Every Democratic voter we talked to said, of course, they're looking for the strongest candidate to take on the president. Of course, who is that? A moderate or a progressive?

One thing also became clear talking to so many voters here this week. They say the fact that Donald Trump is an incumbent changes their calculation. Back when Obama was running, for example, in '08, that was an open seat. People were more willing to take a leap of faith.

So, experience also came up in every interview we had, Erin. There is less than two months to go -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Jeff.

And next, Jeanne on the words that shook the political world today.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.




BURNETT: Thinking about tangling with Nancy Pelosi? Well you may want to think again.

Here is Jeanne.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a seven- word question that stopped Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her tracks.

REPORTER: Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?

PELOSI: I don't hate anybody.

MOOS: Speaker Pelosi did so much angry pointing that it made her previous fame point directed at President Trump seem like a minor wag. She then marched back to the microphone --

PELOSI: And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word "hate" in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone.

MOOS: Buckle your seat belt, reporter James Rosen from the pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcast Group.

PELOSI: So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.

MOOS: She then turned and stalked out.




MOOS: It was a tirade that launched a thousand, thousand, #dontmesswithmes. Oh, snap.

Pelosi's own daughter tweeted: Don't mess with mama.

(on camera): But not all Catholics took the high road or even the high and mighty road.

(voice-over): Speaker Pelosi is a better Catholic than I am. I hate Trump with every bead of my rosary.

Fans said of Pelosi she is magnificent. Critics said this woman is a loon.

President Trump tweeted: Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit.

HEATHER CAYGLE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, I think that's going to be a historic Pelosi quote for decades.

MOOS: Her latest quote resurrected quotes about her.

KLOBUCHAR: And if you think a woman can't beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.


MOOS: It brought forth the speaker's most famous gifts, donning her power sunglasses, wielding her giant gavel, clapping back at President Trump, earning her is "SNL" nickname --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy "Madam Clap Back" Pelosi.

MOOS: Conservative Laura Ingraham tweeted: Imagine in a male GOP House speaker told a female reporter, don't mess with me.

Responded someone like, I don't know, Trump?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What a stupid question that is. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions.

MOOS: And speaking of hate, wouldn't you hate to be him?

PELOSI: So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: And thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.