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State of the Union
Interview With Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH); Interview With Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); Interview With Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). Aired 9-10a ET
Aired September 29, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: America first? The nation learns that President Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival. And sources say the White House went to extraordinary lengths to limit access to the president's other calls with world leaders.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a joke. Impeachment for that?
TAPPER: Has President Trump put his own political interests ahead of the country's? I will speak exclusively with the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, Congressman Jim Jordan, next.
And building their case. House Democrats make history and open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): That is textbook abuse of power.
TAPPER: But will the American people agree? Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries joins me next.
Plus: united front. Every 2020 Democrat now backs the impeachment inquiry.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a real serious problem.
TAPPER: But just months before the first primary votes are cast, how will the uproar in Washington affect the presidential campaign?
Presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker joins me in moments.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is in turmoil.
The mood in Washington is different this morning after a momentous week in American politics. And now congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle are preparing for what could be the most bruising political fight in decades, the possible impeachment of a president. President Trump is already in defense mode, railing on Twitter about
the -- quote -- "new and most recent witch-hunt" -- unquote -- while Speaker Pelosi is defending her decision to move forward with an impeachment process after more than a year of saying such a thing could hurt the party politically.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): If this would -- activity, this pattern of behavior were to prevail, then it's over for the republic. We will have the equivalent of a monarchy. So, the times have found us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The House of Representatives is already moving forward quickly on the impeachment inquiry.
Subpoenas were issued on Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding documents and witnesses related to the Ukraine scandal, while the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff, tells CNN that hearings and more subpoenas could come as soon as this week.
Joining me now, a key member of Speaker Pelosi's leadership team, House Democratic Caucus Chair Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
You said this week -- quote -- "It's clear as day that Donald Trump betrayed his oath of office."
Does that mean you have already seen enough, even before hearings, even before evidence, to support articles of impeachment?
JEFFRIES: No, but I have seen enough to support an impeachment inquiry that has been launched by Speaker Pelosi with tremendous support within the House Democratic Caucus.
There are three areas of real concern. President Donald Trump has been caught red-handed with his hand in the taxpayer cookie jar by withholding, without justification, $391 million in aid that had been approved on a bipartisan basis to the Ukraine.
The president has also been caught red-handed trying to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election by pressuring a foreign leader to target Joe Biden, an American citizen, for political gain.
Finally, the president has been caught red-handed trying to cover up all of this wrongdoing by moving the rough transcript of the July 25 phone call to a top-secret server that is used for covert operations, such as the attack or effort to try to get Osama bin Laden.
This is serious evidence of wrongdoing. The president has betrayed his oath of office. The president has abused his power in a manner that undermines our national security and the integrity of our elections. TAPPER: President Trump is defending himself by pointing out that
Ukrainian President Zelensky said earlier this week that he did not feel pushed to investigate the Bidens.
Take a listen to Mr. Zelensky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Sure that we had, I think, good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things.
And I -- so, I think -- and you read it -- that nobody pushed, pushed me, yes.
TRUMP: In other words, no pressure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Does that hurt your argument?
JEFFRIES: Not at all.
The evidence of wrongdoing is clearly hiding in plain sight in the form of the July 25 rough transcript.
Let's take a step back and look at what happened. The United States of America is the strongest country on Earth. We are perhaps the only thing standing between Vladimir Putin and Russia totally overrunning Ukraine.
The United States is strong. Ukraine is vulnerable. And yet the president, without explanation, without justification, withheld $391 million in aid that would undermine the safety and the security and the ability of Ukraine to defend itself.
So, when the president of the United States says in a phone call that he wants to see an investigation into a political opponent in the context of aid having been withheld, that is what you call a high- pressure tactic.
It was an offer that the Ukrainian president could not refuse.
TAPPER: You said in March that the most important condition for moving forward with an impeachment process would be that -- quote -- "public sentiment around impeachment is bipartisan" -- unquote.
A new poll out this week shows that only 6 percent of Republicans support the impeachment inquiry. You are moving forward with virtually no support from Republican voters and I don't think many -- much support among Republican members of Congress.
This doesn't seem very bipartisan as of now.
JEFFRIES: Well, we're in the midst of an inquiry. We will see where we get with respect to articles of impeachment at the end of the process.
We're going to follow the facts. We're going to apply the law. We're going to be guided by the Constitution. We're going to present the facts to the American people.
What we do have, we know, is bipartisan support within the United States House of Representatives. At least one Republican is on record. There are others who I believe will support us moving forward who haven't come public yet with their perspective.
But it's bipartisan within the House of Representatives. Even more importantly, there are more than 300 national security professionals who worked for both Republican administrations and Democratic administrations who have publicly said, we support the impeachment inquiry. These are troubling allegations. There is evidence of wrongdoing.
The president solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election.
TAPPER: You know, sir, that a dozen Democrats in your caucus still do not support an impeachment inquiry. The vast majority do, but a dozen don't. And they're in districts that President Trump -- Trump won in 2016.
I want you to take a listen to one of them, Democratic Congressman Jeff Van Drew from New Jersey, yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JEFF VAN DREW (D-NJ): The odds are very high that it's not going to bear any fruit. The odds are very high that this president will continue to be the president.
The people of the United States of America are going to have an election now in a year. They can go ahead in the ballot box and impeach, if they desire to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's a Democratic congressman, sir. How do you respond to Congressman Van Drew?
JEFFRIES: Well, the House is a separate and co-equal branch of government. We don't work for this president or any president. We work for the American people.
And we have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on an out-of-control executive branch. So we're going to do our duty. And these issues are serious.
The security and the national safety best interests of the American people have been subordinated by a president, who then elevated his own personal political interests.
We need to investigate that, get to the bottom of it, and present the information to the American people. TAPPER: Let me ask you, sir. In May, the Ukrainian prosecutor
general told Bloomberg News -- quote -- "We do not have any grounds to think that there was any wrongdoing" -- unquote -- by Joe or Hunter Biden.
So these charges that the president keeps pushing aren't -- have no basis in evidence.
But Senator Harris, Kamala Harris, yesterday said that she probably not -- would not be comfortable with the child of her vice president sitting on the board of a foreign company such as Hunter Biden was on. Do you agree with her?
At least three different Ukrainian prosecutors have uncovered no wrongdoing with respect to the Joe Biden situation.
It's my understanding that authorities in Great Britain looked into this situation, found no evidence of wrongdoing. No evidence of wrongdoing has emerged here in the United States of America.
And so I will leave it at that.
TAPPER: All right, thank you so much, Hakeem Jeffries, congressman and chairman of the Democratic Caucus. Appreciate your time this morning.
JEFFRIES: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Coming up: A handful of Republican lawmakers are calling the president's conversation with Ukraine's president troubling. Could they be the first cracks in the president's support?
I will talk to the president -- one of the president's biggest defenders in the House of Representatives, Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, next.
And the impeachment inquiry throws a wrench into the 2020 campaign. Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, will join me coming up.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
President Trump called on all Republicans to stick together.
But in the days since House Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry, a handful of Republican lawmakers have been voicing concerns about the president's conversation with Ukraine's president.
Joining me now is the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee and one of the President Trump's biggest defenders in the House, Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio. Thanks so much for joining us today.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): You bet. Good to be with you.
TAPPER: So, it is not just Democrats rebuking the president over the phone call. A number of Republicans have expressed concerns too.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): This remains deeply troubling. And we will see where it leads. But the first reaction is troubling.
REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): There's a lot of disturbing allegations.
REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): I want to say to the president, this is not OK. It isn't -- that conversation is not OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's your fellow Ohio Republican Mike Turner there. The list goes on.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse called it very troubling. Republican Governors Phil Scott and Charlie Baker support the impeachment inquiry.
Do you have any problem with a U.S. president asking a foreign power to work with his personal attorney and the U.S. attorney to -- quote -- "look into" his political rival"
JORDAN: A couple of things.
No, I don't have any problem with the call. We have now seen the transcript. The president of Ukraine said that there was no pressure, he was not pushed.
Look, if Democrats want to impeach because Rudy Giuliani talked to a couple Ukrainians, good luck with that. I don't think the American people think that's the appropriate course of action.
I think they see this for what it is. This is just one of the many and unending attacks the Democrats have leveled against this president.
The Democrats just put us through three years of this phony Russia collusion investigation. And now, on the heels of that, they come right back with this.
We have all seen the transcript. There's nothing there. So I respectfully disagree with my colleagues who think that there needs to be a further inquiry here. TAPPER: Well, let's talk about the transcript, because, in that
transcript, President Trump says -- this is what the Ukrainian president, who desperately needed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, including military aid, to beat back Russian aggression.
President Trump says: "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people wanting to find out about that."
That's not accurate, but in any case, that -- "So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging he stopped the prosecution. So if you could look into it, it sounds horrible to me."
Again, the description of the matters there is inaccurate.
But you really don't have any problem with the president of the United States leveraging his power to push a foreign leader to investigate a political rival?
JORDAN: What I have a problem is what the Democrats are doing.
Understand what happened here, Jake. You had a bureaucrat who didn't like the president...
TAPPER: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. What are you talking about?
JORDAN: We know -- we know he didn't like the president.
TAPPER: No, we don't know.
JORDAN: The inspector general says there's an indicia of arguable political bias. That is Washington...
TAPPER: That could...
JORDAN: That is Washington-speak for, this guy didn't like the president.
TAPPER: That -- that could -- let's -- actually, let's go into that, because I have that up here.
JORDAN: Let me finish my statement.
A bureaucrat who did -- who didn't like the president files a claim saying the president did something wrong on a call. This guy wasn't on the call. Someone else told him about the call.
So the White House does something that's never been done before. They actually released the transcript. We see the transcript. There's nothing there.
But the Democrats say, we don't care. We're going to move towards impeachment. They don't care about the facts. They don't care about the truth.
And you know why we know that? Because Nancy Pelosi did a press conference the day before and said she was going to move towards impeachment the day before she even saw the transcript.
That just shows you, these folks are bound and determined to go after this president no matter what. They did -- they put the country through three years...
JORDAN: ... of this false Trump-Russia collusion issue, all the way through.
And it was...
JORDAN: The Michael Cohen hearing didn't do it for them. The John Dean hearing didn't do it for them.
JORDAN: The Bob Mueller hearing fell apart. The Corey Lewandowski hearing didn't do it for them.
JORDAN: So, now they come with this, the -- the -- the latest attack on the president.
TAPPER: So there's a lot you said there.
There's a lot of people that would look at what's in the Mueller report and say it's -- that's not nothing.
But talk -- let's talk...
JORDAN: You watched the Mueller hearing. You watched what happened there.
TAPPER: Let's talk about today. Let's talk about today.
You just described this individual, this whistle-blower. And I'm really, actually, surprised, because I have covered whistle-blowers when you were on the committee during the Obama years. And there was a lot more reverence for whistle-blowers during that period from Republicans than I'm hearing today.
You said that he was a bureaucrat who hated the president or disliked the president, biased against the president.
There is no evidence of that. Let me read from the inspector general's report. It says: "Although
the ICIG" -- that's the Intelligence Committee inspector general's -- "preliminary review identified some indicia" or -- "indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate, such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint related to the urgent concern appears credible."
So, first of all, that could mean that he interned for John McCain 20 years ago. We have no idea what it means.
Second of all, he says in that same sentence that it did not change his determination that the complaint is credible.
That's a Trump appointee saying that.
JORDAN: Two things you look at.
Our committee -- I'm on the Oversight Committee. We probably deal with more whistle-blowers than any committee in Congress. Two things you look at to determine the credibility of a -- of a so-called whistle-blower when they're coming forward.
First, did they have firsthand knowledge? And, second, what is their motivation? Was there some kind of bias?
This individual has problems on both of those counts. He had no firsthand knowledge. He heard something from someone who may have heard something from someone.
TAPPER: No, no, his -- his sources were firsthand sources.
JORDAN: So, he -- he has -- but he has no firsthand knowledge.
And, second, he has a political bias. That should tell us something about this guy who came forward with this claim. And now the Democrats are saying, because of this whistle-blower, we're going to impeach the president?
I say, look at the transcript. And the transcript gives you no reason to impeach this president...
JORDAN: ... overturn an election where the people spoke, I think, loud and clear.
TAPPER: You know as well as I do that you do not need to have firsthand knowledge to be a whistle-blower.
And even if you...
JORDAN: Well, you don't now because they changed the form. You used to. They changed the form. TAPPER: There's no evidence of that.
And we looked into this. I know what you're talking about. You're talking about that Federalist story. It's not clear that that's accurate.
And, even so, experts say...
JORDAN: I have seen the form. The date...
TAPPER: It has -- it has never been true -- it has never been true that you need to have firsthand knowledge to be -- to be a whistle- blower.
JORDAN: Well, it -- but it's something that's critical when you're assessing if they're credible. That's a major determination.
TAPPER: So, listen to this. Here's what the complaint says, OK?
Quote -- this is from the whistle-blower -- "The president used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the president's 2020 reelection bid."
Now the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, another Trump appointee, just like the inspector general, was asked by Congress about whether or not the transcript matched up with the complaint.
Here's what he had to say:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH MAGUIRE, ACTING DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I would say that the whistle-blower's complaint is in alignment with what was released yesterday today by the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, the acting director of national intelligence says that the transcript backs up what the whistle-blower says.
And we also found out that the White House did, in fact, take the transcript and put it in this secret compartmentalized -- compartmented...
TAPPER: ... computer server to block anybody else from getting it. So those are the two main charges, and they're both true. They're both true.
JORDAN: You know why they put it in the -- in the classified server?
Because this administration -- there was a -- there was a study, Jake, right here done by this -- by the Senate in 2017. More leaks in the first five months, state security leaks in the first five months of the Trump administration than any other administration.
They should be putting everything in there, with folks around who are leaking information. We remember the call to the former prime minister of Australia.
Here's what it says: "It is a fact that the Trump administration has been besieged by leaks at a level that far exceeds that of any other administration."
TAPPER: I recognize you guys don't want the facts coming out.
JORDAN: So, no, no, no, no. You got to protect from the leaks.
If I'm the Trump administration, I'd be putting every communication in this -- in this.
TAPPER: The leaks are of accurate information. The leaks are of accurate information.
You don't like the leaks coming out.
JORDAN: Jake, who you going to believe, the guy who had first -- back to the whistle -- who are you going to believe, the guy who had firsthand knowledge and who was on the call, President Zelensky, who said he wasn't pressured, or the guy who didn't have firsthand knowledge, the guy...
TAPPER: We have seen the transcript.
JORDAN: That's what I'm saying.
The guy who didn't have firsthand knowledge and is -- and had a motive against the president?
TAPPER: According to the acting director of national intelligence, the transcript is in alignment with the whistle-blower complaint.
We all see it. We all see it's a conversation. Zelensky wants military aid, and President Trump asks him to look into the Bidens.
I can't believe that that's OK with you.
JORDAN: Zelensky brings up he wants to drain the swamp in his country, like the president is doing here.
The president says, do me a favor. Can you figure out what happened in 2016?
I thought we all -- all cared about what happened in the 2016 election, how Russia and Ukraine...
TAPPER: And then he moves on to the Bidens. And then he moves on...
JORDAN: After -- after Zelensky says this important sentence: "In addition to that investigation, I want to do all investigations in an open and candid way."
Only then does the president bring up Biden. And my guess is, if you ask the American people, when they look at what happened with Joe Biden's son, I don't -- I don't -- I don't know that...
TAPPER: What happened with Joe Biden's son?
JORDAN: He got paid $50,000, Jake.
JORDAN: Fifty thousand dollars a month for several years.
TAPPER: And the Ukrainian prosecutor said there's no evidence of wrongdoing.
JORDAN: Come on.
JORDAN: Come on.
The vice president's son gets paid $50,000 a month and gets hired by a company...
JORDAN: ... in an industry he has no experience in, and, oh, that's fine? And all you folks in the press and Democrats, oh, no problem here.
Go -- go to -- try telling that, taking that message to the American people.
TAPPER: If you want to propose a law...
JORDAN: ... who don't make $50,000 in a year. And when they see the vice president's son getting paid $50,000 a month in a field and an industry he has no experience in, I kind of want -- wonder what Hunter Biden did in those board meetings.
JORDAN: Did he just look at his phone and check out the sport scores? TAPPER: In May, the Ukrainian...
JORDAN: And he's getting paid $50,000.
And then when the company that's paying him that money is under investigation, guess what? Daddy comes running to the rescue, the vice president of United States come running...
TAPPER: That's not what happened.
JORDAN: ... says, fire -- fire that prosecutor.
TAPPER: Sir, sir, that's not what happened.
The European Union, the Obama administration, the International Monetary Fund...
JORDAN: Well, you don't think Joe...
TAPPER: ... pro-clean government activists in Ukraine thought that the prosecutor...
JORDAN: You're saying...
TAPPER: ... was not prosecuting corruption.
JORDAN: You're saying Joe Biden didn't tell -- didn't tell Ukraine to fire that prosecutor? I think he did.
TAPPER: He did.
JORDAN: He bragged about it.
TAPPER: But the guy was -- the guy was not prosecuting anything. That was the problem.
The government of the United States...
JORDAN: Here are the facts.
TAPPER: ... and the West -- you're not saying facts.
JORDAN: Joe Biden told him to fire the prosecutor.
TAPPER: You say, here are the facts.
JORDAN: No, here are the facts.
Did Joe Biden tell him to fire the prosecutor?
TAPPER: Because he wasn't going after corruption. He wasn't going after corruption. (CROSSTALK)
TAPPER: Do you understand what I'm saying? He wasn't going after corruption?
JORDAN: Was that prosecutor looking into Burisma, the company that had hired Joe Biden's son for $50,000? Yes.
TAPPER: According to the Ukrainians, that investigation was dormant at the time. That investigation was dormant at the time.
JORDAN: Most importantly, was Joe -- did Joe Biden's son get paid $50,000 a month in a field and an industry that he had no experience in? Those are three key facts.
TAPPER: If you want to push a law saying that the children of presidents and vice presidents should not be doing international business deals, I'm all for it.
But you're setting a standard that is not being met right now.
JORDAN: I'm just -- I'm just telling you what happened.
TAPPER: No, you're not.
JORDAN: ... called up and said, fire this prosecutor, or you're not getting aid.
TAPPER: No, you're suggesting that Biden called for the prosecutor to be fired to protect his son.
JORDAN: And President -- and President...
TAPPER: That's not what happened.
JORDAN: And President Trump says, oh, can you help me figure out what happened in the 2016 election? After all...
TAPPER: You know, Congressman...
JORDAN: ... Democrats just put our country through three years of this.
JORDAN: ... when there was a false accusation and there was no evidence of any type of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence that election.
TAPPER: Here's the thing.
JORDAN: And the president brings it up, and, somehow, that's... TAPPER: Here's the thing.
JORDAN: He can't do that, but Joe Biden can do what he wants.
TAPPER: I want you to take a listen to the Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor running for vice president saying that it is a principle of the United States that foreign governments are not supposed to get involved in American elections.
Let's roll that tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, you all need to know out there -- this is basic stuff -- foreign donors and certainly foreign governments cannot participate in the American political process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That once was a principle of the United States.
JORDAN: Still is.
TAPPER: No, it's not, because the president is calling for Ukraine to investigate his rivals.
JORDAN: Jake, you're missing the fundamental point here.
TAPPER: I'm not missing anything.
JORDAN: The Democrats -- if you want to impeach -- if -- if -- if this is their argument, Rudy Giuliani talked to a Ukrainian, Rudy Giuliani, the private lawyer of the president, so we're going to impeach this president, give me a break.
TAPPER: I'm not saying whether -- I'm not...
JORDAN: I think the American people are going, really?
TAPPER: I'm not taking a position about...
JORDAN: In light of how they -- in light of what this president has been able to do leading our country, in light of the economic growth, what he's done with our Supreme Court justices, what he's done with the embassy in Jerusalem, a host of things, you really think the American people are like, wait a minute, so Rudy Giuliani, the president's private lawyer, had a private conversation...
TAPPER: I think that you came here and leveled a bunch of accusations and allegations about -- about Hunter Biden.
JORDAN: I stated the facts. I didn't level -- I just said the facts.
Did he get paid $50,000 a month?
TAPPER: He was paid by a foreign company, yes. He was paid by Burisma.
JORDAN: Fifty thousand a month.
TAPPER: But Joe Biden was trying to get a prosecutor who was not pursuing corruption fired. And it was supported...
JORDAN: It's amazing the gymnastics you guys will go through to defend what...
TAPPER: Sir, it's not gymnastics. It's facts.
TAPPER: And I would think somebody who's been accused of things in the last year and two would be more sensitive about throwing out wild allegations against people.
JORDAN: I'm not throwing out wild allegations. I'm throwing out the facts. You're -- the -- what...
TAPPER: The prosecutor was not pursuing corruption. That's why the entire West wanted him fired, including anti-corruption activists in Ukraine.
I don't understand what you don't get about that.
JORDAN: I get that.
I'm just talking about this specific case that there's been reporting on. And the facts of that specific case are what he was paid per month, $50,000. Like I said, that's more than some of the folks I get the privilege of representing in the Fourth District of Ohio get paid in a year.
He's getting at -- $50,000 a month, the vice's president son. He got hired for what?
TAPPER: The president's daughter right now is having all sorts of copyrights granted in foreign countries.
That doesn't alarm you. The president's sons...
JORDAN: Come on.
TAPPER: ... are doing all sorts of business all over the world. JORDAN: Come on.
TAPPER: That doesn't alarm you.
JORDAN: Jake, come on.
TAPPER: What is come on?
TAPPER: Either there's a principle that people should not benefit from their connections, or there isn't.
JORDAN: The previous administration's FBI went after this president.
On July 31...
TAPPER: They did a crappy job then, because they didn't even acknowledge there an investigation until after the election.
JORDAN: They spied on two Americans associated with President Trump's campaign.
They put Peter Strzok in charge of that...
TAPPER: If they...
JORDAN: The guy -- who the guy who said Trump should lose 100 million to zero.
JORDAN: They allowed -- they allowed -- Jim Comey leaked documents to get a special counsel.
JORDAN: They used the dossier to go get a warrant to spy on the campaign.
TAPPER: OK. Now we're back to the dossier and Peter Strzok.
JORDAN: No, I'm just saying, that's what happened to President Trump.
And then in light -- now that none of that worked, none of that worked...
TAPPER: I understand you want to change the subject, but the president was pushing the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival.
I cannot believe that that is OK with you. I can't believe it's OK with you.
If this is a principle...
JORDAN: It's not OK because he didn't -- but he didn't do that.
TAPPER: It's in the transcript. We all read it.
JORDAN: I have read the transcript.
TAPPER: He says that the Bidens need to be investigated.
JORDAN: You have got to read it in context. That's what you guys do. You guys don't read things in context.
The context is that that comes up when Zelensky is talking about all investigations, open and candid.
TAPPER: Congressman Jordan, we appreciate your passion.
Thank you so much for being here.
My next guest is running to replace President Trump in the White House. I'm going to talk to Senator Cory Booker about Democrats' impeachment push months before the first primary votes.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: OK, welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
Every Democratic running for president now supports the impeachment inquiry into president Trump. What is not clear is how that inquiry will affect the Democratic field as they try to convince voters they should replace President Trump in the White House.
Joining me now 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. Senator Booker, pardon me, you've been calling for impeachment proceedings to begin since late May, saying that the president has obstructed justice per the Mueller report and refused to comply with congressional investigations. For now however House Speaker Pelosi says the inquiry is to focus on Ukraine. Given that you thought the impeachment inquiry should proceed for other reasons, is she wrong?
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, she's right right now. Look, this a real moment in history and we should look at it not through a political eye but through a patriotic one.
We have a president that is undermining his oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. Part of that is essential because checks and balances built into our constitution, built into our form of government.
This president wasn't releasing documents. He wasn't allowing subpoenas, people to testify. And so this impeachment proceedings process gives us a tremendous amount more leverage with which to make him comply because he's not above the law. When he does something wrong or that has the implication we see right now, he should be investigated, he should be held to account.
TAPPER: So, senator, the constitution says that a president could be impeached for -- quote -- "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Can you explain to our viewers what high crimes and misdemeanors the president has committed?
BOOKER: Well, clearly, I mean, from the federalist papers to even in past impeachment, we see that defined in a broader sense and for me it is -- comes down fundamentally how they portrayed their office. And I think we see a president right now what's implicated in that transcript, in that whistleblower report is someone that frankly was pursuing their own interests above our national security interests.
And as someone who's actually visited Ukraine, who sat with their military leaders, who have lost their fellow soldiers in a hot war while they're being attacked by the Russians, who are currently attacking our country, trying to undermine our democracy. We had a bipartisan agreement that we should give resources and aid to a desperate country. And this president seemed to be willing to hold that up in order to pursue his petty political aspirations.
And that is absolutely unacceptable. If this is true, that is an impeachable offense. History will look back on what did we do when a president was willing to trash the constitution, act less like a leader of the free world and more like a dictator or a thug in using American power to pursue his own personal gain.
TAPPER: I want to ask you about Hunter Biden's involvement Ukraine. And let me state again for the fifth time on this show the former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko told "Bloomberg" in May -- quote -- "We do not have any grounds to think there was any wrongdoing" -- unquote -- by Hunter Biden.
That said, do you think it's acceptable for the child of a president or a vice president to be sitting on the board of a foreign company while their parent is conducting foreign policy?
BOOKER: Look, I have a lot of beliefs about ethics rules and the needs for our government of the United States to go far further in the rules that we have. But the fact that the Republicans right now are trying to use this and distract from the president of the United States and his own actions is to me incredible.
And so, yes, I have problems with the way things happen. I have problems with Congress people coming in and holding their office and leaving -- and walking right out the door and going to work for lobbying firms. There are a lot of things I see in Washington that need changing and I intend to bring a whole new suite of ethics laws to the White House when I get there.
But right now we have a crisis in our country. It has been exposed that the president of the United States on potentially more than one occasion is using his office for his own political gain at the expense of national security, urgent national American interests.
And this is the thing. You know, we -- I serve on the Foreign Relations Committee, and perhaps it's the most bipartisan committee I sit on, because when we look at the world and the threats against this country whether it's Russian aggression or attempts to undermine our government, you see a lot of bipartisanship there.
This is president that when it comes to foreign relations is violating something we all agree on, is that when we look out into the world we've got to find ways to stand together as Americans in defense of our country. This president seems to be violating that, and that is a serious, serious offense we should be investigating using an impeachment inquiry.
TAPPER: I hear what you're saying but just to put a button on this it sounds like your suggesting that in a Booker administration the child of a president or vice president, it would not be OK for them to be joining foreign boards while the president or vice president is conducting foreign policy as required by the law. Am I hearing you incorrectly or am I hearing you correctly?
BOOKER: Look, I'm watching what's going on with the Trump family right now and Trump properties and I just find that deeply offensive to just a -- any kind of independent sense of what's honorable, ethical, not to mention in consistence with the emoluments clause. I just don't think that children of presidents, vice presidents during administration should be out there doing that.
But this -- any implications right now, any whatsoever -- look, Joe Biden is a statesman. He is truly an honorable man. We may have differences in this campaign, I wouldn't be running if I didn't think I should be president, not him. But I would be standing firmly in defense of Joe Biden throughout this process because this is in no way can besmirch his character, his honor and his incredible service to this country over decades.
And so I'm offended by the Republicans trying to shift the attention and this is -- and what is Trump's scandal. This is a Trump scandal and potential violation of office. It has -- it should in no way affect the vice president in his pursuit of the nomination.
TAPPER: So let me ask you about your campaign. You are right now just under $200,000 short of reaching the fund-raising goal that you set in order to stay in the race. The clock runs out in 36 hours. Might this be the second to last day of your campaign?
BOOKER: Well, it could be but I tell you what, what we've seen over the last week has been an avalanche of support. We have nearly 35,000 donors who have been helping us make this call. We've raised $1.5 million plus. We've actually already crossed the threshold to make the November debates of 165,000 unique donors. So, the surge and the momentum is great but, yes, I still need help. We're still hoping people in this final 36 hours to go to Corybooker.com and help us not reach this goal, it's not a goal, it's a real number that we believe is necessary for us to stay in this race with a trajectory to win the nomination.
I'm in this to win it. It's not a vanity play. I'm not sticking around for ego.
I don't think you should be in this primary, at least this is my values, my lens. I'm not going to be in this primary unless I have a viable path to victory. We have that right now but in the fourth quarter we're going to need help and I'm hoping people will help, 35,000 people about -- already done so but we need some more help in these last 36 hours and I hope more people will come onto Corybooker.com, and make a donation.
TAPPER: Well, the good news is your fund-raising director will not be mad at you because you mentioned your Web site twice. Senator Booker, thank you so much.
BOOKER: I thought it was three times, Jake, so forgive me. Corybooker.com.
TAPPER: That's three. All right. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it. Appreciate your time.
BOOKER: Thank you for your help. Thank you.
TAPPER: Seven freshman Democrats helped change history by coming out in favor of an impeachment inquiry this week, but could it cost them their seats? We'll talk to one of those lawmakers about to head home to a Trump district in moments. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: If the facts are not -- if they're persuasive to the American people, then they may be persuasive to some of the Republicans.
But this is, again, about the oath of office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
PELOSI: It's not about politics. This is a very, very dangerous territory. It's not just about something the president may have done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PELOSI: It's about how -- what he is doing. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That is speaker Nancy Pelosi last night on the politics of impeachment at the Tribune Festival as things are about to get even uglier in the nation's capital after a historic week. Let's discuss.
And I want to start with you, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan. There was an editorial in your hometown paper saying -- quote -- "Representative Elissa Slotkin may have risked" political -- "risked her political career with her call for Trump impeachment."
President Trump is now retweeting attacks on you from the chair of the RNC. Are you worried that your support for the impeachment inquiry, just the process, might end your political career, puts it at risk at the very least?
REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): It's just -- it's just not about that. I mean, for me, I had to make a decision based on the fact that I've been in the national security world my entire life. I'm a former CIA officer and Pentagon official. And for me the very basics of this issue turned it for me.
We have the president of the free world, you know, the strongest man in the world, calling a junior partner and asking for dirt on an American, on a political opponent. That can't be OK. I don't want a Democrat reaching out to China to ask for dirt on a political opponent. That to me just made things very different. It's about a future election not the past. And it's about our oath of office and protecting the institutions that make up this country.
So what I've tried to say very clearly to my constituents is that I hope whether they agree with me or not, that they say that I did this judiciously. I thought about it, I was compelled to do it based on my oath of office and a sense of integrity.
TAPPER: David Urban, you're a corporate lobbyist and also an adviser to the Trump campaign how is -- the Trump campaign is already attacking congressmen and women who are supporting inquiry. Does the argument she made not hold water?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I applaud her independence. I disagree with her. I applaud her independence and she's obviously doing what she thinks is right.
Look, if that -- I heard Speaker Pelosi talk about the facts. But the fact is Adam Schiff (INAUDIBLE) just the other day made up facts, make up a story, he reads a narrative that doesn't even exist. The facts (INAUDIBLE) he (ph) had (ph) done it.
Hakeem Jeffries just came out said, I support impeachment because of three reasons. We will help the president withheld cash, he pressured the Ukrainian president and there's a cover-up. Well, the president didn't withhold cash. There is testimony and statements out there from Republican senators and the foreign relations committee saying the president and committee were very concerned about legitimate corruption in Ukraine, we're making sure this president was pro- western.
In terms of pressure -- whether there's pressure or not the Ukrainian President Zelensky said, I didn't feel any pressure. And at the time the conversation took place he didn't even know the money was being withheld at that time. So, there could have been no (INAUDIBLE).
And then finally the cover up, that these documents were stored on a (INAUDIBLE) secure server, well, this president has been burned twice in the past leaks of classified information on Mexico and Australia. And sure (INAUDIBLE). Actually Susan Rice just said at the same forum in Texas, well, the Obama administration did likewise, the president released a transcript. So if --
TAPPER: I think Rice said it about -- not about politically sensitive matters but about stuff that was actually national security sensitive.
URBAN: But this president -- this is -- this is not a unique circumstance this was being covered up. This was in the normal course of business. And if the Democrats are going to hang their hats on those three claims it's completely hollow.
TAPPER: What do you think, Aisha?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So what's not a unique set of circumstances is that we have a president who is literally obstructing justice at this point in time.
If there is nothing to cover up the question becomes why does the president keep sending out his talking heads to deliberate this on television as opposed to actually showing all of the receipts for everything that Congress has been asking him for for months? If there's nothing to cover-up --
MOODIE-MILLS: If there's nothing to cover up -- if there's nothing to cover up --
URBAN: That's what this is about. That's what this is about.
MOODIE-MILLS: -- then the president should say -- the president and the White House and administration --
URBAN: So, now we know.
TAPPER: Let her talk.
MOODIE-MILLS: -- should say, hey, we are very concerned about some particular national security issue. That may be some things are classified that we shouldn't know all the details but they should come forward and say, look, we are concerned, we are protecting and defending the American people in this way. I want you to know that I've got it.
Here, Congress, are the things that you need to understand that's supporting this. But let's all work together to do what's right on the behalf of the American people. That is not --
TAPPER: David, I'll come to you in a second.
URBAN: OK. Sure. Go ahead.
TAPPER: But let me Bill talk because haven't talked yet. Do you think -- do you have any concerns that Democrats are getting out over their skis? You're a Trump critic but also a Republican. What do you think?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE BULWARK: I think there are individual mistakes and errors of judgment is what they've said, but at the end of the day the Democrat (INAUDIBLE) I understand it is we want to have an impeachment inquiry. We would like to know all the facts on what the president said in different conversations having released this one transcript which is pretty damning in my opinion. We want to know what Rudy Giuliani has transmitted on behalf of the president.
Giuliani said -- has said many times he kept the president fully briefed and the Trump campaign's position is we don't want. No facts, right? Isn't that --
KRISTOL: -- in inquiry should go ahead or not, David?
URBAN: Listen, Congress has a legitimate oversight. Congress -- they're co-equal branch of government --
KRISTOL: And they're allowed to test their call --
KRISTOL: You're in favor of Kurt Volker testifying for them --
URBAN: I'm in favor. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.
KRISTOL: -- and Rudy Giuliani.
URBAN: I think there's legitimate oversight responsibility. What I don't think is when you have Rashida Tlaib and Al Green saying publically if we don't impeach him, he's going to get re-elected.
Well, you have Cory Booker out here saying, well, this is a chance for us to get at it. And you hear Aisha saying, we're very unhappy with everybody coming up before the Congress and saying, I'm exerting executive privilege. That's what this is about.
MOODIE-MILLS: No. To be clear what I'm saying is that -- URBAN: That's what this is about.
MOODIE-MILLS: -- I want the congresswoman here and her colleagues to have the opportunity to actually sort through the facts and be able to understand them and explain them back to the American public. And right now they're unable to do that because this administration is blocking at every juncture their ability to access the documents that they should be able to be --
URBAN: So that's what impeachment -- impeachment is about that.
TAPPER: So let me --
MOODIE-MILLS: That's what this inquiry is about.
URBAN: -- Ukraine.
TAPPER: Let me bring in the congresswoman because it is true that Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said on her inaugural party, let's impeach the mf'er. She didn't use acronyms but, you know, let's impeach him.
Congressman Al Green has been in favor of impeaching President Trump since the beginning. Does -- do those members of your party and do the ones who are especially gleeful about this moment does that undermine the seriousness with which you and other colleagues of yours want to proceed?
SLOTKIN: Well, listen, I can't -- I can't speak on behalf of every other member of congress. I know that my district does not want me participating in kind of vitriol that they see coming out of Washington generally so that's not what I'm going to personally be doing. I can only tell you why after many, many months of being extremely judicious about this I feel this is different.
I think that the American people are exhausted by the back and forth even just the basic conversation that we're having here today. People have lost the thread of what actually is, you know, going on. I think we need a very clear process that is an impeachment inquiry that sorts out these facts, that we do it calmly, that we do it cleanly and we do it efficiently.
We focus on the facts at hand and we present that calmly and cleanly to the American people because I think we've lost that conversation and people just feel it's purely political. If it were purely political, trust me, this was not something that would have been loved in my district.
URBAN: So, when Adam Schiff sits there, congresswoman, and reads something 33that doesn't exist --
TAPPER: I think he was intending it to be a parody.
URBAN: No. It's not a parody, Jake. He's the chairman --
TAPPER: I'm not justifying it. I just want to --
KRISTOL: What about the transcript that really exists?
URBAN: Why didn't he read that? Why didn't he just read that?
KRISTOL: This is pathetic. You're going to make it --
URBAN: No. What's pathetic -- no. What's pathetic is he should have read transcript that exists.
KRISTOL: Did chairman Rodino make mistakes --
URBAN: Bill, this isn't about Chairman Rodino.
KRISTOL: I bet he did. I bet he did.
URBAN: This is about Chairman Schiff.
KRISTOL: This isn't about Chairman Schiff it's about the president of the United States.
URBAN: Why didn't he just read the transcript?
KRISTOL: Will you defend the president's behavior? Will you defend the transcript --
URBAN: No. I'm defending the truth.
KRISTOL: -- the real transcript?
URBAN: I'm defending the truth, Bill.
KRISTOL: And you think President Trump's behavior was proper -- President Trump's behavior was proper?
URBAN: Is it proper for Adam Schiff to read something that's not true --
KRISTOL: No, he should not have done that.
URBAN: -- and then say --
KRISTOL: I'm willing to say --
TAPPER: He shouldn't have done that. What do you think of the actual 3333transcript?
KRISTOL: President Trump is the president. URBAN: And so what did he do that was wrong, Bill? Tell me.
KRISTOL: Are you kidding me?
MOODIE-MILLS: He said, do me a favor. That's what he did. Completely illegal. He withheld money --
URBAN: He did withhold money.
MOODIE-MILLS: -- that Congress --
KRISTOL: Yes, he did.
MOODIE-MILLS: He absolutely did. And then he said, do me a favor.
URBAN: There's not a quid pro quo. You know --
URBAN: -- withheld money because -- why did he withhold money? Do you know why he withheld?
MOODIE-MILLS: The reality is that this is all lies, right? And because of the lack of judgment --
URBAN: Unfortunately the congresswoman --
MOODIE-MILLS: Not even bright enough to know that it's lies so then offered up this not even transcript but essentially this summary of a call that then makes the point that he was wrong and you all are still going to sit 33around and try to gaslight Americans --
TAPPER: So, I only have -- we only have 15 seconds left. I just want to ask the congresswoman --
URBAN: You want facts, let's have the facts.
TAPPER: Are you -- are you concerned about this being what the House of Representatives --
SLOTKIN: This is what people associate with impeachment hearings which is why it is up to us to present something different that is strategic, clear and efficient, and let the facts speak for themselves.
TAPPER: Let's hope it is strategic, clear and efficient and that we actually get to the bottom of it all. And there's no rush to judgment on anything Thank you one and all for being here, appreciate it.
What are the next few months going to be like in Washington. A look ahead at a historic and tumultuous time. Please stay with us.
TAPPER: On the other side of the world this weekend. Voters in Afghanistan defied threats from the terrorists of the Taliban to participate in their nation's presidential election. Via "The Washington Post," here's a picture of Safiullah Safi whose finger was cut off by the Taliban for voting in 2014. Voting in 19 you can see on his left hand. One of the fingers was dipped in indelible ink.
Citizens risking their lives to support representative democracy and all of that entails fairness, preserving the rights of the minorities, and perhaps most importantly, accountability. Reminder this Sunday as our own country faces a test of our small d -- democratic institutions, that a Democratic system is fragile. It depends on the functioning of systems and the courage of individuals, the courage of folks like whistleblowers or inspectors general doing what they think needs to be done to safeguard our democracy regardless of their own risks. Individuals who took their duties as citizens seriously.
Now as we enter what will surely be an even more tumultuous period Congress will perform its duty to consider the merits of the whistleblower complaint. And we as citizens need to do our duty to listen, to be informed, to consider the evidence, to be worthy of this democracy that we love.
Fareed Zakaria is next.