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State of the Union
Pete Buttigieg Leading Iowa Polls; Interview With Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH); Interview With Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). Aired 9-10a ET
Aired November 17, 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 (voice-over): Secure line? A U.S. official says he heard President Trump push for Ukraine investigations again.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know nothing about that, first time I have heard.
TAPPER: As the man on the other end of that line prepares to testify publicly, what will he say about the president's orders?
I will speak to a Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Turner, next.
And unforced error? The president goes after a witness on Twitter while she was testifying about feeling under attack.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: It's very intimidating.
TAPPER: Democrats seize on the tweet as potentially illegal.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction inquiry very seriously.
TAPPER: Democratic Senator Chris Murphy joins me to discuss next.
Plus: taking the lead. There's a new front-runner in Iowa.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's very encouraging. And, at the same time, there's a long way to go.
TAPPER: The Sound Bend, Indiana, mayor surpasses his biggest Democratic rivals in the first caucus state, but can he do the same across the country?
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is just trying to keep up.
After a difficult week, President Trump is waking up this morning to some not-so-great news politically. Democrat John Bel Edwards has narrowly won reelection in Louisiana as governor, despite President Trump putting his full support behind the Republican challenger and traveling to the state to campaign twice in the past two weeks, trying to make the Louisiana race a referendum on impeachment, this as new details are piling up quickly in the impeachment inquiry.
Saturday, newly released transcripts revealed that former National Security Council official Tim Morrison testified that Ambassador Gordon Sondland claimed to be acting at President Trump's direction in his dealings with Ukraine.
And those dealings included, according to Morrison, Sondland directly telling the Ukrainians to publicly announce investigations into the Bidens if they wanted that military aid released.
This puts even more pressure on Sondland ahead of his expected public testimony on Wednesday, this on top of new testimony Friday from U.S. State Department official David Holmes, who described a phone call he overheard between Sondland and President Trump.
According to a copy of his opening statement, Holmes heard Sondland say -- quote -- "President Zelensky loves your ass. I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's going to do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that -- quote -- 'He's going to do it,' adding that, 'President Zelensky will do anything you ask him to.'"
Joining me now, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us this morning.
TAPPER: And I want to start with that testimony from David Holmes, a top political adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
He says he heard President Trump directly asked Sondland about whether Zelensky was going to do the investigation and that Sondland made it clear that the president was asking about investigation into the Bidens.
What was your reaction?
REP. MICHAEL TURNER (R-OH): Well, the travesty here, Jake, is that this is testimony that's continued to happen down in the basement of the Capitol, and it's not public. You should be playing the tape, not leaked transcripts to you.
As you know, I'm currently under a gag order, because the way that Adam Schiff is doing this in secret, you don't have the actual testimony and I can't comment on it.
But let's say this first off, because I think this is important. Clearly, we all understand that the Zelensky, President Zelensky of Ukraine, would not do anything for Donald Trump, because, obviously, the investigations never happened. But let me give you an example of real time of the danger of this
happening in secret and why this shouldn't be happening. Nothing, by the way, classified is happening down there.
On the testimony that you just heard from Ambassador Taylor last week, Ambassador Taylor spoke of a phone call that happened between Ambassador Sondland and Ambassador Taylor. It was a phone call that was of much speculation in the media and much leaks were about it. And that's where they had been texting. And Ambassador Sondland said, "Call me."
Many networks, including your own, reported that this was scandalous and that he was trying to hold back the information as to what the conversation was, when, in fact, Sondland had already testified down in the secret chamber that the reason why he said "Call me" wasn't nefarious. He just didn't want to continue typing.
And Ambassador Taylor last week confirmed that, once they got on the phone together...
TURNER: ... that Sondland reported to Taylor that there was no quid pro quo.
TAPPER: Well, that's...
TURNER: But yet there were days that reports that that text was going to be the smoking gun.
And the reason why you didn't know that, although Sondland had already testified, is because this is happening in secret. And, Jake, this should not be happening in secret.
TAPPER: OK, so you have an issue with there being private depositions, even though, of course, that's how Republicans ran the committee when they were in charge as well.
But beyond that, sir, I'm just asking you to address the substance -- the substance...
TURNER: Actually -- actually no, we did classified ones.
But you should have a problem with it, Jake. You should have a problem that you can't play the tape...
TAPPER: I like all the information. Of course, I would like all the information to be in the public.
And I'm happy that they're releasing the transcripts. And I'm happy that they're having the hearings in the open, in the public now, absolutely, 100 percent, more transparency, please.
That said... TURNER: Reruns.
TAPPER: ... I'm asking you to address the substance of what David Holmes said he heard, which was President Trump telling Gordon Sondland, "So he's going to do the investigation?"
That must alarm you.
TURNER: Well, the I -- I can only comment on the portion which is public, which, as you know, Ambassador Taylor in his opening statement last week referenced this phone conversation.
TURNER: So, I will -- I will talk about Ambassador Taylor said, because, under the gag order from Adam Schiff, I'm not able to talk about what David Holmes said.
So, what Ambassador Taylor said is that the aide had overheard the word investigations.
Now, as you know, you personally watched Donald Trump at a microphone say that he thought that Ukraine should undertake an investigation of Burisma and of the Bidens' connection to that. So you actually know as much as he does. That's not so scandalous about the fact that he claims to have overheard this conversation, which happened the day after the conversation with President Zelensky.
That conversation, which you have the readout of, the actual words of the president, and he's confirmed, is this the same thing. So he offers nothing new. He offers the same information, still no quid pro quo, still no smoking gun, still the same information.
But yet, according to the Democrats, because they're leaking information to you, it's a bombshell.
TAPPER: Well, I mean, Gordon Sondland, according to Tim Morrison, who testified, whose transcript was released on Saturday, so you can talk about it -- there's no gag order. It's been released.
Tim Morrison said that Sondland went over to Yermak, one of the top aides to President Zelensky, came back and said -- quote -- and this is Tim Morrison saying -- Sondland -- quote -- "related to me that the president was giving him instruction," Sondland and Mick Mulvaney. They both report to the president.
And according to Sondland, Sondland told Yermak, if you want this money released, publicly announce these investigations.
So does that not alarm you?
TURNER: Well, of course, all of that is alarming.
And as I have said from the beginning, I think this is -- this is not OK. The president United States shouldn't even, in the original phone call, be on the phone with the president of another country and raise his political opponent.
So, no, this is -- is not OK.
But if you look at Sondland's testimony, which is also public, he says that the direction that he received from the United States was no quid pro quo, and that, in fact, that he said he wants nothing. He just wants him to do the right thing.
So, Sondland actually testified. And this is the first time ,by the way, that you have direct testimony of someone speaking to the president and relating what the president has said. And what he says directly contradicts this -- this additional -- these statements that are largely hearsay, of someone saying, I heard from someone else who heard from someone else.
When you ask Sondland -- and you have got his testimony -- I think it's around page 124 -- he actually says, I was told by the president of the United States: I want nothing, no quid pro quo. I just want him to do the right thing.
So, we will all have to wait for Sondland's testimony, which is direct testimony, not testimony of somebody who says they heard from somebody else that somebody else said something.
TAPPER: Right. And I hope Sondland tells the truth, because he had to amend his deposition.
TURNER: You know, I hope everybody tells the truth.
TAPPER: I agree, 100 percent.
TURNER: And I -- I -- what I really would like is that the people who are leaking information to you guys tell the truth, because sty after story happens where you report what happened in transcripts, and then, when they come out, they don't match.
TAPPER: That's not true.
TURNER: They're not being -- being straight with you.
TAPPER: Most of...
TURNER: Well, it's what happened on that phone call between Scotland and Taylor. And you can go to page around 225, I think it is, of the transcript.
TAPPER: OK. I'm really -- in the interest of time, I would just like to focus on what the president did...
TAPPER: ... and what you think about it, because I guess one question I have is, you have Sondland and you have Mulvaney publicly saying that, in order for people -- either publicly saying it or saying it in their depositions behind closed doors that have now been released.
In order for them to get the money or to get a White House meeting, they need to do these political investigations. We have Rudy Giuliani also pushing for these political investigations into the Bidens.
Do you think that Sondland...
TURNER: Actually, you don't have that. You don't have that, because you actually have the testimony of Sondland where he says the opposite, Jake. He says the opposite.
TAPPER: No, he says that President Trump -- well, that's another thing that's interesting.
He says President Trump says, there's no quid pro quo, tell them there's no quid pro quo, but they need to do such and such.
So just saying that something isn't a quid pro quo, when you are then demanding that someone says or does something, doesn't vanish, doesn't make the quid pro quo inherent vanish.
Do you really think that there are no Ukrainians who were under the impression...
TAPPER: Let me just ask you this question. And please answer it.
Do you really think there were no Ukrainians who were under the impression that they needed to publicly announce these investigations in order to get the White House meeting or the aid, the $400 million, they so desperately needed?
Do you think no Ukrainians were under that impression?
TURNER: The only two that I can speak to, because I'm obviously not psychic as to what Ukrainians think, but the president of Ukraine and the foreign minister -- and the foreign minister just recently came out with his statement -- have both stated that they were not under that impression, they did not believe that it was tied, and they did not believe that there was pressure.
So, I can only tell you what is the public accounts of what Ukrainian statements have been. And their statements have been that that's not true.
TAPPER: Let me ask you another question, sir.
President Trump was attacking Ambassador Yovanovitch as she was starting her testimony on Friday.
He tweeted -- quote -- "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," apparently blaming her for what's happened in Somalia, what's happened in Ukraine, other places.
Chairman Schiff read her the tweet during the hearing. I'm sure she would have read it during the break anyway.
She said that she found it intimidating.
Does it concern you at all that a witness found what President Trump tweeted to be intimidating?
TURNER: Well, I mean, Jake, I think, along with most people, I find the president's tweets generally unfortunate.
But let's say this that I think is very important about all of it. And that is that Adam Schiff has been on a three-year quest to impeach this president. He replaced the staff at the Intelligence Committee with prosecutors, instead of experts in, like, nuclear weapons, terrorism and the like.
TAPPER: He opposed impeachment until recently.
TURNER: He changed the staff, so it became a -- an impeachment staff. For three years, he's been pursuing it.
So it's kind of laughable that, in the middle of the hearing, he reads a witness a tweet that she's up until that point unaware of, and then says, shazam, eureka, I have another reason to impeach the president.
He's had reasons for three years. He's going to continue to. He's on the quest for impeachment. He's obsessed with impeaching the president of the United States. And a majority of the Democrats were already on record of wanting to impeach this president before the Ukrainian call even happened.
TURNER: So I'm certain we will continue to see the long list of new reasons why Adam Schiff thinks this president should be impeached.
TAPPER: I get you don't like Congressman Schiff.
But you do find it concerning that a witness, I think, in real time found it...
TURNER: I think he doesn't like the president.
But you do find it concerning that a witness in real time found the president's tweet to be -- quote -- "intimidating"? That is something that concerns you?
TURNER: It's certainly not impeachable, and it's certainly not criminal, and it's certainly not witness intimidation.
It certainly wasn't trying to prevent her or would it have prevented her from testifying. She was actually in the process of testifying.
TURNER: But, nonetheless, I find the president's tweet unfortunate. I find the president's tweet unfortunate.
TAPPER: If a witness says she's intimidated -- if a witness says she's intimidated, how is it not witness intimidation?
TURNER: Well -- well, there's a difference between, I feel intimidated, I'm intimidated to testify, which is what Adam Schiff was saying.
Adam Schiff was saying, well, you're intimidated now, so you won't testify completely or fully.
And that's not the case. Clearly, she testified completely and fully. I was there. Hopefully, you watched it. She was in no means intimidated and prevented from testifying.
TAPPER: Well, just like you're not a mind-reader, I'm not a mind- reader. I have no idea whether it affected her testimony.
If she says she found it intimidating, is it not possible that she held back or shaded her answers because she didn't want to upset the most powerful person in the universe any further? Is that not possible?
TURNER: Well, I think you overstate Donald Trump's powers, hopefully.
But we had a lot of discussions with the ambassador about feelings. I think that, though, the real aspect was when we had straight testimony -- and I think that testimony was not inhibited.
TAPPER: Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio, it's great in Dayton. We appreciate your time today.
TURNER: Thank you. Thank you.
TAPPER: A U.S. ambassador told President Trump that Ukraine's president -- quote -- "loves your ass."
I will talk to a senator who met with the Ukrainian leader about whether or not that's true.
Plus, our new poll showing a clear new front-runner in Iowa, and it's not even close. We will take a look at the numbers.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
As witnesses reveal new details about the U.S. pressure campaign on Ukraine, my next guest has a unique perspective. He actually met with Ukraine's president over the summer while the U.S. was holding up its military aid.
TAPPER: Joining me now, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator, I want you to take a look at what the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani just tweeted this morning -- quote -- "After three witnesses, no evidence has been presented of any offense. The first two permanent diplomats had no direct knowledge just overhearing things. The third one had no knowledge, not even hearsay. This is a travesty" -- unquote.
What's your response to Mr. Giuliani?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, the -- the crimes and the offenses that have been detailed in this testimony are absolutely damning.
I mean, it's now absolutely clear what happened. The president was using taxpayer dollars, security aid to Ukraine, and a White House meeting in order to extort the Ukrainian president into trying to interfere in the 2020 election, trying to help the president destroy the Bidens and the Clintons.
And Ambassador Taylor and George Kent testified to the fact that they were carrying out the orders of the White House to get this corrupt deal done.
Now, the White House is going to rely on this idea that the people who were getting the direct orders from the president, who were talking to the president directly, are largely not testifying before the committee. And, of course, there's a reason for that. The White House isn't allowing them to testify before the committee.
The White House is violating the law in keeping them from the impeachment inquiry. Why? Because they know that those are the individuals who were actually getting most of the direct orders from the president, and they don't want that to be on the record.
So, the White House can't have it both ways. The White House can't say, well, you know, Mick Mulvaney and Rudy Giuliani aren't testifying before the committee.
Well, there's a reason for that. The White House is prohibiting them from doing so.
TAPPER: Kent and Taylor weren't saying that they were carrying out these, as you -- as you put it, corrupt orders. They said that they heard about them and they objected to them.
MURPHY: Right, but that's, you know, how civil servants work, right, is that they get orders from -- from the White House, often through intermediaries.
In this case, it was clear that Gordon Sondland was talking directly to the president and then coordinating an effort amongst the Ukraine team to tell the Ukrainian president that he wasn't going to get his security aid unless he started investigating the president's political opponents.
And I think we are going to learn that Gordon Sondland, as we already know, was pretty regularly talking to the president. And, in addition, Rudy Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney were talking to the president. And they, in turn, were telling Volker and Taylor and others to carry out those orders.
TAPPER: Ukraine's foreign minister told Ukrainian news agencies on Thursday -- quote -- "Ambassador Sondland did not tell us and certainly did not tell me about a connection between the assistance and the investigations. I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance. Yes, the investigations were mentioned, you know, in the conversation of the president, but there was no clear connection between these events" -- unquote.
So that's the Ukrainian foreign minister. How do you respond to that?
MURPHY: Well, I respond to that by noting that Gordon Sondland himself took the extraordinary step of going back and amending his testimony to make absolutely clear that, yes, indeed, he did tell the Ukrainians that they were not going to get their security aid unless they opened up investigations that the White House was recommending.
And we all know that the only two investigations that the president mentioned to President Zelensky was the investigation into the Bidens and the investigation that would relitigate the 2016 election.
Now, the Ukrainians are always going to try to put a good spin on this. The Ukrainians aren't going to come out and accuse the president of extortion. Why? Because they are presently reliant on the goodwill of Donald Trump in order to keep that country safe. They can't take on the president, because, at any moment, he could stop the security aid once more.
So nobody should be surprised when the Ukrainians are trying to put as good a spin on this as possible, are trying to stay in the president's good graces, because, right now, the president still holds enormous leverage over that country's independence and sovereignty.
TAPPER: Obviously, a lot of Democrats care about this quid pro quo in Ukraine. And the case, as you've noted, relies on Gordon Sondland. He's testifying on Wednesday in an open hearing.
Now, as you noted, he -- Sondland has already amended his closed-door testimony once. He did not mention anything about this July 26 phone call between Trump and Sondland that David Holmes testified about on Friday. David Holmes says he heard President Trump pushing for the investigations.
Is Gordon Sondland a credible witness? And, if not, how can Democrats rely on his testimony?
MURPHY: Well, Gordon Sondland clearly didn't tell the truth in his initial testimony. And I don't know why he decided to ultimately come clean about the fact that they were engaged in an extortion campaign.
But he did so. And I think, over the weekend, Mr. Sondland has to decide whether his primary loyalty is to America or whether his primary loyalty is to president of the United States, because it seems clear that he was, in fact, talking pretty regularly, potentially, with the president directly.
And if that was the case, then he needs to explain that. Ultimately, this is about his legacy. And if it comes out that he misled the committee in his initial testimony or outright lied, there are real consequences for him down the line.
TAPPER: Holmes, David Holmes, who testified Friday, he says he was a notetaker for the meeting that you and Senator Ron Johnson had with the Ukrainian President Zelensky in Ukraine.
Holmes testified that Johnson, Senator Johnson, told Zelensky that he was shocked by President Trump's negative view of Ukraine that Zelensky, in his view, would have a difficult time overcoming.
What was Zelensky's response to Johnson telling him that the president, President Trump, had a negative view of Ukraine?
MURPHY: Well, you know, we walked into this meeting.
And, normally, you engage in, you know, diplomatic formalities at the beginning. But that's not how this meeting went. Zelensky immediately launched into this question about the security aid and desperately wanted our help and advice as to how to turn that aid back on.
And so, you know, part of the meeting was about trying to help Zelensky secure a meeting with the president to make the case that the aid should flow once more.
At the end of the meeting, I did remind him that it was not going to help Ukraine for them to get involved in American elections, that he shouldn't be listening to Rudy Giuliani's corrupt requests. And he agreed.
You know, he said that he understood that Ukraine needed to stay out of American politics.
But, of course, for him, it was life and death. If the security aid didn't get turned back on, he was going to have soldiers dying, as they were during the time we were there on the border.
So, you know, it was a tense meeting, because Senator Johnson, you know, was relaying to him the -- what -- he -- what the president had told him about corruption in Ukraine being an issue.
And, of course, at least I didn't know at the time behind the scenes they were telling Zelensky that what corruption meant was getting investigations started to help destroy the president's political opponents.
TAPPER: Ambassador Yovanovitch was -- she testified Friday. She was asked about the -- being prepared by the Obama administration during her Senate confirmation for a question, a potential question, about Hunter Biden.
Take a listen to Congresswoman Stefanik pushing her on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Quote: "The way the question was phrased in this model Q&A was, what can you tell us about Hunter Biden's, you know, being named to the board of Burisma?
So for the millions of Americans watching, President Obama's own State Department was so concerned about potential conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden's role at Burisma that they raised it themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, I get that, in your view, what's going on right now with President Trump is a much, much bigger deal and much more important than the Hunter Biden situation.
But just point blank, should Hunter Biden have taken that role on the board of Burisma while his dad was vice president?
MURPHY: Well, I think, in an interview, Hunter Biden himself admitted that he had possibly made a mistake.
But let's be clear. Hunter Biden didn't do anything illegal. And his father, the vice president, didn't do anything illegal or unethical. And all of these attacks on the Bidens and the effort to bring the whistle-blower in to testify are just an attempt to try to put more chum in the water and distract from the corrupt scheme that is at the heart of this inquiry.
You know, Marie Yovanovitch wasn't the ambassador at the time. So, as you know, you often get briefed in anticipation of these confirmation hearings for the worst-case scenario, so it's not, you know, out of the ordinary for issues like that to come up when she's getting ready for testimony.
TAPPER: Senator Murphy, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.
MURPHY: Thanks, Jake.
(END VIDEOTAPE) TAPPER: With less than three months until the Iowa caucuses, there's a new breakout front-runner in Iowa. But what does that mean for the rest of the field?
Plus, President Obama weighing in on the 2020 race. His warning to the Democratic candidates, that's next.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that's extremely encouraging. You know, we have -- obviously we have felt a lot of momentum on the ground. Even now. We know that we're not as well known as some of my competitors. So it's very encouraging. And at the same time, there is a long way to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg on his surge in the brand new CNN/Des Moines Register, Iowa poll. He is now the clear frontrunner in the first caucus state among Democrats coming in at 25 percent, Senator Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent in the poll with former Vice President Biden and Senator Sanders tied at 15 percent. Senator Amy Klobuchar following with six percent. Let's discuss.
Let me start with you, Congresswoman, because I know that there are a lot of progressives --
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Yes.
TAPPER: -- who are wary of Mayor Pete. They think he's too establishment. But he is surging in Iowa. What do you think?
JAYAPAL: Well, I think you have to give it to Mayor Pete for doing a great job and getting to where he is. But what occurred to me when I read those poll results is this is a -- still fluid race.
JAYAPAL: The vast majority of people, including those who have a first choice, are saying that they would be able to be moved off at that first choice. And so, you know, you don't have to look very far to see each of these candidates having been at the top of the polls and a month later they're down because that makes them the one to attack.
Howard Dean, December -- before the year that the election occurred, I think it was 2003.
TAPPER: Yes. JAYAPAL: He was at the top of the Iowa poll, as well. So, I think this is a fluid race. I think voters are still trying to decide and look at all of these candidates and figure out which is the one that is going to be able to address the scale of the crisis that is before people that is on health care, that's on the economy, jobs, these are the issues that I think people are still trying to figure out. Who will fight for me?
TAPPER: As a Republican does Mayor Pete concern you? I know -- I feel like you have expressed the desire to run against Warren or Sanders do you think that they would be easier to beat because they are more to the left. What about Mayor Pete? What is -- what kind of challenge does pose to President Trump?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he rhetorically presents to be more of a moderate. But he has come out for a lot of the same things that the rest of the field has.
I think the race is fluid. I don't know that he is going to be the frontrunner forever. Although he has a war chest that allows him to be durable.
I really think the fluidity, though, is with the voters as with the candidates. I mean, one of the clear reasons Warren is suffering right now is because of health care. I mean, the "Medicare for All" position has not been popular. She's been struggling with it. She's --
TAPPER: It's popular among Democrats though.
JENNINGS: Well, why did she pivot away from it? Why did she pivot --
JAYAPAL: She hasn't pivoted away from it.
JENNINGS: Have you picked up the newspaper this morning? She went to a -- she went to a town hall --
JAYAPAL: Oh, yes. In fact I read her entire --
JENNINGS: She went to a town hall meeting and is now saying, well, we're going to do it in year three. Yes. After the first midterm of a president's first term, it's really a good time to be changing the nation's health care plan. I think she is struggling with this. She struggled with a lot of positions but this one, I think, is causing her suffering in Iowa.
TAPPER: Jen Psaki, possibly one of the reasons that Buttigieg is rising is because they see him kind of like the goldilocks candidate. Not too hot, not too cold, just right.
If you look at the polling, not too liberal, not too conservative, about right. Buttigieg, 63 percent. Biden is at 55 percent. Warren, 48. Sanders, 37.
Wow, there are 3 percent people that think Sanders is too conservative. That's (INAUDIBLE). That's (INAUDIBLE). OK. I got to give -- got to give it to them. But in any case, do you think that is the secret to his success? He's kind of appealing to everyone and not too extreme one way or the other?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think that he is a unique political talent. It is early. And I think his campaign is very cognizant of that. But to Scott's point, he has a huge war chest.
And as we just heard him say, one of his opportunities here is that people are still getting to know him. As they get to know him, they like him. And I think that's, also, what you're seeing in the polls.
So, take South Carolina, 21 percent of the electorate doesn't know enough about them. That's three times the percentage that doesn't know enough about Warren.
He just did a $2 million ad buy in South Carolina. He's going to introduce himself. There's a long way to go. He has got to eat his wheaties before the debate this week because everybody will be after him.
PSAKI: I think it's more than the goldilocks. I think people are seeing something they like with how he presents himself, how he tries to reach across and appeal to a broad part of the electorate.
TAPPER: And, Congresswoman Love, I want you to listen to something President Obama said on Friday. I know you weren't a particular supporter of the president's but it might be something you could agree with.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We also have to be rooted in reality and the fact that voters are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain left leaning Twitter feeds. The average American doesn't think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: What do you think?
MIA LOVE (R-UT), FORMER REPRESENTATIVE: I absolutely agree with that
TAPPER: Yes. That's what I thought.
LOVE: I actually agree with that. And one of the things that I have to agree with Scott on is you can't -- you're not going to win independents by going completely to the left. And I'm sorry but "Medicare for All" is not something that speaks to me and it's not something that speaks to a lot of independent and you need independents in order to win a race. So, the fact that he's actually saying, look, I'm being a little bit reasonable here. He's actually pleasant. He -- you know, there's a -- there's a sense of stability that is there that people are just desperate for. And so I think that -- I'm not surprised that he's actually rising in the polls. I think that people are looking for a different alternative because they don't really -- they're not necessarily OK with what is in the field now.
TAPPER: I imagine you might disagree with the former president?
JAYAPAL: Well, you know, what I think about is going back to his first race.
President Obama ran as a visionary candidate. He did not run as pragmatic, practical candidate. He ran as somebody who wanted to end the war. He wanted to end "don't ask don't tell." He wanted to pass the Affordable Care Act.
I mean, these were big revolutionary ideas that matched where the American people were feelings. And I think that we are grateful to him for that.
Nobody wins on running pragmatic small nibble around the edges ideas. We need people that are going to address the scale of the crisis that we have. Economics and health care.
TAPPER: All right. Everyone, stick around. We have more to talk about as new witnesses to prepare to testify. Democrats are rethinking their messaging. Three little words -- Latin words that you might not be hearing next week. That's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Some guy overheard a phone call. I'm sure he's going to be a witness next week. We're having an open hearing and we'll get a chance to question him there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: David Holmes doesn't concern you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Not at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Republicans down playing new testimony in the House impeachment inquiry and embassy official told investigators that he overheard President Trump asking his ambassador Gordon Sondland about the investigation. Let's discuss.
So, Republicans say this call isn't any different. Mike Turner said it this morning. What he said is not any different than what he said in the phone call for Zelensky which is pushing for investigations into the Bidens. That they know that's happening. We should point out Turner had said that's not OK.
PSAKI: I mean, the ultimate question here which to Adam Schiff's credit, he keeps bringing it back to in these hearings is, is it acceptable for the president to be that the president of the United States is attempting to a bribe a foreign power in exchange for personal gain?
I know from working in government for almost 20 years as other people at this table have that it is always far worse. The angst and the anxiety is far worse than what people are presenting. So, yes, they're saying it doesn't matter. They shouldn't be worried about it. But looking at last week, you had all these incredibly credible and powerful and compelling foreign service officers, people who have served our country, not in a partisan way, making the case that the president did something for personal gain. I wouldn't feel good, if I were them no matter what they're saying publicly.
TAPPER: What do you make of it all?
LOVE: OK. So, if I look at this strategically, I don't know who is advising the president but I'm going to give a shout out to Paul Begala when he was going through -- the Clinton administration was going through the same thing. He literally put the president on a northbound train with a vision for the American people so that they could focus on something else. And I think that that is one of the things that is missing here is that you've got the president that is tweeting out while Yovanovitch is testifying and it's not helping him at all.
I really do believe that the president really has to focus on what he's doing for the American people. The economy, jobs, the fact that things are, you know, going well, I think, in this country instead of going back to the areas that don't help him which is --
PSAKI: He could do universal background checks this week --
LOVE: Well, you know, gosh there are things that I think that are even -- that are -- that we've been working on for a long time that have gone -- that have gone awry. Immigration reform. We're actually going to run out of money in November 21st.
TAPPER: Yes. Keeping the government open. That's another thing.
LOVE: Keeping the government open.
TAPPER: So, Congresswoman Love brought up the -- brought up the tweet from the president during the trial -- during the testimony. Take a listen. Here is Congressman Schiff, the chairman of the committee, reading the tweet to Ambassador Yovanovitch in real time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrong doing?
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Well, it's very intimidating.
SCHIFF: Designed to intimidate, is it not?
YOVANOVITCH: I mean, I can't speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, Congresswoman, you're on the House Judiciary Committee which will ultimately draft or not draft the articles of impeachment.
TAPPER: Is it -- it seems to be that Chairman Schiff is saying that might be in the articles of impeachment. It's witness intimidation. Do you agree?
JAYAPAL: I definitely think witness intimidation could be. We are looking at all the evidence. We're going to wait for it to come to us. We'll have a fair process to evaluate that, including the president's counsel testifying, if he wants to.
But here is the thing. I think this week, this last week was a somber moment for the country. It was a good moment for the facts and it was a very bad moment for President Trump. Because over and over again you have the same patterns, by the way, the same patterns that were articulated in the Mueller report. My questioning of Robert Mueller was around witness tampering and witness intimidation on judiciary. So this is a pattern but the thing is we're seeing it unfold in front of people.
A president bribing a foreign ally to investigate a political opponent, get involved in the election, and withholding this critical aid for a country that is in a very, very destabilizing region and position.
TAPPER: Your expression makes it look like, Scott, that you don't buy it. You don't think that's witness intimidation.
JENNINGS: No. I think the Democrats would be on a lot firmer ground here if they wouldn't want to continue to try to impeach the president over his tweets. It doesn't make it technically smart. I mean it was -- I think this testimony could have come and gone Friday without much notice frankly had he not elevate it.
TAPPER: That certainly was the highlight or the low light of the day. I mean, I think that's -- JENNINGS: Yes. But putting it in the articles of impeachment strikes me as a massive overreach. And they may want to back to their focus groups. You know, they've already focused group this once to try to figure out what to call the impeachment. And they may want to go back and see if impeaching a president over his tweets works.
TAPPER: You're referring to --
TAPPER: Just to explain to our viewers you're referring to a "Washington Post" story that -- the DCCC, the Democratic Campaign Committee, asked participants in a focus group whether quid pro quo, extortion or bribery was more compelling. And they figured to nix the Latin.
JENNINGS: Yes. Just the way the founders drew it up. Don't have a focus group for your campaign committee and see how we should do it.
TAPPER: All right. Thanks one and all for being here. Really appreciate it.
It has been a string of not so beautiful days in the neighborhood as public impeachment hearings seem only to increase the partisan divide in this nation. Perhaps a little Mr. Rogers is what everyone needs to feel better. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back.
This Friday, the new film, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," comes to theaters starting Tom Hanks as the iconic children's television host Fred Rogers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM HANKS, ACTOR (singing): It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood. A beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The film is being embraced as a respite from the storm of cruelty that marks this era, a time of mean tweets and personal invective, of division and bullying. Mr. Rogers died 16 years ago so it's tough to know what he would make of today. Though his widow, Joanne, recently offered this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOANNE ROGERS, FRED ROGERS' WIDOW: People say to you, what do you think he would say? What do you think he would do about all this? And I said it would be about the children. It would be about the immigrants who are having children taken (ph) -- the children themselves. This breaks my heart. And I know it breaks everybody's heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The sad truth, of course, is that it does not break everybody's heart. But Joanne Rogers shares her late husband's radical view of humanity, of a God who loves all of us. She did that interview last year promoting the documentary about her late husband "Won't You Be My Neighbor"?
You might remember when hecklers accosted then Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a strong supporter of President Trump, on her way into and out of the theater to see that documentary.
Would Mr. Rogers take children away from their parents, one heckler yelled at her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would Mr. Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida, taking away health insurance with people with pre- existing conditions, Pam Bondi? Shame on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What would Mr. Rogers make of those policies? For that matter, what would he make of the heckling of Pam Bondi?
The new film was inspired by journalist Tom Junod's 1998 profile of Mr. Rogers and their subsequent friendship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't consider yourself famous?
HANKS: Fame is a four-letter word, like tape or zoom, or face. But ultimately what matters is what we do with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Junod writes in "The Atlantic" about the hecklers accosting Pam Bondi. That while -- quote -- "it's obvious Rogers would have been saddened by our country's continued refusal to provide health care to all its citizens" and -- quote -- "devastated by the cruelties committed in our name at the border." Mr. Rogers' vision of the world depended on civility, on strangers feeling welcome in the public square. Civility, he writes, couldn't be subject to politics but rather had to be the very basis of politics.
This week I asked Junod, what would he say to those like the hecklers who argue that one cannot respond to cruelty with kindness? Well that, Junod replied, that misses the radical part of Mr. Rogers' radical kindness. People remember him as kind, but they missed the part of Mr. Rogers being demanding. He demanded a lot of us, and treating everyone, even the bullies, even those who advocate for policies we find abhorrent, treating all of us as children of God who are special and deserve love, well, that was what Mr. Rogers demanded.
Now, we're in a dark period in politics right now in this country. And as impeachment heats up it's assuredly only going to grow darker. We could all do worse than to follow the lead of Mr. Rogers and attempt to remember the humanity of everyone involved, including -- no, especially those whose behavior you find repugnant. Radical, indeed.
Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us.
How are Ukrainians responding to the ongoing impeachment inquiry? Fareed Zakaria has that next.