tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN October 8, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PDT
♪ top of the hour, good morning, everyone. i'm poppy harlow in new york. >> i'm jim sciutto. the breaking news this morning, it's breaking quickly. the days of playing nice are done, that's the word, of course, from the president's impeachment team, as gordon sondland told not to testify this morning. before the closed-door deposition before three house committees today. that testimony, not happening anymore. >> democrats are accusing the white house of obstruction from withholding evidence.
and they say that includes also unreleased text messages on a personal device of sondland's that are, quote, deeply relevant and also text messages, on this role in ukraine. including trading information on an investigation over the bidens. let's go to man knu raju. >> well, house chairman adam schiff came out criticizing this move by this administration to block this witness coming forward. he detailed why he believed ambassador sondland could provide key testimony about the government's urge in investigating joe biden about the talk of why military aid was suspended, about the talk, about the meeting that the ukrainian government wanted to have in washington. he said essentially any efforts to obstruct their witnesses could be used against them. in other words, perhaps in an article of impeachment which is
what democrats have been warning. perhaps, they're not going to go down the route of a prolonged litigation, but perhaps move quicker in impeaching this period, just the third time in history. just moments ago after he surprised his committee that he would not appear under the state department's direction, adam schiff made clear the democrats wouldn't stand for it. >> we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of congress a coequal branch of government. >> reporter: now, schiff would not take questions afterwards. i tried to ask him what the next step exactly is. will they go to court. he would not take questions. republicans did come out afterwards, their contention is in their view, is this not a fair process. while they believe sondland should have come, they said they understand his reason for not doing so. one reason why, because kurt
volker, the former envoy in ukraine, he came out last week, there were text messages, republicans said they should have released more. they called that not a fair process. and trump asked governments to investigate his political rivals, jim gordon said the president was just doing his job. >> oh, the state department in this decision to stop somebody from testifying. kelly ayotte joins us, any more intel from the state department itself? >> yeah, the state department has remained largely silent this morning and throughout the last few weeks. i think it's important to note that this news came to us from ambassador sondland's personal lawyer. i just want to read the news that broke that he was being prevented from going forth from
his deposition on the hill. it said from his attorney, ambassador sondland is profoundly disappointed that he will not be able to testify today. ambassador sondland traveled to washington from brussels, in order to prepare for this testimony, and to be available to answer the committee's questions. arrangements had already been made regarding the logistics of his testimony. ambassador sondland believes strongly that he acted at all times in the best interests of the united states, and he stands ready to answer the committee's questions fully and truthfully. so, poppy, we can receive some sort of indication last week from secretary pompeo that this be coming. he wrote a letter to the hill saying that there were questions about the legal authority that the hill was forcing upon these state department officials to compel them to come forth and talk to them because they had not subpoenaed these officials. now, does the hill go forth and issue subpoenas, potentially.
but it appeared, at the time, that they had kind of worked through their issues. there were dates they put on the table. they pushed those dates back. and then just last night, chairman schiff said that the house was in discussions with the legal adviser at the state department, who gave noll indication that this was going to be halted in any way. so, clearly, this was a very last-minute decision that the state department made. and i think it's important to note that ambassador sondland said in his statement that he hopes this is going to be resolved quickly. we're really learning no more from the state department this morning. >> kylie atwood, thanks very much. as we learned there, the white house was engaged in late night discussions about blocking ambassador sondland's testimony. jeremy diamond at the white house this morning. jeremy, i wonder it looks like this order came down from the white house, does it not, as opposed to the state department? because the state department is making investigations and after
all, the ambassador flew back to give the testimony? >> reporter: that's right, what we're hearing this is part of a broader impeachment strategy, of course, being run by the president and his team of lawyers, the white house counsel office and also his personal lawyers. and we're being told this is indeed part of a broader strategy. there were discussions late last night between officials that discussed essentially how much they want to cooperate with this house impeachment inquiry. we know that this white house has been pressuring house speaker nancy pelosi to move forward with a formal vote on the house floor to formally create this impeachment inquiry. the house speaker is adamant that she doesn't need to do that. but trying to pressure house democrats in particular to get vulnerable house democrats to actually put forward a vote and put their name, yes or no, in favor of this impeachment inquiry. so there's a political dimension to this as well. i think it's interesting a source close to these
discussions told our colleague jim acosta that the days of playing nice are done. that's a message from the white house. we also saw that in a tweet from the president where he's attacking, continuing to attack the house inquiry, jim. >> jeremy diamond, thank you, very much. our cnn legal analyst jennifer rodgers is still with us, political reporter of bloomberg and the bureau chief from the "chicago sun-times." lynn, let me begin with you, we had congressman mike quigley on, obviously from illinois, but he believed, he wasn't sure, but he surmised that the next step on the intelligence committee would be to subpoena. to subpoena someone, and if you get nowhere with that you hold them in contempt. what choice do democrats on the committee have? >> well, they don't have much choice. and i talked to representative quigley yesterday, too, on this very topic anticipated of the white house stonewalling.
what the democrats don't have now is the game plan to back up what we should now realize that no one of note is going to come testify or cooperate with the democratic-led impeachment inquiry. if there's any doubt there that president trump is calling this -- calling the shot, just look at the tweet he center out a few minutes ago, where he said i'd love to send sondland, but unfortunately, it's a kangaroo court. now, when you take stonewalling to this agrdegree, you're deali with something that is unknown procedurally and that's where democrats have to figure out what to do. subpoena is the next step as congressman quickly said, then you hold in contempt. but that doesn't get you the information. >> yeah. >> so, they have to figure out a new strategy. ball back in democrats' court. >> we watched this public support for impeachment tick up
fairly consistently over the last few weeks. >> yes. >> 58% say the house was correct to start an impeachment inquiry, 38% say no. i will say, you heard from republicans that they were briefed on their own party polling which shows opposition in swing districts. and it's that opposition to impeachment in swing districts, and it's that polling that they're more focused on than national polling? >> that's absolutely right, jim. the polls have shown us a stunning shift in impeachment among americans overall. that shift is democrats moving in favor of impeachment and a lot of independents. and that's where we get to a net 20-point support. and republicans have not really moved as much. it's less of a legal strategy. it's more of a base first pr strategy. as long as they feel 80% to 90%
against impeachment, as long as his job approval remains at 80% or 90%, it's difficult to see any conviction happening in this senate which is required to remove the president from office. >> very good point. let's everyone listen to the part of adam schiff's comments that struck jim and i the most. here it is. >> but we're also aware that the ambassador has text messages or emails on a personal device which have been provided to the state department. those messages are also deeply relevant to this investigation. and the impeachment inquiry. >> jennifer rodgers, two-prong question, deeply relevant messages that the public hasn't seen yet. and it isn't clear if schiff's committee hasn't seen them. also something on a personal device. moving a conversation to it sounds like a personal device. what do you make of it?
>> well, it sounds like there were conversations that they wanted to take offline because they didn't want people to know about it. if you follow the text, you can see what happened, they're talking about the tit for tat and the quid pro quo, and someone says, let's take this offline. and then there's a period of five hours where there's no communication on the official communication devices which sounds like they were talking about it on another way. and it sounds like the personal device is the way. whether or not mr. schiff had seen this, his statement that they're highly relevant is true. >> looking at the relevance here, that this is not a based strategy but pr strategy. how does that work, i just wonder if it's possible that could back fire on the president and republicans if americans see them to be stonewalling here? >> was that for me, jim?
>> sorry, that's lynn. lynn, i was quoting your wisdom, sahil, but going to lynn for her wisdom? >> that's for me? >> yeah. >> one of the beefs that president trump had on his twitter feed is that no one is reporting, in fact we have, this is how we know it, that sondland sent in a tweet, you're interpreting whatever is going on wrong, nothing untoward is going wrong. one of the things we can do, president trump, if you think this message needs to be amplified then you have sondland come and say it again. if there's another story to tell, everyone wants to hear it. this is not a kangaroo court. if there's another side, exculpatory material, mitigating material, that's why we call this an impeachment inquiry. let's put the inquiry part of
this first. inquiry, and then impeachment. and maybe people will understand, if he had a tweet that puts this in a different light, come and explain it. >> sahil, i feel what you're saying, but new polling shows republicans move for 7% support for impeachment inquiry in july to 28% in today's "washington post" poll. that's movement, not just a few percentage points. >> look, that's an important point. it's a key number to watch. if it moves to critical mass, and i don't know that number, 30, 40, 50%. that's a key number to watch. that chamber is majority republican, it is full of members in small red states, where president trump is very popular. so if you want movement in terms of house impeachment inquiry, it's something that the president cannot stop. democrats have the votes to do that.
now, i think you're going to see a back and forth where democrats are going to accuse the president of trying to cover something up, being afraid of what sondland might say by refusing to testify and he's going to continue to attack the investigation try to undermine the investigators and say this is all political. so, that is going to be the context of the debate of which we might or might not see numbers move. >> we do know, jennifer rodgers, from a legal perspective, and congressman quigley said that to us on the air that there are going to be multiple obstruction -- if not multiple obstruction articles of impeachment, multiple cases of obstruction cited in an article of impeachment. and something like this added to that list. >> that's right. because what you really want to show is a pattern of behaviors right? you don't want to show one instance where they stonewall and there was an excuse for that. you really need to show time and time again it's been obstructed all along. the quote about about playing
nice. when did they ever play nice? every step of the way they have not proceeded in that step of inquiry. >> i do hear the tweet that someone was moved to a protected server. jennifer, all you smart, wise, people, thanks very much. we will have you back. there's a lot to digest. we continue to follow the breaking news. trump administration blocking the key essential witness really in the impeachment inquiry. we're going to talk potential next steps with a member of the house judiciary committee coming up. plus, the number of lawmakers criticizing the president's phone call is increasing. this, as the president defends his move to pull troops out of syria. after the backlash over the handling of northern syria, the question remains why are so many republicans staying silent on
ambassador sondland to testify just minutes before he was set to testify on capitol hill. he flew in from europe. specifically about his interactions with ukraine. democratic house intelligence chairman calling the move to keep sondland from speaking to lawmakers, quote, strong evidence of obstruction. joining me steve cohen from tennessee. he sits on the house judiciary committee. congressman, we appreciate you taking the time this morning. >> fleiss to be witnice to be w. >> the white house firing a shot across the bow here, refusing to give testimony, possible, this will be the first of many cases of stonewalling here. i just wonder how congress enforces its power of oversight. they can issue a subpoena, but the white house showing no indication of defying subpoenas. what do the house democrats need to do to get the information they need to proceed with the inquiry? >> the only power they have is
subpoena, which is under power of law. and that has to go through the courts. and the courts have been slow. the administration has slow-walked, continued to appeal, and in certain more powerful contempt efforts to bring somebody and charge them with contempt, the attorney general bill barr would have to be the prosecuting attorney. and he's not going to prosecute. so that kind of puts us in a difficult position. >> how do you get out of that position? what do you do? there's a ding of being stymied here, right, if the white house wins this case? >> well, there's some talks about inherent contempt, being able to use that, perhaps there would have to be procedures set up. and the leadership has moved in a very conservative manner, so i don't know if that's been developed or not. >> well, i ask, again, and we spoke to a member of the house intelligence committee in the last hour, mike quigley, and he made the point that if this continues it will stymie
democrats' efforts to establish potential wrongdoing with the president's action with ukraine. he does say it gives more evidence of obstruction, but he granted that it gets in the way of getting to the bottom of this. and i'm just curious what the strategy is. it sounds like democrats are still trying to develop a strategy. >> well, i think we are, and i think judiciary had the same problem, we were stonewalled. people refused to comply with subpoenas. we've gone to court on contempt case citations that the courts are still ruling and/or they've been appealed. i think all of this is obstruction of congress and that can be a charge in itself. what i think they're doing is contributing to obstruction of justice. trump said during the campaign that people who plead the fifth are like the mafia. but when you don't give an oral deposition to mueller, that's kind of like pleading the fifth. and when you don't show up to testify or you don't comply with
subpoenas, that's kind of like pleading the fifth. they are doing everything they cannot to testify, not to be subject to cross-examination. not to have to testify to the american people and their representatives. that's indices of guilt. and overall, you can use that i think, to show guilt, and that can come forth in an impeachment hearing. >> okay. in the same category you might say adam schiff revealing this morning that there are text messages and emails on a private device of ambassador sondland that the state department has and is withholding. i wonder how central you think those texts and emails are. and do you have an issue, imagine what we were talking about in 2016, but using a private device for official communications? >> i think that there was a reason why that was done, just like the ambassador told volker, i believe it was, call me -- call me on that one. or find another -- >> he said, call me, don't text back. >> he knew. right.
he didn't want to leave a trail that's more indices of guilt or bad conduct. >> okay. the democrats have an aggressive, ambitious time line for completing an impeachment inquiry. there was some talk of having it all wrapped up by thanksgiving. here we are, october 7th, 8th d and you have the white house stonewalling on key interviews, documents and text messages. you can keep to that time line? >> if we do, it's going have to be an abbreviated amount of facts that are given to the senate to present in trial. that may be what senators use to invoke the fact that the proof wasn't induced. but again, common sense tells you there's guilt all over this white house. they refuse to comply. they refuse to give depositions. trump said i want to talk to mueller, then he didn't. then when he gave a deposition, a third to half of his answers,
i don't remember, i don't know. that's not being open with the public. today, he tweeted an hour ago, i want sondland to testify, but it's a kangaroo court. that's all huey. that's all huey. this is all hiding the truth, hiding the facts and dodging. >> before you go, congressman, we have new reporting from our pamela brown saying it is clear that the white house counsel's office is directing other government agencies, it advised sondland's office to block testimony. what's your reaction telling the state department that this ambassador cannot testify in defiance of congress? >> well, the white house counsel has done this over a period of time, and they've filed proceedings on behalf of trump. the court in new york basically said the claim that they were beyond being investigated or being in the state court was just huey and was repugnant.
what we saw with trump saying he had the great of the wisdom or infinite wisdom, we're seeing the "the wizard of oz" playing out for the american public. he thinks he's thew wizard said and great. powerful and terrible. trump saw "the wizard of oz" once too much. he's more like the scarecrow than the wizard. >> all right. the man behind the curtain. thank you for joining us this morning. staying mostly silent for the call to investigate biden but is keeping their heads down the wisest move, a gop strategist? this take on this, coming up. by the moments we share. everything you need, all in one place. expedia.
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doug high is here. our political commentator. good morning, doug. >> good morning. >> you were the deputy chief of staff for eric cantor, would you advise such stunning silence? >> well, i think it depends on the issue. we saw yesterday with a lot of republicans, particularly mitch mcconnell coming out on the issue of turkey and the kurd, republicans feel comfortable about that. >> i hear you, but i meant on the phone call, the phone call -- >> yeah. >> -- i mean, that's such a critical thing for democracy. >> sure. >> do we ask for our government to interfere or not? how is that not a foreign policy? >> look, that should be low-hanging fruit as should be somebody who helped said up the
benghazi committee. i find it difficult where your job is to protect your boss and make sure your boss get re-elected. having worked for eric cantor, i know that's true. but there are general problems in general elections if you're running in swing district or really swing states in senate races where you don't get any reward from your base if you speak out against trump. and you don't get any political reward from republicans or democrats if you do as well. you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. staffers getting requests for interviews and sliding it into the trash can and telling their boss, we didn't get a request today, we'll let you know today. >> i imagine that self-preservation matters in washington for both parties here. as you saw the polling change here, "the washington post" poll out this morning, 58% of americans say they support the impeachment inquiry. that's up dramatically, up 22
points in two or three months. our david chalian noted this, around the gop which has been rock solid behind this president, support has gone from 24% to 28%. that's a big jump for republicans. do republican lawmakers see those numbers and start reconsider? >> not yet. we will if we see that in two or three more polls. right now, we want to know is that an outlier or a trend. obviously, mitt romney came out very forcefully over the weekend. that gives more permission. members don't need permission, but the political reality is what they look for. you'll see one or two and then maybe the dam will burst. i will tell you, having worked on the hill and sometimes hidden requests from my own bosses in the past, you're not going to a lot-republicans speaking out. you see members speaking out in favor of trump. members look at that mindfully
and say i'm not going to do that. donald trump doesn't give points he only takes them away one at a time. >> doug heye, you never hid a request from poppy and i? >> absolutely not. >> let me get your take on this, "los angeles times" piece, it was interesting why republicans may want a house vote on impeachment inquiry and pelosi doesn't. it reminds me of the nixon and clinton impeachment proceedings, the majority gave the minority the right to subpoena. now the subpoenas were also party to a vote. but it gave them that power. and what it's suggesting here, is that nancy pelosi is essentially scared evidence giving that power to the minority, because they could, say, subpoena joe biden? >> yeah, i think that's a fair point to make. and if you look at, it's troubling when you have people not showing up when they've been
subpoenaed. and troubling whether a democratic part of the house, if eye look at hearings over the past few weeks, they've been terrible for democrats, terrible for republicans, we've not learned the information that we need to. i'd love to tell you that there's a clear path forward, but i just don't see it right now. >> yeah. >> okay, goodness gracious, doug heye, thank you. coming up, the trump administration is blocking the testimony of a key witness in the impeachment inquiry of the president. stay right there. ok everyone! our mission is to provide complete, balanced nutrition... for strength and energy! whoo-hoo! great-tasting ensure. with nine grams of protein and twenty-seven vitamins and minerals.
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all right. welcome back. so, we just learned that one of the president's key allies on capitol hill would like the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani to now testify before the senate judiciary committee. >> our manu raju live to explain, of course, they do control the committees in the senate. does this happen, and how do democrats respond? >> reporter: it could certainly happen now that the senate judiciary committee lindsey graham has made it clear that he's inviting rudy giuliani, the president's personal attorney to testify before his committee. he said in a series of tweets that he wants to give giuliani an opportunity to answer questions. this is not a subpoena, it's an invitation for him to come. ultimately, it will be giuliani's decision. giuliani just responded to our colleague michael warren. saying love lindsay, but i
understand we'll have to deal with privilege. but he also says given the nature of the invitatioinvitati might be able to do it without privileged communication. house democrats have resisted the urge to rudy giuliani, they have not gone down that part yet. because of in part the spectacle of rudy giuliani testifying. something for the moment they've sought to avoid. but they have subpoenaed giuliani for documents to be turned over next week, all about his efforts to urge the ukrainian government to investigate the bidens. there's no indication that giuliani will comply with that. plus, there are three giuliani associates who have been scheduled to come for interviews, also asked to turn over documents, and those individuals have not complied yet with the house democrats' request. giuliani, perhaps, may work with a republican chairman to answer questions in that committee. but, of course, democratic senators would have an opportunity to ask questions of giuliani as well.
just the latest development, a sign of how republicans are trying to get involved and trying to push back to defend the president. one way they believe they could do so is bringing rudy giuliani forward. but, of course, that's a big risk, too, guys. >> manu, thank you for that update. we appreciate it. there's a lot going on today. and here's what to watch. ♪ ♪ this morning, the commissioner of the nba weighing in on the backlash over a controversial tweet by an executive. adam silver says he's defending
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rockets general manager, was later deleted, supporting those protesting in hong kong. just hours ago, nba commissioner adam silver addressed the controversy, now pledging his support for free speech. listen to this. >> we are not apologizing for daryl exercising his freedom of expression. i regret, again, having communicated directly with many friends in china so many people are upset, including millions and millions of our fans. >> cnn's sports analyst christine brennan is with me. look, a lot has changed in 24 hours. adam silver has reversed course here, i think being very clear. let's listen to what he said because there are huge financial implications of this, huge, for the nba. but it seems like he's saying our values and our interests as a society trump money.
listen. >> i understand that there are consequences from exercise of, in essence, his freedom of speech. and, you know, we will have to live with those consequences. >> what is your read on what has transpired in the last 36 hours? >> poppy, the nba is doing the right thing now. they should have been saying and adam silver, the commissioner should have been saying this 24, 36 hours ago, but he's saying it now. that's important. the blowback here in the united states was tremendous, from journalists, from politicians. and the nba needed to remember that the bed rock is in the u.s. and it's about democracy and free speech which of all things the nba is known for that much more than our other pro leagues. the business side is important but i'm glad that silver has finally settled in this position. >> talk about the outcry. initially, you had republican senator from missouri josh halle
tweeting that this was graveling. you had an editorial from "the washington post" saying if the nba can so easily cave who will revisit the censorship of communist dictators. but the nba adam silver has reversed course and taken a stand here. what does this mean for the league? you've got so much revenue that comes in from china. >> that is true, but i'm anxious to see, poppy, how long before chinese sports fans are not happy that they can't see the nba. it's preseason right now. but we may see another shift in the story in terms of the fans in china. 500 million watched the nba last year, better ratings in some cases than the u.s. they're not going to be happy if they can't watch their beloved nba. so this may have another turn yet that may benefit the nba. china needs the nba, more than the nba needs china. and i'm glad that silver has finally come to that position.
>> that's going to be the headline to your next column, christine. let's talk about adam silver's leadership in this. remember, when he came in as commissioner, he was confronted within weeks by the donald sterling controversy. and the weighted issue of racism in america. the way he handled that says something about him as a leader. what does this tell you about is him as a leader? >> again, that he was able to make a decision. i think he wishes they had come out strong in defense of daryl norey in free speech. and, of course, the hong kong protesters, his defense of them. i think that shows the pivoting -- moving the lead can be like trying to turn a cruise ship. so the fact that it did happen this way say very positive development. and these sports organizations need to understand, something
that the international olympic committee did not. they gave the olympics to beijing in 2008, but they did not demand human rights changes. unfortunately, that is a black mark in the international olympic world. here, the nba says we have power and we're going to make sure we say these things. >> thank you. the parents of a british teenager killed in a fatal car crash are calling on president trump to intervene. this after the wife of a u.s. diplomat fled the country. harry dunn was killed in a crash after hitting head on with a driver on the road. that driver was originally cooperating but then left the country, claiming diplomatic immunity. let's listen to the parents just this morning on cnn. >> we don't know how she's feeling. we don't know whether she's remorseful. whether heshe's just managing t
get to ignore it, get on with her life. anything, any contact from her would be a kind of hope. >> i understand in all, the diplomats are immune in they are in threat. not immune if they have caused an accident or actually killed somebody. look and listen to what's happened. and try and see it from our point of view and our hearts ache. >> the family that lost their young son. the state department tells cnn that the diplomatic immunity is rarely waived. >> we'll stay on top of that for you. we are learning a lot more about the trumbp administrations latest attempt to block the testimony of ambassador sondland. >> and what's the next move for democrats. not clear on forcing the white house hand. more to come. ♪ limu emu & doug
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hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. thanks so much for joining me. we start this morning with an unexpected twist in the impeachment inquiry. a last-minute decision from the white house to block a key witness from testifying on the hill today. and the chair of the house intelligence committee now saying that the state department is withholding text messages and emails on