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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  October 8, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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hill this afternoon where house democrats say they will issue a subpoena for eu ambassador and trump inauguration donor gordon sondland after the white house blocked him this morning from testifying before the house intelligence committee. that has not stopped us from learning more about this role in this ukraine controversy and specifically the series of texts including one where sondland pushed back on concerns u.s. military aid hinged whether it would comply with president trump's requesting into joe biden and his son. sondland said the president was clear, no quid pro quos and able to speak with confidence because as it turns out he talked to president trump before he sent that text. kylie atwood is cnn's national security reporter. kylie, start with you. tell me more about that particular phone call and did it play any part in why the white
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house block eed sondland's testimony at the last minute today? >> reporter: brooke, we don't know. if they're linked. it says ambassador sondland has a direct line into president trump. what happened here, the u.s. ambassador to ukraine sent a text to ambassador sondland saying that in their perspective it would be crazy to withhold security assistance so that the u.s. could have political favors from ukraine. now, five hours later, ambassador sondland actually replied. but what we now know is that during that that time he made a phone call and that was to president trump and president trump told ambassador sondland emphatically, according to a source familiar that there was no quid pro quo here. that there was no ask from ukraine for political favors, that would then allow for the
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security assistance to go through. so that is the gist of how ambassador sondland then replied to the ambassador of ukraine, saying there's no quid pro quo and explicitly saying he misunderstood what was happening and told the ambassador to call up the state department. interesting here, however, ambassador sondland, who also works for the state department, didn't call the state department here. he called president trump. we know that he is an ally of the president. sources know ambassador sondland, he was a donor of president trump's, and he had a direct phone line in. now, today, however, his testimony was blocked. it was expected to happen on the hill, but it was, the white house counsel who advised the state department not to allow him to go forth. the interesting thing here, however, is there's a bit of a wedge, because a statement from ambassador sondland's lawyer says that he would like to go
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forth and provide this testimony. so we're kind of at this dead end trying to figure out in which direction the state department's going to go and the white house is going to go. are they going to allow him to go forth? >> keep digging, kylie. thank you for that. more is coming out, today, too, from that original ukraine call between president trump and the counter part in ukraine, the one he's been very busy downplaying. >> that call was a great call. it was a perfect call. a perfect call. >> that call was perfect. it couldn't have been nicer. >> impeachment for that? when you have a wonderful meeting or you have a wonderful phone conversation? >> absolutely perfect phone call. >> the conversation was perfect. it couldn't have been nicer. >> if you look at that call, perfect call. it's congenial. there was no pressure. >> no pressure, at least so says president trump. but cnn has learned some members of the president's own national
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security council may have felt differently. their concerns sparked a series of actions to contain not just that july 25th phone conversation, but any potential backlash. with the scoop, cnn senior white house correspondent pamela brown there in washington. you along with a couple other members of the cardi b. white house te house -- cnn white house talked about the scramble. how worried were they about what president trump said? >> reporter: very worried according to sources to speak to our team with this story. we were told in the immediate aftermath, after the call with president trump and president zelensky of ukraine, in was a scramble behind the scenes that was pretty isolated in the nfc and the white house counsel's office and we're told through sources that at least one nsc staffer actually raised the concern upwards to the nsc lawyers about the call. the concern being that the president asked the ukraine
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president to look into joe biden and his son. and after that concern was raised up the ladder, the lawyers put that transcript of the call into the code word server that we have reported on extensively. now, this only backs up what has been put out there in this whistle-blower complaint about nsc concerns, the lawyers putting it into the code word server. i'm told by source there's were a couple reasons the lawyers did that. one, they wanted to make sure it didn't leak out because in the past, nsc people had raised concerns of leaks to the press. also an effort to preserve because they understood it could become an investigative matter. also interesting, brooke, we learned that shortly after the call officials began quizzing each other what should we do? y lert the department of justice here since bill barr, the attorney general was brought up repeatedly during the call? that also was part of the dynamic. now, doj had said that bill barr was not alerted early on.
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that didn't happen. also interesting here, brooke is that i'm told that the white house counsel's office, which had initially been alerted to all of this by a lawyer from a different agency tried to keep a very close hold on the initial disclosure and the whistle-blower complaint and the concern over the conversation. the lawyers thought this could be a matter that would be dealt with within the executive branch. when it became clear, brooke that was no longer the case. the whistle-blower complaint would likely be turned over to congress there was a change in posture and the white house counsel's office among other whose actually pushed then to put the transcript out there. as you know, the white house released that transcript. so that was kind of, gives you a picture what was going on behind the scenes in the days and weeks after that phone call took place. the phone call the president says was perfect. >> incredible what's coming out when you're gotten your hands on. thank you very much.
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discuss all of the above. joining me, senior analyst and author of a book, really, the book on the impeachment process and a contributing editor for the "atlantic" and for the forward and the cnn national security analyst and served senior adviser to the national security adviser under president obama. welcome to all of you. michael before we get to the scram belong in the white house post-call, get to the news of the day on the fact that the white house is now looking for outside counsel over all of this. what does that suggest to you? >> that suggests that the white house is beginning to realize this is really serious. >> just now realizing that? sorry. >> well, i think they might have thought they could deflect it. impede it to some extent. now with the house preparing to more behind this than ever
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before, the seriousness has sunk in to the president and those around him he needs outside counsel and begin to make credible remarks. this defense so far try to normalize misbehavior, exactly the wrong strategy. >> peter, the fact ambassador sondland didn't text back, right? talked about the texts. didn't text back five hours and found out part of that gap in time picks up the phone and calls the president. what do you think of that? >> i moean, his text means it's something certainly crafted by the cia. the ambassador is giving the most plausible reading what happened. 's remember the context? thinking about drafting a statement for the ukrainians so they will say we'll do this investigation of hunter biden's company to get the meeting. right? it's important to say there's no necessary reason quid pro quo should be the standard for impeachment anyways. most of us would have said if a president of the united states
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get on a phone with a foreign leader invites him to interfere with our elections going after his opponent that alone is enough for impeachment. right? republicans tried to raise this to the standard of quid pro quo, unless he actually uses the words, it's not bad. there's all kinds of evidence there was a trade-off going on here between the united states and ukraine in which the united states was going to give the ukrainians a meeting and military aid in response for going after the bidens. >> three staeps baeeps bac s >> three staeps bateps back, lo you, sam, why is the eu ambassador even involved in this matter? >> the only reason sondland has a job, pompeo and potus worried what he would say. noe noeng ambassad not only ambassador to eu he wouldn't have to quartan-aid. look at this beivier. violated every rule in the book when it comes to state
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department ethics in actually doing his job. his portfolio is in brussels, nothing to do with ukraine. supposed to be in ukraine serving direct link between the united states and the eu. not to mention the fact he was conversing with a private citizen, rudy giuliani, via personal devices. the state department is currently looking into hillary clinton's emails to a personal server while the u.s. ambassador to the eu, should have nothing to do with ukraine, is using his personal devices for business that has to do with the president's personal business. for all of those reasons it's quite likely the state department inspector general is reviewing sondland's behavior. again, pompeo and potus are probably putting a lot of pressure on sondland to stay. he could resign. he's not doing this job for the money. they are probably pressuring him to stay, worried about what he'd say, again if a private citizen. >> got it. what about just pivoting to this scramble the second president trump puts down the phone to his
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counter nart cynthpart in the u? this lawyer that lawyer, good et it in the vault, recognizing it is a transcript that is highly sensitive, yet not code word, national security sensitive. shouldn't be in -- i mean, all of this is precisely what this whistle-blower has been saying. correct? >> right. we have a situation where donald trump is trying to tell us the sky is red. right? that this is totally normal. that for a president to get on the phone and basically ask a foreign government to investigate his political opponents is perfect. >> but the sky is not red. >> and the people around trump were freaked out about this because of course they would be freaked out ak this. private republican, freaked out, too. we have this tussle. throughout the trump administration, about whether people will accept the reality in front of their faces or believe the president of the united states. >> but the lawyers at the white house were complicit with this. i wroshged every day with what we called the legal director at the nsc.
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national security council lawyers, there to ensure the president upholds the law, not break it. we heard from pamela the reporting they were complicit trying to cover up potential abuses of power. every nsc officer walks into the white house they are briefed eo to go to. who's on the list? nsc lawyers. trying to kwcover up a crime? nsc lawyers. no wonder the whistle-blower went through other channels and we see leaks. people showsed to be there were trying to cover them up. >> michael, precisely sam's point. what do you make of the fact national security lawyers were involved in hiding this transcript, hiding it specifically in that classified server and doesn't that open them up to legal liability? >> it opens them up to a lot of things. the first thing is it's suggestive of a cover-up. the duty of the lawyers is follow the law and support the
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constitution and doing exactly the opposite. they're frustrating the law which has to do with restricting, constraining what people interacting with foreign powers and foreign interests my do. then trying to put it in a place nobody can find it but them. clearly that's a cover-up. that could get them fired and also disciplined under ethical rules. so i would say that they're in very serious trouble. and -- because all of their conduct thus far seems to hide, to be directed at hiding this rather than in a sense calling the president on this or going to the superiors and getting them to agree that something should be done to essentially publicize it, what the white house counsel suggested and then perhaps own up to it. rather than to normalize it. >> okay. everyone, stand by. i have more for you. also we have breaking news. this afternoon, the possible expansion of this impeachment investigation. why a congressional attorney says this could include a lot more than that call with the
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ukrainian president. also, house democrats are going to great lengths to protect the identity of this whistle-blower. the options thus far could include a secret location or a voi voice disguise. you're watching cnn, i'm brooke baldwin, stay with me. employees need more than just a paycheck. you definitely want to take advantage of all the benefits you can get. 2/3 of employees said that the workplace is an important source for personal savings and protection solutions. the workplace should be a source of financial security. keeping your people happy is what keeps your people. that's financial wellness. put your employees on a path to financial wellness with prudential. car vending machines and buying a car 100% online.vented now we've created a brand new way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old, we want to buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate,
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we're back. the news, house democrats said if the white house continues to about instruct their investigation it will only add credibility to its inquiry, and today we are hearing the house democrats may be considering articles of impeachment that go well beyond that ukraine phone call and could include obstruction of justice and interference of elections in the united states. manu raju from capitol hill, tell me more. >> reporter: and arguing in federal court today the impeachment inquiry is broader than just ukraine. this as part of an effort to get that underlining mueller evidence the democrats have been demanding and the justice department resisting turning over but argued i can't emphasize enough it's not just ukraine saying that nancy pelosi is onboard. toke with nancy pelosi, made is
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clear the various house committees will look into what articles of impeachment to potentially recommend beyond ukraine, potential obstruction of justice and other matters, potential abuse of power. this comes as democrats are warning the white house efforts to obstruct an investigation by preventing witnesses from coming forward like today by saying the ambassador to the european union not come forward could be cited as part of obstruction of congress. brooke, when the speaker of the house nancy pelosi was asked about this earlier today she said that they have not made any decisions about what to include in articles of impeachment, whether to include the president and not going to prejudge it but plan to discuss this, i'm told, from multiple sources, on friday. having a conference call, a caucus, calling all members. almost certain impeachment will come up from members that come back next week and to decide how to move forward on impeachment. one other piece of news from court today, brooke, the justice department said they would turn over 33 memos redacted
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mueller-related memos to the house judiciary committee. the judge was concerned about the fact they were redacted but some movement there to get some information as democrats demand much more. brooke? >> all right. manu, thank you very much. from the hill for us. michael gerhart, back to you. how much weight does the subpoena hold without an official house vote and do they need to hold a vote here? >> they do not need to hold a vote. just a smoke screen put up by the president's defenders. the constitution doesn't specify there has to be a vote to authorize an inquiry. makes sense to investigate, figure out the eford and consider whether or not the house judiciary committee ho formulate im formulate impeachment articles. the house is following all the rules. acting properly. the impediments are thrust by the president and his defenders anded that cause for concern. >> on to this impeachment poll. a huge story today, peter
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barnhart, conducted by "washington post," george mason university. throw out the numbers. 58%, majority of americans endorse opening of a house impeachment and 49% say the house should take a more significant step to impooch the president and ca -- pea -impeach the president and call for his removal. is that enough to break and speak up against the president, the republicans? >> i don't think so far it's enough. prab republicans are looking at primarily what republican voters think. staunchly divided, most republican voters are anteimpeachment and don't think trump did anything wrong, again, gets a lot of media information telling them that message. with the exception of a couple, that it would be enough to ratify impeachment yet. the movement could continue and
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we at least can say is the conventional wisdom as of a few months, democrats would suffer politically if they pushed for the impeachment that has changed. i don't think the impeachment push on ukraine is hurting democrats politically. >> talking to a republican last hour said the same thing. we have to keep watching facts. there's not enough there yet. what else would need to be there for the republicans to change their minds? >> i really don't think it's about fact but courage. i really think you already have enough. you had enough on the day that the transcript was revealed. yes, might be a little easier if there were more obvious quid pro quo, but the evidence there was a deal being made with ukraine about the meeting in response to an investigation was all out there already. i really think it's a question of whether enough republicans can get together in private and have a conversation about how they want to be remembered by their grandchildren, rather than
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whether they want re-elected. >> dick durbin sitting in that seat. senator dick durbin friday used the exact same word, "courage." peter beinor, thank you. michael gerhart, nice to have you back. coming up, the night to keep the identity of this whistle-blower secret. details on the extreme measures democrats of the house are considering taking and a huge nba story. defending free speech after china reacted angrily to one of its own supporters. supporting the protest in hong kong. one of the owners supporting the protests in hong kong. we'll be right back. do you have concerns about mild memory loss related to aging? prevagen is the number one pharmacist-recommended memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere.
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call, click, or visit a store today. the house intelligence committee is now discussing extraordinary measures to protect the whistle-blower. among these possibilities include off-site location for any congressional testimony maybe a limit on the number of staffers who could actually attend and possibly disguising his or her voice. what we know is this. overwhelming majority of whistle-blower's allegations are corroborated by official
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government documents. the president's own public statements and new reporting. cnn's tom foreman with me with a cnn analysis what we know. hey, tom. >> brooke, look at five of the complaints from the whistle-blower here. the first, key one being that the president of the united states is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 u.s. election. specifically going after one of the president's mown domestic political rivals joe biden and his son who did business with ukrainians. now we know the whistle-blower said that, and from the transcript of the president's call, yes. the president's talking about biden's son here and biden and saying, yes, whatever you can do to look into that, that would be great. first complaint, that checks out. look at the second complaint from the whistle-blower. one of the second ones here. the president pressured mr. zelensky to assist in reportedly uncovering allegations of russian interference in the 20916 presidential election originated in ukraine.
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sounds conconvoluted. pushed a conspiracy theory it wasn't the russians who interfered with the 2016 election. it was a plot that started in ukraine and it wasn't to help donald trump. it was to help hillary clinton. that's what the complaint is saying. this was pushed out there. look what the president talks about. i would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with ukraine. he mentions this crowd strike, which is one of the key groups and words that come up in this conspiracy theory. second complaint checks out. third complaint from the whistle-blower here. senior white house officials intervened to lock down all the records of the phone call especially the official word-for-word transcript moving it to a classified computer normally used for classified state secrets. the white house has admitted, yeah. that happened. cnn has subsequently found out the same done with phone calls for russia and saudi arabia. fourth complaint. if you go beyond that, the
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ambassadors volker and soldland, reportedly provided advice to ukrainians on how to navigate the demaends nds to navigate th president. that he wanted joe biden information. read these that later came out from volker you find out a lot of talk what you need to do, cnnians. what you need to do to satisfy what the president wants before you can get a one-on-one meeting with the white house, that sort of thing. beyond that, here's the fifth one, one of the really big ones there. they stated explicitly in think interagency meeting 23rd of july and the 26th there were instructions to suspend military assistance to ukraine and that these had come directly from the president, but were still unaware of a policy rationale. the white house, the president himself, has said, yeah. i put a hold on the aid to
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ukraine, but he has given different reasons saying partially because they worried about a corrupt government and worried europe wasn't giving enough although europe gives a tremendous amount to this. bottom line, you look at this, brooke, even though the president and republican allies say the whistle-blower cannot be trusted, you cannot put up with this, one after another, the things the whistle-blower raised have been checked out and they have proven to be true. >> thank you for lining all of that up and for providing those facts, tom foreman good to see you. thank you very much. coming up next, the nba commissioner now says he is willing to deal with the consequences if people in the league speak out in favor of those protests in hong kong. how this whole thing between the league and china shows us the difficulties of doing business in a communist country. as a cio, you want to move your business forward.
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talk to your advisor or consultant for investment risks and information. nba commissioner adam silver defending american free speech and retreating from the league's initial apology for a controversial tweet by houston rockets gm daryl morey, fight for freedom, stand with hong kong, quickly deleted it and morey's tweet so upset china and now the communist nation is refusing to air two of the nba preseason games set to take place there this week. the nba commissioner is not backing down saying the league is "an american-based company whose morals and values travel with them."
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>> we are not apologizing for daryl exercising his freedom of expression. i regret, again, having communicated directly with many friends in china that so many people are upset including millions and millions of our fans. i understand that there are consequences from that exercise of, in essence, his freedom of speech, and, you know, we will have to live with those consequences. >> here is what china is saying to us here at cnn. it is not going to work if you want to have exchanges in cooperation with china but don't understand chinese public opinion. cnn political commentator, a columnist for the "washington post." go to see you. first out of the gate, eventually i guess adam sill vaernd tsillver and the league got there 24
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hours later? >> maybe. figuring out how to handle this, initially. the public response seemed to be apologizing for one of the nba general managers saying something that was relative ll n anadiyn for the united states, but not china. >> not china. the chinese one was harsher in a sense than the english one. now the nba says that was not deliberate. that was just a translation issue. who knows? basically the english said it was regrettable. the chinese went on saying basically the twitter site saying inappropriate comment, something to that effect. now, of course, after they got a backlash here back in the united states, maybe that did something to appease the chinese. we don't know, but after they got a backlash here you see the commissioner saying, no, no, no, no. we weren't actually apologizing. we would never apologize or
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censor our own employees. they can't have it both ways, appease both audiences. >> what's the general understanding? if you're a u.s. business doing business with a communist country like china? what's that understanding? >> well, there are a lot of compromises that american companies have had to make in order to have access to that market. some of those are financial or economic. they have to do with giving up intellectual property and some with freedom of expression of other politically sensitive issues. a number of companies like marriott, cafe specific airlines and trying to think, banks have gotten either in trouble for explicitly referring to places like taiwan as a separate country or instructed employees not to do so. there is sensitivities there that they basically are not going to fly here in the united states, but are a condition of doing business in what is an enormous market. >> you add to all this the fact
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president trump is restarting trade talks with china this week. cnn reporting the president told china he would stay quiet on the hong kong protests as they try to reach a deal. how will that factor in? >> i'm not sure if the nba kerfuffle if you call it that will factor into the u.s./chinese trade talks? who knows. trump has a way of dragging into issues that aren't supposed to be the focus of whatever is at hand, but you could imagine that there will be greater scrutiny of how united states leadership handles these kinds of politically sensitive questions going forward and what we as a country are willing to sacrifice in the name of, for example, cutting a trade deal. you know? just as the nba has to figure out how much is it worth for them to keep access to those 800 million nba fans in china? are they willing to sacrifice their commitment to social justice and other things they have avowed support for? u.s. government leadership. political leadership.
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they have to decide, are we going to stand up for the same american values we've stood up for over the years with regard to liberal rights and values like freedom of expression or toss those by the wayside in the name of selling more soybeans to china? >> so interested to see if the coming days what these american players, right? so many stand strong is for social issues in american but when asked about this in china, how they respond to it. we'll be covering it. thank you. back to breaking news. house democrats plan to subpoena that ambassador who defended trump in his dealings with ukraine. this after the white house blocked his testimony to congress just this morning. plus, ellen degeneres responds to the backlash received from sitting next to former president george w. bush at a football game overed weekend and something we all probably need to hear right now. ago ♪ ♪ we would walk on the sidewalk ♪ ♪ all around the wind blows
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sunday's dallas cowboys game. >> why is a gay liberal sitting next to a conservative republican president, didn't notice i'm holding brand new iphone 11, and -- a lot of people were mad and did what people do when they're mad. they tweet and but here's one tweet i loved. this person says, ellen and george bush together makes me have faith in america again. and -- [ applause ] -- exactly! here's the thing. i'm friends with george bush. in fact, friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs i have. we're all different and we've forgotten that's okay we're all different. for instance, i wish people count wear fur. i don't like it but i'm friends with people who wear fur and friends with people who are furry, as a matter of fact. i have friends who should tweeze more and i have -- just because i don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean i'm not
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going to be friends with them. when i say be kind to one another i don't mean only the people that think the same >> cnn special correspondent jamie gangel is with me now. could we have a moment for ellen degeneres. thank you. >> we have breaking news. i don't go on twitter very often but when i saw that, i tweeted it and i said this is perfect. because i think especially in the time, right now when everyone is so polarized, to have civility, to have someone talk about kindness is just so important. and actually i worked in washington, d.c. most of my career, it is not that unusual. it's just we don't expect it any more. >> we should all have friends who don't look like us, don't have the same beliefs all of those things. you have a reaction from the president himself? >> yes. we reached out to president bush
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and his chief of staff freddy ford immediately -- you know freddy. >> i know freddy. >> said president and mrs. bush enjoyed being with ellen and porsche and they appreciated ellens comments about respecting one another. they respect her. >> and just going back in the archive of photos of president bush with michelle obama moment, or the mint passing, we have a couple of photos and videos to share. >> right. so i -- >> hillary clinton. >> there is a real romance between president bush and michelle. they get along very well. he gave her a cough drop at something. bono, at every concert bono begins by doing a shoutout to president bush because of his work in africa. we have pictures, there is a hug. it's not as unusual as people
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think. i like to -- i'm sure other people have said this, but the very liberal supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg used to say about really the person she called her best buddy on the court, justice scalia, you don't -- i'm going to get it wrong. you don't need to be disagreeable to disagree. wait a minute. you can disagree without being disagreeable. and i think we all need to remember that. >> i had breakfast with stacey abrams a couple of weeks ago and she said people don't realize one of my best friends is a white republican. there you go. so jamie gangel, thank you very much. coming up next, cnn sits down with the judge who sparked a major controversy after she hugged a former dallas police officer convicted of murder and hear how she explained that emotional moment in her courtroom.
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in texas the judge in the amber guyger murder trial is defending her position of giving a hug and bible to the dallas police officer convicted of murder for killing her neighbor. she shot and killed botham jean unarmed in his own apartment, an apartment she mistook as her
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own. >> [ inaudible ]. >> the judge's actions came under quick criticism with one group calling for a judicial misconduct investigation but here is what the judge told ed lavandera about that moment. >> she asked me, she said do you think my life could still have a purpose? and i said i know it can. and she said, well do you think god will forgive me? i said i know he will. and she said, well i don't even have a bible. i don't have a bible. i don't know where to begin. and that's when i went and retrieved my bible. and gave it to her. and told her, will you could begin here at john 3:16 and we read it and i said when you get to who sofr you put your name in
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there so you know god did it for you. and she said could i have a hug. i just kind of froze. and i kind of thought about my responsibilities as a person. i just heard a sermon on treating the loss with love and compassion. and ironically i was standing in a spot where i had been standing when i was inducted as a judge in this courtroom. and i remembered that one of the charges that i was given was to do just -- to love mercy and to walk humbly. so i was like, and she asked me again and i said of course. of course. and so we got up and she hugged me and i hugged her back. >> how incredible to hear from the judge like that. ed lavandera. thank you for that.
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and also we have learned that amber guyger will serve her sentence in mountain view facility in texas, the same facility who killed salina is housed. i'm brooke baldwin, thanks for being with me. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. a source said the white house is done, quote, playing nice with democrats. so the past three years they were being polite? "the lead" starts right now. breaking news. new details on the scramble inside the white house right after the president pushed the leader of ukraine to investigate joe biden. as cnn learns that impeachment could go far beyond just the ukraine scandal. a new twist. trump allies in congress now want a vote on the impeachment inquiry in the house and speaker nancy pelosi does not. why. >> and plus the supreme court debating the meaning of sex and a case