tv Inside Politics CNN October 9, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT
several deadly devastating wildfires. we saw one of the most dangerous ones taking place last november. pg&e was thought to have caused that with faulty equipment so these blackouts are intended to prevent a similar disaster. thanks so all of you for joining us today. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. ♪ thank you. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. turkey launches its promised military assault against the kurds in northern syria. leading republicans accuse president trump of abandoning a key ally and predict it will lead to an isis resurgence. one of spoker pelo speaker pelo democrats sadisagrees.
giuliani central to the allegations the president abused his power. giuliani has been studying history, just not impeachment history. >> i went back to read two books about the salem witch trials. they required witnesses to face the witch and some witches were acquitted. >> the witches had it better. >> they had more rights. >> interesting theory there. a lot of news to get to this hour but we begin with the white house slamming the door in the face of democrats. the president's lawyers declaring in a brazen angry letter last night that they won't cooperate at all with the house democrats' impeachment inquiry. from that letter, president trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process. your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice. in order to fulfill his duties
president trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances. the house speaker nancy pelosi firing back overnight, warning the white house in a statement that, quote, continued efforts to hide the truth of the president's abuse of power from the american people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction. mr. president, you are not above the law. you will be held accountable. one democratic member of the intelligence committee telling cnn the white house letter is a stall tactic and he predicts it will not work. >> the subject of an investigation doesn't get to say, hey, i don't want to cooperate here. subpoenas will be received by all of the people that the congress wants to talk to. they will ignore those subpoenas at their peril. you don't get to say no to a congressional subpoena. i imagine we will eventually get to talk to these people. >> but also on cnn today, one of speaker pelosi's most loyal supporters suggesting the democratic leadership should now
bend its strategy to deal with that white house letter. is there a real debate among the democrats about what next? >> reporter: there are democrats pushing for an impeachment inquiry vote or at least are open to it. nancy pelosi has shown no interest in actually holding a vote for a variety of reasons, but one saying they simply don't need it, but also it leads to political problems for some vulnerable democrats. also, it could take up some time and some democrats view that as a distraction. clearly this is a discussion point among democrats. >> it's time for us to put a vote on the floor, a resolution for the inquiry structured in such a way it can move forward with the full power of congress behind it. i think that's probably going to come in the next week or so.
>> what tells you that? >> well, the letter from the white house. they want to fight? okay. let's arm ourselves completely and totally with the full power of congress. the votes, i'm sure, are there. >> reporter: it's very unlikely that vote's going to happen within the next week, but what will happen within the next week is a debate in the democratic caucus about the strategy to move forward. nancy pelosi will be on that call. this topic will almost certainly come up next week. there are several meetings they typically have early in the week where they talk about strategy. pelosi will hear from her caucus about exactly what they want. if there continues to be stonewalling, the question of the next step, some democrats believe it furthers their belief of obstruction of congress. some say call their bluff.
>> for those of who you who wander the hill, is garamandi out by himself? the only reason i found it interesting is he is a member of the california delegation that is pelosi's core base of support. is he just talking or what? >> we are hearing more democrats start to say this but so far pelosi has given no indication that's a step she's willing to take. there was a federal court hearing yesterday related to the mueller investigation where the judge said i give a huge amount of deference to the house when determining their impeachment rules and procedures. they're really reluctant to be drawn into this process that the gop is trying to drag them into that's going to be really time consuming. >> to your point about the federal judge yesterday saying this is house purview. the courts have traditionally said this is the house purview when impeachment or questions like this have come before the
court. it's rare, but the courts have said this is the house. read the constitution, the constitution says the house has this power, which is why the white house letter is so striking because it's a political document on paper if you will. i just want to read a little bit more from it. never before in our history has the house of representatives under the control of either political party taken the american people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue. you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the american people of the president they have freely chosen. any time the house impeaches, yes, the effect would be to overturn the results of the election like when the republicans were impeaching bill clinton, a democratic president in his second term, but they were trying to overturn the results of the 1996 election, were they not? >> in fact if you end up successfully convicting a president after an impeachment, that does end up happening, yes. the letter is basically a formal presentation of things we've known for a very long time which
is the white house does not like this probe and they just put this out there. it's not really a specific response to any particular move the democrats have taken in the last week. what's missing from this is that as much as they're saying you really need to put a vote on the house floor, they're not saying what they would then do if that happens. they are fundamentally at their base a politically act. the question nancy pelosi has to weigh is if she meets the white house at their bluff call to hold that vote on the floor, what does she get? does she get white house compliance? does she get people showing up and ponying up documents? and does she get any easier argument to take to the campaign trail? does she lose the message when she's trying to project that for keeping the majority in the house for democrats and winning it in the senate and challenging the president in 2020. >> a lot of people have gone to
their partisan corner. if you're a democrat, you're for the impeachment inquiry. if you're a republican, you're not. whatever you think about it, there is this thing called the constitution. it's not just the democrats saying that the house has this authority under the constitution. the majority in the house can do this. this is marco rubio's former general counsel. wow, this letter is bananas, meaning the white house letter. a middle finger to congress. no member of congress should accept it no matter his or her view on the behavior of pelosi, schiff or trump. >> the letter sounds a lot like trump staying what he's thinking and a lawyer being like, all right, i think i can put that into some legal language, let me give it a shot. it's the lawyer version of trump dictating a statement from the press secretary on the airplane that gets passed back to everyone. if anything, to me this letter pulls nancy pelosi in the other direction, makes her double
down. there's one reason and i think probably one reason alone why she would feel compelled to formally vote on an inquiry and that is if a court tells her in no uncertain terms. i would have ordered that this person need to testify, but because you've not voted, i won't. if you had voted for a formal inquiry, i would require that the white house turn over the transcripts of every call we really want to see. until that happens, what's the motivation? does she have any reason more to believe after yesterday's letter that they're going to be forthcoming? they've just shown their whole hand, we're not going to do anything until a court forces us to do it. >> a total scam by do-nothing democrats. the witch hunt should end now. the whistleblower's facts have been so incorrect.
that's not true. the president continues to rant about this, which is his effort to keep republicans in his corner. this is a loyalty test from the president. >> even before this letter came out you were already seeing a lot of impatience from democrats. we had reported that they're not going to wait for the courts to weigh in the on the validity of the subpoena or their investigatory powers. that's why margaret is totally right. this only emboldens the democratic position despite the few outlier voices for now. >> the white house now brought former congressman trey gowdy loosely in to the lawyers. i view him more as he knows the house. he's there to whip. we like to track consistency or inconsistency here. this is trey gowdy. when the house was in the majority, he wanted documents
from the attorney general eric holder and the obama administration was resisting that. trey gowdy taking a bold stand for the house. >> the notion that you can withhold information and documents from congress no matter whether you're the party in power or not in power is wrong. respect for the rule of law must mean something irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles. >> i agree. >> there's so many great clips. we've seen lindsey graham clips. >> pompeo as secretary of state, gowdy on the legal team. it's the benghazi team back together again. they of course argue there are nuances that make this very different. >> this is republican. there's the nuance. >> the one thing is that gowdy
does know the house and he knows how to craft a legal argument that's compelling. he's not a slouch when it comes to what he does. he's a formidable guy to put on that team. >> he has access because of his member privileges. he's there as a scout more than anything else. we'll continue the conversation a bit later. next, some serious foreign policy issues. turkey scrambles fighter jets, start an all-out assault in northern syria.
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turkey today began a military offensive in northern syria, provoking worries of a massacre in the region and also stirring rare republican condemnation of president trump. the president's decision to order u.s. troops out of northern syria cleared the way for this turkish military operation. it is against kurdish forces, who have been a critical u.s. ally. turkey bombed two cities in northern syria. you can see here turkish fighter jets roaring through the skies. syrian democratic forces in the region say there have already been civilian casualties. they are pleading with the united states and other allies to impose a no-fly zone. arwa, hard to get information from this region anyway, especially early in such an operation. but what are we hearing? >> reporter: well, as you mentioned there the operation
has begun. it was announced over twitter by the turkish president. our clarissa ward was reporting on streams of civilians evacuating one of those areas that was being targeted. we're already hearing about civilian casualties. turkey has an objective that it believes it needs to fulfill because turkey believes from turkey's perspective the syrian kurdish fighting force the ypg, those key u.s. allies, pose an existential threat to turkey. turkey considers them to be a terrorist group. they are in effect the sister organization of the pkk that turkey has been battling for decades now. turkey has these lofty ambitions, though. it's unclear exactly how it's going to carry them out. to push in about 18 miles along hundreds of miles of stretch of syrian/turri syrian/t
syrian/turkish border, taking over multiple cities. once this has actually happened, turkey says it's going to create a safe zone that syrian refugees living in turkey can be moved back into. that would effectively be creating a significant change in the demographic there, not to mention another more pressing concern. that is that those syrian kurds, that syrian kurdish fighting force, they have been guarding isis fighters in prisons, both foreign fighters as well as syrians and iraqis. they have been guarding refugee camps, home to 70,000 people among the last to leave the isis caliphate, that last stronghold they were holding. in these camps, i was just there, the isis ideology is very much alive. this is the same fighting force that is on the front hines of the still ongoing battle against
isis that just announced it suspended operations against isis to move its fighters to position them to fight the incoming turkish forces. it is just an extraordinarily messy and dangerous situation. >> it is a mess. arwa damon, appreciate your reporting. we'll stay in touch over the next few days. arwa makes a key point. these kurdish syrian forces 72 hours ago were a key u.s. ally. 72 hours ago were alongside u.s. forces in this fight. the president of the united states decided to pull the u.s. troops out and essentially give a green light to clear the battlefield for turkey to go in. this is one of the areas where you do see rare but very vocal and damning republican rebukes of the president. this is lindsey graham a bit earlier today. if media reports are accurate and turkey have entered northern syria, a disaster is in the
making. this move ensures the reemergence of isis. two key points he's making, that you're turning your back on people who fought and host their lives for you in the fight there. number two, as arwa made the point, if the kurds abandon those isis prisons because the turks are coming, what do you do? >> this is the one area where the gop is really willing to break with trump because there's such a fundamental pragmatic idealogical split here. you cannot fight all these battles against various terrorist groups by yourself. you have to make contracts with people that are local that do it well. the kurds were a huge ally for this entire regional con fla immigration fight we've been involved in. if you want to maintain allies in the future to help you out, you have to actually hold up your end of the bargain, which is not to leave them like sitting ducks to get
slaughtered. also, we are talking about almost two decades of trying to counter various sorts of offshoots of terror groups that at one time did pose an existential threat to the united states within our borders. if you prioritize the people turkey say are terrorists, what was all of that for? the republicans have been very very consistent about challenging the president on that. >> his view will be we've had american troops there forever. it's a mess and it's always going to be a mess, so why are our kids getting killed in a mess? that's the president's argument essentially. the over the you come out now, you're going to have to deal with it in a bigger way down the road. the president's view is i've been dealing with this for three years, obama dealt with it for eight years, the president before him dealt with it for
eight years, what's the point? >> he ran on this. he can say i'm bringing our troops home. i don't know that he will suffer politically at least in the short-term. i think they're far more comfortable criticizing him on foreign policy than his conduct. and i also think it's easier because almost the entire conference is united against him on this. it's harder for trump to pick them off one by one. >> he has been very un-trump on this. usually he chain saws. he says i respect the difference of opinion. we'll watch. up next, how the president wanted rudy giuliani to run the show in ukraine. ok everyone! our mission is to provide complete, balanced nutrition...
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the combative white house political standoff with house democrats comes as we do learn important new details of the events at the center of the democrats' impeachment case. cnn reporting last night that the president's personal attorney general rudy giuliani acted as de facto gatekeeper to ukraine. and he told rick perry and two top state department officials. perry and son land and volker
described it this way. if they can satisfy rudy, they can satisfy the president. >> did you debrief him after the trip or before the trip? >> not going to tell you my internal conversations. i talked to a lot of people. not necessarily rick, though. >> cnn's michael warren joins our conversation. we talk about the politics of the standoff. as we get more information about what the democrats say is corruption, it is striking how many roads lead to giuliani. how much the president essentially gave him the carte blanche to be the state department or to be more important than the state department in this issue. >> remember, this traces back to the whistleblower complaint. this was central to the whistleblower complaint, that the people in the president's national security team were concerned about the big role that giuliani was playing. we should not forgot that rudy
giuliani wanted to be secretary of state at the beginning of this administration. he made that very clear. in fact, he told cnn that recently, i wanted to be secretary of state. he now had that opportunity and it really alarmed a lot of people sort of in the career level as well as even some of these political folks. look, i think it's very interesting that rudy giuliani sort of is playing this role and we're learning more and more that sort of confirms that whistleblower statement as the president has been saying the entire thing was wrong. >> he keeps saying it's wrong. every piece of information we've been able to corroborate has turned out to be spot-on. not just right, but spot-on. here's rick perry, his end of the conversation. listen to all these names as rick perry goes through. yeah, i talked to these guys. >> i talked to the president about this. i had a conversation, a phone call with rudy giuliani about it. i've talked to the previous ambassador. i've talked to the current
ambassador. i've talked to kurt volker. gordon sonland, the eu ambassador. >> everyone mentioned by secretary perry there is a government employee, somebody with the official charge to do this business, except the president's personal attorney, who i should also mention as he goes around accusing other people of corruption, his security firm has contracts with overseas people including in the past at least a pro russia party in the ukraine. >> yeah. i think this is also why giuliani has become such a focal point for congress in terms of someone who wants to be questioned. the interesting wrinkle in this yesterday is senate judiciary committee chairman lindsey graham saying he would be interested in having rudy giuliani come talk to his committee. there are a lot of details to be worked out here. we've talked to the committee and said this would be open or closed. we already saw one of the members of that committee, kamala harris who's running for
the democratic presidential nomination, basically licking her chops and getting ready to question rudy giuliani. a lot of republicans told me privately they are not sure this is a good idea. they know rudy, to have him constantly out there saying things is not good for the party. >> to have his facts challenged and his sources of information challenged -- as we stick to the information building as the standoff continues here's some more reporting yesterday. a white house official who listened to president trump's july phone call with the ukraine leader describes it as quote, crazy, frightening and completely lacking in substance relating to national security. then cnn reporting following up on this, at least one national security council official alerted the white house's national security lawyers about the concerns, three sources familiar with the matter said. unsettled aides also immediately began quizzing each other about whether they should alert senior officials who were not on the
call, mainly those at the justice department since trump had invoked the agency's boss bill barr multiple times. the president says this is all false. all the reporting you do shows across his administration including people who worked for him listened to this call and thought what is going on. >> there are real concerns about bypassing the normal standards. they're being that sort of internal administration checks and balances on is this the right policy to be pursuing. president trump, one of his central arguments in the 2016 campaign was that hillary clinton as secretary of state had acted outside of those sort of lanes with the private e-mail servers, the conversations outside of scrutiny or purview. all of this is an outside conversation with someone who has private contracts. these are all bypasses on those filters, text chains on personal phones, e-mails that are not
government e-mails, policies not routed through the policy departments. this is not just a democratic concern. this is a bipartisan -- >> outside of the process, he's not saying how can i help you against russian aggression. read the call. how can i help you against vladimir putin. he's saying, can you pursue this debunked conspiracy theory about 2016 and can you get dirt on joe biden, can you do a favor. in addition to the process, there's also the substance of the call which is outside the norms. up next, bernie sanders changes his campaign strategy after a heart attack. almost 20 years ago another democratic contender also on the trail dealing with a heart issue. >> instead of it going thump thump thump. it will go thump thump thump thump thump. that's how you feel. it's just not a regular heartbeat. you're aware you have a heart. tremfya® helps adults with moderate
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it down. the senator home in vermont recovering from a heart attack he suffered on the campaign trail last week. he spoke with reporters last night about his recovery, reassuring voters that he intends to remain a force in the race, but also acknowledging his campaign will shift strategies. >> look, we were doing, you know, in some cases five or six meetings a day, three or four rallies and town meetings and meeting with groups of people. i don't think i'm going to do that. but i certainly intend to be actively campaigning. i think we're going to change the nature of the campaign a bit, make sure that i have the strength to do what i have to do. >> we won't know until we see him back on the trail. he does say he'll be at the cnn debate next week. but he was known, one of the things that made sanders so interesting as a candidate is he was the energizer bunny. he says he's leading a revolution and he's incredible
active in doing so. do we expect this to hurt him? >> it comes as he just posted a massive fund-raising haul. we'll just have to wait and see. this is part of his strength that he was able to go out there and be so vigorous and energetic. this just brings the topic of age to the forefront. the candidates also have to be prepared for the republicans to weaponize this as well. keep in mind what they did to hillary clinton when she had pneumonia and a diseazzy spell. >> will he be a very loud voice of where the party should be on various policy issues, because campaigns are very taxing and that's true, but so is being president. unfortunately i know the stories
about how reagan would be done with his work before 5:00 p.m. but we live in a 24/7 world right now. you can't just pare down your schedule if you're in the white house. >> one of the interesting things throughout the campaign in watching senator sanders is this is a very different race than 2016 when he was more the alternative to one candidate, the front runner, the establishment candidate. hillary clinton touches on this in the "new york times." this will just raise the issue of age which has always been the achilles heel of sanders's campaign. when he ran in 2016 he was the not hillary candidate and no one paid at tengtention to how old . is that the issue, the vigor? how does this get processed? >> everyone's in their 70s that we're talking about. elizabeth warren is on a completely different end of her 70s than bernie sanders and joe biden. i think this will emphasize this.
it almost adds like a grace note or a humility note to this discussion of bernie sanders and the role that he plays. we have been looking at him in the context of the primary as he and elizabeth warren are running in the same lane. he was the dominant guy last time around, but maybe that's because she wasn't in it. he's got the money now, but you see her upswing in the polls. is it a race between the two of them? i think now that we're talking about this, this is like a legitimate concern. his health is a concern for him as well as it is for voters. but if you add together the intense loyalty and fund-raising, small donor fund-raising prowess that both bernie sanders and elizabeth warren have as two people who are competing against one another. if you put that together and compare it with the rest of the field including joe biden, the money blows everybody else away, the number of supporters blows everybody else away. i think bernie sanders is going to have to figure out does he
have the physical stamina and is he on a health trajectory to be able to go all the way with this. i think he will right now. if not, you can understand how he and elizabeth warren joining forces together in terms of harnessing the vote and the support would be seemingly unstoppable in the primaries. >> just don't underestimate him. if you look at the national polls right now, he runs third. there's been a lot of conversation even before the heart attack about does he have a path to victory in the race. you don't have to win to amass a lot of delegates. then you see how the race drags out as you go. up next for us, as the impeachment fight escalates in the house, some republicans in the senate trying to thread the needle. tremfya® helps adults with moderate
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better. don't wait. get your info kit now! republicans trying to navigate president trump's impeachment fight are getting mixed signals. on the one hand a new poll shows the president's approval rating holding steady despite those growing questions over impeachment. on the other, a quinnipiac poll this week showing support jumping 21 points since the end of july. that uncertainty leading many in
the gop like lisa murkowski to adopt what you might call a take it slow approach. >> even before there has been any considered review that people have decided that there is either absolutely you must get rid of him tomorrow viewpoint, or he must stay in and no questions asked. there is a process. >> i'm beginning to think there wasn't anybody like that left. >> two or three. >> we're laughing about it but in a way it's not funny. you have a veteran member of the senate whose father was a senator as well essentially saying why doesn't everybody just calm down. the question is, she says we need facts. will she stir and push to get those facts? she's very well-respected by
leader mcconnell. will she say, look, mr. leader, we have to have a legitimate process to answer these questions? >> maybe. honestly it's not really on the senate in a way. it is the house's job to build this case and make the case to the senate to sit there as a jury to decide whether it actually holds water. you see that lindsey graham is stepping up and saying i'm going to have an inquiry in which there's only one witness and that witness is rudy giuliani, which seems in a way of poking holes in what the house is doing. lisa murkowski doesn't control a committee that would have a direct in on that. they can make demands from the sidelines but in a way every time she talks like that she's bolstering nancy pelosi's argument for not putting anything on the floor until they're done. >> one other thing she said, again, this sounds very reasonable, which means it will never happen. this is murkowski again. >> i'm also trying to think to
myself if this set of facts were to be in front of me and the president was president hillary clinton as opposed to president donald trump, would i be viewing this in a different way. because if i do, that's wrong. >> amen. but -- >> yeah. it's kind of hard to see where that all goes. when you look at those trend lines in the polling, you understand how the pressure really falls the way we always knew that it fell, on those swing state senators, on those swing district house members, because you see this sort of flat line in the low 40s of support for the president, and on the other side which is like 50 and a little bit of change, a move towards more motivation to oust him from office whether through impeachment or election.
i don't know how that translates in terms of a vote at all. as long as republicans continue to control the senate, the impeachment fight itself still at this point ends the way we have always known. >> they come back from recess next week. it will be interesting to see if the language changes. we'll see. up next, the acting white house chief of staff is mick mulvaney. does the impeachment inquiry put his job in jeopardy? tremfya® helps adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis get clearer. and tremfya® was proven superior to humira® in providing significantly clearer skin. don't use if you're allergic to tremfya®. tremfya® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tb. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms or if you had a vaccine or plan to. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya®. get clearer. janssen can help you explore cost support options.
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little lightning round at the end of the show. some headlines for you here. in the middle of the impeachment, you would think president trump needs all hands on deck. mulvaney sidelined as trump's impeachment question raises. dana bash wrote a piece that the president was mad at mulvaney. >> it tells us that the president is frustrated with mick mulvaney for not preventing what has been happening in terms of the roll out. >> isn't the better question, is the president happy with anyone? >> i see trey gowdy's involvement now as a bit of a buffer for mick mulvaney. trey gowdy is close with mick mulvaney and lindsey graham. it creates an ally for mick mulvaney in terms of how to prosecute the defense. >> hillary clinton yesterday, the president tweeted that she
should run again. she said, don't tempt me. the idea that clinton would mount a third presidential bid has circulated for months among fringe right wing activists. more mainstream pro trump figures are picking up the same claim. i'm going to emphasize the word claim. she likes to mix it up with the president. she's criticizing mike pompeo in an interview for his role. you can understand that. the idea that she's going to run again -- >> conservatives just go bonkers over this obviously. republicans are trying to make the argument that impeachment is all about undoing the results of the 2016 election. perhaps this theory can bolster that. >> it's clickbait. >> hillary clinton is not going to stand in elizabeth warren's way. somebody else can do that. that's not going to be her. >> okay then. don't go anywhere.
busy news day. brianna keilar starts right now. have a great afternoon. ♪ ♪ i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, america in the middle of a constitutional crisis. there are two things democrats are looking to impeach president trump over. the first is abuse of power. and the second happening before our eyes as the white house obstructs congress from investigating the executive branch. plus, the trump administration arguing it should not be subject to the same court ordered dischose youdi disclosures the nixon white house was, leaves a judge to respond, wow, okay. a white house official called it crazy, frightening and left everyone