tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN October 30, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
show at the lead cnn and our coverage continues now. thank you so much for watching. we'll see you tomorrow. happening now, breaking news. bolton to testify. cnn learns that john bolton has been asked to appear before lawmakers conducting the impeachment inquiry next week. omission questions. the first white house official to testify in the meach said he was alarmed by omissions in the administration's rough transcript of the president's call with the ukraine leader. new raid video. the pentagon said to release images that led to the death of al baghdadi as they predict isis will announce a new leader within days. and raging wind and flames. new wind whipped wires erupt in california forces tens of thousands more to flee homes as thousands more acres burn.
i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> key new developments in the impeachment inquiry including a source telling cnn that former national security adviser john bolton has just been invited to testify next week. that comes as the state department official told lawmakers that bolton warned of president's personal lawyer rudy giuliani's influence on american/ukraine policy. and cnn learned that the pop u.s. diplomat in ukraine bill taylor is willing to testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry following his closed-door deposition. also breaking, the wildfire disaster in california spreading as winds near hurricane-force spark new blazes forcing tens of thousands of more people to evacuate. we'll talk about all of the breaking news. much more with congressman
cedric richmond of the judiciary committee and our correspondents and analysts are standing by. first straight to capitol hill. our senior congressional correspondent manu raju is on the scene. manu, it is unclear if bolton would show up but how significant would that testimony be? but hold your thought for a moment. i want to go to the pentagon right now. there is a briefing and listen -- let's listen to the central command. >> -- presented a threat to the force. they did not respond to commands in arabic to surrender and continued to threaten the force. they were engaged by the raid force and killed. there were four women and one man. after this engagement and once established inside of the compound, u.s. forces discovered baghdadi hiding in a tunnel. when captured at the hands of u.s. forces was imminent, he detonated a bomb he wore killing himself and two young children with him. the number two is a change. we originally thought there were three children and this is the number we reported up the chain of command. we know the number to be two
based on subsequent debriefing. a total of six isis members died on the objective. four were women and two men including baghdadi in addition to the two children killed by baghdadi as he blew himself up. let me emphasize again that 11 children were protected by the assault force and two men on the objective were detained by the assault force and they were extracted with the force. after baghdadi's murder-suicide our assault force cleared significant debris from the tunnel and secured baghdadi's remains which were flown with the assault force back to the staging base. following collection of samples for formal dna analysis, baghdadi's remains were buried at sea in accordance of the law of armed conflict within 24 hours of his death. while at salt force was securing remains they also secured whatever documentation and electronics we could find which was substantial.
the assault force then left the compound and returned to her helicopters with the two detainees that i've already mentioned. after our forces were safely off the objective, u.s. forces employed precision standoff munitions to destroy the compound and its contents. pardon me. to the next video, please. so what you'll observe are u.s. standoff munitions striking the compound. those of you that may have seen before and after pictures of the compound, it looks like a parking lot with large potholes right now. the operation was exquisitely planned and executes demonstrating the global reach and unwavering commitment to destroy isis and brings leaders to justice and protect america and others from people like baghdadi. the mission was a difficult complex and precise raid that was executed with the highest level of professionalism in the
finest tradition of the u.s. military. since there is a significant interest in military working dogs, i wanted to provide background information on this fine k-9. next photo, please. and let's go back a moment. before i actually go to the dog, i would just like to show you the before and after pictures of the raid compound. you could see the way it looked before and you could see the way it looked afterwards. it is pretty clear that the success of the standoff munitions that we employed assured it would not be a shrine. just a place. to the dog. military working dogs are critical members of the forces. these animals protect u.s. forces, save civilian lives and separate combatants and immobilize individuals who express hostile intent. this dog is a four-year veteran of the so com canine program and a member of 50 combat missions.
he was injured by exposed live cables in the tunnel after baghdadi detonated his vest beneath the compound. he has been returned to duty. finally i would like to address the dna analysis conducted to confirm baghdadi's identity. the final slide, please. as you could see, the defense intelligence agency conducted the analysis and compared dna from the remains taken from the compound with an on file sample taken what baghdadi was at camp bucca prison in iraq in 2004. the analysis showed a direct match between the samples and produced a level of sernl that the remains belonged to baghdadi of 1 in 104 sent illan who is beyond a shadow of a doubt. despite baghdadi's death we will not forget the victims of the atrocities he directed and inspired since 2014. u.s. central command remains focused on isis and will remain
vigilant in the region who threaten the united states and our partners and our allies. i would like to express my sincere appreciation for the professionalism of the men and women who made this operation a success. this was a true inter-agency effort so i commend our partners across the u.s. government. the individuals who plan and conduct this mission are quiet professionals focused above the mission above glory and recognition. committed people did hard and risky work and did it well. i have a few minutes to answer questions. john, over to you. >> general mckenzie, with the death of baghdadi, can you just give a sense of what the u.s. counter isis fight is going to look like? are you seeing leaders start to emerge and just as related, the troops are now moving into darasore and how are they going to supplement that counter isis mission and explain about how they're going to be protecting the oil. >> sure.
absolutely. let's start with isis. isis is first and last in ideology so we're under no illusions that it will go away just because we killed baghdadi. it will remain. suspected it will be disrupted at high level and take time to re-establish someone to lead the organization. and during that period of time their actions may be a little bit disjointed. they will be dangerous. we suspect they will try some form of retribution attack and we are postured and prepared for that. but we should recognize that, again, since it is an ideology you'll never be able to completely stamp it out and our definition of long-term success against isis and other entities like isis is not the complete absence of that ideology, but rather it is existence at a level for local security forces wherever in the world it exists can deal with it. there is no international connective tissue, there is no ability to attack our homeland and local forces perhaps with training and some assistance, perhaps without those things, is
going to be able to suppress those entities as they go forward. we don't see a bloodless future because unfortunately this ideology is going to be out there but we think there is a way to get to a point where it is less and less effective over time. so the second part of your question was about darasar, he want to ensure possession of the oil fields to allow them to gain income going forward. we have forces there and brought in reinforcements there and further awaiting decisions of how that plan will look in the long-term and i wouldn't want to get ahead of the secretary of defense in describing that but as of right now we have secured the oil fields. generally east of the euphrates in the vicinity of conico and green village for those of that you follow the details on the ground. >> joe, could you confirm that baghdadi, his final moments there was -- the president said he was whimpering and crying and in his final moments and you could give us bitter sense talking about a substantial
electronics recovered from the site. you could elaborate on what that -- >> sure. let me start with the second part. no, i can't tell you anything about what we took off the site. you'll appreciate that. we'll exploit that and expect to help us going forward. now about baghdadi's last moments. i could tell you this, he crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the ground. you could deduce what kind of person based on that activity. so that is just my empirical observation of what he did. i'm not able to confirm anything else about his last seconds. i just can't confirm that one way or another. >> sir, were there reinforcements did any other isis personnel try to approach that position and was there fire that was exchanged? there is footage of a white van that was riddled with bullets right next to the scene. >> sure. so there were no other isis forces in the area. we are completely confident of that. he been up there for an extended period of time hiding. there were other militant groups
in the area that probably didn't know he was there. once they saw the helicopters land and begin to operate, they began to flow toward it. so they were not flowing to reinforce it, they were flowing to what they thought was perhaps a military operation or a russian military operation, perhaps an american military operation. they didn't know. so the white van that you talk about was one of the vehicles that displayed hostile intent and came toward us and it was destroyed in addition to the video that i just shared for you -- with you of the fighters on the ground that were addressed by the gun ships. >> so [ inaudible question ]. >> no, we don't. out there it is hard to know. we use the figure of about ten to 15 but we don't know for sure and i don't know that we'll ever know that because we're not going back out there to count. >> sir, you mentioned that you staged from within syria. was there anything about the changes on the ground in the last two to three weeks with the u.s. pulling back forces with turkey coming across that caused to you accelerate this operation or change the timing of this operation?
>> so jennifer, absolutely not. we chose the time based on a variety of factors. weather, certainty, lunar data and while it might have been convenience to use bases there, the united states military has the capability to go anywhere and support ourselves at great distances so that was not a limited factor. we struck because the time was about right given the totality of the intelligence and the other situation and factors that would affect the raid force going in and coming out. >> just a general quick clarifications. so you said that there were i think six individuals killed on-site. four women and two men, is that right. >> that is correct. >> did any of those individuals fire at the american forces as they were entering the compound and also is there any other information you could give us about how the tunnel was detected and how far underground baghdadi was and do you know the rough absolutely ages of the children that he took down there with him? >> so i would tell you we believe that the ages of both
children that he took down there were under 12 years old. but that is about all i can tell you about that. i could tell you that we believe baghdadi actually may have fired from his hole in his last moments. the other people engaged nnt objective were behaving in a threatening manner with a suicide vest and that causes to you make some decisions particularly when they don't respond to arabic language commands to stop, warning shots and the progression of escalation that our special operators are so very good at. missy. >> and how was the tunnel detected? was it open or was it -- >> so we -- as we looked as it and you would expect we had an opportunity to study this carefully, we came to the conclusion we should expect possibly a tunnel feature there so that is the first thing that we took a look at. and then the interrogation of people on the objective allowed us to gain a better appreciation of where it might be and then as you know we have a variety of things that i can't go into one
of them being the working dogs scenting them when they are not obvious. so that is how we came to the conclusion. the key thing is we establish physical security around the compound and got the noncombat ants off and gave us time to work the problem. pardon me. you're always worried in a situation like that that the house might be rigged and you have pay attention to on the ground and they did a remarkable job of doing that. >> i've been given notice that the van -- the white house will start shortly so a couple of more questions and out of respect for master sergeant we'll cut it short. so over here. >> can you talk about any support that the sdf provided to this operation? >> so, yes, i can. so as you know we maintain and continue to maintain linkages to the sdf. some of the early intelligence was very helpful to us and beginning to shape this problem so would you say they were part of it. they did not participate in this raid. this was a u.s.-only operation. there were no other -- no other
nationality that participated in it. >> in the case of osama bin laden and o baddo bad, forces found that the house in abadabad had no internet or cell service and you mentioned recovering electronic equipment from al baghdadi's place, was he using the internet? was there -- had they been on lockdown or was he -- >> sure. good question. i think, and we're still working this out, i think you find it is a messenger system that allows to you put something on a floppy or on a bit of electronics and have someone physically move it somewhere. that is seems to be the cutout that most organizations seem to prefer. but i defer -- i won't go into much more detail on it than last. >> and last question. >> joe, you said two men were extracted with the special operations forces, were they both isis members or was one an informant? >> both were exacted and turned themselves over and both under
detection and i won't go any further than that. >> what about the reward money, the $25 million. >> i have no visibility on that. sorry. >> that is going to go to the thank you so much. sorry to have do cut it short but we had a hard deadline and general thank you for coming in today to speak to everybody. >> pretty thorough briefing there from major general kenneth mckenzie, u.s. marine corp. how did the u.s. military central command briefing on the raid that wound up killing the isis leader abu backeral bad daddy and we learned from barbara starr monitoring the briefing. you've been listening as all of us have and he was pretty specific on the details. >> reporter: he was, wolf and showed a number of videos which we'll bring to you shortly, detailing exactly how all of this unfolded and it started as u.s. commandos began to approach the compound by helicopter they came under fire from the ground. they think this was other
militant forces if the region, not necessarily that baghdadi had any guard force there. and so they came under fire. they quickly returned fire. and basically killed those other militants on the ground. they think, actually, that baghdadi might have been there for some time and he felt this was an area he could hideout in and be safe from the u.s. anti-isis campaign even though this is an area that basically al qaeda operates in. so he took some risk. but he thought it was the best way for him to stay safe. they had been watching this compound and they basically came to the conclusion last friday, according to general mckenzie, that it was time to get moving and that baghdadi was there and they had the information and i think the video you are seeing next to me is the strike to destroy the compound once the mission was done. they did not want to leave it as a shrine to baghdadi as general mckenzie said, they wanted it to be just another piece of ground.
so they were ready to go in and they did. they said that they briefed president trump extensively on the mission and the risk and of course the president making the decision to go ahead. a couple of other really interesting details. they showed a video, we'll bring it to you, of people -- if people can see there are very small dark figures moving, those are the u.s. assault team members moving on the compound. very difficult to see but take a look. because this is extraordinary video. you simply don't see this very often. that the u.s. military is willing to release this. they got to this area, they secured the area and they determined that baghdadi was hiding in this tunnel. let me stop there and tell you there is a very interesting detail. general mackenzie said they believe that at some point from
that tunnel position that baghdadi fired back. or attempted to fire back. that is a new piece of information. not a lot of references to how the president described baghdadi's last moments. so they move into the tunnel. the tunnel we now know collapses and begins to fill with water and there are electrical down lines there. that is how the two service members got injured. they are fine. they've returned to duty. that is how the military dog got injured and he suffered some electrocution and he's returned to duty. in interesting detail, this military working dog is a veteran of 50 combat missions. so this is -- while people smile about it, it is deadly serious for u.s. forces in combat that they take these dogs, they are highly trained and they are considered members of the team and this dog performed really with some valor as a combat
veteran himself. so now what is next in syria is of course the big question. we're also learning separately today that u.s. bradley fighting vehicles carrying troops are beginning to be on the move and as soon as later this week they may move back into the eastern oil fields in syria to carry out president trump's order to protect and control the oil field. so good news that they have gotten baghdadi, he will bring no more misery to anyone but the mission in syria, the anti-isis mission very much continues, wolf. >> certainly does. and he did point out, general mckenzie, barbara, as we heard, that they are dealing with the possibility of isis launching what he called retribution attacks. retaliatory strikes against the u.s. and others. and he did point out that the kurdish forces, the so-called sdf, the syrian defense forces did support the u.s. early on
provided what he called very helpful early intelligence in this operation. and that was significant. i think one new nugget was that al baghdadi had two children that were brought in with him. that he brought in to that tunnel with him. not three as initially reported. those children were under 12 years old according to general mckenzie and clearly they were -- they died in this process as well. when he exploded that suicide vest. and the information about the canine, this dog, he points out, general mckenzie, that these canines, these dogs are critical members of our forces. the scenting working dogs could determine where humans are hiding much better than humans can determine that so they play a critical role. >> they did indeed, wolf. there was another detail, let me bring to light here that the dna match which of course at the end of the two-hour mission allowed them to declare jackpot and to
know they had baghdadi dead. what they revealed today is that the actual final dna match was actually made by a dna sample that they had from baghdadi from many years back when he was in detention by u.s. and coalition forces at a place called camp bucca back during the iraq war. and this is his detention in camp bucca, many people might point to as the beginning of isis essentially. he was obviously a very hostile militant at that time and when he got out obviously had plans to carry on his ideology and his views. so it is pretty interesting they had his dna from all the way back when the u.s. first detained him. i think general mckenzie also plagui -- also making the point that every military commander will tell you, isis is not gone.
the physical caliphate or the physical territory, hundreds if not thousands of square miles that they controlled back starting in 2014, 2015, they do not control that any more. that space perhaps even now more complicated because the russians, the syrians, iranian forces have moved in. isis does not control that. but isis is a group of cells and ideology adherence all over the world now. i don't think anybody believes that they are gone. the goal, perhaps, is to make sure that they can no longer assemble the financing, the organization, the training, to launch large-scale attacks but i don't think anybody really believe that's that ideology is defeated and that there won't be people out there who are adherence to that ideology trying to carry out attacks perhaps on their own, perhaps in groups. wolf. >> what do you make, barbara, the fact that general mckenzie sh the commander of the u.s.
military central command could not confirm the description that president trump offered sunday morning in making the announcement of the death of al baghdadi and that the way he died like a dog whimpering, the president going into all sorts of specific adjectives in describing the last few seconds of al baghdadi but the commander of the central command said he couldn't confirm that information? >> reporter: right. well, we now have defense secretary mark esper unable publicly to confirm that information. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general mark millie unable to confirm that information. and general mckenzie, the head of u.s. central command, they have all caveated it saying perhaps the president spoke to some member of team. they believe that he planned to call a member of the team. and offer congratulations. there is no evidence yet publicly that that has happened. the white house has not said that. and you now have the top three
officials saying they think that the president had planned to call a member of the team but they simply don't know where the president came up with that language which is why i go back to i thought it was interesting, perhaps not conclusive, but interesting that general mckenzie is the first one i have heard to make the point it is possible, and they have to sort out all of the details, but it is possible baghdadi fired his weapon or attempted to fire his weapon. but the three top officils who know every piece of classified information about this raid, i guarantee you they know the details. none of them yet publicly have been able to confirm what the president said. >> barbara, i want to you stand by. i want to bring in sean turner, our national security analyst, former director of communications for the u.s. national intelligence community. so, sean, give me your analysis of what we just heard from general mckenzie, the head of
the u.s. military central command. >> well, wolf, as many people have said, i think there is absolutely no doubt that the elimination of al baghdadi is a win for the united states. look, this is someone who was the head of isis and the individuals who carried out this raid, we owe them a debt of gratitude. i think it is important to point out here and barbara said this and others have said this, first of all, from an intelligence perspective, baghdadi's influence on isis was on the decline. it was clear that his role as a leader of this organization was something that in the public's sphere we understood to be the case but behind the scenes he was having more trouble communicating and rallying forces and giving direction so it was case that at some point as isis attempts to reconstitute and continues to try to carry out attacks, that his influence was not going to be as significant as it was. that said, it is also important for people to remember that
isis, it emerges and then fades back into society and then these individuals come out again. so while this is a victory certainly for the united states and we should celebrate not only the decision to carry out this raid but the individuals who were brave enough to do it. we have to remain vigilant and that is the message everyone is sending. and one note on the issue describing the way that baghdadi died, i heard the president's comments on this and i think that something else is going on here. look, i spent 21 years in the marine corp and i could not imagine a scenario where we would have had a kill in the battlefield like this and that general officers, people in positions of authority at the pentagon would have stepped forward and thought it was necessary or appropriate to describe the last minutes of someone's life the way that the president did. look, that may have been the way that he died. but i just think that for those of us who serve this country and who have been in combat, it is
not necessary, it is inhumane and not something i think the general would have done even if he knew that was the case. >> it is also significant, you used to work not only as a u.s. marine, but also in the intelligence community. sean, the description that general mckenzie had for the initial intelligence that was provided to the u.s. by the kurdish forces, the sdf, the syrian defense forces, he said that early intelligence was very helpful in supporting this operation. and explain the significant of that. >> the significance of that cannot be underestimated. look, the kurdish forces are forces who are on the ground in the region. they understand better than any of the other partners and allies not what is happening at the high levels but what is happening on the ground. they hear what people are saying. they understand when things are shifting. so the intelligence that they would have provided would have been key to u.s. forces. it would have been key to our partners and allies who understood what is happening
here. and that intelligence would have allowed us to have a high level of confidence that either baghdadi was there or that he was likely to have been there so i think there is immense amount of irony and it is extremely unfortunate that as we were relying on the intelligence that were provided by the kurds to carry out this really important raid at the same time we were by all accounts betraying the kurds with our decision to leave syria. but that intelligence would have been extremely critical and i think that for the kurds who are still seeking to support the united states, we have to understand that baghdadi may be gone, but he still has forces and people loyalists on the ground and our hope is there are still kurds who will continue to provide intelligence and support.united states as we continue to go after isis. >> sean, hold on for a moment. susan hennessey is with us, our legal analyst who used to work at the national security agency. he did make an important point, general mckenzie, that they collected a lot of material when they went into the compound over
there. certainly documents, other materials and including they captured at least two isis commandos and they're now being questioned presumably. so they're going to get a lot of intelligence out of this. >> potentially they'll get a substantial amount of intelligence. we've seen that after other successful raids but the big question is who might secede baghdadi and what is the future of isis in syria or globally. i think one thing critical to understand is not just sean's point about how important our partners were in providing the intelligence that allowed for this successful raid in the first place but that that raid was successful despite the president, not because of him. and that the president's reckless decision to impulsively pull out from syria really did put the pentagon in a potentially very dangerous position and so everything that we're seeing about this raid not just the death of the leader of isis, but also all of this secondary intelligence we'll
get, all of this -- this additional valuable information that would have been imperilled by this reckless decision by the president a few weeks ago to impulsively pull us out of the region. >> we'll have more on the breaking news. developments from the pentagon on the death of al baghdadi and we'll go back up to capitol hill. dramatic developments unfolding up there as far as the mooech is concerned. more more of our breaking news coverage right after this. billions of mouths.
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we're following multiple breaking news right now. the pentagon just released the first images from the raid on the compound of abu bakr al bagdadi and much more on that coming out. also following breaking news in the impeachment inquiry including a source now telling cnn that former national security adviser john bolton has just been invited to testify next week. let's get back to our senior congressional correspondent manu raju. it is unclear if bolton will show up. but how significant potentially would his testimony be? >> reporter: it could be very significant, wolf, because john bolton has been mentioned a by number of witnesses who testified behind closed doors who said that bolton was
concerned about the efforts by rudy giuliani, the president's personal attorney, to pursue efforts of ukraine to push for the investigations that could help the president politically over and over again bolton is referenced in testimony including by testimony yesterday from alexander vindman who serves now in the white house who said that bolton urged him and others to go to the national security council lawyer to report concerns about the -- they had about meeting earlier this summer in which the investigations were raised. made a push to bolter relations with ukraine. today also behind closed door another witness referred to john bolton as well. christopher anderson who said bolton referred to rudy giuliani as an on stockal in boltstering the alliance and uncertain whether he will appear but they did tell me they could subpoena him if he does not appear in the coming days because his testimony is so
we do expect the national security council lawyer john eisenberg next week and heard the concerns from vindman and owners. it is uncertain if he'll appear and this comes as the closed-door portion of the investigation is coming to a close, wolf. >> the closed-door portion. the public hearings are only set to begin fairly soon now. and the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine bill taylor is willing to testify potentially a star witness for the democrats. how damaging could his public testimony be and it certainly will be televised? >> reporter: we're told from a source familiar with his thinking that he's willing to testify publicly. this after he went behind closed doors and raised significant concerns about the aid withheld to ukraine also saying he been told that the president had pushed for a public decoration by ukraine of investigations into the bidens as well as into the 2016 elections before that aid was released, before they would have agreed to meetings with the ukraine officials and
washington. at the same time as all of the witnesses have come forward, there are more names that have come out about showing involvement of other people in the white house. today catherine croft, a ukraine -- a special adviser on ukraine went behind closed doors and talked about mick mulvaney and someone she said put an informal hold on the ukrainian aid and she said it was -- according to her opening statement that president trump was behind that decision. now one democrat who emerged from this closed-door proceeding said the questions about mick mulvaney continue to grow. >> mr. mulvaney's role gets deeper as we get into this. it is puzzling that somebody from omb, the office of management and budget would sudden my play a foreign policy role in making a decision about suspending aid to an allys country that is fighting active
russian aggression on its territory. >> now on friday, wolf, one of mulvaney's deputies robert blair is scheduled to come testify behind closed doors, plenty of questions for him but at the moment still unclear whether he'll show as democrats try to get more answers about mulvaney's role in all of this. wolf. >> important questions indeed. manu raju, thank up very much. let's get more on all of this. joining us now, democratic congressman cedric richmond of louisiana. thanks so much for joining us. and let me get your reaction to the breaking news. the house just scheduled a deposition with the former national security adviser john bolton for next week. how important do you think that testimony could be? >> i think it would be very important. and, look, i think that adam schiff and the committees that are doing this are doing a very serious job. they're being methodical about it and being fair about it. and i believe that as they investigate further people like
john bolton and others are very vital and critical to ascertaining the facts. which ultimately they will turn over to the judiciary committee. >> the democrats want bill taylor, the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine right now to come back. he did a deposition behind closed doors but now they want public testimony as the house moves into this next phase of the impeachment inquiry. they want it all out in the open and he's willing to comply. what do you want the american public to hear from bill taylor? >> i want them to hear how ambassador taylor lays out the actions of this white house and this president that clearly illustrates from his standpoint they were holding up foreign aid for a political favor and asking another country to meddle in the 2020 presidential elections. so i think it is very important for the members of the public, for people to see from a nonpartisan figure, from a
career diplomat, not from a democrat, but from a career diplomat the facts that he testified to in his deposition. >> lieutenant colonel alexander vindman who testified yesterday told investigators that the transcript, the rough transcript of that july 25th phone call between the president and the ukrainian president was missing some key information including a specific reference to joe biden and that his atems to restore that information were not successful. how concerning, congressman, is that to you. >> that is concerning also. and he is a true united states patriot. he served our country. he has no reason to fabricate anything. and so i take him at his word. but i think that all of those things are important but remember, the way this started was looking at the the transcript in which the president basically said but i need a favor though. and then you look at mick mulvaney and then the text messages from volker and the
testimony from ambassador taylor and it lays out a pretty alarming case. and so we will get all of that information, we will present the president with a fair opportunity to present any exculpatory evidence or anything that he shows would disprove the facts that have been laid out and then the judiciary committee will make a decision. but this is a serious matter and think the public should see more of it and i'm happy people are willing to testify publicly. >> democrats are voting tomorrow. in fact everybody is voting tomorrow on the formal rules for this new phase of the investigation. what is your response, congressman, to the republicans who say the new rules are simply too little too late and that the process has been tainted from the very start? >> look, in the nixon impeachment the investigation started four months before they took a vote. and the clinton impeachment, ken starr investigated for four years behind closed doors. so, look, the rules that we're
putting forth tomorrow are the most transparent and give more rights to president trump than both clinton or nixon had. so we think it is very fair. look, it is very clear now i'm a lawyer and i practice defense law. if the facts were not on my side, i attack the process. if the process -- if the facts were on my side, i argue the facts. so the fact they're attacking the process means that they don't have a strong belief in the facts of the case. so they're going to continue to advocate and take president trump's talking points, however, we're going go show the american people in live and realtime exactly what happened and how it happened and we're going to let them judge for themselves. so the republicans can continue to try but i believe the process we're doing is more than fair and it will give the transparency to the public they deserve. >> do you think tomorrow's vote and it will be a dramatic moment on the floor of the house of
representatives on the impeachment procedures will pass with unanimous democratic support? >> i'm not sure if it will be unanimous democratic vote but it is overwhelming and if we have people not there yet, it will only be a handful of them. >> congressman cedric richmond, thank you so much for joining is. >> thank you for having me. >> bring back our experts and discuss what we just heard. nia, what do you think? >> tomorrow is going to be a big day. this was something that republicans wanted. this is something that isn't really satisfying republicans. at this point not satisfying the white house too. they seem to want to push this narrative that no matter what comes out of this, it is all tainted because of these closed-door depositions that democrats were part of as rl as republicans. this marks a demarkation in terms of this impeachment process and it is a day that i think nancy pelosi months and months ago didn't necessarily think was going to happen and there are people in the party
who are pushing for it and the ukraine news brings us here and we'll see what happens tomorrow. >> and bianna, if john bolton has been invited to come and testify behind closed doors next week shows up, how significant could that be? >> and that is a big if. if he does show up, obviously given his deputy is now in the middle of weighing whether a judge will rule whether he can or not, but if he does show up, it is very significant. because multiple officials and diplomats who have testified over the past couple of weeks name him as somebody who was in the center of all of this given that he knew what was going on. he few that the concerns about ukraine. he himself was concerned about ukraine. at one point calling it a drug deal that he didn't want to be part of. so throughout the past few weeks he seems to have been aware and alarmed about the president's position toward ukraine from the get-go. and if we do hear from
ambassador bill taylor who has signaled he will and is willing to testify publicly, he himself, he said he was directed by bolton to reach out to pompeo and express his concern over with holding money. so a lot of questions will be directed toward him because every single one of the witnesses has mentioned his concern about this very issue. >> because, sean, according to several other witnesses, bolton was deeply uncomfortable with the president's conduct toward ukraine including the new government in ukraine and deeply uncomfortable with rudy giuliani's role sort of as a shadow government leader in all of this. so why wouldn't he come forward and testify? >> well, i think as he considers this, the one thing that we know that ambassador bolton is doing now is he's sitting on the sidelines watching what each and every one of these witnesses is going through as they go up to
capitol hill and testify in these depositions. and i think that as former national security adviser he's likely under no illusions that if he does testify, that he will be somehow immune from the attacks, the criticisms that the president's supporters are launching. he will definitely be in the cross hairs if he goes and testifies and i think it is still an open question as to whether or not his testimony will even corroborate or support what some of the witnesses have said. ambassador bolton has been extremely quiet on this since he left the white house and so it is unclear kind of where his loyalties lie even though the reporting seems to suggest he was extremely concerned. so i think that bianna was right, if we're reading the tea leaves and look at cha charles kupperman his deputy is doing with regard to asking the judge to make the decision and we consider the fact that both kupperman and bolton have the same legal counsel, that might give us some indication of how he feels about going up and testifying. >> how do you see it, susan?
>> think every individual that comes forward and testifies not exerting executive privilege makes it easier for others to do the same and harder for them not to. now that we've seen sitting u.s. officials even when the white house and state department said don't go and testify, going forward and testifying any way. former officials coming forward to testify any way. that means that for people like john bolton, they aren't going to be able to present this legal argument as though they have some sort of obligaion not to testify. so i think people understand that the congress has a legitimate complaint -- claim to this testimony and for them to refuse to do so really is them personally saying i'm not interested in telling the truth to the united states congress. i'm not interested in telling the truth to the american public. and keep in mind, even trump loyalists who might refuse to testify they are only adding to the perception that donald trump did something wrong and there is something to hide. >> he didn't leave the white house, john bolton, under positive circumstances. there was a lot of acrimony on
both sides. it was unclear whether he was fired or whether he -- >> he resigned. >> and all of that. but let's say it is a big if >> let's say he does testify and comes out very forcefully against the president on the issue of quid pro quo and all of that, how significant would that be coming from the president's former national security adviser? >> it would be significant, because no one will be able to paint him as a never trumper. that's what you see donald trump trying to do with some of these other folks, although john bolton is known as somebody who has sharp elbows. he's right in line with the republican view of the world and the republican view of foreign policy. so in that way, i think everyone's looking to see what republicans might do or republicans at any point are going to find fault with this president in terms of what he did, and possibly vote to remove him from office. i think john bolton could possibly be a pivotal figure, but i also think, you heard
cedric richmond essentially say, it's john bolton and others. i don't think republicans want to pin all of their hopes for john bolton to be a john dean kind of figure and that's what they did with bob mueller expecting him to forward their case and it didn't really happen that way. >> bianna, do you think he could turn out to be a john dean-type figure in this? >> of course, he is a key witness the democrats want to hear from. and you hear from all of these witnesses the past few weeks who have expressed his own alarm at the president's policy and giuliani's role throughout all of this. but at the same time, we always not media seem to find out when he disagreed with the president vis-a-vis iran or north korea policy, and that information tended to be leaked, and you heard about divisions between him and the president when it came to foreign policy with regard to those two hot spots around the world. one thing we didn't hear from
and what republicans can ask them point-blank, if you were so alarmed, how come you didn't speak out or resign earlier? and there had been any reports prior to the whistle-blowers of bolton having any disagreements with the president in terms of his foreign policy relations can ukraine. >> one thing to keep in mind, as we really are beyond the point of waiting for some new witness to come out with some new bombshell information, we've seen remarkably consistent testimony. kurt volcker, gordon sondland, alexander vindman, bill taylor, again and again, they're all telling the exact same story, eliminating all of the innocent explanations that this was not about anti-corruption efforts, this was not about u.s. national security, that there was a quid pro quo and it was about the president's political interests. >> i want everybody to stand by. we'll have a lot more on all of the breaking news happening up on capitol hill. but there's also breaking news in california's wildfire disaster. i quickly want to go to cnn's stephanie elam. she's on the scene for us and watching the fire that came perilously close to the reagan
presidential library. stephanie, what's the situation now? >> reporter: wolf, i've got to tell you, as a native californian, i have never, ever felt winds like this here in this state right now, as what we're experiencing. when they push up against you, it does feel like you are up in a hurricane, feeling that intensity here. i want to show you right now, just to give you an idea of what we've been looking at here. you see where it's burned over there, all of that, this fire starting after 6:00 a.m. local time here. well, let me show you how close it got to the reagan library. right here is the reagan library, where we're standing. you can see the retired air force one jet inside of the building there. all of this was burning around here. we know that there was some 26,000 people that have been evacuated from this easy fire here in ventura county and seim valley. 1,300 acres have been burned. we know we're watching the fires throughout the state and up north at the kincade fire, it
looks like some of those evacuations may start to ease as things are starting to look better up there. those winds still an issue, but not like they are down here. this is the issue with all of these fires and the concern about these winds, is the fact that if something is still burning and it catches on the wind and it flies for a great distance and starts another fire, we are up on a fire line just across the tree from some homes in simi valley earlier today. and watching them fight this fire with the helicopters dropping some 26,000 gallons with each drop, fighting this with the firefighters on the ground here, wolf. >> we're going to have a lot more, stephanie, on what's going on where you are. be careful over there. stay safe. we'll get back to you. much more coming up on the fires out in california. also, more on the breaking news. a source now telling cnn that the house impeachment investigators want the former national security adviser to president trump, john bolton, to testify next week. i always thought there were two types of motor car
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week. this as we're learning more about john bolton's concerns that politics was influencing mr. trump's ukraine policy. transcript omission. new questions tonight about the white house record of the president's very controversial phone call with ukraine. a major witness revealing that key words were left out of the transcript, including a reference to joe biden. isis raid images. the pentagon just released the first video from the u.s. raid that led to the death of the terrorist leader abu bakr al baghdadi. what do the images reveal? and hurricane force. ferocious winds stoke california's rapidly growing wildfire disaster. the flames threatening thousands of homes and coming dangerusly close to the reagan presidential library. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in theuatithe "situation room."