tv Inside Politics CNN November 8, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST
performance comes in lots of flavors. there's the amped-up, over-tuned, feeding-frenzy-of sheet-metal-kind. and then there's performance that just leaves you feeling better as a result. that's the kind lincoln's about. ♪ welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. an angry president trump rails against the impeachment inquiry. much of what he said today is simply not true, but his combative tone reflect the stakes now that public impeachment hearings are just days away. plus the chief of staff defies an impeachment subpoena.
he says letting the witness testify will mess hurt the inqu. team bloomberg sees an opening. president trump sees a long-time new york rival ang liling for h job. >> i know michael. he became just a nothing. it was really a nothing. he's not going to do well but i think he's going to hurt biden. little michael will fail. he'll spend a lot of money. there is nobody i would rather run against than little michael. >> back to 2020 and the bloomberg bid in a few minutes. but we begin the hour with an angry, combative president and his parallel impeachment universe. he says none of the testimony so far has damaged him. you can read it yourself. most of it is very damning. he said democrats have found people who hate him. all the witnesses so far work or have worked in the trump administration and almost all of them were hired or appointed by
top trump aides. >> i'm not concerned about anything. the testimony has all been fine. for the most part, i never even heard of these people. i have no idea who they are. they're some very fine people. you have some never trumpers. it seems that nobody has any firsthand knowledge, there is no firsthand knowledge. and all that matters is one thing, the transcript. and the transcript is perfect. in no cases have i been hurt. in no cases that i see have i been hurt. >> the president gets the facts wrong a lot. but the strategy is crystal clear. project that all is well as the impeachment inquiry shifts from private to public. the president says those hearings scheduled for next week should not happen and they're part of a hoax. it's important to note that witnesses so far are people who don't like him. the president is refusing to let those close to him testify. the white house just this morning stopping the white house chief of staff mick mulvaney
from testifying despite a congressional subpoena. the president described the situation this way. >> i don't want to give credibility to a corrupt witch hunt. i'd love to have mick go up, frankly. i think he'd do great. i'd love to have him go up. i'd love to have almost every person go up when they know me. what i don't like is when they put all these people that i never met before. when they put the head of the never trumpers on the stand. and even those people were okay, they were fine. >> with me this day to share their reporting and insights, melanie zone a with "poliltico." if he thought mick mulvaney was fine, he would have let him go up. he saw where he had to pull back in the briefing room, yeah, there was a quid pro quo. get over it. so what? >> that's exactly what an official with the committee suggested today, that the assumption that they're going to make is that if the president
had -- if the advisers to the president who have not been allowed to come forth and testify had exculpatory evidence, had something to say that would really clear the president of some of the accusations the democrats are bringing, then why wouldn't the president have allowed them to come? so they're going to make the assumption and build that into their case for not only the abuse of power but for obstruction of congress. then they're going to march forward and go ahead and put on their own witnesses. it will be really interesting to see once the public hearings start both in the intelligence committee and later in the judicial committee whether or not the president and his allies decide, you know what, actually we do want to have some of these people who are our loyalists come forward because they may get grilled on the other side but at least they could approximaput on some defense. >> we're told the president just said the testimony so far is just fine. it's kind of a circular argument.
he said these people hate me but it's been fine and no damage has been done. again, i urge you at home if you listen to the president, you don't trust the news media, see for yourself if they're fine. two more transcripts will come out today. fiona hill, a republican trump hand in the security council. not a never trumper, not someone they went out and found, fiona hill's transcript and colonel alex vindman who has a purple heart from serving in iraq, still has shrapnel in his leg. he's not a never trumper, so these transcripts will come out later. we'll go through those transcripts in a bit. as we go through the program, we'll go through the other transcripts. it's highly damning. is it impeachable? that's for the american people to decide. these are people hired by mick mulvaney in the white house or by mike pompeo in the state department. some are state officials but they were moved or kept in the
jobs by king trump. >> he donated to the trump campaign, he was an appointee, but i think what you're seeing is what the gop attack is going to be when they say they're going to try to place distance between them and some of the people who have testified and republicans have really seized on the fact that so far none of these diplomats have said directly, this came from trump's mouth. i think that is going to be the challenge for democrats in these hearings is to show the quid pro quo was directly coming from trump, and with rudy giuliani as his agent. >> this is not the small trump organization that this president was used to leading before he was elected. where he knew everyone, everyone was very much in the inner circle. this is the big government. they are all people, though, either republicans or people who his top people hired. so that is relevant. but he's done a very consistent job in some respects successful as of now branding this as just another witch hunt, hoax, you name it. but when the american people see
these hearings next week, we'll see if there are any open minds left to make the case. democrats have a burden here as well to make the case here that what happened happened. but really, the facts are not that much in question now after seeing all these transcripts. the question is, is it impeachable or not, and as you said, john, it's up to the congress to decide. >> it's up to the congress to decide. you mentioned ambassador sondland. he was not a trump supporter early in the 2016 campaign. but he saw what was happening, he got on board, he gave money to the campaign, he was named ambassador to the european union. then oddly to the career people, he was put in charge of the ukraine policy even though that's not under his jurisdiction on paper, anyway. the president this morning saying, who? >> let me just tell you, i hardly know the gentleman. but this is the man who said there was no quid pro quo. and he still says that. >> he does not still say that. ambassador sondland went back
and amended his testimony to congress. and this is why -- sorry, mr. president, you have to call it out -- he's trying to tell people things that aren't true. this is what gordon sondland said in his amended testimony. the presumption of u.s. aide probably would not occur until ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks. he went on to say, yes, now that i've listened to the other witnesses and thought about this, it's pretty clear. they must do this or they don't get the aid. >> and it's clear what you were saying, this line of defense which is this distancing that president trump is trying to create between himself and some of these folks who have clearly suggested that there was a quid pro quo. i think the difficulty for him is if we compare this to, say, the mueller investigation. he had a very clear common line, which was no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. i think in this situation what we found is that republicans are constantly sort of maneuvering their line of defense and it's an ever-evolving strategy. it's not sticking because it's
kind of ever-evolving at this point. >> one thing that helps them, right, is if the overarching effect of all the different republican statements by the president and his allies on capitol hill is to sow doubt about the interpretation of the facts on the ground, that's probably all they need. this isn't a criminal trial where you need to get past a certain threshold. if they sow enough doubt and kind of muddy the waters enough, that's probably enough -- >> you need republican senators. that's really all you need to do. we'll see what happens with the american people and whether that could impact the coming election. assuming house impeachments which seems likely ta certainty the democrats trying to keep the facts here contained in the ukraine policy box, if you will.
one of the stories that came out recently was the president asked the attorney general through intermediaries to go out in a press conference and say he said nothing. he didn't. >> i never asked for a press conference. if i asked bill barr to have a press conference, i think he would do it. i never asked him to have a press conference. why should i? you know why i wouldn't do it, because the phone call was perfect. just read your transcript of the phone call. no one has to have a press conference. i think if i asked him, and by the way, we confirmed. i never asked him. i think if i did ask him, i haven't said this yet and i don't think i will, i'm sure i won't. but if i asked him to have a press conference, i think he would. >> in the "washington post" headline, the president wanted barr to hold a press conference and say the president broke no laws in the call would you tell
cra -- with the ukranian leader. there was no statement by william barr saying the president didn't want me to have a press conference, did he? >> if he said, yes, there was a quid pro quo, walked back, the doj would say, that's news to us, we don't know about this. i do think there is a line that bill barr is trying to tow here. >> when the president talks to folks on the south lawn, he's very transparent with his mood. he often picks fights with reporters he doesn't like. his mood today was combative. >> i have to come over and see the fake news. let's go. what do you have, john? let me just say -- be quiet. quiet. quiet. >> did you ask the doj? >> are you ready? i never spoke to them about anything. >> just an interesting snapshot. next week is a big week.
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we want to remind you we're waiting for two very important transcripts from capitol hill. fiona hill worked with the security committee. she said she thought the president was a walking time bomb. we will bring you those as soon as we get it. if youen to the president, he says the whole thing is a hoax. listen to mark meadows here of north carolina, one of the congressmen on capitol hill most loyal to the president. >> any time there was direct conversations with the president, there was no linkage. any linkage that has been alleged, obviously is based on many times second or thirdhand information, either rudy giuliani or people believing they understood what rudy
giuliani might have wanted. >> in other words, maybe people did things they shouldn't have done, but nobody can directly tie it to the president. maybe it was rudy giuliani, but no linkage? maybe it never happened. and what rudy giuliani was not always aboveboard. the president says, look at the transcript. let's look at the transcript and read the president's own words. rudy very much knows what's happening and he's a very capable guy. if you could speak to him, that would be great. later on in the same call, i will tell rudy and attorney general barr to call. so to disconnect anyone who talked to rudy giuliani or try to counter him, they're trying to see this wasn't the president. follow the president's advice. read the transcript. he made clear rudy is my guy. >> it's actually to believe something that's not in the transcript which doesn't work very well on the shirt that
president trump is selling. the transcript led to the inquiry in the first place which gave speaker pelosi the comfort, i guess, to do this. we'll see how it plays out. the transcript, again, is what we should focus on, not the distractions of who the interpretations of things. the president said it in his own words there. so that is the prelude that begins the public hearings next week. that's where it continues from there. never mind what they're saying about it, just read it yourself. the question is, is it impeachable or not and that is a question for us not to answer. >> to that point, the president keeps saying, i don't know these people, or they hate me. they worked on the national security council who at times were close to the president. not all the time, but closest to the key witnesses at this table. somebody who was overseas most
of the time who acknowledges he was never in fortunate. at other times he was trying to manage what rudy giuliani was asking for. he said potus, the president of the united states, wanted nothing less than investigations of biden and clinton. if george kent testifies to that in a public hearing, the question is, will the american people -- will any republicans in congress be swayed by the idea that if you can prove that to be true, it is just the president boldly putting his domestic political agenda over national security, right in the middle of a key national security issue. >> in addition to what you read from the transcript of the zelensky call where the president attaches himself to
ru rudy and barr on this issue. the president gets very angry about this and says, just talk to rudy, just talk to rudy. then we have the public displays over and over where rudy is talking about this everywhere and elsewhere --. trump doesn't distance himself from rudy, and you're trying to build the blocks. you can't undo that. >> mr. giuliani at that point had been carrying out a campaign for sefrld. so this was a continuation of his campaign of lies. . he's sort of masterful at doing
this. he's spitting -- we'll see the public hearings next week and there is vlt but the president seems to be standing on the political points where he often does, so i'm sure that hears me suggest lies. >> they say this is tasteful, but is it impeachable? that's what a lot of republicans think. eventually that's where they end up and they're trying to prepare for that. we're waiting for fiona hill's transcript and lieutenant colonel alex vindman. when we come back, michael bloomberg says democrats must,
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case he plans decides to jump b. his spokesman now says, we need to finish the job ask mand make trump is defeated. but bloomberg is concerned that the core candidates are not seated to do that. another democrat says their field is just fine, thank you, mr. bloomberg. bloomberg's gun control group played a big role. what do we make of this? it is a wow. sdplz it is >> it is a wow. we know mike bloomberg wants to become president. that is not news here. they are looking at this very seriously. i think we'll know a week from today if they file the new hampshire paperwork. that is their deadline. it will be even more serious and then a couple big states in
december. one problem remains for them, one challenge. this is a democratic primary in a party that's shifting leftward on guns, climate change and other matters. but is there a clamoring for mike bloomberg? even if he does get in, how viable is he in this democratic primary? i'm skeptical that he's viable, but there is one constant, democrats want to find someone who can win. is it him? again, i'm skeptical of that, but it's a gift for elizabeth warren today who is not talking about how she'll pay for her health care plan, she's talking about her wealth tax on mike bloomberg. >> a couple things as we go through this. i want to show you this at the bottom here. these are battleground state polls. there are a lot of democrats who still don't know. that's one thing team bloomberg will accept. these candidates have been moving around for months, they've been getting all kinds of attention on news programs like this one, and one-third of
the electorate in the unted states says, i still don't know. he funds his campaigns himself. team bloomberg looks at this and says, they're at 31%. over here they get up to 45. they're looking at that and this is predicated on a biden collapse. they're taking up 40%, maybe 30%. that tells us there is a lot of democrats and they are su bburb democrats. do they wait and see if that happens in iowa or new hampshire and then jump in? or do they ever to get in sooner, because if they wait, it seems harder, but maybe that's the way to do it. >> regardless of whether or not he gets in the race, to me this is a huge public rebuke. it's a vote of no confidence in joe biden. i know we've certainly heard a lot of things from the public. a whole bunch of people have been questioning joe biden's
ability to fund-raise, his ability to stay in the debate. but whether or not mike bloomberg gets in, this was perhaps the most public rebuke of candidates than we've seen. >> i have not worked with bloomberg, but those who have talk about an incredibly devoted guy. he has a lot of data about biden, he has a lot of data about gun control and climate issues. which, to his credit, he's been out ahead, on the leading edge of those debates. if you look at the fox news poll, they asked this question. if they entered the democratic race, would you definitely vote for them? michelle obama gets 50%, hillary clinton gets 27%, michael bloomberg gets 6%. our democratic voters who are clamoring for them, the answer is no. but he sees an opening, anyway. >> the truth is you ask the question, does he wait or does he get in? if he's serious, and i think we
all sort of still wonder despite the filing today, he has to get in. you can't change that number. that 6% number doesn't change by sitting in manhattan in your fancy house waiting for it to change. you have to get into the fray, and iowa is coming up. it's just a couple months away. i guess he could skip that, although, you know, most campaigns find that skipping things like that don't work very well in the end. >> a city mayor sat in florida for a long time. his name was rudy giuliani. >> it didn't work too well for him. >> you make a key point. again, one of the things they say, democrats say, we don't like you. well, republicans don't like trump and it worked. he got in with a hostile takeover of the party. mike bloomberg is much smarter on its face with gun control and the climate. but he also says money doesn't grow on trees, so he's more
fiscally responsible. the weekly show was on bloomberg, and when that first came up, michael bloomberg said this about charlie rose and the allegations of sexual assault and harassment. the stuff i read is disgraceful. kbron how true all of it is. we never had a complaint, whatsoever, and when i read some of the stuff, i was surprised. i will say, you know, is it true? you look at people that say it is, but we have a system where you have -- presumption of innocence is the basis of it. >> i think bloomberg will have the problems biden has when it comes to his record. he's the triumph of charter schools. back in 2001, there was an article about his misstep.
that could abbe a challenge for him. he could appeal to independents and moderates in these battle states. >> they look at cory booker and biden and they don't think anyone would do it should biden come down. let's go straight up to cnn's manu raju. manu, are fiona hill and vindman now out? >> reporter: yes, we were going through them. they're several hundred pages each. we also have more of what they said based on opening statements we ev we have obtained. there are concerns that have been raised by those these individuals that was led by rudy giuliani to push for investigations by ukraine and the ukraine government that could help the president
politically. the president paid policy to rudy giuliani and concerns that other individuals in the u.s. government were working as part of that effort. now, one person in particular, of course, vindman's testimony would be of high interest because he was actually on that july phone call between president trump and president zelensky of ukraine. we know already from his opening statement that he raised some seer serious concerns about that phone call and reported it to a top national security council attorney. he was worried this could undermine bipartisan support for ukraine, also hurt efforts to bolster this key alliance. he said in his opening statement, we've already seen he raised this directly in a july meeting, confronted him after sondland said ukraine needed to launch these investigations into the bidens as well as the 2016 election interference, two investigations that could help the president potentially in his reelection chances. he made clear to sondland this
was no area to push for these investigations, it was not appropriate. we'll get more details exactly how that went down, exactly what the president was saying to his top associates and exactly what fiona hill was raising, too. we do know already, john, from what we have heard that she raised serious concerns about giuliani's efforts. she said that john bolton, the former national security adviser, also raised concerns about what sondland was up to. the question, too, is will the democrats bring these two witnesses forward for public hearings? we already know three are coming next week. we'll see if these two come forward as well because it's the consistent theme we're seeing all along on what will happen pushing for ukraine which was outside normal diplomatic efforts and raised serious concerns at the highest levels of the u.s. government. john? >> manu raju on the hill when we
get deeper into these transcripts. the importance of these two as potential witnesses in the sense that fiona hill, very important. you may not know her, but she is meticulous, known as a russian hawk, not a never trumper. she may not be a trump republican, but she's a staffer known for taking very meticulous notes. she said her boss, john bolton, not idealogically in sync with the president. she sparred with the president but not a dishonest person. used the word drug deal to describe what was going on, this ukraine policy going on and told her it was fine with him that she recommend that they report this to an attorney so it could be put on the record. alex vindman, a war hero, purple
heart, talked to an attorney, and it's that same attorney that made the decision, ultimately, to put the transcript of this call on the top secret server to limit access to it. >> i think it might be helpful for viewers to also understand the structure here. you talked about president trump saying, oh, i don't know any of these people, and they're not getting close to me. the people who work for the state department, people who work in embassies that are far away, that's one thing. the national security council is in the white house, right? there's another building that's right next to the white house that's sort of an annex that people work in, but the national security council is the core sort of brain trust of foreign policy decisions that are made by presidents, not only this one but previous presidents. these are not people that are far-flung or distant, these are people in the situation room, in the white house a floor below the oval office all the time. and so the connection -- the fact that these are the people
that are coming and describing these things, it's in the heart of the white house. it's -- and that, i think, is ultimately the reason why the democrats are focusing so much on these folks. >> and if they put together a compelling public karcase, the question is how do they challenge folks they know? they might take issue with their facts and their interpretations, but the president has put a tax on these people. we have reporters on this issue and we'll bring you highlights as soon as we can. while we wait for that, the president offering support for some gop senators' reelection efforts. here, it all starts with a simple... hello! -hi! how can i help?
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can. president trump is in atlanta right now for what you might call routine campaign business, but he also his there to help raise money for republican perdue. we're in atlanta where the president is. sara, i'm going to call this the president's amped-up gop outreach. >> that's right, john, this is coming after weeks of complaints from trump allies, from conservative lawmakers that the white house was not providing ammunition to those who wanted to defend president trump, that they didn't have anything approaching a coherent defense strategy, that trump wasn't
taking it seriously enough. president trump is ramping up his support efforts for perdue. he raised money alongside mitch mcconnell. just a couple weeks ago, his campaign used its massive distribution list for a fund-raising appeal for gardner, ti tillis and ernst, all of this coming as the president is trying to drum up support for his impeachment trial. this is routine, sort of expected for the party, but it comes as republicans are trying to rally these republican senators behind a coherent impeachment defense. for example, vice president mike pence was at capitol hill at the senate republican lunch, giving republican senators advice on how to defend the president against the impeachment trial, and trump has been holding court more with senators. he brought a handful with him to the world series game 5 just a
couple weeks ago. he also invited a different group of republican senators to the white house after the impeachment vote. this is all a sign that there is a potential impeachment trial after the holidays when they can take this a little more seriously at the days of the inquiry. >> it is -- i don't want to make anything nefarious about this, because he is the leader of the american party. a democratic president would be doing the same thing for democratic senators, but the collision of the timing is just fascinating because the president often doesn't like to tend -- he likes his own campaign but he has not been known, nor has president obama, about making this a bad deal about president trump. this is hard work for other members of his party and this president now is. >> he knows now more than ever that he needs the senate republicans as his allies. this is the republican party
much, much more so than the republican party. the trump white house and the president himself is controlling the apparatus of the republican national committee. the trump fund is important for his election, but also holding onto the majority of the senate. the fact he's doing so much outreach is interesting but not surprising. i thought the most interesting thing politically that the president said today was he's probably not going to campaign against jeff sessions. we'll still leave that as out there, but he also wished jeff sessions well initially and then trashed him out the door. that is one thing he's trying to do because he knows that most senate republicans like jeff sessions. they don't want to see the president beating up on him, so that's the relationship to watch more than anything. >> you spent a lot more time with these guys so i want to get your take on this. let's show you several of the republican senators and the different things they've said about impeachment. starting with lindsey graham. he has a big role in this.
i find the whole process a sham and i'm not going to legitimize it. senator roy blunt. let's get the facts and try to figure out what they mean. sort of a wait and see. john cornyn, important the ta senate process be views as fair and serious. david perdue, want to hear both sides. we will con appear open and fulsome debate. senator martha mcsally, no comment. lindsey graham, i find the whole process a sham and i'm not going to legitimize it. he's the chairman of the committee. he's the guy who said he hadn't read the mueller report. so he doesn't -- he just doesn't want to do his job, i guess. it's his job. you can read the transcripts and make a factual case. >> i think the issue here is that the republicans know the senate majority is an issue with how they handle impeachment.
they know their political future is tied to him, but they know they have to handle it how they best see fit. that's one of the reasons mcconnell told trump lay off some of these guys who will be your jurors, let them go. you haven't seen him trashing romney as much. but i think for the most part, republicans are trying to keep their heads down. they're waiting until it comes to trial. we're not heard the excuse, we're waiting to see what the jurors think. >> most of these incumbents have more money than the democratic challengers because they have money from the past. martha mcsally in arizona, outraged by her democratic opponent. joni ernst in iowa, outraged by her democratic opponent. susan collins in maine, outraged by her democratic opponent. cory gardner in iowa, running about even. even mitch mcconnell, outraised
by his democratic opponent. tom tillis about the same. we would be covering these, anyway. now the president going in to help at a time when these candidates, a, try to raise money, and b, try to figure out where is the terrain going to be six months from now in the impeachment question? >> part of what i think is really interesting about the fundraising money, we've all seen how successful the president has been in terms of fundraise ing on a national lev. some of these states are just democratically shifting. iowa is maybe not such a democratic shifting, but some of these states are bound to be fairly competitive regardless. >> cory gardner of colorado, north carolina -- >> georgia. >> anything you say today, you could be living in a different world. no comment actually makes sense. we're going to take a quick break. we're waiting for more details on these transcripts on capitol
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who staerves in the national security council, said mick mulvaney, acting chief of staff, was trying for this effort to push for the investigation into the bidens at the same time the ukraines were seeking a meeting in washington between the new incoming administration and president trump, saying that mick mulvaney was involved in this effort, which some people would call a quid pro quo. now, this is what he says of colonel vindman. he says, i heard him say this has been coordinated with white house chief of staff mick mulvaney. that's according to gordon sondland, the ambassador to the european union, who said at this meeting that there needs to be an investigation into biden and into the 2016 elections, things that could help the president with that meeting in ukraine taking place. he said mick mulvaney had coordinated that ask. later on he also said he heard
gordon sondland tell ukrain directly that there needed to be these investigations, there is no kbi -- ambi gui ty. on that phone call, the president asked president zelensky to arrange those investigations and also look into the 2016 elections. he did not include that ask for those investigation, and as we know, the president brought it up, anyway. john? >> so vindman said it was a demand in the allegations. fiona hill also served on the national security council. kylie, what did she say about the same meeting? >> fiona hill describes that july 10 meeting we've put so much focus on, and she describes what was said by ambassador sondland to the ukranians. she said, quote, as i came in,
ambassador sondland was saying, quote, how he had an agreement with chief of staff mulvaney for a meeting with the ukranians if they were going to go forward with investigations. she was frustrated by that. we now have reports that she went to the white house lawyers and discussed with them what went down in those meetings. the other thing to recognize here is fiona hill had been at the white house essentially since day one as a top russia adviser to president trump, and she is painting a picture of how she came to know about the role of rudy giuliani, the president's personal lawyer. she was never briefed that he had a formal role with regard to ukraine policy, but the interesting thing here is that she had a conversation with ambassador sondland, the u.s. ambassador to the eu, who at one point told her that he was in charge of ukraine policy. and she looked at him as if to say, no, you're not. who told you that, and he said back to her that he had been told that because it was the
president who put him in charge. and she says, quote, well, that shut me up. she really didn't have any choice at that point because it was clear that sondland and mick mulvaney, the chief of staff, were running the ukraine policy at that point. john? >> remarkable testimony. our special coverage will continue as we go through these transcripts. have a great afternoon. hello on this friday afternoon. i'm i'm ana cabrera. there is news on several fronts. we are now getting a first look at the testimony of the top russia adviser of the national security council, fiona hill, and national staffer lieutenant colonel alex vindman, both