tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN November 11, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
town hall with the former vice president joe biden live tonight. it is moderated by erin burnett at 9:00 p.m. eastern only on cnn. our coverage continues on cnn right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room," we're following breaking news. just released testimony on a central allegation of the impeachment investigation that president trump withheld military aid to pressure ukraine to investigate joe biden. the pentagon official revealing what she knew about the decision to freeze the funding and efforts to get mr. trump to change his mind. more evidence made public less than 48 hours before historic televised impeachment hearings
begin. let's immediately go to our congressional reporter lauren fox. lauren, we now have the testimony of the pentagon official laura cooper. what are we learning from the transcript just released. >> reporter: we're learning that laura cooper was the deputy assistant secretary of defense and she would have been personally involved in what was going on with the military aid. but even she was very concerned, puzzled about why this money was being withheld. nearly $400 million in u.s. military assistance between the state department and the department of defense. and it is very clear that even she was grappling with congressional investigators behind closed doors to explain how this occurred. it really underscores why individuals like mick mulvaney and people who had conversations with the president and would know what the motives were behind all of this, why democrats want to talk to people like mulvaney. because this is laura cooper's job. she handled the defense department portion of the military aid and even she was having a hard time, wolf, explaining to a congressional
investigators what was going on. she said she became aware of it in july. but there was a concern about whether or not this was even legal because congress had already appropriated this money, wolf. >> what did she tell investigators about specific conversations that she had with ambassador volker for example. >> reporter: well she was trying to get to the bottom of why the money was being withheld and she was told by kurt volker an effort was being pead to see if the government of ukraine would make a statement to disavow any interference in the u.s. collection and commit to the prosecution of any individual involved in election interference. that is about as specific as it got. again, woit is clear she was having a hard time explaining exactly what happened. even though this is her job, this is kept very tightly around the president of the united states and his acting chief of staff mick mulvaney. >> very interesting, laura
cooper clearly overseeing a lot of this. thanks very much for that, lauren fox. let's go to sara murray now. sarah, we have this new testimony, the transcripts just released as democrats and republicans are clearly gearing up for public impeachment hearings on wednesday. >> that is right, wolf. and obviously we're getting new details while all of the -- the broader planning is playing out and i think when you look at this new testimony from laura cooper it does give us more sense of what was happening behind the scenes in terms of concerns about this money and whether it was possible to get this aid for ukraine out the door. she talked in her testimony about the discussions going on in the defense department about whether it was legal for omb and for the president to be holding this money back when it already had been allocated by congress. and she even tells lawmakers at one point they were concerned in the defense department that $100 million in aid could be at risk and potentially they wouldn't get it out of the door
in time and of course we know from other reporting this is what members of congress were telling the president privately. saying you need to allocate this mon -- money now out of the door otherwise it won't happen. >> let's step back for a moment. the public televised hearings that gibb -- that begin on wednesday morning, how significant are they. >> they are extremely important. when you think back to nancy pelosi and when she first talked about going down the impeachment path and she want it to be bipartisan and the public to be with her and this is the chance for the democrats to make the case for the american public that they should come along with the democrats and they'll do it on wednesday, bill taylor the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine and george kent. and this is the first time that we're going to hear, as the american public, from people who were directly at the heart of president trump's push to have ukraine investigate joe biden, joe biden's son and 2016 as essentially what the other witnesses have described as a
quid pro quo. the president said that it is not that. but this is the first time for the american public to hear from these witnesses directly and it is a test of whether democrats could be overplaying their hand or whether these witnesses will be convincing enough to lead the american public to believe that the president should, in fact, be impeached, wolf. >> it is interesting, sarah, this testimony and transcript just released from laura cooper who oversaw u.s. policy toward ukraine from the defense department from the pentagon and she was specifically told by kurt volker that the ukrainians had to go ahead and deal with this so-called investigation of the bidens and other interference in the 2016 election. she was asked, did he indicate to you that if that -- if that channel he was working with was successful, it might lift this issue, meaning u.s. military assistance to ukraine would go forward and she said under oath, yes. so this is pretty significant
stuff. >> absolutely. it is further corroboration. there were a couple of witnesses who hedged a little bit more on whether these things were directly connected. but i think for the most part we've heard again and again from the career officials, this concern that military aid for ukraine was being withheld in a way they did not feel was appropriate. perhaps it wasn't legal and it certainly wasn't being done in the way you normally conduct diplomacy. it was not formal to withhold money for another nation allotted by congress, allocated by congress to get political investigations out of another country and you continue to see from these testimonies people raising red flags along the way, documenting their red flags along the way and expressing to lawmakers that they are laura cooper's testimony, in - concerned about their own jobs and doing the right thing and you subpoenaed me and i'm telling you what i saw in my position as irregularities in the process.
>> it is interesting, because witness after witness and witness and current and former officials for the most part had a very consistent line about why this nearly $400 million in military assistance appropriated, authorized by the house and the senate, signed into law by the president, was all of a sudden being held up. >> and absolutely. and they keep coming back, it dawns on them and whether they are at the state or defense department or diplomats it continues to dawn on officials this money is being withheld because president trump wants investigations and that is when they really began to realize there is another kind of diplomacy playing out and this is not going through the proper channels and other people with different agendas and rudy giuliani being one of them who are working in this government and influencing the president and essentially just mucking up the process the way that it normally goes and they begin to get really alarmed. especially because, wolf, you
remember people have worked on the ukraine issue for a long time and they felt this military aid was so essential for ukraine to protect itself from russia. and so i think that is another reason that we've seen this kind of alarm come through when you read through some of the testimonies. >> and they were given to reason why the aid was being withheld, no official reason by all of that. sara murray, thank you very much. these newly-released transcripts come as a key hearing is underway in the fight to compel testimony from white house officials. in particular, the acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney. let's go to our white house constituent jim acosta and the impeachment inquiry and the witnesses clearly very much on the president's mind tonight. >> that is right. and there is a fee hearing going on in federal court, charles kupperman over here at the white house, he has filed a lawsuit against the trump administration essentially trying to figure out from a federal judge and get guidance from the federal judge
as to whether or not he should be compelled to testify via subpoena in the house impeachment inquiry and what is very interesting about that proceeding is that the acting chief of staff mick mulvaney in a mind-bending twist has asked to join that lawsuit. essentially join a lawsuit against the trump administration and the president of the united states, against his boss to determine whether or not to have this federal judge say whether or not he should be compelled to testify in the house impeachment inquiry. wolf, you remember late last week mick mulvaney was served with a subpoena to testify in this impeachment. he did not show up on friday for the scheduled testimony. now i asked a white house official over here whether or not it is strange whether it is unusual for mick mulvaney to try to join a lawsuit against the president to determine whether or not he should testify on all of this and a white house official said no, this makes perfect sense. mick mulvaney has been working with the white house council on
all of this and we have a statement from that white house official to put up on screen that said mulvaney counsel is working closely with the white house counsel office and they were advised before it took place and having the president be on the lawsuit is, as the state continues, a technicality given the competing instructions begin to mr. mulvaney, the lawsuit is nonadversarial as to the president and in no way indicates any distance between the president and the acting chief. and so mick mulvaney is trying to say in court, wolf, that he's basically caught between a rock and a hard place. he's been subpoenaed to testify up on capitol hill and this house impeachment inquiry but the white house counsel is saying that mick mulvaney should have immunity. one of the wrinkles in all of this, charles kupperman's attorneys are arguing in court today in a filing that mick mulvaney should not have the same protections that charles kupperman should have and that mick mulvaney and that infamous
press briefing in the white house briefing room a couple of weeks when he talked about a quid pro quo with ukraine and said that people need to get over it, that this happens all of the time, kuperman's attorneys are saying that mick mulvaney waived his right to any kind of immunity in this case. and so it will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out and what the judge ultimately says, wolf. >> there are reports that mulvaney was sort of on thin ice as a result of that disastrous press briefing that he gave a couple of weeks ago. why does he need a private attorney, why isn't he represented by the white house counsel? >> reporter: well mick mulvaney is essentially i think involved in all of this and democrats very much want to hear what mick mulvaney has to say. remember what fiona hill testified and others have testified throughout this impeachment inquiry, that john bolton and the national securitier and much of this
weighs on whether john bolton will be compelled to compel in this impeachment inquiry but it is john bolton according to noo feeina hill said they were coming up a dirt for dollar scheme going on inside of the trump administration with respect to the president's phone call with ukraine. and so there are some far-reaching implications in all of this and if mick mulvaney is implicated in any way in a potential impeachment inquiry, that is why mick mulvaney needs outside counsel in addition to the white house counsel weighing in. we saw the same thing playing out during the russia investigation when white house officials needed outside counsel, wolf. >> the president keeps tweeting about this, almost nonstop and over the weekend and i understand he's just tweeted a few minutes ago. >> reporter: that is right, wolf. even on this veterans day and in addition to the president making comments on veterans day he's been making comments about the
impeachment inquiry. he said where is the whistle-blower who gave so much false information. must testify along with schiff. talking about the house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff and others. the president is once again trying to make this about the whistle-blower, wolf, and he said like other republicans who support the president, defend the president up on capitol hill are saying they want this whistle-blower to testify. obviously the whistle-blower's attorneys want to keep that whistle-blower's identity a secret because of the threats that have come into that whistle-blower. but, wolf, one thing we should point out and it has been pointed out many times, is that the whistle-blower's account of what happened on the president's phone call with the leader of ukraine has been corroborated on multiple occasions by multiple administration officials no matter what the president has to say about the whistle-blower in the tweets. >> that is correct. jim acosta, thank you. joining us now congressman holly rula who served on the house oversight committee. thank you for joining us. let's get to the breaking news.
the testimony just released from laura cooper, the deputy assistance secretary to defense and she said then by august the former u.s. envoy kurt volker told her that money to ukraine might flow if -- if the ukrainians publicly committed to those political investigations involving the 2016 election and the bidens so what does that tell you? >> well, what we clearly know is that the president of the united states held up $391 million in foreign military aid designed to help our allies and help defend our allies and our national interests against russia who had invaded eastern ukraine and taking over crimea all for the purpose of using it as extortion money to get dirt on a political opponent and that is the situation we're dealing with. >> so does this raise questions about the accuracy of ambassador kurt volker's sworn testimony? >> well, i think what we've seen
witness after witness with the exception of ambassador sondland is clear proof that not just did the president ask for specific action by the president of ukraine on the call that we have the transcript of -- not a transcript but a memorandum. but what we are finding with this testimony is that there is an extensive set-up and cover-up that took place before that call and after that call. >> i want to point out in fairness to ambassador sondland, he did revise or refresh his testimony under oath and he came around to the conclusion, yes, for all practical purposes, there was that so-called quid pro quo in that addendum that he filed. >> yes, he did have selective amnesia there for a while. but since he had the opportunity to see the other opening statements and testimony of the other witnesses, he did modify his testimony and did say just
that. >> the deputy assistant correct cooper also said all of the senior leaders in the national security area were unified that this money for ukraine was absolutely essential. so how do you find out why exactly that money was frozen? >> we know exactly why the money was frozen. it was frozen by the president of the united states telling mulvaney to hold it. >> let me -- hold on first. but do you have that specifically, that it went from the president to mulvaney and then that order was given? because mulvaney, as you know, has not yet testified. how do you know the president directly ordered him to make that commitment? >> based on the testimony of the witnesses, they were told either directly or indirectly from mulvaney that it was the decision made at the top. it was the president's decision. >> because the white house acting chief of staff mulvaney asked the court to weigh in on whether he needs to testify in your inquiry. he could have simply refused to comply as the president wanted.
so how do you interpret that, that he wants to join this other pending lawsuit? >> well, i think it is against the law that mulvaney and any other member not testify, not honor a duly issued subpoena. so yes, we fully expect mulvaney to testify. we would like to see bolton testify, and any other individuals who have declined to testify even though a constitutionally protected subpoena has been submitted to them. >> i think it is fair and i'm sure yule agree that testify from both mulvaney and the former adviser john bolton could be incredibly valuable to this investigation so why not wait for the lawsuit to play out in court? >> i'm hopeful that the lawsuit will get settled quickly in that we could get them in either in a closed hearing with a deposition or a public hearing determined by chairman schiff but i do believe the testimony would be very, very helpfu to the process we have undertaken.
>> congressman harley ruda, thank you for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. we've got more on the breaking news coming up. new testimony just released from a senior pentagon official question-and-answer session with house impeachment investigators. i see an unbelievable opportunity. i see best-in-class platforms and education. i see award-winning service, and a trade desk full of experts, available to answer your toughest questions. and i see it with zero commissions on online trades. i like what you're seeing. it's beautiful, isn't it? yeah. td ameritrade now offers zero commissions on online trades. ♪
we're following breaking news on this veterans day. house investigators just released moments ago another transcript of the testimony of the trump impeachment investigation. joining us now, senator jack reed of rhode island, the top democrat on the senate armed services committee. senator thanks so much for joining us. you oversee the department of defense. as you've just heard the deputy assistant of defense testified that she learned in late august that money appropriated by congress would likely flow if -- if the ukrainians committed to investigations that president trump wanted, political investigations involving the bidens so how concerning is that? >> it is terribly concerning. the aid that we voted for on a bipartisan basis in the house and senate and signed by the president was designed to aid an ally in direct confrontation with russia and they invaded
ukraine and they are fighting through proxies and trying to destabilize the ukraine government. this aid was essential and not just essential for the ukrainians, essential to maintain the integrity of our position in europe, along with our nato allies. so to use this as a -- attempt to extort or somehow shake down a foreign government is outrageous. if that is the case. we have to establish that. >> and she also testify that all of the national security leaders were on the exact same page, that ukraine needed this money and it was essential. you served on the senate appropriation committee, how irregular was this hold-up, this last-minute holdup and the aid sus pended for the time being? >> it is very usual. because again as you point out
ukraine des trat-- desperately needed this money. they are in a day to day contest with the russians they need the support both in terms of not only their operational capacity but also the signal of political support by the united states and the government of the ukraine and to hold it up is just -- it mind-boggling and to hold it up without any sort of public discussion or communication with congress that might be incident to another situation where there is questions that the money is not being spent well or we'll have to restrict some type of funding because they're not ready to accept it yet, none of that was readily apparent during this time. >> what evidence have you seen that so far, at least so far, that explains why that military aid to ukraine was put on hold? what was the explanation you've seen and were given? >> i have no explanation that i was given. we were making inquiries,
several colleagues and then it became so widespread so you had so many people interested in getting this aid to the ukrainian government that we were calling and not getting any real response it is just not happening, it is not happening. again, this is a situation where the aid was critical for the defense of someone who is on the front line against soviet expansion in middle europe and also someone -- a country that needs our support because they're going through a very difficult political struggle as well as a military struggle. >> as you know, the public televised hearings in the impeachment inquiry will begin wednesday morning. what will you be watching for in these hearings, senator? >> well, this is an opportunity on a bipartisan basis for questions to be asked of the witnesses. ambassador taylor is someone who is a remarkable reputation, a
graduate of west point and a combat leader in vietnam and a dedicated public servant. i think we'll be looking not only for the facts but also the demeanor of the witnesses and i think with the ambassador you'll find someone who is committed his whole life to public service and that will resonate. the big judge will be the american people. they have to look at a process to see that it is fair, to see that both sides had the opportunities to question and also to measure the -- not just what is said but the veracity and the character of the witnesses and i think, again, that will be critical this week as we begin opening hearings, as the house begins them. >> as the hearing begin on wednesday, the president will welcome president erdogan of turkey to the white house. is that appropriate, senator? you've watched this closely. considering the u.s. believes turkish-backed forces may have
committed war crimes in syria and specifically i'm referring to what james jeffrey the special enjoy testified before congress on october 23rd when he said, quote, we've seen several incidents which we consider war crimes. >> no, i think it is completely inappropriate. i think president trump should have informed president erdogan when he crossed the border with at least a tacit approval of the president that a visit to washington would be completely inappropriate. we have many issues with the turks. issues that have to be resolved. not only their situation in syria but also their acquisition of the s-400 anti-defense system from these russians. we have a host of issues. and to give a presidential visit, i think, just undercuts all of our real leverage in terms of talking seriously with erdogan about the future of turkey and the future of nato and what he will do in syria.
>> could -- >> he's proposed for example. >> go ahead. finish your thought. >> no, he's proposed for example of relocating hundreds of thousands of syrian sunnis into kurdish land and that could be a explosive move on the part of igniting tensions between the kurds and others and that is the kind of behavior that the -- that can't be tolerated and he's talking about it very glibly. >> you think that potentially could alienate some of your republican senate colleagues who are also as worried as you are about the president's syria policy and the same senators by the way he'll need to stand by him if there is a full-scale trial, impeachment trial in the senate. >> well just looking at the situation in turkey, yes, i think it will. i think they're quite concerned, many of them, about what is happened. we walked away from an ally that fought with us to destroy isis.
the least to degrade it significantly if not destroyed it. that is one of the concerns that we have. it will reconstitute itself but they lost 10,000 fighters and we were able to operate tragically lost six or seven special forces operators and that is a great loss to their families and to the country. but compared to the suffering of the kurds, it is quite a difference. and we're also worried now about whether the kurds could maintain those prisons in which isis, hard-core isis and some international fighters are held. whether they will abandon those positions to defend their villages as the turks move down. i know sort of the department of defense is trying to back-fill after the president announced dramatically but i think also very foolishly that we're pulling all of our forces out and they're now trying to back-fill with several hundred troops to go in there but it is
all without any plan, it is impulsive and doesn't recognize the sacrifice of our allies and it leaves us in the position throughout the entire middle east of whether any country could trust what we do. >> senator, thank you for joining us. we appreciate it. >> thank you we have more breaking news. in addition to the one transcript that was released about half an hour or so ago from the senior defense department nor transcript are being released. we're going through them. stay with us. much more on all of the breaking news right after this. we made usaa insurance for members like martin.
an air force veteran made of doing what's right, not what's easy. so when a hailstorm hit, usaa reached out before he could even inspect the damage. that's how you do it right. usaa insurance is made just the way martin's family needs it - with hassle-free claims, he got paid before his neighbor even got started. because doing right by our members, that's what's right. usaa. what you're made of, we're made for. usaa
♪ ladies and gentlemen mini is a different kind of car. for a different kind of drive. ♪ ladies and gentlemen for the drive to create a new kind of family car, that became a new kind of race car. for the drive to rebel, zag. for the drive that's inside you. and inside us. that's the drive under the hood of every mini. because every mini is... for the drive. ♪ ♪'cause no matter how far away for you roam.♪ys.♪ ♪when you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze.♪ ♪for the holidays you can't beat home sweet home.♪
the united states postal service goes the extra mile to bring your holidays home. that could allow hackers devices into your home.ys and like all doors, they're safer when locked. that's why you need xfinity xfi. with the xfi gateway, devices connected to your homes wifi are protected. which helps keep people outside from accessing your passwords, credit cards and cameras. and people inside from accidentally visiting sites that aren't secure. and if someone trys we'll let you know. xfi advanced security. if it's connected, it's protected. call, click, or visit a store today.
we're following breaking news in the trump impeachment investigation. house committees just now releasing more transcript of witness testimony. let's bring back our cnn political correspondent sara murray. two more transcript from state department officials just released. >> these are from catherine croft and christopher anderson both state department officials and they lay out the extent to
which -- in which giuliani they had a hard time -- and thanks kurt volker for keeping her out of the mess and recalled having a conversation where he acknowledged, yeah, we need to get this effort in line and out of the way. essentially so we could go back to policy making as usual. and christopher anderson's testimony he recounts similar concerns about the way that rudy giuliani's efforts were sort of messing up what they were essentially trying to do at the state department and all of the ways kurt volker was trying to work either with rudy giuliani or around rudy giuliani to move forward with ukraine policy. so it does sort of give you more context about the shadow diplomacy effort rudy giuliani was carrying out and the concern it was causing, wolf. >> it is significant. hundreds and hundreds of pages of sworn testimony, the transcript released, getting ready for wednesday morning when the public televised hearings
begin. i know you're going through the transcripts. we'll get back to you. right now i want to bring in our experts, our analysts to discuss what we're learning right now. susan hennessey, laura cooper overseeing russia, ukraine,ure asia policy and she testified that the ambassador to ukraine kurt volker now the former ambassador told her that aid to ukraine might be released if ukraine would launch investigations that president trump was seeking. so how significant do you believe this revelation is? >> it is significant because it is yet another official acknowledging that there really was an explicit quid pro quo here. this is about exchanging military aid for politically motivated investigations that the president wanted to happen. cooper is not the first person to testify about this. b -- and but yet another individual. there is significant information in the transcripts including on
conversations with kurt volker and mick mulvaney that this is being driven by the president himself. that president trump was the person who wanted these investigations, who was concerned about this aid in the first instance. now cooper said that at the department of defense they were concerned that the president might lack authorization for this. that is a little bit of a coded way of saying, they were worried that it wasn't consistent with the law. that the president was only allowed to use these funds for a limited purpose only allowed to hold them up for limited purposes and they said they told the white house if you want to -- if you want to use these funds or delay the funds, you need to notify congress and notify them of a possible reprogramming action and she said that didn't happen. so it is more indication that nothing that was happening here was happening for legitimate purposes or within the ordinary or regular order that we would expect but instead this really was about the president of the united states leveraging congressionally-appropriated military funds to turn a foreign government into his opposition researchers for his presidential campaign. >> that is very significant.
chris cillizza, does cooper's testimony strengthen the democrats' case for impeachment? >> yeah, wolf, just to echo susan for a minute, details matter and with cooper it matters in the timing when the ukrainians became aware that the aid -- the military aid might be tied in with the -- announcing the investigations. because there has been a lot of debate about that and this would place it in early august, according to her testimony. more broadly, think when you see the two state department officials and cooper and including coming in the open hearings, it adds to a very rich tapestry that honestly is pretty broadly consistent. if i was president trump or his republican allies, that is what would worry me the most. you have people from different bodies, state department, the pentagon, white house-related and all of these people and ambassadors and all of the people talking and say, well
this is what i heard, this is what i knew and that is what i was told and what a assumed but it is not contradictory, it all kind of meshes together into a broader picture that i think shows relatively clearly there was both a before, during and after. it wasn't just this july 25th call. a concerted effort to pressure in exchange for these investigations for military aid. there is not anything i've seen that suggests that there is credible evidence that doesn't make that case. and you why to ask yourself, are all of the people lying, are all of the people never trumpers or part of the deep state? it seems very unlikely. >> that is important point as well. samantha vin grad, you have information and how unusual is the secretary of defense described. >> this process that is described and echoed in other depositions is a process that
you would expect to read about in a dictatorship where a leader rules by fiat in his national security team scrambles to find a legal justification and to sell a bill of goods to legislators and the american people about why the president has made a certain decision. i was in nsc meetings for four years never had i heard a room of deputy cabinet officials struggling to find a legal ju justification after the president decides to release the funds and there is a process to put a hold on security assistance. if ukraine had failed to meet anti-corruption benchmarks, there is an entire process that the department of defense would have gone through and they would have notified congress. this is the opposite of that. and what we saw is the national security team having to spend their time finding a legal justification for the president using foreign assistance as an extortion slush fund rather than doing their actual jobs which is
using this foreign assistance and ol' kating it to deterred russia in ukraine's face. >> mark, laura cooper, the secretary of defense is the only pentagon witness who testified so far. so you've gone through it. what stands out to you from her testimony? >> well she puts the importance of the ukraine aid in context. why did the united states find the aid to ukraine so important and she said that ukraine is on the front line to deter russian aggression. ukraine and the republic of georgia. so it was kind of a no-brainer for several years that in the american policy-making world that ukraine should get this aid. and of course this is yet another example of someone who is working in the trenches on ukraine policy puzzled about this decision that is coming from above. she has limited visibility and why this decision is being made and she asks her superiors and asked her colleagues about what is happening and so the question
of course is whether it will ultimately go back up to the top to president trump and whether some of the witnesses can supply that information. i think to echo something chris said, in a way, despite this blizzard of name and blizzard of different positions and thousands of pages of testimony, in a way over the last week the story has kind of simplified around the idea that there was aid held up for the specific reason of getting something, a promise from the ukraine government to help the president and can they -- can the democrats translate that story into a narrative that is compelling and will resonate with the public. >> and it is important, sabrina siddiqui, remember this is almost $400 million authorized and appropriated by the house and senate, signed into law by the president of the united states, now there are provisions within that law for the president to withhold that aid but these officials are basically saying they weren't given any explanation other than
mulvaney saying that the office of management and budget had decided to suspend the aid for the time being. so what does that say to you? >> well it reinforces that there was widespread concern among career officials as to why there was this hold on critical u.s. military assistance to ukraine. and what you see in laura cooper's testimony is someone actually laying out why that aid is so important. not just with respect to peace negotiations between ukraine and russia but also as a matter of national security for the united states. and what she really is doing is once again confirming that the reason behind the freeze on that aid may, in fact, have been for ukraine to announce investigations that were sought by the president for political gain. so it really is a fairly simple story for democrats to paint in these public hearings this week on capitol hill. and i think this is yet another critical piece of evidence that
bolsters the argument that they're trying to make before the american public. >> three sets of transcripts just released within the past few moments. we'll have a lot more on all of the breaking news in the impeachment inquiry. we're counting down to the town hall in iowa with former vice president joe biden. and a short time ago a new poll was released showing biden leading in another important early state, new hampshire. our political director david chalian is joining us from eya now. this poll comes at a crucial time for the former vice president. what is his narrow lead in new hampshire according to this new poll, tell us about the race. >> reporter: yeah, i'm sure it sounds like he'll come on the stage tonight with a spring in his step. we haven't seen him hold a lead in a poll in new hampshire, the first in the nation primary state, since july. and as you know, here in iowa, wolf, he's in a real tight four-way battle in the polls that we see now and so this is
very welcome news in the biden camp. he was just campaigning in new hampshire at the end of last week and did that official filing in the secretary of state's office and he even told dana bash when she spent time with him that he thought he was going to perform better than people might expect him to in the first two states. and so this poll is some evidence that he is still very much being able to hold on to their lead in new hampshire which is critical for him. especially, wolf, if he comes up short in iowa and can rebound in new hampshire where next door you have elizabeth warren from massachusetts and bernie sanders from vermont, that would be a big moment for joe biden to sort of regain control of this race should he indeed come up short in iowa. >> there is also new reporting just out the other day and we heard about michael bloomberg, the former mayor of new york city, potentially throwing his hat into the democratic presidential contest and now
word that duval patrick the former governor of massachusetts may think of doing the same thing? >> reporter: yeah, "the new york times" just reported that the former massachusetts governor duval patrick is having conversations with some democrats about toying with the idea of a latent ranc -- late entrance into the race. and it boggles the mind here a little bit that we're now 80 something days to the iowa caucus and dealing with reports of people considering getting in instead of the field narrowing. obviously broadly it said that there are some folks who are consulting with democrats who think that the current field of candidates, nobody has emerged as the certain sort of dragon share that could take down donald trump definitively and that is leaving some conversation among some donors, among some democratic establishment folks about looking for somebody else in this race. now we don't know that duval
patrick will get in. he once considered this race as did michael bloomberg and rejected the idea, chose not to get in the race. we'll see if this is a real reconsideration and that he actually takes the leap. we've been reaching out to sources and we have not -- he's not yet put in all of the traditional calls that you put into leaders in iowa and in new hampshire to start building something. so we'll await for the word from patrick's team. >> let me read one sentence from "the new york times" report just posted. mr. patrick told party leaders that he doesn't think any of the candidates running at established political momentum and thinks there is an opening for someone who could unite liberals and moderate democrats according to those that have spoken to him. that is pretty significant, david. >> it is. and when michael bloomberg's team made a similar pronouncement last week that they're looking at this field and they don't see someone yet that put it altogether, that just looks like they are the fully unified candidate that the
party believes wholeheartedly is the one that could beat trump. as you know, poll after poll tells us what democrats want more than anything else is somebody who can defeat the president. what you just read there from the times is test test looking for that candidate that can stitch together what elizabeth warren and bernie sanders has on the left of the party and joe biden and pete buttigieg have on the more mo moderate side of the party but it's late. former vice president joe biden takes questions in the cnn democratic presidential hall late tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern. there's more evidence of chaos in the administration from the president's former ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley.
there's a growing number of books now painting an alarming picture what's going on inside the white house. >> there is. in her new book, nikki says two of the highest profile members in the early days, rex tillerson and former chief of staff, john kelly would brazenly try to subvert the president. it's the second book that presents an organized resistance to trump within his own ranks. >> reporter: an exclusive account of white house officials working against the president from within. from her new book "with all due respect" nikki haley claims former chief of staff tillerson and john kelly undermined president trump and tried to help her to subvert the president according to her excerpts of the book published by the "washington post." kelly and tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the
president they weren't being insubordinate they were trying to save the country. she rejected their overtures. >> to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing and it goes against the constitution and goes against what the american people want. it's offensive. >> there are now two new books with jarring accounts of white house officials who resisted the president. the new book "a warning" by an anonymous senior white house official said senior officials considered resigning en masse last year in a midnight self-massacre to warn the public about trump's behaviors but anonymous said those officials backed off the idea fearing it would destabilize the government. and how those closest to him see the president. >> they see the president riling people up against each other, sewing nothing but division in
domestic affairs and wonder how much the country can take. the people who contemplated sort of saturday night massacre inflicted on themselves were desperate. >> trump's biographers say the books demonstrate how trump tries to project the image of those who speak truth to power while the reality is very different. >> he likes the idea of being perceived to someone who listens to all comers. in fact, when people do push back hard, especially when they're at all public about it he rebels against that and discards those people and done that a half a century in his business and politics as well. >> tonight, biographers are keeping a close eye how trump responds to the two new books and they regard it will feed the president's paranoia. >> the more embarrassing it is to the president's paranoia the
more he doubles down as he always does and insists this is not true and becomes more suspicious of those around him. >> nobody is safe. if vice president pence thinks he is safe because he's been a yes-man all along, he should think again. >> trump and the white house responded to the anonymous book by calling it nothing but lies and a coward. trump responded to the nikki haley book by endorsing it and encouraging people to buy it. tillerson said nothing at all and kelly said providing the president with the best staffing advice so he could make informed decisions was working against trump he is guilty as charged. >> thank you. this coming thursday, nikki haley will be our guest right here in the "situation room" looking forward to that. more breaking news just ahead on the additional witness testimony that was just released and how
it's a beautiful piece of land, so why haven't you started building? tyler's off to college. and mom's getting older. mhm, and eventually we would like to retire. td ameritrade can help you build a plan for today and tomorrow. come with a goal. leave with a plan. td ameritrade. hey fred - it's medicare open enrollment.e.ith a plan. time to compare plans. we're fine with what we have. that's what the johnsons thought until they tried medicare's new plan finder. the johnsons?. we saved a lot on our prescription costs and got extra benefits. how 'bout it, fred. plans change every year. use the new plan finder at medicare.gov . comparing plans really pays. look how much we can save.
happening now, breaking news, new releases. democrats put out impeachment testimony from key witness is including the pentagon leader overseeing policy. right now, a judge is weighing whether a white house chief of staff can join a lawsuit as to who has to testify in the impeachment inquiry. in public, two days away from historic hearings, the first televised impeachment testimony the u.s. has seen in two decades. shadow diplomacy, cnn learned of serious concern inside the state department and