tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN November 17, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
we have local senior living advisors who can answer your questions about dementia or memory care and, if necessary, help you find the right place for your mom or dad. we all want what's best for our parents, so call today. hello again, everyone, and thank you for joining me this sunday. i'm fredricka whitfield. the start of a new week and pivotal testimony in the impeachment inquiry on capitol hill. among those scheduled to appear, president trump's ambassador to the eu, gordon sondland. previous testimony indicates he has firsthand accounts of president trump's policy in ukraine and how much of it may have been tied to pressuring the ukranian president into starting investigations into joe biden
and his son. we're also learning new details from just-released transcripts. a former official on the national security council testifying that sondland told him that u.s. aid to ukraine was conditional to the ukranian president, announcing the quote, opening of investigations into the bidens. republicans, meanwhile, blasting the process saying democrats have wanted to impeach president trump even before these revelations and that the proceedings are unfair. today house speaker nancy pelosi says that is not the case. >> the many things the president does that are completely out of the question that are not impeachable, and they're about the election. but when it comes to violating the constitution of the united states as he undermines our national security, jeopardizes the integrity of our elections, dishonors his own oath of office, that's about impeachment. the president could come right before the committee and speak all the truth that he wants.
he has every opportunity to present his case. but it's really a sad thing. i mean, what the president did was so much worse than even what richard nixon did, but at some point richard nixon cared about the country enough to recognize that this could not continue. >> here with me now, cnn's david shortell. david, good to see you again. several people testifying this week. break it down for us who is expected. >> that's right, fred. eight men and women expected to appear before the house intelligence committee this week, including a number of highly credentialed national security officials, meaning this week could really shape up to be one of the most consequential of the trump presidency. you're looking at the eight men and women right now. you may recognize some of their names. that's because these officials have all testified individually behind closed doors to lawmakers, but this week is when the american public is going to be able to hear from them themselves for the first time. i want to focus in, fred, on two
of the most important witnesses we'll hear from this week. that's ambassador to the eu, gordon sondland, a close ally of the president, and dim ttimothy morrison, a former national security council official. sondland, you'll remember, is a wealthy businessman. he actually gave a million-dollar donation to trump's inaugural committee and that later preceded him becoming ambassador to the european union. his testimony is not supposed to be a slam dunk for the democrats. that is because we are expecting sondland to testify about a phone call he had with president trump in which president trump told him explicitly, i'm not looking for a quid pro quo with the ukranians, as in do not make the release of military aid contingent on an investigation into joe and hunter biden. but, fred, democrats are likely going to sdplezero in on some o conversations we've been learning sondland had, including one over the summer where he allegedly told colleagues that
president trump doesn't care about the ukranians and that he really only cares about an investigation into joe biden. the other witness, timothy morrison, was, up until late last month, the top russian expert at the white house. he is expected to kind of set the credentials up of sondland. he can testify about conversations he had with sondland in which the ambassador to the eu described that he was working at the behest of president trump as he engaged with the ukranians about these political investigations. >> and tim morrison was concerned about this secret server or the place where the documentation for the transcripts of the july 25th phone call would be placed. what were his concerns, or what more might he testify on that? >> fred, that's actually something we just learned about yesterday for the first time, and it's new and important. what we learned was the answer to a questin that we've had for a few months now, which was why was the july 25th phone call, why was a transcript of that --
this is, remember, the phone call where president trump asks ukraine's leaders to do us a favor. why was the transcript of that phone call put on the most highly classified server at the white house? it was a move that at the time concerned a lot of officials and they called it unusual. well, according to this testimony that was released by lawmakers yesterday that morrison had previously given, that phone call's transcript was moved into the server as a mistake. morrison testified and is likely to repeat later this week that both he and another security council official, john eisenberg, felt that the call should be restricted in some capacity, but that the actual act of putting it on this highly classified server, well, that was a mistake, fred. >> david shortell, thank you so much for that. we're going to follow up on that. with me is sean turner, the former director of communication for national intelligence, and national security analyst. sean, good to see you. your reaction now to this transcript and the concern that
tim morrison had about the transcript of the call being, you know, placed in this special server. >> yeah, fred, well, you know, i looked at that transcript and read it thoroughly. it really comes down to what mr. eisenberg's definition of mistake is. fred, there are a series of very deliberate steps that are necessary to move a transcript like this from an unclassified environment to a classified environment where special access programs exist. it's highly unlikely that the person who took those steps made a mistake that amounts to essentially a mmisfiling a repo. that is an unlikely scenario. >> it's not plausible to you that it was a mistake in hindsight, or that someone thinks it was a mistake in hindsight. they knew what they were doing. >> absolutely. you would have to know what you're doing. not only are there a number of steps to take, but also you have to have particularly special access to do this, and there is a record of who does this and
when they do it. so that part of it could not have been a mistake. now, fred, it is plausible that mr. eisenberg may have said to someone that these transcripts need to be restricted and he was not clear in his communication. but if he was clear or not, we now know where this particular transcript that had such sensitive information was being treated differently than other transcripts. >> it was also testified by him that the potential fallout, this whole process and change of policy would become partisan if it were leaked. and he testified, you know, about really feeling rather conflicted, if you will, on that and worried and feeling like something, while it may not have been illegal, he testified, he did feel like something was wrong. how potentially damaging do you see this, you know, in that it's been revealed at least by way of the transcript?
he eventually would potentially be called for an open testimony, but how potentially damaging is this? >> absolutely, fred. i think that mr. morrison's motivations here in suggesting that it was wrong are problematic because they are motivated by political concerns. during my time in the previous administration, i can remember only two occasions where phone conversations between the president of the united states and other foreign leaders were moved to a more classified and restricted area, and it's because those discussions involved extremely sensitive operations that would have been compromised if that information had gone to the public. there were no other instances in which that happened, so in this case mr. morrison, mr. eisenberg, you had to look at what their motivations were. in this case it had nothing to do with national security or other methods, but it was because of potential political fallout as a result of this. >> help explain to people why
recordings of the president of the united states, documentation -- can you hear me okay, shawn? it looks like he's lost audio from me about the very topic of recording or being able to understand conversations between the president. we'll try to reestablish with shawn turner or thanks for now. coming up, mayor buttigieg surging in iowa. the latest cnn des moines register poll and the candidates who are neck and neck. another democrat taking a victory lap today? the newly elected governor of louisiana sends a message to president trump. . hot and fresh, and right to your door. every day, get two medium, one-topping pizzas for just $6.99 each. hello to america's most loved pizza. hello marco's.
for the second time this month, president trump did not get the big win he expected if a deep red state. the democratic governor of louisiana has won saturday's runoff election. governor john bell edwards in a rowly beat republican eddie rispone to continue a second term. >> our share of love for louisiana is always more important than the partisan differences that sometimes divide us. as for the president, god bless his heart. >> despite president trump campaigning in louisiana twice in the past two weeks, it didn't
help rispone win the race. the president also backed the losing republican in the kentucky gubernatorial race. meantime, iowa now has a new democratic frontrunner. according to a des moines register poll, mayor pete buttigieg now has a clear lead in the hawkeye state with 25% support. that's a 16% increase since september. in the meantime, elizabeth warren, joe biden and bernie sanders all essentially tied as they battle for second place. what's behind the mayor's sudden surge in the polls and how significant is this for him heading into wednesday night's debate? >> reporter: well, fred, it's clear that the time and resources that pete buttigieg has poured into iowa are paying off for him right now. you take a look at those polls and compare that to where he was back in september, and he has gotten a huge boost over the
past two months, a 16-point percent increase. and you look at elizabeth warren and bernie sanders, they've dropped a few points each. buttigieg has been pouring a lot of resources into the state. he has over 100 staff efers on ground there, 22 field offices. last night pete buttigieg was asked to respond to this. take a listen. >> that's extremely encouraging, obviously. we have felt a lot of momentum on the ground. even thousand we knnow we know well known as my competitors. it's encouraging, but at the same time there is a long way to go. >> reporter: one more interesting point in that poll is that 30% of democratic caucus goers have made up their mind,
but two-thirds said they could still change who they're supporting. speaking later today, we'll see if he's able to get more momentum building up at these polls. coming up, a presidential confidant convicted. now democrats and republicans are sboresponding to the roger stone verdict, next. of nowhere. those are the ones that show up and change everything. hi, i'm joan lunden. when my mother began forgetting things, we didn't know where to turn for more information.
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the my account app makes today's xfinity customer service simple, easy, awesome. not my thing. welcome back. another one of the president's associates is now a convicted criminal. trump's long-time political adviser roger stone has been found guilty of witness tampering and lying to and obstructing congress, and he potentially faces decades behind bars. since the president took office, roger stone is now the sixth person in trump's orbit to be
convicted as part of the russia investigation into the 2016 election. joining me right now, cnn political commentator anna navar navarro, republican strategist, and director for the presidential black caucus, and strategist robert zimmerman. good to see all of you. >> thank you. >> anna, what happened to the president's edict that he will only be surrounded by the best people and now six have been convicted? >> birds of a feather flock together. look, for way too long, he's been surrounded by people who tell him yes. not only do they tell him yes, they do things he needs to cover up his acts. roger stone has been known for decades as a guy you hire to do the dirty work. i have to tell you, the sacred heart nuns told me not to
rejoice over another person's grief and distress, but i am more than happy that this guy got convicted on all seven counts. >> why is that? >> he's been a jerk. he's attacked people like me, he's attacked brazil, he's attacked so many friends of mine in the vilest of forms, and we're all people of color. he is a racist and mysogenist and he hopes he rots in hell. >> so what if the president gif gives him a pardon. what are your thoughts on that? >> i suspect he's going to pardon him, but i also suspect he has to at least wait until the election. listen, he can pardon him, but the entire world knows who this
guy is. this guy is a convicted criminal now. put that on your tombstone. >> adam schiff, the chair of the intel committee is leaving this phase of the impeachment inquiry. he was in california this weekend, and he was met with cheers and applause when he was at, you know, this party endorsing convention. and he did not mince words in blasting president trump in this manner. listen. >> two years ago i stood before you and i urged you resist, and you did. we are a majority now. we are a majority in one and
another. we will send him back to the golden throne he came from. >> robert, while it might not be unusual that schiff would be, you know, endorsing other democrats being at this convention, but his committee is in the midst of this inquiry, and he wasn't there in washington in the midst of testimony, depositions taking place. so was it appropriate for him to be where he was? was it even appropriate to call the president a charlton and get the audience jazzed there about the potential demise, what he would hope the potential demise of the president would be? >> of course, it was. let's be clear -- >> why is it appropriate, in your view? >> absolutely appropriate and fine. let's be clear, this impeachment inquiry is not about adam schiff. it's about donald trump, the circle he surrounds himself and the strategy of bribing a foreign government, undermining our national security so that
donald trump could get personal information about an opponent and try to get dirt on the opposition. let's be very clear about why we have this impeachment investigation. so i think it's very important not to be sidetracked about the claims from the republicans about hunter biden, about the issues, about adam schiff giving a speech patat a convention whe he's being nominated. we have a very strict convention right now standing up for our constitution, standing up for our democracy and we're not standing for it. >> does he run the risk of looking too confident, of gloating too much. this is a somber time in america and nobody should come across as celebrating in this time. >> i don't know if he came across celebrating as much as he did becoming vindicated. i think many of us have been
saying since donald trump's campaign began that he was problematic, and it just so happens to be that the rest of the world is catching up. adam schiff has been saying this for some time. i understand the optic of him being at the party convention while he's in the middle of impeachment proceedings, but what i would say is his first constituency before the select committee on intelligence is his home base, and that is in california where he is an elected member of congress. so he has an obligation to be there as well. as far as what is appropriate, i feel like there is a sliding scale these days, and i think it's time for people to call a charl charlatan a charlatan. he has violated ethics rules, he has violated the constitution. there are now many reasons for
calling on his ethics. so if it's being stated that adam schiff is gloating it's just that people are finally catching up. >> our system of justice is working. roger stone's convictions and the other convictions validate and demonstrate the work of our institution. as we see the impeachment inquiry witnesses come forward, they are saving our democracy by holding the president responsible for his crimes. adam schiff is under great scrutiny right now and i think he has to hold himself up to the highest of bars and really try not to, for optics purposes, and for real purposes, come across as looking political. i think the way he has conducted
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this is happening in 13 stadiums all across the country. now if verizon 5g can do this for the nfl... imagine what it can do for you. all right, a major shift in the 2020 democratic presidential field. pete buttigieg is now sitting comfortably at the top in iowa. a new cnn des moines register mediacom poll shows south bend mayor with a significant lead in the first in the nation caucus state with 25% support. elizabeth warren, joe biden, bernie sanders are all virtually tied for second place. my panelists back with me, angela, ana and robert. there they are. ana, you first. this is a six-point jump from where buttigieg was in
september. his campaign is heavily invested in iowa and it appears to be paying off. how did he help make this happen? >> well, i think that there are some kind of candidates who are still believing in the old school which is you go door to door and person to person, and it's clear he is doing a masterful job of connecting with people on the ground. a shameless plug, i do have a podcast with him soon to be announced, and i'll ask him. i think so much of this has to do with making sure that you are not focused on what the headlines say, that you're not even focused too long on what you did on the last debate stage. of course, we know there is another debate coming up this wednesday. it is super, super important that candidates understand what the issues are on the ground in each of the communities in which you have to primary first. the caucuses are first, as we know. i think it's important for him in the momentum that he's building that he starts to do well now. of course, there are questions out about whether or not he
could be surging too soon. we know it's only november and there is a lot of time to -- you know, there is still a lot of time to play ball, but i think we have to appreciate progress for where it is and he certainly is surging in iowa. >> so cnn's ken law caught up with him after these poll numbers came out and asked him how he felt about it. take a listen. sdp . >> this is extremely encouraging, obviously. we have momentum on the ground. even now we know we're not as well known as some of my competitors. it's very encouraging, but at the same time there is a long way to go. >> robert, how should he play this? >> i have to tell you, i'm old school and the way he has played this so far is by doing that on-the-record bus tour in the state, showing up and connecting one on one. it's so pivotal in these early states like iowa and new hampshire. by the way, shameless endorsement? i love angela's podcast, it's
just terrific. right now what's important is that now that mayor pete buttigieg emerged in this position, it's very important not to sit on the lead. he's got to double down because you'll see him at the center of a lot of attention -- >> so don't get too comfortable. >> that's right. there will be a lot of attention on him at the debate on wednesday. he'll get it like elizabeth warren did at the last debate. he's got to not overreact at the criticism and keep his cool and stay on the ground to give his message. he's capable of that, he gets it. 63% are looking for the most electable democrat against donald trump, and that seems to be an overarching issue in all the polling data i've seen. >> maybe that's a message. there was a little in sync with president obama on friday and issued a stern warning to the democrats running for president. >> they like seeing things
improved, but the average american doesn't think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. and i think it's important for us not to lose sight of that. >> so, ana, this new poll, does that underscore what president obama was saying, that voters want perhaps a moderate like buttigieg? >> you know, i was struck when i heard those comments from president obama. man, you know, we've kind of gotten old, right? >> speak for yourself, girlfriend! >> when he was a guy fighting the establishment, remember in 2008, he was a progressive, inspirational leader running against the establishment candidate hillary clinton who he beat. and so there's something, i think, a little funny about him saying this, but i also think there is some truth to it. i've gone to a few events of a
few down here, and i was struck by his authenticity. he is genuinely midwestern nice. he is not putting on an act. i was struck by his practicigma. he's also not excluding anybody, he's trying to be a big tent. there is something very soothing and comforting about pete buttigieg. i knew this guy was on to something when people started to know how to pronounce his name, how to spell it. another thing, listen, hats off to liz smith, his communications director, because another thing they've done that some other campaigns have not is they're not playing hard to get with the press and with people. they're not being inaccessible. >> yeah. >> it used to be the frontrunners played hard to get. these people are incredibly open. they've got the press in the bus, kind of like what mccain did with his straight talk express. and i think it's working because
he's an unknown, he was an unknown, and people have gotten to know him because of that, because of his genuineness. >> that message of inclusion, angela, that is the nucleus of what president obama was saying, inclusion, make sure the tent is wide, the net is cast wide as well. that's a very similar message that came from deval patrick who said, why now? the time wasn't right a year ago, but now he sees because of the polarization, it is time to come up with, you know, a plan that appeals to everybody, and he attributed his own, you know, success as massachusetts governor for being one of inclusion. is that the message now that is going to most resonate whether you're a newcomer or someone who has been in the race for a while? >> i don't think it's one that's not already there, and, you know, being a black woman in
this country, of course i would love to see another black president. i hate to say this, i don't see the pathway for deval patrick. i might end up eating crow on this, but i remember in 2012 when mitt romney was running, and the fact he worked at bayne kapt capital was a problem even republicans. and now we have this republican party becoming extremely more progressive. i think there is a part of our foundation that's rotten and has to be thrown out. it's already broken. it's already torn down. it is what it is. we're not the ones tearing it down, it's the dude in the white house right now that's doing that, right? so my question for deval patrick is, where do you see yourself differentiating in a way that says, i'm going to be republicanlike. that's not going to work. how can you show that you're more progressive or at least
more thoughtful about progressive values than you were in massachusetts? i know it sounds crazy to talk about massachusetts like it's some conserve tiative hotbed, i not. but this is a party that is increasingly more aggressive. when we talk about single payer health care in the ncaa, now it's committed. this is my last point. barack obama opposed reparation and now that's a conversation that every candidate has to answer for. this is an op-ed. i'm quiet, but this is sticky. >> i was just running up against a break and i have people in my ear here. robert, real quick. latecomers, too late for deval patrick and michael bloomberg? >> it's not too late, they haven't shown a rationale for their candidacy, pete buttigieg and joe biden created a revolution for their campaign. going forward, donald trump has
changed american politics. our constitution is under assault, our democracy is under attack, and that's why you see democrats certainly fighting for a progressive agenda, but also most importantly keeping focus on what's at stake in this election, and that's defeating donald trump. basically the only members on his team are on parole. so we have to stand up for the corruption that represents. >> i love you all. beautiful words, beautiful people. fantastic points of view. robert zimmerman, ana navarro, angela rye, thank you. we'll be right back. lan, invest and protect for the future. so they'll be okay? i think they'll be fine. voya. helping you to and through retirement. and everyone has dad's eyebrows! we chose eleanor. it was great-grandma's name. so apparently, we come from a long line of haberdashers,
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this breaking news. president trump is once again attacking a witness in the impeachment inquiry. trump now lashing out at an aide to vice president mike pence. this comes just days after his twitter, the president's twitter offensive during former ambassador marie yovanovitch's testimony. cnn's jeremy diamond is at the white house for us. the president's latest target, jennifer williams. why? >> that's right, fredricka, the answer to that is unclear. we don't know why exactly the
president is going after this employee, but it does fit a pattern that we have seen, fredricka, of the president attacking members of his own administration who have gone forward to testify in this impeachment inquiry, branding them without any evidence as never trumpers. let's read the tweet first from the president. he said, tell jennifer williams, whoever that is, to read both transcripts of the presidential calls and see the just released statement from ukraine. then she should meet with the other never trumpers, who i don't know and mostly never even heard of, and work out a better presidential attack. the diplomat as well as the top official in ukraine, bill taylor, find that startling. this is startling that the president wants to go after a member of his own administration. vice president pence's assistant
karen walterman, i asked her about her attacks on the president, and she said jennifer is a white house employee. jennifer is a state career officer, but she's detailed to the vice president's office like so many other foreign policy advisers. that makes her an adviser to the president. so far the response from mike pence's staff there, as you can see, is distancing, saying she's simply a state department employee. fred? >> wow, that's fascinating. jeremy diamond, thank you so much from the white house. up next, a former federal prosecutor weighs in on this latest turn. these are real people, not actors, who've got their eczema under control. with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves.
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those are the ones that show up and change everything. president trump is once again attacking a witness in the impeachment inquiry. he's now lashing out at an aide to the vice president. mike pence tweeting tell jennifer williams, whoever that is, to read both transcripts of the presidential calls and see the just released statement from ukraine then she should meet with the other never trumpers who i don't know and work out a better presidential attack. she is a long time foreign
service officer. working for the state department. she has been detailed to the vice president. so with me now is shan, how is this kind of tweet directed at her? she is now testifying in the impeachment inquiry. how is this any different than the tweet in real time while the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine was testifying last week? >> it's very similar, fred, and i was thinking about the best way to analogize this. it's not a criminal or a civil trial that's going on. but we might think about it from the point of view of what if president trump swag e eeerred o a courtroom when somebody was the testifying and announced these same words. these were never trumpers. the ambassador caused trouble ef where she went. it would obviously be witness
intimidation. he's trying to tamper with their testimony. the differences were in the political arena of impeachment so trump's people and him, it's like him swaggering into congress and making a speech. that's where the fuzzy area is. but overall, it's obvious to anybody with common sense he's trying to comment on her, trying to get that message her. so i think overall in the impeachment evidence, it's goirng to be hurtful. >> this week, we're exexpecting to hear testimony and among them, president trump am ambassador to the eu. gordon sondland. he has firsthand accounts of the president's policy in ukraine and you know how ukraine may have been pressured. along the way. and of this phone call that apparently sondland was on. where it was overheard by another state department
official who said he heard the president ask about the investigations. so it seems like a lot is on the line for the u.s. ambassador. as well as for president trump. what do you expect from h israel testimony when he's had to clarify a bit? >> well i think the first thing we have to ask is will we actually hear from him because if i were his attorney, i'd be telling him to take the fifth amendment. >> doesn't that make it worse? >> i would make it worse for the president, but it would keep him out of legal jeopardy. not once but twice has he failed to disclose this really important conversation where the president is directly referencing the investigation. the republicans would no longer be able to talk about this as not direct as right out of the president's mouth then sondland helpfully added to that by telling the aide who overheard it that the president's only concern with quote big stuff and big stuff sondland explained are things that help him personally and to look to giuliani, the
president's personal attorney. so these are extremely problematic statements for the president and sondland because he hasn't told anybody before even though twice he's been under oath. >> thank you so much. >> thanks. good to see you. >> you as well. untold stories of american spies is back tonight with a new episode and here is a preview. >> it was an ebay for cyber crime. the scale, the breadth, the speed at which it moved just wiped out any type of case that you would have in the physical world of traditional investigation. >> some of the things you could buy were stolen document, stolen credit card information. health care card. a driver's license. maybe a passport. another item was the fullz. full wallet. >> where they refer to as full
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hello again, everyone and thank you so much for being with me. ahead of a very busy week on capitol hill and the impeachment inquiry. fresh new attacks from president trump lashing out at another witness. this time, he's setting his sights on jennifer williams, an aide to mike pence and a career foreign service officer. she is one of several key officials testifying in public this week beginning on tuesday. president trump's new twit e attack comes just a day after williams deposition testimony was released and in it she's purported as saying she thought the pressure on ukraine was i'm quoting, inappropriate. let's bring in jeremy diamond. so jeremy, what more is the president saying and why is he you know, targeti