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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  November 18, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. trump said he's seriously considering testifying in the house impeachment inquiry. imagine the ratings, mr. president. "the lead" starts right now. eight witnesses, three days, another phone call and a changing story. the damning testimony and presidential anger that could surely dominate the week ahead. it's the other call in the impeachment investigation. the one where a diplomat overheard president trump asking about the investigations. and cnn went to the restaurant in ukraine where this allegedly all went down. plus, in the span of a couple of days mayor pete goes from iowa hero to polling at zero among a critical group of voters in a critical state. the troubling lack of support for him in a brand-new poll.
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welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. and we begin with the politics lead. it could be the most important week of the impeachment inquiry. eight current and former trump administration officials will testify publicly this week, tuesday and wednesday and thursday. testimony which could point directly to evidence that president trump not only wanted ukraine to open investigations into the bidens in 2016 but he did so under the clear threat of with holding a white house visit and hundreds of million dollars in u.s. aid that ukraine desperately wanted. potentially the most significant witness in this all will be trump donor and u.s. ambassador to the european union gordon sondland. in testimony released over the weekend, tim morrison said that sondland told him that he told a top ukrainian official that, quote, what could help him move the aid was if the ukrainian prosecutor general would go to the microphone and announce he's opening the burisma investigation, also known as the
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biden investigation and ambassador sondland believed and related to me that the president was giving him instruction. sondland has already had to amend his testimony. and no one knows how truthful he's going to be when he testifies. especially given the fact that as alex marquardt reports, president trump has been attacking multiple other witnesses. >> reporter: this week poised to be the most blockbuster few days so far in the impeachment inquiry after revelations over the weekend place gordon sondland, the ambassador, at the center of the ukraine scandal because of his direct access to president trump. >> we'll have to wait for sondland's testimony which is direct testimony, not testimony of somebody who said they heard from somebody else that somebody else said something. >> reporter: sondland is set to testify in an open hearing on wednesday. tim morrison testified that sondland was following the president's orders in demanding ukraine launch investigations
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into the bidens and the 2016 election in exchange for a white house meeting and military aid. he was discussing these matters with the president he told lawmakers, according to a new transcript of the closed-door testimony released on saturday. according to morrison, sondland was told that president zelensky must announce the opening of the investigations. morrison also testified that sondland spoke to trump before the july 25th call between the two presidents in which trump asked for a favor. >> we'll be asking him a lot about the events leading up to the july 25th call as well as the day of the call and then subsequent to that. he'll be a very, very important witness. >> reporter: also on that july 25th call was a senior aide in the vice president office jennifer williams and in her testimony she told investigators that parts of the call felt more political than diplomatic. i would say it struck me as unusual and inappropriate.
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it shed light on possible other motivations behind a security assistance hold. williams testifies in public tomorrow. president trump not waiting, instead attacking her on twitter as a never-trumper without any proof and reacting to this comment by nancy pelosi. >> the president could come right before the committee and talk -- speak all of the truth he wants. >> reporter: trump tweeting this morning, i like the idea and will in order to get congress focused again. strongly consider it. the president testifying in congress, almost certainly will not happen. but speak nancy pelosi is rallying troops as both sides dig in. she has written a letter to democrats today saying none of them came to congress to impeach a president but president trump has abused his office for political gain at the expense of national security and goes on to say the verdict could not wait until the next election because trump has already jeopardized that election. >> alex marquardt, thanks so
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much. let me clue -- chew over this with you guys. raise your hand if you think the chance that president trump will testify publicly is zero. interesting. >> zero is hard. >> could i add a qualifier, in person under oath? >> the greatest reality show ever. >> and you think there is a chance he might do it and you do too. >> not zero. >> a .5%. >> you're hedging your bets. >> and that he might apologize some day to somebody. yes, no? >> this is not your show. >> sorry. >> only the moderator can do that. >> i'm surprised. let's start with jennifer williams, the vice president pence aide. yes, she is assigned from the state department but vice president pence picked her to be on the team and said she is a never-trumper and what did the vice president have to say in response to the president attacking his staff.
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>> at this point we've come to expect the president would attack members of his own administration testifying about his activities in this impeachment inquiry. what we had not seen was this response from the vice president. i reached out for comment and said did the vice president have any response to the president attacking an adviser and the response from katie waldman was jennifer is a state department employee. while that may technically be true, she is a state department employee, she is detailed to the vice president's office and her current title is special adviser to the vice president on europe and russia. so the vice president's office clearly trying to put some distance here. i did speak with a couple of folks in pence world today who were disappointed that jennifer williams was kind of put aside in this way. but not surprised necessarily. it is not like the vice president is going to suddenly get cross-wise with the president over one of his advisers testifying on the hill. >> and what is interesting about this, i understand the president calling people never-trumpers, that is his thing. but these are people who actually probably voted for him,
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definitely risked some things to go work for his administration, i'm talking about ambassador bill taylor who came out of retirement to work for president trump, obviously jennifer williams. you don't do this without some sort of personal risk. we have no idea what it will look like in ten years to have trump white house on your resume. >> these are people who have been testifying in open hearings for the last several days are people who have been in public service for decades. they have served under presidents of both parties. democrats do make a point of asking them when they are under oath, are you a never-trumper and they respond no. but we've seen the president go hard after the witnesses and this is something that has made particularly -- all members of congress are pretty uncomfortable. republicans have tried to rationalize it saying the president has the right for free speech to say what they want about the witnesses but republicans after his tweets and going after ambassador yovanovitch on friday have
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distanced themselves from that rhetoric and they want to defend the president but this is something they don't want to touch at this point. >> house speaker nancy pelosi sent a letter to democrats this afternoon responding to some of the republican criticism saying there are some who say no serious wrongdoing was committed because the aid was released but the fact is the aid was released after the whistle-blower exposed the truth of the extortion and bribery and the house launches an investigation. >> the timeline matters. and the aide both matters. and you have a stronger case if the aid does not go and plans change. as to williams, this is an issue with the trump administration shifting extremely transactional loyalty. there is no limb you go out on that he'll saw off whether you're a supporter or someone in the administration but i don't think it matters in this particular instance in a sense of the broader sense of drip, drip of him reacting in this sort of bombastic way to everything as the impeachment
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goes on and he only makes things worse for himself with the tweets. >> as testifying in whitewater in front of ken starr, it is terrifying. it is personally terrifying. they're questioning your integrity, and that is how it feels even worse. you're paying your own legal bill so to your point, jake, these people at some risk to themselves decide to serve my country in this way and now they're paying legal bills, being attacked. i couldn't imagine in bill clinton would have attacked people who had to go in and testify. there was none of that. so it just completely -- for these people to then have to deal with that. and then go back to work. and let's be honest, secretary pompeo is not supportive. >> speaking of pompeo. listen today if he asked if he agreed with president trump's tweets attacking the former ambassador marie yovanovitch and here was his answer. >> i'll defer to the white house
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about a particular statement and the like. i don't have anything else to say about the democrats' impeachment proceeding. >> and so not standing up for his own people. >> and that is part of the pattern here. and democrats will raise the question of witness intimidation with how the president has treated not just jennifer williams but other witnesses and we saw adam schiff do that in live motions during marie yovanovitch's testimony. there are no republicans or white house officials who are happy with the president doing this but that doesn't mean they're publicly rating it. >> no. >> we look at where the phone call between gordon sondland and trump was overheard. and plus whether president trump lied in a separate investigation. about what? that's next. if you have moderate to severe psoriasis,
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in our politics lead the house is now investigating whether president trump lied to special counsel robert mueller. he told mulener written statements that he did not recall discussing wikileaks with roger stone but during stone's trial last week in which he was found guilty, former trump campaign deputy chair rick gates testified that in the middle of the 2016 campaign trump and stone talked about information coming soon that could help trump's campaign. at the same time stone was
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trying to get details about what was coming from wikileaks. joining me now is joaquin castro of texas on the house intelligence committee leading the impeachment inquiry. thanks for joining us. have you seen any conclusive proof that trump lied to robert mueller about this? he said he didn't recall, which is kind of a lawyer trick for not answering a question. >> right. well as you remember, jake, the president refused to go in front of and give live testimony to special counsel bob mueller and submitted written answers to certain questions in the questions oftentimes he would say that he didn't recall. so my mind has been wrapped up in this latest impeachment inquiry but i have to go back and check his responses to see whether he was truthful or not about that. >> the white house has cited a department of justice policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. so if democrats conclude that president trump did lie to mueller, i g-- i guess that woud
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be added to the impeachment inquiry, or the articles of impeachment but you wouldn't ask doj to intervene. >> that is a great issue we'll have to take up and figure out whether, in fact, we believe the president did lie. and if he did, there should be consequences for that. and we'll have to consider it in the articles. >> so you get to question all of the witnesses there week, eight of them in three days. much of the focus on ambassador gordon sondland who other witnesses say claimed to be taking direction from the president directly and that he told the ukrainians directly, sondland, to announce the biden investigation if they wanted the aid to go through. what are you planning to ask sondland about this week? >> that is right. now each of the witnesses, the ones that wife heard in the scif and the ones that the american people have been able to hear from have a firmness idea that there was something wrong with the president asking for a political favor in trying to trade government resources for that favor.
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but ambassador sondland is a key witness. he had obviously direct contact with the president of the united states about this and so in terms of what we want to know, we want to know what orders president trump gave him to ask for the investigation of the bidens and why it looked like they were trading government resources for a political favor to take out a primary rival in the 2020 elections. >> are all eight witnesses, including gordon sondland, expected to show up and testify as opposed to blowing off the hearings or pleading the fifth? >> so far as i know, that is the case. we certainly hope that everybody will step forward and cooperate and, again, i think you see each is one piece of the puzzle here. the president has tried to block other people from testifying. people like john bolton who refuse to come forward and rick perry and mick mulvaney but even with the evidence that we have, as you can see from the polling and the surveys, the american people are convinced that the
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president has done something wrong and the poll i saw today said that 51% of americans believe the president should not only be impeached but removed from office. and there is more evidence to come. >> one of the witnesses set to testify this week is jennifer williams, a state department employee and an aide and adviser to vice president mike pence. president trump tweeted, quote, tell jennifer williams, whoever that is, to read both transcripts of the presidential calls and see the statement from ukraine and meet with the other never-trumper who i don't know and work out a better presidential attack. jennifer williams listened to the call. she doesn't need to read the transcript. she listened to it directly. and she found it inappropriate. and bigger picture, do you see that as witness intimidation? >> yeah, absolutely. this is the president trying to bully people and scare them. and he has a huge megaphone as you know. so when he tweets something out, you're talking about tens of
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millions of people mostly supporters who follow him who then jump all over that person on social media. some people who make threats. so this could turn into a dangerous situation for a witness. so i absolutely believe that it's witness intimidation. >> is that a possible count of impeachment? >> if it was up to me, it certainly would be. >> joaquin castro of texas, thank you very much. good to see you. it is the sight of the overheard call between president trump and the ambassador to the e.u., cnn will go inside of the ukrainian restaurant where it all happened next. i am all about living joyfully. ♪ hello. the united explorer card hooks me up. getting more for getting away.
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we're back with the world lead now and a look inside of the restaurant in ukraine where an ambassador official overheard president trump on a phone call asking about the investigations he wanted from ukraine. president trump was talking to ambassador gordon sondland. and fred pleitgen joins me live outside of the restaurant in kiev, ukraine. and we're not just showing off that we have reporters all over the world, what is interesting is that the setup doesn't seem ideal for a sensitive call with an american president.
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>> reporter: you're absolutely right, jake. it is a beautiful restaurant but for a sensitive call it might not be the best place. it is basically two levels of very open spaces and when we walked in you could hear the chatter at certain tables. there is no separation walls so everybody could hear you if you are inside of the restaurant having a loud phone call in english. but i want to show you something else if you could come with me. one of the places that apparently gordon sondland was as he was inside of the restaurant was right here, this is the terrace area sitting with three of his associates from the embassy and that is closed right now because it is winter. but that terrace is also right next to a road that you could see right here. so if you are sitting on that terrace that means people from the sidewalk could hear you and people from inside of the restaurant can hear you as well. the other thing that we found interesting when we were inside is that there is a huge amount of staff members walking around there. they all wear traditional ukrainian clothes and a restaurant that prides itself on
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great service but you're surrounded by people that could potentially be listening in as well. but the most interesting thing is the staff told us, gordon sondland, the ambassador to the eu, he would be an important guest but not the most important one that they would have had. in fact, the country's president zelensky comes here all of the time and so if you are have a phone call sensitive in english in a loud way there is a good chance that potentially ukrainian officials and potentially staff members of zelensky might be hearing you as well. beautiful restaurant, not a great place for a sensitive call. >> real questions about operational security. thank you. cnn just learned that david holmes, the official in the embassy inside of the restaurant and overheard the call with president trump is now going to publicly testify on thursday. and on wednesday we'll hear from ambassador sondland himself. he'll testify and could reveal if and how president trump was calling the shots as cnn's erica
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hill reports. >> reporter: three days, eight witnesses. >> this is an intense period for the house intelligence committee and this coming week could be the final act. >> reporter: at an increasing focus on one man. gordon sondland. >> he's the one who seemed to have an awful lot of access to the president. >> reporter: sondland the eu ambassador and a million dollar trump donor is scheduled to testify on wednesday amid new questions about his role. >> in the presence of my staff, at a restaurant, ambassador sondland called president trump and told him of his meetings in kiev. >> reporter: on that call just one day after the now infamous july 25th exchange that led to the whistle-blower's complaint. >> i made a perfect call. >> reporter: ambassador sondland told president trump president zelensky would do anything trump asked including launch an investigation into the bidens. >> manu, i understand you have new information. >> reporter: a bombshell
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confirmed late friday in closed-door testimony by a staffer who overheard it. >> he's already admitted -- amended his testimony to say that he told a top ukrainian official that security assistance from the united states, roughly $400 million was like likely tied to the ask for investigations. according to multiple witnesses the reason why he knows that is because of a conversation he had with president trump. >> reporter: tim morrison a former security council official set to testify on tuesday told lawmakers last month that sondland was acting at trump's direction when he encouraged ukraine to announce the investigations and described the ambassador as a problem, according to newly-released transcripts. >> new details are piling up quickly -- >> reporter: morrison listened in on the july 25th call as did jennifer williams an adviser to vice president pence who will appear on tuesday and said the call struck her as unusual.
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alexander vindman raised concerns after listening to the call. he, too, is slated to appear on tuesday. >> there is no one star witness that this whole case will rise or fall on that we know of right now but i think vindman is another brick in the wall that house democrats are trying to build. >> reporter: former representative to ukraine kurt volker defended the president's actions in closed-door testimony saying there was no leverage implied. >> there was no linkage and further testimony will confirm that multiple times. >> we have text messages from volker and sondland. >> reporter: volker's private text message the morning of the july 25th call revealed ukrainian officials pushing for a white house meeting. volker writing to an aide for zelensky, assuming president z convinces trump he will investigate, get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we'll nail down a date for the visit
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to washington. good luck. on august 9th, sondland messages volker. i think potus really wants the deliverable. going on to suggest volker should ask for the ukrainian president's aid in crafting a, quote, draft statement so we can see exactly what they propose to cover. volker will also appear on tuesday. >> kurt volker, let's remember, is a former career foreign service officer. kurt volker knew what normal foreign policy looks like. >> reporter: the final witness fiona hill is expected to see private interest driving u.s. policy and high stakes into a explosive week of testimony. >> we're adjourned. >> and thanks to erica hill for the reporting. is the impeachment inquiry changing any minds of any voters in key battleground states? we'll go live to a county president trump won by just 109 votes in 2016.
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our 2020 lead, many democrats and republicans think that impeachment is helping their side. a new cnn des moines register media poll of iowa shows 60% of republican voters say impeachment is a political winner for trump and a smaller number of democrats, 45%, think it is easier for their party to win in 2020. miguel marquez is looking at how impeachment is playing in another swing state, wisconsin. >> reporter: third generation
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farmer greg lore on the fence. >> in 2020, what are you going to do? >> still undecided. >> reporter: dairy cows and harvesting a late crop a bigger worry than impeachment. >> i think they should just forget about that and just worry about the issues at hand and try to help people. they're just -- there is going to be a new election in another year. >> reporter: on impeachment, wisconsin, northwest of madison, divided as ever. farm land and picture-postcard towns where the ringling brothers got their start and trump won by 109 votes. doris is an independent who voted for hillary clinton but she is not sure there is enough to remove him from office. >> we need to be unified. we're not making progress in america. we're going downhill. >> reporter: the county's
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divisions obvious at a regular democratic protest of the president they get support as much as thumbs down among other less plig-- less polite gesture. co-owners of the touchdown tavern are madder at conservatives and voted third party in 2016 and she's opposed to abortion but is considering a democrat. >> can either of you see yourselves voting for a democrat in 2020 and which one, if so? >> boy, that was a pained expression. >> i will tell you that i love andrew yang. >> he's very smarts. >> and funny. >> reporter: on impeachment they have not decided whether the president crossed the line. >> i don't think it is a witch hunt or a waste of taxpayer dollars. i think we need to go through this. >> reporter: veteran and business owner and independent voter greg snell doesn't like trump but impeachment --
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>> well i believe it is a pretty drastic step. whether i like the pan or not is immaterial. impeachment is -- it's pretty drastic. >> reporter: dan shea lives paycheck to paycheck and he voted for trump and now he switched parties. >> where is sauk county now? >> a tossup. he'll have to come here and work his butt off and try to win this state back. >> reporter: now both parties are going to contest sauk countries and the democrats have their convention here and the republicans say it is trending more conservative so they think they could win at the end of the day the way the electoral college is shaping up the ten votes in this state could decide who sits in the oval office. >> miguel marquez. and we'll check back in with the voters of sauk county, wisconsin, to see how views evolve in the key battleground state throughout the impeachment inquiry. let's chat about this. and this isn't so theoretical because there have been some
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elections in the last few weeks and we've seen democrats win the kentucky governor's race and the louisiana governor's race and do well in virginia. it doesn't seem like it's necessarily hurting democrats. although i don't know that it is helping them either. >> i was thinking about it this way. there was a lot of coverage in the run-up to the governor race that perhaps the republican candidates were seizing on the impeachment to motivate conservative voters and bring out the base and that didn't happen. it did not turbo charge the base like the cavanaugh issue did last year. and what the president did is he personalized the race so much. it is one thing to go in and rescue a struggling gubernatorial candidate and we saw that in kentucky and in louisiana. but he really made it about himself. do this for me. go out and vote for me. send a message to people
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nationwide and people in washington and that didn't work. >> and the president struggled to convert his basis of support for him and translate that and push that over to other republican candidates. >> obama had that problem, too. it doesn't translate. >> and right. and that is why i think as we prepare for this to head to the senate side, as we expect the house to impeachment president trump, what does that do for republican support there? the president has been relying on them and relying on fact he has the base, republicans know they need his base so that is something to think about. >> do you think it is a wash. >> i think it is a little bit of a wash. but the danger for trump is that people are just sick of the drama. and all of the tweeting that he's been doing i think reminds people that he's just -- it is all about him and this sort of nastiness and tearing people down and we've seen movement among those white suburban women. >> i'll close with the reminder that i could now echo president obama where he talked about policy and i'm going to talk about impeachment. the rest of the country particularly swing states are not twitter and they'll react
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differently than liberal twitter to impeachment and policy and democrats should be careful. >> stick around because we'll talk about 2020 next after good news, mayor pete buttigieg is polling lower than marianne williamson in one key group in one key primary state. stay with us. forget about vacuuming for months. the roomba i7+ with clean base automatic dirt disposal and allergenlock™ bags that trap 99% of allergens, so they don't escape back into the air. if it's not from irobot, it's not a roomba™
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in our 2020 lead today, south bend, indiana, mayor, pete
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buttigieg riding a high from the new cnn poll putting him at the very top of the heap in iowa. but today he's in atlanta working to shore up what another poll shows as a glaring proble with his campaign. his lack of support for a key demographic, african-american voters. a new quinnipiac poll from south carolina shows mayor pete has 0% support among black voters. that is right. zero. clearly a drag on his overall numbers in south carolina where he is at 6% with joe biden leading the pack at 33%. let's chat about this. karen, you're the democrat at the table. what is the problem? why can't pete buttigieg make any end roads with black voters? >> they don't trust him. and what you hear is that it goes back to his role as mayor of south bend, indiana, and the challenges with the black community and the fact that his answer was, well we tried and a failed. and people liked that answer in the beginning because that is being honest but if you're black
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people in that community but we took the impact of the fact that you failed and they couldn't come up with a good answer yet. and so i think that has just sort of continued this lack of trust. >> and listen, mary katharine, to 2020 candidate former secretary of hud huly an castro talking about mayor pete. >> i believe mayor buttigieg has a real problem with black voters. if you can't excite people and speak to the african-american voter, in a genuine way based on a track record, and it is too risky to be at top of the ticket. >> i don't know about the buttigieg part of that. but what do you think of the overall assessment? >> i think it is a problem for any candidate if they're polling zero in this demographic. now we've seen instances where black voters in the south carolina and in the south in the democratic primary have decided once they see that someone proved his metal as barack obama did they quickly move over to
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that candidate. but i don't see the opportunity, maybe winning iowa is the opportunity for pete buttigieg to do that and say, look, i'm the guy that could put -- i can pull this off. >> and in iowa he's polling ahead 25%. that is big. the next in line is elizabeth warren and nine points behind him and followed by bide and bernie sanders at 15%. he's nine points ahead of the closest rival elizabeth warren who people a few weeks ago, days ago, thought was the front-runner. a pretty remarkable rise in that state. >> and a colossal jump of where he was in the cnn register and monmouth polls. that is what will make the debate performance on wednesday night. we saw how elizabeth warren was perceived to be the front-runner just by the fact that everybody else on the stage was going after her. and so it seems clear that mayor
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pete will be a major target of the other candidates on the debate stage on wednesday and how they go after him, whether it is his record with the black community, whether it is his positions on the medicare for all issue, it will be interesting. >> and one of the things he's trying to do is cast himself as not necessarily more moderate when it comes to policies but also -- but also in temperament. president trump brose warned democratic candidates most voters don't want to tear down the system and here is what mayor buttigieg said about that. >> the presidency that i'm envisioning is one that delivers big and bold changes and answers and also seeks to do it in a way to unify and include as many as possible. i reject the idea that the bigness or boldness of an idea or proposal should be measured by how many people it angers. >> look, i mean, obviously this gets to the core of the
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electability argument that democratic voters are having this cycle and we're entering a cycle where every voter wants to be a pundit and looking at this through the lens of an election analyst on tv and that is kind of impacting how people are kind of thinking this through. again, this also with pete buttigieg's strong showing in iowa shows the ground game and the amount of money spent on tv and there are several months to go. and between now and the iowa caucus, a potential impeachment trial in the senate where you have several senators like elizabeth warren on stage and pete buttigieg will be in iowa. >> and let me close. i agree with president obama. >> thank you for saying that. is the man behind president trump's hardline immigration policy emails show ties to websites and organizations pushing white nationalist conspiracy theories. stay with us. they answered 410 questions in 8 categories
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about vehicle quality. and when they were done, chevy earned more j.d. power quality awards across cars, trucks and suvs than any other brand over the last four years. so on behalf of chevrolet, i want to say "thank you, real people." you're welcome. we're gonna need a bigger room.
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in our national lead, the white house standing by stephen miller. but they are not denying the legitimacy of a trove of emails given by a former editor at breitbart to the southern poverty law center that the certainty shows miller as a senate aide before trump won pushing a white nationalist agenda. sara sidner looked at the 900 emails between miller and breitbart. >> reporter: a trove of emails released by the southern poverty law center show white house adviser stephen miller pushing
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white nationalism to breitbart. when he still worked for senator jeff sessions he touted the dangers of allowing hurricane victims from mexico to come to the u.s. they will all get tps, he writes, that is temporary protection status. he goes on to write, that needs to be the weekend's big story. tps is everything. then he sends then breitbart staffer katie mccue an article from white nationalist website v-dare of the dangers of tps. in 2018, well after miller joined trump's inner circle, the president ended the tps status for several countries including central america and africa. mccue who gave the emails to the south poverty law center has discussed an article about interracial time on the white nationalist website american
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renaissance. >> -- try to funnel that through conservative media to target people of color. >> reporter: in july of 2515 he sent her a link from info wars which peddles in conspiracy theories. the headline quotes franklin graham. we're under attack. stop all immigration of muslims to the u.s. a year and a half later, shortly after the president took office and miller was in the west wing, the newly-elected president signed an executive order based on this campaign pledge. >> donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. >> reporter: mccue was fired by breitbart in 2017 after she tweeted derogatory statements about muslims. she has since denounced far right politics and agreed to speak to us via phone only. >> breitbart editors expect me to take their editorial direction to stephen miller up to and editing the headlines on news pieces.
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>> reporter: the law center said the efforts were meant to influence policy and it worked. >> what you see in these emails is stephen miller creating an appetite for the type of anti-immigrant policies the trump administration has enacted through breitbart news. >> reporter: miller did not answer specific questions about his emails instead a white house spokesperson sent us a statement. splc is engaged in a vile smear campaign. while mr. miller condemned racism and bigotry in all forms those defaming him are trying to deny his jewish identity which is a form of anti-semitism. >> it is a laughable and offensive attack. i think he's responding with anti-semitism because he has no other answer to it. breitbart news told cnn the sblc claims to have three to four emails involved an individual who they fired years ago and now you have an even
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better idea why we fired her. it is not a news flash that staffers pitch stories to journalist but mccue said she was just a stenographer for miller. >> sara sidner, thanks. follow me on facebook and twitter and instagram. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now, breaking news. pivotal week. house lawmakers prepare for live impeachment testimony from nine key witnesses. just added to the roster, a diplomatic aide who overherd a key call from president trump and in a letter to democrats nancy pelosi now accused the president of the united states of extortion and bribery. willing to testify? president trump tweets that he would strongly consider offering written testimony in the impeachment inquiry as he did in the mueller investigation. at the same time house attorneys are now looking at whether the president lied to the special counsel.