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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  November 19, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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good evening. thanks for joining us. welcome to a two hour edition of 360. hours away from one of the most dramatic days of the hearings. a witness who changed his testimony once and made it more damaging to lt president will be questioned tomorrow in public. sondland changed his testimony to say yes he did deliver the ultimatum to ukraine. no investigation no aide. the question tonight what will he say this time under oath? we have reporting republicans are concerned. we'll talk about that. testimony today from four other key witnesses and there was a loft it. started at 9:00 a.m. didn't finish until 8:00 p.m. eastern time. there were a lot of highlights
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include lg in the afternoon session from volker. the special enjoy to ukraine who like sondland changed prior testimony. we have the key moments. >> reporter: four current and former trump administration officials testifying during day three of the public impeachment hearings. all expressing differs degrees of disappointment and disapproval of the president's july 25th phone call with president zelensky. where trump pushed for investigations into the 2016 election and bidens. >> i was hoping for a more full throated statement of support from the president. concerning president zelensky reform agenda. >> i found the call unusual. because in contrast to other presidential calls, it involved discussion of what appears to be a domestic political matter. >> i now understand that others saw the idea of investigating
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corruption as equal to investigating former vice president biden. i saw them as different. i should have seen the connection differently and had i done so i would have raised objections. >> it was inappropriate and improper for the president to request to demand an investigation into a political opponent. >> lieutenant vindman still serving as top ukrainian expert on the national security counsel. most out spoken. the one who twice report his concerns about the call and recounted a july 10 white house meeting with ukraine officials where the expectation of investigations was made clear by ambassador sondland. >> sondland said that in order to get a white house meeting the ukrainians would have to provide a deliverable. investigations. specific investigations. >> republicans didn't dispute the facts but questioned
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vindman's ability. >> your boss had concerns about your judgment. your former boss had concerns about judgment. colleagues had concerns about your judgment. and your colleagues felt that there was were times you leaked information. >> congressman potentially taking queues from this tweet. from the white house account. morrison, vindman's boss testified that he had concerns about vindman's judgment. vindman quickly countered. >> i guess i'll start by reading doctor hills own words. as she attested to in my last evaluation. dated july. alex is a top 1% military office and the best officer i ever worked with in 15 years of service. he's brilliant. unflappable and exercises excellent judgment. >> morrison pushed back in the second part of the day. saying he didn't want his word from the closed door testimony
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weaponized. >> i have great respect for the former colleagues. and the rest of the agency. i'm not here today to question their character or integrity. >> vindman asked the u.s. army about the safety of his family. since he's come under attack by president trump and his allies. the army doesn't believe there's an imminent security threat according to an official. he paid tribute to his late father at the end of the opening statement. assuring family they'll all be okay. >> dad. i'm sitting here today in the u.s. capitol talking to our elected professionals is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the soviet union. and come here to the united states. in search of a better life. do not worry, i will be fine for telling lt truth. >> volker and former official morrison called as republican witnesses. but did little to bolster republican talking points.
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volker aemding earlier testimony now recalling sondland talking about investigations. >> at the end of the meeting i recall having seen some of the other testimony i believe sondland did raise the point of investigations. this was after the meeting was already wrapping up. and i think all of us thought it was inappropriate. and the conversation didn't pick up from there. the meeting was over. >> top republican used his time to bat back democrats new focus on bribery. by the white house. >> did anyone ever ask you to bribe or extort anyone at any time during the time in the white house? >> no, sir. >> did anyone at the white house ask you to bribe or extort anything out of anyone at any time? >> no, sir. >> there was a lot of testimony. a lot to talk about. joining us our legal and political team.
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david, let's start with you. volker. he changed his story from original testimony. was it did it make sense his new story? >> no. a lot didn't make sense except in the context of a guy trying to clean up his record to stay "outfront" trouble aout of trou- it doesn't pass the smell test you don't remember this key moment that everybody else remembers in a meeting where somebody says something inappropriate and your boss says the meeting is over. now that i have heard -- i do remember something. >> he was saying he didn't initially understand the biden connection. >> you're talking about a guy who has been around public life for decades. and diplomacy. at a high level.
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the notion he didn't understand that, it stretches. i think he was trying to salvage something and protect himself from potential exposure legally. but i don't think he did the republicans that much good. and for joe biden maybe struggling to put away the democratic nomination. he got an endorsement from volker. who gave support to his integrity and dismissed the notion he should have been a target of investigation. >> he dismissed the 2016 election story. >> i don't think they were much help. and i don't know how much he helped himself. >> what stood out. >> this again was the republicans star witness. in some ways. volker was. they wanted to call him and morrison. didn't do them much good. nunes there was a second bite of the apple that the republican
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lawyer could have taken. nunes could have taken. he said why are you giving me this extra 15 minutes to question this witness. that i wanted to have before this committee. in that way, the republicans i think did get a little mileage out of trying to attack vindman. they essentially said you have all the issues, people question whether or not you have the right judgment. question whether or not you're the leaker. that's something i think they were able to do. because of donald trump remained silent. this go round. the white house did tweet something out about him. they were able to try to under mine his credibility. i think a largely this testimony today set up for tomorrow from sondland. sondland fingerprints all over everything. seeming to be a real important point guy to the president in to this what the democrats call a bribery scheme. that will be a big day. >> what stood out to you? >> i'm thinking about the law of
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impeachment. two different things. one is bad faith. and bad act. it seems like both the two witnesses and ambassador volker essentially have corroborated yet again. that defuations from the normal procedure suggest that president trump was not in good faith. and also the bad act seems to be verified again. this clearly repeated emphasis on the necessity for a public declaration of investigation into biden. that had to be done. lieutenant vindman said there's a demand for it. he's present on the call. this is the first time we heard from people on the call and verifying everything we have heard bad for the president. >> i'm wondering the notion that volker and morrison were the witnesses that the republicans wanted. do you think they served the
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purpose of the republicans wanted? >> they extracted moments from them. they asked did you see evidence of quid pro quo. or bribe. no. did anyone ask you to do that. no. he didn't have the same reaction when he heard the call on the 25th. that vindman did. to the extent they were used to rebut the notions. they did. they had other moments that probably weren't what the republicans were expecting. particularly volker. i was watching this and looking at the reaction it strikes me everybody thinks they won. democrats think they had this -- go to the basketball game watch the score board and everybody leaves happy. democrats think they won. republicans think they extracted enough moments. this afternoon to rebut the quid pro quo stuff. and i'm not sure how much of that will matter by tomorrow. after we hear from really the only person that i think may matter this week. sondland. >> there was also morrison's argument that he was on the call
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listening in. didn't like what he heard. he didn't like them bringing up the bidens. he doesn't think it was illegal. he's not actually an attorney. he did go to law school. his reaction was go to attorneys at the white house and inform them about the details of the call. and suggest that they lock it down. and if i don't understand, he was asked directly later on in the day, trying to be pinned down why did you want them to lock it down? he says it was because he was afraid it would leak. what's wrong with it you're afraid it will leak? he wouldn't really answer that. >> right. i watched that and had a similar view. and having worked in the white house on and off. you don't go to the lawyer unless something is terribly wrong. you avoid the counsel office, no offense. at all costs.
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there was another moment that struck me as sort of contradictory. to his actions. when it was raised that trump directed him to go to the ukrainians and work out this deal. and he didn't do it. even though that was the administration policy directed by the president. he clearly was trying to be a good soldier and a republican working on the hill for 20 years. his actions in the white house weren't aligned with that. i think the afternoon probably was a draw. in the sense that the republicans got some things democrats had some things like biden cleared. and a couple of the points they like. the part i think we'll remember is the morning. lieutenant vindman and not because of all the details. there were important ones. because he spoke from his heart and he was so authentic and nervous. that is compelling to people.
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>> attorneys often say don't ask a question you don't know the answer to. the republicans i don't think they got played. this was the best they could do. it's always the case the minority gets some witnesses. the witnesses would have disputed facts. would have attacked the credibility of another witness establishing an alternative narrative. that didn't really happen. yes, they played it to a a draw. on this national scale where you're having four or five days of hearings. one afternoon where the best they can say is joe biden campaign got bolstered is a loss for the republicans. it's not a win. >> the question is how you're grading this. i have to defer to the lawyers. i'm not sure how people are scoring this. the reason that both side say they got something. they're playing two timpdiffere games. democrats are proving a case. republicans are trying to turn
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this partisan so people in their world will dismiss it as such. and all those members who have to vote will stay in play. >> it's a legal case. with elected officials voting on it. both things are true. they have to meet the minimum legal threshold. but mebs of congress have to get elected to win political points. >> if the goal is win over some republicans in the senate to vote for impeachment. that doesn't seem like progress. >> it's not happening. the house republicans sticking together in likely the same for senate house. >> you'll hear from a lawmaker doing questioning today and the attacks including from the white house on lieutenant colonel vindman. the price he's paying for testimony. he fought back in the hearing room today. i'm a regular in my neighborhood. i'm a regular at my local coffee shop and my local barber shop. when you shop small you help support your community -
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former russia expert. the growing sense of partisan ship in the room. today's proceedings neither lack for color nor at times drama. volker as you saw at the top says he understands that others equated investigating the ukrainian company meant having ukraine investigate the bidens. he testified quote i should have seen the connection differently and had i done so i would have raised objections. which didn't stop democrat from attempting to make the point explicit with him later on. >> i could have a mayor of a city with hold funding for the police department budget unless the police chief agreed to open up an information investigation on a political rival? >> i don't think he should do that. in that hypothetical. >> ambassador you agree?
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>> yes. >> same true with a governor with holding the budget unless the police agree to conduct an investigation on a political rival. you would a gree? >> correct. >> yes, sir. >> your view is it any different for a member of congress? of course not, right? would you agree the president has the same obligation as the mayor, as the governor and the member of congress? to not with hold aide unless he gets an investigation into a political rival? >> yes, sir, i i would agree with that. >> i would agree. >> i spoke with the congressman before air time. >> the analogy you made is a really apt and interesting one. and the fact they both agreed with the analogy. i find sort of fascinating and yet morrison continues to claim that when he heard the call, he
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went directly to the attorney and yet he claims that was just because he was afraid it might leak out. and wanted to lock it down. which doesn't make much sense. >> it makes sense if what leaked out is what we now know. that is that the president was asking a foreign leader to do an investigation on a political opponent. >> he continues to claim he -- he said on one hand he didn't like what he heard but wasn't going@attorney because there was something inherently wrong about it. >> right. so morrison is being hesitant. it's not his call to make. it's the position he's taking. vindman was really in a way much more courageous. because he had this sense of duty. and incredible story about his father. not afraid of telling the truth. and he felt it was a duty and obligation to go forward because what he heard is i was asking in
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the question. if the ma i yor told the police commissioner i'll support you. you have to do an investigation on my political opponent. vindman was quite able and insisting saying that wrong. morrison was hesitant but his actions demonstrate his alarm. he knew it was bad flt he went to the lawyer and was part of putting it in the secure system. so bottom line, what did the president do? and what i was trying to do when i was analogizing to a mayor. is demystify it. it's the president and national security. it's so beyond the every day experience of most of us. it's like we don't we suspend judgment. if our mayor made that deal with the police commissioner. he's gone. >> it's not even a question. >> you feel authorized to come to the conclusion that's
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obvious. when it's the president and you have a lot of deference to the authority of the office, and also you inject into it the partisan battle that we're having in the country over everything. you suspend judgment. my effort was to say to the american people, common sense. your judgment is valuable. use it. >> do you hi volker and morrison ended up being the witnesses the republicans wanted? >> i don't think they were. it was a mix. i thought pretty weird about volker is that he's a smart guy. experienced. and -- >> he's been around. >> he's very hesitant to connect the dots. he was part of the official ukraine policy which is very honorable. and had total bipartisan support. supported by nancy pelosi and stop corruption in the ukraine. resist aggression from russia. >> which was the policy that
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yovanovitch was trying to execute. >> exactly right. yovanovitch was seeing how there was an outside force and was starting to deal with it. as a result of what she got fired. recalled. volker was seeing it but acting as though that's just the way rudy talks or him blusering. or he had a kind of excuse that allowed him to not come to the obvious conclusion that was before him. namely that there was an alternative ukraine policy that was the one that was being pushed by the president. >> also his essentially his argument i didn't know it equalled biden. which is hard to imagine. >> you can't be a diplomat who is nuance and not be in on the joke. so to speak. >> sondland tomorrow i'm so curious just to see how he's going to try to play this.
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does he just come clean? does he say he doesn't remember? does he say he was bragging to the david holmess of the world. >> we're all waiting. the thing about sondland of course is he was a political appointee because he made a huge donation. $1 million. the aspect of it that was of interest of the president. more cunning about it. sondland really wanted to quote help. but had no experience in what foreign policy was and how politics works or foreign policy works. so if the president is telling him this is what i want you to do. get that investigation. he was helping. >> thank you for being with us. >> congressman. still to come another exchange from the hearings. vand sharply correcting nunes.
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republicans spent a great deal of time insinuating vindman may have dual loyalty to the ukrainian background. vindman a approximate purple heart in uniform today and didn't respond in anger. he insist the ranking republican address him as lieutenant colonel. take a look. >> mr. vindman. you testified in your deposition you didn't know the whistleblower. >> it's lieutenant colonel
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vindman, please. >> cnn white house correspondent joining us now. if the white house didn't take him seriously today, they did use the official white house twitter account to criticize him. >> yes. that's exactly what happened today. we saw the white house use the official twitter account to go after a current white house official. quoting morrison who testified about his concerns about vindman's judgment. and so the white house quoted a line. from the testimony. in an official white house tweet. again to under line this. this is someone who currently works at the white house who the white house is saying has bad judgment. so just let that sink in. as for the president we saw him sountd off on vindman. earlier today. he essentially mocked vindman for the moment where he corrected nunes on how to properly refer to him. by his rank. it was relative restraint from the president. i under line relative.
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we have seen the president in the past criticize witnesses including yovanovitch who he criticized during her testimony. today the president said he would let people make their own determination about vindman. so again a moment of relative restraint from the president. >> appreciate it. back now with the political and legal analysts. there was criticism of republicans for the questions they asked vindman. you can make the counter argument which is he is saying things which are damaging to the president. and they have a right to question him and see what sort of witness he is. >> sure. they did. and he was a little in his presentation he was less polished than the others. some ways that worked for him. because it looked as if he was as speaking from the heart. but i think they made a terrible mistake last week with the
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ambassador going after her as they did. they were muted today. i suspect there must be a group of people assigned to stand between the president and his cell phone during the hearings. because that turned into such a disaster last friday. still, just generally going after a guy who story is the great american story. who served in uniform. has been wounded in dcombat is not a good strategy. >> there's the criticism from the white house came on the white house twitter account. opposed to from donald trump. >> they obviously remember what happened last week. when the president went after yovanovitch. and it really nasty way smeared her over twitter. that became part of the testimony. schiff raised to her. she felt threatened. that was not a good look for trump. and you had republicans come out after that and say this is something the president shouldn't have done. and you did -- i think you did
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have them going after vindman. essentially suggesting that he was somebody with dual loyalty. he got the job offer not a real job offer probably from the ukrainian officials. and also this idea that he was just wearing his uniform for performance sake and didn't really need to wear it. because he normally wears a suit. that's what he was trying to get at. they were trying to poke holes and out the whistleblower through him. or suggest he talked to the whistleblower. because the language he used about the call was similar language to the whistleblower. i think they certainly tried to under mine his credibility. and we'll see how effective that is. >> part of it is about the evaluation. he read the evaluation from hill. she's going to be testifying this week. and she's going to be asked i'm sure about her evaluation.
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of him. she's in a position to clear this up. i have to ask as a republican. it used to be a guy like vindman would be the guy republicans want to lift up. he would be up there at the state of union. the great american story. you can see reagan telling the vindman story. wasn't it a little uncomfortable when the dual loyalty questions and -- >> i don't agree with this. there's ways to go at the witnesses. not just him. all of them. that would bolster what you're trying to do without looking terrible as to question patriotism and loyalty. essentially insinuating the uniform is a costume. this is all earned decorations on it. >> it's one that most of the members raising the questions have never worn. >> i was glad the president personally didn't go after him on twitter. there's no education the second
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kick of a mule. >> kentucky stuff. >> they did what was effective, never met the president. they did get to some issues that indicate the president's republican base on that committee. that he was giving opinion about what he thought the president was doing but didn't know the president's mind. that to me was the key issue. the other stuff is ancillary and unhelpful. >> republicans are nerve about what one of tomorrow eers witnesses may see. we'll preview the testimony of ambassador sondland. who already changed part of the testimony. or said refreshed my recollection. templative synth m) - [narrator] forget about vacuuming for up to a month. shark iq robot deep-cleans and empties itself into a base you can empty once a month. and unlike standard robots that bounce around, it cleans row by row. if it's not a shark, it's just a robot.
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saved my life. saved my life. what we do here at dana-faber, changes lives everywhere. everywhere. everywhere. everywhere. everywhere. in his original closed door testimony, sondland was asked about if he knew about preconditions on aide to ukraine. he said no. since that time he changed his story because of the testimony of the two witnesses. one of those witnesses taylor testified last week. morrison testified in public today. >> what did ambassador sondland say to tell you that he told mr. yur mac. >> ukrainians would have to have the prosecutor general make a statement with respect to the
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investigations as a condition of having the aide lifted. >> let's bring back our panel. what's interesting is it's not in text from volker made clear investigations means 2016 elections. biden. >> it's strains all credibility that they didn't know exactly what it was. and that will be the case for sondland as well. even though he hasn't been around this world as long. >> gist for viewers who aren't following closely. the significance of what morrison is relating is sondland is saying the aide is being held up until you make an announcement about biden and the 2016 election. investigations. which is the argument republicans is saying that is -- quid pro quo. >> didn't happen. he's a key connecter. we can all agree. that's why the testimony is so anticipated. with david holmes on friday. and the connection he has not
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just for talking with trump, he's admitted to two phone calls. he worked with giuliani and worked for the state department. he is the connection between what donald trump directed here. what he'll do tomorrow we don't know the answer. >> i guess one tact that republicans can make or could claim is that sondland was just freelancing. he was in over his head. he's a rich guy who gave a million dollars to the inauguration. for some reason tasked to get involved in ukraine. even though he's an ambassador which has nothing to do with ukraine and made a connection without the president actually directing him. that would seem to be a hard pill to swallow. >> it would. here's how he gets out of it. he says i remember facts differently than other people.
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they're not per harps they're not wrong. i remember it differently. i believe i was carrying out what i thought were the president's wishes. i don't recall a specific directive from the president of the united states. it locks in it doesn't dance himself from past testimony. he's in a tough spot. pleading the fifth would be bad for him. very bad for the president. it's the concession he thinks he might have committed a crime. that can't happen. he needs to give the wiggle room answer. that is other people testified, they are credible. i just remember things differently. move on. >> would that be -- >> one thing that is striking me. with talking about volker and sondland. is as they are memories seem to come back, it becomes more damaging for the president. and so their silence really may
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not be credible. when they start remembering things it's much more credible. a couple other points that seem relevant. the people not testifying. we're hearing from a small group of people. so many people know things the president ordered not to testify. >> and so many documents too. i hadn't really thought about it until today. until it was discussed. >> in the course defending the president republicans are not mentioning all the other people that could testify and have knowledge. remember what the bad act maybe at issue. the president was really trying to solicit assistance to under mine the integrity of the electoral system. that's a bad thing. >> which -- pointed out he said to a in an interview a couple months ago.
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george asked if foreign government came to you and said they had dirt you wouldn't ask for it. he said yeah, i would. >> that's right. democrats are trying to make an argument around national security. that it's in the america's best interest to aide ukraine. that's harder for average americans to understand. this is an american president calling on a foreign power to under mine american democracy by getting a foreign power it interfere. that's a powerful argument. that democrats miss. >> one we have heard before. standby. we'll take a quick break. a key question answered during today's testimony.
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it was near the end of today's very long impeachment hearing that a democratic member of the house intelligence committee asked a central question of those two now former trump administration officials, kurt volker and tim morriso. this is texas congressman joaquin castro. >> i want to ask you in the short time that i have, both you gentlemen who served the united states government, whether putting president trump aside, whether you believe that it's proper for any president, now or later, to ask a foreign government to investigate a u.s. citizen and specifically a u.s. citizen that could be a political rival.
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ambassador? >> no, i don't believe it is appropriate for the president to do that. if we have law enforcement concerns with a u.s. citizen generally, there are appropriate channels for that. >> mr. morrison? >> i agree with ambassador volker, sir. >> back now with our legal and political team. michael, i mean that is what ultimately this is all about. >> that's correct. and it turns out that the framers were extremely concerned about the corruption that a foreign interest or foreign government could have on our system of government, particularly through the president or on the president. and so it turns out that a classic impeachable offense is exactly what they just acknowledged there, which is it's not proper to solicit foreign intervention in an election for any reason. and that's -- and the framers talked about all sorts of analogous situations in the constitutional convention, and so it's not hard ultimately to figure out whether this is an impeachable offense. it's a classic one. >> the tricky thing, though is
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when we start asking witnesses for their assessments of the law, you start getting into the problem that the republicans ran into today, which is asking witnesses to comment on was this bribery, was this extortion? what's your legal assessment? and that's really not a witness's job. that's for the michael gerhardt's of the world, if you were called as a witness to testify in your capacity as a professor or for congress to decide as the jury here as to whether a law has been broken. but we're just going -- i don't think either side should do it, and they've done it a lot, asking these witnesses to make these assessments on precise questions of law that are far outside their -- >> i think in this case they were asking them in terms of their roles and experience as officials on the national security team. i mean if that was something that should be -- something a president can do. and ultimately i think he was asking that question to bring it back to the main point, which sometimes the questioning gets a little all over the place by the end. but if democrats can bring it back to this point as to should this be the precedent for
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democratic presidents, for republican presidents, that they should be able to as president go, you know, seek out dirt on their political opponent, the answer should always be no. if they keep saying that, they'll keep bringing that back up. >> apparently if polling is correct, 70% of americans believe it's wrong. you know, a lesser number, half, believe it's impeachable. can i bring, up, though -- >> there's the poll. we put it up by the way. >> oh, yeah. can i just mention one of these witnesses who we haven't heard from? >> we only have an hour and five minutes left. >> let me mention two, then. but, you know, morrison repeated again today that john bolton went in and talked to the president about why this aid was being frozen to make the case that it should be unfrozen, and all he said was that he came back and said, we still haven't persuaded him. but there's no doubt that bolton pressed him as to what the reason was for this aid being
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held up. he's currently in court. >> mm-hmm. >> waiting for a ruling from the court as to whether he has to answer this subpoena. if he ever does have to testify, that could be a tough one. >> yeah. >> that could be a tough one for trump. >> we've got to take another quick break. still ahead, more on today's testimony. in the next hour, we're going to dig into what could be the most critical impeachment witness yet, european ambassador gordon sondland. all of this as our special edition of "360" continues. shark iq robot deep-cleans and empties itself into a base you can empty once a month. and unlike standard robots that bounce around, it cleans row by row. if it's not a shark, it's just a robot.
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it is midnight here in washington, and m this special hour of 360, we're looking ahead at what could be the most dramatic day yet of impeachment testimony. we saw four witnesses testify today, three of whom were on the president's july 25th call with the ukrainian president, one of whom although he says he saw nothing wrong with it, he nonetheless rushed to tell the lawyers about it. we're doing our best to show how it all fits into all the testimony we've seen so far in public and behind closed doors. now, also tonight the people at the center of it all who certainly could say a lot but are not talking -- mick mulvaney, john bolton, rudy giuliani. they certainly could add to what we know. that said,