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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  November 22, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. it's decision time for the democrats. how many articles of impeachment will they draft, and how quickly will the case against the president move through the critical next steps? plus, who to watch most closely as congress takes a break and lawmakers spend time back home. so far there are no republicans who say they support impeachment. gop leaders predict a number of democrats will join them in voting no. and today the president
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weighs in. the evidence of leveraging official ukraine business in exchange for domestic political favors is beyond overwhelming. but the president says he did nothing wrong. >> they've looked like fools over the last five days. these interviews -- these were their witnesses. this was the best they've got. >> and we begin the hour with decision time for the democrats. and the president testing his impeachment defense. it's been a huge week on capitol hill. nine witnesses over the last three days testifying in public impeachment hearings. democrats believe their case is compelling. all the more so after former top trump russia aide fiona hill detailed how she, her boss, and at least one other senior white house aide knew the republicans' ukraine policy had crossed the line and reported it to lawyers. president trump was clearly watching. he now says he looks guaforward a senate trial and he's already working on his witness list. there are several critical steps
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before any senate trial. house democrats are anticipating a very busy december. multiple democratic sources telling cnn they believe there will be a house vote to impeach the president by christmas. cnn's manu raju joins us live from capitol hill. manu, democrats really believe they can get to a floor vote by christmas. what are the key steps and potential obstacles? >> reporter: behind the scenes, the intelligence committee is drafting a report detailing the findings of this investigation that has been going on since late september. expect that report to come together somewhat quickly. we expect it to be essentially turned over to the house judiciary committee sometime early in december. at that point the judiciary committee is almost certain to move forward on articles of impeachment against the president. the question is exactly how those articles will be draft, how many articles there ultimately will be, but democrats are talking about bribery, obstruction of justice, obstruction of congress, abuse of power. they expect those to be part of the discussion going forward.
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and then after the house judiciary committee considers the matter, then a vote would happen in that committee before the full house could vote in that. the expectations are now on capitol hill that that could happen before december, which would make president trump the third american president to be impeached by the house in u.s. history. but there is still questions about exactly what will happen in the senate, whether a senate trial would take several weeks or just a couple of weeks. there is still questions on going about that there. democrats believe there is enough evidence to move forward even though there's still questions about whether or not they should pursue some of those key firsthand witnesses like john bolton, mick mulvaney, mike pompeo, people who have refused to comply with a democratic request but have firsthand information, particularly about what the president was doing. at the moment, john, democratic leaders, nancy pelosi have no appetite in pursuing those witnesses in court, fighting something that could delay the proceedings further.
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instead using that as evidence that they believe in obstruction of congress instead. that's how things plan to shape up. democrats believe they're there, that the president will almost certainly get impeached in a matter of weeks. >> manu raju with the reporting. with me, dana bash, cnn. how quickly do you get to the judiciary committee, how quickly does that committee vote, do they have any more hearings? and yet is this real, they believe they can get this all done? 33 days from now is christmas. >> after the days of testimony we've had since last wednesday, we talked to a number of house democrats and got a temperature check of how they are feeling in terms of their pursuit of the impeachment inquiry.
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they think they've made a pretty good case over the last several days. they think the evidence is dangerous for trump. we're looking at a christmas deadline and a trial in the senate. >> i want to put on the screen what's next because this is complicated for the democrats to pull off. this has been in the intelligence committee. they'll now hand it off to a new chairman and a new committee. the impeach the will be in the judiciary committee. then you have to have a committee vote, and then it comes to the floor and the full house. if you asked democrats today how many articles, how sweeping, you will have a debate and a divide. they are not settled on this yet. how will they figure this out? >> they'll have a debate and it will ultimately be nancy pelosi who is the decider. the debate is about the articles of impeachment focused on the ukraine issue. obviously there is obstruction, obstructing congress from the president and others, but then there is a real debate about how
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much to bring in russia, how much to bring in the mueller investigation. i talked to several house democrats who have senior positions who really do want to make it more broad. so the question is whether they do that, and frankly, just to be a realist here, does it matter what they do? will it change any votes at all? and it seems to me that in talking to republicans and watching their reaction, the answer is no. >> as of today it's very interesting. to your point about speaker pelosi and how important she is as we go through these next steps. we've seen adam schiff as the face of the democrats the last couple weeks, the leading face of the democrats. some democrats to your point say, let's go back to the mueller report. other democrats say, let's fight in the court. we want to get mick mulvaney in the witness chair. we want to get john bolton in the witness chair. nancy pelosi says no, we're moving quickly. >> no, we're not going to wait until the courts decide. that might be information that's available to the senate in terms of how far we go and when we go,
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but we can't wait for that because, again, it's a technique. it's obstruction of justice, obstruction of congress. >> they're basically choosing between what's more important, being able to lay out a very clear obstruction of congress article of impeachment and be able to point to the fact that the white house has blocked mick mulvaney, acting chief of staff, other white house officials and also documents, material that could back up some of these witnesses, or is it more important to get this into the record. most democrats think the case right now is pretty solid. they understand there might not be that single smoking gun. they're not convinced if they had it, it would make a difference. so they're ready to move forward with what they have. >> if you watch the reaction from the testimony and other republicans on the committee, it's clear they're not going to get republican votes. they couldn't get one to open the inquiry itself, let alone
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actually finding impeachable offenses. so it's not clear to me why house democrats would want to wait any longer. if you can't get lame duck members of congress who are not going to be on the ballot again, whose careers are coming to an end, what's the point of waiting for months to come to wait for the courts? >> some of the republicans start to go move -- this is bad. rudy giuliani shouldn't have been involved, it shouldn't have happened, but none of them have moved anywhere near impeaching the president. we had a technical issue at the top of the program. the president in a fox & friends interview this morning said he looked forward to the trial. no president wants to get impeached. no president does. just to set that aside. >> is that the president calling right there? >> no president wants to get impeached, but he sounds as if now they're warming to this idea. the allies have been saying,
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we're just going to vote to dismiss. does he accept this? he says, i want hunter biden, i want adam schiff. so he'll testify in some capacity but not in the witness chair like the president wants. >> just like what's going on in the house democratic caucus, about how they actually proceed with the articles of impeachment, there is a broader debate going on, first of all, within the republican party with senators who met with key members of the administration yesterday to start to game this out, but there will also be a negotiation between mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader and chuck schumer, the democratic leader. this is what happened 20 years ago in the clinton impeachment. this is all a discussion about who they bring, and it's not just up to the president, it's -- let's just say he says, i want to bring in hunter biden, which i can't imagine the democrats agree to, then they'll have to agree to give the democrats a really juicy
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witness. that's how this works. >> those negotiations will play outgoing forwa going forward. i want to point out we had technical issues at the beginning. you said there is no smoking gun. you did have fiona hill, who was a very compelling witness, who would not let herself be pushed around by the republicans. she said she, colonel vindman and volker all knew this was wrong, had crossed the line, and all had told the lawyers. >> john bolton told me that i am not part of this whatever drug deal that mulvaney and sondland are cooking up. >> what did you understand him to mean by the drug deal that mulvaney and sondland were cooking up? >> i took it to mean investigations for a meeting. >> did you go speak to the lawyers? >> i certainly did. >> this part was critical for the democrats in the case. part of the republican argument is going to be, we don't like this, either, but this is how the president operates.
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he doesn't trust the bureaucracy so he brought in rudy. he dent trust the ambassador, maybe it's horrible the way he treated her, but it's in his power to bring her home. this is a witness saying, corrupt, intent, we knew they told. >> there might not be that smoking gun, but fiona hill in particular painted an incredibly vivid picture of deep concern inside the west wing among the people who are closest to the president. this is an outer ring story. this is among people who were around him on a daily basis who were in charge of this process. i think at the very end of the hearing yesterday, there was a pretty powerful moment from hell and also david holmes who was alongside her and said, what kind of precedent does it set if congress allows an american president to ask a foreign government for political help? and she said very plainly, it's a very bad precedent. that's what democrats are trying to do, make this a bigger question. >> it raises the question whether some folks in the senate want to have a vote to censure
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so they can go on the record condemning the behavior without going that ultimate step of convicting him. >> i think that depends on how the rest of the house plays out. do the democrats make such a compelling case they feel pressure. next, the big moments from this week's testimony and the president's line of defense. as a home instead caregiver, for everything that i give, i get so much in return. hearing all of stanley's stories about his home, and everything that he's learned over the years, it reminds me that this is as much for him as it is for me. join our family of home instead caregivers and help make a world of difference. home instead senior care. apply today.
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it's important to remember, as we go through an example or two, that the witnesses were under oath and that the president has a very casual relationship with the truth. the president suggests this morning that a july 25th phone call between him and his ambassador to the european union never happened, or at least didn't happen the way the impeachment witnesses say it did. >> how about the guy with the telephone? how about that one? i guarantee you that never took place. >> now, let's listen to gordon sondland, the man on the other end of the line confirm, under oath, before congress, yes, the call took place. >> one of the things that you had now remembered is a discussion that you had with president trump on july 26th in that restaurant in kyiv, right? >> yeah. >> you called president trump from your cell phone in the restaurant, is that right? >> that's right. >> now, the president made a point on his fox & friends call-in this morning that he has, quote, really good hearing. he doubts david holmes, a
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veteran counselor, could barely hear him on the phone. holmes, in his testimony, said he could hear the president loud and cleear. >> i could hear the president's voice through the earpiece on the phone. the president's voice was loud and recognizable. i heard the president ask, so he's doing the investigation? >> interesting. it was a long interview this morning. largely friendly, even though fox & friends challenged some of the things he said this morning because he does not often tell the truth. if you go back over the testimony, it's overwhelming. all the witnesses, if you think of building blocks, support each other. the basic story they're telling, it's really not challenged. >> there are facts after these two weeks that are beyond dispute at this point. several facts that are damning to the president. he ordered advisers to work with rudy giuliani on ukraine.
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he asked the ukraine president, and we know this from his own words and his own transcript, to investigate the bidens and the dnc. we know that there were multiple people in the united states and in ukraine who were deeply concerned that this aid package was dependent on the investigations. that has been proven. you can argue, and republicans certainly are, that none of those things are impeachable, but there is a damaging case about a president using his powers for personal political gain. >> this is jennifer williams, state department to the aide in the vice president's office. they said they were in the july 25th call and it made their heads pop. >> i found the july 25th phone call unusual. >> it was inappropriate. it was improper for the president to request -- to demand an investigation into a political opponent. >> let's, before we discuss, just add into that.
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we already brought up fiona hill, a top russian aide, key deputy to john bolton making a connection. no, this is not just disruptive, this is crossing a line. >> i actually said to him, who put you in charge of ukraine? i'll admit i was a bit rude. and that's when he told me the president, which shut me up. i actually realized after listening to his deposition that he was absolutely right. he wasn't cooperating with us because he wasn't doing the same things we were doing. he was involved in a domestic political errand and we were being involved in national security foreign policy. >> those three words and the way she said them, domestic political errand at a time ukraine desperately needed an ally and a friend. >> exactly. those are really the key points from all of the hearings, and to hear it from somebody who came into the administration after she was gone voluntarily because
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she feels to passionately about her expertise, which is russia, and she said really eloquently that she took the president at his word that he wanted to repair relations with russia. that's why she was there. she, like many of the others who testified, are inherently apolitical, and to see this happen was something that she is obviously incredibly upset about. here's the "yeah but" part of this which we're going to have to keep saying, and i don't want to get too deep and too philosophical, but as you said, these are facts that were built up in this case. and we are now at a time where there are considerable number of people who don't care about that and want to believe their own truth. example a is the notion that ukraine was responsible for meddling in american elections. the intelligence community very clearly, not the obama intelligence community, even those in trump world who read it say that is false.
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>> if you watch those clips, john, you recognize why a lot of folks on the hill, on the gop side, would like to make a pivot to, it's improper, it's inappropriate, it shouldn't happen but it's not impeachable. they've been dying for weeks to do that. they can't because the president doesn't want to back off anything, and he waned it to be a perfect phone call, as he said. look what happened two sundays ago. the ranking member of the house, mac thornberry, serious, fairly low-profile member, said something such as that. it's not appropriate but you shouldn't impeach him over it. mac went on his twitter and said, no, it was perfectly appropriate. >> especially as we get to the senate. the house members, they have more traditionally drawn districts. they're much more trumpy. mitt romney is not going to go to the floor and say, this is
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perfect. one of the questions was, can you get this to the president? was this just rudy freelansing? was that ambassador sondland sort of winging it? ambassador sondland when i first came here, george h. bush. gordon sondland said everybody was. >> everyone was in the loop. it was no secret. everyone was informed via email on july 19th, days before the presidential call. >> by everyone, he meant the vice president of the united states, including the secretary of state, the white house chief of staff and the president. >> that's why, to julie's point earlier, all the facts are mounting up and they do not look good for the president. i think that's clear at the end of the day. what's also clear at the end of the day is despite the parade of witnesses, the mounting evidence, does this change
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republicans' minds? i think we saw both sides really harden in their respective corners. you're going to have republicans point to the fact that, for example, the questioning of volker and morrison when they kept questioning him. did you have evidence of quid pro quo? no. they're going to turn to sondland's testimony when asked, did anybody on this planet tell you it was a condition of aid for inspection into the bidens? no. and as julie said earlier, without that physical evidence, without trump saying, please hold this up unless you investigate the bidens, it's not looking good for the democrats. >> they said, you won't give us mick mulvaney's top chief of staff aide. you're right, that's the case the republicans will make. next, congress is on a break
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there is a break now in the impeachment process meaning time at home for lawmakers to reach key votes on impeaching the president of the united states. some will get watched more closely than others.
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there are nearly 20 republican house members who are retiring in 2020, for example. and there are 30 house districts who voted for president trump back in 2016. so far there are no republicans who say they support impeachment. that's important. and house speaker kevin mccarthy will vote no. president trump is more concentrated on the senate these days where the impeachment trial will be held. we're checking in with some by phone. phil mattingly on the hill. phil, you've been wandering around talking to people on the hill. who should we watch most closely? >> reporter: i made a point of talking to the few moderate republicans who are still left in the house conference after 2018, and i have not seen a single one of them or heard a single one of them who is moving right now. i think the house is set where it will be. colin peterson in minnesota voted against the impeachment a
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few weeks back. it's the senate where i think there is a reason the white house is paying so close to things right now. there is a reason the president has brought more than 40 senators over to talk to them during lunches over the course of the last few weeks. the people you want to keep an eye on are susan collins of maine. always considered a moderate, a swing vote on these. lisa murkowski kind of fits the same profile, and mitt romney has made it clear he has concerns about how this thing has all gone. romney had lunch with the president yesterday. he called it delightful, he and the president even shaking hands and diverting contention. lindsey graham on one count, ted cruz on another and mike lee. i've been told that they are the core group of individuals who are working with the white house right now on how to shape what's coming next in a senate trial. they were working with pat cipollone. they were involved with pat cipollone and other republicans yesterday in the actual shape of
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a senate trial. there is notice on capitol hill that a trial is coming, whether the president likes it or not. how that actually firms up, what that looks like may be just as important given the fact this very clearly will end up in the senate's lap in short order, john. >> short order. the question is how short? phil mattingly on the hill. we'll watch the calendar as it plays out. let's start with the house, phil. he doesn't like the president's questions and attacking of the intelligence community. and yet just as we were winding down yesterday, he says this. >> an impeachable offense should be compelling, overwhelmingly clear and unambiguous, and it's not something to be rushed or taken lightly. i've not heard evidence proving
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the president committed bribery or extortion. i also reject the notion that holding this view means supporting all the foreign policy choices we have been hearing about over these last few weeks. >> he, in fact, called is blundering. clearly no fan of what happened and how it happened, but if will hurd had said, i'm for impeachment, there might have been some who follow him because of his experience and he's on the committee. when you have someone like that saying, nope. that tells us where we are. >> he was pretty clear about where he's going to fall, and i do think that's the splitting the baby argument we'll hear from republicans. probably a couple in the house and even more in the senate. this idea of, i don't agree with this, i don't agree with the precedent, we don't think it reaches that very high bar to actually impeach him. >> he does have little to lose because he's a young man who clearly wants a future in politics and he's from texas.
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>> who knows exactly where the republican party is going to go to oppose trump. i'm not saying that's the reason he's doing it, but he's perhaps in a different position than others who are older, who are really going off into the sunset in the house. >> he can believe what he says on the merits. there are also politics. he's been asked publicly and said he won't rule it out. in fact, he's going to new hampshire as early as this month. you don't go to new hampshire and have events if you're not thinking about running for president. as dana said, he wants to keep his options open in a post-trump party. if you're about to impeach the president of the united states, that's going to create problems in a primary in '24. but put a harness on it for a
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minute. there are other folks retiring, they're in their 60s and 70s, are never running for office again. francis rooney in florida, for example. very wealthy man, nothing to lose. if you can't get that kind of number, who are you going to t get. clinton lost a lot of democrats. we'll see how this plays out. this is who we know are doing town halls back home. some of them you want to keep an eye on. i mean, voters want to talk about this. do they come out to talk about impeachment or do thermt -- there's also a ton of monday being spent all of a sudden.
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sin it will be a fascinating week at home to see the pressure they face or if they face it. >> we saw a last congressional race and the vulnerable numbers the republicans had. there were swing democrats who impeachment could have been a liability to them. they were able to defend it despite pushback. voters don't always bring it up. they do care about the economy, the price of health care, and the balance in terms of wins will be real consistent to watch depending on how much it consumes the news cycle here the last couple weeks. >> we have a justice department review of the russia investigation. fits skin tone and texture. blurs pores. stops shine. 97% of women found their fit.
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download the xfi app today. cnn has learned that a former fbi lawyer now under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to the 2016 surveillance of trump campaign adviser carter page.
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the misconduct? part of the review due out soon from michael horowitz. president trump predicted that it would produce abuses at the fbi, but that is far from clear. the document alter iing is by another attorney below the fbi. cnn has now confirmed reporting in the "washington post" that the overall application had a legal basis. the president raising the bar today saying this is going to be enormous. let's talk about this particular case we know. an fbi attorney, a crime fighter, accused of a crime here. >> right, exactly. he's under investigation by john durham who is the prosecutor who bill barr has appointed to take a look, a second look, at what was done in the 2016 investigation. but this lawyer was involved in
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some of the preparation work done for the fisa application before it went to the court, and allegedly he changed part of the document. this is a serious allegation, obviously, and this is why michael horowitz, the inspector general, forwarded over to prosecutors to see whether or not there could be criminal charges. look, there is a lot we don't know about this report because it's still in the works, but this is a very serious allegation, obviously, because if there was one fisa that needed to be perfect, it's this one. >> to that point, carter page this morning, i listened to him, he's on fox business saying, aha. >> they got a fraudulent warrant, i believe, to spy on myself as a way of getting into the trump campaign. >> now, that's what you would expect him to say, but i want to come back to the reporting that mr. horowitz, who is the inspector general, who we know is trying to go through this with a fine tooth comb, he has
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determined this was bad in his view. he's referred it for criminal referral, but it did not, in his view, undermine the overall legal basis for the carter page forum. >> that's what we learned today and the "washington post" also reported that. one thing to keep in mind is this is the first front of information we're getting about what horowitz has found in his report. he's going to testify to congress about what he found in the senate november 11th. he'll release a report from two days before that, and they're very interested in what happened at the beginning of this russia investigation. we'll learn more about what happened from horowitz and potentially john durham. >> one of the reasons we're waiting is they're allowing witnesses to dmom. here's what we say about you, any disputes, how big of a deal do they expect this to be. >> this is a big deal just because obviously of the
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allegation of somebody changing something in an application for surveillance. but look, if you step back, what carter page is saying is not really true. the fbi had plenty of other reasons to surveil carter page. as far as the investigation overall, right, the investigation that began into russian meddling and links to the trump campaign, that is, by all accounts, michael horowitz is going to find that was a legally predicated investigation, and we expect that's going to be the central finding in this report. of course, the president and some of his allies are going to pick up things that the fbi made mistakes and there are things they did wrong, but that's politics, right? >> chairman lindsey graham already scheduling a public hearing. >> a little counter publicizing.
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and another way aag is working to make your retireme... better. don't wait. get your info kit now! topping our political radar today, president trump hosting a meeting on underage vaping at the white house. the president will speak this afternoon with advocacy groups, state officials and medical professionals. the meeting comes after the president reportedly backing away from a proposal that was expected to ban e-flavored
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cigarettes. the former trump national security adviser john bolton tweeting today he's been forced to stay silent on twitter in recent weeks. bolton in his first two tweets claiming his quote was acted, quote, unfairly. we should also note that bolton, now that he's tweeting again, has refused to appear thus far as a witness in the impeachment inquiry. president obama weighing in on the 2020 campaign. he has a message for democrats. chill out. anyone who is nervous about the field of democratic contenders, quote, needs to chill out about the candidates. obama adding, yes, there is a difference of democrats running for president, but he warns getting caught up in so-called purity tests. he says ultimately the goal for democrats must be to win the 2020 election. up next for us, right to
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that point. impeachment playing out on the trail right as early states are geared to pick a democratic nominee. 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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need stocking stuffers? try listerine® ready! tabs™. need stocking stuffers? 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 - from after school programs to the arts! so become a regular, more regularly. because for every dollar you spend at a small business, an average of 67 cents stays in the community. join me and american express on small business saturday, november 30th, and see how shopping small adds up. six members of the senate could soon face a scheduling dilemma. jury duty or campaigning for president. the impeachment inquiry is already running parallel to the 2020 campaign but an outright collision looms ahead. cnn said they hope to wrap up their impeachment trial by
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christmas, which means picking a nominee could be at the beginning of the new year. iowa, new hampshire, south carolina and nevada and then super tuesday. >> we have a president who thinks he's above the law. we have a president who is engaged in corruption. we have a president who has obstructed justice. >> i have made it very clear that this is impeachable conduct, and i called for an impeachment proceeding. i just believe our job as jurors is to look at each count and make a decision. >> we have to establish the principle no one is above the law. we have a constitutional responsibility and we need to meet it. >> the constitutional process of impeachment should be beyond politics, and it is not a part of the campaign. but the president's conduct is. the impeachable conduct that we have seen in the abuse of power. >> mayor buttigieg won't have to come to washington, but the others and some of the democrats -- there are six democrats still running for
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president who are united states senators, warren, sanders, booker, harris, klobuchar, benn bennet, what do they do? >> maybe just do a two-week trial, which i'll believe it when i see it, it will make it easier for them. >> a two-week trial the last two weeks of january. >> it is a real challenge, but i'm sure this isn't what you're implying but don't expect any of them to skip this trial. if they do, definitely it's lights out for them because they would be not doing their constitutional duty. >> let me take a slightly contrarian view, if i could. the fact is these campaigns take place online and on tv. if you are in the center of the biggest story in the country, which is the impeachment trial of a sitting president, and you
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are on tv talking about it every night on cable, which some of these candidates will do, that's not the best place to be, either. o'connell and trump don't want a long trial, either, you know? >> i think it's also important to remember we're so used to the senate leaving town on thursday afternoons at 1:45, but under the rules in the impeachment trial, they're in six days a week, monday through saturday, starting at 1:00 every day. if they want to do a day trip on sunday to iowa, all the more power to them, but otherwise the scheduling just isn't going to work. >> i just can't understand. it's unprecedented. >> it's unprecedented, but if you're someone like kamala harris and your biggest moments are happening on television, it's actually better to be in washington than it is in iowa. >> first we need a schedule. we'll figure out what the house is going to do. vice president joe biden is in iowa and he joins don lemon for a conversation tonight at 10:00 eastern. you don't want to miss that.
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i hope to see you back here on monday as well. brianna keilar starts right now. have a great afternoon. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now after days of damning testimony, house democrats plot their way forward in their impeachment inquiry. what articles of impeachment will they go with and could we see a vote by christmas? bring it on. president trump says he supports a senate trial as it becomes clear the house will impeach him. and republicans on capitol hill are now proppieparing for that scenario. fiona hill talking about the adviser and admonishing the


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