tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN November 25, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST
wouldn't listen. all right. hope to see you back here tomorrow. have a great afternoon. under way right now, the anatomy of a possible coverup. reported email show how the white house scrambled to justify the hold on aid to ukraine. was it legal? and the navy second says he was ousted because he can't obey the president's unlawful orders. but that is not what his superiors are saying. so who is telling the truth? plus republican lawmakers in charge of keeping america safe are now embracing the president's debunked conspiracy theories that benefit russia. and why rick perry believes donald trump was sent by god as the, quote, chosen one.
woor wa we're waiting to hear the outcome of two cases that could have a profound effect on the impeachment inquiry of president trump. a federal judge are is supposed to rule on absolute immunity. don mcgahn was called to testify back in the spring but refused to appear on orders by the white house leaving house committee members staring at an empty chair. and the other case, justices are weighing whether to side with the president other than his taxes. president trump is appealing a lower court ruling that the house has a right to see financial records prepared for the president by an accounting firm. of course we'll bring you more on the decisions as soon as they are handed down. and possible new evidence of a coverup involving mick mulvaney and the president's decision to withhold nearly $400 million in aid from ukraine. the "washington post" the reports that mulvaney was actively talking with office of
budget and the management officials about finding any legal justifications for the president's decision. sarah westwood is at the white house. mulvaney is acting chief of staff but still the current director of the omb. take us through what these emails tell us. >> reporter: what this internal review led by the white house counsel's office reportedly turned up was evidence that mulvaney was conducting an of a tes after the fact search for a legal justification for the president's decision to do with hold the assistance to ukraine. i want to walk you through the time line because it is important. in mid-july, cnn has reported that the president decided to techlg rare temporarily succespend that military assistance. and a week later he had that call with the ukrainian presidet and it wasn't until legal august where mulvaney had the conversations trying to come up
with this rationale. and the search for an explanation came days after there was notice that there had been concerns raised within the intelligence community about the president's phone call with vels a couple weeks earlier. so this was an after the fact search. and they say that they weren't briefed behind that "washington post" story popped nor did they have a chance to see the emails that are at the heart of this inquiry. this is sure to exacerbate tensions between mulvaney and white house council pat cipollone, they have clashed over how the white house is responding to the impeachment inquiry. mulvaney for example has complained that he and his staff have not been kept in the luke when it co when -- loop. but you this revelation is so significant because it suggests that president trump made the decision to suspend that military assistance with no documented legal rationale at the time that he pulled the
trigger. >> and of course remember that press conference where mulvaney said that the money was withheld and that there was a quid pro quo and that we should all get over it, but this in fact seems z to justify what he was saying and give more evidence to that. sarah rest wora sarah, thank you. and joining me now is maryland congressman jamie raskin, democrat. congressman, thank you so much for joining us. before i get to that latest headline, i want to talk to you about the breaking news reported by the "new york times," mark esper confirming that president trump ordered the pentagon not to remove eddie gallagher from the navy s.e.a.l. unit. clearly he has the right do it, but was it the right move? >> usual two stems ahead of me on that particular bit of news. i've not read about that. but it is consistent with the way that the president has behaved, which is completely
imbet uhe i impetuously and oftentimes he seems to be at war with his own professional staff and it seems like just another case of of that. >> just so you know, news breaks every few minutes. so not your fault that you weren't able to look at your phone before you came on with us. i want to turn back to this is story from the "washington post." and that is the inner agency emails exposing what really appears to be a lot of justification from omb and mulvaney to withhold military aid for ukraine. given what the "post" is reporting, what questions does this raise for you? >> it raises profound constitutional questions. remember, the framers set it up so that congress would have the exclusive power to appropriate money. so we voted $391 million to support ukraine in its efforts to defend itself against russia which was engaged in active
military hostilities against ukraine. the people held it up as part of this political plot to get information that i wanted and to get a statement that he wanted from president zelensky saying that the bidens were under investigation. that upsets the constitutional balance of powers and congressional control over spenkd. the spending. there is a law called impoun impoundment control act, it was adopted after watergate where nixon did something similar. the president has to come to congress if he is going to hold up money for any reason and explain why there is a public interest to do so and give congress the opportunity to either say no or to go along with it. but they just went had and held it up for the president's personal political scheming. >> and you mentioned that iimpot law which requires the omb to spend the money appropriated by congress by the end of the fiscal year. it was just a few week away from when that money was finally
released on september 11th. given this new information, are you going to want to hear now from mick mulvaney? we know that the request is out there, but are you willing to wa wait through you what could be months of a court long process to haesh from h hear from him? >> we've been wanting to hear him speak for a long time. of course he's essentially admitted to the shakedown, the coerced quid pro quo as the m.o. of the white house. that is basically their way of doing business. he told everybody to accept it, to get over that. so we know basically what they were up to. he should come forward and speak forthrightly to the committee, but that is obviously going to be tough do. the point is that we understand all of the material elements of. the point is that we understand all of the material elements of this plot. the president developed a plan to shakedown the ukranian
government to company eskocoerc participate in his plans. >> and we know the intelligence committee is wrapping up its report and will be passing it along to your committee. and you of course will be using that as reference for impeachment. what articles of impeachment are you looking at right now from everything that you've seen over the course of the past few weeks? >> well, we're going to wait to get the report from the intelligence committee and any other information that is turned over by the foreign affairs committee, the oversight committee, to try to assemble all of the facts, inventory them and to see what patterns emerge. and those committees also may have very specific recommendations about what articles of impeachment might be. this is a good time for us to be reviewing articles of impeachment in the past. in the nixon case, there was a claim of obstruction of justice because the president in that case tried to interfere with
investigators and prshosecutors. there were claims of abuse of power, abuse of the proper authorities of the president and the different departments of government. and then there was a claim there also about interference with congressional investigation. and there are actually specific dates when there was supposed to be witnesses who were blocked by president nixon, specific depositions that didn't take place, witnesses that were interfered with and evidence that was withheld. so that is a powerful historical analogy for some of the things that we're looking at in this case. >> and is there enough evidence -- i appreciate that you are waiting for the report, but is there enough evidence that you've seen from the testimony of these 12 witnesses to impeach the president? >> oh, i think that what we saw was not only yoefrn weoverwhelm evidence but uncontradicted evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. we have people like mick mulvaney who come forward, including the president himself and essentially bragged of the
material offenses that is shaking down the ukranian government. but all of the witnesses who came forward at the pains of perjury like sondland and like william taylor, like fiona hill, like ambassador yovanovitch, all of them agree as to the material elements of these potential offenses. basically the president waged this coercive campaign to get zelensky to come forward to say the bidens are under investigation and to validate this discredited conspiracy thoesh theory abo theory about the 20167 campaign which was that the ukranians and not the russians had interfered. that is pure russian propaganda which was that the ukranians and not the russians had interfered. that is pure russian propaganda. and it continues to this very day. and kryet we even have republic
colleagues who are continuing to repeat that nonsense. >> and we'll be talking about that more later on in the show. congressman, we appreciate you joining us. >> delighted to be with you. >> happy thanksgiving. is still to come, the pentagon up ended as the president in-sertsd erts himsel are war crime prosecutions. the navy secretary's blistering words. and plus republicaning peddling the conspiracy theories that benefit russia and why rick perry says president trump is the, quote, chosen one sent by god. d to even more real people than me: jd power. 448,134 to be exact. they answered 410 questions in 8 categories 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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standoff between the president and the pentagon takes another twist and turn. today secretary of defense mark esper told reporters that president trump ordered him to allow a controversial navy s.e.a.l. who was accused of war crimes to keep his status in the elite service despite thaecembs leaders wanting another review of the case. this is one day after he fired richard spencer involving that case. esper says he privately proposed a secret deal with the white house to gain tee that gallagher would be allowed to keep his
status as a s.e.a.l. in july gallagher was convicted in a military court of posing with a dead isis prisoner. he was acquited to charges of the murder of that same prisoner. and it put him at odds with the pentagon and the president reversed that demotion. and he also faced pentagon resistance over the issue of gallagher's s.e.a.l. status and that is why secretary spencer says that he was forced to resign. barb what stara starr is keepin of all of the developments. and this is just skimming the surface. there are a few times where you've seen you at a loss for words and this is one of those circumstances. >> this is a very confusing situation with not a lot of clearances because there are repeating narratives. the president says that spencer was fired in part for on costover runs. the secretary of against saof de was fired because he went behind
his back to try to cut a secret deal for eddie gallagher to keep his s.e.a.l. status. the navy secretary says that he was thinking about resigning anyhow because he could not follow in good conscience the president's orders about gallagher. look, you know, what this really gets to the bottom line when there is this much confusion, the real risk is for the troops. confusing chain of command, confusing orders. this is not the way the pentagon works. there is supposed to be very clear direction, not competing narratives and of course that is so troops know exactly what their senior commanders expect of them. now the real question i think gallagher will retire at the end of the month, but what is left is a navy secretary out of a job and really critical questions about does this really impact morale, good discipline in the
ranks. and there is an awful rs ais an people that that is a heavy price being paid. >> because it appears that the takeaway is that gallagher gets to keep his trident and spencer are lost his job. so the president got what he wankts wanted. but what is the fallout. we appreciate you joining us and let's discuss this case now with former commanding general of u.s. army in europe and a cnn military analyst. and also retired air force rachel van landingham who now teaches criminal loot cor lieutenant colonel, you tweeted that the secretary of defense is an enabler who cares more for his job than doing the right thing.
the pentagon chief fires navy sect over s.e.a.l. controversy. what did you mean by that tweet? >> what i meant is this is an undermining of process. there was a court martial conviction of a violation of the law of armed conflict in which you don't disrespect dead bodies of enemy combatants. there was a con conviction and following that it is normal process to convene a board to determine fitness for certain training, certain certifications such as being a navy s.e.a.l. which requires good moral character. however since i've made that tweet, it has come to light that maybe the firing was warranted. if he did support having a sham process by guaranteeing a pre-ordained outcome, that is the antithesis of process and that goes to the heart of the personnel system because it runs on such process so that individuals can trust that they
are being dealt with fairly and in according with due process. >> and that is what makes this so puzzling because we really didn't know what the true story and nature of the fallout is, whether he was forced out because he went around esper to the white house to try to work out some deal or whether he really just wanted to resign because he disagreed with the president on his views. how frustrating is this for those in the navy who are watching this all unfold? >> well, two points i'll make. and both of these things are critically important. the first is that, you know, we don't know what went on air force one with all the service chiefs, with the chair men, the secretary of defense passionately arguing to the president not to interfere with this action. that could have been going on.
if secretary spence er did in ft go around the system to work this deal, here is a safety tip. never go to your boss' boss without telling your boss you are going to do it. and the results are what we are seeing today. but the second thing is critically important too. and that is what your other guest is saying. this is going to be the gift that keeps on giving. this is not over yet. there have been over 150 tridents pulled from s.e.a.l.s because of discipline issues or contrariness since 2011. so a lot of s.e.a.l.s have gone before these boards already. what is going to happen to the next s.e.a.l. that has to go before one of these boards because he was driving under the influence or committing a domestic disturbance or any kind
of flagrant violation of rules or orders, they will say hey, wait a minute, we got a guy who was posing with a dead body and he got away with it, how come i'm getting my pin taken away for a dui or domestic disturbance. that is the problem here. and that is why a process has to be fair and has to be continual in terms of the way that it works. you also have now a s.e.a.l. who is about to retire at the end of this month who is guest friends wi -- best friends with the president and that is not good for morale because he can get away with just about everything. >> and so let me ask you about that because it does appear that the president is cherrypicking which cases he wants to take on. and there appears to be some hypocrisy here because on the one hand he is defending gallagher, but he's been tweeting negative comments about lieutenant colonel vindman last week. so the question, is he doing this because it benefits his own personal views versus supporting the military as a whole?
>> there are serious concerns, you're absolutely correct. president trump's actions really indicate rule of man versus rule of law. and rule of law is what helps to ensure good order and discipline within the military. let's say alexander vindman gois up for promotion of colonel within the next few months or next year. that is a board process. let's say he doesn't make colonel. what kind of faith does he have or should the rest of the army officers have in that process that it is one based on facts and not based on political proclivities of one individual in the white house? the military justice system regarding pardons of war crimes, that only affects a few folk. the personnel system affects promotion boards, linie of duty determinatio determinations, qualifications. if they can't be relied on, the trust starts to degrade. >> and every promotion and demotion should be merit based
and objective and it seems that there is a lot of question about that. of course we'll continue to be covering this story. that you think both f thank you both for your time. republican lawmakers echoing the president, embracing conspiracy theories in an effort to stave off impeachment even though the debunked theories benefit, guess which country, russ russia. plus, rick perry compares president trump to biblical kings and tells fox news that trump is god's chosen one.
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testimony in the house impeachment inquiry hasn't seemed to erode the strong bond between president trump and his republican supporters. if anything, it has driven some of them to conjure up disinformation to obscure the serious allegations leveled against the president. one of the biggest conspiracy theories is that ukraine was behind 2016 u.s. election
attacks despite the evidence that russia was to blachl. as fiona hill testified, the ukraine conspiracy theory itself is russian propaganda. >> some of you on this committee appear to believe that russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps somehow for some reason ukraine did. this is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated by the russian security services themselves. >> and december tithe spispite republican senators said this. >> who do you believe was responsible for hacking the dnc and clinton campaign computers, their emails? was it russia or ukraine? >> i don't know. nor do you. nor do any of us. >> the entire intelligence community says it was russia. >> right, but it could also be ukraine. >> she is correct that russia
tried to interfere in 2016. also ukranians themselves tried to interfere also. >> just makes you want to pull your hair out. oliver darcy is with me. i said this morning that couldn't have been a better segment considering that they are questioning facts that our own intelligence communities have told us. and these senators know better. so why are they saying what they are saying? is it just to protect the president? >> it is alarming to hear them basically refuse to accept the intelligence community's assessment that russia was the one who meddled in the elections. but it really does show how beholden they are to right wing media. they know their voters are getting information from the fox news world, the talk radio world, breitbarts of the world. and in that world, you know, ukraine i guess is now the one that meddled in the election and these gop senators don't want to contradict that because their
voters are being fed this steady diet of conspiracy theories. so they are trying to take this narrative that has been constructed in the fox news world and bringing it into reality and it falls apart when chris wallace pushes back and says but the intelligence community says this and they really have no good answers because there are no good answers. >> and how much damage is skaued by the president just hours after fiona hill testified that russia was propagating this disinformation goes on fox news for an hour and spews that very same disinformation? >> and he even faced a little bit of pushback from the fox and "friendfriend hosts. even they are having trouble digesting some of the stuff he is trying to push on their air. there is really no words to describe this behavior. i don't know what to make of it other than the president and his allies are trying to construct a
reality that is beneficial to them and full of conspiracy theories. that is really the bottom line. >> it is beneficial to them and to russia. and u.s. intelligence officials will say that we are not prepared to tackle this especially when you have sitting members of congress and the president still questioning it. great to see you. thank you so much. and search for legal justification after the fact, mick mulvaney the acting white house chief of staff reportedly looking for answers from his own office of management and budget. the "washington post" reports that emails show mulvaney was trying to find a legal reason or, rather, a legal explanation for the president's decision to withhold aid from ukraine. and we bring in carrie cordero, a legal analyst and formaler counsel to u.s. assistant attorney general. i want your reaction to the latest headlines from the "washington post" where it does
appear that moick mulvaney and omb officials were trying to find just if i kagfif justific withholding that aid. >> and in a normal circumstance it would not be uncommon no different agencies, white house and an agency to have disagreements about whether something is legal, whether a particular appropriation or particular budget issue or decision could be justified. what is different about this situation is that mick mulvaney was in the unique position of knowing what was going on in the white house as chief of staff, in other words, the president's reasons, his real reasons for withholding the aid. and then he was going back to the omb which he actually was the head of as well to try to see if they could justify through the agency process a legal reason why the aid could be withheld. so it is this issue again where
you have one thing going on with the individuals who are closest to the president and one set of activities. and then you have them pressing on the agencies to try to use the regular levers of government to explain what is otherwise in-explainable. >> let me switch gears and ask you about a decision that we're expecting today from a federal court judge on whether don mcgahn can testify. if this judge rules that he can testify, what does that mean going forward for others who these committee members have subpoenaed to testify as well? specifically john wbolton. >> mcgahn would be an interesting person because he was not just a white house official but he was a lawyer. and so of anybody who might be afforded the most levels of privileges, executive and attorney/client privilege, don mcgahn would be that person. so i think a court decision that
says that he could testify would be very significant. it certainly could be interpreted to free up other former or current white house officials like mick mulvaney who is under subpoena, like i don't know ebo know -- john be bolton who has been unwilling to testify. on the other hand, the white house will probably appeal a decision. so they could say now we'll wait until the next court's decision. >> and democrats are not willing to play rope-a-dope as it is decided in the courts. appreciate you coming on. god's chosen one. that is how energy secretary rick perry described president trump in an interview this weekend. how a catholic priest feels about that declaration. plus why one of trump's biggest defenders is facing a potential ethics investigation. we're related to them? we're portuguese? i thought we were hungarian. can you tell me that story again?
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all through history. saul wasn't perfect. and i gave him a one pager about the old testament kings about a month ago and i said i know there are people that say -- you said you were the chosen one. and i said you were. i said if you are a believing christian, you understand god's plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet in our government. >> perry also says that he and other evangelicals in the administration have tried to minister to the president in the white house. trump has also invited evangelical leaders to the white house for prayer as he tries to hang on to his crucial support from evangelical voters heading into the gone election. 2020 election. i want to bring in father beck, a roman catholic priest and old friend of mine. great to see you. thank you so much for joining us. i want to get your reaction to perry's comments.
>> well, the sberp tainterpreta scripture is so faulty. you cannot literally interpret scripture. these are ancient texts. so to lift it up and say this is what happened then, this is how we understood god and this is what god is doing now just like king david, just faulty interpretation. >> and perry is not the only administration official and cabinet member who has compared the president to the chosen one and messiah. i want to play you a clip of what secretary of state mike pompeo said about him earlier this year. >> could it be that president trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this to help save the jewish people from an iranian menace? >> as a christian i certainly believe that is possible. i'm confident that the lord is at work here. >> i think god calls all of us to fill different roles at different times. and i think that he wanted
donald trump to become president and that is why he is there and i think that he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about. >> and where there seems to be a disconnect, and not that there is anything wrong with it, is that this president has never approached life through a biblical lens. he's never baby veeen very reli he's said that he has nothing to repent for. so what do you make of those surrounding him constantly saying things that you just heard? >> well, i don't think that they are seeing the man for who he is. if you look at what we were talking about before, he mentions rick perry king david and sole monday and saul. david was an adulterer who had the woman he lusted after his husband killed so he could marry her. but he eventually repents. he sees the fault of his ways, he asks for forgiveness, and god
works through david. but this is a president who has said i have nothing to be forgiven for. never says i'm sorry. sees nothing wrong with his behavior. so for me, if the hallmarks are not love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, that is where you know where god is and what god is or dadaining. so i think that you can assume this leader is not of god. so if others around him to kind of shore this up, i think that again it is feeding the beast and it is feeding a very faulty interpretation of theology and scripture which i think is a dangerous one. therefore you can say we're in impeachment hearings. did god make a mmistake by ord n ordaining this president so god has to say i'm sorry, i was wrong? what kind of god is that, a capricious god? so if you go down this road, it is a dead end. >> fascinating to get your
perspective. great to see you again. one of the president's biggest defenders could be facing a potential ethics probe. why devin nunes is having to answer questions about his dealings in ukraine. this is your wake-up call. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection.
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democrats want more investigations into alleged meetings with a ukrainian prosecutor. a lawyer for president trump, rudy giuliani, said his client is willing to tell congress about meetings that devin nunes allegedly had last year in vienna. nunes was asked about this over the weekend and here's what he had to say. >> were you in vienna with showingen? >> yes, so look i want to answer all of these questions, and i promise you i will come back on the show and answer these questions. because there's criminal activity here, we're working with the appropriate law enforcement agencies, we're
going to file all this. >> nicki ward broke this story, she's joining me now on set. vicky, great lake to see you, great reporting. that was not a no. he could have said into. >> what is your takeaway from what he said? >> he's in an embarrassing difficult predicament, right? >> you have democrats calling for an ethics investigation to this. look at the optics, he is the senior republican presiding over impeachment hearings, investigating whether or not there was a shadow foreign policy in the ukraine that was essentially to benefit the person politically. it turns out, according to the lawyer, he wants to tell congress that devin nunes was a part of that, and he hasn't
disclosed his roll in that of course he's now in a difficult position. just to go back. what his lawyer has told us that parnass wants to testify to congress, is that devin nunes went to vienna last september to meet with victor shockin, the fired former prosecutor general of the ukraine who had a part in his firing, and devin nunes did not disclose this trip to congress, because he timed it deliberately to take place before the democrats began the new session. at which point -- parnass' lawyer said he wants to testify that devin nunes and an aid to devin nunes recruited parnass by
giuliani to be a part of their discussions. this is messy. >> will democrats hear from him, hear from the lawyer from rudy giuliani's associate. you will stay on this case, and we appreciate it. >> i so will. >> a manhunt underway after one of the biggest jewelry heists in modern history, involving a castle and a billion dollars worth of jewelry. a sheriff approaches a car over loud music and is shot to death by the son of a deputy. the chilling new developments straight ahead. to cover the essentials in retirement, as well as all the things you want to do. and on the way, you'll get timely investment help to keep you on the right track, without the unnecessary fees you might expect from so many financial firms. because when you have a partner who gives you clarity at every step,
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you're watching cnn, i'm brooke baldwin, within the next couple hours, a major court ruling is expected that could begin a boost to democrats in this impeachment inquiry, it could open access to firsthand testimony from people in the president's inner circle, many of whom have talked to him directly about the ukraine. more on that in a moment. as we wait for that judge's decision, we're learning new details about what the white house knew regarding the $400 million that congress had approved for ukraine security. the washington post is reporting that a confident white house review uncovered hundreds o
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