tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN November 26, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST
warren just shy of $1 million in iowa this week. thank you so much "inside politics" today. see you here tomorrow. have a great afternoon. under way right now, mr. president, you're not a king. that a federal judge ruling that a key witness in the impeachment inquiry must testify, which blows a whole in the administration's claim of absolute immunity. a swing state democrat suggests another punishment other than impeachment for president trump and then walks it back. plus, the pressure builds on rudy giuliani as a subpoena suggests prosecutors are looking into his businesses. and 24 hours after pedaling the president's conspiracy theory, a republican senator admits that he was wrong but then floats another conspiracy.
we begin with new details just in to cnn on when the order was carried out to hold up $400 million in military aid that was promised to ukraine. those details are in newly released documents from the office of budget and management obtained by congress. our manu raju is on capitol hill. you have these details. what are you learning? >> reporter: according to a summary provided by the house budget committee which reviewed these documents and provides details about how the administration, how the white house placed a hold on this curable military aid, roughly $400 million that ukraine had sought, which had ban number of questions about why that had been withheld as president trump himself demanded the ukrainian government to move forward on investigations that could help him politically. now, on the same day of that presidential fall where president trump told president zelensky of ukraine that he wanted the ukrainian government to open investigations into joe
biden as well as that theory that ukraine may have meddled in the election, he placed a hold on aid that would go to ukraine. roughly about a week later a political appointee came in, michael duffey of the office of management and budget. he placed subsequent holds that happened several more times, short-term holds, he continually placed these holds. on august 29th after the story that revealed that aid was withheld that prompted a lot of pushback from the ukrainian government and outrage from the ukrainian government, that mike duffey signs a document that would provide a chunk of funding on a weekly basis to ukraine. but the democrats are contending that this violates federal law because they say the law requires very clearly that when
congress appropriates money, the administration is required to spend it. the administration has pushed back on that notion, but this is an interesting development because of the fact that it happened on july 25th when the first written time they came in and notified this money would be delayed. recall we heard witness testimony that said on july 25th from laura cooper, one of the top officials at the pentagon, he said the ukrainian embassy was inquiring. placing a hold officially on that money. >> that does blow a hole in the republicans' argument that ukraine had no idea that the money was being withheld just yet. they did on that very day of the phone call. very significant developments. manu, thank you. presidents are not kings. that's the message first conveyed by the founding fathers. and now echoed by a federal judge ruling against president
trump's efforts to shield his staff with absolute immunity. judge brown jackson saying those staffers, quote, work for the people of the united states and they take an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. this particular case involved former white house counsel don mcgahn who refused a congressional subpoena to testify. the justice department has already filed an appeal, but the decision may still have a ripple effect throughout the impeachment process. let's bring in cnn political correspondent sara murray with more on this. sarah, what are the key takeaways from this legal bombshell. >> one of the things the judge made clear in this sweeping ruling is she wasn't just talking about don mcgahn. this could spell trouble for a number of white house officials. her ruling basically says if you are a current official, if you are a former official, if you are an official who worked in the national security sector, none of these people have blanket and excessive and extreme immunity. they could all be potentially
called to testify. now, this doesn't mean the witnesses are suddenly saddling up to capitol hill willing to help. we know that charles kupperman, the former deputy national security adviser is moving forward with his lawsuit. mick mulvaney still does not plan to comply with the impeachment hearing. but all of this does potentially provide ammunition for congress if they want to move forward with an article of impeachment based on obstruction because this judge is making clear in her legal view that these people should be showing up and should be testifying. it's also possible the democrats who are reading this opinion may feel more emboldened, perhaps trying to subpoena the president of the united states. the judge makes clear in her ruling, as you said, that presidents are not kings, but also that there could be times when the president could be compelled to testify, potentially provide tell me before congress. of course, if democrats decided to subpoena the president, you could bet that would be a long legal battle. there is another legal battle between the supreme court and the house of representatives.
now, it is at the center of this. the supreme court has basically decided at this point that the house of representatives is not going to get the president's financial records at this point. they have put an emergency stay on this and they are deciding whether they want to hear the merits of this case. this would be a huge case for the separation of powers, and so we're waiting to see how the supreme court moves >> on that we're expecting to hear their decision on that within a matter of weeks. sara murray, thank you so much. joining me now from memphis is tennessee congressman steve cohn, democrat on the house judiciary committee. always great to have you on. thank you. >> good to be with you. >> let me begin by asking you about the judge's ruling that mcgahn can testify. does that change the window as far as timing on an impeachment vote for you? would you prolong that investigation if you had the opportunity to interview mcgahn and other allies of the president in close contact? >> that will be a decision that speaker pelosi and chairman
nadler will make. we're all working as a team. impeachment is a very serious power that the constitution gives to congress, and it's one that you have to somewhat give up your individual thoughts to work as part of a team. we've gotten a really good team together. we're working in usefulnenison they'll look at it. adam schiff has talked about the need to go forward and others have as well. this could be appeal and don mcgahn could say i've been ordered, i'm going to come in but he left it up to the court of appeals to see if they would issue a stay and if they take the case, they will issue a stay. i'd be shocked if mcgahn came in. he's got a long history of working on federalist society getting judges approved by trump that are of a nature that will affect the next generation for years in judicial proceedings. he worked with mcconnell on
blocking merrick garland. he did a lot of the changes in regulation that would be harmful to our air and water. now west working in the private sector on regulatory issues. he could surprise me and i certainly hope he will. >> you still talk about going down this path of expediting this process. i'm wondering if one of the reasons is where the poll stands, where the nation stands right now on the issue of impeachment and whether that's emboldening the president. after two weeks of testimony from fact witnesses, the nation really hasn't moved on where they stand on impeachment. you have only 10% according to a new cnn poll out just today, only 10% think republicans should be removed from office, and 50% of independent voters saying that they -- 47% actually of independent voters believe he should be impeached. does that concern you that the nation really hasn't moved after the past few weeks? >> not on this issue because
this is not about polls, it's not about politics, it's about our oath of office to protect our country from a president who abused his power, to jeopardize our national security by trying to get political intelligence, which is not legal, a favor from the ukraine president in response for giving him monies that bipartisan congress approved to protect ukraine in the invasion of their country by russia. so no, it doesn't affect me and i don't think it affects the democrats because this is part of our oath to protect our country when it's had national security threats and our constitution has been subverted. nevertheless it concerns me that the public, we're so divided. the facts are clear. the evidence is strong. republican pundits agree that the president abused his power and that this is an impeachable offense. numbers changed since it started and they might have held currently, but the polling
numbers don't matter. it's a matter of abiding by your oath. >> you mentioned the party is in lock step with regards to where the process is moving going forward. but i wanted to play sound from a michigan colleague of yours, democrat brenda lawrence, who seldom suggest suggested it. >> we are so close to an election. i will tell you sitting here knowing highway divided this country is, i don't see the value of taking him out of office. >> wow. >> i want him censured. i want it on the record that the house of representatives did their job and they told this president and any president coming behind him that this is unacceptable behavior and, under our constitution, we will not
allow it. >> she clarified her comments this morning saying that she still continues to support impeachment, but in her mind, she believes what it what will happen with the senate voting that the president will not be impeached and she wants this on the order, which is why she proposed the idea of censure. do you think that's a valid point? >> i raised this issue last spring with the caucus, i believe. i was the the first person to raise it in the caucus. but the response was that it wasn't a strong enough measure for the conduct of the president engaged in, even at a time when we weren't pursuing impeachment vis-a-vis the mueller report. it's even more so not a strong enough measure concerning the abuse of power which he's exhibited with ukraine where the proof is so evident and conclusive. so i think it's a mistake and i think going on the house impeaching him, even he's not convicted, is a stronger
statement than censure would be and we don't pick up republican votes either. >> so you think it was a mistake? >> that is absolutely the right response, yes. >> congressman, we'll leave it there. thank you so much for joining us and have a happy thanksgiving. >> and you too. gobble gobble. still to come, pressure mounts on rudy giuliani as federal prosecutors appear to be zeroing in on his businesses. plus a republican senator waits more than 24 hours to admit he was wrong for floating one of the president's conspiracies but doubled down on another one. and the third house democrat to endorse pete buttigieg joins me live to explain why. skin sin #17... too many after-parties. new neutrogena® bright boost with dullness-fighting
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home instead offers personalized in-home services for your loved ones. home instead senior care. to us, it's personal. there's growing scrutiny into the business dealings of president trump's personal attorney, rudy giuliani. a subpoena seen by cnn shows federal prosecutors are looking now at a wide range of potential charges for giuliani's associates, including money laundering, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and campaign finance violations. the subpoena indicates federal investigators are interested in giuliani's consulting firm. giuliani hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing and recently told cnn that he hasn't heard from prosecutors. last month his associates, lev
parnas and igor fruman were arrested as they were trying to leave the u.s. and later indicted on charges of using a shell company to funnel campaign donations to a pro-trump super pac. shelby holiday broke this story from "the wall street journal." john fillp directed a film on rudy giuliani. thank you so much for being with me and congratulations on the scoop. what do we know so far about the investigation? >> we reported various subpoenas were sent to different people that had relationships with rudy giuliani as well as his associates, lev parnas and igor fruman. this subpoenas indicate a very broad investigation at this point into a variety of possible charges, money laundering, foreign lobbying violations, wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud united states. they are the clearest sign yet the prosecutors are looking not just at rudy giuliani but his consulting business.
that payment was made to giuliani partners so they could be scrutinizing that. >> we should note giuliani says he hasn't heard from prosecutors yet. >> correct. >> is that an ominous sign? >> it could be. i did a lot of reporting on roger stone. roger stone hadn't heard from prosecutors. in that case it was a bad sign. it could be as well for giuliani right now. >> john, you delved deep into rudy giuliani's past. once for the prosecutor of the southern district of new york of new york. he established his consulting firm shortly after he left office. so there's years worth of information to dig through. what is he going through right now knowing that these subpoenas are out there from a former prosecutor's standpoint? >> i think he has to know how serious the situation is because it's coming from the office he
used to run as the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. so that's an office that he used to grab the headlines when he was a prosecutor. and he knows how thorough that office is and how independent it is. so i'm sure that he knows that he's got a lot of work to do and that he has to be very careful. i think it's a great irony it's the same office that's looking into him that he used to become the mayor of new york city and then america's mayor. >> i'm wondering how much he's questioning his friendships right now, specifically with the president of the united states. i want you to listen to what the president said about him yesterday at the white house. >> rudy is a great person. and i think that maybe the press isn't treating rudy very well, and i think that that's unfair. but rudy was a great mayor and a great crime fighter. >> so he should be relieved when he heard that, right? but we heard days after saying
something like that about somebody, saying i don't know who they are, i barely know the person. how concerned is giuliani that that's where he's going to go next? >> if he was thrown under the bus, he would be the only person in america that didn't know it. the distancion started to happen when he started to talk about his former fixer, michael cohen. some of that -- >> and gordon sondland. >> and a whole host of other people in the inner circle and now in the outer circle. so i think rudy probably has a sense of where this might go. if he didn't, he should. >> let's not forget that lev parnas decided he wanted to cooperate after president trump came out and said i don't know this man, i don't know anything about him. and parnas has claimed he knows trump, he's taken plenty of photographs with president trump. he was a donator.
president trump distancing himself from parnas, parnas knows about how rudy giuliani operated. his lawyer is claiming that everything he did was on behalf of rudy when rudy was working with president trump. if he has evidence and documents to prove it, he's turning those over to congress. >> it's a drip drip of information. >> with rudy and trump it's going to be difficult for him to say he didn't have a relationship. >> which is why giuliani jokingly said that he is insurance. >> wink wink. >> john, shelby, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> very interesting. straight ahead, pete buttigieg gets another bounce picking up a third endorsement from a sitting u.s. lawmakers. just in, first lady melania trump booed at a youth event in baltimore. see what happened. >> be safe, may god bless you. hi, i'm jonathan,
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buttigieg. pete represents the new voice and fresh perspective that we need in washington. he's focused on bold yet common sense policies that will unite our country and he has what it takes to beat donald trump. congresswoman rice joimsz nns m. what do you think pete buttigieg has what it takes to beat president trump? >> if you spend time listening to him, he has messages that resonates with people across the country. if he made a mistake as democrats in 2016, it was only speaking to people in certain parts of the country. we forgot a whole group of people in the middle of country who were not hearing candidates talk about issues that mattered to them. i think that pete, especially coming from someone who has been on the ground as a mayor of a mid-western town, he knows how to speak to people, he knows how to address their issues, and he's doing that on a national scale that i think is going to resent with more and more voters
the more he gets his message out there. >> not for lack of trying. he is speaking to the african-american community, but he's not really making any traction with them quite yet and he's not able to get the nomination without african-american support. does that worry you? >> you know, not at this point. mayor pete is still someone who is in the process of introducing himself to everyone across the country. you know, i have run a race. when i ran my first race in my home county, i had zero name recognition whatsoever. people didn't know who i was. thankfully i had the time to introduce myself to people. when they get to know you, that's when they join on, so to speak. so i'm not surprised that at this early stage, you know, pete, he's get to all these communities. he's going to be present in south carolina and throughout the rest of the country. and i think when you hear his message, african-american community, other communities
that may not have known him before will get to know him and will support him. >> what do you hear in his message that you don't hear from joe biden. you mentioned the mistakes the party made in 2016. is he making some of those mistakes? are other candidates like elizabeth warren making those mistakes? >> one of the things we do is we have a tendency to go all the way to the left because we feel it's important to get the far-left members of the democratic party to support us in a democratic party. when you take those positions, very often it makes it difficult for you to win in a general election when you're trying to appeal to republicans and independents alike. piz pete is a fresh voice. we need a voice that can take us into the future. and i think pete is that voice and he is not spending his time
pandering to specific portions of the party. he is taking positions specifically on medicare for all. he said i think actually people should be able to keep their health care if they want it. i come from a district where 80% of my constituents get their health care through private health insurance that's given to them primarily through public sector employers. that speaks to people across the country who don't want their health care taken away from them. pete has staked that position that is unique in this field. >> another fellow new yorker has thrown his hat in the ring for presidency as well, the former mayor, michael bloomberg. what are your thoughts on his candidacy right now and why not give him a shot before endorsing buttigieg? >> i think mike did a great job in new york city. i worked with him as a former d.a. obviously guns were a big issue for me and my constituents.
he has taken a leadership role on that issue across the country. i just look at pete and i see the face of the future. and i hear a voice of the future. and i think that's what we need right now. we have an incredibly divided country right now, and if you listen to pete, he does not focus on using divisive rhetoric. he doesn't want a negative campaign. he is talking about taking this country into the future, a future that includes everyone in this country and does not leave anyone out. >> you keep talking about a theme of a need for change and a fresh voice. i'm reminded of your vote, you along with is a other congressmen who voted against nancy pelosi being house speaker. you lost your position on the judiciary committee because of that. how do you think nancy pelosi has handled this impeachment process and do you regret voting against her? >> my position about nancy pelosi was never about her personally. i think what you're seeing now
in terms of how she is leading us in this impeachment inquiry is a perfect example of what a great leader she is. my position was we need to pass the baton on to the future of our elected leaders in washington. we have a tendency, political parties tend to cling to the people who've been there the longest and claim the institutional knowledge are so important. but when i got to washington, my position was we need to hear from every voice, and this applies to the republican party as well. so my position was never a personal one against nancy pelosi. she is a historic figure, being the first woman speaker of the house. but i feel we need a new voice that can take us into the future, change the way washington works right now because clearly the american public doesn't think that washington is working. that's why i'm supporting pete because i think he can get that job done. >> just to be clear, you think
nancy pelosi has handled this impeachment process well? >> i think -- this is -- how many times has this happened in history? very few times. i think she's doing the best that she can under very div different circumstances. once she was elected, i said i'm going to support her 100%, and i have. >> congresswoman, thank you so much. great to have you on. have a happy thanksgiving. >> you too. still to come, senator john kennedy tries to clarify a conspiracy theory that he floated about ukraine and then he promptly floats another one. what's that all about? plus, in addition to brokering middle east peace, jared kushner has a new project on his to-do list, that's border wall construction manager. 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.
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today republican senator john kennedy of louisiana clarifying his remarks over the weekend that ukraine, not russia, was responsible for hacking the dnc server. but in the process he also reiterated a debunked conspiracy theory. take a listen. >> senator kennedy, 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. let me be clear. russia hacked the dnc computer. i have no evidence whatsoever that ukraine did it. there is, however, plenty of evidence that ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. >> i'm not sure we've seen that evidence yet, but to discuss, let me bring in cnn global affairs analyst max boot, senior fellow for the council on foreign relations and columnist for "the washington post." also matt stein glass, the deputy europe editor for the economist. what appeared to be a backtrack from senator kennedy was really replacing one conspiracy theory for another. i don't remember any ukrainians indicted by the fbi. what does this tell you about
where we are as a country? >> i guess what it tells you is that republicans just can't stop repeating russian disinformation, which is what this is, this notion with the ukrainians somehow were responsible for interfering in our politics in 2016. you hear two variations from senator kennedy. in variation one, it was the ukrainians who actually hacked the dnc and not the russians, and so this is what trump believes because he goes on about the cloud strike server which is nonsense. but variation b is, oh, yes, the russians interfered, but so did the ukrainians, suggesting a moral equivalence or it somehow canceled out the russian interference. this is all errant nonsense because when you actually ask them what was the nature of this ukrainian interference, it basically comes down a ukrainian journalist who revealed information showing that paul manafort was deeply corrupt and, of course, paul manafort is now in jail.
there were a couple of remarks from ukrainians that were not happy that donald trump wasn't recognizing the annexation of crimea. the russians carried out a high-level intelligence operation collected by vladimir putin himself. >> by conflating the two, you're taking away focus from russia and their actions. matt, i want to bring you in because the president tweeted that he held back the money from ukraine because it was considered a corrupt country and i wanted to know why nearby european countries weren't putting up money as well, even though we know other european countries were. it's a long-standing u.s. policy, an effort to help ukraine become more of a democratic country and a stable country to do with and root out corruption. what i don't understand is that is exactly what ambassador yovanovitch was doing, and thus, what led to the smear campaign into her being recalled. and she addressed this during her testimony earlier this month. i want to play this for you.
>> what continues to amaze me is that they found americans willing to partner with them and working together they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a u.s. ambassador. >> so they found americans who were willing to smear her because of her attempt to root out corruption, which was u.s. policy. what does that say about our standing in the world and in europe as the beacon of democracy and rooting out corruption? >> i think one thing that people aren't doing often enough going back to the source of america's involvement in ukraine, which diplomats testified said it goes back to 2014. and the revolution in ukraine was really a revolution against corruption, a revolution against a corrupt oligarchic regime and it was to root out oligarchic
involvement in governance. that is why joe biden was going to ukraine so often because he was a point man at the white house to emphasize that united states government really stood behind anti-corruption, stood behind turning ukraine into an authentically -- a country that wasn't run by a bunch of politically oriented businessman. what happened now is because what we saw in the impeachment drama, people in ukraine and other countries in europe as well where the u.s. has traditionally tried to help root out corruption are beginning to wonder whether the u.s. stands behind that policy, both from the white house and whether the united states' own model of governance is also corrupt. >> fiona hill testified this debunked theory is prop gated. talk about the implications of that if, in fact, they are successful in another u.s. election.
>> i tend to be most struck by the way people in eastern europe see this drama unfolding. and the propagation of these false narratives that tells me from a disinformation campaign as major elements in american explications dispiriting to them because they're familiar with this from eastern european politics. it's very common for narratives that are invented by intelligence officials which are damaging to politicians are then laundered through the from the press and other figures and used in political campaigns. what they're seeing in the u.s. is similar to the kinds of electoral dramas you see in romania or moldova or ukraine for the past 15 years. >> max, let me ask you because we also heard from secretary of state pompeo when asked about ukraine and the president's tweets and what have you,
suggests there were multiple foreign actors, again, watering down the focus that was exclusively on russia. what does that tell you? why not just stay with the one country that actually propagated all of this? >> because mike pompeo is too cowardly to tell the truth because he knows the truth will offend donald trump because donald trump keeps insisting that the russian interference was a hoax. to the point that you were just discussing, i think this is really unilateral disarmament of american power because we have stood for fighting corruption and championing press freedom and human rights. when he tries to castigate the iranians for their human rights violations, no one takes him seriously because everyone knows he doesn't mean it. we have invested so much energy in ukraine into fighting
corruption and donald trump instead of fighting krurpcorrup he's appropriating corruption. >> the world is watching. thank you so much. criminal justice reformer middle east broker, and now construction foreman. not kidding. jared kushner's growing to-do list, that's coming up next. >> and for straight me -- >> this just in, a cold reception for melania trump in maryland. the first lady booed during a children's event in baltimore. >> hello, everyone. only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol®. and let me tell you something, rodeo... i wouldn't be here if i thought reverse mortgages took advantage of any american senior, or worse, that it was some way to take your home. it's just a loan designed for older homeowners, and, it's helped over a million americans.
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well, jared kushner's orbit in the white house is expanding. in charge of overseeing the building of the border wall. the president is extremely frustrated with the lack of obvious construction of the wall. earlier it was reported if the white house wants to install webcams to watch the construction. chris cillizza has more. >> reporter: right. a jared kushner idea to keep the public more informed about the wall construction, which his
father-in-law, a/k/a, president of the united states, says he wants 400 mime miles of new wa the 2020 election. the man once calmed the secretary of everything has a really big portfolio. part here overseeing border wall construction, and many of the other things these doing. something i call middle east peace. that should be no problem. kushner is charged from the start with doing the greatest deal -- trump's words -- greatest deal in histories bringing peace to the middle. there's lost of them. next up, mods earn i-- modernizd trying to bring tech into the government. trying to streamline and modernize the way in which government works. drafting trade policy. who is the mainly as liaison?
kshg ksh jared kushner. and also something where jared kushner and donald trump have had success, the first step act. this is a way to overhaul our criminal justice system that donald trump signed into law in december of last year. that's actually a check mark jared kushner got it done. keep going. impeachment legal strategy. again a small thing about whether or not the president will be impeached and removed from office. jared kushner again leading the charge, because the belief is that the megging by trump and his white house hasn't been adequate. jared kushner steps in. i think one more. yes. reforming legal immigration policy. now, jared kushner fainted in this. tried to do a little in donald trump's first term. didn't go anywhere. if re-elected in 2020 expect
this reforming legal immigration to come back up. as you can see, all of this and more the son-in-law of the president, the one-time secretary of everything is back. he has his hand in virtually every piece of what this white house is doing. brianna, back to you. >> one question. where is he going to find the time for all of that? all right. chris cillizza, thank you. 36 years behind bars for a murder they didn't commit. hear why these three men were freed and what happened once they were. plus, what is it like to text with rudy giuliani? one reporter joined cnn on giuliani's surreal communication habits. ig deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with... ...an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression
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hi there. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn on this tuesday afternoon. a judge just told president trump he is not a king in a critical court ruling that could have impact on the impeach inquiry. breaking details on the inquiry and the nebs steps democrats will now take. senior correspondent manu raju is on capitol hill. just had a conference call by the democrats. what happened. >> reporter: announcing the first steps moving forward on impeachment proceedings for president trump. another sign that the democrats areov