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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  December 16, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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>> republicans plan to push back. democrats are saying the fix is in. >> conducting a trial in the senate is enormous. democrats trying to push the proposal what the trial would
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look like. >> to engage the trial without facts coming out is to engage in a coverup. >> chuck schumer hopes it will game republican support. >> do they want a fair, honest trial that examines the facts or a trial that doesn't let facts come out. trials have witnesses. that's what trials are all about. in a letter to mitch mcconnell, schumer called for subpoenas to be issued for four witnesses that have direct knowledge of the ukraine affair. acting chief of staff, mick mulvaney, rob blair, budget office official mike mcduffie and john bolton who allegedly called what the envoys were doing in ukraine a drug deal. >> each of them will have information to share about charges made by the house, information that no one has heard at this point. >> sources say mcconnell doesn't want witnesses, working in lock
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step with white house counsel on the trial's format. >> everything i do during this i am coordinating with white house counsel. there will be no difference between the president's position and our position. >> engaging democrats like schumer that says there's a difference between discussion and working on the president's behalf. >> for him to talk to the president is one thing. for him to say i'm going to do just what the president wants is out of line. >> he hopes to model the trial on bill clinton's, to get his way, have more control on what happens during the trial, schumer needs at least four republicans to join democrats to give them a majority. seven moderate or retiring republicans are being targeted, including utah senator mitt romney, vocal critic of the president's. all ahead of the impeachment vote expected wednesday. judiciary committee which approved articles of impeachment issued their final report overnight, blasting the president for betraying the nation through abuse of power
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which democrats claim includes multiple federal crimes. >> this is a crime in progress against the constitution and democracy. >> he told mitch mcconnell he would be open to republicans calling their own witnesses that can testify about ukraine. that doesn't include hunter biden, schumer said. he said the younger biden would be a distraction. the two senators haven't met face to face. spokesperson for mcconnell says that will happen soon. >> thanks so much. we should note, senate majority leader mcconnell opposes witnesses now. if you go back to the clinton impeachment, here he is on larry king in 1999. >> there have been 15 impeachments in the history of the country, two cut short by resignations, the other 13 impeachments, there were witnesses. it is not unusual to have a witness in a trial. it is certainly not unusual to have a witness in an impeachment trial. house managers only asked for three witnesses, i think that's
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pretty modest. >> we should point out for fairness that chuck schumer had a different position, he wants witnesses now, during the clinton impeachment dnlidn't wa witnesses. how are they explaining the position. >> this is a tactic when senators have been around long enough, dig up old clips of each other on the floor. especially for particular nominations, clearly for impeachment proceedings. many senators have taken different sides. chuck schumer in the focus today with his outline for witnesses and other trial requests, explained it away as saying look, witnesses i thought were not necessary during the clinton impeachment trial had testified in the house proceedings, four witnesses he called for this time around rebuffed subpoenas or calls from house democrats to testify. he says that's a different situation. i'm not sure that argument will fly with republicans who have broadly come around to the consensus they don't want witnesses in the senate trial
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for president trump. we are watching folks in the middle, susan collins, mitt romney. >> back then, he was like bring it on, witnesses, this is how it is done. >> politics, can you believe it. i mean, i know that republicans i guess are going to say that these people could have testified in the house, if the democrats pressed it in court, really wanted people to testify, should have taken matters to court. of course, republicans know that would have taken a very long time and would have dragged on and on. i think when you look at the fact of the matter, republicans don't want to bring any more people to testify, that's not going to look great for the president most likely, it is most likely not in their interest to bring more people to testify. >> is it fair to say what she
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said is diplomatic and reporterly way of saying the facts are bad, republicans don't want the facts to come out? >> of course not, they want this all to go away. from where i sit and stand today, i am trying to figure out what the democrats want the trial to be about. when you got the first report, headlines were abuse of power, obstruction of congress. now they're throwing around allegations of criminality to jail possibly. you needed to prove that case. so this is where i'm stuck, right? to prove that case, you do need witnesses chuck schumer is talking about. they try to call them up. what happens, they already defied the house. they're probably going to defy the senate. going to push for the court again, then we're back to the courts and where we started in the house. >> jen saki, in the report from the house, democrats on the judiciary committee, for example on the wire fraud statute which carries 20 years in prison, they remind us the underlying wire fraud statute requires
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transmission by wireless in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings for the purpose of executing a scheme or art physical, and argue the call to zelensky and july 26 call to ambassador gordon sondland both were foreign wire communications made in furtherance of an ongoing bribery scheme. is this a good argument? if so, why was it not made in articles of impeachment? >> i think what we're seeing play out is chairman nadler and chairman schiff and perhaps speaker pelosi have different views of what the lead should be here. we have all watched as chairman nadler has been a little more forward about impeachment for months and chairman schiff and speaker pelosi came to it later because of developments with the whistle-blower and the transcript, right? chairman nadler is facing a primary opponent in his district. not saying that's the sole driver, but he is overseeing the legal case here. obviously what the democrats want to lead it as a whole is
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what articles of impeachment are about, which is narrow and focused on ukraine. they see it as a means of putting things on the table that can have legal action in the future. it is not over regardless of outcome of impeachment. i think they're putting it out there for those purposes, too. i think we'll see senator schumer lead more in the direction of what speaker pelosi and chairman schiff did. >> and a number of the democrats in seats, congressional seats that president trump won in 2016 are coming forward, almost all of them i have seen saying they're voting for impeachment, which is a great risk to their congressional careers. freshman congressman alyssa slot kin is a yes, went to trump with seven percentage points. there were anti-impeachment protests in her home district. a precarious position for some democrats. it could well be the end of
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their congressional career. >> a lot of national polling that favors impeachment, what pelosi and democrats care about are how people feel in swing districts. look at some of the democrats that come out today saying they'll vote to impeach trump. joe cunningham, and ben mcadams in utah, those are republican districts. they're taking a political risk out here to say they'll vote to impeach. they're hoping they cannot only emphasize they're a check by voting to impeach him, also that they can work with him. see a major trade deal passed later this week by the house, the walk and chew gum message democrats bring forward. >> stick around, more to talk about. are republicans okay with the president asking foreign leaders to investigate. a stunning admission from rudy giuliani. the kremlin touting his efforts in ukraine. stay with us.
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doprevagen is the number oneild mempharmacist-recommendeding? memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. we are back with the politics lead. in less than 48 hours, president donald trump could be the third president to be impeached by the house of representatives, which will set up a senate trial in january. joining me, mike johnson of louisiana, serves on the house judiciary committee. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> former governor tom ridge, first homeland security secretary for george w. bush, he said i am disappointed and troubled by the fact that my president, and he is my president, would ask a foreign leader of a troubled country to
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do him a political favor. as far as i am concerned, it is abuse of power. i know you disagree with him. how is he wrong, how is it not abuse of power? >> i would tell tom ridge and anybody else they can't look at this in isolation, you have to look at it in context, what matters is the actual record. the president didn't ask zelensky to do him a favor, he said do us a favor, it is an important word, obscured in the judiciary hearing of the 14 hour marathon hearing, had to correct the record over and over. the context was he made sure the treasure of taxpayers was not spent overseas. that's why they're regarded the third most corrupt nation in the world. he wanted to be sure this would be done right, if zelensky that ran as a swamp drainer to clean up corruption, if he was legitimate. ultimately the president concluded he was and aid was released. >> all right. just so we're clear, this would set a precedent were a president
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with some sort of preceding information could be -- it would be okay with you, with that president, democratic president, asking a foreign leader to investigate a domestic political rival? elizabeth warren says china, questions about their dealings with visas, or azer bay john, or trump tower, as long as there's a predicate, that's okay with you? >> that's not what i said. i said you have to look at the whole context. >> there's corruption in turk and china. >> there is. but what the president is talking about is not getting dirt on the political rival for 2020. never came up. >> he said joe biden. >> he said joe biden but he is referring to events of 2016 which he has always been bothered by. everybody can see the record of it, he tweets about it. for years he talked about his concern about the 2016 election. >> he never said anything about joe biden when he was running as a candidate. hunter biden took the contract
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in 2014 with bar is ma. first time trump talked about it was last year. >> you haven't seen the transcript of all his calls either. he talked consistently how he feels the election was -- there was meddling, there was effort by foreigners to go against him. everybody thought 2016 was messed up, both sides of the aisle. that's what's in his mind. as a lawyer, we have the intent behind the offender. what was in trump's mind. the transcript is clear and evidence has come out since, shows zelensky said clearly he didn't feel pressure, there was no pressure. they didn't know aid was delayed. >> that's not true. came out in testimony a pentagon official said they got a message from ukrainians where is the military aid, july 25th, same day as the phone call. >> deep state of ukraine, okay. >> this is the government of ukraine wanted to know where it
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was. >> zelensky was a reformer that came in, he was railing against the establishment in ukraine, had their own set of circumstances like we do. there were people, our understanding from transcript and evidence, there were people within the administration who didn't necessarily have zelensky's best interest in mind because he was going to drain the swamp. all of the details are important. you have to look at the facts, not little bits of it in isolation. it is the whole record that's important. >> one of the questions is president trump took office in january, 2017 and at no point did he pressure that we know president pore shank oh throughout 2018 doesn't pressure him. joe biden announces he is running for president, in july he is pressuring ukraine to look. let's run this out. it is specific to ukraine. it is not i want you to get rid of corruption. any americans, this is president trump on october 3rd, asked what did you want from zelensky in the phone call. let's run that sound. >> i would think that if they
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were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the bidens, it is a simple answer. >> not an investigation into bar is ma, it is into biden, the leading candidate running against them. >> in that clip it is, but again, what's the whole context. we can go back through the president's tweets since before he ran for president. his priority is america first. what he meant by that, he is articulated so many times, he wants to be sure we are not squandering dollars overseas, worried about nato not doing their fair share. he sees ukraine as number three most corrupt nation in the world and he knows the bidens, there's something fishy about the barisma thing. >> so many countries are full of corruption, never heard president trump talk about any of them. netanyahu in israel, he is in trouble with the law there, literally. egypt, billions of dollars going
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to egypt. al -- the list goes on and on. you're asking us to believe this is a man that's really concerned about corruption abroad. not only that, let me ask you this. when you look at president trump right now, his former campaign chairman, paul manafort, former national security adviser mike flynn, former deputy campaign chair rick gates, former associate, george papadopoulos, roger stone, all are convicted of federal crimes. trump university settled a $25 million fraud lawsuit last year. last month, president trump admitted misusing his own charitable foundations, he was ordered to pay $2 million. you want the american people to believe this guy cares about corruption. >> i do. you take him at his own word, what he said. >> look at the record. >> that's what i'm saying, look at the record. when you talk about impeachable offenses, we did a 14 hour hearing last week, all these
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hearings in the basement, haven't presented any direct evidence to show the president was involved in any crime. you talked about three previous impeachments, each one of those there were specific criminal acts, mountains of evidence to prove had been committed. we don't have that here. our ultimate concern, jake, is founders were very specific in warning against a single party impeachment, they knew it would divide the country. they knew people would go to their corners. didn't want to damage the republic. >> you know this as amateur historian, they didn't want parties at all. >> you talk about witnesses, gordon sondland testified before congress about the big question was there a quid pro quo, did the ukrainians have to make announcements of investigations, political investigations, ones that indisputably would help the president politically, whatever the reason behind them, political investigation in exchange for a meeting with the
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president which zelensky wanted to show the ukrainians he was serious and the russians. here is gordon sondland making that point. >> was there a quid pro quo? as i testified previously with regard to the requested white house call and the white house meeting, the answer is yes. >> that's a first person witness. had conversations with president trump. there was a quid pro quo, he said. >> the rest of the context is that is based on his conjecture, speculation, his assumption. the direct evidence in the record, he said he asked the president on the telephone, september 9th i think it was, what do you want from ukraine. the president said i want nothing, i want no quid pro quo. i want zelensky to do the right thing. again, he wanted to ensure zelensky would be the reformer to clean it up, if we're going to spend precious taxpayer dollars there, they'll be spent well. >> after the whistle-blower came forward, aid was released, and
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president trump according to gordon sondland said no quid pro quo, no quid pro quo, i don't want anything from zelensky, after it was raised in public whether it was a quid pro quo. >> yes. >> and sondland was asked, this is not as noticed, he was asked did you believe president trump. let's roll that sound. >> and you believe the president, correct? >> you know what, i'm not going to characterize whether i believed or didn't believe, i was just trying to convey what he said on the phone. >> seems like it would be a simple answer if you believe that president trump meant it. >> well, it should, maybe he should have answered it directly. we have sondland's testimony. what we saw in the judiciary committee, you have to take all of sondland, not little pieces. and the only direct evidence of men's ray a, intent, was on the phone call. that's the problem the democrats have. they promised impeachment by christmas. that's why we're having this conversation now. what they should have done in
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the objection of congress article, they should have gone to the third branch of the government, judiciary. that's how it is resolved, when you have impasse between the legislative and executive branchs, go to the third branch and get it resolved. they didn't have time for that. >> if there's nothing there, if it is all innocent, mulvaney also said there was a quid pro quo, military aid held back in part for the investigation into the wild conspiracy theory that you've never espoused about ukraine interfering in the 2016 election, if there was nothing there, why not let mulvaney or john bolton come forward. why fight it? >> adam schiff engineered this process in the basement, unprecedented, what we call a fraudulent process, having secret hearings in the basement. >> which republicans participated in. >> not the ones with jurisdiction. i am on house judiciary committee, ranking member of the subcommittee.
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i am still not privy to the evidence gathered in the basement. why is that? that's the relevant evidence that they're bringing forward supposedly to justify impeachment. this is an unprecedented process. the president didn't want to submit to a fishing expedition. all previous administrations took the same. barack obama didn't submit everything congress asked. >> not everything, but submitted some documents. this president submitted no documents, zero. >> not true. when the impeachment investigation began, they submitted 100,000 documents. 25 members of his administration testified before the intel committee, oversight committee, this congress, this year. had 20 in judiciary. he has wanted to cooperate. when it came to this issue, when democrats like adam schiff went out and telegraph what they're going to do, 95 house democrats voted to impeach the president before july of this year, before any of the facts you and i are talking about even developed. it was already decided. they predetermined the political
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outcome. this was clear to the president. you wouldn't have submitted to that. >> we could talk another hour. congressman mike johnson, good to see you. if i don't see you, merry christmas. impact of impeachment up next. how some are ignoring their own advice. stay with us. most people think of verizon as a reliable phone company. but to businesses, we're a reliable partner. we keep companies ready for what's next. (man) we weave security into their business. (second man) virtualize their operations. (woman) and build ai customer experiences. (second woman) we also keep them ready for the next big opportunity. like 5g. almost all of the fortune 500 partner with us. (woman) when it comes to digital transformation... verizon keeps business ready.
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we're back with the politics lead. 31 house democrats represent congressional districts that president trump won in 2016. for them, a decision on impeachment may carry with it their congressional career. what about house republicans in swing districts? how are they making their decisions? >> while many focus on house democrats in swing districts, how they may vote on impeachment. >> just don't agree with this. you know? >> i will be voting yes on obstruction. >> less focus given to house republicans from purple districts, and how they might vote. the reason? as of now, republicans appear united against impeachment. >> the republicans have never been so united as they are right now. ever. >> in order to justify that
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position, many republicans simply deny reality. as seen here by congresswoman debbie le debbie lesco. zblm why is it ever okay for an american president to ask a foreign power -- >> trump asked ukraine to investigate the bidens. >> if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the bidens. >> denying facts and evidence has become the rule of the day. >> ukrainians didn't know the aid was held up at the time of the phone call. >> congressman jordan of ohio making that claim, despite this testimony from a pentagon official. >> a member of my staff got a question from a ukraine embassy contact asking what was going on with ukraine security assistance. >> it may be difficult for the public to imagine the same republicans tolerating the same offenses from a democratic president. that was the task laid out in 1974 by illinois republican
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congressman robert mclori, who initially supported president nixon and changed his mind. >> heard it said by some they cannot understand how a republican could vote to impeach a republican president. i cannot and do not envision my role in that dim light. >> lindsey graham from south carolina. >> house floor manager asked the same during the clinton trial. >> if a republican president had done these things, would a republican delegation tell him to get out of town? i hope so. >> flash forward 20 years, he got his answer. >> i am trying to give a clear signal, i made up my mind. i can't pretend to be a fair juror here. >> coming up, a new admission by rudy giuliani, raising red flags about continuing efforts to dig up dirt on the bidens. up next, how his moves are music
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in our politics lead, president trump called his lawyer rudy giuliani the greatest crime fighter. as indicate lykaitlan collins r is the impeachment that's dominating mr. trump's mind now. >> reporter: two days from likely becoming the third president to be impeached, president trump is defiant and defending his attorney. >> he sees all of the hoax that happens when they talk about impeachment hoax, the russian
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collusion dell uusion. he was probably the greatest crime fighter in the last 50 years. >> reporter: most grievances are on twitter. he fired off dozens of tweets alone, and many over the weekend, one where he falsely claimed speaker pelosi's teeth were falling out of her mouth as she answered questions on articles of impeachment. >> you accused him of bribery. why did you decide not to make bribery one of the articles of impeachment? >> i myself am not a lawyer. sometimes i act like one. >> reporter: in the clip, pelosi's speech is uninterrupted, her office isn't commenting on the president's tweet for now. the president also had his eye on a new poll from fox news that shows 50% of registered voters want him i am peeved and removed from office. 41% oppose impeaching him all together. support for impeachment hasn't
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grown as congress has conducted its hearings. according to the poll, hasn't shrunk either. other numbers could prove troubling for trump. 53% of those surveyed believe he abused the power of his office. 48% think he obstructed congress. and 45% say he committed bribery, as he often does with numbers he doesn't like, the president dismissed the poll as inaccurate. many aids say impeachment is weighing on trump. >> is it difficult? of course it is. >> reporter: pam bondi is the florida who defended mitch mcconnell in shaping the trial. >> the president deserves to be heard. we should be working hand in hand with him. >> reporter: jake, you remember the trip that rudy giuliani made to ukraine last week where he told "the wall street journal" he got more information than the president could imagine. today, when the president was
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asked what had rudy giuliani told him about the trip, he said, quote, not much. >> one wonders how much of that information was accurate. kaitlan collins, appreciate that. in world lead, rudy giuliani has given the clearest admission yet he worked to get the u.s. ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch removed from her position because she was hurting his, quote, investigation into the bidens. giuliani telling the new yorker i believed i needed yovanovitch out of the way, she was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody. rudy giuliani's self proclaimed fact-finding mission is being condemned today by anti-corruption activists in ukraine, and being applauded by the kremlin. rudy giuliani's efforts to dig up dirt on the bidens are disgusting some anti-corruption groups in the country.
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>> it is not search for truth. it is continuing to spread disinformation in the best tradition of kremlin. and music to the ears of putin controlled tv in russia who are eager to paint themselves as innocent, despite the u.s. intelligence community's conclusions about russian election interference in 2016. >> translator: turns out the state department is wired to remove trump's power and stop the case of corrupt biden being investigated as giuliani says. >> giuliani who spoke with trump last week after returning from a supposed fact-finding mission to ukraine and other eastern european countries tweeted this weekend a string of clips from protrump right wing media outlet oan, claiming to layout his findings which he says prove fraud by the energy company
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burisma. >> he will testify that he was investigating biden's son. he will show you the documents to prove he was investigating biden's son. >> there's no evidence that biden did anything wrong, and giuliani is refusing to acknowledge the clamor by european and american leaders at the time for shokin to be fired due to alleged corruption. ukraine's main anti-corruption group which is in giuliani's cross hairs tells cnn there was broad consensus that shokin was ineffective, provided us with documents showing that he actually hindered large parts of the investigation into bureau burisma. >> he is blocking attempts to do the reforms and perform proper investigations. >> says the same goes for the next prosecutor general, another
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one of rudy giuliani's proclaimed witnesses. neither shokin nresponded. >> the reputation helping to fit this disinformation. >> and kremlin controlled media is gobbling up the message, portraying america as weak, ukraine in disarray. but president trump as the winner. >> kremlin be media was having a field day with that all day. anti-corruption agencies in ukraine are very much saying all this is having a chilling effect, some things that rudy giuliani is doing, a chilling effect on some of their efforts to promote transparency in their country. >> thank you very much. president trump hitting a dubious mark. what's he done this year more than the last two years combined?
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in our politics lead, "the washington post" fact checking team declaring president trump made more false and misleading claims this year than in 2017 and 2018 combined. another sign of president trump's current mood, his tweets. more than 50 tweets and retweets today, attacking the democrats leading impeachment, attacking the bidens, attacking the media,
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the fbi, and on and on and on. there's no indication the senate will convict president trump. why is he apparently freaking out, what's the big deal? he is safe, the senate is not going to do anything. >> that's true, but he also will have a black marker on his political history, on his place in u.s. history when he almost certainly on wednesday will become the third u.s. president to become impeached. even if he does escape this, goes the route of andrew johnson and bill clinton, a marker no u.s. president wants. that's very cognizant in his mind. he is also making his public case. he is targeting democrats in trump districts that could face political backlash, urging the party to stay together in the coming trial. a lot of this is messaging, a lot of it is preparing ranks for next month. clearly, a lot on his mind.
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>> fox news asked voters about president trump's behavior. 53% say the president abused power of his office, 50% say he obstructed justice, 45% said he committed bribery. those are big numbers. i would think, amanda, that's probably fairly upsetting as well to have almost half, half majority of the country, depending on the question thinking the president has actually carried out illegal deeds. >> for a man that loves polls, you would think it is a wake up call. it is a wakeup call to the network. when it comes to tweeting, can he tweet any harder, scream any louder? i don't think it is making a difference. he can't keep making the argument over and over again, it is not getting him anywhere evidenced by that very poll. >> i want to ask about rudy giuliani. you would think at this point maybe they would bring it back, rudy go please, no, he goes to ukraine, you saw in that piece he is upsetting anti-corruption
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activists, and now he is back sharing his documents that he uncovered he got from two former prosecutors widely perceived to be corrupt themselves. >> goes to the question of what is the end game here. president trump i guess today, maybe he was a little more hesitant about talking about what giuliani had found, but he was kind of cheerleading this. what do they expect to get from this? it seems the president truly believed or wants to be not just -- he doesn't want the senate just to acquit him, he wants to come back, say he has been completely vindicated, and it wasn't me that was corrupt, it is biden, biden is corrupt. if he can prove that, that makes everything okay. i don't think it actually works that way. the president going to his tweets, i went through his tweets for a project over the summer. >> i'm sorry. that's a dark place. >> but no. even before impeachment he had been tweeting even more darkly
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and just really going after lawmakers in a visceral way. it is not clear what's going on, whether he was just worked up at the end of the mueller investigation, but this is an ongoing trend for the last few months. >> jen, we have seen strange behavior. so much of it, we can't get to all of it, making fun of emotional displays of a teenage girl with asperger's, making fun of nancy pelosi's dentures. shared a tweet from rudy giuliani. the two men friday after giuliani returned from ukraine, among claims giuliani is making former pr former prosecutor says he was poisoned, died twice and is back. this is the president's lawyer. i mean, what?
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i think his followers or supporters are holding tight with him. also if you look at the polling, it is not just among the public at large, it is independents that moved in the last couple months to support impeachment. democrats are united. he has to be thinking about that as well. that's why i think it is becoming more frenetic and insane. >> everyone stick around. thank you so much. maybe we can talk it out. the united states reaching out to north korea to try to ease growing tensions. stay with us. tax-smart investing, what's new? -well, audrey's expecting... -twins! grandparents! we want to put money aside for them, so...change in plans. alright, let's see what we can adjust. ♪ we'd be closer to the twins. change in plans. okay. mom, are you painting again? you could sell these. lemme guess, change in plans? at fidelity, a change in plans is always part of the plan.
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that's all the time we have. i don't know what happened with time. follow me on facebook, twitter. our coverage on cnn continues now. thanks for watching. see you tomorrow. happening now. partisan battle lines are drawn as president trump stands poised to become the third president in american history to be impeached, setting the stage for a trial in the senate. out of line, senate minority leader chuck schumer slams mitch mcconnell for coordinating with the white house on the president's trial defense. schumer calls for top white house officials to appear as witnesses. twitter tantrum. president trump goes on a social media rampage, venting outrage at his looming impeachment and attacking those he sees as political foes, including house speaker nancy pelosi,