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tv   Washington Week  PBS  November 23, 2019 1:30am-2:00am PST

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robert: explosive testimony caps hearings. ek of impeachme >> i followed the directions of the president. we wked with mr. giuliani because the president directed us to do so. robert: top officials speak out. >> aassador bolton said that rudy giuliani h was aand grenade that was going to blow everyone up. robert: republicans hold firm. >> for the last three years, it's not president trump who got caught. it w the democra is got caught. robert: and democrats press on. >> we are better than that. robert: next. ♪ announcer: this is "washington week." funding is provided by -- >> there's a moment, aoment where everything is clear. at fidelity, wealths planning i
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about clarity, knowing who you are, where you've been, and where you want to go. that's fidelity wealth management. >> additional funding is provided by -- ku and patricia yuen, through the yuen foundation committed t bridging cultural differences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again from washington, moderator robert costa. robert: good evening. the impchment inqui closed this week with testimony from officials detailing pivotal moments in the trump administration pressure campaign of ukraine. joining me tonight are four porters who know this story. who have been covering it all week. carol len ig, -- leonnig
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investigator reporter for the washington -- for "the washington post." abby phillip with cnnn, john bresnahan and susan davis. we learned more about president trump'onduct and the evolution of what gordon sondland acknowledged was a quick pro quo arrangement. >> it was improper for the president to demand an investigation into a political pponent. mr. giulians requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a white house visit for ze lens i can. mr. giulianiemanded that ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election, dnc server and baris. everyo in the loop. i then heard president trump say
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"so he's going to do the investigation." adding that president zelensky will do anything for him. >> those two things had just diverged. everyone was in the loop. when you look at ambassador sondland's testimony, what mattered? someone who has bee knowing and covering the facts. >> ambassador sondland wholl init tried to say in his testimony that he doesn't member whether or not the president was seeking an investigation of joe biden, on this particular day laid bare everything he thought looking back, piecing it all togetr. he knew there was a quid pro quo. and he knew it had been at thru inion of the president through his agent rudy giuliani his personalttorney. the most striking thing about what i view as gordon sondland's
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flip flop she finally came clean in describing thi iseally what it was. i didn't want to say it exactly this way but this is what it was. >> he seemed to try to protect himself. there's a key moment in sondland's testimony where the only thing that he disputed about -- about david holmes' reit vacation he had wh -- reiteration that he mentioned b thaten came up specifically. he said i don't this that part of it is t the reason he insists on that is because he wants to claim that he didn't know that the investigation into baris was an investigation into joe biden until the very end. at's the part that a lot of people screams credulity because it seems to protect sondland even while it seems that he believed it ended up being auo quid pro a lot of people involved in this -- as he pointed out, everyone was in the loop, s therems to been an investigation that was
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being demanded. but a lot of i theseividuals didn't want to acknowledge that that was a politicaler rand as fiona hill put it. robert: one of the people allenging the credibility was dr. fiona hill. what was the power of her wtestimony, john,n you look at it especially as democrats counter what republicans are saying? john: well, she confronted sondland directly inside the white house. and she has this argument with him and said what you're doing is wrong and tells him that to his face. that was stunning. think about it, they're having -- it's like a scene out after movie. they're having an you're breaking the law. she goes and relate this is then national security director john bolton. and he goes go tell the lawyers. he sendseer because knows it's troubling. it's a hugely dra make it moment. it was like in a movie.
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robert: it was a culture that was revealed inside the trump administration. himself did sondland and others really reveal the president in s own involvement? >> in many ways he did. fionaidn't necessarily apologize to sondland. but she did say after hearinghi testimony, it was even more clear to her that he wasn't -- he te ughts doing his job. she understood that because she thought he was operating oside the system. she realized he was operating m. within the sys i think the sum total of effect of all of these testimonies is that with the excepon of one defense line standing almost president's decision-making or his behavior rationale that it was no quid pro quo, it was a perfecall. he had reason to believe that there was ukraine meddling,
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system maticly was taken apart by these witnesses. >> i think it is going to be a movie at one point. [laughter] >> has to be. robert: carol, we need you in the newsroom. [laughter] carol: thank you, but i findt this momhe most interesting on july 10th. you hit on it. gordon sondland by her boss the national security advisor, john bolton. watch those guys. watch those drug dealers. follow them and see wha they're doing. she follows them to the basement. she breaks into the room. they're with the ukrainian gordon sondland is saying you need to do these invtigations. you need to give the president what he wants. she says what you're doing is and the ukrainians are standing and sondland is like let's get them out of the room. they're sitting in basement of the whi house unattended.
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it's an unbelievable -- but the your point about. cultu it's about a group of people what he wants? i get voters. you've been talking to en you look at the testimony, do your sources in the eedemocratic partylike this is broken through to voters on the impeachment front? and what are voters talking about when they hear this testimony? >> they do not think it's broken through. not in the same wayhat you might expect given how dramatic it all is. the problem is that people aren't following it closely.am g democratic voters they care much more about policy issues than they d abo what they believe they already know which is they already know that presid trump is corrupt. they don't believe all this mountain of evidence in order to make that clearo them.in act, i was talking to a republican pollster recently who wasemking about how -- how stable the polling has been, how ere have been so few shifts in
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public onion. democrats have solidified and believing that the president needs to be roved. and independents have shifted only a few points. republicans have lined up behind the president. 're in a remarkable moment in the sense that the evidence is so clear,nd yet the polling shows that the electorate still have very ball canized in their camps and very little that is happening right now is moving them. robert: any cracks in the republican party? you look at elise stepanek. she was seen as a centrist republnan, she was out i front for president trump. will hurd is a better example of why tre are no cracks. he's retiring. he has the freedom to break with the party because he's not seeking re-election. his closing statement he said, basically said i'm a no on impeachment. this is a line you're going to hear from. republica
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i don't like the way the president conducted foreign policy. but there's nothing that i see he warrants removal from office. if you don't have will hurd ak willing toe brom the party, you don't have anyone. >> i agree with you. the senate republicans are not moving. trump is working very hard to keep senate republicans in line. he's taking them into the oval offce. he's meeting with mitt romney. he's bringing mitt romney into the white house, a guy sitng there and he's trying to make -- under mitch mcconnell's rybody direction. he said you better start turning around with senate republicans. one thing that struck me this week amazing about this wholeda sc is how many people knew. there were a lot of people in washingt and keefe who knew robert: mike pompeo. >> it doesn't break until late august. there are reports on the meeting being held up. i went through it.ht
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there are a couple o dozen peopleho knew which is stunning, the atmosphere in the white house. robe: that's so true. why aren't democrats waiting to hear from mick mulvaney the chief of staff? ambassador john bolton who has been referenced in so many of these hearings? why are they moving forward? and is the i puzzle isomplete? >> i think the puzzle is definitely incomplete. i'vead a source tell me that we are only halfway through this gamen terms of knowing wngt everythat happened. what's missing? mulvaney, bolton, pompeo. pompeo may leave office before we get any answers from him. but the truth of the matters is, guys, those people are not going to testify unless aourt tells them to. it's not going to happen. you cee why chairman schiff wants to move forward. doesn't feel like he nds their testimony. yet, it could come in the snalt trial though.'s >> lake them to the republicans side because as chairmanchiff moves forward. on thursday, dr. hill challenged
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this rising g.o.p.ssertion that ukraine tried to undermine the trump campaign in 2016. >> some ofis you on committee, appear to believe that russiaec and itsurity services did not conduct a campaign against our country ans that per somehow for some reason ukraineid. this is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated by the russian security services themselves. robert: this has been debunked this idea that ukraine meddled by numerous fact checkers -- intelligencend the community. >> what's the significance of dr. hill debunking iunder th? >> if you go under fiona hill's background, sheame back to work for this administration because of the rusan interference, she felt compeled to get back into government because of thisxiential threat of meddling. this is the culmination of her life wor
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hearing people in power, people ve a responsibility to the public, muddying the waters to e public and had a platform toas se them. that comment -- she didn't name names but it seemed clear to the devin nunes and other who is entertained the president's concerns about ukraine meddling. republicans did note and accurately that e intelligence committees did recognize that russian meddling in th 2016 elections. what the house republicans did not do was go as far to say that they did so to benefit donald trump. >> they ce to imply that russia's meddling in 201 was par for the course. that it s wasn'ttemic in nature and that other countries -- we heard thisly liter in fiona hill's ttimony that other countes meddled and they included ukraine. opening stateme to put on er the record that she believed that it was important that everybod realize thathis was
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part of a russian effort to -- to destabilize the u.s. electoral system but also to relationship with ukraine. that's exactly what this conspiracy theory achieved.nt this presiad this negative view of ukraine that was based almost entiry on rumor and innuendo that according to fiona hill was pla by the russian intelligence services. robert: it's not going away a time soon. senator graham has pursued documents about hunter biden, vice president biden barisma. where does this go? this ang frothe g.o.p.? >> it seems lik they're going to play this card if it comes to senate trial. gram is seeking docks from the state department. -- documents from the state department. he wants to speak to alexandria
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chala. theccusation was there was this big ukrainian, y know, effort to hurt trump. d trump keeps saying it. he's talking about crowd strike. and evenhe fox news hosts were like ok. can we get fiona hill to do an audio book of fiona hill on doing anything? >> you're planning a book, a movie. >> i have to chime in and say i what 't agree more with abby said about the power of russian intelligence forces, security forces trying to defy, you knr country. they're succeeding in that she pointsut fiona hill that we are now fighting over objective fact. we are fighting over fact -- ve robert: what about the i.g. repo from the department of justice? they reported the justice
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partment watchdog finds political bias did not taint tos offici running the f.b.i.'s russia probe but documents other errors. what have you learned about this upcoming i.g. report? counter narrative e g.o.p. impeachment? or is it an independent document that should be taken seriously? >> i think it's a serious document. the i.g. is no fool. he's quite rigorous and serious. i think this is going to b interested. but they say it's another examplof how the f.b.i. and the d.o.j. wereok c and corrupt in a coup to get rid of the election results of 2016 to tr unseat him and undermine them. that's not really whathe i.g. found. according to the "new york times" reporting, the i.g. found that a low-level lawyer who has now been dismissed aered an e nail was part of the surveillance effort to get thet warrpply for the warrant to surveil carter page, a former
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trump aide. and that alteration didn't do anything to change the facts atustified getting a warrant for this trump aide who is meetin f with quite a russians during the campaign. >> vice president biden spoke out about h long-time friend graham. >> he feels that graham is living in fear of president trump, which is not wrong. lindsey graham is running for re-election -- robert: he seems pretty convinced by all this, senator graham. >> sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't wanerto an questions. it's very telling that he said at various points, he wasn't ing to listen to any of the evidence being presented. he would b willing listen if he felt he could rebut it. but he chose to sply avoid it. i do think that graham has decided -- and it makes a lot of logical political sense that in a state like south carolina you cannot be on the wrong side of the presidentit of the
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states. n needs trumpder to win politically. he put all his eggs in that bahtet r now. robert: let's stay with that because if you think about when we look ahead as john and his colleagues have reported, house democrats have discussed the next steps. they received little guidance on how theil panel complete them. based on what abby stated, you have a republican party with graham and other who ison't want to break from president trump. so this nufse the judiciary hecommittee and to house floor. what's the outlook for democrats to get a republican to come along? you've mentioned some of the retiring republicans aren't really there. is this going t a party line te? i don't know if the republican leadership kevin mccarthy and the others are going to lose one apt this point, i think they're probably right. if they don't lose s leonee
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will hurd or me turner both who expressed dismay over the call when they first heard about it, i see it verynlely they're going to pick somebody. th is abby's point. they are impeaching a president in electio cycle. a first-term president which has never happened before. runs the party. and this particular president he uses fear and intimidation on his own party in way that no president in our memory has ever he's tweeted ivanovich in the middle of her testimony.ry it's extraordi robert: it's republican control. >> the outcome has ner been in doubt. i don't think at any point in anyone believes there are 67 votes to throw him out of office. i don't think that has chinged. the house has some decisions to make. the republicans in the white house have complained about a
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process. but the rules of the game change. d the wte house can send counsel into these sessions including closed dr briefings. they can offer testimony, ask questions. they need to decide howanuch theyt to engage the process to present a better case or continue to call ate sham and ditto on the senate. louch they going to stand back andoy how muchlety are they going to don't demand? are they demand calling hunter bite on the the floor of the senate? are they going to give republicans any roomot do that? his ability to jam his own party is much greater thanemrats right now. >> one of the big momentsn clinton's impeachment is when david kendall cross-examineken starr which could you see what if trump's lawyer tries to cross-examine adam schiff. they talked about well, may schiff should billion a witness on the senate side.
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i don't even know if he's allowed. the dynamics could be fascinating.be : carol, when you think about don mcgan about the house judiciary committee and h it's supposed to be decided and how bolton comes before congress. what -- are house democrats' hands tied a bit? >> i thinkhis simp what is awkward. it's not impossible that we're going hear the testimony of senior advisors. but basically john mcgann. john bolton, all of them can stand on a very stron legal foundation that past courts can find if you're senior advisor to the president. if you are whisperingnhe president's ears, some of the things you discussed are privileged, executive privilege, deliberative privilege. there's one exception. it may be too f late this
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trial. ruled in that case that you hav+ to come forward. you can decline to answer rtain questions that implicate prev line of scrimma meaning a whisper about something you actually discussed with the president. when it comes to your own actions, mulvaney's actions, bolton's actions. you should be allowed to testify and answer those quesoions. the court may rule go in, sit for the questions. answers the ones you want. decline the ones you think are privilege. . but it may be ultimately too late because this is going to go to the supremes. the white house is n going to let a trirt c judge tell them who goes in to the witness box. >> and so far that strategy has brnings i think incredibly effective. . it's changed the t this whole impeefment here. because as you pointed oy out, carol we're halfway through about an actual facinng mission. they can't go get the other half because the documents are not
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being provided. the call logs are not being provided. there are material witne c who are ning forward. as long as that continues to be the case and it seems that it's likely to be the case, democrats can only go far. they may be forced to write articles of impeachme only based on really a half knowledge of what'soing on, or wt went on over the summer when it came ukraine john bolton still has the opportunity to do something. it's not cleermexa exactly he might do. but i think still the absence of documentation is really -- has really ham strung democrats. robert: what do yesnow about e articles of impeachments? the specifics that we'll see out of t house judiciary committee? >> we don't really know a lot. it's going to be what weec e inside the judiciary committee will be based on the clinton four difference phases. maybe schiff and the others will present a case. and the republicans will present and then the draft the article
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of impeachment. are they going to use the mueller report? if there are democrat who is they feel it plays into the whole pattern of the president's pattern of behavior instructing there's a danger to that. . they may do it if theyth don't k they're going to get any republicans. >> the only specific article that adam schiff has again is that the white house is fighting subpoenas. they will be considered for the possible articlesf impeachment. it would be shocking if they move forward if obstructio isn't one of them. but how they restructure this abou a the a the withholding of the mill tamplee we're going to get into what ecifically they are say rg the impeacent defense. they think it's a good one to say don't look at the decision-making.
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look at the outcomes. in the end ukraine got the money in the end he met with president. they think that's their best line of political defense. robert: we have to leave it there. too short. [laughter]before we go, sharon rockefeller, the president of weta and a champion of this program was awarded the national medal of the arts at the white house. >> she helped establish weta aws one of the preeminentublic broadcast networks in the nation producing pbs newshour and "washington week" among other programs and now i'll start getting new publicity. could yas p start working on that sharon. robert: we will keep reporting. i'm robert costa. good night. ♪
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>> corporate fding for "washington week" is provide by -- additional funding isby provide -- ku and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation, crit commit -- committed to bridng culturalifferences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting and by station from viewers like you. thank yo
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