tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC October 30, 2019 1:00am-2:01am PDT
robinson meyer, thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you for having me. >> in case you missed it, we'll be back this friday with a brand-new run of our "all in" shows in front of a live studio audience. great news, you can be in that audience. you can find all the details on our went, allin the msnbc.com. plus if you're in chicago, we just released some extra standing room only tickets for our live recording of our podcast. for our live recording of our podcast. that is "all in" for this evening. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts right now. an active duty u.s. army officer in dress uniform displaying the decorations he earned overseas and in 20 years of service to our country showing up to tell congress what he saw, what he heard the president say in that now critical phone call to the president of ukraine. and even before he can appear, he's the victim of a smear campaign on the right,
questioning his loyalty, even as a purple heart recipient. it was too much even for some republicans to bear today, and they said so just as the democrats laid out the roadmap that may result in articles of impeachment. tonight we'll tally up the extent of the change within the gop and we'll ask how putin is likely viewing all of this. and far from politics tonight, the concern is life or death in california, where a historic warning has been issued because of what's about to begin tonight as "the 11th hour" gets under way on this tuesday evening. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 1,013 of the trump administration, and the breaking news we're covering at the top of the broadcast here tonight is an indication that today's testimony by an active duty army officer might have been more damaging to the president than we first knew or thought. his testimony wrapped up tonight after ten hours.
"the new york times" has new reporting on today's testimony from lieutenant colonel alexander vindman, an army officer who works, is detailed, inside the white house, and overheard the president's phone call to ukraine. the "times" writes, quote, that he told house impeachment investigators on tuesday that the white house transcript of a july call between president trump and ukraine's president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to restore them failed. the omissions included mr. trump's assertion that there were recordings of former vice president biden discussing ukraine corruption and an explicit mention by ukraine's president of burisma holdings, the energy company whose board employed mr. biden's son, hunter. now, remember something important here. the record of that phone call that the president keeps referring to as the perfect call, the record we all got to see, that one on the screen was not a transcript. it was a summary.
in some of the places where we see an ellipses, three dots in the text, the lieutenant colonel says there, that's where the president was saying things that the lieutenant colonel tried later to put back into the record but was rebuffed according to his apparent testimony today. this lieutenant colonel is the first impeachment witness who actually listened to that july 25 phone call between trump and his ukrainian counterpart that is at the center of this impeachment inquiry. nbc news has also confirmed the "times" reporting tonight. vindman happens to an iraq war veteran who was wounded in an ied roadside bomb explosion, received the purple heart as a result. he immigrated from ukraine to the u.s. along with his twin brother when he was 3, back when ukraine was still part of the former soviet union. this morning this decorated war veteran came under attack from president trump. quote, how many more never trumpers will be allowed to testify about a perfectly appropriate phone call when all
anyone has to do is read the transcript? again, we never got a transcript. according to the corrupt media, the ukraine call concerned today's never trumper witness. was he on the same call that i was? can't be possible. and as we first reported here last night, lieutenant colonel vindman's motives were also questioned by commentators and media on the right, known to support the president. and beginning on cable news last night, they employed an old trope, one that has been used against japanese-americans, against jews, against italian-americans and others. that is the whiff of divided loyalties. >> so if you look at this lieutenant colonel's background, he's got a purple heart. he got hit by an ied in iraq. we also known he was born in the soviet union and immigrated with his family young. he tended to feel simpatico with ukraine. >> it seems fairly clear he is incredibly concerned about ukrainian defense. i don't know that he's concerned
about american policy, but his main mission was to make sure that the ukraine got those weapons. i understand that. we all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from. like me, i'm sure vindman has the same affinity. >> here we have a u.s. national security official who is advising ukraine while working inside the white house, apparently against the president's interest, and usually they spoke in english. isn't that kind of an interesting angle on this story? >> i find that astounding and, you know, some people might call that espionage. >> the trope of divided loyalties. today one member of the house republican leadership, who happens to also be the daughter of a former united states vice president, spoke out against such comments. >> i also want to say a word about something else that's been going on over the course of the last several hours and last night, which i think is also
shameful, and that is questioning the patriotism, questioning the dedication to country of people like mr. vindman, lieutenant colonel vindman. it is shameful to question their patriotism, their love of this nation, and we should not be involved in that process. >> house democrats meantime have rolled out their official roadmap for this next phase of the impeachment inquiry, including how they plan to go public with their findings. lawmakers will vote thursday on this, an eight-page resolution that keeps house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff front and center in these proceedings for now. the intelligence and judiciary committees will be able to hold open hearings. transcripts from all these depositions we've seen in that basement room in the capitol can and will be released to the public. and republicans can subpoena witnesses and documents subject to the democrats' approval. any articles of impeachment would come from the judiciary committee, then sent to the full house. the resolution also lays out due
process rights for mr. trump and his lawyers once proceedings move to the judiciary committee. today trump's republican allies in the house argued the resolution and a subsequent vote still do not address their concerns about the process. >> you can't put the genie back in the bottle. a due process starts at the beginning. it doesn't affirm a sham investigation all the way through. >> it's clear pelosi needs to declare a mistrial. this has been a tainted process from the start. >> this process has been illegitimate. it's been without credibility. >> tomorrow afternoon the house rules committee will begin reviewing the draft impeachment resolution. as it moves forward, the top democrat in the senate says he's concerned about the impeachment time line and the president's tendency to try to distract. >> i'm increasingly worried that president trump may want to shut down the government again because of impeachment, an impeachment inquiry. he always likes to create
diversions. i hope and pray he won't want to cause another government shutdown because it might be a diversion away from impeachment. >> here for our leadoff discussion on a tuesday night, phil rucker, pulitzer prize-winning white house bureau chief for "the washington post." ashley parker, pulitzer prize-winning white house reporter for "the washington post." and to keep things fair, elisabeth bumiller, the washington bureau chief for "the new york times." welcome to you all. elizabeth, i'd like to begin with you. have we invented a new category of the incremental game-changer, and like taylor before him, was today's witness indeed an incremental game-changer? >> absolutely. it doesn't change the nature of the call, of the transcript the white house put out, but it certainly provides key details, and it increases the suspicion of what the white house is doing
or not doing. we were very curious about those ellipses in the transcript of the call, which as you said before, it's a rough transcript. it's based on voice recognition software that colonel vindman among others then looked over. he took notes on the call. he looked over and made corrections, and for whatever reason, those corrections were not included in the final document that was put in that vault. so it does raise questions about what happened at the white house after those corrections were made and why were key phrases and words not included. >> phil rucker, i want to play for you now a portion of president trump's comments. this was october 2nd. we'll discuss it on the other side. >> they had a transcript done by very, very talented people, word for word, comma for comma, done by people that do it for a living. we had an exact transcript. >> that right there, an exact transcript, as you know better
than most, phil, is not what we have seen. we saw a summary with the already mentioned ellipses in there where today's witness apparently says in part the president spoke to fill that space. we also, however, have reporting tonight from your colleague, greg miller, who says this. officials described the discrepancies cited by vindman as minimal and of limited significance to investigators. even vindman didn't ascribe any sinister motive or effect to the changes he sought that were not incorporated into the document. so, phil, do we have two things that are true? a document that is a summary and not a transcript with discrepancies that may not be earth-shattering in their nature in what was left out? >> that's right, brian. and while the discrepancies may not be earth-shattering, they are notable, and the ellipses that were left in the summary, the rough transcript, were very notable. they raised suspicions back when the white house released that
document several weeks ago, and that will continue now because while vindman filled in some of those gaps before congress today, talking about the mention of burisma by the ukrainian president as well as trump's mention of biden being on tape, what we don't understand yet is why that was omitted from the final transcript. why was that not added to the document that was then preserved in the white house? we also don't have answers still as to why this document was kept so secret inside of the government. it was put into what elizabeth just referred to as the vault, which is this very secure way to hold on to classified, sensitive material, not necessarily a standard foreign leader call like this. and that raised a ton of suspicion in the administration, and we don't have any answers yet as to why officials in the white house were motivated to store the document there and keep it away from prying eyes. >> ashley, i know you don't speak for them, but you sure do report on them. how harrowing must this be inside the west wing because of the nature this has now taken on?
insiders, in so many cases, life-long public servants choosing to step forward and thus far all telling different parts of all the same narrative. >> on the one hand it's worth noting this is a white house that has long operated not just in chaos but under a number of inquiries. so there are some people who are perhaps not as alarmed as you or i might expect because they can point to, for instance, the mueller investigation. that said, there is a real understanding inside and outside the white house, among allies, among republican lawmakers on capitol hill, that this is not good, that this is gaining momentum and traction in a way that the mueller investigation never really did and that each one of these witnesses who are going up with their name behind closed doors, but testimony is leaking out and emerging, are all sort of marching in lockstep and painting a very clear
picture, each one complementing the next that is very damaging for this president, very damaging for this white house, and that even his allies generally feel uncomfortable trying to publicly defend. >> elizabeth, let's talk about speaker pelosi. in the nfl, your binder is the playbook. and on top of that, you are able to call audibles when circumstances call for them. she has done both. this is her playbook. there is every indication that this roadmap they announced today is all in keeping with her playbook. is it another way of saying she has right now unrivaled control over her caucus? >> i would agree with that. don't forget it wasn't that long ago that people were questioning whether she should be speaker. she was too old. she was -- had been there before. she wasn't going to be able to control her caucus. she was too centrist. she had a left flank that was creating problems. and i would say now, as you say, she is completely in control.
and what she has done very carefully is keep her actions parallel with what we see in the opinion polls is that now a majority of americans according to many polls want to see impeachment, and many of them want to see trump removed from office by the senate, which is unlikely to happen certainly at this point. but she's been very careful to stay in tune with the majority of americans and certainly with the vast majority of the democrats. >> phil rucker, let's talk about the increasing discomfort for republicans. again, a lot of them are aware that this witness today was different. active duty u.s. army officer. that means he is held to a code that makes it mandatory for him to bump up his findings up the chain of command, which he did. they know that.
that makes him more credible than most. >> that's right, brian. and there's another thing that makes him more credible. he's the first witness in this impeachment proceeding who actually listened to that call between trump and zelensky. he's the first who served in the white house on the national security council to come testify before congress. therefore, he's not passing along what the republicans have derided as hearsay but, rather, he's sharing his firsthand accounts of what has transpired in the white house. and some democratic lawmakers are talking now about possibly bringing him back for the public phase of this, the next round of hearings are going to be public in the intelligence committee led by chairman schiff. and there's talk that the lieutenant colonel would be a very compelling and credible witness to be on television, to be, you know, basically addressing the american people. >> and, ashley, right there to phil's last point, aren't the republicans days away from losing their big argument that this is secretive, this has somehow been carried out unlike
other similar actions in the house? it doesn't resemble a grand jury. it's being done in the basement. it's all going to switch to the upper floors very shortly. >> they sure are in danger of losing that argument, but it's not going to prevent them from making a different one. a democratic lawmaker said basically to the republicans, you asked for this. you got it. already we're seeing the republicans shift their complaints from now that leader pelosi is offering this vote, they're sort of saying, well, the process was tarnished and a sham from the beginning. so they're sort of going to change their argument. they're going to make a lot more of the witch hunt that we've heard from the president, you know, a scam. but they are certainly not satisfied that democrats by and large have now given them what they have been clamoring for for the past few weeks. >> again to our audience, our debt of thanks tonight to three of the very best in our
business, philip rucker, ashley parker, elisabeth bumiller. thank you so much for starting off our conversation tonight. coming up for us, breaking down the specifics of this house resolution on the impeachment of donald john trump. it's intended as a roadmap for where this all goes next. and later, there's now nothing to compare it to as california forecasters have issued a first of its kind warning about what's about to happen tonight. "the 11th hour" is just getting started on this tuesday evening.
today the democratic chairs of the four house committees involved in the impeachment inquiry gave us a preview of what we might expect in open hearings following thursday's vote. they released a statement that read in part and we quote, the house impeachment inquiry has collected extensive evidence and testimony, and soon the american people will hear from witnesses in an open setting. the resolution provides rules for the format of open hearings in the house intelligence
committee, including staff-led questioning -- that's important -- of witnesses, and it authorizes the public release of deposition transcripts. over in the senate, here's what majority leader mitch mcconnell said today about the democrats' impeachment resolution. >> the action is in the house now. we'll see whether they can, a, meet the due process standards, fundamental due process standards, and then see what they do. i think the vote that they're now going to have to open the impeachment inquiry will be very interesting. will all the democrats vote for it? >> we have an experienced guy we're looking forward to talking to for all of this. ron klain. among his many titles, former chief counsel, former chief of staff to al gore, and former chief of staff to joe biden, who is advising on an informal basis these days. ron, thank you for coming on. first of all, is this a tricky vote? is there any risk involved? >> i think it's not a tricky vote, but it's going to be a highly consequential vote.
the question is will all the house republicans vote against it? many of these republicans are in districts where a lot of their constituents, even if they aren't yet convinced trump should be removed, thinks there should be an inquiry. are they all going to march down there and all vote to not have an inquiry? i think it will be an interesting vote, but i'm very confident that the democrats will ultimately prevail on that vote on thursday. >> republicans every day have called this a secret process. they've called this a kangaroo court. they had the flash mob in the basement room. based on your experience, have the democrats done anything procedurally different up till now from the clinton experience, which is the last we have to compare this to, and does this roadmap, this document, this bill you've seen, this resolution call for anything different than the procedure followed during the clinton impeachment? >> well, to the extent that it's different, it actually creates a
much more extensive process for the president to tell his side of the story. remember with the clinton impeachment, basically everything happened in private. ken starr then coughed up this huge report in october. there were no hearings on the charges that starr made. the house judiciary committee began immediately to work on articles of impeachment. they had just one day of evidence from the independent counsel, two days for the white house lawyers to present, and then they drafted and voted on those articles. here you've got a whole process before that, which is a set of public hearings in the house intelligence committee that presumably will bring forward some of the witnesses that have been deposed already, perhaps other witnesses, and have a chance to have this story litigated out in public before even the judiciary committee begins to do its work. so if anything, i think it's a more extensive process, and i think the complaints about the process are going to start to evaporate very quickly when we start to actually hear from these witnesses in public soon. >> ron, i think it can be said that we've watched the judiciary
committee have some public stumbles. i think it can further be said that you live in a town obsessed with politics and personalities, and who's up and who's down and winners and losers. i think we can safely say that schiff is a huge winner in this process and that nadler will get the case when it's time for nadler to get the case. do you concur? >> i do. also, by the way, it is a town obsessed with baseball right now. >> i know. >> yes. but, look, i think that's exactly right, brian. and i think that this is a decision to largely put the building of the case in adam schiff's committee and to let the case play out there and then to give the house judiciary committee a more constrained role. and so, you know, i think it is a nod to schiff. it is a nod to his leadership. it is a nod to the work that he's done already to break this thing open, to bring forward the evidence that he has, and it will be the centerpiece of the development of the case against
donald trump. but i also think it's important to know that the house judiciary committee still will play a critical role in drafting those articles and in probably being the place where the president's lawyers get the first chance to make that case directly before congress. >> i think that's fair to say. and would you also, if you were advising this process, would you recommend the further use of outside counsel, something that was actually briefly successful for that committee? >> yeah, i think both committees -- i think both the intelligence committee and the judiciary committee should make extensive use of outside counsel. and, of course, that's built into this resolution. >> mm-hmm. >> with a big change. the hearing with corey lewandowski that kind of went off the rails and came back on the rails when barry burke, a very skilled lawyer, questioned lewandowsky, that part of it came at the end of the hearing, brian. and the hard core people were still watching. what this resolution says today is that the expert questioning will come at the beginning of the hearing, in the first 90 minutes of those hearings, 45 for the democrats, 45 for the republicans.
i think that's going to put this expert questioning front and center in these hearings and make them more effective and more on point. >> as you point out, lewandowsky had already river danced up and down the table before the professional lawyer arrived. last question, how long do you think this process will take? >> well, this is going to be very quick by congressional standards. maybe not like pizza delivery standards, but by congressional standards. if you think about 1998, starr delivered his report to the congress the first week in october, and they finished december the 19th. the goal here is to still finish before christmas, if not sooner, and they really aren't going to get started with the public part of this process until november so i think they're going to be chock-full of action in november and december and really scrambling to get to the house floor and get to a vote on articles of impeachment before christmas eve. >> as we always like to say around here, what could go wrong? ron klain, it's also a pleasure having a guy of your experience on. thank you very much. >> thank you, brian.
coming up for us tonight, why our next guest thinks vladimir putin is set to gain the most from what we're watching right now. make fitness routine with pure protein. high protein. low sugar. tastes great! high protein. low sugar. so good! high protein. low sugar. mmmm, birthday cake! pure protein. the best combination for every fitness routine.
on this broadcast, served with vindman in moscow when he was a military attache at our u.s. embassy. and earlier tonight, ambassador mcfaul wasted no time defending his former colleague. >> i know colonel vindman. he is a first-rate military officer. he was an outstanding official at our embassy. he was appointed at the national security council because he is one of the best and the brightest. and the idea that somebody with his résume would not serve the united states of america is just disgusting. it's outrageous, and i want those people to apologize and to remember what they're doing when they take cheap shots at people like colonel vindman, when they don't know his background and they don't know his history. >> with us tonight to talk about it, clint watts, former fbi special agent, a distinguished research fellow at the foreign policy research institute and author of "messing with the enemy: surviving in a social media world of hackers, terrorists, russians and fake news."
clint, we talked about having you on under the headline of what must vladimir putin be making of what he sees? what does putin make of all this? >> if you look at how the u.s. opposes aggression from a foreign state like russia, every element of the government has been attacked but not by russia, but by people in the white house, people in congress, people in the public. think about it. fbi agents in the counterintelligence division that have investigated and done their duties to counter russia have been tarnished out in the public, pushed down, you know, degraded on twitter. now you have this lieutenant colonel. he is one of our experts on russia and ukraine. do you think he will ever be able to effectively do his job probably again? he is somebody that's designing strategies, served in moscow and kiev. bill taylor, our best ambassador that we've had probably that's out there has now been tarnished
and called a never trumper. then turn to the intel community. we have a search for a whistleblower by our elected officials trying to out that person who is clearly someone that knows the russia threat. if you look across the government in all of these elements of u.s. government right now, they have all been degraded, tied up with investigations, beaten down by the president of the united states or other congressmen. so how would we even counter putin at this point? if you were looking at it from afar, russia just cannot believe everything that's been given to them. and if you look around the world, we're seeing them in africa again after two decades of really being absent there. they're pushing aggressively. we're seeing them in the balkans, throughout all the former soviet states of eastern europe and scandinavia we're seeing them move very aggressively, and they're starting to really mess around in the middle east. so from a world standpoint, we are retreating from the world, and our top defenders across all of the united states government are back on their heels due to infighting in our own country. vladimir putin hasn't done any
of it. we're doing it to ourselves. >> there's been a lot of talk about this lieutenant colonel being the recipient and for good reason of the purple heart. he was in an ied blast. his vehicle got blown up. he received combat wounds. report out today, he's still walking around with shrapnel as a result. but as i look at him, and i happen to know a lot of folks in the service. when they glance at this picture of him, there's something that stands out. there's a reason it's above his rack of decorations. the powder blue rectangle with two laurels and a rifle through the center, as a west point grad yourself and an army veteran yourself, tell our audience what that decoration is and what it means to his fellow veterans and service members. >> that's the combat infantryman badge. it is an esteemed award that's given to those that actually fight as infantrymen or special forces, colonel and below, in actual combat action.
>> for sustained days at a time. >> that's exactly right. and it was actually developed during world war ii to be given to infantrymen to sort of give them some sort of status or incentivize them, make them feel like they've had a great achievement for getting out to the front lines. and so when you see that, that is a very coveted award to earn. people kind of strive for that once they deploy. you know, they want to be part of the fight. so when you see that on an officer like we saw today, somebody walks in to the senate and then being disparaged out in the public space by elected officials, questions about his allegiance to the united states after he has served his country so dutifully and in combat, and he wears that badge, it's quite a sad moment in our modern history amongst many sad moments in recent days. >> and yet i have to also -- i'm duty-bound to ask you about the good news we received this weekend that baghdadi is gone.
>> that's right. so, you know, of all terrorist leaders, he is as terrible as it gets. you know, just a murderer, someone who committed atrocities, and really inspired a terrorist organization that did many things that al qaeda could not do. their terror campaign through europe, their worldwide terror attacks, their inspiration, they actually set up an islamic state. so he actually did something that al qaeda always talked about doing but actually didn't push to. is this the same blow as it would have been two years ago? not quite because the islam state has been on the retreat. but we do need to look at it as it's a symbolic victory, and it is one that sends a message that the islamic state is unlikely to come back in the way it is. we should always remember as well, though, that they trained, recruited and dispatched foreign fighters from dozens of countries around the world that will ultimately the next wave of jihadists around the world. so we still have a lot of work to do but a great success for
the united states and our coalition partners as well. particularly the syrian kurds and iraqis who provided us so much intelligence, so much support on this, at a time when maybe we are not providing them the best structure to support us. >> thank you as always. appreciate you coming by. coming up, what congressman schiff says his committee will not put up with from this president. we'll have that after this.
the president would love to punish the whistleblower. the president's comments and actions have jeopardized the whistleblower's safety. the president's allies would like nothing better than to help the president out this whistleblower. our committee will not be a part of that. we will not stand for that. >> democrats today accusing the gop of using lieutenant colonel vindman's deposition as a ruse
to try, as you heard, to out the intelligence officer who blew the whistle and helped trigger the impeachment inquiry. "wall street journal" puts it this way. testimony of a white house national security official turned combative tuesday as democrats accused republicans of trying to unmask the whistleblower. democrats called the gop attempt to ferret out details on the whistleblower potentially dangerous. indeed, with us for more tonight, myra wiley, former assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, now with the new school here in new york. and bill kristol, editor at large of the bulwark, also a veteran of the reagan and bush administrations. two old friends, good evening to you both. counselor, i'd like to begin with you. what of the effort to unmask the whistleblower? is it just for distraction purposes, and in your eyes, was this a good fact witness today to have? >> two great questions, brian. first, if you don't have a defense, you become defensive. and that's really what i think
we're seeing around constant deflection from testimony from witnesses who were in key rooms when key conversations were happening, undermining the republicans' argument that there's no evidence of a quid pro quo. that's what we heard from lieutenant colonel vindman's opening statement that we all were able to read. so what we constantly see is a return to, but who's the whistleblower? the whistleblower is irrelevant, and the reason the whistleblower is irrelevant is the whistleblower is a person who says, i spoke to these people who had facts and knowledge. what congress has received is testimony from the actual people. >> right. >> with those facts and knowledge. >> superseding the original -- >> superseding the whistleblower. so to keep pulling it back to the whistleblower is, i would say, certainly distraction
because they can't focus on facts that challenge the ultimate premise of the potential impeachment, which is whether or not donald trump sought dirt on a political was nothing short, just from the opening statement, was nothing short of astounding. >> bill, as a member of what i like to call republican classic, i have a tweet that i noted today that i want to put on the screen and read for you. a point i was trying inelegantly to make last night. a short while ago, men such as robert mueller, william taylor, and alexander vindman would have been pinups for us american conservatives, decorated combat veterans, patriots, straight arrows, the urge to prop up trump changed all of this. a heartbreaking and infuriating era. knowing you as i do, i think that probably speaks for your particular ethos. can you believe we're in this period?
can you believe we're back to divided loyalty tropes, the same that were used against japanese-americans, jewish-americans, italian-americans, and can you believe it took a former vice president's daughter in congress to stand
up, one voice, and say let's stop this? >> i'm glad liz cheney did. that's my friend that wrote that eloquent lament. he's been a reagan republican all of his adult life. but i do think we'll have public hearings, probably beginning pretty soon, i would think, in maybe a week or a week and a half. we will see bill taylor, i would imagine, testify. we will see colonel vindman i would think testify. and i'm leaving aside almost the details. i think there's zero chance that those people are not telling the truth. they're honorable people. they're telling the truth as they recollect it, and they have good recollection and close experience. i'm happy to be on their side if i can put it that way. we're not on sides here. they're telling the truth.
they didn't volunteer for this as a political effort or as a broader effort of what you think of donald trump. and the hacks attacking them, i wouldn't want to be on their side. the republicans keep complaining on
this process thing. we want to call witnesses. who are they going to call? i say that honestly. there would be people who presumably -- mick mulvaney, the chief of staff, who was involved in the middle of this. rudy giuliani. i mean, let's see if they have the nerve to call those witnesses and let them testify because they're the ones who say the president didn't do anything wrong, right? otherwise, who are they going to call? they really have no one, i think, respectable. they're against bolton, mulvaney and giuliani testifying. if they have nothing to hide, why don't these people testify? >> we detect a shift in the winds. both of our guests have agreed to stay with us over this break. coming up, the one name you may have heard just there that may sit atop the witness and wish list. there he is as congress continues to gather testimony toward potential articles of
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you and i have both worked with ambassador bolton, and i hope he testifies because he would -- he would have perfect knowledge of what the president's mind was, what the president was trying to do. he obviously saw the power play by rudy giuliani. it's very significant now. john bolton should testify. i think he owes it to the country to testify. >> former national security adviser has yet to make an appearance on capitol hill, but bolton's name sure has been kicked around and evoked in connection to his impeachment inquiry -- this impeachment inquiry. and not in a way likely to be helpful to the president, his former boss. a reminder that trump's former top aide in ukraine has testified it was bolton who objected to the pressure campaign and to the notion of withholding military funding approved by congress.
fiona hill relayed that bolton told her, quote, i am not part of whatever drug deal ambassador sondland and mick mulvaney are cooking up, adding, rudy giuliani is a hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up. still with us here tonight, maya wiley and bill kristol. maya, what does bolton get you if he goes all the way, and is sondland in a heap of trouble anyway? >> so let's start with sondland because that's easy. sondland is in a heap of trouble because if -- i mean we don't know his literal testimony, but it appears that he made statements under oath. that we have heard from lieutenant colonel vindman that are not consistent with what happened. so that raises a question of perjury. again, i agree lieutenant colonel vindman had no reason to lie, seems to have been very forthcoming. so that's one question. and it is bolton who has the ability to say who's telling the truth because lieutenant colonel
vindman is the person who says, i was in the room with ukrainians two weeks before the call that donald trump has with president zelensky. and in that meeting, it was sondland and rick perry was in it too, but it was sondland who said, you want that meeting with trump? you got to open these investigations. and that it was john bolton, according to the lieutenant colonel, who says, we're stopping this right now. fiona hill wasn't in the room yet. so it really is bolton who can say who's telling the truth here. and secondly, you know, we don't know. bolton said he left. donald trump said he was pushed out. he can speak to that, but there is a big difference because if he left or even if trump pushed him out, why? what were they disagreeing about? could it have been this? >> that was also the taliban -- >> there's a long list, venezuela.
but i think the point is -- technicalities. >> it's not so much that we have something new to learn in terms of the allegations as much as if bolton testifies, will he corroborate some key witnesses because they put bolton in the room. >> bill kristol, nicolle wallace's show briefly today was the hottest club in new york because, a, nicolle spoke her mind today. b, donny deutsch floated out the gop ticket of romney and nikki haley, which he said the democrats could not match. then this happened. this is former member of congress david jolly talking about the potential jeopardy being faced by mike pence. >> mike pence is guilty without question. mike pence -- mike pence was told by trump to skip zelensky's inauguration in may. certainly he would have been told why. the phone call happened on july 25th. the text messages occurred
throughout august. and on september 1, donald trump sends mike pence to meet with ukraine president zelensky in warsaw, poland, for pence to deliver the message that, mr. president, you are not receiving your aid. there is no way that vice president mike pence would have gone into that meeting without a full brief of the white house's posture towards ukraine. >> your reaction? >> i'm no defender of mike pence, but honestly people can say whatever they want here on tv and analyze it up and down. they should stay focused on -- donald trump is the person who is going to be i think likely impeached and maybe convicted. republicans need to believe, and i think they will believe that if trump is removed from office, mike pence will succeed. i mean one of the big things is keeping trump alive is half of the republican electorate thinks if trump is impeached, nancy pelosi becomes president or hillary clinton or something. i think with all due respect to whatever pence should have known, could have known may have some taint. we have a serious question of the president of the united states, and it isn't a time to follow too many other trails.
this isn't the moment to sort of try to bring down, you know, every person in the administration, i think. >> that's fair. our thanks to two returning veterans, maya wiley, bill kristol, appreciate it. please come back. coming up, we shift our attention to the west and a crisis most people out east cannot fathom. when you take align, you have the support of a probiotic and the gastroenterologists who developed it. align naturally helps to soothe
we have the most significant wind event in los angeles of the year that will be starting this evening. >> last thing before we go tonight, that's the mayor of l.a., and while it's hard to predict fire conditions any worse than what we've seen in california this week, tonight will be the night. the national weather service has never issued an extreme red flag warning before. such a thing had never been issued because it didn't exist before today. and here's another quote. conditions are as dangerous for fire growth and behavior as we have seen in recent memory. 20 million californians are in danger. the santa ana winds are going to blow up there around 11:00 local time tonight. gusts could hit 80 miles an hour. for perspective, most humans cannot stand up unassisted in 80-mile-an-hour winds. imagine how far they can throw an ember, how far and how fast fire could run down a hillside. put another way, there's no saving that hillside.
there's no saving your home in winds approaching that speed. if anyone can, however, it's the fire crews who are going to work right now tonight. this by the way is where they're living. lap of luxury as usual. and while most will tell you they'll sleep when they're dead, they've got to rest because like the fires they're fighting, it takes nothing for an eight-hour shift to explode into 12 or 24. and one more time because this is important, we have admitted the obvious here before. there is geographic dysmorphia at work in the coverage of these fires. network news divisions are still headquartered out here in the east. to be more exact, we are all just blocks away from each other. and make no mistake, if we could smell this smoke in midtown, manhattan, if these were our homes in danger, our families being evacuated, live coverage would air perhaps at times in a split screen alongside impeachment coverage all day and all night.
so absent that, please allow us to say to our brothers and sisters in california, citizens and first responders both, we are thinking of you tonight. that is our broadcast for this evening. we thank you for being here with us. good night from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. is this morning, a national security official who testified before congress is contradicting the president's claim that the transcript of his call with the leader of ukraine was, quote, exactly. and new details about lieutenant colonel alexander vindman's testimony. plus, house democrats releasing the resolution of the probe. ande criticizing it before it s even made public. and the washington nationals and houston astros heading to a game seven. after the nats tied up the series yesterday.