tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC October 30, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
all of it broadly speaking. >> breaks, guys, thanks, one of those guys we had to roll with different events. a lot happening in washington these days. that's for sure. the biggest, most important thing happening in walk, though, takes place in houston. let's go max! c'mon, man. we will be back with more "meet the press daily." hopefully we are celebrating a world championship in the nation's capitol. thank you, mr. scherzer, it's all on you, brother. good evening, ari melber is up next. >> we are following the big developments in the impeachment investigation. congress preparing for tomorrow's first ever floor vote on impeachment issues. democrats calling a key witness from inside trump's inner circle. later tonight, testimony on a trump staffer. all about the ukraine call and something special we have been working on. we will go inside these new rules for impeaching trump. that's my breakdown later tonight. we begin now with breaking news
-- house democrats are calling one of their largest and most significant witnesses yet in this whole impeachment probe. i am talking to you right now about former national security adviser john bolton. they're not administration any words or wasting any time. they want him. this is new tonight as soon as next week. bolton is the man they reportedly said he didn't want to be a part of a quote drug deal in the ukraine plot and basically was warning people at the white house about doing this. right now we don't know his response, this is a brand-new summons, is he going to narrow or avoid the deposition? he is certainly a big fish. they are getting closer to donald trump's inner circle, which is why we are hearing about the sullimoning of these key aids, there aren't many left above bolton. the house is preparing its first ever floor vote on impeachment issues tomorrow. tomorrow, members are debating the very resolution that will lay down these official and new rules for potentially impeaching
donald trump. >> article 1 of the constitution gives the house the right to investigate the president. and we are taking that responsibility seriously. >> if you think this is fair. this is not fair at all. >> in my view it's not a fair process, it's not an open process. >> all of the process that i hear you all arguing about doesn't address the possibility that this president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. >> congress continuing these investigations today, interviewing two more witnesses in the impeachment probe about guiliani's shadow foreign policy. you are seeing again that familiar site now, these dramatic arrivals as they go into the depositions. meanwhile, reverberations are continuing from officer vindman's testimony. he told congress the mechanisms of the ukraine plot and he's uncorked some new substantive suspicion of the white house. if you follow this story and coverups, it may not surprise you.
it is big and bad news for trump. he has given a detailed accounting of the alleged coverup, altering those key notes of the call, itself. vindman calming congress saying he tried to correct the white house notes when they cut crucial words, which could be damming to trump's case, including bringing up biden's more than once. tonight we are on the cusp of the next page of this impeachment probe, democrats following the first official vote of impeachment. which is closer to the rules setting up public hearings, americans may hear directly and assess the details of the case against trump, which the president says he welcomes after republicans in the house have been criticizing the process. >> i'd rather go into the details of the case, rather than process. process is good. but i think you ought to look at the case. the case is very simple. it's quick. it's so quick. >> look at the case. now, the president can change his strategy any time. but note the statement you just heard there today contradicts donald trump's white house
policy on this entire battle. the policy has been to avoid the quote details by demanding that everybody, the diplomats, the army officers, the whistleblowers, everybody be prevented from testifying. they fail on that they fall on their face. that's why we keep seeing people report in to testify. tomorrow's vote goes further, as i'm going to get into later tonight. it forces president trump into this debate over the details and if impeached into a senate trial about the details. let's be clear tonight. if president donald trump goes on trial, he will be stuck defending the details, which may be why tonight all of a sudden he appears to be pretending that that reality forced upon him is some sort of choice he's making. i'm joined now by natasha bertrand and former u.s. attorney joyce vance. good evening. everybody.
natasha, what is your reporting f finding what they are learning on the hill and that thrives these floor votes tomorrow? . >> reporter: yeah, so the testimony given so far by state department officials, pentagon officials, white house officials, has been remarkably consistent with the exception of gordon sondland, the ambassador to the eu. everyone testified the same thing that white house aid white house meeting with the newly elected ukrainian president shell e zelensky and u.s. military assistance to ukraine was contingent upon ukraine launching these investigations into the biden's burisma and 2016 interference. so what the democrats are hoping to do now is keeping up this momentum continuing to call witnesses who further corroborate all of this. so far as i mention the only outlier seems to be sondland who said no one raised alarms internally about the back channel that he, guiliani and curt volker were pursuing.
what democrats are doing now is focusing all of their attention on the ukraine scandal as a part of the impeachment story because it's the simple story they can tell the american people. when you tell the simplest story, you opposition. >> the tore is simple. david. and the story has a lot of evidence drawn from people who are trump loyalists. as natasha mentions, mr. sonlands may have cleaning up to do or disagree with others. but this army officer, diplomats, appointed to key depositions by trump, john bolton, these are trump people. when you look, david, as an expert on congress at the vote tomorrow, does that make it significantly more likely that donald trump will ultimately be impeached? >> i'd be surprised at this point if he doesn't end up being impeached. i mean have you enough democrat support for it. the democrats no long rer reluctant to move in this direction. the evidence which is manly
testimony at this point in time. we don't have a lot of documents, i assume they're trying to get that. there will be fights over that. maybe the state department as opposed to the white house, they can prize personal records. but the evidence is pretty overwhelming. there was not just one quid pro quo, there were three quid pro quos, the white house meeting, the $400 million in military assistance and the javelin missiles trump will talk about, if you will do me a favor, though, so you know trump keeps talking about substance and the republicans keep saying there is nothing there. the fallback position is, it is going to eeventually be yeah, well, maybe this wasn't so great. it's not impeachable. that's eventually where they will land, the republicans. so if that's where they are, the democrats will certainly go ahead and impeach. the real question is the timing. how long is it going to take to have public hearings. some of this stuff is getting bogged down in court decision. bolton has been called but his
deputy who was called last week refused to come on monday, citing not to appear. that's being adjudicated now in federal court. how long will it take to do all these things and get hearings and to have an actual vote on a calendar that is very truncated around the holiday season. >> joyce. >> so, i think david makes an interesting point there about the timing. but really what works into the democrat's fave here, is if there are articles of impeachment, which are more or less the equivalent of an indictment. as we enter into the holiday era, then we don't take up any sort of serious trial proceedings, should they occur in the senate, until after the new year. prosecutors hate christmas, juries, they are very for giving. the result in december would likely be tin himmed by the spirit of the season. but to the point that you took up originally, ari, there are compelling reasons for democrats to impeach. and natasha's right that people
love a simple story and the simple story here is bribery, extortion, a quid pro quo. it is happening in front of our faces, with trump so often he does this in plain sight and then says there can't be anything wrong because i did it for everyone to see. here there is concealment, there is misconduct. there is a bribe. and democrats seem to have finally found their story line that's simple but compelling. >> to that point, david, people who work in the administration who aren't directly implicated in this also, programs like some republican senators don't want to be on record defending everything that has been basically admitted. take a look at trump's nominee to be the ambassador to russia. >> yeah. >> do you think it's ever appropriate for the president to use his office to solicit investigations into a domestic political opponent? soliciting >> soliciting investigations into a political opponent i don't think that would be in accord with our values. >> david? >> yeah. you see a lot of these career
public servants, they call them deep stateers, never trumpers. trump's strategy here is to smear, spear, smear, anyone who speaks of this but we see these career dedicated public servants who have been told in some instances not to testify, still going up from and testifying, because why? because they saw what went on or they saw a part of what went open. there is a shadow foreign policy one u run by a political operative of the president to get political dirt, to benefit the president. you know, career diplomats know that is wrong. whether it's illegal or not, they know it's wrong. they don't want to fall on a sword for something that is so beyond the norm and there might be illegal. they don't want to hide behind the white house sword or not to testify. they want to testify and they saw what happened to the ambassador yovanovitch and how she was smeared. i think they feel she has been wronged. they want that to be corrected on the record.
so this is -- bring this back to joyce. here you have a case where you have a lot of not willing witnesses, but i think eager witnesses, who want the record to be known. >> and natasha. -- go ahead. >> i was just going to say, another thing about that is that a lot of these witnesses have long careers ahead of them. and they don't want to be forever tainted by their sins in the trump administration. you know, people like george kent, who was just starting the first year of a nine-year tenure at the state department who was dealing with ukraine issues, he testified, in part, i am told, because he wanted to show to, you know, the future people that he was going to work 'with, that he was an honest broker in all of this. we are just learning that tim morrison who replaced fiona hill on the national security council is resigning. we confirmed that with the administration. we are told he wants to pursue opportunities in the private sector. timing, of course, is very
notable. he is due to testify in the congressional committees about ukraine. it's important to note these people, these career officials, they don't want to have the baggage of the trump white house linger with them throughout the rest of their careers. >> yeah. so take that then to the news site, natasha, the democrats are summoning john bolton. who if you look at this a year ago, let alone six or eight years ago, no one would expect that john bolton would be something, someone, that the resistance and will ib ral democrats are thrilled about. and yet, it's because he's not there because of his ideologue or his views of the u.n. or foreign policy. he's there as someone who is expected and of course legally obligated to tell the truth about whether this plot was going down. zblfr yeah. and john bolton we are told is very eager to testify. and one of the main things, of course, that's holding him back right now is, of course, his lawyers, the same lawyer for charlie kuppeman, who is his deputy at the national security council, kupperman has launlched
a lawsuit to decide who he should listen to, congress or the white house in determining whether or not he will testify. bolton left the white house on very bad terms. he was very much opposed to this ukraine foreign policy shadow campaign being run. of course, he had his policy differences with trump in different yaempts heareas. he's never been shy of coming out and correcting the record on these things. it remains how he will come out legally. he wants that shield to show the establishment he has been fighting back against the impeachment territory. at the same time he kind of wants to get the president back. >> david. >> and remember, despite all the legal arguments, whoever his attorney, john bolton as a citizen, as others have done so in the past week or two can decide on his own to come forward and speak the truth. it just gets to the issue you know to who is your master? is it donald trump? or is it the constitution? this is not about executive privilege.
this is not about i can't portray my oath of keeping you know secret advice to the president. this is about whether you saw something that fiona hill who worked at the white house says that you called a drug deal. >> right. >> drug deals are illegal. they're illegal. this is criminal. >> to your point mr. vind ma'am reportedly gave his truthful accounting. he said why he was so concerned. when asked certain questions, for example, about what hef reported directly to the national security council and white house council lawyers, he reportedly said that's privileged. we're not getting into that you can fwiet that out. even if you recognize, certain privilege, it could be executive, lawyers, medical. you can always say in the deposition, i'm not getting into that yet and still try i to otherwise honestly comply. >> exactly. >> joyce. >> that's exactly right. and with these former employees, the white house can't force them to stay away from testifying.
we've seen in recent day, even with current employees, if they intend to testify, they can go ahead and comply with a lawful subpoena. so for someone like bolton, it's far less a question of needing legal protection. yes, he has the same lawyer as his former deputy. yes, it's conceivable that he can ask a court to decide whether he has to testify or not. but if he wants to go. he can go. >> right. >> joirks i want you to stay with me -- owe joyce, i want you to stay with me. i want your views as a prosecutor. i want to thank natasha, i want to put david on the spot. did you know about this christmas jury thing? >> i always call it a hasn't ka ju ow hanika. >> they have it within eight days. sorry, my fault. thanks to both of off. joyce, stay with me. now i turn to florida
congresswoman val demings, who is right in the center of this event diagram, someone with a lot of prosecutorial investigative experience. thank you for coming on "the beat." >> great to have you. joyce as well, walk us through what you think you are learning. why are you summoning john bolton out? does that mean the intelligence hearing is nearing the end of the key deposition phase? >> let me just say this, in a short period of time, i think it's been slightly over a month now, a lot has happened. >> yeah. >> what we do know if we start with the whistleblower's report, quickly turned to the readout released by the white house and we look at the overwhelming clear and convincing corroborative testimony from our witnesses that have come before us. the evidence is pretty clear that the president abused his power, that the president attempted to coerce a foreign power to interfere in our election, that the president really betrayed his oath of office and the american people,
that the president also has instructed -- obstructed justice and continues to obstruct justice by trying to get people not to appear. then is also involved in a coverup. the question that still remains as we continue to do our work is really what do we want to do about it? as you well know, tomorrow we will be voting on a resolution that will further care, advance the ball down the field as we prepare to move into a public arena. >> yeah, let's get into the resolution. it looks like a set of rules and a blue print for the potential impeachment of president trump. do you view tomorrow's vote and if it is a majority of democrats of the congress as showing that the speaker has amassed united caucus to ultimately impeach president trump? >> what i can say is that i am delighted to see this vote happening tomorrow, because i really think it lays out a very clear process for moving forward, sets the ground rules very clearly, as you know, many
of them mimic what was done in 1998 when the republicans actually helped tow write the procedures that we will use tomorrow. as i said, the evidence against the president, no matter how hard the republicans struggle to defend him, whether you are looking at the process or -- >> i understand, congress woman, let me push you a little bit, what i'm trying to get auto for viewers around the country understanding, if they see this resolution pass tomorrow, does that mean we are closer to impeaching the president or in your view not necessarily? >> no, i think we are much closer. because the second phase of this process is to move into public hearings, give the president of the united states an opportunity to respond, which we would certainly love to hear from him. and then we will move to giving the reports from all of the committees with jurisdiction over to the judiciary committee. i also sit on that committee and
we would be responsible for reviewing it. >> right. >> and writing articles of impeachment. >> well, that's exactly the next thing i want to ask you about. so we're syncing up on the same process, as you just said, those rules take the facts as found and go to the judiciary committee for articles. our panel is here has testified we should know before that committee. my question to you and joyce is, do you see the best case for a narrow articles of impeachment around just ukraine or do you think the judiciary committee should consider other potential offenses? >> well, i certainly think that when you look at the inspector general's report, we focus on ukraine because the inspector general concluded that this particular complaint was number 1 the whistleblower was credible that it was of an urgent nature. because it involved our national security, we all now know it was of an urgent nature. so you see how far we have been able to advance the ball down
the field by focusing on this issue. >> yep. >> i don't think there are any intentions, though, ari to totally ignore other instances of obstruction of justice. >> so, okay. so more than -- >> of the committee. >> potentially more than one article of impeachment in your view? >> i certainly believe the judiciary committee will be complete and thorough in the work that we will do. >> interesting. briefly before i go, joyce, your view. >> i think it's hard to argue with success in the committees that congresswoman demings sits on have been very successful at moving this narrative forward. it's simple. it's compelling. although, things may have happened in connection with the mueller report, they are equally abusive, equally sort of actions that would warrant impeachment. they may be more difficult for people to understand. and because impeachment is essentially a political process, simplicity and ease of understanding matters.
>> very interesting to get at such expertise and in the case of congresswoman demings, someone with a vote on the biggest issue facing the nation in the white house right now. that's something that separates you from a lot of other people with expertise we speak to. jo, joyce and congresswoman demings, thanks to both of you. >> thank you. >> up ahead, a special report that will break down the exact details and clues from these new democratic rules coming out tomorrow about impeaching trump and quid pro quo. that's what a trump insider says, new reporting on that later. meanwhile, diplomats saying guiliani was an obstacle on national security in ukraine and the head of the impeachment vote tomorrow. new echoes of watergate, we'ller, plain. i'm ari melber. you are watching "the beat" on msnbc.
. breaking news now. an impeachment witness ukraine expert and trump staff are saying, we are learning that it was a quid pro quo. this is testimony we have been talking about since the bombshell broke. colonel vindman has dropped another bomb, he specifically laid out the millions in military aid at the center of this bribery plot was in his view quote contingent on ukrainians opening probes of the biden's 2016 election. vindman as you know, if you have been following this, matters before he said this piece, because he was on the org until trump call with ukraine's president that is why many see hims a the first-hand account
has gotten today. trump defenders continue to argue whatever happened wasn't impeachable. vindman testified that the white house edited or potentially made misleading edits of a biden reference in those same call notes. he said he tried to correct the record. all of this looks like another problem for the president. >> i had a transcript done by very, very talented people, word-for-word, comma for comma, done by people that do it for a living. >> word-for-word and comma for comma. it's so specific it's almost hanging yourself out to dry. because we knew that wasn't quite the case from reading the darn thing. now ehave this new pressure, the memo they released as i mentioned said it wasn't a verbatim transcript. now you have witnesses saying no it was totally incorrect. why leave in some biden and take some biden out? open up the view you released
and are still hiding. there some consciousness there was stuff too damming to conclude, trump's allies are saying, no, nothing to see. >> i've read the transcript and if you add his corrections in, it doesn't change anything for me. >> unless there is something none of us have heard anything about based on what the allegations are so far, i don't see that rising to the level of an impeachable offense. >> there are a number of individuals listening to the call. they put the transcript together. if one person disagrees, it's a collective group that decides, not the president. there is nothing impeachable about this. >> is that true? what's the real story? my la wiley our special district in new york. our special counsel is here. we discuss it in 30 seconds. >
. breaking news, fast and furious. we just got the first response from john bolton's lawyer, he told the "new york times" his client will not appear voluntarily for the democrat's new summons for bolton to testify, that was breaking as we came on the set. the response is interesting. it also says bolton stands ready to accept service of a quote subpoena from the democrats. let's get right into what that all means from my la wiley, district for the mayor of new york city. good to see you. >> good to see. >> you john bolt isn't key from the moment the show started tonight to you walking out to
this table, we have john bolton's lawyer saying we have something particular. how do you interpret this? >> i interpret the request for subpoena as saying he is going to cooperate, just give him the cover that he needs. nothing stops him from going in and testifying voluntarily as you all have discussed. so this is making it clear i have no legal choice to go in and testify and i will. >> so on the scale of say ambassador taylor who was over here saying i'm ready to rush in, you don't have to make me do anything and say what we call 91berg 1.0 even when you are requested by subpoena you claim you might fight it. you are saying he is much closer to lawfully complying? >> that's what i hear. look, he doesn't have to invite a subpoena. inviting a subpoena means you are saying i am going to cooperate. otherwise you don't invite the subpoena. >> it sort of protects him beyond the law as i remind folks, you practiced law for a politician, a mayor, there is different issues there, this
kind of protects belmonten's flank with what we might call the traditional conservative establishment in washington. he's saying, look, i'm not running out, doing a book tour, yeah, if i get a subpoena from this building, this congress, i'm going to tell the truth. >> remember, i think that's absolutely right. all that we know of john bolton is from all of the testimony we've heard so far is he was the adult in the room. he was the national security advocate in the room trying to interrupt this outside around the parameters of how national security and how diplomacy is handled, he's the one trying to reign it back in and bring it back into the process, back into the national interestles. so he has nothing to hide based on everything we've heard so far. >> yeah, the other story i want to get you on is vindman, the big news was, oh, okay, bribery plot, big, quid pro quo. he's getting the details of what many are argueing is an alleged coverup. in articles of impeachment, this
is not a side show, this is literally an argument all by itself. take a look here at all the times we heard from the trump side about the transcript. take a look. >> we had an exact transcript. >> i released a tran script of my conversation. an exact transcript. >> we have an exact copy of the report, of the call. >> i released a transcription done by stenographers of the exact conversation i had. so we have an exact conversation. it was an exact transcription of the conversation. >> well, as we no, know, a it wasn't a tran vision, service a summary, b, it wasn't the entire conversation. c now we know they actually would not cru in the call summary things that the lt. col. felt should be in there. that's damming. >> do you have any theory of why they would do that? i get hiding. i get releasing everything and saying, whatever we defended.
i don't get the strategy of the halfway point? >> it's not a great strategy. because that, that call summary in and of itself was a smoking gun. so to, whatever they left out, either it was really bad and it's actually worse than we're hearing, or they were trying to thinking that it was basically going to set state deep 6. remember part of the issue if they moved something that did not have to be in this deepest darkest server basement of national security secrets, so they may have thought they were hiding it well enough but just to be safe, we'll keep out some of the blatant statements. i don't know what statements could have been more blatant. but we know we didn't get the entire call. >> yeah. >> we also know that if two weeks for as we know from colonel vindman, two weeks before that call even happened, we have sondland saying in a meeting with boughten and ukrainians, yeah, you got to do
this. you want the meeting with the president, we got to see these -- >> it's not quid pro quo, it's quid, quid, quid, there is a bunch of things for this or that as the lawyers say. thanks for brigg it down as always. >> thank you. >> when we come back work ve something special we have been working on, congress holds the first impeachment vote tomorrow. what these new rules mean, what they do and why they look like a road map 20 impeaching donald trump quickly. that's next. that's next. let me tell you something,
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trigger, now we'll go do this. my position has always been whatever decision we make in that regard will have to be done with our strongest possible hand and we still have some outstanding matters in the courts. >> but we're not there yet and i think if it is a close call, close calls go against putting the country through that. >> do you believe president trump will ultimately leave office being impeached by this house regardless of the time line? >> thank you very much. thank you very much. >> remember that? well, this changed on two inflexion points, one recent, one upcoming. it was barely a month ago ukraine changed everything, launching an impeachment probe. no one knew what that meant at the time. now we can now tell you the house voting tomorrow on resolution 660, the first floor vote on a path to impeaching trump. politically this will show and test pelosi has the house on the
caucus. constitutionally it creates a blue print for impeaching trump, which is where we turn to now, there is more than a party line floor vote tomorrow. the resolution that they're voting on delineates a new impeachment process. it empowers who will lead it. so if you want to understand the road to impeaching trump and what it will tee up in any senate trial. you have to see what they're voting on, which means not the text also mean what is else it sets in motions, which is rules or protections or the person who may ultimately be put on trial, donald trump. here are three key parts of this new impeachment blue print, which we've just gone ahold of. first they pave the way for public hearings, which his public defenders say would be fair. they empower not only members of congress but top committee lawyers to do the high stakes questioning. >> that could include former prosecutors like daniel goldman, who joined adam schiff's
committee in march. you may remember him from this and other news programs and harry burke a harvard educated lawyer who clerked for a judge in the famous fdny system. the committee tapped him for that tough round of corey lewandowski after the panel spoke. it harkens back to watergate when staff lawyers like fred thompson led witnesses to important revelations. >> did you say that because you wanted to protect the president? >> not to the best of my recollection. >> sir, did you deny it because you wanted to protect yourself? >> not to the best of my recollection, mr. burke. >> why did you lie on national television? >> are you aware of the installation of listening devices in the oval office of the president? >> i was aware of listening devices. >> those voices you hear asking the questions are the professionals and deploying them is another side that the planned
hearings now won't be intended to be capitol hill talk-a-thons for sound bytes but rather focus more on getting evidence. now second in these new rules that we have now gone ahold of, protections for the target. president trump. remember, constitution doesn't detail how to run an impeachment in the house or a senate trial. so congress decides each time in the rare times it's happened that america gets to the points we're at. the points we're reaching tomorrow with this vote. the president's only give some ideas. what we now know from this new resolution if it passes tomorrow, democrats plan to give trump protections and options, which is interesting. because house democrats are basically reinviting trump to a party he keeps blowing off, given all his past avoidance, stonewalling and defiance of these probes. >> house judiciary chairman jerry nadler issued subpoenas today for a full unredacted version of the report, the start of what's to be a retracted
legal fight. >> the subpoena is ridiculous. i say it's enough! >> stonewall is a loaded word. there are constitutional privileges that exist. >> the white house is now openly defying congress' power to investigate the president for high crimes and misdemeanors. >> now, the white house has been fighting anyone going down to congress going through those metal detectors. tomorrow, i want to tell you what this resolution means, the house is saying through its power, basically, mr. president, this is real. you have one more chance to send your folks down, whoever you choose, it could be your lawyers to make your case. that's basically what they are telling him. remember, that is what president clinton did. he sent his personal lawyer david kendall to face the house impeachment probably. chairman nadler is now emphasizing that very option in a new statement saying his committee will comply serious procedures that confer rights for the president equal to those
provided during the nixon and clinton inquiries. and they mean it. the judiciary committee is actually even distributing this handy new chart that shows every protection that clinton and nixon got with check marks that the democrats will give church -- trump those and even more. now to be clear, i want to say some are getting a copy of democrats do in committee. anyone with an internet connection can get that. how the public and senate view this, whether trump is enabled to send lawyers to talk but to shape these hearings, to question witnesses, to object to whether certain witnesses or everyday can be used against the mr. president. i want to be clear about this, those are new powers the house is giving to donald trump in the spirit of they say fairness that aren't automatic, because the constitution doesn't require it. but here's the thing. to exercise those rights if this resolution passes tomorrow, trump will have to reverse
himself and the stonewalling kangaroo court strategy that insists none of this is legitimate. will he? after weeks of fighting with the house or settling on a new strategy, there are some reports that trump aids want to change congress before its perhaps too late. then there is perhaps the most pivotal thing we are learning how this will go down, it's a clue you have to dig out of this resolution. we know the intel committee gathers facts and will later release reports on ukraine. democrats say that in the is basically playing the role that in the past primary investigators have played, like those prosecutors who did the fact finding work in the nixon and clinton cases, they produced facts and reports which congress then took and reviewed. this is different when you think about it. on ukraine, congress is doing the fact finding, itself, there is no special counsel for ukraine collusion. in fact, just today, the democrat in charge of the rules committee made that point while speaking to the stakes.
>> unlike during the impeachment of president nixon and clinton, no special prosecutor has been named to investigate president trump on this that's why the intelligence committee has been gathering evidence and hearing testimony. five or ten years from now, people will ask each of us what we did in this moment. we will stand up for the constitution and defend the rule of law. >> so congress finds the facts and stands up for the constitution and gets a floor vote impeaching trump. it does raise the big question of where we are headed. what are they impeaching trump for? one thing, two, three, a whole interconnected plot of things? even if you sayoc for ukraine, all right, is it one thing the bribery plot? what about the second thing, the alleged coverup? what about obstruction? and then think about this i discussed this earlier tonight two a member of congress. if you go after donald trump for a few weeks of alleged ukraine obstruction, why would congress give am pass on years of the
obstructionaled in the mueller report, which again is more independent than a democrat-led committee investigation. mueller finding quote substantial evidence of obstruction in five different incidents. in fact, you are probably old enough to remember when top democrats said that was obstruction, it was just a few months ago. >> there was a sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president. is that correct? >> yes. >> that cob another basis to allege that the president was obstructing justice. correct? >> that is generally correct. yes. >> the trump administration will do everything in its power to obstruct the work of the congress? >> those aren't just statements from some politicians. we just showed you members of the very committee that will handle impeachment, judiciary under these new rules. they were talking to mueller about how hay think trump already committed obstruction that brings us to a key part of this resolution congress is voting on tomorrow.
they state when this is all done and the intelligence probe is over, the whole thing goes back to the judiciary committee to decide whether a report to the house, quote, such articles of impeachment it deems proper. now, look at that word. articles. pleural. not one article and congress hands the keys to decide on any article or articles to the judiciary committee s. is that one article on ukraine or two? is it ukraine and the coverup? that and obstruction? is it obstruction of mueller? which is obstruction of congress as well, and you know for all the talk lately about what republicans will do in the senate, let's be clear. the facts are there are still debates within the democratic party and congressional democrats over whether to focus solely on ukraine or write a broader indictment of trump on multiple issues. broader could be covering up the ukraine issues, broader than that, could be the obstruction. then there are other democrats who long have been on the record arguing trump has committed other offenses, this is a point
congressman green is back reiterating again. >> i think the president has also infused bigotry into policy that's harmful to society and i think we should have an article that deals with his bigotry. >> we know from history that a party which is united against the president on impeachment is not always united on which articles of impeachment. house republicans who took on clinton openly squabbled over four different articles of impeachment on the floor. they ultimately passed two, president johnson's detractors threw 11 different articles rather than narrowing their targets. as democrats push towards tomorrow's vote, the key is what they are voting on. it's not automatic. these new automatic rules basically make the intelligence committee the versions and basically make the judiciary like the prosecutors, deciding whether and what to charge on with, of course, speaker pelosi overseeing it all and the other interesting thing here, i don't
know if this has gotten enough attention yet, these rules if they pass tomorrow, they call donald trump's bluff. and they say in this process, keep stonewalling at your own peril. we wanted to give you that special breakdown. coming up, when we talk about impeachment rules, these are live pictures of lawmakers still debating them in preparation of the big vote tomorrow. this is historic. we went digging in the crates to give something special when we come back. a little help seeing it.
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congress is heading into its first floor vote on impeachment over the ukraine scandal and some of the details including the timing remain influx. but we do know many view this as historic. in 1974, of course, it was for president nixon. >> the house of representatives today voted almost unanimously 410-4 to grant broad subpoena powers to the house judiciary committee in its inquiry into the impeachment of the president. barbara jordan, democrat of texas drew the big applause of the day saying it was the quality of the investigation that mattered, not the speed. judiciary chairman rodino said let us act so the american people and their children after them will say that was the right course. >> as that process continued the impeachment vote proved
unnecessary. president nixon effectively forced out of office by the process. the next time there was an actual floor vote on impeachment was in 1998. the house authorizing the impeachment inquiry into bill clinton. >> today's the day for only the third time in american history, the house of representatives will vote to open impeachment hearings against a sitting president today. >> well, no one here on capitol hill is talking about if. it's about how many as dozens of democrats prepare to abandon the president when the house votes to today to begin impeachment hearings. >> i would suggest by way of friendly advice to the white house, don't tamper with this jury. >> the understated message was don't vote to limit the scope of this message because you don't know what else is coming. >> our own colleague discussing something that certainly applies if you think six weeks ago. this white house, this city of washington no one knew what was
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members of congress are still at work late into the tonight you see here on the rules for the impeachment vote tomorrow. i want to tell you this sunday 9:00 p.m. eastern we'll be back with a brand new impeachment special. sunday 9:00 p.m. eastern and we'll keep an eye on this. don't go anywhere, though, "hardball" starts now. avalanche. let's play hardball. good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. powerful new evidence tonight in the impeachment investigation. nbc news is reporting that lieutenant colonel alexander vindman testified yesterday that u.s. military support to ukraine was indeed contentioned on ukraine's willingness to