Skip to main content

tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  November 6, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PST

8:00 am
among those questions, what it could mean for 2020. could some in the president's party be rethinking whether they want to stick with mr. trump amid the impeachment fight. we'll break down all the i'm kagss of last night's elections results. a significant new twist in the impeachment inquiry. eu ambassador gordon sondland changing his story now, backing up the testimony of several other key witnesses regarding aid to ukraine and the commitment to investigate the 2016 election and the bidens. but why was he allowed to change his testimony? we're going to dig into that in just a moment. let's go right to the implications of tuesday's elections. for that i want to bring in msnbc national political correspondent steve kornacki. he's at the big board. nbc news road war i don't vaughn hillyard joins us from louisville, kentucky. vaughn, it's a state that president trump won by about 30 points in 2016.
8:01 am
here we are just three years later. looks like there will be a deck kr democrat in the governor's mention. steve, what happened in kentucky in the simplest terms. >> democrats needed everything to go right and pretty much everything went right. three things i quickly draw your attention to. number one, i had the same thing, louisville -- i've been saying louisville my whole life. in louisville, the biggest county in the state, biggest city in the state. it wasn't just that beshear won, he got nearly a 100,000-vote margin over matt bevin. that was massive democratic support. last election the democrat by won by about 37,000 votes. that happened in the democratic vote producing area. right here, the three counties in the northern part of the
8:02 am
state, those are the suburbs of cincinnati, ohio, right across the ohio river. these are densely populated, large, usually republican bastions. republicans usually run up the numbers. two of these counties actually flipped and went for beshear, went for the democratic here. the other one, boone county, the red one, went with bevin, but his margin was a lot lower than it was last time he ran. in kentucky, you have these big suburb counties moving away from matt bevin. the third one, rural coal country, eastern kentucky, rural eastern kentucky. you saw numbers here, a couple counties where beshear -- this is a small rural county. beshear won this 55-44. put that in perspective. how did donald trump do in this county in 2016? donald trump won it by almost 40 points. this is a 50-point swing you're talking about here for beshear winning by 11. that's what the numbers look
8:03 am
like. trump wins this county by 54 points in 2016. beshear actually won it last night. this is an interesting story. rural eastern kentucky. nationally these folks vote like republicans, they really like donald trump. they're blue collar, culturally conservative. kentucky is an interesting state in that the democratic party still has a presence in places like this locally. so that was the question here. that's why donald trump in part came to kentucky on the eve of the election. he and republicans were thinking of places like this, counties like this where donald trump absolutely slaughtered hillary clinton in 2016. they were trying to get that kind of energy, that kind of support behind matt bevin. bevin did -- you can see beshear did a lot better than hillary clinton. it was not enough. the republicans were hoping they would get a lot more out of counties like this. for a 5,000-vote margin statewide, a bunch of things had
8:04 am
to break beshear's way and a bunch of things did. >> in terms of turnout, steve, in kentucky last night versus the last election. >> about 1.4 million, a little over 1.4 million people voted last night. last gubernatorial election, 973,000. >> i love how i can ask steve kornacki just about any question and he can answer it. that's talent. i want to talk about virginia. let's go to vaughn here for a moment. as we wait to hear from the apparent winner, andy beshear, what's been the reaction from voters? what's been the reaction from the campaigns? >> reporter: i want to play part of andy beshear last night. the current attorney general in the state. we should note that his father was the former governor of kentucky, the predecessor to matt bevin. any moment we're expected to hear from andy beshear who is the governor elect. of course, matt bevin has not
8:05 am
announced his own concession to this point. there's potential he will ask the state to either take part in a recanvas or recount. i want to let you hear from andy beshear. i think last night, his speech in louisville was very much reflective of the type of campaign he ran. >> voters in kentucky sent a message loud and clear for everyone to hear. it's a message that says our elections don't have to be about right versus left. they are still about right versus wrong. that what unites us as ken tuckians still unites us stronger than any national divisions. >> reporter: the campaign focused on local issues, jobs, health care, pension reform. contrast that with the way matt
8:06 am
bevin ran the campaign. matt bevin looked to donald trump to help catapult him ultimately to victory. i want to play a little exchange yesterday with matt bevin when he decided to nationalize this campaign so much. >> why nationalize this race so much and talk about president trump so much? >> i don't know -- do you watch the news? the fact you ask why this is being nationalized and why people are talking about president trump would indicate to me that you may have sort of come out from under a rock. here in america, that's pretty topical every night. >> reporter: so what should we take away from this race, craig? donald trump, to what extent was he actually annual to help matt bevin. he maybe helped bring out trump-backing voters that wouldn't otherwise come to the polls. but it clearly was not enough. the campaign of andy beshear, ran a very state-based campaign. there were no 2020 national candidates here. matt bevin ran away from the national conversation, ran away
8:07 am
from talk about impeachment. notice he hasn't been on the national airwaves today. it's not clear when he anticipates doing so. how is this sort of an operation, has run -- a state that has -- even the democratic voters in the state are more conservative. i think this is part of that conversation. how does someone like doug jones in alabama win the re-election. i think those are the conversations that are going to be taking place over the next days ahead. >> all right. we'll go back to louisville, kentucky, in a moment when the apparent governor-elect takes to the podium. we should also note that daniel cameron made some history there in kentucky last night. cameron becoming the first african-american attorney general in the history of that state, a republican there in kentucky. let us turn to the commonwealth for a moment, mr. kornacki. for the first time, if my math is correct here, the first time in a generation democrats have taken control, not just of the governor's mansion but both
8:08 am
houses in virginia. >> yes, in virginia, right. democrats already had the governorship, lieutenant governor. yesterday it was the state legislature that was up for grabs. you see basically what happened. in the house of delegates here, going into yesterday, republican control, it was slight, but republicans have control. right now a few seats uncounted. democrats went into yesterday with 48. there was a vacancy where there was a democratic seat that had 49. you see now they're well over 50, gives them control. same thing on the senate. democrats were at 19 coming in. now at 21. gives them control. i just think the big significance of this, craig, it's a state legislative election. why are we talking about it? it's because virginia has been transformed politically as a state within the last generation i. used to be at the presidential level a republican bastian. we didn't talk about it as competitive in presidential elections. then it became a swing state, 2008, 2012, when barack obama was running, he carried the state. his margin in the state looked
8:09 am
exactly like his national margin. it was a bellwether state. since 2012, it's continued to move in the democratic direction. hillary clinton did better in virginia than she did nationally in 2016. democrats control the legislature now. they won the governor ship in 2017. they have the attorney general's office, lieutenant governor. starting to look ahead to 2020. you saw all the polls from big swing states, trump versus the democrats. virginia wasn't even one of them. i think this is the transformation of virginia. it was cemented here from swing state now to blue state. >> it's blue, no longer purple. i know it's early, just a few hours out from actually getting the election results in, so it may be early to try to glean too much from what we saw last night in kentucky and virginia. what do we know at this point about what motivated voters on tuesday? how much of this was a referendum on the president of the united states? >> it's interesting. you look at virginia. it's a continuation of a story we've been telling in virginia
8:10 am
the last few years. we saw this dynamic in 2017 when democrats were able to win the gore norship. we saw it in 2018, three congressional seats in virginia that flipped from republican to democratic. you see it with the state legislative elections. the story of the suburbs in virginia, richmond and virginia beach moving away from the republicans. in kentucky, i think it's more complicated for a couple reasons. yes, you had trump go and in try to propel bevin and he falls short. on the other hand, bevin was a supreme lip unpopular governor. his approval rating was 34%. in some ways the fact that that governor's race got nationalized to the extent it did, that is probably the only thing that gay bevin a chance. it wasn't enough to lift him to victory. if he was running just on his state record, his reputation in the state, it might have been worse than it was. >> steve kornacki breaking it down. thanks, my friend. we're also keeping a very close eye on washington, d.c. and the
8:11 am
growing impeachment battle between congress and the white house. msnbc's garrett haake is at his post on capitol hill. nbc's peter alexander is at the white house for us. mr. headacaake, we'll start wit. the first witness testified this week behind closed doors on the hill. any indication why he's saying yes to meet with investigators, why you've got this long list of other administrative officials who said no? >> this witness, david hale, the number three person at the state department fits the pattern that's developed of witnesses that do try to show up and testify. he's a career public official and he works at the state department. so many of the witnesses who have been more forthcoming fit either one of those two categories and he fits both. democrats expect he'll confirm a lot of testimony released earlier this week about the firing of the now former ambassador to ukraine, maria yovanovitch, that was backed up instead by mike mckinley,
8:12 am
another former top pompeo aide. democrats are layering levels of evidence on top of each other with these witnesses who they expect will tell largely the same story about what was going on within the state department. they're trying to keep the scope of this inquiry narrow, but the actual evidence they're getting airtight. i think they expect to get much the same from hale today. let's talk about this major reversal in testimony here for a moment, the president's appointee as ambassador to the european union, gordon sondland. he did a full 180, it would seem. now saying he does remember telling the top aide to the president of ukraine that the country would not receive military assistance unless it committed to investigating joe biden in the 2016 election. how is this reversal being received there on the hill? >> reporter: this is a fairly extraordinary reversal from sondla sondland. it came in the form of an appendix to his testimony that the committee got just the day before they released it
8:13 am
publicly. in his statement he says essentially, not only was there a quid pro quo, but he was the one who delivered it. he says he remembers speaking the mr. yermak where i said the resumption of u.s. aid would likely not occur until ukraine provided the public anti corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks. i'm not an expert in latin, but that is a quid pro quo. interestingly enough, republican response has largely been to say gordon who? they pointed to other transcripts that have come out saying they show less than that or they contradict sondland. lindsey graham told me he's not going to read the gordon sondland transcript. he thinks the whole thing is a sham and sondland has problematic issues with his memory in other parts of the transcript. the republicans are trying to dismiss what is thus far the most direct connection to a quid
8:14 am
pro quo and the president that we've seen in a released piece of testimony. >> garrett, thank you. meanwhile, down in louisville, kentucky, i'm told democratic governor elect andy beshear has taken to the podium. let's listen in. >> i have a friend i did not have an opportunity to thank last night and that is mayor greg fisher. he worked incredibly hard in support of this campaign, and mayor, it showed. last night the election ended. it ended, and it's time to move forward with a smooth transition that we are here to do so that we can do the people's business. a we have got to submit a budget, for instance, to the legislature near the end of january. that budget is going to be absolutely critical in its support of publicing education
8:15 am
and health care. it's time we started taking the steps to put together the cabinet, the administration and the budget that's going to be necessary to move our families forward. so i'm here this morning to announce that j. michael brown will serve as my transition chair. i have the utmost confidence in michael. he has served our country in uniform. he currently serves as the deputy attorney general. he's previously served as a district judge here in jefferson county and as secretary of the justice cabinet. he has a long track record of exemplary public service. i could not ask for a better person to help lead this transition. we'll be announcing more members of our transition team in the coming day and in the coming week but now it's time to come together and to get to work. there is so much that jacqueline
8:16 am
and i ran on, challenges that are facing our families, from public education to pensions to health care to jobs, and to truly make that positive difference for our families, we've got to move and weave got to move quickly. our budget, which will come out in january, will reflect the priorities of public education, health care and rebuilding our infrastructure. so this isn't about politics anymore. that ended last night. this is about being the best governor that i can be for the people of kentucky. it's about changing the tone that we have heard in frankfurt for the last four years, about coming together to make sure we can work together on the things we agree on and we can still talk to each other civilly on the things we disagree on. at this time i'd like to turn it over to michael brown. [ applause ] >> there you have it. andy beshear, the governor elect
8:17 am
there for the state of kentucky, laying out his priorities, also introducing us to his transition chair. he was, of course, the attorney general in kentucky but also the son of matt bevin's predecessor, the son of steve beshear. it should also be noted here that governor bevin has yet to concede. the last time we heard from him he said, quote, this is a close, close race. we are not conceding this race by any stretch. we have not seen or heard from matt bevin since that statement. let's bring in rick tyler, msnbc political analyst, tiffany cross, managing editor of the beat d.c., and i wanted to bring back in phillip bailey, reporter at louisville's "courier journal" who joined us to talk about kentucky politics. he joined us yesterday. phillip, how surprised were you by the results last night?
8:18 am
>> well, no one was surprised one way or the other. everyone thought matt bevin had the home court advantage, given the white rural state. president trump came in the day before the election really to give governor bevin a boost, but everyone understood that andy beshear, with the name beshear, was known from paducah to pike ville, western to eastern kentucky and had the most energized group of supporters, that would be kentucky teachers who were incensed, maybe even hated matt bevin for some of his past comments about them and his efforts to overhaul the pension system. it wasn't so much a surprise as to how andy beshear won the race. huge margins in louisville and lexington, the two urban centers in kentucky, and also flipping counties that matt bevin won before. particularly in northern kentucky which was at that point known as the tea party headquarters about ten years ago, the cincinnati suburbs
8:19 am
essentially. so how beshear won was maybe more surprising than that he won. >> shear the thing, rick tyler, as noted on this broadcast, last night as well, matt bevin wildly unpopular, approval ratings somewhere in the 30s. he was a weak candidate by the party for most measures. in a last-minute appeal to the state's republican voters, they bring in president trump to try to rally the base. just a reminder of what the president said at that rally. >> if you win, they're going to make it like ho-hum. if you lose, they're going to say trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world, this was the greatest. you can't let that happen to me! >> the president may have been partly joking there, rick tyler, but are we, with last night's election results starting to see the limits of the president sway even with diehard republicans? >> first, let me say, i'll say it. president trump suffered the
8:20 am
world's greatest defeat by losing the governor's race in kentucky. that's the world's greatest defeat so far. we'll see what happens there. there's two things. trump's presence in kentucky did help bevin. he was very unpopular, in a public battle with the teachers. he had been -- rolled back baem care, expansion of medicaid, medicare in kentucky and was not a popular governor. he completely underperformed president trump. president trump couldn't bring enough of his voters. i'll point to two things. one that was pointed out is trump and the republicans are massively losing, they're bleeding educated voters and women voters in huge numbers. that accounts for the suburb areas around lexington and cincinnati. and then there are also democrats who will vote democrat. you saw that in steve kornacki's set-up piece earlier, where
8:21 am
democrat labor, coal mines, apalacha, they will vote democrat in a normal election. they didn't vote for matt bevin in big numbers. they vote for trump. that's a big lesson for democrats to figure out how to be more like beshear and how to beat trump. you've got to get those obama voters who voted for trump back in your camp. they voted in a 2018 election overwhelmingly for democrats. they voted again in 2019 for democrats. up to two-thirds of them say they're still going to vote for trump. that means trump lost a third of them. that's very significant. that's another group that can be gotten. >> tiffany, let's dig into one of the groups rick just mentioned. an soelted press analysis out now points to the suburban revolt against the president and his party. according to the a.p., it is growing. quote, it's difficult to draw sweeping conclusions from state
8:22 am
elections, but there's little doubt tuesday's outcome is a warning to republicans across the nation. a year out from the 2020 election and a year after the 2018 midterms. the suburbs are still moving in the wrong direction. tiffany, what should democrats be doing to take advantage of these suburb voters and are they doing enough at this point to win them over? >> i think the main thing democrats can do is simplify their message and tell the story. part of what we saw last night, certainly there were a lot of local issues that these candidates ran on. in kentucky, you saw the republican governor he was trying to dismantle obama care. voters didn't like that. he doubled down on beshear's support for abortion rights. voters said no, we don't like that. when you pull back and look at this from a national framing and you see the issue of impeachment and bribing a foreign country, these are not partisan issues. these are issues of patriotism, these are american issues. we talk about them through the frame of democrats and
8:23 am
republicans, but you see when the american people look at this, they say, i don't know if i like that. the republican party in this role as dr. frankenstein, they created a monster that turned on them. trump is now a liability. you've given democrats a hand up to simplify and tell the story. we've seen what donald trump has done. democrats have to tell the story to the american people what might donald trump do when he has no constraints, when he's not worried about getting re-elected. there is not a single person who has looked at this presidency and says, you know what, the last few years have been great. i think i'm going to hop on the trump train. i think democrats have to keep doubling down and making their story simple and putting it for the american people. >> phillip, you were here roughly this time yesterday when we talked about the republicans nationalizing the race for governors. i want to remind our viewers part of what you said about that. >> in recent years, in the past
8:24 am
20 years in particular, ken tuckians, even though this is a state where democrats hold the majority of registration, has leaned more republican and more conservative because of those cultural values and governor bevin knows it. >> so there you were, phillip, yesterday. the president tweeting this morning, based on the kentucky results mitch mcconnell will win big, big in kentucky next year. that, phillip, would seem to be the $64,000 question in the bluegrass state. are there warning signs for mitch mcconnell? should people take what happened in kentucky on election night and draw some conclusions about mitch mcconnell's chances next year? >> he isn't sweating. every other republican besides matt bevin won these statewide elections including two proteges, one would be daniel canton, first republican attorney general elected since
8:25 am
world war ii, also the first african-american elected attorney general here in kentucky. michael adams, another former mcconnell aide won the secretary of state's office against heather french henry, the democrat, a former miss america. senator mcconnell's people are already out there saying, look, do not misinterpret this. matt bevin was his own candidate. this will be a national race because it's for u.s. senate. i think you will see, craig, many more democrats might think about, maybe i should get into this race. mat jones, a kentucky sports radio host very popular in the state, he might be considering whether he'll get in or not. amy mcgrath is already in, mike broyer a former marine is in the race. i don't think senator mcconnell thinks at all that matt bevin losing while the rest of the republicans did well with two majorities in the house and the senate in the state legislature
8:26 am
and winning every other constitutional office, senator mcconnell really isn't that worried. >> tiffany, let's turn to virginia for a moment. i know you're there in d.c., but just over the bridge. you look at what happened in the commonwealth. you've got democrats in control of both houses. they're not new control of the governor's mansion, lieutenant governor's office as well. a lot of folks perhaps have forgotten that governor ralph northam was mired in the black face scandal. were you at all surprised that he managed to survive this? >> i wasn't necessarily surprised. i'll say virginia's demographics are also changing. a lot of people assume that northern virginia is the space that skews blue. that's not necessarily true. i think you have pockets of people more in tune with what's going on. let me also say for the changing demographics in virginia, i know there was a lot of people upset when it came out that northham
8:27 am
was in black face. i don't think there are people that are surprised when something racist is pulled out of a white person's past. i think they tend to look at it in more practical terms. is he a better option than the republican. clearly the answer was yes. >> tiffany cross, phillip, rick tyler, thank you. house democrats announcing when the first public hearing will be happening. msnbc's garrett haake is standing by on the hill. garrett, what do we know? when is it happening? >> reporter: set your alarm, your dvr for wednesday. that's when we'll see the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry. two very interesting witnesses. bill taylor, the current acting ambassador to ukraine and george kent, a top state department official will appear side by side in the first intel committee open hearing on wednesday. to refresh your memory, ambassador taylor was on the ground in ukraine over the summer, said he was starting to put the pieces together about the $400 million in aid to
8:28 am
ukraine being tied to the investigations into buries ma and the bidens. he's the witness who so impressed this committee behind closed doors with his meticulous note taking. he brought receipts. he had backup for everything he said, every meeting he was in, every phone call he took. we know that yesterday, and some of the transcripts that were released yesterday, he expressed concerns going back even earlier than that. by taking this job in ukraine he would be tied up in a giuliani-biden mess he wanted to avoid. george kent was a counterpart, a colleague of his back in d.c. during this time who will describe meetings in which officials working on ukraine policies were sideline in favor of giuliani, rick perry and others. he can provide the washington backstop to the ukraine, on-the-ground experience that ambassador taylor will provide. on friday we'll get the second hearing with maria yovanovitch
8:29 am
who taylor replaced, the former ambassador to ukraine forced out of that job essentially by president trump who lost confidence in her. state department told her she was doing a great job but lost the confidence of the president and that was that. we have seen her deposition released already. we have not seen the depositions of the two men who will testify publicly on wednesday. craig, if i was a betting man, i would say we might see those as early as today to start prepping the public and the legislators for what they'll see in this hearing that will be packed to the rafters on wednesday. >> 10:00 a.m., we've been told, a week from today, the public hearings will start. garrett, do stand by for just a moment. i have followup questions. i want to bring in cynthia oxney, msnbc legal analyst. heidi przybilla, a correspondent for nbc news. she's got new reporting on all of this including this
8:30 am
impeachment process. heidi, first of all, do democrats feel that their case is strong enough now to win over the american people? what are your sources telling you? >> craig, i was speaking with sources last night. this is in line with my reporting, that they are really prioritizing three witnesses in these public hearings. you saw just now news come out about two of them with maria yovanovitch and bill taylor. my reporting is that the third witness they would really like to get on the stand is lieutenant colonel vindman. he's the staffer who was actually on the phone call with trump and zelensky on july 25th and was so alarmed by what he heard, that he tried to report it twice to white house lawyers. to your question about where democrats are confident, according to my reporting, nancy pelosi has said in private meetings that they already have the goods and that the strength here really is in the volume of the witnesses who are providing this corroborating accounts
8:31 am
about the attempts of the president to withhold aid from the ukrainians until they dig up some kind of dirt -- manufacturer, i should say, some kind of dirt on his political rival. they believe this public testimony is going to be a lot more compelling than during the mueller testimony, for instance, and that is a parallel that they drew. they say these are fact witnesses, craig. these are people who witnessed these events, these accounts firstha firsthand. in the case of vindman and yovanovitch, she'll tell a dramatic tale about how she was bullied out of her job? ukraine to make way for the president's handpicked political team to come in here and push these investigations. >> garrett, how much of these public hearings will be about fact-finding? how much of these public hearings will be about swaying public opinion? >> reporter: i think much more of the latter, craig. this is why democrats insisted
8:32 am
on having these depositions, the first stage of this, be held behind closed doors. each of these witnesses has given eight, nine, in some cases ten hours of testimony. they brought text messages. in taylor's case, his testimony was backed up by these very thorough notes. the relevant members of these committees have the facts they need. they're now selecting the witnesses who appear in public who they believe can best make their case. democrats took the dozen or so witnesses who they talked to and determined, as much as heidi was reporting, who can be the most damaging three, at least thus far. who makes the case best that democrats are trying to present? if you're running a prosecution, who are your most damaging witnesses? that appears to be what democrats are laying out in the first round of open hearings. >> i know we've just gotten this news, but have we gotten any sense of format here? will it be traditional format, each congressman, congresswoman, they'll have a certain number of minutes to make a statement and then ask a question?
8:33 am
what more do we know about that? do we also know whether the lawmakers themselves will be the only ones asking questions? >> they will not be. this is one of the things laid out in the resolution that was passed a week ago now about how these hearings would take place. you'll have staff counsel being able to ask questions. you'll have much larger chunks of time, at least in the beginning, 45-minute question and answer sessions, not the typical five minutes. that's useful, behind closed doors when you're trying to build a case. democrats believe, at least, it will be useful for the public to try to follow along. people involved in these hearings always say you can't create a native. you can't tell a story in five minutes. over the course of these longer form questioning done in, we believe, by staff attorneys will do most of the questioning. the heavy lifting will be done by professional investigators who want to get the witnesses to tell a certain story, and they'll have the time to do it. this will not be one of these
8:34 am
more choppy back and forth hearings we've gotten used to seeing. >> cynthia, the strategy so far for democrats has been, by and large, not to oversimplify it, but closed-door testimony, release of transcripts and public hearings. what do you make of the strategy so far, as a prosecutor, in terms of presenting the case to the public, swaying public opinion? >> you can tell that adam schiff and his staff are professional prosecutors. this is the way you would present a criminal case to a jury. you want to be very careful about who your first witness is, laying it out, gaining credibility. as the witness gains credibility with the jury, so does the prosecutor gain credibility with the jury. that first witness is really important. taylor is a very credible witness. it's a very smart choice. the cleanup witness at the end is also very important. if vindman isali at the end, th also makes sense. even if it takes it out of
8:35 am
order, i think it makes sense to have vindman at the end and yovanovitch in the middle and probably some of the state department people who talk about how they were desperately trying to get her support, and pom poi i don't not only refused to give support but lied about it to people. that's the arc of the story you want to get out as cleanly as possible and keep it as simple as possible. this is a shakedown of a little country trying to survive in return for political favors for the president. as long as they can keep it simple, they have a good strategy going forward. >> garrett, let's talk about the committee that will hear this, the house permanent select committee on intelligence. >> the intel committee has been one of the least partisan committees on capitol hill. it's a prestige assignment, where serious legislators go, folks seriously interested in oversight. in the past, nancy pelosi, for example, was the ranking
8:36 am
democratic member on the intel committee. led by adam schiff on the democratic said, someone who pelosi has a ton of faith in. the republicans have pushed back really hard, saying he's the prosecutor, the judge and the jury thus far. on the republican side, devin nunes is the ranking member, he was in charge of the committee process during the russia investigation that both parties criticized, it got overly partisan. he'll be backed up by allies of the president. the intel committee bench is not as pro trump as the other committees might be. republicans are interested in getting jim jordan onto that committee. they'd probably have to drop some other member off. they wanted to get another big trump ally on that committee who they hope can try to poke holes in democrats' arguments. this has been traditionally a committee that does a lot of
8:37 am
oversight work in a non-partisan fashion, now being thrust into a very partisan role in front of the whole country. >> cynthia, i do want to ask you about gordon sondland, the man president trump appointed as ambassador to the european union. he initially says there's no condition to ukraine receiving this aid. then he says his memory has been refreshed, that he does remember telling an aide to the president of ukraine that, if they want the money for the military, they have to commit to this investigation of the bidens. is there no legal consequence for just essentially, entirely changing your story like that? >> first of all, there's no consequence if there's nobody to prosecute him. that's number one. now, number two, it's not clear that -- it's not clear he's telling the truth yet. recognize, there are still a lot of things that he's not telling the truth about. one is the july 10th meeting, and now today we understand
8:38 am
fiona hill's lawyer is taking him to task on meetings where he said ridiculous things about her. there are more things that he's not telling the truth about. i would view him basically in the weasel category. but, if you had to prioritize where are you going to put your energy at this point, the president of the united states is abusing his power and that's where my focus would be, and not on a sideshow about gordon sondland. >> a simple message. what will the president's defense look like at these hearings go public next week? nbc's jonathan allen has been tracking that part of the story. the republican messaging on the president's impeachment troubles. we'll get to jonathan in a minute. but adam schiff, the man who is going to be running all this is speaking. let's listen. >> i'm going to have to keep this brief, but first of all, i want to thank ambassador hill for being here, for obeying the
8:39 am
law, following the lawful subpoena that we issued. we wish others would show the same courage and dedication to the law that ambassador hale is demonstrating here today. i want to let you know, as you may know already, that we will begin our open hearings in the impeachment inquiry next week. we'll be beginning with testimony of ambassador taylor and ambassador kent on wednesday, and we will have ambassador yovanovitch testify on friday. these will be the first of the open hearings. i think you'll see throughout the course of the testimony, not only their testimony but many others, the most important facts are largely not contested. we are getting an increasing appreciation for just what took place during the course of the last year and the degree to which the president enlisted whole departments of government in the elicit aim of trying to get ukraine to dig up dirt on a
8:40 am
political opponent as well as further conspiracy theory that he believed would be beneficial to his election campaign. those open hearings will be an opportunity for the american people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn firsthand about the facts of the president's misconduct. along those lines, today we'll be releasing the deposition transcript of ambassador taylor so people will have the opportunity to read about that as well. and what americans will see from that transcript is what they have seen from the others, that the gop claims to be locked out, prohibited from participating, unable to ask questions, are simply false. ambassador taylor's deposition and every deposition, the republican members have had equal opportunity with democratic members to ask any questions they would like.
8:41 am
i think you will see in the transcript what a dedicated public servant ambassador taylor is, someone who graduated from west point, someone who served in vietnam, someone who is i think performing another vital service for the country in relating the facts that came to his attention, the very disturbing facts that came to his attention. so we move forward with the open face of impeachment inquiry. we have remaining depositions to do which we'll be conducting over the next couple days, and with that we're going to head back. thank you. >> there you have it. adam schiff, chair, of course, of the intel committee, the california congressman laying out to a certain extent what we can expect next week when the public phase of the impeachment process begins, next wednesday, a week from today. roughly 10:30 in the morning as
8:42 am
our garrett haake reported just a few moments ago. garrett, i believe you also called correctly the release of a deposition, congressman schiff there saying ambassador taylor's deposition is being released as we speak. congressman schiff also saying this is the beginning of a process and there were remaining depositions as well. any idea, garrett, who is left to depose? >> well, we know they've tried to call john bolton and mick mulvaney both, one current and one former top aide to president trump. they have both said they're not coming at least right now. there's a court case lingering in d.c. court that could be solved by december that could bring them in. that's well beyond the timeline democrats are trying to work with. the one other witness who is scheduled this week who may show is a former aide to vice president pence who is detailed to the state department. she's in the gray area of someone close to the action, but far enough away, technically
8:43 am
works for the state department. she might show up on thursday. it's unclear how much more democrats will get. just from the very as a matter of fact that they're choosing to move forward tells you, they either think they've had enough or think they're not realistically going to get a ton of new evidence beyond what they've got already. >> it would also seem as if, jonathan allen, we've got a preview of the case that democrats are going to be making next week, a case that, by and large, they've been making so far. adam schiff saying, quote, most of the important facts are largely not contested, and alleging that the president enlisted large swaths of our government in his attempt to try and get the president of ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival. you've got new reporting, jonathan, as i understand it, about the republican message here, about the president's message, how he is going to try and fight impeachment. what did you learn on that front? >> well, first, craig, you're absolutely right. you heard from adam schiff right
8:44 am
there what the democrats are going to say, which is that the president used the entirety of the federal government, almost the entirety of the federal government to try to further his election hopes for 2020. basically they're going to get these witnesses to go out there one by one and corroborate pieces of that story. the defenses we've heard from president trump range from everything he did was appropriate, the blanket defense that the president likes, to there was no quid pro quo. of course, there doesn't need to be a quid pro quo if the quid and quo as democrats allege are both illegal. they also include such things as there may not have been corrupt intent on the part of the president. it's a vast array of defenses. it's a choose your own adventure for republican members of congress right now. the idea being as long as house republicans, while this is in the house stay united and can vote no on impeachment, that's something that's good for the president. of course, once it goes over the senate, if they can find lines
8:45 am
of argument that they believe are acceptable to their own constituents to prevent them from voting to remove the president from office that's correct good for him. the democrats have two bites at the apple on this. one is the removal case they will make. the second one, of course, is an argument to the electorate that, if republicans should have impeached and removed president trump from office and did not, that the electorate will get an opportunity to do that next november. >> jonathan, as you know, so far no republican lawmaker has publicly endorsed the idea of impeachment. it would seem as if, based on that, the president's strategy heretofore has worked. >> that's right, craig. he has not lost a single republican. there has not been a defection from him in terms of a vote. we saw last week on the house floor every single republican stuck with him, voted against even investigating essentially whether or not there should be an impeachment. >> jonathan, stand by,
8:46 am
congressman jim jordan. let's listen in. >> -- wednesday and then ambassador yovanovitch on friday. >> -- he was told eight have been withheld in exchange for announcing the vaks publicly. he testified there was a quid pro quo. >> it was no announcement about any investigations ever took place. the ukrainians didn't even know aid had been held up at the time of the phone call some the facts are the facts. i keep telling you all that those facts will not change, have not changed despite what some people may say. ambassador volker backed up those four fundamental facts in his testimony. he was the first witness called, but he's certainly not going to be, based on what we've seen, he's not going to be -- >> if one witnesses says there's no quid pro quo but multiple others say there is, what do you do with that? >> we've got the transcript where there's no quid pro quo. >> just of one witness and
8:47 am
there's others. >> we've got the two people on the call, president zelensky and president trump saying no quid pro quo. >> who have a vested interest. >> we have the fact that the they didn't know the aid was held up at the time of the call and ukrainians took no action to get the aid released. none of that has happened. it's all based on what someone told someone -- i'll read it to you. this is amazing, from ambassador sondland's statements yesterday. listen to this. ambassador taylor recalls mr. morrison told ambassador taylor i told mr. morrison that i conveyed this message to mr. yar mack in connection with vice president pence's visit to warsaw. who in the heck can follow that? someone told someone that i told someone else that they knew about this in a different meeting. that's what the other people's
8:48 am
testimony is braced on. ambassador volker, the special envoy understands exactly what happen happened. >> i want to ask you about ambassador sondland's testimony -- spreading the love over here. what do you make of the fact that he clearly -- he talked to ukrainians and said you need to do this if you want to get aid? do you think he went rogue? >> he said he was making a pre zblujs based on what? >> we'd have to go back and look at mr. sondland, based on a presumption. all i'm telling you is the facts have never changed, they will never change. those facts are consist accident. those facts are clear. ambassador volker in his testimony, as the special envoy, the guy who is the professional here, has been focused on this, who is the special envoy to ukraine, backed all that up in his testimony. no one wants to talk about that. democrats don't want to call him as the first witness even though he was the first witness to be
8:49 am
deposed. that i find interesting. i've got to run guys, i'm sorry. >> -- testified that sondland was told by the president that this is the reason -- >> you know what sondland was told by the president? he said there was no quid pro quo and i want zelensky to do what he said. what did zelensky say on the call? i want to drain the swamp just like you're doing in washington. the president is very clear, no quid pro quo, i want zelensky to do what he said. zelensky said i want to drain the swamp in ukraine just like the president is doing here in the united states. >> who are republicans going to call to testify? >> there you have it. ohio congressman jim jordan, staunch defender of president trump, likely giving us a preview of what we can expect from republicans when the public phase of these hearings begin a week from today, 10:30 wednesday morning. congressman jordan there saying that the transcripts show that there is no quit pro quo.
8:50 am
i want to bring in cynthia, former federal prosecutor. you have read the same transcripts i would imagine. is that what the transcripts say to you? >> no, that's not what the transcripts show. i say two things about that. my first trial teacher taught me, whenever you keep saying the facts are clear, the facts are never clear. so that's always a red flag when a person says the facts are clear all the time. the transcripts show that giuliani was running around the country and was telling the people who work for the united states government and forcing them to pressure zelensky and yermak to open an investigation into biden if they wanted to have this aid. and it wasn't that they thought there was anything that biden had done wrong. it's that just the fact that there would be an investigation, that would dirty up biden and help the president.
8:51 am
and then we know that in fact the aid was halted. and the reason why the aid actually was released was not because of anything that happened in the white house. it was because the senators were writing to the white house and to the state department and demanding an answer, because one of the laws we haven't talked about here is the budget impoundment act. and the budget impound act says to the white house and the state department, you cannot refuse to release these funds. it was that pressure from the senate that forced the release of the documents along with the internal discussions of, oh, no, there's whistle-blower. my feeling is when the american people hear from the actually witnesses who were on the ground and involved in this, they will understand that the president of the united states tried to shake down this little country that was trying to survive for his own political gain. >> let's go back to the hill. garrett haake is standing by. garrett, i know you were listening in as we were
8:52 am
listening to jim jordan. what do you make of what we heard from the republican congressman from ohio? >> reporter: we got a little preview of how the republicans will make their argument, as you started to hear jim jordan make there, that an attempted shakedown is not really a shakedown. if the ukraine didn't know at the time why the aid was being withheld and if the aid was ultimately released without an investigation being opened, that a crime could not be committed here, that if there was an attempted shakedown, it didn't come to fruition. you also heard from jordan advocate for kurt volker's testimony to take a more prominent role. republicans think that volker, through his very careful answers and demeanor not to lay blame on anyone in his testimony, will be good for them. i will put money on the table that you will hear republicans make an argument next week that volker needs to be called, that he is a witness they want to
8:53 am
hear from and they will make a major talking point about getting volker in front of this committee to testify. lastly, it's clear that the republicans are trying to narrow the scope of the argument to just the phone call and just the very hands-on involvement of the president in that element of this. this is why marie yovanovitch being called on friday is important. she is in some ways a periphery figure to this entire inquiry. but if you put her firing, her being forced out of her job, in the full context here, democrats i think will make the case that this shakedown, this attempted shakedown started much earlier and went on much longer than just the phone call. and the pushing out of yovanovitch is a way to make that argument. it links her firing to this broader effort to muddy the waters on ukraine policy and let rudy giuliani and the president dictate it outside the bounds of what was agreed-upon american policy here. that's the argument you're going to start to see get laid out. you started with jim jordan and
8:54 am
you'll hear that get laid out more broadly over the next week. >> you know, cynthia, let me come back to you for a moment, because one of the things i found interesting there from congressman jordan a few moelts ag moments ago, he said it at least twice, that ukraine did not know the aid had been held up at the time of the call. that would seem to be an acknowledgement that aid had been held up. >> that it was held up. and as a legal matter that doesn't matter, that they didn't know. it's just like if you're in a bank and it's being robbed and someone he's a gun on the teller and you're four stations over, it doesn't matter that you don't know that the bank is being robbed. it only matters that the bank is being robbed. volker met with giuliani and told him that none of this was true about biden, that it was all malarky and biden wouldn't have done it. of course his buddy in that meeting with parnas. remember now that parnas is
8:55 am
communicating with the house committee. that could be an interesting twist, what we'll learn in the next a couple of weeks. >> you're talking about lev parnas. >> yes, lev parnas was with giuliani when volker told him none of this was true about biden, yet giuliani continued to go forward, because his goal was not to find the truth. his goal was to dirty up biden even if it were not true, which it is not, number one. number two, this defense, it wasn't an effective shakedown, therefore we're not guilty, that's essentially the defense in the mueller case, right? that's where their comfort zone is. it wasn't an effective obstruction of justice when we fired comey and did x, y, and z, because ultimately mueller was allowed to go forward. it's the same mode of defense that they used before, and my guess is this time it will not be as effective. >> not to oversimplify it, but basically what i heard is an attempt to commit a crime is not the same as committing the
8:56 am
actually crime. >> right. and in campaign finance law, the attempt is the crime. any time you solicit, it is the crime. >> i want to bring in leigh ann caldwell, one of the reporters there asking questions of congressman jim jordan. we came a few seconds late. did we miss any other headlines there? >> reporter: well, the big headline is that republicans continue to hang everything on ambassador volker. hold on, we have mark meadows right here, congressman meadows, can we talk -- he's walking by right now. republicans are struggling -- oh, great. >> the republicans are not struggling on anything. >> reporter: congressman, there is one person who has testified there was no quid pro quo. many others have said there is. how do you justify that and how do you continue to defend the president? >> well, there is more than one. there is one in terms of the deposition being released, which
8:57 am
is ambassador volker's yesterday. and even with, uh, ambassador sondland, he said he doesn't know why the aid was held up, still doesn't know, and certainly from that standpoint there was no quid pro quo. >> reporter: but sondland told -- came in and revised his testimony, that he told a ukrainian top official to tell zelensky that the aid was being withheld until there was an investigation. >> no, what he told was that that was his presumption. if you read it, i've read it very carefully, i've read the allegations that are there. one, he said that he didn't know, and that was his presumption. any time that anyone talks to the president, he has been very clear, there is no linkage, there is no quid pro quo, and to suggest otherwise goes against a lot of other testimony that we've already heard. >> reporter: big picture, is it going to be more difficult, is it getting more difficult to defend this president as more of
8:58 am
these testimonies con oy ies co? >> no. in fact the testimony we're hearing today, it's actually getting easier to defend the president from a standpoint there is no linkage between aid -- in fact what we're hearing today is this is part of a broader analysis of foreign aid in general in terms of what we should do. it wasn't just ukraine where the aid was held up. >> reporter: so that was congressman mark meadows who sat in a lot of these depositions, he and jim jordan are trying to defend the president here, they're resting everything on ambassador volker whose deposition was released yesterday. he said there was no quid pro quo. then we hear from so many others who said that in fact was, including ambassador sondland who came to revise his testimony and in fact said that he told a top ukrainian official that $400 million of security and military
8:59 am
aid was in fact being held up until there was investigations. so, craig, there is a lot of news here. also i did talk to jim jordan, i asked him who republicans are going to call to testify publicly, they do have that right, they said they don't even know yet. they have until saturday to decide. that is come on the news that we are going to have public hearings starting next week, the first one with ambassador bill taylor, and we'll get his transcripts actually any minute. >> any idea, leigh ann, we just heard congressman meadows talk about this as part of a broader analysis in regards to foreign aid being held up and there were other instances, it would seem to be, according to the congressman. any idea what he was talking about? >> reporter: no, not completely. i mean, they're still saying there's no quid pro quo, and they're resting it on volker and on what the president has said
9:00 am
and they're coming back to the transcript of the phone call and saying that the president did nothing wrong. >> leigh ann caldwell on the hill, thank you. cynthia alksne, a big thanks to you. jonathan allen, thanks as well as for your analysis. that will wrap up this hour of "msnbc live." see you tomorrow morning on "today." right now, "andrea mitchell reports." >> craig melvin, thank you. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," going public. house intelligence committee chair adam schiff confirming public hearings in the impeachment inquiry start next week. >> those open hearings will be an opportunity for the american people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves. kentucky derby. despite an election eve rally with president trump or perhaps because of it, kentucky's republican governor apparently loses to a democratic challenger in a state the president had won in 2016 by 30 points. >> it's a message that says our elections don't have to be


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on