tv MSNBC Live MSNBC November 16, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
more of today's impeachment news. hello. i'm richard lui at msnbc headquarters here in new york city. thanks for being with us tonight. we begin this hour with some breaking news. hundreds of pages of testimony, transcripts just released two hours ago from two key figures in the impeachment inquiry. both were on the call that started the impeachment inquiry. both of these individuals will be giving public testimony tuesday. jennifer williams. she is a special advisor to vice president mike pence. she listened in on the president's july 25th phone call. telling investigators in these transcripts that the call was quote, unusual and inappropriate. and that it shed light on possible other motivations behind a hold on security assistance to ukraine. and why house advisor tim morrison, the second individual who we now have transcripts for from his testimony.
he confirms ambassador bill taylor telling investigators that the ukrainians were told that military assistance, not just the white house meeting, was conditioned on a public announcement of political investigations that the president wanted. now, that news breaking even as a saturday deposition was just wrapping up this afternoon. office of management and budget official marc sandy defying white house orders to testify. speaking with congressional investigators for roughly 5 1/2 hours. now, the omb, it's at the center of all of this because it's the agency that actually hold -- held up the military aid to ukraine. let's get right to garrett haake on capitol hill with the latest. and, garrett, let's start with the breaking news and the transcripts and what we've learned from it. what do you got? >> well, richard, the transcripts are fascinating. they talk about two different people who were on that july 25th phone call who had two different reactions to it. jennifer williams, who you mentioned, who was a foreign policy aide to vice president
mike pence. thought the call sounded inappropriate. but tim morrison, the other official who listened to that call, a senior director the national security council said he didn't think there was anything wrong with the phone call. they also disagree on whether the transcript or the memo put out by the white house purporting to be a transcript is indeed complete and accurate. morrison says it is. williams says it is not. so it will be very interesting to watch the two give their testimony side by side later in the week in public. morrison also has a couple other interesting nuggets in his deposition. he talks about gordon sondland as a very problematic individual. this is the ambassador to the eu who was working in the ukraine portfolio and back channeling with president trump. morrison describes him as a free radical. morrison also reveals i believe for the first time that his then boss john bolton had a one-on-one meeting with president trump sometime in late august we believe to about this security assistance and the hold placed on it. he was told afterwards morrison was by bolton only that president frutrump wasn't ready
release that aid. that's one more reason democrats are going to want to continue trying to pursue getting testimony from john bolton. that one on one meeting, very very interesting development for the investigators here. >> garrett, also talk about mark sandy here is his important role potentially in the democrats' argument about what may have happened. >> yeah. richard, it's washington scandal 101 to try to follow the money. and sandy is the person who could conceivably make that possible for democrats. he's a budget bureaucrat. this is not a sexy role to have but it's where the rubber meets the road in terms of how money moves in washington. particularly, in foreign aid. so sandy would be able to describe to investigators how money is supposed to move through his agency to a place like ukraine. and how, in this case, it didn't. we know his name had come up in testimony of other witnesses. they believed he was someone who had signed some of the documents about how this money was moving or not moving. had several members in both parties describe his testimony
today as fairly technical but important to understand how the political machinations here worked within the actual federal bureaucracy here. how things actually get done in washington. we'll learn more when his full transcript is released. unlike so many of these other witnesses, he did not release any kind of opening statement. we're told he essentially sat down and told members of congress, how can i help? >> all right. msnbc's garrett haake on capitol hill for us with the wreakibrea news today. garrett, thank you so much for that. let's go to our panel now. andrew, political congressional report. david jolly, former republican congressman from florida. chris alllou, former assistant president obama. andrew, you were in many of those pieces of video. we saw you in the background there in the hearing room. being able to listen to what was said. before we get to that and what has happened, let's start with the transcripts. and what we're learning and garrett did a great job of sort of laying out, you know, two different characters and a narrative that the democrats
will try to bring forward on tuesday. and what they may bring up. let's start with morrison. again, both of these two individuals on the call. so they're very important. what do you expect from morrison here based on the way that garrett had laid it out for us? >> i think the top takeaway from tim morrison's deposition is that he gave democrats another data point to connect this to the president. he said that gordon sondland, the u.s. ambassador to the european union told him that he was acting on the president's orders essentially and that he was in constant communications with the president. that dove tails with what we heard last night from david holmes, a u.s. embassy official in ukraine who said he overheard a phone conversation between gordon sondland in person with donald trump on the phone here in washington during which they talked about this idea of ukraine pursuing these investigations. it's -- it's another data point that gives democrats a way to connect this to the president just as they've been trying to do with rudy giuliani's involvement by saying, look, rudy giuliani wasn't some rogue actor here.
they're saying that basically rudy giuliani was doing everything on behalf of his client, the president of the united states. rudy giuliani has acknowledged as much as well on twitter. so this -- this testimony is going to be helpful for democrats as they continue to make their case here. >> yeah, david jolly, let's stay on tim morrison for a second here because the question was john bolton ever going to come to the fore? would he testify behind closed doors or not? what might make that happen? what could he say? we get a hint of that at least from these transcripts from tim morrison who worked on side of john bolton. and as -- has been said he knows that bolton did speak with the president about ukraine. and that could mean a lot or it could mean very little. >> yeah. and, you know, the intrigue around tim morrison, richard, is that he was one of the witnesses that republicans in their demand letter to chairman schiff, they wanted hunter biden to testify. they wanted fusion gps personnel to testify. witnesses that wouldn't be entertained by the democrats.
but morrison was one of them because morrison was on the phone call and republicans believe that morrison will testify that he didn't hear anything too damning on that phone call. the intrigue, though, is tim morrison, according to the transcript, initially did say that this transcript or call log should be moved to the higher classified server. that, in fact, it may be politically damaging to the president. morrison later recants that and says, well, i was wrong. so which tim morrison are you going to believe? republicans are going to believe the latter. democrats are going to believe the first. but at the end of the day, what he will have to testify is what bolton would also have to testify to, which is that donald trump, on what we already know released from the white house, did in fact ask for the investigation. everything else corroborates that fact. the intrigue will be around bolton. i think his testimony will depend on the outcome of the kupperman case that's currently being decided or -- or awaiting hearing in the d.c. circuit. >> and chris alllou, the way ad
schiff has characterized transcripts that were released today. he says the testimony released today shows that president trump's july 25th phone call with ukrainian president zelensky immediately set off alarm bells throughout the white house. both witnesses provided the committees with firsthand accounts after personally listening to the call in the white house situation room. again, the intelligence committee chairperson -- chairman. chris lou, as he's laying out this story, there are those who are saying good job getting the narrative out, staying clean in terms of going from a to b to c to d to e to f. but the criticisms have been from the republicans. this is not right on the nose, right? this is hearsay. these are not primary sources. we're going to have two primary sources on tuesday who were on the call. >> yeah. look, let's -- let's take jennifer williams' testimony. this is pence -- one of the vice president's national security aides who said this was unusual. it was inappropriate. said the president's demands for investigations were not related
to the u.s. foreign policy interest and were about his own personal agenda. and what's also important to understand is that the president wants to make this about one call and what we learned from the past week is that this is basically a scandal that goes back a full year in terms of their desire to remove marie yovanovitch, the smear campaign against her. kind of all the back-channel meetings that were happening. the sidelining of career officials. this wasn't just one phone call. and even on this one phone call, obviously you have -- you will see there's some disagreement as to what the implication of it was. but the fact that this eventually was moved to a different server i think suggests on someone's part that it was problematic. but i think you need to take a look at this whole picture and the fact that the ukrainians understood and we know that from george kent's testimony and bill taylor's testimony, they understood that a demand was being made of them. and they were basically willing to acquiesce to that until the whistle-blower complaint was publicized. >> all right. our panel, stand by. joining us now, chief democratic deputy congressman of michigan.
representative, thanks for being with us on a saturday. and you may or may not have had a chance, sir, to take a look at some of the transcripts. this has been certainly a busy couple of weeks for those who need to read this stuff. you're one of those individuals. any quick reflections of what was learned? we see that morrison is saying i may not have seen much and we're seeing from the williams' testimony, i saw something that was inappropriate. >> well, in her case, she obviously saw something inappropriate. in the case of mr. morrison, he confirms at least mr. sondland's account that the president wanted to ensure that this aid, this necessary military aid, was not released unless ukraine agreed not just to launch an investigation into the bidens but probably as important to have them go on television to announce an investigation of the bidens. i think sometimes in the hearings and in the debate, we get a little caught up in the trees. i think we need to step back and look at the forest. they corroborate.
they confirm that what we have is the president of the united states ordering the withholding of necessary military aid to a country that's been under attack by russia. and only getting that aid delivered after being caught but trying to hold up that aid in order to get them to investigate his political opponent. think about the use of military power in the united states in our long history. and put this in the context of some of the courageous moments that we've seen in the exercise of military support. this is really frightening. and i think sometimes, especially for the american public who are perhaps in some cases tiring of this, it's important to step back and just look at the big picture. and it is absolutely stunning. >> representative, where have you been watching these hearings, number one? and -- and, two, what stood out to you this week? as you look into the eyes of your colleague that you know
well and this is adam schiff as he tries to make it through, which in terms of, you know, moderating a panel, he's got the biggest panel in the world. >> well, adam's a good friend and i've been very proud of him and i've talked to him every day of the hearings and told him that. i think he's done a remarkable job of keeping not only us on task and focused on getting to the truth. but also, dealing with some of the republican antics on the other side. i think he's showed a lot of class. my takeaway from those hearings, i -- i -- i attended each of the hearings in person for the time that i was able to. and watched the rest of it. i was just really proud of those professionals, those foreign policy and national security professionals who have devoted their lives to this country and the class and grace with which they conducted themselves. and in a case of ambassador yovanovitch, the absolute class with which she handled this
squirrel and i think potentially illegal attack by the president of the united states during the time of her testimony. it was just a remarkable moment. and that -- that one particular moment, whether it ends up being part of an impeachment article or not i think is going to be more than just a footnote in american history. that was an amazing caricature i suppose of how this president has conducted himself for the last three years. >> representative, you come from the great state of michigan. pure michigan. and you are a swing state. what are you telling those in the middle about what's happening these last two weeks? and what -- what you've seen and what are you trying to tell them they need to watch out for? >> i tell them basically the same thing i said a minute ago. let's not get caught up in some of the detail and minutiae because the president's supporters are trying to get us to go down that path. i tell them to just take a step back and just think about what we've seen in the last several months. in the picture that's been painted of the extent to which this president is willing to go
to protect himself. not just with tweets but with the suspension of $400 million of aid that congress appropriated. >> uh-huh. >> for the purpose of defending one of our allies. that's pretty frightening. of course, the big issue in michigan today, richard, is that university of michigan defeated michigan state university. i know you're happy about that. >> underline, bold. >> right. >> and that's an important point made. do you think that the democrats have offset the criticism here quickly if you can representative of process of the issue of hearsay? and not having enough primary resource. >> yeah, i think so. i think so. and i think obviously ambassador sondland's going to be a key witness. but the -- the -- the witnesses that have come forward in deposition, even the two depositions that were released today, these are people who are in the room. who are listening who understand what's happening. and even though they may not agree with the conclusions that are being drawn, think the fact
for our deliberations is becoming increasingly clear. >> congressman dan from michigan. thank you so much, sir. >> thank you. >> all righty. now, the panel's back with us. joining us, jill winebanks. former watergate assistant special prosecutor. all right, jill. you've got a lot to talk about. this has been quite a week. but now, on top of that, we've got hundreds of pages of transcripts of testimony. let's start with that testimony. from what you know of it and what you've read of it, how important will it be to this tuesday? >> i think that every piece of evidence that has come in all week, including the two new ones today, is very important because they're like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and they all fit together. there is nothing that is standing out as somebody has a totally different view. everybody, as the congressman just said, is telling the same story. and the facts are becoming clearer and clearer. so that makes a very strong
case. and normally, as a litigator, i would say that every case has two sides. but right now, if there's a second side, if there's something that would exculpate the president, i haven't seen it. and i guarantee you that the republicans on the committee would have let us know if there was something that helped him. and nothing is helping him. the characters of the people who have testified are unimpeachable. they are fabulous witnesses. you couldn't have created more -- more perfect characters. something from central casting. really, truly, they are remarkable people and great patriots for coming forward. >> andrew, but from what we know about morrison, might he be the most republican friendly that we're going to hear from to date? >> i'm not sure but he was on the list of witnesses that republicans had submitted to chairman schiff in terms of who they wanted to hear from. obviously, folks like hunter
biden and the whistle-blower and the whistle-blower's sources were also on that list. but adam schiff has basically shut that down saying that the committee is not going to serve as a conduit for the president's -- what he called the president's political interests. but i think mr. morrison might be helpful to the republicans in some respects. republicans i'm talking to are really looking forward to kurt volker's testimony this coming week. they were really pushing democrats to release his transcript as soon as possible. mr. volker in particular denied that he had any knowledge of a quid pro quo with the ukrainians involving military aid or that white house meeting that the ukrainians were seeking with president trump. so i think, you know, all those things republicans are going to examine and it's important to note, you know, here that mr. morrison and mr. volker were both on the republicans' witness list. >> all right. our panel stays with us. we're going to continue to follow the breaking news. again, the testimony, the transcripts from it, hundreds of pages of information. of course, we're going to stay
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that. here it is in their own words. >> and so even though president trump was saying repeatedly that there is -- there is no quid pro quo, ambassador sondland relayed to you that the facts of the matter were that the white house meeting and the security assistance were conditioned on the announcement of these investigations, is that your understanding? >> that's my understanding. he described conditions for the security assistance and the white house meeting in -- in those terms. that is dependent upon, conditioned on pursuing these investigations. >> in your opinion, was this a comprehensive and whole of government effort to end corruption in ukraine? >> referring to the request in july? >> exactly. >> i would not say so. no, sir. >> yeah, i don't -- i don't think president trump was trying to end corruption in ukraine. i think he was trying to aim corruption in ukraine at vice president biden and at the 2020 election.
>> ambassador taylor, in your decades of military service and -- and diplomatic service representing the united states around the world, have you ever seen another example of foreign aid conditioned on the personal or political interests of the president of the united states? >> no, mr. goldman, i have not. >> is pressuring ukraine to conduct what i believe you've called political investigations a part of u.s. foreign policy to promote the rule of law in ukraine and around the world? >> it is not. >> is it in the national interest of the united states? >> in my opinion, it is not. >> what did you think when president trump told president zelensky and you read that you were going to go through some things? >> i didn't know what to think. but i was very concerned. >> what were you concerned about? >> she's gonna go through some things.
it didn't sound good. it sounded like a threat. >> did you feel threatened? >> i did. >> the member of my staff could hear president trump on the phone asking ambassador sondland about the investigations. ambassador sondland told president trump the ukrainians were ready to move forward. following the call with president trump, the member of my staff asked ambassador sondland what president trump thought about ukraine. ambassador sondland responded that president trump cares more about the investigations of biden, which giuliani was pressing for. >> what this call indicates, as other testimony has likewise indicated, is that the instructions are coming from the president on down. >> and that was the reveal on wednesday. a call that may not have been known about before. that call has now been corroborated by state department aide david holmes. a source with direct knowledge of his closed-door testimony. that just happened last night. telling nbc news holmes
overheard the call, clearly remembering hearing the president ask sondland about whether ukraine was following through on the investigations into the bidens. and, as well, sondland telling president trump the ukraine president would kwoequote do anything you ask him to do. our panel's back with us. andrew, jill wine-banks also with us, as well as david jolly, and chris lou. david jolly, david holmes now, at least by testimony from what we're hearing, becoming a primary witness, right? hearing a call. saying he understood that was the president of the united states and he is saying they were discussing ukraine and investigations. >> and that really was the news coming out of wednesday that we now have somebody who says they heard the president of the united states and his voice speak to the fact that he wanted an investigation of the bidens. i think what -- what the country saw wednesday was the baseline
facts established that there was this effort by donald trump's team, led by giuliani, to in fact extract this cfrom ukraine and investigation. on friday, i think the dispositive moment was there was 60 seconds with ambassador yovanovitch where he said why were you dismissed? and she said i wasn't given a reason. and he said would you have supported an investigation into crowd strike? she said no. would you support an investigation into the bidens? no. would you have supported withholding aid? she said no. it painted a picture not only on wednesday that there was this effort donald trump was running but by friday with ambassador yovanovitch, there was an effort to remove people who were in his way. and now, add on the testimony we have apparently over the weekend that, in fact, there is a witness to the president's own voice. the facts are there, richard. what we will end up at the end of the day as a country, this is on us. we will know what the facts are.
the president has done this. are we a country that says that's okay? or are we a country that says it's not and the president should be impeached? >> that is related to the very heart of this impeachment inquiry here, david. i want to move over to you, chris lou. just looking at the calendar. okay. so we have sondland on wednesday who is going to be on the hill. and then dewe move to the day before and we've got williams and morrison as well. but gordon sondland now because of the david holmes revelation, he's going to have some tough questions here. you would not necessarily want to be sondland on wednesday, would you like to, at 9:00 a.m., right, chris? >> yeah. look, ambassador sondland has some explaining to do. in his deposition, he didn't recall a lot of details. he dent giidn't give a lot of specifics. we now know from every other witness, whether it's george kent, bill taylor, or tim morrison's deposition that was released today that sondland really was the point person. he was the person that was giving out the instruction. part of the three amigos we now have from david holmes'
testimony. sondland actually picking up the phone in a restaurant in kiev and getting the president of the united states on the phone and getting instructions from him, which is remarkable from a security perspective. but the fact that anyone could actually get the president on the phone on a cell phone is also remarkable, as well. and so sondland's going to be important. but let's not forget tuesday we're going to hear from colonel vindman, as well, and then on thursday we're going to get fiona hill testifying as well. and that's an important one because fiona hill was in the meetings that sondland had with ukrainian officials where she left it actually john bolton cut short the meeting. told fiona hill to report those conversations to the national security council lawyers. and then fiona hill then followed sondland where he continued to make the demands of ukrainians. and so i think the whole of this testimony, i think will continue to fill out this picture. but i think it'll then show even more why it's important to hear from people like john bolton, mick mulvaney, pompeo, giuliani who so far have not been willing to testify despite the fact that they have firsthand knowledge.
>> joe, when you look at gordon sondland and the ambassador coming up on wednesday, and based on the descriptions of him now from morrison saying, you know, he was a little off, right? not quite right down the center. is this morrison trying to degrade him? pull away the credibility from what may be revealed when he does come to the microphones, gordon sondland, to give his case. and, therefore, how can sondland help democrats? how can he hurt them? >> well, sondland is a unreliable witness because he has not been truthful. he's already changed his testimony once to make it conform to known facts. now, we have at least one other witness who has testified in a way that's inconsistent with him and that's mr. holmes. and so he may have to modify his testimony again. that makes him not your ideal witness. on the other hand, he was a prime player in this.
and no one is really, even morrison, has admitted that sondland told him that what he said to the ukrainian representative was that basically the aid depends on the prosecutor general going in front of a microphone and announcing a burisma investigation. that's bribery. that is a quid pro quo and we're not using that word anymore. we're saying bribery or extortion so that people understand exactly what it is. but even the best witness that the republicans think they have admits the facts. and people can judge for themselves whether the facts are criminal or not. whether they're impeachable or not. no one's debating that these facts happened. there was a long-term campaign to get the ukrainians to do two things that were of personal/political benefit to donald trump. that had nothing to do with our security and that, in fact, were contrary to our security.
i think ambassador yovanovitch made it clear that if the ukrainians didn't fight the russians, we were going to have to. and that meant that we would be many more danger. >> you know, andrew, the words being used by the democrats have evolved. you -- you listen to them firsthand, they're in the hearing room and jill brought up a couple of those. bribery. extortion. not quid pro quo. how is it working? >> right. well, they actually introduced the word bribery this week when speaker nancy pelosi said it at a press conference and i remember being there from that and my ears sort of perked up because, of course, bribery is one of the crimes laid out in the constitution itself. and i think democrats, after hearing the witness testimony this week and certainly after hearing probably what the witnesses are going to say next week too, will start to wrap their arms more fully around that word and sort of that frame and characterization of it. quid pro quo is obviously not -- probably not the best way to sell something to the american
people. but i do -- just do want to add that there was a sort of a third leverage point that was introduced today by jennifer williams' transcript. ms. williams is obviously vice president pence's russia and europe advisor. she suggested that maybe the decision, president trump's decision, to stop vice president pence from attending president zelensky's inauguration in may could have been related to this. right? because at the time, the president we know was in contact with rudy giuliani and with ambassador sondland about pressing ukraine to do these politically-motivated investigations. of course, the president initially said he did want vice president pence to go to zelensky's inauguration in kiev in may. and then later pulled back and ms. williams told investigators based on the transcript i just read before coming over here, richard, that she and her staff never got a reason for exactly why -- why that was scrapped and why the president ordered that. so it's potentially a third leverage point that has been introduced into this by
democrats. >> andrew from politico. msnbc contributor david jolly. chris lou, thank you so much on this saturday. jill wine-banks, we'll talk to you in just a little bit. more on the breaking news we're following this hour. the release of the testimony of two key impeachment witnesses. if you live with diabetes, why fingerstick when you can scan? with the freestyle libre 14 day system just scan the sensor with your reader, iphone or android and manage your diabetes. with the freestyle libre 14 day system, a continuous glucose monitor, you can check your glucose levels any time, without fingersticks. ask your doctor to write a prescription for the freestyle libre 14 day system. you can do it without fingersticks. learn more at freestylelibre.us
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welcome back to msnbc. we're following this hour some breaking news. two deposition readouts just released within the last couple of hours and they could have major implications for the impeachment investigation into president trump. now, both of them, firsthand accounts of the president's july 25th phone call. the first, special advisor to vice president pence, jennifer williams, who listened in on the president's july 25th phone call between president zelensky and president trump. telling investigators that the call was quote, unusual and inappropriate. and that it shed light on possible other motivations behind a hold on security assistance to ukraine. then there is white house advisor tim morrison. confirming the testimony of ambassador bill taylor. telling investigators that the ukrainians were told that military assistance, not just the white house meeting, was
conditioned on a public announcement of political investigations that the president wanted. all of that just out today. more on that just ahead. now, to more of the public testimony that happened from the blockbuster week from three key diplomats this week in their own words during their more than ten hours of testimony. the witnesses returned again and again to the strategic importance of ukraine to the united states. and while the president's alleged scheme was aimed at helping himself politically, potentially, it also stood to benefit someone else. vladimir putin. >> the security assistance we provide is crucial to ukraine's defense. it demonstrates to ukrainians and russians that we are ukraine's reliable, strategic partner. it is clearly in our national interest to deter further russian aggression. if the assistance had been cut off, he would have been much weaker in his negotiations with
the russians. >> the russians shamay have tak it as invitation to actually take military action against ukraine, is that right? >> the russians always look for vulnerabilities and they know that the united states has supported ukraine. >> they could have pounced. >> they could have taken advantage. >> now, how would this theory of ukraine interference in the 2016 election be in vladimir putin's interest? >> well, i mean, president putin must have been aware that there were concerns in the u.s. about russian meddling in the 2016 elections. and what the potential was for russian meddling in the future. so, you know, classic for an intelligence officer to try to throw off the scent and, you know, create an alternative narrative that maybe might get picked up and get some credence. >> an alternative narrative that would absolve his own wrongdoing? >> yeah. >> you also described in your
opening statement a -- a discussion you had about president trump being a businessman who wanted to have people pay up before signing the check. what -- what did you understand that to mean? >> he used that analogy very clearly to indicate that this would be -- this would require something. if that person owed him something, before he signed the check, he wanted to get that -- get whatever he was owed paid back to him. >> did ukraine owe anything to the united states? >> mr. goldman, they didn't. >> you would agree that if president zelensky contradicted president trump and said, of course i felt pressure. they were holding up $400 million in military assistance. we have people dying every day. if he were to contradict president trump -- >> that's a fair assessment.
>> if president zelensky were to say i had to capitulate and agree to these investigations, i was ready to go on cnn until the aid got restored. that would obviously be hurtful to him back home, would it not? >> he cannot afford to be seen to be deferring to any -- any foreign leader. >> msnbc national security analyst and former national security council spokesperson ned price joins us right now to discuss just some of what we saw here, as well as the rest of the week. ned, thanks for being with us. in the times that you had to present to the president, you know, those briefs, right? thin and thick. and you -- it was about ukraine, what would that headline be? i think for most americans, they were watching what was happening there in the -- in the testimony. ukraine is important to america. >> ukraine is important to america but there is also a
corollary lesson there. american support is critical to ukraine but it's also a critical deterrent to russia. and i think that's the other point that some of the witnesses this week have alluded to. now, starting with ukraine. ukraine, of course, is a friend. it's a farther nev it's a partner of the united states. we have a vested interest in ukraine's success and of course our support is a critical element of that. but it's also bigger than ukraine because ukraine is a symptom of russia's expansionism, its new-found aggression under vladimir putin that we've seen especially in the post-2014 environment when russia first went into crimea and subsequently into eastern ukraine. and so the point is that without american support for ukraine, it would essentially be a green light to vladimir putin not only for ukraine but also for countries like georgia and even more dangerous, potential nato allies. and it's -- that's the most
dangerous possibility, richard, because as a nato member ourselves, we are treaty bound to go in and defend, including up to military action, to defend other nato allies if they come under threat from vladimir putin's russia. >> so vladimir putin and russia looking for leaks in the dam, if you will. and one of those might be here in this case ukraine. describe to us what that is like in terms of the way russia approach approaches this knowing that you pull the thread on that sweater, and it may keep on going and ukraine could be one of those openings. >> right. you know, vladimir putin is always pushing. he's always pushing to determine just how much resistance there is. whether that is in syria. whether that is in ukraine. whether that is in europe with democratic elections across the atlantic. whether it is here at home, as we saw in 2016 with our democratic elections and russia's attack on that process. what -- what putin is always
trying to gage is a level of resistance. and when putin determines that there is no resistance, that there is no price to pay or too little of a price to pay, he will push further. and so i think that is the concern here, richard. if putin were to be even more aggressive, vis-a-vis ukraine, and didn't find that resistance in the form of american military assistance, american partnership, political and military partnership with ukraine, that would not be a stop sign to vladimir putin. it would be a green light. >> and one of those individuals i think most americans saw this was marie yovanovitch as in her testimony was showing her steeliness, her -- her importance. and those who stand in front in the diplomatic core to prevent that from happening, that which you just described. what do you think america also saw from ma rie yovanovitch and her three decades of service? >> i think they saw firsthand from marie yovanovitch why it's
so important that we not have a shadow foreign policy. why it is so important that we allow our professional diplomats, people like marie yovanovitch, people like ambassador taylor, people like george kent and other names that have surfaced in this context to represent our country. these are the professionals. and we become familiar with these names yovanovitch, kent, taylor. but they are the tip of the iceberg, richard. there are tens of thousands of individuals like them in the state department, in the national security council staff, in the intelligence community, in the department of defense. individuals who have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states. the key difference between those individuals and individuals like rudy giuliani is that oath. those individuals we've seen testify defend and protect the united states. everyone else is, in this case, defending and protecting the interest of one man and that's donald trump. >> yeah. and as ambassador yovanovitch said, they put their lives on the line here. the very individuals you talked
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national security adviser tim morrison. joining us knick ackerman, back with us, jill wine-banks and former watergate special assistant prosecutor. who better to have on every day in the last two weeks? nick, as i mentioned you just got in, what do you make of these two data dumps from the transcripts, hundreds of pages. we have exerts right here. but from what you've been able to to see, what stands out? >> vice president's person. it looks like now pence was kept away from president zelensky's inauguration as part of a pressure campaign and part of this whole bribery scheme to get the ukrainian government to investigate the bidens. so, i mean, that's kind of the piece that strikes me the most. and i'm sure it's something that the committee is going to investigate further. with respect to morrison, it really is more of the same. i mean, he's reporting more of the same facts.
he doesn't come to the same conclusions, but he's not somebody -- he's a former republican staffer who had been in the congress for a long time. wasn't really somebody that was that experienced in foreign affairs and dealing with the national security council. but he reports facts that are basically on all fours with all the other witnesses. i mean, i think what we've seeing here is an investigation in real time. this was not like watergate where the house judiciary committee had everything presented to them by our office and by the senate select committee that had done an investigation before. so what's really interesting here is we are watching this all come together in real time because once they get a little piece of information, they investigate it some more and we keep learning more. >> jill, 45 seconds to you on this. so having been through this before, where is the prosecution
going with this? >> they're building a very strong and compelling case. they're taking each piece, i think, as nick just said, each person is corroborating the person who testified before them. each fact is fitting in. they will just keep following it up. for example, you had the testimony of holmes about the sondland public conversation with the president from his cell phone in a restaurant. there were two other witnesses. i'm sure what they're doing is calling those other two people to confirm that their recollection is the same. so it's just really a question of how much time will it take and how far do you have to go, because as a prosecutor, you learn that you have to just come to a conclusion at some point. >> nick ackerman, jill wine-banks, two former watergate special prosecutors. thank you so much. that wraps it up for me this hour. i'm richard lui. impeachment coverage continues straight ahead. with fidelity wealth management you get straightforward advice,
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hello, i'm richard lui at msnbc inside new york city. we'll start this hour with our panel of experts to break down 100 pages of testimony of transcripts that we received just hours ago. two key figures in the impeachment inquiry, both were on the call that triggered the impeachment inquiry itself. both will be giving public testimony in just three days. first, there's jennifer williams, the special adviser to