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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  September 26, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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death penalty. and the president demands his party stick together. will there be more cracks in the gop as democrats weigh impeachment? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we're following breaking news on the explosive whistle-blower complaint alleging not only an abuse of power by the president but a coverup within the white house. it reveals new details on allegations that mr. trump pressured ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election by pushing for investigation of joe biden and it claims white house lawyers were so worried about mr. trump's phone call with ukraine's president that they directed the transcript be put in lockdown, hiding it in a highly classified computer system. tonight president trump is on the attack, suggesting the
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whistle-blower's sources are akin to spies who would have been executed in the past, his remarks just hours after his acting intelligence chief told congress that the whistle-blower did the right thing and deserves protection. our correspondents, experts, and guests are standing by as we cover another huge day in the impeachment investigation. first, let's go to our political correspondent sara murray. sa relatively sara, the whistle-blower complaint is out and democrats have new fuel for their impeachment investigation. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. it shows how administration officials allegedly scrambled to make sure the details of this call never got out. >> were you shocked at all by what you read? >> none of us is above the law in this country. >> the complaint relied on hearsay evidence. >> reporter: tonight, the whistle-blower complaint made public reveals the president not only asked the ukrainian
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president to have joe biden and his son investigated, but white house officials were allegedly so alarmed, they quickly moved to lock down the call. officials allegedly moved the data to a secret server. apparently this was not the first time documents were placed in this code word level system. the complaint also alleges trump told vice president mike pence in may to cancel a trip to attend the ukrainian president's inauguration. trump wanted to see how president zelensky behaved in
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office. today, acting director of national intelligence joseph maguire appeared before the house intelligence committee and defended his decision to take a whistle-blower complaint that names the president straight to the white house. >> such calls are typically subject to executive privilege. as a result we consulted with the house counsel's office and were advised much of the information in the complaint was in fact subject to an executive privilege, a privilege i do not have the authority to waive. >> reporter: maguire revealed trump never asked him to figure out the identity of the whistle-blower. >> i would not normally discuss my conversations with the conversation butt i can tell yo emphatically, no. >> reporter: president trump ultimately allowed the complaint to be made public. >> the president of the united states has betrayed his oath of office. >> reporter: republicans mostly slammed thursday's hearings as
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an effort to attack trump. >> i want to congratulate the democrats. >> reporter: maguire said he thinks the whistle-blower acted in good faith. >> i think he followed the law every step of the way. >> reporter: wolf, the complaint also claims that rudy giuliani is a central if you go in all of this and it may not surprise you that giuliani had some thoughts today. he shared them with "the atlantic" and said it is impossible that the whistle-blower is a hero and i am not and i will be the hero. these morons. when this is over, i will be the hero. >> he is angry right now, you can see that in the conversation he had with that reporter. thank you very much, sara murr y murray. now to president trump, blowing a fuse over the whistle-blower complaint and likening the people behind it to spies.
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chief white house correspondent jim acosta joins us now. jim, the question is furiously suggesting that he knows this is very serious. >> reporter: that's right, wolf, the president suggested at a private breakfast earlier today, for example, that the person who told the whistle-blower what mr. trump was up to amounted to a spy who can be pushed like, quote, in the old days. a source who has spoken to the president in the last hours tells me mr. trump appears to be lacking in focus and more district distracted than he has in the past as he becomes more consumed by the whistle-blower complaint. president trump is throwing punches at almost every direction. taking aim at democrats running the whistle-blower hearing up on capitol hill. >> i just watched a little bit of this on television. it's a disgrace to the country. it's another witch hunt, here we go again, and i have to put up
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with adam schiff on an absolutely perfect phone call. >> reporter: the president is also sounding like he wants vengeance, lashing out at a bright breakfast, demanding to know who tipped off the whistle-blower. >> i want to know who is the person who gave the whistle-blower -- who is the person that gave the whistle-blower the information? because that's close to a spy. you know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, the spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently. >> reporter: mr. trump also predicted the economy would collapse if he's thrown out of office, tweeting, if they actually did this the markets would crash. a supporter of mr. trump described him as distracted and less focused than usual, not really coming to grips with what's happening. house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff brushed off
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the attacks. >> i'm always flattered when attacked by someone of the president's character. thank you. >> reporter: the complaint is damning, potentially for white house aides. not only did the complaint say that the president invites interference in u.s. elections, white house aides said, quote, they told me there was already a discussion ongoing with white house lawyers on how to treat the call because of the likelihood that they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain. democrats are hearing echoes of watergate. >> this is a coverup. this is a coverup. >> reporter: also appearing throughout the complaint, the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani who claims the state department was fully aware of his work in ukraine on behalf of mr. trump to dig up dirt on former vice president joe biden. >> i never talked to a ukrainian
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state department official until the state department asked me. laura, i'm a pretty good lawyer, just a country lawyer, but it's all here, right here. >> reporter: jugiulianjulgiulia andre yermak. "i suggest we schedule a call on monday." >> to the best of my knowledge, from what i've seen so far, each of the actions that were undertaken by state department officials was entirely appropriate and consistent with the objective we've had since this new government has come into office. >> reporter: the white house press secretary rather than answer questions in a briefing as we've seen in administrations in the past instead released a statement saying this complaint is nothing more than a collection of third hand account of events. the president is innocent and
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has done nothing wrong here, if that's so, republicans are wondering why the white house woof covered up his actions. as one republican in the house conceded, this matter warrants continued investigation. president trump has been in his office, in the residence all day today, wolf, he has not taken a question about what he said earlier today about spies being executed. >> thank you. right now i want to bring in a democrat on the intelligence committee who was asking questions earlier in the day. congressman, thanks so much for joining us. as you know, we've seen this full whistle-blower complaint that kicked off this entire controversy. what concerns you most about this report? >> clearly the way it was handled. what's absolutely clear now is
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that the white house and the department of justice worked together to sit on it, to cover it up. and that's particularly alarming because the two people prominently fingered in this complaint are the president of the united states and the attorney general. and we now know the man who was supposed to send it to congress instead went to the white house and the department of justice where those two individuals implicated by the complaint could kill it. >> do you see evidence, hard evidence of a coverup effort by the white house? >> well, that's the effect. the department of justice opinion saying that this is outside the jurisdiction of the inspector general isn't worth the paper it's written on. and today the director of national intelligence confirmed that he has authority over foreign interference in our elections. and saying he didn't was the basis for the justice department saying it was outside the jurisdiction of the ig. in other words, it was a transparent effort to keep a lid on this thing. and by the way, wolf, that's the same reason they abused the classification procedures and
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the normal procedures at the white house, to take the record of this call and to put it in an extraordinary database, the code word top secret database. i spent three years at the white house, i was the white house staff secretary. this is not code word classification. and by the way, it's improper and prohibited by executive order to classify things to avoid embarrassment. they did it to hide it. >> the whistle-blower alleges this isn't the first time they did something like this. do you have evidence to show where there were some other occasions? >> we're just getting started. we need to hear from the whistle-blower. we need to run down all the elements of the whistle-blower's complaint. we shouldn't take it at face value, by the way. we need to make sure we're getting the facts in a fair way. it needs to be expeditious and thorough. what you have here is wrongdoing at the very highest levels of the united states government and an effort to cover it up. we can't let that happen. >> will you be subpoenaing some
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of the people mentioned in the whistle-blower complaint and others who are not mentioned, are you looking to bring them before your committee? >> i'm going to did he ever to the chairman for that, mr. blitzer. >> you can call me wolf. >> i'm going to did he ever efe chairman. maybe the president didn't realize how serious it was, now you see him acting erratic. i think he feels the walls are closing in, he knows he's been caught. only after a couple of days we're seeing the extraordinary wrongdoing and the efforts to cover it up. that's a pretty good day's work, and there's more to come. >> what's your understanding of rudy giuliani's role in all this? did he go rogue? did he have the support of president trump or attorney general bill barr? >> what's clear is he was working closely with the president. by the document we have of the
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call, the president tells the president of ukraine to work directly with mr. giuliani. it's quite clear mr. giuliani was working directly with the president to engage in a smear campaign against the bidens using a foreign government to do it with leverage being american military assistance. that's outrageous. so mr. giuliani's role is nothing good, i can he will you that. we need to get to the bottom of it. >> are you concerned about the extent to which president trump seems to be informed by right wing conspiracy theories? >> oh, look, i'm concerned with just about everything that comes out of the president's mouth. what he said today about how we treat whistle-blowers as spies, what is that? my god, that is the kind of comment that is beneath hoifs b his office but not beneath him. >> i spoke to adam schiff and he said he'll be moving
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expeditiously. let's talk about prioritization of these witnesses. >> the attorney general has some very serious questions to answer here about what he was doing with that opinion, what he knew and when about his own name appearing in this complaint, as someone who might be engaged in this pattern of misconduct, and he should recuse himself immediately, so that's one. mr. giuliani obviously has relevant information and i want to understand -- i want to understand what he has to say under oath. there's others mostly that we need to corroborate all of the elements of this complaint so we make sure we're being thorough and fair. we want to protect this whistle-blower, by the way, so the other people who had knowledge of this pattern of misconduct, feel comfortable coming forward with what they know. the whistle-blower in the complaint mentions dozens of other officials at the white house and throughout the government who are aware of this, alarmed by it, deeply disturbed is i believe the term he used. we want those people to feel
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comfortable coming forward. it doesn't help that the president of the united states is lobbing around threats. >> sean patrick maloney, thanks so much for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> david challenian, among the allegations that president trump asked ukraine's president to investigate political rivals on a phone call, that white house lawyers ordered the rough transcript be hidden because it showed abuse of office by president trump. it was not the first time rough call transcripts had been hidden because they showed politically sensitive information. that ukrainian officials were led to believe president trump wouldn't talk unless they were willing to, quote, play ball. that president trump canceled vice president pence's trip to ukraine as a form of pressure. that state department officials met with ukrainian officials to help them, quote, navigate president trump's demands. that rudy giuliani is a central figure who circumvented national
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security making processes and that president trump withheld military funding to ukraine. how concerning are these allegations? >> i don't see how they couldn't concern every single american. and i would urge everyone to read this document. it is damning. now, the first one, the phone call that you talked about that we got the transcript, rough transcript of that yesterday, but those next two points on your list that you just red, that say coverup. the notion of a lockdown and moving these documents into a place reserved for national security issues, not for political vulnerability, but it seems that's exactly what was done. and that that was directed by white house officials, according to this complaint. >> and the important point to make about that is as serious as it is, it is just at this point an accusation. we have the transcript of the phone call. the phone call is not in dispute. we have a rough transcript.
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that is -- the president is going to have to figure out a way to deal with that. >> and corroborated. >> and corroborated. that's out there, and, you know, established as a factual matter. the democrats, if they want to do this in a serious way, now have to take the whistle-blower's report and see how much they can corroborate. it's incredibly serious to anything that there was a coverup in the white house of the relationship with ukraine, but it's not proven yet. >> phil mudd, you worked at the fbi, at the cia. what stands out in your mind in the list of allegations i just discussed? >> the idea of corroboration
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that jeffrey was talking about, the person who wrote this refers to getting secondhand and third hand information. but there's a couple of pieces that are surprising. there's a ton of names in there and there are other people unnamed like the intel guys at the white house who could tell you how the safe was used that you could corroborate in two weeks if the white house complied with subpoenas from the hill. the level of corroboration in that document is pretty remarkable. i would say one more thing on corroboration. the person who wrote that, wrote it before the transcript came out and it appears that the complainant's description of the phone call the president made is accurate. so there's at least some corroboration already. >> very accurate indeed. laura, the president clearly understood how much leverage he
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had over ukraine, the new president of ukraine. >> of course he did. and he exploited it. if we are to believe the allegations, and he did so in a manner that tied to taxpayer dollars. remember, what we're talking about is very basic in the sense that we pay taxes, congress uses that, appropriates funds and earmarks it to protect the national security and the interests of ukraine against a geopolitical rif politicapoliti russia. the president says, i need you to investigate joe biden. we call that an abuse of power. he the president of ukraine needs at least a quarter of a million dollars to push back russia. this is not the art of diplomacy, not the art of being
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a public official. this is all named in the constitution. >> samantha, you used to work at the nsc during the obama administration. white house officials immediately knew right after that phone conversation with zelensky, the new president of ukraine, that it was improper, it was awkward political statements that the president was clearly seeking assistance from ukraine to get dirt on joe biden and his son hunter biden, and they took this extraordinary step to hide the rough transcript of this conversation in a top secret vault. >> well, wolf, frankly, i served under two presidents, a republican and a democrat. i am frankly astounded that more people at the white house did not come forward after this phone call. we don't know about any other interru transcripts that may have more damaging information. when white house lawyers who are supposed to help the president faithfully execute his powers,
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not help him commit corrupt acts, i'm very surprised that people who had access to this system, would not have come forward. the secretary of state gets a copy of the transcript. how was it not concerning to him that the president of the united states was soliciting for election interference and suggesting that president zelensky work with rudy giuliani who is not a member of the u.s. government? for at least the course of when this phone call happened to when the whistleblower came forward, there were multipeople people w kept quiet. there may be more people willing to speak now that this is out in the open. >> more than just the half a dozen who spoke to the whistle-blower, who gives that number there. clearly, listening to everything you just said, so many more than just that half dozen have touched this.
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>> assuming they're not scared by the president's comments earlier today, with discussions about executing spies. that's one of the reasons you have whistle-blower protection acts, because people are fearful because of retribution aagainst them. this could have a chilling effect. >> it could endanger individuals as well, because there are, you know -- >> which he's already done. this is just the latest in the president putting the intelligence community at risk. to your point, laura, the intelligence community has already been under pressure by the president. now i do think, if this is what he said publicly about threatening whistle-blowers, i cringe to think what he's saying privately. >> we wouldn't know anything about this, sabrina, if the whistle-blower had not written this lengthy memorandum, this complaint about what he had heard and seen personally.
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>> if you look at the sequence of events, it's quite clear that it were up to the white house and some within the trump administration, the whistle-blower's allegations would never have been made public, despite the assessment of the inspector general that the allegations were both credible and cause for urgent concern. the acting dni took the unprecedented step of overriding the inspector general's view that the complaint immediately be shared with congress. you heard the acting dni testify before congress today that the delay was in part due to concerns over executive privilege and his consultation with attorneys at the white house. but i do think it bears repeating that some of the substance at least had been confirmed by the president himself, for example that he raised the issue of joe biden and his son with the ukrainian president, and then we saw of course the summary of the call from the white house itself. now, we still don't know of course who within the white
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house was familiar with the conversation that the president had with his ukrainian counterpart. as this investigation unfolds, we'll learn more specifically about the very damning allegations that there was an intention effort by the white house to bury the contents of that call and who notably was part of that effort on behalf of the president because they knew the conduct would be damning and raise constitutional concerns for this president. >> everybody, stand by, we'll be talking with preet bharara, former u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, you see him right there. he's got some very powerful thoughts on what's going on right now. america's most loved pizza. hot and fresh, and right to your door. every day at marco's, get two medium, one-topping pizzas for just $6.99 each. hello to the italian way. hello primo.
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maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. we're breaking down all the very disturbing allegations in the whistle-blower complaint that's now public and at the center of the house impeachment investigation. we're joined by pretty b-- pree bhara bharara. what are some of the biggest red flags you see in this document? >> yesterday we got something along the lines of a transcript or summary of that call between the american president and the
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ukrainian president. the fact that he was trying to pressure a foreign leader for his own personal gain in a way that was an abuse of power. today, there's a reference to that phone call which now seems to be corroborated by the transcript. but the most powerful additional red flag that most people would see here is the fact that that phone call was deemed to be so problematic and worrisome by not one, not two, but various people around the president that they decided to lock it down. further, this line is getting some attention and not enough attention, it's unproven but should be investigated, the whistle-blower says he's told that is not only time that some conversation between the president and someone else was put in lockdown. the question is is this the tip of the iceberg or is it self-contained? you want to know how many conversations like that there were. are they along the lines of this kind of thing where there was abuse of power for personal financial or political gain? that i think is the duty and the job for various committees in
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the house to be taking a look into. >> what strikes you when you read about just how many people apparently knew about this behavior? >> a couple of things. one is, how come none of them came forward? it shows there's a consensus of opinion not on the part of people who come on television or opposing members of congress, but these are all members, hand-picked by the president, of his team. if this is put in a secret computer system, that tells you how alarming they thought it was. you wonder why they didn't come forward. it tells me there will be a lot of requests for information from that's witnesses. obviously adam schiff and/or jerry nadler need to get to the bottom of those facts. we need to find out what those people knew, what other conversations there were. you could see a success of
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hearin succession of hearings. after releasing the complaint and the transcript of the call, i think the president is a little harder pressed -- and saying he wants to be transparent, he's harder pressed, it's harder to say we gau gave you that, we're not going to give you any more. >> the president has been attacking the whistle-blower. earlier today, while he was still in new york and meeting with u.s. officials who work at the u.n., he went after anyone, any other u.s. officials who gave information to the whistle-blower. listen to this. >> who was the person who gave the whistle-blower the information? because that's close to a spy. you know what we used to do in the old days, when we were smart, with spies and treason. we used to handle it a little bit differently. >> is that witness tampering? >> it may be. i think we should be careful not to get too caught up in legal definitions of additional crimes that the president may or may
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not be committing. but it's beneath his office, it's disgusting, it's un-american. all of this attention being paid to the whistle-blower i get, people who are not supporters of the president, think of the whistle-blower as a hero. i think the whistle-blower is because look how much damage and criticism and character assassination is about to come his way, if it's a him. on the other hand, supporters of the president want to make him out to be a liar and a scoundrel and unpatriotic according to them. the point is, there are multiple kinds of whistle-blowers. there's the whistle-blower who has been directly involved in this conduct, in other words has been a victim of misconduct, is a percipient witness to actually things going on and becomes important to the discovery of factual information later. then there's the whistle-blower who may have seen or heard something on the street, which every day in america, police departments take those leads in, take those tips in, and do an
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investigation. the whistle-blower is not saying evaluated firsthand knowledge of all this. so the idea that attacking him somehow helps the president's case, i don't get it. he's a conduit, he's a trigger for other people, other agency including congress to conduct their investigation and to find out if these allegations are true or not. he's done his job already. characterization of the whistle-blower is not only wrong, it's self defeating and doesn't make any sense. >> rudy giuliani before you was the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. based on these documents that have finally been released, do you think potentially he's criminally, perhaps, suspect in these kind of issues? >> i'm not going to make an observation about whether he's criminally suspect or not. we do too much of that when we
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were talking about the mueller investigation. i don't know who pays rudy giuliani, i don't know what his job is. he talks about being the president's lawyer. i don't see him doing lawyer work. i don't know if he was someone who was told to have these meetings by the state department. i don't know what his arguments are, what his relationship with the president is and how confidential those communications should be. i do think there should be a lot of questions asked of mr. giuliani, and by the way, his own boasts, gallivanting around the world conducting foreign policy and doing dirty work for the president. >> preet bharara, thanks so much for joining us. very quickly, the president is going after the whistle-blower and those officials at the white house who helped him. but joseph maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, in his three-hour testimony today, he was praising the whistle-blower for doing exactly the right thing. >> yes.
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so whether, you know, he doesn't want to call him a hero, or the president's admirers want to follow the president's lead and take him down, it's important to see that the president's appointed acting director of national intelligence went before congress today, under oath, and said that this whistle-blower did everything by the book, totally appropriate. he had no qualms whatsoever with the way the whistle-blower handled this complaint. that's the president's guy saying that. that's an important point and i hope it's not lost on people. when i heard that, i could just imagine the president listening to that and how quickly he would -- >> jeffrey, he said the spies and treason, he used the word treason which carries the death penalty. >> you know, there are laws about whistle-blowers. charles grassley, now the chairman of the judiciary committee, has spent decades
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creating laws to protect whistle-blowers. they were designed precisely to avoid what donald trump did. there are three words that are worth thinking about, christine blasey ford. you saw what she endured as a witness to the brett kavanaugh hearings. what she got is nothing compared to what's in store for this person. >> grassley was the chair, now lindsey graham is the chair of the judiciary committee. >> indeed. >> samantha, why would the president be issuing this threat and raising this notion of spies and treason if he had what he called a perfect phone call with the ukrainian leader? >> it clearly wasn't a perfect phone call or he wouldn't be reacting this way. let's keep in mind he's also said members of the media have engaged in virtual treason when
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they have published commentary unhelpful to him or what he deems unflattering. he's reacting this way because the whistle-blower complaint reads like a rap sheet. everything needs to be corroborated, but if he had nothing to hide he wouldn't be reacting in this way and making these statements about the intelligence community. another point, this explicitly is intimidation. whether that's criminal wrongdoing i'll leave to the lawyers. if you're the whistle-blower right now, you certainly know what the president and his team have done to attack other witnesses against the administration. in you're a member of the intelligence community right now or anybody working in the white house, you are likely very concerned that your name could end up in right wing media conspiracies and you could be personally attacked. i don't think this was a careless comment by the president, i think it was likely intentional to send a message. >> a message potentially to some of his supporters out there who are going to say, treason, if somebody commits treason, that's
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pretty bad. >> committing treason is alerting people to a potential abuse of power? that's actually patriotic in many respects, that's why we crafted legislation to say we encourage you to come forward. this is a self-inflicted wound by the president. we wouldn't know about any of this if the proper channels hadn't been followed. it would have gone from the ig, to the dni, then to the intel committees of congress. there was no guarantee it would come to the american people but for the white house's efforts to make sure it didn't go through. this is because he tried to cover up something. so it must get very exhausting for the president of the united states to try to run at the speed he does by shooting himself in the foot time and time again. >> let me get phil mudd to weigh in. go ahead, phil. >> i think this is pretty straightforward. the president is doing this because it worked. look at the parallel and look at
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the playbook. tell the american people that the investigators, robert mueller is ethically compromised and it's a bunch of democrats. now they're saying the whistle-blower is partisan, same playbook. second step, it's a hoax, the person i'm opposing in this election did worse than i did. last time it was hillary clinton, this time it's joe biden. not only worse than i did but what they did was criminal. i'm waiting for the president to go to a rally to say lock him up. the only thing that changed in this story, wolf, is the pronoun. him versus her. the whole rest of the story, the president is depending on what worked last time, telling the american people that the whole system is corrupt. when you look at the phone call, he's corrupt. that's what we've got here. >> one other thing that changed, one other thing i think is interesting to note is the speed with which the president modify from stonewalling tos releasie i
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ing this information. i don't think we understand exactly yet what motivated the president to release this information. >> everybody stand by, there's a lot more we'll be discussing right after a quick break. ? rigorous fundamental research. with portfolio managers focused on the long term. who look beyond the spreadsheets to understand companies, from breakroom to boardroom. who know the only way to get a 360 view is to go around the world to get it. can i rely on deep research to help make quality investment decisions? with capital group, i can. talk to your advisor or consultant for investment risks and information. ever since you brought me home, that day. i've been plotting to destroy you. sizing you up... calculating your every move. you think this is love? this is a billion years of tiger dna just ready to pounce.
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analysts. rudy giuliani, quote, unleashed a rant about the bidens, barack obama, the clinton foundation, the media, almost shouting. he declared that, quote, it is impossible that the whistle-blower is a hear row and i will be the hero. that's morons, when this is over i will be the hero. he obviously is ranting about all of this. he clearly has the president's ear. >> well, as we've seen time and again, this is a president who places a premium, above all, on loyalty. and rudy giuliani has been one of his most loyal and vociferous proponents. i think it's true, rudy giuliani has caused multiple headaches for this president, not just pertaining to the current allegations with respect to ukraine and rudy giuliani's own involvement in working with or trying to pressure the ukrainian government with respect to joe
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biden and investigating biden and his son, but also if you think back to the entire controversy surrounding stormy daniels, there were a number of times when giuliani raised issues for the president by offering conflicting statements. but it doesn't matter, the president ceasees giuliani as o of his most effective spokesmen. when you see what jugiuliani sa about the clintons, about the media, that's not very different from what the president himself said earlier in the day. a lot of what giuliani said in that interview today, while it may seem somewhat unhinged, it's very similar to what the president has tweeted himself, trying to really aggressively push back against the allegations with respect to ukraine. >> phil, how big a role do you
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think giuliani has played in funneling to the president some of these conspiracy theories that the president is promoting right now? >> when you get information from the secretary of defense or secretary of state, people who might be talking to you about ukraine, you're getting hard policy choices and good intelligence. you're not going to get weird conspiracy theories. but you look at the channels the president has to get information, executive time, lord knows who he's calling from the white house, but i guarantee you he's get weird stories. rudy giuliani coming up with weird stories, and stuff he's retweeting from websites that make no sense. there are a lot more wackadoodles outside government than inside government. >> how big a role is the attorney general, bill barr, playing in all of this? >> it seems like he's playing a role according to the allegations in the complaint. he of course is, i'm sure, disputing, yesterday he had a statement out that he was not asked about this, even though
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the president said publicly in this transcript that he would use him as a vehicle or a conduit to follow up, he said he never had a conversation like that. when there's somebody who has a hint of impropriety, we ask them to recuse themselves. barr can stay on if he doesn't have a clear conflict of interest. because these are allegations at this point in time, it's hard to force him to do so. >> there's something amiss here. barr -- a few things. barr claims he didn't hear about the transcript of this call, the contents of the call, for several weeks after it happened. that is quite unusual in terms of actually process. barr was mentioned in the call. he should have gotten a transcript to follow up on the work. instead, rudy giuliani and two state department political appointees went and met with the ukrainians to follow up on that
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work instead of the attorney general and our charge de ukraine. that deserves scrutiny. >> the interesting thing about bill barr is he seems to think the president of the united states is uninformed. the president of the united states is saying to the president of ukraine, talk to my guy, the attorney general. and the attorney general is saying, who, me? i don't know anything about this. >> there's a lot more we're following including big questions about rudy giuliani's central role in the ukraine scandal. was the state department in or out of the loop? what's going on? it's the 3pm slump. should have had a p3. oh yeah. should have had a p3. need energy? get p3. with a mix of meat, cheese and nuts.
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and pay it off in one lump sum when you leave your home. discover the option that's best for you. call today and find out more. i'm proud to be a part of aag, i trust em, i think you can too. >> the newly released whistle-blower complaint highlights rudy giuliani's big and very questionable role in the president's dealings with ukraine. brian todd is digging on that. brian, the complaint raises a lot of questions about what rudy giuliani has been doing. >> it certainly does, wolf. tonight rudy giuliani is tweeting out taunting congressional democrats for indicating they might subpoena him. giuliani says the attacks of his conduct are phony and questioning the whistle-blower. rudy giuliani could be in some real legal peril and we dug into
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his alleged dealings with the ukrainians that might have gotten him there. the whistle-blower says in stark terms he has information that president trump used the power of his office to try to get ukraine to investigate joe biden and biden's son, and that, quote, the president's personal lawyer mr. rudolph giuliani is a central figure in that effort, but giuliani isn't just a central figure in the effort. he's a central player in the nine-page complaint. >> he's all over the place talking with ukrainians in new york, going to places like warsaw and even planning a trip to ukraine that was eventually scrapped, trying to pull together information that could really help, he says, his client. >> reporter: according to the whistle-blower rudy giuliani met more than once with yuri lutsenko even before the new president zelensky took office this may. he had accused joe biden of trying to quash an investigation of a ukrainian company that
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biden's son hunter was involved with. there was just one problem with the accusation. >> it turns out not to be true. the investigation that the ukrainians supposedly stopped at biden's behest had actually stopped two years earlier. >> the investigation stopped ukrainian officials say, not because joe biden asked for it, but because there was no evidence and that prosecutor lutsenko walked back the allegations and that didn't stop giuliani from rabidly the conspiracy theory. >> i found out this incredible story of joe biden that he bribed the president of the ukraine in order to fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son. that is an astounding scandal of major proportions which all of you have covered up for about five or six months. >> giuliani continued to push that conspiracy and to sell it to trump right after president trump's phone call with president zelensky in july in
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which trump pushed the ukrainian to investigate biden and told him to expect a call from giuliani. that's when the whistle-blower claims giuliani flew to madrid to meet with the top aide to the ukrainian president, but that wasn't even the first trip the former new york city may hor or planned to, quote, debunk the investigations. giuliani publicly announced he planned to travel to ukraine to push for investigations that he told "the new york times," quote, would be very, very helpful to my client. at the time giuliani said, quote, we're not meddling in an election. we're meddling in an investigation which we have a right to do except legal experts say he really didn't because giuliani was a private citizen, not a government official. >> it makes no sense. giuliani has no official role and when you look at these circumstances there was no reason for him to be involved in it whatsoever. >> reporter: tonight as the whistle-blower's report sends shock waves through the capitol, analysts say the man who made his name as a prosecutor, could
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be prosecuted himself. >> there could be violations of the logan act which prevents on acting on behalf of the united states and there could be campaign violations to get help for the president's campaign. >> cnn reached out to giuliani. giuliani told us he, quote, has no knowledge of any of that crap and when we asked him about the concerns from u.s. officials about the dealings with the ukrainians he called that, quote, total nonsense. the former ukrainian prosecutor who met with giuliani yuri lutsenko saying the whistle-blower's complaint is manipulative and inconsistent with the truth. >> very interesting indeed, brian todd, excellent report. thank you very much. an important note to our viewers right now. later tonight anderson cooper and jake tapper host a special wrap-up of all of the day's headlines from here in washington. tune in for a cnn special report "the impeachment inquiry." that's live tonight 11:00 p.m.
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eastern. to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." our special coverage continues right now with erin burnett "out front." out front next, breaking news, a bombshell from the whistle-blower accusing white house officials of trying to cover up president trump's attempt to interfere with the election. plus the president lashes out, attacking the whistle-blower comparing whomever provided the information to a spy, and rudy giuliani, the president's lawyer defending his role with ukraine declaring he'll be a hero in the end. is he or will he actually be in legal trouble? let's go "out front." >> good evening. i'm erin burnett. out front tonight, unprecedented and that is how the acting director of the national intelligence described t


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