tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 27, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
president trump is venting his fury with new urgency. are he and his team prepared for the battle ahead? and gone rogue. that's how the house speaker is describing the attorney general after bill barr's name came up repeatedly in the whistle-blower complaint. how soon might congress call him to testify? 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. the secretary of state mike pompeo was just slapped with a subpoena as house democrats demand documents related to the ukraine scandal. it's a new sign of just how fast the impeachment investigation is moving forward. intelligence committee chairman adam schiff says his committee could begin hearings as soon as next week. with a vote on impeachment possible, possible, by
thanksgiving. democrats are seizing on a whistle-blower complaint alleging president trump abused his power by urging ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and that the white house tried to cover it up. i'll get reaction from senator mazie hirono, a democrat on the judiciary committee. our correspondents and analysts are also standing by. first, our senior congressional correspondent manu raju. manu, a new subpoena for secretary of state mike pompeo. >> reporter: first batch of subpoenas since nancy pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry earlier this week. committees sent a subpoena to the secretary of state asking for documents about apparent efforts by rudy giuliani to reach out to ukraine officials to push for that investigation into the president's political rival, former vice president joe biden and his son hunter biden. the democrats sent letters about
most moves by the state department to help with those efforts. now, at the same time the house intelligence committee, which is taking the lead for now on this impeachment inquiry, plans to move expeditiously on its probe. adam schiff, chairman of the committee, telling me earlier today he plans to push forward over the next few weeks when congress is on recess, but his committee, he says, will be working through the recess, potentially scheduling hearings as soon as next week. they've scheduled a hearing, i'm told by a source, on friday with the inspector general of the intelligence community who deemed that whistle-blower complaint about the president's conduct credible and urgent. at the same time he's warning about potential other subpoenas for individuals and other hearings as well, demanding information. now, wolf, some new information tonight, we're told by democratic sources who are planning this impeachment probe that they plan to not get into a
drawn-out legal battle with the trump administration over the request. they don't want to get into a months-long fight if the white house resists and stone walls. they say if that happens, it will only be added to their articles of impeachment, assuming they go down that route, by saying this is more evidence of obstruction of congress, pointing to articles of impeachment of richard nixon which had a similar citation saying he obstructed congress. they say they will not get into this protracted legal battle. watch for that to play out. wolf, adam schiff tells me he's preparing for a busy a couple of weeks. hearings, subpoenas. we'll see what information they ultimately glean. >> manu raju on capitol hill, thank you. president trump has unloading on twitter. let's go to our chief white correspondent jim acosta. the whistle-blower has become one of the president's top
targets. >> reporter: that's right, wolf, president trump is continuing to lash out at the whistle-blower complaint that's launched these impeachment proceedings. the president stayed behind closed doors for most of the day as the white house wrestles with whether it's time to start setting up a team to advise him and counsel him on his strategy and so on. they believe the ukrainian investigation is getting worse for the president, more than usual. taking cover in his social media bunker, president trump is painting the mysterious whistle-blower as a turncoat who can't be trusted, tweeting, he hadn't a whistle-blower at all. in addition, secondhand information, there may not have been somebody else, a leaker for spy feeding it to him or her. a partisan operative. but one key part of the whistle-blower's complaint is adding up as the white house
acknowledges the national security attorneys directed aides to move the transcript of the call to a highly classified system. >> highly partisan whistle-blower. >> reporter: the president is crying foul, describing himself as the victim of a conspiracy orchestrated by the deep state and the media. >> we're at war. these people are sick. sick. nobody is calling them out like i do, i don't understand. people are afraid to call them out. they're afraid to say we have a crooked press, a dishonest media. >> reporter: the house democrats are making a list of those they want to hear from, including the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani. >> they basically knew everything i was doing. so it was being done with the authorization and at the
request. and thenni iv have a big thank about how my honest and straightforward discussion led to solving a problem in the relationship. i should get some kind of award. >> reporter: democrats want to hear more about that. >> i think rudy giuliani is digging himself a deeper hole. i do believe that he is the political henchman for the president, not an attorney, not a person that is working for the state department. >> reporter: but there are also questions for attorney general william barr, mentioned by name by mr. trump in that call with the ukrainian president. >> i think first, let's remember, he applied for this job by arguing against the special counsel's work. he has acted not as an independent attorney general but a special counsel for the president of the united states. during the mueller investigation and certainly now. >> reporter: the president demanded the resignation of house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff who mocked mr. trump's ukraine call earlier in the week.
schiff, the president said, must resign and be investigated, he has been doing this for two years, he is a sick man. biden is hammering out new lines of attack for the campaign, tweeting, i believe our election should be decided by the american people, not foreign governments. as mr. trump's former know is warning the president should be stopped. >> he's endangered us all by putting his personal and political interests ahead of the interests of the american people. but this is ultimately about much more than donald trump. it is about us. >> reporter: white house officials appear to be souring on the idea of bringing in former campaign manager corey lewandowski to lead a rapid response war room for impeachment fight. acting chief of staff mick mulvaney is now opposed to that idea, we're told. and the president was angry when he heard about the proposal. we're also told about that, as one official put it, no one here sees a need at this point for adding to the inside team. wolf, they seem to be sticking
with the team they have right now. >> thank you, jim acosta at the white house. we're learning more about the administration -- about what the administration officials knew and when they knew it. our justice correspondent jessica schneider joins us now. jessica, multiple people were aware of the whistle-blower complaint before congress and the public learned about it. >> reporter: that's exactly right, wolf. several top officials at the justice department were aware of the concerns sooner than has been revealed. that's prompting questions about how those officials handled the whistle-blower's allegations. plus there is swirling uncertainty now about when the attorney general first found out about the complaint and how that may have played into the timeline of events. officials now say the department justice and the white house knew about the whistle-blower's concerns more than one week before they were formally alerted by the acting director of national intelligence and the intelligence community inspector general, the last week of
august. here is the timeline we know so far. august 12th, the inspector general for the intelligence community receives the whistle-blower's seven-page complaint. two days later on august 14th, attorneys at the doj's national security division are alerted about the whistle-blower's concerns during a routine conference call. the next day, the head of the division goes to the white house to review the transcript of the call between president trump and ukraine's president where the president pressed the ukrainian government to investigate joe biden and his son. the head of the doj's criminal division and the deputy attorney general are notified afterward that the attorney general was mentioned in the call. attorneys in the doj deliberated on how to handle the matter. it's unclear when the attorney general was made aware of the situation, but he was made aware. >> the inspector general in consultation with my office referred this matter to the
department of justice for investigation. i think the whistle-blower did the right thing. i think he followed the law every step of the way. >> reporter: and there is also major scrutiny tonight, the doj's decision not to open a full-blown criminal investigation of potential campaign finance violations stemming from that july 25th call. the doj came to its conclusion despite the fact that the intelligence community's inspector general did find the whistle-blower's complaint credible, wolf. >> jessica schneider, thank you. joining us now, democratic senator mazie hirono. she serves on the judiciary and armed services committees in the senate. senator, thank you for coming in. >> good evening. >> how concerned are you by the allegations that have been laid out in this whistle-blower complaint? >> very concerned. how could you not be when you have a president who, as speaker pelosi said, shaking down the leader of a foreign country for his own personal political gains, using taxpayer money as
leverage? how is that okay? so i feel a sense of urgency going forward. >> do you believe this rises to an impeachable offense? >> i would say so, yes. it is a felony to accept help from a foreign country. for the president, literally, as we say, shaking down a foreign leader for his own political ends, using his power, that is called abuse of power. >> if the house of representatives goes ahead and votes by a simple majority, 218 votes, to impeach the president, then it goes to the senate, where you guys will have a full scale trial, the chief justice will preside, you'll have to vote on whether or not to remove him to convict. you would vote to convict? >> let's see what the house comes up with in terms of their articles of impeachment. i'll certainly do my job as senator, listening to their -- what they're going to argue. >> do you believe the administration is ready to cooperate fully with the house and senate in releasing
documents, making witnesses available? >> no. all along the white house has stonewalled the various house committees. why should he do anything different? as mentioned, this kind of achm. >> rudy giuliani, the president's private attorney, says he would need to consult with president trump before he agrees to testify before congress, citing attorney general privilege. what do you think, first of all, about that argument? you're a member of the judiciary committee. >> there is no attorney/client privilege if the conversation is in furtherance of a crime. and that's what's being alleged. so i would say he is not on strong ground. >> if he does testify, do you think you'll get useful information from him? >> if he tells the truth. >> give us examples of questions you would ask rudy giuliani. >> what was he doing all the times he went to the ukraine, i assume at the behest of the president, because his name is
mentioned in the phone call that the president had with the president of ukraine, not to mention that at least three times giuliani's name is heard at the same time at the same time as attorney general barr. what was he doing? at whose behest? >> it was clear he was trying to get dirt on joe biden, his son hunter biden, the democrats, hillary clinton. he was trying to collect as much negative information as he possibly could. >> i assume that's at the president's behest. but he should testify to that. and as to the state department's involvement in all of that, we would like to know what's going on there. there's a lot more to be uncovered. that's why the house committees have to go forward. i think for us to contemplate that we have a president who actually would shake down the leader of another country for his own personal political gain using our money, taxpayer money, as leverage, is just totally beyond the pale. >> you're a member of the judiciary committee.
what questions do you have for bill barr and his involvement or lack of involvement during all this? >> he seems to have been involved before he even found out what was going on. of course when the matter was brought to him by the dni, director of national intelligence, what is to be expected? do you think that his office of legal counsel will say, yes, mr. dni, you should disclose the whistle-blower's report to the appropriate committees? did you think that was going to happen? no, it did not happen. both before, during, and after, bill barr has a lot to answer for. >> you're a member of the armed services committee. the president froze u.s. military assistance to ukraine, then he has this phone conversation with president zelensky of ukraine. and first of all, do you see any legitimate reason why the president would freeze that congressionally-authorized and
appropriated funds for ukraine? >> no. that is money that is supposed to go to the ukraine to help them fight russia. for the president to hold it back, for whatever reasons, i don't even know what lame excuse he came up with, but the timing of it is such that a few days later or ukrainian president and the ukrainian president says, i need to buy more missiles, and trump says, i need some favors, though. >> "can you do me a favor." >> "can you do me a favor, though." it takes on a lot of meaning. >> the house speaker, nancy pelosi, clearly wants this accelerated but she wants the impeachment inquiry to focus on the ukraine and not the mueller report and other issues. is she right? >> i don't second-guess what the speaker is doing. she knows what she's doing. i think we feel a sense of edger
urgency to go forward. sure, i remember the mueller report and allegations of obstruction of justice. even after the mueller report came out and the efforts by the house committees to get information, it was stonewalled. so he continues to obstruct justice. >> very quickly before i let you go, i know you're very upset that the trump administration has now decided to limit the number of refugees coming into the united states during the next year, it's only 18,000, that's a very low number. what if anything can you do about it? >> you know, every time you try to tell the president don't do that, we try to limit what he can do in terms of going after immigrants, he comes up with something else. it's a continuing battle. i would have to think bout what else we can do. there's appropriation language, perhaps, that we can put in. but since he doesn't think that anything that we do applies to him, it's a continuing battle with him. but there's no question that this administration is out to
get immigrants and he wants to limit as many from coming here as possible. he wants to make it much harder that those with green cards to stay here. so at both ends, he wants to prevent people from coming to our country and he wants to prevent people from staying in our country. >> his argument is he wants to limit illegal immigrants. >> he says there's no more room. >> that's another issue as well. >> yes. >> senator hirono, thank you so much for coming in, we appreciate it very much. ahead, will the secretary of state comply with the subpoena from house democrats? and rudy giuliani says he won't testify in impeachment hearings without consulting president trump. >> announcer: "the situation room with wolf blitzer of the brought to you by mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. traffic. no parking. -i told you. oh, a spot! hold on.
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legal, and national security experts. samantha vinograd, you worked at the national security council. the committees have subpoenaed secretary of state mike pompeo for documents. is he likely to comply? >> wolf, frankly that depends on what evaluated to hide, including any complicity on his part in rudy giuliani's fishing expeditions or abuses of power by the president. let's do a quick flashback friday. then-representative pompeo railed against secretary of state hillary clinton for not knowing who her senior staff was meeting with and for not meeting with documents. if he does not allow these depositions to go forward and does not provide the documents, he'll be dousing himself in a lot of hypocrisy. there are a lot of irregularities on these calls, wolf. the whistle-blower alleges there was a counsel to the secretary on this call. i can't recall a call i was a
part of where there was a state official on the line, not even a secretary of state. number two, the day after the call, according to the whistle-blower, two state department ambassadors met with the ukrainians to follow up on the call. it appears they got some verbal readout after the july 25th call with the ukrainians. we have no indication that our acting ambassador in kiev, the charge d'affaires, will be working on this. frankly, what role secretary of state mike pompeo played in all that. >> appebby phillips, rudy giuli says he's not going to testify unless he gets permission from the president to do that. >> there are a lot of other people who are part of this
whole scheme that house democrats can certainly call before their panels either privately or in public. rudy giuliani is one piece of this puzzle. but he clearly had interactions with a lot of other people within the government and outside the government. and even with giuliani, there are some real questions about whether this attorney/client privilege is actually a real thing for him. is the president actually retaining rudy giuliani as his counsel in some kind of matter or is rudy giuliani basically acting as an unpaid political volunteer on the president's behalf? so a lot of questions about that and about that kind of privilege that he's trying to assert here. democrats would be smart to push back against that, but also i mean, the universe of people they need to hear from is fairly large. >> what are you hearing about how the white house is preparing for this impeachment process, which is moving very rapidly? >> there's been a lot of talk in the last couple of days about
whether they would try to, as the clinton administration did, set up some kind of war room. this was also bandied about concerning the mueller investigation and they didn't do it. jay sekulow, one of the president's personal lawyers, did say they are not setting up a formal war room. they're batting down that idea. one of the people they had floated for leading that was corey lewandowski, and now they're saying they're just not going to go with that strategy. >> it's very interesting, because the house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff says he may hold hearings as early as next week, even though the house is in recess, next week or the week after. how quickly do you anticipate that we'll see this unfold? >> pretty rapidly. that's the part of the democrats' strategy here, to keep this narrow and keep it quick and to not let it drag out and get it done before 2020. someone on the trump campaign speculated to me today in a with our current news cycle, this
could be over and done with and out of voters' media consumption by the time the year ends. abby makes a really good point, it might not be necessary for rudy giuliani to testify. it could be just another circus-like hearing a la corey lewandowski. it's more important to get people like secretary of state mike pompeo and william barr on the record, corroborating or answering to some of these pretty extraordinary claims that rudy giuliani has made like the fact that he says the state department authorized rudy giuliani to investigate whether or not, you know, joe biden's son committed corruption in the ukraine. and so these are the things that we really need to know. was pompeo aware of these directives, was he in communication with rouge? there are a lot of unanswered questions here. >> the whistle-blower is key to
a lot of this. and clearly adam schiff and the house intelligence committee, they want that whistle-blower to do forward. but he's a written a lengthy memorandum already. what do they want to hear from him? >> they want people who can speak to questions like was the president actually directing rudy giuliani, was he directing other officials to engage with rudy giuliani or foreign officials? also you would want this person to see if they could talk about any documentary evidence that might exist, emails to state department, emails to omb. those documents will be critical to the impeachment strategy moving forward, finding evidence of that additional wrongdoing, really shoring up the case. keep in mind the entire momentum here, the burden has shifted. before we would see congress asking for documents and the
white house refusing to produce them. now that we're in the context of impeachment, the house can say we're demanding these documents, if you fail to produce them we're going to proceed with a negative inference and hold as a reason to impeach further. we'll be right back. woo! full of good. so you can be too. try our new warm grain bowls today. panera. food as it should be. it's what gives audible there'smembers an edge.ening; it opens our minds, changes our perspective, connects us, and pushes us further. the most inspiring minds, the most compelling stories: audible. they're america's bpursuing life-changing cures. in a country that fosters innovation here, they find breakthroughs... like a way to fight cancer by arming a patient's own t-cells...
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confirming a very sensitive part of the whistle-blower's complaint, that the transcript of the call had been moved to a very secure server. what's their explanation, why did they do that? >> a lot of this has to do with the fact that there have been other calls of president trump's that have leaked. the call with the australian prime minister was famously leaked not once, but twice, descriptions of the call and then an actual transcript of the call. the white house has been sensitive to this for some time. they're trying to lock down on some of these leaks. the question is for what reason. is there a national security reason or just simply an effort to protect the president from embarrassment? it seems like it's an effort to protect the president from embarrassment and there are questions now whether that is a legitimate reason to change the normal protocol for something like a transcript of the president's calls, if only for the reason of trying to make sure that perhaps wrongdoing that might have gone on in that
call doesn't get out. >> that rough transcript was eventually released and nothing was redacted, so there couldn't be have been much sensitive information. sam, give us some connect hetex what do we need to know? >> while the white house might have tried to scrub the digital record of this call readout from the top secret system and transfer it to the code word system, they can't scrub the verbal readouts. allegedly in the whistle-blower complaint, there were numerous officials at the state department and the house who knew what happened on this call. so the white house wasn't concerned about preventing leaks until somebody raised a red flag that something inappropriate happened on this call. the normal protocol when one of these calls happens is to, in the first instance, restrict who is listening when something is sensitive, then two, the
national security adviser would either personally or via his senior team authorize folks to give a verbal readout of what happened to key personnel at the state department, dni, cia, and other relevant officials while waiting for the official transcript or call readout to be finalized and sent around. so this defense that this was to prevent leaking really doesn't hold water, especially based upon the fact that this call readout wasn't initially classified at a code word level, in which case it would have been handled in the first instance on the code word system. >> house speaker nancy pelosi is expressing concern about the role of attorney general bill barr in all of this. watch what she told cnn earlier today. >> i do think the attorney general has gone rogue. he has for long time now, since he was mentioned in all of this, it's curious that he would be making decisions about how the complaint would be handled. >> do democrats believe now that
the attorney general of the united states is acting for all practical purposes like the president's personal attorney? >> yes, i think that's a really big question here. the attorney general has thus far escaped some of the scrutiny that i think is going to fall upon him in the coming weeks, which is that why did the doj in the first place construct the acting director joseph maguire not to direct the complaint to congress, and when this was deferred to the criminal department, why did they decline to pursue this, why did they decide this wasn't worth any sort of campaign finance violation? because the president was soliciting campaign help from a foreign government, which is a campaign finance violation. if he gave the directive on the criminal department to get rid of this charge.
>> do you want to button this up for us? >> there are serious questions on bill barr starting with why he didn't recuse himself from a complaint that named him specifically. this question about how doj determined not to pursue a criminal inquiry will be a critical one, in part because doj didn't even conduct a preliminary investigation. they said this government investigation can't possibly be a think of value under the law so we're not going to look into it any further at all. how could you possibly know that without an investigation? they realized this was the mueller report 2.0 and decided not to go anywhere near it. cnn is following the political campaign out there, much more on that when we come back. then let's not create a retirement plan. let's create a plan for what's next. i like that. get a plan that's right for you. td ameritrade. ♪
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there's breaking news as cnn has now confirmed that kurt volcker, president trump's ukraine diplomat, special envoy for ukraine mentioned in the whistle-blower complaint, he has now resigned. according to the arizona state university newspaper "the state press," kurt volcker made that decision amid all the
controversy that has erupted over the past few days involving his role in this conversation that the president had with the ukraine leader, reports that he corroborated with ukraine and president trump and that he was working with rudy giuliani at the same time. a lot of sensitivity right now but kurt volcker, the special envoy for ukraine, we have now confirmed the asu university "state press" has confirmed he resigned. samantha vinograd, you used to work in diplomacy for the u.s. government. all of a sudden a key official involving ukraine has stepped down. >> i certainly don't think it's a coincidence, wolf. he's been working on behalf of the president and secretary of state mike pompeo for some time. now he's resigned, it's likely not a coincidence. his resignation will have an impact on u.s. national security. he was working things, leaving aside his efforts to connect
rouge ruling with t rudy giuliani with the ukrainians, in helping the ukrainians fight actually corruption. now that portfolio will be vacant because allegedly he was involved in doing the president's dirty work. now the question is who else will resign. we know that special envoy volcker was in a meeting with ukrainians the day after this july 25th call. he was with the u.s. ambassador to the eu who is another trump appointee. so i think it is possible that we may see other resignations, while the u.s. embassy in ukraine is staffed with career diplomats, people not appointed by the president. we may see battle lines drawn between the trump appointees and the career diplomats in ukraine and in washington, d.c. trying to do the actually work. >> kiley atkins joins us from new york right now.
kiley, the suggestion was that volcker, the special envoy, the special u.s. envoy for ukraine, was working with rudy giuliani and ukrainian officials to establish a dialogue to work together in these areas. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. and just hours ago, the house foreign affairs committee said they had scheduled a deposition with ambassador kurt volcker next week. will he still partake in this deposition? how does this impact that? as you said, kurt volcker has been in contact with rudy giuliani. we know that because giuliani has been publicly showing everyone those text messages. that is the real question here. the state department hasn't said much about that. they said that everyone, secretary pompeo, when asked about this yesterday, said that to his knowledge everyone had acted entirely properly at the state department, meaning that no state department officials
were getting involved in this politically-driven agenda of rudy giuliani. but what giuliani is saying is different, he's saying he worked closely with kurt volcker on his efforts in ukraine, pushing for an investigation into joe biden. >> i was going to say, kiley, the whistle-blower complaint suggested that kurt volcker went to kiev at one point to work with the ukrainian officials, to guide them on how to deal with the president's demands. >> reporter: exactly. so we know that kurt volcker was talking to the ukrainians in that text message that rudy giuliani put out, was connecting giuliani with one of the top aides of president zelensky, the ukrainian president. so he was involved here. now, the state department has not been backing up volcker over the past week. they haven't been putting out any statements saying he wasn't doing anything wrong.
but over the summer they did acknowledge that he had connected rudy giuliani with officials who are close to zelensky. so i think it's important to take a step back here and look at who kurt volcker actually is. he is someone who still is employed at the mccain institute. he is an mccain guy. and as one person who is close with kurt volcker put it to me this week, that is not a winning character trait for trump. trump knew that he was someone who was an mccain guy. he was never a big fan of kurt volcker. but kurt volcker knew that president trump was interested in this investigation, in pushing an investigation into joe biden. so he felt like he had to engage in some sort of way. that's what a source close with volcker told me just this week when we were discussing this. >> because that issue, susan, is whether or not the president in that phone conversation with president zelensky of ukraine, for all practical purposes said, you want u.s. aid, get me dirt on the bidens.
>> this is why volcker's resignation could spell some trouble for the white house. the claims of executive privilege only work for current officials or for officials who aren't interested in testifying. so volcker might not be interested in being the fall guy here. we saw rudy giuliani essentially say if i'm going down, i'm taking you down with me. state department officials were in a difficult position. rudy giuliani is out there freelancing ukrainian policy. they're trying to understand what's going on. now, volcker might be in a position to understand what other messages were being transmitted to zelensky, who else was carrying those messages and how explicit did that quid pro quo actually get. what we saw in the transcript was a lot of implicit quith quid pro quo but he is in a position to say, no, it was quite explicit and we carried that message to the ukraine. >> that's the crux of how important he is to this matter. it would be the role of connecting the dots between what happened on that call and why the aid for ukraine was frozen in the first place.
the president claims it's because he was unhappy that the europeans weren't doing enough. but there's a lot of implication out there that he was unhappy because the ukrainians were not doing more to investigate joe biden. the person who ought to know that would be kurt volcker. if he is willing to testify, i think it could be really important to supposing what actually went down over the last several months inside the white house. >> i assume adam schiff and other democrats on the house intelligence committee are already getting anxious to bring him before the committee. >> that's the white house is unlikely to exert executive privilege and at the end of the thday this subpoa issued to volcker and any documentation related to these conversations on official e-mail and volcker was working on official channels and he was the liaison between the ukrainians and giuliani. i imagine there will be potentially illuminating e-mails and text messages as we've seen
giuliani tease on laura ingram. >> he keeps saying he has messages with volcker. we'll have more on the breaking news and a very important development after this. with only one mission in mind. to be the best. in the category, in the industry...in the world. lease the gla 250 suv for just $329 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. (door bell rings) it's ohey. this is amazing. with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, are you okay? even when i was there,
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joined by mike rogers. he's a cnn national security commentator. thanks so much for joining us. give me your quick reaction. how significant is this resignation? is it another admission of some potential wrongdoing? >> i would be cautious not to say it was an admission of wrongdoing other than hey, this thing is getting messy, i've got other work to do. volcker was a former ambassador to nato so he has experience, but getting under this much scrutiny certainly doesn't look good. i have to tell you that. it tells me that people are starting to distance themselves from what they fear is a coming investigation. >> it will be interesting to hear what he has to say about his communications with rudy giuliani as far as ukraine is concerned. we also heard, mike, from the white house today that the transcript of president trump's phone call with the ukraine was indeed saved on a highly classified server. does that confirm a key aspect of the whistle-blower complaint? >> well, and this is the odd
thing about this, and obviously, on the face of it it doesn't look good, but if you go back what was happening, if you remember the australian ambassador's phone call was leaked in verbatim and that created quite a stir and not only in the united states and in the white house, but also with our australian allies, and so someone could come up in good faith and argue, hey, we had a leak problem and we were trying to find our leak problem so we decided we would lock these thing away. that being said, if you read the context of the phone call it certainly would raise questions and this is part of why that investigation is so important, in a hyperventilating part, is really dangerous in trying to get the facts on all of these issues. >> you're also, mike, the host of cnn's very popular series "declassified" which returns for an all-new season this sunday
night at 9:00 p.m. eastern. i want to show our viewers a preview of the first episode focusing on an attack plotted for the anniversary of 9/11. >> najibullah is striving to the bridge. it looks like he's going to come into manhattan via the george washington bridge. >> and we're on the day before 9/11. and so what we're really thinking about is we cannot lose this guy. >> zazi was the picture of an imminent threat. >> travel records had indicated that he had been to pakistan in 2008, potentially that he'd attended terrorist training camps with adis and his two new york counterparts, but we just didn't know what they were up to. >> so this episode, very intriguing provides new details about how the plot was foiled? >> absolutely. for the first time we had the national security agency describing its role in this
particular event. so you had local law enforcement from colorado, the new york police department and every level from fbi to the national security agency to other agencies providing information on something that was an ongoing operation, wolf, meaning this thing was going to happen. these folks were driving into the city to blow up themselves on subway cars, and it was very, very close. the whole case really resolved just around a few days about having to make tough decisions on how they would intercede and even after they interceded one of the -- one of the suspects there decided they were going to try to do a terrorist act on their own and was caught in the act of doing that, as well. >> very quickly, what else can we expect this season? >> there's some great stuff, if you love the good old-fashioned rugd spy stories and i do as an fbi guy, we branch out a little bit and we have other great counter terrorism stories that were successful by the good work of all of that community.
so if you like spy stories and you like intrigue and you like all of that, you will love "declassified". >> we certainly will. be sure to tune in to "declassified," untold stories of american spies and it premieres this sunday night at 9:00 p.m. all of our jewish viewers, have a happy and healthy new year. erin burnett starts raight now. this is cnn breaking news. good evening. i'm erin burnett. we begin with breaking news. the white house tried to keep secret, cnn learning this hour the white house also tried to limit access to prdzesident trump's conversations with muhammad bin salman and vladimir putin. the conversation with the saudi prince was treated differently and occur
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