tv Cuomo Prime Time CNN October 22, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
be happening with respect to turkey, syria and the middle east. urt reports to come later." not good news for the kurds. news continues. i want to hand it over to chris for "cuomo prime time." >> i am chris cuomo and welcome to "prime time." so many people see this as a dark day for the president. we have finally seen the light of truth. we know what happened and that light shone brightly today from an unlikely source, team trump. the top u.s. diplomat to ukraine said a quid pro quo was clearly in play. the president was orchestrating a shadow effort to manipulate ukraine to get dirt on the dnc and the bidens. people with power to decide the president's fate are here tonight to answer the real only question that remains, what should the consequence be? it's a big day. there are big questions.
let's get after it. >> now look, the white house is doing what it does worst, it's attacking the source, but they can't do that here. this comes from their own. the president's top diplomat in ukraine, the man asked by trump secretary of state of course he's for every citizen but it tim team, pompeo went to taylor, asked them to do the job. this is their team. and mr. taylor confirmed in painstaking detail what happened in ukraine. he details it as wrong and abusive of power. the release of aid to ukraine was contingent on the country pursuing an investigation against the bidens, against the dnc and saying it in public and if they didn't, they wouldn't get to have a meeting with this president, which they wanted very much for legitimacy and the
aid was frozen. remember, bill taylor, if you don't want to take him from his word, take him from his text because we have them. sondland, if you don't want to take him from his word, and there are questions he has to answer with inconsistencies of what we've heard from volker and taylor, but it's all in the text. taylor is the man who said i think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. he said he believed that then and still believes it today. earlier he answered the key question of what happened on the phone with the president's ambassador to the eu, sondland, after he asked him to take it off line. remember? taylor says ambassador sondland told me that president trump had told him that he wants president zelensky, the ukraine president, to state publicly ukraine will investigate burisma, the company
where hunter boo eer biden was board and alleged ukraine interference in the 2016 election, the crazy dnc server conspiracy. sondland said, quote, everything was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance. he said that president trump wanted president zelensky in a public box. the president's own people have by and large been telling the same story for the last two and a half weeks to congress, and it is damning. the only one who appears to be spinning is the top trump donor turned ambassador gordon sondland. and what he said is bad enough. but now they're saying you've got to come back because he has been spinning it a little bit and we need as little discrepancy on what is
certificate fine certifiable as possible. let's have someone who heard from sondland, oversight committee member jerry connolly. such an important night. thank you for being on "prime time." >> good to be with you. >> you are relieved of the ordinary cat and mouse where i try to get you to tell me what happened in the testimony and you save you can't tell me because it was closed because we have his statement and that is all we need. when you heard that today, do you believe there can be a good faith dispute about whether or not the president did something that is wrong and abusive of his power. >> no, wrong that's in dispute at all, chris. i think you outlined it just before i came on. i think we have prima facia
evidence in a very meticulously done statement of 15 pages by a man who takes really meticulous notes from phone conversations and meetings. i think it's very damning and it puts a politically mortal peril at this presidency. >>i think that's the only question is what is the consequence. i don't see good fate arguments on the facts because these are all trump's guys. you want the whistleblower, go get hilm. we don't need him. this is what people put in place by this administration has said. do you believe this is -- you said mortal peril. do you believe this is worthy of removal from office.
i know the senate handles that but what's your take? >> absolutely. i'm prepared to vote for articles for impeachment. the evidence we have in front of us, combined with the mueller report, we shouldn't forget that -- >> i agree. >> i believe this is overflowing in terms of meeting the constitutional threshold for impeachment and conviction, removal from office. >> i think that's something the democrats have to deal with. where has the mueller report gone? i get you have an easier sell in ukraine. i were telling us you had enough then and then went silent on it so i'm glad you brought that up. in terms of what else do you need to basically bring up an indictment be? you heard enough today. >> i think that's right, but i think that, you know, the speaker and the leadership of the impeachment inquiry panel want to be extremely thorough.
they want to cross every t and dot every i so nobody can athis is a bums rush job. >> the republicans say you haven't brought anybody up that said trump said it was a quid pro quo. i don't believe you need a quid pro quo. i don't think this is like boxes that need to be checked in boxes. but even if you did need a quid pro quo, how did you not get it today in. >> who said we need to prove there's a quid pro quo? but by the way, the transcript the white house itself released clearly says extortion is going on. if you want military aid resumed and you want to have a meeting with me in the white house, you need to do a favor for me, though. that favor, what was it? to collect political dirt on a
protective political opponent and track down this elusive dnc server that some conspiracy theorist says is still running around in the ukraine. unfortunately trump followed through on that multiple times, including the one you cited in the report just now is he actually said i want to see president zelensky of ukraine go on public television and i want to see it myself commit to this investigation before military aid can be resumed. >> so if the idea of no strawman -- if the idea of no quid pro quo is a strawman argument and it is in my take, the steelman argument is, congressman connolly, it never happened. i didn't get the dirt on the biden, i didn't get the dird t the dnc, i didn't keep the aid from them, our relationship wasn't compromised by this, so there is no damage therefore removal is excessive this close
to an election with a first-term president. >> the abuse of office, the obstruction of justice and, i'm, by the way with you, i think we cannot forget the mueller report, we can't just focus on ukraine, though that might be our primary focus, we have to look at the other actions of this president which absolutely rise to the threshold of impeachment. i bleaelieve president trump is clear and present danger to our democratic norms and way of life. >> you believe if he's not removed he'll keep doing this. look at syria, look that he spoke to putin and spoke to the head in hungary before he spoke to turkey and he never dealt with congress, he just spoke tos they two men and came up with policy. i do think that removal is a very high bar. articles of impeachment, that's the indictmenindictment.
i don't know what you're waiting for on that. >> is there anything else you want the audience to know? >> it is up to the senate but, remember, we also help provide managers on the floor. >> do you know who those will be? too early in the process >> i don't but i'm looking forward to it. >> congressman, thank you very much for keeping us in the loop. >> thank you, chris. >> taylor's testimony has to be setting off alarm bells. it even implicates the president for the actions at the heart of the impeachment inquiry and he's not a never trumper. he's not some radical guy that's code, strawman, fakery. we will lay out all of the lines that have not been and i argue cannot be rebutted that lead directly to the top. you want to know what's wrong, we will lay it out next.
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all right. so here what's we now know. the top diplomat to ukraine asked to do the job by team trump. just placed the president of the united states at the head of an actual conspiracy. now the white house is referring to him with this other group of people as a radical. he is their guy. pompeo, secretary of state, asked him to take over for the ambassador they didn't like, all right? so enough with the noise, let's stick with the facts. in his sworn testimony, bill taylor eraessed any doubt about who was calling the shots and what the stakes were and the intent of a clear abuse of power that all knew about. taylor said ", quote, the president doesn't want to provide any assistance at all.
it was president trump who demanded a foreign leader produce political propaganda on his behalf. it was the president who saw official foreign policy as a business transaction that could be profited because, as taylor quotes sondland, the businessman asks that person to way up. what was the profit? political advantage. this was about erasing the stink of how he got elected and getting the bidens. the cost of that, political am o mo. i've been to ukraine. i've seen the cost. the decision to withhold military aid matters. did you know 13,000 ukrainians are dead? who knows how many more will be. so the urgency is there. remember, the first order of business the ukrainian president had on that july 25th phone call was to ask for javelins. those are missiles.
obviously they're fighting a war. we have seen witness after witness deliver sworn testimony to congress. the president's own people. many of them still work for him. yet they've ignored the official policy of hiding behind privilege. and it is telling that only one, gourd gordon sondland tried to soften the blow. even his testimony showed this is what it looks like. there can be no question whether there was a quid pro quo. my question is whether or not you are need one. we're not checking off elements of a crime. this is about abuse of political power, about common sense. but if you want one, there were two. security assistance and a white house meeting. that's what ukraine wanted. both were used and withheld to maximize leverage. the demand explicit.
everything was dependent, says taylor. nothing changed until the president got what he wanted. and you can't pass this off as rudy giuliani just creating issues. today's testimony is a window into a coordinated effort involving cabinet officials, senators, ambassadors. that's in addition to the vice president, the acting chief of staff and who knows who else. they all got their orders and their idea of the intentions from the president of the united states. nowhere in any of the testimony, in the texts, in the white house transcript, is there mention of any other case, is there mention of any other example of corruption. no other changes they needed to see from ukraine. it was only and always about hitting the democrats and biden. to get that, they used the
highest office in america and money congress had already approved. neither of which mr. trump has any right or any power to withhold in exchange for his own political gain. we have our investigators here to tell us how does what taylor told us today fit into the boxes of investigative analysis. mccabe and baker on the case next. sleep this amazing? that's a zzzquil pure zzzs sleep. our liquid has a unique botanical blend, while an optimal melatonin level means no next-day grogginess. zzzquil pure zzzs. naturally superior sleep.
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why was he so detailed? because he was worried about what was going on around him and what he had unfortunately become a part of. the other big takeaway, this idea of there's no quid pro quo here. they don't need one to make a political judgment that this was abusive of the president's office, but if you want one, you've got two from taylor's testimony today. in just his opening statement, i don't even know what he said in the testimony, but you heard connolly say it reinforced the same message. administration officials were wrapped up in what he see s as parallel diplomatic effort to benefit this president. if you want the aid, you want a immediating with the president, you give us the dnc and the biden information. andrew mccabe, what do you see in that statement that ends the analysis for you? >> well, chris, as you
mentioned, they don't need proof of a quid pro quo. we are not trying to show the elements of an offense here. it not a legal case, but the hurdle that the democrats have to get over here is presenting a convincing case, a convincing argument about the malfeasance and the bad acts that the president and his supporters were engaged in. taylor helps them enormously. his statement is incredibly detailed, it's got dates, phone calls, meetings. >> what else do they need? >> it's hard to imagine what else they need. every witness they've had now has kind of outdone the witness before but taylor takes them to a new level and he obliterates a lot of defenses we've seen coming from the republicans about there was no real quid pro quo and that sort of thing. taylor eviscerates those defenses. >> would you ask for an indictment on these facts if they were delivered to you? >> confidently. confidently. if i were the investigator
running this case, i would assume that the gods were smiling on me. by taylor is the kind of witness that you are happy to go into court with. >> okay. so if we start looking at what this is going to mean, i want to make sure i have the order right. just so you know, this stuff doesn't come out of my head. i have all this paper on the desk. we study all day to make it eas. it's got to be hard on us to make it more relatable. we're going to attack the source that's not going to work here. this man's resumé is too tough and they begged him to do the job so they have a problem here. what harm was done, jim? ukraine got the money, they never gave us dirt on the dnc or bidens, they never interfered, didn't do the interview they are supposed to do with cnn, which is always a crime in and of itself and our relationship is as good as ever, so how can you remove from office for this?
>> it's what he tried to do. what he tried do clearly was to abuse his power in order to be stay in power by trying to get the ukrainians to do these investigations of the clinton server and of the bidens in order to help him stay in power. and he withheld the money for a period of time, the military aid, for a period of time in order to try to see what he could do to get the ukrainians to do his bidding. that, in my view, was a violation of his oath of office because he is required to faithfully execute the laws of the united states and by withholding that money that had been appropriated by law, by congress for his own personal interest, he was acting corruptly and not faithfully executing the laws as he's required to do under the constitution. >> that didn't go that well. let me try this again with you, andrew. the idea of a good faith argument that you're right,
baker's right, they withheld the money. shouldn't have done it. wrong. but they did give it eventually. so they did deliver the money so you don't have me on withholding the money permanently because i gave it to them and everything wound up fine and zelensky loves me so removing me from office nullifying an election in my first term with an election right around the corner? too big a stick. >> look, chris, the constitution doesn't say you can only be impeached for a successful high crime or misdemeanor. there's no question he is in the hot zone of being looked at for impeachment and removal. that's a question, the senator republican senators will have to grapple with. and they might well look at the situation and say, you know what, i don't approve of what he did, i think he probably abused his office but i don't think it was enough to remove him from office. and that's a decision that we will have to see play out on the senate floor. >> andrew, what's the biggest
problem with making that argument? >> just completely ignores the standard that we try to hold our presidents to. it's not were you a successful criminal, it's did you live up to the -- your oath, did you live up to the what the constitution requires of you? and if you have engaged in a high crime or misdemeanor, that is an indicator for us you have not and you should be impeached. i think that's clearly happened here. >> you have sondland telling taylor that the president wanted it done a certain way, which is give me what i want or you're not getting anything and then sondland told the ukraine official that. he later regretted that, according to taylor, which was a nice thing for taylor to add in there for him. you have the two layers of it. the one missing piece they're relying on in defending the president is ukraine didn't know it was being manipulated the way you lay it out.
they were just curious as to why they weren't getting the aid and how to get a better relationship. and if they didn't know they were being manipulated with this quid pro quo, then it's not really extortion. >> it's no the about extortion and it's not about being successful, it's what they tried to do in secret until they were found out and there was a whistle-blower that came forward and announced this to the whole world. the fact that they can't get away with it at the end of the day shouldn't excuse this kind of behavior. furthermore, this has -- i mean, i hear what the president and others have said about what the ukrainians think and i see what the ukrainians are saying publicly and so on but all of this cannot be what they wanted to have public with respect to the u.s./ukrainian relations. they can't be happy with being drawn in and pulled into our political debate and discuss this way. it does not look ukraine look good, not the kind of foreign policy they westbound to have executed at this time, in the middle of a war as ambassador
taylor so thoughtfully pointed out today. >> let's end it on this. in the past we've all shared questions about what we still want to know here before we start seeing what a question of consequence to be. do you both believe you know what happened? you know enough to say it was wrong and actionable? >> yes, absolutely. >> yes, absolutely, yes. >> the underlying allegation has not changed at all.these witnest given us a better look at it. hasn't changed anything but made the case a lot stronger. >> someone who keeps notes like this does so for a reason. and this was a day it seemed that mr. taylor knew was going to come. thank you very much, andrew mccabe and jim baker, appreciate it. very important night to have you. >> that he cannk, chris. >> those are the facts we see them from mr. taylor. what is the argument for the
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if you read the opening statement from mr. taylor today, you will see what the president wanted and what was done to try to get that for him are clear. they are also clearly wrong as evidenced by the need for mr. taylor to take notes, the need to keep it quiet, the need to be disruptive to people stating what was obvious. so if you see it as obvious and wrong, the question is does it move supporters in congress to think this is something worthy of removal? and although that's specifically a question for the senate, it's something that should be in our conversation of leadership right now. republican mark wayne mullen returns to the show. congressman, thank you for coming back. >> absolutely, chris. thanks for having me. >> so mr. taylor today, did you find what he put in his opening statement compelling in any way? >> no, absolutely not. what this was was an opening statement with no cross-examination. unfortunately you have adam schiff that still refuses to
open up these hearings. we're talking about impeaching the president of the united states. there's no transcript that goes along with this. what i was told by my republican colleagues, john radcliffe tore this apart piece by piece in less than two minutes. we don't know this because it's not open and transparent. >> this is the investigation, though. just to make it clear for the audience. you don't usual get as at defendant a team in there to help new an investigation. but republicans are there and you asked him to take the job as a life long republican. >> they won't allow me into the hearing room. we're talking about impeaching the president of the united states and it's all behind closed doors, and adam schiff is choosing what he releases --
>> that's the intel committee. that's how you always do it there. >> in the intel, not an impeachment inquiry. this isn't the way we proceeded with bill clinton, this isn't the way that -- >> that's not a fair comparison, congress. you know it. you had ken starr. >> what do you mean it's not a fair comparison. >> you had ken starr as a special counsel there or whatever you wanted to call it then by statute. >> do you know what the difference between the two is? richard nixon committed the crime by using the intelligence community by playing political games and you had bill clinton who lied to a grand jury. they also both committed crimes prior it the impeachment choir ri -- choinquiry moving forward - >> there is a specific requirement. >> no, there is not. >> what is impeachable? a high crime or misdemeanor. >> i'm sorry, i thought you
asked me a question. you're like me, you ask me a question and then you answer it. >> high crimes and mi sdemeanor? why didn't they list murder, kidnapping? >> those are crimes. >> of course they are but they expect prosecution of those things. this is about removal of politicians for political crimes. >> abuse of power is about removing a politician for police call mo -- political motives. it had already been shown. >> arguably that's true here also. >> no, it's not. >> tell me what he has done. they're in search of a crime. >> that's a political talking point. >> tell me what he's done. >> if we switched the rs and ds, you'd be making this argument to me. >> yes, you would. if you want to say clinton did something so bad --
>> i was asked on a weekly basis by my base to impeach him and i said show me a crime and i'll run it to tup the flagpole. >> what has the president done? >> he asked a foreign power to get involved in an american election by getting dirt on his opponen opponents. >> you're adding to that. that is not what the transcript said. he said it's important to the people that we find out the truth of what happened. one with the server, two with the connection with joe biden and hunter. >> he did not say the dnc. >> then why did everyone around this president put in place by him say oh my god i can't believe he's doing this, how do we stop this from happening? >> if we're going to talk about the facts, then talk about
actual facts. >> that is the fact. >> no, that was not in the transcript and that's not even what the fake whistle-blower even said happened. >> we don't need fake whistle-blower, we don't need -- ambassador sondland said the president said to him i want the bidens and i want dnc and i want it public or they get nothing. he then said that to a ukrainian official and then regretted it. when mr. taylor heard it. >> because mr. taylor told you that secondhand? >> he's your guy. he was so worried about this, that he took meticulous notes. >> i don't know his political motives. i don't know people's political motives. >> your own guy has political motives. >> he was a career bureaucrat. >> pompeo didn't go to him and ask him to do the job? >> was you there? he did ask him to go do the job. that doesn't mean he's our guy. that means we put him in place.
>> what defines your guy? >> you're using a term like this is a republican appointed by the president. >> yeah. >> that's not it. >> that's exactly it. >> this is a guy that has served the country. >> you kind of are. you're trying to paint him as he may have animus. >> i'm painting it on the fact that we don't know the facts. >> you do know the facts. >> you and i are making assumptions. have you got the ftrue transcr t transcripts from the conference today? >> i don't have it because you guys refuse to give it to us. it says right on it, it's not the verbatim of the situation, the collective responses of people there. >> what are you talking about with william taylor? isn't that the same thing? >> but you vet him. >> the american people vetted the president, too, and chose they wanted him to be president. what has happened is the democrat party hasn't accepted
it. they've been trying to impeach him ever since he's been in office. >> it should not be just a numbers game. the only reason this happens -- >> that's not what impeachment was supposed to beof b. you're ignoring. >> what has the president done that's impeachable? >> he abused his power by asking a foreign sovereign to interfere in the election. >> he didn't ask a foreign sovereign. >> of course he did. >> because you and i know that how? >> because everybody who has testified and the text -- >> in the transcript -- you've seen everybody's transcript because this has been so open and transparent. >> you saw a text between two lovers and you thought there was a deep state conspiracy against the president based on two lovers' useless conversation. now you have these texts -- >> you keep turning away the conversation. if we're going to sit here and assume and you're going to pass to the american people that this
is actually factual, then why don't we have the facts? call on adam schiff to open the hearing. they won't let either one of us. >> he said on tv i wanted ukraine to investigate the bidens. >> he said let's know the truth. well, the truth is hunter biden even said the fact his only connection to the ukraine was -- >> congressman, so you're award about ivanka trump cutting i.p. deals in china while she's representing our country? >> there was already a well-established business connection there. chris, you always want to talk about everybody else about the trumps but you won't talk about the obvious, the obvious, would be the word suspicious activities to which hunter biden was dealing with with ukraine. >> i have no problem saying
something, mr. mullen, that you can't say. what hunter biden shouldn't have done what he did, that was wrong. i'm out of time but you see what i just did? you see what i just did? if you can't look at this situation with this president and say you see obvious wrongs, then you're not telling the truth to the american people. >> we haven't seen obvious wrongs. >> oh, come on. congressman, i got to let you go. reality is hard to ignore, man. i do not envy the case that has to be made. everybody's lying, i got to see everything verbatim. texts were fine in the past but they're not fine now. listen, we know what happened. you should not surrender principles for political convenience. the argument about what we know but just as importantly what we don't know next. ♪
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we now know what happened and them. a meticulous tapestry of turpitude, mr. bill taylor. it clearly indicates an orchestrated, intentional wrong, a clear abuse of the president's power. period. there could be no good faith argument made otherwise. trump told the president of ukraine to look at the dnc and the bidens. he told ambassador sondland that he wanted ukraine to announce those investigations, that everything was tied to that. it was known by all that there would be no aid nor any meeting with the two presidents until trump got what he wanted. sondland told taylor that the president told him what he wanted which is the definition of a quid pro quo, right after
saying that the president says no quid pro quo. look, this president may be unethical and abuse i have ive power but he's not stupid. ambassador sondland said that he had talked to president zelensky and mr. yermak, if president zelensky did not clear things up in public, we would be at a stalemate. that's all a quid pro quo is. when taylor said to him in a text, you've seen it, he didn't like aid being upheld for help in an election, sondland took it offline, then admitted that was what was going on, as you saw above. what did he then do? he tried to keep this conspiracy secret. he didn't want the call with the ukraine where he relayed those terms transcribed. why? why did he keep the circle of
parties small? because they knew it was wrong. mulvaney even admitted the dnc was a give for the aid before being walked back by team trump. you have named sources. taylor, vietnam vet and republican. sondland, trump donor and friend. volker, hand-picked by team trump. where are the nicknames and the nasty degrading of these guys, mr. president? the only thing you can do is say radical unelecteds? they're your people. and your silence about them is confirming of the same. the only question is what the consequence should be. that's where the picture takes a turn for the worse. the latest proof, supporting republicans with silence or spewing nonsense in defense of this president, saying he's being lynched. incentisensitiv
insensitive, inaccurate. any president should know better. trump doesn't. that's ignorance. and it's correctable by apologizing and stating the insensitivity. but he doesn't do that. that's arrogance. that's dangerous and not correctable. worse, on his team, it's contagious. >> this is a lynching in every sense. this is un-american. what does lynching mean? that a mob grabs you, they don't give you a chance to defend yourself. >> that's not what it means. it means you get attacked by a bunch of bigots because you're black, and you're murdered nor that and only that, and you know it. senator graham, you're not ignorant. your state bears the stain of the savagery. close to 150 that we know about. shame on you for supporting in this president what you once decried on the floor of congress. >> you don't even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional
republic. if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds, impeachment is not about punishment. impeachment is about cleansing the office. impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office. >> where is your honor and integrity? if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds, if this isn't, what is? and now his words should haunt him. and all the other hypocrites. when you're asked to dismiss likely articles of impeachment, will graham and gang once again do what they reviled in their opponents? >> the only way to avoid impeachment is to leave your common sense at the door, defy the way the world works, and ignore the facts and talk about something else.
>> hence the fake news, the lynching, the silly straw man arguments that fall away as easily as their name suggests when soaked in facts. refusing to face the facts does not make them any less true. there is one question. is what this president did worthy of removal to you? and that question remains. the facts are not in dispute. what say you, men and women on the left and right? weigh your words. they will be remembered. that's my argument. now, a bolo. where do the roads lead here? not just to this president. someone arguably much more dangerous. bolo on that, next. is just like our original sandwiches...only littler...so we bought a little ad...on lil jon. little johns, yeah! $3, what?!
putin apparently convinced our parent to adopt a hostile view on ukraine. today putin and turkey's erdogan make a deal to take over vast swaths of kurdish territory. be on the lookout. why is this president always benefiting putin? thank you for watching us. "cnn tonight" with d. lemon starts right now. >> what did the house speaker say, all roads what? >> lead to putin. >> what do you think? that's the answer, right there. >> i think you have some explicit and implicit reasons for it. >> did you read the entire letter today? >> i did. what letter? you mean the testimony? >> the opening statement. >> oh, yeah. yeah. >> i hope everyone reads it because there's really, again, for me, this is like the transcript, me speaking, don lemon, it's like the transcript, there's no two ways about it. what is described here is explicit of what the president wanted and what
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