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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 28, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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good evening. we start with breaking news tonight. house speaker nancy pelosi this afternoon announced the impeachment inquiry is about to enter a new, more public phase trying to at least in part undercut a key republican talking point in the process. the speaker informed her colleagues in a letter that the house will hold a vote on thursday on rules that establish the rights of the public to see the information collected from witnesses during closed-door testimony and how that information will be transferred to the judiciary committee which is responsible for recommending articles of impeachment. it will also establish the rights of the president and his counsel as the lower chamber heads toward a final impeachment vote. much of her letter was not about the process ahead, it was rather
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why they're holding the vote in the first place. quoting, she said we are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the house of representatives. nobody is above the law. tomorrow will mark five weeks since speaker pelosi publicly announced the inquiry. in that time, the president's top lawyer said administration officials cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry. secretary of state mike pompeo has said his employees cannot testify. rudy giuliani has refused as well. today democrats threatened attempt after a witness refused to appear. one reason the president's allies have given for a lack of cooperation has to do with process, that there needed to be a single house vote to establish the inquiry. but that is not actually true. a federal judge on friday called those arguments, quote, cherry-picked and incomplete with, quote, no textual support in the u.s. constitution. then today in a bit of a surprise, the president seemed to agree.
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>> so one thing i said, i'd rather go into the details of the case rather than process. process is wonderful. process is good, but i think you ought to look at the case, and the case is very simple. it's quick. it's so quick. >> it doesn't seem like his allies in congress agree with him, especially considering so much testimony from multiple officials appears to confirm the original whistle-blower's allegations of a quid pro quo. for more on all of it, i'm joined by congressman raj na krishnamoorthi who sits on the house intelligence committee which is now planning to have open hearings as part of impeachment. congressman, why take this vote now? what changed? >> well, i think that this vote is not necessary for the impeachment inquiry to exist. indeed, as you pointed out, judge howell last friday in the d.c. district court said as much. however, we do need a vote in order to do a few things. one, publish the transcripts of the closed-door proceedings.
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two, transfer this evidence to the judiciary committee for their consideration later. and then, three, among other things, we need to have staff-led questioning in the open hearing, something which currently is not the norm in most public hearings. >> so in the public hearings, the questions are going to be, what, from attorneys on the staff as opposed to from members of congress? >> i think it's going to be primarily led by staff. i think one of the problems that your viewers might notice with our public hearings is that most times we as members each get about five minutes of questioning. and although you can pack a lot into five minutes, there's kind of an abruptness to the way that they start and end. and so we hope to have lengthier question periods and also done by folks who are probably going to get into even more details than is normally the case in member questioning. >> and also, i mean, you know,
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to be frank, in the five minutes that many members of congress have, oftentimes a lot of that is eaten up by them making a statement first and sometimes those statements are very long. >> oh, i don't know what you're talking about, anderson. >> i know. not you. certainly never you. how much of this is in response to the former national security council official charles kupperman's failure to appear today? after he didn't show, chairman schiff made it clear he doesn't want to spend any more time litigating this in the courts. >> yeah. i actually think these aren't really linked because this had to be done anyway in order to go to the next stage, the open hearings. the one thing i can say about mr. kupperman is he obviously is not complying with the personally directed subpoena. but as you can see, there's been a stream, a parade of witnesses who have come forward. these are career public servants, oftentimes appointed by donald trump's administration, who have come forward at their own expense, putting their necks on the line to tell the truth. and that's very much to be
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commended. >> the house republican leader, kevin mccarthy, he has responded to what nancy pelosi put out today, saying -- he tweeted, saying, quote, today's backtracking is an admission that this process has been botched from the start. obviously you don't agree with that. but do you see this as at least in part a desire to sort of meet republicans -- some republicans' criticism that there should be a full vote on this? >> well, what i can say, it reaffirms what's already occurred. but i mean their claims that the process has been unfair are totally unfounded. you know, more than 40 republicans have actually participated in the closed-door proceedings. they've had equal time to question the witnesses, and they can question them about any topic they want. and they get to make opening statements as well, and they've used that opportunity on an ample basis. so i think their claims of process are unfounded. interestingly, they don't want to talk about the substance of the allegations, and that's what we really need to consider at this point. so going to a public hearing
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will really allow the american people to see the substance of the evidence and really decide for themselves, you know, what they think about where the evidence should lead us. >> so will all the transcripts of the closed-door meetings -- will all of those be released, and what percentage do you think of the people who have come forward so far to be witnesses or to give testimony will be called back to do it publicly? >> the answer is i don't know. i don't think that that has been decided, and obviously i don't want to get ahead of my chairman, adam schiff, on these particular questions. but i think that probably short of redacting for certain maybe sensitive or classified information, my hope is that there be maximum transparency into who was said in those closed proceedings. in my humble opinion, it was very powerful, incredible, and compelling testimony, in many cases such as by bill taylor just the other day. >> as i mentioned at the top of
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the program, speaker pelosi says the democrats are taking these steps to, quote, eliminate any doubt as to whether the trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas or continue obstructing the house of representatives. do you actually expect this will change how the white house responds to your requests? >> i'm not sure. i'm not holding my breath based on kind of the obstructionism that they've presented up to this point. but at this point i think that we have to do the right thing. we have to hold open hearings, provide maximum transparency into what's happening. and like i said, allow the american people to actually see the witnesses and hear for themselves what they have to say. it's extremely important for this process to unfold the way it should. >> congressman krishnamoorthi, i appreciate it. thank you very much. >> thank you, deranderson. >> joining me now, gloria borger, jeffrey toobin and david
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urban, who is now a washington corporate lobbyist. jeff, does this upcoming vote -- i mean does it put democrats in a stronger position, or is it, as kevin mccarthy is saying, democrats backtracking? >> i think it puts them mostly in a stronger position. i think what it's really about is that there has been a plan among the democrats from almost the beginning of this process to make an article of impeachment about failure to cooperate with congress, you know, failure to answer subpoenas, failure to produce witnesses and documents. and this resolution will eliminate one of the arguments that the administration has used to refuse to produce documents, and they will still refuse to produce all that material. so i think it's really designed to build up the article of impeachment. i don't think it's going to get the trump administration to yield on the issues of allowing people to testify. >> gloria, the idea that the
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congressman was just saying that it's going to be staff members doing the questions as opposed to members of congress, we haven't seen that for a while. that's pretty interesting. there was a lot of talk of should that have been done in, you know, the mueller testimony, in other testimonies. but do you think that's going to make much of a difference in terms of public perception? >> i don't know if it's going to make much of a difference in public perception. it may mean that you get more and better information out of the witnesses because of course the committee lawyers are really steeped in all of this. and i don't know if that will happen on the republican side as well or just on the democratic side. if there are republican attorneys and republican members of congress, you can be sure they're going to go back to the deep state and sort of the rat hole about, well, these are all democrats, and they're not to be trusted and, you know, all the rest of that. and i think, however, if you have attorneys with time lines
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and a long amount of time to question people, not just five minutes, you may actually be able to tell a narrative a lot better than you would if you were moving from member to member to member. and i think this is all about telling a story to the american public. >> david, it's interesting because democrats are saying, well, look, all the things that, you know, nancy pelosi has talked about today, that was the plan all along. transcripts were always going to be released. witnesses were -- some of them were always going to be brought back to testify openly. do you see this as much of a change, or do you see it -- or how do you see it? >> yeah. you know, anderson, i listened to carrie cordero earlier on another show kind of opine that this was kind of a tempest in a teapot. the speaker didn't need to do any of this. she could have conducted all this business in a closed-door
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session and not make a lot of her vulnerable members kind of walk the plank. so i'm not quite sure what you get out of this except, you know, you give comfort to some folks who are in very safe districts and you make people in swing districts very nervous. >> but, dave, to your point, it's not going to change -- >> no. >> -- you know, how the white house handles this or deals with this. >> nope. no, it doesn't. just like jeff said earlier, you know, just because they vote this way, i don't think all of a sudden the white house counsel is going to say, well, since you've had this procedural vote, now we'll turn all this information over to you. it's going to change absolutely nothing. you know, this has -- >> i'm sorry. go ahead. >> it's not going to change anything. jeff, it's not going to change anything. i just think, anderson, i always go back to "the washington post," january 20th, 2017. you know, the move to impeach president trump has begun on inauguration day. so this is just a continuation of that. i think the white house sees it as such.
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and cnn has a piece on the website too where, you know, polling is upside down in swing states on impeachment. michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania, you know, impeachment's not playing so well there. so i think speaker pelosi has a timing issue on her hands as well as has been alluded to. are we going to get this done and wrapped up before thanksgiving or is this going to drag into 2020? >> can we talk about this, at least a little bit about the law rather than the polling data? i mean, you know, the white house has said we will not cooperate because you haven't passed a resolution. they are going to pass a resolution, and the white house still isn't going to cooperate. that's wrong. i mean that's just something that shouldn't happen. >> but, jeff -- >> right. and i -- look -- >> jeff, let -- >> go ahead. >> david, respond. then we'll go to gloria. >> okay. >> i was just going to say, jeff, there's a long history of the house and white house not getting along. you go fast and furious,
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benghazi. there's lots of pushback from every administration to the congress on all oversight investigations. this is no different. >> well, but, you know, the white house at some point -- and the president said it today, anderson. you pointed it out at the beginning of the show. the president said today, you know, i really want you guys to get into the details here and stop talking about process and start defending me on the phone call because it was a beautiful phone call. >> he also said he wanted to talk to mueller, and he wanted to be interviewed. >> exactly. >> what one said publicly is not necessarily what one actually wants. >> exactly. now the republicans have a conflict here because the president, at least he says, wants him to talk about the phone call and how it was perfect and how it was fine for a president to ask another president of another country to do a political favor for him in exchange for military aid. and the republicans are still screaming about the process even though nancy pelosi has said, okay, fine. here it is. she called their bluff. so there's going to be -- they have to have a meeting of the
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minds here about what they're going to do during this process. are they going to go down the dark hole of the whistle-blower's a democrat, or are they going to say what the president is saying, which is, yeah, i did it. so what? >> all right. we're going to continue this in just a second. i got to get a break in. still to come, we're going to go also to the white house for reaction to thursday's impeachment vote. also a detailed account on the u.s. special forces and the one dog that we know about who all risked their lives during the secret mission that killed the leader of isis.
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reaction tonight from the white house on the breaking news we've been reporting. a vote in the house of representatives on thursday is going to take place that will send the impeachment inquiry into a new, more public direction involving the possible disclosure of witness transcripts, transfer of evidence and the due process rights for the president. jim acosta joins us now from the white house. what are they saying about it at the white house, jim? >> reporter: they're not signaling a whole lot of cooperation to come, anderson. i will tell you talking to some sources, republican sources up on capitol hill and close to the white house, essentially saying this was their objective all along to force the house speaker nancy pelosi to have this vote later on this week. according to one republican source i talked to earlier this evening, this does not mean that all of a sudden there's going to be all of this cooperation. this one republican source referred to pelosi's resolution that will be up for a vote on
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thursday as being largely symbolic. and the white house press secretary i think signaled this pretty clearly earlier this evening, anderson, putting out a very lengthy statement, calling this process irreversibly illegitimate. that is an indication that the white house is likely to take the posture, anderson, that although nancy pelosi is now trying to create a process that will be voted on in the house, that that doesn't all of a sudden put the impeachment toothpaste back in the tube. >> and the legal team, have they weighed in? >> reporter: i talked to one source close to the legal team aware of what is being discussed inside the president's legal team, and they are saying this evening that they're being much more cautious about what is going to be voted on in the house. i talked to one source who said, listen, we haven't even read what's in the resolution, and so at this point they don't want to comment. but, anderson, if past is prologue, judging by everything that we've seen so far from this white house in terms of the stonewalling throughout this impeachment inquiry, it is very likely that the white house will
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have to be dragged into court and forced to cooperate with this investigation no matter what is voted on on thursday. but we'll have to wait and see what is in the finer details of this resolution. at least the president's legal team at this point is not closing the door on all of this, but they're not signaling a great deal of cooperation tonight. >> thanks. back with us, gloria borger, jeffrey toobin and david urban. david, the time line here does matter. it is, you know, obviously there's an election coming up. if this gets wrapped up in courts and moves into the new year and even if, you know, the senate takes it on and there's lengthy testimony, that's going to occupy the time of some of the front-runners on the democratic side running for president. >> well, not only that, but, anderson, you're exactly correct in that regard. and not only that, but you'll get more and more of what i see in verbatims from voters across america and particularly in
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swing states that say, look, the congress should get back to doing what they're doing, and there's an election coming up. we have a few months to go. why don't we make our decision as to who should be president or not, and let's not nullify the past election. so that becomes more of a problem the closer you get to an election as well. jeff, earlier you talked about the vote. one of the things that republicans have a lot of heartburn with is speaker pelosi never took a vote to actually authorize this impeachment process to begin in the first place. so i think republicans -- gloria, i think republicans feel like they should do that initially. she can have all these subsequent votes. let's have a vote to begin the proceedings initially. >> well, judge howell in the district court just last week said that's not necessary. >> you don't need it, right. >> and they're going to take that vote anyway at the end of this week. so i mean, you know, these procedural objections to how the democrats are proceeding, they will persuade a certain number of people who i think are already persuaded. but, you know, the ultimate
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issue is, is the president's conduct impeachable? and at some point it looks like the house of representatives is going to have to make a decision on that, and that's a substantive issue, not a procedural one. >> gloria, how much of the time line do you think is -- >> well, it's a political issue too, jeff. >> sure. >> this time line is moving very quickly. this whole thing is fast tracked. the democrats are well aware that they want this to end. as david points out, they want this to end before january, and caitlyn poe lance just reported tonight that judge richard leon wants to hear from charles kupperman, who said, i'm not going to testify today on capitol hill, former national security person who worked for john bolton. his attorney and the white house lawyers, the house lawyers, about how this should proceed, you know, kupperman sued, said i can't figure this out. the white house and the house disagree. he's having all of them in on
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thursday. that's pretty quick. having them all in on thursday. presumably so he can decide this matter so kupperman can testify or not testify. so that gives you an idea of how even the courts are speeding this up. >> yeah. jeff, i mean -- >> i think -- if i'm not mistaken -- >> go ahead, david. >> i was going to say, anderson, i think the house continues to have depositions scheduled to the middle of november. there are depositions being held out to the middle of november. so seeing how things are going to move much quicker, if they're not wrapping these up by the end, you get thanksgiving, you get christmas. you're in the new year pretty quickly here. so taking depositions throughout the end of november doesn't seem like you're going to get things wrapped up too quickly. >> the house can structure the rules any way they want in terms of the actual open hearings. are you encouraged that it's going to be staff members asking the questions, or that's what they say. they said that during kavanaugh too, and clearly that sort of
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derailed. >> no, this seems to be different, and i am so encourage the. i think this is good for the republicans as well as the democrats. the congressmen, with all due respect, are such extraordinary blowhards that they are, a, all they want to do is hear their own voices and, b, don't know how to ask a question to tell a story. both sides will be able to use this testimony to tell a story. >> right. >> and the public can then make up its mind about which story is more persuasive. but this nonsense of the five minutes from each side is just a miserable way to extract information, and this is much better, i think, for all concerned. >> and you're going to be able to read some of the secret testimony because they're going to release -- they're going to start releasing some of these transcripts. we know that the attorneys are up there checking out the transcripts of their clients. so, you know, the public is going to have a lot of the story before you get the testimony. so they're going to be able to
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tell this narrative one way or another, and the republicans can do whatever they want, either produce a counternarrative or just poke holes in the sources of the narratives, say, for example, that mr. taylor is a member of the deep state who is, you know, not a patriot, et cetera, et cetera, after he's had 50 years in public service. >> david -- >> gloria -- go ahead, anderson. >> i wanted to ask you about john bolton. obviously there's a lot of folks wondering would he testify? what would he say? charles kupperman, who was on that july 25th call, didn't appear for the scheduled testimony. the white house had directed him not to. if the president thought that kupperman or frankly any of these officials could clear the president, wouldn't they want him to testify, and do you have any sense of where bolton is at? >> i clearly do not. you know, i think it's going to be important. we'll hear from morrison coming
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up, i think, on thursday. his testimony -- his name appears numerous times in -- >> taylor referenced him multiple times. >> right, because he was the firsthand person who was present on the phone call. so, you know, taylor is reacting to what he heard from mr. morrison. so i think mr. morsisen's testimony will be very, very important to hear what he has to say. that will lay out kind of a roadmap one direction or another for both sides. then as you point out correctly, charlie kupperman is the deputy national security adviser, and john bolton obviously very important to hear what they have to say. listen, we don't know if mr. morrison has exculpatory testimony he's going to produce when he comes or not. we'll have to wait and see. >> david urban, jeff toobin, gloria borger, thanks very much. how a military dog and u.s. special forces played a key role in that raid that led to the death of america's most wanted terrorist. up next, exactly what happened and what could happen next. with advil liqui-gels,
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there are new details tonight on the raid that resulted in the killing of isis leader abu bakr al baghdadi. in a speech in chicago today, the president said, quote, it was a tremendous weekend for our country. this afternoon the president also tweeted out a picture of the dog, the military k-9 that reportedly chased al baghdadi down a tunnel but was injured when the terrorist detonated his suicide vest. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff says the dog is now back on duty with its handler and doing all right. that's one of the details we learned today about a mission that had been in the planning for some time and was fraught with high risks. >> 5:00 p.m. saturday evening. eight american helicopters were
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carrying as many as 100 u.s. special operations forces. they took off from iraq and through for 70 minutes across syria. the pilots flew low to avoid detention but came under fire during the flight, returning fire as they went. their destination was a compound in western syria. according to president trump, the area had been under surveillance for a few weeks. we learned today an informant inside isis told the kurdish-led syrian democratic forces that the elusive isis leader was hiding out at this compound and provided a piece of underwear and a blood sample that was used in a dna test to confirm his identity before the rain took place. >> the aim was to capture abu bakr al baghdadi and if we couldn't capture him, of course we were going to kill him. >> when they arrived, the helicopters began firing on the buildings, allowing the soldiers and their k-9s to land. believing the front door was booby trapped, they blew holes
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in the side walls into order to enter the compound. an intense firefight ensued and a number of isis fighters were killed with at least two fighters captured and 11 children taken into custody. two of baghdadi's wives were also killed during the operation. they were found with their suicide vests still intact. baghdadi himself fled into an underground tunnel, taking three children with him. a k-9 member of the delta force team went after baghdadi, and that's when the terrorist leader detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and the three children with him. it's unknown if they were his children. >> we tried to call him out and ask him to surrender himself. he refused. he went down into a subterranean area and in the process of trying to get him out, he detonated a suicide vest, we believe, and killed himself. >> president trump says two american special forces members were slightly wounded in the attack. the delta force k-9 was also wounded but is reportedly doing fine. a short time ago, president trump tweeted out this picture
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of the dog. his name is still classified. a dna test positively identified baghdadi's body soon after he was killed. u.s. special forces were in the compound for about two hours and were able to gather what's described as highly sensitive material on isis before pulling out and flying back to iraq. >> baghdadi and the thugs who follow him are responsible for some of the most brutal atrocities of our time. his death marks a devastating blow for the remnants of isis, who are now deprived of their inspirational leader following the destruction of their physical caliphate earlier this year. >> reporter: abu bakr al baghdadi, who dreamed of destroying the west and was responsible for the murder of thousands of people around the world was buried at sea by american forces. there's no better book about the rise of isis than the emergence of al baghdadi than black flags. it one the pulitzer prize for nonfiction. the author joins us along with a
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person who figured prominently in his book, a former cia analyst who for years tracked and targeted isis leadership. she's the author of a fascinating book, "the targeter: my life in the cia hunting terrorists and challenging the white house." i welcome both of you. joby, what surprised you about how all this played out if anything did? given everything you know about baghdadi and isis and what kind of an impact does his death have? >> well, i think it's not a surprise that eventually we would get him because this is the result of a long effort. it's going back, as we understand it, probably years in the sense of people looking for him very delibertely, very determinedly. but i think what was surprising was where they got him. few people expected to see him in the northwest of syria in an area that's pretty populated with, you know, other groups that are rivals, other islamist groups that don't like isis very much. so he's sort of hiding in plain sight in a way and taking some risk in being where he was. on the other hand, he was
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extremely close to the turkish border so if he needed to escape quickly, i guess he had the opportunity to do that. but that's where they found him and just the rest of the story is history. >> what does his death ultimately mean for isis as an organization and for other groups in the region? >> as we've seen throughout the years, leadership decapitation has sometimes minimal effect. sometimes it can really take the oxygen out of the group. i think right now it depends on who the successor might be and whether or not baghdadi was grooming anybody to come up through the ranks to replace him. it's going to be hard to pick up that mantle. there's not going to have somebody with his clout and bona fides. at the same time, al qaeda is looking to take over some of their territory and possibly some of their fighters who are now looking for anothe home. it's hard to know at this point really what the future remains for isis. but at the same time, there are tens of thousands of fighters
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that belong to the organization that are still alive and have the opportunity to coalesce. >> joby, how concerned do you think -- or how much concern should there be in the united states, in europe, elsewhere about potential retaliatory attacks or even in the region? >> i think we can almost guarantee that something's going to happen because this is a moment when the islamic state is going to have to show it's still relevant. so whatever's left, whatever core leadership is out there is going to be urging its followers to do something. and we're seeing that already online just in the last 24 hours. there have been some messages and some posters put out. they have these very sort of graphic posters, you know, calling on their followers to attack individual cities in the u.s., to attack washington or new york or other places. so they're going to want to show themselves as being still relevant. and as nada points out, this is a group with resources. it's not like al qaeda in iraq was ten years ago when it was
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really decimated. with that many fighters, 14,000, 18,000 just in iraq and syria, with that much wealth they still have, with weapons, with followers around the world including some who don't physically go to the places to fight on the battlefields, they have the potential to do something. and i'd be surprised if we don't see some dramatic activity over the next few months. >> nada, i'm wondering the pullout of u.s. forces from along the turkish border from that part of syria, what sort of an impact do you think it had on this operation or the timing of it? i mean, the think that struck me is apparently this information at least in part came from a source that kurdish fighters had. >> i mean that could have disrupted this operation entirely. i mean we don't know if it delayed the operation or if they had to rush to conduct the operation, but i think pulling out any of the troops right now
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is problematic for some of the follow-on information that they're going to gain from this raid because we know that they were able to stay in the house for some time, probably collect some information, and in order to act on that, it's hard to launch all of these operations from inside of iraq or in turkey. so i think it's going to have not only a follow-on impact, but it could have actually disrupted this operation itself. >> nada, finally you spent a lot of your life tracking isis and learning about al baghdadi. i just wonder what it was like for you personally when you learned about the circumstances of his death and that he had been killed. >> well, i spent a lot of time also tracking zarqawi in al qaeda and iraq. so this succession of that organization and seeing these iterations of these organizations, i mean it's a relief on one hand given the amount of violence that he's sown throughout the region and everywhere else and the impact he's had. like we saw with zarqawi, bin
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laden, this isn't the end of that type of extremism. that ideology does still continue to flourish and grow in addition to the fact that we seem to not learn some of the lessons we have to keep having to relearn every time this happens. we haven't instituted some of the governance and diplomacy and all of the other tools we have to be able to counter this. >> i appreciate it. thank you. great to have you both with us. thank you so much. >> thank you. up next, we're going to talk to a speechwriter for former defense secretary james mattis and a look at the reality of being blindsided by a president. we'll be right back. forget about vacuuming for months. the roomba i7+ with clean base automatic dirt disposal and allergenlock™ bags that trap 99% of allergens, so they don't escape back into the air. if it's not from irobot, it's not a roomba™
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now, abbott technology can target those exact neurons. restoring control and harmony, once thought to belost forever. the most personal technology is technology with the power to change your life. as we noted earlier in the program, president trump has spoken a lot about the weekend raid that led to the death of america's most wanted terrorist, abu bakr al baghdadi. he's provided a graphic and dramatic account of how he says the isis leader died. >> he was whimpering, screaming and crying, and frankly i think it's something that should be brought out so that his followers and all of these young kids that want to leave various countries, including the united states, they should see how he
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died. he didn't die a hero. he died a coward. >> neither the top two officials in the pentagon could say they heard the same thing. here's defense secretary mike esper speaking on abc news program this week. and joint chiefs of staff general mark milley talking with reporters today. >> the president talked about baghdadi whimpering and crying and screaming. how do we know that? >> well, i don't have those details. the president probably had the opportunity to talk to the commanders on the ground. >> i know that the president had planned to talk down to the unit and unit members, but i don't know what the source of that was. but i assume it was talking directly to unit and unit members. >> my next guest says that sort of discord ant information was a recurring issue when he was at the pentagon serving as a chief speechwriter for former defense secretary james mattis. guy snodgrass is the author of "holding the line inside trump's pentagon with secretary mattis."
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he joins me now. thanks for being with us. the position that the president has put the current secretary of defense in, wparticularly the comments about the raid, it reminded me of the position you write about in your book that the president put secretary mattis in on more than one occasion. explain how secretary mattis navigated that. >> you bet. thanks again for having me on. that was something we saw quite frequently. there was a lot of breakdown in communication between the white house and the pentagon and it could have been any decision. in the book i recount several such as the creation of the space force and the fact that we only received a call notifying us of the creation of the space force about 15 minutes after the president had announced it on live television. did. >> 15 minutes after? >> 15 minutes after, that's right. as you looked over at the telephone and you saw the caller i.d. of who was calling from the white house to give us the heads-up, it was chief of staff general john kelly. and we had asked the white house about 15 minutes prior to the
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speech if there was any news being made and they said, no, there wasn't. >> you said it would be political suicide to admit trump was catching us off guard but any less than complete honesty with the press would imperil mattis' reputation as an ethically spotless leader. it's certainly a no-win situation for someone like secretary mattis in that case. >> it's a challenging situation but i thought the secretary handled those kinds of conversations very well. we'd be in international travel, and you would have press gaggles and a lot of times he'd be hit with a challenging question or be caught off guard. i always liked his response, which i also recall in the book, which is if you ask me what's going to happen, if the president says six and i say half a dozen, they're going to say there's a violent disagreement between us. so he just knew to say circumspect to the maximum extent possible. >> one of the really kind of
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very telling moments that you chronicle is president trump's visit to the pentagon to receive his first briefing on all the locations around the world with u.s. forces and embassies. in a very important meeting, mattis had been preparing for it very carefully and he wanted to convey the importance of both allies and a strategic military presence to national security. explain what the president, kind of how he reacted to the whole presentation and what he brought up. >> anderson, just like you mentioned, this is something as a team we had spent weeks preparing for. we understood the importance of this meeting. you're taking a president who if you think about to july of 2017, very new in the role, did not have a background in governance, did not have a background in national security. so secretary mattis, secretary of state tillerson, the economic adviser gary cohn, and others wanted to provide the president with an in-depth briefing. we thought we could reach the president by speaking to him in his own business oriented language. in our case, we centered the entire briefing around what we call the return on invested
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capital. we wanted to show the president that you get great return on your investment when you have, for example, a thousand troops overseas but you have that host nation with tens or even hundreds of thousands that are working in partnership with us. so to have put that much time and effort into that kind of a briefing, to have president trump walk in with a scowl on his face, to sit down with his arms crossed, he refuses to look at tillerson, refuses to look at mattis. it was something that you just sensed in the room that he was not pleased with what he knew he was going to hear and it made the briefing itself very difficult. we were only three or four minutes in before he started using non sequiturs. he starts bringing up, for example, there had been a leak in "the washington post," and he spent ten minutes talking about how that reporter should be sued and "the washington post" should be sued. it was very jarring. >> he also then -- that's when he first brought up the whole idea of a parade, right? >> it is. that is the meeting where we first heard about the parade. it was towards the tail end of the meeting. as i note in the book, there are a lot of issues he brought up.
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he brought up the cost overruns with the navy's newest aircraft carrier, the uss ford. he brought up the reporter from "the washington post." he also brought up the idea of a parade. it was something that i recount in the book where mattis and others were adamantly opposed to it because they didn't like the optics of having a full parade, certainly going down pennsylvania avenue and just the optics of tanks. it hearkens back to a soviet era display of power. more importantly when you have a military that needed all the funding it can get to continue to rebuild and restore itself after decades of war, you wanted to use that funding for building the military and not on some military parade. >> guy snodgrass, i appreciate you being with us. thank you very much. >> thanks, anderson. coming up, what happened when president trump went to a public event where it was not exactly a friendly crowd for the president. oh, come on. flo: don't worry.
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check with chris and see what he's working on for "cuomo prime time." chris? >> why did the democrats decide to have this vote? is it proof it is a procedural step in a direction of imminent articles of impeachment? is it a capitulation to the
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republicans? is this a win for republicans? what would that mean either way? we have defenders for the president on tonight to talk about this and the impact of taking out mr. baghdadi and what that does for mr. security. we have our top investigator, mccabe and baker are here. to take us through where we are in the state of play. a new round of noncompliance with someone who was supposed to testify today. what does it mean, where does it take us? that's how we're starting the week, my handsome friend. >> all right. look forward to it. up next, president trump's tough, rather rough reception at the world series in washington. why one of his political opponents is coming to his defense. because allergies... shouldn't get in the way of a good time. because a heart attack... should never stop the heart of a family. because hemophilia... shouldn't keep someone from doing what's in their blood.
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the united states. >> some cheers shifting to boos. the chilly reception came during a salute to u.s. service members, just after the president announced the death of the most wanted terrorist, abu bakr al-baghdadi. it didn't end there. here's what happened next. [ crowd chanting "lock him up" ] >> one of the political opponent disagrees with the chant. chris coons said the office of the presidency deserves respect, even when the actions of the president don't. the white house spokesman said that washington is a pretty liberal up to and added it was a great night for the president and a great night for baseball. that does it for us. the news continues. i want to hand it over to chris for "cuomo prime time." >> i am chris cuomo. welcome to "prime time."
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we're just getting some breaking news on the impeachment inquiry. a first-hand witness to the president's phone call on ukraine is due to testify tomorrow. brand new reporting, this man may solidify what should be an obvious point. what do you say, let's get after it. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> all right. so now we're expecting a new testimony tomorrow. we're just getting in information in. we are trying to understand what it will mean for us. but, look, a white house national security official, all right, the main ukraine expert, he is called the top expert here bit "new york times," lieutenant