tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN November 13, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
much of a case there. there's not much for him to drive at. >> and, jim, obstruction seems to be working. your takeaway. >> listen, republicans were crying hearsay today. the witnesses that could speak directly to the president's statements or desires are being blocked by the white house with the exception of gordon sondland. but to that point, you can argue that obstruction is working for the republicans. >> all right. thank you, all, very much. thanks to all of you for watching. anderson starts now. good evening from washington. something happened here today that almost never does. when it did, it turned this already historic first day of televised house impeachment hearing into something far more. surprise testimony pointing to a new witness, potentially, with firsthand knowledge who could tie president trump more tightly into the allegations at the heart of this whole affair. and that was just one key moment from ambassador bill taylor, the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine. he testified today, along with state department official george kent, and fair to say critics of the president were pleased.
the president's defenders, meantime, sought to impugn the testimony relying largely on four key talking points, at least one of which might go out the window given what we learned today about that new witness. we'll talk about all of that. the president's reaction and more. first, krrn's scnn's sara m starts us off with the key moments from the testimony today. >> impeachment inquiry into donald j. trump, the 45th president of the united states. >> reporter: the hearing's big bombshell was dropped early in the proceedings by the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine, bill taylor. >> the member of my staff could hear president trump on the phone asking ambassador sondland about the investigations. ambassador sondland told president trump the ukrainians were ready to move forward. following the call with president trump, the member of my staff asked ambassador sondland what president trump thought about ukraine. ambassador sondland responded that president trump cares more about the investigations of biden, which giuliani was pressing for. >> reporter: the disclosure ties president trump directly to the
alleged pressure campaign against the ukrainians and not through second or thirdhand accounts. taylor also recounted that trump was primarily concerned with his own political prospects and recalled first learning in july that money for ukraine had been frozen. >> i and others sat in astonishment. >> reporter: and later realizing not only a white house meeting but also the military aid was contingent on ukraine carrying out the political investigations trump was demanding. >> ambassador sondland said, everything was dependent on such an announcement including security assistance. he said that president trump wanted president zelensky in a public box. by making a public statement about ordering such investigations. >> reporter: he expressed alarm that ukraine might publicly announce those investigations and the u.s. still might not come through with the funds. >> my nightmare is that they, the ukrainians, give the interview and don't get the security assistance. the russians love it, and i quit. and i was serious. >> reporter: as the funding
freeze continued, taylor raised concerns again in early september. >> ambassador sondland tried to explain to me that president trump is a businessman. when a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check. ukrainians did not owe president trump anything and holding up security assistance for domestic political gain was crazy. >> reporter: the hearing featuring taylor and top state department official george kent was led by questions from lawmakers, but also by the chief counsel for the democratic majority and the republican minority. it was also peppered with partisan squabbling. >> we will not permit the outing of the whistle-blower and questions along those lines, counsel will inform their clients not to respond to. >> now, there is one witness, one witness that they won't bring in front of us. they won't bring in front of the american people, that's the guy who started it all. the whistle-blower. nope. >> reporter: while democrats focused on the president's
allegedly corrupt motives for withholding aid to ukraine and the role rudy giuliani played as a shadow diplomt -- >> was it normal to have a person who is a private citizen take an active role in foreign diplomacy? >> i did not find his particular engagement normal. no. >> reporter: the gop focused less on the president's conduct and more on the conduct of former vice president joe biden and his son, hunter biden, who served on the board of burisma, a ukrainian energy company. >> the vice president's role was critically important. it was top cover to help us pursue our policy agenda. >> okay, but given hunter biden's role in burisma's board of directors, at some point you testified in your deposition that you expressed some concern to the vice president's office. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> reporter: kent testified that he was concerned about a perceived conflict of interest, but he never saw any evidence of wrongdoing. kent also rejected the gop theory that joe biden had a ukrainian prosecutor ousted to protect his son and burisma from being investigated. >> mr. kent, are you familiar, as you indicate in your opening
statement, about these allegations related to vice president biden? >> i am. >> and to your nonknowledge, is there factual basis to support those allegations? >> none whatsoever. >> reporter: gop lawmakers cast the witnesses as unreliable narraters with secondhand information. >> you didn't listen in on president trump's call and president zelensky's call? >> i did not. >> never talked to chief of staff mulvaney? >> i never did. >> never met the president? >> correct. >> had three meetings with zelensky and never came up. >> two of those they never heard about as far as i know. >> president zelensky never made an announcement? this is whey can't believe and you're their star witness. you're their first witness. >> let me just say that i don't consider myself a star witness for anything. >> they do. >> i don't. i'm just -- i'm responding to -- i'm responding to your questions. >> please don't interrupt the witness. >> as i -- i think i was clear about i'm not here to take one side or the other or advocate any particular outcome. let me just restate that. >> that was sara murray
reporting. so two career diplomats called on today to live up to the job title, public servant. the question, did they? what was their contribution to what will be a fact picture assembled from far more testimony include this new witness on friday? joining us now, someone whoform white house counsel john dean. also the man whose reporting alongside bob woodward helped make what was called at the time a third-rate burglary onto front. page news. jeff bernstein. cnn legal analyst jeffrey toobin, he's done a lot, too. >> not like that. >> gloria borger. cnn political analyst and "usa today" columnist kirsten powers. former republican presidential candidate and u.s. senator rick santorum. former obama administration communications director jen psaki. jeff, what was the standout to you? was it taylor's revelation about phone call that he was apparently informed of more recently? >> absolutely. because the one point that the republicans made over and over again, and i think an effective
point, was that the two witnesses, as learned, as honorable, as honest, as they were, did not have direct contact with donald trump, and this is, after all, an impeachment of the president of the united states. if it is established that the president on the day after his notorious phone call with the president of ukraine, told ambassador sondland that investigations is what this were about and if sondland then repeated immediately thereafter that the president cares only about investigations and not about ukraine, that puts this story right on the president as does the personal transcript of the phone call -- >> gloria, just kind of big picture here for today, looking at this, as someone who hasn't been following this, if they tuned in, do you think they stuck through with it? >> i don't know. i don't know the answer to that. it gets complicated. you know, these stories, as we always talk about, tend to get
bigger and not smaller. as you investigate. >> some people, sadly, have jobs. >> right. >> yes. but, i mean, the real question is, did -- people were expecting some sort of bombshell -- >> right. >> -- was it that kind of an impact today? >> let's just say that these two witnesses in their demeanor are professional diplomats. they're not bomb throwers, so you're not going to get that -- >> generally, they dismantle bombs. >> that is exactly what they do, but what we heard from taylor in his own quiet way was shocking news which does draw the line between the president and this policy and i think we're going to have to hear from sondland. the story gets more and more interesting because don't forget, ambassador sondland, who, by the way, is the ambassador to the eu, so who knows why he's involved in this at all, he's the trump whisperer. he's the go-between in this big story between the diplomats and the ukrainians --
>> he's a trump fund-raiser, that's why -- >> that's right. a political appointee. so he's the -- he's the whisperer and he's the go-between. and when he is in a restaurant and on a telephone with the president of the united states, by the way, is that secure? >> exactly, not a secure phone. >> on the phone with the presidenti president, everybody at the table is kind of listening. the president says, you know, i'm not interested, you know, you got to get them to mention the investigations or whatever it is. he hangs up the phone and says the president's more interested in the bidens -- in biden than he is in ukraine. that's a big story. >> i'm -- >> no? >> well, look, i think you're spinning what the testimony was. >> i'm not spinning. i listen thed to it. >> the testimony said he mentioned the investigation to sondland. he didn't say, i want a quid pro quo. didn't say any of that. all it says is i overheard him mention the investigation. from that, you take, oh, they're tieing the two together. >> sondland said -- >> that is spinning what happened. >> what sondland said -- what taylor said -- that sondland said is that president trump
cares more about the investigation -- >> he asked him what he thought. >> -- of biden. >> he didn't say the president said this. >> why would he lie about that? >> he -- it's like everything else in this investigation. it's someone's opinion of what they think the president's doing. >> okay. no, no -- >> if he take a step back for a second, though, i think ultimately the question is, should the precedent be that any president of the united states of either party is holding back assistance of military assistance or any kind in exchange for personal political gain. that's the big question, which adam schiff kept bringing it back to. and the question here with sondland, whomever is involved as a firsthand person who viewed it is was this wrong and was this a bunch of rogue actors around the world who were acting? that's not believable. >> i think -- >> that's the problem you have. >> i think, first aftoff, we do know the two were tied together. you have people who speculate the two were tied together. we don't know for a fact that's the case. >> you think rudy's working on his own? zbla >> they're all roguely -- >> do we agree this is a good day for the truth? >> the investigation, we don't know that. there's lots of speculation. >> how do you say you don't --
>> just, i don't understand, i've read the transcript. the president -- >> i read the transcript. >> everyone here has read the transcript. the president of ukraine asked about the javelin, said we're almost ready to buy them, first thing trump said -- >> do me a favor. >> -- is do us a favor. >> and he talked about what? >> he talked about the 2016 election. >> crowd strike. >> crowd strike. and then he goes off onto -- >> no, no, no. no. >> and he goes -- >> whoa, whoa, whoa. >> and the other thing is the bidens. >> with all due respect, anderson, and then zelensky talks. aefsh s everybody says, oh, he asked about the favor then he asked about this. no, he did. >> zelensky is kissing his ass throughout the entire thing. >> zelensky talks and brings up giuliani. he brings up the investigation. and trump responds to that. so trump -- >> then trump says -- >> trump did not bring it up, himself. >> the other thing, and what is "and the other thing"? that is part of the ask. >> it's not. it's in response -- >> i want you to do us a favor.
>> are you saying everything else he says in the conversation relates to the one comment, "do me a favor"? no. >> no, here's one thing and the other thing is that the rest is not. >> that's not how it -- a rational person would read that. >> whose idea was this? i mean, if that's really what you're maintaining. i mean, i think it's ridiculous. i think it's -- >> i can fell you republicans overwhelmingly feel that way. >> it's clear the president is very involved in that. it's in the readout. it's now been overheard in a phone call. >> does the president care about this? yes, i believe he does. >> it's like, really, the idea that he somehow didn't have anything to do with this when we sat and listened to these two career diplomats talking about how highly unusual and problematic this kind of behavior was, i mean, to the point -- >> i agree with you. >> -- that they're sending a cable to the secretary of state -- >> i agree with you that the president should not have been pushing this issue. i don't think anybody on the republican side would dis agrag that this was not great behavior. >> the president was asked -- >> but it doesn't -- but that
doesn't mean he -- but it doesn't -- >> an impeachment hearing. >> it doesn't mean he tied it to military aid. those are the two fundamental things. >> okay. he was asked on camera, what did you want zelensky to do after the call? and he said, well, i think any responsible person would launch a major investigation of the bidens >> can we look at the big picture for a minute? let's take a -- rick, rick, let's look at the big picture for a minute. you're down in the weeds here threading the needle. what we are witnessing is the construction of evidence about a conspiracy to undermine our electoral process through the intervention of a foreign power and that conspiracy -- today was a great day for the truth. we don't know where this is going to go. we don't -- what is clear is there's a different dynamic out there as evidenced by the republicans' response. senators are taking -- you talked to them -- they're taking this seriously. republican senators are taking this seriously. they don't like disinformation. they don't like trump, a lot of
them, am i right about this? >> well -- >> yeah. like what he does, we don't like what he says. >> okay. so, that's important. a number of them think it's crazy and say it to you and say it to me. >> he's a street fighter. >> okay. they say a lot more than that, rick. they really talk about his stability. all of this is in play now. we have a different dynamic after today. >> i disagree. >> we have new information -- >> i mean, i just -- >> i'm not predicting anything except that none of us knows where this is going. and that there is now -- >> i can -- i will predict you with absolute certainty as i predicted during the russia investigation where this is going. it's going nowhere. the president is going to run for re-election. >> you could be right. >> he may run as an impeached president, someone who gets impeached by the house, but the united states senate is not going to impeach him. they may -- >> let's -- john, i mean, given what you saw today, did this move the needle for any republican senators who are watching? i find it hard to believe it did. >> picking up on where carl mentioned it, there's a conspiracy, we know from what's
come out of the executive sessions, generally, where this is going. what struck me today in listening to these two witnesses is they already have more than they had against richard nixon to impeach him. just on all accounts. >> why do you say that -- >> because the evidence is there. it was my testimony, a few people that were lower in the pecking order than me, and it happened before the tapes. >> and -- >> the tapes didn't come -- he was already impeached and the -- >> with all due respect -- with all due respect -- >> that's a different story. >> the president in 1998 who perjured himself, who obstructed justice, who tampered with witnesses, and the democrats said, you know, it's all wrong, we don't like it, but it's not impeachable. >> it's not the -- >> it is exactly the same. >> no, it's entirely -- >> no, it's not. >> he was impeached. it's not removable. >> something we thought was not great -- >> we use that word, impeach, loose. >> not put our national security at risk, yes, what he did was gross -- >> i don't think donald trump
put our national security at risk because if he did -- because if he did, then barack obama should be impeached because he didn't give a single weapon to -- >> why does mcmaster -- >> barack obama -- >> all of a sudden -- >> all the democrats who didn't want to give a penny in weapons to ukraine -- >> it's a brawl. >> okay. >> -- instead of saying not holding back aid of weapons is an impeachable offense. >> okay. gloria, gloria. we got it. one at a time. >> i don't think we should -- this is not about barack obama but i will say this. barack obama made a policy decision which he felt was best for the country. what president trump is alleged to have done here is effectively to sell the country out and say, do this for me to get my re-election and -- >> with all due respect -- >> let he finish, please. ambassador taylor today made the point strongly this is about american national security because it is about russia. >> all right. we have a lot more ahead in the hour. there's another hour, too. coming up next. after that, another hour. it's cnn. one democrat was in on key questioning today. congressman eric swalwell is
going to join us. also tonight, late reaction from the white house and a president who says he was just too busy to watch the hearings, but he was sure tweeting a lot. with advil liqui-gels, you have fast-acting power over pain, so the whole world looks different. the unbeatable strength and speed of advil liqui-gels. what pain? at to cover the essentialsyou have in retirement, as well as all the things you want to do. because when you're ready for what comes next, the only direction is forward. hi honey, we got in early. yeah, and we brought steve and mark.
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for someone who says he did not watch a minute of the hearings today, the president sure tweeted and retweeted a lot about it including this about the two witnesses this morning before the hearings began. quoting, "never trumpers about ambassador taylor and george kent who were asked about it later." >> he put in all caps "never trumpers." mr. kent, are you a never trumper? >> i am a career nonprofessional who serves whatever president is duly elected and carries out the foreign policies of that president in the united states and i've done that for 27 years for 3 republican presidents and 2 democrat presidents. >> ambassador taylor, are you a never trumper? >> no, sir.
>> democratic congressman eric swalwell who you saw there joins us now. do you think that today moved the needle, if, for those who aren't already on the front lines of this, on the battle lines have been drawn, who haven't made up their minds, did this change anybody's opinion today? >> yes, i think for most americans this is just starting to sink in, as far as what the president did, what it meant for the crew yukrainians and ambass taylor talking about being on the eastern front of ukraine, life and death scenario, where if the aid came it would save lives. because it wasn't coming, ukrainians were dying and what it means for our own national security and then, of course, the larger question is i don't think the fabcts are really too much in question here. is this what we want a president to do? to leverage their power of a white house meeting, security assistance, to involve a foreign government, and if we do, can we ever go back? and i think for most americans, that's sinking in and whether it changed republican minds today, there's going to be a lot of constituents calling their members of congress, republicans
and democrat, calling their senators, i think to say i care about this. >> one of the refrains from the republicans, obviously, has been and was today, look, this is essentially a hearsay or you heard somebody say this, or you heard multiple people and that you're interpreting what they said, it's how you feel about something. it's not the president of the united states said to you face-to-face. >> well, the president's call record, the transcript, is an admission by the president. that would be admitted in any court of law as an admission by the person saying it. in that call record, the president does not say, i'm interested in corruption, does not mention the company, burisma. he goes right at biden. he says biden a number of times. he say,s, i have a favor to ask though. but these witnesses, they were carrying out the wishes of the president's agents in ambassador sondland, rudy giuliani and mick mulvaney. so those folks directly worked with president trump. george kent and ambassador taylor, they were on the front lines carrying out this shakedown policy, but i will say, if the president has
witnesses who could exonerate him, who were directly in communication with him, like mick mulvaney or john bolton, he should allow them to come testify. the fact that he's blocking them from testifying, i think, means that they can't help him. >> if, by the end of this, the testimony that's scheduled so far, if there has not been a breakthrough moment or an a-ha moment for a lot of people, could you foresee an extension in which you wait to go through the courts to see if you can get bolton to testify? because bolton does seem to have direct knowledge. >> no. the a-ha moment is really the presidential call record where ambassador taylor said this, he'd never seen a president do anything like this before, ask a foreign government to investigate a political opponent. you know, we have john dean here today and he would, you know, tell you that much of watergate was about the cover-up. here, the actual underlying act, you know, the shakedown, $391 million of u.s. taxpayer dollars, that's much bigger than the cover-up. and so the most important piece
of evidence may be the earliest evidence that we received. >> did -- i'm wondering what you made of the republicans' response today in that room. >> well, i think my colleagues are in deep, deep denial and their defense of the president is not president's defense of the president. they are saying, well, this is an incomplete act. he may have wanted to extort the ukrainians, but he was not successful. so we should let him off. of course, that is to dismiss the fact that the only reason the aid came through was because the whistle-blower complaint 48 hours before the aid came through was known to the white house. the president's defense is that this is a perfect call. and i don't hear any republican on the committee saying this is a perfect call. >> what do you -- tomorrow, there's nobody testifying, then on friday, more testimony. what do you expect, what should people expect then? >> ambassador yovanovitch, what you'll see here, yes, the president has great leverage. he has great latitude. if he wants to get rid of an ambassador, he can do so, but if the intent is a corrupt intent
and he got rid of her to clear the decks so he can put in place this shakedown scheme through ambassador sondland, through rudy giuliani, then he can be held accountable for that and you're going to see that there was no good reason to get rid of her unless you wanted to leverage the security assistance and the white house meeting over the ukrainians. >> congressman swalwell, thanks very much. appreciate it. >> more of president trump's reaction to the hearings and the disclosure of a witness who allegedly overheard a conversation between the president and a top diplomat that's now a critical piece of evidence of the ukraine vag investigation. that and our very amped up panel rejoins me. the only one to combine a safe sleep aid. and the 12-hour pain relieving strength of aleve. so...magic mornings happen. there's a better choice. aleve pm. only roomba i7+ uses two multi-surface rubber brushes. ♪ and picks up more pet hair than other robot vacuums. and the filter captures 99% of dog and cat allergens.
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shortly after today's hearing, president trump responded during a joint appearance at the white house, the president of turkey. here's what he said about whether he watched as well as the biggest surprise of the day, disclosure of an alleged witness who overheard a conversation between the president and his ambassador to the eu, gordon sondland, a conversation that if confirmed would seem to tie president trump more directly to allegations of extortion. >> it's a joke. i haven't watched. i haven't watched for one minute because i've been with the president, which is much more important as far as i'm concerned. i know nothing about that. first time i've heard it. the one thing i've seen that sondland said was that he did speak to me for a brief moment and i said no quid pro quo under any circumstances. and that's true. the other, i've never heard this. >> cnn's jim acosta is at the white house with the latest. so if the phone call did, in fact, take place, certainly pokes a hole in the president's argument that he hardly knows sondland.
>> reporter: that's right, anderson. i talked to a white house official just a short while ago who said this revelation from bill taylor that one of his aides overheard the president talking about investigations with the eu ambassador, gordon sondland, that that really caught them off guard over here at the white house and in the words of this white house official, the overheard call was a surprise to everyone. so they are certainly trying to get to the bottom of that. you heard the president say that it didn't happen, but, of course, sets up the possibility that you could have this aide come in there, david holmes, has been identified by cnn as the aide in question here, who could come in and testify and essentially contradict the president. would be another administration official contradicting the president that he was involved in some sort of quid pro quo here. >> even if the president didn't watch today's hearing, as he claims, which, you know, normally he does watch a lot of tv, he certainly was tweeting a lot about it. >> he was. he was tweeting some 30 times, we had counted up, by the time his press conference came around with president erdogan. and one thing we should point out, you know, he did talk to
aides later on in the afternoon and asked them how did it go today? and the white house officials that responded back to the president said that they thought he had a great day when it comes to this hearing up on capitol hill. they don't see any damage done to the president after this first day of testimony. i will tell you, though, anderson, the talking points are shifting. white house official i spoke to this evening said that they were pleasantly surprised by the performance turned in by some of these gop lawmakers who were essentially saying, well, this was an attempted quid pro quo, it wasn't a quid pro quo, so, therefore, it's not impeachable. so, anderson, their talking points have shifted once again. they've gone from saying there was no quid pro quo to, well, an attempted quid pro quo isn't that bad after all. >> that's not something that the president -- i mean, he says the call was perfect. >> that's right. >> he said a couple days ago i think it was that he didn't want people make bing the argument that it was anything other than a perfect call. >> that's right. so that -- i mean, this obviously is flying in the face of what the president has said and what he said today. he was saying today that he emphasized to gordon sondland
that there was no quid pro quo but aides here are acknowledging that what their lawmakers are doing up on capitol hill, the republican lawmakers are doing up on capitol hill, is essentially shifting the explanation here. they feel that is a pretty good place where they landed. one thing we should point out, the white house was barraging these lawmakers up on capitol hill with talking points all day long. it got to the point where some of those offices were telling the white house, please stop, we're going to start blocking you. talked to the white house about that this evening. was told essentially they're focused much more on the surrogates and these gop lawmakers who are using these white house talk bing points, these administration talking points. not so much blasting things out to the public or reporters like us. >> yeah, there's a way to block without them actually knowing you're blocking them. you can mute it. anyway, i'll send you a memo about it. >> i'll pass along that tip. >> all right. thanks very much. back with our political and legal team. >> i just need to make a point what jim said because it's just -- it's not correct. he said that the republicans are out there saying that it was a
failed quid pro quo. that's not what they were arguing. they say it wasn't a quid pro quo at all because to have a quid pro quo, the person has to know that something's being threatened in exchange for something else. what republicans were saying is the ukrainians never knew. >> but we know -- >> so it's not an attempted quid pro quo. >> how about attempted bribery? >> that's not -- >> it's not an attempt. >> attempted bribery. >> attempt if the other side doesn't know -- >> but that's not true. all the reporting now -- go ahead. >> we've known that they've known since early august, it doesn't even matter. the question is, should the president of the united states, he had a failed offer of extortion in exchange for military assistance. >> that's right. >> is that acceptable for any president? that's the question. >> again, that's not the point they're making. >> well -- >> the point they're making -- >> that's the question that's being debated. >> there wasn't an orchestrated plan to say you either give us this or we'll do this. what they're saying is -- >> nothing is orchestrated in this white house. >> he didn't extort them because he was caught. that's why. >> no, you're wrong.
it's just -- you can't have extortion. if nothing is being threatened, if he's saying, look, i want you to do this -- >> right, but giuliani has been running around there for months, i mean, even as far back as february there's been reporting the -- >> because he wants -- i don't think anybody questions that the president wanted zelensky to do this. no one's doubting this. we all accept that. the question is, did he use levers of power to force him to do it? >> yes, i hear your argument. >> the republicans say no. we agree with -- >> the other argument that republicans are making is that, well, ultimately, no investigation was launched and the aid went through which is -- >> because there was public outcry. >> -- true. that's the thing. there was a whistle-blower who came forward and the white house released the aid. >> yeah, i mean, also, the other thing is you just have to remember how dependent ukraine is on the united states. and so even if it wasn't explicit, and i think it actually was explicit in the readout, you know, that you disagree that that's what the president was saying. i think it was explicit.
even if it wasn't explicit, they know how dependent they are and they know that they have to basically please trump in whatever way he is putting forth to them. so if they're being told that they need to be doing this -- even if it's not tied directly -- >> ukraine's in -- >> they can do -- they can do the math. >> they also know trump did not go there for the -- for his inauguration. >> right. >> so there have always already been signs there's unhappiness so they're running scared. >> how did -- >> i think there's a legitimate unhappiness. the president doesn't like foreign aid. the president is uncomfortable with involving himself in these kind of things. doesn't want to tick off russia. i think all those things are true that are legitimate reasons to hold back aid. and by the way, this is a -- there's a long history of corruption in ukraine. >> rick -- >> all of those are legitimate reasons to withhold the aid. >> why did he bring up biden in that call? >> because, i mean, i hate to say this, when he said, i have a
favor to ask -- >> no, no, why -- >> i'm getting to that. he says, i have a favor to ask. he talked about crowd -- he did not talk about biden which goes counter to the narrative everybody says all he cares about is biden. >> he then -- >> he asked him a favor, he didn't mention biden. >> actually admiral vindman testified to something slightly different. >> actually said that -- the wording on this, by the way, this is not, you know -- >> right, the exact wording. >> can i just tell you sondland's description of the president was that he's a businessman and when he's going to give you something, he wants to get something in return. >> interpretation. >> okay. but he is the one who talked directly to the president and this is his description of the president's state of mind, which is i'm going to give you something, i'm going to get something. >> and he said that to -- >> well, he said -- >> we don't know that he said that to the ukrainians. >> everybody knows the president is transactional. everything for him is transaction transactional. >> we know he was saying it repeatedly. >> okay, jeff? >> one thing we learned today, this is just a matter of proof,
not a matter of politics, that how important ambassador sondland's testimony is going to be next week because, you know, i think the republicans made some legitimate points about the secondhand nature -- >> right, yeah. >> -- of the information -- >> i agree with that. >> -- that the two witnesses today had. but sondland was in direct contact with the president including this phone call we just learned about today. now, we've all heard that taylor's aide was in the room, but sondland was on the phone. >> right. >> i mean, he's the one -- >> the question is which sondland shows up? well, that's the question. i mean, sondland is a peculiar witness but a very important -- >> we got to take a quick break b. a lot more to talk about including the man both witnesses today said was looking to dig dirt up on the election, rudy giuliani. more ahead. (burke) at farmers insurance, we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. even a- (ernie) lost rubber duckie? (burke) you mean this one? (ernie) rubber duckie! (cookie) what about a broken cookie jar? (burke) again, cookie?
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we've been talking tonight about this new witness who allegedly overheard a call between gordon sondland and the president. we began the program with how bill taylor characterized it in his testimony. before we go further, i want to play that moment again so everybody is on the same page. take a look. >> in the presence of my staff, at a restaurant, ambassador sondland called president trump and told him of his meetings in kiev. the member of my staff could hear president trump on the phone asking ambassador sondland about the investigations.
ambassador sondland told president trump the ukrainians were ready to move forward. following the call with president trump, the member of my staff asked ambassador sondland who president trump thought about ukraine. ambassador sondland responded that president trump cares more about the investigations of biden, which giuliani was pressing for. >> back with us is john dean, carl bernstein, jeffrey toobin, gloria borger, kirsten powers, and jen psaki. we haven't heard from you. carl, how do you read that? >> i read that we have a president of the united states who more and more evidence indicates has hijacked the constitution. and that's what these hearings are about. and whether or not -- and how has he hijacked the constitution? attempted bribery. the constitution defines high crimes in terms of briberies. the only two specific crimes defined in the constitution. we see prima facie evidence of
attempted bribery here and whether or not the political process responds to the factual record, we are now building a factual contextual record that the people of the country can make their own decisions better informed. there's a lot of journalism to be done here. we have got an awful lot of leads in the last few days for journalists to follow-up on and people to talk to who have privileges here, supposedly. well, they don't have privileges that reporters -- >> john dean, somebody listening to that could say, well, look, okay, so sondland -- sondland, you know, said i'm in kiev. the president said, what about the investigations? and he said, they're ready to move forward. that's not saying we're still holding up the aid until they get those gosh darn investigations going. >> we don't know if the aide overheard what the president articulated or not, the way taylor testified about it. what it did do, though, ander n anderson, is clearly make sondland, again, a very important witness. and he's coming back.
so he, by volunteering to testify, has now made himself probably the key witness in this whole -- >> doesn't, again, this call call out the importance of john bolton, mick mulvaney? >> yeah. >> if you are really trying to build a case about a direct -- >> and if you want -- it's impossible to do this case in a conscientious way with -- without them as witnesses, and what's galling is that john bolton is running around the country giving speeches for money -- >> right. >> -- about this subject, but he won't talk to the congress of the united states. >> and what -- >> like, what is that? >> what's also galling is that the republicans are saying, well, we've had -- this is hearsay, this is all hearsay, you know, taylor heard it from somebody who heard it from somebody. he didn't speak to the president directly. there are people who have spoken to the president directly. one of them would be john bolton. another one will be -- will be mulvaney. another one would be rudy giuliani. why don't you say to mulvaney
and bolton, go ahead, go up to capitol hill and tell them what the president told you. you don't like hearsay? here's your opportunity. >> bolton will talk about russia. that's the elephant in the room about all of this. what the president has done in terms of russia that has been revealed in these hearings. >> what's the answer to my question? >> two things i want to say about carl, i remember sitting on a panel a year and a half ago and you said the exact same thing with respect to the russia investigation and no one's prosecuting the president on the russia investigation. there are a lot of assumptions that everybody's making that, frankly, not by the evidence. let's take the worst-case scenario. the worst-case scenario is everything you're suggesting is true. i don't look at it that way. i think a lot of americans, public, don't look at it as a bribery case. they look at the president of the united states asking a legitimate request that someone investigate. they didn't say prosecute. >> why shouldn't john bolton and mick mulvaney testify? >> thank you. >> that is the question. >> well, my point is, even if you -- even if they came and testified, said, yes, the
president wanted them to do that and he was going to hold off a meeting until -- or a phone call or whatever -- until they did that. my -- i think what i'm saying is they picked the wrong area. the president has the most absolute authority when it comes to foreign policy. he can -- foreign policy is all about quid pro quo, every single day it's quid pro quo. >> you don't really believe that the crowd strike server/biden family is the penultimate example of corruption in crew yan? >> it is not, it's not an illegitimate thing for the president to do. you can say he's abusive because he cares more about something that affects him personally, but the president has very broad authority when it comes to these -- >> not -- >> can i bring up one piece -- >> i think it's inappropriate, but i don't think it's an abuse of his office. >> one piece that republicans keep going back to is, oh, he was looking into corruption, he cares about corruption. ukraine got a clean bill of health on corruption, they got in may, before this aid was
approved by congress. they knew the aid was approved -- >> exactly. >> -- by congress. >> we had an election. >> also before that -- >> we had a new election. >> before that, the corrupt prosecutor thereat donald trump raised on the call as being a good guy is the corrupt prosecutor that the united states, the imf and everybody wanted to fire. >> we had a new election. you're missing the fact there was -- >> folks giuliani are hanging around in ukraine are kind of the corrupt ones. >> the bad guys. >> from all reports. >> yeah. >> we got to thank everybody. coming up, more breaking news. for a second time an appeals court hands president trump another loss. says congress can seek his tax returns. woman: my reputation was trashed online.
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of our better legal minds we have just to look at what kind of case is being made. we got a couple new facts today. we also know what the defense is. the defense is what you guys have been talking about, which is this never happened. that's going to create a challenge for democrats about if you shoot at me and miss, you don't get to walk away. it's still a crime. yeah, but you don't get the death penalty either. we'll take you all through it, beyond the headlines, deep, forensic look at what happened and why. >> you next, an appeals court still denies a request of an accounting firm to not turn offer the tax returns of the president to congress. can we have both? at bp, we're working every day to make energy that's cleaner and better.
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uncomfortable day for donald trump. the full court of appeals for the d.c. circuit has once again denied the president's attempt to stop an accounting firm from turning over his tax record to the house. the ruling affirmed an earlier 2-1 decision that the record stretching back eight years have to be turned over to a house committee, which issued a subpoena for them last april. the record are in the hangds of the praeesident's long-term accounting firm. no reason was given by the majority of why they declined to hear president trump's appeal. two judges appointed by the president said they disagreed with the votes and would have heard his argument again. the next stop is the supreme court. jay sekulow say they will appeal to the supreme court.
now i want to hand it over to chris for primetime. >> i am chris cuomo for "prime time." >> let's test the players and hear from the best minds about where this process goes from here and what will history say about what happened today. what do you say, let's get after it. we have some new facts. top of the list, something bill taylors a taylor, the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine said he didn't even know about when he testified behind closed doors last month. one of his aides came forward to tell him about a call the aide overheard between president trump and ambassador gordon sondland. that's important for one reason because it shows a connection between the two men that the president kind of disavowed. the timing matters more. it