tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN November 22, 2019 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
talk to lee zeldin at 9:00 a.m. and noon eastern sunday morning. you could follow me on facebook, instagram and twitter at jake tapper and tweet at "the lead" and the coverage continues now. see you sunday morning. happening now, breaking news. next steps after two weeks of dramatic testimony, how democrats move closer to impeaching president trump with sources now saying articles could be filed against him by christmas. gop conspiracy. as president trump and his defenders continue to peddle debunked conspiracy theories, cnn has learned that intelligence officials told senator this is fall that the conspiracy theory is part of the campaign by moscow to shift blame for its interference. embarrass for graham. candidate joe biden goes one-on-one with cnn and said
he's embarrassed for lindsey graham and his willingness to do president trump's bidding which biden predicts he will regret his whole life. and bolton is back. john bolton breaks months of silence returning to twitter and claiming the white house blocked his access to his account. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we're following breaking news. sources say democratic house aides are spending thanksgiving week preparing a report that will spell out the case for impeachment and that they plan to continue deliberating with speaker nancy pelosi's staff to determine the size and scope of the articles against the president with pelosi making the final decision. also breaking, two u.s. officials are telling cnn that
intelligence officials told senators in a highly classified briefing that russia has engaged in a years long campaign to shift blame for 2016 election interference from moscow to ukraine. that as president trump and his republican allies continue to push the conspiracy theory that ukraine meddled in the last presidential election. we'll talk about that and much more with congresswoman debbie powell of the judiciary committee and our -- our correspondents and analysts are standing by. manu raju is watching all of this for us. manu, the impeachment report is now being written. what is the latest? >> reporter: behind the scenes a lot of activity among top officials on key committees as well as leadership staff to determine exactly how to structure the impeachment articles going forward and the first step is writing the report that will come out from the house intelligence committee and two other committees that will detail the findings of the investigation that has been happening since late september. that report will be worked on through the thanksgiving week
and will ultimately serve as the basis of the articles of impeachment that will be taken up by the house judiciary committee. there is a discussion behind the scenes about the size and scope of the articles of impeachment. there is talk about including abuse of power, as well as bribery, obstruction of justice and obstruction of congress part of that going forward. and it will focus on ukraine and the president's handling of ukraine and whether he abused his office by with holding a key meeting and military assistance in exchange for that country moving forward on investigations that could help the president politically. but there is also a debate about whether to include the allegations of obstruction of justice as detailed by the mueller report s-- as the president sought to interfere with the investigation into his campaign. there is discussion about whether to include that as well. so all of the discussions, wolf, will happen behind the scenes as efforts are intensifying to get this wrapped up and prepare for a momentous december that could lead for a vote before christmas to make president trump the third president in american history to get impeached by the house, wolf. >> manu, you're learning that
lawmakers received a highly classified briefing showing how russia has behind the false conspiracy theory that ukraine meddled in the 2016 u.s. presidential election but republican lawmakers are still touting that theory despite knowing that it is a lie. so what is the latest? >> reporter: in a classified briefing this fall senators and aides were told by u.s. officials about the impact and the efforts by the russians to essentially blame the ukrainians for interfering in the 2016 election suggesting that just a handful of ukrainian actors who criticized the president mounted to a broader effort to interfere in the election and that is what the russians want americans to believe to shift the blame away about the russians to meddle in the u.s. elections and try to help president trump. trump has touted the notion that ukraine has meddled in the election and rejected the notions that the officials that ukraine did not play a role and we've heard from testimony this week from a number of witnesses and last week as well that
ukraine did not play a role, that it was russia that interfered in the elections. but nevertheless, republicans that i talked to in the aftermath coming forward, the republicans are still siding with the president instead of the experts. >> there is ample evidence of ukraine having engagement and involvement with things talking about a 2016 election. >> it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time. >> saying falsely in our view that ukraine interfered with the u.s. elections. that will help russia. that is what she just testified to. >> she's welcome to her opinion. >> we know that russia meddled in the election but that doesn't mean that ukraine didn't try to influence the election. >> and ken mccarthy told me, i think they did. referring to ukraine meddling in the elections after fiona hill, the top russia adviser for president trump, testified and said very clearly, quote, this is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and
propagated by the russian security services themselves. and of course, wolf, this is central to the impeachment inquiry because president trump asked the ukrainian president to investigate whether or not ukraine played a role in interfering in the 2016 elections and that is cited by a number of witnesses as a precondition for the security assistance of roughly $400 million as well as a key meeting that the ukrainian president sought with president trump at the white house. but nevertheless, republicans siding with the president as he demanded loyalty from the party amid the impeachment fight. wolf. >> manu raju on capitol hill. thank you. let's go to the white house. our white house correspondent jim acosta is working the story. the president is speaking out about the impeachment crisis that is clearly hanging over him right now. >> reporter: that is right, wolf. president trump was not in the mood to take questions from reporters at the white house about the impeachment inquiry but was on fox news this morning where he unleashed a tor ents of falsehoods to skirt accusations
that he tried to shake down ukraine for the dirt on joe biden and facing the likelihood that he will be impeached he is daring democrats to put him on trial in the senate but there is one wild card in the mix, john bolton. still stinging from a week full of damaging testimony in the impeachment inquiry, president trump has dug in. one top white house official tried to stop us from asking the question. [ overlapping speakers ] >> fiona hill said that the idea that ukraine meddled in 2016 is false. can you respond to that? >> president trump -- [ inaudible ]. >> we're done. you're done. >> reporter: the president would not respond to testimony from his former adviser on russia, fiona hill who told lawmakers this week that mr. trump's theory that ukraine meddled in the 2016 election is false. but the president kept repeated that debunked kplam on fox. >> they gave the server to
crowdstrike or whatever it is called which is a -- a company-owned by a very wealthy ukrainian and i still want to see that server. but that is not true. hill testified that that is peddling russian propaganda. >> this is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the russian security services themselves. >> reporter: well aware that democrats are moving toward impeachment in the house, the president is now looking to republicans to save him during a senate trial. white house officials tell cnn a trial could give mr. trump a political boost. >> you know who i want as the first witness, because frankly i want a trial -- >> reporter: the president responded with falsehoods and fabrications continuing to claim he barely knows ambassador gordon sondland who testified there was a quid pro quo with ukraine. >> now, with this guy, who, by the way, i hardly know him, okay. >> sondland? >> i've spoken to him a few times. >> reporter: that's not what sondland says. >> and he's spoken to you often?
>> what is often? >> well you said at least 20 times? >> okay, if that is often, then high school often. >> reporter: the president slammed former ambassador marie yovanovitch insisting she was out to get him too. >> but this ambassador that everybody said is so wonderful. she wouldn't hang my picture in the embassy. >> reporter: but the president offered zero proof to back that one up either. the president may want to consider a different figure in the ukraine saga, former adviser john bolton who has yet to testify. but tweeted that the white house refused to return access to my personal twitter account out of fear of what i might say, to those who speculated i went into hiding, i'm sorry to disappoint. but the president said that is not true. the only question mr. trump would take from reporters on the inquiry is feelings about the whistle-blower. >> whistle-blower. i don't think there is -- i consider it to be a fake whistle-blower. because what he wrote didn't correspond to what i said in any way --
>> reporter: and getting back to the accusations from the john bolton at the white house blocked him from accessing his twitter account and the white house said that is not the case. we have a quote from a senior administration official. they didn't want to talk about this on the record but the official said, quote, the white house did not block mr. bolton from accessing his personal twitter account and wouldn't have the technical means to do so. in the meantime, gop officials say to expect a trial in the senate as the president is likely to be impeached in the house. one source said republican leaders are already looking to the clinton impeachment trial as a guide but white house officials are eyeing this trial as an opportunity, wolf, to bring in a slew of their own choice witnesses from the whistle-blower to hunter biden. wolf. >> jim acosta, thank you. let's bring in jake tapper, the host of "the lead," our chief washington correspondent here with a preview of the documentary all of the president's lies and we'll get to that in a moment. what do you think of the impact of the president's lies has been
on his presidency sa-- and the country? >> well the experts we talked to are very concerned about the impact. because, look, this country is still dealing with the lies told to the united states by lyndon johnson and nixon about vietnam and by nixon about watergate. we still feel it. the distrust of government is part of that. so the fact that this president said so many things that are just patently false, for whatever reason, is having an impact and a lot of experts are very concerned. what does it mean in terms of the word of the president to u.s. allies. what does it mean when the president makes up or conflates a phone call with china and the market goes up, perhaps as a result. what does it mean to people on wall street? what does it mean to our national psyche. so this is what we hope to explore. >> you have new reporting on what is going on behind the scenes, what the white house is thinking. share with our viewers. >> well, a source familiar with the white house council office
tells me that they -- and you can believe this or not but this is their opinion. they are not convinced that the house of representatives is, in fact, going to even vote to impeach the president. they think that if it does go to the senate, that there is more than enough reason for the senate just to dismiss the case. both on the system, the process, that adam schiff and the house democrats set up but also on the merits. and then lastly they think that a trial would potentially be even good for the president politically. so they're expressing a degree of confidence. i should note that a house democratic leadership aide told me that the white house, whatever my source is, the white house counsel office are living in fantasyland, that the case against the president was compelling but the house has not made a decision about the articles of impeachment. >> and you have a documentary coming out on sunday night entitled "all of the president's lies." you are trying to get reaction from the white house.
what are they saying to you. >> we reached out to the white house to try to get them to participate in regard to the president's relationship with fact and the truth and they declined to participate and when a reporter from politico asked hem to comment they said that they knew about the documentary but they didn't know the topic of the documentary and that is -- again, it is a lie. it was in an email saying the documentary is about the president's relationship with the truth. so it is an infekts shus disease i would say. >> we look forward to watching it on sunday night. thank you very much. and once again, jake's special report "all the president's lies" this sunday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern. also don't forget on "state of the union," earlier in the day, congressman adam schiff joins jake. you could see that sunday morning at both 9:00 a.m. eastern and noon eastern only here on cnn. let's get more on all of this. democratic congresswoman debbie
powell of florida is joining us, a member of the judiciary committee. thanks for joining us. let's get right to the news. you know the house intelligence committee is now writing the report on the impeachment inquiry they've conducted. when do you expect them to submit that to your committee the judiciary committee? >> well, i think that they're right now in the process of writing the entire evidence that they found in the last two weeks through the testimonies of all of the witnesses. but let me just start by saying, wolf, i really think it is important for the american public to hear what i'm saying. we did not come to washington to impeach this president. we have been faced a -- with an allegation by a whistle-blower that is confirmed by several career diplomats well respected and veterans and we have no other choice than to continue the investigation and to right now wait for all of the information to come to judiciary from the house intelligence committee.
>> we understand that the house leadership is debating the number, the scope of the articles of impeachment that may eventually be filed. i know it is early and i know you're still working on it. but what do you think the articles of impeachment might include? >> i don't want to give any details because we are not -- we haven't confirmed what we are writing in terms of articles of impeachment but i do want to point out that one of the things personally that i have seen from this president is obstruction of justice. and also obstruction of congress. and so it will be interesting to see if we have enough evidence to include that in the articles. >> do you think it will just -- just include obstruction of justice issues related to ukraine, the ukraine inquiry or do you think it will go beyond and go back to the mueller investigation at the same time? >> yeah, at this point we haven't decided. so i won't comment on that. >> the white house would like to participate in the house judiciary committee process
including calling its own witnesses before your committee. are you willing to accept the white house input? >> look, we actually voted on procedures and rules that actually allow this president to have due process to participate in any further hearings. to be able to allow his white house counsel to question witnesses. so if that is something he's interested in doing, we are absolutely open to that. we will allow the president to have due process. now we'll see if he'll take that offer. >> the white house thinks that the house of representatives ultimately will back down and not vote to impeach the president. do you think that is likely? >> i don't think that is likely, wolf. i think that we have received clear evidence which has been confirmed by multiple fact witnesses that have alleged that this president used the power of his office to extort a foreign government to invite foreign interference into our elections and this is a very serious national security issue.
so again we're not there yet. i really do take everything that is happening right now in this investigation one day at a time keeping an open mind. but i don't think that is likely at this point. >> u.s. intelligence officials, congresswoman, briefed senators and told them that russia has been working for years to frame ukraine for moscow's role in meddling in the 2016 u.s. presidential election. why do you think some of your republican colleagues continue to cite this conspiracy theory about ukraine rather than russia interfering in the election. >> yes, it is definitely very worrisome that they continue to perpetuate debunked conspiracy theories and i think it is because it benefits them. and what happens is there are actually sowing further the divide we see in this country and it is so important for us to put all politics aside. i know this seems very political but it is not. this is about protecting our constitution. this is about protecting the future of our democracy.
for our children. for all of us living here. and if you don't mind i just want to say something very quickly. i was at a nationalization ceremony today welcoming 142 new americans. and there is such pride in this country with who we are that if you work hard you can achieve your american dream. we need to make sure that we protect and defend the constitution. we said that this morning. new americans made that oath and i made that oath when i became an american and took the office of congress. with you must protect the constitution from all foreign and domestic enemies. that is what we need to do in congress. i hope that my republican colleagues realize that we're all americans, that this is about country and not party. >> well said, thank you so much, congresswoman, for joining us. >> thank you. stay with us for more on all of the breaking news. presidential candidate joe biden is now lashing out at a republican senator whose opened an investigation into his and his son's contacts with ukraine. stay with us.
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year's long campaign to shift the blame for the 2016 election meddling here in the united states -- away from mosque yow and on to ukraine. during the impeachment hearings they blamed ukrainian and let's talk about this and more with leon panetta and served as cia director during the obama administration as well as white house chief of staff to president clinton. mr. secretary, thanks so much for joining us. what is your message to the republicans including the president who continue to promote this debunked conspiracy theory that it wasn't russia, it was ukraine who interfered in the election? >> i think it is really important for the president and the republicans -- and the republicans and the democrats for that matter -- to think seriously about what is in the interest of the united states of america when it comes to our
national security. and what is in interest to our national security is the intelligence that we have that makes very clear that russia is an adversary. they're primary goal is to undermine the united states of america. and that if there are those in this country who basically peddle the russian effort to develop this conspiracy theory about ukraine which everyone, including our intelligence people have made clear does not have one ounce of truth to it, but if people keep repeating that, all they're doing is basically fulfilling the objective that russia and putin are trying to achieve which is to hurt america. >> dr. fiona hill, the former top russia expert on the national security council slammed that theory as fictional during her sworn testimony and said the president's actions in effect were helping russia right
now. are republicans, mr. secretary, advancing russia's interest? >> i think the biggest problem that i see is that what we're missing, and i realize the focus has been on the impeachment issues, but what i see as a greater concern, very frankly, is that the president and those who would support some of the things this president does are really undermining our strength as a country in terms of our national security. fiona hill touched on this. and i think it is something we have to pay attention to. that while we're focused on the issues in the impeachment. the reality is this president is not protecting the ukraine from the threat that russia constituted to the ukraine.
this president has basically betrayed our own allies in syria and handed syria to the russians and to iran. and just today, frankly, wolf, it is something that concerns me a great deal, this president even though he talks about our national defense and the strength of our national defense, this president is undermining the discipline of our military by basically saying to those that have violated laws in the military that he's going to support them, which undermines the most essential ingredient of our national security which is military discipline. he's undermining that. so these are things i think we need to pay attention to because they relate to the very security of our country. >> it's been clearly a very historic two weeks here in washington, mr. secretary. you served in washington a lot
of different capacities. you were a member of congress, served in the white house and the defense department and the cia. have you ever seen anything like this? >> you know, i think we all recognize that we're living at a time that i don't think any of us anticipated we would see. where this president -- we have a president of the united states who engages in just multiple lies about what is happening. not only in this country but abroad. that is undermining our national security and that does not embrace any of the values that i think all of us thought were so important to the president of the united states in terms of the truth and in terms of the moral boundaries that presidents should abide by. i think this is a critical moment. for all of us in this country.
and i say that not just to democrats, but to republicans and independents and everyone in this country. this is a critical time because the danger i see is that rather than bringing this country together, rather than bringing the parties together, what this president is doing is badly dividing this country and he is deliberately trying to divide this country. and if the republicans embrace that division, and all we wind up doing is developing this kind of partisan warfare that we've seen time and time again, this country is going to pay a serious price and our children will pay that price as well. this is a time to govern this country, not a time to attack the very values that make this country great. >> mr. secretary, thank you so much for joining us. >> good to be with you. we'll have much more on the breaking news coming up. house democrats will spend
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the breaking news in the wake of house impeachment hearings in which republican lawmakers repeatedly asserted ukraine tried to meddle in the 2016 election. cnn has now learned u.s. intelligence officials gave american senators a highly classified briefing this autumn warning that russia is engaged in a year's long campaign plot to shift the blame for the 2016 election meddling away from moscow and on to ukraine. let's discuss with our experts, our analysts and our correspondents. gloria, listen to some of the republican statements. >> there is ample evidence of ukraine having, um, engagement and involvement with things talking about a 2016 election. >> it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time. >> saying falsely in our view that ukraine interfewed with the u.s. election, this is going to help russia. that is what she just testified to. >> she's welcome to her opinion. >> we all know that russia
meddled in the election but that doesn't say that ukraine didn't try to influence the election. >> what do you think? >> to quote mick mulvaney, i would say get over it. at this point, as you just pointed out at the top of the show, reporting shows that u.s. intelligence officials briefed senators saying that it was the russian narrative that ukraine was meddling in order to take the heat off themselves. this is exactly what fiona hill was testifying to yesterday where she said it is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the russian security services. so here it is. the russians are the bad guys. and ukraine is the good guys. >> are the good guys. >> yes. i think this is right. to quote nancy pelosi all roads lead to putin. you saw in the impeachment hearings the quote from putin. in 2017 -- >> in february of 2017.
>> in february of 2017, a month after donald trump was inaugurated, touting this narrative that it was really ukraine. i think this does weaken ukraine's position. ukraine in a hot war with russia, russia wants to take crimea, the president as a candidate said, well, maybe that is what folks in ukraine want. to have russia take crimea. so that is one of the reasons we know that folks in ukraine were disturbed by this presidentbaez seemed to take russia's side in the ukraine fight. >> and keep in mind this means as devin nunes sat on the dais in congress and he did so with the full knowledge that the u.s. intelligence community had warned him that the message he was spreading was russian propaganda. this is another example of republicans placing essentially their personal political interests and the political interest of the president of the united states who they will zee fend at all costs even at the
expense of u.s. national security. that itself is just astonishing. it is emblematic of the degree to which the republican party has become a wholly own subsidiary of donald trump. >> go ahead. >> i think the point is right. i would distinguish between what we see from the president and republicans in congress, from the president, his repeating this discredited idea is a continuation of actions that he has taken that unequivocally benefit russia and putin. just with holding the aid from ukraine, using that as his lever was something that benefited putin. withdrawing from syria. we continue to see these decisions for the congressional republicans and i don't know if that is so much the issue as it is their willingness to do anything to defend trump and willingness to go down any road howil-gotten or ill-conceived. >> we're learning that michael bloomberg has placed $29 million
worth of television advertising over the next two weeks in his bid to win the democratic presidential nomination. how significant do you think this investment is. >> more than half of the total spent by all of the candidates but it is very good news for television owners in states like illinois and california and new york and florida. but historically spending on television in presidential races has less effect. tom spire spent $40 million and he's at 3% and i'm not sure that will solve michael bloomberg's issues. >> stand by. more coming up. joe biden slams the senate judiciary committee lindsey graham in a brand-new cnn interview. i thought i was managing my moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. but i realized something was missing... me. the thought of my symptoms returning was keeping me from being there for the people and things i love most. so, i talked to my doctor and learned humira can help get, and keep, uc under control
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tonight joe biden is lashing out at republican senator lindsey graham. graham who chairs the senate judiciary committee is asking the state department now for documents related to biden's contacts with ukraine back in 2016 as well as about the work with ukraine done by the former vice president's son hunter biden. cnn's don lemon sat down with biden this afternoon in south carolina for this exclusive interview. >> let me ask you, because lindsey graham now who you've worked with, who was a friend and there is video of him saying you are the nicest person he's ever met and the greatest man and now he's asking the state department for documents for you and your son. what do you say to lindsey graham and folks like him?
>> they're asking lindsey graham, they have him under their thumb right now. they know he knows if he comes out against trump he has a real tough road for reelection, number one. i am disappointed and quite frankly i'm angered by the fact he knows me, he knows my son. he knows there is nothing to this. trump is now essentially holding power over him that even the ukrainians won't yield to. the ukrainians would not yield to, quote, investigate biden, nothing to investigate about biden or his son. and lindsey is about to go down in a way i think he'll regret his whole life. >> what do you say to him? >> i say, lindsey, i just -- i'm just embarrassed by what you're doing, for you. i mean, my lord. >> watch cnn tonight at 10:00
p.m. eastern for don lemon's full interview with the former vice president. the breaking news continues next. the white house now responding to john bolton's claim that it blocked his access to his own twitter account. i am all about living joyfully. ♪ hello. the united explorer card hooks me up. getting more for getting away. rewarded! going new places and tasting new flavors. rewarded! traveling lighter. rewarded. haha, boom! getting settled. rewarded. learn more at the explorer card dot com. and get... rewarded!
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more breaking news. we're following the white house and it's now denying publicly it blocked john bolton's access to his accounts. speak out after a relatively long silence after he was fired or quit or what happened and now expressing concerns about the blocking of his twitter account. >> that's right, wolf. he may be the most highly anticipated witness in the entire impeachment process. we did hear from john bolton today as wolf mentioned in a series of tweets. it's what we may hear from him in weeks ahead that could cause upheaval in this inquiry. he's been one of the ghosts like
mike pompeo and rudy guilliani and others who didn't testify but john bolton could know more than all of them about the allegations president trump abused his power to leverage investigating the bidens. >> john bolton was one of the biggest starring players in this episode with ukraine and yet was an offstage character almost the entire time of the impeachment probe. >> reporter: today, after two months of silence, a tease from john bolton accusing the white house of blocking his access to his personal twitter account. the white house denied. >> of course not. i actually had a good relationship with john. >> reporter: in a tweet, bolton was asked whether the white house blocked his twitter access over fear of what i may say? he loomed as his top aide, fiona
hill talked about it. >> saying rudy guilliani was a hand grenade and blow everything up. >> reporter: bolten physically stiffened at a meeting between ukraine and officials when ukraine's mention to investigating the bidens, and hill said bolton walked out of meeting and gave instructions to hill. >> his directions was i had to go to the security council, you tell eisenberg ambassador bolton told me i am not part of whatever drug deal mulvaney and sondland are cooking up. >> reporter: and bolton met with ukraine's president in august and warned him what it would take to lift a hold on u.s. military aid to ukraine. >> it would hang whether president zelensky was able to favorably impress president
trump. >> reporter: bolton could know so much more. two weeks ago his lawyer wrote a letter to congressional leaders saying bolton was involved in many relevant conversations not yet discussed in testimonies thus far. >> what could he have witnessed? >> john bolton would have had more direct communication with president trump than any witness we heard from to date. anything the president said in john bolton's presence about the pressure campaign on the ukranians would be enormously significant testimony. >> reporter: including one an aide had with bolton in august where he said bolton tried and failed to get the u.s. military aid lifted to ukraine. among the questions is when will john bolton reveal what he knows and in what forum. bolton said he wouldn't testify unless a judge forced him to and didn't have to testify before
democrats but could have to testify in a senate trial or in a new book due out next year sometime before the election. >> very interesting indeed. more next, white house democrats writing their impeachment report right now. not what's easy. so when a hailstorm hit, usaa reached out before he could even inspect the damage. that's how you do it right. usaa insurance is made just the way martin's family needs it - with hassle-free claims, he got paid before his neighbor even got started. because doing right by our members, that's what's right. usaa. what you're made of, we're made for. usaa
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happening now, breaking news, writing the report. democrats move to impeaching the president, how they're weighing the evidence and debating charges that could go beyond the ukraine scandal. ignoring the facts. there's new evidence tonight republicans brazenly disregarded expert ranks they're playing into russia's hands by claiming ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. clearing the fbi. new reporting tonight on a soon to be released investigation of the russia probe's origins. will president trump's claims of fbi bias against him be debunked? >> and attacking a pariah, joe biden blaming president trump for intimidating impeachment witnesses and