tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN December 2, 2019 11:00am-12:01pm PST
this is a special edition of cnn right now. it's a consequential week for a presidency in peril. why the white house is refusing to participate in a key impeachment hearing. the phone call president trump says vindicates him in the scandal. did it happen or is it all made up? one of the president's favorite punching bags speaks out for the first time. why lisa page says her breaking point was the president's fake orgasm stunt at his rally. the trump official that once floated nuking afghanistan is an adviser at the state department. house democrats are asking a key question today. will the white house participate in the hearings or not? when it comes to wednesday, the first day of those hearings, the answer is a resounding no. wednesday is just one day in a critical week. today house intelligence
committee members are expected to view their findings on president trump's dealings in ukraine, before voting tomorrow to send it to their colleagues on the judiciary committee, the white house has to decide by friday, is it going to take part in the hearings at all? all of it leading up to a christmas day deadline to hold a vote. pamela brown is with us. the president is on his way to nato as we speak. he did take aim at the impeachment inquiry. >> he's tweeting about it as well. there are several tweets as he heads to london for nato meetings. he's griping about the judiciary committee hearings this week, saying they shouldn't hold the first hearing while he's in london. from his point of view, the probe is illegitimate. look, they're holding it while he's in london for these nato
meetings, he didn't have a say on the scheduling. here's what the president had to say. >> the democrats, the radical left democrats, the do nothing democrats decided when i'm going to nato -- in was set up a year ago. that when i'm going to nato, that was the exact time -- this is one of the most important journeys that we make as president. and for them to be doing this and saying this, and putting an impeachment on the table, which is a hoax to start off with, all you have to do is look at the words of the ukrainian president, that he just issued and you know it's a hoax. >> much of what you just heard the president say was echoed in this letter from the white house council that was released last night saying the white house will not be participating in this first round of hearings starting this week, calling the proceeding partisan. illegitimate. they're griping that they don't even know who the witnesses are, that nadler has announced who is going to be there. the question is, what will the
white house do moving forward? this is just one of several hearings the judiciary committee will have. the white house plans on providing another letter this friday, basically saying, look, if you provide us a list of fact witnesses, if you let us cross examine, we may participate. so they're trying to leave the door open but the white house has this quandary, because one of its main arguments, is that this is not a legitimate inquiry. it's not following past precede precedent, if it does participate, will it lend legit massey to it? >> it seems it would. we had had jerry conley on the show, he said he thinks it will as well. >> pamela brown, thank you so much for that report. >> what are the pros and cons of the white house decleaning to participate in the upcoming judiciary hearing committees. >> our condition krng analyst is here to walk us through all of this. how does the white house stand not to benefit from participate something. >> it's a great question. the president was invited in by
the resolution passed by the house. now it seems they're no longer interested in doing so. first of all, the first is, it allows for the white house to claim it is in fact a partisan process, they don't engage in it, the talking point is able to stand. if they're not challenged on it, they can still hold true to that particular narrative, the second point, that the white house, the legal team won't have to make any legal defense. they can rely on others doing it for them in congress. people who have been very supportive of the president's decision not to be a part of it, and to call this a witch hunt. >> tell us about the cons. >> the cons are actually, probably outweighing the actual pros in this case, it validates the dem's probe, and calling out the president and calling out the bluff that pelosi set up during the resolution process in the first points, which will have the white house and gop, they've been calling illegal up to this point. because the reason they can't participate. if they've been vited and choose not to. how can they have that talking
point. the second point here is, if the white house participates, it would give attention to the hearing. that's a con for the democrats. the white house really knows, the more they legitimize the process, the more the democrats look as though they're having a legitimate process, actually for the president, it's a missed opportunity to chich away at the democrats case. if they're not there to have a lobbying and advocacy role, then they cannot attack in realtime the arguments being raised. they have to rely on it after the fact. frankly, after the american people have turned the television off. >> thank you for walking us through all of that. >> thank you. there are new doubts emerging over the phone call that's been pivotal in the president's defense. at issue is whether it even happened. you'll remember the president standing on the white house lawn, a conversation that has emerged as a major focus for democrats and republicans in the
impeachment inquiry. sondland was pressed about the details before he testified before house lawmakers. >> i still cannot find a record of that call, because the state department and the white house cannot locate it, but i'm pretty sure i had the call on that day. >> whether it was the 9th or the eighth. you had this call, it was extremely memorable, right? >> it was. >> the call with president trump on the 9th or the 8th, you recall it vividly, right? >> i recall it vividly, because it was keyed by the frantic emails from ambassador taylor. so i made the call, and i asked, as i said, the open ended question, what do you want from ukraine? that's when i got the answer. >>. >> so today, no other witness testimony has corroborated sondland's description of the call. according to the washington post, the white house has not located a record of this call between trump and sondland on that day. we have susan simpson with us.
she laid all of this out in a great piece called here's the proof the quid proquo call never happened. it's long, but it walked you through exactly everything you need. on the 9th or the 8th, you point out in your piece, that sondland testified in his deposition that it was sometime between the sixth and the ninth. they want to emphasize later on the ninth this call that maybe exonerates the president, lay out for us, explain why you think it didn't happen? >> i think a call did happen. it's not that the president and sondland didn't talk. what did happen is a call where sondland calls up trump at 5:00 a.m. and says, what do you want from ukraine? or as he put it -- he added a four letter word to it. and then apparently the president tells him, i want nothing. no quid pro quo, i want nothing.
i want zelensky to do the right thing. >> in fact as you lay out, there's a phone call that definitely happened on september 7th, that multiple witnesses testified to, were deposed, discussed in their depositions. and so you are making the case here based on descriptions that actually match sort of what sondland was saying in this call. this may be the same call, why is that significant? >> the no quid pro quo part. and house republicans seized on that. but we have testimony from both the nsc's tim morrison and also ambassador bill taylor, we're told about this call the day it happened. you have trump talking to sondland and then sondland calls morrison. the president said, he wants no quid pro quo, but he wants president zelensky to go to the microphone and announce investigations. and we have the same thing and
he once again says, i talk to the president, the president wants zelensky to go in front of the microphone and say what's happening. then he tells taylor, i talked to zelensky, and zelensky told me he'll do it, he'll go in front of a cnn interview and announce what he said he would. >> you're really looking at it through the eyes of a lawyer and parsing all of this information. and so what you describe in your piece is a phone call -- even if the president says no quid pro quo, he's describing a quid pro quo. i'm not saying that, but what i'm saying is -- >> you can't commit a crime and say, by the way, it's not a crime. what he described was a quid pro quo. sondland is calling it preconditions. we have morrison saying it was requirements. morrison was so alarmed by what he heard from sondland, he goes to the nse lawyers, first to bolton and then the lawyers.
>> bolton tells him to go to the lawyers, right? >> yes. >> his explanation for why he goes is interesting. he was concerned that what sondland was saying, could potentially be criminal. and because the nsc does not give criminal advice to the president, they wanted to make sure this was documented, the advice was not coming from them, not from the nsc. he said he wanted to protect the president. well, protect the president in the event that sondland was lying about asking trump for this. of course, as morrison said at the hearing, if in fact morrison was telling the truth about what trump wanted, it wouldn't be good for trump, it would be incrimination. the former fbi lawyer who's been a target of the president's for two years is done being quiet. lisa page's breaking point. what was anonymously going on behind the white house, now
one of the president's former top advisers is going on the record saying, there is no one left who will stand up to him. >> the trump official who once suggested nuking afghanistan, has a new job at the state department. es just won't. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair's derm-proven retinol works so fast, it takes only one week to reveal younger looking skin. neutrogena® [airport pa]"all flights have been delayed." t-mobile makes the holidays easier... ...like this. because right now when you buy one of the latest samsung phones you get one free. on that. so you can post this... ...score this... ...be there like this... ...and share all of this... ...with that. so do this, on that, with us. now, buy a samsung galaxy s10 or note 10 and get one free. there's a company that's talked than me: jd power.people
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for two years, the president has berated lisa page online and on camera. the former fbi lawyer is done being quiet. she's rebuffing his claim that she's a criminal member of the deep state. page's text with peter struck, with whom she was having an affair were made public. trump and his followers held them up as truth that an anti-trump bias began the russia investigation. page told the daily beast that the president's insults have been like a punch in the gut. my heart drops to my stomach, when i realize he's tweeted about me again. the president of the united states is calling me names to the entire world. he's demeaning me and my career, it's sickeningny. >> we have sarah murray, joining us now. she's been putting up with a lot
of his rhetoric for some time. why did she decide to say, i'm coming out now? >> she said, honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel's back, that's what made her feel like she couldn't stay silent any longer. let's take a look at the president and how he decided to take aim at lisa page at a rally in minnesota. >> i love you peter, i love you to lisa hp lisa i love you. lisa. lisa, lisa. oh, god i love you, lisa. and if she doesn't win, lisa, we've got an eninsurance policy, lisa. >> that's the president re-enacting what life must have been like between lisa and peter much obviously lisa page decided
she wasn't going to sit around and listen to it, and not defend herself any longer. >> the president tweeted a short time ago. when lisa page talks about being crushed and how innocent she is, ask her to read peter's insurance policy text to her, just in case hillary loses. also, why were the text messages scrubbed. why are they lisa? i mean, there's a lot, but let's debunk this. >> it's a conspiracy theory, right? >> they were able to go through these text messages and some of them became public and peter strzok and lisa page have faced a lot of flack for this. they got a lot of grief, because they were having a private conversation about their own political feelings. lisa is insist ant, and she says the igo report will affirm that whatever her private personal beliefs are, she did her job without any kind of political bias.
she goes on to say, it was crushing from the justice department not to defend her. she feels like it is no longer an independent voice that speaks truth to power. and certainly, i think that's how a lot of people have felt as they watched the dynamic between bill bar and donald trump this is not someone who is entirely blameless, who has done nothing wrong. she's faced her fair share of criticism and some of it not at all based in fact. >> you get the sense she feels sort of cast unite from her tribe, right? with the fbi that she feels abandoned. >> absolutely. and she talks about, what it's like having gone through this, realizing that these messages are going to become public. and realizing the fact that she's had this affair is going to become public. and how horrifying it is to know this is a terrible thing she's done. she's sat in silence for a long
time. as the president has used this as a political attack against her. and how she was this obscure government worker until all of this came out and president trump really put his mega phone behind it. >> her face is out there. she even said that, do people recognize me, she wonders. sarah, thank you so much. sarah murray, we just mentioned conspiracy theories. a republican senator will not stop pushing a madeup story about ukraine and the 2016 election. today he got a big thank you from the president for it. we'll talk to dafds axelrod next. you wouldn't do only half of your daily routine so why treat your mouth any differently? listerine® completes the job by preventing plaque, early gum disease, and killing up to 99.9% of germs. try listerine®. need stocking stuffers? try listerine® ready! tabs™.
a california congressman accuses of misusing his campaign funds is expected to change his plea and not fight the accusations. it's not clear if duncan hunter will plead guilty or no contest. a federal prosecutor confirms hunter will no longer plead not guilty at a hearing tomorrow. hunter was accused of using his campaign funds to pay for vacations, video games and for extra marital affairs. the impeachment inquiry has brought president trump's con smirscy theory that ukraine interfe interfered not rush into full view. now republicans are peddling this conspiracy theory, despite multiple agencies concluding it
was russia that interfered in the election. john kennedy continues to muddy the waters on this. >> i think both russia and ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. russia was very aggressive, and they're much more sophisticated. the fact that russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that president poreshenko interfered. >> are you at all concerned that you've been duped? >> no. >> and now the president is thanking senator kennedy for the job he did in representing the republican party by pushing this debunked conspiracy theory. we have david axelrod with us, he's the host of cnn's the axe files. i mean, david, it seems like almost every segment we have
been debunking conspiracy theories, we've been discussing conspiracy theories. it's one after another, how concerned are you as you watch some of these take hold in a very real way? >> well, look, we saw it all on gs play during the hearings before the intelligence committee, this was a line that many of the republican members there were pushing. i think fiona hill knocked it down rather forcefully during that hearing. and i think, you know, we haven't heard it as much from senators, and that's what made kennedy's remarks most notable. he picked up the house republican theme on this, but there is no evidence of it. i think it is going to be an article of faith for the president's supporters, particularly in his republican base. in the fact based world, there's no support for it.
trump gave him a big thumbs up, the other person that's happy with it is vladimir putin, of course, who would love to see the blame for what happened here in 2016 shift to the ukrainians. >> do you think -- i mean, you know senator kennedy is a very smart person. it's hard to believe that having taken a look at the evidence out there, i mean, there's an entire report from the intelligence community. the entire intelligence community, the details how russia meddled in the election, and you know, you take a cursory glance at the lack of evidence. surely he knows that, do you think he does know that and he's putting out bunk knowingly? >> yeah, i think he picked up on republican talking points and picked up on the president's talking points. and he got out, you know, way over his skis. i think in a parlance, that senator kennedy would appreciate that dog just won't hunt when you look at the facts, and in
fact, he seemed to have pulled back a little bit from it, but there's no doubt that he was recycling trump talking points as a misdirection from what happened in 2016. >> he seemed to add russia as well to this, he didn't fully pull back on the ukraine thing, but he softened it for sure. i want to talk about your pod cast, because on axe files, this week, you actually sat down with a chief economic adviser to gary kohn, and this is what he told you. >> we had an interesting nucleus of people when i was in the white house, we were not bashful, it was a group that was willing to tell the president what he needed to know, whether he wanted to hear it or not. northern of us are there any more. i am concerned the atmosphere in the white house is no longer
conducive or no one has the personality to stand up and tell the president what he doesn't want to hear. >> what did you think of that, david, he's not the first former administration official too say something like that, we've heard something similar from former chief of staff kelly. >> yes, and that's what prompted him to give that answer, because i asked him about what kelly said, kelly told the president, if you get a yes person in here, you're going to get impeached. in fact, that's what happened then, so kohn was really adding to that argument, so i was struck by that. he described himself and some others in the white house as kind of guardrails that prevented the president from doing bad things. doing things that are unwise, but i also thought as i listened to him, i asked him, you signed up knowing he was against trade. he was against immigration.
he was skeptical about climate change. these were three of your big issues, he said, i thought i could persuade him. a lot of these people around the president thought they could prevail with their views over the views that heess spoused in the campaign. and so the president's supporters would argue, yeah, he -- you have the globalists in there, who are trying to manipulate policy, and the president threw him out. and he's in control of his own agenda. and there's something to that, whether those priorities are the right priorities for the country is another question. >> i want to listen to this other part of your interview. he was pretty candid about his relationship with the president. >> i thought i could potentially sway him. >> and i know historically sometimes what you run on is not exactly what you mean when you come to govern. in my mind, having a seat on the
inside, and trying to influence was better than being on the outside and trying too get to a more positive outcome on climate. on trade, on immigration. i come from a fact based world. if i can show you facts. and i can show you reality, that's supposed to win the day. i went in overly prepared with factual analysis and in many respects, it may not have ended up where i wanted it to end up, he's the ultimate decision maker. i'm supposed to do my job and make sure that he understands the impact of that decision. >> that speaks to what you were saying before. he thought he could sway the president. in retrospect he could do something different -- >> i come from a fact based. world there.
i gave him the facts, he decided on another basis. but at least i told him what the ramifications were of making those decisions. and so, you really got to kind of window into how the white house was operate iing at that e and how it may be operating now, and people aren't going in and making factual arguments to the president about how his whims may play out. he is more in control of his own ship here, but where that ship is headed is a big question. >> it is -- it's almost a stunning interview to listen to. >> so i'm -- we're all looking forward to check the eng tire thing out david. thank you so much, david axelrod. >> thanks. there's a new gig for a controversial trump adviser. new reporting on how first lady melania trump and the president
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us. tell us exactly what he good, what did he say? when did he say this? >> frank wuko was at dhs. as a senior advicer in the arm's control bureau. the problem is,he has an impressive resume in some sense. he was a naval intelligence officer, he had a conservative radio talk show. he has made comments as you said about dropping nuclear weapons on afghanistan. and the thing is, now he's at the state department as a senior advicer in the exact bureau that works on those things. he made those comments in 2016, he said after 9/11, he would have been supportive of dropping nuclear weapons on afghanistan to send a message that they messed up. >> he is also someone who has made a number of conspiracy theory statements and promoted those statements. we don't even want too get into the nitty-gritty on that, because they're debunked theories. he's a senior official at the
state department traveling with them on a number of trips. he is there and he is working to essentially control the arms of the united states. >> it's interesting that he has this job at the state department. we should keep in mind this is a president who has talked about wiping afghanistan off the face of the earth. but did anyone question whether he was suitable for this? were they fully aware of his positions? >> the state department hasn't gotten back to us with any comment with regard to questions about when he started there, what the vetting process looked like, but when a number of these comments came out when he joined dhs previously in this administration, they said they were cherry picked comments that he had made, and they didn't give a full breath of the picture of the person that he was. but the other thing to consider here is, nuclear arms in this administration, are sort of at this pivotal moment, new star, which is one of the arms control
frees between the u.s. and russia for all of their nuclear weapons is set to expire in 2021. next year is a huge year for the trump administration in charting a path forehead in terms of, if they're going to continue with that treaty or move away from it. >> kylie thank you so much, kylie atwood, there are new details now that we're looking at about the first lady, melania trump. a new book uncovers new details about how she spends her time at the white house. why the mayor of chicago just fired the city's police superintendent. and it involves intolerable actions. half of your daily re so why treat your mouth any differently? listerine® completes the job by preventing plaque, early gum disease, and killing up to 99.9% of germs. try listerine®. need stocking stuffers? try listerine® ready! tabs™.
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president trump and first lady melania are on their way to nato right now, the 70th anniversary of the military alie answer. what kind of welcome will the president receive. just before his trip, the trump administration moved to substantially reduce the u.s. contribution to the nato budget. he has long insisted ornate toe members are not paying their fair share.
the u.s. president is to say the least, controversial in britain and prime minister boris johnson who wants to hang on to his job is not taking chances. let's talk about melania, ever since she became first lady, she's up ended expectations of the royal of the first lady. we have kate bennet the author of a book, free, melania. >> the free mel an ya meal that first came about, i happen to think she's the most free person in the trump administration, and as -- watching that video of them getting off marine 1 today, where he walked ahead of her,
this is a marriage and a first couple that are doing things differently, and they certainly. she's expressed her independence, learned how to live with donald trump the last 20 years or so, and she's handling the role of first lady differently than her predecessors. >> you have a revelation in the book. the trump's do have separate bedrooms at the white house. >> they do. >> i don't think it's that uncommon for them or many couples, we never know what's going on inside a marriage. but it is a revealing note of their personal lives. >> fifrd ladies are often judged by their public image. despite what they may be like in private. barbara bush though frequently opinionated. >> america loves barbara bush was bee loved for her
grandmotherly persona. hillary clinton, privately engaged in cultural improvements at the white house, but dubbed a med letter in west wing policy. >> i'm here as an american citizen concerned about the health of her family and nation. >> michelle obama not necessarily in love with the restrictions of white house life. >> turn up for what? >> but publicly viewed as an open and friendly first lady. ♪ >> but melania trump almost three years in, remains something of a mystery. from the start an ambiguous participant. it was clear she had to fend for herself. a reluctant entrance to public life. >> hello, iowa. >> fewer events, a smaller staff, and a lower profile. however, with melania trump, the flares of independence crossed
from private to public. unique to a modern first lady, defining her as a spouse not joined at the hip with president trump. as her spokeswoman once described her to cnn. she tweeted and released statements on her own, without trump's approval. sometimes in direct opposition to his. taking her own motorcades, cancelling a joint trip when headlines about alleged infidelitys arose. with more rumors about how she lives and where she lives. >> there are persistent rumors, mrs. trump does not live in this white house? >> that is an outrageous and ridiculous claim. >> they are a rare first couple, living in separate bedrooms according to sources familiar. while the first lady resides on a different floor in the white house residence. at times, expressing a different opinion from her husband, president donald trump. >> we are two independent people, thinking on our own.
and have a very open conversation. >> she has faltered, that jacket. >> i wish people would focus on what i do, not what i wear. >> but she has also found some footing, learned how to steal the spotlight, wield her significant influence. remember that call for the firing of a west wing aid. and find her professional comfort zone. detached, aloof? possibly. always with little regard for how first ladies before her have handled the job. >> i don't feel like a prisoner, no. i enjoying it. and this will not last forever. and it's a very special time. >> one thing she does do really well, the holiday decorations, i saw them this morning at the white house. >> we're going to be taking a look at that today as well. kate bennett, thank you so much. joe biden launching a no malarkey bus tour as we get
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called 911. he drove himself home after officers responded and determined he was not impaired. he told reporters he felt like his blood pressure was rising and felt ill. the mayor says that was not the case. >> johnson intentionally misled the public in a press conference he called on october 17th, 2019. he was not caught off guard, and he had plenty of time to choose his words, the choice he made was replete with false statements, all seemingly intended to hide the true nature of the conduct from the evening before. >> johnson was thrust into the spotlight for his department's handling of the 2014 police shooting of la quan mcdonald. everyone complains about the shrinking size of seats on an
airplane, but a woman tried to get a better seat by pretending to be sick, forcing the pilot to turn around. >> this flight was going to miami. about an hour into the flight she wants a larger seat. there are no other accommodations. she talks about a medical issue she has. at that point the pilot makes the decision to divert this plane and return to pensacola. once on the ground, police realized she didn't have a medical issue, she simply said that because she wanted a better seat. but keep in mind, according to the airline, she was 1i9ing in 1a, there was no first class on this smaller plane. it became very evident once this woman was taken into custody this in fact was an issue of mental illness, because at this
point they realize there was no first class, there was no larger seat for this woman to essentially be seated in. >> that's bizarre. they took her into custody. >> we just got off the phone with the police department. no criminal charges have been filed against this lady. she was admitted to a medical facility, she's been released, now back in miami, obviously her identity not released. due to sensitives around her medical condition. >> renee, thank you so much, renee marsh, we have a programming note now, join anderson cooper and kelly ripa live as they name the 2019 cnn hero of the year. an all star tribute will air sunday night at 8:00 eastern on cnn. a special edition of the
lead with jake tapper starts right now. welcome to the two hour edition of the lead, white house in crisis. i'm jake tapper in washington. president trump attacked wednesday's house judiciary hearing on impeachment calling it a hoax. the white house announced they are refusing to participate in the hearing. just moments ago, the head of the judiciary committee responded to the white house. pamela, how did president trump explain the white house decision. >> the president reiterated today as he was leaving from london, the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate, the judiciary committee is holding the first hearing while he's at nato meetings as proof of it being illegitimate. >> what if your lawyers were sent to represent your