tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN December 15, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
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you've seen this letter sent today from senator chuck schumer to senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. what and who is he asking for? >> reporter: much of the conversation in washington around impeachment these days has been around senate republicans coalescing around this idea of a shorter trial with no witnesses as they move forward with impeachment. but now we're hearing from the top democrat chuck schumer, and he is offering his pitch for how the senate trial should be run, and it runs counter to everything senate republicans have been coalescing around particularly on this issue of witnesses and additional documents. senate minority leader chuck schumer would like witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed before witnesses we says democrats would like to see come forward in an eventual impeachment trial are the white house chief of staff mick mulvaney, his senior advisor robert blaire, the former national security advisor bolton and michael duffy who was the associate director for national security programs who actually
signed off on several of those documents for that security aid freeze. he also -- chuck schumer would also like to see documents from the white house, from the office of management and budget and from the state department that house investigators were not able to obtain. he'd like to see those documents subpoenaed. now, chuck schumer, the top democrat in the senate is counting on all of this on fairness, in a bipartisan process he would like to play out. he writes the trial must be one that not only hears all the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly, it must also pass the fairness test with the american people. that is great challenge for the senate in the coming weeks. now, we should note, of course, this is request from the top democrat in the senate. in order for any of this to move forward he would need senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to sign-off or at least 51 senators in order to move forward with any of these requests, and this is likely to be the first of an opening volley between the two sides we will see play out in the coming days and weeks as the house moves forward with impeachment
and the matter moves over to the senate. and of course we know that the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has made very clear that any issues having to do with the process and procedures of this senate trial, he's going to run those by the white house, specifically the white house counsel pat cipollone. now, we have reached out to the white house for comment, this letter just breaking now, of course. but we'll let you know if they do have any response to those requests from democrats. >> we will check back with you if there's an update. i want to bring in former advisers for u.s. presidents and bill also served as chief of staff to vice president dan quail. gentlemen, always good to have you here. i want to start with you, bill, and i want to talk about how likely it is we'll hear from mulvaney and bolton and some of those others jeremy just listed. we know it'd take 20 republican senators voting to convict and
remove the president. but you're saying if just three republican senators take a stand that would at least ensure a fair process in the senate. explain. >> right, so a majority of the senate sets the rules for the trial. i think it's important to understand they take a fresh oath. they're not supposed to be whipped the way you normally do on legislation. they're supposed to sit and listen and act as jurors. before the trial they typically have agreed on a set of rules and procedures that was unanimous in 1998 when bill clinton was tried in the senate. very hard to say that those four people don't have anything to contribute in terms of facts, in terms of evidence to the trial. schumer's not specified -- it wouldn't be a terrible show, it wouldn't be a circus if they testified solemnly or maybe could be deposed on video that was done in the clinton trial, so i think it puts the ball in the republican court. but it's not so clear cory
gardener and lamar alexander and some of the institutionests in the senate, the older republicans don't think we can't just sort of say we're republicans, we're shutting this down before anyone hears anymore evidence. i think there's mow fluidity in the question how the senators work out the rules of the trial. mcconnell has a little less control over his caucus than people kind of assume. >> i also want to bring in some new polling we have today from fox news. it finds a majority of americans believe this president should be impeached and removed. in fact, you can see, 50% there to 46%. but this poll also finds more americans than not found the president abused his power, obstructed congress and committed bribery. we talk a lot about what democrats are risking by moving ahead with impeachment. but when you see this polling, should we be asking what republicans are risking by their seemingly blind loyaltiy to the president? >> well, they may face that. we'll have to wait and see. first of all, i'm glad to be
with you and bill crystal. i want to come back to what schumer has done with the letter. i see this as preemptive on his part. some of the republicans have been arguing they ought to have witnesses like hunter biden which sounds ridiculous on its face, but they ought to have some witnesses maybe like giuliani and i think the democrats don't really want that to happen obviously. and what schumer has done is in effect said to mcconnell, if you go with your witnesses you're going to have to give us mulvaney, you're going to have give us bolton and otherwise we're going to have go after you again, lack of fairness and you'll have a good case. as to the republicans being in trouble, i don't think we know right now how this is all going to play out. democrats left the impeachment a little disappointed and disappointed i think a lot
inside. they hadn't rallied the country the way they hoped, they hadn't built a big 55%, 65% approval and they were down into 50% and that's not where they wanted to be. but republicans may get disappointed here, too. they want to come out of this with a big victory say the president has been exonerated and this is nonsense. half the country doesn't believe that. and republicans may find out just like the democrats they didn't change many opinions in their favor. >> what do you think, bill? do republicans risk anything politically in this impeachment process? >> yeah, of course they do. i think, a, they should do what's right for the country. in this case they really are supposed to act as jurors in the senate. i mean we probably talk too much about the politics. having said that, what is republican strategy of the house, giuliani's strategy been for the last month or two? turn it into a circus. make the whole thing a
ridiculous show and the average american says it looks insane. i think ultimately they did their best. i think ultimately it may fail. i think the fox news poll shows that, trump and his tweets show that, giuliani seems to be flailing around. the democrats seem comfortable with where they are. i think once you say, hey, this is serious matter then what comes next? how do we judge it? and you have to start talking about the evidence. i think the big republican strategy is there's so much in the air no one thinks about the evidence but i don't think that's worked. >> writing this for "the new york times," the essential difference between nixon and trump lies not in their misconduct but in the grim refusal of today's republican party to notice wrongdoing and its determination to standby trump come what may. you worked under nixon bhch . do you agree with this?
>> i agree with that. i think we face a different republican party and during the nixon period were there strong conservatives in that party? of course there were. but there was also a middle. there was a center right aspect to that party, and you've got very fine patriots like howard baker. had it not been for howard baker in those hearings we would have not had the taping system. that came through the kind of pressure to have hearings and to get everybody up there nixon sent, you know, all the witnesses up, he held back the tapes, eventually turned those over which did him in but i think we're in a different age. and certainly knows the conservatives better than i do, and he'd be the first to say there are a number of conservatives who rallied with bill to say we don't like what's going on with this trump administration, but they're vastly outnumbered by their people on the hill who are
steadfastly almost like lapdogs sticking with the president. >> bill, i want to ask you about something the president tweeted earlier this evening. he said house speaker nancy pelosi's teeth were, quote, falling out of her mouth during a press conference last week. there's no evidence that happen. he's also calling her crazy nancy. your reaction to this? >> he doesn't seem like a guy who's confident and thinks everything is going great for him. the tweets are so random in a way you don't want to overinterpret them. he does not seem like a happy camper right now and i do think that reflects he's not foolish on this stuff, but i think they know their basic gambit which as i said was to really derail this, blow this up into a farce, that hasn't worked. doesn't mean republicans are going to defect in the senate, doesn't mean the polls are going to move that much more than they have now. but they have not discredited the notion this is serious case,
there's real evidence a president has done things a president shouldn't do. >> the president making it about nancy pelosi's looks, the speaker of the house? >> it's totally inappropriate. it is so sexist. it is -- i think the president's going to come out of this whole exercise embittered toward the democrats and emboldened about what he plans to do as president, and we're in for an interesting, interesting ride. let me just say one other thing about the polls, the president has been going on telling everybody his poll numbers have been going through the roof. he uses that phrase frequently. one of the things most interesting about the fox poll today was all the major democratic candidates are still running ahead of trump. joe biden still 7 points ahead of trump and in a head to head fascinating. >> very much so. stay right there. james comey says he was
overconfident and wrong. coming up, the former fbi director makes a stunning admission on the russia investigation. live in the cnn newsroom when we come back. nce for america. it's 5g ultra wideband-- --for massive capacity-- --and ultra-fast speeds. almost 2 gigs here in minneapolis. that's 25 times faster than today's network in new york city. so people from midtown manhattan-- --to downtown denver-- --can experience what our 5g can deliver. (woman) and if verizon 5g can deliver performance like this in these places... it's pretty crazy. ...just imagine what it can do for you. ♪ you have power over pain, so the whole world looks different.
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release of justice department's inspector general which found 17 different errors and omissions in the fisa warrant application against carter page. that same warrant did not reveal any evidence to support president trump's claims his campaign was illegally spied on or wiretapped or that the investigation was driven by political bias, a point comey drove home. >> the fbi was accused of treason, of illegal spying, of tapping mr. trump's wires illegally, of opening an investigation without justification of being a criminal conspiracy to defeat and then unseat a president. all of that was nonsense. i think it's really important that the inspector general looked at that and that the american people, your viewers and all viewers understand that's true, but he also found things we were never accused of, which is real sloppiness, and that's concerning. as i said all along has to be focused on. if i were director i'd be focused on it and diving into
it. >> significant errors in the fisa process and you say it was handled in a thoughtful and appropriate way? >> he's right, and i was wrong. i was overconfident in the procedures the fbi and justice had built over 20 years. i thought they were robust enough. it's incredibly hard to get a fisa. i was overconfident in those because he's right there was real sloppiness. 17 things that should have been in the applications or at least discussed or cakized differently, it was not acceptable. and so he's right, i was wrong. >> david gergen and bill crystal are back with us. this has been on trump's mind today, he's tweeted about it several times. he seems gleeful in comey's interview and admitting he was wrong. do you think this is the last word or will trump continue to use comey and the fbi as a sort of siren call for votes in the next 2020 election? >> trump of course has been doing this before and will continue to do it suppose. and what strikes me, a, nothing has been done to delegit mass at all the actual investigation. the fisa warrant for page was
after the investigation had begun, and it had some procedural irregularities. the sloppiness seems like they might have still gotten that warrant. i give comey credit for saying they messed up at the fbi. you know, trump really wants -- again, if you look at actually the report and what's wrong it's stuff they shouldn't do, but it's the kind of stuff that happens in a country where the rule of law is very strong and there are very complicated judicial and legal procedures and agents take a little bit of shortcuts and get a little impatient and mess up. it's a tribute to the fbi's general i would say commitment to the rule of law these are considered big errors compared to most countries and trump has no appreciation of any of that. and he just wants the fbi to serve him and not investigate things he doesn't want investigated. >> i don't think anyone is arguing that these mistakes if they were mistakes in its omission or sloppiness and the president was leery, he was
upset that comey was going to be going on fox. chris wallace i have to say really challenged comey. david, do you think comey's interview helped or hurt the credibility of the fbi today? >> well, i think it helped the credibility of jim comey and i do think it helped the fbi. we haven't heard anybody say that and as long as i can remember it's always somebody else who's making mistakes, always somebody else who's screwed up. i join bill in saying i think he did the right thing, and there it is. if this happened on such a sensitive issue it really raises questions about the competence of some of these people in the fbi on other issues on other fisa requests and i think that has to be turowly explored upon by the justice department and in a way not intended to throw dirt on comey or anybody else.
but i think the critical thing to still remember to come back to is what they found after a thorough investigation was it was not politically motivated, not a witch hunt and it was an honest effect to figure out what's going on here and on that they were plenty plainspoken. the intelligence of the institutions of this government unlike the white house still insists that we face major, major threats from the russians and from others on these various forms of hacking. and we are still not acting like there's any urgency to it. this is where presidents lead. they have to light up the fire in order to get something like this done before 2020 of next november. >> and now president trump isn't happy with his current fbi director tweeting this. i don't know what report current director of the fbi christopher wray was reading, but it sure wasn't the one given to me. with that kind of attitude he
will never be able to fix the fbi despite having some of the greatest men and women working there. this came after the assessment the russian investigation was predicated on facts not political bias. and the president hand picked christopher wray. >> and accepted the i.g.'s criticism of the institution that he run, so one has to give him credit for that. i actually think there are reforms in the fisa process, reforms in law enforcement, and those reforms are harder to make when you have the insanity of the president just attacking the whole investigation, pretending it's dozens i suppose hundreds of fbi agents and justice department employees are going to engage in witch hunts, lie systematically et cetera, et cetera, release the private texts of fbi agents and so forth. i really think there is a reformage under here with trump just attacking the fbi. they probably have some tendency
to hunker down, but it's not healthy, and we need to have a reinstructive reform agenda not just a denunciation, really demagoguery from the president. >> quick final thought, david? >> yes. i think the thing that jumped out at me from the president's tweet today when he called christopher wray the current fbi director, that suggests that the president may be after him when the dust settles. >> guys, thank you both. before i move on i both really appreciate you joining us. let's talk about the trump administration and afghanistan now. expected to announce a troop withdrawal in that country. still ahead, how that move could impact national security. nationwide. t-mobig while some 5g signals go only blocks, t-mobile 5g goes miles... beyond the big cities to the small towns... to the people.
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down could mean for the region. >> reporter: well, a senior administration official telling our jeremy diamond that the administration is moving to announce withdrawal from afghanistan of about 4,000 troops. now, there are currently 12 to 13,000 u.s. troops currently in afghanistan performing a variety of missions, primarily training, advising the afghan forces as they battle the taliban, al-qaeda and isis. and we're being told that the decision to withdraw the troops could be announced soon, but president trump has long said he wants to do this. in fact, back in august he told fox news he wanted to draw down the number of u.s. troops in to afghanistan to about 8,600 in line with the number we're being told now. again, that would have an impact. we're being told the mission that would be primarily affected would be the training and advising of afghan forces, squt tharemaining u.s. troops would shift to a counter terrorism focus mainly batting terrorist
groups like al-qaeda and isis and the afghans would not continue to be supported as they continue to battle the terror groups. again, whether this decision is actually announced remain tuesday be seen. the trump administration has been weighing this for some time, and this all comes as the talks with the taliban are ongoing. however, the taliban have also recently attacked a major u.s. military base, something that put the talks with the taliban on a temporary hold according to the chief u.s. negotiator. and again, it's interesting to see whether or not this deal, this decision to potentially withdraw u.s. troops will be seen as a unilateral concession to the taliban unless they make a similar move to help bring about peace in that war torn country. back to you. >> ryan browne, thank you. as the full house prepares to vote to impeach president trump this week, we are taking your questions about what
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with impeachment very likely now as the full house votes this week, senators are prepping for an impeachment trial to follow. and some are making their thoughts well-known even before this trial begins including south carolina senator lindsey graham who said this weekend, quote, i'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here. back with us now cnn legal analyst elle honing here to answer your questions about impeachment. one viewer seems to have heard what lindsey graham said because this person second degree is there any way to prevent senators who have shown bias from serving as jurors in an impeachment trial? >> ana, it's so important people understand the difference what we know to be a typical criminal trial and what we're about to see in a senate trial. in a criminal jury you have 12 every day men and women, and the number one most important requirement is they be impartial
and unbiased. if they are biased they are thrown off the jury. in the senate we're about to see 100 senators thrown off the juror. and practically there's no way to throw them out if they show bias. that being said boy are mitch mcconnell and lindsey graham really pushing the envelope here. mitch mcconnell came out this week and announced he'll be working in total coordination with the white house. look, i don't think senators should announce anywhere where they stand. lindsey graham announcing for example he's not going to pretend to be impartial. >> they're being transparent, i guess. >> give them credit for that. but mitch mcconnell is the most powerful person in the senate right now. in a couple of weeks every senator is going to have to raise his or her hand and take an oath to do impartial justice. i don't know how some of them are going to be able to do that. >> who serves as defense lawyers and prosecutors? >> so the president gets to choose his defense team.
bill clinton chose a combination of white house counsel and looks like donald trump is going to same route. it's been reported pat cipollone white house counsel will lead the effort for trump and there's conversation out which attorneys trump will be picking. managers from the house of representatives will be chosen by house democrats. and as with many things speaker pelosi will have the biggest say. there's already speculation out there about who these people could be. i think it's a safe bet adam schiff will be a house manager. i think val demings has shown her sl to be a very good questioner. eric swalwell, former federal prosecutor, hakeem jeffreys, a lawyer also asked some very sharp questions. we'll see where they come outs on that. there were 13 house managers versus in the case with bill clinton. one of them lindsey graham, the same lindsey graham will be in the senate as a juror in this case. >> that's an interesting twist. another question from a viewer right now is is there protection
against double jeopardy in an impeachment trial, and can the same person be impeached twice by the house? >> legally, yes. it's never happened the same person has been impeached twice. double jeopardy applies in criminal cases, not to impeachment. of course there are political considerations. it would be difficult to impeach the same person twice especially on a new clarj. if there's new conduct it's possible. whether or not a senate acquits or convicts a person can be prosecuted after being impeached. there's no double jeopardy problem there. >> we'll see you back next hour for more viewer questions. you can of course submit your own if you have questions for elle at cnn.com/opinion and of course find his cross exam column there. we have some breaking news i want to get to right now. sources telling cnn that representative jeff van drew's staff is quitting en masse.
this comes the freshman new jersey congressman is expected to sich parties from democrat to republican. van drew has been strongly opposed to house democrats impeachment of president trump. let's get to manu raju joining us on the phone. what is going on behind the scenes right now? >> we have obtained a letter that says five of van drew's staff will resign if protests over the congressman's decision that he plans to switch parties, become a republican in the aftermath of his opposition to impeaching the president. now, in this letter that we've obtained, five of these members including senior member, the deputy chief of staff, legislative staff and others are saying that they plan to resign because they're disappointed by a decision. they talk about in this letter how they write to formally resign from the office and hope
to resign in the hopes they would fight back against what the republicans have been doing -- criticizing the republicans for siding with special interests and the like. and they ultimately criticize trump and the republicans and end by saying we greatly respect congressman van drew and are deeply saddened and are disappointed by his decision. as such we can no longer in good conscience continue our service in the congressman's employ. this is significant because there are -- for a freshman member like jeff van drew, they don't have a particularly big staff. in fact, it's a relatively small staff and it seems five members abruptly quit en masse like this and leave the congressional office hampered, and this will create a big dent in his office if he tries to figure out how to move forward. a bit about van drew's decision, he's one of two democrats who
said he would vote on moving forward with an impeachment inquiry and he would vote against those two articles of impeachment to be voted on wednesday. he's gotten much backlash from his swing district in new jersey on his opposition to move forward on impeachment and democrats in particular have been critical of him and there's concern that he may not survive the democratic primary in 2020. so privately president trump met with jeff van drew last week, urged him and they talked about switching parties, and that's what jeff van drew have been talking about with a number of his democratic colleagues indicating he does in fact plan to switch parties in the coming days. he's talked to his staff members about this and you can see the backlash has been swift and intense. now you're seeing five members of his staff saying they are going to quit. you've also seen significant criticism from top democrats including the democrats from new
jersey -- the governor from new jersey phil murphy who said he's acting out of his phone political interests. so jeff van drew here is in a very difficult spot. switching parties, ana, is not easy. you get criticized from both sides, particularly your former party. so we'll see how he ultimately weathers this storm. because that's what he's in right now a political storm largely of his own making. >> again jeff van drew saying he's going to switch parties and his staff resigning, staff members saying they are planning on leaving. >> the white house is adding more limits on who's listening to the president's phone calls with foreign leaders. coming up why these restrictions could come up with some real risks. that's next in your weekend presidential brief. maria ramirez?
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as the house gets ready to vote on articles of impeachment this week, president trump's senior aides have further restricted the number of calls -- the number of officials allowed to listen to his phone calls with foreign leaders. this of course after his july 25th call with ukraine's president became the center piece of this impeachment
inquiry. that brings us to your weekend presidential brief with cnn national security analyst samantha vinegrad. not only are they limiting the number of people who are going to be listening to these calls, we're also learning they plan to limit the number of people who will read the road out following these calls. >> i used to work on determining thooez lists. they're typically determined based on upon which u.s. officials need to know what transpired on a call. now, a list of people who listen to a call is typically smaller because historically authorized officials felt confident they would get an accurate read out of whatever transpired on a call. now, the issue of course now is the fewer people that are listening to a call, the fewer first-hand accounts there are. remember the whistle-blower complaint included concerns raised by people with direct knowledge of the call related to what president trump told president zelensky. so president trump may be trying to limit potential witnesses to
potential future crimes by not allowing more people to actually listen to the call. the read out itself is so important for u.s. policy makers. they typically incorporate it into strategy going forward. even if president trump limits the amount of u.s. officials that know what happened, remember foreign officials don't have those same limitations. that means that foreign governments know more about what transpired on a call than u.s. officials, and that gives them a leg up. >> let's talk more about those foreign advarsariersaries to th, north korea. and now we have them threatening the so-called christmas gift to the u.s., sending out some tests, saying there are usual tests and successful. how serious is this? >> well, the north koreans are really testing two things here. their weapons and president trump. north korea resumed missile tests back in may, and in just under a week they claimed to have conducted two tests from a
satellite launch facility. analysts are still determining exactly what was tested, but it does appear north korea may be gearing up for a satellite launch. the last one was in 2012. now the united states and other world leaders think these satellite launches are really just a front for north korea's missile program, and they're illegal under international law. so while kim jong-un is testing these weapons, he's also trying to test how far he can push donald trump's patience. he's really trying to see i assess whether president trump is trying to stomach more provocations or whether president trump is willing to turn a new leaf in the new year and actually consider imposing some costs on north korea for the illegal behavior. my new year's advice to president trump would be to try to incorporate some sticks into the bag of carrots he's been offering kim jong-un thus far. >> there's also reporting he's planning a swift draw down of u.s. troops in afghanistan.
what's the impact there? >> to be clear trump has already drawn down 2,000 troops in afghanistan this year. the report is there would be a further cut. the negotiations with the taliban, our troops are leverage in these negotiations because the taliban is trying to get us to leave. if we announce withdrawal without concessions from the taliban we're diminishing our posture. and of course there's a significant security impact. our forces train afghan security and conduct missions. it is clear even with the missions violence on the ground is continuing but i hope president trump does something this time he doesn't done with the syria draw down decision which is consult with his actual home team about the cost of drawing down. the hallmark channel is facic backlash for removing a commercial showing this newly married couple kissing. details next. and as we head to break i want to remind you that your new
year's eves plans should include anderson cooper and andy cohen, two best friends. one epic night, new year's eve live begins at 8:00 eastern here on cnn. we'll be right back. cologuard: colon cancer screening for people 50 plus at average risk. some things are harder than you thought. and others are easier. like screening for colon cancer with me, cologuard. i'm noninvasive and you use me at home. i'm also effective. i find 92% of colon cancers using dna in your stool.
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after the hallmark channel held an ad of a same sex couple kissing, there's a boycott. >> do you think zola could have made planning your perfect wedding easier? >> we do. >> reporter: this tv ad marriage is leading to a real life breakup between hallmark and zola. they announced the vow to no longer celebrate life's special moments. it started last week. 1 million moms posted complaints on the website it complained were coming from viewers about certain zola ads running on the hallmark channel. they claimed a lesbian wedding ceremony complete with a kiss was not family friendy. shame on hallmark channel. zola said it was notified on thursday that four of the six ads featuring a same-sex couple
would be pulled from the channel. hallmark said they were not allowed to accept controversial content. in a podcast with the hollywood reporter last month bill abbott the media group's ceo seemed open to having same sex content on the channel. >> have you thought of incorporating same-sex content. >> we look at a variety of different things. we're always looking for the best stories that we think will resonate in the best way so we're open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship in any space. >> but widely reported statement from crown suggests there's no room for same-sex depictions on its air. it was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value. zola says other versions of their ads were allowed to air.
in a statement the company wrote, the only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved were the ones that did not meet the standards included a lesbian couple kissing. hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed. there will be one less advertiser on hallmark as the channel continues its popular christmas movie season. >> that was paulo sandoval reporting. other companies are joining in on the backlash. netflix said titles with lesbians, it's christmas, we let people who love who they love. this next video contains troubling images. this shows a school resource officer at a north carolina middle school violently slamming a student to the floor, not once
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this is cnn breaking news. you're live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm ana cabrera in new york. breaking news now. details of what democratic senators want president trump's impeachment trial to look like including the names of people they want to call as witnesses. these are names we've definitely heard before. the acting chief of staff mick mulvaney. on bojohn bolton. jeremy diamond, what more do we know? >> reporter: anna, senate republicans had only started to get on the same page. what they've been looking for is a short impeachment trial and one that likely would not include any witnesses. now we are hearing from the top democrat in the senate, chuck schumer, with his request for a senate impeachment trial. he is asking for witnesses. he's asking for four key witnesses in particu