tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN December 16, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST
♪for the holidays you can't beat home sweet home.♪ we go the extra mile to bring your holidays home. i'm dana bash in for brianna keilar, live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, a historic week. the stage is set for president trump to become only the third american president to be impeached by the house. and it comes as the senate democratic leader announces what amounts to his party's opening bid in negotiations with republicans over what the senate impeachment trial should look like. plus, as one house democrat in a trump-won district faces constituents over her decision to vote for impeachment, another is a no and is set to switch
parties. and former president obama reportedly says women are better leaders than men and takes a shot at those who refuse to give up power. we start with the countdown to what will be a day for the history books in the house of representatives this week. the impeachment of president donald trump expected to come on wednesday. the house judiciary committee, which voted last week to send the articles to the full house, issued a 600-plus page report laying out the case. it says in part, president trump's abuse of power encompass both the constitutional offense of bribery and multiple federal crimes. he has betrayed the national interest, the people of this nation, and should not be permitted to be above the law. i want to get right to capitol hill where manu raju is and always will be from early morning to late at night. manu, you've been working the halls. what are you hearing at this hour? >> reporter: well, democrats are
very confident they're going to have the votes on wednesday to impeach the president, that historic vote, you mentioned, the third time in history that this would occur. they're not planning on whipping this vote. they don't believe they actually need to because they do believe those 31 house democrats, people who serve in districts that president trump carried in 2016, by and large most of them will vote ultimately to impeach the president and likely on both counts, abuse of power and obstruction of congress. in a key sign this morning, elissa slotkin, a michigan democrat, a freshman who opposed moving guard on the impeachment inquiry, but then got behind it in the aftermath of the ukraine revelations announced her support this morning, saying she would vote on both counts of both articles of impeachment that are expected to come on wednesday. now, when she went to a town hall in her district this morning, she got reception from both sides, pushback, applause, a sign of how divided her district is.
>> i hope you believe me when i tell you that i made this decision out of principle and out of duty to protect the amendment of the constitution. i feel it in my bones and i will stick to that regardless of what it does to me politically, because this is bigger in politics. >> reporter: now, expect some more democrats to make a similar position known, ones who serve in those swing districts. but there are at least two right now, democrats who are expected to vote against the articles of impeachment, including jeff van drew, the freshman democrat who told colleagues over the weekend that he planned to switch parties, become a republican at the urging also of the president. van drew, of course, is basing his own political problems in his district. it raises questions of if he can even win as a democrat, which is why we expect him to announce in days that he's switching to republican. we don't really expect a handful
to vote against impeachment, and we don't expect republicans to vote for impeachment. this vote on wednesday, a historic one, will be a partisan one as well. dana? >> manu, thank you as always. if the house doesn't impea impe president, as it is expected to do, it moves quickly to the senate, and the wrangling there is already underway. mitch mcconnell says he's coordinating with the house on the process for the senate trial and added that there is, quote, no chance the president is going to be removed from office. and now the senate democratic leader is weighing in and chuck schumer sent a letter to mcconnell asking for four witnesses. >> we're not trying to be dil iri dilitory, we're trying to have a
trial that america looks for, which is fair and swift. there was no semblance of even discussing a fair, balanced trial where the facts come out. >> you want a deal, though, with mcconnell. you don't want this to get to an impeachment trial with no deal, right? >> what i want above all is a fair trial. i hope mitch mcconnell, i expect mitch mcconnell will help us create that. if he doesn't, we'll have to see where to go from there. >> the white house responded to schumer's letter saying they're going to review it, rather, today. our cnn's sara murray is here now. sara, those four witnesses that chuck schumer was talking about, tell us about it. >> well, they could all hold key pieces to this puzzle of what exactly happened when it came to the president's demands from ukraine. you know, there is mick mulvaney, the acting white house chief of staff who, of course, has refused to testify but admitted in that press briefing he had at the white house that trump wanted to hold up aid in ukraine in part to get ahold of those investigations he was
demanding. mulvaney later walked that back and said he never said it. another person schumer wants to hear from is john bolton. he was the former security adviser to president trump and would have been privy to a number of these conversations about how the president wanted to deal with ukraine and why they were holding up this money and this white house meeting. again, he's asked to testify. next up is robert blair. he was a close adviser to mick mulvaney. he came over to the white house and he was present in these discussions about holding up money. the last person on this list is michael duffey, someone else who has refused to testify in the house proceedings. he's a current omb official, and he was in an odd position because he was a political appointee who helped hold back this money for ukraine. normally that's a job reserved for career staffers, again, someone we have not heard from. none of these folks are going to show up willingly. they're all hiding behind this white house demand that they not show up and testify, so we'll
see if it's any different when it gets to the senate, dana. >> hard to believe it will be. thanks so much for laying that out. joining me from capitol hill is democratic senator holland from maryland. thanks for joining me. i want to get to the quote you said last week. you said what the president did is, quote, an attack on our democracy, and you also said, quote, that you have to hold the president accountable for this kind of misconduct. it sounds like you've made up your mind already on impeachment. have you? >> well, dana, it's good to be with you. here's where i stand. i think it is houthe house has forward a factual case on impeachment, that the president withheld these important military funds and other office pra promises of office visits in order to put political favor ahead of ukraine. i think that's been established. however, i want to add this very
important caveat. i am open to hearing new information, new facts, testimony from witnesses, look at documents. if there is other information out there that would exonerate the president, then obviously i would take that into account before rendering any kind of final decision in this matter. >> so on that notion of new information, you heard senator schumer, you read his letter last night. he's talking about four witnesses that were not heard from in the house. obviously, what he is doing is opening the conversation for negotiations with republicans on witnesses. how do you expect or hope this plays out when it comes to what witnesses, if any, you will hear from as a juror in the senate trial? >> well, dana, we call this a trial, and i think most americans understand that in our system of real trials, people get to call witnesses, fact witnesses on the subject matter that's relevant, and get
documents on relevant subject matter. so if you're going to have a fair trial, you shouldn't be closing the door on relevant evidence. mick mulvaney has a lot of relevant evidence. you just reported that he made that public statement saying that they were withholding aid in order to extract these political favors. john bolton is said to have called this whole thing a drug deal. so these are very relevant witnesses, and what is very, very troubling is to have people like mitch mcconnell and lindsey graham say that they don't want to look at the evidence, that they've already made up their mind irrespective of what this new evidence might show. even though senator graham, for example, said a while back that if there was really a quid pro quo that that would be a really bad thing. now they don't want any evidence. >> so, senator, you just mentioned two potential witnesses. you mentioned mick mulvaney, the president's chief of staff, and john bolton, his former national
security adviser. is it fair to say, let's just game this out, that if those two were part of a negotiation that republicans, you know, okayed, is it fair to say that republicans should get witnesses that they might want, like hunter biden? >> so, dana, i go back to the metaphor of this is a trial. it is called a trial. and in a normal trial, and i used -- i've been in trials, i've been an attorney in trials, that would be the kind of question for a judge. and i think in this circumstance, that would be more likely to be dismissed by a judge because it's totally ir re -- irrelevant to the president's conduct. here the impeachable conduct is the president's effort to get this foreign government to interfere in an american election. there is no factual showing that, you know, what hunter biden did or what vice president
biden did is relevant at all to that. so i would say, look, we have a chief justice that will be presiding. it's an open question as to how active and engaged the chief justice will be on ruling on some of these issues, or whether the chief justice will just hand the decision over to the majority leader. >> the chief justice, who will be the judge in this so-called trial, but as you well know, this is not the kind of trial that you see on "law & order." this is a very different ball of wax here and it is a political one. so it could be that there could be a deal, a decision made by the senate to, you know, decide on which witnesses going in. it's not unheard of that that would be done as part of sort of the parameters of the trial. >> well, that's exactly right, dana. but again, i think the overall approach should be one of what
does a fair trial look like on the charges that have been made here? that's where it's undeniable that people like mick mulvaney and john bolton are fact witnesses at the center of this case. so we should stop calling it a trial -- >> do you think there is a possibility that hunter biden comes? >> i don't think there is a world where hunter biden comes, but as you mentioned, everything is up to a majority vote. but i think we have some republican senators who recognize that whole issue is a red herring, that it's a distraction, and that it will be perceived by the majority of the american public the way a normal judge would probably perceive it, to be outside of bounds and unfair. whereas these other witnesses are clearly within the facts of the case. >> so while i have you on, i've covered you for a long time and i want you to put your political hat on, because i remember it wasn't that long ago when you were in charge in the house of getting house democrats elected.
at that time your job was to keep the house majority, and you did that during that time. so look at what's happening there now. just, for example, you heard manu report about elissa slotkin. she turned her district in michigan from red to blue, she's voting yes on both articles of impeachment, she got an earful, both pro and con, at a town hall this morning. does this complicate the democrats' goal of keeping the majority in the house in 2020? >> i don't thirnk so, because i don't think anybody can really re read all the political signs here and see how this all shakes out. which is why -- speaker pelosi has been clear, this is not a political vote, it's a vote of conscience, and this is one of those moments, dana, that every member of the house needs to decide what they think is important to protect and defend the constitution of the united
states. which is why she just had that town hall meeting and explained her position, and she'll let the political chips fall where they may. but i think at the end of the day, even for those swing voters who may disagree with a particular decision, i think they will respect a member of congress who comes out and clearly states their position and explains why. >> senator chris van holland, thank you so much for joining me. i appreciate it. >> it's great to be here. thanks. a group of aides to a house democrat quit after he is making moves to switch parties over impeachment. up next, we'll talk about the real reason why it looks like he's becoming a republican. plus, former president barack obama criticizes old people for staying in power too long. hear what he says about women in power. and the navy is investigating gestures made in the crowd at the army-navy game this weekend and whether they were white power signs.
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they don't want to stay now that he's poised to switch to the republican party. the new jersey congressman opposes impeaching president trump and has from the start, and he's struggling with democratic voters back home. with me now is the congressman's home state governor, phil murphy of new jersey, and he is a democrat serving in his first term. governor, thank you so much for joining me. first, you released a scathing statement that i read last night, and here's what it said in part so our viewers see it. you said, betraying our values by siding with donald trump is the final straw and made it impossible for him to continue being supported by our party as grassroots activists, local party leaders in his district and i have made this clear in recent weeks. i just want to put this in plain language. you're saying it's not so much that congressman van drew wants to be a republican right now, he's getting pushed out of your party, the democratic party, because he is not voting the way
you want him to vote. >> first of all, it's good to be on with you, dana. he's doing this. the party is not doing it, he's doing it. he's putting politics over the constitution, he's putting cuteness over courage, and he's cutting and running. he apparently saw some poll numbers he didn't like. he's on the wrong side of impeachment. i completely support and overwhelmingly democrats in new jersey support the speaker's approach. she has no choice. i'm a former u.s. ambassador. this behavior is well out of line for the president and his team. overwhelmingly all the democrats in the state want this except for him. he's making his decision based on a poll or one issue. to be a proud democrat takes a whole lot of building blocks. it's education, it's health care, it's women's health, it's the environment, it's gun safety. and i think it's a time to be a proud democrat stand up for our values and what we believe in,
and he's chosen not to. >> you're saying he's chosen not to, but what i'm getting at it, it's not as if he woke up and said, you know what, i think i'm really kind of a republican. as you mentioned, he had a poll. he has or had a democratic primary opponent and could have lost his seat if he didn't switch to the gop. is that fair? >> i don't know what's in his head, but i think it's very fair. as i said, he's put politics over the constitution and over his responsibility. and i think it's pathetic. but we're going to move on. wee we're going to turn the page and a democrat is going to win that seat in 2020. >> how are you so sure? president trump won in that district. you know very well new jersey is a blue state but not that district. the president won by four and a half percentage points. >> i think you speak to our values and you're true to yourself. i think whenever democrats get cute and they try to get into another lane, they find that others are already in that lane, and those others are called
republicans. let's stand up for who we are, what we believe in. again, it's kitchen table stuff. it's education, it's health care, it's job security, it's the environment, it's gun safety, it's women's health. the stuff that adds up to being a democrat, whether it's in new jersey in any district or around the country. and i think it's time to be proud of that and to stand up and be courageous and talk to that and ask for support based on those core values. i think when you try to get cute, you try to get into somebody else's lane, you get run over and that's what's happened to him. >> one last question. he's not the only one who was sort of grappling with this or is in your state. there is another congresswoman, mikey sherrill. she turned a red district blue. she's in a different part of your state. do you think if she votes yes on these articles of impeachment, she could be in trouble politically in 2020? >> mikey is extraordinary. there were a number of first
time winners last year, each of them are extraordinary. they are good examples of the positive side of this. they are courageous, they are standing up and making a decision based on the facts and defense of the constitution. i think they'll be rewarded for that. >> governor phil murphy of the great state of new jersey, thank you so much. appreciate it. >> thank you, dana. and up ahead, urgent talks are underway on the fate of that trade deal struck between democrats and the president after an 11th hour snag. hear why. plus he doesn't speak out very often, but former president barack obama diagnoses what he thinks is wrong about people in power roles. stand by. memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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singapore straits times. obama said he was confident if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see improvement across the board. let's bring in one of my favorite women, cnn's abby phillip, who joins me now. >> it's our turn, right? >> what else did he say? it's so fascinating. >> it is interesting because we don't hear from president obama too often, but when he does speak up, people tend to pay attention. in this case he was in singapore talking about what the future is going to look like, and he says here that he thinks women are better leaders overall than men, that if they were in charge, you would have better outcomes across the board for people on all kinds of measures, including living standards. these comments are not totally off the wall. i mean, the united states is kind of late to this whole trend of women leaders. we've it in the u.k., in germany, in new zealand, in australia. but then he also made some other
comments about the men and male leaders. he was asked, would you consider going back into politics, and he said no, and he said this. if you look at the world and look at the problems, it's usually old men, old people and old men not getting out of the way. he adds, it is important for political leaders to try and remind themselves you are there to do a job but you are not there for life. you are not there in order to prop yourself up and your own sense of self-importance and your own power. >> i'm sure the biden campaign was thrilled to hear those comments. >> it seems extremely pointed, and in this race -- let's take the democratic primary. you have several of the candidates in their 70s, two of them white men, one of them a white woman, and then you have other candidates who are younger in age. lots of tea leaves to read here from president obama, but a clear message that he thinks when it's time to step aside, it's time to step aside for older people.
he considers himself now to be an older person, but when he came into office, he was not. he was young. he was considered of a younger generation, so there is a little bit of a message there for his fellow democrats going through a pretty bruising primary right now, dana. >> to say the least. i don't think these are welcome comments from his former vice president who talks about his relationship -- >> elizabeth warren and amy klobuchar, maybe? >> maybe a little built more. thank you, abby, appreciate it. still ahead, how senator rand paul's defense of president trump doesn't really match with what really happened. plus, one of the president's former rivals says it's vital he's impeached, but carly fiorina won't rule out voting for him next november. we're going to discuss after a break. if your glasses aren't perfect, we'll fix them. so will we. no we won't. don't forget to use your vision benefits before they're gone. now in-network with vsp. visionworks. see the difference.
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ray! good job, brain! say hello to neuriva, a new brain supplement with clinically proven ingredients that fuel five indicators of brain performance. neuriva. the house is on the brink of impeaching the president and the senate is poised for a trial. some senators are already mounting a vigorous defense, though, of the president. on cnn's "state of the union," rand paul dismissed claims that the president tried to get ukraine to investigate his political rival, joe biden, arguing that trump was just concerned broadly about corruption.
now, this despite the july phone call where the president specifically asked ukraine's president to look into joe biden, not mentioning the word corruption, didn't bring it up at all, and paul also brushed off at that time and said publicly on the law of the white house, that he wants foreign governments to investigate the bidens. >> the president did call the president of ukraine -- let met finish -- he didn't call the president of ukraine and say, investigate my rival. you guys are not being honest with the facts here. he does not call up and say, investigate my rival. >> china should start an investigation into the bidens. because what happened in china is just about as bad as what happened with ukraine. so i would say that president zelensky, if it were me, i would recommend that they start an investigation into the bidens. >> joining me now, gloria borger, cnn's chief political analyst and jackie kucinich, the
daily beast, and senior political analyst. what do you make of rand paul? >> i think he has a bad set of facts he has to deal with, although people seem not to agree with what the facts are these days. you have a president that never mentioned the word corruption, as you pointed out, on that phone call. you have a president who has been surrounded by people who have been indicted or are currently serving prison time. if the president cared that much about corruption in ukraine, he has a long time he could have dealt with it, despite the fact he decided he cared about it only when joe biden became his main political rival which, by the way, rand paul doesn't seem to admit was even part of the consideration, which is not true. >> and so this is so important, this kind of argument from rand paul, and he's not the only republican who makes these arguments that are just not dealing with what actually happened. but it really plays into where we are right now.
even though the house is going to vote, all eyes are on the senate. the democratic leader chuck schumer wrote a letter last night, came on cnn this morning, laying down his first sort of bid in these negotiations because the way that the senate trial is going to play out will be in large part negotiated between him and mitch mcconnell. how do you see that playing out, jackie? >> it's ultimately mitch mcconnell's call at the end of the day, because he is the majority leader. and i think republicans already have dismissed that letter as a stunt. but this negotiating in broad daylight that we're seeing going back and forth, i wonder if we end up not close to the middle, further right from the middle, it also has to do with what the white house wants them to do. mitch mcconnell said in an interview just a couple days ago that he is working in close concert with the white house on how they want the trial to be, which you have to imagine is not what senate democrats will want.
but certainly the rules are a lot more fluid in the senate than the house. the house has a certain regimented way of doing it, so we'll definitely be waiting and seeing a little more than we have on this side of the aisle. >> that's really the key. the rules are more fluid. it's really what 51 senators agree that the rules are. >> exactly. >> i've heard now from people on boothe sides of the aisle about the fact that -- this sounds processy, but hold on a second because this matters for how this is going to play out. the house is going to vote to impeach the president this week. they will not send it over to the senate until the senate gets its act together, until they figure out the rules of the road for this trial, so that does give the democrats and the senate leverage on how the trial will look. >> it does, it gives them leverage. there is history here, pretty recent history here with bill clinton. bill clinton's impeachment in the senate had three witnesses.
the depositions were taken behind closed doors, and the rules were agreed to 100 to zero. imagine that. 100 to zero. the senate met in the old senate chamber, and you had -- i believe it was ted kennedy, and i think it was phil graham, republican senator, proposing something and everybody said, well, if you two can agree on it, we'll agree on it. >> different times, gloria borger. >> but remember, three witnesses. three witnesses. >> let's talk about carly fiorina. listen to what she told poppy harlow about donald trump and impeachment. >> i think it is vital that he be impeached. whether removed this close to an election, i don't know. but i think the conduct is impeachable. >> and yet she said, you know, she might vote for him as a voter voting in 2020. what do you make of that?
is that kind of an example of the fact that a lot of republicans are confused and conflicted about what to do about donald trump, or is that people are going to look at that and say sour grapes or maybe some of both? >> maybe a little of both. as you note, carly fiorina does have quite the history with donald trump because they ran against each other in the last election and were not terribly kind to each other. that said, she also is where a lot of republicans, particularly republican women are, when they're looking at all of this. they don't like the president, they don't like what he did. they think what he did was probably wrong, but does that mean they're going to become democrats? does that mean they'll vote for him and vote for someone completely in the anthises of
their beliefs are? >> when you're talking about the president and you disagree with his value system, as she clearly does, but she kind of likes the way the economy is going. so what does she vote on? does she vote on that or does she vote on character and values? i think she's clearly saying, look, if it's a liberal democrat, that will be a harder decision. a harder decision. >> you nailed it, both of you did, that she represents kind of the classic suburban woman now, never mind the fact she ran against him for president. >> and he was really mean to her. >> yes, he was. jackie and gloria, thank you so much. just ahead, how elizabeth warren is embracing her status as the lone female candidate who is right now at the top of the 2020 field. plus the army and navy now investigating controversial hand gestures made at the game, including whether they signalled white power. stay with us.
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launched investigations after a shipman was caught making hand gestures at a football game this weekend. some were determining the hand gesture just as an okay symbol while others are saying it is associated with white nationalists. joining me now is cnn's senior national correspondent alex marquardt. you're looking into this. what are you learning? >> it was at the 120th edition of the army-navy football game, which is a huge football game for the military, and the president was there. this happened during the espn broadcast before the game. a number of cadets on the army side, shipmen on the navy side, doing this signal which obviously i'm not going to do, but if you were to do the okay symbol with your hands, that's what it looks like. the day after the game yesterday, both west point, the army academy, and the naval academy put out statements that they are looking into the intents of these cadets
ed united states military academy is fully committed to leaders who embody the army values. according to 15-6 to conduct an administrative investigation into the facts, circumstances and intent of the cadets in question. that is from the superintendent of the military academy. there is, there's been a lot of debate on line as to whether this is a white supremacist symbol that is meant to say white power, that is something that first surfaced on a toxic website where a lot of white nationalists find refuge. it is a simm bowl that has represented hate. now, we have also heard from the south earn poverty law center, they said, it's hard to know whether they intended this as a white power symbol, we have to ensure we take this seriously, we cannot have people playing around with white supremacy in the military. no one is saying for sure, it
was the white power symbol. we do know that both academies are looking into it, and specifically looking into the intent of those -- >> they'll be interviewing the cadets and midshipmen, we'll ask them -- >> thank you so much, alex, no matter what, the notion of it is very disturbing. >> thank you. senate minority leader chuck schumer is expected to speak any minute about the witness list he submitted to mitch mcconnell and what he sees as the path forward for impeachment. after deadly crashes, boeing may soon announce the fate of its 737 maxaire craft. the details that have ahead. look, this isn't my first rodeo...
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with the first 2020 contest just around the corner, elizabeth warren is starting to embrace her unique standing in the race as the lone female candy date at the top of the field. warren is the only woman left in the race who's still appearing to have a realistic path to the party's nomination for now. that obviously could change, but right now, she is polling in double-digits nationally, alongside joe biden and senator bernie sanders. however, warren's political momentum has taken a little bit of a hit. i want to bring in cnn political
correspondent mj lee. this story you have filed is so interesting to me, it wasn't that long ago, i don't know, three years ago, in 2016, had you a woman, and even before that, who didn't put the femaleness forward. and now things have changed dramatically, tell us about that. >> that's right, dana, i don't know where the time has gone, but it's been almost a year since elizabeth warren announced her exploratory campaign for president, and so much has happened in the 2020 race since then. we've had a bunch of candidates jump into the race and drop out. including some female candidates like kirsten gillibrand or kamala harris. and where this leaves elizabeth warren in the race for now, is that she's the only female candidate who has consistently polled in the double-digits. she's the only woman candidate in that top tier of the
democratic top 2020 candidate. what is so notable is how much more frequently and explicitly we've seen senator warren discussion her own gender, how some of own views came into being in the earlier years of her life. and also, talking about gender inequality and sexism in politics. i want to play a sound bite of warren talking about this last week in las vegas. >> i've lived enough of my life with men and it's mostly been men, telling me to sit down and be quiet. i have stood up and fought back, and this is the fight of my lifetime and your lifetime. understand this, mitch mcconnell said it all, nevertheless i will persist. >> this is an interesting shift from the beginning of her campaign when she was often asked about her gender and her answers didn't always explicitly
mention her gender and i will note that next week there are seven candidates on the debate stage. >> m.j. thank you so much for that report. check out that story online, be sure to tune in to that final presentation of the year. live from los angeles, thursday night starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn, that's it for me, newsroom with brooke baldwin starts right now. dana, thank you so much. i'm brooke baldwin, you're watching cnn on this monday afternoon, thanks for being with me. i know for many of us, the race to the end of the year is a hectic one. when we cross off those final items on our to do list. the same is true for lawmakers as congress enters the final week of 2019. it's focused on the impeach