tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN January 6, 2020 11:00am-12:00pm PST
in building that support. >> i know it is scary and we want to be able to make it a smooth flow and keep your kids going through the school year and not being stressed out as well. >> reporter: stressed out and concerned about when they will see their loved ones again. >> and that was natasha chen reporting. and that is it for me. i'm brooke baldwin. you are watching cnn on this monday. thank you for being here. we begin with breaking news on the pending impeachment trial of president trump. john boltons has now stepped in line to possible become its star witness. trump's former national security adviser announced, quote, i have concluded that if the senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, i am prepared to testify. if bolton receives the subpoena, he would be the highest level administration official to comply. now, others inside the
president's inner circle, secretary of state mike pompeo, chief of staff mick mulvaney and vice president mike pence have all refused to cooperate in this impeachment investigation following president trump's direction. so let's start with lisa lair, and kylie atwood. ladies, kylie, first with you, tell me what john bolton is offering. >> so what he is coming out with today is the fact that he is willing, he is open to providing testimony to the senate as part of their impeachment trial if he is temperaturesubpoenaed. and this is big news. as you referenced, john bolton knows a lot about the ukraine poll icy and the discussions th were happening at the white house when the the ukraine aid was held and we know that he was very, very opposed to what was going on in the white house. we know that because former aides of the white house who
provide testimony as part of the house impeachment inquiry explained that he was frustrated. he told folks working for him to go talk to white house lawyers about what they were seeing and saying that he did not want to be a part of that drug deal. the other thing to consider however is the fact that john balan bolton is someone in discussions that have not yet been revealeds as part of that testimony provided to the house during the impeachment inquiry. so he has new information that he could bring. and now of course won't of the important things to consider is the fact that it is the republicans who are running this process. and there has been no formal decision made about if there will be witnesses as part of this senate trial. we know that the democrats want there to be witnesses. they want john bolton to come up and provide this testimony. but ultimately that is a decision that lies with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. and we know that before putting
out statement today, a source familiar with the statement told me that john bolton did try to reach out to hitmitch mcconnell give him a head's up, but the white house because not made aware that this statement was coming. >> so given everything that kylie just reported, lisa, why is he offering this now? >> well, that is one of the biggest questions. he wasn't formally subpoenaed by the house. that is part of why he says that he did not go in front of the house committee and he would do it now. but the timing of this is really curious. it of course comes at a moment when house speaker nancy pelosi is essentially holding the process, the impeachment process, in the house and refusing to move it over to the senate until she gets some confirmation that there will be witnesses and the process will proceed in a twway that democra would like to. and you have the escalating tensions with iran that was
dominating the weekend news. so why now is the question that is really rattling around washington. and one thing that we do know that it is clear, that it accept puts mitch mcconnell in a much more difficult position. it raises the probability or the chances at least that couple republicans could break with him and vote to allow witnesses. and that really is a key -- that is what we will all be watching for this week and that is the question that every senate republican will have to answer. >> and to that point, like what is the actual probability that this could go the way of maybe how moderate democrats -- moderate republicans and democrats would like given that the republicans hold the majority? >> republicans have a majority, but they need 51 votes to compel bolton testify. so that is only four republicans splitting. you have some folks in the
caucus who are retiring, you have people up for election in purple states that might feel more cross currents to have a process that has a little bit more advisability to it. and so it is not -- it is hard to game it all out because senate roepublicans have come back yet, they will come back tonight and tomorrow more than. but that will be the question. >> and what about you brought up the house. we know the house comes into session tomorrow as well. the intel chair adam schiff has tweeted about john bolton. is there any chance that schiff would issue bolton a subpoena on the house side or does he just let it be handled in the senate? >> i think that that is something that folks working on the house process is trying to figure out now, whether that is something that they could do and if that would make sense from a extra strategic standpoint. i think right now the focus will be on the senate, where the republicans go and whether this process moves forward.
and really what mitch mcconnell does in response to this. >> so we'll be watching those moderates and mitch mcconnell. lisa, thank you very much. huge questions around everyone coming back to work tomorrow. let's talk now about iran. the escalating tensions with iran after president trump gave the go ahead to kill qassem soleimani, iran's top general in a drone strike at the baghdad airport. soleimani, whose casket has been carried through massive crowds, could be buried as early as today as officials say iran will no longer abide by the 2015 nuclear deal and reiterating a vow to retal ratiateretaliate. the president says that it could prompt the u.s. to take aim at culture ralg si cultural sites. and also the iraqi parliament voting in a nonbinding
resolution to expel some 5,000 u.s. troops after slamming the airport drone strike as a violation of its sovereignty. in return, president trump promising things that would make iranian penalties look tame. and he said, quote, we have a ve extraordinarily expensive air base that is there, it cost billions to build. long before my time. year n we're not leaving unless they pay us back for it. and on capitol hill, speaker nancy pelosi is hoping to limit president trump's military capabilities in iran by setting a vote on a war powers resolution. it echos similar measures introduced in the senate by tim kaine. and speaking of the senate, sources tell cnn that briefing on iran is set for senators this wednesday. but in washington, the trump administration is scrambling to explain two words that led to all of this, imminent threat. you will call that was the justification for killing soleimani in the first place, an
action that former presidents obama and bush declined to take in years past. but when pressed for specifics on this over the weekend, secretary of state mike pompeo hedged repeatedly. >> we will defend america, the strikes we took over this past week including the killing of qassem soleimani, we will continue to take if we need to. this was a bad guy. >> was the just if i indicatiif imminent threat? >> it is never one thing. we will continue to keep the american people safe. we did the right thing. >> kaitlan collins is at the white house. and the president has said that he is not opposed to revealing the intelligence, that immeaine threat. what are you hearing? >> reporter: so far you've seen secretary of state mike pompeo was on the six interviews yesterday and he did not reveal
anything. he wouldn't say that the threat is still in existence. so questions are how close is to being carried out. so the president did reveal more intelligence, that would be more notable. and that is why you've heard so much criticisms coming from capitol hill. and the other thing that they are facing backlash over are the threats from the president to target the cultural sites and really the only defense out of the administration is from mike pompeo saying that the president didn't say what he said, not only what he tweeted, but what he doubled down on yesterday when he was speaking with reporters on air force one. and kellyanne conway said similar this morning, the president did not say -- he not only said once, but twice. and so of course those are the questions that are coming out of this and now with the president threatening to sanction iraq, it really is going back to what the big question was on thursdays a news of this strike was coming
out and the pentagon confirmed that yes tu.s. was behind. and what is the larger strategy and will the trump administration be more forth coming about that strategy. so those are the questions that is surrounding the president and he is returning to washington, he's been gone for two weeks and he has not only this potential conflict with iran, but also waiting for his judgment to go on trial in the senate. when it will even start. so needless to say, there is a lot going on back here at the white house. >> a lot, a lot. and as the trump administration continues to cite this imminent threat, the secretary of state is also blaming the obama administration for the escalating tensions in this part of the world. >> we're trying to restore deterrence that results directly
from the fact that the previous administration left us in a terrible space. team obama appeased iran and it led to shia militias with money, hundreds of thousands of syrians killed by soleimani himself. this was the place we found ourselves when we came in and we have developed a strategy to convince the iranian regime to be shave lihave like a normal n. so that is our strategy and we'll continue do so. and we will every expectation that we will ultimately achieve that goal. >> tony blinken served under president obama and currently is with the biden presidential campaign. nice to have you on, sir. so you heard the secretary of state basically throwing team obama under the bus when it comes to what has just happened. i want to start with your response to pompeo. >> well, let's focus on what this administration has done because it is in office, it is in power.
and is thisthis is a strategic cal. by tearing up the iran nuclear deal with nothing to replace it and then trying to exert maximum pressure, we are where we are. they have had no strategy for iran's responses to made that -- >> you don't think that they have a plan? >> one is not visible or evident. but look at where we are. even shorts of god forbid iranian reprisals against americans, already what we know is that iran is now walking away from all the limitations on the nuclear agreement, that means that we will be back to where we were before the nuclear agreement on a collision course. we are potentially being kicked out of iraq. iranian protestors who just a few weeks ago were protesting the regime are now rallying around the flag and hard lirns liners in iran. the mission which requires a
small presence of u.s. forces in iraq and syria is on the verge of ending. and even the folks who are remaining there are busy protecting themselves instead of going after what is left isil. the administration says americans are safer but then tells americans to get out of about half a dozen countries in the region. this is a total debacle and we have the threat of reprisals against americans. >> i hear you and the list is long. but this administration says that they pulled the trigger, they executed this drone strike because there was this imminent threat to americans in the region. do you trust that justification? >> we need to see the intelligence and the evidence. and i hope that they will bring that forward to congress as quickly as possible. >> do you trust it? do you trust it exists? >> it is hard to see what that is based on. based on the reporting to date, it is not at all evident. and again, even if there was some kind of a threat in the
making, it is not at all clear that taking out qassem soleimani would have done anything to overt it. there are ten guys behind him who are stepping up to fill his role. and you also have to ask is the risk worth the reward. and previous administrations concluded when it came to soleimani that it was not. >> and let me ask you about that. a lot of americans are just -- this is not a household name. qassem soleimani. he has been this enemy of america for years. he has been an enemy of both the bush administration and the obama administration. and i know they targeted him. yet they chose not to take him out. why then did they choose to do so now? >> that is a good question for the administration. what i've seen at least in reporting is that the president was presented with a number of options including for responding to the militia in iraq laying siege to our embassy. and one of the options was a taking out qassem soleimani with
the expectation that he would never choose it because the second and third order of consequences would be so grave, no one would want to do that. but yet he chose it. but of course we don't know this for a fact. we need the administration to explain to congress exactly what it was thinking. but again, this all goes back to the original sin of tearing up the iran nuclear xwreeagreement nothing to replace it and exerting pressure without anticipating the almost necessary consequences. >> during the last administration, was taking out qassem soleimani ever anything seriously considered by former president obama? >> i can't get into those kind of internal deliberations. what i can tell you is that both the bush and obama administrations i think had had discussions about that at various points. and both administrations came to the conclusion that again the risk was not worth the reward, that this was going to be as former vice president biden said like dropping a stick of grenade
into a tinder box. and we've already seen the consequences of this action and the consequences for the united states, its extstrategic positi and safeties americans is very bad. >> state department telling americans to get out of the region and we're sending thousands of u.s. troops. >> yeah, the president was talking about pulling troops out of the middle east. he is sending more in. we have 7,000 or 8,000 more there than when he started and with the poe owe agawtential ag being on a collision course with iran. last thing we need. >> tony blinken, thank you. massive crowds fill the streets mourning the death of soleimani. we'll tell you how his family is vowing revenge. and police what the president is saying to iraq after the parliament votes to expel american troops.
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>> nick paton walsh is in beirut. and nick, the daughter of qassem soleimani issued this direct warning to president trump, quoting her, she says the assassination doesn't mean everything is finish. what could retaliation look like? >> reporter: i think much of the world is supporting a volatile moment in the immediate days after the killing, but we're still seeing mourning now here and interestingly i was a thet rally sunday where a key ally in fact said that they weren't really focusing on attacking israel, a normal u.s. ally, they shouldn't be thinking about reprisals, he talked of a longer game, pushing the troops out of the region entirely, sending the
american troops home in coffins echos what soleimani's daughter said and what the foreign minister hinted at too that the end of the u.s. presence in this area had begun. and that may possibly be the longer strategy here from the iranians. one that actually plays to something that voluntarily donald trump will be very happy with. he has long campaigned withdrawing from the region. so the possibility of a campaign which targets troops causes donald trump's instincts to get out of a country like syria that he called blood and sand, sand and death, sorry, that may be the longer term iranian strategy. although president trump clear when pressured, he is not going anywhere on anyone else's terms. >> so where does this leave iran and a nuclear weapon? >> reporter: this is the key thing here because you look at the last days, strip away the noise and mourning, scenes of b powerful grieving, iran has done one thing, get out of its last
commitments, say 245g ing that l enrich ukranian as much as we want. they probably are facing now the worst threat from the united states that they have. so there may be some parts of the elite that maybe think now is the time to move toward a bhom. remember, all of this comes down to the into you can clethe nucl that was meant to take it off the table, to make sure whatever happened with iran didn't involve them getting a hold of that. and this is the really dangerous long term consequence. it is not clear if iran is racing for the bomb now, but before the deal, experts said maybe they only needed a year, others suggested that time has got even smaller. if they are public about it or if the americans believe they are trying to achieve that, there could be air strikes trying to prevent it from
happening. and the last 19 years would look like a rosie period if we see a nuclear arms race and trying to top them from having a bomb. a whole nightmare nobody here wants to imagine. >> a rosy period, that is quite a statement. and meantime president trump is threatening sanctions against iraq if american troops are forced to leave. we'll talk about the choice that country now has. and just context for all of us, it has been more than 300 days since the last white house briefing. remember those? now we're in the middle of this international crisis. will anything change. sfx: [sneezing] i am not for ignoring the first sign of a cold. i am for shortening my cold, with zicam!
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president has been notably silent about this weekend's deadly terror attack in kenya, but the u.s. military is sending about 50 troop to say secure the military base where a service member and two civilian contractors were killed in sunday's attack. al shabaab is claiming responsibility. and while president trump has tweeted about iran, he has said little about kenya. he did make one on the record comment telling reporters we lost a good person, just a great person, revving to the u.s.
service member who died. president trump is vowing to hammer iraq if it kicks u.s. troops outto the u.s. service member who died. president trump is vowing to hammer iraq if it kicks u.s. troops out in retaliation. just over 5,000 american troops are in iraq right now as part of the coalition mission to stop isis. a furious president trump told reporters and i'm quoting him, we will charge them sanctions like they have never seen before ever. we'll make iranian sanctions look somewhat tame. the iraqi parliament voted sunday to begin the process of expelling troops and we're told that they tried to stop that vote, and iraqi lawmakers and militia leaders now issuing threats on their own and promising to criminalize troops if sanctions are imposed and vowing to stop the flow of gulf oil to america. clarissa ward is with me now. so on iraq first, they are walking this fine line having now to really choose between its
ally the united states or its neighbor iran. how do they make that choice? >> reporter: well, it is not an easy choice to make. i think most iraqi officials understand full well that they are absolutely dependent on the support and security of the u.s. but when they see what they would perceive as such a flagrant disregard to iraq satisfy trinity and for the sort of delicate diplomatic tight rope that iraq is walking on, trying to balance the interests of its different benefactors or sponsors, if you will, then they feel that they are being sort of painted into a corner whereby they have to do out with these bombastic political statements to the effect of it is time to have u.s. forces removed from iraq. as you mentioned, iraqi parliament did vote to start that process, but there are some technicalities whereby it likely wouldn't happen for quite some
time because you have a caretaker government in place and they can't actually sort of co cody guy thmpan co codify that in on law. and they are companyare tryingi this momentum of the moment and from you are not seeing from the u.s. is the conciliatory language that some iraqi leaders would like to hear that would calm the tensions down. >> and also potentially in the wake of this targeted strike, our american friends, right? with regard to our european allies. how isolated is the u.s. right now? >> i think the u.s. is very isolated. secretary of state mike pompeo basically said as much, saying that they were disappointed that the europeans didn't play more of a role.
the europeans have come out wherewith a statement today saying it is essential to start the process of deescalation. and you heard from the german foreign minister saying that he was very concerned that the iran nuclear agreement is basically falling apart now because iran obviously announcing that it will no longer pa tar take in a constraints. and they see that as a direct reaction to the u.s.'s actions against iran. i think there is a lot of frustration in europe that the u.s. has taken such an aggressive posture to iran and there is real anxiety as well that there isn't a clear comp y coherent strategy ahead. >> that is exactly what tony blinken was telling me. i wanted to end with this. and this is all breaking when you and i were speaking. i don't know how many times you have been to iran as a journalist, but you were telling the story about last fall that you were in tehran and because
qassem soleimani isn't a household name here, you were saying that you were in a gift shop and this man is so revered in iran by so many that his face was on all these trinkets. tell me more about that. >> reporter: it is not just revered. it is loved. he was beloved to many iranian people. we went to the museum of holy defense as you mentioned, and the gift store. you would expect there to be lots of souvenirs with piblgctu of the supreme leader, but the vast were plastered with images of soleimani. and if you look at the sfwhert, you see iranians sharing images of soleimani reciting poetry, videos and films of him visiting the front line, attending the funerals of martyrs who had died in the cause. and it is very difficult for us in the u.s. to really understand and feel that because we don't have quite the same sort of thing with our military leaders,
though they might be very well respected, they don't tend to be loved in that way. but i think that you got a sense when i saw on the streets, hundreds and hundreds of pooeeo. and some were hard liners, some were reformers who had no time and no respect for the supreme leader, but this moment has gam van nuysed them value have a gad them. and so if the goal is to implement regime change, that may vwell have backfired. >> clarissa, thank you so much. one of the people with first handled knowledge of the ukraine scandal says that he will testify if he is subpoenaed. how john bolton could change the senate impeachment trial. and new york's governor helping rescue a man after a car accident. look at this. we'll tell you what happened. >> man: what's my safelite story?
just into cnn, disgraced hollywood producer harvey weinstein has been hit with new sex crime charges, this time in los angeles. today the l.a. county district attorney charged wean wi weinst rape and sex battery in separate incidents over a two day period. weinstein's new york sexual assault trial began today. in that case he is facing five felony charges based on claims by two women and he is pleading not guilty. president trump's decision to take out the head of iran's military has been called unprecedented. thousand critkri critics say he could be on the verge of a war crime after announcing that the u.s. could target more than 50 culture ral sites. in an interview with cnn the next day, secretary of state mike pompeo said that the administration would act in a lawful way while noting that the u.s. is ready to respond.
>> so cultural centers are theoretically fair targets in your view? >> we'll do the things that are right and consistent with the american lives. i've been part of the discussion and planning process, everything that i've seen about how we will respond with great force and great vigor if the iranian leadership makes a bad decision, we hope they won't, but when they do, america will respond. >> and senior counterterrorism director for president obama and author of u.s. counterterrorism strategy in al qaeda. josh, thank you for being with me. let's start on the cultural sites. explain why hitting them would be unlawful. >> what trump has been threatening do is a violation of u.s. law and a violation of international law. no ifs, no buts. starting with international law, there is a 1954 international agreement, the u.s. is a party
to it, that makes it a war crime to deliberately attack a cultural site. that is the international law. domestically the u.s. congress turned around and implemented that and made it a federal crime to violate that provision of international law. you astronaut together and there is just no caveats here. the threat is do something unlawful. >> a number of democrats were upset that the president took this action without notifying them. trump claims that he can notify congress via tweet, part of what he said is these media posts will serve as notification to the u.congress that if they stre a u.s. target, well quickly strike back. but that is not correct. >> i don't think that is the formal notification that those crafted the world power resolution had in mind. and even if he is tweeting out these rather hard to decipher things, what he is doing a equally problematic.
saturday his administration delivered to the congress within 48 hours the sort of notification that the war powers resolution does anticipate. and yet it was entirely classified. and as speaker pelosi pointed out, it is very unusual especially here that something must be able to be provided at the unclassified level so the american people can understand at least the legal authority this is based on. >> and speaker pelosi says that the house will introduce the war power resolution. will it if it passes, will it have any teeth? >> i'm not sure that it will. there are different versions especially between the house and the senate. and there are long standing executive branch interpretations of the 2002 organization for use of force. and as well as article 2 of the constitution that are robust. but i feel like people are looking to the law to get out of
a situation where there is no strategy and bad judgment. and ultimately there may be a different forum in which accountability is needed when that is the problem. >> but is there even a true mechanism to hold presidents, republican, democrat, accountable when it comes to war? >> if something is not within the president's own constitutional authority, and again here the national security adviser has said that the president relied on a statute, there are at least conceivably mechanisms. the interpretation of it could be clarified by congress. money could be withheld. even expressions of disapproval could be passed by the house, the senate or both. but that is hard and we rarely see it happen in practice. >> okay. jo josh, thank you very much. remember the days of the white house briefings? well, it has now been more than 300 days since the last one. and with everything escalating with regard to iran, there are some very serious questions
the threat of war with iran looms over the american republic. thousands of troops are about to be deployed to a turbulent middle east. and the president is a senate trial away from potentially being removed from office and today marks the 301st day that there has been no press briefing from the white house. r
bri brian stelzer, it seems like forever ago. and given this international crisis, we have questions that need answers. >> and worth recognizing these milestones. we need to recognize that it is not normal. and the reason why there is not briefings because the president does not want briefings. stephanie grisham is not out there because the president does not want her out there. and it is a sign of weakness. a strong administration would want to answer a lot of questions. but instead the president is on the phone with rush limbaugh gives rants and speech. that is the way the president likes it. >> has this just totally eroded their credibilitcredibility? >> i think the president squandered his credibility early on and his aides have as well. and when they are out there getting the facts wrong, it does
make matters worst. sarah sanders did that at multiple briefings. but people can win back credibility. i've been thinking about that in the context of the u.n. iran context. they could be winning back credibility, one true statement at a time, one piece of evidence at a time. that is when journalists do every day. if we make a mistake, we correct it. and unfortunately, this administration doesn't want to win back credibility, instead he wants to take in his rush limbaugh, fox news type bunker. >> and in this time of international crisis, what is the significance of them not talking to the media? >> i think it shows weakness and it shows a lack of transparency that is troubling regardless of party or affiliation. >> and when the stakes are this high, that is when transparency matters more than ever. and expecting to hold government officials accountable. that is the ultimate act of patriotism. it is what makes america so
great, but unfortunately, there is an unwillingness to enable access by having things like briefings. >> yeah, and we needed to call it out. brian, thank you very much. back to the breaking news out of washington. former national security adviser john bolton says that he is ready to testify in the impeachment trial, that is if he is subpoenaed. how the house is responding to this offer, next. he wanted a man cave in our new home. but she wanted to be close to nature. so, we met in the middle. ohhhhh! look who just woke up! you are so cute! but one thing we could both agree on was getting geico to help with homeowners insurance. yeah, it was really easy and we saved a bunch of money. oh, you got it. you are such a smart bear! call geico and see how easy saving on homeowners and condo insurance can be.
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new york governor you andrew cuomo helped state police rescue a driver after the van flipped on its side. the governor's motorcade came across the accident. and you see the governor himself and two other people standing on the ledge of the truck when they pulled the man to safety. quu kn cuomo helped cut the man's seat belt off. and we're one week away from the debate and elizabeth warren is picking up a major competitor. h hualijulian castro saying that backing her. >> one candidate that is unafraid to fight like held for america's promise, to make sure no matter where you live, you
have a path to opportunity too. >> meanwhile michael bloomberg is picking up a celebrity endorsement, judge judy is throwing her support behind his bid. the tv personality appears in a new campaign ad for bloomberg set to run in 26 states. and we continue on, you are watching cnn on this monday, i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me. the trump white house is preparing to make its case to the house and senate this week about the drone strike that killed the top general sparking massive protests and outrage in the process.y vowing retaliation, but says that it will ranmp up ukrainian enrichment.
and the president says that they would respond swiftly would i targeting more than 50 culture rag sites in the country, prompting experts to say that president could be close to committing a war crime.promptin president could be close to committing a war crime. and iraq furious at the drone strike which took place at the baghdad airport. a decision that officials say was a slap in the country's dignity and sovereignty. they voted this weekend to oust u.s. troops there iraq. so roughly 5,000 are currently on the ground there as part of a coalition to fight isis. and once again, president trump is returning the threat saying that not only will the u.s. issue sanctions, but he would force iraq to pay billions of dollars for an air base there. in iran, the daughter of qassem soleimani is warning that dark days lie ahead for the united states as mourners fill the streets in her father's memory. the anger palpable as