tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN January 20, 2020 8:00am-9:00am PST
cast sthere. >> thanks for joining me and this holiday today. i'm jim sciutto. "at this hour" with kate bolduan starts right now. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. thank you for joining us for a special edition of "at this hour." in a little more than 24 hours, the senate will begin the third presidential impeachment trial in u.s. history. and with just 24 hours to go, there is a shocking amount that is still unknown about how this thing is going to play out. the rules that dictate every aspect of the senate trial not known. how much time each side will have to make their case not known. how many if any witnesses will be allowed to be called, not known. how long the trial is going to
last, you're sensing a theme here. one thing that is known, the president's legal team is up against a deadline. they have until noon today to file a legal brief outlining their case defending president trump. next hour is also a deadline for the house to respond to the president's legal team. while they make their case on the senate floor starting tomorrow, we have a preview of the legal strategy of both sides. the president's legal team saying this about the two articles of impeachment passed by the house, quote, this is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election now months away. predictably the house managers had a much different take, saying this in part of their very lengthy legal brief, president trump's conduct is the framers worst nightmare. let's go to washington, cnn congressional reporter lauren fox is standing by as well as sarah westwood. you're learning more about the
president's legal strategy, the team, the roles, what do you got? >> well, we're learning more about the role that pat cipollone, the white house counsel is going to play on the team. pat cipollone is expected to be the lead lawyer on the president's defense behind the scenes, shaping the arguments and crafting some of the legal filings that the white house is going to submit this week. but also on the senate floor. cipollone is expected to deliver that key opening statement into the trial, according to sources close to the legal team. and cipollone is someone who is untested in the spotlight, unlike the other lawyers who will be presenting with like jay sekulow and ken starr, cipollone does not have the television experience. we talked to people who have known cipollone for years, worked with him in the past and they say not to underestimate his experience in the courtroom. he spent years practicing civil litigation, but still cipollone faces a difficult task here, trying to please a president who values performance so highly. we know that president trump has been saying that he wants his
defense team to be aggressive, and on saturday night, we did get a look in just how aggressive the tone of trump's defense is going to be when we got the response to the senate sums than the white house filens on saturday night. i want to read you a couple of lines,o lines. all the house democrats have succeeded in proving is that the president did absolutely nothing wrong. president trump categorically and unekwifly denies each and every allegation in both articles of impeachment. we'll get more detail about the white house strategy, the summons on saturday evening was more of an overview of the central arguments against both articles of impeachment, but the trial brief is expected to be longer. and have a lot more detail about that strategy and this is a document, kate, that pat cipollone took a lead role in crafting. >> all right, so, lauren, then what is the latest on the legal strategy on the other side. >> as we speak, we expect that
the house managers are going to be walking over to the senate to get a basically sense of what the trial space is going to look like for them, an opportunity to see the senate floor and where they're going to be making their arguments beginning tomorrow. and, of course, kate, the legal brief that they filed on saturday was more than 100 pages, it really laid out the facts that we already know, that the president used his office in an effort to withhold military aid to ukraine when that country needed it and withhold a white house meeting. they wrote in the brief, quote, the constitution provides a remedy, when the president commits such serious abuses of his office. impeachment and removal. the senate must use that remedy now to safeguard the 2020 u.s. election, protect our constitutional form of government and eliminate the threat that the president poses to america's national security. now, going into tomorrow, there are a lot of questions about what this resolution from majority leader mitch mcconnell that dictates the rules of the
trial is actually going to look like, like you said, kate, we don't know ayelet lot of detaiw much time does each side have to debate their case. some of that has been laid out to republican members, but democrats are arguing they're still in the dark about what the resolution is going to look like. mcconnell worked very closely with some of the moderate senators like lisa murkowki and susan collins to craft some kind of resolution that they could support, but whether or not any democrats support it, another question entirely, kate. >> what kind of fight it might be when this is all revealed. sarah, thanks so much. lauren, thank you. joining me now, ross garber, cnn legal analyst and expert on impeachment, represented four governors in impeachment proceedings and chen wu cnn legal analyst and former federal prosecutor. thank you for being here. ross, everyone is waiting for this fuller filing from the president's team. it really could come any minute. they filed just the six pages so far, what are you looking for in the full filing? >> see, i'm expecting and
looking for it to be sort of consistent with what has already been filed. and what the president sort of's tactic all along. i think it will be direct, i think it is going to be pretty pegnacio pegnacious. i think that's what we'll see from the president, very straightforward. the house's filing was much more sort of erudite, academic. but from the president looking for something very direct and very political. >> so, what does the house managers filing tell you about the legal strategy going in? it was over 100 pages as lauren is laying out. what does it tell you how this is -- when they do get to the senate floor what is going to happen. >> the house managers briefing indicates they have correctly anticipated the president's approach as ross was saying, we are expect it to be very combative. the president's approach is just
trying to ignore the facts by giving some constitutional cover to the defense team. the house integrates that issue because they cover the constitutional basis, really making a point this is exactly the kind of instance the framers were thinking about when they put in the impeachment provision and also blends in the particular facts of this case to show it. so they're doing what you would expect of good lawyers to do, here is the law, here is the facts, let's put them together. >> this gets you -- you mentioned the constitutional question, and this is kind of where this -- i don't know we call it a strange place, one of the president's attorneys, ross, took to tv this weekend to argue a key constitutional question, i guess, being raised here. he's raising it. here is alan dershowitz on cnn yesterday. >> without a crime, there can be no impeachment. certainly doesn't have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of the president and who abuses
trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime. >> that, right there, alan dershowitz of 1998. why should anyone believe alan dershowitz today if he was on the opposite side of this constitutional question during clinton impeachment? >> well, sometimes lawyers change their opinions based on learning new things or different evidence evolving, who knows. i'm not sure of anybody who defended more impeachments than i have. and even i think dershowitz is wrong on this. i don't think you need a technical criminal violation for there to be an impeachable offense there are l offense. there are lots of reasons for that. there weren't very he many criminal offenses for a while after the constitution was adopted and one can imagine an incredibly egregious action that affects the office that isn't necessarily a crime. also at the time of the writing
of the constitution, the framers knew the phrase high crimes and misdemeanors, it was implied in england and didn't necessarily require an actual commission of a crime. >> so it is not just alan dershowitz. another member of trump's legal team, has made a similar argument, just this morning. let me play what robert ray said. >> this is an impeachment that is fundamental lly and constitutionally flawed. never in our history has there been an impeachment with the president even with an allegation that a crime has been committed and in the circumstances give than, that is untethered to the foundational principles that come from the constitution itself. and, you know, to drift away from that is essentially an effort -- a partisan one at that, to attempt to remove a duly elected president.
>> okay, so you have that from robert ray. let me read from another well known constitutional law professor, who wrote this, in the washington post, this from laurence tribe. the argument that only criminal offenses are impeachable has died a thousand deaths in the writings of all of the experts on the subject. but it staggers -- but it staggers on -- staggers on like a vengeful zombie. no evidence that the phrase high crimes and misdemeanors was understood in the 1780s to mean indictable crimes. the constitution hasn't changed in 20 years. what is going on here then, it is not just alan dershowitz, you hear the same from robert ray this morning. >> well, kate, you heard of moral relativism. this is like impeachment relativism. the trump lawyers are really just saying that for our cause, for our president, we think that this would improperly interfere with the election. that's the whole point of the impeachment provision, someone has been elected and there is a problem, this is how you get rid of them. what they're really trying to do, dershowitz and really stars there for the same reason, they
want to read the impeachment provision right out of the constitution, they want to make it surplusage and say it just can't be used under any circumstances because it will always interfere with the election. and that makes no sense. the framers then just throw it in there willy-nilly for fun, they throw it in there for a reason. >> ross, as someone who has defended -- defended governors, defended public officials and many impeachment proceedings, why do you think at this moment, 24 hours our from the beginning, you have two of the president -- two of the president's attorneys make -- focusing here, focusing on this. >> yeah, you know, one would think that it might defy common sense because it plays into an argument that, yeah, the conduct may have been really bad, but it wasn't a crime. i don't think that's what they're doing here. i think the advantage of this argument is probably that it is straightforward. it is simple. no crime, equals no impeachment. and as the benefit --
>> even if it is not logical or accurate? >> even -- and has the benefit of having some historical basis, the point to, you know, nixon where there were crimes. they'll point to clinton where there was a crime alleged. i think that's the -- that's probably the goal. but i think what we're going to see is this thing evolves is more of a -- a little more refined argument saying that it is conduct was not wrongful in any way and certainly didn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense, something that would disrupt the 2016 election results and potentially interfere with the 2020 election. i think that's what we're going to hear. >> we're going to find out the next step in this, some argument, very, very soon. i really appreciate. it thanks so much, ross, thanks so much, shan. the rules of the impeachment trial still a mystery. what is the holdup on this? is this part of a broader strategy by senate majority leader mitch mcconnell? that's coming up. we're carvana, the company who invented
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make no mistake about it, we will force votes on witnesses and documents. and it will be up to four republicans to side with the constitution, to side with our democracy, to side with rule of law. >> a warning from the top democrat in the senate, chuck schumer there, schumer making clear that democrats may force senators to go on the record on the first day of the trial as the first day of the trial as about to begin in earnest tomorrow and one day before the real action begins, it is still a mystery of what the senate trial is going to look like in large part. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has not revealed the rules of the road, rules that
will ultimately shape who gets to speak and for how long or what evidence and what evidence is allowed to be presented to the jury of 100 senators. democrats have made no secret their number one priority going in is to be able to call witnesses to testify. so what happens now? joining me now, cnn congressional correspondent phil mattingly and alan fruman, cnn contributor. thank you for being here. phil, let's start with the witnesses. where does the fight stand right now? >> here is the baseline, you noted there will be a test vote if you will tomorrow. they will unveil the initial rules of the road and those rules of the road can be amended and democrats have made clear they're going to try and amend them to get witnesses and subpoenas for documents up front inside that resolution. here is the reality, they don't have the votes to do that at this point in time. the four republicans that we reported who are open to witnesses have made very clear they're very in line with senate
majority leader mitch mcconnell, those questions should not be dealt with until after the initial presentations from the white house defense team and the house managers and after senators are given 16 hours to ask questions. it will be at that point when the crucial votes will occur and the reality remains what it has been for better part of history of impeachment trials, if you have 51 votes, you get to dictate how the trial goes, how many witnesses come forward, whether or not there are subpoenas for documents and that's why democrats are so keen on putting pressure on republicans, trying to get four republicans to come over. a republican that says they're open to witnesses does not mean a republican that is going to vote for specific witnesses. at this point in time, right now there are not 51 votes for any specific witnesses and we're likely going to have to wait a week or two to actually see whether or not that comes to fruition. >> alan, when it comes to the rules, can senate democrats force a vote on witnesses before
oral arguments and senator question time like mitch mcconnell is planning on it going? >> good morning, kate. the answer is a little murky there are two principles of senate procedure. in impeachment trial, there is no rational for unlimited debate. there is no phil bustering in an impeachment trial. however, the principle of the right to offer amendments, i believe, does exist, should continue to exist and should provide the democrats with at least the opportunity to present an alternative to whatever it is that majority leader mcconnell will propose. there is no guarantee that they will prevail. there is also no guarantee that senator mcconnell might not try to amend senator schumer's presumed amendment. but it seems to me in every
impeachment trial the right to offer amendments has existed. and there is no reason to believe it won't exist in this trial. >> so, phil, what is the thinking behind keeping the rules and procedures underwraps still? most everything when it comes to mitch mcconnell is intentional. so what is this? >> that's a great point, everything he does is intentional. i think one of the interesting elements of the last couple of weeks is mcconnell came out and said, look, all 53 republicans are behind my strategy, my kind of process for how the initial part of the trial is going to go. however, they had not agreed on every single word of the resolution. what is going on behind the scenes and we have reported a lot of it, but a lot of it has been kind of closed off to people out in public is mcconnell has been negotiating. mcconnell has been working through what this resolution will actually say. he's been working with moderate senators and will include language that will guarantee an up or down vote on witnesses
toward the end of the trial. he's been working with the white house and some of the conservative allies to make sure the white house has the options that they want inside this resolution as well. the reason that it is not public yet is that for the most part over the course of the weekend i'm told it is not done. and i think it is interesting because of how mcconnell moves, making so clear he believed all 53 republicans were with imhahi now he has to back that up. he's working with the different poles of the republicans inside the united states senate to ensure unity to ensure all 53 stick together and that's where they are now. i'm told at this point, we zoent expe don't expect to see the resolution until tomorrow. >> fascinating. alan, with over 24 hours until the thing starts what is your reaction to not knowing the rules of the road at this point? isn't pretty much everything impacted by that? >> yes, everything is impacted by that. having worked at the senate for 35 years, the senate and its
individuals and the public not knowing the rules of the road is a very senate-like thing. this does not surprise me at all, it does not surprise me at all to hear that senator mcconnell is working on the specific language that he wishes to present, that he's working his colleagues, the majority leader is an extremely skilled legislator. if anybody knows the rules of the road, he does. he will leave no stone unturned. so, no, i'm not least bit surprised that we are where we are with this cloak of mystery. >> i get the keen sense from all the years you spent in the chair, very little surprises you at this point. it is good to see you, thank you, alan. thank you so much, phil. i appreciate it. >> pleasure being here. coming up, the top democratic presidential candidate in south carolina this morning, their message to voters on this mlk day, just as there are also printing to the finish in iowa. that's next. unpredictable crohn's symptoms following you? for adults with moderately to severely active
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presidential candidates are gathering in south carolina, not only the first state in the south to vote, it is also a huge gathering in honor of martin luther king jr. day. the presidential hopefuls rallying outside state house after marching through the streets. and check your calendar, today, you'll remember, mashmarks 14 d until the first contest in the democratic primary in iowa and the deadline pressure seems to be showing. joining me now, cnn political correspondent jessica dean and ryan nobles. thank you for being here. you're in columbia, south carolina, where these big events are taking place, have been this morning. what have you been hearing from the candidates and their message to south carolina voters now? >> reporter: well, really, kate, their presence here is that is important to people here in south carolina. this is a marquee event in an early state. we saw them marching down the street together, the candidates kind of linking arms and notably elizabeth warren and bernie sanders standing side by side as they marched through the streets here in columbia, south
carolina. interesting a week ago they were going back and forth with each other, about that private conversation that they had, but today the show of unity here in columbia, south carolina, and when it comes to south carolina, former vice president joe biden continues to lead here. he has just very solid support from black voters in south carolina, notably older black voters here in south carolina, he was at an oyster roast with some of those voters last night in orangeburg, talking to them. and he also spoke with the state, the columbia newspaper, take a listen to what he had to say. >> i asked a rhetorical question, bernie is the top of the ticket in south carolina or warren is the top of the tick e how many times democrats down the line do you think are going to win? i think the candidate has to be someone who is going to help the ticket down the line, be able to run away with and not run away
from. >> reporter: and, kate, interestingly we're hearing more of that line of talking from joe biden on the stump, both in iowa and here as he kind of tries to close his case and really persuade people that message that if you want to get things done, you're going to need majorities in the senate and the house and he's trying to tell them that he is the person that can do that that can carry the down ballot ticket with him as well. >> that's very interesting. so, ryan, i want to get to warren and sanders in a second. the latest rift, this one between biden and sanders and over social security this time. what happened this weekend, can you explain to folks, that has biden crying foul? >> they wanted to have this conversation with joe biden about his record on security and the biden campaign didn't respo respond. this time around, the sanders campaign put out a video and put out video of joe biden talking
about paul ryan and doing so in a mocking way, but talking about his embrace of cutting social security. biden called the video doctored. it wasn't doctored, but it was taken out of context. there is a bigger conversation here about this fight over social security and it is something that the sanders campaign wanted to have. they believe biden has an inconsistent record on this, he has talked about changes to social security that could include cuts to the program. now, biden said this time around, as a 2020 candidate, he wants to grow the program, that he's in favor of keeping it in the form and fashion that it is now. but they believe that consistency is the most important hallmark of the sanders record and when you look at sanders' record when it comes to social security, it always has been about preserving and maintaining the program at its current status. >> they're fighting about that. and it is an important topic.
there is also the going on between sanders and warren, the back and forth over the private conversation in 2018 that spilled over to the cnn debate stage last week, if a woman can win the white house. they looked friendlyish in south carolina this morning. but are they moving past this. >> i think they would like the conversation about the private conversation to go away. i don't think they want to go through that step and verse anymore. i think it is impossible for them, kate, to ignore the overarching issue of gender in this race. and also desire from a certain amount of democratic voters, women in particular to see a woman win the white house and win this nomination. and i think bernie sanders understands that. listen to what he said in an interview recently about this issue of gender and the role it plays in this democratic primary. >> do you think gender is still an obstacle for female politicians? >> the answer is yes, but i think everybody has their own
sets of problems. i'm 78 years of age. that's a problem. there are a lot of people who say, i like bernie, nice guy, but he's 78 years of age. if you're looking at buttigieg, he's a young guy, people will say, he's too young to be president. everybody brings some negatives if you like. >> so i think the point here, kate, he doesn't want it to be about the issues that aren't specific to the issues at hand. he wants it to be about security, he wants it to be about medicare for all, eliminating college debt. he believes on that playing field that's where he has the strongest hand to be dealt. >> sure, then the primary narrative happens. >> right, exactly. he would rather it not be about the identity issues. but it is an an inescapable issue you have to contend with. >> good to see you. jessica, thanks so much. good to see you. coming up, a massive gun rights rally is under way in virginia now and a massive police presence as well. we're on the ground, what is this all about and why is richmond a city on edge? sneezin] i am not for ignoring the first sign of a cold.
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demonstrators lining the streets, and security an all time high. as law enforcement spent the weekend looking into threats of violence, which, of course, conjure up fear and sad memories of the deadly violence that broke out in charlottesville, virginia, during protests in 2017. let's go there. what is happening there this morning? sara sidner standing by, among the demonstrators all morning. what have you been seeing and hearing today? >> reporter: look, those threats which caused the governor to call for a state of emergency have simply not emerged. the police very clear in saying they have not had a single arrest during this rally and we have been standing here all morning, since the very beginning. there are thousands if not tens of thousands of people here. i want to give you a view, we're standing right outside of the area where you go in to the capital there, and what you'll see are just throngs of people lining not just this street, but all the streets around the
capital. there are folks that are there to lobby their legislatures this is lobby day, where they're trying to tell them how upset they are with some of the gun restrictive laws that he had t looking to pass. there are some that several are upset with. there are people here from all over the country, not virginians. let's listen to what manny vega had to say. we talked to him earlier. >> we're here to represent every citizen here that wants to keep the right to bear arms. this government here in richmond has usurped the constitution of the united states and the virginia constitution that guarantees us those rights. and we're here protesting for that -- for the right to bear arms. all we want to do is be able to
defend ourselves. >> there may be far left and far right groups out here today, but the vast majority of the message is guns save lives and we believe in the second amendment. >> reporter: so far there haven't been any far left groups we have seen here, this is really a group of folks who do not want their gun rights to be limited. and so right now completely peaceful. you're hearing some of the speakers speak. this is supposed to wrap up at 2:00. no incidents so far, guys. >> that's good to hear. sa sara, thank you for being on the ground, appreciate it. coming up, the president's legal team now set as the impeachment trial begins tomorrow. why is one of his defense attorneys seeming to distance himself from the trump legal strategy before they even begin? more on that next. your artwork is amazing! my what work? you need a website! very soon you're gonna be very famous! lady that is the last thing i would ever... huh? stop! put those away!
one member of president trump's legal team is well known in legal circles and well known for his tv appearances, of course. he's also well known for not shying away from a fight. why then does it seem the former harvard law professor is doing that when it comes to his role in trump's defense, distancing himself multiple times sunday from the full trump legal defense strategy. listen to what he said about this over the weekend. >> i'm not involved in the day to day issues. i will be making that argument as a lawyer on behalf of the president's defense team against impeachment. that's my role. >> the brief filed last night says the president dsident did wrong with ukraine.
>> i didn't see the brief until after it was filed. that's not part of my mandate. >> it says clearly the president did nothing wrong and you're saying you're not willing to endorse that statement? >> i did not read that brief or sign that brief. that's not part of my mandate. my mandate is to present the constitutional argument. >> so what is that? can an attorney defending the president in one most historic trials in presidential history be partly on board with the president's defense strategy if that's what dershowitz is saying? joining me now, guy smith, served as special adviser to president bill clinton during his impeachment trial and evan mandry, professor at john j. college of criminal justice. thank you for being here. so, guy, what do you think of what -- what do you think dershowitz is doing here? >> selling books. >> can you be on board with part -- can you be partly on board with the president's strategy? do you accept that he effectively was just dodging the question if he was on board with -- >> he was completely dodging the question. and back in the clinton era he said you got to have a crime, and here today, saying, oh,
well, there is no crime. and the intellectual dishonesty going on, think about this, the trump people, bill barr, the attorney general, oh, you can't indict a sitting president for a crime. and now the argument is going to come out here again in 30 minutes is, well there's no crime. well, what's the deal here? and this is the kind of gas lighting that is going to go on. not going to be any substance, it is all noise for tv. that's why you got starr, dershowitz, ray, bondi, they spent more than 350 hours on fox news in the last year. it is not about the constitution. it is about noise to them. >> i'm cool with people spending time on tv, as someone who spends a lot of time on tv. this comes down what the what the legal arguments are. as he mentioned some of the other folks on the -- on trump's legal team, there is another interesting wrinkle you highlight in terms of trump's
legal team is the long history and no love lost between >> well, alan's criticism of ken starr was in context of the clinton impeachment. i'm a little more sympathetic to alan's overall g urkguise. he's approaching this as if it's a civil libertarian issue, as if the guidelines for trump need to be reconstructed. in a criminal trial that would make sense. it's just not a criminal trial, so there's no rights being infringed here. i differ from a lot of people. i think he thinks he's coming from an intellectually consistent place. >> let me play a moment we talked about here. i played it at the top of the show, but i think it bears repeating, which is this argument not just from alan dershowitz. i heard robert make the argument
this morning that there was no technical crime so there is no need to impeach. listen to this. >> without a crime, there can be no impeachment. it certainly doesn't have to be a crime if you have someone who completely corrupts the office of president and abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime. >> can you agree with both of those statements, guy? >> not if you're intellectually honest, no. he's not being consistent. and the reason is because they're all part of the donald trump cult. and what they're trying to do is shore up the republican senators. think about the fox news echo chamber, right? there is no crime because there has to be a crime. if you're in an auto body shop in oklahoma city, you don't study all the details of this. >> that is what ross garber actually argued at the top of the show. he's been involved in many an
impeachment, and he said it almost doesn't matter what the argument is, then, to the senators in the room. this is an argument when it comes to swaying the american public. but when it comes to dershowitz, you did a profile for "politico" magazine in 2018. in it there is one quote when he told you, i try to be consistent with my principles. that is of course absolutely something to be applauded. is that what's happening here? >> the clip you played, he said it in connection with nixon, right, he said nixon is properly impeached and he said many times there doesn't technically have to be a crime. you don't have to establish the statutory definition of a crime to be impeached. i hope you have him on, and i hope you give him a chance to explain it. i do agree that on that point he's being intellectically inconsistent, but i will say i don't think he's doing it for money. i think he perceives it to be part of a project that's very important to him. >> fascinating. great to have you guys on, and
we will see what the brief in full is, the full legal argument and what it includes when the president's legal team will be filing it in a matter of moments. thanks, guys, i really appreciate it. we'll be right back. ...that outlasts your craving. new nicorette ice mint. there's brushing and there's oral-b power brushing. oral-b just cleans better. it's the one inspired by dentists... with the round brush head. oral-b's gentle rounded brush head removes more plaque along the gumline... for cleaner teeth and healthier gums. oral-b. brush like a pro. but how do i know if i'm i'm getting a good deal? i tell truecar my zip
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switch and save up to $400 a year on your wireless bill. and save even more when you say "bring my own phone" into your voice remote. that's simple, easy, awesome. click, call or visit a store today. on the eve of the senate impeachment trial, lead house impeachment manager adam schiff is now leveling a very serious
accusation, that the u.s. intelligence community is withholding from congress important and relevant documents pertaining to ukraine. listen to the chairman of the house intelligence committee here. >> the intelligence committee is beginning to withhold documents from congress on the issue of ukraine. they appear to be succumbing to pressure from the administrat n administration. the nsa in particular is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on ukraine, but also withholding documents relevant to what the senators might want to see during the trial. >> alex marquardt is following this. alex, what are you hearing about this? >> reporter: this is normally the kind of thing adam schiff levels at the white house. now we're about to see the president tried for obstruction of congress for withholding documents. what adam schiff is now saying is essentially at the behest of the administration, you now have some major parts, some of the
major agencies within the intelligence committee, either withholding or starting to withhold what he says are crucial documents both for their role in the house intelligence committee in terms of oversight, but also for the impeachment trial of the president. now, he singled out two in particular, the national security agency, which, as you know, kate, is in charge of intelligence code breaking cybersecurity, that type of thing. he said they are withholding, and he named the cia saying they are on track for doing the same. we have reached out to both the cia and nsa. they have not responded, but we do have a quick statement from the office of director of national intelligence responding to adam schiff's accusation. they say the intelligence community is committed to providing congress with the information and intelligence it needs to carry out its critical oversight role. the ic is working in good faith with the house intelligence committee to respond to requests on a broad range of topics and will continue to do so. kate? >> but still, the accusation sitting out there from adam
schiff just as they're about to head over to the senate to begin the impeachment trial. thank you so much. i really appreciate it, alex. much more to follow up on that. thank you all so much, though, for joining me today. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. welcome to a special holiday edition of "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. the trump legal team right now filing its detailed trial brief with the senate, arguing the president did nothing wrong and the democrats' case does not meet the constitutional test for impeachment and removal. plus testing time now for mitch mcconnell. the senate majority leader wants a quick trial with no new witnesses or no new evidence. democrats plan to fight that plan, but they need a handful of republicans to break from the party to succeed. and democrats are quoting black leaders on thi