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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  February 7, 2020 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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lead" with jake tapper starts right now. vengeance is misayeth the trump. trump apparently seeking revenge. we just learned one key player who was a key witness in his impeachment just got shown the door. a cnn exclusive. ambassador, bill taylor, another critical impeachment witness speaking for the first time since his congressional testimony speaking right here on "the lead." and democratic presidential candidates are looking for a clear win in new hampshire, and with that, well, they are starting to get a little personal. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to "the lead." i am jake tapper. we have breaking news for you. cnn just learned colonel
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alexander vindman has been fired from his white house national security council job. a statement says in part, there is no question in the mind of any american why this man's job is over and why this country has one less soldier serving at the white house. he was asked to leave for telling the truth. the truth has costs lieutenant alexander vindman his job, his career and his privacy. he did what any member of our military is charged with doing every day, he followed orders and obeyed his oath and served his country even when doing so was fraught with danger and personal pairil, and for that the most powerful man in the world buoyed by the silent, the pliable and the complicit, has
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decided to get revenge. >> and president trump responded he was not happy and we would be hearing what would happen to him, and we learned that he was told his services are no longer needed. jake, we have one remaining question, about the future of his brother, who is an attorney for the national security council who we are told walked out with vindman today, but it's unclear if he received the same message about his services no longer being needed. the president was telegraphing this for weeks, and they wanted to wait until the impeachment trial had come to an end, because his aides cautioned him if he didn't wait it would make things harder for him and now that the trial has wrapped up this week they are making these moves at the national security council. the president continued to
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complain about vindman testifyi testifying, and the president not only mocked what he said and he mocked wearing his uniform to come and testify there on capitol hill, and it was not a surprise to anybody at the white house that this happened, but others are going to say it's retribution for his testimony. you can see his attorneys have drawn a direct line between his testimony and him being fired. he is way ahead of his scheduled departure date, and it's a two-year job and he was not supposed to leave until july of 2020 when he would go back to the pentagon, and it looks like a role at the pentagon, the defense secretary said that he should not fear any kind of retaliation. >> we should note caitlyn
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referred to president trump hinting to this this morning, and president trump was asked about the status of colonel vindman and if he was going to be fired. >> would you like to see alexander vindman out of your white house? >> well, i'm not happy with him. you think i am supposed to be happy with him? i'm not. >> what is your reaction, lieutenant colonel vindman being shown the door? >> he saw something and reported it, and we're just going to make a change here a little head of a schedule, but to have him escorted off the white house grounds by security as if --
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what has he been charged with? nothing. that's a disgrace. i think people in the military, you see that and you go over to do a detail in the white house, and it's an honor, but whatever, you do it, and you expect to be treated a reasonable and decent way and then escorted off by security when there's zero evidence, there's no charge at all that you did anything wrong, that's a disgrace. >> let's remind our viewers that vindman served in combat in iraq, and earned a purple heart after an ied exploded and i am told by somebody close to him he still has shrapnel in his body from service in iraq, and i guess we should not be surprised that president trump made it clear post acquittal that he is seeking to coin a phrase, heads on a pike. >> yes, as soon as it was clear that mitt romney was going to vote to convict, president trump's campaign and his
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supporters went into full mode in trying to attack romney. the theatrics of vindman's escorting out of the white house is when trump tweeted out comey was going to be fired while comey just had taken a trip to l.a., i believe it was california, and he found out on tv that he was going to be fired. this is a classic move by trump. >> you might remember when lieutenant colonel vindman testified, he said to his father who was in the audience, his mother passed away, don't worry, we're not in russia anymore, and we're not in the soviet union anymore, i'm going to be okay, his family having immigrated from the soviet union and it remains to be seen how okay he will actually be. >> i think it took real courage. he knew his career was going to be on the line for this, and regardless he did the right thing. if republicans had the same courage to go up against the president, we might see a different outcome, but this is
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the typical theatrics of the white house, and he still stood with the american people. >> and you might remember, olivia, schiff's closing argument, he quoted a news report and quoting president trump saying if they don't back him, there would be heads on a pike, and many were offended by that even though he was quoting a trump confidant, and the white house was issuing bullet points against him, and the president's son calling for romney to be kicked out of the republican party, and i don't know if the quote is worse, heads on a pike, but that's what we are seeing. >> the idea of this white house seeking retribution, it's in keeping with his actions the
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moment he took office, and i don't know why they would be offended at that quote. and let's talk about the republicans kicking romney out of the democratic conference. probably not the best call. >> attacking romney, it's distasteful, the way he did it is horrible and the fact that romney's -- he's an active duty office in the u.s. military. he can't fight back. he's not supposed to be treated in this way, and he is supposed to be treated in a very honorable way and i think it's a test for his superiors, all the way up to the defense secretary and chief of staff, and i mean, he needs to be treated with not just fairness but some sense that he has been wronged. it's wrong to escort an active
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military duty officer who has done nothing as if he is a s suspect in some crime. >> vindman, having been called by the house of representatives to testify, the secretary of defense issued a statement assuring that there would be no retribution against him, but that's only within the pentagon, and that does not mean his detail to the white house there would be no retribution. >> certainly agencies and heads of agencies can guarantee something, but we have seen time and time again that trump acts as trump wants to act so when he decides to take retribution, there's not much the department -- the secretary for the department of defense can do. >> can you imagine if obama or the obama administration has
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taken any action against the benghazi whistle-blowers? it's a thought to have. >> yeah, if he ends up at ice station zebra, then -- there has been retribution. he ordered the withdrawal of some caaccommodations of the prosecutors, and the question is whether secretary esper can afford to do that. thousands quarantined on cruise ships and the number of americans affected onboard is growing. stay with us. cold medicines, zicam is clinically proven to shorten colds. i am a zifan for zicam!
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lead. senator bernie sanders of neighboring vermont attacking buttigieg for being the favorite candidate of billionaires, and cnn's abby phillip reports all the candidates are looking to punctuate their messages at tonight's debate. >> it's fantastic news to hear that we won. >> reporter: a moment of celebration, and now pete buttigieg is hoping to ride the momentum from iowa to the new hampshire primary. with 100% of the precincts reporting and new questions about the consistency about some of the caucus data according to a cnn analysis, there's still no clear winner in iowa. sanders saying it's time to move on. >> we have enough of iowa. we have to move on to new
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hampshire. i am reading some headlines from newspapers about pete buttigieg. pete buttigieg has the most exclusive billionaire donors of any democrat. that's from "forbes." i like buttigieg, and he's a nice guy but we are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy but our comm political -- >> reporter: meantime, the former vice president spending thursday huddled with his advisories in delaware. he's elevating communicating adviser anita dunn, the candidate not competing in the traditional early states, and michael bloomberg challenging a key argument biden was trying to make for his electability. >> the toughest districts in the
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country two years ago don't see me as baggage. they wanted me in their d districts. >> i do believe mike can get it done. >> reporter: the former new york city mayor also picking up an endorsement from trump's former secretary of the navy, richard spencer. the iowa democratic party is now saying they have extended the deadline for campaigns to say whether or not they want a recanvas of the caucus on monday, and now they have until saturday at 1:00 p.m. eastern time, but bernie sanders already told cnn's ryan nobles his campaign does not plan to ask for a recanvas, but they do have concerns they have to the iowa democratic party. >> let's go over this again. bernie sanders seeming to acknowledge that pete buttigieg
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might be his toughest competition, and he said what he said in new hampshire about buttigieg being backed by millionaires more than any other candidate, and he has a #petesbillionaires. will this be effective? >> i think so. i think why because with the rise of bernie sanders, and you have folks like elizabeth warren who still have momentum and outside establishment figures is leveling the playing field and having a vision for the future, and it's a reality in the united states right now, you have 3% of the people that have more wealth than the bottom half of the america, and you can look back years and years and find sanders saying the same thing, and pete buttigieg has been backed by millionaires, and so i think the biggest thing that bernie is
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worried about is defeating trump and drawing the contrast and there's a stronger contrast. >> buttigieg's response has been in the past that he's the only one on the debate stage that is not a millionaire, and he's the only one -- the poorest. >> the democrats are running on a change is needed platform and this is the fight over who is needed to change, and there's a lot of reasons to invoke like that one, for him being the better agent of change. that's all it boils down to. >> vice president biden off the campaign trial, and i assume he's preparing for tonight's debate, and there does seem to be concern about his campaign coming in fourth in iowa. and a quote is joe biden has a problem, and the problem is joe biden the candidate.
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biden has been a lackluster advocate for his own advocacy, and do you think he can turn it around? he's obviously banking on getting a lot of votes in south carolina, and he's popular among black voters if they are a sizeable chunk of the base. >> fourth in iowa and then fourth in new hampshire, and nobody has come back from that, so i think he will have a tough time coming back. maybe he will do great at the debate tonight, and if you have a progressive, you have sanders and warren, and buttigieg, he's a new fresh face, and bloomberg is an alternative moderate if buttigieg doesn't make it. where is the path for biden? one last point, and thinking back on it, he did not have the
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type of support you would expect him to have as a vice president, and most obviously, where is barack obama? you just didn't see much of the support and it was a weaker candidacy -- >> yeah, it's not over yet. and bloomberg taking up a lot of the biden oxygen, for example, the first trump administration official to endorse a democrat, former secretary of the navy, richard spencer said this earlier today. >> ladies and gentlemen i am a life-long republican. i quantify myself as a reagan republican but i am here before you today because i am tremendously concerned, mike has a track record, a track record of productivity and a track record as an honest and principled man, and i have no doubt whatsoever that he could lead this country -- >> i don't doubt that mike
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bloomberg can win over reagan republicans that don't like trump, but my question is can bloomberg get young people, african-americans and latinos to the polls? >> we will have to wait and see, but it's clear bloomberg is having an impact on biden's candidacy, even in places where biden appears to be the strongest, like in super tuesday states where there are latinos and black voters and biden for a long time continued to say south carolina would be his launching pad in the super tuesday states, and now bloomberg is buying up tv ads. >> he came into the race when he saw biden was weak. stick around. he was the top diplomat in ukraine, and now he's talking for the first time, and it's a cnn exclusive, mr. taylor, next. i'm your mother in law.
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but before that happened we talked with bill taylor, the former ambassador to ukraine, and he's taking a break, and right now he's talking exclusively with us for the first time since his testimony and the acquittal of president president trump. joining me now is the former ambassador to ukraine, bill taylor. thank you for being here. >> good to be here. >> i want to talk about ukraine and the importance of it in a second but first taking a step back, it must have been very weird personally to be at the center of the ukraine scandal and to be personally attacked by the president, as he did -- take a listen. >> he's a never trumper. his lawyer is the head of the never trumper. they are a dying breed but they are still there. >> around the same time he was saying you were a never trumper, he was tweeting out that never trumpers were human scum.
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what was your reaction to that? >> no reaction. >> not even that it was weird, strange? >> of course it's a little weird, but i am not a never trumper, as you know and others know, i am totally independent. i worked for democrats and republicans, so i was not worried that that was an issue. >> if you were a never trumper, then one presumes when secretary pompeo asked you to come in and serve in ukraine, you would have said never, right? >> i thought very carefully about secretary pompeo's offer as to whether or not i should do this, and i concluded that it was important for me to do this and i concluded i could make a contribution to ukraine and the united states security so i agreed to do it. >> do you regret it? >> not a bit. not a bit. >> when you testified you really only had your slice, you only
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knew about your view of this whole scandal from kiev, what you have been able to ascertain from talking to other people, and now that you have heard the testimony of 16 other people and heard documents, do you think your impression was accurate? >> i do. i was just reporting what i was told and i had heard and what people described to me, and that turns out to have been corroborated by most of the other witnesses, and seems to me there's not a question about the facts of the case and that made what i said not controversial, it was straightforward. >> let's talk about ukraine. i know you cared deeply about this. secretary pompeo recently told a reporter after the contentious interview, do you think americans care about ukraine, and i think there may have been an expletive in there, but in general do you think americans care about ukraine?
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what do you think? >> i think americans should care about ukraine, and i think they do, actually. i have gotten some really positive responses to some comments -- written comments that i made from all over the country, saying that we do care about ukraine. the russians have attacked ukrainians militarily, and the russians attacked ukraine on cyber, and the russians attacked ukrainian elections. and the russians also attacked us on our elections, and the russians also attacked us using cyber tools. ukrainians are the front line and are defending themselves and us and we should support them. >> i think you literally went to the front line in november, when you were there a ukrainian soldier was killed and another injured, and people don't necessarily understand there's a hot war going on, and ukrainians are fighting rebels or other
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forces that are clearly funded and supplied by russia. >> 14,000 yukrainians have died in the war, and the russians first invaded crimea and occupied crimea, and then invaded the southeastern part of the country and they still have russian troops there, and this is the middle of europe today, in 2020, there's a hot war in the middle of europe where europeans are being killed, and there's two ukraine stories, one from guiliani and corruption and whistle-blowers, and that's a very partisan story, and there's another ukraine story which is ukraine taking actions to defeat that corruption, and ukraine taking actions to defend itself and the west against attacks by the russians.
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>> you believe zielinski is trying to rid the country of corruption? >> no doubt. >> do you think there was corrupt -- >> i do. >> so a lot of guiliani's sources are people you would regard as corrupt? >> i would. again, i was not there at that time, and that's not the story i know, that corruption story, it's out there and we know it. >> do you believe in the credibility of ambassador marie yovanovitch, is she somebody you respect? >> absolutely. >> what do you think about people attacking her and smearing her? >> unconscionable. >> secoretary pompeo, when he ws asked about not standing up for the employees, he said i have defended every single person on
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this team. i've done what is right for every single person on this team. is that true in your experience? >> i would think secretary pompeo is under pressure and under -- i believe he wants to support every member of the state department, every employee. i believe he's under pressure from other parts of the government, not to support some of the people in the state department, so -- >> president trump? >> i am prepared to believe that secretary pompeo is under -- is intentional. >> does it bother you when you see the duel loyalty smears against lieutenant vindman, and it must bother you to see that? >> of course, anytime i see
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anybody like them unfairly attacked, anybody unfairly attacked. it bothers anyone, i think. certainly it does. >> some officials we have spoken with who testified said that they resent the former national security adviser, john bolton, he had a book out and about to make money but did not come forward in the house when asked to, and indicated he would sue if he was subpoenaed, and then after it became clear that the senate was not going to call for new witnesses, did not just come forward with his story and did not submit an affidavit. obviously he can do whatever he wants and is an american, but obviously as somebody who testified, and there was really no upside other than i guess in your view doing the right thing, do you recent it? >> i don't resent it.
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i respect bolton for having principles, and i disagreed with his policy decisions over time but i know he felt strongly about supporting ukraine, and he came to ukraine in late august and had good conversations with the president and others, and i had a conversation with him about security assistance, and i respect that part of ambassador bolton's view. as you say, it's up to him when he tells his story. >> since the impeachment trial is now over and president trump has been acquitted, a number of senators who voted to acquit him, a number of republican senators have said they still feel like what they did was wrong and it did not rise to the level of removing him from office. do you have an opinion? >> everybody has an opinion. the senators are the one that got to vote. >> do you have an opinion you are willing to share? >> you and i get to vote in nine
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months, and i am not in a position to make that determination at this point. >> do you have concerns about any u.s. president in the future thinking that it is okay to withhold security assistance to a country that needs an ally in exchange for investigations being announced into a political rival? >> i have a concern about a precedent having been set where we withhold security assistance to a country that is in a fight, in a battle, in a war, particularly with the russians, and i have concern about that and i will be concerned about that in the future, and i'm concerned about holding assistance for reasons not related to security. >> and an investigation into a
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political rival is not national security? >> it's not national security. >> you have given your service to this country, and you have gone to dangerous parts of the world, and then all of a sudden you are thrusts into this politic political mull strupl. tell me about your wife, your family, and the position you took. are they proud of you? >> they are. they have been. and they are. as you know, my wife thought it was a bad idea for me to go back to ukraine, and she had good reasons for that, and she thought i might be hopelessly naive in kiev, and be swept up in what has taken place, and now she would say it's okay, i passed that test. she's proud, my kids are proud
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and i am proud that i have been able to serve my country. >> ambassador bill taylor, thank you for your time. we appreciate it. >> thank you, jake. >> you can see more of our interview with ambassador bill taylor this evening on cnn tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern, and 7:00 p.m. pacific and on and coming up, hundreds stuck on what some are calling a floating prison as the number of people with coronavirus triples. stay with us. u in school? yes, i'm in art school. oh, wow. so have you thought about how you're gonna make money? at least we're learning some new things. we bundled our home and auto with progressive, saved a bunch. oh, we got a wobbler. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents, but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. that's what the extra menu's for.
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cases of coronavirus virus
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carriers has tripled, with 61, 11 of them from the united states. one woman learned she has the virus when a nurse knocked on her cabin board and said the following in this video. >> you need to get ready. you need to go to the hospital. >> we talked to that woman who is from oregon, and the anxiety for her and many others stuck enclosed quarters. >> reporter: she was told she might be in the hospital for three days and she arrived at the hospital and found out it would be two weeks, at least, and on the ship people are stuck there for two weeks as well, because every time there's a new confirmed coronavirus case, the 14 day quarantine period starts over again. they are allowed outside for less than an hour under close supervision, so the luxury
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liner, where people were at the buffet and watching shows a week ago now feel like they are in a floating prison, and the rooms have not been sanitized since the coronavirus outbreak. here's what the couple told me. >> we have not had our room sanitized or anything like that. we have gotten fresh towels and the old ones go out, and nobody from the cruise staff stepped foot in our room since the quarantine happened. >> i don't know what is going to happen an hour from now or tomorrow. for all we know we could stay quarantined on the ship for a month. the not knowing is the hardest. >> 3,700 people onboard that ship, jake, and for those who are healthy, even though scientists say it's unlikely the coronavirus is spread through the air, it's not reassuring for those with young kids sitting in their rooms looking up at the
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air vents, jake. >> and let's go to cnn's polo sandoval. some did not show symptoms and that's not stopping the cruise line from adding more restrictions. >> reporter: yeah, boarding the ship after it docked, and a family of four was not medically cleared and sent to a nearby hospital to get tested for the coronavirus, and yesterday they did not have any symptoms but they recently travelled to mainland china, and as we wait for the test results to come back, royal caribbean is implementing stricter travel rules, and we expect those
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restrictions to be in place when it heads out tomorrow. and now the final debate before the first in the nation primary, and bernie sanders is facing new attacks from an old rival. stay with us. that's why it's important to be prepared for anything life brings. at fidelity, we'll help you build a clear plan for retirement. one that covers health care costs, taxes, and any other uncertainties while still giving you the flexibility to make changes to your plan as often as you need. because when you're with fidelity, a partner who makes sure every step is clear, there's nothing to stop you from moving forward. ♪ here's wishing you the bluest sky ♪
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in our 2020 lead, hillary clinton's name may not be on the ballot, at least not now, but it's not stopping her from taking aim on bernie sanders, and she said sanders did not do enough to back her in 2016, and clinton is going there again telling ellen that sanders cannot deliver on his campaign promises. >> you have to be responsible for what you say and what you say we're going to do.
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we need to rebuild trust in our fellow americans and institutions, and if you promise the moon and can't deliver the moon, then that's going to be one more indicator of how, you know, we just can't trust each other. >> i am old enough to remember when she said similar things to barack obama in 2008 when she said he promised the moon, and why do you think she's doing this? >> we are headed into the second state of new hampshire. i don't understand why we are talking about hillary clinton right now when we need to be focused on defeating donald trump, and i think the trust factor, you know, you had somebody like everybody in the democratic field she represents millions of people, and so does bernie sanders, he represents young people like myself who engaged in politics for the first time in 2016. and when it comes to the iraq war and holding wall street accountable, she needs to let a
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democratic primary play out by itself. >> you said you were old enough to remember hillary clinton and saying that about barack obama, and i remember bill clinton attacking barack obama, and saying -- >> yeah, that's right. it was the biggest fairytale i r heard. >> yeah, i think it hurt barack obama, and i have a feeling here that hillary clinton -- maybe it is like, it helps buttigieg, and it's like all these people around from before who are attacking each other, maybe we should go to a younger generation. >> there's raw emotions, and they don't like to see democrats attacking each other viciously, and people who are clinton supporters still talk about that, and i think so do sanders'
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supporters, and that's why you see clinton coming out and taking revenge when she can here and there. >> a lot of revenge this week. >> a lot of revenge this week. >> when i said changes that are needed, there are two kinds of changes needed, and there's the restore wing, which is the biden wing and then the, no, no, no, break the system more and change it more, and then you have warren and bernie are on the change it more wing, and biden and hillary clinton are arguing let's go back to the pre-trump era. >> stick around. we have more breaking news coming up.
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show@theleadcnn. stay with cnn. we will see you on sunday. this is cnn breaking news. >> i am wolf blitzer in ""the situation room" . lieutenant colonel vindman officially testified against the president in the impeachment hearing has been fired from his job at the white house, and his brother, eugene, an attorney at the security council was also fired from his possession. we will talk to