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tv   ABC7 News 600AM  ABC  December 18, 2019 6:00am-7:01am PST

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special report any moment now. we will bring that to you live right here on abc7. we'll continue streaming abc7 mornings on our news app and on if you're streaming us now, you'll have to exit out and then click on our second stream to keep watching local news, weather and traffic. here's the special report. this is an abc news special report. the house impeachment vote. now reporting george stephanopoulos. good morning. good morning and welcome to our special coverage of the impeachment of president trump. that's the scene on the house floor this morning. have just g sessions to begin these historic proceedings. it will begin with prayer. of course the only third time in history that the house has met to impeachment an american president. >> we pause in your presence and ask guidance for the men and women of the people's house. as the members take this time to
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consider far-reaching legislation and consider historic constitutional action, give them wisdom and discernment. help them to realize that your ko constiuency is wider than we can ever determine. help them and help us all to put away any judgments that belong to you and do what we can to live together in harmony. bless us this day and every day. and may all that is done be for your greater honor and glory. amen. >> the house begins as it always does with a prayer. >> now they'll be doing some normal business before they begin the debate on the rule for this impeachment proceeding. now the pledge of allegiance.
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>> please join me. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america. and to the republic for which it stands one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. speaker, a message from the president of the united states. >> madam speaker. >> directed by the president of the united states to deliver to the house of representatives a message in writing. >> pursuant to class 4 of rule 1 the following enrolled bill was signed by the speaker on tuesday, december 17th, 2019. >> the house now doing its normal business as we said. as they begin to debate the rules that set the rules. let's bring in mary bruce, two articles of impeachment both arising out of the president's deals with ukraine. one for abuse for power and one
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for obstruction of congress. >> george, there's no question, this is a historic day, also a day that house speaker nancy pelosi had been hoping to avoid. she knew it would lead to a bitter partisan divide. the speaker will walking down this hall any moment. she has said that even though this is something that she's tried for months to put off that the president's actions left her no choice. in a letter to her democratic colleagues she said, quote, if we don't act we'll be derelict in our duty. we do expect the house will vote and pass those two articles of impeachment against the president. of course we know that it's something that the president is furious about. he's written this scathing six of he page letter to the house speaker, railing against this process, launching many
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unfounded allegations against democrats and we have seen the president's republican allies here in the house standing firmly behind them. they're likely to launch some procedural motions here starting the day off with a little partisan fireworks. >> we just first one. the republicans got up to move the ad journal the house. >> so, here you have it. exactly. we're told that there will be a few of these efforts throughout the day. i think republicans trying to gum up the works essentially using every procedural tactic to delay this. they're well aware that the democrats are in control here. the president is powerless to prevent this likely outcome here. >> jon karl, our chief white house correspondent, that letter yesterday unlike any other letter that we have faced from a president facing impeachment.
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>> pure unadultered donald trump. this letter showed anger and defiance. i'm told that it was written without the input of the white house lawyers, white house counsel, one senior adviser to the president explained to me he didn't want the lawyers to tell him to tone it down, no, not to include anything. the white house counsel wasn't brought in until after the letter was drafted. but that was donald trump. the words spoken by donald trump. translated into the letter by his longtime speechwriter, stephen miller and another top adviser. he's defiant. i'm told he's very upbeat, he didn't want this day to come. but he's also someone who relishes being in a fight and this is fight he's winning. although he's most certain to be
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impeached. white house expects to be not a single republican vote in favor of that impeachment. >> they expect he'll be acquitted by the senate. terry moran, unadultered donald trump in that letter. so different from what with we have seen before, richard nixon, once it became clear he was going to be impeached by the house he chose to resign. even bill clinton, he was impeached almost 21 years ago to this day, on several occasions, several days before the vote, he went before the american people and he apologized. >> it wasn't a different america. 20 years ago, 21 years ago, almost to the day you saw this movement that was a moment it looked like clinton would cut a deal where lindsey graham, now one of chief defenders of donald trump and alt that time one of the pursuers of bill clinton was open to a deal.
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if bill clinton admitted to deal zsaid contrite things in public, graham and some the senate republicans said maybe we could avoid impeachment. impeachment went forward. today, that's unthinkable. both sides are dug in. lindsey graham, most of all, nothing but a pitch battle over impeachment whose outcome ordained. >> our chief justice correspondent pierre thomas, the defiance from the president, personal lawyer rudy giuliani continues to work with ukraine to dig up information on the president's political rivals. >> george, it's incredible. giuliani was in the ukraine just in recent days continuing to pursue this debunked theory about somehow the ukrainians
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having the dnc server and trying to dig up dirt on biden. as you point out, two of his associates are under indictment and a very active, ongoing investigation in the southern direct of new york. targeting this issue of how the former ambassador of ukraine was removed from that slot. giuliani on television saying he forced her out. that raised his question about his role controlling interest at the state department. george, that's the part of the story as this unfolds that's a wild card. we don't know what's going to come out of these upcoming ca cases. >> thank you, pierre. one thing we do know, how this vote is likely to end today, speaker pelosi has the majority of democratic votes she needs to pass these articles of impeachment. david muir here, we have been paying attention to those 31 democrats who live in districts
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where donald trump won back in 2016. one by one by one, they have come out in support of impeachment. >> one of those is elissa slotkin. she talked at a vocal town hall. she said she poured over the everyday from the democrats and the republican rebuttal very carefully. she talked about the desk that once belonged to her grandfather. what this came down to for her that the u.s. often will say what's expected of a u.s. ally when giving aid. in the national interests. she said for her this was not the national interest, this was president trump's interest in re-election and she said, listen, if it costs me my job so be it.
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>> democrats falling in line behind impeachment. republicans falling in line behind the president. the only former republican to vote for impeachment justin aa mash. the president has unified the republican party here. you can feel not only the president but his campaign to make hey of it. >> he's really hoping to unify his base and the campaign is capitalizing on this. they believe this impeachment has completely energized their base. they say they have seen a huge uptick millions of dollars in fund-raising since this impeachment inquiry began. this is resilient president. he's now facing the largest crisis of his presidency and he is while playing this sort of victim in this new letter he's not going down without a fight. he's defiant and he's looking past into the senate where he's
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hoping and he'll get complete vindication because of this support that he'll see from his party there as well. >> let's begin in a former senator heidi heitkamp. talk about the politics for this the democrats. we have seen the moderate democrats come out now in support of impeachment. is this a plus, minus or a wash? >> think it's a wash. if this were happening four months or three months before the election i think it would have a greater impact. lot of those moderate democrats didn't run as trump accolades because they were going to support trump. they ran because they cared about health care, because they disagreed with the behavior of the president, unusual for those people who got into the political arena to now suggest that they're going to let this
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behavior take a pass and so i really applaud a lot of the moderates. i think this is a tough decision. i think it has political risks but it has more of a historical lookback from the perspective of history risk and the one thing i would warn the republicans who today are going to take a vote is that you don't know what you don't know. and one of the things about obstruction is that there's a lot of stuff i think in the secret file, there's at he of stuff that history will know that they don't know today and that's how they're going to be judged and this is a historical day not a political day. we'll see what the political consequences are long term. the mistakes the democrats are making not treating this as a political process at this point. not running campaign ads explaining what they're doing. they're behind the 8 ball and they need to catch up. >> you mentioned we don't know
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what we don't know. in part because many witnesses haven't come forward. the president isn't allowing them to come forward. a recent poll, 70% of the country believe those witnesses should come forward, do you see in the senate, among your former colleagues both republicans and democrats, any republicans breaking ranks with mitch mcconnell to support the democratic motion for more witnesses. >> i think there's undecided republicans at this point. mitch, or romney i think is undecided. always someone who's going to listen to an argument and do the right thing. i think susan is probably conflicted and undecided. so it takes one more beyond that but i i think at this point is unlikely. the judgment of mitch mcconnell it's best to get this over as quickly as possible, to lay out the grievance and move forward and so i think it would take a
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pretty monumental kind of an event between now and january to basically see him subpoena people like john bolton and mick mulvaney. >> susan collins. >> i'm sorry. >> let's come back to the table here with our legal analyst. dan, our chief legal tamasist, one thing you heard in the committee debates and the rules debate earlier yesterday, both sides looking back to the founders to justify their position on impeachment. >> and both sides are using language that was used in various debates and isolating particular phrases and saying, see, this proves what the founders actually meant. because the problem is, when you read the words of the constitution there's ambiguity
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with that, that means, what did they mean when they wrote that? both sides trying to make the argument. i think one thing to note here as we talk about the process big picture here is that when you're talking to terry before, looking back on history and how presidents have dealt with this situation, what you have the president doing here not trying to fight this impeachment but undermining the process. he's trying to say, this all doesn't matter. don't listen to any of the specifics of what you're hearing. the entire process is flawed. and i think that's a very different way of attacking what we're seeing than you have ever seen in previous impeachments. >> kate shaw, you have seen to limited degrees presidents pull back from cooperation. both richard nixon and bill clinton felt some need to
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cooperate. >> much more than donald trump cooperate with the impeachment proceedings. you know you look at the letter he sent yesterday and he's continuing to double-down on this claim the phone call was perfect. at the heart of the defense, this two-prong strategy, the whole thing is illegitimate. but nothing was wrong. the phone call was perfect. i think that's kind of helpful argument for the democrats. it allows them to respond by maintaining one of the reason it's so important that proceed is to send a message and to deter recurrence of this kind of conduct. by saying what he thinks is fine there's a message that he'll engage in this conduct again. >> this was deliberately vague, high crimes and misdemeanors. at times they both wanted congress to have this power but
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they were concerned as well that it be used too often. >> they were very concerned that impeachment should only be used in the gravest of circumstances. these were broad textured, open phrases. open to interpretation. they weren't letting it all hang out. when they said high crimes and misdemeanors, treason a subset of those high crimes and misdemeanors they were thinking about the abuses of trusts in high position of power like the presidency. a president who's charismatic, appealed to the popular masses and saw himself above the law. >> mary bruce and jon karl, remind everyone how this all began. mary bruce, the whistle-blower went forward giving information on a july 25th phone call the president had with president
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zelensky with ukraine. that was brought forward to congress. >> reporter: what was remarkable, this came after the mueller investigation. we saw speaker pelosi fending off pressure to move to impeach then. it was the whistle-blower complaint changed things quickly. it needed further investigation. it's only been two months of investigating here, george, we have seen more than 80 hours hoff hearings. we have heard from more than a dozen witnesses. that's been a challenge for democrats. they have had to balance here, trying to move quickly to investigate what they say is the president's blatant misconduct and the political risk of moving too quickly at the same time. but this has unfolded at a head-spinning pace here on the hill. >> jon karl, what we have seen from the white house a head-spinning number of defenses of the president over those
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several weeks. >> absolutely. we have seen the case be made that the president wanted to withhold aid to ukraine because he didn't think the european countries were giving enough to ukraine. he didn't think the united states should bear such a burden. the case was made that the president was deeply concerned about corruption in ukraine and the money wasn't being squandered. the conversation i had with acting on chief of staff mick mulvane mulvaney, he said that the president wanted ukraine to investigate that debunk c conspiracy theory of the 2016 dnc server. you have seen a cascading list of excuses, explanations from the white house. what's important here when you look back, this as you mentioned
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at the top of this special report this is not where nancy pelosi wanted to be. she made it very clear as the mueller investigation was wrapping up, she only wanted to see impeachment it was going to be overwhelming bipartisan. after the whistle-blower complaint made it clear that the president was again in a situation where he was -- he was seeking help from a foreign government in what seemed to be targeting his democratic opponents, pelosi simply felt that there was no choice, she had to go forward even though it didn't meet the bar that she had set, didn't reach that level of an overwhelming bipartisan process ux obviously it's not that. she said the argument is here you have the president of the united states doing exactly what he was accused of going into the mueller investigation and doing
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it without apology and therefore she felt she nethey needed to g farther with that. >> the question you just raised to heidi heitkamp, did nancy pelosi, did the house speaker, house democrats have a choice on this? >> i don't think so. i think the point that i think she had to go was when the moderates wrote the letter to the washington post and these are people who served in the cia, they served in the military, they said they believed their oath to the constitution required that this process go forward. once she had that green light, i think it was too hard to hold back any democratic constiuency. people feel strongly and you see that same sentiment today, george, express from all the
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moderates this isn't about my job this is about the constitution, this is about my oath of office. >> terry, we have seen both sides fall in line over the course of this debate. some republicans at the beginning of this debate when they first learned of the phone call, the campaign against ukraine, who expressed some qualms, those voices have been silence zbld a remarkable transition to watch, george, you saw at the beginning when the transcripts of the president's call with the president of ukraine come out. talk about joe biden, do a us a favor, though, he said to the president of the ukraine. the polls showed right away and their representatives including republicans in congress some pause. republicans in public for the first time really in this presidency saying, that's not okay. they were troubled by it. it's not appropriate. now you can't find nary a one who will say anything that what
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the president will say, that call was perfect. that shift in reality itself is essentially that mesmerizing hold that donald trump has on the republican party. not only are they defending him from impeachment they have shifted to his ground that that call was perfect. back to other point the law and the politics intersecretary. dan abrams, not every impeachable offense is a crime. come us out of the judiciary committee, they're saying he's guilty in their view of abuse of power and laying out crimes they feel he may have committed during the course of this. >> that was the strategic choice they made in these articles. a specific underlining crime. bribery was one that was talked
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about a lot. they decided the more palatable way to go was to limit it and use abuse of power as the catch-all. we don't need to lay out a specific statutory crime. that was a political decision. i mean, if this was a typical criminal prosecution, a prosecutor would say, we believe we can prove the following elements. we'll move forward on these particular crimes. because it's political, they said, well, this is more platable. something that we can sell more. there's a price to pay for that. the price now is, people are arguing, there's no underlining crime here. it was a balance. a strategic decision they had to make. remember, the comparison to the
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law is imperfect in this regard and that's why you have to remember at all times that this is first and foremost a political process. >> political but we did see the democrats outline as what they see as potential crimes, bribery, finance violations. >> yeah, that's right. not the case that there are no crimes here but they're making the case they don't have to prove there are statutory crimes here. that's a different thing. when talk about bribery, the allegations had to track the statutory requirements where bribery under our modern-day criminal code that's not what the framers had contemplated. this is broader. their not ruling out the fact that there are underlining crimes here that later he could be prosecuted for.
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>> when you dealt with ukraine and some way, they made the argument this is the classic kind of problem that the founders were concerned about. >> perfect storm of all of the founders' greatest fears. a corrupt and self-dealing president. abuse of power. the potential jeopardizing of u.s. foreign policy interests. all of that coming together. i do think that it's right although the choice was made not the caption the article of impeachment, bribery or extortion, the conduct detailed in the kind of paragraphs tracks the basic elements of bribery or extortion or exchange, that's all there. it's framed in these broader terms but a specific statutory defense. >> let's go to the politics for a second, david. one of the things we see when we
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saw mary talk about the speaker's feelings she had no choice. this was driven by the grass roots. demonstrations across the country last night and in this case, the democratic candidates for the president were in front of the congress, they were for impeachment. >> very much so. elizabeth warren was the first of the democratic candidates to come out for impeachment and we saw nancy pelosi and the restraint she had for quite some time. in the mueller investigation and the evidence was revealed. saying there wasn't enough there. eventually it was the moderate democrats, speaker pelosi, progressive but also aware of the moderate part of the democratic party trying to hold back but when they came forward saying they now supported impeachment and the evidence they thought was very obvious with this ukraine call she move
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forward. this evolving defense from the white house over the course of time. one of the central defenses in the last 24 hours, even with the rules committee this notion of corruption and that president trump wanted to root out corruption in ukraine for quite some time. yesterday, we heard the democratic argument reinforce this notion we never heard him getting rid of corruption in ukraine in his presidency. not until he's up against joe biden, talking about crowdstrike, joe biden and this phone call, that was very focused and in the democrats' eye to help him with his re-election. >> the president in that phone call asking for the investigation burisma, into the bidens and this debunked theory of crowdstrike, designed to say it was ukrainians not the
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russians who interfered. >> kept peddling that with his allies despite the common knowledge that's a conspiracy theory. there was some disappointment among members on capitol hill. despite hours of testimony objectively that this call was not perfect, the public opinion polls haven't shifted. for the most part we remain a divided nation and americans are split down the middle whether the president should be impeached and repoefd from the house despite this case they have made. the president still sticks with this notion that was a perfect call and ramallying their base. the reality is, we're split down the middle as a country we're going to see the vote along party lines. >> terry, that's quite a difference again, going back to the last impeachment back in
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1998 coming into impeachment, donald trump's approval rating is in the low 40s, the country is split on impeachment back in 1998 there was an overwhelming opposition to impeachment in the country and i think bill clinton's approval rating on the day the impeachment vote took place was at 73%. >> it helped him in his term in office, we got more popular the longer they tried to impeach him. that hasn't helped donald trump. but americans are locked in over this president. with a couple of exceptions. if you look, you do get big majorities on a couple of issues surrounding this impeachment. one is, most americans according to our poll feel that the president did wrong. they don't buy this was a perfect call, inappropriate for the president. they believe he was trying to pressure ukraine into pressuring joe biden.
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most americans think that's wrong, presidents shouldn't do that. the other big majority in our poll are open to hearing other witnesses. you had supermajorities, 70%-plus americans saying i want to see the full report. 70% of americans saying, sure, here are more witnesses. that suggest that the processes aren't broken. we're locked in partisan battle that i think americans would see fought out in the election than the drastic remedy of impeachment. >> on that question of witnesses, jon karl, the president has gone back and forth that he still might be open to it. >> george, i'm told that the president has repeatedly made the point to his team that he wants to reserve the right to call witnesses in the senate trial. of course any witness that would be called by the house managers, democrats or by the president's
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side would require a vote of 51 votes in the senate, majority vote to call the witness. i'm told that the president doesn't want to rule this out. as you see mcconnell saying there's no need for any witnesses the witnesses -- all of the witnesses who should have been called needed to be called by the house. the president himself wants to reserve that right to call witnesses. by the way, george, his witnesses would be a very different list than what democrats want, what chuck schumer wants, he'd want to call hunter biden, joe biden before the senate, obviously there would be a lot of opposition to that. >> unclear if all republicans would vote for that as well. mary bruce, with congresswoman with dfrom florida.
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>> can you help us set the stage a little bit for this day? we have seen so much testimony in your committee, judiciary committee, americans remain relatively unswayed. how will today be remembered? what is your message to americans as they watch these proceedings? >> the most important point i will be making on the house floor we took an oath of office, i took that oath twice, i became an immigrant of this country when i was 20 years old. we came here to work for the american people but the president has left us no other choice. it's a crime that he's committed and it's a crime in progress, that we don't have foreign interference undermine the
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integrity of our elections. >> it's not without political risks these votes here today, any concern that the democrats may be jeopardizing your majority here by taking this step? >> that should show the american public for us it's not about politics, for us it's truly about protecting our democracy for the future of our children and i think of my kids and i also think of so many of us as immigrants who have fled countries where a man has abused his power, invite foreign interference, undermining the integrity of their elections that's why we're doing and taking this vote today. i truly hope that the senate conducts a fair trial because i believe that if senate majority leader is coordinating with the defendant, with someone who has been accused of inviting foreign interference we're entering a constitutional crisis.
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>> you saw the president's letter, he called this is partisan coup. >> i'm from latin america, i know what a coup looks like. this isn't a coup. this is actually following the constitution. they placed the impeachment clause in at the moment where the king was undermining the colonies here in the united states. there's a historical perspective here. they placed that in having the foresight there could be a man who would take the power of the office because he wanted to hold on to the power would invite foreign interference. that's why he had to take the vote today. i hope the american public takes a moment to look at the evidence. because the evidence is clear. the facts are uncontested. the republicans can't defend the facts, they try to attack the process. we have a president who has
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violated the law, the constitution, and we need to make sure aside of politics and what's going to happen we need to make sure that we don't allow this president or any future president to abuse the power. >> i wanted to ask the congresswoman a question, one of the arguments picked up by one of your colleagues, goldman is voting against obstruction of congress article, gone through the courts, let these claims play out before the impeachment vote. >> i can tell you, george, we have been requesting documents and witnesses to come and testify in front of the committee and we have seen time and time again the president actually instruct very important witnesses to not come in front of congress. we have requested documents we
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haven't received anything from the presidency. there's matter of urgency. we have 11 months before the 2020 election. we already know there's foreign interference. from the president's own words he's inviting foreign interference for his own private, political gain. we don't have time. it's an urgent threat to our democracy. a matter of national security. >> congresswoman, thank you for your time today. you have a long day ahead there on the house floor. i want to bring that back to the panel here. you saw that argument, dan, come out at the end of the process that this is a crime in process. >> it's actually the strongest sort of practical argument that the democrats have when asked the question, why not just let the political process work itself out? why not wait until 2020 and let the voters decide? the strongest argument they
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have, the president is trying to undermine that process. that's why we can't wait. that's why we have to move forward with impeachment. as we talk about some of the specifics of the alleged activities it's important to remember what's happening i think with rudy giuliani, he was a center figure in so many of the fact witnesses. he was the within who was in charge. the question is, what the heck was he doing directing this? publicly admitting that he was involved in the ouster of the ambassador to ukraine really -- >> the reason was to get her out of the way of the investigation. >> right. it bolsters the fundamentals of what they were saying. we get caught up in this munitia and don't take a step back.
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those fact witnesses and the republica -- response was, jewel januaryi was in charge, no proof of that, speculating. giuliani is now telling us he's doing this. >> and jon karl, back to you, i remember back in may before we knew about the phone call, before the phone call had taken place with the ukrainian president, an article "the new york times" rudy giuliani is going to go to ukraine and look for information to help the president. he was back there last week. >> he was back there last week. after he returned to the united states he was at the white house. the president continues rudy giuliani and suggesting that he's doing good work on this. meanwhile, you talk to everyone
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else around the president and they're deeply frustrated with giuliani. they think giuliani is creating additional problems for the president. but the president himself continues to regularly talk to giuliani and seek his counsel and giuliani continues to be pushing this as with every bit of much energy he can. >> the president's political strategy, if you do it publicly, did nothing wrong people will believe it. >> and that, his instincts have been demonstrated throughout this mp process with republicans at first beginning to shy away what they saw in that call, most of his aids, they thought it was wrong what the president had said and done. but he drew them back to this line in the sand that he wants to fight on. on the other hand he continues to investigate the bidens. he's got giuliani over in
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ukraine which raises the question, how will the democrats -- how will this impeachment stop the president? because it will hold him accountable. he's still doing it. that might be an argument for taking what's a pretty strong case against executive privilege in the courts and waiting until you can get the testimony of john bolton or someone else, because the notion that this is going to stop donald trump is ludicrous. >> chris christie, worked with donald trump for a long time. you've always told me that donald trump is always going to be donald trump. how concern should he be that his lawyer is out there every single day implicating himself in new interviews? >> listen, i think, george, this is the type of, you know, aggressive posture that the president wants rudy juligiuliao
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take and i don't believe that rudy giuliani would be doing much of what he's doing, but i think the general approach is one that i have to believe is approved by the president. they are very close. i don't believe that rudy is off, you know, in politics playing in traffic. i think rudy is going based upon general direction from his clients. and i think the president believes that what he's doing here is attempting to unroot corruption in ukraine and trying to prove his underlining case which is it was a appropriate for him to be able to ask for zelensky and others in in ukrainian government to uncover this corruption before they could get any significant american aid. i think that's the president's
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position. >> but on that note -- >> i got to believe he's approving of the general approach. >> on that point, is the president's own best lawyer in this case. there are some opposition inside the president's team, seeing rudy giuliani out there so often in such a public way, is the president making the right calculation here? >> well, listen, i don't think anyone is their own best lawyer. but the fact is, there's no doubt there are some difference in opinion inside the white house about rudy giuliani's usefulness in all of this. one person who doesn't have any doubt about it is the president of the united states. i can tell you he supports rude
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giuliani wholeheartedly and what he's doing. it's the president's approach. and it's consistent with who the president has always been. if you attack him, he himself and his surrogates attack you twice as hard in attempts to blunt your attack on him and to deter others to do the same thing in the future. >> you're also a former prosecutor, how worried should rudy giuliani be now the southern district has indicted two of his closest associations, all reports are they're taking a hard look at giuliani as well. >> you never like to be someone who's being examined by southern district of new york who has reputation over time for being very, very aggressive office.
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you never like that. it's never good to be being examined. we're all just speculating what they're really looking at. i think rudy quite frankly having known him now for 25 years i think he deserves the benefit of doubt given his history regarding criminality. i just have a hard time believing that the rudy giuliani i know would be involved that's criminal in nature. but you never want to be a person who's being examined by a u.s. attorney's office, it's an uncomfortable situation. but i also don't believe in my heart of hearts, listen, part of this is i'm a friend of rudy's i can't say i'm completely objective here, george, i've known for hhim for 25 years and
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don't think rudy would ever be involved in criminality. >> william barr has shown he wants to defend the president when he can, on the mueller report and the recent differences with the inspector general's report, would we expect that he would step in this case or is the southern district is pretty independent. >> the southern district of new york is very independent. most attorney generals have been very reluctant to get in their way. they're known as a very powerful u.s. attorney's office and that if you get in their way it's not in your favor necessarily. barr has been put in an awkward position over this course of this controversy.
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and the other thing, george, i would point out about this is, if you look at where the intelligence community has been and where law enforcement about this whole issue of the ukraine, they have basically debunked that idea. you had tom bossert saying on your show, on "this week," that he advised the president that there was nothing to do it. i asked the fbi director point blank last week, is there anything to this notion of basically the ukrainian somehow having the dnc server, he said, quote, there was no evidence of it. >> the national security and par does has been in lock step on this and saw no evidence of interference by ukraine either. you had the fbi director at his confirmation hearing saying, under no circumstances should a campaign accept help from a
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foreign entity yet in this case you have the president saying the fbi director is just wrong. >> right, he called basically that notion ridiculous earlier this year. and again the fbi director, again again, finds himself in a very challenging position. he makes it clear that russia alone attacked the 2016 election. and they're the biggest threat going forward. putting him at odds with president. >> back to mary bruce on capitol hill. one of the president's strongest allies in the house, mark meadow and congressman meadows, you're one of the president's fearest defenders and you have called this impeachment process a sham and hoax. do you believe with certainty the president actually absolutely acted appropriately? >> i have been in more hours of deposition than any member of
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congress attending every single deposition additionally have reviewed some of the facts that haven't come to light. i can tell you that not only has the president acted appropriately when you start to look at the evidence that my democratic colleagues have today and the impeachment effort they're going forward with this is a partisan attack. this is nothing more than a political stunt and to suggest that it has some kind of constitutional nexus. they quoted more founding fathers in the last 30 days than they have in the last 30 years. i can tell you that the american people see for what it is and honestly hopefully the only good thing about today is maybe we can get on to doing things that matter like lowering prescription drugs, fixes roads. >> process beside, you stand behind 100% the president's actions?
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>> i stand 110%. i have seen the evidence. when we look at the contributions of other nations, actually the president ask omb to do a report shortly after that with the intervention of two, three senators the aid was released to suggest any connection is connecting dots that adam schiff and eric swalwell would love you to connect but they just don't connect. >> can i fom low up on that. this is george. taking a step back, do you think it's okay for a presidential candidate to invite foreign help in an election? >> it works both ways. when we look at this we're looking at corruption more broadly, george, and when you see this to suggest that anyone running for president should all of a sudden should not be
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investigated. when you see this for what it is, it's a phone call that took place, a narrative that was formed around that phone call to suggest that the president did anything inprommer. we don't know if joe biden is going to be the nominee. there's a whole lot of other democratic colleagues of his who are running against him. i can ensure they're going to have plenty of fodder. you can't have dozens of phone calls and contacts with president poroshenko and say it's totally above board. what did hunter biden actually bring to the case in terms of his knowledge and expertise? to my knowledge he had no international experience that would suggest that he should be on the board of a corrupt company of burisma. >> as you know, the investigators in ukraine looked at that and vice president biden at the time was carrying out u.s. policy also backed up by the europeans, by the world bank
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and there's no evidence that anyone has put forward his actions were influenced by what his son was doing on the board of that company? >> well, george, with all due respect there's plenty of evidence that has been put forth not a whole lot in the media would like to cover it. just like the current president zelensky and the two deputies of his, all three of them have said there was no connection, no pressure but it seems like everybody wants to avoid that because the key witnesses say that the president didn't do anything inappropriate and somehow we're somehow to believe adam schiff than the president of ukraine. when we look at the details of this, i was part of this russia investigation, you had people on every sunday, george, saying the fisa applications were appropriate. the rest of the story was going to come out.
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the rest of the story on ukraine will come out and we have had sworn testimony, george, when you have actually nelly orr giving sworn testimony in a congressional deposition saying not only did ukrainian official help her with the investigation against donald trump, i mean, either she's lying to congress or it's accurate. at this point we believe it's accurate and there are other facts and information that supports it. >> you're pretty convinced this is going to be a plus for the president. >> this isn't a plus for the country. when you go through an impeachment process it's not good for the country. it may have good political results. i can tell you there are a number of freshmen democrats who are going to vote for impeachment today and it will be substantial vote they'll ever take because the ballot box will come back to haunt them in
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november and they'll go home. >> david, a point you were making earlier, lot of freshman democrats who saying they're going to vote for impeachment. >> they know the reality here, george. o the number is now 27 out of the 31 house democrats from districts that trump won they'll vote for impeachment today. many of them echoing each other. voters at the ballot boxes will have their say about this particular decision today. democrat strategists said, they have no choice here. if they're in close districts if they didn't vote for impeachment some strategists republicans won't come out and save them at the ballot box in 2020. their only hope is they'll have strong support from democrats in that district. one quick thing, mark meadows there, there isn't a surprise
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about him supporting the perfect call. i thought it was really interesting in the last 24 hours, mary bruce asked the majority leader mcconnell, do you stand behind the content of that ukraine call? she asked him, she had a followup there as well. he said i'm not an impartial juror here, i'm working with the president's lawyers on this senate trial. >> and that does get to a complicated question i want to bring to our legal panel before we go back to mary bruce. the oath the senators are required to take. it's not the oath they take when they're sworn into us a. they take an oath of imparti impartiality. they'll serve with an open mind. >> as the senators are sitting with jurors in an impeachment trial they should be on oath and affirmation separate from the
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oath they take when they take office. to do impartial justice. nothing to do with politics or partisan ship or policy. it's about the law and the constitution and that's the oath they swear and the democrats should mean they're not sitting as political allies of the president. >> it's a difficult basis, because we know in past impeachments of course president's allies are going to work with him in some fashion. >> in the clinton impeachment, clinton's chief lawyer was sending signals by tapping his pencil to pursue a particular line of questioning. here, we actually have mitch mcconnell saying, it's going to be more open. we're conferring with the president. our rules going forward is the same one as the president. that's completely different animal altogether. >> a difference between mitch
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mcconnell is saying and lindsey graham is saying. lindsey graham has already decided, he's saying, i watched the fact witnesses i have heard what they say, yes, in theory he's supposed to watch the senate trial. what mitch mcconnell is saying is something different, as the majority leader of the senate by pronouncing that he's working with the white house on this this is a different level than saying i'm already telling what i decided with my vote. that's a bigger issue than for example lindsey graham saying i already made my mind up. >> jon karl, the president has made a real effort over these last six weeks courting senate republicans. >> a real effort and successful effort. timed to the start of the impeachment proceeding in the
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house. the president start to have a series of weekly lunches at the white house where he invited senate republicans. at least 50 republican senators including his most prominent republican critic mitt romney atended one of those luncheons. in each one of those the president made his case that we hear him make publicly, this whole thing is a sham, he did nothing wrong. this effort, there's also been a consistent effort to coordinate and cultivate republicans in the house, has been a deliberate, sustained and it's been successful as we talked about earlier. no signs of a signal republican defection on this that's an extraordinary statement on this process. >> unified republican party right now. back to mary bruce on capitol
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hill. >> i'm here with debbie dingell. i want to ask about the republican perspective. it seems like he'll be acquitted in the senate, what do you say to americans today who are watching this wondering, what's the point? >> i ask myself that question, too, in the summer. in is the sense that i was getting enormous amount of pressure to come out for impeachment. including, you know, paid ads against me, et cetera, i was worried about how divided our country was. once that whistle-blower made that complaint and trump appointed inspector general said it's a credible threat, a danger to our national security if we don't address this now, if we don't send a message that this is not okay behavior we're telling future administrations it's okay. this is not a political vote for me.
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we take that oath of office to protect the constitution and today's vote is protecting our constitution. >> you because you were afraid that we would come to this point, this bitter partisan divide. have you crossed a line? will you ever be able to work with this president again? >> so i am very -- very methodical with my republican colleagues, which i have a lot of. i mean, i work very closely with the republicans, and one of my best friends, if not, best friend in the congress is a republican from michigan. i say we have to pull people together. i say to cabinet officers -- now that was before president trump tweeted at me on saturday night and i did an op-ed in "the new york times" today which they asked me to do to explain my thought process. it will be interesting to see the president in michigan tonight. i don't quite know who he's going to attack, but i'm


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