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Sources: Pence's Office Frustrated Over Fallout From Ukraine Story; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is Interviewed About the Whistleblower Controversy and His Efforts on Gun Reform; Giuliani Tells CNN He's the Source of Some of the State Department IG Docs Handed Over to Congress Today. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 2, 2019 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from Washington.

Whatever you may think of President Trump, Ukraine affair or the investigation that House Democrats are conducting, their investigation appears to be getting under his skin and it's showing. You can see it on photos of him today, the anger and frustration, the sheer terror or fear, whatever you want to call it, something -- lots of things are written across his face.

You could see it in tweets he sent. One referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as, quote, a low life. Another calling the allegations against him, quote, B.S.

Most of all, his anger was on full display during a press conference this afternoon that was even when judged against past appearances unlike any we have seen before. And this was all with the president of Finland standing or earlier sitting next to him. First as he read brief prepared remarks and during a Q&A session that quickly turned even more confrontational than usual.

When the president was not attacking, he was evading questions, including the central one from "Reuters" Jeff Mason about his July 25th phone call with Ukraine's president.


REPORTER: Mr. President, can you make clear right here what do you or what did you want President Zelensky to do with regard to Joe and Hunter Biden?


COOPER: Well, the president did not answer that question. Instead, spending the next two minutes and 22 seconds airing grievances about the country getting ripped off on trade, corruption in Ukraine, about Europe not paying its fair share. Everything but actually answering that important question, which Jeff Mason then tried to ask again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: What about Joe Biden? What did you want about Biden? What did you want to look into Biden?

TRUMP: Look, Biden and his son are stone-cold crooked. And you know it. His son walks out with millions of dollars. The kid knows nothing. You know it and so do we.

Go ahead, ask your question.

REPORTER: The question, sir, was, what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice President Biden and his son Hunter?

TRUMP: Are you talking to me?

REPORTER: Yes. It was just a follow-up of what I asked you, sir.

TRUMP: Listen, are you ready? We have the president of Finland. Ask him a question.

REPORTER: I have one for him. I wanted to follow up on the one I asked you.

TRUMP: Did you hear me? Did you hear me? Ask him a question.

REPORTER: I will but --

TRUMP: I have given you a long answer. Ask this gentleman a question. Don't be rude.

REPORTER: Yes, sir, I don't want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question I asked you.

TRUMP: I answered everything.


COOPER: Except he didn't answer everything. He didn't answer the one question that actually was asked of him.

And on top of the evasion, the anger and many falsehoods that are, I mean, normal but totally abnormal or should be, there was something else that was hard to fathom. The president's characterization of the Ukraine transcript not as a liability but instead as some kind of trap he sprung on his adversaries.


TRUMP: I thought that I would finish off the first term without the threat of people making false claims. But this one turned out to be incredible, all because they didn't know that I had a transcript done by very, very talented people, word for word, comma for comma, done by people that do it for a living. We had an exact transcript.


COOPER: OK. Do I need to say this? Don't you know what I'm about to say? It's not word for word, not comma for comma, not word for word or as the document itself warns on the first page, quote, caution, a memorandum of a telephone conversation. TELCON is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion.

But even if it were, it is hard to see how it helps the president. And strange to think he believes it does or at least says he does publicly. He repeatedly says it's perfect, the conversation is perfect.

Clearly, it is a marketing idea that if he can repeat it enough, you will just start to believe that it is a perfect conversation. Perfectly normal. Perfectly presidential. Perfectly appropriate. And it is none of those things.

So, there's that and there's new reporting on Vice President Pence and growing tension within his circle.

CNN's Jim Acosta joins us now with that.

Jim, what is the latest you're learning about the White House and Ukraine?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, I mean, it does seem though at this point as we're all talking about what happened between the president and President Zelensky of Ukraine, with respect to that July 25th call, that story is starting to draw in the Vice President Mike Pence, he is getting tangled up in all of this.

We have some new reporting tonight along with colleague Pamela Brown, the vice president met with President Zelensky, as you know, Anderson, last month. And it was during that conversation, the vice president passed along the administration's concerns about corruption. We're told he did not bring up Vice President Joe Biden during that conversation.

But after he had that meeting with President Zelensky, he came back to Washington, talked to the president. It was after that conversation that the aid was released. We're told by multiple administration officials, Anderson, that Vice President Pence did help persuade the president to release that military aide that President Zelensky wanted in Ukraine. And so, he's been drawn into this to some extent, although, aides close to the vice president will say, he has been a part of this effort to malign Joe Biden and Hunter Biden.

The other thing about all of this, Anderson, is this is -- this is causing some anxiety inside Pence's world. We're told by sources familiar with the matter that the vice president is going to be on the road for some time often over the next several weeks, in an effort by some of the vice president's team members to keep him out of the mix, keep him away from this scandal, keep him away from the Ukraine story. And I'm told by a source familiar with the matter that when the vice president handles his calls with foreign leaders, quote, everything is buttoned up and everything is, quote, squeaky clean.

So, not only, Anderson, are the vice president's people trying to keep him out of the road, away from this unfolding scandal, they are also trying to draw a distinction between the way he handles his phone calls with foreign leaders and the way the president does.

COOPER: Jim, it was pretty extraordinary to see the president said in the sit-down with Finland's president, which is in Oval Office, and then also later on at the official press conference, we saw that exchange with a reporter where he wouldn't answer the question and then finally when the reporter kept pressing, the president tried to pivot and say, you are being rude to the president of Finland.

ACOSTA: Right.

COOPER: It's remarkable that that was his excuse for not answering the question, given the fact that he spent the entire press gaggle when he was sitting with the president of Finland in the Oval Office railing about everything Ukraine-related and the Democrats-related. And, I mean, the poor president of Finland, you know, looked like he would rather be anywhere else but sitting there.

ACOSTA: Absolutely, Anderson. I think what you saw unfolding in the Oval Office and during that press conference in the east room of the White House with the president of Finland is as close as I have ever seen Donald Trump looking like he is painted himself into a corner, that he is backed into a corner. He was firing in all directions today and he did not answer, as you said, the question from "Reuters" Jeff Mason about what he wanted out of that phone call with the president of Ukraine with respect to Joe Biden.

There were a couple of us in the press in addition to Jeff Mason as you saw who were trying to press the president, answer the question, answer the question. He just has not answered that question essential question, what did the president mean when he said, would you do us a favor though in response to President Zelensky's talking about military aid. But when you talk to people who are close to the president, Anderson, it's like that guy in the naked it's like that guy in the naked gun saying, nothing to see here, please disperse.

The fire is going off in the background but people around the president are trying to make the case that nothing is going wrong here. I talked to one Trump adviser earlier this evening who said, once again, the president is a great messenger. It is a bit Alice in Wonderland over here, Anderson, the way they are trying to describe the president as staying ahead of this when it's clear he is backed into a corner tonight, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with Ukraine's president shortly before the transcript of the phone conversation with President Trump came out. He joins us.

Thanks for being with us, Senator.

First of all, I just want to ask you about Jim Acosta's reporting. I'm wondering what your assessment of the vice president's involvement is here. He -- I believe he met with the Zelensky. He's clearly tried to stay out of the fray.

Do you -- it -- do you have any sense of what his involvement may be?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, if your reporting is correct, it's extraordinary the vice president has chosen to skip town over the course of the next few weeks to stay out of this story. I think it may also be a little bit of reconstruction of history to suggest the vice president is the one that persuaded the president to release the aid. The president released the aid right after the whistleblower complaint was lodged, shortly before the appropriations committee was going to require that the next year's aid be spent.

But, remember, everyone in Trump's orbit knew what was going on dating back to May. In May, Rudy Giuliani was openly bragging about going to Ukraine to try to convince that government to interfere in the 2020 election. And so, Vice President Pence, as well as everyone else in this administration, had the opportunity starting in May to either put a stop to this or come out publicly and expose it. And none of them did it.

So, I understand that Pence and many others are going to try to wash their hands of it, are going to try to put the best potential spin on it. But all of them are implicated in this scandal because it has been ongoing for months.

COOPER: It's interesting when the president was refusing to actually answer the question that the reporter ask and then continued to re-ask -- I must say under a tremendous pressure from the president not to do that, and then told you know, to ask something to the president of Finland.


It's interesting to me that the president did not want to answer the question which was, what were you trying to get out of the president of Ukraine, what did you want them to do about the Bidens in terms of investigation?

And I'm wondering if the president didn't want to answer that because he doesn't want to have on camera himself saying essentially what he said in the transcript, which is, you know, I wanted the president of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, to investigate Joe Biden, find out information about what I believe is corruption and, you know, about the server -- the phantom story about the server being in Ukraine and the Ukrainians behind the hacking of the DNC.

I'm wondering -- obviously, you don't know this. But it's curious to me that he didn't want to say specifically what he wanted.

MURPHY: There's no way for the president to offer an adequate explanation for what he did. He had two asks of the President Zelensky in that phone call. One was to help him destroy Hillary Clinton. The second was to help him destroy Vice President Biden.

You cannot do that as the president of the United States. You cannot use the massive power entrusted to you to destroy your political opponents. And what we know is that the effort was broader than just that phone call. In fact, for months, the State Department itself and the president's personal lawyer were involved in this effort as well.

And so, the president is not going to be able to offer an adequate explanation for the corruption that he engaged in in that phone call or that the rest of his team has been engaged in for months.

COOPER: You know, initially, a lot of the president's defenders were saying, look, you know, this whistleblower doesn't have direct knowledge, it's all hearsay. And then everything the whistleblower said essentially is proven within a matter of days. And the White House releases the transcript. It's what the whistleblower said. Everything basically the whistle-blower said has turned out to be accurate.

I'm wondering, the argument now from a lot of Trump supporters seems to be, well, there was no quid pro quo quoted in the conversation and it was a, quote, totally normal conversation to have between world leaders. Is there -- just because there is no you give me this I will give you that, the sword hanging over the president of the Ukraine is the need for military aid for an active conflict against Russia. I'm wondering, do you believe there's any validity to the argument there was no quid pro quo because it wasn't in the conversation?

Also, the argument, the other argument is the president of the Ukraine has said, oh, I wasn't under pressure. I don't put much stock in that given he may have to continue to have a relationship with President Trump moving forward.

MURPHY: Well, of course. You listen to him at the U.N. and you read the transcript of his remarks. And you can see him bending over backwards to get along with this president. Why? Because Ukraine is totally dependent right now on the United States for their security.

Without the United States, they would have to be back under the thumb of the Russians. And there is an implicit threat, there's an implicit quid pro quo in every single demand that the United States makes of Ukraine. The president doesn't need to say it out loud. There are consequences if you don't do what the United States wants.

But if you read deeper into that transcript, it does actually seem as if there's a quid pro quo in the way that Trump is talking to Zelensky. He says, oh, we do a lot for Ukraine. We don't get a lot in return.

I have these two asks of you. Help me destroy Hillary Clinton. Help me destroy Vice President Biden.

If you are Zelensky in the other end of that phone call, with zero leverage over the president of the country that essentially keeps you independent and sovereign, of course, you are going to do what the president wants. Of course, you are going to come to the conclusion that the president is going to hold you accountable. And, of course, we know that the president did suspend the aid.

And so, whether or not there was an explicit quid pro quo, people in Ukraine could easily come to the conclusion that you didn't do what the president wanted and you paid a consequence.

COOPER: Lastly, you continue to be focused on getting gun safety legislation passed. The president has indicated impeachment will be a big hurdle. Of course, you know, he also, even before the impeachment, clearly had backed off the talk he had immediately after the latest mass killings, which echoed what he had said in previous mass killings, that he would be looking toward, you know, significant, some sort of legislation. All that seems pretty much to be gone from the president's vocabulary.

And now, he is blaming the impeachment, saying they wonder why they don't get gun legislation done. Then they wonder why they don't get drug prices lowered because all they do is talk nonsense, end quote.


Do you worry that substantive legislative action on guns is as far as the White House is concerned off the table?

MURPHY: Well, if we don't get a background check deal done, it's only because the president decided to walk away from the table. I'm wearing my anti-gun violence t-shirt today as I'm talking to you because we had nine Democratic presidential candidates here in Las Vegas talking about their bold plans for action.

And on the day that I announced my support for an impeachment inquiry, the White House reached out to me and said, hey, you know, we still want to stay at the table. We'll see if that's true.

But I have been very open that I believe that Congress needs to pursue impeachment at the same time as we pursue a legislative agenda. So, I will be sitting at the table waiting for the president to engage on a background checks measure. I will not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I want universal background checks but I will settle for something less if the president is willing to come and talk to us. But it has been two full weeks since the last time we had substantive engagement from the White House on background checks. I will be waiting for as long as it takes to get this done, because we can't let a chance to save lives be stalled by impeachment.

COOPER: Senator Murphy, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

MURPHY: Thanks. Yes.

COOPER: Breaking news involving the highest profile member of the president's team, his TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his -- I guess we should call him his go-to guy regarding this latest thing. What we are learning about his role in the still puzzling affair that sent the State Department inspector general to Capitol Hill to brief Congress this afternoon. A lot of questions about why that even happened.

And later, more breaking news. New reporting on the pressure being put on other foreign governments to discredit the Russia investigation as well as reaction to it from James Clapper, former director of national intelligence.



COOPER: There's breaking news tonight in the Ukraine investigation. The growing pressure on the vice president, as well as his standing within the administration. Also, the president's airing of grievances even as he shared the moment with a visiting foreign dignitary, the president of Finland.

Now, yet another late breaking item, this one involves the president's TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani. It might clear up the mystery of what was a bizarre and chaotic scene after that so-called urgent State Department inspector general briefing today.

CNN's Michael Warren joins us now with more.

So, this is a complicated story. I'm not sure I fully understand what happened today regarding this. Can you just lay out what we know happened?

MICHAEL WARREN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Anderson. So, the State Department inspector general made a very abrupt announcement that they would be briefing lawmakers today. They did that.

And in that briefing, the I.G. provided a large tranche of documents that included in that tranche a number of allegations, sort of outline of allegations against Joe Biden regarding Ukraine, also allegations against the now former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. But a lot of lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill were wondering exactly what this had to do with anything.

Now, CNN is reporting Rudy Giuliani spoke with me a few minute ago confirming that some of the information in that -- in what the I.G. presented originated with him.

COOPER: So, OK, Rudy Giuliani -- do we know how -- he handed it to somebody in the secretary of state's office? Do we know?

WARREN: So, what Giuliani told me is that he somehow routed this information -- this is at the end of March, earlier this year. He says he routed that to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It's kind of unclear exactly what that means, but he did say that he received a call a couple of days later from Pompeo himself who said that he had gotten these documents and that he would refer it for investigation.

And Giuliani telling me he was frustrated he never heard anything back from the State Department thereafter.

COOPER: So, the three chairs, Chairman Schiff, Engel and Cummings released a statement tonight on the state inspector general briefing that happened today, which is when these documents were handed over by the inspector general to them in Congress. I want to read you a paragraph of what they said. Quote: The inspector general stated his office interviewed Secretary

Pompeo's counselor Thomas Ulrich Brechbuhl, who informed the inspector general that Secretary Pompeo told him the packet came over and that Brechbuhl presumed it was from the White House, end quote.

Does that match with your reporting? Or yes? What does that mean?

WARREN: It's an open question. Again, Giuliani not being forthright about how he got these documents he says to the State Department. But, look, you have to remember, Anderson, that Rudy Giuliani is in the inner circle of the president. He's talking with the president a lot. We have seen again from the whistle-blower report that this seemed to annoy a lot of the national security team around the president, that Giuliani had such access.

So, it isn't determined exactly if that came from the White House. But that suggestion from those chairmen suggested it very well may have. The White House may have been the conduit for Rudy Giuliani to get those documents to the State Department.

COOPER: And, Michael, just so I'm clear, the documents that were all handed over, I mean, was there more of a briefing or was it just handing over these documents? And are they all just, you know, things alleging stuff about the Bidens and Ukraine and the whole conspiracies that Giuliani has been pushing?

WARREN: So, this is interesting. Some of the documents Giuliani says he was unfamiliar with. And included in that tranche from the I.G. at the State Department are a number of e-mails from State Department officials, essentially taking those allegations that Giuliani has been propagating through conservative media and other media for the past several months, and saying, it's bad information.


So, it really does seem to me that the State Department is trying to make an effort here, the I.G. is, to say the State Department had this information and really urged each other to say, it's not true.

COOPER: OK. Michael Warren, I appreciate it.

Lots to talk about tonight, although it's still confusing. Joining us, former State Department spokesperson, Obama White House communication director, Jen Psaki, CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, also CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero and Elliot Williams.

Jen, I mean, we were here last night trying to figure out what this could be. It seems to be nothing of any of the things we possibly thought about.


COOPER: And unclear exactly what it is. I mean, it sounds like someone emptied out their desk drawer in Pompeo's office about all this stuff that was there.

But what do you make of this?

PSAKI: Right. I mean, it sounds like an opposition research book you'd see in a political campaign, but about ambassadors serving the United States and a political opponent of the president.

Now, there are propaganda packets that are put together about ambassadors serving in authoritarian countries all the time. And I'm sure there were those in Ukraine and in Russia and other places. This is unique.

And I think we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that these are exactly the components and the items that were being pitched in that phone call that we have seen the notes of the transcript from in what Giuliani has been pushing. We also know there has been kind of a mud slinging campaign against Yovanovitch as well.

So, what we don't know right now is the origin, as was noted in the reporting. Did it come from the White House? Did Giuliani write it himself? Was it in Trump Tower? Was it somewhere else? That's the most interesting piece of information and will tell us more.

COOPER: I guess the other question is, OK, this came -- the I.G. made the call over to Congress to inform them that he had this stuff that he wanted to bring over shortly after Pompeo made the announcement about saying about the Democrats are bullies essentially.

PSAKI: Right. We assumed as a result that maybe it was related to that letter, that perhaps it was evidence of what Pompeo was accusing, perhaps it was people in the State Department who were saying, I want to testify or I'm not being treated fairly. There's also I.G. investigations happening now under the same I.G. about political firings. So, we made all of those assumption assumptions.

It's -- my best guess is that he wanted to unload this information and didn't want to have it in his desk, the I.G. The I.G.



COOPER: Not Pompeo. Does this say something about the relationship between Pompeo and Giuliani?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALSYT: Yes. Direct to direct. Apparently, Pompeo called Giuliani and let him know, we're looking into this.

The question that I have is, Pompeo may have passed it along to the counsel. Did the counsel sit on it? Because nobody was really taking it seriously. Apparently, according to the committee chairmen, some was wrapped in Trump Hotel folders, came in Trump hotel folders. Maybe they didn't take it seriously until all the story started breaking.

And, suddenly, maybe that was then passed on to the inspector general and the inspector general said, eek. I have to do something. PSAKI: The e-mails from the State Department officials are very

interesting, right?

BORGER: Exactly.

PSAKI: There's been this accusation that State Department officials were pushing these leaders in Ukraine and other places to find this information about Biden.

COOPER: Giuliani said he was basically working on the behest of the State Department.

PSAKI: Exactly. That's never sounded right. So, I will be interested to see these e-mails.

BORGER: So, it's the counternarrative.

COOPER: So, this information not classified.

PSAKI: None of it.

BORGER: Rudy Giuliani talks about it every night on Fox News. Why would it be classified?

COOPER: I mean, Carrie, is this normal? I don't -- I still don't understand why this was such an urgent thing in such a strange, cryptic way that it raised alarm bells on Capitol Hill.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, it's a mystery right now I think why the inspector general from the State Department urgently went up to Congress to provide this information. Normally, an inspector general would vet information, would say they had conducted some kind of investigation, would have made some kind of assessment, like we have see with the DNI whistle-blower case, that the information was credible. Normally, inspector generals don't just dump garbage on Congress.

So, I think there's more to learn about the motivations from that. What I will say, though, often, you know, in the last couple years, we hear a lot about whether or not the institutions are holding up under this intense political pressure from the president who wants to use the instruments of the executive branch for his personal benefit. And I think it's another example potentially of the institutions not holding up quite so well.

If we have Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer and sort of everything guy providing information to the State Department and State Department, the secretary of State, the inspector general, the general counsel all spending time on this.


CORDERO: If it's frivolous information that shows that the institution of the State Department is being manipulated for political purposes.

COOPER: Well, it's quite clear also that the Secretary of State is not an institutionalist and not --


COOPER: -- aligned with the personnel of the State Department in terms of protecting them. Though he said, he is trying to protect them from bullies in Congress. He certainly has not been protecting the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Elliot, I think to Giuliani was on Lou Dobbs earlier tonight. And I'm told that he referred to himself and Attorney General Barr in tandem saying, quote, "They're going after both of his attorneys, meaning the President's attorneys, they are going after Barr, who's his government attorney and they're going after me, who is his private attorney". Barr is not the President's attorney. He is not supposed to be.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And the problem here is as much with how the President regards the role of attorney general and who all these people are who happen to have law degrees but are serving the President. Barr is not the President's attorney. And I think that's a big misunderstanding as to how the role works, how the role ought to work. And what is -- again, we talked about this last night too. What exactly is Rudy Giuliani's job? And, you know, getting along with what Carrie had said, you know, maybe this information he presented is frivolous. And it very well might be. Congress still has a duty to look at what he has presented. But the problem is you can't take him seriously --


WILLIAMS: -- anymore, because they brought so much nonsense up to begin with.

COOPER: Gloria, the thing at the press conference today where the President, you know, would go into this long answer to not -- which was a non-answer to the question he was asked --


COOPER: -- about what he actually was trying to get from the President of the Ukraine about Biden. What did he want the President to actually do? To me it's fascinating that that is the question he would not answer, because -- I mean if he speaks the words that he said it even in the transcript as --

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: -- not word for word as they were, it will not sound good coming out of the President's mouth, I want you to do me a favor, you know, find me dirt on Biden, find me information about Biden. You know --

BORGER: I don't know that he could answer the question, because it's so convoluted and crazy that all he wants to do is say -- you know how the President shorthands everything. Joe Biden is a crook. He is a stone-cold crook I think is what he said. That's all he wants --

COOPER: Corrupt.

BORGER: -- corrupt, some called corrupt OK, and hunter Biden, too. So that's all he wants to say. That's all he could say in the phone conversation to the Ukrainian President. You know, there's this bad stuff. And there's this --

COOPER: The old people are talking about it. You know about it. There's, you know, I'm hearing stuff.

BORGER: Yes, and there's crowd strike and all --

WILLIAMS: But on top of that, that's now their legal strategy. Their entire legal strategy is calling people names and saying, you know, they're saying they're corrupt. But to win something like this or to at least succeed in the public eye, they have to have a legal and communications strategy. All they do is --


JENNIFER PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We all have these notes from the transcript.


PSAKI: That he reference, but he almost forgot what it said. Which is very different from the Mueller report and other --

COOPER: Great, but I mean, I think we're discounting the skill of the President as a marketer.


COOPER: And, you know, where it looks like he doesn't have a communication strategy. He is hammering away the words perfect conversation, you know, corrupt relating to the Bidens --

PSAKI: Hoax, traitor.

COOPER: Hoax. Right. I mean that -- he is now just speaking almost minus syllabically in those buzz words to inject them.

WILLIAMS: But the thing is, that can't respond to a subpoena. Right. At the end of the day, there are actually legally operative things that are going to becoming the president.

COOPER: Well actually not responding to a subpoena, it's something they seem to be doing very well.

WILLIAMS: Yes, very well. But the difference is, this is now judicial proceeding and a way that none of us definitely saw before it was.

PSAKI: But he is defending it's a political process.


PSAKI: Right. It is.


WILLIAMS: But -- and they're absolutely both -- both they want political.

COOPER: They're not going to play this out in court over the course of months and months and months. I mean they want this done by the end of October.

BORGER: No, and tonight Biden is supposed to give a speech where he kind of responds to this. But Biden is going to have to really take this on at some point, because this is going to be a political fight.

COOPER: Thank you everybody.

Coming up, yet more breaking news tonight. New reporting on other world leaders who President Trump believed he could enlist to discredit the Russia investigation. More on that.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: They never thought ours going to release the call, because I don't like doing that. I don't want --




COOPER: In addition to the breaking news tonight on Vice President Pence and the Ukraine investigation as well as State Department documented handed over to Congress today, there's this on President Trump. Banking on new potential allies in his effort to discredit the Russia investigation. It's a report you will only see on 360. Kaitlan Collins has the latest for us now. So what have you learned about the President's conversations with other world leaders?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, we're learning that not only did President Trump reach out to the Australian Prime Minister about working with the Attorney General to investigate the beginnings of the Russia investigation, he also placed a phone call to the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over this summer, hoping that he could do the same. Basically, when these two world leaders got into office, President Trump didn't just see it as a diplomatic opening Anderson, he saw it as a political one. One where he can potentially achieve this long standing goal his had of discrediting the Russia investigation.

COOPER: And what did the President tell his advisors about the conversations, about the leaders, do you know?

COLLINS: He was pretty giddy about it. He didn't just think politically they were more in line with him. He thought they would be more cooperative with looking into the beginnings of the investigation.


And a lot of that had less to do with them and more do with their predecessors, Malcolm Turnbull in Australia and Theresa May in the United Kingdom, because those two leaders, President Trump had always been deeply suspicious of based on our sources, because he always blamed them in part for the beginning of the Russia investigation and the role that their countries played in it.

COOPER: And today Senator Graham sent letters I understand to the Prime Ministers of Australia, Italy, and the U.K.

COLLINS: Yes, of course their close ally, the President urging these leaders in this letter to continue working with Bill Barr the Attorney General on this investigation into the beginnings of the Russia probe, which is interesting. Because of course, they did have small parts in the beginning of this, like where George Papadopoulos was meeting certain officials that they met with, that's really been something that has metastasized in the President's mind. But there's no evidence that they were part of this, you know, political conspiracy to undermine the President's campaign. But so far, he thinks this is a way for him to get vindication. And clearly, we've seen this is something that the Attorney General is fine with pursuing.

COOPER: Yes, Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much.

Joining us now, CNN national security analyst and former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. He's the author of Facts and Fears: Hard Truth from the Life and Intelligence.

You obviously deny during the start of the Russian investigation. When you hear Kaitlan's reporting that the President is now, you know, talking to Boris Johnson and others, does it make sense to you?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, it doesn't Anderson. It just shows the lengths to which this administration will go to try to discredit the entire Russia meddling, I guess. And I recall early on in the -- in this presidency when President Trump alleged that, you know, the Obama administration was surveilling Trump Tower, it's ridiculous. Or that President Obama had asked the Brits to monitor him. Which was ridiculous.

In fact, it prompted a rare public statement by the GCHQ which is the British equivalent of our NSA, National Security Agency to completely rebut the President's allegation. So, I don't know what the expectation here is, because this reporting was done in good faith by Foreign Service officers or law enforcement or intelligence officials who thought we should know about, you know, these activities. So I -- do they expect now that because there are political leaders who he thinks are more in tune with him that somehow they are going to say, oh April fool, you know, we were just kidding before, three plus years ago.

So I don't see the point of it. And one other bad affect, of course, is that I worry that particularly the intelligence services of these close allies who have freely shared information with this in the past will think twice before they do that when it appears like as though they're going to be investigated.

COOPER: The very fact that the Attorney General of the United States, who Rudy Giuliani tonight on Fox referred to as the President's government attorney and Rudy, he is the President's person attorney --

CLAPPER: Interchangeable.

COOPER: Yes, that they're part of the same team, essentially. I mean, I guess some people or Trump supporters will say well look, OK, there's no problem with them investigating. And if the investigation finds nothing, it finds nothing. Just in terms of the time that the -- I mean it seems like the head of the Justice Department Barr is dedicating to this, does it infringe on other work that normally ahead of the Justice Department would do? And the President, you know when Clinton was being -- during that whole impeachment procedure for, they are very clear lines in the White House about who anybody who was focused on the impeachment, that's what they did but nobody else could talk about it. And Clinton could only focus on it when he was meeting with those people.


COOPER: So that other work can be done. Just watching the President meet with the President of Finland today, you had the sense that there's not a lot of other work entering the President's head. It's all this all the time.

CLAPPER: Yes and that's kind of -- you step back from all, you know, the day to day madness of what we see read and hear about, you wonder what's being neglected. And all these huge issues that we face both foreign and domestic, well, the President obviously is totally consumed with attacking his opponents. And, you know, we're fortunate and we haven't had a major crisis of the magnitude of a 9/11 attack, you know, God forbid we have another one.

But I worry about that. And the Attorney General's preoccupation with this which I don't-- I can't recall a case where this much time is expanded personally by the Attorney General and sort of evidence gathering of facilitated evidence gathering in one investigation.

COOPER: Director Clapper, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

CLAPPER: Thanks Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up next, one of the first members of Congress to call for President Trump's impeachment, Maxine Waters, and what she's saying now about what else should happen to the President.


We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: She's chairwoman of the influential House Financial Services Committee and has long called for President Trump's impeachment and a process became a favorite target of the President especially his rallies. Now that the possibility of impeachment is growing, California Democrat Maxine Waters certainly is not holding back.

Congresswoman Waters, joins us now. I'm wondering Congresswoman, what is your reaction to the President's broadside against the impeachment inquiry today? He is clearly, I guess, worked up about it would be a conservative way to say it. And there's certainly no reason to think that's going to calm down any time soon.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well I don't think so. I think he is really very, very upset about what is happening, because he never thought that we would get to an impeachment inquiry. Don't forget, Nancy Pelosi had been against it and she had basically told him that that was not what she was focused on and she certainly meant that. And I think he became even more brazen in what he was doing because he felt like there never was going to be any impeachment of him. And I think he is very upset about it.

COOPER: And just in terms of the timing of an impeachment inquiry or actually an impeachment if it came to that, how important is time for the Democrats in this?


I mean are you of the school who believes this should proceed as quickly as possible? Or are you, you know, wanting it to get as many witnesses as possible, perhaps try to convince some Republicans in the Senate to over time to vote for impeachment?

WATERS: No, I think we have to move swiftly. I think that the call to the Ukrainian President put a lot of facts on the table. We know that he made the call, we know that he asked for a favor, we know that he basically held up the appropriations for the Ukraine. There is a lot of facts in here now. And so I think it gives us the opportunity to move quickly. And I'm hopeful that our facts will be such that, you know, the Republicans will have to fall in line on some of this. The Senate will have to, you know, fall in line on some of this. I do believe that we can do this. I think the House can get to this by the end of the year.

COOPER: In a tweet yesterday, you said that you were, quote, "Calling for the GOP to stop Trump's filthy talk of whistleblowers being spies and using mob language implying they should be killed. Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned and placed solitary confinement. But for now impeachment is imperative." Is a statement like that -- I mean saying that, you know, he need to be in prison and put into solitary confinement, is that -- doesn't that hurt your cause in -- just in terms of public sentiment?

WATERS: You know what, I think that it is very interesting how oftentimes, you know, it is focused on a what one of the members have to say. This President has not only undermined and denounced the press constantly and he's dangerous, he's talked about starting or encouraging a civil war. Now, why aren't we putting more time and effort on unveiling what the President is saying, asking him what do you mean by that? How is this going to happen? Are you dog whistling to the white supremacists?

I mean I think that's what should be talked about a lot.

COOPER: Right, well I mean we --

WATERS: Do you understand how important this is to have the President of the United States talking about a civil war? How dangerous that is? Do you know how dangerous it is for the President to talk about what they do to spies and instead of understanding that the whistleblowers are patriotic people who care about their country, he's calling them spies and then implying that they should be killed.

COOPER: Right.

WATERS: So that's what we should be talking about. And we don't hear enough about that. The press does not bare down on him on these issues.

COOPER: Well I would encourage you to watch more CNN because, you know, I certainly think we're -- we talk about those things a lot. We -- I certainly --

WATERS: Not enough, not enough. I really like you and you do a good job but you all do not call him to task and make him accountable for what he's saying.

COOPER: But, you know, they're saying that he deserve -- that he should be in solitary confinement. Where you had Speaker Pelosi today saying that the Democratic caucus saying, I'm quoting, "Let's bring as much dignity, as much solemnity, as much prayerfulness and that is worthy of the constitution and save whatever we feel about Trump for the election." I mean essentially she's saying to members of the House, you know what, let's not get over our skis on this and let's let the process play out without essentially using that kind of language.

WATERS: Well, I think most people who have watched me over the past two years know I am a responsible person who have talked about the constitution, who have talked about the fact that this President does not respect the fact that Putin is responsible for basically bugging our electoral system, hacking into the DNC. They know that I've been serious about this. I've had the courage to stand up when nobody else would stand with me.

So people know that I'm responsible and that I'm serious and, like I said, that impeachment is the imperative. That's how I ended the sentence. So that's what should be focused on.

And don't forget, focus on Trump and the fact that he's talking about a civil war. Everybody should be frightened about that. There are these white wing supremacists up in the hills practicing how they're going to have a war against the government of the United States and then you have the President playing into that, dog whistling to that. That's what I want to hear the press talking about.

COOPER: Chairwoman Waters, appreciate your time. Thank you

WATERS: I appreciate yours too. Thank you.

COOPER: All right, you take care. Any number things President Trump said today could lead the news hour tonight. I want to check in with Chris and see what he's working on for "Cuomo Primetime." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: And look, you know, we do the job every night, you do it brilliantly, we expose what needs to be dealt with and Congress has the job of holding the President to count and the voters ultimately during the election.

So tonight we're going to focus on the new wave of what matters. We know what the President's defense is. I will argue tonight that it falls on its face and I'll give you a couple reasons why.


It all centers around that phone call of course. It's not enough for the House, they have to put meat on the bones if it's going to rise to the level of impeachment. But we have questions, why did the Secretary of State need basically be told we know you are on the call, were on the call, before he admitted it? Why was the Secretary of State taking something from Rudy Giuliani and saying he would investigate it. After all that talk about the dossier coup, now Rudy Giuliani seems to be the seed father of a dossier of their own.

COOPER: All right, Chris, we'll see then five minutes from now.

So coming up, medical update on Bernie Sanders whose had to suspend his campaigning.


COOPER: Just a short time ago, we learned that Jane Sanders, wife of Senator Bernie Sanders is now with her husband in Las Vegas. Supporters of the presidential candidate and practically everyone of his opponents has wished Senator Sanders a speedy recovery after he experienced what a senior adviser described as chest pains Tuesday night.

The Sanders' team says, doctors found a blockage in one artery and a two stints were successfully inserted. He has suspended campaign in quote "until further notice". We wish him the best.


The news continues, I want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris?