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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

House Democrats Subpoena White House for Ukraine Documents As Part of Impeachment Inquiry; Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) is Interviewed About House Democrats Subpoenaing White House; Doctors: Bernie Sanders Suffered A Heart Attack; Senator On Twitter: "I'm Feeling So Much Better"; NY Times: Second Intelligence Official Is Weighing Whether To File A Formal Whistleblower Complaint. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired October 4, 2019 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:22]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: No one's kidding around anymore. House Democrats subpoena the White House, and this time stonewalling could become an article of impeachment.

John Berman here, in for Anderson.

That breaking news in Ukraine story capped a day of escalating developments. It isn't just hearsay. It wasn't just a lone phone call, or not even the president on the South Lawn with an open out- loud request for China to investigate a political opponent. Not anymore.

Tonight, new evidence that points to the president and/or his administration in a systematic, sustained and apparently sweeping fashion using the instruments of government for his own personal and political gain.

And now, it's firsthand evidence. Text messages released to House investigators last night that show an effort to get Ukraine to announce investigations that would benefit the president, including investigations connected to Joe Biden, including an explicit quid pro quo for Ukraine, you do this for us, and we will give you something you want.

The players did it some eagerly, others reluctantly as the president was alternately withholding military aid and dangling a face to face meeting with Ukraine's presidents. Carrots and sticks.

The intelligence community inspector general testified in private today. Sources tell us he gave the House Intelligence Committee documents showing his work to corroborate the whistleblower's complaint. We also now have the opening statement and text messages supplied by Kurt Volker, the president's former special envoy for Ukraine.

Here's part of a July 19th change between Volker and Gordon Sondland, a Republican fundraiser and ambassador to the European Union. Sondland writes: Looks like POTUS call tomorrow. I spoke directly to Zelensky and gave him a full briefing. He's got it. Volker responds: Good, had breakfast with Rudy this morning. Teeing

up call with Yermak Monday. Must have helped. Most important is for Zelensky to say that he will help the investigation.

Then in the morning of the July 25th call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine, Ambassador Volker would message Sondland, he says, quote: Heard from White House, assuming president Z convinces Trump he will investigate, get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.

But that did not happen. Instead by September 1st, with military aid to Ukraine still on hold, top U.S. diplomats Ukraine, Bill Taylor, was texting Sunlen, are we now saying security assistance and White House meeting are condition on investigations? To which Gordon Sondland replies, call me.

That's just a sampling of evidence and a picture it paints. In the meantime, in the face of all this, President Trump also known as his own best whistleblower, went in the South Lawn again still trying to sell the idea that none of this had to do with the Bidens in 2016. Nope. None of it. Only corruption.

Just listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everything to me is about corruption. I don't care about Biden's campaign. But I do care about corruption.

What I want to do, and I think I have an obligation to do it, probably a duty to do it, corruption. We are looking for corruption.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Now, whether anyone believed him hardly matters because at the very same appearance, sometimes in the same breath, he was also saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are looking for corruption. When you look at what Biden and his son did and when you look at other people, what they've done, and I believe there was tremendous corruption with Biden.

But I think there was beyond -- I mean, beyond corruption having to do with the 2016 campaign. And what these low lives did to so many people, they hurt so many people in the Trump campaign, which was successful despite all of the fighting us, I mean, despite all the unfairness.

So, we are looking at corruption. We're not looking at politics. We're looking at corruption.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: And so were House Democrats, only they're looking straight down Pennsylvania Avenue.

That's where we also find CNN's Jim Acosta.

Jim, has there been reaction to the subpoena from the White House yet this evening?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There has, John. The White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement just a short while ago, essentially saying that the White House Democrats are wasting time and money with these requests for information. Although we should point out, this is not a request. This is a subpoena and it's something they have to comply with.

We should point out in that statement coming from the press secretary, John, they're not saying we're not going to cooperate with this. And that same sentiment goes for the vice president's office. They also released a statement this afternoon because they had been requested that they turned over information relevant to this investigation.

[20:05:02]

And they're saying they don't take this very seriously at this point, they don't see it as a serious matter or request coming from House Democrats. But, again, in that statement, they're not saying they're not turning over information. That's important.

BERMAN: It is important.

Jim, to what extent is the White House concerned with the release of these text messages which paint as clear a picture as you can get of a quid pro quo.

ACOSTA: I think they are concerned about this, John. I think that is why you saw the president in almost a robotic fashion, he sounded as though he had over-learned his talking points today, talking over and over again how he's trying to root out corruption and not trying to get dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, despite having said just that one day earlier, in his calls to Ukraine and China to help him, you know, dig up dirt on the Bidens for the 2020 campaign.

I will tell you, I did talk to a source familiar with the impeachment deliberations going on behind closed doors inside the White House over here, and one of the things they were looking at, John, was sending out a letter today on behalf of the White House, on behalf of the administration, saying they're not cooperating with this inquiry until House Democrats have a formal impeachment inquiry vote. That letter was never produced by the White House today. And we're told it may come perhaps on Monday.

But, John, I'm told by a source close to these talks that there's a bit after an internal debate going on inside the president's impeachment preparation team as to whether or not setting off that letter is a good idea. So, it sounds as though they're beginning to grasp the seriousness of this situation and it could be more serious at this point, John.

BERMAN: That's an interesting delay on that.

Jim Acosta, thank you very much.

ACOSTA: Yes.

BERMAN: Joining us now, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Democratic Congressman Andre Carson.

Congressman, I know you took part in the questioning of the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, today. I want to get that in second. But, first, I want to ask you about the subpoena delivered to the White House today.

What happens if they don't comply?

REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): Well, then, we take a step further -- we take it a step further. People have been talking about inherent contempt and other things, but my hope is that the White House officials will do their job and be cooperative.

BERMAN: That's your hope. If they don't, would you see that as grounds for an article of impeachment, as it was with Richard Nixon during Watergate?

CARSON: Oh, without question. I think we're already there. I think the American people are there.

Democrats, Republicans, and independents, people are sick and tired of the theater that is the White House, of this political pageantry, the trivializing of our government, our three systems of government, our three branches of government. You know, we still haven't dealt with infrastructure. We still haven't dealt with education. We still haven't addressed -- dealt with national security in a meaningful way that doesn't trivialize immigrants and Muslims and people of color.

And so, we have a lot on our plate that we have to deal with that our constituents are expecting us to deal with, but because President Trump doesn't want to deal with the issues at hand, he involves us in this pageantry. And what he's done is self-serving and it shows he's unfit to be president.

BERMAN: I'm sure next week is, in fact, infrastructure week, but we'll have to see if they, in fact, deliver on that. Now, as to the questioning of the intelligence community inspector general, what did you learn inside those hearings?

CARSON: Well, what I -- what I will say, I think that the inspector general takes his job very seriously. I think that he too was and is concerned about whistle-blower complaints and the safety and security of the whistleblower. And our job as a committee is to make sure that we secure those pipelines of communication that other whistleblowers can come forth with complaints, with criticisms, and they can do so without fear of retaliation.

BERMAN: It's our reporting that he explained how he worked to corroborate the whistleblower claims. Is it fair to say that's what happened?

CARSON: I think that's fair to say.

BERMAN: There's also so much evidence that it's now out in the open. Frankly, since this whistle-blower first made his or her report, we've now seen the notes or the rough transcript of the phone call with the president. We've now seen these text messages.

So I think one question Americans have is, did he provide anything more than that? Are there even more witnesses or is there more evidence that the American people don't know about?

CARSON: That's why it's critically important that the White House is cooperative with Congress, that if they have nothing to hide, then they should be working in cooperation with our committee chairs and work in cooperation with the subpoenas that have been issued.

BERMAN: But does he have corroboration beyond that which has already been made public?

[20:10:01]

CARSON: Well, I think as the days unfold, as the hours unfold, that remains to be seen. I mean, there's only so much that I can say and that I'm willing to say. But it is clear that Donald Trump has trivialized the presidency. He's made a mockery of the presidency.

We have a president who is a developer. You would think that infrastructure would be easy for him, but he's in over his head. We've seen meltdown after meltdown.

Kudos to our friends in the fourth estate for informing the American people in a clear and succinct way, that members of Congress have a duty. We can't be afraid. Urging my Republican colleagues who fear one tweet from the president could jeopardize their re-election efforts, to think critically about the preservation of our republic and our democracy and help us get Donald Trump out of the White House.

BERMAN: The president seems to be utilizing what I would call a few good men defense, which is now to say, your damn right, I did. He's basically saying, yes, I had this phone call, I said what I said, but there's nothing wrong with that.

To what extent do you think that is convincing to people in the country?

CARSON: Well, the emperor is without clothes now. I think he's surrounded himself with people who are unwilling to challenge him in a very healthy and firm way and a strong way and aggressive way. Those folks who have been most outspoken and who have been cheerleaders for Donald Trump have unceremoniously been fired. And so, he doesn't have loyalty to the people who he demands loyalty from.

And so, for me, as a Hoosier, it's about being focused on what my constituents sent know Congress to do, and that's making sure we preserve the republic. And I, Chairman Schiff, and other members of the Intelligence Committee, we serve very honorably, we take your commitment seriously. So, we want to get to the bottom of this and make sure the whistle-blower is protected and he or she doesn't face retaliation in the process.

BERMAN: All right. Congressman Carson, thank you very much for being with us this evening.

CARSON: What a pleasure. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. More now on the breaking news, as well as all we're learning from Kurt Volker's 9 1/2 hours of testimony to Congress. In his opening statement, which was released a few hours ago, he said he found himself faced with a choice, quote, to be aware of a problem and ignore it or rather to accept what it was my responsibility to try to fix it.

Joining us, someone who knows what that's like, former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean. Also joining us as well, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and Van Jones, host of CNN's "THE VAN JONES SHOW".

Jeffrey Toobin, I want to start to you with the news of just the last hour or so, the subpoena that has gone to the White House now from these committees. What does that change?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's actually very important because people may remember that ever since the Democrats have taken over the House of Representatives, they've sent a lot of subpoenas to the White House, many of which have not been responded to, have not had the information or testimony supplied. And the Democrats have gone to court. And those cases are as court cases tend to be on a slow boat to nowhere. I mean, they are really not -- nothing is much happening.

This is different because it's quite clear, as you said with Congressman Carson, that if the president refuses to honor these subpoenas, they are simply not going to go to court. They are going to add another article of impeachment, just as there was an article of impeachment against Richard Nixon that the House Judiciary Committee passed in 1974 on the ground that he is not cooperating with Congress.

The difference between going to court and an article of impeachment is a big difference.

BERMAN: It's part of the speed of all of this which seems to be remarkable turnover last two weeks. Democrats are now saying, we're not waiting for anything anymore.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the speed is remarkable. We've gone in such a short period of time from whispers and rumors to a whistleblower complaint to an actual transcript to text messages to a confession on the White House lawn in, like, 10 days. This took two years in the White House process.

So, you know, we are -- things are moving very, very fast. If the Democrats say, listen, we're not fooling around anymore, as they've been saying, they're not going to go to court, give us what we want or it's going to be another charge against you, that is a big escalation to this overall drama.

BERMAN: You know, Gloria, it was interesting, listen to Jim Acosta. Jim pointed out the official White House response from Stephanie Grisham tonight. It wasn't a no. It wasn't a no, you're not going to get nothing and like it. They said this doesn't change anything.

Do you think the threat of this being an article of impeachment has changed the scenario for them?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Not yet. I don't think so. I think they can stonewall as long as they have the support of Republicans. And if that starts to crumble, should that start to crumble, I think they may rethink their strategy.

But, right now, the strategy is this is about the do-nothing Democrats, as they say.

[20:15:05]

This is a kangaroo court, as Stephanie Grisham said. And the Republicans, if you notice, continued to defend the White House not saying what Donald Trump did is OK, but rather talking about Democrats and saying, you know, they wanted to get rid of him since he was elected and this is Nancy Pelosi's revenge and all the rest of it.

So, should that support that he now has change, and I think it's softer than it was during Mueller, obviously, because they're not defending Donald Trump on the issue. And should that change, then maybe Donald Trump's strategy will change. But right now, I think he continues to stonewall and say, OK, add another article to impeachment.

BERMAN: They're not defending the substance, they're attacking the process, which is most interesting for the most part.

BORGER: No, not at all.

BERMAN: John Dean, to you, I was asking Congressman Carson about this, whether when they were talking to the inspector general, any new evidence came up. There's so much evidence out there already, including these text messages, including the transcript of the phone call.

Do you think that the net will widen anymore? Will there be additional witnesses who could add more to this?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think there will be. Each witness is appearing willingly is adding more to the list. That happened when Ambassador Volker was up there yesterday. It's probably -- came -- was -- I'm sure something in the inspector general's testimony the committee would like to know more about. And, of course, they are sending subpoenas.

I must say, John, I'm not very hopeful that that's going to change any of the dynamics of this. Nixon totally stonewalled all of the subpoena requests. Yes, it was added as an article of impeachment. He didn't care.

In fact, that was the weakest article that was voted against him by the committee, 21-17. Didn't even carry all the Democrats.

So, I think they're not particularly worried about their stonewalling strategy.

BERMAN: Very important context there to be sure.

Everyone, stick around. We're going to pick this up after the break.

We've also got reaction tonight, sharp reaction from former Vice President Joe Biden.

And later, some inklings of reaction from the GOP, but also a fair amount of avoidance.

That and more as our 360 coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:27]

BERMAN: A big day of breaking news in the Ukraine investigation, including a House subpoena tonight to the White House for Ukraine documents and separately a letter seeking documents from the vice president. Also today, reaction from Joe Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All this talk of the president about corruption comes the most corrupt president we've had in modern history. He's the definition of corruption. He's indicted himself by his own statements.

This is not about me. It's not about my son.

He talks about how we should handle whistleblowers. He talks about there will be a civil war. This is the guy that's unhinged. He is unhinged.

This guy like all bullies, he's a coward. He does not want to run against me. That's what this is about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. Back now with our team of experts.

Van, you saw the vice president -- former vice president fighting back there. How do you assess how he is handling this as of tonight?

JONES: Well, I mean, he's actually making the most important point. What is all this about? Why do we have all these shenanigans, all this nonsense? Because the idea of Trump, the invincible, the Trumpzilla, Trump wrath

(ph), is not true. He is terrified of Joe Biden. He saw the same data we saw this summer that shows, as Joe Biden says, Joe Biden would beat him like a drum and they came up with something they don't want to have to run against.

So, they want to dirty him up, pull him down, mess him up, and I think it's important for Joe Biden to point that out, because that's -- at the root, that's what this is about. The one thing -- when you talk to Republicans, the one Democrat they say, even Trump supporters, they would consider Joe Biden, they're trying to take him out.

BERMAN: There's, what, two weeks before the CNN debate on this. I wonder how that will factor in when the Democrats are on the stage with each other.

JONES: Well, I mean, what's been interesting is that there has been a closing of the ranks. Nobody is saying, oh, well, gee, we shouldn't be talking about Hunter Biden. I think all Democrats understand that this is -- not only is this unjust and illegitimate behavior on the part of the president, the reason is because of the fear of Joe Biden.

BERMAN: So, Gloria, the White House response in so far as there is a coordinated response, how would you explain it right now, because we were talking about before how Republicans in general are attacking the process, not the substance.

BORGER: Exactly.

BERMAN: But I have begun to hear an argument from Republicans, current office holders and former ones also that they might be settling on an argument, well, this is all bad, but it's not impeachable.

BORGER: Right. This is not criminal. They are not talking about abuse of power.

And they're sort of ducking and covering, and they're not really willing to engage on the notion that what Trump did was beyond Trump being Trump. And, you know, he didn't -- of course, he would never sell out the country for his own personal political gain, so there's no war room because what would you defend? The facts are the facts.

So there isn't any war room. There's Donald Trump and his executive time tweeting. And there's members of Congress right now on the Republican side who are saying, well, this is really bad for us because we don't want Donald Trump to be his own spokesman in this case because he digs himself in a hole deeper every day.

Now, I will tell you that I spoke with someone today who speaks for the president regularly. And I said, how does he -- how does he sound to you, because we know how he sounds publicly? And this person said to me, he sounds astonishingly calm privately, given all his public fury, which makes me wonder, is Donald Trump doing what he does best, which is stir the pot, have a fight, and pound somebody and pound the Democrats so he can win? (LAUGHTER)

[20:25:16]

BERMAN: Jeff, you're laughing.

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: I mean, just, you know, look, Donald Trump is the one who got elected president, so I think we always need to remember --

BORGER: Exactly, yes.

TOOBIN: But the idea he's playing some four-dimensional chess where getting impeached is like some secret weapon of his, that seems a little contrived.

BORGER: But all he knows how to do is fight. And I think what this person was saying to me is that Donald Trump likes to fight. And so, privately, he doesn't sound the way he does publicly because he is engaging in a fight when which he likes, and that's what's driving Republicans in the Senate a little bit crazy.

BERMAN: He may be fighting with conduct and comments that end up being impeachable --

BORGER: Exactly, exactly.

BERMAN: -- is the risk there.

And, John Dean, to that end, you wrote, and I want to quote here. I want to get exactly right. It's very possible that President Trump wants to be impeached and convicted and leave office as a martyr. You really believe that?

DEAN: Well, I just -- I was running different combinations through my head as to why he would be behaving the way he does, where he walks out on the South Lawn and he admits he's using other countries to get dirt on his opponents. I mean, that's just not really rational.

John, what troubles me most, though, is the Democrats are not really pointing out how grave his behavior is. What he's doing is he's attacking the sovereignty of our country, he's letting other foreign nations have a say in our democracy. This is more fundamental at his level than just a simple solicitation crime, which it is. It really undergirds the entirety of our processes and our systems.

So I think it's very serious stuff and Democrats need to talk about that more.

BERMAN: And, friends, thank you very much. And again, ask yourself, what would if every candidate for office solicited help from any other country he or she wanted at all times with impunity? Think of what that would mean for the electoral system. Thank you all, everyone.

Up next, what a former director of national intelligence makes of the House subpoena and texts, and some brand-new reporting just out tonight about how the president behaves on phone calls with foreign leaders. James Clapper joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:31:59] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: More now on our breaking news tonight, the tidal wave of news all week and everything we're learning about the Ukraine affair.

Joining me now, retired Lieutenant General James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence and a CNN National Security Analyst. He's also author of "Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence."

So, Director, let me ask you about this House subpoena that went out tonight to the White House for documents and information connected to the President's phone call with the leader of Ukraine.

If you could find out more information about what we have now read in black and white, not just there but in the text messages surrounding it, what more information do you feel there is to learn?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think what would be interesting, John, is to know any supporting documentation and others who may have been witting or knowledgeable of this phone call. And I think it would be very interesting if there is an actual word-for-word transcript because all we've seen is, as damning as it is, but it was a summary prepared by the White House.

And there are some interesting format contrasts that I notice from similar memorandum of calls that I saw in the last administration, you know, the use of ellipses and this sort of thing which arouses curiosity about whether that was an actually a comprehensive and accurate portrayal of the actual phone call. So that's one thing I'd be very interested in.

BERMAN: It would be interesting, because if this is a watered-down version and as damn as it is, it would be hard to imagine what the even more damning version would be. Director --

CLAPPER: Well, it could be, but that's something, again, I think the Democrats would want to examine.

BERMAN: So there's a "Washington Post" piece out just moments ago that cites a former White House official saying, "There was a constant undercurrent in the Trump administration of senior staff who were genuinely horrified by the things they saw that were happening on these phone calls," referring to phone calls with foreign leaders.

If that is, in fact, the case, if there are many senior staffers who were horrified, would that type of evidence be in the documentation that might be turned over in a subpoena?

CLAPPER: Well, it could be if there were any written documentation reflecting that concern. I found that article interesting but not surprising because I think the President, as we have come to know, says and tweets a lot of cringe worthy things that probably staffers in the White House are just saying he didn't say.

BERMAN: Where's the line now? And, again, this is so important because one of the defenses we're hearing of the different is this just the way he talk -- he talks. There's a line between just the way he talks and dangerous and perhaps actionable, correct?

CLAPPER: Well, exactly. I mean, if he makes some kind of a commitment that perhaps he doesn't know the history about and shouldn't make.

[20:35:10] I mean, there are -- imagine all kinds of scenarios here where he may have said things that he shouldn't have been. One of the things that struck me, of course, and has concerned me from the get-go has been how solicitous he has been with President Putin of Russia. And that seems to be, according to this "Post" article, seems to be born out.

BERMAN: Yes. Well, what about China? What about China and not even on a secret phone call with China, he pleaded with China to investigate Joe Biden from the South Lawn. As someone who's devoted your life to intelligence and national security, how did that strike you and based on what you know from eavesdropping on conversations from China for decades, how do you think they would respond to something like that?

CLAPPER: Well, you know, if we weren't two and a half years into this administration, I would be really jaw-dropping. It was -- I was really taken aback by that. So here we're going to ask an adversary of ours, and that's what China is, who, of course, is famous for use of practicing the rule of law and we're going to ask them to investigate a political opponent. And he does it brazenly and in the open. And in a way he's sort of indicting himself.

Now, the problem is that oftentimes whatever the standard is becoming, whatever President Trump says or does, that becomes the normal and it's by definition acceptable and appropriate. Well, it isn't.

BERMAN: Director Clapper, thank you very much for being with us tonight. Appreciate it.

CLAPPER: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Up next, the Republican side. What Republican lawmakers are saying and what they're not, and why not? We'll speak with two Republican non-lawmakers about the thundering silence.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:40:41] BERMAN: Of the 85 Republicans on Capitol Hill that CNN have contacted to see if they have concerns about President Trump's call for China to investigate the Biden clan, few have responded.

Congressman Will Hurd on "New Day" this morning called it terrible. Senator Ben Sasse says it's a matter for American, not Chinese law.

Senator Mitt Romney gave the most forceful rebuke of the President's comments saying today, "When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China's investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest it is anything other politically motivated."

He goes on, "By all appearances the President's brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling."

But that was it, really, for Republicans with misgivings. Senator Marco Rubio, for instance, on the other hand says we're overplaying the President's comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I don't think it's a real request. I think, again, I think he did it to gig you guys. I think he did it to provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it. Like I said, I mean, he plays it like a violin and everyone falls right into it. That's not a real request.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It's our fault for actually listening to what the President said out loud on the South Lawn. Joining us now, CNN Political Commentator and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, Amanda Carpenter. She's also the author of "Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us." And Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who is author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."

Amanda, I want to start with you. Basically why is it that Mitt Romney is standing alone here?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, maybe it's in part because he just won election and is safe. But, yes, he's the first one to really stick his neck out in a meaningful way. But they're not going to be able to able to hide forever.

I mean, Marco Rubio there was sort of blaming the media, playing a little bit dumb, but most of these talking points, you're going to run out of runway. What was it last week? They kept saying, oh, this is hearsay. Well, here's the transcript.

Here's the reality, we're all on 5th Avenue now. He did the deed in the middle of the street, admitted it, we all saw it. And so at some point you're going to have to line up on one side of the street or the other.

Are you going to line up behind Donald Trump, the guy who's trying to cheat to win an election, goating on foreign interference, or are you going to stand on the other side and support democracy and free and fair elections?

You can't hide out in this forever. I just think that Romney happened to figure out that he had to make a choice first and was one of the first people to realize that. People have to fall in line sooner or later. BERMAN: But, Rick, if the transcript of the phone call isn't enough, if the texts messages aren't enough, if the very public plea to China to investigate a political opponent is not enough, what will it take for Republicans to be outraged at the President's actions?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: John, what we know about this President, what we know about the Republican members of the Senate in particular is they are terrified of this man.

They are terrified of his mob. They are terrified of his tweeting. They are terrified that if he says something about them, they'll get a primary opponent or something worse will happen to them. They have lived under this cloud for three years now where Donald Trump's word is law.

And so, look, Senator Flake was correct when he said there's a good number of people -- he thought it was 30, I think it's probably around 25, that in a secret ballot would vote to impeach Donald Trump and convict him.

BERMAN: Really?

WILSON: Because they -- yes, really. I don't think that number is about right. They do not like this man. They lie to the people that they are elected by because Donald Trump does not represent any strain of conservatism most of them understand.

And so they're doing the best they can, they're making the best of it, they're passing their judges and hoping that that's enough, but they really don't like the condition he puts them in. And there are serious people there in the Senate who honestly understand this thing with a bit more granularity and honor than say Lindsey Graham does.

And they understand the threat that this poses to our country's national interests and our security that Donald Trump is out trying to extort foreign powers to fulfill his campaign desires. It's a dangerous position and they understand that, but they are too afraid to make a move for the most part.

[20:45:00] CARPENTER: I think there's only one thing that has a shot at changing the dynamic in the Senate. And you have to make it more painful for these Senate Republicans to support Trump than to not.

And the quickest way to do this is to go straight to the heart of what Mitch McConnell cares the most about. Mitch McConnell cares most about staying Senate majority leader. Right now the Republicans only have a three-seat majority. So, there needs to be a campaign.

If the Democrats want to do this right, you need to attack those most vulnerable Senate seats, that's Arizona, Colorado, and Maine. Those three senators shouldn't be able to get a coffee with somebody getting in their face saying, what are you going to do --

WILSON: Yes.

CARPENTER: -- to make our elections free and fair? That is the only way that Mitch McConnell will move on this, because he -- I promise you, he cares more about being Senate majority leader than Donald Trump being president.

WILSON: Absolutely.

CARPENTER: So if he has to make a choice between those two things, he will choose himself.

BERMAN: So, Rick, let me put this to you. If you are the Democrats, and I can't believe I'm talking to Rick Wilson and Amanda Carpenter giving advice to Democrats eight years ago, who would have thunk it.

But how do the Democrats handle a statement like that which came from Mitt Romney today? Because for some of them and we've heard it, they're like, really, that's it? You're just appalled, Senator Romney? What are you going to do about it? Is that the best response, or somehow being more receptive?

WILSON: Strategically -- the problem is a lot of Democrats respond to these things with emotion and not strategy. And the emotion is to say, why aren't you doing more? Why aren't you doing a bigger deal? Why aren't you making -- why aren't you setting yourself on fire? The strategic response is to open a pathway and to say this is the honorable thing to do.

We hope other people follow him and we hope other people recognize as Senator Romney did that Donald Trump is a man who has gone well beyond the law and the bounds of propriety and all the norms that have made American what it is and kept us safe. We believe that this is a smart, you know, da-da-da. So, you know, again, but emotion always tends the triumph over strategy.

BERMAN: Amanda Carpenter, Rick Wilson, thank you for being with me tonight. Appreciate it.

Up next, more breaking news, a new update on the health of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his heart condition.

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[20:51:23] BERMAN: All right, more breaking news now. Bernie Sanders, the Sanders campaign, is confirming the 2020 Democratic contenders suffered a heart attack earlier this week.

Sanders left the Las Vegas hospital earlier today after he had two stents placed in a blocked artery. In a tweet posted moments ago, Sanders says he's feeling so much better and add he'll see everyone soon on the campaign trail. We will all welcome him back.

All right, I want to bring in Chris Cuomo to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time" at the top of the hour. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Obviously the biggest concern with the senator is his health and his quick recovery. He looked good. His wife says he's good. God bless him. Good luck going forward. We look forward to seeing him back out on the trail. Just big news just now, "The New York Times" is saying there may be another whistleblower. And this one had more firsthand access or understanding of what was going on than the whistleblower we know now from the intelligence community.

Now, I don't know why you need another one, now that you have Volker. To your earlier point you were making with your guest, you got the text, you got Volker, there's nothing anonymous about it, but this is what happens when you deny the obvious, John, it keeps coming at you.

BERMAN: That's right, the evidence is there, but who knows what this other person has to say. Chris, we're digging on that also. See you in a few minutes.

Just ahead, whistleblowers who have changed the course of history, stick around.

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[20:56:47] BERMAN: All right, before we get to Randi Kaye's report on the history of whistleblower, some breaking news on a possible contemporary whistleblower.

Reading now from "The New York Times" headline just out, a second official is weighing whether to blow the whistle on Trump's Ukraine dealings. The official, a member of the intelligence community was interviewed by the inspector general to corroborate the original whistleblower's account.

Now, Randi's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK FELT, DEEP THROAT, WHISTLEBLOWER: You tell me what you know and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just follow the money.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is perhaps the most famous whistleblower in history, known simply as Deep Throat. In the 1970s, he helped take down President Richard Nixon by divulging critical information about the Watergate break in to "Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woodward, Bernstein, you're both (INAUDIBLE).

KAYE: Deep Throat would set up secret meetings with Woodward by drawing a clock with a specific time usually late at night on page 20 of Woodward's copy of "The New York Times." They would meet at that time inside an underground parking garage.

FELT: No, no, I am not Deep Throat.

KAYE: In fact, he was. The mystery ended in 2005 when Mark Felt, the number two in command at the FBI in the early '70s revealed he was Deep Throat. Also in the 1970s, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg earned a reputation as the most dangerous man in America for leaking a top secret government study about the Vietnam War known as "The Pentagon Papers."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The name has now come out as the possible source of the times "The Pentagon" documents. It is out of Daniel Ellsberg.

KAYE (on camera): "The Pentagon Papers" showed the government has mismanaged the Vietnam War and lied about it. Ellsberg was charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 with theft and conspiracy. But the charges were later dropped due to government misconduct. Ellsberg's disclosures as a whistleblower are credited with helping end the war.

FELT: I couldn't care less about the punk. I wanted to discredit that kind of activity.

KAYE (voice-over): Decades later in 2013, former U.S. Army Soldier Chelsea Manning was convicted after sharing nearly 750,000 military and diplomatic documents with WikiLeaks related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CHELSEA MANNING, FORMER U.S. ARMY SOLDIER: I stopped seeing just statistics and information and I started seeing people.

KAYE: Included in a leaked material, a video of Iraqi civilians and journalists being killed by a U.S. helicopter in 2007. She was convicted and sentenced to 35 years for the leak, but President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017.

The same year Manning was convicted, whistleblower Edward Snowden began leaking classified government material to the media and a documentary filmmaker.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: The more you're ignored, the more you told it's not a problem until eventually you realize that these things need to be determined by the public.

KAYE: Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor shared documents from the National Security Agency about far-reaching surveillance programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People's lives are at risk here because of data that Mr. Snowden exposed.

KAYE: Among other things, Snowden was charged with giving national defense information to someone without a security clearance and revealing classified information. He's living an exile in Russia.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right, thanks to Randi. The news continues. I will hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time."

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