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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
CNN: President Trump Told Energy Secretary Perry And State Department Officials To Talk Giuliani About Ukraine As Early As May; Pelosi: Continued Efforts To Hide The Truth Will Be Regarded As Further Evidence Of Obstruction; House Democrats Subpoena US Ambassador To European Union After White House Blocks His Testimony; Sanders To Scale Back Campaign Schedule Following Heart Attack. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 8, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Tonight, a stonewall goes up. Lawyers for President Trump telling Congress there will be no cooperation with the House impeachment inquiry.
Also, public opinion coming to focus with new polling on impeachment. It shows Republican support rising for the impeachment inquiry now at 28 percent. It's up 21 points since July.
And perhaps most importantly, the story itself, what happened is coming into focus. We have extensive new reporting tonight about how problematic the people close to the president thought his phone call with Ukraine's president was. Multiple sources detailing the scramble just moments after the president hung up to assess and contain the damage.
New reporting as well on a memo written by the whistleblower who first raised the alarm in which we're learning tonight a White House official used the words crazy and frightening to describe the call.
And after that July 25th call, according to multiple sources, a freak- out ensues. National security officials began talking about whether the president crossed the line. White House lawyers were notified that transcript of the call was later put onto the highly classified server.
Again, this is new reporting that fleshes out what we know about the call and the efforts that followed to secure what the key players either seem to know or had reason to fear was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. Reporting that adds context to the text messages among the American players and their Ukrainian counterparts over what was expected of Ukraine, namely investigating the Bidens and a conspiracy theory about the 2006 campaign.
And now tonight, we know more about what went on at a crucial moment which begun playing out in the 1st of September shortly after about -- more than a with month after that July 25th call. Bill Taylor, the charges d'affaires in Ukraine, the top diplomat, messaging Gordon Sondland, the ambassador for the European Union and a major Trump campaign donor, not a career foreign service officer.
Taylor says, quote: Are we now saying security assistance and White House meeting are conditioned on investigations? Ambassador Sondland reporting, quote, call me.
About a week later, Ambassador Taylor tries against. Quote, as I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withheld security assistance for help with a political campaign.
And then importantly, there is a gap of nearly five hours in the conversation after which Ambassador Gordon Sondland replies, quote: Bill, I believe you were correct about President Trump's intentions. The president has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind. The president is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign, end quote. He then adds, quote, I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.
Tonight, a source with knowledge tells CNN that before he sent that text, which sounds a lot like the president's talking points, Sondland, in fact, spoke with the president who told him exactly that, no quid pro quo, which ironically the president somehow suggested somehow exonerates him, tweeting: Ambassador Sondland's tweet which few reports stated I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intention, the president has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind, that says it all.
Certainly says something that the president is citing the restatement of his own talking points which he gave Ambassador Sondland as evidence. In addition, he blocked Sondland's testimony before Congress today which also says something.
CNN's Jim Acosta starts us off tonight at the White House.
Jim, clearly, the White House thinks they have a political argument. Does the president's team think this letter has legal merit, though?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They do, Anderson.
I talked to a source close to the impeachment deliberations inside the White House and the legal team who says the president's legal team is prepared to take this battle to the courts, that, quote, all options on the table. They're declining to describe this at this point as a war in terms of the letter that was fired off to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier today. But the source did agree that this is an escalating skirmish.
Anderson, we are now approaching the way life was during the Bill Clinton impeachment saga and Watergate. Remember during Watergate, a federal judge forced the Nixon administration to cooperate with that investigation. We are near that constitutional crisis at this point.
COOPER: If, in fact, the full House does vote on authorizing the impeachment inquiry, I mean, is there any reason to think the White House would cooperate? Because the letter from the White House calls on House Democrats to, quote, abandon the entire thing.
ACOSTA: Right, there is no indication that the White House will cooperate. As a matter of fact, senior administration officials held a conference with reporters earlier this evening to talk about this letter after it was fired off up to Capitol Hill. And one administration officials was asked, well, what criteria would House Democrats have to meet in order to trigger White House cooperation in this matter?
And this official responded by saying that they're not going to get into hypotheticals or a hypothetical situation.
That is a clear signal at this point, Anderson, that they are ready to fight this out. And so, the question becomes as it always has been with President Trump is, who is willing in this nation's capital to try to curb his behavior? As we saw during the Mueller investigation, the special counsel Robert Mueller wasn't willing to insist that the president sit down for a live in person interview. They took written answers from the president instead.
And you get the sense again that the president's legal team is try trying to box in the opposition in terms of the options they'll agree to, and at this point, they're not agreeing to anything -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, Jim, thanks very much.
One item the White House not raising objections to, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham says he plans to invite Rudy Giuliani to speak to the committee about in his words corruption in Ukraine.
Perspective now on a big day from committee member and Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker. I spoke with him just before air.
COOPER: Senator Booker, what happens now? I mean, if the White House continues to stone wall Congress, what are Democrats going to do about it if anything?
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we're heading towards a constitutional showdown. And some of the reasons that they're talking about make no sense to me. It seems not like stonewalling by slow walking or stall tactics.
The American public deserves the truth. And I'm sure that we will push for that, and God willing, the courts will be on our side. Starting the impeachment inquiry give us a higher constitutional standard to get information from the president of the United States.
But he has to answer to the checks and balances of the constitution or else he is undermining the very foundations of our government, that no one is above the law, above oversight. And his behavior right now to me is unacceptable, reckless, and it's undermining what I believe our country -- the foundation our country stands on.
COOPER: There are a lot of Democrats who hoped to sort of try to finish this by the end of October if this does go to courts as seems likely based on -- I mean, if stonewalling is their idea, then dragging it through the courts is the way to go. That could take months, couldn't it?
BOOKER: It absolutely could. Again, these are tactics that are not like somebody who should be the leader of the free world. He is acting more like an authoritarian figure who doesn't think they are subject to oversight, checked and balances designed by the Constitution.
So, this is a troubling moment. But we must persist in holding him accountable and I think the public deserves to know the truth. It will only come from a thorough investigation.
COOPER: Is there enough evidence in your mind already out there based on the partial transcript, the president's statements, whatever other testimony may be possible or the testimony that folks in Congress have already heard? Is there enough for the House to actually move forward with an impeachment if they decided to?
BOOKER: Well, I believe there is. But I think that they have to go through their processes. They are a large body with many different members, Republican and Democrat that have a lot of different views on this. And I think the more information comes out, the more people who will stand firmly on moving forward and writing up articles of impeachment.
COOPER: If a formal impeachment inquiry, if a vote in the house would prompt more cooperation from the White House, which is what their -- you know, one of the things they are claiming from the entire House, should Speaker Pelosi go ahead and do that?
BOOKER: Well, I've been really respectful of the leadership of Speaker Pelosi. I think she is dealing with a lot of the challenges that they're facing in the House in an incredible manner. And I know this is something she is talking about. So, far be it from me to direct her.
But, clearly, I think that they need to take strong steps possible to get compliance from the executive. We are the Article I branch of government. We have a sworn obligation. We all swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and that means the constitutional mandates to provide oversight of the executive. And he's not cooperating with that.
We must do everything necessary to make sure he does, because he is not dictator in chief, the authoritarian in charge of our government. That is an office of the people. And he is subject to the people's house, the House of Representatives.
COOPER: You're a member of the judiciary committee. Do you think Rudy Giuliani -- do you think Rudy Giuliani should in fact come and testify in front of your committee? If so, what would you want to hear from him?
BOOKER: First of all, I would savor the opportunity, I would, and especially if it's done publicly.
And I know Rudy Giuliani is, you know, from New York, very close to Broadway, he loves the theatrics. But there are real things he has to answer for. And the conduct he has been doing, the direction he has been taking from the president, his intervention in areas where there are critical national security interests, yes.
[20:10:08] There is a lot I'd like to know from him. And I believe his behavior has been despicable, and the lies and half truths, the deception he has been doing at the direction of this president and beyond is unbecoming. And he should step -- stand before Congress and answer for it.
So, again, I would be happy to -- as a member of the Judiciary Committee -- to ask him publicly to answer for it. And it may end up being, you know -- he may not be cooperative. He may be obstructionist. But I do not see a problem having a public hearing with him.
COOPER: Senator Booker, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
BOOKER: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Don't forget that Senator Booker will be among the nine Democrats at a town hall this week, on Thursday, focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues. I'll be one of the interviewers of the town hall. Event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday night.
Much more ahead, including some late new reporting on what we're now learning about who else was working with Rudy Giuliani on the Ukrainians?
Also, our legal and political team joins us next to talk about the White House letter, all the new reporting and more.
And later, Republican senator who's trying hard not to say much about all of this, like many Republicans. Let's see what happens when we ask her the same question about where her constituents are about where she really stands.
COOPER: With the White House now making it clear tonight they will not cooperate with House impeachment inquiry, the stage is set for a constitutional showdown. With President Trump's decision to block the appearance of a key player, not to mention a big dollar donor, it's also clear he intends to starve House Democrats of witnesses to what actually happened. That said, with the president taketh away a multitude of sources now
giveth. Every day brings new reporting from inside the White House, notably today by CNN's Pamela Brown with us tonight, along with CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and former Ohio governor, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, John Kasich.
Jeff, when it comes to this White House letter saying essentially that they will not cooperate unless a formal vote is taken in the House, from a legal perspective, is there anything to that or is this just a political move and a stalling tactic?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: You know, the letter is eight pages, single space, but it could be summed in a hand gesture which I will not demonstrate. I mean, the breadth of the objections is so extraordinary. It's not, we won't provide this witness. It's that executive privilege covers this document.
It's that, we're not cooperating at all. And the argument that well you haven't voted a -- a full impeachment inquiry -- the letter very carefully does not say they will cooperate if there is such a vote. So, I mean, this seems to me an act of complete defiance to the House of Representatives. And the majority in the House is going to have to decide, are they fighting in court, which could take months or simply add this as another article of impeachment.
COOPER: Governor, in the letter, the White House claims the president's claims the due process rights are circumvented and he has no choice but to not cooperate. Do you buy that at all?
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anderson, Trump started all this with this outrageous call, this terrible call. And think about this for a second. We know for sure that he was pressuring the leader of another nation, in fact one that was weak and beleaguered to start an investigation. We know that. There is no question about that.
So, this all started with Donald Trump. Now, today, we were supposed to hear from this Ambassador Sondland who had a series of text messages with this gentleman Taylor from the embassy and Volker, the former ambassador also involved.
KASICH: And this was very interesting, because it began to look as though there could have been some quid pro quo. That's what one of the text messages said. That's why I was interested in the testimony.
Anderson, what this gets down to is this, Trump made a terrible call. It needs to be investigated. I fully support the impeachment inquiry and all the facts need to come. And delay and obfuscation isn't going to solve this.
In fact, I just noticed this "Washington Post" poll that says like 58 percent of Americans now support this inquiry. So, they're going to delay. And, you know, it's going to work against their -- against their favor. This is not a good thing. And, frankly, I'm pretty outraged that
they're trying to delay this like this. It isn't right. Let's get to the bottom line and let the people know what happened.
COOPER: Pamela, I know you have new reporting that former Congressman Trey Gowdy is going to assist as an outside counsel.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's really interesting, Anderson, because in this letter the White House released, it makes the case this isn't a formal impeachment process, it's illegitimate.
But the White House is gearing up for an impeachment, bringing in outside counsel, including Trey Gowdy, the former Republican congressman from South Carolina. He was at the White House today and met with chief of staff Mick Mulvaney I and my colleague are told that he is expected to help president Trump in a private capacity as counsel. He is expected to work with jay sec low other outside lawyers as well.
But if you look back what he said in the past, in similar situations, it's very interesting, because you'll recall in 2012 during the House Oversight hearing with Eric Holder when DOJ didn't turn over documents, Trey Gowdy criticized DOJ saying they should hand over documents in the proceeding. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THEN-REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you're the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And so now --
BROWN: -- Trey Gowdy is expected to help the White House and their efforts as we have seen to essentially stone wall a congressional request, Anderson.
COOPER: I mean, Jeff what a difference a couple of years and going to private practice makes.
TOOBIN: Well, and whose ox is gored.
I mean, the core argument made in this letter is that, you know, an impeachment inquiry can only take place if the full House votes for it. There was such a vote regarding the Nixon inquiry and the Clinton inquiry. But no court that I am aware of has ever held that that's required before the House starts an investigation. These are dually authorized committees, the Intelligence Committee,
Judiciary Committee, Foreign Affairs, they are making the document requests. And the idea the White House can refuse to produce all documents, can refuse to produce all witnesses in the entire executive branch, I just can't imagine any court will give that the time of day, although, it could succeed in delaying --
TOOBIN: -- proceedings for quite a few weeks if not months.
COOPER: So, Governor, what would you recommend --
KASICH: Anderson, the question on that.
I was going to say the question on that is if the full House votes for inquiry, my sense is would provide for weights to the courts. So the courts wouldn't sit on this. Maybe that's a strategy that ought to be pursued.
But the bottom line, there are other witnesses to come forward now. We've got at least two whistle-blower. It's amazing we have to try to protect their identity like they were somehow in the mafia reporting. I mean, it's just crazy.
And there are other people, this former ambassador. But these folks not being presented -- let's try to remove -- you have some legal mumbo-jumbo you want to pursue. Fine, let's get it resolved. OK? Let's do it quickly. Let's have rules for the minority in the House. Let's have rules from the White House.
If they don't want rules, then you move forward because the House can make its own rules. And there are plenty of witnesses yet to hear. But these witnesses -- Sondland, that was withdrawn today, I think is a critical witness in terms of getting to this whole issue of quid pro quo.
COOPER: Right, because, clearly, Sondland had a phone conversation with the president in the five-hour gap in which he didn't respond to the charge d'affaires, and then he suddenly responded, essentially quoting the president.
Stick around. We are speaking of witnesses we got more breaking news to talk about.
Next, new reporting first on CNN how the president pushed top officials to go around the normal channels on Ukraine and deal instead with guess who, his TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Also tonight, an update on Bernie Sanders, how he is changing his campaign as he recovers from a heart attack.
COOPER: There's more breaking news to report this hour.
First on CNN, another top member of the Trump administration embroiled in the Trump controversy in large part because of conversation, sources said, the president directed him to have with Rudy Giuliani.
CNN's Alex Marquardt is here with the story.
So, what's the crux of this new reporting?
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it shows to what extent Rudy Giuliani really is the gatekeeper for Trump on Ukraine, how intertwine the U.S.-Ukraine policy was with the president's interest in Rudy Giuliani fueling this conspiracy theory about Joe Biden.
Anderson, what we are learning is that well before, two months before this now infamous phone call between President Zelensky and President Trump, there was a meeting between Trump and his three top aides on Ukraine. They are Kurt Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, Gordon Sondland, who is of course the E.U. ambassador and rick Perry, the energy secretary. These three men had just come back from the inauguration of President Zelensky and were pushing for a meeting between the president and President Zelensky.
And what President Trump made cheer at the time was that they would have to go through Rudy Giuliani in order for in meeting to happen. He was very much the gatekeeper. And a person familiar with the meeting said if they can satisfy Rudy, they can see the president.
And then you fast forward two months, we now know from the transcript of the phone call that the president did speak with Zelensky, that President Zelensky said he wanted to move the relationship forward with military aid. That's when the president asked for a favor and asked the Ukrainians work with Rudy.
So, this is more confirmation, Anderson, that Rudy Giuliani was the gatekeeper when it comes to Ukraine policy. Of course, he is he is not an official U.S. diplomat. He is the personal lawyer for the president.
COOPER: And it wasn't as if Rudy was looking at all corruption in Ukraine. He was looking for dirt and investigation on the Bidens and on this conspiracy theory about the election. I mean, is it clear if the Secretary of State Pompeo was aware of this or how people made sense of this arrangement?
MARQUARDT: Well, we do know the secretary of state was well aware of Rudy Giuliani's role. That is from the transcript of the July 25th call.
Now, what's interesting is you would think when the three top envoys came back from this inauguration that that would be the kind of meeting that the secretary of state would be in. He was not in that meeting. We do not know if he was aware of that. But, again, when you look at the transcript of that July 25th call --
ands it littered with references to Rudy Giuliani and the president's request that the Ukrainians work with him -- we do know Secretary of State Pompeo was on that call.
Now, the State Department has repeatedly denied that they setup media-- or that they work with-- they were asked by Rudy Giuliani to setup meetings there.
We do know that Kurt Volker and Sondland were working with the Ukrainians to setup those meetings but there's no indication, Anderson, that Mike Pompeo was particle of that. But he was certainly aware of the role that Rudy Giuliani was playing in essentially this parallel policy with Ukraine.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. Alex Marquardt, thank you very much for the new reporting. Back with us now, their reaction to all of this, Pamela Brown, Jeff Toobin, and John Kasich.
Jeff, what do you make of this apparently? I mean, the idea that Rudy Giuliani is the gatekeeper here to all foreign service people, to, you know, Secretary Rick Perry, again, it's just bizarre because we know what Giuliani's focus was. It wasn't legitimate investigations of ongoing corruption in Ukraine. It was Biden and the, you know, 2016 conspiracy theory.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. I mean, the core question of this whole investigation is whether American foreign policy was in the interest of the United States and the United States taxpayers, or was it designed around getting dirt on Joe Biden.
And if in fact Rudy Giuliani is, as you say, the gatekeeper, the person who has to be satisfied before any further dealings with Ukraine take place, I mean, that suggests that the foreign policy here is something that is completely different from anything we've been led to expect American presidents are supposed to do.
COOPER: Pamela, it's also fascinating when you read those text messages between Ambassador Sondland and, you know, the others, that five-hour gap in which now we know Sondland did talked to the President. And then, basically, suddenly writes out this text that, I mean, compared to all the other texts that he has been sending in the exchange, it is as if it's been read out to him or he wrote it down. And it's clearly, you know, the same verbiage that the White House has been using, the President has been using about no quid pro quo. And then, you know, let's take this conversation offline.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's really an interesting development in the story, Anderson, that we're learning during those hours, that five-hour gap. He spoke to the President, then went back on the text exchange to say there was no quid pro quo but let's take this offline.
And as we piece together all of this happening, including what Alex just laid out, it really does raise more questions about why the President withheld that Ukraine aid because with what we have learned through Alex's reporting is that, Perry and his other government officials came back from Zelensky's inauguration saying we believe he's going to be trusted ally, and that you should meet with Zelensky.
And yet, the President really didn't buy it. He didn't believe them because he was putting more stock in what his outside Attorney Rudy Giuliani had been telling him and that negative information. And then, we know following that, Anderson, the decision was made at the direction of the President to withhold Ukraine aid and then eventually it was released. So all of this raises ever more questions about that connection, Anderson.
COOPER: Governor Kasich, what's it going to take for other Republicans on the Hill to actually speak their minds on this? I mean, is it-- I mean, assuming that there are some who, you know, believe what the President did was wrong and that it was wrong to ask China to investigate the Bidens, a repressive regime like China not known for fair and impartial investigations at the very least. I mean, is it going to take just them sensing a ground swell among Republican voters?
JOHN KASICH, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think so. I think so, Anderson. And, look, this is a thing that I have a hard time understanding. We know how bad this is, we know what the President did was wrong, why wouldn't everybody want to get to the bottom of this?
I mean, you think about if the United States was withholding something that was critical to Ukraine who had Russians located inside of their country, and gobbling up pieces of territory, you would think that they would say, of course, we should have an inquiry. Of course, we should get to the bottom of this.
And, you know, as we see here as every report every day, there is just more and more connections that are so troubling. But the end of the day, you've got to have this inquiry and, frankly, these Republicans ought to be calling for it. It's the fair and right thing to do for America.
COOPER: Yes. Governor Kasich, thank you, Jeffrey Toobin and Pamela Brown as well.
Just ahead tonight, I'll talk to two members of the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry. We'll see what they think about the White House's refusal to cooperate and what happens next.
COOPER: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just issued a start statement about the show of defiance by the White House. The key sentence reads and I quote, "The White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the President's abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction." Earlier I spoke with two members of those House committees leading the impeachment inquiry about today's events, Eleanor Holmes Norton was on the Oversight Committee and Raja Krishnamoorthi who sits on the Oversight as well as the Intelligence Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Norton, the White House clearly refusing to cooperate, stonewalling at the very least. What now? What are you and your fellow Democrats going to do in response to this letter?
REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: This is not unexpected, Anderson. When the White House stonewalls, they commit a grievous error. You'll notice that in an ordinary trial if you subpoena somebody or if you called for a trial and you don't appear, then the presumption is against you and you could be found guilty.
It is the President's prerogative not to appear, but it's not our prerogative to say because he doesn't appear. There must be nothing here. Remember, Anderson, we already have a great deal. We have two whistleblowers whose comments have been seen by the IG as credible.
And yet, we're trying to abide by the process, trying to give the President every opportunity during the investigation. But he can't stop the investigation by refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
COOPER: Congressman Krishnamoorthi, the White House is this letter, is essentially daring the Speaker Pelosi to hold a vote to open a formal impeachment inquiry. Do you that should be the next step? I mean, it's not required by law but if that's what the White House says the sticking pointed, would that make a difference or do you think they would come up with something else?
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D), INTELLIGENCE & OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: They would come up with something else. And I don't think we should take directions from them as to how to investigate the actions of this President.
That letter that you referred to started out with a very faulty premise. On the second page of the letter, it claims that this phone call that happened on July 25th between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine was "completely appropriate."
That's not what the majority of Americans think. And that's why public sentiment has shifted so radically in favor of conducting this impeachment inquiry. Now, we have to do it in an-- as unbiased fashion as possible and we have to do it expeditiously. But any stalling or delay tactics in the face of what the majority of the American people want, which is an inquiry to proceed, would be in my opinion very inadvisable at this point.
COOPER: Congresswoman Norton, if it comes to a choice between going true the court process to try to enforce subpoenas, to try to get these people to testify, or just going ahead with whatever evidence has already been gathered and what's out there based on the President's comments and the rough transcript, not even the full transcript, of the conversation that took place between the President and the president of the Ukraine, going ahead and, you know, sticking to an end of October date to actually bring this to a vote in the House, which would you choose?
I mean, does a vote in the House that hasn't gone through the courts, that you haven't gotten other people's testimony, is that legitimate enough for you?
NORTON: As expeditious as courts can be, they could not get through all the subpoenas that the White House is using as a delay tactic. So I don't think we should fall for that. I think we should proceed with the evidence we had.
Now, if we didn't have good evidence it seems to me a case could be made, you just got to stop. But we have two whistleblowers, we've got a lot of evidence from those who have come forward. Now they're telling us they are not letting anybody come forward. And I think it's because they see we have evidence, they want to contribute to it.
I think that the House of Representatives which has an obligation to proceed with an impeachment inquiry cannot let the party on the other side of the impeachment inquiry keep it from moving forward. So I think you're going to keep us -- you're going to see us keeping that data.
And another reason we need to keep that date is, Anderson, we haven't been sent here just to do impeachment. We've been sent here because we have passed bills that are of great importance to the American people. And we intend to keep plowing our head on those issues from gun control to climate change and not let impeachment be all we do in 2020.
COOPER: Congressman Krishnamoorthi, I mean, do you agree with that? And, I mean, how is Democrats tonight issued a subpoena for documents and testimony from Ambassador Sondland next Monday for the documents, next Wednesday for the testimony assuming the White House doesn't let him testify, do you wait for this to go through courts or do you stick with an end of October deadline or whatever the deadline may be?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I'm not aware of a deadline for this inquiry. I think we have to do it properly. That being said, if anybody blocks testimony or refuses to produce documents, that should, one, count as evidence of obstruction of the inquiry. And then, two, it should be almost an admission that the blocked testimony would actually corroborate the whistleblower's allegations.
And in this case, it's easy to see why they don't want Mr. Sondland to testify. He was the one that actually called President Trump right before his telephone call on July 25th. And then in between July 25th and late August, he had various conversations, including, according to the Wall Street Journal, with Senator Johnson, where he basically said that military aid was being conditioned on these investigations being manufactured by the Ukrainian government. And so that's the type of inference that we would glean if Mr. Sondland doesn't testify. So it's actually to his advantage to come forward and cooperate as opposed to going the path of obstruction, which is what, of course, the White House wants.
COOPER: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, appreciate it. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, thank you so much.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you.
COOPER: More news on today's big development straight ahead including one Republican senator said today or maybe didn't say about the impeachment inquiry, that and new reporting about the health of Senator Bernie Sanders.
COOPER: Back to the breaking news about that new White House letter, basically committing to a full on fight with the Democrats over the impeachment inquiry. That comes as we noted earlier, new polling that shows more Americans now favoring an impeachment inquiry, including 28% of Republicans up 21 points since July.
So the question is about the President's actions are getting harder for Republicans to answer, especially in battle-ground states. We sent Randi Kaye to Iowa to see if she could get a good answer from Senator Joni Ernst. The reason we sent here there is because Senator Ernst's answer last week left constituents less than satisfied.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is the line? When are you guys going to stand up enough, and standup and say, you know what, I'm not backing any of this?
SEN. JONI ERNST (D), IOWA: I can aye, nay, whatever, President is going to say what the president is going to do. It's up to us as members of Congress to continue working with our allies, making sure that we remain strong in the face of adversity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's what known as a non-answer answer. So, Randi, what happened when you caught up with the senator?
RANDI KAYE, CNN REPORTER: Well, we did our best to get some real answers, Anderson. We tracked her down to this ground breaking ceremony in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, dating back to the flood that happened here back in 2008. That's what that was about.
We were hoping to ask her, of course, about the impeachment inquiry and about that new polling that you just mentioned, showing that the majority of Americans are now in favor of that inquiry. We were hoping to get some real answers to our questions. But instead, it seems like we got more of those non-answer answers, as you said. Here's our exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Senator, while we have you, I want to ask you, is it -- do you think at this point, talking about the impeachment inquiry appropriate, do you think at this point, is it appropriate for a president to ask a foreign power to investigate a political rival? Yes or no?
ERNST: Well, again, I think we're going to have to go back, just as I said last week. We'll have to wait, all of that information is going to go to Senate Intelligence --
KAYE: But is it appropriate, just the ask itself. Is it appropriate?
ERNST: Well, we -- again, we don't have all the facts in front of us, and what we see pushed out through the media, we don't know what's accurate at this point. So again, going through a bipartisan--
KAYE: I'm not asking if it was accurate. I'm asking you if it's appropriate for a president to ask a foreign power to investigate his domestic political rival? Yes or no?
ERNST: And again, I would say that I don't know that we have that information in front of us. And I'll just stick with I've said all along.
COOPER: Are you concern -- why won't you answer the question? Are you concerned about retribution?
ERNST: No, I am not. What I am saying though is, we have a picture that's painted by media and we don't know what's accurate or not. So what I would rely on is the information that's coming forward both through the whistleblower report, through any complaint that has been given and through the transcript, all of that will go to Senate Intelligence.
They will sort through that in a bipartisan fashion, without media interdiction, they will go through it--
KAYE: We're not asking you to rule on it. We're just asking you if the ask itself is appropriate.
ERNST: Yes, let's move on.
KAYE: Is the ask itself -- quick reaction just to the polling, 58%, 58% -- let me just ask you about the polling. 58% --
ERNST: Thank you, I'm sorry. Yes, use your hand. I'm sorry.
KAYE: 50% of Americans now support the inquiry.
ERNST: I'm Sorry. We're -- I'm going to pay attention to the Iowans here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: On the media.
KAYE: At the very end there, she said she needs to pay attention to the Iowans here. Well, I'm sure the Iowans actually would like some answer too about what's happening in Washington, DC, Anderson.
She also said as you heard there, she doesn't have information. Yes, she does. We all have the information in fact. She has it, we have it, the media has it. As you know, the White House released the transcript of the call with the President and Ukrainian leader, she has that transcript. She was going through an interview just there a moment ago.
COOPER: Yes. Well, of course, also what you're asking her just a generic, is it OK for a president to ask a foreign president to interfere, you know, anyway.
KAYE: Simple yes or no.
COOPER: Yes, we know what she was doing. Randi, thank you very much. Time to check with to Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Primetime", Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: We all know what's going on because we've been here before. I mean, I think the frustration for normal people, not us, is that, it seems like it's the same game, people just switch jerseys. You know, during the Clinton impeachment, the Democrats that this is such a miscarriage of the constitution, and the Republicans were saying no, no, no.
COOPER: Yes. Trey Gowdy screaming at Eric Holder about withholding documents, untreatably, and now Trey Gowdy, you know, looks like he's going to be an attorney for the President on this.
CUOMO: Captain Benghazi as I like to call him on the show. You know, that was when the Republicans were investigating everything they could.
CUOMO: They never investigated Biden. They knew about the Ukraine --
COOPER: And by the way, Pompeo, at the time, you know, was on Capitol Hill was calling in State Department people and raking them over the calls.
CUOMO: Look, they switched sides, even what they're asking for now, Coop. I don't want to eat up your time but we have an answer of we've been here before to this new request that the Republicans are saying that they should have more subpoena power. The reason they don't is them. I'll explain. COOPER: All right, see you in a few minutes, Chris.
Up next, breaking to the Bernie Sanders campaign as he recovers from his heart attack. We'll be right back.
COOPER: There's more breaking news, this time for Bernie Sanders recovering tonight in Vermont from a heart attack he suffered last week. Joining us is CNN's Ryan Nobles. Ryan, what's the latest on his health?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We, Anderson, we actually saw Bernie Sanders quite a bit today. And he said he's feeling much better. In fact, he visited a cardiologist here in Burlington today, that's a follow-up appointment after he spent more than two days in the hospital after suffering that heart attack in Las Vegas weekend.
What we learned today is that, this is going to have a pretty significant impact on his campaign. Sanders told us today that he is going to scale back his campaign schedule in a pretty significant way in the wake of this heart attack. And Sanders has often been very proud about just how busy he is on the campaign trail, traveling as many as six days a week, holding as many as four events in a day. He said he's simply just not going to do that anymore.
Now, Sanders does say that this is going to actually put him in line more with his other Democratic opponents, that he was doing far more than they were up until this point. But sanders still says no matter what happened to him in this situation, that he is still pushing forward in his campaign, he does know that voters are going to look at him a little differently now.
He is a 78-year-old man who still had a heart attack. But he told me today he hopes they view him in totality as a fighter. He's going to fight through this, and he still believes he can win the race for president. Anderson?
COOPER: Ryan, thank you very much. Wish him the best. The news continues, I want to head over to Chris for "Cuomo Primetime." Chris?