Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump on Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch; NY Times: Yovanovitch Told Congress President Trump Led "Concerted Campaign" to Oust Her; Source: Giuliani No Longer Dealing With Ukraine Issues After President Trump Dodges if he is Still His Personal Lawyer. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 11, 2019 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And good evening. Thanks for joining us. I'm Anderson Cooper in for Chris Cuomo.

President Trump today seemed to be distancing himself from some key actors in the Ukraine - Ukraine controversy, the latest, the former Ambassador to Ukraine, who testified today, of the State Department being "Attacked and hollowed out" by politics masked as diplomacy.

The President today said he did not know this three-time Ambassador who spent 33 years in the Foreign Service.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well she maybe a wonderful woman. I don't know her. But she - she may be very much a wonderful woman.

If you remember the phone call I had with the President, the new President, he didn't speak favorably. But I - I just don't know her. She may be a wonderful woman.


COOPER: So just, you know, facts matter, that's actually not true what he just said. It wasn't the President of Ukraine who was saying negative things about the Ambassador.

It was actually President Trump, speaking to the President of Ukraine, speaking unfavorably of her, on that now infamous July phone call, which would indicate he does know her or of her.

Today, in her testimony, Marie Yovanovitch said that the President appeared, quote, very familiar with her and her work in Ukraine. She testified that the Deputy Secretary of State who recalled her earlier, this year, said the President "Lost confidence in me."

She also said this. "He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the President to remove me since the Summer of 2018."

For more on today's testimony, I want to bring in CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, on Capitol Hill.

So, after almost 10 hours of testimony, what are you learning about the Ambassador's deposition, particularly what she told the Committee about Rudy - Rudy Giuliani? And again, this is behind closed doors, so information is hard to get.


And from what we do know of her deposition - deposition, she really painted today, for the lawmakers, a fuller picture of what she believes the role of Rudy Giuliani was, the extent of his role, how he, according to her, essentially coordinated this well-coordinated strategy to smear campaign, if you will, to lead to her removal from the post.

And sources telling CNN tonight that she said that, at the time, while she was in Ukraine, she had heard from Ukrainian officials, that Giuliani was going around trashing her, saying bad things about her, making things up about her.

But that it was only until now, in the context of all that has been revealed, over the last few weeks, does she understand some of the context, and essentially, the extent of all of this, and some powerful words, I think, mostly in the opening statement that were obtained tonight from The New York Times about why she felt that this was significant, essentially putting the pieces together, talking about the elements of her very abrupt dismissal earlier this year.

Because of the smear campaign she was - she said it was made up of unfounded and false claims by people, she says, with clearly questionable motives, of course a reference there to Rudy Giuliani.

COOPER: What are you hearing from Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who heard her testimony today? Did they hear the same thing?

SERFATY: Not at all. And that is typical for these sorts of things.

We just heard from Republicans and Democrats, top Democrats and Republicans, on the Committee, leaving this room after that marathon session tonight, and their reaction, predictably, not surprisingly, fell into partisan camps.

The top Democrat on the Intel Committee, Adam Schiff, the Chairman of that Committee, you know, praised Yovanovitch, saying she's a model diplomat. He says he - she deserved better than the shabby treatment she received from the President and Secretary of State, and thanked her for actually coming forward today.

Notably, Schiff, as he has been doing recently, did not take questions from reporters tonight, and of - of which there are many.

[21:05:00] I mean Republicans coming out of that room tonight, Anderson, really attacked the process.

We heard from many Republicans saying that this should have been an open testimony, saying that they themselves did not think that they learned anything that was classified, so why should this be held behind closed doors.

So, certainly both sides hearing and seeing what they wanted to see, and likely that will - certainly that sort of pattern will head into next week when we'll hear many more depositions and outcome of those depositions up here on Capitol Hill.

COOPER: And in terms of the impeachment inquiry, has there been any movement in terms of holding a full authorization vote, and - and how soon do Democrats expect to - to get through upcoming witnesses?

SERFATY: Yes, certainly. They have quite the schedule, jam-packed schedule of witnesses, depositions for next week.

And even tonight, the Chairman of the Committee, Adam Schiff saying that they are moving with a new sense of urgency that they are making progress, and he promised potentially more depositions coming up that we don't know about, more subpoenas coming up that we, at this point, don't know about.

So, they're clearly pushing ahead. It comes, as you rightfully point out, that the Republicans, and President Trump, of course himself, have been calling for this full vote on the House floor to authorize the impeachment inquiry.

That is something that the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, so far has been hesitant to do. She said she doesn't think it's necessary. She has not ruled it out. But she doesn't think she has to, because of the Constitution.

It will be most notable on early next week when everyone is back on Capitol Hill after this two-week recess where House Democrats will convene in their weekly conference meeting - Caucus meeting.

We will see if this small group of Democrats who are saying we should go ahead and authorize this in the full - full House floor - floor, we will see if that has any sway with the leaders of the Democrats. Anderson?

COOPER: Sunlen Serfaty, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Congressman John Garamendi joins us now. He just got back from a fact- finding mission to Ukraine, where he and other Members of Congress met--


COOPER: --with leaders as well as the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, who's being asked to testify before Congressman - before Congress. Congressman, thanks so much for being with us, appreciate it.

GARAMENDI: Good - it's good to be with you.

COOPER: I want to get to your trip in Ukraine, in just a moment, because the--


COOPER: --the timing of it could not be more - more important.

I do want to ask you about the Ambassador's testimony. I'm wondering what you make of what we have learned so far that there was allegedly this "Concerted campaign" against her, according to - to her testimony.

GARAMENDI: Well, first of all, she's an extraordinary woman, obviously skilled as a diplomat, but obviously very brave, very courageous, willing to speak to power, and not be put down by the President, but rather to carry out her constitutional and her oath of office, that is to obey the Constitution, and to come forward with whatever information she has.

With regard to her testimony, the deposition process is one of gathering data and information. There will undoubtedly be hearings. Perhaps she'll be coming back.

But this is a process that's extremely important, understanding the - the details, the timelines, the various events that went on, no doubt about it.

Giuliani was out there playing games, not only perhaps for his own pocket, and for the pocket of the two fellows that were just indicted, but also to lay out a investigation for against Biden.

All of that is probably in the deposition, is probably there, and there'll be further information. I think Sondland's coming in next week. This is all part of the unraveling of Donald Trump.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, you know, for the President to be claiming that his conversation with the President of Ukraine was really--


COOPER: --all about fighting corruption in Ukraine, and Rudy Giuliani was at the pointy-end of the spear of an anti-corruption drive in Ukraine, is just ludicrous--


COOPER: --particularly when you learn that the Ambassador herself was pushing forward an aggressive anti-corruption program in Ukraine, and ran afoul of theoretically corrupt or shady officials there.

GARAMENDI: Well that's exactly right. When we met with the officials, the Minister of Defense, who had

actually been in office just two weeks, and the Foreign Minister, their principal goal was to root out corruption, to get rid of their corruption, even so much so that we spent a lot of time talking about how the military can put in place an Inspector General.

Beyond that, we also when we met just outside the Ministry of Defence, Ambassador Taylor was there to greet us at the very moment that our smartphones were saying his tweet message was there.


GARAMENDI: We climbed off the bus and congratulated him for speaking the truth that what is the Trump Administration up to, trying to play games with the $400 million of absolutely essential military equipment hardware supplies, as well as the trainers that go with it.


Yes, civil servants are standing up. They are there to serve the American public, the American Constitution, our system of government.

And we're seeing two examples right there in - well let's put the whistleblowers - two whistleblowers on the same line, standing up to power, calling that as it is, and saying something's terribly wrong here.

So, let's hear it for the civil servants out there that Trump has spent most of his career trying to dump.

COOPER: Yes. I mean you just mentioned Bill Taylor. He's the Senior Diplomat to Ukraine. He wrote that text message to Ambassador Sondland from the EU saying--


COOPER: --"I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." And then there was a five-hour gap, and then the - the Ambassador Sondland--


COOPER: --who's going to testify next week, suddenly said, kind of read out a statement, essentially, it sounded like coming--


COOPER: --straight from Donald Trump.

GARAMENDI: Well that's what we call the classic CYA memo that goes out. Yes, what's going on--


GARAMENDI: Yes. Some lawyers said "Oh my God! We got a problem here." Indeed they do. But also, keep in mind that there is a cover-up going on in the White House. The text - the message that we heard, the transcript, which was not complete--

COOPER: Right.

GARAMENDI: --and the tapes that go with it went into the Deep Vault, not to be seen by anybody ever again.

Well I got news for the President. We're going to see what was in that vault. We're going to find out exactly what it said, in his own words, and we're going to find out "I want you to do a favor though." Yes, there you have it.

COOPER: Do - do you think--

GARAMENDI: Trump broke the law.

COOPER: Do you think that there is a recording of the conversation? Do you think there is a more full transcript somewhere?

GARAMENDI: Well what happened during the Nixon period, except for that, what 18 minutes that disappeared, there was a recording. I'm sure there's a recording of it, if not in the White House, there's recording somewhere.

And for sure, the Ukrainians have a recording. And although I'm sure that they don't want to release it, you just got to feel for this President.

A new guy comes in, 75 percent vote, has a - has a supermajority in his own parliament, and then Trump - Trump comes in, and lays the heavy hit on him, saying "Play with me, or else." And - and he just has no place to go.

This President is strong. He wants to do right by his country. He's fighting a major battle with the Russians. 14,000 Ukrainians have been killed in that fight. And Trump is out just to feather his own nest to try to win an election. It is just--


GARAMENDI: --outrageous what's happened here.

COOPER: Yes. I mean human - yes, human beings' lives are - are at stake. This isn't just--

GARAMENDI: Yes, exactly.

COOPER: --some sort of theoretical battle they're fighting.

GARAMENDI: And more.



COOPER: Congressman John Garamendi, really appreciate talking to you. Thank you very much. GARAMENDI: Certainly, thank you.

COOPER: Up next, I'll talk to two veterans of the Watergate investigation about how President Trump appears to be distancing himself now from key figures in the Ukraine controversy. We'll see how that goes.

Also, is Rudy Giuliani still President Trump's attorney? We'll discuss whether he's become too much of a liability for the President.



COOPER: Multiple - multiple breaking news stories we're reporting tonight.

A source tells CNN that President Trump is distancing himself from his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani still works for the President but won't deal with Ukraine matters.

This comes after two associates of Giuliani's, who's worked with him, on matters involving Ukraine, were charged with campaign finance violations. Separately, sources say, investigators are probing Giuliani's financial dealings with these two men.

The news comes the same day that the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, who was recalled by President Trump, whose career was destroyed by President Trump, testified about, among other things, Giuliani and his associates.

According to The Washington Post, she said that the two men, "May well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine."

Two veterans of the Watergate investigation joining us now, former Watergate Special Prosecutor, Richard Ben-Veniste, former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, which charged Rudy Giuliani's two associates, and CNN Political Analyst, and Journalist, Carl Bernstein.

Carl, let's talk about the Ambassador's testimony. How problematic do you think it could be for the White House and the potential testimony next week of Ambassador Sondland, who is a supporter of the President's?

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Very consequential. And I think we already know that, you know.

There's a whole series of witnesses who's - who really in a position to do the President great damage because they're telling the truth about what looks like a conspiracy, a conspiracy involving the President of the United States, to undermine our very basis of free elections in - in this country, by engaging a foreign power to interfere with the opposition candidate facing the President of the United States. We've never had a situation where a foreign power has been called upon by the President of the United States, as it appears from his own words, Trump's own words that we've seen he did this.

And now, it's up to other witnesses to fill in more information, and that's what we indeed saw the Ambassador do today, and we have many others coming.

And also, the whole question of John Bolton, the President's National Security Advisor who heard that conversation with the President of Ukraine, Bolton is in a position, and he apparently scurried, and - and knew how damaging that conversation was, and it all gets back to what the Ambassador was also testifying about today.

So, there's a circle that is closing in, an evidentiary circle that's very damaging to the President of the United States. And today, that circle got tighter.

COOPER: Yes. Richard, I'm wondering where - where you see where the investigation is so far. I mean the President today not even saying or couldn't say whether Rudy Giuliani was still his lawyer or not. He said, "I don't know."


RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, FORMER WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. He's - he's made a number of bizarre statements recently, this business about his acumen, his brilliance, his unmatched ability to tell what the - the Turks are going to do, and whether they're going to cross a line.

All of this stuff is reminiscent of when Nixon was under such pressure, the "I am not a crook" speech, all of this is - is very reminiscent.

I think the - the most disturbing thing, as Carl has mentioned, is the - is the - the inability to accept the normative precepts of our constitutional government and - and - and the balance of powers between Congress and the Executive Branch, which the President refuses, repeatedly, to accept.

And I think the focus group from Wisconsin was very telling in the way they analyzed this. You know, people use their God-given common sense, and everyday experience. When someone lies to them, when someone refuses to give information, and hides access to witnesses, and - and testimony, and documents--


BEN-VENISTE: --they - they ask the question, as we did when Nixon was President, why is he going to such lengths to keep this information from the public? And it - with Nixon's case, we know why.


BEN-VENISTE: The information was damning.

COOPER: Carl - Carl, I'm wondering, I mean how much of any impeachment inquiry is dictated by public sentiment?

Because, you know, you have pointed out in the past that with Watergate, it was finally when Republicans turned and, you know - you know, went to the President and, you know, kind of explained the - the reality of the situation he was fate - is facing. Is that - is it public sentiment that turned first though that - that

motived those Republicans too?

BERNSTEIN: Well I think the Republicans were motivated, those who were on the House Judiciary Committee, which voted articles of impeachment against the President of the United States, they were moved by patriotism. And they were moved by a real sense of responsibility, such as we have not seen from Republicans during the Trump Presidency.

However, I know enough from talking to Republicans, other reporters do, to know that something is shifting among Republicans right now on Capitol Hill.

They are losing confidence in this President. They are losing confidence in his ability to think straight, to act straight, to conduct the Presidency in a manner that they need to see, to have any measure of confidence in the President of the United States. And there - there really is some deterioration going on.

In Turkey, the situation with - with Turkey and - and ISIS, also plays into this that the confidence factor in the President of the United States, seeing him unhinged, as we have, in these weeks, watching Rudy Giuliani and the President, who are joined at the hip.

Whatever the President of the United States says, these two guys are joined in the hip, in what looks very much like an easy slam-dunk- almost ability to say conspiracy. And those two are tied to it.

And there's more witnesses coming, many more witnesses, in the coming days, and there's going to be an expansion of this inquiry as well.

COOPER: Richard, you and 16 other former Water - Watergate process - Special Prosecutors calling for the President's impeachment, I'm wondering what led you to - to that conclusion.

BEN-VENISTE: I think motivating us, we're all in our 70s now, we've all had careers in the law, is that there is no right to remain silent, at a time when our Constitution is being trashed.

And it's being trashed because the fundamental precepts of our separation of power, of adhering to Congressional oversight of the Executive is fundamental, and we can't lose that. If we lose that, we lose the essence of our democracy, and everything else will slip.

I think as trained lawyers, and there are many, many, throughout this country, who understand our Constitution, we don't have an organized religion that's official in this country. What we have is a Constitution that everyone must abide by.

COOPER: Yes, Richard Ben-Veniste, appreciate it, Carl Bernstein, as well. [21:25:00]

We've got a lot more to learn about Rudy Giuliani's involvement with those two men now under arrest on campaign finance charges. Right back with a deeper dive into their ties, next.


COOPER: Getting our (ph) breaking news. A source says Rudy Giuliani is no longer dealing with Ukraine issues for the President, this after two associates of Giuliani's were arrested.

More now from our Jessica Schneider.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They once smiled in photos with President Trump, and even dined with his son, Don Jr.


TRUMP: I don't know those gentlemen. Now, it's possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody.



SCHNEIDER: And now, two of Rudy Giuliani's associates, Igor Furman and Lev Parnas, who helped Trump's personal attorney seek information about former Vice President Joe Biden, in Ukraine, have been indicted for breaking campaign finance laws.


WILLIAM SWEENEY, NEW YORK FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR-IN-CHARGE: This investigation is about corrupt behavior, deliberate law-breaking.


SCHNEIDER: Furman and Parnas are charged with making false statements, falsifying records, and two counts of conspiracy, including funneling foreign money into a U.S. election.

In efforts to gain influence with politicians, the two men made a $325,000 donation to a pro-Trump Super PAC.

The indictment alleging Furman and Parnas sought to advance their personal financial interests and the political interests of at least one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working.

Federal prosecutors say the two men also pressured a Congressman to help oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, from her position.

House Democrats sending Furman and Parnas subpoenas for documents related to their impeachment inquiry, wanting to understand, how Furman and Parnas worked with Giuliani to find dirt on Biden, as discussed in President Trump's July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian President, where Trump mentioned Yovanovitch already fired, who the indictment states Furman and Parnas wanted out of her job by a request of a Ukrainian official.


COOPER: That was Jessica Schneider reporting.

For more, we're joined by Scott Jennings, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, USA Today Columnist, Kirsten Powers, and Josh Campbell, Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent, and Author of the really interesting new book, Crossfire Hurricane: Inside Donald Trump's War on the FBI.

Kirsten, the idea that Rudy Giuliani now won't deal with Ukraine matters, I'm not even sure what that means because, I mean, Rudy Giuliani suddenly going silent on Ukraine, I don't know, it seems unlikely.

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well this seems to be an area that he's very interested in, and obviously, has his tentacles all over the place, as it relates to Ukrainian issues, and actually has for a long time.

So, I think it's because obviously this is making trouble for the President. You have the President even not direct - directly answering whether or not he's actually working for the President anymore, sort of referring to it in the past tense.

So, this would suggest to me that there - that they're recognizing that there's a problem with his connections to Ukraine,, and at a very minimum, he needs to step back away from that.

COOPER: Scott, I mean, should the President still consider Rudy Giuliani his personal attorney, given all that's going on?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, absolutely not. I mean Giuliani's being in the middle of this from the beginning.

He has been the absolute worst fact, one of the worst facts for the President. He obviously exercised galactically bad judgment in his dealings in the Ukraine.

COOPER: Galactic - galactically bad!

JENNINGS: And now, we see that he's put the President in direct contact with people who were terrible at in trying to break campaign finance laws.

And so, he's put the President in harm's way. You can't have your personal attorney putting you in harm's way. And so, think it's time for the President to move Rudy on. Rudy's got his own issues to deal with. And he needs to have a corps of lawyers around him, who are competent and can help him navigate this, just like when he brought in Emmet Flood, for instance, back during the Mueller investigation. That was bringing in an outside competent attorney.

I would highly advise the White House to - to ditch Rudy, and get somebody like that, this time around.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Josh, CNN has reported that Giuliani's financial dealings with those two jailed associates now, who have been indicted on campaign finance related charges, are under scrutiny by investigators.

Would you want to know what Giuliani obviously was talking about with them the other day at the Trump Hotel in Washington just hours before they tried to leave the country on one-way plane tickets?

JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: This investigation is about corrupt behavior, deliberate law-breaking. And those aren't my words. Those are the words of the Head FBI Agent in New York, after these charges were announced.

And to your question, yes, there's a lot we want to know about Rudy Giuliani's connections with these two. There's a lot we don't know. Let's look at what we do know.

We know that these men were charged and accused of laundering money from a foreign government, in order to try to interfere in the U.S. elections, or to at least, you know, go after and get the assistance from politicians.

We also know they're associates of Rudy Giuliani. And we know that Giuliani has been involved in this effort to investigate a political opponent of the President. Now, there's no through-line right there, you know, with all that information as of yet.

But if you're Rudy Giuliani, that shouldn't give you comfort, because what I - as I look at the facts of this case, I kind of consider these two the Paul Manaforts of the Ukraine scandal.

We know in the Russia investigation, Paul Manafort, you know, wasn't directly involved in the Russian collusion, but he got ensnared in all these other corrupt acts.

The reason this should worry Rudy Giuliani, right now, is because when the FBI investigates corruption, they do what they call "Circling the target." You want to know everything about a subject. That includes his associates.

And if it turns out that in investigating these two, they find evidence about Rudy Giuliani trying to interfere in a U.S. election, vis-a-vis, a foreign government, that should worry him a lot.

COOPER: Kirsten, do you see any scenario under which House investigators don't exhaust all options to try to get Giuliani to testify about what he knows? Obviously, there are time considerations if, you know, the White House is going to throw up obstacles to having Giuliani actually testify.


POWERS: Yes. I mean they - they need to have him testify. I mean - the - the thing about this is, is that - I mean these two men were doing various things, and - and obviously, tried to flee the country.

I mean it's - it's very suspicious behavior, you know, from the get- go. But they were also involved in this campaign to get the Ambassador - U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine fired, right?

And - and that - and the reason for that is because she was pushing back against this idea of pressuring the Ukrainian government into investigating Joe Biden, and his son.

Well who else wants that to happen? Donald Trump. So, that's - that's the thing that - that - that's sort of missing. It's like I don't - I don't know that Giuliani was necessarily just freelancing, right?

This - this is something that's consistent with a transcript that we have of a conversation that the President had with the President of the Ukraine asking him to do the same thing.

So, there's a lot of information that - lot more information that we need to get about this. And - and I think absolutely you have to do everything you can to get Rudy Giuliani under oath.

COOPER: Scott, I - we haven't talked really since all of this started. And so, I'm - I'm - how do you see this now? I mean the transcript, what we now know, is it - yes, I'm just wondering what - how - what your take is on it. How - how concerning is it to you?

JENNINGS: Well, as I said, I think - yes, I think - I think having Giuliani, an unelected, un-appointed, you know, sort of Ambassador-at- large, you know, gallivanting around Eastern Europe is a terrible idea. He's obviously exercised poor judgment. He's put the President in harm's way, so that - that's bad.

I do think the Biden and Hunter Biden issues are real. I - I think any - any rational person would look at the fact of Hunter Biden's work there.

Even if they didn't break any laws, it was also colossally bad judgment for the Bidens, to have him following his dad around the world, and picking up consulting contracts along the way. So, I - I don't think those are illegitimate issues to bring up.

But in the context in which the President did it, I think it was bad judgment. Now, is it impeachable? I don't personally think so.

I think the House is - is the last best off-ramp for Pelosi to try to do what her base wants her to do, so they're going to try to make it stick. I don't personally think all bad judgment has to be impeachable. But yes, there's some bad facts here. And Giuliani, appears to me, to be at the middle of it all, so the faster the President severs that relationship, I think the better off he'll be.

POWERS: The - the - the - but you just said though about Biden though isn't really accurate. I mean you - you can complain about his son, if you want. But--

JENNINGS: It is accurate.

POWERS: --but - but--

JENNINGS: It's been reported on by numerous news outlets.

POWERS: But the fundamental - but the - no but the - the fundamental--

COOPER: Let - let her--

POWERS: But the fundamental accusation that's been made against Biden has been utterly debunked.

I mean you had a bipartisan group of Senators having the exact same position that Joe Biden had, regarding getting this prosecutor fired for not prosecuting. It's the opposite of what - what Donald Trump has been saying happened.

So, I mean you can complain about his son being over there. But the fundamental accusation about Joe Biden trying to interfere, and somehow protect his son, it's just false.

COOPER: Yes. I mean there's--

JENNINGS: I didn't say Biden tried to interfere--

COOPER: --there is no evidence--

JENNINGS: --to protect his son. I said that--

POWERS: Then what's the - then what's the story?

JENNINGS: --his son giving the appearance--

POWERS: Like what - what - what you could find so interesting about it?

JENNINGS: --the appearance of a - the appearance of profiteering off of his father's Vice Presidency, even if they didn't break any laws, is still terrible judgment.


JENNINGS: --and it is a fair political game. There have been reporters that appeared on this network, Kirsten that have said the exact same thing.

COOPER: Yes. JENNINGS: So, this has not been debunked. It did happen. And it's fair political debate. I don't think the President should have raised it on the call with the President of Ukraine. But somebody's going to look into this. And it's fair game. I mean the guy's running for office.

COOPER: Yes. We should just point out there's no--

JENNINGS: It's all a fair game.

COOPER: --there's - right. There's questions about - you can ask question about Hunter Biden, is he qualified to be on that Board.

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: There's no evidence though that it relates in any way to Joe Biden. Scott, appreciate it, Kirsten Powers, Josh Campbell.

POWERS: Thank you.

COOPER: Josh's book, again, is Crossfire Hurricane, it's a fascinating read, Inside Donald Trump's War on the FBI.

Coming next, former diplomat on the - the Ambassador to Ukraine who testified today.



COOPER: We want to get back to the remarkable testimony today from the former Ambassador to Ukraine, forced out by President Trump, based on what she calls "Unfounded and false claims" by people with clearly questionable motives.

That was a quote. That's according to a transcript from The New York Times and Washington Post.

We have someone who can speak to Marie Yovanovitch's character and capabilities, someone who held the job before her, a former Ambassador to Ukraine himself, John Herbst.

Ambassador Herbst, President Trump spoke again, late today, about Ambassador Yovanovitch, saying that she may be a wonderful woman, but he doesn't know her, which is odd because, you know, he previously described her on the phone with the President of Ukraine as "Bad news."

What's your reaction to - to - to what the President has said and done to the Ambassador?

JOHN HERBST, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE, DIRECTOR, ATLANTIC COUNCIL'S EURASIA CENTER: Certainly the things he said in the phone call with Zelensky and his pulling her out of Ukraine early were dreadful things. She did a terrific job in difficult circumstances. And there was no basis to any of the claims against her. COOPER: Have you heard any legitimate explanation, so far, about why the President, for that matter, Rudy Giuliani, would want the Ambassador out of Ukraine?

HERBST: Well we don't know for sure. But there seems to be a fair amount of at least circumstantial evidence that they wanted full-blown cooperation of the Embassy to pursue the - this unfounded investigation into former Vice President Biden.

COOPER: And - and the fig leaf that they have been using, the idea that they want - the President, Giuliani are really concerned about corruption in Ukraine, I keep coming back to the notion that if President Trump and Giuliani were really concerned about corruption in Ukraine, the President would not be using Rudy Giuliani as his point- man, kind of skulking about talking to these Ukrainian officials.

I - I would assume that the President of the United States has far greater levers to truly investigate ongoing corruption, of which, you know, there must be, you know, some ongoing and recent examples. I'm sure the Treasury Department has departments on corruption that - that the President could use.

HERBST: Look, Ukraine has had serious problems with corruption. They've made real progress in the past five years. But more must that needs to be done.

Our Embassy and our Ambassador, Masha Yovanovitch, did a great job, highlighting this problem. And there are issues of corruption, which if the President were to address, would be wonderful.


But going after Vice President Biden for the great job he did, in combination with the EBRD, the IMF, the EU, to remove a - at best, inept, if not, corrupt Prosecutor General is exactly the wrong way to proceed.

COOPER: What does it do for diplomats, for Career Foreign Service Officers who are trying to, you know, execute the policy of the United States in Ukraine, to have someone like Rudy Giuliani kind of freelancing, at the President's behest, with a direct line to the President, doing things which are not necessarily, and apparently, have nothing to do with actual U.S. national interests?

HERBST: This is, of course is dreadful leadership.

A Commander-in-Chief was supposed to stand up for his troops, whether those troops are military or civilian. And here, in fact, we seem to have the undercutting of - of an Ambassador, who was doing, again, a very strong job.

I know that her work, her strong anti-corruption work in Ukraine, was annoying, and even angering senior officials in the previous government, including the former Prosecutor General. And so, they wanted to kind of get back at her. COOPER: Can an Embassy work if they don't really speak for the President, if the President has his own person conducting his own shadow, I wouldn't even call diplomacy, his own shadow agenda in a country?

What does that do to the Embassy trying to act - which is actually, you know, the Career Foreign Service Officer actually sworn to follow the Constitution, and to represent the legitimate interest of the United States?

HERBST: There are two points here. First, occasionally, not often, not normally, a President will have unofficial envoys. But if the policy is sensible, and if the process is sensible, whatever that unofficial envoy is doing is in tandem with the official envoy.

What we've had here are two very different things. Our Ambassador, Masha Yovanovitch, was pursuing American policy, as she received it from Washington, to go after corruption.

And here, you had an unofficial envoy - envoy, talking to people whose record on corruption was, at best, mediocre, if not dreadful, and taking their word for it, and therefore undercutting the work of our Embassy.

It's critical that there be a clear chain of command that the instructions be sound and that - that the Ambassador working those issues is not undercut. But unfortunately, the Ambassador, in this case, was not only undercut, but removed, again, without foundation.

COOPER: Ambassador Herbst, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

HERBST: My pleasure, thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, more of my conversation with Susan Rice, President Obama's former National Security Advisor, and why she decided to call her book, "Tough Love."



COOPER: Susan Rice was both National Security Advisor to President Obama and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

I spoke with her earlier in the week about the current impeachment drive, the Ukraine controversy, and President Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Northern Syria, a decision that triggered the Turkish invasion.

We also talked about her family and how they've impacted her. Ambassador Rice is the Author of the new book "Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For."


COOPER: I got to say for - for me, kind of the star of the book is your mom. I mean I know she's not the main focus. But--


COOPER: --as somebody who, you know, had a strong interesting mom, and - and I know your mom has passed away, which makes me sad that she isn't able to read this book.

RICE: I'm sorry about your mom, too.

COOPER: Yes, thank you. But - but - but - but she had your back.

I mean and she was - I mean, it would - you know, there was - during the - when you were asked to go on the Sunday talk shows, which led to the comments on Benghazi, which got - ultimately became, you know, such a - a focus for - for your opponents, I mean she - she - she watched so much TV, she warned you not to do it.

She smelled - she was like, "What, you're going on all five shows on a Sunday," I--

RICE: She said, "I smell a rat."


RICE: Well, you know, my mom loved me fiercely, as did my dad, but not uncritically. And that's a large reason why I call the book "Tough Love." It's how I was raised. It's how I've tried to raise my own kids.

But she said to me, like, "Why are you doing this?" Because - and I had explained that, you know, I'd been asked. It wasn't my plan for the weekend. I was planning to take our kids to the Ohio State Football game that Saturday. That was my weekend plan.

And, by the way, I still did it because I didn't want to break my commitment to them. And I said I had been asked by the White House, because Secretary Clinton had - had declined. She said to them that, you know, it was a rough week.

I didn't want to do it, but because I was asked, and I felt a responsibility to the team, I said "Yes." My mom's like, "No. You shouldn't do that."

And what she perceived intuitively, and she'd just come off of her fourth or fifth cancer surgery, and a stroke, was that in the hothouse of a political campaign, and a crisis where the facts are evolving, that, you know, the messenger is likely to be shot at just as much as the message.

COOPER: And the - the first messenger, the first person who steps out--

RICE: Right, exactly.

COOPER: --to give what is then the assessment, the late - the latest information, the latest unclassified information--

RICE: However you - much you caveat it, which I did, and however--

COOPER: Right.

RICE: --accurate it was at the time, which it was, it did turn out, at least, in one critical respect to be wrong. And she had this sort of foresight, impressions, and very unvarnished way of - of telling me and my brother what she thought we ought to do or not do.

COOPER: Obviously - you know, a hospice worker, I once read, said that with cancer, at least you have some time, because you're able to talk to your loved one in a way that, you know, you can - you're able to say what you want to say.


I don't know - if this is too personal, it's fine, but you - you write a lot about your mom. Was - did - was her loss, was it different than you - like the aftermath of it, was it different than you thought it was going to be because I - I found it's a lot different than I imagined it was going to be.

RICE: Yes. Well, so I lost both my parents during the Obama Administration. My dad passed in 2011. I was also very, very close to him. My mom passed January 4th, 2017, so just before the end of the Administration.

Even after this, you know, cancer surgery that I just described and her stroke, she's tough as nails. She lasted, you know, another four- plus years.

And I really did feel thankfully with both my parents that despite some of the turbulence of my childhood with them, that I was really at peace, that I had been able to be there for them, and that they had imparted to me what they felt they needed to.

So, it was - it's hugely, you know, crushing loss. And for me, with my mom, it came at a time when I really didn't have the ability to process it. You know, we had to get through the transition.

We had so many things on our plate. And it was only really after I left government that I could kind of feel the weight of the loss.

And the only thing I can say, Anderson - and I think you know this. You never get over that void of losing your parents.

But I feel like they are still with me, and they're here in this book. You know, they're with my kids. You know, they're whispering in my ear, telling me, you know, right from wrong still to this day, still giving me tough love.

COOPER: Yes. The book is "Tough Love." Thank you so much.

RICE: Thank you.


COOPER: Ambassador Rice's book is out now. We'll be right back.