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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Testimony: EU Ambassador Said President Trump Cared About "Big Stuff Like the "Biden Investigation"; Key Witness Confirms Hearing Trump Call About Ukraine Probes; President Trump Denies Witness Tampering With Tweet Attack On Ousted Ambassador, Says He Has Right To Free Speech; Yovanovitch: President Trump's Attacks On Me "Very Intimidating"; Roger Stone Found Guilty Of Lies That Protected President Trump. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired November 15, 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, new impeachment testimony that puts President Trump directly hands on and moment to moment at the center of the scheme to squeeze Ukraine into dirtying up an American political rival. A firsthand account provides further evidence that President Trump didn't really care about corruption in general or Ukraine's wellbeing nor U.S. policy in the region. What he cared about, according to the new testimony, was investigating the Bidens. The testimony was from David Holmes, a staffer and experienced diplomat serving at the U.S. embassy in Kiev.
In his opening statement, he describes a phone call the president's European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland made in front of him to the president on the 26th of July. This is the day after the president called asking Ukraine's president to investigate the conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, one letting Russia off the hook and to investigate the Bidens.
Sondland places the call in front of Holmes and others on an apparently unsecure personal cell phone at an outdoor table in a Kiev restaurant. The president, he says, was talking loudly enough to be overheard at times.
And I'm quoting now from Holmes' testimony. Quote: I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the president explained he was calling for Kiev. I heard President Trump then clarify that the ambassador was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine and went on to state that President Zelensky loves your ass. And then heard President Trump ask, so, he's going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied he's going to do it, adding that president Zelensky will do anything you ask him to. The call ends.
Holmes continues. I asked ambassador Sondland if it was true that president did not give an S about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland agreed the president did not give an S about Ukraine. I asked why not. And Ambassador Sondland stated that the president only cares about big stuff. I noted there was big stuff going on in Ukraine like a war with Russia and Ambassador Sondland replied he meant big stuff that benefits the president like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing, end quote.
Holmes' testimony came immediately after former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch spent hours today testifying before the Intelligence Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interest of the United States. Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray and shady interests, the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: She described efforts by Rudy Giuliani and others, including the president to smear her which the president did actually again today tweeting about her as she was testifying. She called it intimidating. Democrats called it witness intimidation.
And as that was unfolding, a federal jury convicted Trump associate and dirty trickster Roger Stone of seven counts including lying to the intelligence community and witness intimidation. Gordon Sondland goes before the committee next week. He's already testified once behind closed doors and then to correct his testimony after his memory returned to him after other witnesses contradicted evidence he had already given under oath.
Quite a day and it's been quite a week.
CNN's Phil Mattingly starts us off tonight.
So, explain what else Holmes had to say in his testimony today.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. It's worth noting. David Holmes, political counsel at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine. And this is a detailed 10-page statement we obtained that goes through a number of things. Not just the explosive meeting William Taylor first testified about on Wednesday, but also details about his concerns and the concerns of others in his office about the withholding of U.S. security aid, including the possibility that John Bolton thought a meeting with Trump and making President Trump happy was the only way it could be released.
But he also goes into detail about some of the issues they were facing that you heard a lot about today from Marie Yovanovitch, and that is specifically related to Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney. At one point in his testimony, he says, quote, someone wondered aloud why Mr. Giuliani was so active in the media with respect to Ukraine. My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland stated, damn it, Rudy, every time Rudy gets involved, he goes and F's everything up. It's something you'll hear a lot of next week when Ambassador Gordon
Sondland testifies but it also underscores in this very detailed and I would argue very damning testimony in this opening statement from David Holmes that the details here work against the president in many ways and certainly that's going to be the focal of the Democrats' investigation and the ongoing impeachment inquiry, Anderson.
COOPER: President Trump was asked about this conversation earlier in the week. Explain what he said.
MATTINGLY: Yes, he was asked during a press conference with the Turkish president whether or not he knew anything about the call and well -- take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know nothing about that. First time I've heard it. The one thing I've seen that Sondland said was that he did speak to me for a brief moment and I said no quid pro quo under any circumstances and that's true. The other never heard this.
In any event, it's more secondhand information but I never heard it.
REPORTER: Do you recall having a conversation with Sondland --
TRUMP: I don't recall. No, not at all. Not even a little bit. The only thing, and I guess Sondland stayed with his testimony that there was no quid pro quo, pure and simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Now, Anderson, the president referencing two different calls there. A call he made or had with Ambassador Gordon Sondland where Sondland testified there was no quid pro quo and the July 26 phone call which David Holmes is testifying about as we speak right now just below me where he talks about this conversation.
Here's where this runs into issues for the president. Not only was David Holmes in attendance when this call took place and he testifies in detail he's a very clear recollection of hearing what the president had to say. He also testifies there was two other individuals besides the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, at that table who also heard the call.
Here's where else this becomes problematic. Gordon Sondland testifies next week, on Wednesday, alone in front of the House Intelligence Committee. As you noted, he had to amend his testimony once. There's question from members from both parties as to whether he was truthful or any other issues that were left out. He certainly did not mention the call. You can believe he will be asked about the call and whether or not the president's recollections of things record track with his, it's certainly be something to watch, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. We'll see if his memory returned on this one, too.
Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.
I want to bring in the legal and political team. John Dean is with us. Eli Honig, Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, David Gergen, Kirsten Powers, Rick Santorum, also joining us is Uzra Zeya.
So, Gloria, I mean, we thought that Yovanovitch was going to be the lead story and then David Holmes testimony came out. What do you make of at the end of this day?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLTIICAL ANALYST: I think it's very important. I think what David Holmes' testimony does is confirm what the president did the day before on his phone conversation with the president of Ukraine was a clear ask, saying you've got to do this for us after the, you know, I'd like you to do a favor though.
He follows up with the phone conversation and says, so he's going to do the investigation? The investigation is not just about corruption. It's very clear the investigation is about the Bidens and when asked about it at lunch, Sondland offers it very clearly.
The president doesn't really care about Ukraine. What he cares about is investigating the Bidens.
So, it's more of the same. It corroborates what people knew but emphasizes it because the president himself is asking it, OK, what about the investigation?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And the fact that it is the very next day.
BASH: And we've been so focused on this phone call, the "do me a favor though" phone call, the fact the next day, one of the people that the president's referring to was already in a meeting where they, according to this testimony, didn't let any staff in where Sondland met with the Ukrainian president and then wanted to report back right afterwards to the president. I mean, it's really remarkable how much of a line there is.
COOPER: And, by the way, Sondland is the ambassador to the European Union, so I'm not sure what he's doing to the restaurant in Kiev.
BASH: A million dollars to the --
COOPER: Well, no, I know that, but like --
COOPER: It's not like there's nothing going on in the European Union that he could focus on.
BASH: Yes. No, but that's key. We don't know the genesis of Sondland being a part of this, but we'll learn it next week along with a lot of other very important questions about from his perspective, not just what went on with the call but what was his actual role in trying to execute what appears to be the president's desire to --
COOPER: John Dean, it's also extraordinary to here Sondland, I mean, again, I don't know if this is Sondland's characterization of the president's opinion that he only cares about the big stuff -- the big stuff not being a war that Ukraine is waging against Russia but in fact, the big stuff is the Bidens and, you know --
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The big stuff now is he's big stuff. He's really going to be an important witness. I really have, cannot believe he's not spending this weekend with his attorneys.
He's got the potential of perjury. We don't know if that happened but it certainly a potential. High probability, Anderson, he'll go in and plead the Fifth and if they don't give him immunity, he won't testify. He might get immunity and that's his get out of jail free card.
COOPER: I mean, if you are looking to throw somebody under the bus, Gordon Sondland would probably be a prime candidate to be next in line to be thrown under the bus.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the president will wait very patiently to see what he says and then decide to throw him under bus. This has to be the worst day of the presidency so far for Donald Trump.
COOPER: You think so?
GERGEN: This is the worst day. I thought after Yovanovitch testified today, in a very compelling way, that itself was a dramatic story, and injected a lot of drama, into what these proceedings, and, you know, I think it's so graphic what she says, gripping. A writer in "The New York Times" said it reminded him of the McCarthy hearings, when Joseph Welch, the lawyer, looked at Roy Cohn and said, have you no decency, sir. And that's what you thought about Donald Trump tweeting and attacking that woman while she was on -- while she was testifying and intimidating her and threatening her the way he has been.
But on top of this, the blockbuster news about Holmes, it's not just that we learned from somebody with direct knowledge that the president was directing things but doing this the most graphic way. The words here, the language, I think --
COOPER: Gordon Sondland said he doesn't give a shit about Ukraine and, you know, Zelensky, you know, loves his ass. I mean --
GERGEN: It rips the cover off when you look into this snake pit that we've been describing.
BORGER: Forget about the Roger Stone conviction.
COOPER: We'll get to that. There's a lot to get to.
Uzra, you served in the Foreign Services. You know Mr. Holmes. What is he like? I mean, who is he?
UZRA ZEYA, FORMER SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I had the pleasure to work with David Holmes over at eight years, my Foreign Service career. We served together in India. We worked together in the State Department.
In my opinion, he embodies the highest values of public service -- honor, integrity, and non-partisanship. Absolutely.
COOPER: Does what happened today -- I mean, as somebody who serves in the service, you heard the Ambassador Yovanovitch says that the State Department is being hollowed out from the inside. Do you see that?
ZEYA: I mean, I've certainly witnessed that myself. You know, we've seen an exodus of some of the most experienced and talented diplomats across the board. People like Linda Thomas Greenfield, Anne Patterson, Joe Yoon (ph), the list goes on and on. Nearly every region of the world, and Masha Yovanovitch, who I think it's very important to point out, is still a foreign service officer and does exemplify that incredible courage and commitment and --
COOPER: Yes, a point the Republicans were making, she's still employed, the same amount of money. Her career is effectively over in terms of getting a foreign posting as an ambassador.
ZEYA: Well, I think she described the manner in which she was removed was something that was just an affront to 33 years of incredibly dedicated, selfless service.
COOPER: Senator Santorum, what do you make of the testimony and let's start I guess with Holmes.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Again, I feel like I'm in an echo chamber here. Every time I come on here, it's the worst day the president had. This is horrific. I mean, this is the end of this presidency, and then that passes and then another thing comes along. This is the worst thing and this is the end of the presidency.
The reality is, David, what Holmes said is absolutely consistent with what every Republican believes. Number one, the president cares most about himself. Every Republican and American has already accepted the fact that no matter what, the president cares about himself than everything else. No news flash here.
So, when it comes to Ukraine, the fact an issue more personal to him is the thing he cares about the most, that's a shock to anybody? Raise your hand, seriously, raise your hand. Shocking. It's not.
COOPER: But your argument, wait a minute, your argument all along is that the president really cared about corruption in Ukraine?
SANTORUM: He does. But the thing he cares --
COOPER: Well, he doesn't give a shit about Ukraine, why --
SANTORUM: That's an opinion. Whoa, whoa, that's an opinion -- that's not, he didn't overhear him saying that.
SANTORUM: That's Sondland saying that's what he thinks.
COOPER: That is a donor to the president --
SANTORUM: And he's with a bunch of guys who he knows, probably not a big fan of the president, and what he's doing. And so, that's a whole different thing.
The reality is that what he overheard was the president asking a question that he admits. In fact, went in the camera and said, yes, I care about that, yes, I want this to be investigated.
Here's the question. Is what he's asking a criminal offense? Is what he's asking licit? It is perfectly licit for a president to ask for an investigation about this. There's nothing illegal about what he's asking.
COOPER: Here's why I don't understand, though. You were saying the president doesn't care about Ukraine, he cares about himself.
SANTORUM: I said he cares about himself more than everything else. I didn't say he doesn't care about other things.
COOPER: Fine. So number one, he cares about himself.
SANTORUM: Yes, that's not a surprise.
COOPER: So, but he doesn't -- if you're also claiming he cares about corruption in Ukraine, why does he care about corruption in Ukraine? Clearly, if he cares about himself, the only thing Ukraine is on his radar for are the Bidens and is --
SANTORUM: And again, Gloria and I had a conversation after our meeting yesterday, the other day. And Gloria said to me, you give the president every benefit of the doubt. And my response is, I may, but you give him no benefit of the doubt. The reality is --
COOPER: You just said he cares about himself more than anything else.
SANTORUM: He does. He cares about himself -- well, that's true.
COOPER: It's great quality in the president of the United States.
SANTORUM: It's not a great quality and I think Republicans find that to be a very difficult --
COOPER: I applaud you for --
SANTORUM: But here's the reality. To say the president doesn't care about the Ukraine/Russia war is ridiculous. That he doesn't care about providing aid. He's the only president recently that has provided.
COOPPER: Kirsten, do you think the president cares about the war because he's holding up aid for the way that this investigation --
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: If he cares about it, he cares about it less than the priority that he gave.
SANTORUN: I'm not -- I'm not denying that.
POWERS: Into investigating, nothing that happened basically with Joe Biden that he thinks that happened.
Well, it's a fact, actually. But I think -- I think the idea, it's interesting to hear you say that nobody should be shocked that the president only cares about himself above all else. I think we should remain shocked about that kind of behavior, especially in light of what we've witnessed the last couple of days, people completely committed to serving their country, and watching what he has done to one of those women, you know, is really reprehensible and I just don't think it's OK for you to say that it's only OK for him to care about himself when his job is --
SANTORUM: I didn't say only.
POWERS: -- is literally to stand up for the United States. That is his number one job and the number one concern. He cares about himself more than anything else.
SANTORUM: No, I didn't say -- I said he cares most about himself. It doesn't mean he doesn't care about --
POWERS: This is semantics.
COOPER: It was interesting to watch Marie Yovanovitch being questioned today by a bunch of folks who, you know, are serving the country in Capitol Hill but Marie Yovanovitch has gone to numerous hardship postings. She served in Somalia, I mean, just a little bit of time there and that is a really tough posting and to have the president of the United States basically blame her for what has happened in Somalia is the most asinine thing I've ever heard.
I mean, Somalia fell apart in 1992 after the fall of the regime and the famine. The idea the president said, look at what happened in Somalia after Marie was there. I mean, what is that a -- I mean, this is our president?
POWERS: She's a person. You know, I mean, that's the thing -- he doesn't treat people like people. Like she's a person who dedicated her entire career to serving this country.
POWERS: And he -- SANTORUM: I repeat one more time -- I repeat one more time. I agree
with 90 percent of what he does, 20 percent of what he says and this is one of the 80 percent that I don't agree with.
POWERS: Just the story of this woman's life, I mean, that's essentially --
SANTORUM: Look, this is -- this is why he's not at 60 percent popularity.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break.
Coming up next, how the president is reacting to testimony about the phone conversation that you heard him say he knows nothing about. More on Marie Yovanovitch's day before the House Intelligence Committee and one of the lawmakers who was there for it as we continue.
COOPER: President Trump and the White House are putting out a lot of fires tonight. Some of their own making when it comes to the Ukraine controversy. It began this morning when they released a rough transcript of a call between the president -- actually, it was more than a rough draft. It was a pretty detailed transcript, much more so than the rough transcript that was later released on the other call.
They released a transcript of the first call between the president and his Ukrainian counterpart, the president to the president, that only undercut their defense of wanting to root out corruption because they claimed in the original readout, the White House said, oh, the president and the president of Ukraine talked about fighting corruption, and fighting corruption. That actually was not in the calls. The White House basically made something up in the statement they had originally made.
Later, president Trump attacked the witness in today's public hearing on Twitter and even some Republicans criticized those remarks, some. And now, this evening, it appears the man he made ambassador to the E.U. has inadvertently given Democrats what some would believe is firsthand evidence, Republicans until now, said did not exist.
Jim Acosta joins us now from the White House.
So, what does the White House saying about this -- about Holmes' testimony?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, they're running out of fire extinguishers over at the White House this evening, no question about it. I will tell you that a White House official responded to this very damaging testimony that came out this evening from that aide who says he overheard the president talking to someone about these investigations and I won't go over it because you've gone over what was said during the call, but according to this White House official -- you know, this person was essentially pushing back on the importance of all of this, saying what does this witness do besides essentially confirm what the president was talking about in his phone conversation with the president of Ukraine.
And so, you know, the White House is asking where is the quid pro quo on all of this? That's their perspective.
But I will tell you, Anderson, there is a lot of consternation inside the White House this evening about what Gordon Sondland, the E.U. ambassador did, apparently holding up this phone so other aides could hear at this lunch when the president was calling in asking about these investigations, according to a source familiar with conversations inside the White House and this is a direct quote, the president speaks loudly, Sondland should know that.
And so incredibly, there is some blame going around for Gordon Sondland when it was the president who was speaking loudly enough all of these people in the restaurant apparently could hear what he was saying.
COOPER: You could hear the bus backing up getting ready to run over Gordon Sondland.
The president who has, you know, often said he has the best memory of anyone, he says he has no recollection of this call. This call was the day after he talked to -- you know, and asked for the favor from the president of Ukraine. He said he has no recollection, I'm not sure how many times he gets a call in which he's told a foreign president loves his ass but he seems to have forgotten this part of the call.
Is the White House have any explanation of that?
ACOSTA: You know, at this point, they're sticking to what the president said a couple of days ago that he doesn't recall having this conversation.
Of course, that is the danger when the president says, I don't recall. I don't know. We've listed a slew of situations where he's said this sort of thing and contradicted by the facts later on.
You know, we've caught them red handed from time to time. This is the danger the White House is getting into, Anderson, as we start to get into the next week of public hearings, you're going to have people testifying presumably, Gordon Sondland being one of them. Alexander Vindman being another to firsthand knowledge of this dirt for dollar scheme that was apparently going on with the administration that the president was apparently leading, if you can believe what this aide said this evening about what he overheard in the phone call with the Ukraine ambassador.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Back now with our political and legal team.
Eli, let me ask you about on the legal front what stands out to you.
ELI HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, I see a couple of potential crimes here. Assuming the truth of this new allegation, which is, by the way, as Senator Santorum, it's entirely consistent with the July 25th transcript. I would argue in damaging way, not a let's forgive it way.
But I see two specific federal crimes here. First of all, bribery. If a public official seeks a personal benefit in exchange for an official act, that is bribery. I think that's exactly what we have here.
And second of all, forget about any exchange. It's a federal crime to solicit foreign election aid. Just a one-way ask of a foreign individual for something of value relating to an election or a campaign.
So, I see Senator --
SANTORUM: The Supreme Court said bull -- B.S. on information being a political value.
HONIG: The Supreme Court did not say, no, no, no. William Barr said B.S., not the Supreme Court. Big difference.
SANTORUM: The reality is that's never going to hold water.
HONIG: What Supreme Court case.
SANTORUM: And to suggest that asking for an investigation of a man getting $50,000 who had no qualifications for sitting on a board of an energy company created because of fraud in the first place and saying whether that should be investigated, that has personal -- the president is getting nothing personal. It's political.
And you're saying.
HONIG: I have quick response.
SANTORUM: Ladies and gentlemen, there is a difference between getting personally rewarded financially and having political because if we're saying that anybody who seeks to do something for political gain from a foreign exchange is committing bribery, then Joe Biden should go to jail, because you know what? There's just as much political gain that he now takes credit for and the Obama administration for getting -- all of these things have political gain. You have to look at whether there was personal gain.
And just because there was direct political gain for the president is irrelevant.
HONIG: If Donald Trump asked Ukraine to give him a used van that he could use with his campaign, would that be a thing of value for his campaign?
SANTORUM: If you --
HONIG: Of course it would.
Now, what's more valuable? That or opposition research on Joe Biden?
SANTORUM: He didn't have -- well, first off, he didn't ask for opposition research.
HONIG: He asked for something better. You're right. Better. He asked for a criminal investigation. Better.
SANTORUM: He asked for a legal investigation of corrupt -- corruption in Ukraine. That is -- is that inconsistent? Inconsistent?
HONIG: -- other than that.
SANTORUM: Does it, OK. Only if someone is interested for one thing, that all of a sudden changes things?
HONIG: It tells you what the priority is.
SANTORUM: No, it doesn't.
POWERS: If he's really interested in corruption, he wouldn't, A, get rid of the ambassador that's not known for fighting corruption.
SANTORUM: It was a legal request.
POWERS: No, if you're going to make the argument he cares about corruption, got rid of the ambassador known for fighting corruption. You know, there was the testimony today, also, was saying basically that it became very clear to David Holmes that they were making all this progress on anti-corruption and yet they couldn't get the meeting with the White House. It became very clear. The only thing that was going to get the meeting was the dirt on Biden.
COOPER: If this is a legitimate investigation into corruption in Ukraine of which it means the Bidens, that's something that you would want the U.S. embassy to be pushing as well. The president, you know, has say over what the U.S. embassy in Ukraine does. Why is he having Rudy Giuliani of all people with shady business dealings going in Ukraine and all throughout Eastern Europe? Sulking about with Lev and Igor looking for --
SANTORUM: The answer to that I think is clear and that is, he has some suspicion about the, quote, deep state within the State Department.
COOPER: Right, but, OK, right --
SANTORUM: Now, you can roll your eyes and say, I don't believe that.
COOPER: No, no, I'm not rolling my eyes. I'm just saying --
SANTORUM: That's a legitimate, that's how the president felt about it.
COOPER: But you're saying he's concerned about the deep state and yet Levin, Igor and Giuliani and all of these corrupt Ukrainian officials who are now in the camp with Giuliani and Lev and Igor, those, he has no concerns about their validity, but Ambassador Yovanovitch is the one who's suspect?
SANTORUM: I think you wanted someone who could speak directly and Rudy Giuliani -- you can say Rudy Giuliani is corrupt. I don't think Rudy Giuliani is corrupt.
COOPER: I didn't say he's corrupt. He's out there --
SANTORUM: You basically put him in with the den of thieves.
COOPER: Well, he's working with the den of thieves.
SANTORUM: Well, yes, maybe yes, maybe no.
COOPER: He's choosing to work with a den of thieves.
SANTORUM: Maybe yes, maybe no, we don't know that.
COOPER: But we do know that. He is walk -- he's trying to get a visa for them. He's trying to get them into the United Stated. He's trying to get them on Hannity. You wouldn't associate with these people. I mean --
SANTORUM: Well, I'm not the standard, OK? But --
COOPER: Well, yes. I wish you were.
SANTORUM: I wish I could be. I appreciate that, but I'm not the standard.
BORGER: Can I just that there's another important thing that I think Sondland said to the President, which is very damaging, because he's trying to suck up to the President here, let's be obvious. You know, they all love you and blah, blah, blah. He said about Zelensky, he will do anything you ask him to. He will do anything. What does that mean?
He will do anything, why, because he loves you so much? No. Not because he loves you so much, but because he needs what you are dangling in front of him so much, which is already congressionally approved military aid which he should already have. That is why he would do anything for him.
COOPER: We've got to get a break. We're going to dig deeper into everything that we heard during today's public hearing, including the former ambassador who asked Congress, "How could our system fail like this?" We'll be right back.
COOPER: Before David Holmes gave his closed door testimony which ties President Trump directly to the alleged scheme to extort political favors from Ukraine, namely Ukrainian action that could help him win a second term, the holes were still ringing from what Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers in public.
This 33-year veteran of the Foreign Service detailed the efforts by the President and others to hollow out the State Department in her opinion and not just remove her from her post, which any president is entitled to do, but smear and intimidate her on top of that. As she was testifying, as we'll see in Jessica Schneider's report, the President tweeted and did it again. We'll be right back -- here it is.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The President is facing accusations he crossed the line sending a tweet Democrats alleged mounts to witness intimidation against career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch as she testified on Capitol Hill.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Marie Yovanovitch, as you sit here testifying, the President is attacking you on Twitter.
YOVANOVITCH: I mean, I can't speak to what the President is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.
SCHNEIDER: Despite the White House saying the President would not watch the proceedings beyond Congressman Nunez's opening statement, the President sent this tweet an hour into the hearing. "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? It is a U.S. President's absolute right to appoint ambassadors."
Chairman Schiff read that tweet to Yovanovitch and Democrats warned that the President's online rant could prompt repercussions, including a new article of impeachment.
SCHIFF: Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.
SCHNEIDER: Yovanovitch recounted how she's felt threatened by the President and his associates before.
YOVANOVITCH: The person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction.
SCHNEIDER: Especially after the release of the July 25th phone call transcript between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.
DANIEL GOLDMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE MAJORITY COUNSEL: President Trump says that the former ambassador from the United States, the woman was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news, so I just want to let you know. What was your reaction when you heard the President of the United States refer to you as bad news?
YOVANOVITCH: I couldn't believe it. I mean, again, shocked, appalled, devastated that the President of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state and it was me. I mean, I couldn't believe it.
GOLDMAN: What did you think when President Trump told President Zelensky and you read that you were going to go through some things?
YOVANOVITCH: I didn't know what to think, but I was very concerned.
GOLDMAN: What were you concerned about?
YOVANOVITCH: She's going to go through some things. It didn't sound good. It sounded like a threat.
GOLDMAN: Did you feel threatened?
YOVANOVITCH: I did.
SCHNEIDER: Yovanovitch was ousted from her post as ambassador to Ukraine in May after a campaign to remove her that she says was led by Rudy Giuliani and his circulation of rumors that she was undermining the President.
YOVANOVITCH: I do not understand Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me.
SCHNEIDER: And she was asked why she didn't get the support from her boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
SCHIFF: In the face of this smear campaign, did colleagues at the State Department try to get a statement of support for you from you from Secretary Pompeo?
SCHIFF: Were they successful?
SCHIFF: Did you come to learn that they couldn't issue such a statement because they feared it would be undercut by the President?
YOVANOVITCH: Yes. SCHNEIDER: Yovanovitch then went point by point to rebut the allegations against her.
YOVANOVITCH: I want to reiterate first that the allegation that I disseminated a do not prosecute list was a fabrication. I did not tell Mr. Lutsenko or other Ukrainian official who they should or should not prosecute.
What I can say is that Mr. Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.
SCHNEIDER: The former ambassador warning, it sends the wrong message to countries like Russia.
YOVANOVITCH: Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.
SCHNEIDER: And as Yovanovitch's approximately six hours of testimony ended, people in the hearing room applauded the former ambassador who has spent 33 years in the Foreign Service.
Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: And back with us, our political and legal team. Kirsten, it was interesting to hear the ambassador today essentially say that this sends a message to sort of shady characters in other countries that you can undermine and bring down a U.S. ambassador, you know, if you know the right people and you -- and that is possible.
POWERS: Or make up lies about them, right? I mean, I think that was one of the most important things that she said. I mean, there's the personal story of what happened to her personally, which I think is pretty horrible.
And then there's the foreign policy implications to it, which is that other governments can watch this and they can say, oh, we have an ambassador that's giving us a hard time, an ambassador who's trying to get us to stop being corrupt, for example, and we can launch a smear campaign and we can get them removed and that Donald Trump will be completely open to that.
COOPER: Yes, with the conspiracy theory at the heart of it.
POWERS: Yes, exactly.
COOPER: I mean, David, do you worry about the, you know -- I mean, the Foreign Service, is -- you know, the State Department is an important thing. You talk to military people. They will say, look, you know, the State Department is essential because without them it ends up -- the military are the ones ends up being on the point of that.
GERGEN: Absolutely. And General Mattis said, you know, if you don't send diplomats, I'll eventually have to send guns. And that's what the military strongly believes.
Anderson, I don't think -- I think in the near term, it may not do as much damage in time because it's a particular case, but I do think that the hollowing out of the Foreign Service is serious.
It's not just that people are leaving upon retirement, it is rather -- that people that you went to college with, let's say in New Haven, you saw a lot of really fine educated people who wanted to serve their country and went into the foreign service. It was something that was magnetic in the earlier time in our history.
And right now the students I see, they're saying, I'm not doing that. Why would I ever put myself in that position where you're so vulnerable and you may be held up to cameras like this when we have people like Rick going after me? Why would I do that, you know?
SANTORUM: Well, people like Rick going after you, hold on a second.
GERGEN: That's true.
SANTORUM: Let me just -- Rick Santorum in the past and I'll do it again tonight, has going after the State Department on many occasions, because I've had many, many Republicans that had problems with the State Department bureaucracy for decades.
President Bush had problems with the State Department. The reality is, there's a trans (ph) bureaucracy over there that has a very different point of view than most conservative positions on national security. And so --
GERGEN: So, she should not be -- what about (INAUDIBLE)?
SANTORUM: I'm not -- you did not hear me defend and nor will I defend what the President's did here today.
GERGEN: What about her? What about her?
SANTORUM: I don't -- I mean, all I know is what I read in the last 24 hours.
GERGEN: Is she a beefsteak?
SANTORUM: I don't know.
BORGER: Nobody today --
SANTORUM: You know, I can't answer that question. But I can tell you, I've run into many, many problems over that department.
BORGER: Nobody today said the President was right to fire her. I didn't hear it. Did you hear it from any Republican today? Particularly --
SANTORUM: They said that he has the right to fire.
COOPER: He has the right to.
BORGER: They said he has the right, but they didn't say he was right to do it. You're going to defend him.
BASH: Yes, no, that is a big difference. And the key about deep state and the problems with the State Department, I mean, absolutely, that's not new and that isn't just Republicans. It's true of both parties and it's not just the State Department, its political people trying to deal with an entrenched government.
Having said that, that is far different from what was on display today, which is a President of the United States peddling conspiracy theories that even his own top advisers have told him in private, don't do that. It is incorrect to say, for example, that the DNC server was in Ukraine. It's just not right and you're going to be proven wrong and you're going to look bad.
He can't help it. He did it anyway and that is part of what he was asking for, asking for investigations on things that are in the dark web that are totally debunked. That's -- how is that appropriate for a president?
BORGER: So the President of the United States is a conspiracy theorist and that is, you know, it was Bossert, wasn't it?
BASH: Tom Bossert.
POWERS: Tom Bossert.
BASH: He said it on air, he told me --
BORGER: Homeland security, right, who said that? They told him, but Rudy Giuliani is whispering in his ear going, well. And by the way, Rudy Giuliani's own --
SANTORUM: Right, people have told him he's the blank, but other people have told him it's not. So, look --
GERGEN: What kind of people?
BORGER: Some people are saying --
SANTORUM: I mean, Rudy Giuliani would be one of them.
SANTORUM: Well, look, I mean, the idea that Rudy Giuliani is this huge conspiracy theorist that is well known for unbalanced activity, I don't subscribe to that and I don't think most Americans do. COOPER: Let's take a quick break. Just ahead, a member of the House Intelligence Committee will join us to talk about what stood out to him during today's testimony.
COOPER: There's going to be more testimony in the House impeachment inquiry tomorrow with the White House budget official testifying from the Office Management of Budget. More major witnesses are expected in public next week.
I want to talk about what we learned today, including what -- well, whatever you can say about the closed door hearing that we reported on at the top of the broadcast, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who sits on the intelligence committee. Congressman, thanks for being with us.
Obviously there's a lot you probably can't say, so I'll leave you to that. But David Holmes from all the reporting confirmed firsthand that he heard President Trump talking to Ambassador Sondland about whether the Ukrainian president was going to be doing the investigation. I'm wondering just overall how significant Holmes' testimony was.
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Well, it's one more piece of corroboration to the account of other witnesses who suggested that Sondland was at the heart of this but, of course, it's a major development. I mean --
COOPER: Because it took place right the day after the request -- the favor was asked by the President to the Ukrainian president.
MALONEY: That's exactly right. And of course, the color around that, I've seen what's being reported about it. I know the testimony is still going on, so I am constrained with what I can say.
But what I can tell you is that I view this as a major development. This is another very credible witness, a member of the Foreign Service, who heard the President's voice with his own ears. It was unmistakably clear what the President was focused on and that's just from Ambassador Taylor's account without going into what the testimony is going on right now.
But what I can tell you is that there is increasingly little doubt about what the President was up to here. And, of course, this is one more thing Ambassador Sondland neglected to recall in his multiple attempts to get his story right, so we are very interested in getting the full story out of Ambassador Sondland.
COOPER: Right. I mean, it is remarkable that the ambassador testified under oath, there a lot of things he said he didn't remember or didn't recall, then when other people come forward and testify, his memory is restored and he amends his testimony and yet he still didn't mention this call. I'm not sure how many calls he had with the President, but I imagine in his life those are notable events. Will Holmes be called to testify? Do you that is -- will be necessary?
MALONEY: You know, I don't believe that decision has been made yet and there's a standard about whether there's important information for the American public to see in a public form.
Look, we want the truth and what is terrific about people like the extraordinary witness you saw today, Ambassador Yovanovitch, and before her, Ambassador Taylor, soon people like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, and now an additional Foreign Service officer, is that these are career people who at risk to their own professional careers are stepping forward to do the right thing.
And that is going to aid us in surrounding people like Ambassador Sondland with no opportunity but the right one, which is to tell the truth. And that's, by the way, why it was so important to do some of these depositions behind closed doors so witnesses can't try to, you know, construct their testimony around what other people said. That's a well-warned investigative tactic. It's paying off and now in public people are seeing it for themselves.
COOPER: That's one of the things Sondland -- when he testified to community he said, "I recall no discussions with any State Department or White House official about former Vice President Biden or his son, nor did I recall taking part of any effort to encourage investigation into the Biden -- I mean, into Bidens."
MALONEY: Yes, that's not (INAUDIBLE) very well.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, is he a credible witness?
MALONEY: You know, obviously there are going to be questions about the credibility of a witness who has so much trouble recalling key facts in the investigation. But I think in this case a fair person looking at it when you add up all of the other testimony, all of the other corroborating evidence, you're going to say that this is someone who was trying to minimize it first who is now having the truth now dragged out of them.
We just want that truth. We just want him to tell what he knows and it can -- the chips can fall where they may. By the way, the State Department is sitting on a mountain of evidence. They have contemporaneous notes of all of these witnesses who said they take notes, they've got emails, and text messages, phone records, calendar entries. If they want objective evidence for who did what and what happened, they should release those facts.
COOPER: And they're not doing that?
MALONEY: Of course they're not doing it. They are resisting a subpoena improperly and yet better belief if those documents and information helped the President, we would have heard about it.
COOPER: The idea that the President was trying to intimidate Ambassador Yovanovitch, Jim Jordan has said, well, it wasn't intimidation because she wouldn't have known about it because she was testifying. Does that make any sense to you?
MALONEY: You know, look, it's easy to be flip about that. I actually think that's a really inappropriate remark for a member of Congress to make. I mean, I think these facts can get so absurd. You can lose some of your perspective on it.
This is a person whose career has been ended by the machinations, this grimy political interest and financial interest of people like President Trump and Rudy Giuliani. She's in here. She has been told to come back because they're worried about her security.
And she's up here testifying truthfully and she's treated to an intimidating tweet in real time by the President of the United States. I don't understand explaining that away. It's beneath the dignity of the office. It's outright witness intimidation. We should get clear on what's going on.
COOPER: It also, I mean, seems -- even though if she wouldn't have heard about it then, it's also intimidating or, you know, sending a message to any other future witness who is going to be coming forth.
MALONEY: Right. And of course, this is part of a pattern where the witness -- where the whistleblower is threatened by the President. You know, compared it to spies and traitors, it's suggested that it should face -- you know, the penalty of death, the way we used to in the old days is what he said.
I mean, this President has a clear pattern of trying to spin and intimidate and get in the way of the facts coming out. So if he is not guilty, he should stop acting like it.
COOPER: Yes. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
We're going to take a quick break. We'll have more of President Trump's reaction to the guilty verdict for Roger Stone, one of his long-time confidantes.
COOPER: As the impeachment hearings were under way and President Trump was tweeting about a witness while they were testifying, Roger Stone, one of President Trump's astucious (ph) supporters was found guilty of witness tampering, lying to Congress and a series of related charges in a federal courtroom in Washington.
Stone is the sixth associate to the President to have been convicted or to have pleaded guilty of crime since the President took office. The verdict stemmed from testimony Stone gave to the House Intelligence Committee back in 2017 when it was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Most memorably, Stone was arrested by FBI agents in a predawn raid as the Mueller investigation wind down. In all, Stone was convicted on seven counts, which include witness tampering, obstruction of congressional committee proceeding.
President Trump wasted little time into reacting, "So now they convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come." The President tweeted, "Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr and Nellie, Steel and all of the others, including even Mueller himself? Didn't they lie? A double standard like never seen before in the history of our country."
Of course, that they the President refers to is his own Department of Justice, whose prosecutors in fact asked the judge to remand Stone to jail immediately after the verdict. Stone was allowed to remain free. His sentencing will be in February.
That's it for now. I'll be back 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time tonight, another live edition of "360," until then slow news night. I'll hand it over to Chris Cuomo for "Prime Time." Chris?