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State Department Aide With Bombshell Testimony Against Trump; Marie Yovanovitch Feel Threatened By President Trump's Words; President Trump Impeachment Inquiry; Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) Is Interviewed About Public Testimony Of Witnesses; Undecided Voters React To Impeachment Testimony; A Look Ahead At Next Week's Public Hearings. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 15, 2019 - 23:00   ET





CNN Senior Political Analyst, David Gergen who served four presidents from both parties in his distinguished White House career, something unexpected and striking to us earlier tonight.

Today was, he said, the single worst day yet for the Trump presidency. That's his opinion. Coming from someone though with experience including during the dark days in the Nixon administration. His assessment certainly gets your attention.

There's no denying that however you look at it today was significant, a big day at the end of a historic week marking the first public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry. That's why we aim to counter tonight in this special hour.

We hope to put not only the day but the week into perspective and take a look at what's to come. To do that, we need to start with what we learned tonight.

Closed door testimony from a man named David Holmes, a staffer and experienced diplomat serving at the U.S. embassy in Kiev. It puts President Trump - his testimony does - directly at the center of the alleged scheme to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens, as well as conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

In fact, according to Holmes' opening statement which CNN has obtained exclusively, this is all the president was interested in. According to Gordon Sondland, the E.U. ambassador. Not corruption in general nor Russia's incursion into the country. According to Sondland he wanted -- he wanted help winning a second term through the investigation of his leading political rival.

In Holmes' opening statement he describes a phone call that the president and European Union Ambassador, Gordon Sondland made in front of him to the president on the 26th of July. Now this is the day after the president's call asking Ukraine's

president for a favor to investigate a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election. One which led to Russia off the hook, and to investigate the Bidens.

Ambassador Sondland places the call infront of Holmes and others on an apparently unsecure personal cell phone at an outdoor table in a restaurant in Kiev, Ukraine. The president, he says, was talking loudly enough to be overheard at times.

In fact, according to Holmes says the -- Sondland actually held the phone away from his ear the president was talking so loudly.

According to the testimony, quote, "I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the president and explain that he was calling from 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, quote, "loves your ass," end quote. "I then heard President Trump asked, so he's going to do the investigation?"

Now remember this is the day after he had asked directly the president to do these so-called investigations. Ambassador Sondland replied that he's going to do that. Adding that President Zelensky will do anything you ask him to. The call ended. Holmes continues. I asked Ambassador Sondland if it was true that the president did not give a shit about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland agreed that the president did not give a shit about Ukraine. I asked why not. And Ambassador Sondland stated that the president only cares about big stuff." End quotes.

"Now I noted that there was big stuff going on in Ukraine" said Holmes, "like a war with Russia and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant big stuff that benefits the president like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing."

Now Holmes' testimony came immediately after former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch went before the intelligence committee. She testified about the smear campaign against her including on the July 25th call with Ukraine's president.


DANIEL GOLDMAN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: President Trump says that the former ambassador from the United States, the woman was bad news. And the people she was dealing within 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?

MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I couldn't believe it. I mean, again, shock. Appalled. Devastated. That the president of the United States would take 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?



COOPER: Yovanovitch also told the committee about the lack of support she saw from Secretary of State Pompeo.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): In the face of the smear campaign did colleagues at the State Department try to get statement of support for you from Secretary Pompeo?


SCHIFF: Were they successful?


SCHIFF: Did you come to learn they couldn't issue such a statement because they feared it would be undercut by the president?




COOPER: Undercut with a tweet such as the one the president sent while she was testifying today. And I'm quoting now from the president's tweet. "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia. How did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine where the new Ukrainian president spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President's absolute right to appoint ambassadors."

He is right about the very last part. Democrats though seized on the tweet as evidence they believe of witness intimidation and the ambassador when asked said yes, it does intimidate her.

Also, as she was testifying a Washington federal jury was convicting Trump's political guru, Roger Stone, of lying to the very same congressional panel that and witness tampering similar to what is now being alleged against the president. Mr. Stone is now the sixth Trump associate who either plead to or be convicted of federal crimes.

His former business partner, Paul Manafort is currently behind bars and everything you just heard was only today. Don't forget there was testimony this week from State Department veterans Bill Taylor and George Kent. Testimony that painted a very dark picture of what they call the irregular channels of diplomacy under this administration.

John Bolton, according to Taylor's testimony was less settled about likened it to, quote, "a drug deal" unquote. So, there was all that.

And two major court rulings against the president on his taxes, David Gergen, as we said, made the case that this could be the worst day for President Trump and his presidency. But given all of that the case could be made frankly for the whole week.

A lot to talk about. Let's start with David Holmes testimony which went late into the night. CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us with that. So talk a little bit more about what Holmes is laying out or did lay out in his opening statement today.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Anderson, David Holmes just departed on Capitol Hill a short while ago. Six hours behind closed doors with lawmakers. Now lawmakers were mostly mum about what was said in this classified setting.

The 10-page opening statement that CNN obtained is detailed in several places, it is damming and it is wide ranging. You talk about the meeting that William Taylor first testified about earlier this week. Obviously, we have plenty of details on that.

But it's worth noting the Holmes statement goes significantly further than that. It talks about the decision to withhold security aide.

Saying at one point, Ambassador John Bolton made clear in a private meeting that President Trump was likely "unwilling to lift that hold," end quote, unless he was, quote, "favorably impressed by a meeting with President Zelensky." That was in the offering that was coming in a short order.

He also went in depth about recollections in comments from others about Rudy Giuliani. Someone we heard a lot about from Marie Yovanovitch, the former Ukrainian ambassador today.

Saying at one point, "Someone wondered aloud about 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 fs everything up."

So it's not just the meeting, which is obviously very important from a first person perspective, from a witness perspective. But it was the testimony of somebody who was on the ground, who was actually seeing what was transpiring.

And the fact that much of that testimony backs up what we have heard from other witnesses throughout the course of this week that it's certainly going to make this individual a key player for Democrats going forward and certainly somebody they are absolutely considering bringing in from the public at some point soon, Anderson.

COOPER: And President Trump was asked earlier this week about the conversation. What did he say exactly?

MATTINGLY: He said he had no recollection of it. In fact, just listen to his own words.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: 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 I have never heard this. In any event it's more secondhand information. But I've never heard it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recall 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.


MATTINGLY: Now Anderson, there's two issues with what the president just said here. One that it was secondhand. Holmes makes it very clear explicitly that not only did he overhear the president quoting specific things the president said. But also, that two other embassy staffers were sitting at the table with them. There were other witnesses there as well.

The other is this, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, we've heard his name a lot this week. He had to amend his own testimony that he gave behind closed doors. He will be testifying on Wednesday by himself in front of the panel in public.

These things are going to be brought up without question. And I think there's one more point that probably hasn't gotten as much attention about this 10-page opening statement.

Holmes makes very clear the reason why he came forward, the reason why he contacted Ambassador William Taylor. The reason, because he was reading reports of the impeachment inquiry talking about how everything was hearsay. He says in his statement once he saw that he realized he had firsthand information and he decided to come forward.


In other words, what he saying is the Republican attacks on the testimony up to this point are essentially what drove him to come forward. Now what he said what he's bringing to the table becomes central to the impeachment inquiry, Anderson.

COOPER: Phil Mattingly, I appreciate it. Thanks very much.

I want to turn to our legal and political late-night team. Impeachment law specialist, Ross Garber, Elliot Williams, Carrie Cordero, Dana Bash, Jen Psaki, and Scott Jennings.

Dana, I mean, it's interesting. Holmes traveled from Ukraine to testify under subpoena. He didn't quibble about it. He did not wait for a court ruling like Bolton and others. How important do you think his testimony is?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Very important. I mean, you just heard Phil lay out what he said explicitly in his opening statement that CNN obtained. That it was because of all of the back and forth particularly what Republicans were saying about, you know, this can't be true because we only have second and thirdhand that he wanted to do it.

Yes, he got subpoenaed but it sounds like that was a formality so that he can actually testify. Because he's still is very much a government employee working in the executive branch.

And look, this is we already we're waiting for Gordon Sondland's testimony next Wednesday. It makes the stakes for that so much higher from what we learned and for him.


BASH: And for him to make sure that this time he gets it right and tells the truth whatever the truth is since he already amended his testimony --


COOPER: Right. I mean, Jen, you worked at State Department. I mean, is it common for -- first of all, I don't quite understand why the E.U. ambassador was even in a restaurant in Kiev involved in this because that has nothing to do with -- it's not like --


JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Ukraine isn't part of the E.U.

COOPER: Or that there's nothing going on in the E.U. for him to be dealing with. Putting that aside, is it common for the -- for an E.U. ambassador even if a political appointee to have phone calls with direct line to the president in especially in open setting in a restaurant like this?

PSAKI: No. Absolutely not. I mean, there are times when ambassadors or certainly people who are traveling, the secretary of state or the deputy secretary of state have calls to the president about ongoing issues.

Usually those are done in a SCIF that set up in a hotel or at an embassy. So, one, this is very uncommon how the call actually took place over a cell phone that we all can agree wasn't secure.

I think it's fair to say Ambassador Sondland is not a typical ambassador. Ambassador Yovanovitch is a typical ambassador. Ambassador Taylor is a typical ambassador. He is not. And it's important to remember how he got here.

COOPER: I mean, there's a lot of political appointee ambassadors. There's a lot of folks --


PSAKI: Certainly, but even political --


COOPER: -- on an island somewhere.

PSAKI: Certainly, that's true. But in parts of the world where there are key negotiations happening, where there are key relationships, where there are countries that are pushing back on Russia.

COOPER: Right.

PSAKI: That is typically not where you would have a political ambassador with no experience. So that is not common.

COOPER: Scott. The significance today? I mean, so many things happened, but just on Holmes, what do you make of that.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Sondland is in a pickle now. I mean, you know, he's got this testimony laying out there with pretty specific recollection of what was said. So, if he goes to the committee this week and says yes, that's everything that was said. He maybe contradicting what he previously said. And simultaneously angering the president.

If he goes in and he says that's not what was said and they produce other witnesses that say this is what was said then he's in --


COOPER: But he's already -- he's already testified under oath.


COOPER: And then he amended that once his memory miraculously returned after other people had contradicted him under sworn testimony. But even in his amendment he did not talk about this phone call.

JENNINGS: I know. And that's why his testimony next week -- I said this a couple of days ago. I mean, I thought Yovanovitch - we can talk about her too. I thought she was compelling today. But what really is going to matte now is just how much pressure has been put on the only guy they have actually testifying here that talked to the president, and that's Sondland.

I'm just wondering and the lawyers can tell us, I mean, there's probably a legitimate question for him right now about whether he should appear. And I mean, I'm not a lawyer. You guys are. But I mean, given the stakes for him, given that he works for the president of the United States and given all of these contradictory things swirling. I mean, what would you tell this guy?

ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, I'd be having a very serious talk with Sondland if he were my client about whether it makes sense to show up on Wednesday and testify in public.

COOPER: Unless you get what immunity or something?

GARBER: Well, there could be those discussions. But there might be an argument if I were his lawyer, which I am not. That he's already come, he's cooperated, he's already told all he knows. He did it in private session. He provided a supplemental affidavit. And there's no need for him to come and kind of participate in the public spectacle.

That would be a serious discussion that I would be having with him. And as a fallback position there is the fifth amendment although you never want to have a client take that unless you have to.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If that's the case immediately Congress ought to convene. They don't even need to convene because Adam Schiff can just issue a subpoena. Get him there. And if he wants to challenge it he can go to court and try to sue the body.


He doesn't really have a basis for saying no. It's not -- he's not (Technical Difficulty) executive privilege or this term with attorney- client privilege or anything that would preclude his testimony. The mere fact that --


COOPER: Well, couldn't you say that, I mean, look, first of all they have been claiming executive privilege for all sorts of loony bin.

WILLIAMS: Sure. I know.

GARBER: The claim would actually be legislative purpose.

WILLIAMS: No, no, no. But the thing is that's what --


COOPER: Which would mean what?

GARBER: Yes. So it's a --


WILLIAMS: It's a claim.

COOPER: OK, let me --

GARBER: It's an argument we've actually seen from the administration that there is no legitimate legislative purpose for this public hearing.

COOPER: Got them.

GARBER: That he's given all of this testimony in private, that there are court decisions saying that it is not a legitimate legislative purpose to sort of expose for the sake of exposing. He's given his testimony. There's a transcript.


BASH: Even though the facts --

COOPER: Elliot, that kind of argument that is what?

WILLIAMS: The counter argument for that is that impeachment is in the Constitution that by its own nature makes it a legitimate.

COOPER: Carrie, what do you --


WILLIAMS: A judge --

COOPER: A judge. Would you -- we're giving him free legal advice here.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'll let them do the defense attorney thing. Look, he has to do the right thing.

GARBER: Right.

CORDERO: He's got to do the right thing for --


COOPER: If nothing more for his own reputation.

CORDERO: No. I mean, look, he probably has some exposure in terms of false statements if he doesn't tell the truth. Because now there other -- there are other witnesses that are testifying under oath. And I think Holmes' testimony is quite compelling.

COOPER: When also, I mean, the Stone verdict today is a reminder of the importance of --


CORDERO: It sure is.

COOPER: -- being truthful in your testimony.


CORDERO: It sure is. And Congress in a variety of these hearings throughout the last couple years has not been unwilling to send criminal referrals for lying under oath. So, the members are definitely willing to send those referrals. But look, he's the E.U. ambassador to the United States. He still

represents the United States. He has an obligation in my judgment. And this is not a legal defense position. This is a what's the right thing to do position to come and tell the truth and say what happened.

I mean, Holmes' testimony I thought there were two really important things from it. One was that Trump asked Sondland -- told Sondland that he's -- Zelensky is going to do the investigations. And Holmes overheard that and heard it directly.

COOPER: And Sondland says --


CORDERO: And Sondland is the one on the call.

COOPER: Sondland is saying this guy the president will do anything you want.

CORDERO: He's the one on the call. So, he just needs to come and be truthful.

COOPER: We have to pick up the conversation after a short break. We'll also talk about what one Republican lawmaker did today to dodge questions about the president's tweet as a challenging week for the president. A historical one for the country draws too close.

Also, tonight we'll be joined by one of the lawmakers doing the questioning as our special late coverage continues.



COOPER: There was a sign today that some Republican lawmakers were not exactly keen to defend President Trump tweeting at today's star witness. Some dodged questions about it. Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe went a step further. Politico reporting, he, quote, "quickly whipped out his cell phone and began talking into it even though his home screen was visible and there was no call in progress." Which, by the way, Dana Bash tells me it's a pretty common procedure.


BASH: Oldest trick. Really?

COOPER: Oldest trick.

BASH: I could name names --


COOPER: I mean, I've done it on the street like, no, I can't do it. I got to go. But, OK.

BASH: Senior Democrat -- (CROSSTALK)


BASH: See? There you go.

COOPER: OK. All right. Truth comes out in the panel. On the other hand, well, our panels love to talk on the phone or otherwise. So, what -- yes. So, from our attorney section you don't think he should. But do you -- do you think all he will.

GARBER: I think it depends on --


COOPER: We're talking about Sondland showing up.

GARBER: Yes, yes. I think it depends on what he has to say and how good his memory is. Right now, we don't know what he's going to say. We don't know if he remembers this call, we don't know if he's going to dispute this, you know, the testimony that came in today. We don't know if the two other participants in this meeting are going to dispute the testimony today.

COOPER: Right.

GARBER: But if I were him, I'd be very careful.

COOPER: Or if he's hoping to keep his job at this point.

GARBER: Yes, I'd be very careful.

COOPER: Right.

WILLIAMS: I think the disagreement we have and we kept it going in the break along that, is I just don't see a way he gets out of it given the committee's ability to subpoena him and given that what I think are pretty thin arguments about Congress doesn't have a legislative of quote, unquote, "legislative purpose for going -- for going down this road."

Seeing as how it's in the midst of an impeachment proceeding that a federal court has already said --


GARBER: It didn't go to court and try to --


CORDERO: His testimony is central --


CORDERO: -- to the issue of the impeachment. I mean, it's right smack down the middle of what the crux of the issue was -- COOPER: Right.


CORDERO: -- which is the president requesting political investigations.

COOPER: That is remarkable about this whole thing is that, you know, you pick this guy to give him this post because he gave you a million dollars for the inauguration. And all of a sudden, he is the most important person suddenly in your life.

BASH: Because he is the guy who agreed to do it.

COOPER: Right.

BASH: I mean, who do you think obviously that's why --


COOPER: Right. It's not a coincidence.

BASH: Precisely. It is not a coincidence. He was -- you know, the guy -- the kid in school who always has his hand raised like the eager beaver from all, you know, all the stories about him. I mean from a Democrat and Republican this is a guy who has been wanting this, wanting to be close to power to be part of the power. Structure a wheel and deal for so long. And now he has a president of the United States calling him on the regular, saying do my -- do my -- my deal for me. Execute the things I want you to execute for me.

COOPER: Well, he's definitely in the middle of things.

Let's talk about Marie Yovanovitch. The testimony today. How -- well, how credible was she and do you think it was witness intimidation the president tweeting about her?

PSAKI: Well, first, I mean, I worked with her at the State Department. And you know, watching her today it was -- I felt so proud to know her. And I think that was the feeling that so many people who had worked with her and embassies around the world throughout the building you heard the applause at the end. It was so compelling, so powerful. And probably the last place she wanted to be.


I mean, you could see that on her face. You could see that in some of her responses. This is really difficult and tough. And I thought that was one of the parts that made it incredibly compelling.

I don't know. I'll leave it to the lawyers on whether it was witness intimidation. But, you know, this isn't a legal process. This is political process. And if you're watching at home, of which millions of people were and you see this woman who is being honest and candid and a public servant for 30 years, and she's talking about how the president of the United States intimidated her and scared her. Boy, that seems that's not compelling. I'll just keep saying, you know.

And I think that probably left a mark with people. So at least on the political front I think it was a very bad move by the president.


PSAKI: Very bad day --


COOPER: Scott, do you agree with that as well.

JENNINGS: Yes. I mean, look, I'm a fan of these foreign service people. I'm a fan of American soft power and these are the instruments of our soft power. So, these people go off in service and they do a great service to the American people.

And I thought her testimony was compelling. However, it wasn't all totally germane to what we're talking about. I mean, she said she wasn't involved in the July 25th call. She had no knowledge of the polls and the aid. She was not involved in the Warsaw meeting. She has not spoken to Trump or Mulvaney. And she said I can't speak to the president's thoughts.

All of that having been said it was inadvisable to attack her and elevate her the way the president did, which obviously caused this to spiral all day long. She was a sympathetic compelling figure who clearly loves her country. Did not deserve to be attacked and did not need to be attacked. And you saw the Republicans in the afternoon walking on egg shells --

BASH: Yes.

JENNINGS: -- trying not to --


COOPER: Create --

JENNINGS: And so, I suspect what they were supposed to do today was sort of make the points that she is praised Trump's Ukrainian policy that she has said the previous administration do a good job or whatever. And then leave it at that. And when he tripped into that it completely blew up the strategy to get through day two of this impeachment the same way they get through day one.

PSAKI: And Nunes was trying to make it sound like she was not a relevant person to be there. That was part of their strategy clearly. And then when the president of the United States tweets attacking her --


JENNINGS: Instant relevancy.

PSAKI: And this is -- right. Instant relevancy. COOPER: We got to get to go a quick break. A member of the oversight committee joins us next to talk about today's big testimony the phone call between the president and Gordon Sondland. More ahead.



COOPER: The top story tonight on a day that featured public testimony from an ousted U.S. ambassador about the smear campaign. She said it was used to neutralize her.

Another round of testimony, this one behind closed doors, tied President Trump even more directly to the allegations that he leveraged American foreign policy for political gain.

Joining me now is Congressman Ro Khanna, who sits on the Oversight Committee. How important do you think Holmes's testimony is? Because one of the arguments Republicans have been making is, look, this is hearsay, second and third-hand information.

This is somebody who is sitting at the table and says there were two others who also heard -- who actually heard the president's voice and could say some of the things the president said, and what Sondland said and characterized about the president.

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): That's a bomb shell, it's explosive, and it isn't hearsay. It's corroborated by Ambassador Taylor, who has said that he was told his, and he is basically testifying that the president is admitting he's asking one day after the phone call with Zelensky whether the investigation is going to happen, and that Zelensky is going to do this investigation to curry favor with the president.

I mean, I don't know what more we need. I mean, this is about as clear cut a case as you have.

COOPER: The timing of it is particularly important because Republicans can easily make the argument and the president can make the argument, well, I meant, you know, anticorruption investigation in general, given the fact that it came right after -- the day after that phone call in which the only investigation he is asking for is a favor, is Biden and, you know, this conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

KHANNA: I mean there is no credibility to this idea that they're asking for anticorruption. Why are they talking about Biden then? Why does it just happen that the person who is beating you in the polls is the subject of the investigations? And this person, Holmes, who is a career foreign officer, who has no political agenda is outraged enough that the president of the United States is seeking this on a political rival.

COOPER: We have been discussing whether or not, from a legal standpoint, whether or not Ambassador Sondland should testify, whether he will testify. If he does, I mean, is he a credible witness at all at this point?

I mean, he has given sworn testimony, then others testified, and he, you know, could compare his story to theirs and realize he's being contradicted and so then he reverses his testimony, his memory is restored, but he still doesn't mention this other phone call.

KHANNA: Right. Here's what I would say to Ambassador Sondland. The presidents of the United States don't end up in jail. People around them often do. And if I were someone working for the president and concerned about perjury, I would testify. And look, he has credibility issues. But I think the best thing he can do for his own career is to come clean and tell the truth.

COOPER: Roger Stone -- what happened today -- Roger Stone is certainly a warning to Sondland.

KHANNA: Absolutely. And Sondland has already revised his testimony. We know he withheld the truth. What's boggling to me, Speaker Pelosi long ago said, I don't understand why anyone would work for President Trump because he will throw you under the bus, and he has been doing this over and over again. I don't understand what Sondland has to gain holding this president's back.

COOPER: It just seemed like Sondland right now is -- I mean, he's in the HOV lane, just getting ready to be run over. I mean, he is the next one on the list, if you are the president and you need to start shedding people.

KHANNA: Absolutely. There's a phone call where he's asking Sondland to investigate Biden.


KHANNA: I guess the next thing if I was trump is probably going to be, oh, I didn't know what Sondland was doing, Sondland was doing this on his own. Here is though the problem. They keep saying we can't get to the president directly. The two people who have direct knowledge, Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton, we've asked over and over to testify.

If Trump has nothing to hide, why doesn't he have Mulvaney and Bolton testify? An executive privilege is not a defense. I mean, everyone -- first year law students know that you can't have executive privilege if there's illegal conduct.

COOPER: Marie Yovanovitch, her testimony today, one of the arguments Republicans were making or trying to make was she's really kind of irrelevant to -- she never talked to president. She wasn't in on discussions. She is not germane to the issue.

The fact that the president chose to tweet, you know, against her with ludicrous, you know, claims like, well, you know, wherever she goes, things fall apart. Look at Somalia. Look what happened -- you know, she went there and then look what happened, which is just, you know, ridiculous. Did he elevate her? I mean, did he sort of give her even more importance?

KHANNA: I think he elevated her credibility but it's just sad. It's sad for democracy. I mean, Marie Yovanovitch is a career foreign officer who served our country, who was ambassador to Ukraine. We already have the hollowing out of the State Department. Career officers don't want to serve.

And at some point, whether you are a Republican or you are a Democrat, you have to wonder what message are we sending to people who want to go and serve in government? I mean why people would want to go serving government when they think it's as political as it is?

When I was growing up, people said, you know, these ambassadors are just bought. You have to go, contribute a lot to the president to get appointed ambassador. And you have people still like Ambassador Yovanovitch who is willing to go through the real route of being an expert to do this. And now you have the president of the United States attacking her.

COOPER: Congressman Khanna, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

KHANNA: Thank you.

COOPER: We're going to have more ahead. We mentioned at the top of the program, we are trying in this hour to capture the effect of this historic week. We sent Gary Tuchman out to the swing state of Wisconsin to watch today's hearings with some undecided voters. After Wednesday's hearings, these voters were not really moved. It's the same group. That changed today. You'll hear what they said, next.




COOPER: After two days of public testimony and a slew of headlines almost entirely negative for the president, we want to know whether the impeachment hearings had effect to the attitudes of votes in battleground states. Gary Tuchman went to Wisconsin, which the president won by less than one percent of the vote, and talked to five undecided voters about what they have been seen of the hearings and whether it had an impact. Here is Gary's report.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): What you do in coming forward and answering a lawful subpoena was to give courage to others that also witnessed wrongdoing.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): For over six hours, we watched Ambassador Yovanovitch. President Trump has called her, he said, the woman was bad news. Do you think the woman was bad news after watching her?

KAREN HEINS, WISCONSIN VOTER: I did not get that impression at all. TUCHMAN (on camera): What was your impression of her?

HEINS: I think she has served honourably, and she is intelligent and dedicated servant of the United States.

ULLA PINION, WISCONSIN VOTER: She seemed like an OK person. She seemed like actually a lot of the two gentlemen who, you know, testified on Wednesday. She is very stable, very sturdy, very cautious in her words, unlikely to take unnecessary risk.

KAREN SCHROEDER, WISCONSIN VOTER: She's an impressive woman, obviously intelligent, served well for a long, long time. I would not think of her as bad news.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): None of the five felt like the former ambassador was bad news, and they agreed on another major issue of this day.

The ambassador felt like she was a victim of a smear campaign. And while she's talking about it, at the same time, Donald Trump tweets and attacks her. Is that a smart thing for him to do?

DMITRY BECKER, WISCONSIN VOTER: To have during the testimony as she's speaking about feeling intimidated, I feel like that was kind of the wrong move on his behalf.

JAMES KEARN, WISCONSIN VOTER: The decision to tweet and describe her as bad news was counterproductive to the Republicans' goals today.

HEINS: I don't think he should have been tweeting disparagingly of her during the hearing. I mean, that's just silly.

PINION: He did it to himself. He sent the tweet. He made her testimony more relevant than it would have been if he just sat down and been quiet.

HEINS: I think today was worse for him than two days ago.

BECKER: Started off better for him, and then that tweet came out. I think it just -- that floored him. I think that today was definitely worse for him.

SCHROEDER: Worst day. Timing was poor for a tweet.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): So that was a real influential moment for you as an American Wisconsin voter.

SCHROEDER: True. Yeah. He keeps stirring the pot. It's kind of his style.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Before the first hearing on Wednesday, none of these undecided voters was ready to say the president should be impeached. But now, some changes of opinion.

BECKER: I do feel he should be impeached.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): What about you, Karen?

SCHROEDER: I haven't made a decision.

PINION: I think he should be impeached. I'm going to wait and see if administrative staff is going to comply with the subpoenas after all to determine whether or not he should be removed.

SCHROEDER: I still say not to impeach and not to be removed.


KEARN: I think that the two days of testimony have brought forward that Donald Trump's actions have gone to serve himself regarding our interactions with Ukraine. And I think that on that basis for serving himself rather than America, he should be impeached.


COOPER: Gary joins us now. So do -- any of the people feel he should be impeached in the House? Do they think also the Senate should convict him and actually remove him from office?

TUCHMAN: Anderson, no one in our group is ready to take that step. The two men who favor impeachment say if and when the president is impeached, they would pay very close attention to the Senate trial before they make their personal decision. I do want to mention that no one on our panel took any joy in what they heard this week. They are quite sad.

COOPER: Understandably. Gary Tuchman, I appreciate it. Thanks very much. Up next, a discussion of what those voters had to say and a look ahead to next week's testimony.




COOPER: At the end of this long and certainly historic week, it seems -- listening to Gary Tuchman's voters, some minds are changing a little bit and there's plenty more testimony to come.

We are back now with our legal and political team. Scott, earlier, you spoke about the president's tweet, it wasn't a good move. Were you surprised? I mean, the undecided voters there are obviously not scientific in any sense of the word. Were you surprised by the sentiments that echoed, the impact that had on them?

JENNINGS: No, I wasn't surprised because, you know, I mean, these people already -- even though they're undecided voters, they already have impression of the president, obviously.

COOPER: Right.

JENNINGS: So they have some internal opinions. And for the ones who have sort of some partial negative opinions of him, in a tweet like that, obviously reinforces those negative feelings. And even for the people who support him, you know, there are moments in this presidency where you're like -- you know.

And they clearly had inept moment. That's why the thing was so bad today. It was gratuitous. It was unnecessary. There are people in politics -- it's perfectly fine for the president to attack. He should attack. There are a lot of people. She is not one of them. And they picked up on it. You can see, you know, living, breathing example of why it was a strategic blunder.

COOPER: In terms -- I want to put on the screen who is going to be testifying next week. First of all, there are a lot of people still to come. Some of the names are familiar. But certainly on Tuesday, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, Kurt Volker, Tim Morrison, Gordon Sondland on Wednesday as well as David Hale, Laura Cooper and Fiona Hill, who was close to Bolton. What are you expecting for next week?

BASH: It's going to be intense. If you think about the fact that this week, it was only three witnesses, we felt like we were drinking from a fire hose all week, right, and because we've learned so much.

COOPER: And there were surprises even though they had already given testimony.

BASH: Exactly. We thought we knew what they were going to say. And even when some of it -- even though -- even when the witnesses said things that we read in the transcripts, hearing them say it, watch them say it, and then the interaction with the Q&A is so different.

But I -- obviously, we've been talking all night about Gordon Sondland. Fiona Hill is the other one who is fascinating because of how close she is to Bolton, because of the fact that she was in the White House. She wasn't, you know, either in a far (ph) country or in the State Department or part of technically the deep state, I guess. She's definitely more in the Trump -- was more in the Trump apparatus than anybody else.

COOPER: Carrie, what are you thinking for next week?

CORDERO: I think with each witness, we learn a little bit more detail and context. The basic facts haven't really changed. I've been saying this for a while, that the basic facts of the allegations, of what the president and his people that were working with him, Giuliani and Sondland and others, hasn't really changed.

What has changed is the additional details. For example, in the close testimony of David Holmes today, he revealed that he was witness to a meeting where an OMV, Office of Management and Budget, official said that the order to withhold the funding, the defense assistance to Ukraine, came from the president. That's one more detail of something that we didn't know yesterday.


CORDERO: And I think that's what's going to happen with each witness and it's just going to be in a greater volume next week.

COOPER: Brief amount of time. Ross, what are you expecting?

GARBER: Yes. I'm actually looking for the kind of big picture. I thought, you know, this week sort of set up an interesting dynamic where I think Chairman Schiff did a good job. Daniel Goldman, the lawyer for the Democrats, did a very good job, especially today, of eliciting testimony and kind of painting a picture.

The Republicans, I think, interestingly today took a very, very backseat. You didn't see a factual defense of the president at all. You didn't see any sort of undermining of the witness. Next week, I think, is going to be interesting to see if that holds.


GARBER: I think one of the telling things about the president's tweet today -- I think he tweeted because there is no kind of cohesive defense strategy.

COOPER: I've got to leave it there. The news continues. CNN's special coverage, The Impeachment Hearings, Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto, that's next.