Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Key Impeachment Testimony Points to Evidence of Shakedown, Sondland to Testify Wednesday; Interview with Rep. Jackie Speier (D- CA), Member, Oversight and Intelligence Committees, on Latest Witness Testimony; Gordon Sondland to Testify Publicly Tomorrow; Ambassador Speaks About Impact of GOP Attacks on Diplomats; Sniffles Catch a Lot of Attention at Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 20, 2019 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It is midnight here in Washington and in this special hour of 360, we're looking ahead at what could be the most dramatic day yet of impeachment testimony. We're wrapping up a day today that saw four witnesses testify, three of whom were on the president's July 25th call with the Ukrainian president, one of whom, although he says he saw nothing wrong with it, he nonetheless rushed to tell the lawyers about it.

We're doing our best to show how it all fits into all the testimony we've seen so far in public and behind closed doors. Now also tonight, the people at the center of it all, who certainly could say a lot but are not talking -- Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani -- they certainly could add to what we know.

That said, we learned plenty today, including from two witnesses, Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison, who showed a degree of sympathy for elements of the president's case.

First, though, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who, safe to say, did not. He was outraged by what he heard on the July 25th call and, driven by duty, he says, to the country that took his family in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN, NSC TOP UKRAINE EXPERT: I'm grateful for my father's brave act of hope 40 years ago and for the privilege of being an American citizen and public servant, where I can live free, free of fear for mine and my family's safety.

Dad, I'm sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected professionals. Talking to our elected professionals is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: "I will be fine for telling the truth," he said.

Colonel Vindman was asked about the president's Biden allegations. So was Jennifer Williams, who is a special adviser on Europe and Russia to vice president Pence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL GOLDMAN, ATTORNEY AND DIRECTOR OF INVESTIGATIONS, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Now are you aware of any credible allegations or evidence to support this notion that vice president Biden did something wrong or against U.S. policy with regard to Ukraine?

VINDMAN: I am not.

GOLDMAN: Ms. Williams, are you familiar with any credible evidence to support this theory against vice president Biden?

JENNIFER WILLIAMS, PENCE SPECIAL ADVISER: No, I'm not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Republicans, for their part, tried again today to make this about the whistleblower rather than the witnesses, who so far have largely substantiated his or her report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, you testified in the deposition that you did not know who the whistleblower was or is.

VINDMAN: I do not know who the whistleblower is, that is correct.

NUNES: So how is it possible for you to name these people and then out the whistleblower?

VINDMAN: Per the advice of my counsel, I have been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community.

NUNES: This is -- are you aware that this is the Intelligence Committee that's conducting an impeachment hearing?

VINDMAN: Of course I am.

NUNES: Wouldn't the appropriate place for you to come to, to testify, would be the Intelligence Committee about someone within the intelligence community?

VINDMAN: Ranking Member, per the advice of my counsel and the instructions from the chairman, I've been advised not to provide any specifics on who I've spoken to with inside the intelligence community. What I can offer is that these were properly cleared individuals or was a properly cleared individual with a need to know.

(CROSSTALK) REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If I could interject, counsel is correct. The whistleblower has the right, statutory right to anonymity. These proceedings will not be used to out the whistleblower.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: On another GOP allegation, one that the president has mentioned from time to time or quite often, is that these public servants, some of whom he himself has hired, are instead working against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT), MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Ms. Williams, are you a never Trumper?

WILLIAMS: I'm not sure I know an official definition of a never Trumper.

HIMES: Would you describe yourself that way?

WILLIAMS: I would not, no.

HIMES: The day after you appeared for your deposition, Lieutenant Colonel, President Trump called you a never Trumper.

Colonel Vindman, would you call yourself a never Trumper?

VINDMAN: Representative, I'd call myself never partisan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I should point out one of the definitions the president has given of never Trumpers is "human scum."

Lieutenant Colonel Vindman provided much of the day's drama, including with this answer to the question of why he chose to raise concerns about the July 25th call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VINDMAN: Congressman, because this is America, this is the country I've served and defended, that all of my brothers have served and, here, right matters.

[00:05:00]

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Thank you, sir. I yield back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Lieutenant Colonel Vindman was on the call, so was Jennifer Williams, and both were asked about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MALONEY: So let's do it again. Let's do the substance.

Can we do that?

Because we've had a lot of dust kicked up.

Ms. Williams, you heard the call with your own ears, right?

WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.

MALONEY: Not secondhand, not hearsay. You heard the president speak. You heard his voice on the call.

WILLIAMS: Correct.

MALONEY: And your conclusion was what he said about investigating the Bidens was, your words, "unusual and inappropriate," I believe. Am I right?

WILLIAMS: That was my testimony.

MALONEY: And Mr. Vindman, you were treated to a July 10th meeting in the White House, where you heard Ambassador Sondland raise investigations, conditioning a White House meeting on that, investigations that you thought were unduly political. I believe that's how you described them.

And you went to NSC counsel and you reported it, right?

VINDMAN: Correct.

MALONEY: And then later you, too, were on the White House call, am I right?

You heard it with your own ears?

VINDMAN: Correct.

MALONEY: Not secondhand, not from somebody else, not hearsay, right?

VINDMAN: Correct.

MALONEY: You heard the president's voice on the call?

VINDMAN: I did.

MALONEY: And you heard him raise that subject again, that Ambassador Sondland had raised before, about investigating the Bidens, right?

VINDMAN: I did.

MALONEY: And I want to ask you, when you heard him say that, what was the first thought that went through your mind?

VINDMAN: Frankly, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It was probably an element of shock that, maybe in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out was playing out, how this was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.

MALONEY: And you went immediately and you reported it, didn't you?

VINDMAN: I did.

MALONEY: Why?

VINDMAN: Because that was my duty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Later in the day, it was Tim Morrison and Kurt Volker taking questions. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, breaking from what he told lawmakers in his closed door deposition on a central point in the Democrats' case for impeachment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KURT VOLKER, FORMER SPECIAL ENVOY TO UKRAINE: I did not know that President Trump or others had raised vice president Biden with the Ukrainians, where I conflated the investigation of possible Ukrainian corruption with investigation of the former vice president.

In retrospect, for the Ukrainians, it would clearly have been confusing. In hindsight, I now understand that others saw the idea of investigating possible corruption involving the Ukrainian company, Burisma, as equivalent to investigating former vice president Biden.

I saw them as very different, the former being appropriate and unremarkable, the latter being unacceptable. In retrospect, I should have seen that connection differently and, had I done so, I would have raised my own objections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It was a very full and long day, a very big day ahead tomorrow. Back to talk about it, the hardest working people in late night news, Michael Gerhardt, Nia-Malika Henderson, David Axelrod, Elliot Williams, Jen Psaki and Scott Jennings.

Big picture, David, is this where you expected things to be, you know, two weeks into this?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN HOST: You know, like I said, I think there are parallel story lines going on here. I think that the Democrats are being pretty methodical in putting a case together here and pretty disciplined in not taking the bait from Republicans on the panel.

The Republicans put Jim Jordan, who is, in certain ways, a kind of a very skillful political fog machine, on the committee to kick up a lot of dirt and dust. This whole issue of the whistleblower that he and Nunes keep raising and some of the others, you know, I think feeds the sort of conspiracy theorists', you know, the notion that this was all an effort to take the president down, a bloodless coup. So I think the Republicans are playing a different game. That game is

to keep people in the tribe. And Democrats are trying to lay out a case. And I think, as I said earlier, I think they're both, in certain ways, having some success here.

COOPER: Nia, I mean to David's point, the way that the Republicans are going about this, how do you think it is playing?

Obviously to the base it plays one way but to independents, to others out there who...

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I don't think we know yet, right?

I mean we know that the Democrats have gone a ways in terms of convincing the majority of American public that the president should be impeached and removed from office. I think that's something like 51 percent.

And as these hearings are going on, as the behind closed doors depositions were happening and things were being leaked. But we don't know because this is a phase we're going through. We'll hear the testimony from Sondland tomorrow. We'll hear more testimony later in the week.

And then there's the whole Senate part of this, if this, in fact, goes to impeachment articles. But I think you're right. There are two different games going on here and the Republicans, I think, should take heart from the fact that, so far, House Republicans are very much sticking together and backing this president.

[00:10:00]

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: Let me just make this one point. I've said, I think for weeks and weeks and weeks, we've had these discussions and I've always been consistent in where I think this is going to go. I do think, at the end of the day, the president will be impeached because the facts are very stubborn here.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Impeached in the House.

AXELROD: Impeached in the House but not convicted in the Senate. And I think what you're going to hear is a different tenor in the Senate from Republicans, who will say what he did was wrong. It was inappropriate. It shouldn't have happened.

But we should not remove him from office for it and we should allow the American people to make that judgment. And I think that's exactly how this thing is going to play out.

(CROSSTALK) ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER SENATE JUDICIARY COUNSEL: Something big is happening, though. It's sort of, yes, they're sticking together, to Nia's point. But the problem is the person they're sticking together to defend isn't really playing along. And he got baited into attacking female witnesses.

He got baited into attacking decorated military veterans. And if you think about none of these things are accidental and here's how you know the order of witnesses wasn't accidental.

Why didn't Marie Yovanovitch go first?

She was chronologically the first witness. Well, they wanted to first establish the credibility of the investigation by putting two boring fact witnesses up. And then they're putting out, you know, witnesses in order.

COOPER: Do you think that they told the two witnesses that they were the boring ones?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fair enough. No, but a lot of thought -- trust me, because I've done this not for an impeachment -- but a lot of thought goes, for instance, why aren't they going one at a time?

They're stacking them and putting the unhelpful witnesses in the afternoon like they did today. This was very well thought out and the president took the bait by tweeting --

(CROSSTALK)

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: -- on the politics of this, politics is essentially self-serving for everybody. And right now they're sticking with President Trump because he is the political powerhouse in the Republican Party.

But there's about 16 or 17 -- I can't remember the number of Republicans who are retiring. There are some who are vulnerable. We haven't seen a lot of polling in states. There are some Republicans in the Senate who also are vulnerable.

If Trump can't keep his -- you know, his powder dry on Twitter and he keeps attacking witnesses, it's going to make it very hard for Republicans in the Senate.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But the Senate dynamics that David and you were describing I think are right on in that you are going to hear some Republicans exhibit varying degrees of discomfort. Some will be a little; some will be a lot. It will depend by senator.

But what's strategically vital for the White House is that they accept that as being OK as long as that discomfort doesn't reach the level of a vote to convict. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

JENNINGS: You know, what a senator from Maine has to say or a senator from Colorado has to say will be perhaps different than what a senator from a very, very red state has to say.

And so as long as they're willing to accept a little flex in those messages, if it falls short of impeachment, look what Trump will get. He'll be acquitted in the Senate. And I'm sure he'll run around saying, I was exonerated. I was acquitted. That's the best political result out of this for him. But it gets harder if he goes after these individuals --

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: Which is what we've seen -- we've seen him go after people who have strayed. We saw when some people went on Sunday television and said the call was inappropriate. He said, don't get baited to say that. The call was perfect. It was perfect. He puts his people in a very bad position.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Sorry, David.

Look, if the debate is over, how good the performance evaluation was for the Army Ranger, you really don't have a good argument. And that's what Republicans were left with today. Literally -- you know, a factual comparison of how good his bosses thought he was. This guy is sitting there in an Army Ranger uniform. It's preposterous.

COOPER: Can you explain a little bit, Michael, about how this works in the Senate?

This is not something a lot of us have seen before.

MICHAEL GERHARDT, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's very important to remember that the way the Constitution is set up, getting the president out, convicting and removing him is extremely difficult. You need at least two-thirds of the senators present to vote to convict and to remove.

So coming into this, everybody knows that reaching that threshold is practically impossible. In fact, 19 people have been impeached by the House. Less than half have been convicted and removed from office. So the process is set up, in a sense, to fail. It's set up to default into acquittal.

COOPER: And most of those people who have been impeached, they're, what, congresspeople?

GERHARDT: They're lower ranked judges, lower judges.

COOPER: OK.

GERHARDT: So they're not big political figures. They're not the kinds of people you have big political fights over. When you go after a president, that's obviously the highest possible

ranking official. And politics is present every day, permeates it. When you combine that with the fact you need at least two-thirds of the Senate to agree, you get the result you just described.

COOPER: Everyone stick around. A lot more tonight, including my discussion with a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jackie Speier, on her thoughts on what to expect tomorrow. We'll also dig into what may be the most anticipated public testimony, that of Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

[00:15:00]

COOPER: Republican sources telling CNN they are worried about what he may say.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

COOPER: Ambassador Gordon Sondland's public appearance tomorrow is one of the most highly anticipated moments of this impeachment inquiry, although I'm looking to see if the reporter behind, you know, the testimony today, who was sneezing a lot, is going to come back. We're actually going to talk to her in a few minutes.

In closed-door testimony a month ago, Ambassador Sondland underplayed his connection to the president and his dealings with Ukrainian officials. Witnesses, however, have testified about his direct conversations with the president and Ukrainian leaders as well as what he said President Trump expected of the Ukrainians if they wanted military aid and a White House visit or what was expected of them.

Tonight multiple Republican sources tell CNN there's a lot of folks worried about what he will say tomorrow. I want to bring in Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.

Phil, certainly a long day of testimony. I'm wondering what lawmakers are saying tonight or this morning, I should say, about Tuesday's testimony.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So obviously split them into parties.

[00:20:00]

MATTINGLY: And split in the fact they have different baselines, different goals. If you're talking to Democrats, I talk to a lot, both in between and after the hearings. They feel like their goal going into the day was to continue basically what they've been doing the last six or seven days, which is continue to lay the groundwork.

What they saw today is three specific witnesses who were on the phone call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky who laid out varying degrees of concerns. First person concerns, first person narratives, first person witnesses to that call.

Then you had a fourth witness, who essentially, in Kurt Volker, had to revise his closed-door testimony, which Democrats are pointing to as a sign that what they're doing is working, as more people come forward, as more people relay what they heard, what they saw, what they went through.

Other witnesses are having to revise to corroborate and move forward. And from a Democratic perspective, continue to move forward the narrative they're trying to build here.

When you talk to Republicans, it's just a much narrower set of goals. Essentially two things, one, keep the party together. Two, make clear that President Trump, at least to this point, has not been definitively linked to withholding security aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations.

They continually asked witnesses today whether or not they had any evidence that the president had done that. They continued to get the answer to no. So while it's a very narrow set of goals, they believe they achieved that as well.

COOPER: Tomorrow, Ambassador Sondland is testifying.

What are you hearing on the anticipation on that?

MATTINGLY: It's huge. I think the most interesting thing is, whether Republican or Democrat, what I've been struck by, including those in the closed door deposition with Sondland, is no one knows what's coming.

You obviously had the closed door deposition but then you had the amendment to that deposition, the revision to his testimony. People who have testified both behind closed doors and publicly about Sondland have talked about how he's a little bit of a wild card. He was a bit of a rogue actor.

He boasted regularly, probably more so than he should have, about his contacts with the president, his close connections to the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. Everybody understands this is a huge day.

You noted -- and I've been hearing this as well from a lot of Republicans -- they are very worried about what he might testify about directly, what he heard from President Trump. He is the first person they've talked to who really had extensive conversations, extensive contacts with the president, with the acting chief of staff.

What he says on that is going to be huge. One more thing, you heard his name come up today a lot in testimony, in testimony from Tim Morrison and Kurt Volker, and in the questions Democrats were asking. That was intentional.

They were setting a trap to some degree in terms of what they were collecting today to use tomorrow with Gordon Sondland. I'm told the expectation is he will be testifying, he will be laying out in detail a lot of what he laid out behind closed doors and some revisions to that as well.

But where he ends up and specifically how he addresses his relationship to President Trump, that is an open question and that is what everybody wants to know -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. Phil Mattingly, it's going to be fascinating. appreciate it. Thank you.

Earlier I spoke to Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who sits on the Intelligence Committee. We talked about what we have heard so far from the witnesses, including about Gordon Sondland.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Congresswoman Speier, I'm wondering what the most important thing was to you was that came out of the hearings today.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), MEMBER, OVERSIGHT AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES: I think one of the most important things that came out of the hearing was that Ambassador Volker gave a very strong character support for Vice President Biden and the fact that everything he did as vice president in Ukraine was consistent with the policies of our government.

I would also say that Mr. Morrison's reluctance to come forward and say there was anything wrong with the phone call but he went directly to the National Security Council lawyers after the call raises interesting questions.

Certainly Lieutenant Colonel Vindman's testimony this morning was truly remarkable. And he made it very clear that he wasn't going to have a character assassination go on by the Republican members and had great answers when they tried to suggest that he wasn't a team player.

And then he pulled out the performance evaluation from Fiona Hill, that suggested that he was among the top 1 percent, brilliant, outstanding people in that post.

COOPER: Did you believe or find credible Mr. Morrison's assertion, as you said, that he's on the call?

He hears the president doing something which he, you know, would not -- that the NSC didn't suggest the president say he didn't approve of and he goes directly -- he doesn't go to his supervisor, Mr. Kupperman, who is refusing to testify.

He goes straight to the attorneys for the NSC. And his explanation was that he hadn't seen the attorneys monitoring the call, which, he said, sometimes they don't do.

But what he was really concerned about was that possibly the information would leak out, which is only of concern if you are concerned and unhappy with what is on the call and you think it's inappropriate.

SPEIER: You know, he subsequently said they wanted to lock down the information.

[00:25:00]

SPEIER: Again, it shows consistent efforts by the White House and others for a cover-up. We don't have all the documents we should have. In fact, we have very few documents because the State Department has not cooperated at the request of the White House.

But the effort to lock down the summary of the call, I think, was for the purpose of not letting it get out.

COOPER: Do you think that Volker and Morrison were the witnesses that the Republicans were hoping that they would be?

SPEIER: Well, they certainly were good witnesses for both sides. And I would say that they did not -- they did a very good job of being supportive of Vice President Biden and putting to rest this whole myth about the 2016 Ukrainian involvement in the election and the server. So they were certainly very good for the Democrat narrative as well.

COOPER: Once again, the former national security adviser, John Bolton, came up numerous times today. It was made clear once again just how integral a part of this he was and how important, in the best of worlds, it would be to hear his testimony.

I'm wondering if you think it's a mistake for Democrats to not be trying to secure an appearance from him.

SPEIER: I think that we would like to hear from Mr. Bolton. But there has been a reluctance for him to come forward without first going to court. And we don't want to have this linger in the court for six months before we hear from Mr. Bolton.

I would say, too, that he also recommended to Mr. Morrison, take this to the attorneys. So Mr. Morrison went to the National Security Council attorneys. He went to the White House attorneys.

There was clearly, in a number of circumstances, a concern about linking aid to Ukraine to the investigations that the president wanted on Joe Biden, his son and the 2016 election.

COOPER: The other thing that was made clear is just how important Ambassador Sondland's testimony is going to be tomorrow. It's certainly -- I mean I'm not sure what his approach is going to be.

I don't know if he's going to, you know, say he doesn't remember stuff or if he's going to try to amend some of the testimony he's already given.

I'm wondering for you, what questions do you need him to answer tomorrow?

SPEIER: I think he's got to be very specific, which he has not been. There's some 200 times in which he does not recall. But he's got to have a refreshed recollection around phone calls he had with the president of the United States. I think it's hard to believe that he doesn't recall specific

conversations he has with the president and I think we're going to want to confirm what we're going to hear from Mr. Holmes, who was the person having lunch with him on the 26th of July, right after the phone call had taken place, in which Mr. Sondland called the president.

And the president's first words were, are they going to do the investigations?

COOPER: Congresswoman Speier, it's going to be another fascinating day tomorrow. Appreciate your time. Thank you.

SPEIER: Thank you, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot more ahead tonight or early this morning. We'll get our legal and political analysts' take on Sondland's changing testimony, how it might evolve, to be blunt (ph), tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're talking about Gordon Sondland's upcoming testimony, concerns that Republicans have about what he might say. The question, of course, will the million-dollar Trump inaugural governor who made that restaurant cell-phone call to the president from Ukraine, unsecure cell phone, have even more to say about what the president told him? Or will he say he doesn't remember? Nobody knows.

[00:33:17]

Before bringing in the panel, I want to quickly show you the evolution of his testimony so far. In his original deposition he says, quote, "Let me state clearly, inviting a foreign government to undertake investigations for the purpose of influencing an upcoming U.S. election would be wrong. Withholding foreign aid in order to pressure a foreign government to take such steps would be wrong. I did not and would not ever participate in such undertakings."

Now, here's part of his amended testimony. It reads, quote, "I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks." That's a pretty big change.

Back now with our -- our legal and political team.

Jen Psaki, what's interesting about his amended statement is it still doesn't really say, you know, I said they wouldn't get aid unless they did Biden investigation. So there's sort of room for him to still say, well, you know, he was talking the investigations we have been discussing, we know what they were. But he didn't say it himself.

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right, Anderson. And reading his addendum, it doesn't answer the questions that weren't answered in his first testimony, that had been conflicted by other people testifying.

And his addendum came out before David Holmes did the closed-door testimony on Friday.

So the big question here is, what Gordon -- which Gordon Sondland is going to appear tomorrow? And he is somebody who is not a Trump loyalist. He's not close to Trump. I mean, he may have become close to Trump, but he hasn't been for years. He gave to George -- Jeb Bush; he's given to Democrats. How does he want to end the day tomorrow? We don't know the answer to that. But -- but that will answer the question as to how forthcoming he will be with his testimony.

COOPER: Scott.

[00:35:04]

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Mark Meadows in "The Washington Post" tonight said this whole thing comes down to one guy. And so this seems like Republicans know exactly what he's going to say.

You know, he did in his amended statements, say that public corruption investigations, plural. I'm wondering if he's going to show up and say, well, we were interested in a lot of different investigations, and yes, maybe the Biden thing was part of it, but it wasn't the only thing. I think that's a possible way.

He may also lean on some of the testimony we've heard. I mean, I think there's four witnesses now who've said that Biden, Vice President Biden, had at minimum, at least an appearance of a conflict of interest. So he may lean back on some of the other testimony we've heard. And -- and if he does that, will that be enough to appease the White House or thread that needle?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I can see why there are a lot of nervous Republicans, if they're saying it's all coming down to one guy, and it's that guy, who seems so inept.

You know, you and I have been around the world of politics, and there -- and you have, as well, Jen. It is populated with people like this, who are successful in another realm, spend a lot of money in politics to try and get themselves a job, a title, and -- and they tend to be people who like to boast about their connections and -- and you know, are a little bit loose. And that's apparently what we have here. And he's the guy. That's -- that's really unsettling.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the thing. He framed himself as somebody who's boastful and has a big personality, and was bragging about talking to the president and never really was talking to the president in the way that he said. You saw some of that come up today. I think Volker described him as somebody who had a big personality, hinting at the fact that you weren't always necessarily --

COOPER: But Morrison also said that he'd bragged about talking to the president.

HENDERSON: And it always was true.

COOPER: And that Morrison actually checked to see the president's call logs.

HENDERSON: Sure.

JENNINGS: You're saying to admit tomorrow would to be to fall on the sword a little bit and say, well, I got out over my skies.

HENDERSON: Yes.

JENNINGS: That is who I am, and I'm an inexperienced person.

HENDERSON: I mean, maybe he does that. We'll see. We don't know how he wants to end the day. He doesn't have a future in Republican Party politics. He's not a loyalist to Trump at all. He's a rich guy who basically bought himself this position.

So we 'll see, but I think, also, he's just unreliable. And you know, on one hand, he testifies; this deposition says one thing, and then his memory is recollected or refreshed.

AXELROD: Well, wherever we land, whichever side doesn't like his answers is -- are going to go to town on his credibility.

COOPER: Yes, my --

JENNINGS: But only one side can refer him to the Justice Department for perjury.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER SENATE JUDICIARY COUNSEL: He's not going -- he's not going to get referred to the Justice Department for perjury under any circumstance.

JENNINGS: You don't think he'll be referred --

RAJU: No.

JENNINGS: -- if he shows up and lies? That Congress wouldn't refer him?

WILLIAMS: Because two things have to happen. No. 1, the Justice Department has to decide to actually prosecute, and No. 2, if he gives good testimony for the Democrats, they don't have an incentive to refer him for testimony.

The interesting thing about -- along those lines, though, the interesting thing, everybody thus far who's testified has a sort of reputational aspect, you know, how's their name going to make it through this? He's the first person with real legal questions and real -- sort of a real legal cloud hanging over his head. And it's different. He has different interests.

MICHAEL GERHARDT, UNC LAW PROFESSOR: He's got better connection, though.

COOPER: He's also got money.

GERHARDT: He's got a connection to two important people in this drama. One is the president of the United States. The other is Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani has been described as a grenade. Well, we'll see whether or not Sondland, who is a little bit wild, gets that way, too.

But Sondland and Giuliani together are in this drama, because the president placed them in it. And we shouldn't forget that.

COOPER: Well, the other thing is how does he even answer questions about why he is in the middle of this drama, because this is not in his portfolio.

PSAKI: Well, I also think, I mean, when it comes down to it, there's this call we know about. There may be others. But how is he going to answer the question of the call that has been testified about? You know, are you going to do the investigations? Yes. Is Zelensky going to do the investigations? Yes, he's going to do the investigations.

COOPER: But he could just say the investigations meaning anti- corruption investigations.

AXELROD: The harder one is that he hung up, and they said -- and they asked about Ukraine, and he said, he doesn't care about Ukraine. He cares about Joe Biden.

WILLIAMS: He just -- he just can't say that thing you heard before was totally wrong. He can't say it. He's just sort of saying, I just remembered it a little bit differently.

JENNINGS: I don't know what his legal future is, but look, there's only one option. He just had to show up and tell the truth. And if he's not thinking about what happened to, like, Roger Stone last week. You can get in trouble for not telling the truth.

And by the way, it's the right thing to do. Tell the truth, Gordon, that's my advice.

COOPER: It will set you free, maybe.

AXELROD: Or not.

COOPER: Or not.

WILLIAMS: Or not.

COOPER: Thank you all very much. It's been a very long day. Just ahead, I'm going to speak with a former America ambassador to Russia about what happens when U.S. diplomats are denigrated for doing their jobs.

And we'll talk to the young woman who had the cold, who you saw behind Ambassador Volker, sneezing all day. We felt so bad for her. We'll get an update on her health. She joins us ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: As a long day of congressional testimony ends, it is helpful to take a step back, gauge the impact of what we've witnessed, especially when it comes to some of the attacks aimed at long-time ambassadors and foreign service officers.

Someone steeped in diplomacy is William Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to both Russia and Jordan, now president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He's also the author of "The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal."

When you hear the attacks that are being made by the president and supporters, not just of Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, but generally about anybody who testifies, who comes forward, how -- how much does that concern you, not only about this particular case, but also just moving forward?

WILLIAM BURNS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA AND JORDAN: Well, it concerns me a lot, this particular case. I think a lot of those criticisms, allegations of disloyalty are deeply offensive and just plain wrong.

But what concerns me is the longer-term threat that we're seeing unfold right now, which isn't about some imaginary deep state that's trying to undermine an elected president. It's really about a week state. It's what happens when you hollow out institutions where battered and belittled public servants have an increasingly difficult time upholding the guardrails of democracy at home, and helping the United States to compete on a really complicated landscape abroad.

COOPER: I want to read something that you wrote in an op-ed in "The Atlantic." You said, "The obligation of diplomats, like all public servants, is not just to implement directives robotically. It's also to be honest about their views and concerns, provide their best judgment and blow the whistle on wrongdoing."

That's -- I mean, it is an incredibly complex role, but that's their obligation, to blow the whistle on wrongdoing?

[00:45:06]

BURNS: It is, and it's their obligation to be honest about their concerns within the system, within the discipline of the system. David Holmes, for example, who's a wonderful foreign service officer, is going to testify later this week, and the Obama administration wrote a dissent channel message, which is the formal channel for expressing concern, privately within the system, in this case about policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. So you know, there is --

COOPER: He was actually awarded for that.

BURNS: He was, yes. And -- and so, you know, it's a part of the system to be honest about your concerns. That's what it means to be a disciplined, honorable public servant. But you do that within the discipline of the system. If you can't, you know, implement policies with which you have a fundamental problem, you know, you can choose to resign, which is also an honorable thing to do.

COOPER: But also just why would anybody today, looking at what is going on, I mean, obviously, people who are in the foreign service would -- you know, still might be interested, but there's a lot of people, probably, who would say, if I actually want to make this a career --

BURNS: Yes.

COOPER: -- there's not a lot of longevity here. And either you know you're not going to get the job. There's not going to be these jobs, or they're going to be meaningless, because there's -- the president are going to have their own second track of diplomacy.

BURNS: Yes. I mean, it's a tough moment, and it's no coincidence that in 2019 there were fewer applications to join the foreign service than any time in more than two decades. That's a really sad statistic. I mean, I continue to encourage young people and not so young people to join the foreign service, because I think foreign service is an incredibly honorable profession right now, but it's a tougher argument to make today.

COOPER: You served under Republican administrations, Democratic administrations. I imagine you served under presidents who you didn't agree with or policies that you didn't agree with. Can you execute policies or promote policies that you don't agree with?

BURNS: It's hard, but you have an obligation to be honest about your concerns. I mean, I ran the Middle East bureau for Colin Powell in the George W. Bush administration in the run-up to the war in Iraq, and like many of my colleagues in the State Department, we had deep misgivings about, you know, what we were embarked upon and the rush to war.

And so we made clear our concerns as honestly as we could within the system, but once decisions were made, we did our best, despite our misgivings, to implement these decisions.

COOPER: Ambassador Burns, I appreciate your time.

BURNS: My pleasure. Thank you.

COOPER: If you were watching the hearings closely today, like I and everybody here was, you may have noticed a young woman who, in the background, seemed to be sneezing constantly. And I felt for her all day long, because she had to work, and yet, she was clearly really very sick. One of the -- she's really become one of the unsung stars of the hearing. She went viral, literally.

We're going to talk to her ahead. We'll be right back. Achoo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:52:02]

COOPER: One of the unsung stars of the hearings today went viral, literally. Her name is Olivia Beavers. She's a reporter for "The Hill," and yes, she has a cold. And from the looks of it, it's a bad one.

Tonight, millions know it. I watched all day long, worrying about her. She was behind the folks testifying. You could see her blowing her nose a lot.

Some are tweeting. One asked, "Anyone know who was hired to play the role of Typhoid Mary behind Ambassador Volker. Should we start a crowdfunding effort to get her a flu vaccine before the next hearing?" So kind on Twitter.

Another tweeted, "Can someone please check on that woman behind Volker to make sure she's OK? She seems sad." I had that thought, as well.

Send - another one, "Send that poor woman behind Ambassador Volker home."

Someone else tweeted, "She needs some chicken soup and a nice warm bed."

We are happy to report that Olivia is, in fact, near a nice, warm bed. She's at her place. She joins us now.

Hey, thank you so much for being with us. I'm so glad we were able to talk to you. All day long, I was worried about you. First of all, how are you feeling?

OLIVIA BEAVERS, REPORTER: Thanks, Anderson. I'm feeling a little bit better. I still am carrying tissues in my hand, you know, prepared, especially for right now. But, you know, the cold kind of hit me at the worst possible time. And it -- it got picked up, as you showed, on social media. I was getting texts from my mom.

COOPER: Well, I was going to say, did your mom call you and be, like, honey, do you have to work today? Can't you tell somebody else to do it? I mean, this was my thought. Do you really have to be there? I mean, you're a reporter, so I guess it's kind of a big story.

BEAVER: The thing is it's a big story, and I've been covering this for so long, and so I've been in each of the hearings, and I did not want to give up on the opportunity to be there today. And I was there in the morning, and I was fine, but then, you know -- then it really started to hit me.

COOPER: I'm sorry to interrupt, but right now we're playing video. This was fascinating to me. Because there was a whole section where you just held the tissue on your face, almost like -- like people you see in the airports who don't want to breathe other people's air, and they're all wearing face masks.

And I thought, like, at that point, like, is your nose just running constantly? And you just need to hold it there? This is what I was obsessed with during the testimony.

BEAVERS: Yes. I mean, yes, to answer your question honestly, I mean, I thought it would be way worse if there was a video of something coming from my nose.

COOPER: Sure.

BEAVERS: Rather than holding the tissue up. But -- but, yes, I was trying to do -- trying to make myself the least noticeable, and then holding the tissue made me even more noticeable.

COOPER: Were you aware that you were on the prime location, right behind Volker, so you are in every shot?

BEAVERS: Well, so with the past witnesses, there's been, like, this wall of people who have accompanied them.

COOPER: Yes.

BEAVERS: So you couldn't really see me. But with this last one, they all left, and then it was a clear shot. And so right away, I was getting like a, you're holding a tissue to your nose, are you sick? I got about six text messages from people, be like, oh, are you sick. Yes. I mean, how do you know?

[00:55:05]

COOPER: There were a couple of times when you, like, turned and looked at the camera, like, with the tissue on your nose. I was just, like, oh, my lord. I flew on the shuttle --

BEAVERS: Because people go, I can see you sneezing.

COOPER: I know. I flew on the shuttle down today, and there's a woman coughing behind me. And I was just, like, it's annoying. Why did she get on the plane?

Were people sitting around you being, like, can't you go somewhere else? Do you have to be here?

BEAVERS: Yes, there -- there is a reporter I know well from "The Washington Post" who tried to convince me to wrap a --

COOPER: Oh, no.

BEAVERS: -- wrap a scarf around my mouth so I wouldn't get her sick. And then Mike from "The Washington Post" ended up putting it around his neck when he didn't realize where it had been.

COOPER: Oh, my gosh.

BEAVERS: So you know --

COOPER: I've got to run, because we're out of time. But Olivia Beavers, I hope you feel better. Are you going to be there tomorrow?

BEAVERS: Thank you. I'll be there tomorrow.

COOPER: Talk to you later.

BEAVERS: With less tissues in my hand.

COOPER: All right, thanks. Thanks for joining us in this special edition of 360.

CNN's coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END