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"New York Times:" President Trump Knew Of Whistleblower Complaint When He Released Aid To Ukraine; Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- CT) Is Interviewed About The Impeachment Probe; Testimony: Two White House Aides Left Jobs, Both Had Concerns About Hold On Ukraine Aid; Attorney For Former Giuliani Associate Says They Turned Over Photos, Videos To Congressional Investigators; President Trump Says Voters Think Impeachment Is BS, New CNN Poll Says Otherwise; John Bolton's Mysterious Social Media Posts. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired November 26, 2019 - 20:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: What did the president know about the Ukraine whistle-blower complaint and when did he know it?

John Berman here in for Anderson.

Tonight, new reporting that says he knew as much as a week before he finally released the frozen military aid to Ukraine and weeks before he said this to his Ukraine fixer Gordon Sondland about what he wanted from Kiev.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I say to the ambassador in response, I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky -- President Zelensky to do the right thing.

So, here's my answer. I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.

Then he says, this is the final word from the president of the United States. I want nothing.

Thank you, folks.


BERMAN: So, according to the new reporting in "The New York Times", when he said that, he already had known for more than a week, maybe two, that the whistle-blower was about to make out -- point out the very thing you just heard the president take pains to deny, a quid pro quo. It might explain why the president, not known as a great expert in the classics, was suddenly showing off his Latin.

Here is "The Times" lead. President Trump had already been briefed upon a whistle-blower complaint about his dealings with Ukraine when he unfroze military aid for the country in September, according to two people familiar with the matter. CNN Political Analyst and "New York Times" White House Correspondent,

Maggie Haberman shares the byline. She joins us on the phone tonight.

Maggie, thank you for being with us.

It's a very special night when you get to ask in all sincerity what did the president know and we did he know it.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (via telephone): John, thanks for having me. So, as you laid out, we reported tonight the president was briefed by the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and the National Security Council main lawyer John Eisenberg in August that -- about the fact that the whistle-blower complaint existed. The whistle-blower complaint, of course, talked about not -- as we know now, not just the president phone call with President Zelensky from July 25th, but also the question of freezing the military aid.

And it's not significant not just because as you say the aid was unfrozen -- you know, I think it was less than two weeks later, roughly then, but also the president was aware of this certainly when this happened, but also when he spoke to Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the E.U., who testified that he had a conversation with the president where the president said, you know, he was trying to get clarity on whether there was a -- some sort of, you know, a holding up of the aid to try to pressure Ukraine on investigations.

And the president said I want nothing, I want nothing, no quid pro quo, and then something about wanting Ukraine to do the right thing. The words "quid pro quo" were not part of the public vernacular on this at that point. When the president was briefed on this and when he spoke to Gordon Sondland. It's a notable phrase.

And it just -- any pinpointing of clarity we can get about where the president was in all this is significant.

BERMAN: Any sense of the detail in which he was informed when he was told about this in August?

HABERMAN: No, and we addressed that in the story. It's not clear how much detail Cipollone and Eisenberg got into with him. It's certainly possible that they presented only top lines. I do not believe they told him who the whistle-blower is. We have no reporting indicating that.

But -- and based on the fact that a number of White House aides seemed to be in the dark about all of that, you know, after this became public doesn't indicate that. But, again, it did -- it's unusual for a couple of reasons, John, one of which is they're briefing the president on a complaint that the president is the subject of.

Now, on the one hand, this is unprecedented, right? I don't think we had an incident that I know of, of a whistle-blower complaint about the commander-in-chief. And so it's not really clear where this happens. And the reason they were briefing him was they were explaining that they didn't think they had to share this with Congress and they were seeking an opinion from the Justice Department on whether they had to. So, that's the context in which this conversation was taking place.

And I think that their argument would be that there was no precedent for this. I think it's for incriminate critics of the administration is raises question about whether it was appropriate to be sharing the existence of this complaint with the subject of it.

BERMAN: It raises that question. It raises all kinds of questions about the timeline of a series of events that happened, including the ones you talked about.

And then there is the conversation that he had with the Republican Senator Ron Johnson, days after it turns out he had been briefed about the whistle-blower complaint.

How has Senator Johnson described that conversation?


HABERMAN: So, Senator Johnson described it that basically he reach out to the president. He had heard complaints about this. And he reached out to the president to try to understand, you know, what it is he wanted. And was he seeking essentially some version of what had been described.

And what Johnson heard and the president had a reaction to the extent that, you know, no, no, that's not true. Who told you that?

But, again, it just puts a final point on the fact that he was aware of this as he was being asked and asking the question who told you that is worth noting given that at that point, there was a whistle- blower complaint that at least some people had knowledge of in the administration.

BERMAN: Indeed. Makes you rethink everything we know that the president said during that time frame.

Maggie Haberman, terrific reporting. Thanks for being with us. Have a great Thanksgiving if we don't see you.

HABERMAN: Thank you. You, too.

BERMAN: Joining us now, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Blumenthal, thanks so much for being with us.

The president had been briefed on the whistle-blower complaint in August, that is before he unfroze the military aid to Ukraine. So, just that alone, is this an example of two plus two equaling four again?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): It's a lot bigger than two plus two equaling four. This really terrific report shows I think shows why the president was in effect objecting to the potential charges about him before those charges were made, that clip that you showed where, in effect, he's saying no quid pro quo. And it was well before that phrase entered the public lexicon.

But it also raises the very, very profoundly important question about whether the president participated in attempting to conceal that whistle-blower report, as both the Department of Justice, the Office of Legal Counsel, and his own legal adviser said they should do. And only because the inspector general of the intelligence community insisted that whistle-blower report be made public was it evenly given public light.

BERMAN: Well, this was a White House counsel. The White House counsel reviewed the decision and then asked the Justice Department. Ultimately, they said don't turn it over.

Why would the president be responsible for that unless he ordered it which we have no evidence of?

BLUMENTHAL: There is direct evidence as yet whether or not he ordered it. But there is circumstantial evidence in the timing of his release of the aid, not until September 11th, only because of protests and I was one of the senators who urged that the aid be released. But we had no idea about the whistle-blower report. The president evidently did and that probably was a key reason that he released the aid, after learning that there was this very, very important whistle-blower complaint.

So, essentially, what it shows is consciousness of guilt.

BERMAN: You were a prosecutor for years. I was going to ask about that. Using the phrase "quid pro quo" before anyone else is using the phrase "quid pro quo", that you think shows consciousness of guilt?

BLUMENTHAL: Combined with other circumstances, absolutely. If I were arguing in case to a jury, I would say that we had enough evidence even before this report to rest my case.

But here is another piece of evidence that is very powerful that can be used in building the case, and saying that it should go forward toward impeachment.

And let me just add, if the president wants to tell the American people about his innocence, he ought to come forward --

BERMAN: Well --

BLUMENTHAL: -- and talk to Congress about it, in public, under oath, rather than hiding behind a computer screen.

BERMAN: Well, he has an opportunity or at least his people have an opportunity next week. The House Judiciary Committee is going to get in the game here. They are going to hold public impeachment hearings. And what they're going to do first is talk about the constitutionality or what constitutes an impeachability offense and they're going to have scholars in to talk about.

But the president -- he's welcomed to go, he's invited himself if he wants to, but it's more likely he sends his legal testimony there. What do you expect them to say?

BLUMENTHAL: I think what they'll say is that all of these facts, whatever they are, in the legal history here don't constitute an impeachable offense. But clearly, there was bribery, which is specifically mentioned in the Constitution as an impeachable offense. The president offered to perform a legal responsibility, namely releasing that military aid, in exchange for something of value and benefit to him.


BERMAN: Except, the Republicans say there was no explicit promise of the release of military aid and in exchange. There is no recording of the president saying out loud, even though we had witness after witness say it's their understanding that was the case.

BLUMENTHAL: Well, as a prosecutor, I used to sometimes wish for recordings and videos of crimes. They're not all that common. What you have is circumstantial evidence.

And the powerful witnesses that were on display last week, they had nothing to gain, and everything to lose. They were career civil servants who were risking everything.


And they consistently described what the president said about these events and what his expectations were. And where you began in this conversation, two plus two equals four. That's what you argue to a jury. And ultimately, the Senate is the jury here, and the court of public opinion.

BERMAN: Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, thanks for being with us tonight.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

BERMAN: Have a Happy Thanksgiving.


BERMAN: All right. More perspective now from CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior political analyst and "USA Today" columnist, Kirstein Powers, also David Urban, former top Trump campaign strategist, a CNN political commentator and we should add, a Washington corporate lobbyist.

Jeff, the timing here has always seemed convenient. And there are always those noting the president released the aid after the White House knew of the whistle-blower report and same thing with the quid pro quo. But now you have a report that says he was specifically told.


BERMAN: Specifically told.

TOOBIN: Why this matters? I mean, why this matters is that one of the defenses has always been that was raised in the intelligence committee hearings is what's the big deal? They released the aid. So -- and the president of Ukraine never did the investigation. So, how could there be an exchange if the president of Ukraine never came through?

What this story establishes is the reason he released the aid is he got caught. He got caught in this illegal or improper or wildly inappropriate enterprise of trading taxpayer money for dirt on Joe Biden. He got caught.

That's what the whistle-blower letter says. And that's why he released the aid because he didn't want to be caught anymore. He wanted to have an excuse to get right with, you know, a situation where he had been caught.

BERMAN: You know, Kirsten, it's interesting, because this is one more the piece of evidence, albeit is not in front of Congress, but as a report here, more evidence on top of a mountain of evidence.


BERMAN: So, what does that matter?

TOOBIN: Well, I think the more -- you know, the more evidence you can get -- I mean, it supports pretty much everything that we have already seen. But I think it's really important because, you know, you have the president insisting, you know, I said there was no quid pro quo and somehow that's meaningful. Well, now, we know why he was using the phrase which always seems strange because it's not how anybody talks frankly. But specifically not how he talks.

And so, the fact that he knew he had been accused of quid pro quo because he had seen this report I think is very meaningful. I also think just extremely troubling that he was being told about this whistle-blower report and that it was the decision of the White House that they were going to keep it from Congress when under normal circumstances that would be sent to the relevant committees in Congress that have oversight.

And so there is just a real lawlessness and just obvious corruption to this kind of behavior.

BERMAN: You know, David Urban, I want to read you the text exchange between the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, and E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

Taylor writes, quote: As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.

To which Sondland replied, quote, Bill, I believe you're incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The president has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind. The president is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt a transparent reforms President Zelensky promised during his campaign.

Sondland has testified that's what the president told him. We heard the president reading out loud from that note card. But, of course, that's what the president told him because he knew he was being accused of it by a whistle-blower.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, but -- and your point John is what? I still don't understand where the connection is- -- the nexus is here between -- or anything that shows that the reason the president withheld the money was because -- because of this meeting.

There could be, you know, as the president said and others have said, the president was very concerned about whether or not the Ukrainians would clean up their act, whether or not that was true or not, whether other people were kicking in or not.

And, you know, Jeff -- Maggie's reporting goes far but it doesn't go as to your far as you'd like to see.

And just finally to note real quickly. Apparently, Senator Blumenthal forgot he's a juror, supposedly a jurist in the upcoming trial of the president. It seems like no need to have a trial in his mind. He clearly states the president is guilty.

BERMAN: I will only note that jurors like Lindsey Graham have said they don't want to look at the evidence or watching watch the hearings because they've already decided the president is innocent. So, it does work both ways there. But --


URBAN: Right, exactly. So -- so, John, again, just to come back, this is a political endeavor, I don't think that after all of what we have seen in the House, the polling -- nobody was swayed.


House members on either side aren't swayed. If anything, I think, some of the Democrats may be swayed in terms of -- they're seeing the polling, they're hearing from Americans saying the president shouldn't be impeached. And they're getting a little nervous.

BERMAN: There's no evidence of that. First of all, the polling shows that 50 percent --

URBAN: The polling.

BERMAN: No, no, the polling -- CNN polling shows that 50 percent of the American people, half of Americans support impeaching and removing the president. It hasn't changed in two weeks. It hasn't fallen. It hasn't risen. It hasn't fallen or risen.

URBAN: No, it's fallen. Yes.

BERMAN: Not the CNN poll, David. Not the CNN poll. (CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: The Morning Consult poll.


BERMAN: It's fallen, it's basically stayed the same across the board if you average all the polls. To say it's plummeted as the president has --


URBAN: John, why do you think -- why -- but, John, why do you think that the Democratic house members are talking about censure now versus impeachment? Do you think they get a sense?

BERMAN: Brenda Lawrence brought that up and she's backed off.

I understand that argument. I do. But what I'm saying is that opinion seem to be set here. But they haven't fallen. . People haven't backed off impeachment not yet.

David Gergen, I want to bring you into the conversation. On the idea that David Urban brought up there, which is that there isn't a tape recording or there isn't videotape of the president saying, I order a quid pro quo, which seems to be the only level of evidence that would move Republicans in Congress on this.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we know a lot more if the president weren't stonewalling. And the hypocrisy here is that the Republicans are claiming there is no direct evidence, we don't have the president on tape or doing something that's very direct. And there is a reason for that. And that is the people who talked to the president have all been prevented from testifying. You know, and the president has shut down that part of in inquiry.

What we're into is that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence -- there's overwhelming circumstantial evidence that supports the notion that for better or worse, the president was not moved by the corruption -- overall corruption and in Ukraine. That wasn't his point. Sondland made the point to Holmes.

The president is not interested in and doesn't really give a damn about that. What he cares about is the big stuff. And the big stuff is his own survival.

I think what we see here is overwhelming evidence -- and this helps to confirm what we learned tonight about the president what he -- what he knew and when he knew it. This helps to confirm he was conducting a very secretive and well covered-up enterprise to force or bully the Ukrainians into digging up dirt on Biden and Hillary. And he knew it was not going to last forever. The pressure began to build up from within the administration against the withholding of aid.

He was getting pressure from the Hill and along comes the whistle- blower and that trying reported him to lift the -- did to lift the hold. I think that's very, very plain. But we have to break down the stone wall if we want the full story.

BERMAN: All right. Friends, stand by, friends. A lot more to talk about, including transcripts of closed-door testimony from the White House insider, and just how concerned and upset officials in his department were about the freeze on aid to Ukraine.

And later, more breaking news in a 360 exclusive -- lordy, there are tapes. One of Rudy Giuliani's lieutenants and alleged criminals Lev Parnas and the photos and videos that his lawyer says congressional investigators now have.



BERMAN: Even as Maggie Haberman was breaking the lead story about what President Trump knew and when about the Ukrainian whistleblower report, we were getting transcripts of closed door impeachment testimony on the Ukraine affair by a former career White House budget official. Mark Sandy told lawmakers that two officials at the Office of Management and Budget had left their jobs and both had concerns that military aid to Ukraine was held up.

Back now with David Gergen, Jeffrey Toobin, Kirsten Powers and David Urban.

You know, so, Jeffrey, the president and his allies have been saying this is much to do about nothing. It's not really a big deal. But when two government officials quit over concerns, that's kind of a big deal.

TOOBIN: Again it's a cumulative set of facts. This alone doesn't prove anything. But it's yet another fact that shows how out of the ordinary this was, how improper it was, and how the people responsible to actually follow the law were upset about it.

BERMAN: And Mick Mulvaney gave the famous news conference, Mick Mulvaney, not just acting chief of staff but still has authority over OMB. He told the country we should all get over it.

But people within his agency, OMB, they clearly weren't getting over it, Kirsten.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, and I mean, it's not, the fact that you had multiple people quit over this I think is important information. But there was also a lot of concerns, a memo that was written, you know, concerns that this violates the law, that the -- there was pretty much nobody other than Donald Trump -- according to David his concern here, right, was that Ukraine was so corrupt and therefore that's why this money had to be withheld.

And yet nobody who actually worked on the issue has testified that that was the case. And in fact, I think it was Mark Sandy who testified saying that they had made a lot of advancements in terms of anti-corruption, and that they had been cleared to receive the aid. And, by the way, to David's point -- or claim, if that was what President Trump was interested in why did he never bring that up in the call? He brought up crowd strike, a conspiracy theory and brought up the Bidens.

So there is no evidence that the president actually was -- was holding up the money because of corruption. I think we have now have more information from OMB showing how disturbed they were about it.


BERMAN: You know, David Urban, next week, it will be interesting.


BERMAN: The House Judiciary Committee is holding its first public hearings on this about impeachment in general, what constitutes an impeachable offense. And by the rules the president can go and send his lawyers to take part in the hearings and can ask questions.

What do you think the White House should do here? What do you think the White House attorneys should do as part of the hearing?

URBAN: Listen, I've said this -- Jeff and Kristen may have heard before as well as David. I don't think -- again, I don't think the president is under any obligation to prove himself innocent here. I think the House -- they made the decision, they want to bring impeachment charges. They need to bring the charges. They need to bring the evidence. They need to prove that the president did these things.

He is under no obligation. And moreover, there is going to be an upcoming Senate trial following in White House whatever you -- the hearings, and if I was -- if I was the White House, I would hold back everything until the actual -- the actual trial.

TOOBIN: I think David's proposing what has been the White House strategy throughout which is basically to say the whole thing is a kangaroo court, a waist of time, the public hates it, but never engaging on facts established.

BERMAN: But that's an interesting strategy. We'll wait and see if they show up next week, or they'll wait to a Senate trial.


TOOBIN: I don't think it's just to be quiet. I mean, David is suggesting you say nothing. I think you will hear complaints that this is a kangaroo court but you will never hear the White House engage on the actual facts.

BERMAN: David Gergen, last point here, the House Democrats are writing -- the House Intelligence Committee is writing up their report on this and Judiciary will ultimately decide what are articles of impeachment, and there is the ongoing debate of whether to stick to Ukraine or to expand to some of the Mueller regions.

What do you think they should do? GERGEN: Expand. I think it's important for the country to make a

decision based on the whole body of evidence about the conduct of this presidency. Not simply the phone call. I do think it would strengthen their case, and I think the country really needs some sort of way to come to grips and come peace with all of this that justice has been done. And that will be done through transparency and going the full -- did the expanding --


URBAN: John --

BERMAN: David, we've got to -- we're in to a quick break.

We have much more coming up, including the breaking news, exclusive new reporting on the other side of the break that could spell trouble for Rudy Giuliani and President Trump.



BERMAN: More breaking news tonight that could spell more troubles for President Trump, as well as possibly his lawyer Rudy Giuliani. In a statement, the lawyer for one of Giuliani's former Ukraine associates arrested on campaign finance violations told 360 this.

"Joseph A. Bondy, one of Lev Parnas' attorneys confirmed to CNN that his client has turned over photos, videos and other materials to congressional investigators, but decline to detail the contents. Mr. Bondy also confirmed that Mr. Parnas is complying with the Intelligence Committee's subpoena to the fullest extent possible, notwithstanding limited access to Mr. Parnas' phones, computers and records as those were seized by federal prosecutors at the time of his arrest."

Now, in a separate conversation, Bondy's lawyer also told 360 the material including photos and videos is "different and more extensive" than anything the public may have already seen on the internet. These are some of the pictures that are out there on the internet of Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman with both President Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

Back with us, David Gergen, Jeffrey Toobin, Kirsten Powers and David Urban. And, Jeffrey, just a broad question, how significant is this?

TOOBIN: Well, it's obviously depends on what's in the documents. I mean, what seems to be going on here is that one of the two defendants love looks to be making a deal looks to be trying--

BERMAN: Or trying.

TOOBIN: -- or trying to make a deal where he either gets lesser charges or no charges. That seems unlikely now that he's been indicted. And potentially turning into a witness now, would he be a witness against really Giuliani, would he have incriminating material. We don't know. But that seems to be the backdrop to what's going on here.

But I think in fairness to Giuliani and everyone else, we need to you know, and we don't know what's in the documents and photos, so we can't say they're incriminated.

BERMAN: We don't know. That much is clear. And David Urban, one thing that is interesting is Republicans I talked to about Rudy Giuliani, I will ask them how far out on a limb are you willing to go for Rudy Giuliani in all of this? And they basically say not far at all, how toxic is Rudy Giuliani? How much of a problem is he to the Trump presidency?

URBAN: Look, I think the President and Rudy are obviously very close friends. You know, I don't think the President is ever going to walk away from Rudy Giuliani. And I don't think Rudy Giuliani is ever going to walk away from the president. So I don't think that's a question that's going to have to be answered.

Just quickly, you know, David Gergen made it made a point about having lots and lots of different articles impeachment. You know, the point that I just want to make it and people think about, there are 31 House Democrats who are in seats that Donald Trump carried handily, and they won.

And so, knowing that the Senate is going to acquit by all accounts, are those 31 Democrats, so they're going to feel confident going to the floor and, you know, just how many profiles and courage will there be, if they're on these articles of impeachment, knowing that said, it's going to quit and they're going to run for election and in about 10 months.

So that's the point that's, you may have a lot of a lot of articles, but let's see how many people vote with.

BERMAN: That's a political consideration. It's also a political consideration for Susan Collins and Cory Gardner, and senators --


URBAN: Absolutely

BERMAN: -- who might be running for elections in states with Democrats at once. But I understand, I understand.


BERMAN: I understand but there's politics at play here for a lot of people who will cast important votes.

David Gergen, to that issue of Rudy Giuliani, you know, you've worked in many administrations. You've seen administrations distanced themselves from people. Based on what we now know about Rudy Giuliani, should this administration start working hard to create some serious distance?

GERGEN: I think the President has already started that today with his comments that he didn't direct Rudy Giuliani's operations in Ukraine, in which everybody else had basically he did. And he also said, I don't know what he was doing out there. He was a warrior, as if that excuses everything.

But he said, he goes out there for a lot of reason, and someone would have nothing to do with me. You already began to feel that he's maneuvering to get a little -- put a little light between the two of them.

I want just briefly a couple of other points. So, you know, this -- the polls are not just a private disappointment to some Democrats, but it's also should be private disappointment to Republicans who thought this was due to -- if the democrats went down the road toward impeachment, it was going to blow them away. It was going to, you know, and that didn't happen to these polls either. So that's true.

But the last point is, you know, with this continuing flow of new information, new facts, new insights, there's going to be some mechanism that the, the Intelligence Committee or the house can have to remain open to keep the window open. After the time of the votes come in. What if new evidence comes in it really, really does show something that the sensors the case.

So there has to be some mechanism to deal with what the future information we're going to learn. In fact, you can always add articles of impeachment. You can keep on doing the process. There's nothing that says you have to be finished. Once you vote on certain articles, you can vote on others that come up. But Democrats would have to decide they want to do that.

And, Kirsten Powers, to you, you know, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, these guys are characters at this point. And I put that in quotation marks and, obviously, is affecting Rudy Giuliani and they had pictures with the President. But there's also the lawyer says that he's got information that Devin Nunes is somehow tied up in all of this as well. How do you see this playing out?

POWERS: Well, I mean, I think it's like what Jeffrey said. It just depends on what they have and what they can deliver. They also claim that they, you know, at a dinner with the President had told him, you know, they were the ones that were really driving this smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch. And that they had told him that she was, you know, working against his interest.

So, I mean, maybe if they did, in fact, actually have recordings of something that could be meaningful. I don't think -- well, I want to say two things. One to David's point, I completely disagree about Giuliani. I think Trump would throw him under the bus in a split second. I don't think he'd even think twice about it.

I don't think however, that even throwing him under the bus gets Trump out of this because there's just too much evidence showing that he was driving this bus basically. But I think he would absolutely do it.

TOOBIN: Berman, can you refresh my memory? What's the name of the company that these two gentlemen run? BERMAN: Fraud guarantee?

TOOBIN: Yes. You know, I keep wondering, what was the second choice name does it was worse than Fraud Guarantee, I don't know.

BERMAN: All right. Jeffrey Toobin, David Gergen, Kirsten Powers. David Urban, thank you all for being with us. And again, happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

GERGEN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: President Trump.

URBAN: Happy Thanksgiving, John.

BERMAN: President Trump drops another swear word at a rally and once again, talking about Democratic investigations. And we'll have more on the polling we've been talking about in some of the surprising splits it reveals on just who wants to President impeached.



BERMAN: Moments ago at a rally in Sunrise, Florida President Trump had a single colorful word to describe all the impeachment news lately. And if you have kids cover their ears.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: And now the same maniacs are pushing the deranged impeachment. Think of this impeachment? Impeachment? A witch-hunt, the same as before. And they're pushing that impeachment, with-hunt, and a lot of b ad things are happening to them. Because you see what's happening in the polls, everybody said that's really bullshit. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Keeping them honest according to a new CNN poll, and with all due respect, that's bullshit. After five days of public testimony, half the country, half, believes the President should be impeached and removed from office. 50% are in favor of impeachment and removal, just 43% disagree that he should be impeached and removed.

And we should point out that number hasn't moved at all since last month's poll, but there is a widening gender gap. 61% of women believe he should be impeached and removed, that's a five points since last month's poll.

Joining us now former Chief of Staff of the RNC, Mike Shields, and former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Angela Rye, both CNN political commentators.

And, Mike, I understand that the White House and Republicans are saying, oh, the support for impeachment and removal has been shot up. But just the number of 50%, if 50% of Americans want you impeached and removed from office, that's not really good news for a presidency is it?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, John, it's very interesting. I never looked at just one poll. I always look at a number of polls, but I also read the cross tabs. I read the cross tabs of this poll, I read down deep. This poll has sampled into a 25% of Republicans, and that's no BS.

And so, look, it's not an illegitimate poll of the people that it was polled. I'm sure the numbers are right. But it's also got a massive number of independence in it. When you look at the Emerson College poll that came out another serious poll, the -- whether or not to impeach went down 11 points during the hearings.

The Gallup poll, another serious poll came out and it was literally had bounced back to where impeachment was before the hearings began.

BERMAN: But I'll say, Mike.


I guess, what I'll say is that if you take the totality of the polls and 538 and everyone does the average, they haven't moved or they barely moved. And if they have moved 538 shows, the average shows that support for impeachment and removal has crept up, albeit slightly. So let's take the average because every poll you said I can cite morning console, which shows support goes up.

I can cite writers episodes for support goes up and you could cite one for that goes down. Bottom line is, let's stipulate if it hasn't moved still to have 50% want you thrown out of office, what I'm asking that's not a very comfortable place to be.

SHIELDS: Well, look, I just -- first of all, I don't buy that there's 50% that one and thrown out of office but to accept the point that you're making.

This has been I believe, very, very bad for the Democrats. They've had their time at bat. They made their case. And look, I highly, highly recommend. Seriously, everyone watching this, go watch the Clinton affair, a six part series done on A&E.

I work for Newt Gingrich in the '90s when Bill Clinton was impeached. And there are so many parallels to what's happening right now. And we went down a path where we were convinced that we had to uphold the law and had to impeach the president, our right wing was forcing us there. And we pay the political price for it. And democrats are getting ready to. They've had their (inaudible) and they haven't moved any numbers. And those Democrats are going to pay a price for that.

BERMAN: We'll see. The President's approval rating -- President Clinton's approval rating was in the 60s as opposed to the low 40s or 30s. There's a difference. But I take your point, Mike.

Angela, this is something of a Rorschach test. You've heard the numbers. Now, what do you see here? ANGELE RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that is very clear, by virtue of the fact that my colleague here couldn't answer the question. The answer is, this is not good for the President. It is not good just like he can get as many black folks as he wants to stand behind him at a rally with off brand black voices for Trump t- shirt. There are no real black voices for Trump and there is no real support for this --

Shields: 34% of support in the Emerson poll.

RYE: So, Mike, when you talk, I'll let you have the floor, even when it was bullshit. So I'm just saying, let's just be for real for a moment and then for real moment is this.

Donald Trump has done something wrong. Donald Trump has been doing things wrong. Donald Trump has several conflicts of interest. Donald Trump did wrong with the Ukraine issue. Donald Trump did wrong with the Muller report issue, like we can go on and on.

And what's happening is people's consciences are finally getting prick. They understand how grave of a danger this country is in. And so, you can go through the cross tabs and you can go through the fact that enough Republicans were cold. But here's what we know. Here's what we know.

Donald Trump's impeachment support numbers are unprecedented, or if you're a Donald Trump tweak, they're unprecedented, Mike. And that is something that the Republican Party has to come into account for. It is high time and I've criticized the Democratic Party for this. It is high time that we do right by the law, that we do right by this country, and they're finally doing that with impeachment proceedings.

Let's get on the other side of this judiciary hearing next week and see what happens.

BERMAN: I will feel then I will say that one thing tonight proves is that, these polls show that opinions are pretty solidly entrenched. And I think we've showed that tonight. Angela Rye, Mike Shields, thanks for being with us.

RYE: Thank you.

BERMAN: John Bolton's newly elevated presence on social media is giving rise to one central question, what in the world is he up to? That's when "360" continues.

(Commercial break)


BERMAN: Time to check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME" at the top of the hour. Sir?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: JB, not unlike these pictures of our pretty faces there's only one image but they are made of many, many little pixelation. So too will be the investigation of this president, and tonight two pieces that matter.

If we were wondering why that aid got rushed through at the last second, as if we didn't know enough already, the whistleblower complaint was told to the White House and the President was briefed. OK?

So if you want to know why they released the aid, they have no better answer than the exigency of the pressure they thought was coming. And as for the aid, why did an OMB senior staffer see it as wrong, and why was the duty replaced and why did they leave? Big pieces will take you through it.

BERMAN: We look forward to seeing you in HD tonight, sir. All right.

Coming up with former National Security Advisor John Bolton is up to on social media that's next.



BERMAN: Former National Security Advisor John Bolton is not talking to Congress about the Ukraine affair. However, he does appear to be teasing social media with tweets like this one.

"It probably goes without saying that our country's commitment to our national security priorities is under attack from within. America is distracted. Our enemies are not. We need to make us national security a priority."

So what is he really saying here. Joining us now is Washington Post Columnist and CNN Global Affairs Analyst Max Boot. Max. He's not talking to Congress, but he is now putting out these carefully worded tweets. What do you think he's doing?

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, clearly he wants attention. He wants to have an impact on the public debate. He's also, by the way, launching a super PAC, Bolton PAC, which is a way he can exert political influence and probably also make some money through donation.

So clearly, he's getting back into the game, but he does not want to the one thing he does not want to do is he does not want to do his civic duty, because Congress is holding impeachment hearings. And he clearly has evidence that Congress needs to hear because we've heard Fiona Hill say that he referred to this Ukraine deal as a drug deal. So he was clearly opposed to what is going on.

And Trump keeps saying it's all here. So you're not hearing from the people who are in the room. Well, Bolton was in the room so he has an obligation to testify under oath instead of just teasing us on social media.

BERMAN: He is teasing us on social media. Do you have any belief that he actually would want you to talk in a public setting in front of Congress under oath? BOOT: I'm very doubtful because fundamentally at the end of the day, although Bolton has very strong foreign policy views, and to his credit, I think he championed those views in the White House even when they were not popular with Donald Trump.

Despite all of that, at the end of the day, Bolton is first and foremost a Republican partisan. He is part of this Republican infrastructure. He benefits from it. He's been on Fox News. He's got the super PAC. So I don't think he wants to do anything that would contribute to Donald Trump's impeachment, because that would then burn his social networks, his financial networks, the entire infrastructure that supports John Bolton.

BERMAN: We only have about 10 seconds left, but do you think he will say things publicly critical of the President on Twitter?

BOOT: I don't know about on Twitter, but he's certainly saying it behind closed doors and I suspect he will and has been for which he's getting $2 million.

BERMAN: Yes, he's made sales in his book, also the paid speeches and audiences, but not for free under oath before Congress and the American people.

Max Boot, great to have you with us tonight, thanks so much. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

BOOT: You too, John

BERMAN: All right. The news continues, so it's time to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."