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Three Legal Experts Testify Trump Committed Impeachable Offense, One Expert Dissents. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired December 4, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hi, I'm Jake Tapper. You're watching CNN's Special Coverage of the historic Impeachment Inquiry into President Trump.
Right now, the House Judiciary Committee, the panel which would actually draft Articles of Impeachment, is on a break as lawmakers hold votes on an unrelated issue.
But before they left the hearing that was at times contentious, as a group of constitutional experts each made their cases as to why the President has or has not, in one case met the impeachment criteria laid out by the nation's founders.
Here's just a sampling of what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NOAH FELDMAN, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: President Trump's conduct as described in the testimony and evidence clearly constitutes impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors under the Constitution.
In particular, the memorandum and other testimony relating to the July 25, 2019 phone call between the two Presidents -- President Trump and President Zelensky -- more than sufficiently indicates that President Trump abused his office by soliciting the President of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals in order to gain personal political advantage, including in relation to the 2020 election.
PAMELA KARLAN, STANFORD LAW SCHOOL: Based on the evidentiary record before you, what has happened in the case today is something that I do not think we have ever seen before: A President who has doubled down on violating his oath to faithfully execute the laws and to protect and defend the Constitution.
The evidence reveals a President who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency.
MICHAEL GERHARDT, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF LAW: What matters in determining whether particular misconduct constitutes a high crime and misdemeanor is ultimately the context and the gravity of the misconduct in question. After reviewing the evidence that's been made public, I cannot help
but conclude that this President has attacked each of the Constitution's safeguards against establishing a monarchy in this country.
Both the context and gravity of the President's misconduct are clear.
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: I'm concerned about lowering impeachments standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger.
I believe this impeachment not only fails to satisfy the standard of past impeachments, it would create a dangerous precedent for future impeachments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That last professor who spoke there was Jonathan Turley called by the Republicans, although Turley said that he is not a Trump supporter necessarily, did not vote for President Trump.
One thing that Turley made the case about, Andy McCabe, is that there's still so much we do not know about this case. And in fact, in the House Intelligence Committee report prepared by the Democrats, there was all of a sudden all of this new evidence, phone records between Lev Parnas, the Giuliani associate who has been indicted for alleged campaign finance violations, call records showing that Rudy Giuliani called a number that some journalists are saying, belongs to the Office of Management and Budget.
Which theoretically could be related to the fact that the military aid was held up by that office, the Office of Management and Budget, President Trump before he left the NATO meeting in London was asked in fact about that. Let's roll that sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Mr. President, can you explain why your personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the need to talk to the Budget Office?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I really don't know. You have to ask him. It sounds like something that's not so complicated. You'd have to ask him. No big deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: As a law enforcement matter, I mean, forgetting the politics of it all, there's still a lot we don't know here.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There's a lot we don't know here. There are many witnesses that I think could provide essential testimony about exactly what the President intended, what he said, how he directed those around him to conduct this activity.
Unfortunately, the White House has said, we're never going to hear from those people. You know, in some ways, I think they kind of cast the die on the obstruction, impeachment count, with the letter from the White House counsel saying, we will not cooperate in any way or an at any level.
So the question for the Democrats is, do you allow that obstruction to prevent you from going forward with the case you have.
Look, as an investigator, you always want the perfect case. There's always another piece of evidence out there that you think you could get with the right legal process or the right efforts or finding the right cooperator. You never have that case. Ultimately, you go forward with the case you have.
MCCABE: In my estimation, there is -- all due respect to Professor Turley -- not a paucity, but a bounty of evidence.
TAPPER: A plethora of --
MCCABE: There you go -- on the table right now that I think a lot of prosecutors, were this not the President would be pretty comfortable to look forward to.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Can I just -- the President's personal lawyer is calling the Office of Management and Budget -- I'm sorry, why? If it is no big deal -- if it's no big deal, as the President said, if it has nothing to do with the Ukraine military aid being held up, why is the President's personal attorney calling agencies of United States government? Was it for his client, the President?
He has a Budget Director, his Chief of Staff used to be the Budget Director, I think, still technically under the law, is the Budget Director, or is he calling for some other client? Is he lobbying for somebody while he is the President's lawyer caught up in all this mess in the drain the swamp administration?
There should be some level of transparency in government. And so if it's no big deal, prove it's no big deal.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Your point is so important, and you don't even have to interfere with the attorney-client privilege to answer that question, because if you were doing a legitimate -- you know, an investigation that was being responded to legitimately, you know, I understand why Rudy Giuliani can't be a witness.
The attorney-client privilege is a serious thing. And that to me is legitimate.
KING: What legal work did he do? I'd like to know.
TOOBIN: All right, but let's just put that issue aside. You can talk to the Office of Management and Budget people to whom he spoke. There's no way that's covered by attorney-client privilege. That would settle this issue altogether. Why did Giuliani call you? What did he say? If -- and that is how a legitimate investigation is allowed to
proceed. This has been a complete stonewall and that to me is as bad as any of the underlying conduct.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That was the point Turley was making though was that, don't rush it, go to the courts and even referenced the McGahn situation which he supported. He said, I think you should go to court over McGahn and he predicted they were going to win. And they did win on McGahn.
I think he was trying to expose the partisanship and the politics in it over the rushing of the issue you just raised.
TOOBIN: The rushing? Do you know how long the McGahn case has been pending? Do you know how long it's still going to be pending as it makes it stately way through the D.C. Circuit and then first cert petition?
I mean, the idea that a complete stonewall is appropriate, because well, you could file 10, 15, 30 lawsuits and maybe win some day. That to me is not -- yes, yes.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Can I ask you a question? A legal question?
TOOBIN: Yes. Yes. By all means.
BASH: Okay. So if this is of the highest importance, the consideration of the impeachment of the President of the United States, why isn't this fast tracked through the Federal Courts up to the Supreme Court, any of these questions?
TOOBIN: Because judges have life tenure, and some of them are lazy as hell and some of that --
TAPPER: That's really the reason?
TOOBIN: You know, can I tell you something? I mean, Judge Leon in the District Court who has the Kupperman case, who is the deputy to Bolton. That case is incredibly important to this. He didn't even schedule a hearing until December 10th.
BASH: But can't John Roberts call and say like, this is important. Deal with it.
TOOBIN: That's not how it works in the Federal Courts.
TAPPER: And you know, what's interesting, also there, Dana, when we had Chairman Schiff on "State of the Union" a few Sundays ago, there is this legal theory out there that one of the reasons why Democrats are fast tracking this is because when they get to the Senate or when and if they get to the Senate, John Roberts, as the Chief Justice of the United States, will preside over the court and John Roberts, theoretically - theoretically, could compel John Bolton, you know, to testify.
TOOBIN: Mitch McConnell dealt with that question yesterday in a press conference, and I think it ain't going to happen. John Roberts is not going to get involved.
The point McConnell made, which I think is correct, is that basically any ruling that Roberts makes from the bench is essentially appealable to the full Senate.
TOOBIN: So the full Senate, which is dominated by Republicans will be the ultimate authority here, and we do have the precedent of William Rehnquist presiding over the Clinton trial, who did as he would be happy to tell you, basically nothing.
TOOBIN: He sat up there and then played Solitaire when he was -- during breaks.
BASH: He did.
JENNINGS: His famous quote was, "I did very little and I did it very well."
BASH: Yes, that's right. And they thought also that John Roberts was going to strike down Obamacare, and that didn't happen.
TOOBIN: Well, yes, that's true, but I think it was on his --
TAPPER: John Roberts, I think it's fair to say in the interpretation of a lot of people who know him, including Joan Biskupic, who wrote a book about him and works for us is that John Roberts is not somebody who wants to go in there guns ablaze and make a name for himself as somebody who aggressively presided over this. He wants to be as low profile as possible.
BASH: It's true, but you never know exactly.
TOOBIN: You never know, but this is the Senate's show. The Senate runs the impeachment trial. Roberts will preside. I think he will -- I mean, again, you're right.
TOOBIN: We never know for sure. But he is certainly not going to go in there with the idea that he is going to run it like Judge Judy.
I mean, it's going to be --
TAPPER: You know, Mitch McConnell very well, the Senate Majority Leader, is he -- I mean, he could okay, theoretically, as the Majority Leader, a trial in the Senate, where Joe Biden is forced to testify, where Hunter Biden is forced to testify, where any number of individuals that Republicans want to hear from, Adam Schiff, theoretically, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. What is his inclination, do you think?
JENNINGS: Well, I think his inclination would be to get the body to agree on a set of rules, you know, the way they did in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. You know, all the parties got together, they voted on the rules. I think it was a unanimous vote and then they had the trial.
I think that would be his preference, it would be to get a --
TAPPER: A unanimous ruling.
JENNINGS: Yes, that way everybody knows the score going into it. Now, whether they can get to a rules package like that, I really have no idea.
KING: They are not going to get to unanimous if there's a Hunter Biden and Joe Biden part of it, but to your other point, I think that everyone is right and Joan is right that the Chief Justice most likely wants this just to be a procedural thing.
TAPPER: She says he calls balls and strikes.
KING: But to Mitch McConnell's point yesterday, who said I think the Chief Justice will realize, you know, recognize the will of the Senate. That's where we will see if there are any cracks.
If Democrats, if they don't agree on the rules, or if there's any fight over a particular witness or particular procedure, and the Democrats file a motion, do any Republicans split? They only need a handful.
TAPPER: All right, everyone, stick around. We're going to keep talking about this. We're going to squeeze in a quick break as we wait for members of the House Judiciary Committee to return from that urgent vote. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: Welcome back. We are waiting for members of the House Judiciary Committee to return to the hearing room. The Democratic witnesses openly refuted some of the arguments from the Republican witness, Jonathan Turley.
Michael Gerhardt disagreed with Turley's argument that Congress needs to wait for the courts to weigh in on the White House's refusal to comply with subpoenas. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERHARDT: There's never been anything like the President's refusal to comply with subpoenas from this body. These are lawful subpoenas. These have the force of law to them. These are the things that every other President has complied with, and actually acted in alignment with, except for President Nixon in small but significant set of materials.
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): Professor Turley imply that we can't charge the President with obstruction of Congress for refusing all subpoenas as long as he has any fanciful claim until the courts reject those fanciful claims.
GERHARDT: I have to respectfully disagree. No, his refusal to comply with those subpoenas is an independent event. It's apart from the courts. It is a direct assault on the legitimacy of this inquiry, which is crucial to the exercise of this power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Jeffrey Toobin, is Gerhardt right? Or is Jonathan Turley right? Do the White House rejecting Congress's assertion of powers to subpoena witnesses and to get documents, is that enough for an obstruction of Congress charge or Article of Impeachment? Or do the courts have to hold up the House of Representatives' view?
TOOBIN: Well, what's clear -- I'm glad you gave me that second option, because there is certainly no legal requirement that the House wait until the judicial process has completely run its course.
Just -- but going back to what I said earlier, this is a political process and the argument that you should have gone to the courts first may have some power with some members of the House of Representatives as well as the members of the Senate.
So certainly there is no legal requirement that the House of Representatives pursue certain procedural steps in order to be allowed to impeach. There's certainly no rule like that. But the question always is what will get you or lose you votes in the course of this process? And I imagine there are some members who would prefer that the Democrats exhaust all their legal remedies before accusing the President of obstruction.
BASH: Not very many because they also have November of 2020 in there.
TOOBIN: Right. I mean that's -- I mean, that's ...
BASH: That makes your point, that's political.
TAPPER: Lazy judges. I mean, Dana's point I think is a cogent one, which is, why isn't this -- I mean, it's so important, why isn't this fast tracked, at least to the Supreme Court or at least to a Circuit Court?
TOOBIN: Welcome to life tenure, baby. These judges in the Federal courts, they have life tenure. You know, they can ...
BASH: But they're Americans.
TOOBIN: Well, they're Americans, yes, but they also, you know, value the importance of getting full briefing and hearing all the arguments. And you know, what about my other cases? I mean, look, I'm as shocked as you are the Judge Leon, in this
absolutely critical case didn't even set a hearing date until December 10th, and this case was filed about a month ago.
TAPPER: This is the Kupperman case.
TOOBIN: The Kupperman case, which is, you know, directly relevant to the issue of John Bolton. Kupperman is Bolton's --
BASH: And Mick Mulvaney.
TOOBIN: And well, Kupperman is Bolton's deputy. So -- but, you know, he is a Federal judge and he does what he wants especially with a schedule.
TAPPER: Something else that Jonathan Turley, the Republican's witness and a law professor noted today is that he had testified in the Clinton impeachment.
TAPPER: He said that this is one of the thinnest records ever to go forward on impeachment regarding President Trump. Turley took place in the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton in 1998, and he sounded a little bit different. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TURLEY: Executive power exhibits the same physical properties as a gas in a confined space. When you expand the space, the gas will fill the space. You should not be misled.
Your decision will define executive power and authority. If you decide to certain acts do not rise to impeachable offenses, you will expand the space for executive conduct and we will have to live with that expansion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: One of the cruelest parts of this process is when we go to clips from 25 years ago, 20 years ago.
JENNIFER PSAKI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: His voice sounds the same though.
TAPPER: His voice is the same. I did that to Congressman Sensenbrenner the other day also, time comes for everyone.
PSAKI: This is a huge missed opportunity for the Democrats so far, I think. I'm surprised that this is a political proceeding. It is legal to, they're having legal debates, but they haven't gone after him on this and said, so Clinton, obviously what he did was gross, but that's impeachable, and yet putting our electoral system, the elections of the United States or national security at risk is not impeachable. It's hard for people to understand. TOOBIN: But who cares if Jonathan Turley is a phony? I mean, it's
like, I mean, do you think it's -- you think voters out there are saying, well, Jonathan Turley ...
PSAKI: Yes, because I think people --
PSAKI: I think people hear for the proceedings of today. There are probably millions of people who will watch clips of this. I think it's important for them --
TOOBIN: I ask that as a genuine question.
JENNINGS: The same number of people who will care that Jerry Nadler is a phony. Have you seen the clip of him?
TAPPER: Same exact same thing from 20 years ago.
JENNINGS: Same exact thing arguing against impeachments that were pursued by only one political party and so on and so forth.
TAPPER: Jerry Nadler in fact has a very cogent quote that says that an impeachment needs to be supported by the overwhelming majority of the public.
TAPPER: And we are clearly not there. Now, to be fair to Jonathan Turley, one thing he did say is that the Clinton impeachment went through an entirely different process, which is there was an independent counsel, Ken Starr. There was a grand jury. Things were found to be illegal before it went to the Congress.
MCCABE: Sure. And we, of course, no longer have the statute that enables us to go through that process anymore. The process the Democrats pursued is essentially an analogue to that.
Their investigation in the House Intelligence Committee is probably most directly compared to the way a prosecutor convenes a grand jury and subpoenas evidence and puts their chosen witnesses in front of that grand jury and then an indictment is returned, which I think you could analogize to the House's report -- the House Intelligence Report that was delivered just a day or so ago.
So you know, there are no perfect comparisons to the process that we used with Clinton or the process that was used with Nixon.
The question, I think, at the end of the day, is has the Democrats' approach to this process been reasonable? And despite all of the exercised and energetic complaints, certainly by the Ranking Member and others this morning, I think you have to step back and look at the path they've taken and say, look, they have given the President the opportunity, certainly to participate today. He has chosen not to. They've subpoenaed witnesses, he has blocked those witnesses.
So there are equal process valves probably on both sides and the end result is one that people should be comfortable with.
TAPPER: Bottom line there, Dana, do you think that the hearing today so far at least, you said, you think it was not likely to move the needle when it comes to public opinion. Do you think it's doing anything in terms of any Democrats that might be wavering, or any Republicans that might be wavering? In the House.
BASH: Perhaps, but I still think that hearing from people explaining the fundamentals of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers and why these rules were put in place are probably things that Members of Congress who have already been seriously considering this because they are potentially on the fence have already considered.
But you never know, it is possible. But if there is somebody who is thinking about it, going back to your point, Jen, that your fellow Democrats are not doing enough to push back against Jonathan Turley, the whole -- I mean, I see what you're saying, like who cares what John Turley says.
The whole point of this hearing that the Democrats who are in charge put on was to hear constitutional legal experts' perspective, and why wouldn't they push back on the one Republican there if they are --
TAPPER: One Republican witness.
BASH: One Republican witness, thank you and they're trying to achieve the goal of swaying public opinion.
TAPPER: Jeffrey, one other thing that Jonathan Turley said that I thought was worth pointing out because we discussed it when he said it, which was, he was asked, and I guess he was speaking hypothetically, obviously, about George Washington, what George Washington would make of all of this since everybody was trying to get in the minds of the Founding Fathers and he said, he would set his powdered hair on fire to think that somebody could be impeached based on a phone call.
TAPPER: It's very clear to anybody, even if you don't support impeachment, even if you think this is much ado about nothing. This is not just about a phone call. This is a whole campaign.
TOOBIN: Well, one person who feels it's only about a phone call is the President of the United States. You noticed that every time he talks about his perfect phone call, that's the only thing he refers to in this impeachment process.
So, you know, what Professor Turley is doing there is repeating a Republican talking point that you can't impeach someone over one phone call, as you point out, and as the 300 pages of the House Intelligence Committee report yesterday points out.
This is not about one phone call, but that is a political argument that's being made, and it's obviously believed by a lot of people.
TAPPER: All right, everyone, stick around. We're going to squeeze in one more break. We are waiting for the members of the House Judiciary Committee to come back for this hearing on the impeachment of President Trump. Stay with us.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to CNN's coverage of the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearings. I guess the big question, of course, is, what next?
We do expect the House Judiciary Committee, the Democrats on the committee to vote out articles of impeachment. We expect those will go to the floor of the House of Representatives. And it is suspected Democrats will overwhelmingly vote to impeach President Trump.
And then, theoretically, it goes to the Senate for a trial in which it would be determined whether or not President Trump would be removed from office.
Take a look at this tweet that we just saw from CNN's Manu Raju, one of our Capitol Hill reporters, shows next year's Senate calendar. As you can see, there's a month missing, January. Not there.
Theoretically, that is when the Senate trial would take place if the House votes on impeachment. That is the answer as to why January is missing, according to the U.S. Senate.
TAPPER: Scott, not stolen. It's just temporarily it's on a vacation.
Scott Jennings, what do you expect, as somebody with close ties to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, presuming the House votes to impeach President Trump and goes to the Senate, what will it look like?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think they'll have a full trial. I think the House guys will want to come over and present everything they've got. I think the president's lawyers will want to rebut, push back on every --
TAPPER: And Cipollone, the White House counsel or -- JENNINGS: They haven't participated in the House proceedings. So
this is their last chance to, before god, country and the American public, say, this is why this is a bunch of B.S. I think they're going to take it.
I expect this to last some amount of time where both sides are laying out their case. And we know what the vote's going to be, unless bombshell information breaks before now and then.
I can't imagine a president who never let's -- he swings at every pitch -- will let the House managers come over and throw a bunch of fastballs and not swing at them. I can't imagine that.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He said yesterday, in London
TAPPER: President Trump?
KING: Yes. He says, with Pompeo and Mulvaney sitting right there, as close as everyone at this table is, I wouldn't let them testify in the House because it's a sham. He said, maybe in the Senate. He did open the possibility.
KING: I'm not saying write it in ink. I'm not saying --
TAPPER: He also said he would love to talk to Mueller, right?
KING: Also said he wanted to talk to Bob Mueller. But he sat there and said -- the interesting thing, does anyone call him on it? Do any Republicans say, Mr. President, where are your witnesses?
TAPPER: Jen Psaki, what is the strategy do you think for Senate Democrats? What should they think of -- other than trying to make their case, what would be a win for them given that the Republicans control the Senate and it's very unlikely they'll vote to remove a Republican president from office?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, a win for them would certainly be reaching a moment where one of these individuals, like John Bolton or others, is compelled to testify. They have little control over that. So not sure they can determine the win.
Otherwise, a win might be for it to be quick. I mean, what people forget here is that there are a number of Democrats running for president -- and the Senate cares about this, having a Democratic president in office -- who will be sitting in chairs just waiting and listening day after day while this proceeds. It isn't actually a moment.
A lot of people have this perception where they'll be able to question witnesses and have a viral moment. That's not what Senator Warren and Sanders and Senator Booker will be able to do. They're going to be held in their uncomfortable seats in the Senate, they're not going to be campaigning. That's probably on Senator Schumer's mind as well.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Can I just add a point there, which I think is so delicious and hilarious and bizarre. Under the rules of the Senate, that when there's an impeachment trial, all 100 Senators have to sit in their chairs at all times. If you know there's one thing politicians hate -- and this is a bipartisan observation -- it's sitting and being quiet and listening for hour after hour.
JENNINGS: They're also not allowed to talk.
JENNINGS: Which McConnell has frequently said would be good therapy.
TAPPER: And when you think about the fact is, as Jen Psaki pointed out, you have Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders. I think those are the four, right?
TAPPER: Now that Kamala Harris dropped out. Four Senators who would rather be in New Hampshire or Iowa.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And I talked to a few of those Senators who admit it is a problem. If, especially, you just look at Senator Klobuchar just on its face, she is somebody who's on the rise. She might not be jumping in the polls, but she is being taken more seriously by the voters, according to polls. And her sitting in a chair silently is not ideal.
Now, you have people like Jonathan Martin, on your show the other day, arguing it actually could be good. She looks like she's a statesman and she could run to the cameras afterwards and do her job. That's not easy.
TAPPER: I forget one Senator, I'm sorry. Senator Michael bennet, Democrat of Colorado, also running for president.
I want to go back to Manu Raju. We read his tweet earlier.
Manu, the senior congressional correspondent, on Capitol Hill, what's the mood of House Democrats right now? What's the mood of the House speaker?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're moving forward. Behind closed doors this morning, the speaker had this meeting with her caucus. They discussed the next steps on impeachment. She asked them, quote, "Are you ready," and the response, I'm told
was, a resounding, yes, from the Democrats in the room. Meaning, are you ready to move to the next phase here in the impeachment proceeding?
And Democrats I talked to afterwards made it clear the speaker, even though she has not publicly said the president should be impeached, even last night she even told me she has not made a decision moving forward on impeachment and impeaching the president, she's very clear she's moving forward at least in the next step of the process.
And what she is emphasizing to her members. Focus on the process. This is part of the process, Judiciary Committee hearings. Then they'll worry about the step of the process afterwards.
Now, of course, she sees down the road about where the caucus, where the House will eventually move. She is not detailing exactly how she plans to proceed.
But Democrats are coming away believing they are full steam ahead, that impeachment will happen before Christmas. That's still the belief.
Jerry Nadler made it clear earlier today in the hearings they needed to move expeditiously. That's why you see both the House and Senate starting to prepare for those next steps.
We can expect Judiciary Committee votes could happen, I'm told, as soon as next week on the articles of impeachment. See if that ultimately happens. Could see a vote in the full House even the week after.
That's why it was interesting, the calendar released from the Senate today saying they're prepared for the entire month of January for it to be in trial, because they're seeing the House move in an expeditious fashion.
The speaker being deliberate. I just tried to ask her a question a second ago, getting reaction to hearings. She said they're still happening. We'll see more of what she talks-- when she talks to you, Jake, tomorrow night, of course.
At the moment, she's saying she's ready to move ahead. But not saying yet the president will be impeached, even though many Democrats believe she's already there -- Jake?
TAPPER: And Manu is referring to CNN having a town hall with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. I'm monitoring that.
Manu, before you go, a question. We don't have dates locked in. What are the next steps that have to take place before the actual vote on whether or not the House is going to impeach President Trump? After this hearing, are there any other scheduled hearings? When are we expecting the articles of impeachment, if they decide to draft them, to be released? And so on. RAJU: The next hearing is likely going to be with staff counsels of
the House Intelligence Committee. Both Democratic staff and Republican staff expected to present findings to the House Judiciary Committee in an open hearing.
We don't have the exact date. It could happen -- they are only required to give 24-hour's notice under House rules to actually have a hearing. We'll see when they actually schedule that.
Then we probably could expect articles of impeachment introduced soon thereafter. Then, at that point, we'll see if they decide to have an official hearing on the actual articles of impeachment before they move to a committee vote on those articles.
They still have to make a decision before they move forward on the articles exactly what that would entail. We do expect abuse of power to be a part of it, obstruction of congress to be part of it.
And it sounds like, according to this morning's hearing, that they're considering obstruction of justice very seriously, including the allegations included in the Mueller report, of the president apparently trying to thwart the Mueller investigation into his campaign and presidency. That could be part as well.
Once they make those decisions, that's when the articles will be introduced, the hearings will happen, when the committee will vote on those articles before the full House would vote. And that could happen in the House pretty quickly under the rules.
As they make the decision, they may want to move full steam ahead because Democrats don't want this to drag on and on and on, particularly ones in difficult re-election races. And that's what Nancy Pelosi is most concerned about, the frontline Democrats, those most vulnerable Democrats in the swing districts.
That's why, once the hearings are done, expect votes to happen quickly before the Senate trial takes place probably in January -- Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, thanks so much.
John King, to recap what he just said, after today's hearing, expecting one more hearing where counsels, the Democratic counsel and Republican counsel, introduce their views, their versions of the findings. Then the House Judiciary Committee will draw up articles of impeachment, theoretically. The House Judiciary Committee votes on it.
Assuming it passes which, we all think it will, then it goes to the floor of the House of Representatives. We're talking about four big steps that, theoretically, could be in the next two or three weeks.
KING: Four big steps, theoretically. Again, the only wild card there, is there some Democratic victory for a new witness? Although Adam Schiff seems to think that might happen in the Intelligence Committee separately as they move forward. Bit at least four big steps. At least four big steps.
And can Democrats get this done, have a vote in the House? The Clinton impeachment tracked the holidays, by the way. So there were concerns --
TOOBIN: Christmas -- Christmas Eve or something?
KING: You were in a midterm election year then. Then after the election, when it finished up, in the midterm. It was a very stressful time. But this House -- and it's the speaker -- she won't answer modest questions. It'll be really interesting to see how much she's willing to talk about this when she has the town hall tomorrow.
Part of her success has been she was against it a long time. Once decided, OK, we have no choice, in her view, to go forward, her success has been in keeping her words, waiting for the right moments. She speaks when she thinks she needs to. When she needs to either bring discipline, bring the family back together, or speed things up, or slow things down. You're going to get to talk to her at a fascinating time.
Because, yes, it's Chairman Nadler's ball after Chairman Schiff's ball, but make no mistake about it, the speaker orchestrates how this happens, and she wants it done by Christmas. She wants to hand it off to Senator McConnell.
TOOBIN: And I've been told by Judiciary Committee sources, expect a busy week next week. Next week is going to be a lot of stuff happening in this committee.
All of those steps you laid out, John, I think you're exactly right about -- and how many of those they get through next week, I don't know, but they will be working a lot --
BASH: The next three weeks.
TOOBIN: Right. But next week -- today, we only had one hearing this week and we may only have one hearing. Next week, it's not just one day.
TAPPER: What do you think -- your guess is what? Next week that hearing and then draw up articles of impeachment?
TOOBIN: I think, certainly, by the end of next week, we will see the articles of impeachment. I don't -- I sort of doubt they can get them voted on next week.
TOOBIN: Just given the way John laid out the schedule, which I think is accurate, I don't see there's any way we get through all of next week without seeing the articles of impeachment. Perhaps early in the week.
TAPPER: While we're waiting for Chairman Nadler to gavel in, there's one other thing I've been wondered about. If we don't get to the whole answer, then I'll come back to you.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Sure.
TAPPER: Which is, what did you make of the inclusion of Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, in that report that was released? Because they certainly seemed to be suggesting something nefarious, although without spelling it out, phone records between Nunes and Giuliani, Nunes and Lev Parnas, Giuliani's indicted associate.
But they didn't come out and be say we think Devin Nunes did X?
MCCABE: Yes. That's a fascinating piece of the report. In general, the report sheds more light on that side of the whole strategy to remove the ambassador, to interact with U.S.-based journalist, John Solomon, to kind of create and propagate these myths of corruption, and the Ukrainian server and all that sort of stuff.
You know, there's nothing to say that the ranking member violated a law or anything of that nature by interacting with those folks as they were engaged in that strategy, but it certainly raises a very awkward question for him on the ethics side.
And that is, how did he sit there on the dais and conduct and participate in the questioning of Maria Yovanovitch, as she relates the attempt to tar her reputation to remove her from office, and not reveal the fact that he may have been a participant in that scheme?
TAPPER: Or at least knew about it contemporaneous.
MCCABE: It's hard to imagine he didn't know about it because of all the contacts, not just with Parnas but also with Solomon and Giuliani at that time. That's exactly what they were up to at that time.
TAPPER: I have to say, Dana Bash, I have never seen, n decades covering Congress, a member -- a committee report that basically goes out of its way to criticize or at least insinuate quite a bit about the ranking minority member of that committee.
BASH: I mean, it's exhibit 475 of how extraordinary these times are, especially on this committee.
BASH: You know --
TAPPER: Known for being bipartisan.
BASH: -- known historically, until -- these two men were at the top of the committee, an extremely bipartisan committee.
BASH: And not just going after him but going after him as somebody who potentially, not committed crimes, but did things that were allegedly --
TAPPER: Let's listen back in to Jerry Nadler. And we'll continue the conversation after the break.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The committee will come to order. When we broke for recess, we were under the five-minute rule.
And I recognize Mr. Sensenbrenner for five minutes to question the witnesses.
REP. JIM SENSENBRENNER (R-WI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
(IMPEACHMENT HEARING FROM 14:45:25 TO 14:59:51)
SENSENBRENNER: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I am a veteran of impeachments. I've been named by the House as an impeachment manager and four impeachments, Clinton and three judges; that's more than anybody else in history and one of the things in every impeachment whether it's the ones that I was involved in or others that have comebefore the committee where I was not a manager is the debate on what is a high crime and misdemeanor and how serious does that have to be in order for it to rise to a level of an impeachable offense?
About 50 years ago then republican leader Gerald Ford made a comment that saying a high crime and misdemeanor is anything a majority of the House of Representatives deems it to be on any given day. I don't agree with that. You know, that sets either a very low bar or a nonexistent bar. And it certainly would make the president serve at the pleasure of the House which was not what the framers intended when they rejected the British form of parliamentary democracy where the prime minister and the government could be overthrown by a mere vote of no confidence in the House of Commons.
So I've been looking at what we're facing here. This whole inquiry was started out by a comment that President Trump made to President Zelensky in the July 25th call, quote, do me a favor, unquote. There are some who have said it's a quid pro quo. There are some who have implied that it's a quid pro quo but both Trump and Zelensky have said it wasn't and Zelensky has said there was no pressure on me and the aid came through within six weeks after the phone call in question was made. Now you can contrast that to where there was no impeachment inquiry to Vice President Biden when he was giving a speech and said, you know I held up a billion dollars worth of aid unless the prosecutor was fired within six hours and son-of-a-bleep that's what happened. Now, you know it seems to me that if you're looking for a quid pro quo and looking for something that was really over the top, it was not saying do me a favor. It was saying, son-of-a-bleep, that's what happened in six hours.
Now, you know the Republicans who are in charge of Congress at the time Biden made that comment, we did not tie the country up for three months and going on four now, wrapping everybody in this town around the axel rod (ph). We continue to attempting to do the public's business. That's not what's happening here and I think the American public are getting a little bit sick and tired of impeachment, impeachment, impeachment when they know that less than a year from now they will be able to determine whether Donald Trump stays in office or somebody else will be elected.
I take this responsibility extremely seriously. You know it is an awesome and very grave responsibility and it is not one that should be done lightly. It is not one that should be done quickly and it is not one without examining all of the evidence which is what was done in the Nixon impeachment and what was done largely by Kenneth Starr in the Clinton impeachment.
Now I'd like to ask you, Professor Turley, because your mind is the only one of the four of you up there that doesn't seem to have it made up before you walk into the door. Isn't there a difference between saying, quote, do me a favor and quote, son-of-a-bleep, that's what happened in six hour's time?
TURLEY: Grammatically, yes. I -- Constitutionally, it really depends on the context. I think your point is a good one in the sense that we have to determine from the transcript and hopefully from other witnesses whether this statement was part of an actual quid pro quo.
I guess the threshold question is if the president said I'd like you to do these investigations and by the way, I don't group them together in my testimony. I distinguish between the requests for investigations into 2016 from the investigation of the Bidens.
But it is an issue of order -- the magnitude of order Constitutionally if you ask I'd like to see you do this as opposed to I have a quid pro quo. You either do this or you don't get military aid.
NADLER: The time of the gentleman has expired. The gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Jackson Lee.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you Mr. Chairman for yielding. Professor Gerhardt said if what we are talking about today is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable. I'm reminded of my time on the House Judiciary Committee during the 1990s impeachment and as well a number of federal judges. I was guided then not only by the facts but by the Constitution and the duty to serve this nation.
I believe, as we greet you today, that we're charged with a sober and somber responsibility. So Professor Karlan, I'd like you to look at the intelligence volume where hundreds of documents are behind that and the Mueller report. Professor Karlan, you've studied the record. Do you think it is quote, wafer thin and can you remark on the strength of the record before us?
KARLAN: So obviously it's not wafer-thin. And the strength of the record is not just in the September -- I mean the July 25th call, I think the way you need to ask about this is how does it fit in to the pattern pattern of behavior by the President. Because what you're really doing is your drawing inferences here. This is about circumstantial evidence as well as direct evidence. That is you're trying to infer did the President ask for a political favor? And I think this record supports the inference that he did.
JACKSON LEE: What comparison, Professor Karlan, can be make between Kings that the Framers were afraid of and the President's conduct today?
KARLAN: So Kings could do no wrong because the Kings word was law. And contrary to what President Trump has said, Article 2 does give him the power to do anything he wants. And I'll just give you one example that shows you the difference between him and a King. Which is the Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So the President can name his son Baron he can't make him a Baron.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you. The founding, the founding father George Mason asked shall any man be above justice and Alexander Hamilton wrote that high crimes and misdemeanors mean the abuse or violation of some public trust. As we move quickly, Professor Feldman, you have previously testified that the President has abused his power, is that correct?
FELDMAN: Yes, ma'am.
JACKSON LEE: What do you think is the most compelling evidence in this Impeachment Inquiry that would lead you to that?
FELDMAN: The phone call itself of July 25th is extraordinarily clear to mind in that we hear the President asking for a favor that's clearly of personal benefit rather that acting on behalf the interest of a nation. And then further from that, further down the road we have more evidence which tends to give the context and to support the explanation for what happened.
JACKSON LEE: Professor Karlan, how does such abuse affect our Democratic Systems?
KARLAN: Have foreign interference in our Election means that we are less free. It is less we the people who are determining who's the next winner than it is a foreign government.
JACKSON LEE: I think it is fair to say that the President's actions are unprecedented. But what also strikes me is how many Republicans and Democrats believe that his conduct was wrong. Let's listen tot the Colonel.
JACKSON LEE: Professor Feldman, in light of the fact that the President asked for an investigation and then only when he was caught release the military aid. Is there still a need for impeachment?
FELDMAN: Yes ma'am. Impeachment is complete when the President abuses his office and he abuses his office by attempting to abuse his office. There's not distinction there between trying to do it and succeeding in doing it. And that's especially true if you only stop because you got caught.
JACKSON LEE: Over 70% of the American people believe, as I said, what the President did was wrong.
We have a solemn responsibility to address that. And as well our fidelity to our oath and our duty. Reminded of the men and women who serve in the Unite States Military. And I'm (ph) reminded of my three uncles who served in War World II. I can't imagine them being on the battlefield needing arms and food and the General says do me a favor. We know that General would not say do me a favor. And so in this instance the American people deserve unfettered leadership and it is our duty to fairly assess the facts and the constitution. I yield back my time.
NADLER: Gentlelady yields back. Mr. Chabot is recognized.
STEVE CHABOT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's pretty clear to me that no matter what questions we ask these four witnesses here today and no matter what their answers are that most if not all of the Democrats on this Committee are going to Impeach President Trump. That's what their hardcore Trump hating base wants and they wanted that since the President was elected three years ago. In fact when Democrats took over the House one of the first things that they did was introduce Articles of Impeachment against President Trump. And that was way before President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky ever had their famous phone call, whether it was perfect or not.
Now today, we're undertaking a largely academic exercise instead of hearing from fact witnesses like Adam Schiff or Hunter Biden. But we're not being permitted to call those witnesses. It would seem that since Schiff for example mislead the American people on multiple occasions common sense and basic fairness would call for Schiff to be questioned about those things, but we can't.
Mr. Chairman, back in 1998 when another President Bill Clinton was being considered for Impeachment you said and I quote "we must not overturn an election and impeach a president without an overwhelming consensus of the American people and their representatives in Congress. You also said "there my never be a narrowly voted Impeachment or an Impeachment substantially supported by one of the major political parties and largely opposed by the other. You said such an Impeachment would lack legitimacy, would produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come and will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions. That's what you said back then, Mr. Chairman.
Well, what you said should never happen. That we should never do is exactly what your doing now, moving forward without a consensus and Impeachment by one major party that's opposed by the other. And it's almost certain that it's going to result in the very divisiveness and bitterness that you so accurately warned us about back then.
Mr. Chairman, a couple more quotes from a very wise Jerry Nadler from about two decades ago. "The last thing you want is almost illegitimate is to have a party line Impeachment. You shouldn't impeach the President unless it's abroad consensus of the American people". Those were wise words Mr. Chairman, but you're not following them today. And finally again your words back then. The issue and a potential Impeachment is whether to overturn the results of a national election with (ph) free expression of the popular wheel of the American people. That is an enormous responsibility and an extraordinary power. It is not one we should exercise lightly. It is certainly not one which should be exercised in a manner which either is or would be perceived by the American people to be unfair or partisan."
Again, Mr. Chairman, those things that you warned against then are exactly what you and your Democratic colleagues are doing now. You're abut to move forward with a totally party line impeachment. That is clearly not a broad consensus of the American people. You're overturning the result of a National Election and there's no doubt that it will be perceived by at least half of the American People as an unfair and partisan effort. You seem bound and determined to move forward with this Impeachment and the American people deserve better. I get it. Democrats on this Committee don't like this President, they don't like his policies, they don't like him as a person, they hate his tweets. They don't like the fact that the Moeller investigation was a flop. So now you're going to impeach him.
Well I've got new for you, you may be able to twist enough arms in the House to Impeach the President but that efforts going to die in the Senate. The President's going to serve out his term in office and in all likelihood be reelected to a second term probably with the help of this very Impeachment charade that we're going through now.
While you're wasting so much of Congress' time and the American people's money on this impeachment, there are so many other important things that are going undone.
Within this committee's own jurisdiction, we should address the opioid epidemic. We could be working together to find a solution to our immigration and asylum challenges on our southern border.