Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

President Trump Signals Aggressive Defense Strategy in Senate Trial; Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) is Interviewed About the Impeachment Inquiry; Ukrainian Lawmaker Says He Met with Giuliani in Kiev; Russian Pro-Democracy Activist Sees Soviet Parallels With Echo Chamber Backing President Donald Trump; Biden Gets In Heated Exchange With Iowa Voter Over His Son And Ukraine; Buttigieg Lands Endorsements From Three Former Obama Officials; John Kerry Endorses Biden For 2020 Election; Speaker Pelosi: "No Choice" But To Move Forward With Articles Of Impeachment. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 5, 2019 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:18]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

It's now all but certain President Donald J. Trump will be impeached. And whatever you think of him, his conduct or the allegations against him, what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set in motion this morning likely sealed this day in history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and a heart full of love for America, today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And with, President Trump is now facing what only three other presidents have, House lawmakers drawing up formal indictments against him. Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton were all impeached. Richard Nixon resigned instead.

And then, just as now, the process was divisive. It stirred up passions and partisanship and gave rise to allegations such as this one earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?

PELOSI: I don't hate anybody.

REPORTER: Representatives Collins --

PELOSI: I was raised in a Catholic house. We don't hate anybody, not anybody in the world. So, don't -- don't you accuse me of any -- REPORTER: I did not accuse you.

PELOSI: You did. You did.

REPORTER: I asked a question.

REPORTER: Representative Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing this simply because they don't like the guy.

PELOSI: It has nothing to do with -- let me just say this.

REPORTER: I think it's an important point.

PELOSI: I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our Dreamers, of which we're very proud. I think he is in denial about the climate crisis.

However, that's about the election. This is about the -- take it up in the election.

This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president's violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word "hate" in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full -- a heart full of love and always pray for the president.

And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It was a remarkable moment. And the top of the next hour, Speaker Pelosi will join Jake Tapper for a CNN live town hall.

First of all, the president's reaction quoting now from his tweet, quote: Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit. She hates that we will soon have 182 great new judges and so much more. Stock market and employment record. She said she prays for the president. I don't believe her, not even close.

The president also likes using what might be charitably described as mental health imagery in describing House Democrats as he did in this tweet shortly before Nancy Pelosi's announcement. Quote: They have no impeachment case and they're demeaning our country. But nothing matters to them, they've gone crazy.

Therefore I say, if you're going to impeach me, do it now, fast so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our country can get back to business.

Do it now fast, the president says. But keeping them honest, for weeks now, including at the Judiciary hearings yesterday, Republicans have been saying the opposite about the need for speed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): They're rushed on this because they're trying to get it out because they don't want to appear to be trying to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): There was no objectivity or fairness in the media's rush of stories, just as a fevered rush to tarnish and remove a president.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): I'm certainly hoping that the house will be able to multitask in their rush to impeach the president.

COLLINS: The issue that we have to deal with going forward is why the rush?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, law professional Jonathan Turley, who you saw there on the right of the screen, yesterday's Republican witness, also criticized the speed of things, warning against what he called an impulse buy. I talked to one of his Democratic counterparts about that, Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman. He joins us shortly.

Also tonight, new reporting on the president's TV lawyer and alleged bagman Rudy Giuliani who maybe providing a key incentive for Democrats to move quickly, because even as this is playing out, Giuliani is in Ukraine apparently engaging in some of the very conduct that landed the president in trouble. And we'll bring you the latest on all that tonight.

But first, I want to go quickly to CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House.

So, what are you learning about the administration's -- what is their latest preparation for impeachment?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, the White House is looking to mount a robust defense of the president. Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, has hired dozens of attorneys, and he has been preparing for this potential Senate trial for months, even looking at past impeachment trials the try to gain some perspective on how to craft a response to the allegations that President Trump abused his power in his dealings with Ukraine.

Notably, the White House has also told us the resources that they plan to use this as an opportunity to bash Democrats. You saw there in that tweet by President Trump, but he suggests that Republicans may try to compel prominent Democrats to testify, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, and even Joe and Hunter Biden.

[20:05:08]

Well, of course, the president doesn't ultimately determine who testifies in this Senate trial, and that's part of the reason that Pat Cipollone, members of his staff, members of the White House communications team had been sitting down with Republican senators more and more often for weeks, trying to not only craft messaging and a potential strategy, but also to try to avoid any potential land mines, Anderson.

COOPER: Is it clear how the president is handling this behind closed doors?

SANCHEZ: Yes. Well, four weeks, we've been hearing that the president has sort of been in denial about all of this, that he did not actually believe that Democrats in the House would vote to impeach him. We are actually told that he has come to terms with that reality, in part because he was watching testimony yesterday as he was returning from a NATO leader's meeting in London.

The president was asked today if he believed that being impeached would tarnish his legacy. He said he did not because it is all a, hoax -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Boris Sanchez in the White House -- Boris, thank you.

The question now of what's next? For that, we are joined by Democratic congresswoman and Judiciary Committee vice chair, Mary Gay Scanlon.

Congresswoman, thanks for being with us.

Speaker Pelosi is obviously trying to frame this in somber terms, it is not something that Congress as lightly or with partisan intent, he is saying. It is extraordinarily partisan, however. Everyone has dug in.

Do you have any reason to believe that will change as you move ahead with articles of impeachment? Is there any sign of that?

REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA): Well, I think, as with the speaker, we're hopeful that people will do their constitutional duty. It's not personal. It's not political. It's about the Constitution.

I think we laid out really clearly yesterday with the witnesses, talking about why we have an impeachment clause, why the Founders thought there were certain things that constituted impeachable conduct, and they were the very things we are talking about here. It's foreign interference in our government. It's corrupt elections. It's corruption by our executive.

This Ukraine incident and the cover-up involved really involves all of those things.

COOPER: I mean, it certainly is political. I mean, it has political ramifications. It's hard to see it, I admit it certainly has to do with the Constitution, but is it really fair to say it's not political?

SCANLON: The only folks who were talking about us being an election are our Republican counterparts. They keep saying oh, this is about undoing an election. Impeachment is not about undoing an election. Elections are for, as the speaker suggested earlier today, that when you disagree with someone's morals, where you disagree with their qualifications, or you disagree with their policies, this isn't about any of that. This is about the fact that the current president appears to be undermining our constitution through corruption.

COOPER: I knew the Judiciary Committee is going to have a hearing on Monday, during which you're going to hear from the Intelligence Committee majority and minority counsels. There is a lot of expectation, a full House vote could be held before Christmas.

What do you think of the timeline? And also the argument that, you know, there is nothing in the Constitution about how long this could take or should take?

SCANLON: Right. Well, I think we are just trying to work through it as expeditiously as we can. The report was put out by the Intel Committee this week has a lot of urgency to it. I mean, we saw with the Mueller report, we saw that the president had a welcome news interference by Russia in the 2016 election, and then when he was caught out, tried to cover it up and obstruct that investigation. Now, we have this situation with the Ukraine.

We are looking ahead to the 20 election. He is soliciting interference from another country, and when he got caught out, he is trying to obstruct that investigation, so we really do have a lot of urgency to move quickly because we have another election at stake.

COOPER: Do you have any reservations, though, about moving forward, actually charging the president of the United States in what is akin to an indictment without having heard from people like John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney? Obviously, you wanted to. The White House isn't cooperating. But, you know, Democrats could wait out the court fight and possibly compel them to testify.

SCANLON: Well, I think we have to deal with I think -- you know, we have to play the hand we've been dealt, OK? So, back in May, we asked Don McGahn to come in. He's the president's former White House counsel who allegedly was told by the president to cover up the fact that the president ordered the special counsel to be fired.

We just got a ruling two or three weeks ago that the president wrongly obstructed him from coming before Congress, but now the president has appealed that ruling, so we could be weeks and weeks and months and months further along in this process before we get to hear from those witnesses. So, you know, if the president wants to tell his tale, if there is a tale, a vindicating tale to be told, he has every opportunity to do it, but he has chosen not to, and it's beginning to look like that's because there is no factual defense. That's why we have all this finger-pointing.

COOPER: And are you confident that, when there is a full house vote, there's always one Democratic congressman from New Jersey who says he's going to vote against the articles of impeachment? Do you think he would lose any more members?

SCANLON: I think the bigger questions going to be how many Republicans they lose?

COOPER: Do you think they will lose any?

SCANLON: I think they should.

[20:10:01]

I mean, they already lost one but they threw him out of the party.

COOPER: Congresswoman Scanlon, appreciate your time. Thank you.

SCANLON: Thank you.

COOPER: Perspective now on the law and politics, from former Republican presidential candidate and U.S. senator, Rick Santorum. He's also a senior CNN political commentator.

Also with us, CNN political commentator and former Obama White House communications director, Jen Psaki.

And CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

I mean, regardless of what happens down the road in the Senate, this is a very significant day.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It is a huge day, and, you know, I thought Speaker Pelosi meant to emphasize that. I mean, she talked about the Constitution, like Hillary Clinton on big days, she wore white which is the color of the suffragettes, which I think underlines sort of the momentous of what's going on here and, you know, this has only happened a very small handful of times in American history, and Nancy Pelosi didn't want to do this.

I mean, she really did not want impeachment to be on her watch this term. I mean, I heard it from her. Many people heard it from her. She was not going to allow this to take place just on the basis of the Mueller report.

But I think she felt not politically but constitutionally obligated to do this once the Ukraine story broke.

COOPER: Jen, do you think she made the right move doing this?

PSAKI: I do, and I agree completely with Jeffrey here. You know, you did not, you saw this tone from here today. You know, she's sad, she's somber. She was clearly passionate and emotional at times as we saw a night clip. But she felt that the president's hand forced her hand, the president's action forced her hand.

And certainly when the moderate Democrats, national security Democrats came out and read that op-ed, that was sort of -- there was no turning back at this point. I think what we will see, though, from, her if she's going to continue to make the case in a non political way, that this is not about overturning an election -- yes, there are people who wanted to Trump out from the beginning. But this is about protecting the United States of America for the next election, really pushing hard on making the case that this president has shown himself to be someone who will not only accept but it will seek information from a foreign power to win.

So I would expect that is where she will keep it, if he maintains it with that tone and keeps remembers maintaining at that tone. I think that this is the right choice, the right decision.

COOPER: Senator Santorum, do you believe that this is, Nancy Pelosi when she says, you know, this isn't political, it's about the Constitution?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't believe that. Look, I do believe because I was there during the Clinton impeachment that people take this, if you're trying to impeach the president or vote to impeach a president in the House, or even more so in the Senate, you take that very, very seriously and I don't doubt the people are taking this seriously. But I don't think it's credible, it wasn't incredible for me, it wasn't credible for anybody to this process to say it's not political.

I mean, you come with a political perspective on how you view this president and it is weighted heavily by policies, as well as politics. So, to say it's not political is just frankly not credible.

I agree with -- I don't think Nancy Pelosi wanted to do this, but what I do know vote leaders in Washington, by and, large is, they're not leaders. They're followers of what their caucus wants to do. And then when her caucus flipped, she did.

I don't think her -- I mean, I don't know that Nancy that well. I mean I know her, but I don't know here that well, maybe we had a private conversation she said I still want to do this, but I had no choice, I think that's where she is. If she's wise, that's where she is.

But she doesn't control her caucus. Her caucus controls her, and that's the way it works.

TOOBIN: But, you know, yes, politics infuses everything with Congress. There's nothing wrong with that.

SANTORUM: Yes, I agree there is nothing wrong with that.

TOOBIN: But the caucus is moving because the facts push them.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: I would just say it's another domino that again I do not think the proof is there, I don't think it is substantial as everybody suggests. I think what the president did was inappropriate. I don't think it is anywhere close to impeachable.

But if you have that for an election, believing in every possible bad inference against the president, you can get to that conclusion and that's where they are. PSAKI: I think, though, for Speaker Pelosi and for a lot of

Democrats, the question was and still is, should any president, Democrat or Republican, be able to seek dirt on a political opponent? Is that something the president should be allowed to do?

Manu Raju asked this question today of Kevin McCarthy, he didn't answer the question. And that's a difficult one for Republicans.

SANTORUM: I think it is a difficult one. As I said before, I thought it was inappropriate to bring up to Biden name. I don't think it was inappropriate to ask for an investigation of Burisma, but I think it was inappropriate to bring up the Bidens name.

And there are a lot of things short of impeachment that deal with inappropriate behavior.

COOPER: When the -- you know, the president tweeted about the Senate trial today, and that talk about, we're going to have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify.

Is that actually going to happen?

TOOBIN: You'll have to ask Mitch McConnell. I mean, Mitch McConnell is going to run this process. Again, he's going to follow his caucus.

COOPER: You seem to think it is? How is that actually works?

SANTORUM: Here's what happens. Again, I was very, very engaged in this.

[20:15:01]

Senators are going to look at this. Everyone thinks were going to respond to what the president wants. They're going to look at this as what they -- number one, and I really do believe this, what they think is right, not just for them politically and then -- but for the country but also for the Senate. There is a real responsibility on all three fronts and I think what you are going to see is, as we saw back in the Clinton impeachment, it is not as clear cut on either side what is the right approach.

And I don't -- I don't know, it is a different set from when I was there, but there was a great desire to find a compromise. Great desire.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I mean, they can -- Mitch McConnell can call who he wants?

TOOBIN: They can have no witnesses. They can have some witnesses. They can have depositions.

What they did in the Clinton trial was they did not have witnesses in the Senate, but they had essentially depositions with a handful of senators off the White House campus, off the Capitol campus. And, you know, that's possible. But the thing that you never hear Republicans say is, we want an

inquiry into the facts of what happened with Ukraine. They want to talk about Joe Biden. They want to talk about Adam Schiff.

They never want to answer the question that Manu Raju asked today, is it appropriate what the president did?

COOPER: All right. Let's take a quick break.

Some late word on Rudy Giuliani, his White House phone calls and his Ukraine travels when we come back.

Plus, Joe Biden's campaign trail confrontation over his son and Ukraine when we continue. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You said, I set up my son to work an oil company. Isn't that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We got a quick piece of breaking news on calls Rudy Giuliani made to the White House. It first came to light in the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report.

CNN has learned that some of them said to have been associated with the Office of Management and Budget may have simply been calls to and from the White House and not specifically the OMB. The calls in April 2019 or well before any known action by the White House to hold Ukrainian military aid, raising questions as to whether there were discussions earlier than previously known.

As for what Mayor Giuliani is up to right at this moment, that is a separate question, one of the reasons that Democrats today cited for moving impeaching proceedings forward so quickly. He's been in Ukraine and has been taking, they say, more problematic action on the president's behalf, reportedly talking some of the same familiar characters and again, threatening Ukraine.

Quoting now from his Twitter feed, quote: The composition which corruption in Ukraine was based on compelling evidence by then Vice President Biden in 2016. That has not been resolved, and until it is, it will be a major obstacle to the U.S. assisting Ukraine with its anti-corruption reforms. The words they're repeating "has not been resolved", and "will be a major obstacle".

Back with Rick Santorum, Jen Psaki, and Jeff Toobin.

Is it -- what kind of investigation, what is Rudy Giuliani doing in Ukraine?

TOOBIN: Oh, I -- Anderson, you ask hard questions. I mean, it beats the hell out of me. I mean, I think he is reinforcing the view that the president is trying to intimidate people in Ukraine to do his political bidding. Rudy Giuliani is not some honest broker. He is not some corruption investigator.

He is someone trying to get Donald Trump reelected president and that's what's going on there, but, you know, I don't know that how closely people follow these things but this seems much more likely to backfire than to actually help in any way, especially since he is involved with all these fringe figures.

COOPER: It seems a little counterintuitive, Jen, from -- if you are thinking of, you know, the prison side, you wouldn't think, oh, yes, let's have Rudy go back to Ukraine.

PSAKI: Right. It's sort of a big middle finger to the people who are investigating this and looking at this whole situation, and it's putting him in a bigger spotlight. That's why it is such a head- scratcher here.

I mean, I think his entire tweet does not make any sense at all as we know and have been discussing. Obviously, Ukraine has gone through a period of years of corruption, they have made some reforms. There is more work to be done.

There is no evidence Rudy Giuliani or Donald Trump cares about that. That is certainly not what he is working on. What we are all talking about and happened for weeks is the most corrupt thing probably than anyone has been trying to get Ukraine involved in. So, it's all little ludicrous, but it's crazy to see that he's in Ukraine. I don't know why he's there.

SANTORUM: I -- well, I give you -- part of what I think is the rationale explanation for, this whether it's true or not. I don't know.

PSAKI: Money?

SANTORUM: No, I think Rudy feels like he's been -- his reputation has been besmirched. I think he feels like he has been basically ridiculed by the media as being someone who was sort of this crazy guy working on -- and I think he wants to go and vindicate himself. I think he wants to go and gather more -- more evidence and basically prove out that he is right and you're wrong, and that makes sense to me.

I mean, Rudy is a man of great pride and great stature, America's mayor, and now he is sort of being kicked around and kicked to the curb and he's going to fight back. So, I think that's what's going on.

TOOBIN: And the way to -- the problem is he does not know what he is talking about.

SANTORUM: Well, he thinks he does. He thinks --

TOOBIN: He's dealing with people who have the worst reputations. He is on a television network that thinks Fox News is some leftist outlet.

PSAKI: Yes.

TOOBIN: I mean, this is the way he is restoring his reputation? I mean, I'm not saying you're wrong, Rick.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: I believe that's what he's saying. I think he is trying to gather the evidence to prove his case.

COOPER: Isn't that like O.J. trying to gather the evidence? I mean, is that really --

SANTORUM: Well, again, I think that is being a little unfair. A little unfair --

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: I feel like my whole life is coming together here.

PSAKI: Yes, this is your life, right there.

COOPER: But I mean -- I -- just, you know, it's like when Donald Trump said as a citizen that he had sent detectives to Hawaii to investigate, you know, the birth certificate of President Obama.

[20:25:11]

There was no -- there has never been any evidence he actually did send detectives. There is not an investigation. And the U.S. embassy -- there is plenty of arms to the U.S. government that can investigate corruption in Ukraine.

SANTORUM: And let's go back to the idea that many on the right believe there is a deep state and there are many people particularly the State Department who have different agendas and they believe that they are wrong.

COOPER: There is the Treasury Department which, you know --

SANTORUM: Again, I hear you. I'm just saying there is a general mistrust of the state, the deep state, and Rudy believes that his scenario that he has laid out is the right one.

COOPER: He also could just be drumming up a business.

PSAKI: He could also be --

COOPER: He does a history of business -- seeking out businesses in Ukraine. I mean, he tried to get a contract for security things in the capital --

PSAKI: All over Eastern Europe and all sorts of places. I mean, look, I think first of all the, reference to the deep state, what we saw a few weeks ago is that the deep state he has been referring to are decades long public servants who have been trying to do work in the national interest of the United States, but seems to contradict the Trump administration.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Look, I fight you on that one because I do believe just because a bunch of smart people all over State Department are doing what they think is the best thing for country isn't maybe what the president wants to do, and, by the way, he is the one that runs foreign policy, not then.

(CROSSTALK)

PSAKI: -- investigate Biden and they want to help Ukraine address their corruption --

SANTORUM: I understand, in this particular case, there might be some -- there are some crosscurrents here, but the idea that we are going to defer to a group of State Department people who because they've been there a long time but are really smart are going to do the right thing for America -- sorry, that's not our job. Their job is to do what the president tells them to do.

PSAKI: That's exactly what their job is.

SANTORUM: No, it isn't.

COOPER: Senator Santorum, Jen Psaki, Jeff Toobin, thank you.

Up next, I'm going to talk to former world chess champion and anti- Putin activist Gary Kasparov who just penned an op-ed titled, "I live in post-truth Soviet world and I hear its echoes in Trump's America".

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:31:47]

COOPER: Garry Kasparov is perhaps best known for becoming at age 22 in 1985, the youngest world chess champion ever. He saw some of the darkest sides of the old Soviet Union and spoke out about them which led to his exile in the United States.

Today, there's an op-ed he wrote on CNN.com. It's fascinating. It's titled, I lived in the post-truth Soviet world and I hear its echoes in Trump's America. Kasparov writes, "President Donald Trump and his Republican defenders in Congress have followed his lead in declaring war on observed reality." He adds, "Unable to change the facts, Trump and his supporters instead try to shift the debate into an alternate universe where the truth is whatever they say it is today."

Garry Kasparov joins me now. He's the author of "Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped." It's good to have you as always. This CNN.com op-ed, it's really fascinating. You write about -- there was an old joke apparently growing up in the Soviet Union. It's, there is no news in the truth and no truth in the news.

GARRY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER: That's the name of the two biggest newspapers in the Soviet Union.

COOPER: Right, yes, of course. I mean, it's pretty chilling to hear somebody who experienced the Soviet Union for himself to see echoes of it now today in America.

KASPAROV: Imagine what I think by listening all this nonsense, because it just reminds me of old days. I mean, actually, it's probably even worse because we knew that whatever was published on the front page of a Pravda newspaper, we should not -- we could disregard it. And it was difficult actually to find alternative sources of information.

I never thought that in the free world in America just, you know, when you have so many options just, you know, to go from one channel to another, people could be overwhelmed by this notion of lies. And also, yes, it resembles what Putin has been doing over these years by simply lying and paying no consequences for that.

COOPER: And I've always been fascinated in a place like Soviet Union or other countries I've traveled to when officials were lying and saying an alternate version of the reality. They knew -- I mean, the Soviet Union, they knew the system was corrupt. They knew -- I mean, they knew what they were saying was not accurate, didn't they?

KASPAROV: Yes.

COOPER: Or did --

KASPAROV: They tried to defend the ideology. What's happening in America is different because it's not a classical political spin. It's not like cherry picking --

COOPER: Right.

KASPAROV: -- your favorite story or favorite data. It's just lying.

COOPER: Right.

KASPAROV: And there are --

COOPER: That's what so --

KASPAROV: -- so many ways to lie and there's only one truth. And they know that, you know, they can get people exhausted, the exhaust critical thinking.

COOPER: That's part of the strategy.

KASPAROV: Exactly. And you feel at the very -- a concept of truth, everybody is lying. So, and I always call Putin merchant of doubt. But now seeing what's happening in America, it's when just Republicans managed to turn the whole political process in this alternative reality. It's like a post-truth world, and the truth world, no one agrees on facts.

COOPER: But also the idea of wearing you down, wearing you out, it's sort of that the people who are lying have more energy than you do to -- than one does to sustain it. That's demoralizing.

[20:35:07]

KASPAROV: But I have to say that the mainstream media actually help Trump from the very beginning of his campaign. Because Trump has been always making up things and repeating false claims, even after they have been disproven.

But nobody knew how to deal with that and that every lie that Trump would use has been taken seriously. And it's quite exhausting and it's just a waste of time. And if Trump today says, oh, the sky is green. So, I'm afraid that Twitter and cable news only for the next three days of reputation of that, but he'll already be departing for a new station, producing new lies.

And that's quite -- it's very effective because people just -- they lost sense of reality because they hear all these lies, and instead of trying to refute these lies, you have to stick to the facts. Keep repeating the facts. And because in the post-truth world, you know, it's -- the two plus two is not four, but two plus two equals Ukraine.

COOPER: I want to read something you wrote about Fox News in your article. You said, "If you watch the impeachment hearings only on Fox News you would have thought things were going great for the President. Any phrase that might sound like it exonerated him, there weren't that -- and there weren't many, was repeated over and over like a mantra. The copious and damning evidence provided may as well not have existed."

It is -- you know, there is so much information now, and I do feel like it's more important than ever before to know where your information is coming from, to know, you know, is this -- is it a reputable organization? What is their perspective? What is their -- if they have a bias, what is their bias?

KASPAROV: For those who say, oh, CNN is one side, folks on the other side, there is a simple test. Every -- and I have to emphasize. Every official who testified under oath provided this damning evidence against Trump and every of Trump defenders refused to testify on their oaths. I mean for me, that's an ultimate test.

So that shows that there is no story they're willing to tell under oath and that's what they learned from Clinton's impeachment. I mean, avoid testifying under oath at any cost, because that could put you in trouble. And unfortunately, there is the whole party now, GOP that is now -- is willing to live in this alternative reality and listening to even mild version of this nonsense from your previous guest, Rick Santorum.

So, I'm afraid that in the Senate we will not see the trial, but we will -- the trial of President, you know, but Republicans trying to talk about anything else. So shifting the whole process to Biden, Burisma on any -- I mean, attacking witnesses instead of trying to deal with the facts.

COOPER: Yes, which we saw already. Garry Kasparov, thank you very much.

KASPAROV: Thank you.

COOPER: Good to have you on. That's on CNN.com, the op-ed. Joe Biden on the attack in Iowa, I'll talk with David Axelrod about the fiery frontrunner that we saw today after he took on an audience member who accused him of "selling access to the President."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:42:22]

COOPER: Throughout the campaign for the Democratic nomination, people questioned Joe Biden's age and stamina, subtly or not. The President's called him sleepy and slow. During the CNN Democratic debate in September, Julian Castro cut Biden off and asked if he'd forgotten what he just said minutes earlier. Castro later denied the charge of ageism.

Today in an event in Iowa, Biden faced an audience member who prodded him about his son, Hunter's business in Ukraine and this show he defended himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all know Trump has been messing around in the Ukraine over there, holding their foreign aid for them to come up say they're going to investigate you. We know all about that crap. And he has no backbone, we know that for that.

But you, on the other hand, sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company that he had no experience with gas or nothing in order to get access to the office for the president. So you're selling access to the President just like he was.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're a damn liar, man. That's not true. And no one has ever said that. No one --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hell it ain't, I see it on the T.V. That's all I got to do is watch it.

BIDEN: No, I know you do. By the way, that's why I'm not sedentary. I don't like it happen. And, let him go. Let him go. The reason I'm running is because I've been around a long time and I know more than most people know, and I can get things done. That's why I'm running. And you want to check my shape on, let's do push-ups together. Let's run. Let's do whatever you want to do. Let's take an IQ test. No one has said my son has done anything wrong, and I did not on any occasion, and no one has ever said it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't say you were doing anything wrong.

BIDEN: You said I set up my son to work in an oil company. Isn't that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I hear on MSNBC. The hell I didn't.

BIDEN: You don't hear that on MSNBC. You did not hear that at all. It hurt. Look, OK, I'm not going get in an argument with you, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't want to either.

BIDEN: Well, yes, you do. But look, here's the deal. Here's the deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like you don't have any more backbone than Trump does.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let him talk. Let him talk.

BIDEN: Any other questions?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: David Axelrod, CNN Senior Political Commentator, former senior adviser to the Obama administration. I'm wondering what you made of that exchange. I mean, obviously, it's kind of thing that often, you know, happens in a town hall meeting. Is that the right way for Biden to handle it?

[20:45:06]

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the technical term, Anderson, was that he was really pissed and he showed it. And part of it is that he's very reactive to questions about his children and about his son. That said -- and so, you know, I think people will excuse him that much. That said, it turned into a bit of a rant, and he was overtorqued. And so, no, that's not the way he should handle it.

And I would suggest that he could have spared himself a lot of trouble at the beginning of this whole saga if he had simply said what Hunter Biden has said which was, it was a mistake to go on that board. Vice president should just say that.

And he's laid out all kinds of provisions he would put in place in the White House that would keep such a thing from happening in his administration. He should just say that and move on. But he's going to get a lot more of these provocations the longer he goes in this race. And if he deals with them in this way, he's going to create other problems for himself that go to whether he has the discipline at this stage in his life to do the job.

COOPER: I guess some supporters would, you know, maybe like seeing a sort of passionate and fiery Biden, particularly, you know, since part of the calculus by which any Democratic candidate is going to be judged is whether they can go toe to toe or, you know, win face on a stage with President Trump. AXELROD: Yes, right. And I think that to a degree, that fire was there and I think people might respond positively to that if he had approached it in a different way, if he had said that's not true. Even calling him a damn liar, I think that was over the line, but it showed some fight. But then to get into the push-ups and --

COOPER: Right.

AXELROD: -- how much he knows and, was just seemed a little bit off the rail.

COOPER: I want to ask you about President Obama's former special assistant aide, Reggie Love, someone you know along with to two other former Obama officials --

AXELROD: Yes.

COOPER: -- Austan Goolsbee and Linda Douglass, they just endorsed Pete Buttigieg. I'm wondering what it says to you that they are not putting their support behind Biden or does it -- I mean, does it surprise you? Does it not? What is it -- does it mean anything?

AXELROD: Look, in fairness, there are a lot of people who worked for Barack Obama who are supporting Joe Biden now. I think the lion's share of endorsements from people who worked in the administration probably have gone to the vice president, and there's a real sense of loyalty to him. That said, there are people in other campaigns as well.

Buttigieg just picked up some good endorsements, Austan Goolsbee, who was a chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama, endorsed him. Linda Douglass, who worked on the Affordable Care Act in the administration, endorsed him. So -- and Reggie, of course, was quite close to the president.

So these were good endorsements for Buttigieg. It's a good sign for him. And I think what's happened is you have people who are loyal to the vice president who see him as a legatee of the administration, but they see others who see in Buttigieg, some of the qualities that they saw in a Barack Obama as he came up as a candidate, and they're drawn to that energy and that youth and that idealism.

COOPER: Is there any way to know how much these kind of, you know, endorsements really register? John Kerry said he is going to endorse Biden tomorrow.

AXELROD: Yes. I actually think that Kerry endorsement is useful to Biden, because Kerry ran in Iowa. He was the senator from Massachusetts. And if he becomes an active surrogate for Biden, he is a popular figure within the Democratic Party and particularly in those early primary states, that would be helpful for Biden.

You know, I remember back in 2004 when Kerry was in some trouble in Iowa when he was running for nomination. Ted Kennedy came and campaigned vigorously for them and made a difference there. So there are figures who are big enough to make a real difference if they put their shoulder to the wheel.

COOPER: Yes. David Axelrod, thanks very much. I'm going to talk, in just a moment, to one of the four legal scholars who testified at Wednesday's judiciary committee hearing. Following that, CNN's Town Hall with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi live from Washington. Jake Tapper is going to moderate as voters ask questions about the reasons and road ahead for impeachment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:52:45]

COOPER: We're moments away from CNN's Town Hall with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who will take questions about impeachment from a cross- section of voters.

Earlier today, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy upbraided her for, he says, not listening closely enough to Wednesday's judiciary hearing and then he proceeded to quote the one legal scholar favorable to his line of defense and not quote the other three it was. Take -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): If she paused and she actually listened to the hearing yesterday on what a Democrat who did not vote for the President, who has studied the constitution, who most at any time has been a witness for Democrats or Republicans based upon his own ability as a scholar that this is the weakest, the thinnest impeachment in the history of America, that there is no bribery, no extortion, no obstruction of justice, and no abuse of power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He was referring there to one of the witnesses, Professor Jonathan Turley, had to say. Joining me now, one of the three other legal scholars who testified and went unmentioned by the minority leader, Harvard Law School Professor Noah Feldman, and also joining us, former Federal Prosecutor Robert Ray who investigated Whitewater scandal during the Clinton administration.

Professor Feldman, you heard Minority Leader McCarthy there saying this -- according to Turley, saying this is the weakest, thinnest impeachment in the history of America. Is it?

NOAH FELDMAN, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR: No. And you know, you have to begin with the fact that there's the memorandum of the call which provides you with a tremendous amount of evidence in just a couple of pages. So thickness is not the measure. It's content, that's the measure.

And what's in the record is substantial evidence to support the idea of a classic high crime and misdemeanor of the abuse of the power of the presidency to serve the personal desires and preferences of the President to corrupt the election and to subordinate the national security of the United States to his own interests. COOPER: And, I mean, high crime and misdemeanor, what exactly is the high crime?

FELDMAN: The high crime is the classic high crime, which is abuse of the office of the presidency for personal gain. And that's what the framers thought of as sort of high crime number one, because the reality is that you can use the office of the presidency for good and that's fine. But if you use the office the presidency to advance your own personal interests, that's essentially the essence of corruption. That's the -- what the nature of corruption is and that's absolutely what they considered to be a pure high crime.

[20:55:04]

COOPER: Robert, do you agree that the President would have benefited personally for -- with an investigation of -- or at least even the announcement of an investigation of Joe Biden heading into this election?

ROBERT RAY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, Anderson, let me start first with high crime number one is treason and high crime number two is bribery. And the point is, is that an impeachable offense has to be a crime. You can talk about there are a special category of crimes that must also constitute an abuse of the President's office, but it still has to start with a crime and that's the deficiency here.

The latest narrative seems to be from the House Democrats that the President represents a clear and present danger to the country which I think, you know, the President's reaction apparently to that was, so what are they accusing me of treason now? And it sort of harkens back to where we started more than two months ago with Bill Weld who made, you know, essentially the outrageous claim that this call constituted treason. Thinking about fairly, that's overstated.

COOPER: I mean, is it right for a president to benefit personally and to request a personal benefit to use his office to get a personal benefit?

RAY: Well, I heard Professor Feldman also say during the hearing that his view that this constituted as well a campaign finance violation a problem with that.

COOPER: Right. But you haven't answered my question which is, is it his for his personal benefit?

RAY: Well, the answer is no, it's not. It doesn't pass the personal benefit test because something is nebulous as the collateral effect on a campaign of a request to a foreign government to open up an investigation. At least in the eyes of the Justice Department, apparently, the Criminal Division and the Public Integrity Section is that that's not sufficient to constitute a campaign finance violation. So the answer to your question is, no, it doesn't pass the personal benefit test.

COOPER: OK. Professor Feldman, what about that? FELDMAN: Yes, that's preposterous. So first of all, the question is not whether a statute has been violated. It's definitely not whether the Department of Justice that works for the President thinks that his statute has been violated. The question is, has the constitution been violated?

And in England, high crimes and misdemeanors were not always statutory crimes. And in the United States, in the history of impeachment here, high crimes and misdemeanors have often not been statutory crimes. So first of all, it's a complete red herring to say we should care at all about what the statute says. Second of all, it's also true --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Let him finish.

RAY: I'm sorry.

COOPER: Finish your thoughts.

FELDMAN: So second of all -- thank you. Second of all, it's also the case that when it comes to the conferral of a benefit, we don't have to look at campaign finance law. We can just use the common sense of Congress. Congress is entitled to determine whether there was a personal benefit here that aided the President. And if there was, then Congress can safely say that there was an abuse of power that rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. That's the bottom line. It's up to Congress to determine the meaning of the personal benefit.

COOPER: Robert?

RAY: Well, I can't disagree with that. I mean, it is obviously, ultimately up to Congress to make that determination. But I, you know, I would suggest to you that that determination is now going to be made equally on a partisan basis in the House, which will have no support from Republicans.

And then it will move over to the Senate for trial where it will have support of all Republican senators, which will result in an acquittal. I'm not sure what really ultimately will have been accomplished from that.

And then finally, I disagree. You know, look, the framers well understood the common law definition of bribery. That has now been supplanted in the modern era by the federal bribery statute.

And my position is, you know, I suppose reasonable people can disagree about this. I just don't think that a bribery offense has been shown. In short of that, as much as you want to talk about abuse of power, I think as Professor Turley correctly pointed out, abuse of power untethered from a high crime and misdemeanor, which would be either treason, bribery or some other high crime and misdemeanor is not sufficient to form a legitimate basis to remove a President from office. COOPER: Professor Feldman, I'm wondering what you made of Professor Turley's argument that this is -- you know, that this is a rush, that there's not enough evidence at this stage.

FELDMAN: It seems very strange to me. So first of all, you have the call, and that's a tremendous amount of evidence. Furthermore, any lack of evidence that exists now is just a result of the fact that the President has ordered all of his subordinates, the whole executive branch, to stonewall and not to participate in the election. So it seems strange to say that since the President is blocking this, more evidence is therefore needed.

I mean, frankly, the President's systematic refusal to engage with Congress itself threatens the basic constitutional structure of the government, because if you can't impeach the President and you can't indict him, then he's above the law.

COOPER: We're going to have to end there with the stonewall. Professor Noah Feldman, I really appreciate, Robert Ray, always. Thank you very much.

RAY: Thank you.

COOPER: The CNN Town Hall with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, moderated by Jake Tapper starts right now.

END