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President Trump Cries No Fair About Impeachment; Democratic Primary Field Speeds Toward First Votes; NY Times: Leaked Videos Show Navy SEALs Describing Gallagher as "Evil", "Toxic", and a "Psychopath"; Does Pelosi Ever Gets Upset By Pres. Trump's Attacks?; Speaker Pelosi's Daughter: My Mom Is "Undeterred By Politics Of Personal Destruction From Pres. Trump; Christine Pelosi "Ever So Proud" Of The Way Her Mom Responds To Pres. Trump; Pres. Trump's Biggest Lies Of 2019; Don Imus Dies At 79. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired December 27, 2019 - 20:00   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Good evening, and thanks for joining us. I'm Erica Hill. Anderson is on tonight.

President Trump is said to be growing frustrated with the uncertainty surrounding the shape of his Senate impeachment trial. Limbo it seems is not to his liking and we have new reporting on that.

Meantime, Joe Biden has just weighed in on what a trial might look like, noting it will look a whole lot better without him as a witness. In fact, here is what he told "The Des Moines Register" this afternoon about refusing to testify if called by Senate Republicans.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, the grounds for them to call me would be overwhelmingly specious. But so I don't anticipate that happening any way. But what it would do -- say I voluntarily said, let me go make my case. What are you going to cover? You're going to cover for three weeks and anything I said. He's going to get away.


HILL: He meaning President Trump, who's now spent every single day of his vacation tweeting about impeachment and how unfair it is to him. I'm quoting now, his latest: So interesting to see Nancy Pelosi demanding fairness from Senate Majority Leader McConnell when she presided over the most unfair hearing of the United States Congress. You'll note, there is no calling her Crazy Nancy this time.

The president's tweet came after this one from the speaker. She writes: The facts are clear and every witness told the same story, despite the president's attempts to cover it up. President Trump abused his power for his own personal gain.

Speaker Pelosi's daughter joins us later, by the way, to talk about what it's like to have the president of the United States attack her mother in the way he has.

We begin, though, with the very latest on the standoff and how the president is coping with it all.

CNN's Boris Sanchez joins us for that from just outside Mar-a-Lago.

So, Boris, what are you learning about the president's state of mind tonight?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, sources are telling CNN that President Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with the state of this impeachment process.

We're told that he's venting to aides that he's angry over the uncertainty about how exactly this process is going to move forward and he feels as though he is in limbo, as all of that is happening remember that Mitch McConnell has voiced ambivalence about even starting a Senate trial which President Trump has clearly expressed an interest in. He wants a Senate trial. Moreover, he wants a show. He wants live witnesses and he wants to, in his eyes, be vindicated by bashing Democrats.

So here at Mar-a-Lago, the president has settled into a routine, frequently venting to aides, he plays golf, he speaks to friends and family, he mingles with them at Mar-a-Lago. Some of those friends, we should point out, don't have as much access to him when he's at the White House. They have more access to him here and they often feed some of those ugly impulses and that's one of the reasons we see so many angry, mean tweets when the president is vacationing at his southern estate -- Erica.

HILL: So, Boris, you mentioned the aides around him. But what about White House officials have any of them been to Mar-a-Lago, so far, over the holiday?

SANCHEZ: Yes. So, we got some reporting this evening about this. We just learned that senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner arrived at Mar-a-Lago just yesterday. He's expected to be here for a few days. The acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, he arrived last weekend. And Eric Ueland, the legislative director, was also here. He from what we understand has already departed.

One notable absence is the White House counsel Pat Cipollone. We have been told that he was expected to spend some time with the president while he's here at Mar-a-Lago dealing with this impeachment process. It is a sensitive time for the White House. But he hasn't shown up. He's not here.

So it is unclear if that plan is changed or maybe delayed, possibly he'll show up later on during this trip as we get closer to Congress being back in session in the New Year -- Erica.

HILL: That is an interesting note. Boris Sanchez, appreciate it. Thank you.

More now on the question in fairness which the president raised in his tweet today. Senators are expected to swear an oath as impeachment jurors. That's set out, of course, in the rules of the Senate, and it reads in part: I will do impartial justice, according to the Constitution and laws.

Keeping them honest, though, Majority Leader McConnell has already said this about it out loud on camera.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I'm not an impartial juror. This is a political process. It is noting in judicial about it.

Impeachment is a political decision. The House made a partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we'll have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I'm not impartial about this at all.


HILL: That statement, of course, got plenty of notice. Still getting notice. Including from law professor Kent Greenfield who wrote an opinion piece for Leader McConnell's hometown paper "The Louisville Courier Journal".


Quoting now: We Kentuckians know that our word is our bond. Oaths are the most solemn of promises and their breach results in serious reputational and sometimes legal consequences.

President Donald Trump will soon be on trial in the Senate on grounds that he breached one oath. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is about to breach two.

Kent Greenfield joins us now, along with CNN political commentator, Republican strategist and Kentuckian, Scott Jennings, and former Nixon White House counsel John Dean.

Gentlemen, good to have all of you with us tonight.

Professor Greenfield, in this op-ed, you're talking about these two oaths that you say Mitch McConnell has breached and the one he will take as an impeachment juror. Why do you believe he's poised to violate both of the oaths in your view?

KENT GREENFIELD, BOSTON COLLEGE LAW SCHOOL: Well, he said that he was going to. The oath that he will take as a trier of fact and law in the Senate trial will require him to be impartial. And he just showed that he's already said that he's -- has no intention of being impartial.

This is not just a -- this is not just according to the Senate rules. The Constitution of the United States and Article I, one of the only three oaths mentioned in the main body of the Constitution requires senators to take an oath when they try an impeachment. This is very grave. This is second only to declaring wars, probably

the second most -- the gravest and most important thing that the Senate ever does. And they can't be partial about it. They've got to take it seriously and McConnell already admitted he's not going to be impartial.

HILL: So, Scott, you're a McConnell ally. You've worked with him over the years. How do you reconcile those comments, the comments he's making saying, I'm firmly in the president's corner with what is in the impeachment oath?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I reconcile it this way, virtually every Democrat in the United States Senate, especially the ones running for president have all issued pretrial opinions about whether the president should be impeached. I don't view his pretrial opinions any different than theirs , I mean, frankly, he's just following the Schumer rule back in 1998.


HILL: But let me stop you for a second. Wait. Let me stop you for a second. Do you think they should have spoken out because there is just criticism coming after Democrats for the exact same reason they shouldn't have spoken out as much.

JENNINGS: If you want to run around the country trying to bar political actors from espousing political opinions you'll never get through the whole list. I mean, everybody in the United States Capitol, anybody in the Congress has an opinion about impeachment and they've all expressed it. But that doesn't stop them from operating fairly as United States senators when the articles of impeachment finally get delivered to the Senate.

But if you want to start excluding senators or saying people are violating oaths which by the way they haven't yet taken because they've issued a pretrial opinion, you will have to exclude everybody.

Look, back in 1998, we got reporting on this in CNN tonight. Chuck Schumer had great points. Number one, he said the Senate is not a jury. Number two, he said it is fine to have a pretrial opinion. By the way, in 1998, he put his impeachment vote up for sale in his Senate race by saying a vote for me is a vote against impeachment.

There is a long history of U.S. senators expressing their opinion, there has never been a thing wrong with it until now.

HILL: John Dean, is it different this time around?

JOHN DEAN, CNNK CONTRIBUTOR: It is different. What's happened is, and Scott put his finger on it. There is a different between opinion and impartiality. Somebody can have -- everybody has opinions. When some common juror in a regular -- common law court goes in and renders a judgment, that has to be impartial.

That doesn't mean they don't have to get rid of opinions, it means they have to weigh the evidence and hear the law and look at what is being argued in front of them fairly. And set those opinions aside.

Now what is different is Mitch McConnell has said he's not going to be impartial. He's going to be political. That is a big jump.

HILL: How much of what we're seeing professor Greenfield on both sides is political? Because there is -- we talk so much about different words here, right? And the nuance in words, but there is a difference between being impartial and being fair and having an opinion. If you sit on a regular jury, you may think the case should go one way but you are to weigh the facts in an impartial manner and most jurors are able to do that.

So is it -- I guess the question is, more do you feel this will be as political in a trial as it feels right now in the run-up?

GREENFIELD: Well, the impeachment is not supposed to be a political process. I disagree with Mitch McConnell on this. And my fellow Kentuckian Scott on this too.

It is not impartial to follow the evidence where it goes, it is impartial to manipulate the process so evidence does not come to light.

I think what is going on here is it is fine for people as John Dean said, it is fine to follow the evidence but not fine to prejudge and create and choose the outcome and create the processes that create that outcome in the end and that is what I understand Mitch McConnell is saying that he's going to do.

HILL: Scott, lawmakers are home now and hopefully hearing a lot from constituents, right. It is their job. That is their bosses. They should be talking and hearing from people.

How much do you think what they hear from their constituents is going to make its way back to Washington with them?

JENNINGS: Oh, quite a lot. I think you're exactly right. When Mitch McConnell or any other senator goes places, I'm sure they're getting a lot of opinions. And when you go home to the state of Kentucky, I could tell you hear back here is that people overwhelmingly support the president and they think the impeachment process was a sham and they think this was all a purely partisan political exercise.

So when you hear Mitch McConnell use those terms, I think it's because that is what he's hearing from his constituents. Look, virtually every member of the Senate has expressed an opinion on this. McConnell is no different than any other senator. And, by the way, when the trial starts he'll be exactly like every other senator, he has to sit there in his chair without his device, he can't talk, you can only ask questions via written instrument.

It's not like McConnell or anyone else is going to give up and political speeches. They're all going to sit there and listen to a presentation from the prosecution. They're going to listen to a presentation from the president's lawyers, and then I presume at that point they're going to decide whether they need to have witnesses. This is a perfectly fine process for them to follow. And by the way,

I don't think there is a U.S. senator out there save one or two that hasn't already decided how they're going to vote. This is not like a real courtroom. This is not like an episode of Perry Mason. This is like every other political thing that happens in Washington where people come to the Capitol with their partisan preferences and that is typically how they vote.

HILL: John Dean, what does this do --

GREENFIELD: The difference here is that the Constitution requires impartiality. And in this situation, Senator McConnell is essentially like the foreman of the jury and he's working with the defense to create the processes and procedures to win an acquittal for the defendant and that is not --

JENNINGS: Are you worried about the impartiality of Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and all the other senators that run for president?

HILL: You know, before we --


HILL: Hold on. Scott, I'm going to stop you now because I do want to get this in, because I think the reporting that we have from Boris off the top is really important.

John Dean, I'd love you to weigh in. Through in reporting that the president is doing so much that it is feeding into him and the fact that we just learned from Boris that Pat Cipollone isn't down there in Mar-a-Lago, was supposed to be, isn't there yet. As you add that up, it certainly doesn't seem to help his defense when he appears that rattled. We've talked so much about the people who could be surrounding him.

Does he still need to add to that war room?

DEAN: Well, what happened is Nancy pulled the rug out from underneath him. I think the plan was to have this over before Christmas, where he would claim he was exonerated and that would be the end of it. What she's done, because she sees there won't be a fair proceeding in the Senate, is she's put it in limbo.

As far as I'm -- I can see from the rules, she can leave it there, forever. She doesn't have to have a trial. There is nothing in the Constitution that mandates it. It looks like you to go a dance and you typically dance but you don't every time you go to a dance take a dance and she's decided not to dance at this moment and maybe she never will.

HILL: Well, we are all waiting to see what the dance will ultimately be.

John Dean, Scott Jennings, Kent Greenfield, appreciate you all joining us tonight. Thank you.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

DEAN: Thank you.

HILL: Up next, the countdown to caucus day in Iowa. The state of the Democratic race and new signs of where the race is heading as it -- as we count down to the wire.

Also ahead, the president, the former Navy SEAL platoon leader acquitted of premeditated murder and what his comrades say about him in newly published videos. Two former military commanders weigh in on the choice the SEALs made to break their code of silence and how they balance it with their code of honor.



HILL: We have little more than a month to go until Iowans launch the presidential primary season, the campaigning is in full swing. Senator Amy Klobuchar who says she will visit all 99 counties in the state making four stops today. Joe Biden had an event this evening and as we mentioned at the top spoke to editors of "The Des Moines Register" today seeking their endorsement.


BIDEN: We've got to unite this country, guys. No matter -- I refuse to accept the proposition that we're going to be in a constant state of war with the other side. This system can't not function. You hear me. It can't not function that way. It will break.

There is nothing guaranteed about democracy. I really -- give you my word and I never thought I would ever say this, but our democracy is at risk.


HILL: Other Democrats in the meantime are in New Hampshire or South Carolina and the other early states.

For more now on the state of the race, we're joined by CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.

Kirsten, as we look at this, we are I guess five weeks or so until Iowa. There is the hey, it is Pete Buttigieg's to lose camp and then the national conversation about whether Joe Biden is the most electable overall with his appeals to moderate Republicans and independents. Then there's, of course, the Bernie Sanders camp saying don't count Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren out.

Where are your instincts tonight?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I think a lot is going to change probably between now and then. Though I think Joe Biden has been pretty consistent in his support as has Bernie Sanders. And I don't think that -- I mean, I agree with the idea of don't count out Bernie Sanders.

I don't think we should have ever counted out Bernie Sanders because he got 3 million less votes than Hillary Clinton did in the primary. And so, this is somebody who has a serious base of support, and when you are the person who came pretty close to winning a primary in the past, then that is somebody that you should never count out.

So I expect that he's going to continue to be a very strong candidate. And that Joe Biden is going to continue to be a very strong candidate. We're seeing movement with Elizabeth Warren. We don't know where Pete Buttigieg is going to shake out. We know he's doing well in Iowa but can he do well in other states.

So, there's a lot of things with we don't know. But after the holidays is when people will really start focusing especially, you know, in Iowa and New Hampshire and I think we're going to get a better feel for what the voters are thinking there.

HILL: In terms of that focus on Bernie Sanders, being the only person who is also there in 2016, Maria, and there was a interesting piece in "The New York Times", about how loyal his supporters are.


And part of that comes from not only his consistency, right? He's got the same message for decades. But also the fact that in many ways, he was going for voters who don't typically engage, trying to bring them into the process. The risk in that is growing that support.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. I think that is exactly right. There is tremendous potential there because, yes, you could get people out who have not typically participated in our democracy which is great for the country and is great for somebody like Bernie Sanders if they could come out and vote.

And what we're seeing, though, I think the reason why the Bernie Sanders camp is pretty confident that they can is then enthusiasm there is incredibly deep, deeper than it is right now for any other candidate. And, you know, they show that in fact you ask Bernie Sanders supporters in Iowa who they are going to vote for and if their vote is solid and they say Bernie Sanders up and down, they almost don't have a second or third or fourth place.

Meanwhile others, the people who say that Joe Biden is their top pick, they also kind of say, well, maybe they could also vote for Pete. They could also vote for Amy. It is a little bit less deep than what it is for Bernie Sanders.

But the risk is not just if those voters are going to come out to vote. But it is how wide can that support actually grow more than it was there in 2016?

HILL: In terms of Elizabeth Warren, especially because in many places they're fighting for the same voters, Elizabeth Warren has seen her fundraising slow down, as she is consistently trying to stake out this moral high ground when it comes to her fundraising, Kirsten. How concerned do you think the campaign should be at this point,

seeing that slowdown?

POWERS: Well, I think they are concerned. I mean, she has said that she hoped that she would do better than this and she has to be concerned also about the fact that her trajectory is no longer upward. And so I think that if you're Elizabeth Warren, you're looking at this and thinking, did I have my moment?

And it seems that the moment turned for her around Medicare-for-All. And, you know, everyone has their theories. I think the best theory I can come up with is that if you are somebody where Medicare-for-All is your issue, you're probably with Bernie. Maybe you were taking a look at Elizabeth Warren and you saw that she wasn't quite as strong as Bernie was on it and wasn't quite as comfortable as saying that she's going to raise taxes and those kind of things.

And so -- and at the same time I think she probably had people with her who aren't big Medicare-for-All supporters and may have been put off as well on that whereas Bernie's people are Bernie's people and if you talk to them, they like Elizabeth Warren but they say Bernie is the one who has been saying this for decades and he will fight for this and we're not sure if she's going to.

HILL: Maria, real quickly, when we look at Pete Buttigieg in Iowa, is the most pressure on him right now?

CARDONA: I think so. Because he has sort of had the upward trajectory that has impressed everybody and that I think has topped everyone's expectations in terms of how well he could do. And frankly I think it also demonstrates his strength within the electorate but also his weakness, because as we know, Iowa is not a diverse state and Pete Buttigieg's support among communities of color is almost at zero. That is not a good thing for him outside of a state like Iowa.

HILL: Maria Cardona, Kirsten Powers, good to see you both. Thank you.

POWERS: Thank you.

CARDONA: Thank you so much, Erica.

HILL: More controversy surrounding the defense of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. What his comrades said about him on video, according to a new report in "The New York Times."



HILL: President Trump's decision to intervene in the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher has always been a controversial one. Gallagher was accused of war crimes, but in the end, was acquitted of premeditated murder, attempted murder and obstruction of justice charges. He was convicted of a minor charge of posing with a body of a teenage insurgent in Iraq. The president applauded the not guilty verdicts and also reversed Gallagher's demotion, and made sure the recently retired veteran kept his Navy SEAL trident pin.

Last weekend, President Trump and the first lady met Gallagher and his wife at Mar-a-Lago. But now, a new "New York Times" -- report in "The New York Times" marks the president's decision as all of the more controversial.

CNN's Barbara Starr has the story and first, I have to warn you, there are some disturbing images in this report.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Members of SEAL Team Seven Alpha Platoon broke their own code of silence in 2018 with their opinions about retired special operations chief Eddie Gallagher, and some making accusations that the elite SEAL committed murder and potential war crimes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy got crazier and crazier.

STARR: These are portions of recorded Navy SEAL interviews published by "The New York Times." where team members tell investigators their views on the platoon leader.


STARR: Gallagher was acquitted of premeditated murder when a key prosecution witness changed his story and testified under immunity that he caused the prison's death, not Gallagher.

DEFENSE: Did you suffocate him?



SCOTT: I held my thumb over his ET but, until he stopped breathing.

STARR: Scott described the killing an act of mercy, because he was concerned the boy, a prisoner of Iraqi forces, would be tortured by them.

Gallagher was convicted on a charge of taking a photo with a dead ISIS fighter and was then demoted in rank. A decision President Trump reversed allowing the SEAL to retire with honor even after pentagon leaders urged the president not to interfere.

Speaking through his attorney, Gallagher told CNN: My first reaction to seeing the videos was surprise and disgust that they would make up blatant lies about me. But I quickly realized that they were scared that the truth would come out of how cowardly they acted on deployment.

His defense attorney said the tapes were, quote, a road map to acquittal because they showed there were conflicting stories about allegations of Gallagher killing civilians and other misconduct.

TIMOTHY PARLATORE, ATTORNEY FOR EDDIE GALLAGHER: Really you're only seeing one very small slice of the story, in a way that's, you know, not reflective of what the ultimate result was.

STARR: President Trump's determination to reverse the military's punishment of Gallagher against the advice of top Pentagon officials was so controversial maybe Secretary Richard Spencer was ousted.

The chairman of the joint chief of staff insists that discipline and adherence to the laws of war will not suffer.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: We do maintain and we will maintain good order and discipline. We will not turn into a gang of raping, burning and pillaging.

STARR: But some say it is all led to festering bad feelings.

DAVID LAPAN, FMR PRESS SECRETARY, DHS: So is this kind of divisiveness that the President's actions have introduced into the SEAL community I think that are the most damaging and will have long- term effects.

STARR: Gallagher met with Trump over the holidays at Mar-a-Lago and it is possible will campaign for President Trump if asked those who know him will say.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: And here with their views, two CNN military analysts. Former Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby and former commanding general of the seventh army in Europe, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

Admiral Kirby, just seeing that video of the navy SEALS describing their leader Eddie Gallagher calling him toxic and evil. Just what is your initial reaction to that?

JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, it's pretty disturbing detail that they had to put out there. But also the terms they were using, the very graphic nature with which they described not only what he did and the person they found him to be. That's very unusual. You don't hear that kind of candor coming from Navy SEALS, they're insular group and they -- they like to stay quiet, they like to stay sort to themselves a little bit on this.

But I think, you know, we talk about their code of silence. They also live by a code of honor and it is probably difficult for them to do that but it says a lot about them and about how strongly they felt about Gallagher's activities that they were willing to be so candid and forth coming with investigators.

HILL: General Hertling, as a former commander, just put this in perspective for us. So Admiral Kirby touched on this, but the fact as SEALS right as he mention, this unwritten code really, as Navy SEALS they decided they have to come forward. As a commander, how do you look at that?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What I see is a bunch of guys with a lot of courage. It takes a lot to say, hey, we're going to stand up against what we know are illegal or immoral acts. And to say there were that many coming together and standing up, that's not a cabal, that's not a plot, that's a bunch of guys coming together and saying, hey we know this is wrong and someone got to do something about it even though he's our chief and he's our leader. We can't allow this to continue.

And I got to tell you Erica, this is one of those kinds of thing where you're really proud of individuals who will stand up and do the -- what's right in these kind of circumstances. So that's what it says to me.

Now what happened later on, you know, this was a film that was probably part of a pretrial investigation or a preliminary inquiry. Then you get into the rules of evidence and the testimony and the things that go into a trial, things occur that caused some of the facts, some of the rumors, some of the actions that they talk about in this inquiry film to dissipate a little bit as it takes place in a courtroom. And that's where it becomes problematic.

HILL: It's also interesting that these videos, which were, you know, as General Hertling points out were part of the investigation, Admiral Kirby, the fact they were leaked, what does that tell you?

KIRBY: Yes, it's very suspicious. The timing is unusual. I mean just coming on the heels of Eddie Gallagher visiting President Trump at Mar-a-Lago which was very public and then he showed up at a fundraiser for the Trump campaign and then these drop. That's a little suspicious. It certainly smacks of somebody who obviously had access to this material and there couldn't be that many. Prosecution team and maybe criminal investigative services or can't be that many. But they obviously have an ax to grind some way of getting this out there to damage Chief Gallagher to perhaps damage the President. A very suspicious timing.

HILL: I'm curious, I'd love for both of you to answer this question, General Hertling, I'll start with you. What do you think the consequences of this are? What is the impact on those who were still serving?

HERTLING: Well the SEAL community has had challenges lately with discipline and I believe that this is going to make it harder to get that community on the straight and narrow. You know, Admiral Kirby knows Admiral Collin Green a lot better than I do and he's been given a tough task to reframe the rigor and the discipline within the SEAL community. It's going to be tough with all of this attention being played toward one individual who committed some very serious acts, who went through this trial and then truthfully went to the press and jumped the chain of command and had people influencing a judicial process and then later an administrative process.


Everything that follows from this, Erica, is going to be, hey, Gallagher got away with it, why are you charging me for these same kind of things which are of a lesser nature. That could be the reaction of some in the SEAL community. Hopefully that's not the case but I think it gives the commander, the SEALS, a tough road to hoe in the future in terms of the discipline of this group of terrific warriors.

KIRBY: Yes, I agree with that, Erica. I think the general is spot on. I do know Admiral Green and what he is trying to do inside the SEAL community to improve standards of conducts and ethics. And this is not going to make his job easier because people will perhaps take the wrong message from this.

HILL: General Hertling and Admiral Kirby, always appreciate your expertise. Thanks for being with us tonight.

KIRBY: Thank you.

HERTLING: Thank you.

HILL: Up next. More on President Trump's ongoing tweetstorm aimed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Did the attacks ever get to her? When 360 continues.


HILL: As we showed you at the top of the hour, between -- in between rounds of golf and time with family and friends at Mar-a-Lago, the President continues to fire off tweets attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for with holding the articles of impeachment from the Senate.


Some perspective now from his daughter, Christine Pelosi, author of the "Nancy Pelosi Way: Advice on Success Cease and Leadership and Politics from America's Most Powerful Woman".

Christine, thanks for being with us tonight. Your mother is clearly on the President's mind these days. He is tweeting about her quite a lot in not favorable terms, I would say. Do those tweets ever get to her?

CHRISTINE PELOSI, NANCY PELOSI'S DAUGHTER: Well, thanks for having me here. And happy holidays to the viewers. No, Nancy Pelosi isn't swayed by a mean tweet. When she first ran for Congress she said they can't take my children from me so they can't really hurt me and now that she's in Congress and working with families who have had children taken by disease, by gun violence, by war, by other means, she knows that she has to keep faith with them and keep fighting for health care, gun reform, peace and she can't look into the eyes of parents who've lost children and say well the President was mean to me today so I have to stop fighting. She'll never stop fighting and doing what she thinks is the right thing to do and she is undeterred by that kind of politics of personal destruction. HILL: How do you feel about the personal attacks when you read them as her daughter?

PELOSI: Well, as a daughter, of course, I think my mom is awesome and amazing and I wish everybody would agree with me. And I would think that on a human level, what I admire is her ability to say, look, criticism and effectiveness go hand in hand and particularly for women in the media, in politics, in law, in education, in the military and all forms of public life, you have to really be able to be in that arena and not let those personal attacks, those gendered attacks get to you but really you have to stand up for what you believe in and every woman who stands up to a bully makes it easier for all of the other women out there. And I -- so I am unhappy that she's under attack, but I'm ever so proud of the way that she responds.

HILL: I know you told my colleague Alisyn Camerota, that in Christmas dinner, you spend Christmas you and your family with your mom.


HILL: Impeachment did not come up. Which was somewhat of a surprise to some folks. Did it come up maybe not with your mom but with any other family members?

PELOSI: No. We really leave that on the shelf, as my mom says and I write about in my book, "The Nancy Pelosi way". Her advice to us has always been put it on the shelf. When you're having family time, be with your kids and talk about the things that they care about. My husband Peter is a movie producer and my daughter Bella is an actress so we talk about the things that kids want to talk about. My stepson is a budding film maker. So we talked a lot about the movies, we talked a lot about sports, we talked a lot about the things that the kids and grand kids are into because that's the way to build holiday memories out of something magical, not out of something malicious.

HILL: Well she has said several times over the last couple of years, she prays for the President in moving through impeachment, on more than one occasion she reminded lawmakers this is a solemn occasion, stressed that they should be prayerful about it. In his letter the President about impeachment, the President wrote and I'm quoting here, even worst than offending the founding fathers, you are offending Americans of faith by continually saying I pray for the President, when you know the statement is not true unless it is meant in a negative sense.

When you heard that the President was questioning your mother's faith, and whether she was actually praying for him, I'm just curious what your reaction was to that?

PELOSI: Well I know Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi, obviously I've known my whole life extremely well the woman who, herself was raised in a staunchly Italian catholic family in Baltimore, Maryland, in the little Italy parish of St. Leo's, the mom who took all four girls to the Common of the Sacred Heart School every day as driving car pool was a class mom, you know, chaperoned us, took all five of us kids to church on Sundays in San Francisco. And, you know, she and my dad Paul who met at a catholic university, at Georgetown University are staunchly catholic and she prays all the time.

She goes to church every week, she constantly prays for people who are sick, she prays for people who are about to make big decisions and she always prays, you know, for the country. And for the leaders of the country to have open hearts toward each other. So what I thought was -- if there is one thing about Nancy Pelosi is that she is a woman of immense patience and immense faith.

And so I know that she has a heart full of love and anyone who would question that really misses her entire essence and character as an Italian grandma of nine kids raising us all to understand that public service is a noble calling and we have to be good to each other and respect not only the divinity in other people but the divinity in ourselves and hold ourselves to that standard of divinity as well.


HILL: Christine, appreciate taking the time to join us. Happy holidays to you as well, happy New Year.

PELOSI: Thank you. Happy New Year.

HILL: Still ahead, President Trump's biggest lies of 2019 including this one.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Five or six years before I even thought about running for whatever reason. They named me "Man of the Year" in Michigan.



HILL: People loved him, people hated him. Sometimes the same people both loved and hated him depending on the day. Radio personality Don Imus who died today of undisclosed causes was like that. He was abrasive, sometimes deeply offensive. But for a number of years, his brand of grumpy commentary was required listening for many folks. In the New York DC Corridor (ph) and appearing on his talk show was a rite of passage.


DON IMUS, RADIO HOST: Hi, I'm Imus. Good morning and it is exactly 7:30 here in New York and here's Mary Matlin's (ph) husband James Carville. Good morning Mr. Carville.

JAMES CARVILLE: Good morning. I mean I'm coming down the Palo City.


HILL: For decades, this was the routine, Imus hosting some of the biggest names in politics roasting them the rest of the time. But it was the ugly side that's remembered by many. His racist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team in 2007 caused him his CBS radio show. He later apologized. Retired from broadcasting last year and he survived by his wife and six children. Don Imus was 79.


Let's check in now with Chris to see what he is working on. "Cuomo Prime Time", of course, coming up at the top of the hour. Happy Friday, my friend.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Friday. This is our last show of the year, Erica, of Cuomo Prime Time. So we'll try and do things the right way for once. We're going to be taking a look at what does this video mean, these interviews that came out from these other SEALS about Gallagher and not so much what it meant for the case because he's been adjudicated and he was acquitted. But what does it mean about the politics surrounding it? We have a couple of big military thinkers here to talk about that.

We have a big shot from the Democratic Party, Congressman Dalgit (ph) is here to talk about the optics as well as the reality of what's going to happen in the next phase of impeachment. And also, we have some sound of Senator Schumer back in '98, '99 and from former VP Biden from just today. What do those mean for the state of play and special, special closing argument about what not to forget about this year.

HILL: We look forward to all of it. Good thing I'm DVRing it as well, then I can re-watch.

CUOMO: Double (ph) my audit.

HILL: Thank you. Happy New Year.

CUOMO: Happy New Year.

HILL: Still to come tonight, President Trump's top lies of the year from his latest one involving that cameo in Home Alone 2 to his grossly inaccurate hurricane predictions. CNN's fact checker sure to count him down.



HILL: President Trump ends the year fanning another politically convenient lie. This one involves his cameo in the early '90s film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. A Canadian broadcaster cut that appearance for its TV airing. Allies of conservative media smelled a conspiracy. The President's older son calling the edit "pathetic". And here's what the President tweeted. "I guess Justin T" meaning Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not Justin Timberlake "doesn't much like my making him pay up on NATO or Trade!" He also wrote, "The movie will never be the same, just kidding"

Here to talk about that as well as President Trump's biggest lies of the year, our resident presidential fact checker, Daniel Dale. So Daniel, whether the President likes it or not, there really was no large scale Canadian conspiracy to take him out of Home Alone 2 and it was actually done years ago. Correct?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: It was. This was not a Canadian revenge edit of Home Alone 2. CBC obtained the rights to this beloved Christmas comedy in 2014. At that point, they edit out about eight minutes for time for commercials, the seven-second Trump cameo plus a bunch of other stuff like Kevin going swimming and people have been complaining about a bunch of these deletions for a number of years. People started tweeting about the Trump deletion in 2015, why it took off this year, probably something to do with the politicized nature of these times. But this is not new, it was not Trudeau and it was not a conspiracy.

HILL: Yes. There we go. Then, of course, on a much more serious note, there is a Ukraine whistle-blower whose claim led to the President's impeachment. A reminder, here's what Mr. Trump had to say about that.


TRUMP: The whistle-blower defrauded our country because the whistle- blower wrote something that was totally untrue.


HILL: That, of course, the statement of President Trump is what is not true, Daniel?

DALE: That's right. He repeated this about 48 times this year. That's remarkable given that the story just erupted in late September. The whistle-blower's three main allegations about his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky were all corroborated by the rough (ph) transcript Trump himself released, most importantly, Trump did ask Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and to investigate this debunked Democratic National Committee server conspiracy theory. So yes, the whistle-blower's accusations were indeed corroborated.

HILL: Sometimes the President will say he was just joking, but he really dug in his heels when he came to Hurricane Dorian. At Alabama, the President tweeting "In addition to Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit much harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest ever. Already category 5. God Bless everyone!" And then it went on from there. And he literally took it into his own hands.

DALE: He did. He got out that (INAUDIBLE) if we all remember and drew or was in the room when someone else drew a line on the map to try to demonstrate he was right. I think this was notable for the fact that Trump refused to acknowledge that he made a mistake. You know, we all make mistakes. This initial tweet may have been an error, but Trump then insisted over and over and over again, eventually with the marker that he had always been correct when in fact he had been incorrect.

HILL: Up next, the President's affinity for windmills. She does not like them. Here's a reminder.


TRUMP: If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75% in value. And they say the noise causes cancer, you told me that one.


HILL: Again, not true. But he has had an issue with windmills for some time because it went off his golf courses.

DALE: He has. This dates back to a dispute about a golf course in Scotland and a fight over a proposed wind farm just off the coast of that golf course. He thought that would, you know, hurt the value of this property. And what stood out to me about this claim was that they say, you know, this President keeps passing on information to the American people from "they", from many people, from some people, people he doesn't name. This is uncorroborated, unsubstantiated rumor being passed on to the world by its most powerful man.

HILL: A reminder to be skeptical of "they". Lastly, this one is hard to even categorize. So let's just let the President speak for himself.


TRUMP: Five or six years before I even thought about running for whatever reason, they named me "Man of the Year" in Michigan. I said, how come? I didn't even understand it myself. But I was named "Man of the Year", I wasn't even political.


HILL: Is there a man of year -- of the year in Michigan?

DALE: That award does not appear to exist. If it does exist somewhere, Trump has never gotten it. And I've looked hard, other media outlets have gotten it. This one stands out to me for its triviality. Like this is the most powerful person in the world, he doesn't need to make up fake awards about what happened in the state of Michigan 10 years ago. And yet, he has done so over and over again starting in 2016.

HILL: Daniel Dale always appreciated today. And we know you're working overtime pretty much every day. Thank you.

DALE: Thank you.

HILL: Thanks to all of you for joining us tonight here on AC360. The news continues. So I will hand it over to Chris Cuomo for "Cuomo Prime Time". All yours.

CUOMO: Erica, pointing out the President not telling the truth is easy.