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Democrats Used President Trump's Own Words in Their Case; GOP Congresswoman Did Not Waste Her Break to Attack a Combat Veteran. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 23, 2020 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The American people's interest first. Do what's right. He will do what's right for Trump. Adam Schiff making his final case tonight.

Thanks for watching, everyone. I'm Don Lemon.

Our special live coverage of the impeachment trial of President Trump continues now with Anderson Cooper.


We are coming to you at the end of the day that saw House impeachment managers the constitutional case that the president, President Trump abused the power of his office to extract political favors from a foreign country and the president, they argued, was not fighting corruption when he asked the president of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, the president, they argued, was in it for himself.

And in laying out the evidence they took the potentially risky step of making Vice President Biden himself and the president's unfounded allegations against him a major part of their presentation, which is only one item of interest, among many tonight. And we'll talk about them all.

First, CNN's Athena Jones sets the stage.


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): The most serious charges ever brought against the president.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: House manager Jerry Nadler started the day quoting a long list of constitutional experts and invoking the framers of the Constitution.


NADLER: Abuse, betrayal, corruption. This is exactly the understanding that the framers incorporated into the Constitution.


JONES: Democrats cruising visual aid to bolster their case that Trump used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to serve his own political interests, using comments from the president's own allies, notably Attorney General Bill Barr, Alan Dershowitz, a member of his legal team, and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham. One of the jurors in the trial, to make the point that an impeachable offense does not have to be a statutory crime.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I think that's what they meant by high crimes. Doesn't even have to be a crime. It's just when you start using your office and you're acting in a way that hurts people you've committed a high crime.


JONES: Nadler also hitting Trump for blocking witnesses.


NADLER: If the president had any exculpatory witnesses, even a single one, he would be demanding their appearance here. Instead of urging you not to permit additional witnesses to testify.


JONES: Texas Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia arguing Trump's motivation for demanding the investigations was the 2020 election.


REP. SYLVIA GARCIA (D-TX): But what Vice President Biden became the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and polls shows that he had the largest head to head lead against President Trump, that became a problem.


JONES: Garcia walking the senators through the investigations Trump sought and why they were baseless in pain staking detail, taking aim at a GOP talking point about former Vice President Joe Biden.


GARCIA: Vice President Biden called for the removal of this prosecutor at the official direction of U.S. policy.


JONES: And using comments from current and former Trump aides to illustrate her point.


no information that indicates the Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

TOM BOSSERT, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR: It's not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked, former Senator Judd Gregg wrote a piece in the Hill magazine saying the three ways or the five ways to impeach one self, and the third way was to hire Rudy Giuliani.


JONES: Still, lead manager Adam Schiff made sought to make clear the president was in the lead here.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): You can say a lot of things about President Trump but he is not led by the nose by Rudy Giuliani.


JONES: Driving home the point that throughout the pressure campaign Trump was acting in his own personal interests, by again pointing to remarks he made about Ukraine in October. A clip that has aired some half a dozen times in the trial so far.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, I would think that if they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the Bidens. It's a very simple answer.


SCHIFF: So here we hear again from the president's own words what his primary object is. And his primary object is helping his reelection campaign. Help to cheat in his reelection campaign.


JONES: Schiff, a former federal prosecutor also addressing the reason for all the repetition.


SCHIFF: You will see some of these facts and videos, therefore in a new context, in a new light, in the light of what else we know and why it compels a finding of guilt and conviction. So, there is some method to our madness.


JONES: And much as they did on day one, the Democrats saved some of their most powerful arguments for prime time.


REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Read the transcript, President Trump says. We have read the transcript, and it is damning evidence of a corrupt quid pro quo. This is corruption and abuse of power in its purest form.


JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.

COOPER: More now with the key question, what if anything will senators decide to do with what they've been hearing and what, if any, appetite do Republicans have for hearing more, as in for witnesses.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more reporting on that, he joins us now from the Capitol. What do you know, Jeff?


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, that is a central question, did any Republicans change their mind today, were they moved by the argument throughout the day about the president's abuse of power in the words of the impeachment managers?

They made the case that the president is an existing threat, he's a continuing threat. It wasn't a mistake. It is a threat to have him in office.

But watching the faces of those Republican senators as I sat in the gallery, it is unclear if any minds were changed. Of course, it takes four Republicans to join with Democrats to vote next week for new witnesses, for new documents, for new evidence. Unclear if there will be those four or not.

The key Republicans simply aren't saying. Susan Collins, senator of Maine, she said she would like to see witnesses, John Bolton in particular. Lisa Murkowski, the Republican of Alaska she has raised questions about is this going to get into a long drawn out fight over executive privilege. She said she does not have the stomach for that.

But as she was leaving the chamber this evening she would not talk about the day's proceedings, she said she was simply tired and she wanted to sort of digest.

Anderson, as we sit here today, unclear if any minds were changed. Of course, most on each side had their minds made up at the beginning.

COOPER: It certainly seems like the 2020 election cast a shadow over the arguments being made today at least some part.

ZELENY: They did without question. I mean, of course, the president's own words, it was so striking to hear his words again and again in the gallery. Really a litany of his greatest hits that he's been talking about but it's also Joe Biden.

The Democratic managers raised Joe Biden and Hunter Biden throughout the day, a bit of a prebuttal, if you will, to what the president's lawyers are expected to use. I mean, there are side in the coming days here. But it was a sense here, a preview, if you will, of the 2020 general election campaign.

And, in fact, that's what some Republicans are accusing chairman Schiff of, they believe he's simply trying to alter the outcome of 2020, he's simply trying to muddy up President Trump, if you will.

So, Anderson, as we sit here at the end of the day, one more day left of the Democratic managers making their case on the second article of impeachment, unclear if any minds have changed.

But one thing is clear also, there's another audience for this. Democrats are trying to make their case to the American public. And they believe they've done a lot on that front. Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.

Joining us now are sleepless but tireless late-night team, David Gergen, Elliot Williams, Bianna Golodryga, Kirsten Powers, and Scott Jennings. David, takeaway from day two.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I thought that if we were in a regular court of law this would be over now. They presented such a compelling case. They have lots and lots of evidence to back it up. In a normal court you'd move for dismissal at, you know, or at some point here, they would try to sort of knock it on home.

But we're not in a normal court of law. We're in the court of politics. And on that, you know public opinion seems to be moving in the favor of the Democrats.

But some of the earlier CNN reporting tonight was that actually support among Republicans for calling witnesses is actually going down some. That the argument, you know, we're going to have to issue subpoenas and they will be challenged in court, and weeks and weeks of having this hanging over our heads. We have all the information we need while --


COOPER: You're talking about Republican senators.

GERGEN: Yes. So, you know, we've had Jeff Zeleny was just saying there's no evidence of movement in favor of the Democrats, I would say there may be some movement in favor of the Republicans. And that Lisa Murkowski certainly doesn't sound like she's safely on board at this point, not for the last two days.

COOPER: Yes. Elliot, I mean, they certainly have a lot of coverage for reasons they could say they don't want to have witnesses, I mean, there's a whole host of arguments that they can make.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, there is. It's interesting, it's who is the audience here? Right? And you know, as a lawyer you think about are you speaking to a judge, are you speaking to a jury, are you speaking to a panel of judges, or whatever. And if you notice the Democrats today in interviews have started talking about the two juries, right, the public and essentially senators as the jurors and so on.

The interesting thing, and Nadler touched on this, this morning, you can see he was sort of talking to the public more than the Republican senators. If you notice, one of the first things out of his mouth was a, b, c, abuse of power, betrayal and corruption. Right?

And you know, you run the risk of simplifying what you're talking about but people can't necessarily remember number 65 of the Federalist papers but they can remember a, b, c.


WILLIAMS: He's actually speaking to the public in a way to sort of simplify this a little bit. So, to some extent you've got to get the public behind you before you can get these Republican senators. And it all kind of fits together.

COOPER: Bianna, during the -- during one of the breaks, Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, told reporters that President Trump probably, quote, "had a mixed motive about holding up the aid to Ukraine." That seems about as strong a rebuke as he's going to get.


BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, and you could see even in Adam Schiff's powerful closing arguments and statements tonight that he sort of, gave Republicans that option by saying, look, I know how you feel. Let's all be honest. We know the president's guilty, whether or not you're willing to come out and admit that, you know what he did was wrong.

The question that many of you poses, is it worth impeaching him in an election year? And he laid out why. This is a man who he said quoted chose Rudy Giuliani over his own intelligence agency, and why did he choose Rudy Giuliani, to benefit himself, because what Giuliani had to offer was something that would be beneficial to President Trump, and what his intelligence community and what Chris Wray, in particular had to offer was the truth.

And so, he said because of that he is a man who cannot be trusted to be president of the United States to put the U.S.'s interests first and foremost above his own.

And so, he laid that out and addressed it because it's something that we've been talking about and Republicans behind closed doors have acknowledged too, maybe begrudgingly, that the call could have been gone better, maybe it's not a perfect call, but it's not impeachable.

COOPER: Scott, you don't see any, on the Republicans, that you don't see any minds being changed?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I think the president is going to be acquitted. I mean, I personally think that because of that fact and that fact not changing there is not an appetite to shut down or bog down the senate over weeks or months because it would take away from being able to do other things.

I do think -- I thought Schiff's final argument tonight, it was a powerful speech. And it sounded exactly like a speech you might give at the convention this year as why the American people should not vote for Donald Trump for reelection.

It was a very political speech. And so -- and so, I think that he's making this argument that politically it's too dangerous to leave the president in office and the rebuttal from that from the Republicans would be politically it would be dangerous on a 50/50 issue, an issue, and a president that's split the country right down the middle for the politicians in Washington to upend the results of an election during the next election and throw him out.

So, I think what you're going to see is a clash of political views, the view that he's politically dangerous to leave in and the view that 50/50, not a single Republican vote in the House, and you want to throw the president out for the first time in American history. It's really sort of, an epic argument, and one that I think really the fall campaign will be all about.

COOPER: It's interesting, Kirsten, there, you know, there was talk a while back that Republicans may get to the place where they say, well, look, you know, it wasn't right what the president did but it's not an impeachable offense. It doesn't seem like any Republicans are even willing to really go there publicly because of out of fear of what the president will do to them.


KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Because the president won't let them.

COOPER: Right. It has to be a perfect phone call.

POWERS: It has to be a perfect phone call. Right. And so I think that -- I just -- I just think that if we agree, if what you say is true, and this is what the Republicans are going to do, then it's essentially saying that in this country it is OK for the president of the United States, no matter who it is, future Democratic president, to use, you know, a White House meeting or foreign aid to get another country to do their personal bidding to help them win reelection.

That is a major problem, I think, and to say that while the Republicans, you know, 50/50, and this is so political and all that kind of stuff but you're not considering the fact that that's because of the way the Republicans are behaving.

You're sort of putting it all on the Democrats instead of saying that none of the Republicans are actually really seriously considering this. That they made up their mind before they came in and that the lawyers are arguing. And I think it was Jay Sekulow who said, you know, the argument they're going to make tomorrow is that this call was completely appropriate. And of course, that's ridiculous. This call was not completely appropriate on any level. It's never

appropriate for a president of the United States to ask another government to investigate an American citizen. Just top level. And then we can go down on all the other problems with it.

JENNINGS: I think that it's not the way the parties are behaving. It's the way the American people are behaving. It's 50/50. The founders set a high bar for impeachment for a reason and the Democrats haven't met that bar, if you just look at the way the country is behaving in the polling and the way it's all gone down.

GERGEN: But, hold on. The country now is like 75 percent think that they ought to have witnesses. Sixty -- almost 70 percent believe that he's broken a law. Seventy percent believe that he's done something that is unethical. Are we not -- or we're just going to brush all that aside and say, that why it breaks? Do you think that's good for the country?

JENNINGS: I think that in the last CNN poll it was among registered voters a 50/50 proposition for removal.


GERGEN: That's on the ouster. But you yourself wouldn't bring it up, it's a binary choice and we ought to have a third choice. That's the question --


JENNINGS: I think many people --


JENNINGS: -- would want a different door to go out. But this process doesn't allow it.

COOPER: All right. We're going to take a break. Coming up next, let's just Andrew Johnson reacted this way to his trial. We'll show a late night presidential a tweet. Also, that's raising a lot of eyebrows.

Just ahead, also one senator's attack on an impeachment witness. A decorated combat veteran and the reaction to it including from one of the senator's colleagues and other decorated combat veteran.

Later, a live report from the White House and the president's latest thoughts and comments on trials especially the question of witnesses. That and more as the special impeachment trial edition of 360 continues.



COOPER: Just because the president of the United States is on trial doesn't mean he can't be on Twitter. In fact, he's broken a record for tweeting during the Senate proceedings, and perhaps it's the sign of how seriously he takes being only the third president ever to be tried in the Senate.

He tweeted out this image of himself at Trump tower with President Obama, I guess apparently spying on him from outside the window after having climbed up Trump tower, sort of a modern-day Norman Rockwell kind of thing.

Back with our late-night art critics. I don't know -- I don't even -- I'm not sure where to go from that. But I mean, the -- what happens -- what do you think the Republican argument is going to be?

You know, we heard from Jay Sekulow today who said, you know, the Democrats talking about Biden and Hunter Biden, that opened the door to us talking about it. It seemed to me that door was already going to be open because that is something that they can really sink their teeth into and it has obviously, benefits in many different ways for them.


JENNINGS: Well, it's the thing that they say legitimizes the president, actually bringing it up in the first place, was this is a legitimate issue, even the Democrats are trying to rebut it because, you know, they know it's a problem.

And so, I do think you're going to hear the Republicans talk about it. I don't know if it will make up the bulk of their argument. Frankly, I don't know how much time --


COOPER: Do you think they'll take all three days?

JENNINGS: I don't know. Because I think at some juncture, if you think you've got it, why would you keep belaboring it? Because remember, you know, if you get through your arguments and you think you've got it, all you've got to do is get through the Q&A period, and they go to the witness vote and then they go to move to final jeopardy. So --


COOPER: Sekulow said he's not going to run out the clock.

JENNINGS: Yes. So, to me, I wouldn't be focused on the time, I would be focused on just doing what I had to do to get the votes that I need, and really not being so repetitive if it's not necessary.

WILLIAMS: Quick bit of law school for you, you know, there's a legal term for what they did by bringing Joe Biden up today, it's actually called fronting. And you know, you do this when you have a witness who has convictions in their record or something and you be the attorney to bring it out and put it on the record so the other side doesn't do it.

So, by saying the name Biden, Biden, and Hunter Biden, even though it's not relevant, like the question of Hunter Biden's conduct is not relevant to whether the president violated his oath of office or broke the law, it's still -- it was very, sort of legally sound, or sort of prosecutorial sound for them to be the ones to get it out there, rather than have Jay Sekulow be the first person to bang the table and say Hunter Biden.

GOLODRYGA: Which is why they focused on the timeline, right? They repeatedly said the president never talked about corruption, he never talked about Biden, the only time that this came up was when Biden became a nominee for president and you saw his poll numbers go up, and they repeatedly connected the two. That it had nothing to do, the president didn't care, it was only when he came a potential adversary is when the president raised this issue.

POWERS: But even if he had legitimately wanted to -- let's just say it was legitimate, you wouldn't ask someone, a foreign government to do it, you would ask the DOJ to do it.


COOPER: You also would not ask a foreign government, which is a history of corruption --


COOPER: -- that you're concerned about it.

GOLODRYGA: And Rudy Giuliani run it.

POWERS: And on top of it you wouldn't ask them and basically say, you know, in order to get what you want, you have to do this. Right? So, there's a lot of different layers of things that you wouldn't normally do.

WILLIAMS: And when I said not relevant, I know Scott, you grimaced a little bit. Look, here's why it's not relevant. It's -- I lost my train of thought on that. It doesn't change the question of whether the president violated the law.


WILLIAMS: Now it's a relevant question for voters, if they want to ask the question of whether Hunter Biden is himself compromised or whether Joe Biden is compromised or whether his family is problematic. That's for voters. But as a fact for impeachment that's just not relevant.


WILLIAMS: Legally, factually, constitutionally, it has no bearing on whether the president behaved improperly by withholding that $391 million. Which we know that's not in dispute. Everyone is in agreement that it happened. Now it's a question of what you choose to do with it.

JENNINGS: Well, the Republicans would say, a, it is relevant because just run -- the fact that Joe Biden's running for president doesn't absolve him from questions about his conduct or the appearance of, you know, conflicts of interest. That's number one. That's number -- (CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: That the question for voters not --

JENNINGS: No, it's a question for the president because it legitimizes a reason to bring it up.


JENNINGS: That's what they would say. Number two, they would also say he got the aid --


JENNINGS: -- over a very short period of time. And by the way this administration's been far tougher on the Russians in this whole deal than the previous ones, so that's how they would rebut what you just said.

WILLIAMS: And here's -- OK. Here's the thing. If I think you're a bad person, I think you're a lovely person, but if I think you're a bad person, I steal money from you, if I'm then charged with theft because I, you know, I can't then say, well, I was doing it for a righteous purpose because the guy I stole from was a bad guy.

COOPER: Also, I mean, David, I mean, the fact is, he got the aid because the whistleblower came out --

GERGEN: Right.

COOPER: -- and that they --

GERGEN: He got caught, as Schiff's words.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: Yes, I think -- don't you think that's true?

COOPER: Yes, of course. Yes. I mean, it seem --


GOLODRYGA: But they're not acknowledging it.

JENNINGS: The Republicans might say he got the aid because actually several Republican senators went to him and said you've got to -- you've got to release this, including Rob Portman of Ohio was one of the big voices on this.

GOLODRYGA: And don't forget, and I said this earlier. There's going to be a big optic scene next week and that's when Secretary of State Pompeo is going to be visiting with Zelensky. That's not a coincidence that he is going to be there and they're going to be pointing to that and saying --

GERGEN: Yes. I just want to go back to the parties. I think, Scott, the Republicans can go have their exoneration rallies and they will rally their base and so forth, and so on.

But remember, about half the country is going to be really angry with this -- if this is the result he gets, acquittal, and there's nothing else, you know, he can walk off with the exoneration. And I think that the Republicans need better arguments than they've presented so far about why there even ought to be a case.

COOPER: We're going to -- everybody is going to stick around. We have a lot more to discuss. Up next, a Republican senator attacked the patriotism of an impeachment witness today. What she said and how an attorney for the witness -- the recipient of a Purple Heart responded.



COOPER: You would think that deciding the fate of a president after hearing the evidence against him would be plenty to do for most senators. Some, though, have taken a moment here and there to step out of the chamber. Some have been doing cross word puzzles. Others are getting a little reading in. Many have used break time to go on television.

One who chose to spend her time doing a bit of attacking one of the players in this drama, Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, firing off several tweets about one of the impeachment witnesses, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman.

Quoting now, "Adam Schiff is hailing Alexander Vindman as an American patriot. And how patriotic is it to bad-mouth and ridicule our great nation in front of Russia, America's greatest enemy."


That was followed by this. Quote, "Alexander Vindman broke the chain of command and leaked the contents of the presidential July 25th phone call to his pal the "whistleblower," over a policy dispute with the president." "How is that not vindictive?"

Keep in mind, for starters, though, you would not know it from Senator Blackburn's tweet. He is Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. He testified under oath, and he is neither the whistleblower nor did he know the whistleblower was. He is an Iraq war veteran. He carries the shrapnel from an IED attack to show for it, not to mention a Purple Heart.

Late this evening, Colonel Vindman's attorney responded to the senator. I am quoting that from a statement. "That a member of the senate, at a moment when the Senate is undertaking its most solemn responsibility, would choose to take to Twitter to spread slander about a member of the military is a testament to cowardice."

Joining us now is one of Senator Blackburn's colleagues, Senator Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois and a decorated combat veteran. Senator Duckworth, I wonder -- first of all, what do you make of what Senator Blackburn said today?

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): I am just appalled that that is what she has said, that she would actually attack a veteran, a man of honor, a man who in his remarks when he testified under oath was that here in the United States, right matter. And that is why he spoke up. He did his duty. That's what we expect every single serviceman and woman to do, do your duty. And that's what he did. For her to attack him is really quite shameful.

COOPER: Also for her to be accusing somebody of denigrating or criticizing America in front of Russia, seems like that's exactly what President Trump did in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin standing on a stage.

DUCKWORTH: Well, that's exactly right. If anybody has denigrated America, it's President Trump. It is certainly not Colonel Vindman. He, in fact, has talked about how great this nation is, how grateful he is that his father escaped Soviet Union to come to the United States, how he and his brothers have served this country in uniform combined for well over 30 years.

And so he has not denigrated this country. In fact, he has served and defended this country for at least 20 years. And it is President Trump who has actually denigrated our great nation in front of a foreign ally, in front of an adversary like Russia.

COOPER: Republicans (INAUDIBLE) Democrats' case (ph) that nothing new has been presented to them. It is the same information repeated over and over. And that the more they talk, the less convincing they become. What do you say to that?

DUCKWORTH: Well, then allow us to subpoena the additional evidence that the White House is hiding from the American people. The evidence that we've shown so far has holes in it that the White House can fill. We've got documents that have parts of it blacked out, redacted. We have folks who we know were involved in this decision-making process such as Mr. Bolton that have said they would like to testify. They would testify. We would subpoena them.

If they want to see more evidence, allow us to testify. They voted over 10 times just the other night against allowing us to bring people in to testify, against bringing on new documents. We can have this additional evidence if the Republicans would actually allow us to subpoena it.

COOPER: The Senate minority leader, you know, Chuck Schumer is claiming that for many Republicans, it's the first time they've heard the whole narrative of what's happened because they get their news from Fox News. Do you believe that really is the first time that many Republican senators are hearing about all this?

DUCKWORTH: I can tell you, Anderson, I watched the House trial, and the way that the House managers have actually presented the evidence in chronological order was new to me. It was really interesting to have all the bits and pieces stitched together into a comprehensive narrative that really shows how overwhelming the evidence is of the president's guilt of his abuse of power. And so even for myself, I've been paying attention. It was really important to have all this put together in a chronological format so that we now finally understand what was happening on the July 25th telephone call when we know all of the conversations that happened before it.

COOPER: You know, obviously, we still don't know if witnesses will be called, if Republicans will allow that. But today, Senator Chris Murphy said that "Mulvaney is most important. All of the testimony seems clear that this entire thing run through Mulvaney and Mulvaney is the one talking to Trump on a regular basis."

I'm wondering if you agree with that. Do you think Mulvaney is more important than Bolton? Frankly, with Bolton, it's not really clear what he's going to say.

DUCKWORTH: Well, I'm not sure what either one of them are going to say. Mulvaney has actually said on record in a press interview that there was quid pro quo, right? He said, hey, we do this all the time, get used to it. So I think he would be a critical witness. I also think that Mr. Bolton is critical along with many other people that the White House is not allowing to testify.

COOPER: Senator Duckworth, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

DUCKWORTH: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, a check in at the White House on the president's defense team. More on how his team plans to rebut the charges made by House Democrats.




COOPER: We talked a little bit earlier about how the president's legal team is signalling they intend to make Hunter and Joe Biden part of their case. Kaitlan Collins is at the White House for more on that, a late reaction on how they think that they went. Kaitlan, what are you hearing?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We know they've been watching this closely and you're seeing the president's legal team sit there in the room silently, not being able to say anything in response.

But what we were being told is they're waiting back, watching to see what it is their argument is going to be, because they say they've got this affirmative argument that they're going to have, but they're also going to need to push back on what the Democrats are saying.

So the question is, essentially, how they're going to do that, whether or not they're going to try to match the Democrats with the videos, the sound clips that you've seen them playing from the House portion of this impeachment.

And so the legal team has been meeting here every day at the White House before they go over to Capitol Hill, essentially a little bit of a prep session.


COLLINS: Then they go over there. They're listening, waiting to see what they're going to do. Right now, Anderson, we are told they're only expected to take two days, not three days, like the Democrats are expected to do starting tomorrow to make their case.

Some people say that's fluid. It could change if they want to try to mirror how long the Democrats are going. But they aren't expected to go for the full 24 hours that they will to make their opening statements right now.

COOPER: It certainly seemed clear by the amount of -- the sheer volume of tweets and re-tweets from the president that he is certainly focused on this, whether or not he's actually himself watching it all. Do you know how closely he's actually watching?

COLLINS: No. He's been watching it pretty closely. That's based on what people who have been speaking with him have been saying, the president watching to see exactly what these Democrats are saying. And a lot of this material, the president has seen before, because he also watched very closely during the impeachment hearing. Of course, he is irritated at the fact that his team is not able to make their argument.

So that's what's so interesting about the fact that there is this possibility out there that the senators will make Saturday a pretty short session and then come back Monday for the president's legal team to make their full argument.

A lot of people don't see how the president will be OK with that because he cares a lot about what was said on those Sunday shows, how the coverage is. So that will be a big question, if they only have their argument for a few hours on Saturday compared with how long the Democrats went for it today.

Something else that is going to be interesting when you see the president's legal team, Anderson, come forward and make their arguments, Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz are still expected to join Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone. But I am told by sources, so far, they have not been involved in any kind of formal prep session.

So it will be really interesting to see how they make their arguments, compare to how you see these Democrats laying out theirs, and it clearly shows they've been working and coordinating together.

COOPER: Yeah. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much. I appreciate it. We are back with our political and legal team. Jay Sekulow says that the Democrats' presentation today -- a lot of details about Ukraine opened the door on the Bidens. Do you buy that?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: No, I don't. Again, this gets back to what we were talking about earlier, this question about Hunter Biden's conduct, if voters wish to consider it, if voters wish to consider whether Joe Biden is compromised. That's a question for the voters. It is not a relevant question for whether the president behaved improperly. Now, you know, what I think they want to do --

COOPER: You could make the argument. I mean --


COOPER: You know, that if there was, you know, real corruption involving Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, then that justifies the president's -- that it wasn't a political -- purely political and personal benefit to the president.

WILLIAMS: If that's the case, you have a State Department that can gauge --

COOPER: Now you're thinking rationally.


WILLIAMS: I try. I do my best. But if the State Department -- you have a diplomatic security service. You have a Justice Department that can do -- frankly, you have many other avenues besides calling the leader of a foreign country to engage that person and that government. And frankly -- and violating the law as the GAO has found.

COOPER: In fact, if you wanted to actually investigate corruption, the last thing you do would be to announce an investigation into it. You don't usually do that --

WILLIAMS: Particularly if you had never expressed an interest in investigating corruption, particularly in Ukraine. So for all of those reasons, this is incredibly suspect.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, COLUMNIST FOR THE USA TODAY: But the other thing is he didn't just ask them to investigate. He tied it to something that they needed, right?

COOPER: Right.

POWERS: He tied it to a White House meeting and foreign aid. So if you take all these separate things, each of them by themselves is problematic. You put them all together and that's where we get to where we are today.

COOPER: She also pointed out, according to sworn testimony and Lev Parnas, it wasn't even to investigate, it was just to announce the investigation.

POWERS: To announce the investigation, right. But I think -- but it's the extra -- all he had done, it would be inappropriate. But that's not all he did. And so he added to it basically, you know, bribing them.

COOPER: Do you think if -- to the extent that the Republicans bring up the Bidens and go down that, does that -- does that help -- does that -- I mean, it must hurt Joe Biden.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It muddies the water, for sure. There are plenty of people that you talk to that don't really know much about the details. But when they hear the Bidens were involved and what was his son doing on the board, most people would agree that it's actually not kosher for somebody to get a job like that, just because of your last name.

It does become a bit murky. But like we said before, this is not something the president had taken up before. This is not something that the president expressed interest in by going to his Justice Department, by seeking an investigation.

In fact, the reason why he was so frustrated with Zelensky is because they had gotten to a certain point, via Rudy Giuliani, with Petro Poroshenko, his predecessor. And Poroshenko was at least apparently willing to play ball a bit more than Zelensky, and therein lies the issue.

COOPER: Scott, I think Giuliani, I think, was mentioned 200 times today. Do Republicans try to defend Giuliani or do they just not touch that?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Don't touch -- I mean the lawyers may try to touch it. But Republican senators, I don't think, are going to touch this because there's no way to argue that this was a smart idea.


JENNINGS: I mean, getting Rudy and Lev and Igor involved --


JENNINGS: You and I had this conversation on the air many times. It's the single worst thing he's got going for him, to your all's point. There were official channels if you wanted to investigate this. Clearly could have done it. And so, no, I don't think you're going to see senators jumping to Rudy's defense.

I think you might see them jumping to the defense of, well, it was legitimate to look at the Bidens, but I don't think any that is going to involve Giuliani.

COOPER: David, before we go, I want to talk to you about Jim Lehrer because I know he was a friend of yours.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO NIXON, FORD, REAGAN AND CLINTON: Yes, yes, he was. Thank you. I appreciate it. This has been a very sad day. Jim Lehrer, I think, was one of the finest journalists of his generation. I hope we see some more people like that before it is over. He was a model of integrity, fairness and decency that made such a difference.

He was so committed to being impartial as a journalist, Anderson, that he didn't even vote. He purposely skipped voting. It was the reason he was selected to moderate 12 presidential debates, 12 presidential debates. We've never seen that and will never see that again.

On a personal basis, he was the one who invited me in to television world 35 years ago and made a home for me at public television for almost a decade. We became close friends. My wife and I and he and his wife had dinner about a week ago. He was in high spirits. He was just so grateful for the life that he had had, a life in journalism.

He went out with flags flying. I have enormous admiration for him. I think we've lost one of the people we need to remember, people like that in journalism. He made such a difference.

COOPER: Yeah, extraordinary man and just incredible legacy and contribution. David, thank you for that. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.




COOPER: As another long day on Capitol Hill comes to an end, the House impeachment managers are nearing the end of their presentations. If the Senate schedule holds as advertised, Friday would be the final day for the Democrats to make their case. On Saturday, it will be handed over to President Trump's lawyers and his Republican defenders.

During the House impeachment hearings, Harvard Law School Professor Noah Feldman argued in favor of the president's impeachment. Now that the Senate trial is underway, no better time than tonight to check in with Professor Feldman for his take on what's happened so far.

Professor, just looking at everything that you have seen thus far and heard, do you think the House managers are making an effective case? Is there anything you think they should be doing that they're not?

NOAH FELDMAN, CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR: I think they are doing a good job. You know, their first goal was to try to draw the country's attention to the fact that the Senate doesn't want to call any witnesses. They were very effective at that, maybe more effective even than they expected.

Then they had to switch and pivot and start focusing on telling the story. They've had two days to do that now. They've done it in pretty deep detail. And that's an important thing to do, not only for the public, but also for the senators.

And last but not least, they are also trying to make an historical record because they know that this impeachment isn't just about now, it's about the long run.

COOPER: There are multiple audiences, not just the public, not just the few senators in the room who might actually be willing to call for witnesses. It's also history.

FELDMAN: Absolutely. And I think everyone who is involved in this impeachment process has to understand that even if the outcome is the one that most people predict, that's actually not what really matters at the deepest level. I mean, it would be nice if the senators would come around and recognize that Trump isn't just impeachable but deserves to be removed from office.

But even if they don't, it's important for the future of American democracy that others in the future, future generations, be able to look back, watch this footage, watch the commentary, read the transcripts, and see exactly what Donald Trump did and that he was impeached for it, to send the message that this kind of conduct just isn't OK no matter what two-thirds of the Senate decides.

COOPER: The frightening thing about that is if, assuming he is not actually removed from office or the senators don't even vote on witnesses, what message that sends to future presidents.

FELDMAN: It's true. You know, one of the great dangers of the fact that the president could get away with having stonewalled Congress and the House of Representatives during the impeachment inquiry and could now get away now with having Republicans choose not to call witnesses is that there is maybe a lesson that a president is best served just to refuse to play along, you know, just to thwart the entire constitutional process.

That's a terrible outcome not just for this president, but for future presidents. But that's only the glass half empty view. There is also a glass half full possibility. And that is to remember that just being impeached is not something that happens every day.

Donald Trump is only the third president to be impeached. And there was one other, Richard Nixon, who quit because it was so terrible to imagine being impeached that he would rather resign. And so in the long run, there can be a sanction just associated with the fact of impeachment. And that I think is meaningful and has historical significance, too.

COOPER: You wrote a piece earlier this month saying that the impeachment trial doesn't need more evidence, that while witnesses would clear up a few things, the case has already essentially been made that the president abused his office. Do you really think that the Bolton's testimony or Mulvaney's testimony aren't necessary?

FELDMAN: My own view is that the House was right to impeach on the evidence that it did have.


FELDMAN: There was more than enough evidence to determine that what the president did was an abuse of the office of the presidency to cheat in the elections. The call records alone tell you that in no uncertain terms.

Now, in terms of knowing the whole story, will we know the entire story without Bolton and Mulvaney? No, we won't know the entire story, and it would be very good for the country and it would be good for history to know exactly the details of what happened.

But even without that, it's clear that the Senate ought to remove Donald Trump from office, and it's clear that the House was right to impeach him on the basis of the evidence that it did have. And, by the way, the house managers, they're in a bit of a delicate position. They are saying correctly that we need this evidence, but they can't be saying that without this evidence, you can't remove the president because the House has already voted to impeach.

COOPER: Professor Noah Feldman, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

FELDMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: We'll be right back.