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House Managers Lay Out Abuse of Power Case Against Trump; Interview with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on Impeachment Trial; Chief Justice John Roberts' Role in Trump Impeachment Trial. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 24, 2020 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:17]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: CNN's impeachment trial coverage continues. Want to turn things over to Chris Cuomo -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you, Anderson.

Hello, everyone. I am Chris Cuomo.

Day two of the Democrats' opening arguments is in the books. House impeachment managers made their case about -- again, about eight hours today. Different, though, than yesterday. How? It was more structured. They laid it out more with what they call sign posting. Here's where we're going to go. Here's why we're going to go there. And it seemed to work.

The main points, though, were also some of the most provocative ones. President Trump abused his power. How? Pressuring Ukraine to serve his own political interests. And then closing remarks, Congressman Adam Schiff, seemingly emotional, certainly forceful, calling on senators to understand the risk of more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): You can't trust this president to do what's right for this country. You can trust he will do what's right for Donald Trump. He'll do it now. He's done it before. He'll do it for the next several months. He'll do it in the election if he's allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Let's break down the strengths, the weaknesses, what it leads to, what it brings out as a need for the defense. We have Andrew McCabe and Michael Gerhardt.

First, quick thing for people on procedure, Professor. If you find him guilty, you must vote to remove. Is that being pedantic? Can you find him guilty and not vote to remove?

MICHAEL GERHARDT, HOUSE IMPEACHMENT HEARING WITNESS: Well, the first couple of times that the Senate considered convicting somebody and removing them from office, the Senate actually split the votes. They voted guilty or not, and then they voted to remove.

Now there was a complete identity, a virtually complete identity between those who voted guilt and those who voted to remove. So after a couple of tries at this, the Senate eventually said, why are we doing this? And now they're going to do it in one vote.

CUOMO: So he's explaining it that way, but he's saying if you think that, then you must do it this way.

GERHARDT: Right.

CUOMO: There aren't two separate votes anymore, although there could be a disqualification vote in terms of if he were found guilty.

GERHARDT: Correct.

CUOMO: Then they would have a second vote. Once again, same threshold for whether or not he's allowed to run again.

GERHARDT: Correct.

CUOMO: Because you could have the bizarre situation where he's removed from office but allowed to run again, who knows maybe when.

Adam Schiff. He's getting a lot of buzz. I don't know how much of it is media shine on him. But that close was different than anything I've seen from him before. What do you think?

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF FBI: That close was Adam Schiff swinging for the fences. If you thought that yesterday he spent a lot of time arguing for witnesses, arguing maybe to convince the four or five senators who might be on the fence and thinking about opening the door to additional documents or additional witnesses, that was yesterday. Today was a different story.

This was Schiff closing with as much force, with as much passion, as much patriotism as he could possibly summon, trying to convince those Republican senators to vote to remove the president. It is a very tall order. But that's him given his best.

CUOMO: Something that you guys do very well at the FBI once you're handing a case, playing with the space of doubt. And where is doubt? In this case, one, we could argue -- I argue to you, you tell me, Professor, you judge it. The president's potential, biggest weakness that is not directly tied to a fact is that he has not done much to deserve benefit of doubt in terms of his intentionality. And Schiff played on that.

The idea of, oh, he wouldn't do this. He wouldn't allow that. He wouldn't try this. And he accentuated each of them by saying, you know he would. You know he has. You know you can't trust him. Effectiveness?

GERHARDT: I think it's very effective. It's reminding everybody of something they already knew. They may have forgotten or discounted it to some extent. But he's also telling them pretty much directly, something really important, and that is that his character is basically disposed to lie, disposed to cheat, disposed to steal, disposed to do this kind of thing. And if he's not removed, he will do it again. So that's the message he's delivering.

CUOMO: And, by the way, if you need some kind of basis for a feeling about it, he told you exactly that on ABC News when told what would you do if you got offered oppo research from a foreign power, he said I would take it.

[00:05:02]

He was then told, you know, Christopher Wray just said you're not supposed to. You're supposed to call the FBI. He says, nobody does that.

Now they did spend a lot of time about proof of intentionality here in terms of what they know. They didn't do as much of what they did yesterday which I wish I could tell you, but with Giuliani, there was a lot of focus put in on him. In particular, back and forth communications with the White House, tying it to dates that preceded or came after specific actions that they saw in question. And there, they said, wish I knew more about the content, the use of Giuliani.

MCCABE: Well, Giuliani is a very powerful tool for the House impeachment managers. Giuliani's entire role in this process is it wreaks of underhanded, off-the-books, unofficial kind of back-door dealing and scheming to try to get something for the president personally, not to accomplish some national security or foreign policy objective for the government generally. So I think that all those communications, when you see the depth of the plotting and the planning that was going on between Giuliani and Parnas and all these characters, it casts the president's role in a darker light.

CUOMO: Ron Johnson, Senator Ron Johnson, has been relevant here because he is one of arguably two people that we know about that spoke to the president directly about aid to Ukraine when he was over there with Chris Murphy in Ukraine. And he was surprised that he says, to hear them saying, that, you know, what's going on with the aid in the meeting. And he called the president and the president said that it wasn't tied today that, but he told the president he should release the aid, you know, he covered himself there.

Today he's frontrunning a new argument. I'm worried about executive privilege. I don't want the Senate to get caught up in setting a precedent where we knock down executive privilege and we hamper presidents to come and therefore, we cannot have witnesses because the president's counsel has made it clear he will invoke privilege. Thoughts?

GERHARDT: Well, in the law we have a phrase for that. It's called BS. It has --

CUOMO: Is that Latin?

GERHARDT: It is absolutely no merit whatsoever. The executive privilege exists as an entitlement of the president to keep certain information confidential. From the public and from Congress. But the key is certain information. And the privilege does not in any way protect, for example, information about criminal activity, and it doesn't protect any information about abuse of power. So --

CUOMO: Why, why not? What is the precedent for saying abuse of power can be revealed?

GERHARDT: Because that's illegal. Abuse of power is action that extends beyond the Constitution. It violates the Constitution. So the privilege, no privilege exists in order to hide illegal activity and abuse of power is illegal activity.

CUOMO: So the argument of we can't subpoena, because he'll then invoke privilege and now we're going to ruin executive privilege. You don't buy it?

GERHARDT: No, I don't. And I also should say that the lawyers that are representing the president, besides the fact I think they've done a very bad job when it comes to speaking to the Senate, they also have lied. They've also made false statements. And for lawyers to lie and make false statements puts their position in the bar at risk. They can --

CUOMO: Lied, meaning they've said things that are false that they know are false.

GERHARDT: Yes.

CUOMO: And they did so to deceive?

GERHARDT: Yes, and it had the effect of deception. Various rules of professional responsibility require candor and truthfulness in front of a tribunal like Congress. Also another rule says lawyers may be essentially disciplined for misleading and false statements. So to the extent that the lawyers say the same thing and promote those messages which they know not to be true, they put themselves at risk because sooner or later they may face ethics charges.

CUOMO: Andy, what does happen if we game it out? They subpoena Pompeo. He says, OK, responds, he doesn't want that sergeant-of-arms coming and knocking on his door. He comes. The president's counsel says, hold on, we invoke privilege. Now what?

MCCABE: Well, you can guarantee that the appearance of any witness will be extensively bogged down in legal fights over privilege, over first and foremost over this administration's belief that they have an all-encompassing privilege that doesn't essentially exist, but one they've argued many times in court no one on the president's staff essentially is allowed to say anything about anything that they do.

I think eventually they'll have to retreat from that position and they'll be backed down into kind of arguing witness by witness, statement by statement, topic area by topic area, and question by question is typically how those executive privilege matters are fought out. CUOMO: They've got to guarantee it and get it done fast because

they've got the chief justice there and the suggestion, will he'd be out of it? He'd be conflicted out because he's part of the subpoena process.

[00:10:02]

The professor told us last night that's not true. He could sign the subpoena and still be part of the judicial resolution of the same.

All right. Let's take a break for now. I've got to get in a commercial here. Professor, thank you very much. Andy, as always.

All right. So -- so what, it was impressive today. Well, what is our measure of what effectiveness is? Well, you have to look at it in one way about Republican minds. So, we're going to take a look at that which senators are suggestive of what might happen. What was it like in the room?

Senator Jeff Merkley is a Democrat but he was watching what was happening and what the impact was. He'll tell you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: There is no question that if you monitor any coverage from today's arguments you are going to hear about Adam Schiff's closing. OK. And you're going to hear about it reviewed except on the most fringe of the right as something very compelling.

[00:15:06]

But the question becomes, what does that mean that it was compelling? To whom? Does it matter to those main senators? Can he change minds, especially all the talk of Lindsey Graham is not even there, senators doing crossword puzzles, playing with fidget spinners, literally, taking extended breaks. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): If right doesn't matter, we're lost. If the truth doesn't matter, we're lost. Framers couldn't protect us from ourselves if right and truth don't matter. And you know that what he did was not right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Let's bring in Senator Jeff Merkley.

Senator, thank you. I know your voice is giving you trouble, but we really appreciate you taking the time after such an emotional night.

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): You bet.

CUOMO: So, Adam Schiff's closing seemed to command a kind of quiet and attention that we have not seen yet, arguably his most cogent moment. How did it resonate with you and in the room? MERKLEY: Absolutely, Chris, it was riveting. The whole room was just

focused on Adam as he laid out the fact that we all understand from what's been laid out what the president has done. But the additional question exists. Should he be removed from office? Is there a risk to the United States of America? And then Adam proceeded to sum up that, yes, indeed there is a very serious risk.

Whenever you have a president that puts his personal interests above the national interests, all sorts of bad things can happen to our nation. And that makes it unacceptable to keep this man in office.

CUOMO: He seemed to play it two ways. That it's not just an analysis of potential action by this president, but inaction. Would he step up to stop people from interfering? Would he stop foreign interference if he thought it was good for him? How did that work for you?

MERKLEY: This absolutely went to the heart of the idea of why impeachment matters, and you don't just wait until the next election, because if the president can influence the next election, then you carrying forward the corruption that you're trying to address, and that's unacceptable. And we have seen this president speak out in his first campaign and call for Russia to get involved in the American election.

We have seen what he did here with sending Giuliani over that started an immense growing scandal over trying to get Ukraine involved in this coming election. We've heard him appeal to China to get involved in the next election. So this is not some theory, some guess. This is a fact, a pattern that we cannot count on Donald Trump to put the country above himself.

CUOMO: Do you really believe that this president would do something to sabotage the election?

MERKLEY: I do believe that when the president said, I would accept help from a foreign country that gave me dirt on an opponent, and I think his words were, why wouldn't I? We're seeing that Trump has no principles when it comes to the question of foreign involvement in our campaigns. Does he not understand the principle or does he not care? He has been quite open about where he stands.

And yet soliciting foreign involvement in campaign, that is a crime. If it is over $25,000, it is a felony. And yet he's still been open about the fact that he would solicit or accept foreign help.

CUOMO: What did you hear from your colleagues on the other side of the room? Anybody say anything? Did you observe anything about how this was resonating for them?

MERKLEY: No. I must say it was quiet, riveted attention to the close. And then everyone heads for the doors. So we didn't get any sense of where our colleagues are standing. They're being very careful because I think they feel very torn. On the one hand they're seeing this compelling vision of an expanding scandal that started with Giuliani on his own, and then took down an ambassador, our ambassador, and then there was a new government that didn't cooperate and so he had to get the help of the U.S. government.

And suddenly Pompeo knows what's going on. And Bolton knows what's going on. And Mulvaney knows what's going on. And our whole government is helping in what was supposed to be this private third strategy to get Ukraine involved. And so this scandal blew up and everyone can see what's been laid out. But now this question is, are we going to defend our country through this process of impeachment or not?

CUOMO: What do you make of Senator Murkowski, one of the potential open Republicans saying earlier today, you know, the House really should have gotten this evidence, they really should have done their job and gotten these witnesses?

[00:20:08]

That is a heavy statement coming from her. If Murkowski believes that the witness issue should have been taken care of already, where does that leave you?

MERKLEY: Well, to me that is a troubling statement because it's a completely different responsibility for the House, which acts as a grand jury, than for the Senate which acts as a trial. We are not an appellate court. It is not a case that we are simply supposed to look at information from the House. We are the trial. This is where the evidence is supposed to be presented in its full entirety.

And so I hope all of my Republican colleagues will step back and I know they're under tremendous pressure, tremendous pressure, from this government and from their leadership. But will say they have a higher duty to the Constitution and the responsibility on the impeachment trial.

CUOMO: Have you heard any whisper or mention of a potential acquittal or a censure compromise for Republicans where they would not remove the president, but they would censure the behavior? Have you heard that and would that be acceptable to you?

MERKLEY: I heard it talked about in advance of wouldn't that be an alternative. And I can't speak to whether it would be acceptable to me. We have not yet heard from the president's defense. The president's defense is going to come in and tell us their story, which may lay out a whole different framework than I as a juror have to be opened to hearing and understanding.

I must say, what we have seen I think almost anyone would acknowledge was a very powerful presentation of the president's conduct. But we have not heard from the defense yet and we have to be ready to listen as diligently and carefully to the defense as we have to the prosecution's case.

CUOMO: It will be interesting. Everybody is a assuming it's an up or down vote, witnesses, and then acquittal. It'd be interesting if there were a third road where there was some type of action taken by compromise and what message that would send to the country and how the president would respond.

Senator Merkley, thank you very much for taking us in the room on a big night.

MERKLEY: You're very welcome, Chris. You bet. Take care.

CUOMO: All right. So there's the senator's take on it. Now let's go to the man at the center of all of this. But what is his real role? The chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts. He's presiding but what does that mean if things get sticky? Let's say there is a split vote on witnesses? What if the president does fight a subpoena that this chief justice signs?

There are some scary notions floating around. So let's get to the realities next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:27:13]

CUOMO: Those who believe that the presiding judge, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, is mostly there for ceremonial purposes, they were surprised when he seized the room and admonished both sides at the impeachment trial, reminding them to maintain decorum while addressing, quote, "the world's greatest deliberative body."

Now, Roberts' role may be more than ceremonial. How? Well, let's say there is a tie on calling witnesses. What does that mean? Does it mean anything? What happens if there is a fight for the subpoenas?

Let's talk to the author of "The Chief: The Life in Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts."

Joan Biskupic, thank you for joining us as always.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Thanks, Chris, good to be here.

CUOMO: You, I assume, were not surprised that the justice asserted himself early because it seemed like he was prepared to say what he said.

BISKUPIC: He was prepared. He had a case in his back pocket and a nice line from a 1905 Senate trial of a federal judge. You know, we've had only two impeachment trials of presidents, but there have been many impeachment trials of federal judges, and he had been studying those along with the prior presidential ones.

And, you know, Chris, you said that, you know, it looked like he broke from what would be just a mere ceremonial role. But to try to enforce decorum, one is in keeping with the presiding officer role, and that's a far cry from than voting on witnesses. So I think what he sees his responsibility as is making sure that the procedures that the Senate has set forth are enforced, making sure that it at least has the appearance of decorum, a strong code of etiquette as he tried to enforce after about 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday -- 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

So I think those are the kinds of things we're going to hear his voice on rather than, as you posit here, the tie vote. But let's talk about that.

CUOMO: Yes, let's just talk about what happens and what doesn't. I think you're right, though Joan. I think that one of the things that both sides would agree on is it'd be better to have more civil discourse. And he sent that message home.

So they decide to vote on witnesses at some point next week. Let's assume the president's lawyers don't take their full time, so it's the middle of the week after John Roberts gets done administering questions from the senators to both sides. And the vote comes back 50- 50. What happens in that situation?

BISKUPIC: OK. So, let me tell you what has happened in the past and what the modern Senate rules envision. First of all, the Constitution itself says that the chief justice will preside.

[00:30:00]

It specifically envisions a role that is different from being a judge as he is across the street of the same Supreme Court. He is not a member of the Senate. He almost certainly does not have a right to vote and the Senate rules currently don't give him that. But, Chris, they don't outright ban it.

And here's where's some of the confusion comes in. We've had two earlier trials of presidents. In an 1868 when -- yes, it was Chief Justice Chase presiding, he actually voted twice to break ties. He was very aggressive but he was --

CUOMO: Was it in the rules?

BISKUPIC: No, but he was very political about it, and he was running for president. So he was a bit -- he had presidential aspirations, I should say.

CUOMO: So he said I'm going to vote and the senators just said OK?

BISKUPIC: Well, there was controversy about it. And then by the end of the trial he had -- he pulled back and didn't break a tie when he had another opportunity to it. So everyone points to Chief Justice Chase as a model, perhaps John Roberts would intervene in a strong way.

Now, the current rules though in the Senate were written in 1986, so they -- and they do not include any kind of ability to break a tie. But before we even get to the 1986 rules per se, let's just talk about what William Rehnquist did because he's sort of the opposite model of Chief Justice Chase.

CUOMO: When he wasn't playing poker in the back room and being told he's not supposed to do that?

BISKUPIC: That's right. That's right. Chief Justice Rehnquist was a great card player until his dying day. But he -- in 1999 when he presided over the trial of William Clinton, just carved out a very ministerial role for himself. No one pushed him to do anything more than that. And as I know everyone's quoted to you, Chris, he took a page from Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe and said I did nothing in particular and did it very well. And I think that's what John Roberts would like to walk away with because, again, we're talking -- if it got to witnesses, you're not asking me about a vote on something like how many days of the House managers presenting their articles of impeachment or the White House lawyers defending the president. You're talking about one of the most significant salient questions we've got going here, witnesses. And Chief Justice John Roberts probably does not want to get in the middle of that.

And one thing I'll say to people who often comment, well, when the vice president sits and presides over the Senate, he is able to break a tie, and that's absolutely true, but that's because the constitution specifically says when there's a split vote among senators that the vice president can do that. The constitution does not outright say that the chief justice can. And, you know, it hasn't been tested in the modern era, but I think John Roberts is not in a position to want to test it.

CUOMO: But that's why I like to question and, of course, the VP is not relevant in an impeachment process. He can't break a tie. What would happen if the chief justice says, it's 50-50, I want a vote. Now, they shut them down in one of the Democrats amendments for whether or not he would be approved to break ties and determine relevance on a straight party line vote. What will happen if it happens in that moment (INAUDIBLE). We'll see.

But Joan, I got to go. We'll pick it up. If it comes closer to actually happening, I know who to call.

Joan Biskupic, thank you very much.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Now, the Democrats are asking for witnesses because they believe there's a lot left to know. But they already have a lot of evidence to show, and they did that today in a way we've never seen them do it before. They attacked the president's defense with facts and clips and production before they've had a chance to give it. Will that matter?

Let's discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:37:51]

CUOMO: House managers arguably had two jobs today, layout their case, but also undercut what many Republican senators have been hearing from the president and his allies on Fox. That includes topics like the Bidens, for example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joe Biden knows full well that his son's business dealings stink to high heaven.

REP. SYLVIA GARCIA (R-TX): Let's be very, very clear. Vice President Biden called for the removal of this prosecutor at the official direction of U.S. policy. His actions were therefore supported by the executive branch, Congress, and the international community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So it's a demonstration of farce versus fact. The debunked conspiracy theory involving the DN server -- DNC servers was another example.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't the bureau examine the DNC servers to make certain that Russia really hacked them?

GARCIA: Dr. Hill, too, testified that White House officials including Mr. Bossert and former national security advisor H.R. McMaster spent a lot of time refuting the crowd strike conspiracy theory to President Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Because, remember, the puppy dog frown doesn't mean that he's telling you the truth. There are facts to counter these fictions and that's what they were trying to do today. Here's another one. What country actually interfered in the 2016 election?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ukraine admits to trying to influence the 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton.

REP ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Director Wray says we have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now look, this has been a job of journalism all through this to try to expose theories and ideas that don't meet with the facts. You can see the need for this when people like GOP Senator John Kennedy, a sitting senator who has been an ardent supporter of the president. He said this yesterday, "I've learned a lot. Everybody has. Senators didn't know the case. They really didn't."

[00:40:02]

So, how do you present a case when so much of your jury has been tainted by a steady diet of state TV?

Let's take that up with Asha Rangappa and Jim Schultz. Good to have you both.

First, Asha, Senator Kennedy is wily. I've had him on a lot. Do you believe that that is a good faith sentiment that he just put out there, that, oh, I'm really learning, I'm open minded? Or is that a play that, yes, we're taking it all in, this is good, but then he just votes the same way, acquit, and for the same reason just before this trial, fealty?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN COMMENTATOR: Chris, I can't speculate on --

CUOMO: You must.

RANGAPPA: -- what is actually going on, but I do think -- I mean you just played those clips from Fox News. If someone is really only limiting themselves to consuming information from that source or sources that are not actually laying out the facts or citing actual Intel community assessments on some of these things, then they may very well be living in an alternate factual reality. And I can imagine there must be members of the public who were watching this who are -- it's jarring to see all of these laid out together, to understand the narrative, how it's been put together. And I think what was especially effective today, Chris, was that they cut to those clips where there were witnesses, some of Trump's own people, his national security team, diplomats, saying in their own words, directly from the horse's mouth how, you know, contradicting this alternative factual reality. I thought that was very effective that they were able to switch and effectively have video witnesses in that way.

CUOMO: Look, tough job for the lawyers, Jimmy, but they didn't have to take the job. They are somewhat saddled with the state TV nonsense and what this president has peddled up to this point. How damaging do you think it is to have to deal with these fallacies?

JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Look, on the Biden issue, I think they took a really dangerous step today jumping out. They've always said Biden is irrelevant, Hunter Biden is irrelevant and all of a sudden they take such time today to talk about it. It just opens up the door to the criticism on that.

And let's not forget, Chris, that all of the facts, quote-unquote facts that were positive today were not truly investigated. No investigator went in and took a look at these issues. These are just conclusions --

CUOMO: What are you talking about?

SCHULTZ: -- that were made by Democrats. Now --

CUOMO: They investigated the 2016 --

RANGAPPA: Just once.

CUOMO: -- interference to death --

RANGAPPA: Just once.

CUOMO: -- and you know it. Tom Bossert is a member of your own party.

SCHULTZ: Now, no, no, I'm talking about the Biden issue, Chris. There's been no true -- (CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: -- of Hunter Biden --

CUOMO: But it doesn't matter --

SCHULTZ: By who?

CUOMO: -- Jimmy.

SCHULTZ: You can't answer that question.

CUOMO: Hold on, Jimmy. I -- listen --

SCHULTZ: You can't answer that question.

CUOMO: Listen, it was looked at here --

SCHULTZ: By who?

CUOMO: -- it was looked at twice by Ukraine --

SCHULTZ: The law enforcement conduct an investigation into a guy that's the vice president's son --

CUOMO: There was no basis for an investigation.

RANGAPPA: Hey, hey, Jim?

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: Let me finish.

RANGAPPA: Yes.

CUOMO: You made your point, Jimmy.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: -- for foreign energy company and this --

CUOMO: Jimmy, we got your point. Don't filibuster.

SCHULTZ: -- and a whole lot --

CUOMO: Jimmy --

SCHULTZ: -- on whole lot less --

CUOMO: -- we got your point, you don't have to lay your metaphors on the same point.

Asha, what's your response?

RANGAPPA: Well, I'm responding to Jim. Law enforcement would have investigated it if President Trump had actually used the proper channels to ask for an investigation which would have been providing this ample evidence, which apparently exists somewhere to the Department of Justice. We have many corruption statutes including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which specifically covers corrupt business practices by American citizens abroad. They could have opened an investigation and used mutual legal assistance treaties to formally ask for Ukraine's help. That's not what he did.

SCHULTZ: Well, it sounds like today --

RANGAPPA: He asked Rudy Giuliani to go play Scooby-Doo in Ukraine. That does not sound like a real investigation.

SCHULTZ: So, no, asking the president of Ukraine to conduct an investigation in Ukraine, they're certainly asking for an investigation --

CUOMO: Not into an American citizen.

SCHULTZ: And I fully understand the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

CUOMO: Not into an American citizen.

SCHULTZ: But I have to tell you what, I have to tell you something, Chris --

CUOMO: Please.

SCHULTZ: -- in this particular instance, we can -- we -- there could -- the Senate has said today, we've heard today from senators that they're going to start looking into that issue in a formal fashion --

CUOMO: Great.

SCHULTZ: -- which hasn't been done yet. So let's --

CUOMO: It doesn't change the issue before them right now.

SCHULTZ: All we have was conclusions. So I think it --

CUOMO: It doesn't change the issue before them right now.

SCHULTZ: -- opens up a real door if we get to witnesses --

CUOMO: No, it doesn't.

SCHULTZ: -- that Hunter Biden is now all of a sudden relevant to the situation --

CUOMO: So, Jim --

SCHULTZ: -- because the Democrats have put him front and center.

CUOMO: So, Jim, you would believe this then?

SCHULTZ: They put him front and center, not the Republicans. CUOMO: I know, but it's not an open the door scenario to further evidence the way you guys are doing it as a talking point, which is fine. Make your argument, I'll give it a chance.

But this is what you're arguing. If you were being charged with homicide, you would want to bring in evidence that the victim was a bad person. It doesn't remove you of the responsibility for what you did and how you did it, and that's what you want to do here.

[00:45:08]

Well, he did all of these wrong and arguably illegal things because the Bidens are bad.

SCHULTZ: Well, I didn't say did anything illegal.

CUOMO: I know. Of course, you'd never say that, that's not part of your talking point.

RANGAPPA: Chris?

CUOMO: All right. We got to go but last word, Asha.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I know you do. You wouldn't admit it but that's what they're debating right now. Asha, quick last word.

RANGAPPA: Yes, just to get back to the piercing the alternate factual bubble. I think that one of the things that the House managers did is engage in repetition because reputation does bring new information, particularly for people who have been programmed into something else. It helps them to absorb the information when they hear it over and over and over again. And I think they did that very effectively.

SCHULTZ: Oh sure, the talking points over and over and over again.

CUOMO: Yes, like you were just doing now, Jimmy.

SCHULTZ: Right. That were written by staff.

CUOMO: You're taking your swing at that also.

SCHULTZ: No, no, no. I wasn't done --

CUOMO: Come on. Every -- all of you have been saying the same thing that the Bidens open the door today.

SCHULTZ: Let's talk about Schiff and the credibility of Schiff in this whole thing, right? Let's talk about old Schiff's lies and all their untruths --

CUOMO: Why? When you guys won't admit that this president ever lies. You have surrendered --

SCHULTZ: You criticizes president everyday -- CUOMO: -- the right to question integrity.

SCHULTZ: I've never heard you once criticized Schiff --

CUOMO: You had surrendered the right --

SCHULTZ: -- for his mischaracterizations or lies.

CUOMO: Jimmy, with all due respect --

SCHULTZ: You don't do it.

CUOMO: -- you've surrendered the right to argue integrity by doing nothing but covering, hiding, evading --

SCHULTZ: So you --

CUOMO: -- and ignoring this president.

SCHULTZ: So integrity is only important --

CUOMO: I have to go, I'm out of line.

SCHULTZ: -- on one side of the characters?

CUOMO: I'm out of time.

SCHULTZ: Is that what you're saying?

CUOMO: I'm out of time. No, what I'm saying is it always matters, but when you pretend it only matters for one side the way you do, you don't get to argue the other side. Not here anyway, not tonight.

Asha, Jim, thank you for being here. I always appreciate it even if not always the same way every time.

For the 2020 contenders, they are being pulled off the trail, the senators, right? This is bad timing because Iowa is right around the corner. And yet, and yet even not being on the trail, we see a move by a senator. What's behind it? What does it mean? Inside the numbers, next.

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[00:51:14]

CUOMO: Look at this. Our new national poll shows Senator Bernie Sanders making a move on Joe Biden, up seven points with Democrats from just last month. Jump is even bigger when you look at New Hampshire. Less than three weeks out from that important primary, he's leading the Democratic field with 29 percent, almost double in the last month.

Take a look at that.

In Iowa, Biden leads. The trend is clear though, Bernie Sanders is on the rise and certainly keeping a close second. Why? What does it suggest?

Margaret Talev, Ron Brownstein, thank you both.

Margaret, this is very interesting because Bernie Sanders usually in a cycle where you're up and then you're down. Usually, you stay there or come up a little bit but the trend is negative. Not with him. So what do you ascribe?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, no. He's actually had a huge resurgence as, you know, since his heart attack, since that setback which could be a problem, a real problem for most candidates. He's really come roaring back, and there are couples of crosscurrents here. One is that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders share a lot of the

same potential base, lot of the same potential supporters, and some of her stumbles or trouble explaining the cost around Medicare for All seem to have worked to his advantage. But also Bernie Sanders has a very large, strong, broad grassroots base. It's just undeniable. They're very loyal and they're energized by him.

And I think one of the questions around impeachment is the sort of key question next week, are there going to be witnesses called that the answer to that question may have an impact again on that momentum behind Bernie Sanders? Because if there are not, the Republican votes to have witnesses called. If that goes down and this trial moves to end very quickly, there may be a tremendous amount of frustration and momentum building up inside that part of the Democratic base, and that could help Bernie Sanders even more.

CUOMO: Ron, do you think any of this has something to do with Elizabeth Warren going after Bernie Sanders the way she did?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, I think it has more to do with Elizabeth Warren declining as Margaret said over the fall. I mean, there's a lot of overlap between their supports.

Bernie Sanders has a very passionate base. We see it in the fundraising numbers, we see it in the polling numbers. What we don't know yet is whether he can go beyond that base.

I mean, he is consolidating more of the left flank of the party as the other candidates have chosen to kind of target their fire at Warren rather than him. And there's a reason for that which is that I think there is still skepticism among the centrist candidates that Sanders can kind of go beyond where he was in 2016.

You know, if you get the Biden people and you kind of put a gun to their head and you say, you're not going to win Iowa, who do you want to win. They would prefer Sanders to Warren or Buttigieg because they still think there is more of an upper limit on his support, you know. And you might, you know, beware of what you wish for, but at the moment that's their perspective.

CUOMO: What happened to the feeling that him calling himself a socialist, Margaret, was just too much and that ended it? TALEV: Yes. I mean -- look, I think that there is just -- there is a total number here at play among the Democratic supporters and some are going to go to that sort of Biden, Buttigieg camp, some are going to go that Sanders, Warren camp. And that if you add up Sanders and Warren supporters together, you know, it is a huge number of people inside the Democratic party. They don't mind that word. There are a lot of younger voters, a lot of Democratic voters of all ages who don't believe that socialism means the same thing that President Trump says that it means that the old definition of socialism means many emerging Democrats think socialism just means checks on capitalism. They don't see it as the same word.

[00:55:15]

How would that play in a general election? A very fair question and probably a different question. And that's why we see President Trump goading, trying to make Bernie the winner out of Iowa. He's been having --

CUOMO: Well, he's always trying to make somebody winner of this --

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

CUOMO: -- in Joe Biden. He's also trying to make Bloomberg somebody who may.

The president is very savvy and he knows that you cause disruption, it's good for him. The main metric, quickly Ron, can you beat President Trump? What do these numbers suggest in the movement of Sanders?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, we don't really know. Sanders has faced no real criticism within the Democ -- no real challenge on his agenda within the Democratic Party in 2020 or 2016. He does bring passion. I mean, he would be very effective in all likelihood of turning out young people, including non-white young people. He would raise an amazing amount of money.

But the best estimate is that his agenda would increase federal spending by $60 trillion over the next decade, doubling federal spending. That's 30 times as much new spending as a share of the economy as Hillary Clinton proposed in 2016. Fifteen times as much as Obama, two and a half times as the new deal. And we don't know how he would stand as a nominee once Republicans kind of got through making that argument.

CUOMO: Margaret, Ron, thank you very much in explaining this. It's an exciting move. We'll see what it matters. Iowa's coming.

House managers making the case that President Trump abuse his power. Did they make progress? The biggest moments, next. Stay with CNN.

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