tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN October 5, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
hello, everyone, and welcome. i'm fredricka whitfield. we begin with a barrage of stunning now developments on the impeachment inquiry and a defiant president trump. moments ago in a series of tweets, the president blasted democrats, mitt romney, a republican, and the whistle-blower. this as house democrats for the first time have subpoenaed the white house for documents on
ukraine. the subpoenas coming after the president announced he will not comply with their investigation until speaker -- house speaker nancy pelosi holds a formal vote on the impeachment inquiry in the house. >> we'll be issuing a letter. as everybody knows, we've been treated very unfairly, very different from anybody else. >> the house speaker pushing back against the president, arguing american democracy is at stake in this impeachment fight. >> some people say why are you doing this? he's not worth it to divide the country this way. i say he may not be, but our constitution is worth it. our democracy is worth it. >> house democrats are also now demanding that vice president mike pence hand over documents on ukraine. the vice president has ten days to respond. this as u.s. secretary of state
mike pompeo missed his friday subpoena deadline. >> the state department sent a letter last night to congress which is our initial response to the document request. we'll obviously do all the things we're required to do by law. i was a member of congress once. article 1 has a certain set of powers and article 2 has an obligation to make sure that we protect officials at the state department. >> meantime, "the new york times" reporting a second potential whistle-blower is considering filing a separate formal complaint. "the times" reporting that an intelligence official with more direct knowledge of president trump's dealing with ukraine than the original whistle-blower, whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry. and finally, "the washington post" reveals more concerns now coming from the president's aides about his phone calls with other world leaders, which left at least one former white house official, quote, genuinely
horrified. "the washington post" reporting in one of the calls trump fawned over vladimir putin, telling the russian president he was a great leader. we know the president has also said that out loud. and now president trump back on the attack. he is now targeting senator mitt romney after the gop lawmaker called the president's actions wrong and appalling. trump responding this morning
tweeting this. mitt romney never knew how to win. he's a pompous a who has been fighting me from the beginning except when he begged me for my endorsement for my his senator run and when he begged me to be secretary of state, i didn't give it to him. he is so bad for rs. kristen, give us more about the reaction coming from the white house, the defiance and now even hearing from the u.s. secretary of state mike pompeo this morning who did miss this deadline, but then he has a
response about compliance. >> reporter: that's right. there's a lot going on here and we'll break it down. i do want to start with you talking about those tweets. we'll get to what the administration is saying, but if you look at those tweets, that is president trump's reaction. you are not hearing there about anything reacting whether or not they're going to comply to a subpoena. what he's making very clear in his tweets this morning, which by the way or sent on his way to his national golf club in virginia, is he is willing to take down anyone, republican, democrat, whistle-blower, if they stand in his way. that is his strategy to get him through this impeachment inquiry. now, the administration, they have a little bit of a different strategy here, as do house republicans. they really want to turn this around. they want to be talking about anything else other than that phone call between the ukrainian president and president trump. i want you to listen to what mike pompeo said about that phone call. >> this administration was incredibly focused on making sure that we worked with ukraine in a way that was appropriate. and it is not only appropriate,
but it is our duty to investigate if we think there was interference in the election of 2016. i think everyone recognizes that governments have an obligation, indeed a duty to ensure that elections happen with integrity, without interference from any government, whether that's the ukrainian government or any other. >> reporter: so, fred, you might have missed a couple words there. joe biden, hunter biden, investigation into political rivals. what the crux of this impeachment inquiry is actually about. of course he's talking here about this theory that ukraine was parted of the interference into the 2016 election but that is not what the impeachment inquiry is about. it is about the fact that the president of the united states asked another foreign leader for help digging up dirt on a potential political rival, something he did again on the south lawn earlier this week. so it's interesting to see here picking and choosing as they try to defend the president during this time. >> all right, kristen holmes,
thank you so much. we'll check back with you. meantime, we're taking a closer look at damning text messages given to congress by the former special envoy to ukraine, kurt volker. the messages between u.s. diplomats and a senior ukrainian aide bring up the explosive issue of a potential quid pro quo between the white house and ukraine. cnn's shimon prokupecz joining me right now. shimon, walk us through these text messages and how on one end it may spell out what the interpretation is and on the response end, it is a bit of a deflection or here's some clarity to what you think you might be understanding. >> that's right, it is. but the one thing that's important to point out in all of this is that some of the people who are communicating on this text message are concerned that this is a quid pro quo, are concerned that the president withholding aid to the ukraine is doing it for political reasons, to help his political campaign. and when you see these text
messages and the concerns that are then raised by one person, a career diplomat, it's certainly very troubling and very revealing. so let's just go through some of what was released and what we have. of course one of those first ones that we have is from volker, kurt volker, the former special envoy to ukraine and he testified just recently on the hill. his communications with the ukrainian advisor to the president there in ukraine, he says good lunch. heard from white house, assuming president z convinces trump he will investigate, get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail down visit to washington. good luck. see you tomorrow. and then there's another message from kurt volker to rudy giuliani where he says, hi, mr. mayor. had a good chat with yermak last night. he was pleased with your phone call. mentioned z making a statement, that's the ukrainian president.
can we all get on the phone to make sure i advise z correctly as to what he should be saying. want to make sure we get this done right. and then there's the career diplomat, a man by the name of bill taylor. this is a pretty significant moment. he's texting back and forth with gordon sondland, who is the u.s. ambassador to the eu. he was appointed by the president to be the ambassador there to the eu. and bill taylor here, this is the significant moment. when he starts to raise this concern that perhaps the president could be doing this to -- the withholding of money to the ukraine because of political reasons. he says, and this is taylor now, as i said on the phone, i think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. and then i think the timing here is significant. that text message that bill taylor sends is at 12:47 a.m.
it is about five hours later or so that gordon sondland responds and he says, bill, i believe you are incorrect about president trump's intentions. and then in sort of this lawyerly fashion and the way that he responds, he says the president has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any time. the president is trying to evaluate whether ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that president zelensky promised during the campaign i suggest. so it's really significant. this exchange certainly is something that investigators on the hill are going to want to look into. sondland, i could say, is expected to appear before the hill in a closed deposition on tuesday. >> all right, shimon prokupecz, thank you so much. let's discuss further now with molly ball, a national political correspondent for "time" and a cnn political analyst. also with me, tolu, a cnn
political analyst. good to see both of you. tolu, let's begin with this "new york times" report there is a potential second whistle-blower and talk to us about how the report of a possible whistle-blower complaint, the complaint that has not been filed yet, may potentially undermine the complaint before it's actually been launched or submitted. >> one thing i thought was key about this report was that this second whistle-blower appears to have more direct knowledge of some of the potential misconduct by the administration, by the president, even more so than the first whistle-blower. if you remember in the first whistle-blower complaint, he said that he had heard from more than half a dozen officials who were directly involved in some of these calls, that they were concerned about what the president was doing and trying to pressure the ukrainian government to investigate joe biden. this second whistle-blower according to these reports has more direct knowledge, has not
filed that report yet, which may make him a target for retribution, or may make it more likely that the administration may try to find out who the person is and stop the process before they are able to file the complaint. but the fact that the person has more direct knowledge would make it harder for republicans to say this is hearsay or this is secondhand and we can't trust this information or this whistle-blower is not even legally allowed to file this complaint like they tried to say about the first whistle-blower. so the fact that this person is contemplating filing a report that may shed even more light on this misconduct, alleged misconduct by the administration may make it even harder for republicans to defend the president and they have already struggled so far over the last couple of weeks to defend the conduct on the first call with the ukrainian government. >> because, molly, is it your view that these texts are significant. and if a second whistle-blower complaint is that much more powerful potentially, is this a
potential game-changer in the way in which elected officials speak out about what should happen next in this process? >> i don't think there's been any one game-changer, but i do think it's significant that every successive development in this story has only more bolstered and more substantiated the official allegation. nothing yet has come along really to muddy or detract from the original allegation that first came out a couple of weeks ago from that first whistle-blower. in fact everything we've heard is simply more and more evidence to the effect of what was originally alleged, whether you're talking about the transcript, the whistle-blower report, the text messageses. >> but the president will continue to say it was a perfect phone call. mike pompeo, the secretary of state, just came out today to say this administration has every right to look into corruption in the 2016 -- now trying to change the focus,
because these phone calls have been about the family or the leading political rival in this 2020 race. so pompeo too trying to say this is about looking back at corruption potentially in the 2016 race. >> well, there's just so much evidence that that is not what it was about. and by essentially admitting to the central allegation here and then trying to claim that it was a fine thing to do, i think the president has, as you mentioned, put republican office holders in a very difficult position of having to defend the actual admitted conduct at issue rather than trying to deny it and have them litigate was the whistle-blower legit, did they really know what they were talking to. he has come out and admitted what he's accused of doing and then tried to muddy the waters about, oh, what i was really concerned with was corruption which really does not pass the laugh test. and various other defenses, oh, this was about 2016, which
doesn't make any sense because it's based on an insane conspiracy theory. but he's put republicans in a really tough position by saying, yes, i did do this but i think it's a fine thing to do. and i think particularly once congress comes back, republicans have had a little bit of an advantage that they can lie low because congress is in recess. once they're back in washington, it's going to be harder and harder for them to figure out how to defend this conduct. >> and an admission from the president, yeah, i had that call and, yeah, i did ask that of ukraine. but taking it even further this week now calling on china. this was another, russia, are you listening except it was china, are you listening, investigate political rival joe biden and his son. so while democrats believe that this adds to the evidence of this impeachment push, many republicans still choose to brush it off. listen to senator marco rubio. >> do you think it's okay for president trump to ask china to
launch an investigation of joe biden and hunter biden. >> i don't know if that's a real request or him just needling the press knowing that you guys were going to get outraged by it. he's pretty good at getting everybody fired up. he's been doing that for a while. the media responded right on -- right on task. >> you're one of the loudest critics of china and its human rights abuses. is it okay for him to ask, to say that? >> i think he did it to gig you guys and provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it. like i said, he plays it like a violin and everybody falls right into it. that's not a real request. >> so, tolu, one has to wonder what really is the breaking point. when will there be other republicans who are willing to voe sif russly saying what mitt romney as said, what ben sasse has said. >> i think like molly said when they are coming back into town,
they are finding different ways to excuse the president's comments, trying to defending the comments without defending the substance. >> or even changing the subject. >> it does sound like they are uncomfortable with the idea that they are being forced to endorse this behavior of asking foreign governments to interfere with the 2020 election by investigating top rivals of the president. so they're looking for different ways to get away from it without going against the president, because they know that if they do speak out and say that it's wrong as mitt romney did, they're going to find a big target on their back with the president of the united states, with his twitter account, attacking them directly and that's not something that they want. >> molly, really quick, is this kind of evidence that many of these elected officials are really following the lead of the directive that starts from the white house? or particularly now on break when they have their town halls, they're meeting with their constituents, they need to hear or are hoping to hear what kind of directive will come from their constituents? >> you know, honestly i think there's a lot of panic and
anxiety behind the scenes with these republicans. it is every man for himself. they know that the white house is not particularly organized and can't be counted on to back them up in difficult situations, so they are worried about being hung out to dry. they're worried they may go out and defend something that then turns out not to be the case the next day, as has happened in so many situations with this president. that's why you have so many republicans either trying to stay out of the spotlight or coming up with these contrived defenses that don't actually defend the conduct at issue because they aren't sure how they can actually defend what they're being asked to defend. >> all right, molly ball, tolu, thank you so much. still ahead, the case for impeachment. as president trump lambasts the investigation into possible impeachment offenses, what evidence do democrats really need in their arsenal? plus, president trump gives the green light to china to interfere in 2020. we talked a little bit about that. so what's the point of view from
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president trump intensifies. in just the last 24 hours, three house committees issued subpoenas to the white house and a request for documents from vice president mike pence. u.s. secretary of state mike pompeo missing the deadline for delivering related documents. and "the new york times" reporting there may be another whistle-blower. i'm joined now by cass sunstein, a professor of law at harvard university. also the author of the book "impeachment, a citizen's guide." cass, good to see you, or professor, i should say. on sunday you wrote this in "the new york times" in an op-ed. in the coming weeks the house of representatives will have to get clear on exactly what happened here and also on whether other potential grounds for impeachment warrant serious consideration under the legal standard. what kind of material do you believe they need still? >> well, anything that would
clarify that the president was actually pressuring a foreign government to investigate a political opponent would be very disturbing. it would be highly suggestive that we are in the domain of the impeachable offense. so the most extreme would be a quid pro quo where it was explicit or universally understood by the participants that financial aid and other good things would be forthcoming if and only if there was an investigation of a political opponent. that would be -- that would be very damning. >> but this would mean the cooperation of the white house, of the state department. i mean we know that mike pompeo has already missed his deadline. and we know that documents are being requested of the vice president and his interactions, all things ukraine. so without that cooperation, because thus far a deadline has been missed and there may be -- or this may be a sign of yet more stonewalling, then will these house investigative
committees be able to get the kind of material they want or need without the cooperation from the administration? >> there are two possible directions. one is that even without cooperation, somebody within the executive branch will give clarity. maybe it's not as bad as the president's critics suggest. maybe there will be clarity to that effect. or maybe there will be clarity that it's at least as bad as the critics suggest or worse. that is one possible direction. even if the white house doesn't cooperate, there are people who might. the other possible direction is that a refusal to respond to a subpoena has been historically considered a legitimate basis for an article of impeachment. and that could be an independent route for serious consideration of an article of impeachment and conceivably removal even. >> what's the timeline that you see on this, critical to get certain things done by what time in your view? >> well, i think there's
constitutional obligation and then there's politics. and they may not go hand in hand. so as a matter of constitutional obligation, to proceed in a way that is fair to all concerned, above all the constitution, which i think means we're saying not days, probably not weeks, but months. in terms of politics, they are putting a little more time pressure on the proceeding. they're suggesting maybe a little more expedition than would be optimal. as between politics and the constitution, go with the constitution. >> harvard law professor cass sunstein, thank you so much. >> thank you. straight ahead, president trump calls on china to investigate joe biden. as we learned, he promised china's president that he would stay quiet on hong kong protests while trade talks continued. i wanna keep doing what i love, that's the retirement plan. with my annuity, i know there is a guarantee. it's for my family, its for my self,
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you must be steven's phone. now you can take control of your home wifi and get a notification the instant someone new joins your network... only with xfinity xfi. download the xfi app today. in case you missed it, president trump said this week that he wants china to investigate his political opponent, joe biden, and his
son. he was responding to questions about the ukraine call that triggered the whistle-blower complaint. here is what trump told reporters outside the white house. >> china should start an investigation into the bidens. because what happened in china is just about as bad as what happened with ukraine. >> all right, trump also said that all of his conversations with foreign leaders are appropriate. cnn's david culver is in beijing. david, did the president there on the white house grounds just give a green light for china to interfere in u.s. elections, and would it comply? >> it certainly gives that impression to some, fredricka, or at the very least in the near future we've got the upcoming u.s. trade talks with china. perhaps this is something they could use as leverage in those talks. that's all things that are coming to light right now. overall, i've got to say there's
this cloud of confusion. here's what they see. thursday the president makes those remarks. on friday he seems to stand by them but pushes more the corruption side of things. also on friday, and you played the sound a short time ago, u.s. republican senator marco rubio is saying that the president really wasn't going forward with an actual request, that was more just messing with the media. president trump, mind you, retweeted that video comment. so for chinese officials, there's confusion looking at this. is the president serious or is it as rubio suggests. here's how beijing operates, though. they're not just going to come out and react with a statement or on-cramera comment. it is not in their nature. it's much more controlled here. it's calculated. it's on their own timeline that they'll respond to this. the only response really that we have seen is their censoring of cnn's coverage of this topic, which shows they're really trying to create distance between their president xi and anything that's potentially
controversial with president trump. >> all right, david culver in beijing, thank you so much. do you hear that? utter silence from the majority of republicans on capitol hill after president trump urges two foreign powers to look into his 2020 rivals. where does the republican party stand on this? i'll talk to the republican national committee, next. plus, new questions about senator bernie sanders' health and age after doctors reveal he actually suffered a heart attack earlier this week. what you're doing? [sighs defeatedly] (grover) do not worry, sir. i also fix cars! (burke) seen it. covered it. at farmers insurance, we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. ♪ bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum t-mobile's newest signal reaches farther than ever before. with more engineers. more towers. more coverage!
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congressman will hurd who weighed in, as did former ohio governor john kasich. >> i think it's terrible. it's something that i wouldn't have done. i think that is something that a president of the united states shouldn't be doing. >> the president trying to get the chinese to get in the middle of this and to conduct an investigation against biden is just shocking, frankly. and our founders warned us about foreign entanglements. for the president to double down has got me really, really disturbed. >> republican senator mitt romney echoing that sentiment, tweeting by all appearances, the president's brazen and unprecedented appeal to china and to ukraine to investigate joe biden is wrong and appalling. liv harrington is the national spokesperson for the republican national convention and is joining me right now. good to see you. the president has been tweeting
this morning and he has been focusing on senator romney, saying in part mitt romney never knew how to win. he is a pompous "a" who has been fighting me from the beginning. he is so bad for rs. so, liz, the president going after a republican senator because he is critical of this so-called perfect phone call to ukraine, and now inviting china to investigate a political rival. is that how the power of this presidency should be used? >> that's not at all what's happening. the president merely raised the same question that nbc news was raising the day before, which was how is it on an official visit to china, vice president joe biden brought his son, hunter biden, on the trip and he secretly was meeting with chinese bankers. ten days later he magically gets a business deal to have a private equity firm. >> that claim has not been substantiated. >> then we should investigate it then. >> speak to the issue of inviting a foreign country to
interfere with the u.s. elections. why is that okay? >> we should be investigating just that and that's exactly what attorney general william barr and the u.s. attorney john durham are doing, getting to the bottom of what in fact the obama administration was doing. >> don't avoid the question. preceding that, liz, the president has invited, asked ukraine to look into a political rival and there is now -- there is texting on that. we're seeing the unfolding potentially of evidence to justify the whistle-blower's complaint. so the question is, is this how the power of the presidency should be used? to get a foreign country to interfere or meddle with u.s. elections? >> we have confirmed from kurt volker's testimony that there was no quid pro quo here. the favor, in fact, was getting to the bottom of what happened in 2016. this is an issue that democrats and the media was very interested in not very long ago. how exactly was russian
disinformation infiltrated throughout our politics for over two years, pushing an insane conspiracy theory about president trump and russia that was completely false. >> the intelligence community has already said that russia did interfere. the intelligence community did say that russia interfered with the 2016 election. and the challenge has been on the president of the united states to do more with that. and we have not seen any evidence coming from this administration that more is being done to address russia and now invite two foreign countries to involve themselves in this election. what is correct about that when you are sitting in the white house? >> he did not solicit foreign dirt on joe biden, he merely said we want to root out corruption in ukraine. looking at corruption, president trump wants to get rid of it. what was joe biden doing when he was point man for the united states? rooting out corruption in ukraine? his son, hunter, magically ends up on the board of barisma
holdings. that is corruption. >> is this an fec type violation when the president is currying favor with a foreign country to dig up information on a political rival? >> that is just not what happened. there was for quid pro quo. there was no pressure. kurt volker testified yesterday to say biden wasn't even mentioned. >> you see from the complaint and the texts that it alludes to that. that is what is at the core of the investigation. >> there can be no quid pro quo when there's no quid. ukraine had no idea that money was being withheld. and it wasn't being withheld because of anything to do with joe biden, it was everything to do to see if they were getting to the bottom of corruption, which we know ukrainian court ruled that the dnc and the obama administration were soliciting dirt from ukraine in 2016. >> are you sure you want to do this? do i understand this correctly that i'm withholding money because at the president's request for political reasons, we saw that. and then it was call me.
so listen to republican congressman matt gaetz when he spoke to cnn earlier this morning. >> you heard my commentary. what kind of a precedent would we be setting for future elections if the president's requests for foreign assistance in our elections is normalized? >> well, i have to reject the premise of the question. i think that the president's context for these discussions isn't forward leaning into the next election, he is attempting to solicit ukraine support to finding out what happened in the last election. it is a retrospective conversation as it relates to the ukraine. when you look at zelensky praising trump for creating a populist rhetoric that was helpful to him in routing out corruption, i think you see two men on the same page, frankly trying to leverage against europe to get europe to do more for the ukraine. >> so how is it sustainable that it will appear to be normal and okay that a u.s. president can invite other countries to investigate americans who are in
political office or seeking office? >> that is not what's happening here at all. it's about routing out joe biden's corruption in plain sight. and what the real question is, i'm glad you asked that question because who normalized this? barack obama. his justice department -- >> who are the other corrupt individuals you're looking into who do not have affiliations, he could not answer the question, liz. >> the obama administration solicited foreign dirt. >> you cannot continue to deflect. just deal with the issue right here. why is it the president who was asked what other individuals that you suspect are corrupt that you are looking into that do not have any political affiliations. he didn't have an answer. if this is the president who is saying that he wants to rout out corruption, why does it happen
to be the democratic rival for the white house. >> what other democrats were overseeing attempts to rout out corruption in ukraine? >> that's not the answer to my question. >> it was joe biden. >> what other individuals of corruption is the president focusing on that have no political affiliation? >> he will rout it out wherever he finds it. this is -- the reason why joe biden even came up in passing in this conversation, which by the way it's not a cover-up when you release the transcript. if you actually read the transcript, president zelensky was saying we've had some bad, corrupt people. we're routing them out and president trump said, yes, i've heard about this because it's very terrible and that's what president trump said. he said it sounds terrible to me when you have a vice president of the united states running point on corruption -- routing out corruption in ukraine. his son sits on a board making $50,000 a month. and the prosecutor looking into that natural gas company -- >> except the chronology is not
quite right. >> it's absolutely right. >> the corruption happened before the newly elected president and the obama administration or joe biden was helping to pressure the stepping down of a prosecutor because of corruption. that was in step with the imf, with other western leaders, european leaders. so, you know, we just have to get facts straight because i think people are getting very confused by interchangeably throwing around information as opposed to keeping a straight line so it's coherent and with clarity. >> when you're talking about giving millions of dollars to ukraine, you're talking about in the past joe biden withholding a billion dollars unless this prosecutor was fired. it's very relevant to the conversation of corruption in ukraine. >> okay. liz harrington, glad you could be with us. national spokesperson for the republican national committee. a new report says iranian-backed hackers tried to attack a 2020 presidential campaign.
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hackers linked to the iranian government attempted to attack a 2020 u.s. presidential campaign according to microsoft. they did not say which campaign was targeted, but the trump reelection campaign said they had no indication it was them. microsoft said a group called phosphorous tried to attack it between august and september. we heard that the trump campaign say they don't believe it was them, is any campaign responding? >> yeah, the dnc said they had many candidates to check the logs on their systems, they provided the candidates with an ip address, a unique identifier on each network and that was the
network that these allegedly iranian hackers were using to see if the campaigns had been accessed through that way. the "new york times" and reuters say it was the trump campaign that was targeted, but they say they have no indication of being breached in any way. we saw how big of a role the hacking played in 2016. this is going to be a huge challenge going into 2020 and it's not just the campaign e-mail addresses, the staffers, the facebook, the e-mail accounts of those staffers across the country. >> thank you so much for bringing that to us. >> coming up, a major health scare for a top democratic presidential candidate. bernie sanders out of the hospital after doctors confirmed he had a heart attack.
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save up to $400 a year on your wireless bill. plus get $250 back when you buy an eligible phone. call, click, or visit a store today. all right, welcome back, senator bernie sanders says he will come back to the campaign trail. sanders left a las vegas hospital yesterday and in a video he reassured supporters he is not going anywhere. >> hello, we're in las vegas. i just got out of the hospital a few hours ago and i'm feeling so much better. i just want to thank all of you for the love and warm wishes you sent me, see you soon on the
campaign trail. >> the sanders campaign says he will rest at his home in vermont for several days, but he plans on taking part in the cnn democratic debate on october 15th. get ready for what could be the make or break moments in the race for 2020. it is coming to you live from cnn with the battle ground state of ohio as the backdrop. watch it on tuesday, obt 15th, and 8 p.m. eastern here on cnn.
hello, again, everyone. we begin with a barrage of stunning new developments on the impeachment inquiry and a defiant president donald j. trump. for the first time, democrats have subpoenaed the white house for documents on the ukraine. he says they will nom comply with the investigation until nancy pelosi holds an informal vote on the house. >> we'll be issuing a