tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN October 11, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PDT
very good friday morning to you. gym jim sciutto. >> and i'm poppy harlow. at any minute the former ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch set to arrive on capitol hill. she's set to testify behind closed doors as part of the impeachment inquiry. she's was forced out of the post earlier pie the trump administration and now in his now infamous call to the ukrainian president president trump called her bad news. she has been the target subsequently of unfounded
attacks by rudy giuliani and conservative allies as having an anti-trump bias. >> those are live pictures on the entrance to capitol hill. we're also following new developments about the president's personal lawyer and his two close associates who were arrested holding one way tickets out of the country. the two soviet born men seen in the picture there smiling arrested just before boarding a plane to europe. they were indicted on charges of illegally funneling foreign money into donations for republican campaigns. the two are also key figures in jew giuliani's efforts to dig up dirt on trump's political rival joe biden. trump says he doesn't know the two men, but there are pictures like this one. manu, is there doubt about the ambassador's arrival for this testimony? she was meant to be there some
time ago. >> reporter: yeah, this was supposed to start at 10:00 a.m. it's possible she could be in the room. we're standing by waiting for her arrival. so she could be waiting around this corner but this is fucement in which there are multiple entrances to arrive and certainly could come out of public view and that's possible where she came. members who did arrive this morning were confident she was ultimately going to testify and aides and members of both sides preparing for her testimony today and it's been highly anticipated of course. the president had criticized her in that rough transcript that had been released by the white house in that conversation with president zelensky of ukraine. also rudy giuliani was part of the effort to go after the former ukrainian ambassador and as well as the associates arrested yesterday. they were even in engaged with the former congressman sessions to remove her from that post. all of this part of the day long
testimony behind closed doors as part of this impeachment inquiry. the question all along is whether in fact she does appear. she still is a state department employee, and we've seen the trump administration move to prevent anybody from testifying because of their belief this is an invalid impeachment inquiry. so nevertheless there's been an expectation that she will appear. the question is has she appeared and will she walk around this corner? at the moment we believe she might even be in there at the moment answering questions so we'll have to see as the members emerge. >> as we keep an eye out here what has changed overnight is that the eu ambassador sondland, you know, who did not show up earlier this week is going to show up by subpoena to testify on thursday.
yeah, and that's a key development because gordon sondland did not appear earlier this week because the state department had convened and the white house told him not to comply. after getting the subpoena he has signaled he does intend to come next thursday. the question is whether the state department will take any additional effort to prevent him from coming. we were told by a source close to mr. sondland he'd not conferred about that subpoena and his attorney issued a statement saying the documents provided over to the committee, the state department will decide whether or not to turn over those documents. so still a question whether that happens. but all intentions at that moment that key witness could also come forward next week. >> thank you very much. let us know if you do see the ambassador arrive. before they were accused of funneling foreign money into campaign coffers, the two former soviet met the president, his son. and just hours before being
arrested to leave the country they had lunch with the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani. >> lot of the details of this story you could imagine came out of a spy novel. the president's response to this, i don't know, ask rudy. now senator chuck schumer wants to ask rudy under oath. one interesting part of this case, jessica, is that the attorney general, trump's appointee bill barr, he endorsed these charges? >> reporter: right, and he's been apprised of this investigation for a while now. he had a meeting in the southern district of new york just this week, so he knew what was going on. so, yes, the trump justice department behind the charges for these two associates of rudy giuliani. so that means the questions now around rudy giuliani are only building and the calls for giuliani's testimony especially by chuck schumer as you've mentioned, it's grown louder since this dramatic arrest of his associates.
they could be really key in this impeachment investigation aside from this indictment especially since rudy giuliani has said these two men helped him dig up dirt on joe biden in ukraine and introduced joe biden to current and former ukrainian officials. plus this indictment alleges they asked a former u.s. congressman who we know to be pete sessions of texas, they asked him for help to getting marie yovanovitch fired. so giuliani has talked about this, admitted this relationship with these two men and he even said he was planning to fly to vienna, austria, last night. so they're charged with funnelingferr funneling foreign money into u.s. elections, and they're also
charged with coordinating with a russian national who funneled money to them they then put towards state political campaigns. so there's a lot swirling here, jim and poppy, especially aside from the indictment itself. now questions how they really factor into the ukraine impeachment inquiry here is how rudy giuliani fits ipas well. guys? >> when folks buy one way tickets out of the country -- >> they're generally not coming back. >> they're generally not coming back. let's discuss now. jack, you've been around washington for a long time. the details of this case are so brazen as to make your jaw drop. foreign money directly to u.s. candidates in state and local elections including a sitting u.s. congressman who was asked to do a favor it seems by the president to help remove this ambassador for ukraine that's
about to testify on the hill. tell us what the jeopardy is for these guys and also rudy giuliani? >> the guys indicted are in pretty clear legal jeopardy. they have been making and otherwise facilitating foreign contributions which are illegal under u.s. law to at least one member of congress. we don't know how far beyond that it goes. but, look, i mean there are a lot of things upside down here. this story which is unfolding is different from watergate in that we start with the president confessing, right? so president trump has made clear that he did link, you know, the release of military aid to ukraine to their doing a favor for him in the nature of moving forward on this investigation of joe biden. now, stepping back in time that
investigation was one which ukrainian prosecutors had said and told anybody who would listen was baseless. and so it was resisted by the professionals in ukraine. it was also i assume resisted by ambassador yovanovitch who -- that is what got her fired. i mean, she got wind of this. and so with the help of congressman sessions they managed to get her taken out of the ukraine post and, you know, essentially setup a rogue operation with rudy giuliani at the head of it. and he was running u.s. foreign policy with respect to ukraine. i mean the whole thing is really troubling. it's more than troubling. what you've got here is something that violates one of
the cardinal presets that the founders included in our constitution to, you know, make sure that we didn't have foreign interference in the u.s. government. >> anita, let's assume the best, okay? let's be glass half full opmists this friday. and the best case scenario here for rudy giuliani is this is terrible optics, this is really bad optics, right? even if that's the case, how much longer do you think it's politically attenable for him to be by the president's side? >> it's interesting because when you talk to rudy giuliani, he says he's staying by the president's side. but i think you've seen a couple of signs maybe team trump is tiring of him a little bit. and this was even before these arrests. there were a lot of people saying before the arrests that they did not like rudy giuliani's appearances on tv.
and, you know, he had sometimes some erratic contradictory tv appearances. so they already were tiring of him. but we've seen a couple of signs. the president saying he wanted to get trey gowdy to come onto his team. there's some disagreement whether he can do that. he can't influence congress before january because of lobby rules but he can appear on tv, he can be a surrogate. we also saw yesterday i was there when the president departed from his rally and he was asked about these two gentlemen and he said go ask about rudy. it was kind of a flip comment i took as go talk to giuliani. >> and based on precedent when the president starts to establish, it's not a good sign. one thing that strikes me in 2016 you had russia interfere in the election, the mueller investigation and here we are a year before election, a
president willing to reach out to foreign countries for help in investigating an opponent. you have sitting republican lawmakers who won't answer a simple question is that an okay thing to do, and i wonder is this in part the result of a mixed message or not a clear message from the mueller report that such entreaties for foreign help won't be tolerated, there'll be consequence snz can you draw a line from that to where we are right now? >> i certainly think so. i believe with all my heart that robert mueller's failure to take more decisive action, reach more persuasive conclusions after all the time put into his investigation, had the precise opposite effect of what we wanted and emboldened donald
trump again. he got away with it. bob mueller kind of shrank from the conclusion here and so donald trump said i can get away with having foreign governments come in and help me get re-elected. >> final question to you, anita. we don't know if ambassador yovanovitch is testifying on the hill right now or not. we haven't seen her come in the building. but the state department also hasn't pulled her like they did ambassador sondland this week. how significant is that and what does it tell you? >> it's very striking, actually i was surprised this morning to hear that. remember the letter the white house sent a couple of days ago -- >> and she has just arrived. keep going but we're looking at live pictures of her arriving. >> i think the white house, the state department had said in general they would not cooperate, they did not want evidence going over there. now we see more than one -- >> let's listen in.
hold on just one second. okay, go ahead. thought we might hear something. >> we've seen more than one person saying just like she did she's going to come. we don't know exactly how much she's going to say and reveal but i do think all these people in the next week or two saying despite what the white house has asked them, they are going to come enand talk it's very significant. >> anita kumar, thank you, jack quin, always good to have you. >> she will not be blocked. just a few days ago the witness blocked by the white house. that could be significant in this investigation. >> and the second only official witness in all of this. still to come a top advisor to secretary of state mike pompeo quits reportedly furious how administration officials stayed silent as aides attacked and ultimately removed the ambassador to ukraine marie
yovanovitch. plus a marked silence from most sitting republican makers when it comes to president trump's recruitment of ukraine to investigate joe biden. but could these flurry of new details change that? and we're getting some breaking news now. an appeals court is ruling against the president in the fight for his tax returns. we'll bring you that update. you'll want to hear it right after this break. (classical music playing throughout)
an important moment in the impeachment inquiry. that there is the former ambassador to ukraine, marie yovanovitch. a long time u.s. diplomat. of course she forced out by the trump administration in the midst of its efforts to pressure ukraine to investigate joe biden. that testimony today certain to be central to this investigation. >> manu raju back with us on the hill. what does it tell you the state department unlike what they did with ambassador sondland this week, did not block her testimony? >> reporter: well, it remains to be seen exactly how this has played out behind the scenes because, yeah, as you mentioned the state department made very clear it did not want ambassador sondland to testify, and the white house made clear they were not going to allow anybody to cooperate with they're calling
it an invalid inquiry. while the former ambassador vuvon vch she's still a current state employee which is why there'd been questions all week whether or not she'd appear. i'd been hearing for the last couple of days the expectation was that she'd appear. so i think it's a progress in discussions about her coming forward, and there have been some expectations that she actually wanted to testify and wanted to talk about her story. now, ultimately how many documents she ultimately provides this committee, what she's able to share all that bill be determined in this highly anticipated day long testimony up until this moment whether she would appear from our reporting this was supposed to start at 10:00 a.m. eastern, and she just arrived here for testimony so there had been been some anticipation and question whether she was going to come
but she did come in and we saw her. she did not answer any questions from reporters who asked whether or not the state department did try to block her testimony. so now the question is what will she say? what will see reveal about the circumstances of her dismissal earlier this spring and how she'll aid that impeachment push going forward. >> let's talk about all this with ambassador james, former ambassador to estonia. he resigned his position over the summer in protest to the president's policies and practices. we appreciate you being with us this morning especially how well you know a number of the players here, whether it's kirk volker ormered yovanovitch. your career has been long since 1986 in eastern germany. you think it's a badge of honor that she was pushed out, why?
>> well, i know ambassador yovanovitch to be a person of great integrity and significant accomplishments. and she was really the ideal person to serve as ambassador to yeah crane when she was named. that part of the world, eastern europe, the former soviet union is an especially complicated place to practice diplomacy because of their history and also the corrupt manner in which those poor folks have been governed for a very, very long period of time. i had the honor to serve in estonia for three years. and of all the former soviet republics the estonians were arguably and i think are the most successful. and one of the reasons that they are so successful is because they seriously attacked that corruption. transparency is their motto.
and, you know, putting everything out into the public is the way that they maintain their integrity and their honesty. and really, you know, this whole inquiry, everything that we're doing is -- and everything that the house is doing i suppose is designed to find out what the truth is. and factual truth is a fundamental western value. and, you know, the confusion and the lies, that is soviet style or russian style, and it tracks with the totalitarian mind set that is antithetical to the way the west approaches governance and democracy. >> if you were in the room with her today what is the key question you'd want her to answer? >> i'd want her to honestly answer what sort of activities these political partisans were
engaged in and how that that complicated her job which was really about serving the american national interests. >> listen to this from secretary of state mike pompeo. earlier this week he sat down with pbs, and here's what he said about ukraine. >> i know what this administration has done with respect to ukraine. we've worked diligently on this. i'm proud of our results. i remember where obama left ukraine. it left it at 80% of the size it was when he came into office, and vladimir putin hasn't done that. >> look, it was the russians that annexed crimea. when you hear that from the secretary of state, what is your response? >> it's disgraceful. it's dishonest. it's counter factual. it's antithetical to our values and our policies. and secretary pompeo was on that
phone call. he knows very well that the president was trying to extort ukrainians to interfere in our elections, which is illegal and immoral. >> ambassador, thank you very much for being here. if anyone hasn't read your explanation just a few days ago about why you resigned your post, they should. thank you again for your time. >> poppy, that was actually last year. that was last year. >> yes, i know. >> december 2018. >> over the summer. thank you very much for being with us. i appreciate it. talk to you soon, ambassador. >> you're welcome. it's moving quickly this morning. we have more breaking news into cnn. president trump has just lost his appeal to stop a house subpoena of his tax returns. cnn's jessica schneider has those breaking details. what are we learning and is there another appeal? >> there probably is, jim.
this has been a fight going on between the house oversight committee and president trump since april. here's how it's played out in just the past few minutes the d.c. circuit court of appeals ruled in a 2 to 1 decision that the president and his accounting firm can no longer block these financial statements from peag released to the house oversight committee. and that encompasses tax documents and eight years of accounting records. that was the recent and a few minutes ago the ruling from the d.c. circuit court of appeals. they affirmed the ruling earlier from the district court. so now two courts have said yes the accounting firm here needs to turn over the documents, financial records including tax documents to the house oversight committee. but it's likely that this fight won't end here. the next step here would be to challenge this and appeal directly to the u.s. supreme court. what's important here is that in this opinion that was just issued, the court put it very
plainly in its 2 to 1 decision basically saying contrary to the president's arguments the oversight committee here possesses authority under both the house rules and constitution to issue a subpoena and they must comply. and that's important here because the supreme court has repeatedly upheld congress has the right to issue these sorts of subpoenas in firthernance of its legislative and investigative purposes. so if this does in fact get up to the supreme court it's possible given the precedent here that the supreme court would have to say this is broad legislative function of congress and they're entitled to these documents. but, again, jim and poppy, we've seen the fight over the president's tax returns and financial records playing out on many different fronts here. and still we haven't actually seen those yet. so this will likely continue to play out. so despite this ruling saying that the president and his team have to hand this over, probably still won't see it anytime soon because the fight will continue in court.
guys? >> can we be coming to a resolution, though, three years of this battle by the president to keep the returns private. coming up for us, the question some republican senators have decided they cannot or will not answer because it threatens their re-election chances. (male announcer) it's here. time to get in a tree, nock an arrow, and disappear. this is what you've prepared for. he's moving more in daylight and whenever you can, you'll be hunting dawn to dusk. this is what you live for. it's your season. so hurry to great outdoor days at bass pro shops' and cabela's. where you can save big on great gear from top brands like redhead, cabela's and black out. bass pro shops and cabela's. your adventure starts here.
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direct question. is it appropriate president donald trump or any president, democrat or republican could ask a foreign government to investigate his political opponent? it's fairly straightforward. watch cory gardener of colorado avoid the question. >> but the question is is it appropriate for a president -- >> look, we are going to have an investigation. it's a nonpartisan investigation. it's an answer that you get. >> is it okay -- >> but you're not answering the -- we want to hear from you. >> this is the politics of the moment and that's why they're trying to do this now. >> joining us now is congressman michael walt, an army veteran, decorated green beret who's been very vocal. we appreciate you taking the time this morning. >> thanks, jim. >> let's begin with syria because you've been very vocal and you were someone who served
on the ground there. you know the rule kurdish forces, the central role they played ipfighting back isis and syria. in simple terms has the president in this decision abandoned american allies on the fround? >> well, they certainly feel abandoned and, you know, what is so disturbing, so heart breaking and i'm talking to green berets that are out there working with them now as we assured them that we would predict them from a kurdish -- excuse me a turkish incursion, we helped them dismantle their defenses with that security guarantee and now they've turned around and being attacked. and keep in mind they are the prison guards for tens of thousands of isis fighters and they're no longer guarding those isis prisoners, they're defending themselves against the turks. meanwhile the leader of isis who is still alive has been calling on his guerilla fighters to attack those same prisons so
that isis can resurge again. after all this blood, sweat and tears which the administration i think deserves credit for taking off the handcuffs that was on the military under obama and isis was defeated as a caliphate but not as a movement, they can and fully intend to come back again and that's why you're hearing so many of us speak up and speak out because isis can attack europe and inspire attacks and just very quickly, my district touches on orlando and the pulse nightclub shooting which was an isis inspired fighter. we have to stay on offense, we have to keep our foot on the neck whether that's afghanistan, syria or other places otherwise this problem will follow us home. >> i covered that attack in orlando, and i was a horrific one. what do you think then when you hear the president say, well, those isis fighters, they'll go home to europe where american
allies are? is that the way a u.s. president should talk about isis terrorists? >> look, i understand and a lot of peoples frustration with how long these wars have taken. too hard, too long, too expensive. how does this end, is this an endless war? but one thing we have to help people understand we're not talking tens of thousands of troops here, we're talking a few hundred actually preventing this conflict and preventing future wars. look, if the goal -- if the strategic goal of rand paul and other isolationists and they're on both sides in both parties is to bring a few hundred troops home, then we have 50,000 in japan since world war ii, 30,000 in south korea still. we still have a battalion so if we want to bring a few hundred troops home, there's a lot less dangerous places to do that than the hurt of where isis is, and we can't repeat the mistakes obama made of pulling out of
iraq too soon. that's what led to al-qaeda resurging and pulling out of isis in the first place. >> let me ask you a question. you've seen the president's phone call with the ukrainian president and the president on the white house lawn saying, hey, china, investigate joe biden. in the simpilous terms should the u.s. president of any party ask or seek the help of a foreign country in a u.s. election? >> look, i am not comfortable if there is a clear-cut quid pro quo, then, yeah that makes me very uncomfortable and we should take a hard look at that. but, jim, that's not how i read this transcript and i think a lot of people are projecting, you know, what happened there. i think you would also call -- i think you'd also call a clear-cut vote. if it's so clear-cut and people believe that's what happened then i believe you would also call on my democratic colleagues to take a vote up or down.
if this is impeachable up or down, misdemeanor, treason or bribery and clear-cut in their mind, take a vote, but i don't think it's that clear, i don't like asking china who's an adversary let me be clear there but and looking backwards at 2016 at the crowd strike -- >> what happened with ukraine because the military aid to ukraine and currently under invasion and fighting a war, they depend on that aid. the aid was halted before that phone call. by the way, you're familiar with "the wall street journal"'s reporting. the white house had to move control of that to a political appointee because the career lawyers noted it would be legally problematic to with hold that aid which was authorized by an act of congress. you say if we're abandoning the
allies in syria, do you view that as abandoning america's ally in ukraine for political purposes? >> this administration, jim, unlike the obama administration has sole lethal aid to the ukrainians. >> they withheld it. >> be fair in your reporting the president has had questions about aid around the world? northern triangle countries, afghanistan, he has repeatedly asked political officials around the world on is this being used effectively, is it in u.s. interest and is corruption involved in abusing this aid? he's been clear on that since day one -- >> you accept that explanation? >> yeah, i do accept that explanation. and political appointees are in charge of aid and i don't see why that's an issue you're asking about.
well as career diplomats and bill taylor a long time veteran of the diplomatic court they saw a connection there. >> wouldn't you like to see the transcript of that testimony? i would. i'd like to see kirk volker's testimony, the inspector general of the intelligence community's testimony. but instead i as a member of congress can't even see it, but i'm talking to my colleagues who are in the room and they say it runs completely counter to adam schiff's narrative but sitting on -- for an impeachment hearing this is a big deal. we should have a vote and we should have transparency. and when i talk to floridians, i'm just been in my district for the last few weeks, they're demanding the same thing. they're fed up with investigations and they're asking what happened to health care, transportation, infrastructure -- >> good point. although i do know this administration at first blocked some of this testimony.
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and may increase your risk of infections. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tb. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms or if you had a vaccine or plan to. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya®. get clearer. janssen can help you explore cost support options. turkish military officials say more than 300 people have been killed in just three days since the incursion into northern syria began. nearly two dozen kurdish fighters who of course stood side by side with u.s. fighters and helped defeat isis there among the dead. the death toll is also clearly certain to rise.
600,000 people living in makeshift camps are caught between the advancing turkish army and the syrian democratic forces. zp we're going to go right to the ground there. joining me is the spokesperson for those u.s. allies, the syrian democratic forces. mr. gabriel, thank you for joining us from there. i want to ask you a question. you describe the president's decision here to step aside as, quote, a stab in the back. has the u.s. abandoned its ally here? >> in some way it looks like that. we have been disappointed with the decision to withdraw the american troops from the area. those troops are part of the agreement that was reached by the u.s. and the turkish government along with the agreement to reach a security mechanism for the border area in order to support the
standardization and work on the claims and fears of the turkish government. of course from all sides if we apply it fully to this agreement and we offer our forces from the border area and we withdrew our heavy weapons for more than 20 kilometers and already called ground patrols and land patrols and later supplies which already enabled turkey to start its attack. >> it's our nadsing more than two dozen fighters have already been killed in this attack. do you blame donald trump for those losses today?
>> it's not about blaming each other but i think we should focus on reaching a solution for this situation. yesterday there has been a meetling for the international security counsel and i think nothing actually happened regarding stopping turkey from this invasion. and we would like to see more efforts made by the u.s. government to try to stop this attack. we are aware of the congress and -- sanctions over turkey in order to stop and hurry-up regarding this matter, and we also would like european countries and governments to
participate in those efforts in a better way. >> we're continuing to watch this story and we hope that you and your forces remain safe there. thank you for coming on. >> thank you. >> so important to hear from that voice on the ground. okay, right now a fast moving wildfire is forcing tens of thousands of people in los angeles to evacuate immediately. we will take you live to the fire line.
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all right, more breaking news this morning. thousands of people in and around los angeles are being told to get out now as an explosive wildfire is threatening their homes. dry heat, gusting winds making it difficult to control the flames which just jumped over two highways overnight. >> it's amazing how quickly this has been moving. it's one of several fires actually burning across southern california. more than 15 million people around the region under what are known as red flag warnings, that means get out. nick, what is the latest? >> reporter: well, jim, since i last spoke to you we have watched this fire teardown this hill side, engulf this home and many others. you can see firefighters have salvaged what they can. there are road closures in northern los angeles. i have lost count of how many highways have been closed.
this morning is going to be a rough commute. many schools have been closed in the area. and the santa ana winds that have been whipping these fires, they are scheduled to continue. they are forecasted to continue throughout the day. the sun is now up and they are beginning to assess the damage that has already occurred. we're expecting to hear very shortly about structures lost, potential lives lost. excuse me, the smoke is very acrid. there is a huge cloud of black smoke hanging over the san fernando valley and the damage is just being assessed now. the winds are carrying on until this afternoon. back to you guys. >> these are peoples homes burning live as we're watching on television here. keep yourself safe there, nick, because breathing this stuff is not a healthy thing. >> nick, thank you so much for bringing that to us in the midst of all of it. we appreciate it. of course we're staying on top of these horrific fires, several breaking stories for you
including the former ambassador to yeah crane who's on capitol hill testifying behind closed doors right now as part of this impeachment inquiry. we'll stay on that. we hope you have a really nice weekend. i'm poppy harlow. >> and at this hour with kate baldwin starts right after a quick break. rst sandwich, your mammoth masterpiece. and...whatever this was. because we make our meat with the good of the deli and no artificial preservatives. make every sandwich count with oscar mayer deli fresh.
hello, everyone. i'm kate baldwin. thank you so much for joining me. right now a key witness in the impeachment inquiry is behind closed doors with house investigators. former ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch facing question about her time in that post and the pressure that president trump placed on ukraine to investigate his political rival, and also facing questions about the circumstances surrounding her abrupt departure from the post earlier this year. earlier this year the president did unexpectedly