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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  October 31, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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"deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace begins now. ♪ hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. for the fourth time in our nation's history, congress has voted to pursue an impeachment proceeding against the president of the united states. that historic vote today which went down predictably along party lines ushers in a new public phase of impeachment. and for the reality television president known to be triggered by cable news coverage, the next phase could also usher in a more reckless one for the president himself. public polling shows that a majority of americans support donald trump's impeachment, also suggests that voters have internalized the alleged transgression asking for dirt on the bidens from the leader of ukraine and support congressional action to hold him accountable. and as the president rails against his own impeachment, brand-new polling on his disrespect for democratic institutions, illustrates the box he and his party are in. it also likely foreshadows the
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doubling down on the base strategy that had been a hallmark of his entire presidency. those ominous poll numbers for donald trump are also likely due to the steady stream of career public servants, diplomats, and military officials who have appeared as witnesses in the impeachment investigation to provide damning testimony on the events leading up to today's vote. today two big developments we are watching. one taking place in courting when a ruling could determine whether congress will have access to testimony from two figures at the center of the scandal. john bolton and his deputy charles kupperman, an attorney representing both men issued this statement, quote, bolton is not willing to appear voluntarily. i stand ready at all times to accept service of a subpoena on his behalf. bolton and his deputy likely to leave any decision about their testimony up to the courts. but with or without bolton's testimony, a devastating timeline coming into sharp
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relief today from national security officials who served alongside john bolton, a current senior official from donald trump's national security council is behind closed doors this hour after announcing yesterday that he plans to step down to pursue other opportunities. that official tim morrison corroborating what is largely thought to be among the most incriminating accounts delivered to date. that's the testimony of diplomat bill taylor who described under oath last week a quid pro quo directed by donald trump himself from "the washington post" report on morrison's testimony, quote, morrison said that he alerted taylor to a push by trump and his deputies to withhold both security aid and the white house visit for the ukrainian president until ukraine agreed to investigate the bidens and interference in the 2016 presidential election. that is where we start today with some of our favorite reporters and friends. from "the washington post," national political reporter
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robert costa. former chief spokesman for the department of justice matt miller. with us at the table, nick confess ori, political reporter for the "new york times." a.b. stoddard, associated editor for real clear politics. and jason johnson. bob costa, let me start with you. tim morrison, who under no upside down alice and wonderland down the rabbit hole even under trump's most delusional frame, this could not be depicted with anything resembling a deep state resume, corroborating the most damning piece of evidence that donald trump put in place a quid pro quo with the leader of ukraine. >> exactly right. this is a republican that even republicans who are close to the president acknowledge privately and sometimes publicly as someone who doesn't have an agenda to work against president trump. what he did which was so important for the democrats today is to underscore what ambassador taylor said just a
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few weeks oohing that there was an explicit quid pro quo, at least in the understanding of both the ukraines and officials when it. and because now you are having corroboration of ambassador taylor in such detail, it's helping the democrats to build their case as they move forward with this vote. >> bob costa, you have that -- one of the pieces of reporting that will endure throughout this impeachment episode and beyond about a senior republican senator calling it a horror movie. it has to be sort of the horror movie's climax to have really right-wing figures from inside the conservative foreign policy establishment testify to the third rail of this whole scandal. donald trump's last line of defense was no quid pro quo, this is a right-wing figure testifying to the quid pro quo today. just talk with the impact in terms of what you reported monday. >> well, you see the house vote
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today is along party lines. that does not reflect the unsettled nature of the republican party behind the scenes, both in the house and in the u.s. senate. when i talk to u.s. senators, some veteran republicans and veteran republicans in the house, they say they do feel like it's a horror movie because in a horror movie, as the one senator described it, you don't know what's coming around the corner, but you feel constant dread. that's what they are dealing with as congressional republicans. they are being pressured by the white house to fight on the defensive for president trump. but they don't really have any kind of tools to navigate the substance of the facts and the facts change day by day as all of these officials continue to testify. >> and a.b. stoddard, i think there is such a crush of impeachment news day after day. but if the congress hadn't voted for the fourth time in our country's history today, if there wasn't a court proceeding underway right now that may determine the fate of john bolton's testimony, we could
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spend 60 minutes talking about the fact that a conservative figure from inside the white house, inside the west wing today testified to a quid pro quo. >> it's interesting when robert talks about senators struggling behind the scenes because they know that this vote is coming, and it's really, you know, they dread it. having to be on the record, siding with trump, saying -- >> well, they don't have to be on the record siding with trump. let's just say that is a vice they put themselves into. they can't examine facts. >> the facts are terrible. they have the facts. there is excessive corroboration and confirmation of a quid pro quo now. we've had it from multiple people of all different kinds of people. but people who are patriotic and honest and in the room or on the phone or in the inner circle. we know how concerned john bolton was.
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it'd be very hard for senators if he goes out in public setting and testifies to what we've already been told the kinds of things he was saying directing subordinates to go tell the lawyers at the security council. it'd be very hard for strong allies of him from mitt romney to ted cruz to say that john bolton is a crazy man from the deep state. it's witness after witness, veteran after veteran, patriot after patriot. none of these people are goofballs no matter what president trump does to trash them day in and day out. the facts are just terrible for the senators. we've seen the switch, nicole. it's now, yes, i know all the facts, they might make some people uncomfortable. they make me uncomfortable, too. but it's not impeachable. they are going to have to make a chance to normalize this, they are going to have to make a choice to invite help from
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governments and to extort aid approved it and passed by the congress. it's an amazing thing that they are wrestling with. >> you know, not to back up because the specifics today are so riveting, matt miller, but do it anyway. so much has been normalized. donald trump credibly accused of sexual misconduct by 19 women. donald trump, who has really sort of debased all of the traditions of the presidency. donald trump who described whimpering of a terrorist, an enemy of the state. even those claims, which in an undeniable success for his presidency can't be backed up by his officials in uniform at the pentagon. it would seem that, but the republicans have to make a decision\the reason it's a horror movie based on bob costa's reporting is they have to decide if it's okay for any american president, democrat, republican, to ask china, russia, and ukraine that we know about. those are the only instances of asking for foreign aid that have spilled into the public because they were so egregious.
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that seems to be what's on the line, not just whether or not to stand with donald trump or sort of wither under his mean tweets, which seems to be the only tool available to him. is that right? >> you're exactly right. and other republican senators can ignore this because at the end of this process they are going to have to vote and explain their vote. i keep thinking about something from bill taylor's testimony where he said gordon sondland said the president wanted this statement, this public statement of announcing investigation from president zelensky because he wanted to put president zelensky in a public box. and in a way that's what all this testimony is doing to republican senators. they are being put in a public box. who are they going to believe? are they going to believe bill taylor, the career ambassador who served three tours in vietnam who was hired by mike pompeo? or lieutenant colonel who was injured and earned a purple heart in iraq and came forward to testify? or the lifelong republican who worked for republicans on capitol hill and was hired as a political appointee in the white house? are they going to believe all of those officials? or are they
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going to believe donald trump at the end of the day when he says there was nothing that happened that was wrong here. i think at the end of this, they can continue in the house to argue about process for a while. but the facts are the facts. and the facts are now corroborated by multiple witnesses. and that puts these republican senators in this very public box where they are forced to decide is this appropriate, is the president's conduct appropriate, and are you along to defend that on the floor of the senate, and are you willing to defend that crucially to voters in your state when you're up for re-election and they're asking what you did at the end of this trial? >> and just to underscore matt's point, this is a piece posted ten minutes before we came on the hour, national security council aid testified on thursday the top diplomat who was closed to president trump told him that a package of military assistance for ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigating mr. trump's political rivals corroborating a key episode at the center of the inquiry. the point being that every paper
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in the country will have another story in their papers tomorrow about another one of donald trump's own aides testifying to the most damaging piece of this scandal, the connection of military aid to dirt on the bidens. >> and the aforementioned aid to morrison is a protege to john bolton, i believe. so again a conservative in good standing. i think that if the defense here is going to rely on conspiracy theories and waving around ideas of a deep state, it's going to get harder and harder for even the president's most ardent defenders to hold in their minds a theory that encompasses john bolton as an architect for the president's demise. now, you can see how carefully it's being done here, right? if you're bolton, you don't want to be, you know, the career civil servant type who is going to only stab him in the back, right? so bolton has said -- >> well, let me just -- i don't know that any of those career public servants are stabbing donald trump in the back.
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>> bolton and i think his protege are looking towards life after this. and so they are not going to get out there and say i think it's impeachable. what they are going to do is say it's true what i heard. i concur with the facts there, and i'm out. and that's kind of what we are seeing now. >> and bob costa let me bring you back in. i think nick's talking about this lawsuit. there is movement in court today. it's a lawsuit filed by the attorney who represents both mr. kupperman and john bolton. that's bolton the national security adviser and his deputy. do you think that leaving it up to the courts, do we have anything in the tea leaves that suggest how those two men would like for this to end? do you have any reporting that suggests they're willing to appear on capitol hill? or are we really willing to sort of throw this to the judicial branch and say we'll serve whichever body the judge says. >> you don't see ambassador
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bolton out in the public decrying the process on capitol hill. instead he is talking to his lawyer, checking the boxes, seeing how it plays out in court. but, remember, he texted me just a few weeks ago, says he will have his say and that national security was always top of mind when he was in the white house. when i asked him to go further, he said he'll leave it at that. and based on our reporting he was also in discussions about a book deal. so this is someone who wants to have his say at some point. what you see from the white house is pat cipollone, the white house counsel trying to stop this wave of testimony with the letter saying the white house is asserting executive privilege. yet official after official were saying if congress is going to issue us a subpoena, we are not going to listen necessarily to the white house counsel. because on a legal level they want to listen to congress and not have their reputation and even their legal standing jeopardized. >> you know, so much to unpack there. but obviously john bolton importantly someone with bob costa's cell phone number who was texting with him. and my only point is if someone
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like john bolton feels like there is an egregious mistruth about them being reported by bob or any of his colleagues, he has access to correct it. and what is out there about john bolton from the testimony of fiona hill, from the testimony of bill taylor, today from the testimony of tim morrison, earlier in the week from the testimony of colonel vindman, is that john bolton described rudy giuliani as a hand grenade that is going to blow up on all of us. and john bolton described rudy giuliani and mick mulvaney's shenanigans around ukraine as a, quote, drug deal. >> it's very clear that he's making sure that everything's hey, if you compel me to come in, i'll do it so he doesn't look like he's actively participating and bring down the president. but he clearly has no problem doing it. and that's i think the larger story of how difficult the president has made everything for everybody. you talk about it's a horror movie. like it's "saw." president trump is the dummy who is giving everybody these terrible choices on how to get out of the situation. do i cut off my arm, do i cut off my leg. they are all in such difficult positions, not just for the 2020
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election, but 2021, 2022 that they have spent half a decade working on their reputations. >> talking about some of the ambassador's friends, they tell me privately he is no saint here. he wanted to have total power over national security and became deeply frustrated that rudy giuliani, an outside lawyer, was somehow coming into his turf, the nsc turf, and he was telling everyone around to keep giuliani out and when giuliani kept getting involved, bolton became alarmed to the point of having conversations behind the scenes about his alarm. it was a power struggle as much as it was concern about national security, based on my reporting. >> let me just put a few more data points into that. because the context around bolton is important. he had big structural disagreements about big foreign policy things with donald trump, did not cross into north korea with the president, i think he took his daughter instead.
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he had a big showdown, it would appear, from reporting over the taliban being at camp david. it turns out we are learning that these questions, and as you describe it, and i take your word and your reporting for it, a power struggle over ukraine policy, it was a very, very complicated relationship by the end, wasn't it? >> it certainly was. and this is a hawk who came into a noninterventionist populist administration and never fit. he's someone who worked for reagan for president george w. bush, was never part of the culture of transactional politics within the trump administration. he ended siding not necessarily with the hawks inside but the establishment that found president trump's conduct to be beyond the bounds of normality inside. >> and, matt miller, it would seem that the piece of impeachment and whether or not he's convicted that turns around
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bolton is why did he send fiona hill, and why did colonel vindman end up in the white house counsel's office? nobody goes to the white house counsel's office to chitchat. nobody goes to the white house counsel's office to, you know, see what's on the menu at the mess. you go to the white house counsel's office if you think you are in legal jeopardy, if you think you have been involved in something illegal. john bolton, we now know from at least two witnesses sent his deputies to the white house counsel's office. >> yeah. and i think obviously he knew that there was something wrong. and i wonder whether his motivation. i have wondered this for several weeks now in end sending them to report to the counsel's office was because he was troubled by what was happening or because he had a keen sense of self-preservation and wanted to make it clear that he was going to participate this in no way. and i still have a question because he's not coming forward and testifying. i know he says he needs to be compelled, but he could get a subpoena from the house committee. and that is compulsion. he could be there and testifying. he could be doing what tim morrison who worked for him is
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doing and receiving that subpoena and is coming up to testify. i think the fact that he's kicking this to the courts knowing full well that the timeline for the courts is almost certainly going to be after the impeachment inquiry in the house is concluded after they will need his testimony tells me that he is still approaching this somewhat through a political lens. he wants to send very clear signals that he did nothing wrong. but, look, if he really wanted to be kind of a noble actor here, he'd be up on the hill testifying like all these brave public servants who have a lot more to lose than he does. >> you are jumping out of your chair. >> i actually read it that he would like to be subpoenaed and he'd like to come next thursday, november 7th. but matt might be correct and i might be wrong. i also think that the court action is moving pretty rapidly. and people were surprised it was being heard today. but cooper, his lawyer, made it sound like he would be delighted
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by a subpoena. yes, he plays a keen inside game and he probably has a good knack for self-preservation. being marginalized by mike pompeo, the secretary of state and the acting chief of staff mick mulvaney out of his role of nsa is one thing and having to push back against that. but this isn't about john bolton. this is about rudy giuliani and president trump conducting a rogue foreign policy through a private citizen who's unaccountable to this government outside the channels of our normal system for political gain. it's really not about john bolton. and -- so it's one thing for his people around him to say, oh, he got mad because he was in a turf war. no, he saw a rogue foreign policy for political means being conducted outside of this. >> robert costa, since that is your reporting, do you want it get the last word in there? they could both be true, it would seem to me. >> this is an administration where you had a president come in with no governing experience and has always relied on roy
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cohen and michael cohen, the world's lawyers to navigate his own interests. and he was looking at his political interest, his advisers say, as well as foreign policy. it became a muddied field. and people like john bolton, his national security adviser said this is very dicey and they wanted to protect themselves which is why they said to fiona hill and others that you can to the white house counsel. this is the key question facing republicans. will they accept president trump's conduct as something that's just part of his character, he didn't have the intent to abuse power? or do they look at all the facts and all the testimony and say even if they like him politically and personally, did he break the bounds of what power should be inside the executive? >> robert costa, matt miller, thank you both for spending some time with us. when we come back, nancy pelosi set a somber but determined tone today. and we now know the name of the white house lawyer who locked down the transcript of donald trump's call with president zelensky in a server typically
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used for highly sensitive code word protected classified information. what we are learning today about this lawyer's knowledge about the president's pressure campaign and when it started against the ukrainians. we will be right back. back. fascinated by what's next. and still going for my best, even though i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin... i want that too. eliquis. eliquis is proven to reduce stroke risk better than warfarin. plus has significantly less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis is fda-approved and has both. what's next? reeling in a nice one. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising.
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i don't know why the republicans are afraid of the truth. every member should support allowing the american people to hear the facts for themselves. so what is at stake is our democracy. what are we fighting for? defending our democracy for the people. >> we take no joy in having to
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move down this road and proceed with the impeachment inquiry. but neither do we shrink from it. >> today marked an historic day on capitol hill. the house voted to endorse the impeachment inquiry into donald trump, making this the fourth time in america's history that the chamber has taken a vote on an impeachment inquiry into a sitting president. the vote showcased a divided house falling along party lines with only two democrats voting against and one independent former republican justin amash voting in favor. and describing the moment, the "new york times" writes it like this. quote, the vote removed almost any doubt that democrats would bring a full-fledged impeachment case against mr. trump for his apparent efforts to pressure a foreign power into investigating his domestic political rivals. less clear is how quickly democrats can move to formalize their charges and whether through public hearings and the presentation of new evidence they can win over any republicans. joining our conversation msnbc
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correspondent garrett haake. with us at the table former republican strategist steve schmidt. garrett, take me through this day that is still unfolding on capitol hill. >> reporter: this was a somber day this morning. but it was one with a lot of attention paid to it, the galleries were packed, there were a lot of extra staff in the chamber. folks got here early for this vote series knowing that they'd be out the door quickly. and this is essentially the last major piece of business on capitol hill for this week. there is still one deposition that's finishing up downstairs. but by and large members would be going back to their districts. the vote itself didn't have a lot of drama around it. we knew going into it that democrats expected to carry this vote by a healthy margin. and indeed they did. and the post vote press conferences by both parties were very instructive about how we are going to hear this, defended and spun over the next week while members are back in their districts. democrats talked about the gravity of this moment saying nobody came here to get this done. and cast this as part of their
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solemn duty to continue to move forward in this probe. republicans had the benefit of those two democrats who voted with them, which allows them to go back to their districts and say there is some bipartisan opposition to this impeachment inquiry. and they were also trying -- i heard throughout the course of the day from republicans to link this impeachment inquiry back to everything that voters are tired of talking about from 2016. they want to make this about invalidating the 2016 election, not talking about what the president was trying to do about 2020. so expect to hear a lot about russia, a lot about robert mueller. expect to hear about members of congress like al green or rashida tlaib who were calling for impeachment before the ukraine scandal to try to make it all one big messy effort to get rid of this president. you saw that predicate laid today. i will be very interested to see how members go back and sell this home in their districts next week. >> nancy pelosi's been so aware and vocal about her awareness of public opinion.
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she's got 55% of the public now with her on impeachment and removal of donald trump. this evening a new poll that shows 61% of americans believe that donald trump disrespects our democratic institutions. you could almost hear echos of her in her remarks that we just played talking about our democracy and talking about protecting it. do the democrats feel like they have the upper hand in terms of public opinion? >> they do for the moment. but they recognize that that could be fleeting and that it's still not enough as it stands right now. i mean, if you look at this, we all make the comparison to a court case. we are still in this very early stage. everything that has come out has been favorable to the prosecution at this point. that will not always necessarily be the case. the defense will have its day as we move into open hearings, anything could happen. you also don't have the numbers that felt enough to push any republican members into voting with the democrats on this. and i don't think that's particularly surprising. if you're a republican who has some fear or concern in your
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conscience, this is probably not the vote you show that on. you then spend the next month just getting stomped on by the president and his supporters. you could probably afford to keep that to yourself for a little while longer. but ultimately pelosi and adam schiff said this needs to be a bipartisan effort for it to be successful. it's hard for me to see how you can get 20 members of the senate to vote for a removal. >> steve schmidt, he's talking about a trial. i think that the next phase is more likely to yield a damn right i called the code red. >> i think you are right about that. i think that the conduct from what we know about the testimony is pretty clear. he asked the president of ukraine to launch an investigation on a political opponent, thus interfering in the election. and if you can do that to the former vice president of the
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united states, you can do it to every american. it's utterly lawless. and so this is what the impeachment provisions in the constitution were written for. if you go and you read federalist 65 and 66 authored by alexander hamilton, he writes specifically and directly about the type of president envisioning sometime in the future that we have now in office. so this is a very serious matter. it's a very grave moment. this will cause even worse division in the country. and it's hard to imagine we could be more divided. i do think that one of the important things that as this goes forward, and i think nancy pelosi recognizes this. donald trump's fiercest critics must be his strongest defenders with regard to his due process rights. this is a very, very serious, serious grave matter for the country. and this has to be conducted with absolute total fairness.
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the politics, as much as it's possible, has to be kept out of it. and the question has to be put forward, does the oath that these members took to the constitution have any meaning? there is a couple of things that have been stripped away from our politics in this era. and it's the sense that there's duty and there's obligation in defending the constitution, which you swore an oath to do may mean that some members lose their seats. but if we are to continue the american experiment, to be a constitutional republic that enters its third century of existence, what we have to face here is the possibility that there are members in congress who believe a president can do whatever he wants. and if in fact what happened is what we all think happened. and that does not meet the criteria for impeachment.
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what possible thing could he do that would? and i think that's an important question. >> do you really think that's an open question? >> i do. >> i mean, don't you think jim jordan and the republicans who are most vocal and front and center have answered your question already? the white house released all this evidence. this wasn't -- these weren't leaks from the deep state. this was a summary of the call the white house put out. do you feel expensuspense? >> i feel no suspense about where jim jordan will go. i hope that there are members who understand their obligation. >> but do you think there are -- >> is not built on a cult of personality. when a member of congress is sworn in, they don't swear an oath to the head of the republican party or to donald trump. when a military officer takes their commission, they swear to defend the constitution of the united states. and that's what the question is.
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and so what hangs over this is the larger point. if this doesn't meet the standard, what possibly could? or do you believe which is a profound departure from the history of the country the president can do whatever he or she likes to do. and if the answer to that question is in the affirmative, we don't live in the american republic that existed from 1787 until 2017. it's a different type of country. and that's why this is such a grave day because the question that's coming is one of the most important questions that the country has ever faced. >> garrett, i know you have some breaking news, but let me ask you to get to that. but also just pick up this thread. i mean, i think there are democrats who at least privately worry that the answer to steve's question is we live in exactly the kind of country where donald trump can do whatever he wants.
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>> reporter: there is very little evidence to the contrary up until this point. you have to think that this vote today in the house was one of the first really affirmative checks on this president. there have been some resolutions passed pushing back on policy specifics and things like that. but of all the issues that we have covered in the time of the trump presidency questions about emoluments, about behavior, about campaign finance irregularities, pick your issue, there's not been more than sort of some verbal hemming and hawing. i guess i will line up with you a little bit, nicole, in that if there are going to be a bunch of federalist paper republicans voting for articles of impeachment, we have not seen that. tim morrison has just wrapped up his day on capitol hill. he is on his way out the door right now. we are starting to learn a little bit more about his testimony today. again, they have kept this testimony has been a little bit
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tighter controlled than perhaps some of the others. his attorneys did not release an opening statement. it's our understanding some great reporting by my colleague leigh ann caldwell that he did say he was on that call and that he said there was nothing that he heard on that and that he felt was illegal. of course that's not the bar for impeachment, but it is something that republicans i think will seize on as a positive talking point. he also talks about what he didn't know. he did not know about some of the concerns about burisma specifically. as you read through the elements of his opening statement, it just puts into more stark relief the parallel lines of foreign policy, the issues that he was working on were not the same as the issues that rudy giuliani or gordon sondland were working on. and that it was only after the fact that a lot of these folks who worked on the national security council were putting together the pieces of what their government and their president's policies were as it relates to ukraine. >> garrett haake, thank you for spending some time with us and for that breaking news. after the break the white house lawyer at the center of what increasingly looks like,
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so of all the troubling details surrounding the ukraine controversy, the concealment, the hiding of the original transcript from that july 25th call might smell the fishiest. and today it stinks to high heaven. "the washington post" reports lieutenant colonel alexander vindman confirmed to house investigators that when he immediately reported his concerns about the call to john eisenberg, that's the deputy white house counsel, also a legal adviser, on national security issues, eisenberg proposed moving the transcript to a highly classified server and restricting access to it. "the washington post" writes this, quote, vindman's account marks the first known instance in which a witness, before the impeachment inquiry, has provided a first-hand account
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linking eisenberg to the decision to move the problematic transcript to a highly classified server. joining our conversation just in time former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul. let me ask you -- i could talk to you for another 45 minutes, but let me just -- have you ever heard of someone in the white house counsel's office ordering a transcript after any sort of inner agency review -- or if there was a problem, was locking it down in a server for code word protected intel, which, it's my understanding, is usually human intel or operational intel, the right thing to do with it. >> no. you know, i worked at the white house for three years. i was on lots of presidential phone calls. i corrected lots of presidential transcripts by the way. that was part of my job, too. i don't ever recall such an instance, and i most certainly don't recall when a legal adviser got into the loop and decided to make that decision, the decision about the
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transcripts is usually done by the national security staff, the experts, not the legal team. >> can you just talk about -- i mean, my interactions with the person in the white house counsel's office and i worked in the white house as did steve schmidt in the days and weeks and months and years after 9/11 where everything had a national security legal implication, i was never sent by a superior up to sort of pull a fire alarm, i'm sure some viewers in this program think i should've been, but i never interacted with the person in the white house counsel's office. what does that mean where on multiple occasions people in the foreign policy world go upstairs to the counsel's office? >> it means they are worried that there is criminal illegal wrongful behavior. that's what it sounds like to me reading what has described in these testimonials. but lieutenant colonel vindman, he is somebody i served with in
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moscow. for him to do that remember people forgetting that. you are trained to obey and be part of the command, two decades in the u.s. military to go outside of that and to say, hey, i think there is something wrong here. it'd have to be something pretty bad. and that's what it seemed like what happened here. and he decided to go seek legal counsel because he's not a legal expert. by the way, mr. morrison also isn't a legal expert when he says i saw no legality today from that transcript, let's let the other legal people decide that in the members of congress. but it was enough obviously for colonel vindman to decide to go to that extraordinary step to seek legal advice about what was being transacted in that presidential phone call. >> ambassador, you and i had companion tickets, it would appear, on the discussed train this week about the right-wing smears against colonel vindman. just talk about the significance of this vote today to formalize
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for the fourth time in our country's history impeachment proceedings against donald trump. >> well, i don't like it. this is not a good day for america. it's a necessary day, and it has to happen. and we need to know the facts and we need for the members of congress to then vote on those facts. that's what's written down in the constitution. that is their job. don't run for office if you don't want to fulfill the obligations that are in that constitution. you take an oath of office to the united states of america, not to the president or a political party. but it is also a sad day for me because it just -- you know, i just wish we could get back to some more normal kinds of politics, and especially because we have a lot of national security issues out there that aren't getting any attention. we are retracting, we are inside looking now. and i just don't think that serves america's long-term national security interests. >> it never does when we're turned inward, we are usually most at risk. can i then ask you a broader
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question? this isn't just a scandal about a call with anyone. this is a scandal about a call with an american ally being deprived military aid to protect themselves against russia. how do you see this scandal fitting into larger questions about donald trump and his relationship with russia? >> i still want to know why after all these years he just goes out of his way to defend vladimir putin, appease him, do whatever he wants. and now this phone call undermines mr. zelensky withholding military assistance. man, that is music to putin's ears. i just think it's very damaging to our relationship with ukraine, and of course that means that's very good for vladimir putin. and i also want to underscore, just to be clear, it wasn't just one phone call. that is what we've really learned over the last several weeks. this was a multiple-month operation to try to use the public office of the president for his private interests and do
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nothing to defend ukraine. there is not a single word in that transcript about, you know, i will stand with you, i will never recognize crimea, all the usual things that you would expect to be in that call were absent. >> thank you for spending some time with us on this remarkable day. the table, they are ready to jump, they are going to do that on the other side of the break. stay with us. break stay with us with amazing amenities like movie theaters, exercise rooms and swimming pools, public cafes, bars and bistros even pet care services. and there's never been an easier way to get great advice. a place for mom is a free service that pairs you with a local advisor to help you sort through your options and find a perfect place. a place for mom. you know your family we know senior living. together we'll make the right choice.
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repairs shattered bones, relieves depression, restores heart rhythms, helps you back from strokes, and keeps you healthy your whole life. from the day you're born we never stop taking care of you. jason johnson, we were talking in the last block about this lawyer in the white house counsel's office it. >> would seem now that he's at the center of questions like what did he know and when did he know truly. >> right. it'd one thing to sort of add to the transcript or use some whiteout, delete, but it's another thing to run downstairs and lock it in the server. i think this speaks to the larger discussion we have been having today. i may be in the minority today. i am not somber today. i am thrilled. oh, my gosh, democracy is
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vaguely working for once. you have people who are taking the responsibility and oversight seriously for once. i am so glad this happened that someone who doubted and questioned nancy pelosi and what she was doing all along, it appears now she is taking responsibility fully. and what steve said before, whatever republicans are thinking and what they have to go to bed at night, i hope they realize that historically speaki speaking 50 years from now when our kids are reading about this, they want to be the person who was on the right side of history. they want possible part of that gang of eight or five of ten people and says i stood up and said that this behavior is inappropriate. and i think there is a chance of it just for this reason only. it's one thing to try and get people angry about something that happened in 2016. we already heard that the president is trying to bribe members of the senate and say i will squeeze your money off if you don't vote to keep me in office in 2020. and i think people worried about their future might be inclined to make different decisions.
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it's so amazing that we don't have people in congress that we'd want a child being bullied to today. >> this is tough. a republican said to me last week democrats raise the bar for impeachment. they wouldn't vote to impeach a president who lied under oath. and bill clinton lied under oath and you and i can't do that and you can't do that as president. and that's a very good point. they are not making it out with their constituents on fox, but this is, in their messaging democrats have to make the point, as but this is -- this is -- in their messaging, democrats have to make the point as jason pointed out and steve's point, this is about the system. whether or not we're going to break it forever and it's also about next year's election. that he meddling in next year's election, that's what this whole ukraine story is about. and if he is not stopped, he will continue to do more. first, it was obstruction of justice in the mueller case. evidence was the threshold for any of us to be indicted now
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it's about meddling in next year's election asking country after country. and that's really the messaging they have to stick to so that it can't go back to what happened. >> right. >> this is the first day of the rest of president trump's life. this vote, i think it's almost a certainty that he becomes the third american president to be impeached. and when that happens, if that happens, look, i'm a reporter. i think about the first line of his obit forever is going to read that he was impeached. >> i mean, look. >> and i think he's terrified of it and look a few months ago. just a few months ago, you could not find a republican on the hill who would even touch the idea of an inquiry. that's not true anymore. there are members who are obviously open to impeaching him in the senate and in the house on the gop side. that should terrify him and i think it does. this is not static. it is not written in stone that it will not happen. i think there's more
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open-mindedness and more principle as you were saying on the hill than some people worried. >> one to just hit pause on. i mean, the idea that under mueller, public opinion never moved i think is tied to how opaque that was and how successful the rudy/trump fog smear really -- assassination campaign against mueller and his 17 angry democrats but forget that. i mean, trump today is -- is -- as jason alluded to, there's a story that on cnn earlier today in comments that froze me in my tracks. he's basically bribing republican senators with campaign money to not support his conviction in the senate. he's got nine of them we just learned down at the white house now. >> absolutely. he's in a -- he's in a -- he's in a fight for his political life. he understands that. what -- what -- what this will be, though, is a test.
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and each generation of americans has met the test. when the country's been threatened. when the oath is taken, it -- the member, the military officer promises to protect against all enemies, foreign and domestic. abraham lincoln worried that the country would unwind through a threat from the inside. not from an external threat. and so here we are. right? at this -- at this moment. and as this process plays out, a factual process, and we get to the heart and we'll know everything, i believe, about what he did. it's -- it's -- it's going to meet the threshold for high crimes and misdemeanors as articulated in the constitution. or it will not. but if it does, and i think the american people who like generally living in a democracy get, that the conduct that we read about so far is over that line. you can't do that. i mean, if he is --
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>> i guess can i just switch back little bit? i mean, grabbing women in the bleep is over that line. i mean, being unindicted co-conspirator in the southern district of new york in an illegal campaign finance scheme is over the lipo. and ten acts of -- are over the line. >> i don't know that i have optimism. i'll tell you what i -- what -- what terrifies me is impeachment, acquittal, and re-election. >> you know what terrifies me? impeachment, conviction, re-election as a private citizen. now, i'm going to -- >> no, but what's different, all those are terrible things, right? the conduct is abbhorent. the question here is an american president abusing his power to ask a foreign head of state to
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use the powers of that government to investigate an american citizen, a political opponent. and if the congress says that's okay, there is no break on a president from using the irs, using investigatory powers of law enforcement agencies to target people. the freedom of speech, freedom of -- the freedoms that we enjoy then all become obsolete because if you can't speak freely without being investigated, you don't live in a free country anymore. that's what's at stake in this. >> i'm thinking about "the new york times." you have coverage on all these fronts. using the irs to shield his taxes. you guys have been covering the barr investigation into the origins. i mean, he's doing all those things already. >> but, you know, think about that litany of things you were saying in the beginning here. he's done this. he's done this.
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he's -- >> yeah. yeah. >> well, he's never actually been a popular president. he wasn't a popular candidate. he was running against hilary clinton. not going to have that chance again. >> right. >> and we, i think people in the press, including me sometimes, are enamored with idiots and he's not well-liked and if you look at the polling, there's an obvious sour taste over his presidency in the mouths of many voters, including many who voted for him and gave him a chance and didn't like her. that's going to be different this time. >> all right. we are going to sneak in our last break. we'll be right back. o sneak in r last break we'll be right back. ♪ born to be wild...
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another hour but we're out of time. my thanks to steve schmidt, most of all, thanks to you for watching. "mtp daily" with chuck todd starts right now. welcome to thursday. it is "meet the press daily." good evening. i'm chuck todd here in a big curly w washington. lchl exactly a year after the presidential election, today's been another hectic day in the nation's capital from capitol hill to the courts to the white house. house backed an impeachment inquiry into the president and historic symbolic action that moves us one step closer to public hearings. and behind closed doors, it was another bomb shell day as the national security council top

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