Questions and answer session concludes; awaiting Senator Alexander decision on witnesses; Soon: Senator Alexander announces decision on witness vote; Senator Lamar Alexander a "No" on witnesses
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It looked like there were three Republican votes for witnesses in other words enough ray fifty fifty. It's high on the question which raises all kinds of other questions of its own. The biggest one being will the chief the justice the United States decide to break the tie if there is one as we wait to hear from Senator Alexander. We're joined by Elliott Williams Mike Shields Kirsten powers. Jeffrey toobin. Jeffrey what did you hear. What do you expect you know? It's kind of a coincidence. We started at one o'clock and it's now almost eleven we so it means the today today. The proceedings were almost as long as the Irishman. But it's it's been a long. It was pretty. It was is pretty repetitive. Today I mean these were arguments. We've heard from all from from both sides but right now it really is about Lamar Alexander my gosh and and and Lisa Murkowski and towards the end of the day we heard questions from Lisa Murkowski and a first question from Lamar Alexander that relieve tension these courses was essentially. Why shouldn't Bolton testify? That was her first question which suggested suggested that she wanted to hear from Bolton but then she participated in in question that said even if Bolton testifies is will it make any difference in the result which would suggest she and she asked the defense lawyers and they said of course. It wouldn't make any difference so that would suggest that she doesn't want to hear from witnesses in other words. I don't know what she's thinking that same thing. It's hard to read where Lisa Murkowski Hausky is right now on account of those two questions because earlier today we all let out a gas when she asked that question about really suggesting that she really wanted to hear from John Bolton Alton when she joined that Lindsey Graham question maybe about an hour hour to ago that just said well regard even in the US loyally the literally language of red in the light. Most most favorable to the impeachment doesn't even matter them they sort of said. Well you know it really doesn't casinos. MAHARAJAS sanding buys the day and the night watching the proceedings working his sources sources. He joins US now. So one of the key votes we're not sure about About Murkowski one of the keyboards. Here's Senator Lamar Alexander. He's expected to announce how he'll vote on witnesses tonight. Do you know how that's going to happen. When that's going to happen is Anderson? We do expect a statement to come out from the MARLINS zander probably a paper statement. That will well detail where he stands. I did catch up with him earlier this evening. After dinner time he had just met with Lisa Murkowski that other swing vote and he told me that he was definitely going to announce announced a statement. Tonight he said he was gonNA make it makes. He's GonNa make a decision after that final question so we should expect any minute that statement and of course that is hugely significant. I can't because essentially whatever he decides will determine the fate of the presence impeachment trial we do expect at the moment. Two Republican senators to vote to move forward Lord witnesses and documents at Susan Collins and Mitt. Romney we don't know where to others go. That's Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander and of course if four Republicans break break ranks. That's enough to move forward on documents and witnesses and that could lead to a whole new chapter of this impeachment trial but if there are three witnesses that means there's a tie vote and most. It's likely a tie. Vote probably means that vote will fail but if there are of course if there are only two votes then that means of course the Republicans will win that vote and we'll defeat feet any effort to bring forward witnesses and documents that could mean the conclusion of this trial as soon as tomorrow night. So what Lamar Alexander is about to announce outs. We'll be normally significant. Everybody's watching this. I asked him earlier. which way are you leaning on this? He said I'm standing right up in the middle. He is not tried to show his cards at all. Been Very quiet rowdies proceedings but those questions that he did join tonight. Raise some questions about the the case of the House. Democratic managers of put forward and has a lot of people thinking that he ultimately will side with the Republicans. But we just don't know for sure until we see that statement and that statement of course will determine whether these guys get the Senate gets out of town late night and tomorrow to quit this president or whether this could go on for a matter of days if not weeks and determining anymore whether more witnesses will come forward I mean even if Lamar Alexander tonight announces that he he'll go with Mitt Romney and Susan Collins and vote for witness this is Or more evidence that doesn't we still don't know about Murkowski correct. Yeah that's right. And we're not going to announce her position as well and it's not sort of that they we have gonna take the same position I asked him Lamar Alexander if they were coordinating him and Murkowski and he said they're not coordinating. They just met to touch base as they do. From time to time I also saw saw the meat in during the in the cloak room in the after just off the Senate floor this evening tonight During that question answer period and that soon after that they joined together. They're on the question that they had the raise. Some questions about the case about bring forward other witnesses or perhaps they were just talking about the question and not necessarily ultimate decision. But you're right Anderson. If he decides to vote for witnesses then it will put all the pressure and focus on Lisa Murkowski and she has said she is curious. Wants to hear from John Bolton but I can tell you in the last day and a half or so she has refused to entertain any questions about witnesses does not wanNA talk about it. All she has met privately with Mitch McConnell connel. She talked to him yesterday. She also talked today on the Senate floor so we'll see where she ultimately come down. But the pressure is very very significant particularly from the Senate Republican booking conference where members want to get this done with Republicans were running for reelection. Wanted to get this done with. And they believe that they don't want to hear from any witnesses they want these two Republicans to vote that away handerson and so if witnesses aren't going to be called there's a chance. The president could be equipped as soon as tomorrow night. Do we know what the process would be tomorrow and tomorrow look like starts. One is also one. We expect four hours a debate between the two sides about whether to move forward witnesses in that five o'clock hour eastern time. That's when they would actually be a vote on witnesses witnesses and let's say that vote goes down. Then afterwards John Thune Senate majority whip told me he thinks that the two sides will have their own private meetings. And then after that they'll be an effort by the Mitch McConnell to have emotion that'd be voted on to move to closing arguments and so each side would have closing arguments but that motion that McConnell would offer could be amendable meaning. The Democrats could offer amendments to that motion and so then that could be leading to that could lead to a lot of debate on the floor between the two sides could lead lead to a lot of amendments so the process could drag on for potentially several hours into the night which is why a lot of people up here tonight Anderson expect. This could be a late night. Vote tomorrow to acquit. This president and I asked John Thune if he's concerned at all about the optics of making the president being acquitted in the dead Ebonite. He didn't seem too concerned about that but he said his members are pushing very hard to make. All of this is done tomorrow and they can get back home. So you're expecting a a paper statement or an emailed statement is you're not expecting Lamar Alexander to actually come out and announced in front of cameras. That's not an expectation. He has not been speaking to cameras. Cameras been very difficult to track down. I've managed to find him on the corners here in the capital but he's expected to come to the capital cameras but will issue a paper statement. Hopefully imminently all right. We'll we'll check back in with you. imminently kaitlan collins is standing by as well for for the White House Caitlyn you're at the White House. They're clearly watching. Lamar Alexander Zander closely in waiting as well as soon incredibly closely. He has been the wild card for them and they've been trying to get a read on him. They're essentially reading. The tea leaves just like everybody else. About how how. These moderate Republicans were going to vote but he is really the one who is the unknown to them now. They know he's close to McConnell. He's got that relationship. That Mani was just laying out there. But they essentially didn't didn't know where he was going to go and the president has been asking aides. How did they think he was going to vote? And they've really been unsure about it and we were speaking with people in the White House today close to the president's legal bill team they were pretty confident that Republicans were going to be able to block witnesses from being called to testify but Anderson. They have been scared to essentially be too confident here. After what happened happened on Sunday night. They'd been feeling really good about how everything was going. They thought they were going to get a really easy acquittal and then of course the New York Times reported that Story About Bolton's manuscript scripted really threw everything out the window for them and they were worried on Monday on Sunday. They were going to lose as many as ten Republicans on the witness vote now they have come a lot way a long way since then. They feel a lot more confident now. They've been going through all of these questions today. They feel good about who's been signing onto certain questions including Alexander and Murkowski ASCII. But of course they are still watching just as closely as everyone else and they truly do not know which way this is going to go so the they won't get or will the White House get a heads up about Lamar Alexander's decision or will they learn as everybody else does. They certainly do not think they are. They didn't know that he was going to announce tonight tonight that he what his decision was going to be. We actually broke that news to some White House. Officials after Monitor reported that earlier on our air that he was going to announce tonight after this question Kayla gotta go to monitor. He's got some new information I'm told motto. Yeah that's right. Our colleague Ted bear just caught up with Lamar Alexander as he was leaving the Senate he said his statement will come within the hour. He said that he has informed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of his decision and he was asked if it was a difficult decision he said he would let his statement speak for itself so he would not tip his hand in one way or the other where. It's coming down. But he made his decision he has told the majority leader. We'll see if the majority of the likes that decision or not but expect that in a matter of moments was sometime within the our and we're may make clear where he stands on this credit. We just saw we just saw the majority of the kind of slowly walk by. No indication certainly wasn't jumping up and down either way so no indication. We'll see he's playing it close to the vest no doubt so within the hour. We'll check back in with you back and also with Caitlin as well for White House reaction We have folks all over the capital back to here to our panel of joining us. Let's call Bernstein. John Dean Carl I mean it is fascinating. It all comes down right now in this next hour or two Lamar Alexander and then Lisa Murkowski. It does and he has a chance to be a real L. Hero and to exhibit some real courage because what we have seen thus far is a partisan impeachment partisan because the Republican Publican party has shown absolutely no interest in establishing the truth. Here rather what. We've seen our attempts to continue to make the issue. Joe Biden the whistle so blower everything but the conduct of the president of the United States. It's been a travesty. Let's let's and it's been a cover up. And if perhaps four of these senators decide side they will not be party to cover up. They will exhibit some courage. There is a chance that that the Republican Party if they pull some other people with awesome might redeem themselves but this is something for the ages. Because the whole idea that if I'm sitting next to Johnny Johnny Dean was the critical witnessing witnessing Watergate these Republicans have been saying they have no witnesses. They have no no testimony that the Democrats have produced that would show was in the room with the president. Did he had ordered this quid pro quo. Well they've got Bolton. Who is the John Dean if they WANNA have him John Dean on this night? What are you thinking? Well I've been thinking about Lamar who Lamar Alexander who I knew from the Nixon White House. The Lamar Alexander. I knew would vote for witnesses so I'm curious to see what all these years have done to him. Sorry I got a good Maharaja Amano. Yeah two bits of news. Susan Collins the main Republican making clear she will vote in support of the motion to move forward for witnesses and documents. The part of President Trump's impeachment trial that is not a surprise. She's indicated. She was moving in that direction. She's making very clear here in her statement that you just put out saying that. She's talking about about how she worked with colleagues to ensure that there was opportunity to vote for witnesses she blue's hearing from certain witnesses with give each opportunity to make their case and she said therefore I will vote in support of the motion to allow witnesses documents to be subpoenas so So she makes that clear in a statement and also Lisa Murkowski and other key vote. Put out a statement saying I'm going to reflect on what I have heard. reread my notes and decide whether I need to hear more so these indicating perhaps urge decision is now final final. She's still thinking about it. Everything that she has heard up until that vote so there will be at least one vote that we don't know tomorrow. Mitt Romney has not said officially yet. You will vote for the witnesses and documents though. We expect that to be him to be yes. He's indicated as much so really. The big question is going to still Lamar Alexander Alexander Lisa Murkowski but. We should get the Marta Alexander here Anderson in a matter of minutes or monitor. We'll take a quick break as we approached the top of the Hour Susan Collins now a Yes for this is is Lamar Alexander's decision. Just minutes away. We'll be right back. Postage rates have gone up again. THANKFULLY STAMPS DOT COM. Eases the pain with big discounts off post office retail rates like five cents off every first class stamp and up to forty percent off shipping rates. That kind of savings really adds up especially for small businesses. You can forget about inconvenient trips to the post office to since dams dot com is completely online. Use Your computer to print official. US postage for any letter package or class of male anywhere. You want to send once you're males ready. 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Susan Collins says that she will be voting yes senator Lisa Murkowski says she is not making announcement tonight. Things just got certainly very interesting. It is very close joining us now. Another one of the Jurors Delaware Democratic. Senator Chris COONS senator. coons you have any insight on how you think. Senator Alexander might vote. I don't Anderson. A lot of us were trying into discern this evening either from his body language the questions he asked or from sidling up and chatting with during the breaks exactly how he might go. This evening And I'm as much in the dark as you are. This is going to be a very close vote. What is striking to me? I is the answer that we got to a question question that was asked earlier. This evening. which was in. This was a question I asked. If the president were to call witnesses which of his witnesses this is would testify directly to what the president said. What the president did around withholding aid from Ukraine that might exonerate him? The answer of course course was to change the subject and to talk about folks who couldn't directly testify to what the president did because frankly I think there are no witnesses who the administration can put on who will give sworn testimony to clear the president or they would've done that it's striking and so instead. What the White House counsel repeated again tonight was a defense that said even if everything argued by the house is true? You can't impeach the president. That's a stunning stunning position. To take a suggestion that it really is okay for the president of the United States to seek foreign interference in an election for his own partisan political benefit and I frankly think when Russia and China here things like that. What they're hearing is an invitation to interfere in our upcoming election? It does I mean mean set a precedent. It seems that whether it's future presidents or even this president could then continue could continue to do actually Sean. I'm sorry Montereau. Run to go Maharaja for second monitor. Would what are you hearing. Yeah we got the statement from the Mar Alexander and he is a no that means that he's going to vote vote against moving forward on witnesses and documents and that could mean the swift end to the president's impeachment trial. He says this. I'll read you the statement that just came out. I worked with other centers centers to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven in does not meet the United States' constitutions constitution's high bar for an impeachable offense the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and banned him from this year's ballot simply for actions actions. That are inappropriate. The question is not whether the president did it but whether the United States of the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the constitution supervises the people should make the decision the presidential election. That begins an Iowa on Monday. Our founding documents provide for duly elected presence who served with the consent sent the governed not at the pleasure of the United States Congress. Let the people decide so he makes very clear I made I work with. He Says I. There's no need for more evidence to prove something that's already been proven and does not meet the high bar for the constitutions for impeachable offence under the constitution. So what does that mean here Anderson that means that the votes are simply not there at the moment to move forward on impeachment documents and probably we will not be there tomorrow. Assuming there's nothing that happens to break potential tie-breaking vote if it does come to that because looking at the math here there are fifty three Republicans forty seven Democrats Democrats to Republicans are expected to vote for moving ahead. They need more Alexandra. Is that the only person who there's still a question about is Lisa Summer Caskey and if it's fifty fifty she votes decide to vote with the Democrats does achieve justice. Vote to break a tie expectation heroes as not going to happen. Which means if if he doesn't break a tie and she's no even if she votes forward that means that the presence impeachment trial could be over as soon as tomorrow night monitor? Thank you. We'll come back to you. Want to go back to Senator Mukunda Senator what are you. What your reaction Orlando? I'm very disappointed to hear that. I have served with Senator Alexander for a decade and on many occasions known him to be thoughtful in season senator. I disagree strongly with his conclusion tonight. But let me simply you say this. And I'll say it to him when I get a chance tomorrow if the conclusion is reached is that what the president did was inappropriate But at the people should decide in the upcoming election the very least we should do is to make sure that the next election is a free and fair election and without foreign interference and I frankly think if the American people are to make up their minds in this next election about whether or not to reelect President Donald Donald Trump. They should know the facts. Getting John. Bolton to testify was frankly an exercise making sure the American people got to hear directly Klay from someone who is in the White House and knew what the president had directed be done. If I hear what. You just conveyed about Senator Alexander's Statement. He essentially said that the house case has been proven but it doesn't rise to the level of impeachment and I hope everyone will reflect on what that means because the house charge president trump with was inappropriately using the powers of his office for his own partisan political advantage to try and coerce in another country Ukraine into jenning up a fake investigation into his chief political rival. That's really a pretty stunning. Admission and a striking thing into say doesn't reach the level of impeachment. If all of us can agree that we want our elections to be free and fair then there are bills that majority leader McConnell donal has refused to bring up for vote that would strengthen our election system and that would make it clear that it is illegal for foreign powers to interfere in our election and for candidates to seek and accept it We could do more to make sure. Our next election is free and fair and Anderson. I just can't tell you how how disappointed I am this evening to hear that announcement from From my colleague Lamar Alexander and is it your understanding as well that Now that Alexander's and know if Senator Murkowski is a yes and then it would be a tie fifty fifty the chief justice could break that a tie but but chances are he would not if he's going on the quiz model. Is it understanding than than than than it would be over. It would die there because Anderson. There is a precedent from the impeachment. Trial the President Andrew Johnson Where the chief justice broke a tie twice? This was chief justice chase. He broke a tie twice and then there was they vote by the full Senate to invalidate the asserted power of the chief justice to break a tie that vote failed and so the precedent is there. Where where chief justice can rule a break a tie in a way that has a significant impact on the trial so there is precedent if the chief justice should choose to rely on it I can't predict how he might act. In this case we know the chief justice is quite concerned about the legitimacy of the supreme in court how it's viewed in history and my hope would be that he Given that view Woodside on openness and witnesses and making sure the American and people know what happened in this case but obviously we'll get a chance to see the outcome tomorrow assuming this goes in the direction that it certainly is looking like. It's going now. How based on Lamar Alexander Throat is there? Anything to indicate to you. The president trump would not do this again if this is okay with Republican senators to have foreign interference in an election or to the requests made by the President United States foreign interference against his political opponents. Is there any thing to stop him from doing again. No and that's the whole concern here. Is that impeachment is the ultimate constitutionally directed Remedy Committee for the Senate. There was some back and forth tonight on the floor with the house. Managers and White House counsel. About what else could we do to constrain this president and they ever suggesting some of the other powers of the Senate to hold up nominees or to vote against his appropriations priorities. And Adam. Schiff the house manager sort of. I won't say he mocked that suggestion but he'll say that's that's a pretty thin read on which to stand in the face. We have a president newly emboldened and without any guardrails. I'll remind you Anderson. One of the striking things about the alleged facts here is that it was literally the day. Okay after Bob Mueller Special Counsel Muller came and testified That this call with presidents Alinsky of Ukraine happened in which President President Trump said. Do me a favor though. So my concern the conservative. Many of my colleagues is that president trump will stand before us next Tuesday night in in his State of the Union declare himself fully exonerated and promptly begin engaging in inappropriate actions inviting foreign interference in our upcoming collection. You think he will. I certainly hope not But there's nothing to suggest that he will feel constrained in fact as I'm sure you will remember it. It was in the middle of the two thousand sixteen campaign that he publicly invited Russia to interfere by searching for his opponents emails. The later Muller Investigation Investigation and intelligence community work concluded that it was literally exactly that day that Russian military intelligence. The GRU began hacking into two former Secretary Clinton's server and in the middle of this impeachment inquiry president trump went out on the front driveway of the white the house and invited China to join in trying to dig up dirt on his leading rival for the presidential campaign. Here in twenty twenty. So I don't I don't think. President trump will be restrained in any way going forward if the outcome in the next few days is as you were suggesting. I mean if he went onto the front lawn of the White House tomorrow and said again You know Ukraine if you're listening I'd still like you to announce an investigation in China you too and Bosnia and Serbia and anybody else he wants. Would I mean. Do you think you'd hear Peop- from any Republican senators other than that Karani or Susan Collins. That is exactly the burden on my Republican colleagues. If they are saying that they cannot move forward to even listen to. Witnesses is to even request documents that they can't say or do anything to restrain this president then the burden is on them to take action to be responsible to act like senators to show that they have the best interests of our country at heart and to push back on an unrestrained and unconventional president. Look it was. Donald Trump who who has candidate said I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue. Shoot someone dead and get away with it. Sadly predictions of his unrestrained behavior of your from his campaign true and while I understand some of my republican colleagues may like the results of his policies or may agree with some of his initiatives initiatives You certainly can't think it's good. For the American people or are standing in the world or rule of law to have a president who in such brazen ways just and found his his nose at our Constitution and at the way that we all should conduct ourselves in public life and it seems he has legal cover at least from Professor Dershowitz as long as he personally believes it's in the public interest that he gets reelected and that there's a you know that that he believes it's good for the country and even if it's good for him in the mix as long as it's a mix of rationales of motives then that's not impeachable. That was the jaw-dropping argument made by Professor Dershowitz last night. And then ultimately repeated by White House counsel tonight in response to questions questions was that you cannot impeach the president for doing something where there are mixed motives and some of his motives are to advance the public good even even if that's just through his own reelection that is a wide open invitation to interference in our election to playing dirty politics and to Further rigging the system of the upcoming election. I'm gravely concerned about what this means. And that there was a serious assertion of that as a standard of conduct for our president Senator coons I appreciate your time. Thank you thank you back with our legal and political team On read this key line again. From Lamar Alexander statement tonight saying he'll vote no on on witnesses quote. I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses but there's no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven win and that does not meet. The United States is constitution. The United States constitution's high bar for an impeachable offense. The Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove. Move the president from office and ban him from this year's ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate unquote Let's get reaction panel. It does seem to senator coons seem to believe that says is that Alexandra believes that the the argument that the Democrats are making was proven. It's just not an impeachable. I think that's what it he says. It's a little baffling I. I have to say there are a lot of negatives in there in a pro I mean I. It's not an crystal clear sentence. The only thing that's clear is that he's not voting for witnesses and that he thinks the president's behaviors inappropriate so he doesn't agree with the president that this was a perfect phone call and that his behavior was perfect. But I mean let's be clear. This means that this trial was a sham. This trial was not a trial in any meaningful sense and so the word there is. We know relevant evidence out there in the world there are documents are emails there are tax and there are witnesses. This is which could shine very clear. Light on what went here one on here and the Senate says we're not interested. That's a disgrace John Dean. This was not a profile encourage by Lamar and I'm a little surprised Not totally but I keep keep thinking. This'll be the most significant vote he makes in his career and is the one of the last votes he'll make and I obviously. He's not standing for reelection. He's standing down And I think it was kind of a sad and not for his career. Okay so you disagree with them. But why isn't it a profile. Because I I disagree with him no no no I think if. He's not standing for re-election that's right. He's not a mega hat wearing trump supporter. He's a longtime public servant. He was the governor of Tennessee. He was education secretary under Bush. Forty one he worked with you in the White House prior to that and he just gave me very principle. It's think a statement saying I disagree with the president's behavior of your. He has no political reasons to anything other than his conscience. And you don't think that's a vote of courage and he's GonNa be criticized by people on this station and all over the media. I think it's a huge vote of Kurt. Stand of courage on his part. He's GonNa get a visceral way to you but is it right. I mean I you more on the issue of courage I'm just talking about on the merits. This is the right decision I think it reflects what a lot of Americans believe and it certainly reflects with a lot of Senate Republicans believe which is this may have been inappropriate. Had had the Democrats that's not overreached and perhaps brought censure vote to the Senate. Maybe we would have voted for this. They went too far and tried to remove election year. It doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. Yeah that's a principle thing for him to say you disagree with it. But as a principal thing for him to say. It's the view that a lot of Americans also whole do believe would've voted for censure. Sure so let's not sit here and pretend like more bipartisan. It would never have voted for censure. There's absolutely no way now. I don't know whether you can call it a profile on Crozier or not a profile profile encouraged. But let's also not pretend because somebody leaves office that they don't have a life in republican politics afterwards okay so everybody has calculations that they make the issue shoe is. How can you sit and have watched what we all sat and watched and merely think that something inappropriate happened? I mean that's just not what happened. We heard from the lawyers over and over the president's lawyer saying there's nobody who can say that they heard this from the president suggesting that if we could hear from somebody who heard from the president that perhaps it would be relevant. We have somebody and they have chosen to not have that. And that's what the statement is about that. This statement is about not wanting to hear from the person that we kept kept hearing we needed to hear from sale. It's not a real trial and it's not a real exoneration and it's a cover up that's what the Senate has now done. They have covered up. What the president of the United States is done in his grievous action when they had the ability to find out more and reach? wjr A bipartisan. As it were decision if we could hear from the witnesses if Mr Bolton could come in and tell us is there anything else there no maybe it would be exonerated. This is a cover up plain and simple and there has been no attempt throughout this proceeding by the Republicans in this Senate of the United United States to so-called world's greatest deliberative body which is now known we now can see how deliberate of it is That we've seen now a really shameful and an episode in our history is going to be down for many many years particularly because of the Dershowitz catechism for the cult of trump. That is an astonishing assertion that Dershowitz made about what the president can do Mike. I'm wondering what you think of Senator. Coons saying the the president could do this again. I mean there's nothing to stop him. There's no one of the things that he said was. It's up to my republican colleagues to call them out. Senator Alexander called him not in that statement he said was inappropriate. I also I also I also think that it is dangerous and this is just where we are at our politics now with the Democrats are gonNA say all through the the election is Oh donald trump's winning well. He's obviously getting foreign influence. He stealing the election. That's what this is being teed up so he wins. No I'm just wondering if that is a very question would be okay with you. If he did it again tomorrow. You should not have foreign interference in our elections. I of course. I don't believe the reason for if it's not. It's not an abuse of power Tanisha what's to stop it. There impeachment under normal circumstance. I would be teaching present. You engage in that kind of first of all we had. We had a report that said that he did not collude with Russia. So first of all that didn't happen and by the way it is debatable. As to whether or not. That's what happened here. I mean and you and I are. We're we're in a different place on this. I believe that the press the United States talking thing about the former sitting vice president to another country and saying we need to investigate. What they may have done that is corrupt is who happens to be? His political opponent is something but conditioning in a in exchange. I mean we've we've been through so but again it's the it's the conditioning of the act on the official but just on a different different point and I agree with Jeffrey that the statement that we just heard was a little bit of Gobbledygook and it was sort of all over the place. I think the most tragic part of it is how hinges it on the fact that it's an election action year because if that's the case if we now have made the choice that we can never impeach another president in an election year you can't do it ever again and you should never have done it the three times i. I just don't understand so tomorrow Rudy. Giuliani could set up an office. Like two blocks from the White House and Higher Eager Freeman's romance and Lee if he's not sent to jail or lead parnasse although I think he's done with life partners And he could start doing this again he could start operating for the president president again overseas doing stuff and that would have been something we've talked about. We talked about yesterday on the show. It would be foolish for him. I'm not too because the rules. Now say that it is very much number one. It's perfectly permissible behavior for president and his stooges to engage in and number two even if he does it and they know he does it he cannot be impeached for it and won't be removed for it so why not in fact go ahead and invite this news a license right and this is a license and remember. We're we're talking about I mean we're talking about Donald Trump who never feels chastened by anything that's right and so he will see this and I think he's probably correct as a victory that this the Democrats failed here and you know I mean you you. You're in Republican. Look in politics. Do you think there is any chance on the state of the Union on Tuesday. He will say as Bill Clinton did you know. I sure screwed up but I didn't deserve to should be impeached. Do you think there is any chance you will see any humility all. Yeah and I think if he did he wouldn't be rewarded for and that's just not I mean he. He is not gotten to where he is by doing anything other than being who he is so he's not going to do that. I agree but they've re the thing is they have re Republicans opens have redefined. What a president is and what a president can do right? I mean even Even rejected the idea that you could impeach a president for an abusive power. So if you can't impeach the president for abuse of power what does that mean. What does it mean? A president commits abuse of power. And what there's no remedy I mean. That is the Republican argument if a prosecutor brings if a prosecutor brings a case that they're they're no they're not they're not gonNA get sixty seven votes in the Senate this up. They went too far they overreached they contributed to this. This is the interesting thing. I respect what you're saying before about. How partisan partisan this is it takes two to be partisan both parties have to be pardoned? Everyone has in fact when he's acquitted. It will probably be a bipartisan vote. He'll probably get a couple of Democrats so it'd be the most most bipartisan vote in. This will be his acquittal. I I understand your criticism of the process and is totally valid argument. You make I guess I'm just wondering about tomorrow. And the next day the next day and the the rest of this term and you know and onward clearly you're not comfortable with the idea of the president repeating that Action Shen. I'm going to be comfortable with any president soliciting foreign aid if that's what they did that has not been proven to be the case here. We have federal laws against people. Doing things like the foreign corrupt practices at there. Are things that you can't do that. You can be prosecuted for and the Department of Justice has people to investigate tomorrow. There's just you. The trump campaign is now free to go and break the law center of what happened to have been impeached. Federal doesn't impeach for showing up to work drunk literally really the idea that now abusive power is not the kind of thing that you can be impeached for is foolish dozens. Sorry quick break There's a lot going on at this late hour including we just mentioned the real central figure in this John Bolton He is speaking out. That's next. Hi I'm David axelrod host the X. Files. Everyone has a story and on the X.. Files I dig deeper than the sound invites spoke with justice. Sonia Sotomayor about the withering poverty discrimination she overcame to reach the nation's highest court and to President Barack Obama about the impact of his valiant mom to learn more about the show visit. CNN dot com slash X.. Files or find US wherever you get your podcasts making history. CNN presents the story of the wounds most famous royal family the windsors physics inside the Royal Dynasty premiers Sunday February sixteenth at ten on CNN. So Susan Collins is is yes on witnesses tonight. Lamar Alexander no but it is a no with a message. The President President trump quickly reading another portion of his statement now quote it was inappropriate appropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to toll the United Sates aid to encourage that investigation when elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations investigations. It undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. Quickly go back. CNN's Kaitlan Collins the White House. She has more late developments on the man who would be the star witness John Bolton who apparently we're speaking tonight Caitlyn where's he what's he saying. Yeah we may not see him on the Senate floor given Alexander's statement tonight. John Bolton is speaking at a private event in in Austin Texas today behind closed doors. It was his private lunch that he went to enduring a question and answer session. He made some really notable comments that are now being reported on defending those officials who went and did go and testify on Capitol Hill despite essential a directive from the administration telling them. They didn't have to go for that. They were protected and instead instead according to this report it says that he praised Fiona Hill. Tim Morrison Alex Vitamin Bill Taylor and Mery Ivanovich. He said quote all of them acted in in the best interest of the country as they saw it and consistent to what they thought our policies were he then goes on to say that members of the administration should feel like they are able to speak their minds without retribution. The idea that somehow testifying to what you think is true is destructive to the system of the government we have I think is very nearly the reverse the exact reverse verse of the truth. That's what he said behind closed doors. This report also says Anderson that he briefly mentioned his new book though. It doesn't go on to say what all is in that new book or what comment John Bolton made behind closed doors of course about that book that has been at the center of all of this and of course given this statement tonight. We may not hear more from John Bolton at least not publicly until that book does get published. I don't know if this was a speech to a private company though correct. Yeah it was to a private company. It was essentially for their clients. It was at a hotel but it doesn't say whether or not he was paid for this. Of course is typically what percent sure he was paid very progress. It's a financial company correct. Yeah IT'S A. It's a financial company. He essentially speaking to their clients. Typically an event like that. It's not unusual for something that John Bolton. He did that before he came into the administration that we should be clear doesn't say one hundred percent whether or not he was paid for that speech any plan in place from the White House if the president is in fact acquitted tomorrow tomorrow night as seems to be what will happen. Well what's also interesting is if the president is acquitted tomorrow night. He's not going to be in Washington. He's slated to leave tomorrow afternoon to she'd go to mar-a-lago where he's going to spend the weekend there so if that does happen he would not be in Washington which is also notable. Because when this got started he wasn't in Washington. He was out of the country actually in Switzerland at that economic so he may not even be here as just down the street they could be voting on whether or not to acquit him. Do we know is Rudy. Giuliani still the president's residents personal attorney law suddenly checked. They did say he was still his attorney. which is notable? Because you saw the deputy White House counsel today Anderson Having to defend and Giuliani saying he didn't believe he was taking a formal role in any of this foreign policy. Though of course officials testified. They felt like they had to go through rudy to handle matters that came to to Ukraine. But as of right now Giuliani is still representing the president. The of course the question of how just how much he's involved going forward after given all of this is still l.. An open question kaitlan collins thanks very much back now with the the legal and political team as well so jeff would haven't strong well. There will be a debate on witnesses for starters I think four Mono Mono got a briefing from John Thune. Who's part of the Republican leadership? Senator from South Dakota Ota four hours about witnesses of that presumably now will be voted down at that. Point of Senator McConnell will try to move to a vote on the merits that motion to motion to go to the merits parts is a is amendable and presumably the repub. The Democrats led by Senator. Schumer will try to put in some amendments so I think it could be a very long night if they're trying to do this all in one night with four hours on on the on the motion and then perhaps a series of if more more more more motions and then presumably. You'RE GONNA WANNA have senators be heard on this this is one of the most consequential votes will ever. Hey Mike. Do you expect Democrats to in the House to continue trying to get documents to continue trying to get witnesses. Oh Oh yeah. I don't think they're going to give up. I mean they. They have banked their majority in the House on this and I it wouldn't be my vice. I think the old Nancy. ANC plus he was smarter than the current. Nancy Pelosi the one that said in eighteen told her candidates. Don't talk about impeachment. Focus on healthcare focus on pocketbook issues. That's how we're going to win the majority already now. They sort of dug themselves into this whole and I don't know how they walk back with their base and say oh it's over. Yeah we don't care about this stuff is impossible for them. Not to pursue witnesses but to pursue documents through the courts which is sort of out of the public view and therefore not something that's necessarily covered in the grinding months that it would take and one of the things it was at the center of the Senate how long the courts take right and I guess you know this these political calculations of whether it's worth it still to proceed with the courts given you know number one given that you know what the position of the president's going to be and it could just take excruciatingly long time it's unfortunate argument to hear because particularly the the Senate talked about. How long courts will take this whole? Sending could take a long time so we ought not to pursue down the road look they have very few functions. In the world and oversight and frankly impeachment is one of the constitutionally mandated one so the idea that pursuing these matters to their fullest Ah is a waste of energy time. It's an insult to the American people. Joan Dean what are the guardrails than that exist for preventing this kind of behavior before besides the you know a stern concern of Republican senators. Well one of the things. It's hard for for me to believe. Is that the southern district is just looking the other way on. What is a conspicuous conspiracy? That's been going on now. They can't indict the president but a lot of people around him are certainly at the edge if not involved in criminal behavior. Wait wait wait. John and I think you gotta be careful but like I am not. The crime is conspiracy to defraud pretty clear. A three eight hundred three seventy one. I know the. I don't no who who's WHO's well. There were the removal of an ambassador for improper reasons. It starts back that early. It it goes. The president can remove ambassadors. If they improper reason I mean you know name the. I don't think that's a conspiracy to defraud to be honest. I mean I think the remedy here is impeachment if we go down that road in the Senate doesn't want to do it okay. But the idea that they're going to be criminal prosecutions strikes. I just want to explain. That also plays into the which you guys are never going to give up on this. Now you're going after through the southern district but removing removing. The ambassador spoke to the President's intent with respect to the impeachment. I don't think you're gonNA get charging we gotta take another quick break. We're going to pick up the conversation next and shortly to presidential historians and what just played out tonight in the last thirty five minutes and the long term impact it may have. 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Tbs We talked before the break the guardrails on the president any president swimming president trump is acquitted I just WANNA to read a couple of passes from Senator Alexander Statement. He says it was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage urge that investigation when elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations. It undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. I just want to read one paragraph that. We haven't right before says the framers believed that there should never ever be a partisan impeachment. That's why the constitution requires a two-thirds vote at the center for conviction in not one house. Republican voted for these articles also in this shallow hurried and holy partisan impeachment. Were to succeed it would rip the country. Apart pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions already exists it would create the Weapon of perpetual impeachment should be used against future presidents whenever the House of Representatives is of a different political party. It's one of the strangest arguments made I think because it's it's basically a saying if we as Republicans shoes to not consider anything that you say. Then it's a partisan who's WHO's partisan absolutely not crossed the aisle under any circumstances and not consider any information and then call it a partisan situation. You're the ones who made it partisan so it it. It doesn't really make sense but what I really what. Lamar Alexander needs to answer the question I asked earlier. Is what then is the remedy in this situation. You can't seriously be saying you have to wait for an election. Whatever president comes then and the first week abuses power? Is He actually saying that. There's nothing we can do. We just have to sit and wait for years until people vote. Hello I mean that's the question that needs to be answered. Let's take a look at this partisan question one other way. Let's just imagine for a moment. If Obama had ordered an investigation of trump's children by foreign power knowing that trump was going to might might run against him and tried to take action to preclude the candidacy of Donald Trump by smearing. It imagine I would think that Obama would be impeached with an awful lot of democratic support and Republican. There would be no question about a bipartisan impeachment. You're and I was missing. One thing right is if Obama said we are withholding a right that that's you know yes. Add that in Asia had that into the equation with Donald Trump's children. It would not not be a close call Mike. He would be impeached because Democrats would join together because the rule of law has been so offended. And what is occurred here and something you said before that was very wise I thought about we know Donald Trump and about his and you I believe what we know about. Donald trump is his contempt for the rule of law and Republicans know this in the Senate it unites many of them in their view do of Donald Trump. And what they have done tonight is to say it's all right. We'll forget about the fact that we know. He's contemptuous of the rule of law. We we'll give him a license and he now has it so. Let me ask you a question back on that and I first of all your hypothetical this is hypothetical but there's a common thing. When Obama was President Democrats will say if George W Bush gun this what would republicans say now Democrats say? If Barack Obama was president. Barack Obama was the beginning inning of the era that we live in of partisanship. He he was one of the most partisan presidents in history. He did not work with the Republican Congress. He governed from the left and he campaigned from the left. He said there's more of us in them and we're just going to beat them in Alexis from the left that began. I Know Democrats don't want to admit that he was not law. You can argue and all and I think look. We are in a cold civil war in this country and that's also reflected in what we've seen tonight but the Republicans had a chance to have a truce in the cold hold civil war and they blew it. Let me ask another really quick hypothetical so after Bill Clinton was acquitted in the Senate. Did that mean that he could commit perjury just whenever whenever he wanted to from that point on did that mean that he could have inappropriate relationships with people in the White House anytime he wanted. That is not as standard. There are laws in the country country. So the idea that that president trump has been is going to be found. Not Guilty of what happened just like in any person who walks out of a courtroom that is found not guilty is now an innocent person has gone on the record. Defending his conduct in the bill. Clinton Bill Clinton didn't say he said I'm sorry that's a lie under oath again and I kept doing proud of having lied under the whole referrals in his impeachment. The Matt say you know what he can just committing crimes in which they handled and treated their own. Misconduct is very very different. And you know the analog Logger Nixon rather night or station has turned into the dark nature of the last few hours breaking news. We'll speak next to a pair of distinguish historians will be right back. Hey Kristen ludlow and I'm candace Parker we've got a new podcast properly called ludlow and Parker on our show you'll hear our takes on the NBA a elite that we both eat sleep and breathe every day. Listening in. On one of the League's most plugged invoices and Kristen and not to mention getting the perspective from a two-time WNBA NBA MVP and one of the most decorated athletes to ever play the game and candice. We talked to some of our friends from around the game pop culture and more search for Ludlow and Parker and subscribed today with a no-holds-barred election right around quarter. Take a look back at some of the most hard-fought presidential races throughout history the CNN original series. He's race for the White House's back for a brand new season starting Sunday February sixteenth at nine own. CNN kind of night when it's easy to get wrapped up in each new breaking development right now though we want to look at how the headlines Tonight tomorrow in the coming days may become chapters of history yet to be written to CNN presidential historians with Douglas. Brinkley Professor History Straight Rice University and the former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Tim neff tally Doug Brinkley your thoughts tonight. I mean well disappointed. You didn't Lamar Alexander. He was one of those senators to be kind of a special cut that you never an independent spirit. He's from Tennessee. And remember during the Watergate. Days Aco Fred Thompson. Turn in many ways on Nixon particularly Howard Baker and that was the Republican Party back. Then it's not that Republican Party now Alec with Lamar Alexander Done I think is hurt his legacy in history seeming more as a partisan player right now than somebody somebody that was thinking about. What's best for the liberty of the country do Tim? I mean are there any guardrails now on the presidency in one way in in in in part night night is the end of the period that started in Watergate when there was a bipartisan acceptance of the concept of abuse of power Lamar Alexander talked about how this was a partisan impeachment. What he didn't add the reason it was a partisan impeachment was that the trump party is no longer are willing to accept certain assumptions about the limits on presidential power? And so what we're seeing. Tonight is an old Nixon veteran veteran in a way in a nineteenth century way with the statement is saying. It's okay to let the article to power the presidency dominate our government. He said what president trump did was inappropriate. In fact he said the house managers have proven their case but there was nothing he felt the Senate could do about it. The and I'm I'm wondering what's going on with John Bolton at this point I mean he's somebody that seems at any moment should have been taken to a podium. Just tell us what's going on. Inside our countries in this nightmare about winces book coming out win it is this and that instead of just speaking truth to power I mean he's making what seems to be a paid aide speech today. Yeah and he's going to be making paid speeches all spring and he's going to be doing getting money for his book and we've all been kind of held hostage on his Financial Paradigm but Democrats watching tonight or Americans concerned about trump's overreach should remember. Would Nancy Pelosi said this president's been impeached and that's going to be remember a big history. He is in that losers club. You know that happened to Andrew Johnson and Nixon and and Bill Clinton and so it's not a nothing. Employees made that very clear but things are gonNA get speedy after mark costs of the State of the Union address in Iowa coming in the cycles if if president trump the day after you you know Muller testifies calls up the President of Ukraine and does this tomorrow what is to stop him from nothing calling the president of Ukraine. Again maybe the fear of these whistleblowers government. He maybe didn't realize how he can get burned. And the fear of what they blow a whistle and nobody looks way. This country country listened a lot of people out impeached over it. And it's something you know. I was going to say that what this impeachment should have done is made it painful full for a president to do what he did. It was always clear from the beginning that the the weren't two-thirds senators the senators who are going to vote to remove him. But the question was do you let him get away with it. Ed and the House decided no and unfortunately no Republican agreed in the House I wonder how many Republicans senators are going to make a statement even close Lusa Lamar Alexander which is not exactly saying. It wasn't a perfect call by any means by any stretch. I mean how many Republicans are just going to say you. You know what whatever happened wasn't impeachable and that's that without actually allowing on the record about what they think of that. That's what a lot of them are going to do. But Lamar Alexander in his mind. Is the state's person he seen himself. He thinks the letter you just put onto. The country is going to live in the age. A great statement statement about our democracy. Because he's going to damaged himself with academic historians like Tim and I but in the Republican Party. Now they're they're high fiving Lamar Alexander and let's face it. He has when push comes to shove a Republican loyalists from Reagan through. George he may not be in a senator anymore but he has to live somewhere and he's you know all his friends are you know who is friends are and he wants red states when when John F. Kennedy road profiles profile encourage or when Ted Sorensen helped John Kennedy write a book he chose eight senators. We actually don't have a lot of profiles and courage in the history. Three of the Senate and tonight was an opportunity to to add another one. And maybe we'll see some courage tomorrow. There's no you know when you think beyond tomorrow Orl- as a politician particularly was retiring saying the right thing for the country will get you eternal. Thanks doing what Senator Lamar Alexander did today might give him thanks tomorrow but he will be forgotten or remembered for all the wrong reasons because what he did to Paladin Brinkley. Moorhead what a difference a few hours a single single us. Senator can make Lamar Alexander's decision. Tonight has changed the course of the impeachment trial the US president and added to a chain of other decisions that may affect. How presidents behave or misbehave? Hey from here on out. Impeach trump coverage continues right now with Chris Cuomo Chris. Are you interested in learning. How Enterprise Scale company Dr Organic traffic to increase their online wind visibility than download the voices of search podcast from the heart of Silicon Valley? Here search metrics inc.. 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