A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, September 29, 2019 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.
ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: The battle is joined.
NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the president's betrayal of his oath of office.
STEPHANOPOULOS: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launches impeachment proceedings, Democrats fall in line after President Trump confirms he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My call was perfect. There was no pressure put on him whatsoever. None whatsoever.
STEPHANOPOULOS: All detailed in that explosive whistleblower complaint alleging a White House cover up.
JOSEPH MAGUIRE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: The whistleblower did the right thing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congress consumed.
KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: What in this case rising to impeachment?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is textbook abuse of power.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president furious.
TRUMP: It's another witch hunt. Here we go again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: In less than a week the impeachment threat has gone from dormant to dangerous for President Trump. Can Democrats make the case that he's abused his power, deserves removal from office? Will the GOP remain united behind the president? How will it play out in the race for the White House? This morning, the key players. The president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the leader of the investigation, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, plus President Trump's first director of homeland security, Tom Bossert and Rahm Emanuel, Chris Christie on our powerhouse roundtable. We’ll break down the politics, smoke out the spin. The facts that matter this week.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it’s THIS WEEK. Here now, Chief Anchor, George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK. What a week it has been. A watershed for President Trump, Congress and the country. As we come on the air this morning and likely for the next several months, official Washington America’s politics, dominated by the process for presidential accountability enshrined in our Constitution -- impeachment. President Trump only the fourth American president to face an inquiry this serious. President Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, both impeached by the House but survived trial in the Senate.
Mayor Giuliani will join us live this morning along with the House chairman leading the investigation, Adam Schiff. But we begin with President Trump’s first homeland security advisor, Tom Bossert, whose core responsibilities included election security and helping coordinate the U.S. government response to Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Tom, thank you for joining us this morning. You know, the whistleblower’s complaint says that White House officials were deeply disturbed by the president phone call with Zelensky. What was your reaction?
TOM BOSSERT, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR: Yes, I’m deeply disturbed by it as well and this entire mess has me frustrated, George. Thanks for having me on. You and I both lived through the impeachment of President Clinton and saw how frustrating and dividing it can be, and I’ve just spent a week overseas, and I’ll tell you, the whole world is watching this. The removal of a president is a -- is a big and serious deal. But the removal of a president in not only a democracy but the biggest democracy in the world is really a weighty matter and I hope that everyone can sift through the evidence and be very careful, as I’ve seen a lot of rush to judgment this week. That said, it is a bad day and a bad week for this president and for this country if he is asking for political dirt on an opponent.
But it looks to me like the other matter that’s far from proven is whether he was doing anything to abuse his power and withhold aid in order to solicit such a thing. That seems to be far from proven and it’s going to be the focus of I think our Congress for the next year.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s the investigation. Let’s walk through some of what’s in the whistleblower’s complaint. And I want to show it up on the screen. It starts with President Zelensky saying “I’d really like to thank the president for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. Specifically, we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from United States for defense purposes.” And then the president says, “I would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine. They say Crowdstrike...I guess you have one of your wealthy people, the server they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on. The whole situation."
Now, what the president is referring to there is a debunked conspiracy theory that somehow Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic emails in 2016 and that Ukraine might have the DNC server or Hillary’s emails. The details are both convoluted and false. And during your time in the White House, you explained that to the president, right?
BOSSERT: I did. It’s not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked. You know, I -- I don’t want to be glib about this matter, but last year retired former senator Judd Gregg wrote a piece in The Hill Magazine, saying the three ways or the five ways to impeach oneself. And the third way was to hire Rudy Giuliani. And at this point I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again.
And for clarity here, George, let me just again repeat that it has no validity. United States government reached its conclusion on attributing to Russia the DNC hack in 2016 before it even communicated it to the FBI, long before the FBI ever knocked on the door at the DNC. So a server inside the DNC was not relevant to our determination to the attribution. It was made up front and beforehand. And so while servers can be important in some of the investigations that followed, it has nothing to do with the U.S. government’s attribution of Russia of the DNC hack.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet the president keeps on repeating it. You -- you -- you condemned Mayor Giuliani for continuing to tell the president (inaudible). How do you explain why the president brings this up in a meeting with the Ukrainian president? That is a form of pressure, isn’t it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that’s your...
BOSSERT: ...but this was the second time that he considered doing it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that’s your judgment on whether or not it would be an impeachable offense. But on its face, requesting the Ukrainian president to investigate this debunk conspiracy theory and to investigate a political rival, that’s not appropriate for a president, is it?
BOSSERT: The DNC server and that conspiracy theory has got to go. They have to stop with that, it cannot continue to be repeated in our -- in our discourse. On the other matter, I honestly believe this president has not gotten his pound of flesh yet from past grievances on the 2016 investigation. I believe he and his legal team have been looking into this, probably even prior to Joe Biden announcing that he would run for president. And they’re continuing to focus on everything they can, in their belief -- understandably, in this case -- that the president was wrongly accused of colluding with Russia the first time around. But George, if he continues to focus on that white whale, it’s going to bring him down. Enough. The investigation’s over. There was no evidence of collusion. He’s won and he should take that victory and move forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Tom Bossert, thanks very much.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now by the former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer. Mayor, thank you for joining us here this morning. You just heard Tom Bossert right there. He says you keep pushing this conspiracy theory that he says has been debunked you're going to bring the president down.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: With all due respect to Tom Bossert, he doesn't know what he's talking about that I invented this. This was given to me. It was given to me...
STEPHANOPOULOS: He says intelligence agencies debunked it. He told the president that more than two years ago.
GIULIANI: Oh, you were talking about that Crowdstrike thing?
GIULIANI: That isn't the only thing he asked about. What he's asking about here...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's focus on that first, though. I mean, do you accept that it's debunked? Will you stop pedaling it?
GIULIANI: I have never peddled it. Have you ever hear me talk about Crowdstrike? I've never peddled it. Tom Bossert doesn't know what he's talking about. I have never engaged in any theory that the Ukrainians did the hacking. In fact, when this was first presented to me, I pretty clearly understood the Ukrainians didn't do the hacking, but that doesn't mean Ukraine didn't do anything, and this is where Bossert...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, why does the president keep repeating it?
GIULIANI: Let's get on to the point...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, this was in the phone call.
GIULIANI: I agree with Bossert on one thing, it's clear: there's no evidence the Ukrainians did it. I never pursued any evidence and he's created a red herring. What the president is talking about is, however, there is a load of evidence that the Ukrainians created false information, that they were asked by the Obama White House to do it in January of 2016, information he's never bothered to go read. There are affidavits that have been out there for five months that none of you have listened to about how there's a Ukrainian court finding that a particular individual illegally gave the Clinton campaign information. No one wants to investigate that. Nobody cared about it. It's a court opinion in the Ukraine. The Ukrainians came to me. I didn't go to them. The Ukrainians came to me and said...
STEPHANOPOULOS: When did they first come to you?
GIULIANI: November of 2016, they first came to me. And they said, we have shocking evidence that the collusion that they claim happened in Russia, which didn't happen, happened in the Ukraine, and it happened with Hillary Clinton. George Soros was behind it. George Soros' company was funding it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you accept now that that's not true?
GIULIANI: I accept that it is true. I can prove it.
GIULIANI: There are affidavits to prove that they were colluding with the Ukrainians, conspiring with the Ukrainians. There is a specific person in the DNC who was designated to get this information. There are five Ukrainian witnesses under oath saying it that are online. And if you had any regard for equal justice under the law, you would be looking for those. Well, let me ask the following question to anybody at home. If I change the names of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden to Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., $8 million from Ukraine while under an investigation, $1.5 billion from China while negotiating with China, would I be sitting here?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, sir, sir...
GIULIANI: No, George, please let me finish my thought. I know it's a damaging sentence.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you made...
STEPHANOPOULOS: The $1.5 billion is simply not true.
GIULIANI: It is simply true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is -- it is not true.
GIULIANI: How do you know it's not true? Have you seen the documents?
STEPHANOPOULOS: We have seen -- the fund that you're talking about was set up. Hunter Biden was on the advisory board. He wasn't an investor until 2017. And there's no evidence that they have gotten $1.5 billion.
GIULIANI: There's evidence that they got $1 billion directly from China, specific date, 12 days after they returned from a trip to China. There's evidence that another $500 million went in. And there are three partners, Rosemont Seneca. That's Hunter Biden and the stepson of the -- of the Secretary of State. The second partner is the Bank of China. And the third partner is a company called Thornton Group. And the principal at Thornton Group is...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Have you ever talked to Chinese nationals -- have you ever talked to Chinese nationals about investigating Hunter Biden or Joe Biden?
GIULIANI: Let me -- let me finish the sentence before you try to figure out what I might have done wrong, and revealing there's evidence that you're telling me isn't true, which I have seen. So the principals were...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Others -- others have counterevidence. And I'm responding with that counterevidence.
GIULIANI: OK. Well, then investigate it. Maybe I'm wrong.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Have you asked the Chinese to investigate that?
GIULIANI: Can I finish what I -- what it is -- that -- I haven't finished, OK?
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Then answer the question.
GIULIANI: What I would have asked them to investigate if I did. The $1.5 billion was in a company that was specially established called Bohai Harvest Rosemont Seneca or some crazy name like that. The partners were Joe Biden's son, John Kerry's stepson, the Bank of China, one-third partner at least, and the Thornton Group. That was owned by Whitey Bulger's nephew. Now, that's all out there. You can go and look at it. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. It should be investigated.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And what Hunter Biden's lawyer has said is...
GIULIANI: Did I ever ask the Chinese government? No. It's not my -- if I did that, you could truly say I was investigating Joe Biden. I'm not investigating Joe Biden. I fell upon Joe Biden in investigating how the Ukrainians were conspiring with the Hillary Clinton campaign to turn over dirty information, including something for which a Ukrainian has already been convicted. So I have a very solid basis for doing it. I also support everything I say with affidavits. I have an affidavit here that's been online for six months that nobody bothered to read from the gentleman who was fired, Viktor Shokin, the so-called corrupt prosecutor. The Biden people say that he wasn't investigating Hunter Biden at the time. He says under oath that he was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, as you know -- I know he says that under oath.
GIULIANI: Oh, he must not be -- we don't even know him. He must not be telling the truth.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We know that Vice President Biden was part of an international effort, was part of a government-wide effort to help push the prosecutor out because of allegations of corruption.
GIULIANI: If the name here was Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and it said that: "The president of the Ukraine asked me to resign due to pressure from the U.S. presidential administration. The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption -- corruption -- corruption probe into Burisma Holdings and Joe Biden's son." That's under oath by the prosecutor who was handling the case, who they say is corrupt. Now, a lot of prosecutors...
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's not just they who have said he's corrupt. The European Union has said he's corrupt. The entire U.S. administration said he's corrupt.
GIULIANI: Oh, they all said it. Anybody prove it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's why he was removed from office.
GIULIANI: No, it wasn't. The reason he was removed from office was because the president forced him to resign. And then, just in case we want to deal with corruption thing, I have another affidavit. This time from another Ukrainian prosecutor who says that the day after Biden strong-armed the president to remove Shokin, they show up in the prosecutor’s office -- lawyers for Hunter Biden show up in the prosecutor’s office and they give an apology for dissemination of false information.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I --
GIULIANI: You know -- you know what the apology is for? For having -- having gotten out the story that this guy was corrupt. Now, if you met this guy, he's not very good at corruption because he's very poor.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well --
GIULIANI: Unlike the prosecutor who tanked the case on Biden, who’s driving around in a Bentley.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, you -- you've gotten those charges out there. Let’s talk about --
GIULIANI: No, no, I haven’t gotten them out there.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you have gotten them out there.
GIULIANI: No, I haven't.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re just --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- those affidavits --
GIULIANI: Can I -- can I make a contrast? Can I just make a slight contrast with the so-called whistleblower? The whistleblower says I don’t have any direct knowledge, I just heard things. Up until two weeks before he did that, that wouldn't even been a complaint. Would have been dismissed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are from -- he heard things from White House officials --
GIULIANI: He heard a lot of stuff.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- and everything in that -- that he said about the phone call is basically tracks --
GIULIANI: No it isn’t.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- the transcript that was revealed -- released by the --
GIULIANI: No -- you know what he's wrong about? He says about the phone call that my meeting with -- with Mr. Yermak was a direct result of the phone call. No it wasn't. The meeting was set up three days before the phone call. It wasn't a direct result of the phone call. He said -- he heard from numerous military people that I attempted to contact two individuals, Andre Bolden and a fellow named Kananov. Simple fact is I never did, it’s a total lie. I never would have contacted Andre Bolden because I had been told by very, very good authorities that he’s corrupt.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said earlier --
GIULIANI: And I shouldn’t go near him. He said about five other things that are totally false.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And this -- well, this is -- this is what the investigation will be about (ph).
GIULIANI: And I’m not saying he was false, I’m saying he could have heard it wrong.
STEPHANOPOULOS: This --
GIULIANI: That’s why -- George, that's why it's hearsay. Because it's unreliable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's what the investigation is about (ph) --
GIULIANI: -- unlike him --
GIULIANI: -- unlike him -- please, can I just make my point?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve been making your point.
GIULIANI: No I haven’t. Unlike him. These are affidavits.
STEPHANOPOULOS: From individuals who are implicated and who have been -- and who --
GIULIANI: Isn’t that the way we prosecute crime? People implicated?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, this -- that will be part of the investigation but the House --
GIULIANI: How about if I -- how about if I tell you over the next week four more of these will come out from four other prosecutors?
STEPHANOPOULOS: They will -- and they will all be investigated. Meantime --
GIULIANI: No, no, no, George, they won’t be because they’ve been online for six months. And the Washington press will not accept the fact that Joe Biden --
STEPHANOPOULOS: If these are --
GIULIANI: -- may have done something like this (ph).
STEPHANOPOULOS: If -- if these are so serious --
GIULIANI: If this was Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., I wouldn’t be here (ph) having to do this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. -- Mr. Mayor --
GIULIANI: I am defending my client the best way I know how. This is not about getting Joe Biden in trouble, this is about proving --
STEPHANOPOULOS: If these charges --
GIULIANI: -- that Donald Trump was framed by the Democrats.
STEPHANOPOULOS: If these charges are so serious and so credible, why have they not been picked up by the president's hand-picked FBI director, the president’s hand-picked attorney general, William Barr?
GIULIANI: That’s a -- that’s a good question.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s the answer to that?
GIULIANI: I don’t know. Maybe they have been. I don’t know if they have been or they haven’t. Or -- and if I did, I couldn’t tell you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But isn’t that the appropriate place for it, if they are serious and credible charges, rather than the president --
GIULIANI: One of the ways this came to me is that the four different Ukrainian prosecutors -- you can dismiss them all. I can’t, if they’re willing to swear under oath -- tell me that they tried to get it to the FBI and the Justice Department for an entire year and were completely --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But this is the -- the president picked the head of the FBI, the president picked the head of the Justice Department. If they’re serious, if they’re credible --
GIULIANI: Well William Barr wasn’t at the Justice Department when this -- when this --
STEPHANOPOULOS: He’s there now.
GIULIANI: Well, I’m not telling you whether they are or aren’t investigating it. I’m telling you -- look, I got this a long time ago, in November of 2018, very serious concerns at that time by the Ukrainian prosecutors about the FBI. So I decided to go another way. Also because if I went to the FBI or I went to the Justice Department --
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've never done that?
GIULIANI: I'm not saying I did or I didn't but if I did it at that time --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what’s the answer? Did you or didn't you?
GIULIANI: I have never gone -- I've never initiated going to them. For a simple reason. Schiff would claim I was exercising my influence to get it investigated. So here's what I did. I put it online. I announced it. I went on every place and said I have this evidence, and I waited for them to come and get it on their own. So I didn’t get a charge that I was trying to force an investigation they didn’t want to do. But if you just bother to Google, I made it easy to make this case --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Mayor, I’ve -- I’ve -- I’ve gone through this scenario --
GIULIANI: Have you read Kulyk’s (ph) statement?
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- I -- I have read -- I have read affidavits on both sides --
GIULIANI: Mr. Kalyanuk (ph) is another prosecutor --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- I have -- I have seen that there’s no credible allegation of wrongdoing against Joe Biden --
GIULIANI: Why is this less credible than the whistleblower when this is -- this is direct knowledge and the whistleblower is hearsay? Why is Kulyk’s statement not credible evidence when he went under oath? Why isn’t Kulyuk’s (ph) statement not credible evidence when he went under oath?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ll have to ask that to the Ukrainian authorities and our own Justice Department, which is not prosecuting it. But I do -- I -- I do have to move on on this. Do you -- do you --
GIULIANI: Who says our -- our Justice Department isn’t prosecuting it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You believe the Justice Department is investigating?
GIULIANI: I don't know. If they're not, it would be kind of surprising.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There is no evidence that they are. But are you going to cooperate with a House investigation?
GIULIANI: George, is it possible -- excuse me, I'm being respectful -- is it possible for you to ever treat a charge against a Democrat in the same way you treat a charge against a Republican? Are you telling me that if there was a sworn affidavit, and the names here were Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., you, your network, the entire Washington -- wherever they are -- I wouldn't have to be sitting here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you telling me if there was evidence that Barack Obama was calling up the Russians and say I want you to look into Donald Trump that wouldn't be blowing that up?
GIULIANI: He didn't do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know he didn't.
GIULIANI: No, no, no. Trump didn't do that. He called them up and he said I want you to investigate these charges of corruption. If he hadn't asked them to investigate Biden, he would have violated Article II, section 3 of the Constitution. And I also know, if Obama had called Biden in when The New York Times first broke the story in December of 2015 that his son had a massive conflict of interest working for the most corrupt oligarch in Russia -- in Ukraine -- if Obama had called him in, like a president who understood Article II, section 3, and said Joe what the heck are you doing with your son, who just got tossed out of the military, where I had to pull strings to get him in, his son is working for the biggest crook -- listen to me, the biggest crook in Ukraine and we're trying to fix corruption in Ukraine and you've got him working for Mykola Zlochevsky, who stole $5 billion?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Mayor, you made your case.
GIULIANI: Did Obama do that? Did Obama do that?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you going to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee?
GIULIANI: That is a question that has a lot, a lot of implications to it. Believe it or not, I'm an attorney. Everything I did was to defend my client. I am proud of what I did. And I am proud of having uncovered what will turn out to be a massive pay for play scheme, not unlike the Clinton Foundation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So will you cooperate?
GIULIANI: And then we've got to look at the $1.5 billion from China and the two other places...
STEPHANOPOULOS: And yet you keep on throwing out the charges...
GIULIANI: And the two other places that Hunter Biden went to sell his father's office.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Will you cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee?
GIULIANI: I wouldn't cooperate with Adam Schiff. I think Adam Schiff should be removed. If they remove Adam Schiff, if they put a neutral person in, who hasn't pre-judged the case, if they put someone in, a Democrat who hasn't expressed an opinion yet -- if I had a judge in the case and he had already announced I'm going to impeach, if he already went ahead and did a whole false episode, wouldn't I move to recuse that judge.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So that's your answer, you're not going to cooperate?
GIULIANI: I didn't say that. I said I will consider it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said you wouldn't do it. You said you will not cooperate with Adam Schiff.
GIULIANI: I said I will consider it. I have to be guided by my client, frankly. I'm a lawyer. It's his privilege, not mine. If he decides that he wants me to testify, of course I'll testify, even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman. He has already prejudged the case. If we want fairness here, we've got to put somebody in charge of that committee who has an open mind, not someone who wants to hang the president, who said I have evidence of Russian collusion. Adam wears the evidence. Why don't you ask him to produce the evidence.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He's coming up right now. Mayor, thanks for your time.
GIULIANI: Are you going to interrupt him as often as you interrupt me?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I gave you plenty of chance to make your case this morning, Mr. Mayor.
GIULIANI: Let's see how the interview goes. Hi, Adam, nice to see you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for coming on this morning.
GIULIANI: ...gee, how could they have to go after Joe Biden.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
GIULIANI: Oh my god, I'm going to kill the guy who did it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Coming up, the House chair leading the impeachment inquiry Adam Schiff. He's going to join us live.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You just heard Mayor Giuliani.
The chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, joins us with his response next.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining us this morning. You just heard Rudy Giuliani say you are not a fair chair of this committee. He -- it is difficult for him to cooperate -- at one point, he said he would not cooperate as long as you are the chair.Your response?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, he seems to think that I'm the judge and jury here. My role is to do the investigation. My role is to make sure that the facts come out. If it were to lead to an impeachment -- and I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves -- it'll be the Senate that makes the determination about whether the president's conduct should result in his removal from office. But, yes, I intend to hold the president accountable. And I intend to do a thorough investigation. And what we have seen already is damning, because what we have seen in that call record is a president of the United States use the full weight of his office, with a country beholden to America for its defense, even as Russian troops occupy part of its land. And the president used that opportunity to try to coerce that leader to manufacture dirt on his opponent and interfere in our election. It's hard to imagine a series of facts more damning than that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me...
SCHIFF: And so, yes, we're going to get to the bottom of it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me -- let me -- let me stop you right there, because you're already hearing some of the president's defenders, even those who -- some who say the call was not appropriate, suggest that, in the absence of an explicit quid pro quo, some kind of statement from the president or document that says, we are withholding the aid until you do that investigation, that you -- that that is what is necessary to pursue impeachment, that kind of an explicit quid pro quo. What's your response to that?
SCHIFF: Well, that's nonsense. It is illegal, improper, a violation of oath, a violation of his duty to defend our elections and our Constitution for the president to merely ask for foreign interference in our election. That is enough that the president said, I want you to do us a favor, and "though," he added, immediately after the Ukraine president talked about the need to get more Javelins, more weapons to defend against Russia. So, we don't have to show a quid pro quo, although this conversation comes awfully close. But here you have the added fact that this conversation takes place at a time when the president is withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to Ukraine. Well, the Ukrainian people and their president are not stupid and neither are the American people. And they can see and understand and appreciate a shakedown when they see it going on, and that's exactly what this was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The whistleblower's complaint also mentions Mayor Giuliani and his efforts several times, more than two dozen times, in the complaint. Do you need to call Rudy Giuliani as a witness?
SCHIFF: We'll make that decision down the road, after we determine all the facts that he was involved in, in terms of his efforts that I think were a foundation to that phone call. It seemed that the Ukraine president understood before the call what was going to be asked of him. So we want to flesh out the facts, then we'll make a determination about whether it would be productive to bring in a witness like Rudy Giuliani. But, you know, let’s -- let me -- let me address this attack that he made and others in the GOP have made on this whistleblower. This whistleblower showed a lot of guts to come forward. And the fact that what the whistleblower related came from third parties doesn't make it less credible when that information is borne out. And here, what the whistleblower reported about the president's communications with President Zelensky turned out to be right on the mark. What they communicated about withholding of funds turned out to be right on the mark. And what the whistleblower communicated about sequestering these conversations or this conversation in a place it didn’t belong, this covert action classified file turns out to be exactly right. So this whistleblower has already been substantially corroborated, which suggests that other information that he or she provide in that complaint likewise may be subject to corroboration. So do not dismiss both the professionalism of this whistleblower and -- and this is what we would expect of someone who comes out of the intelligence community.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Have you reached an agreement yet with the whistleblower and his or her attorneys about coming before the committee and providing the information firsthand?
SCHIFF: Yes, we have. And as Director Maguire promised during the hearing, that whistleblower will be allowed to come in and come in without a minder from the Justice Department or from the White House to tell the whistleblower what they can and cannot say. We'll get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower. Now, we are taking all the precautions we can to make sure that we do so -- we allow that testimony to go forward in a way to protect the whistleblower's identity. Because as you can imagine with the president issuing threats like we ought to treat these people who expose my wrongdoing as we used to treat traitors and spies and we used to execute traitors and spies, you can imagine the security concerns here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So when do you expect to hear from the whistleblower?
SCHIFF: Very soon. You know, it will depend probably more on how quickly the director of National Intelligence can complete the security clearance process for the whistleblower’s lawyers, but we're ready to hear from the whistleblower as soon as that is done. And we'll keep obviously riding shotgun to make sure the acting director doesn't delay in that clearance process.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You -- you heard Mayor Giuliani say that he -- he might invoke attorney/client privilege or -- or he’ll testify if the president asks him to but if the president wants him not to testify, it seems likely that he won't. What about those other White House aides mentioned in the whistleblower's complaint? The president suggested that maybe they’re going to have to go to the courts to stop this impeachment process. Are you concerned that they're going to slow this whole process down by claiming executive privilege over the testimony of White House aides?
SCHIFF: Well I am concerned about it. They have been making these fallacious claims of privilege for months and months now in seeking to obstruct the work of Congress. But here's the problem for the administration with that strategy. And that is even as they try to undermine our ability to get to the bottom of the full facts of how he was coercing Ukraine to dig up dirt on his opponent or manufacture it, they will be strengthening the case for an article of impeachment based on obstruction of the lawful functions of Congress. And so they can't have it both ways. If they're going to obstruct, then they're going to increase the likelihood that Congress may feel it necessary to move forward with an article on obstruction. One way or another, though, we’re going to get this information. We’re going to find out why those funds were withheld, who was in the know about it, we’re going to find out what other communications were also improperly hidden in this classified system that’s meant to contain the most highly sensitive, classified information involving covert action, not the president’s misconduct. So we’re going to make sure that we get to the bottom of this no matter what they do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why has there not been a full House vote authorizing these impeachment proceedings? That happened in the case of Richard Nixon, it happened in the case of Bill Clinton and it happened with Andrew Johnson.
SCHIFF: Well, look, I tried an impeachment case some years ago in the Senate involving a corrupt judge. As far as I recall, we didn't have a vote in the -- in the full House to formally --
STEPHANOPOULOS: For the presidential impeachments you have.
SCHIFF: Well, it’s certainly not necessary as a matter of constitutional law that we have a vote. All that's necessary is that we conduct the impeachment inquiry in the manner that we're doing, that we, through the Judiciary Committee, and Chairman Nadler has already done this, declared themselves to be pursuing an impeachment inquiry, and now this is the formal position of the entire caucus and our leadership. So, a vote isn't required. What's important here is that the work get done. And the work is getting done. And we're bringing a real sense of urgency to it. I've what's important is the work gets done and we're bringing a sense of urgency to it. We have got the inspector-general coming back in this week, this time in closed session, again discuss those other witnesses, George, that you mentioned, that we're going to want to talk to who are within the White House or were within the White House, that can shed light on the serious allegations in the complaint. We have noticed depositions for five of the State Department people for this week, the former ambassador to Ukrainian who was abruptly removed from her post, as well as Ambassador Volker who was part of the liaison between Giuliani and whatever kind of conduct he was engaged in, in Ukraine. So, we're moving forward with all speed. And that's really what's important here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have been criticized by the president and others for comments you made in your opening statement at the hearing on Thursday. I want to show a bit of it right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: I'm going to say this only seven times so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it. This is in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: That was you making up dialogue, putting it in the president's mouth. If the facts are as damning as you say, why make up dialog for dramatic effect, even if it's a parody, as you say?
SCHIFF: Well, George, you're right the call speaks for itself. And it is plenty damning, but let's not pretend that this is really what the president is upset with me about. I can tell you exactly why the president is furious with me, and that is because when I learned that a whistle-blower had filed a complaint and urgent complaint that was being withheld from congress, and no one knew about this yet, I went public to demand that we get that complaint. I scheduled a hearing with the acting director to force the director to come in as I said at the time to explain to the American people why he was the first director to withhold a complaint from congress. That had the effect of forcing the White House to produce that complaint, which I then made public. That also had the effect of forcing them to release that call record. That's what the president is furious with me about. The president believes that it is his god-given right to shake down foreign leaders for help in his re-election, and he should not be encumbered by the public finding out about it. That's what has incensed the president. And I am willing to take the brunt of that. And I have to say once again how grateful I am to the courage of the whistle-blower. All I did was expose that complaint. The whistle-blower -- had the whistle-blower not come forward, none of us would have known of the corrupt conduct the president of the United States was engaged in.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Final question, since then have other whistle-blowers come forward to your committee or to the inspector-general?
SCHIFF: I don't want to comment on whether other whistle-blowers are coming forward to either us or to the inspector-general. All I can say is I would certainly hope that others, in particular those that the whistle-blower was referring to, would look at the courage that he or she has demonstrated and follow that example, because we are dependent on people of good conscious coming forward particularly now given that we have such an unscrupulous president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Chair, thanks for your time this morning.
SCHIFF: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable is up next with Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable is here and ready to go.
We will be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're back with the roundtable right now. Joined by our contributors Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel, the Washington bureau chief for the Associated Press, Julie Pace, and our chief justice correspondent, Pierre Thomas. And, Julie, let me begin with you. Taking a step back, a week ago, there was no impeachment inquiry. You had about 130 Democrats supporting one. This is all happening at warp speed.
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: The speed of -- of this process is just incredible. I mean, Washington is not a town where things move quickly. And we have gone in a matter of two weeks from essentially a process fight over a whistle-blower complaint to an impeachment inquiry. That is really incredible. And I think it goes to show that, for Democrats, there was really just this pressure just under the surface for impeachment. And they were waiting for something to push them over the edge. And this gave them what they needed. It's a -- it's a fairly simple, straightforward matter involving the president’s own words. It's there in black and white for the public to see.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats jumped on it. Chris Christie, you just saw Tom Bossert, the president’s first Homeland Security official say that he thinks the phone call itself was troubling. Some other Republicans seeming to have a lot of discomfort in defending the president, even though they don't think it's risen to an impeachable offense yet.
CHRISTIE: Right. And listen, I think that the -- the thing that's now going to help Republicans is exactly what Julie talked about. The speed of this shows people -- gives people a feeling, I think, that it's not fair. That there's not a fairness to a process that goes so quickly. You know, whether you're talking about any of the other major impeachment issues we’ve had, whether it was Nixon or Clinton, there was some deliberate nature to that investigation --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well we're just at the beginning of that process.
CHRISTIE: But I understand that. But George, we’ve got -- we've got members of the House like Adam Schiff and others who are up there saying we have the proof for impeachment. Now, he tried to back off that a little bit, but if you watched his performance the other day in front of his own committee, that's the kind of thing that’s going to help the president. And -- and let's face it, you know, Republicans are now seeing huge amounts of money being contributed to the president in light of this. It's hardening the division even more. And -- and I think the Democrats, if they want to be successful at this, they’d better slow down and take a breath because the faster they go, the more unfair it seems, the more unfair it seems, plays into the president’s narrative.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That good advice?
EMANUEL: Well look, you can't let fast undermine fair. That’s what I would be (ph). And here’s the thing, if you look at obviously President Clinton, you look at Nixon, you look at Iran-Contra, you had a whole precedent and a week is not those years and a half there. But I would warn also is that -- that Republicans have a vulnerability here, that they're circling the wagon. So one, it’s an -- it's an impeachment inquiry. It's not an impeachment. Get all the facts, follow what I call the five Cs. There’s a call, there’s coercion, there’s a complaint, there’s a cover-up and there’s a computer. Each line very steady, not pre-judge what is. The biggest mistake always makes (ph) is people, pundits, the beltway, New York, Washington track all pre-judge the American people's judgment. They'll tell you whether they think there’s something here. What we do know already is not just this phone call. In the campaign President Trump said to the Russians, come on in. To you, he's mentioned, George, he says I have no problem with a foreign government. He has a lot of precedent here where he has welcomed foreign intervention in the most sacred process of the democratic process --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn’t that --
EMANUEL: -- of the American election. And that fact -- and he is shocked that anybody's shocked that he was participating in pressuring a foreign government to involve themselves in digging up dirt on an American opponent.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn’t that the problem with (ph) the phone call?
CHRISTIE: The fundamental disagreement --
EMANUEL: There’s a precedent there.
CHRISTIE: The -- the fundamental disagreement I have with what -- what Rahm said was that's not what the Democrats are doing. They have pre-judged it. If you listen to Speaker Pelosi, who up to the last week has been very careful and very judicious about the way she approached this. She -- I think from internal political pressure -- abandoned that. Her statements this week have been pre-judging impeachment. Listen, George, let me predict right now, they're going to impeach him. They’ve already signaled it, they’ve said it, they’re going to do it. And -- and I think the American people feel that. And when they feel it, it obscures the facts, it obscures all the other questions you’re asking.
EMANUEL: It’s -- it’s an impeachment inquiry.
CHRISTIE: And it’s -- and it’s -- and --
EMANUEL: That’s why you cannot say the word impeachment without either investigation or inquiry coming right afterwards.
CHRISTIE: Well -- but they do -- but they -- but then their actions and their other rhetoric, Rahm, you know is different than that. It’s --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Pierre, you cover the Justice Department every day. It’s pretty clear that the Attorney General, William Barr, is going to be pulled into this.
THOMAS: He absolutely has been. We're hearing from a source close to him that he was, quote, surprised and angered by the fact that the president, quote, lumped him in with Rudy Giuliani in that investigation. But here's the thing that is fascinating to me about that complaint. Not only does it lay out the conversation between the president, where he allegedly asked for this intervention by the president of Ukraine, it also lays out there were White House officials who were concerned about it in real time, that they had, quote, witnessed an abuse of power. Who are those White House officials and will they come to Congress to testify?
PACE: And the other -- the other key piece of that is that this was not the first time that they felt compelled to do that, that there were other conversations, according to this whistleblower, that they felt so concerned about that they had to move into a -- a highly secretive server, not because the information was -- was highly classified, but because they thought it was damaging.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And it does -- it does appear that -- that one of the things the complaint has done is lay out a roadmap --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- for who Adam Schiff is going to talk to.
EMANUEL: So two -- two points here. One is there’s also a memo that’s done before the phone call. I’ll take a bet. Holding the -- asking him for Biden’s -- information on Biden is not on that memo. It’s done by the national security, it’s input from CIA, State, Defense. What is the purpose of the phone call. There’s no mention of Joe Biden there. The second thing is -- I’ll make a prediction here -- the meeting where the president took the notes away from the translator with Putin is in that same computer.
THOMAS: And George, the -- the other thing here that’s -- that’s key is did the president use the power of the presidency and other parts of the administration to pursue this matter. You saw one of the key players at the State Department, you know, resign. Did -- he asked about allowing Rudy Giuliani to go interview the prosecutor over there. All these officials that were brought into this, that is going to be key. Did the president try to use the power of the presidency to involve other parts of the administration?
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's why I want to bring to Chris Christie. One of the things that Mayor Giuliani has said is that he was asked by the State Department to do this. In some ways, that would make this worse, wouldn't it, if the entire apparatus of the government was pulled into this?
CHRISTIE: Now listen, it depends -- everything is on context, George. We have had private citizens who have used by presidents in the past on very sensitive matters to be special envoys outside the government with directions. So, the idea...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But he wasn't -- he clearly wasn't doing that.
CHRISTIE: That's what you say, Rahm. But it depends on what the president asked Rudy Giuliani to do and what direction he gave him. We don't know those answers yet. But again the speed of this, we're jumping to every conclusion.
PACE: You certainly can't divorce the fact that Joe Biden, who is the target of Rudy Giuliani's escapades, is a candidate and a frontrunner candidate for the Democratic nomination, setting him up as Donald Trump's direct rival. So, you can't look at this completely in isolation. You can say that the optics, certainly, of what Hunter Biden and Joe Biden may have been doing are bad, but you can't divorce that from the fact that this is President Trump's challenger.
CHRISTIE: The optics are bad. But let's also remember this, to go back to a point that Rahm was making before about the server. Let's not forget context here, too. Early in the administration you had a similar memo from Australia and a conversation with the Australian prime minister leaked, another with the Mexican president and that was leaked. And so, what I think the president needs to do now is he needs to get someone in the administration to look into who those White House officials are, to find out what they did, why they did what they did, and he needs to get that explanation himself.
EMANUEL: That would be the last thing I would recommend. That would be the -- I would not ask the president, who shows no boundaries about the law, to be asking I want to know what White House officials did this. I think that, first of all…
CHRISTIE: It's his administration. If he -- you're assuming -- if he did not direct this stuff, then he has the obligation as the president to know why they did do it. If they put it in because those things were leaked before they wanted to make it safer, then that's the difference.
EMANUEL: I hope he doesn't listen to me, my advice is to the White House counsel, not the president. This is a president who has already called the whistle-blower treasonous. I would not have him investigating who in the White House...
CHRISTIE: I'm not suggesting he investigate it. I am saying, as the head of the executive branch, you have to know what your staff is doing in your name.
EMANUEL: Oh, of course.
CHRISTIE: And he needs to know that before the congress finds it out.
STEPHANOPOULOS: See, this does raise an important question, and I want to bring this to Pierre, because now any action taken by the president, or any action taken by the White House -- you just heard it from Adam Schiff -- could become another potential article of impeachment if it's perceived to be obstruction.
THOMAS: Exactly, George. And, again, we're at the beginning stage of part of this. When they bring in those witnesses, assuming they can get them to come in, they're going to find out the details about, OK, did someone direct the State Department to say, OK, Rudy it's OK to go interview and push the prosecutor in the Ukraine about investigating Joe Biden, those are the basic questions that need to be answered.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Julie, we are going to hear this week -- the witnesses they've lined up for this week are the ambassador to the Ukraine who was removed from her job, are the president's special envoy to Ukraine who according to the memo the whistle-blower said he was told that this person was trying to contain the damage of Rudy Giuliani.
PACE: And to get back to where we started on this speed question, I actually think Democrats see speed as their friend right now. They want to start corroborating the whistle-blower's complaint in short order. They feel like if they can keep the story moving, if they can keep backing up what the whistle-blower says, adding credibility to that complaint, then that works in their favor.
CHRISTIE: Only if they're seen as objective. Only if they've seen as objective. And when you have Adam Schiff doing what he did this week -- making up conversations -- listen, read the transcript and everyone can draw their own conclusions. But Adam Schiff sat in front of -- and if you're an American citizen and you've come in to the middle of Adam Schiff's statement, you safely assume he's saying what the president said when in reality he wasn't. This is where they make their mistakes, and it's unfair for the president, it's unfair to the country.
EMANUEL: Here's the thing -- did you want to say anything? THOMAS: George, here is the thing about this story...
EMANUEL: Out of body experience.
CHRISTIE: You're totally out of your personality. What's going on.
THOMAS: Here is the thing about the story, having covered the Mueller investigation for two years, it was complicated. It was unclear. The basic question that the American public is going to have to answer, and I'll leave it to the political gurus to resolve how that's going to turn out, is is it OK for the president of the United States to ask a foreign leader to investigate his rival? And then secondarily, we're going to get to the answer of, OK, did the withholding of the aid have anything to do with that? That's the basic question.
EMANUEL: Not only the withholding of the aid. When he was getting -- when the president of Ukraine was getting sworn in, the vice president, which is an establishment, was supposed to attend, as a representative of the United States government and this administration, and then it was downgraded to a Cabinet secretary, the secretary of energy. That is also a statement. So, obviously, the president of Ukraine hears, no military aid, the visit from the United States, our number one ally that's going to battle with us against Russia and protect us, has now been downgraded. All of these send a singular message: Until you do what I want, you're going to be in the doghouse, and I won't let you out until I get what I want, which is dirt on Biden and your use of your criminal justice system. And here's what's incredible from a State Department representative. The whole thing from American foreign policy is that Ukraine should take politics out of the criminal justice system. Everything our president is doing is saying, put politics back into the criminal justice system.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring this to Chris.You made a good point about whether the Democrats will appear fair or not, whether speed is their friend or their enemy. But taking a step back, if you look what's inside the whistle-blower's complained, and if an investigation, after subpoenaing Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence and several White House officials named -- who are cited in this complaint, if they actually start to talk, isn't that where the danger is for the president?
CHRISTIE: Well, and that's why I made the point I was trying to make before, but inartfully, using the president. Someone -- I believe what the president needs to do now is to get someone to find out for him about what they're referencing in that -- in that -- in that whistle-blower complaint? Why did they move these documents from one computer to another? Was there concerns that were expressed? He should find that out. He shouldn't let the Congress find that out first. He's the president. He's the head of the executive branch. He needs to find out.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And get it out?
CHRISTIE: Of course, because then -- I don't believe that the president knew about these moving of documents or that stuff. I don't believe he gets into that level of detail. So the question then is, if that's going to happen, if you don't want to own it, you better find out who does own it. And that's -- that's just being a prosecutor, being smart, and, more importantly, being an effective head of the executive branch. Let -- find out who it is, and then get the information out. And if they did something wrong, George, fire them and hold them accountable.
PACE: Think about where this leaves the West Wing right now. You have officials, high-ranking officials, all around this president who are all going to be looking at each other over the coming weeks and say, what did you know? Who are you talking to right now?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the last word for today. We will be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News Tonight." And I will see you tomorrow on "GMA."