A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, November 17, 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 hearings begin.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: There are few actions as consequential as the impeachment of a president.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: What we will witness today is a televised theatrical performance.
WILLIAM TAYLOR, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: A member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Stark emotion.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER AMBASSADOR: This has been a very painful period.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And a brazen tweet from President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a part of a -- a pattern to intimidate witnesses.
TRUMP: You know what, I have the right to speak.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Drama, news, bitter debate. Millions tuned in as Democrats made their case, Republicans closed ranks. For the second week of testimony to come, what more will we learn? How will the public react? Can new evidence break the partisan stalemate? We're joined this morning by two members of the impeachment committee, Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney and Republican Chris Stewart. Plus Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel on our powerhouse round table. 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. It was another week for the history books. For only the fourth time Congress gavels in hearings to impeach a president.
SCHIFF: I now recognize myself to give an opening statement.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The members of Congress reflected the raw politics of our team.
NUNES: Democrats are advancing their impeachment sham.
SCHIFF: If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: This process is unfair.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The witnesses, diplomats from a different Washington. Another time.
GEORGE KENT: I have served proudly as a nonpartisan career foreign service officer.
TAYLOR: I'm not here to take one side or the other.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Ambassador William Taylor surprised with news. A member of his staff witnessed a Trump phone call in which the president asked his hand-picked Ukraine emissary about the investigations.
TAYLOR: Following the call with President Trump the member of my staff asked ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The GOP honed in on a simple defense, no harm, no foul.
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R), NEW YORK: The two most important facts are the following. Number one, Ukraine received the aid. Number two, there was in fact no investigation into Biden.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Democrats’ response, Trump released the aid only after he was called out by the whistle-blower.
SCHIFF: The White House also learned that Congress now inevitably would learn about the complaint. It was less than 48 hours later that the military aid would be released.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Wednesday’s debate ushered in Friday’s drama. The Ukraine ambassador fired by President Trump, Marie Yovanovitch, recalled the moment she read President Trump's description of her to President Zelensky. “The woman.”, “Bad news.”, “She's going to go through some things.”
YOVANOVITCH: I was shocked and devastated. It was a terrible moment. A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction. I -- I think -- even now, words fail me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president pounced.
SCHIFF: As we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter. And I’d like to give you a chance to respond. I'll read part of one of his tweets. Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? What would you like to respond to the president's attack that everywhere you went turned bad?
YOVANOVITCH: I don't think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu Somalia and not in other places. I actually think that where I’ve served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better. Democrats suggested the president just committed a new impeachable offense. Republicans scramble to save a strategy trashed by Trump.
HURD: You're tough as nails and you’re smart as hell.
STEFANIK: We are lucky to have your in foreign service.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And when the gavel fell --
SCHIFF: We’re adjourned.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- something you rarely see on Capitol Hill, a witness exit to applause.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now by two members of the impeachment committee, Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, Republican Chris Stewart. Thank you both for joining us this morning. Congressman Stewart, I want to begin with you. There have been some new developments since Friday’s hearings. You have that testimony of David Holmes, who -- who was with Ambassador Sondland as he talked to the president about getting Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens.
Also Tim Morrison, a White House official who testifies that Ambassador Sondland was acting at the direction of President Trump when he spoke to the Ukrainians about exchanging military aid for political investigations. Testified that Sondland spoke to President Trump at least five times. The evidence is building about the campaign to trade military aid and a White House meeting to investigations directly to President Trump. It's tied directly now to President Trump, isn't it?
STEWART: I disagree with you, George. I don't think the evidence is building at all. And I'm being sincere in this, I think the evidence is crumbling. I think the democrats know they're in trouble on this, which is why we keep moving the goalposts. We went from some supposed quid pro quo, and as you said tying these investigations to withholding military aid, but we know that didn't happen.
And now Mrs. Pelosi comes and says, well, we're going to impeach and remove the president for bribery, but, you know, we didn't play this clip where I asked the ambassador if you have any evidence at all the president committed bribery or was involved with that. She said no. Do you have any evidence at all that the president did anything criminal or illegal? And the answer is no. And, again, I think the longer this hearing goes on I think the less the American are going to support impeachment, I think the evidence just doesn't support it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Evidence crumbling?
MALONEY: Well, of course not. The evidence is building. And let's get real clear on what we're talking about here, what we're talking about here is that the president of the United States used taxpayer funded military assistance to pressure a foreign leader to help him in his re-election campaign. That that is solicitation of a bribe. And that is an impeachable offense listed in the constitution. And sadly my friend Chris Stewart is going to get his wish this week when we get testimony from Ambassador Sondland, who at the president's instruction told the Ukrainians either go to a microphone and announce an investigation of the Bidens or there will not be military assistance. That is solicitation of a bribe.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to pick up on Ambassador Sondland and bring this to you Congressman Stewart, because Ambassador Sondland's original opening statement, he said -- I want to show it up on the screen right now, "I recall no discussions with any State Department or White House official about former Vice President Biden or his son, nor do I recall taking part in any effort to encourage an investigation into the Bidens."
You now have multiple witnesses testifying that in fact he did indeed know this was about the Bidens and said so. So, do you believe that it's possible that Ambassador Sondland perjured himself in his first testimony?
STEWART: No, I think this is a pretty simple example where people come back and clarify their comments. It happens all the time, by the way. And I think that he felt like he needed to be more clear.But I've got to go back to something that Sean said, and that the evidence is building. It just simply isn't true, which is again why we keep changing the goalposts, we've gone from quid pro quo tobribery. And we know -- look, those of us who work in national security, as I do sitting on the Intel Committee, former air force pilot, we heard as early as April and May that they may withhold this foreign aid. Why? Because we had a new president in Ukraine. We knew nothing about him. He came out of nowhere. We didn't know if he was a good guy or a bad guy. We didn't know if he was going to support U.S. interests. It was perfectly appropriate to say we should investigate him. And when they talk about...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can I just break in there?
STEWART: When they talk about the investigation, they're not talking about investigatingMr. Biden only, they're talking about investigating corruption broadly, which is a perfectly appropriate thing to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that is true, but the evidence shows that in the April phone call the president, in fact, didn't bring up corruption. That in the July phone call, he brought up only the Bidens and the Crowdstrike conspiracy from 2016. But more to the point, I want to get this, because you talk about this being talked about this being discussed back in April or May, but it's also a fact that in May the Defense Department certified that the Ukrainians had met the conditions for fighting corruption, so the aid could be released. That is true, isn't it?
STEWART: Yeah, but that was on a process based on the previous year. And again, we had something new, we had a new president, an entirely new administration in power now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, except the president had come in, in April, and this was late May. But Congressman Maloney, let me read something to you, because this is something else that has come up, you and the Democrats have been talking more about bribery in the last couple of days. And I think it was The Washington Post that reported you did this after having focus groups determine that bribery was a more salient -- that broke through in a better way. Why necessary to have focus groups if you're just supposed to be following the facts?
MALONEY: George, I haven't done any focus groups. What I'm telling you is that quid pro quo is Latin for bribery. And the fact is that we're talking about abuse of power. We're talking about a number of crimes. You can talk about a felony for soliciting a thing of valuable from a foreigner in a U.S. election campaign. You could talk about extortion. You can talk about bribery, you bet. And the founders listed that as impeachable in the constitution. And my friend,. Chris, of course has a version of the so what defense. Oh, it happens all the time. But I'm telling you so what is where our democracy goes to die. We have seen the president in his own words clearly focus on the Bidens. His chief of staff came out and told us all why they withheld the military aid. Chris, Mick Mulvaney said it was a quid pro quo, one of three reasons he specifically mentioned. And he said: Get over it. We do it all the time.
I mean, Ambassador Sondland did it at the instruction of the president. We are going to see Bill Taylor, who confirmed it, Tim Morrison, who witnessed the Sondland conversation with the Ukrainians. And if my friend Chris Stewart needs more direct evidence, then, Chris, will you join me in calling on the State Department to produce the mountain of evidence, e-mails, notes, call records, calendar entries? They could produce that tomorrow. Our committee has subpoenaed them. Will you join me in calling on the State Department to produce the evidence?
STEWART: You bet, because I don't think there's anything there at all that is going to implicate the president, if, Sean...
STEWART: ... you will join with me in calling to hear from the whistle-blower. We could protect his anonymity. We could protect him. And how in the world can you impeach the president of the United States and never hear from the person who started that process?
MALONEY: Respectfully, Chris, we...
STEWART: We know -- we know he was -- we know he was deeply involved with this. How can you say that we don't need to hear from him?
And I want to come back to this other thing about the evidence.
MALONEY: Excuse me. Excuse me, Chris. Excuse me. Let me respond to that. First, thank you for joining with me in calling on the State Department to produce the evidence. I hope you will tweet that out, so the White House gets the message that there's now a bipartisan call to stop resisting our subpoena. But, sir, we have heard from the whistle-blower. You might have read the complaint. That is the whistle-blower speaking.
MALONEY: And the law that the Congress passed protects the anonymity of whistle-blowers, because we want them to use the legal process without retribution.
MALONEY: And, remember -- excuse me -- the president -- excuse me.
STEWART: Hang on.
MALONEY: The president threatened the whistle-blower, threatened the whistle-blower, said he's a spy and a traitor, should be subject to the death penalty. That's why we're protecting the whistle-blower's identity. And, of course, we have a mountain of other witnesses and evidence confirming what the whistle-blower said.
STEWART: All right, hang on, Sean. Hang on. Look, you said we have heard from the whistle-blower. Maybe some of you guys have, but the rest of us haven't. You have got a written complaint. Since when in any court proceeding do you have the witnesses, here's a statement, and then you say, well, we're never going to hear from them again? That's all we're going to hear from them?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me break in for a -- let me break in for a question for each of you, because I do hear a little news being made here. And first, Congressman Stewart, you said that the State Department should release the documents. Does that also hold -- we also know the people closest to this issue, Ambassador Bolton, OMB director and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and his deputies, the White House is blocking them from testifying. Should they testify with their firsthand knowledge as well?
STEWART: Look, look, I don't think there's any of this information that is going to implicate the president. I don't care if they release it. But -- but the other thing is, this is a constant conflict between the executive and the -- and Congress. This has been going on for 200 years. They will make their decision as what's to -- appropriate or not. But I got to come back to one thing, and I got to make this point, because we -- a lot of this focus is on the Bidens. And this is something that the Democrats hate to talk about.
But imagine this. And I think this is such a fair point. There are dozens of corrupt nations around the world. There are hundreds of corrupt government officials. There is exactly one time where the vice president went to one of these countries out of the hundreds of them and demanded that a specific prosecutor be fired, gave a six-hour time limit for that to happen. And it is the one time that individual was involved with corruption who was paying his son. So, Sean, if you want us to release documents, not only should we hear from the whistle-blower. We should hear from Mr. Biden. We should try to understand what happened there and how tied was that to some of the concerns we have regarding corruption.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your response?
MALONEY: Well, of course, this is a continuation of the smear against the vice president, Biden, and his family. But, listen, Chris, if you want to have a conversation...
STEWART: Why is it a smear to state the facts?
STEWART: Well, again, OK, so that'd be great. Let's -- let's bring them in, if you will agree that we should bring in Mr. Biden. Would you agree with that, then?
MALONEY: We are not going to participate in the ongoing effort to smear Americans who were the target of this presidential abuse of power, Chris. I know that you -- I know that you guys want to change the subject. But the point is, Hunter Biden has no information about what the president did. The direct witnesses and the evidence you're calling for and the information at the State Department that you have now joined me in calling to be released, that is the key evidence of what the president did. And that, of course, is our proper focus, as the Oversight Committee and as the impeachment inquiry.
STEWART: You know, I think it's interesting that you call it a smear to state the facts, because the facts are pretty damning. And all I’m asking -- or and all I’m saying is, these are the facts.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, I want to -- quickly before we go, one last point. That tweet from the President Trump during the hearing with Ambassador Yovanovitch. Do you consider that grounds for an article of impeachment?
MALONEY: Oh I -- look, it's obviously wrong. I mean, let's just be plain. And the president is intimidating a witness in real time. How have we come to the point where decent people like Chris Stewart have to defend that kind of conduct? This is a person who was kneecapped for doing the right thing. Served her country honorably for 30 years. I’ve never seen a standing ovation in a hearing room before. And in the hearing room the Republicans are praising her and calling her a great American and the president is attacking her viciously, which of course is simply a continuation of the campaign he launched in February and -- and March and April to defame her. It’s wrong.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Stewart, you get the last word. Of course you’ve made the point that presidents have a right to fire ambassadors. The question is why did President Trump fire Ambassador Yovanovitch and was it right to smear her reputation in the way he did?
STEWART: Yes -- yes look, the president communicates in ways that sometimes I wouldn’t. I was asked about this earlier and saying intimidation and I just think it’s nonsense. She’s extraordinarily strong and powerful individual. I really doubt she's intimidated by a single tweet. But if your basis for impeachment is going to include a tweet, that shows you how weak the evidence for that impeachment is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressmen, thank you both for your time this morning. Roundtable’s coming up. And up next, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver handicaps the chances of the latest Democrat to enter the race for president, Deval Patrick. We’ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHIT JOHNSON, NBC NEWS: Jump into the race in any way a reflection on a lack of confidence for the rest of the Democratic field?
DEVAL PATRICK, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: No, that's not it. I think we have this incredible moment where the public's appetite for solutions is -- for solutions, you know, that will meet the size of the challenges we're facing.
JOHNSON: So, you see your own lane in this crowded field?
PATRICK: I do. I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Deval Patrick talking to our Whit Johnson after jumping into the White House race. The two-term governor of Massachusetts thinks there's room for a centrist Democrat to break through in this primary fight and beat President Trump in November. But at this stage of the contest, does a new candidate like Patrick really have a chance? We asked Nate Silver do you buy that?
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: I get that if a bunch of people are urging you run for president, it might be tempting. I mean, politicians have big egos after all. But unless we're talking a really, really, really big like Oprah Winfrey big, for example, I'm not sure someone entering this late would have much of a shot at the nomination.
Deval Patrick, for example, is an attractive candidate on paper. He's got executive experience, he's from a state that borders New Hampshire, he's African-American in a field where the four leading candidates are all white. And he can try to run in the middle ground of being not too liberal but also not being too moderate, which is where a lot of Democratic voters are. But the thing is a lot of other Democrats also look great on paper.
Kamala Harris, or Amy Klobuchar, or Jay Inslee, or Cory Booker, for example. And yet, none of their campaigns have really taken off, and some have already dropped out.
It's not because they're bad candidates, it's because in a field that's now back up to 17 major candidates with big brand names in the field, it's hard to be anybody's number one choice.
In polls, Democratic voters say they're very happy with their choices, but they especially like the three to four names at the top of the field, meaning Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. Mayor Pete maybe on the verge of breaking into that tier, but no one else has been able to yet. And based on the polls, Deval Patrick would appear to be no exception.
A few national polls did include his name early in the cycle, and found him polling at just 0 to 1 percent. Even polls of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Democrats found his numbers in the low-to-mid single digits.
By entering so late, Patrick also has other disadvantages. The big one: it's going to be very hard to qualify for the debates. It will also be hard for him to build a good staff when everyone is working for other campaigns. And he's already missed ballot deadlines in Alabama and in Arkansas.
So we never say never on this segment, and we're not doing that here, but I don't buy that Deval Patrick is likely to overcome all these challenges.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Nate for that. You can read more of his 2020 analysis at FiveThirtyEight.com.
And we will be right back with our roundtable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable is ready to go. And all week long, you can get the latest on politics and breaking news alerts on the ABC News app. We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: We have breaking news also out of Washington, D.C. Roger Stone, one of the president's longest serving political advisers, long time friend of the president has now been found guilty on seven counts of lying to Congress and tampering with a witness. This is a spin-off of Robert Mueller's investigation. He’s now facing up to 20 years in prison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Roger Stone to be sentenced this week. Lot to talk about, breaking news during the impeachment hearings and we have our round table here to go over all of it. Chris Christie, former Governor of New Jersey, now an ABC contributor, Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago, White House Chief of Staff for President Obama, also ABC contributor. CEO for Democracy for America, Yvette Simpson. Welcome to you. Barbara Comstock, former Republican member of Congress who served as Chief Counsel for the House Government Reform Committee during President Clinton’s impeachment. White House correspondent for The New York Times Maggie Haberman. Welcome to all of you. Let's start with the impeachment hearings, Rahm. Let me begin with you. You served in the House. How did your former colleagues do?
EMANUEL: Well I think all the colleagues. I think that the Democrats did a very good job in making sure that the facts, piece by piece, step by step forward got laid out. And I think that the Republicans actually in -- in -- I think there were two parts. By the second day, they were actually following the script they were supposed to do, be respectful. And obviously the president messed it up. So I would say that both parties, but in this situation you’ve got kind of the Jets and the Sharks already set up. And it's already been divided like that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that’s clearly -- I mean, they were divided going into the hearings, they seemed divided coming out. But Chris Christie, one of the things we did learn this week is that we expected there not to be any news during the hearings but in fact, on the first day, we learned about this new witness to Ambassador Sondland's conversation with the president and of course on Friday, President Trump's tweet. So things can happen during these hearings that have the chance of changing the dynamic.
CHRISTIE: Yes, I think things can happen, but I don't think they change the dynamic or change the needle. Listen, for those people who support the president, they're not offended by this conduct. They’re saying this is consistent with who he is and who we elected.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Attacking the ambassador?
CHRISTIE: Yes. This is -- this is -- this is who Donald Trump is, George. And -- and anybody who -- who thinks that this isn't who he is, it's who he's been all along. Substitute in the ambassador this week. Figure in any other tweets that have gone over the past three years, nearly, of his presidency now, and you see a rather consistent pattern. When somebody’s making his life difficult, he makes their life difficult. That’s the way he is. So for -- what I’m saying is for people who don't like him, this offends them even more and gets them even more angry. For the people who support him, they say, well, this is the guy we elected, this is the way he was -- I mean, remember, on -- on Access Hollywood weekend, he attacked Bill Clinton. Right? So we're now surprised over -- over this? I mean, it’s -- it’s more of the same.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the Republican strategy going into Friday was supposed to be Ambassador Yovanovitch is a sideshow, not important, not relevant. She was front and center after that tweet.
COMSTOCK: Yes, and that -- and that was a huge mistake, I think, by the president and it obviously sidelined, you know, what the Republicans had intended to do. So they spent a lot of their time -- I think almost every one of the members lauded her for her treatment. In particularly Congressman Will Herd read out all of her awards and everything. So I think the witnesses really won the week. I don't think there was particularly impressive questioning or anything on either side but I do think the witnesses came through very impressive.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is true, though, about one of the points that Chris is making right here is that -- and -- and -- and Rahm made as well, that it doesn't seem like anything is going to change the minds of those members on the committee.
SIMPSON: Well why would they? Right? The Republicans have nothing to lose by stonewalling. Right? If you're already on the side of Trump at this point, why would you defect at this point? And there's no burden on them. This is my -- you know, my big issue is the Democrats are being asked to -- to pull out, you know, rabbits out of hats and the Republicans have no duty to ask for truth, to try to get witnesses, to try to get evidence. They can -- they can do absolutely nothing and say that the Democrats did not meet their burden. And I think that’s unfair.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Maggie, you covered --
CHRISTIE: That’s what -- that’s what this is. When you have the majority, you have the burden.
SIMPSON: No, that's not true. This is their congressional duty and they should be seeking truth. And if they've not been compelled by what they've heard over the last two days...
COMSTOCK: But they are in the model of the Clinton impeachment where the president's party is defending him.
EMANUEL: This impeachment is -- we use the metaphor and analogy of Nixon and Clinton. I think we have to rejigger it, this impeachment hearing with all the witnesses is more about McCarthy, and go right back -- yes, because you have career people, you have career people, you have their entire reputation, professional reputation, being destroyed by both the Republicans and most importantly by the president of the United States and...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But smearing someone is not the impeachable offense.
EMANUEL: No, no, but that's why those hearings are the most -- are the analogy. We use -- everybody has, Nixon and Clinton impeachment hearings, as the juxtaposition. You have to go back, in my view, and it's not an accident with Roger Stone, Roy Cohn, this is president is not a lineage out of Richard Nixon, is a lineage out of Joe McCarthy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring Maggie in on this -- and I'll go back to the Clinton analogy, when Clinton was actually talking to Jake Tapper on CNN about this this week, he was able to compartmentalize during the impeachment hearings back in 1998, and his approval rating went above 60 percent. That is just not what President Trump -- he's probably tweeted 20 times this morning.
HABERMAN: That's not what he does, because that's not who he is. I think the governor's point was dead on, which is this is who Donald Trump is. Nobody should be surprised by this. One of the things we've heard since this inquiry began is the White House is going to affect a more organized war room. There's going to be a better effort to try to get everyone on the same page. Here's the message, there needs to be a better message coming out of the White House.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's a war room of one.
HABERMAN: Correct. And now it's become a war room of a couple added bodies. And it's made very little difference, in fairness to these new hires that the White House has made. There's nobody who can get the president to stay on message, stay on the track that they want him to. That tweet really upset a lot of his advisers on Friday. They were not planning for it. They did not want him to do it. And they knew that it was going to have a really negative effect for him. And, look, I don't know what the durable effect will be, but certainly that day it was not good for him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that gets to the question, Chris -- I mean, you are right, this is clearly in character for the president, one of the things we saw this week. But is it a smart strategy? Is there anyway to get a different kind of strategy going out of the White House?
CHRISTIE: No and no.
HABERMAN: It's not a strategy.
CHRISTIE: No and no. It's, first of all...
EMANUEL: You dressed it up by saying it's a strategy.
CHRISTIE: It's not a smart strategy to do this, because of all the reasons that we just talked about around the table, which I won't repeat. And is it possible, only if the president decides that he wants to do something differently. And I don't see the evidence that he does. You remember, he believes that the reason he got a -- what he considers a good result in Mueller is because he never let up on it. He was calling it a witch hunt from the beginning. He was attacking Mueller and the people around him, the 13 angry Democrats. We remember all those things. He believes that was the successful approach. And he's going to take exactly the same approach this time because that's -- because for two reasons,. one because he thinks it worked the last time; and two because that who he is. And this is not me defending it, but you know I grow weary of people like sitting here in wonder. We've been watching this.
COMSTOCK: But he does think that the Clinton administration -- I think he thinks impeachment helped Bill Clinton and he thinks it's going to help him. I don't think impeachment ever helps anybody. I think if you look at the 2000 election.
HABERMAN: I think he really doesn't...
CHRISTIE: I don't...
HABERMAN: No, he doesn't want to be impeached. I think he can talk himself into thinking that there is a possible political benefit to him down the road, but he is not enjoying this. And there's been lots of sort of happy talk coming out of people who have been around him saying, yes, he sees this as a good thing. He does not see this as a good thing.
CHRISTIE: I can tell you for sure, for sure, that he is not enjoying any part of this. He's angry about it. And, you know, what you see in these tweets is an expression of that anger.
SIMPSON: And he's not serving himself. Like, he's not helping himself. I agree when Marie Yovanovitch was prepared to testify I thought it would be a quiet day, right. She wasn't a key part of the July 25 phone call. She was talking about her termination. And then he goes and tweets and intimidates her and it becomes a story. Now imagine next week when you get Sondland.
COMSTOCK: The economy, the market was at its highest on Friday...
STEPHANOPOULOS: He got that tweet too.
EMANUEL: If you watch him over the trajectory, his biggest fear is that he gets exposed. That's what the tax issue is. That's what this is. That's why when Nancy said the job is bigger than him, she understands how to go at his psychology. And his biggest fear right now -- he doesn't enjoy impeachment, but it's also being exposed for what he really is. He wears a mask. He wears an outfit. He wears a character. And the real Donald Trump is getting exposed and for what he's done and that's what's driving him to the doctor.
SIMPSON: Well, and he doesn't have control over the situation, right. There's nothing he can do in that room. And I think that's one of the reasons why he's lashing out in these...
CHRISTIE: Well, part of the problem, too, is that nobody has control over the situation. And that's -- and that's what we saw this week in these -- in these hearings, is that the Democrats want things to go in a certain direction. Some of them stay disciplined. Some of them don't. And the Republicans are having to react to whatever the president is doing, to whatever strategy they have. So it's an out-of-control situation, which is going to lead to exactly what we talked about before, which is, he will be impeached. There's no question he will be impeached. And he will not be removed. And that's the end of the story.
EMANUEL: The physics of politics does not change, except for what's an interesting to me -- Bill Clinton actually went up during the process. Donald Trump has actually inched down. And he's inching down also among Republicans, not just independents.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to have to see how that plays out in the coming weeks.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I do want to bring that -- bring that to Maggie. It does seem like the Democrats in the House have passed the point of no return. Hard to imagine 15 Democrats switching their vote after opening the inquiry.
HABERMAN: That's right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The big question now is going to be, how is this handled in the Senate? And you see some debate night right now in Senate between those who think, let's dismiss it quickly on the Republican side, and those who think they want to drag out the hearing for -- I mean the trial -- for several weeks.
HABERMAN: Right. I think that there is enormous confusion, as you say. I think there is also a lack of certainty coming from the White House on exactly what they want. I have heard some signals from the White House that they would like a vote to dismiss, they would like this just to be gone, they don't want to have an up-or-down vote. I think there are senators who are concerned about the appearance...
STEPHANOPOULOS: We should talk about the process right there. If you get 51 votes, you can dismiss. But it's no guarantee that Mitt Romney, Susan Collins...
HABERMAN: Correct. Correct.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and others who are facing reelection are just going to...
COMSTOCK: And Mitch McConnell has indicated there will be a trial. I think they're...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, but they're having a debate about it.
HABERMAN: Yes, he has indicated that, but he has kept his options open too.
SIMPSON: And best believe folks like us who are going to be playing in these Senate races next year are watching really closely. And we're going to be pinning their faces to the wall, all of the vulnerable Senate Republicans who are up.
EMANUEL: They will be in a vice, the vulnerable Republicans and others who have a personal feeling towards this president, which is not warm. It's not even hot. That probably more is hot and anger. He has made their lives over the last three years miserable. They are not going to be able to dismiss this quickly. And it will, in the end of the day, result in a censure of the president for his action. And he, by attacking the censure, will make the censure more valuable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You think Republicans will vote for censure in the Senate?
EMANUEL: Yes. Yes. Yes.
CHRISTIE: I don't. I don't. But I do think that they will have a trial. I don't think there's any way, if you're a Republican in the Senate, that you can avoid a trial, because Mitch McConnell, what does he care about the most, more than anything? Staying majority leader. And so if you have got Susan Collins and Cory Gardner and a number of other vulnerable Republicans who are coming up in the 2020 race, you have to give a trial, because, in the end, what -- if I were McConnell, what I would say to the White House is, the result is going to be the result. And he's not going to give a censure.
EMANUEL: Nobody believes what he did here -- in fact, the FBI director, when you asked the question, George, of the president, the FBI director, the president's own appointee, weighed in on the idea of asking a foreign government for dirt on a political opponent and issued a judgment, not that he's a judge. Then there's no way that there are nine Republicans who are all knowing that they can't, A, dismiss a trial and be quick with this, they aren't going to reach a judgment and say, this requires more than just dismissal.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring the question on that back to Maggie, because I asked you at the beginning, you see wild cards, you see news during this time. And if you're talking about a rather lengthy trial, this could be spreading out until February, maybe even March, and things are going to happen between now and February and March. That could be a court case that determines whether or not John Bolton actually should testify. The Senate could call him. You have got the associates of Rudy Giuliani who have been indicted in New York. At least one of them, Lev Parnas, seems to indicate that he wants to be cooperating with the Southern District, maybe even the Congress. So there could be new information here with the potential at least to change minds.
HABERMAN: There could be. As you say, this is all going to depend on events that fill the next couple of months. And we don't know. There's also the outstanding case of the president's tax returns and whether those get released and/or accessible by members of Congress or by Cy Vance, the Manhattan district attorney. There is a lot that could happen. I also want to raise one point from yesterday, which is that there was a second in a row loss in a red state governor's race, where the president openly turned it into a referendum on himself.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He was tweeting on that all day as well.
HABERMAN: And there was -- and he didn't have to make it so much about, you have to do this for me, you have to give me a win, is literally what he said. There was another option. I don't know that he's capable of the other option, but there was another way to handle it. If you're him, and you're these senators, and you know that he's been pressuring you for years to stick with him, do you see this result and think that maybe the voters are not as much with him as it seemed? Is there...
EMANUEL: Once a curtain comes up that you don't have the mojo, that he can't do what he's supposed to do for you, your political capital shrinks dramatically and the fear factor shrinks with it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How does the president process Louisiana and Kentucky now?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think Kentucky is easier. I think they're both explainable, first off, having done these governor's races and been the chairman of the RGA. In the first one, on Bevin's, was that Bevin was just not a well-liked person. And when all other five Republicans won statewide underneath the ticket by comfortable margins, this wasn't a referendum on the president. It was a referendum on Matt Bevin, as most governor's races are. On the Louisiana race, listen, I worked with John Bel Edwards for a while. He's not a Democrat (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- crazy liberal.
CHRISTIE: Yes, he's not a crazy liberal. He’s a moderate Democrat in Louisiana.
COMSTOCK: He signed a pro-life bill in (ph) Louisiana.
CHRISTIE: Right. So -- so you know, most incumbent governors get re-elected if they don't do something to disqualify themselves --
EMANUEL: -- you're white washing this. The fact is --
CHRISTIE: No it's not a white wash --
CHRISTIE: -- your elections, when you win, it's not about anybody else other than the candidate.
SIMPSON: Here’s the point --
EMANUEL: -- he put his capital down, he lost it.
SIMPSON: He -- he made -- he made the -- he made it about him in two deeply red states that are critical for next year. Mitch McConnell should be shaking in his boots.
CHRISTIE: Oh, stop (ph). No, no (ph) --
CHRISTIE: Mitch McConnell’s looking at the fact that the first Republican --
SIMPSON: He’s also unpopular in the state.
CHRISTIE: -- African-American attorney general -- Republican -- was elected statewide in Kentucky --
STEPHANOPOULOS: In Kentucky.
CHRISTIE: -- and -- and by the way, worked for Mitch --
SIMPSON: Because most people didn’t know (ph) he was a Republican.
CHRISTIE: Oh, OK. (Inaudible). So let me understand this, Yvette --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hold on, guys --
CHRISTIE: When somebody -- when somebody gets elected who’s a Republicans it’s because they didn’t know he’s a Republican but when they lost, it’s because he’s a Republican.
SIMPSON: He --
CHRISTIE: This is why people listen to stuff like this and they shake their heads.
SIMPSON: I saw all the messages coming in my TV.
CHRISTIE: Yes, with a -- with a Republican governor -- with a Republican governor and Republican legislature (ph) --
EMANUEL: The biggest election in Ohio (ph) was Delaware County in Pennsylvania. Suburban county, five Republicans on the county board are up. It’s the most Republican county of the three suburban counties. All five go out. And Barbara, in the Republican caucus, Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Delaware County, which one rose to the top where everybody said -- took a step back and their breath came in?
EMANUEL: That’s right --
COMSTOCK: Because --
EMANUEL: Battleground district, battleground state (ph).
COMSTOCK: And the suburbs, if -- if -- pretty consistently, if the president is over 50, 52 percent disapprove, there's not a path to win.
EMANUEL: Wipeout. (Inaudible).
STEPHANOPOULOS: Got to take a quick break. New poll has Mayor Pete surging to a big lead in Iowa. We'll be back to analyze all the latest on 2020 in just 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your timeframe for making a decision on whether to run?
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Well, I swore to not answer that question. But we're getting closer.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I -- as I say, never, never, never say never. And I -- I will certainly tell you I’m under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This 2020 election does not stand for the year, it stands for the number of people running in 2020.
BOOKER: And it (ph) -- damn, every time I turn around, more people are jumping in the race for crying out loud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Deval Patrick in this week, Mayor Bloomberg may be coming in next week. We’ll talk about all this now. The Democratic side on our round table, they are back now. And I do want to start, though, with that new news out of Iowa last night. Brand new poll by the Des Moines Register and CNN showing Mayor Pete Buttigieg just surging there among likely Iowa caucus goers to now nearly a 10-point lead over Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, who is falling -- both Warren and Biden falling from the last poll. Bernie Sanders actually rising from the last poll up to 15 percent. So it’s still bunched up right there. Amy Klobuchar there at six percent. But a big, big move for Mayor Pete. Rahm Emanuel, what does it tell you?
EMANUEL: Well I think Mayor Pete’s the winner not because of those numbers. With all the -- here's what was going to happen about a week ago. He was about to get the NBA treatment the same way Elizabeth Warren was about to -- got the NBA treatment over the last three weeks. Everybody that was about to do that, went and chased (ph) Bloomberg and Deval Patrick. And he’s left alone in Iowa and New Hampshire to keep running the campaign he’s going to do. What's interesting about the upcoming debate is I think he --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Wednesday night.
EMANUEL: Wednesday night. I think there's a number of people on that stage who have been very nice to him who are going to now start to turn to him. And he’s all of a sudden going to get his Andy Warhol moment. And -- but this is what presidential campaigns are about. And if he can handle this, it’s going to say something. If he can’t handle it, it’s also going to say something. So in my view, not just the numbers, he benefited by the distraction, because he was about to get focused on in a way that he had not been focused on.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And -- and -- and it does appear that in some ways he’s becoming the centrist alternative -- relatively centrist alternative to Joe Biden. And Barack Obama, surprisingly, weighed in on this whole debate this week speaking to the Democracy Alliance. I want to play that.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. They like seeing things improved, but the average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it's important not to lose sight of that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: We've had a lot of Democrats said that it's at least an indirect shot at Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
SIMPSON: Which is funny, because if you go back to video of Barack Obama in 2007 running against Hillary Clinton, he was the insurgent candidate. He was bucking the system, she was the establishment. He was -- I'm curious about what this does. You know, it's interesting, though, I do believe we all have a lot of love for Barack Obama, no one is going to address it. But it's also a sign that the centrist, the moderate, they are in trouble, right. And so they're trying to put out their big gun to say, hey, let's not be so left. Let's not do that.
COMSTACK: The Democrats have the problem we had in 2016.
SIMPSON: Well, it's not a problem.
COMSTOCK: Is that you're being pulled to the left. And that the other candidates -- nobody is really coming up to take that down. And that's why you have more people wanting to come in. But I think it's going to keep going longer and longer and the left is running things now in a way that Rahm has well pointed out could really be disastrous for them.
SIMPSON: I don't agree with that but...
EMANUEL: Look, as I said a week, this is a battle between revolutionaries versus reformers. Yvette is -- and you are right, he was the insurgent, but he was not the revolutionary. You're confusing the two words. He never -- in fact, if you look at the health care proposals, Hillary was for a universal mandate, he was for a child mandate. He actually had the more moderate position on health care. He never, ever -- was an insurgent just by the fact that he was in the Senate for an hour-and-a-half to unpack to run for president.
SIMPSON: There are videos of Barack Obama...
EMANUEL: He was not the revolutionary.
SIMPSON: There are videos of Barack Obama that sound like Elizabeth Warren talking about millionaires and billionaires and the elite class.
EMANUEL: Temperament and issue wise, he was the moderate candidate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris, I know you actually don't want to get in this debate.
CHRISTIE: Can I say how much I love this? And listen, why -- I love Yvette and everybody who thinks like her...
SIMPSON: 70 percent of Americans.
CHRISTIE: Of course. Why listen to Barack Obama? He only won twice. I would love to have Democrats ignore Barack Obama, ignore his advice, minimize him, because he only won twice. I mean, this is...
SIMPSON: I'm reminding them of the Barack Obama that won the first time, the important one.
CHRISTIE: No, you're fantasizing about that Barack Obama who won...
SIMPSON: I was there.
CHRISTIE: So was I.
EMANUEL: Parties always do this, it's either a center left or a center right. And the key part I would just say, the first word is center. And you got to remember that, because you are going to get to the 51 plus, you've got to make sure the center counts.
STEPHANOPOULOS: On the center, Mike Bloomberg clearly thinks he at least has a chance of owning the center. Maggie, I want to bring you -- and of course, The New York Times covers Mike Bloomberg. You've covered him as well. All signs point to him probably getting in the race this week, probably getting into it in a brand new and incredibly big way. In the past, he'd always said I'm only going to get in if I think I have a chance to win. Are we seeing something a little bit different here?
HABERMAN: I don't actually think that there is some strong evidence that they're seeing he has a chance. I think he's 77-years-old. He's wanted to run for president certainly as long as I've covered him, which is now going on 20 years. So, I think if he wasn't going to do it now, it's a real this is my last shot. He, obviously, has a lot of money that he can spend. He has more than anybody. He has a story to tell about being mayor, but he also has a lot of controversy that has followed him, including about the stop and frisk program that the NYPD ran, including comments he has made about women over the years. And just on a basic level he's not a natural candidate. He's not a natural candidate. And when you're running for president, it's harder to do it just on television.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What he believes, Rahm, is the numbers show that what Democratic voters care about more than anything else is electability, that he would have a chance to defeat a President Trump. And he's already announced $100 million anti-Trump campaign. Is it conceivable that someone can get in the race, say, on Super Tuesday, spend who knows how much money in the big states and actually have a chance?
EMANUEL: Yes. But let me go to what it's saying, both Bloomberg and Deval Patrick, the issue, basically, and this is also what President Obama said. And I give Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders credit, they have brought their A game to the policy debate. There is a new history from the New Deal to the New Frontier, to the new covenant President Clinton to the One America under President Obama of respecting the value of work, shared responsibility, equal access to opportunity. And the fact is, free income, free college, guaranteed health care has walked away from the traditional value system that Democrats, traditional liberal system, going from Roosevelt backwards. Look, Social Security, payroll tax, Medicare, payroll tax, Earned Income Tax Credit is based on work. AmeriCorps under President Clinton is value of service to country. And that traditional argument, both Deval Patrick, Mike Bloomberg and Barack Obama, notice have not spoken up, and all the other candidates have got to bring their A game, like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have, to the policy debate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, I wonder if Elizabeth Warren was getting some part of that message this week. She did announce a major pretty major shift in her position on Medicare for all. She'd been hard line for Medicare for all, including taking away people's private health insurance, in her plan. But now she says, no, at first, we're going to basically pass what Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden have been talking about, Medicare for all who want it, in the first 100 days, put off the big plan for later.
SIMPSON: You know, I don't know where that's coming from. I do think her trying to answer questions, be a little bit more practical, making sure that she's not giving room for these new corporate folks to make it look like she's impractical, I think is something she's doing. She's trying to get back into the front-runner status, and in part because of what Pete Buttigieg is seeing happen with him. But I want to take a couple steps back, because I do think you see Pete Buttigieg kind of stepping up. Joe Biden, who we all thought was -- I didn't think -- most of folks thought he was the most electable a couple months back, is now flailing. So the entrance of Deval Patrick, the entrance of Mike Bloomberg is people saying: Hey, we don't think Pete Buttigieg is going to be the guy. Biden is falling back. Who is going to be the standard-bearer for corporate Democrats? And so I think what Elizabeth Warren is doing -- and I think it's a mistake -- backing off of her position, is making it so now progressives will be rallying around Bernie, and it will cause him to surge, because they are still looking for someone who's going to carry that mantle. And they want that person to at least go into the presidency with a revolutionary idea, even if that means that you got to compromise it when you get into the office.
COMSTOCK: One of the other interesting things, I think, when you look at the field is how the women -- now that Elizabeth Warren is leading, Democrat men seem to think that they don't want that. And it's interesting. I think there's still an element of sexism. It's on both sides.
SIMPSON: Oh, absolutely.
COMSTOCK: And the Democrats are suffering from that. And I think that was an impact in '16, Democrat men who didn't want to vote for Hillary Clinton. And now I think there's something within the party that is saying, we shouldn't elect a woman. And so I think it's interesting to see that happen on the Democrats' side.
SIMPSON: I think that’s right
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have thrown a lot on the table right there, but that is actually all we have time for right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. All week long, we're going to have live coverage of the impeachment hearings starting on Tuesday at 9:00 Eastern. And I will see you tomorrow on "GMA."