'This Week' Transcript 12-8-19: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Sen. Cory Booker

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, December 8.

ByABC News
December 8, 2019, 9:33 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, November 10, 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.



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The president leaves us no choice but to act.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Nancy Pelosi directs Democrats to draft impeachment articles against President Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a hoax. It's a big, fat hoax.


STEPHANOPOULOS: The parties deeply divided on the politics and the law.


NOAH FELDMAN, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: President Trump's conduct clearly constitutes impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors.



STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House is bypassing the House process, looking ahead to the trial in the Senate. As the Democrats debate how many charges to file, what will this mean for the rest of their agenda and their chances in 2020? Our guests this week, two members of the House Judiciary Committee, Democrat Zoe Lofgren, Republican Matt Gaetz. Plus, Kamala Harris drops out.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): I cannot tell you that I have a path forward if I don't believe I do.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Joe Biden riled up.




STEPHANOPOULOS: Growing pains for Michael Bloomberg.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I endorsed Cory Booker a number of times. He's very well-spoken.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not up to me to be his teacher on this issue.


STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning, the latest on the Democratic race, Cory Booker joins us live, plus, Rahm Emanuel and Chris Christie on our powerhouse roundtable. We will 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." The witnesses have been heard, the reports written. Constitutional scholars have weighed in, the party lines harder by the week. And now that Nancy Pelosi has declared Democrats have no choice, there is no turning back. President Trump on track to become the third American president in history to be impeached, likely by Christmas. Next step, the House Judiciary Committee will draft, debate, and vote on articles of impeachment this week. They convene first thing Monday morning. And we're joined now by two members of that committee, Democrat Zoe Lofgren, Democrat Matt Gaetz. And, Congresswoman Lofgren, let me begin with you. You have played a role in every modern impeachment. And we're going to show our viewers some of that evidence right there. You were on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment back in 1973 -- a member of that committee for Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998 -- and the impeachment of President Trump today. But it appears that at least half the country is unconvinced by your contention that the allegations against President Trump are more serious than the charges against Nixon and Clinton. Make the concise version of that case.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, in the Nixon case, he used presidential powers to influence improperly the election. He covered it up using the FBI, the CIA. He abused his power and was voted articles of impeachment as a consequence.

In the case of President Trump, not only has he abused his power to improperly put his thumb on the -- on the scale for the election, he used a foreign power to do it. And that is -- really hits all of the buttons that the founding fathers were concerned about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, as you know, the Republicans have made the case that the president didn't get what he wanted. He didn't get the investigation. The aid went through.

LOFGREN: Well, the aid was suspended for a while. As a matter of fact, people died while it was suspended. But he did use that power to get that. And it's not over. I mean, he is using agents to get improper things done to try and tar his opponent. And Rudy Giuliani, his agent, is in Ukraine meeting with KGB-trained people today. This is an ongoing threat to the national security.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The president said yesterday that he's going to take a report from Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani is going to report to the attorney general.

LOFGREN: Well, I -- that's very interesting. But the fact that Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Sondheim (sic) have acted to try and pervert the national interest to the personal interest is of tremendous concern. It's an ongoing threat to the national security. And it's an abuse of power that is -- needs to be dealt with, really. It's -- it's depressing, honestly. I wish the president's behavior had been better.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You didn't think the Democrats should move to impeach based on the Mueller report. Does that mean you're against including evidence laid out by Mueller on possible obstruction of justice in these articles of impeachment?

LOFGREN: My personal view is, we should proceed only on those items where we have direct evidence.And there is a lot of direct evidence relative to the abuse of power and Ukraine and the Russians, relative to the Biden investigation. The Mueller report is a report. We don't have a direct witness testimony for most of that, so I think we'd be on firmest ground to move forward where we have direct evidence as with the report we will receive tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. from the intelligence committee.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are going to be covering that, but that gets to the other question that has been raised about the speed with which the Democrats are going forward. You're not going to have the evidence, as you said, from the Mueller report. Don McGahn hasn't testified yet to the House Judiciary Committee. You don't have the evidence of Mick Mulvaney, of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Rudy Giuliani, you just called an agent of the president right there.

And The Washington Post had an editorial this weekend. And here's what they had to say about that. They said the judiciary committee may well have enough evidence to draw up articles of impeachment but the witnesses and documents that Mr. Trump is improperly blocking might well provide a fuller, and to many Americans, more persuasive picture of his guilt. An American democracy cannot afford for Congress to fail to establish its right to obtain them. The fight for them must not be given up." Why not wait for those witnesses?

LOFGREN: Well, the president has improperly withheld those witnesses. The idea that there's absolute immunity is preposterous. There is no basis in law or in the constitution for that. I'm mindful that the last time we fully litigated that claim, it took 18 months. So to allow the president to engage in frivolous appeals so that the appeals extend beyond his term of office really is not what the constitution provides. The constitution says, the congress shall have the sole authority when it comes to impeachment.

And so the question is, with the evidence we have, can we make a sound conclusion? I think we can, but when we get our presentation tomorrow from the Intelligence Committee, I think all of us will have a chance to say all of this direct evidence can we reach a conclusion and move forward as our responsibility under the constitution provides, and I think the answer is likely yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Back in 1998 you warned Republicans against undoing -- that was your word -- a free election expressing the will of the people. Here's what you had to say.


LOFGREN: You will set the dangerous precedent that the certainty of presidential terms, which is so benefited our wonderful America, will be replaced by the partisan use of impeachment. Future presidents will face election, then litigation, then impeachment.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Republicans are echoing that argument today. They're saying that's exactly what has happened.

LOFGREN: Well, what I should have said, and I think I did say throughout the Clinton impeachment was, first you need a high crime and misdemeanor. Lying about sex is not an abuse of presidential power, maybe husband power. And certainly Trump has done the same thing when it comes to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. We're not proceeding on his lies about his affairs. That has nothing to do with the abuse of presidential power any more than it did in the Clinton administration.

Here, we have an instance, as we did with Nixon, of abuse of the power that is vested in the president. And the founders were very concerned that the president that they had created in the constitution had enormous powers. And if unchecked, if the use of that power was made to subvert the constitutional order, there had to be a remedy and that remedy was impeachment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, I do want to ago you about this shooting in Pensacola. The Pensacola naval base on Friday by that Saudi national. FBI still investigating whether or not it was a preplanned terrorist attack, whether or not there were accomplices, but in the wake of this shooting does the United States need to be rethinking our relationship with Saudi Arabia?

LOFGREN: Well, I have a lot of concerns. We have, you know -- they murdered a U.S. person who was a reporter for The Washington Post, murdered and dismembered that reporter. And we've never gotten accounting for that.

So, yes, there are a lot of questions about Saudi Arabia.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congresswoman Lofgren, thanks for joining us this morning.

LOFGREN: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now by the congressman from Pensacola, Matt Gaetz. Congressman Gaetz, thank you for joining us this morning. First, our condolences to your entire community in the wake of this shooting.

Let me ask you the same question I just asked Congresswoman Lofgren, do you think it's time to rethink the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia?

REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: Well, George, thank you for your condolences. The military is not a feature of my community, it is the defining characteristic of my community. And I've dealt with killed in action down range, active duty suicide, but there is a special kind of grief when the bravest most patriotic Americans are putting themselves in harm's way to train people from other countries to be able to protect and defend their own country and then they kill us for it.

This isn't the first time my community has experienced that type of grief, and it is deeply, deeply painful.

Of course, what happened in Pensacola has to inform on our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia. That is the message I directly delivered to the Saudi ambassador when she called to offer her condolences. There are Saudi’s that are currently with us that are being investigated, and I made the point as clearly as I possibly could that we want no interference from the kingdom as it relates to Saudis that we have, and if there are Saudi’s that we do not have that may have been involved in any way in the planning, inspiration, financing or execution of this, that we expect Saudi Intelligence to work with our government to find the people accountable and hold them responsible. And I was given every assurance from the ambassador that that would occur.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think the president has been tough enough with Saudi Arabia, has delivered the message in the same way you have?

GAETZ: I am very grateful to the president for being so on top of this. We've been communicating regularly. And I can tell you that what you saw from Secretary Esper in terms of ordering a review of this program is a consequence of the president's leadership.

We need to have a review of this program and it's my belief that as Secretary Esper is looking at the recordkeeping, the accounting for these Saudi nationals that are in our country, the continuous observance and monitoring of their activities to ensure that there's not radicalization, while that’s going on, we should pause this program. We should not be taking new incoming Saudi students until we're absolutely confident in our vetting process.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, OK, let's move on now to impeachment. And you just heard Congresswoman Lofgren right there discussing Rudy Giuliani's trip to Ukraine this week, a trip that you said was weird.

You're not the only one. Dan Eberhart, a strong supporter of President Trump, donor to President Trump, said: The fact that Giuliani is back in Ukraine is like a murder suspect returning to the crime scene to live-stream themselves moon dancing. It's brazen on a galactic level.

Is it wise for Rudy Giuliani to be there? Or -- and you just heard Congresswoman Lofgren say it could be more examples of an abuse of power by the president.

GAETZ: I would never compare Mayor Giuliani to a murder suspect. Let's remember, this is the guy who took down the mob in the '90s and who was out there leading a lot of -- the city of New York during the terrible events of 9/11. So, I think he gets the benefit of the doubt that he's not akin to a murder suspect.

But it is weird that he's over there and I’m grateful that very soon after, I made those comments on CNN, the president put out a statement that said that Rudy Giuliani does want to come into Congress and explain his role, explain what he's been up to. And I believe that the president urging Mayor Giuliani to provide that clarity to the Congress will be helpful in resolving what seems to be odd having him over there at this time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the -- Mayor Giuliani said he's actually representing the president while he's over there and, of course, it's the president who has blocked his top witnesses with direct evidence from coming to the Congress. You believe that Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo should all come testify now?

GAETZ: I believe that Rudy Giuliani has indicated that he wants to. So, I think that's a moot point. As it relates to the other members of the executive branch, the president has to make decisions not only for him but for the presidency. I think it would inure to the president's advantage to have people testify who could exculpate him, but they -- we want to preserve an executive branch where there are out-of-the-box strategy sessions where people come up with crazy ideas and reject those ideas and hone them.

And if everyone is always worried from now going forward that if you suggest something to the president or you're engaging in conditions conversations about an upcoming challenge, that that’s going to be read out verbatim to the Congress and the country, I think it could -- it could impair the type of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that we want to see in the executive. So, I know it's a tough balance for the president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats are clearly making the case that they’re going to say that the president abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in the election, by soliciting interference so that the investigation of Joe Biden -- even your witness this week, even Professor Turley said that the president's phone call was not appropriate. It was not perfect. Can you explain to the American people why you think it's OK for the president of the United States to ask a foreign nation to investigate a political opponent and withhold a White House meeting at the same time?

GAETZ: I reject the premise of the question and that's what the president was doing. I think the president was acting on a sincere, longley held view and skepticism of foreign aid. I think he was acting on concern about Ukraine being the third most corrupt country in the world.

And I think he was also reflecting specific concern about this Biden connection to Burisma. And remember, it was George Kent, a witness called by the Democrats, who came forward and said, we were so worried about Burisma that our own embassy had to pull out of a public/private partnership that they were engaged in.

But what is so dizzying, George, is the evolving standard for impeachment from Democrats. Through most of 2019, Nancy Pelosi said she opposed impeachment not because the Mueller facts weren't strong enough in her view, but because it wasn't bipartisan. She set the standard of bipartisanship for impeachment.

The only thing that's changed now is that we're moving into an election year and she's willing to pursue a partisan impeachment.

And you look back to 1998, Jerry Nadler, our chairman, was saying that it was ripping votes asunder to pursue a partisan impeachment and no impeachment would be legitimate if it was primarily supported by one party and opposed by another. This impeachment is exclusively supported by Democrats in Congress. It's not just that Democrats can't persuade people like me who support the president, they can't even persuade Republicans like Will Hurd, who are critics of the president, to support this impeachment. So they continue to move the goalpost. And my friend Zoe Lofgren, one of the nicest people in Congress, she compared the impeachment in 1998 to fascism, George, fascism.

Now, I don't think that history looks kindly on the '98 impeachment and I certainly don't think it will look kindly on the inevitable impeachment of the -- of the president today.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Gaetz, thanks for your time this morning.

GAETZ: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable's up next.

And, later, Cory Booker joins us live.

We'll be right back.



REPORTER: Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?



PELOSI: I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody -- not anybody in the world. So don't accuse me --

REPORTER: I did not accuse you.

PELOSI: You did. You did.

REPORTER: I asked the question. Representative Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing because they don’t like the guy.

PELOSI: I have nothing to do with it. Let me just say this.

This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president's violation of his oath of office. I don't hate anyone. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Angry House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she declared the Democrats have no choice but to impeach President Trump to forward on that.

Let’s about it now on our roundtable, our contributors: Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel; Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson; and Republican strategist Alice Stewart.

And, Rahm, let me begin with you. You know the speaker well. She would not have come out and made that declaration if she didn't have the votes.

RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Which one, the one about hate or the one about --


STEPHANOPOULOS: The first one about impeachment.



STEPHANOPOULOS: But have Democrats made the case to the country, what needs to happen now?

EMANUEL: In the beginning of the process, yes. For the end of the process, that's going to be an evolving piece of that. Look, you have a situation which I actually think knowing the speaker she's weighing, and I think there's a bit of a torture here. She knows that there's two guardrails. One is, you don't want to normal normalize impeachment and make it a way to solve political problems. On the other hand, you have a case where the president of the United States has subverted our national interests for his personal interests. And you have the kind of the lesson coming out of Bork for the Supreme Court, you have this process that keeps evolving of a mutually assured destruction. And I think for Nancy, this was an act that if you don't do this, you normalize something for the president of the United States to be acting as if they're above the law. And that to me is what is happening. On the other hand, she knows the consequence of what this may trigger for other presidents and other congresses down the road, and that is the two guardrails that are guiding her actions at this point. And I do believe they've made the case that a president of the United States is acting in subverting the national interest for personal interest. That means he is acting above the law, and therefore, Congress has a constitutional responsibility. And she does take it seriously, very seriously, and is instructive of it, which is why she was reluctant for an entire year and a half.

STEPHANOPOULOS: She had to move. Meantime, what we’re seeing from the president, he says, go and get it over with quickly, not participating in the House. Is that a smart move?

CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it is. I mean, he can't gain anything through a process that's already been determined in its conclusion, as you said in our initial question to Rahm. She would not do this if she didn't have the votes. I’ve been saying this as you know, for weeks. She's got the votes. Take the vote. Get the 218. Move on to the Senate where they don't have the votes and get to the election. You know, the fact is every Democrat who speaks about this, you find the clip of them in 1998 decrying this very process and talking about how wrong that was.

And I love to -- her comparison that was not an abuse of power by Bill Clinton. I find it interesting that someone who is the president of the United States preying upon a 22-year-old intern and using the power of the presidency and the aura of the Oval Office to do it is not an abuse of power.

YVETTE SIMPSON, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Let's look at Lindsey Graham -- who was probably one of the most outspoken people in the Clinton impeachment --

CHRISTIE: Clips on both sides.

SIMPSON: Oh, yes, he sounds like a different person.

CHRISTIE: So, two wrongs make a right in that category.

SIMPSON: No, look, be consistent, right? So, if you could find a reason to impeach a President -- Clinton -- for the things that he did, why can you not find that same thing.

CHRISTIE: The very same people are saying opposite things. Zoe is saying in 1998 this is the wrong. But in 2019, it's right. That's not consistent --

SIMPSON: Two different.

EMANUEL: Apples and oranges.


ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Nancy Pelosi herself said that during the Clinton impeachment that this was motivated by Republicans' hatred of Bill Clinton. So, we’re seeing the same thing just from different sides of the tribal --


SIMPSON: It’s different this time.

STEWART: And to Rahm's point about normalizing impeachment, what we have is this impeachment process has been driven in large part due to the Democrats' hatred of Donald Trump. And that --

SIMPSON: That can't be further from the truth.


STEWART: It lowers the standard for impeachment is a very different --


EMANUEL: You have -- no, no, (INAUDIBLE) you have a president -- first of all, can you have my time back. Name me five presidents that asked a foreign government to come in here and basically do op research on a political rival. Name five, name all five. It's never happened.

SIMPSON: There aren't any.

EMANUEL: This is a totally different situation.


EMANUEL: You’re inviting a foreign power and it goes to the very words of the three constitutional lawyers and the 500 who signed the letter, who has outlined the fact that you've set up an establishment where a president of the United States inverses two things here. One, he has said that a foreign power can get themselves involved in American election. He said it in China, he said it about Russia and he said it about Ukraine. The second thing that I think is really crazy here. He's saying, my personal lawyer could testify, but the secretary of state, who's a confirmed position, the attorney general, who is a confirmed position, the secretary of energy, who is a confirmed position, cannot testify.

That is an inversion of the way the process...


SIMPSON: And it's a clear -- clear evidence of obstruction of Congress.


STEWART: Three key points on that.

In this phone call, the July 25 phone call, Zelensky and Trump both have said they didn't feel any pressure there. Zelensky himself did not know that aid was being withheld. And, third and most important point, the aid was released without condition.

So that is a key component...


EMANUEL: The aid was released because the story got broke, not just because the president had a change of heart.


STEPHANOPOULOS: What Democrats are saying is, the request is the problem. Requesting an interference from a foreign nation is the issue. But...

SIMPSON: Exactly. And it's still going on today, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's the question I wanted to bring to Chris Christie. One of the things I think you're seeing the Democrats develop as these articles are going to be written, they're going to be talking about a pattern. They're going to be talking about the president inviting Russia back in 2016, inviting China and Ukraine now. And it's still continuing, we just saw, with Rudy Giuliani.

How can the president allow his personal attorney to be doing this right now?

CHRISTIE: I think that's what the president wants. He wants to create even greater sense of chaos, George, and wants to normalize that behavior. He wants to say, listen, there was nothing wrong with what I did then, and there's nothing wrong with him doing what he's doing. That's what -- that is his strategy. His strategy is to call this a hoax, to defy exactly what Congress is saying, because he says it's wrong and it's untrue. That's his -- that's his play. And I think anybody who's watched him for all these years would not expect him to have any other play. What do you think he's going to do? Go and sit in the Oval Office and have a contemplative moment and say like, oh, boy, maybe I was wrong?


CHRISTIE: By the way, that's not who he is.

EMANUEL: Here's the thing.

CHRISTIE: He is a fighter.

EMANUEL: This is what the Stanford professor said. Can you imagine President Obama, after Sandy, the storm in New Jersey, saying to Chris Christie, who greets him at the airport, I would like to give you this aid for your emergency building, but before I give it to you, I'd like a little help, though?


EMANUEL: Ukraine is fighting for their existence against Russia. And the president is holding that aid until he cracks him to get involved in the American election researching a political rival of the opposite party.

That is what's happening. And if Chris Christie said -- put him up against the wall at a moment that the state of New Jersey relies on him to secure the billions of dollars to rebuild, that would have been wrong and an impeachable offense. And it would never happen, because nobody would have done that, in the sense of...


EMANUEL: ... New Jersey and what the governor needed.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Yvette, how do Democrats deal with the end -- that there can be a lot of reasons for this -- the fact that there are no Republicans, maybe Justin Amash, former Republican, in the House who are going to vote for impeachment?

SIMPSON: Well, I mean, we knew that, right? What do the Republicans have to lose by stonewalling, right? They're not going to step out. The ones who have been vilified. As soon as Mitt Romney started making his comments, Trump comes after him. They gain nothing by doing the right thing, right?

They believe they work for the president, which I think Nancy Pelosi has said, rather than working for the American people and to protect the Constitution.

What we have heard, which I'm curious about -- I would love to ask the governor if it's true -- that there might be some Senate Republicans, if they were able to take a private vote, that would actually vote for impeachment.

So the question is, would -- can that process happen...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me take a version of that question to Alice.

Let's say the president -- Chris is right about the president's strategy. Nothing to see here. Didn't do anything wrong. Going to do it again.

Is that something that Republicans in the Senate can stand behind? Or do they need what has happened in every other scandal, in every other impeachment, whether it's Iran-Contra, Bill Clinton, some kind of apology, some -- some concession from the president?

Don't think that's going to happen? Do some Republican senators need it?

STEWART: Senate Republicans are lockstep with this president. They don't see that he did anything wrong.

Look, a lot of them will agree, like I do, it was inappropriate, but they didn't see a quid pro quo. They didn't see high crimes and misdemeanor, treason or bribery. And they're going to stand firm with their position on this. And it's not going to change.

The question is, what are the 31 Democrats in the House going to do in districts that President Trump won? How are they going to go and vote for this? That's going to be difficult. It's one thing to go out and vote for articles of impeachment inquiry. Completely different to vote for an impeachment.

And they're going to -- they're going to have -- face some challenges in 2020 if they do.


EMANUEL: Well, in the House or the Senate?

STEPHANOPOULOS: The House, I mean, for these members?

EMANUEL: No, it's not going to be a tough vote, because the politics have moved, when you have 53 percent of the people saying that it should be an impeachment here.

I will say this. If you think lockstep is a good message for Susan Collins or Gardner in Colorado, I'm more than willing to...


SIMPSON: Absolutely.

EMANUEL: Not going to be a good vote. Not going to be. And that's why they're going to look for room here.

Here's the thing for the Republicans. In '98, they overshot the runway on impeachment. Their danger here is, they're going to undershoot the consequences of this runway.

CHRISTIE: Well, Jeff Van Drew in blue New Jersey has already said he's not voting for impeachment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. He's the Democrat.


CHRISTIE: And so the idea that this...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Maybe Collin Peterson in Minnesota as well.

CHRISTIE: That's right.

To say this is going to be an easy vote for some of those swing district Democrats has already proven to be wrong, because one of them already, in one of the bluest states in the country, my state...

EMANUEL: That district is...


CHRISTIE: Well, but -- but, Rahm, you know what? He has an easy vote for some of those swing district Democrats is already proving to be wrong, because one of them already, in one of the bluest states in the country, my state -- well, but Rahm, you know what, he has plenty of support -- wait a second, he has plenty of support from the governor, from all the other members of his congressional delegation, and from the two Democratic United States Senators, Jeff Van Drew can raise enough money to overcome anything. He's decided he doesn't want to do this.

And in terms of overshooting the runway, Nancy Pelosi knows she's overshooting the runway here, but she has no choice because the majority...

SIMPSON: Popular opinion is at a higher rate than it was in the Nixon impeachment, period.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can a president afford to lose one, two, or three Senators on...

CHRISTIE: I think he can afford to lose two. I think he can afford to lose two. That gets him to 49. So you don't have a majority of the United States Senate voting for removal. And I think that can be a good place where he lands. And that allows someone like Susan Collins and Cory Gardner to take a walk.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That assumes Romney holds firm.

CHRISTIE: Well, you know, listen, I saw Mitt Romney at the vaping meeting in the White House sitting right next to the president at that vaping meeting and agreeing with him and urging him to do certain things. I don't think anybody thought you'd see Mitt Romney at the White House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring this question to you, because I think Chris just raised an important standard right there. If on any article of impeachment, a majority of the Senate votes to convict, how serious a problem for the president?

STEWART: That would be extremely serious. But, you have to look at this from the standpoint of, that doesn't look like it's going to happen. Certainly, the House is going to move forward. I don't see the Senate -- if a few Republicans decide to go that route, there will be a few Democrats, I say, that will vote with the Republicans and with the support of the president.

The thing that is important to keep in mind from the public opinion standpoint we're virtually where we were at the beginning. The needle hasn't moved significantly. And if something -- if there does need to be consequences for this action, which I do think is inappropriate. I don't impeachment is the correct consequence. If there needs to be consequence, let the voters do it in November, let the voters vote him out of office if he did something wrong.

EMANUEL: Here's the thing, Rudy's act and the president's act works in the House for the moderate Republicans in the Senate, who are going to face races, normalizing the idea that you can go around overseas and have countries and governments and players influence American politics is going to upend and going to be the problem that haunts this president because he's normalized international involvement in American politics.

CHRISTIE: Let's see what Doug Jones does.


CHRISTIE: In Alabama if he wants to be reelected.


CHRISTIE: And see what Joe Manchin does in West Virginia. Joe is further away from an election. He just had one. He might have a little more wiggle room in West Virginia, but Doug Jones has no wiggle room. We'll see what he's going to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll have to take a quick break. When we come back, Democrats in 2020, Kamala Harris is out. Nate Silver has a look at what that means for the race, plus Cory Booker joins us live. We're going to have the round table coming back as well. Stay with us.



SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): Over the last few days, I have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life. So here's the deal, guys, my campaign for president simply does not have the financial resources to continue. I'm not a billionaire. I can't fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it has become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.

In good faith, I cannot tell you my supporters and volunteers that I have a path forward if I don't believe I do.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Kamala Harris now the thirteenth Democrat to drop out of the presidential race. Fifteen remain. Still the largest field in memory. So what is her withdrawal mean for the other candidates? Does Joe Biden benefit the most?

We asked FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver, do you buy that?


NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: So a whole bunch of Democrat had nice things to say about Kamala Harris after she suspended her campaign. And, of course, it's at least in part because they want to pick up some of her support.

According to polling by YouGov, Harris voters have been most likely to consider Elizabeth Warren as their second choice, but a lot of them are considering Joe Biden also.

But let's step back and think about the big, strategic picture. After all, Harris is polling at only 4 percent in the FiveThirtyEight national polling average and 4 percent only gets you so far.

But there are other ways in which she was a bigger factor in the race. Number one for me is that she removes a rival to Biden among African-Americans. The black vote is his fire wall in South Carolina where Biden is still up by more than 20 points in a FiveThirtyEight polling average.

To be fair, Harris herself had only 6 percent of the black vote in South Carolina. Still with her out of the race, and Cory Booker and Deval Patrick not yet having qualified for the remaining debates, Biden's big lead among black voters looks even more formidable.

Next, Harris also removes a threat to Biden among the party establishment, based on endorsement, the best way we found to track what they're thinking and doing, Harris had been a clear number two after Biden. With her out, Biden has more than twice as many endorsements as the next remaining rival, Elizabeth Warren, and you had a pretty big endorsement in John Kerry this week.

Finally, Harris and Biden were fishing in a little bit of the same pond as far as fund-raising goes. Unlike Warren and Bernie Sanders, Biden and Harris have both raised most their money from big donors. And after a mediocre fund-raising haul this summer, Biden has reportedly seen an uptick this quarter.

So I do buy it. This is pretty clearly good news for Biden. All year-long we’re seeing that when Harris tends to rise, Biden tends to fall and vice versa. With her surprisingly, to me anyway, early exit from the race, Biden is in a position to benefit.



Now let's bring in Senator Cory Booker from Iowa this morning.

Senator, I heard you listen to Nate Silver right there. You also had some analysis this week of Senator Harris dropping out. You said the fact that she had to drop out shows that something about the system is not fair.

Unpack that for me a little bit. She started out with a bang, had 20,000 people at her first rally, raising an awful lot of money early on, performed pretty well in the early debates and only fell back when she stumbled in the campaign.

So, what is it about the system that caused her campaign to fail?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, let's compare two candidates.

John Kerry polling like her at 4 percent, John Kerry pulled out all of his other campaign places, pulled it all into Iowa, just like Kamala Harris. John Kerry had problems in his campaign. I think he fired staff, just like people reported there were turmoil in Kamala Harris' campaign.

But John Kerry made it to Iowa because he loaned himself $5 million. Kamala Harris cannot loan herself $5 million.

And so, the Democratic Party which makes a right critique that this -- we should be stopping the influence of big money in politics, that Kamala Harris stopped her campaign because of the campaign finance rules and the fact that she couldn't do what we see billionaires doing in this race, which is flooding ads to jack up their poll numbers and get in.

So, there are a lot of people hurt this week, including members of my family and friends who were supporting me, who just saw this incredibly talented African-American woman who has done things that broken glass ceilings at every point of her career and now somehow the Iowa voters can't make the decision. I would remind you, John Kerry --


STEPHANOPOULOS: But -- let me -- let me push back.

BOOKER: Hold on, let me just remind you. John Kerry polling at 4 percent goes back, comes into Iowa and finishes number one in the Iowa -- in the Iowa caucuses.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right, but let me push back on that a little.

Joe Biden is not a wealthy man. Pete Buttigieg is not wealthy. Bernie Sanders is not that wealthy. Senator Warren is not that wealthy. They’re all staying in and doing better.

So, that doesn’t explain it. And the billionaires in the race, billionaires competing in Iowa -- Tom Steyer, is pretty far back right now. That's not really determining what's happening in Iowa right now.

BOOKER: But, George, it’s not just -- it's not just billionaires. It’s the fact that Iowa voters should have the right to choose, and that's the issue because Iowa belies -- with a lot of respect for Nate Silver -- Iowa belies polls and just about every time. There was never in the Democratic Party than someone who was a front-runner at this point that's ever gone on to the White House.

Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter -- Barack Obama around this time was about 20 points behind Hillary Clinton. But Iowa voters where you have to come out here and actually meet folks, you see people who are polling at low numbers end up finishing first. It wasn't just John Kerry that year, John Edwards was polling at 2 percent and number seven and he finished number two in Iowa.

So, I’m just at the point, at this point in the campaign, let Iowa voters decide. It goes to the same issue with the debate right now.

You know, we're running a campaign where in Iowa and New Hampshire, we're in the top in endorsements. We have literally one of the top net favorabilities in the race. We're called by local media here in Iowa as one of the top field organizations and they've even -- you had press people coming out in Iowa and saying this is ridiculous. If the pollsters call you, choose Cory Booker because he should be on that debate stage.

So, we’ve been excited. You know, over the last -- since last debate, we've been experiencing our biggest surge in online donations. We have tons of people coming out just yesterday, more elected officials endorsing my campaign and are frustrated that we are putting artificial barriers which often could be overcome by people with money determining who Iowa gets to choose from.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So then what’s your --

BOOKER: Something is wrong with the system.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your strategy then going forward? It looks like -- and unless you get four polls in the next four days, looks like you’re not going to make the next debate stage either. Can you go all in on Iowa? Just go camp there for the next several weeks? And does the fact that you have to serve as a likely juror in the Senate trial of President Trump make that strategy almost impossible for you?


Look, this country is a testimony to the constant achievement of the impossible. So, we're doing like a lot of candidates have done in the past that were discounted by national media and press. We're running our campaign, and we're having a great result.

And I have been so grateful to the American people, because folks are going to CoryBooker.com and making contributions to our campaign, helping us to overcome a lot of these artificial barriers.

So, I'm -- this has been one of the best trips to Iowa I have had. Our crowds are getting so big, we're having overflow rooms. And so we're going to keep running our campaign. And as far as being a United States senator, I take my oath very seriously, even if the president's going to violate his. I'm going to be in the Senate and do my job and trust that, here in Iowa, we're going to continue to build on this momentum we're feeling right now. And I'm really grateful that, at this moment in our campaign, we're breaking records in our campaign, because Americans are saying, your voice is important in this race, and we're going to do everything we can to keep you there, because our online small-dollar contributions are going up. And I hope that Americans will continue to support us in this last sprint to Iowa.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In that role in the Senate, you will be voting on witnesses.

Do you think Rudy Giuliani, especially in the wake of his trip to Ukraine this week, should appear before the Senate? And what was your reaction to the president saying that he expects Rudy Giuliani to send a report on that trip to the attorney general?

BOOKER: Look, this -- this is just a disappointing chapter in American history -- that a president's private lawyer should also be engaging in -- with the president's consent, in foreign policy interference.

At the end of the day, we are one nation, and we have real threats. And Russia, we know -- I read the intelligence reports -- is a real threat to our country.

And what's going on right now is just unacceptable to anybody who's going to be a fair observer of fact. And the fact that we can't get to the truth of this matter, because Giuliani is not willing to testify, and the president of the United States is holding back witnesses that could give the American people insights into the true breadth and depth of this corruption, is just -- should be frustrating to everyone.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, let me ask you the question I asked our other members earlier in the wake of this shooting in Pensacola on Friday.

What should be done with the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia? How should it be reviewed?

BOOKER: Reviewed -- I mean, this is a relationship we have that's unacceptable, from our military planes refueling their military planes to drop American-made bombs on Yemen, when we have given no authorization for the use of military force, and the tragedies it's causing, with tens of thousands of children dying, to what was mentioned earlier in your show, the murder of -- the outrageous killing of Khashoggi.

This is a relationship that has serious problems. And the fact that this president seems, in a very transactional way, doubling down on the relationship, and telling us it's because of just financial interests, is unacceptable. America is best when we lead with our values in a resolute manner. And this is a relationship that needs more than just an examination. In the Senate, we came together in a bipartisan way to rebuke what -- some of the things we have been doing with the Saudis, like the engagement in Yemen. It's unacceptable. And, as president of the United States, I will change it. We will lead with our values again.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Booker, thanks for joining us this morning.

BOOKER: Thank you for having me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable weighs in on the Democrats next.

We will be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all know Trump has been messing around in the Ukraine over there, but you on the other hand sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company that he had no experience with gas or nothing, so you're selling access to the president just like he was.

JOE BIDEN, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're a damn liar, man. That's not true. And no one has ever said that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't say you were doing anything wrong.

BIDEN: You said I set up my son to work in an oil company. Isn't that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Anger all over the place in politics this week. That was Joe Biden in Iowa this week, trying to campaign for those caucuses coming up in just a couple months right now. Yvette, I saw you shaking your head as you saw that. But you know you heard a lot of supporters of former Vice President Biden saying, look, it showed he was strong. It showed he was tough. How does he have to handle these questions about his son now going forward?

SIMPSON: Better than that. I mean I think he's running for president, right. And what people want to see is a little different I think than what they're seeing on the other side. I think he needs to go with his prepared statement that the allegations have been investigated, that there was no wrongdoing, keep it moving. And I think that's the challenge with the vice president is, one, he has these events out in public. You don't know what he's going to say. He reacts. And in a setting like that, you really want to have your best moment, and I don't think that was his best moment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And as we're looking at this, Alice, now as we're going forward on the Democratic side, I'll have you weigh in on this first. It looks like it is turning into something of a muddle. Biden kind of hanging on there nationally atop. Pete coming to the top, taking more fire now in Iowa. Elizabeth Warren a little bit stalled and Bernie Sanders not going anywhere. What does that tell you as a Republican strategist?

STEWART: I look at the individual states. And what we continue to see is the trend of Buttigieg continuing to gain ground in the different states. And we have really four at the top that you mentioned. We have Biden and Buttigieg, the more moderate candidates, and then Warren and Sanders, the more progressive and to the left. That's how I view this continuing to move forward. The key is who among that group will continue their upward trajectory and be authentic, be consistent with their message, and also connect. Right now it appears that Buttigieg is doing so, but it just depends on how this moves forward. Look, Kamala Harris dropping out because she didn't have money, you don't need a lot of money. You can be a lean, mean political machine going through Iowa. My camp had no money, but we still won the Iowa caucus because it was about connecting with the voters.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's clearly what Cory Booker is hoping for, Rahm, but at this point can anyone outside that top four, and then you have to set aside Mayor Bloomberg who has got a completely different strategy, break out?

EMANUEL: Sure. I would not discount right now Senator Amy Klobuchar. I think there's a little bit of a movement there in Iowa. And given -- let me say this, a couple things. One is I slightly disagree, slightly, it was a plus and minus for Joe Biden. His basic call on campaign, he's authentic. Anybody would attack any one of our kids as a father he reacted, and that does go to the strength. What the weakness was, he had a great ad. He had a great endorsement and stepped all over it. And so it's both a plus and a minus on this sense. I do think what's important here is you lined up the race. You still have this basically revolutionaries versus reformers and hasn't been decided. I think what -- if you were honest, the presidential looks like kind of an interlude in the impeachment. That's kind of the main show and this almost looks -- it's not going to get real until the first of the year. Well, they're going to learn something really, really important for Democrats and that comes in England. If Corbin goes down in England with a very unpopular incumbent prime minister, that's going to tell -- and it's as left as you can get. It's going to tell Democrats something about the general election. And I think that you look at Thatcher/Reagan, you look at Tony Blair/Bill Clinton, you go through all this part -- Cameron and Bush, it's going to be a very telling piece, it's going to be the first primary primary...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Boris Johnson hurts -- I think I'm hearing Rahm say Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

CHRISTIE: Listen, I want to go back to Pete Buttigieg, because I don't think there's anything authentic about Pete Buttigieg. Nothing.

SIMPSON: I would agree you on that.


CHRISTIE: Listen, he's all over the place. Now he is the moderate candidate. In South Bend his record is at best a mixed bag. And I think what you're seeing now is because Biden hasn't performed, because a lot of people disagree with Warren philosophically, that they have moved to Buttigieg because he's the only one who's had some decent political performing, and he has done that on the stage.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, he's been a good campaigner.

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, but, George, you know, that's not enough as you know when you're running for president. You also have -- people have to believe you're authentic. I think one of the problems Cory Booker has had is that people haven't noted him to be as authentic as they hoped he would be. So, I think Buttigieg has problems. And I don't think he's going to be -- this is a Biden-Warren race in my view. And that's where it's going to come down to the revolutionaries versus the reformers.


CHRISTIE: That's what it's going to come down to. The rest of these people, in my view, are protectors.

EMANUEL: Mayor -- you've got to give Mayor Pete more credit. He had a rough start given incidents in South Bend. And he's weathered them and actually strengthened. I’m -- to say that he's not authentic, I actually -- I wouldn't go there. He's got -- he has other vulnerabilities. That is not one of them. And I -- and I -- and I think one of the problems is, he's all head, no heart.

CHRISTIE: What does he -- what does he believe in?


CHRISTIE: What does -- what does Buttigieg believe in? There is no theme to the Buttigieg campaign.

EMANUEL: And, look --

CHRISTIE: You know what Elizabeth Warren believes in. You know what Joe Biden believes in.


CHRISTIE: I have not a clue what Pete Buttigieg believes in, other than Pete Buttigieg and his own ambition.


CHRISTIE: Those are the two things he believes that works.

SIMPSON: It's a weird day in the world when I'm agreeing with Governor Chris Christie about this.


EMANUEL: Kumbaya.

SIMPSON: I have to -- I have to check my temperature, I might have a fever.

CHRISTIE: Let's reach over and have a moment. Come on, let's have that moment.

SIMPSON: I must have a fever. I agree. And what -- what we're hearing -- what we're hearing out on the trail is his shifting from first of all being a progressive on a lot of issues, including Medicare for all, shifting at an opportunistic moment when Biden is falling. This most recent press conference he had where he refuses to disclose who his donors are, keeps putting his foot in his mouth around black and brown voters, he won't get to South Carolina.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think what we're seeing --

SIMPSON: He won't get to Super Tuesday.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hold on a second. I think what we're seeing here, though, is something we've seen throughout this -- this -- throughout this primary process so far. Whenever somebody starts to rise, they take a whole bunch of incoming. Now, that comes with -- that comes with the process.

CHRISTIE: I -- I put the phone (ph) on hold --

SIMPSON: But there's -- but there's something different when he literally -- there's something different when you literally shift your policy position so dramatically and people are literally showing --

EMANUEL: That's --


SIMPSON: The videos of how he was a huge supporter of these progressive ideals and now he's taking advantage of an opportunity.

STEWART: But you've got --

CHRISTIE: He's been a phony from the beginning.

EMANUEL: He's how people are in their own space (ph) --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Alice, go ahead.

STEWART: Buttigieg is suffering from the whack-a-mole of presidential politics. Now that he's up consistently in several of these early states, people are tearing him down. And that is how the process works. But the good thing or the thing in his favor for his campaign, this has been a slow and steady increase in the key states and what it exemplifies is the more people meet him face-to-face, the more they tend to gravitate toward him, which goes to show that he is authentic and that is a big factor in determining his nomination (ph).

STEPHANOPOULOS: Rahm, let me -- let me bring you a different question because one of the things we're seeing right now is a kind of a jumbled field.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And I ask people to pay attention going forward to two number, three and 15. You need 15 percent of vote in any -- any congressional district to get a delegate.


STEPHANOPOULOS: If three people, candidates, have that coming out of Super Tuesday, the chance that Democrats are going to be able to have a majority on a first ballot is way down there right now. And the fact that Mike Bloomberg is spending all that money on Super Tuesday complicates it even more.

EMANUEL: I never thought I would say this. I -- look, I believe in the spring we're going to have a number of frontrunners without having a nominee.


EMANUEL: And I think that's more -- that's increasingly more likely. I want to say one other thing. To -- look, Mayor Pete's not about a policy issue so much as about a theme of unity, which is exactly what President Obama ran on. To say that he's -- he's got other issues, but authenticity is not one of them, et cetera. That said, he is going to come -- he's -- there's four and maybe five seats coming out of Iowa. He's going to have one of them. I think what we should remember about the early process, it's only 150 delegates, but Iowa, all retail politics, New Hampshire, independent voters get to vote, Nevada is going to be machine politics between Harry Reid and the culinary workers and the first time minority voters, Hispanic, get a voice. Then you go to South -- then you go to South Carolina --

SIMPSON: He does not survive South Carolina.

EMANUEL: OK, but here --

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, you know what --

EMANUEL: That -- that may be true, but my point is --

STEPHANOPOULOS: You can't make the last point because we're out of time.

EMANUEL: You guys can all go. We're going to sit here and talk.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA," followed by our live coverage of the House impeachment hearing starting at 9:00 Eastern. Have a good day.