Transcript for Barr 'surprised and angered' Trump lumped him in with Giuliani, source tells ABC News
We're back with the round table joined by Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel, Julie pace and Pierre Thomas. Julie, let me begin with you. Taking a step back. A week ago there was no impeachment inquiry. You had about 130 Democrats supporting one. This is happening at warp speed. The speed of this process is incredible. Washington is not a town where things move quickly. We've gone from a process fight over a whistle-blower complaint to an impeachment inquiry. That's incredible. It shows for Democrats it was just this pressure just under the surface for impeachment. They were waiting for something to push them over the edge. This gave them what they needed. It's a straightforward matter involving the president's own words. It's in black and white. Chris Christie, you heard Tom Bossert say the phone call was troubling. Some other Republicans seeming to have a lot of discomfort defending the president even though they don't think it's impeachable. The thing that's going to help Republicans is what Julie talked about. The speed of this shows people -- gives people a feeling, I think, that it's not fair. There's not a fairness to a process that goes so quickly. Whether you're talking about any of the other major impeachment issues, whether Nixon or Clinton, there was some -- We're just at the beginning. I understand that. We've got members of the house like Adam Schiff and others saying we had the proof for impeachment. Now he tried to back off that a little bit. If you watched his performance the other day, that's going to help the president. Let's face it, Republicans are now seeing huge amounts of money being contributed to the president in light of this. It's hardening the division even more. I think the Democrats, if they want to be successful, they better slow down and take a breath. The faster they go the more unfair it seems. The more unfair it seems plays into the president's narrative. Good advice? You can't let fast undermine if you look at president Clinton, president Nixon, Iran contra you have precedent. I would warn that Republicans have a vulnerability, they're circling the wagon. It's an impeachment inquiry. It's not impeachment. Get all the facts, follow what I call the five Cs. Call, coercion, complaint, cover up and computer. Each line very steady. Not prejudge anything. The biggest mistake made is pundits, the beltway, New York, Washington, all prejudge the American people's judgment. They'll tell you whether they think it's something here. What we know already it's not just a phone call. In the campaign president trump said to the Russians come on in. To you he's mentioned, George, I have no problem with a foreign government. He has a lot of precedent where he's welcomed foreign intervention in the most sacred process, the American election. That fact -- he is shocked that anybody's shocked that he was participating in pressuring a foreign government to involve themselves in digging up dirt. Isn't that the problem with the phone call? The fundamental -- There's a precedent there. The fundamental disagreement I have with what Rahm said that's not what the Democrats are doing. They prejudged it. If you listen to speaker Pelosi who before last week has been very careful about the way she approached this. I think she abandoned that. Her statements have been prejudging impeachment. George, let me predict something right now. They're going to impeach him. They've already signalled that they're going to do it. The American people feel that. When they feel that, it obscures the facts. It's an impeachment inquiry. You can't say impeachment without investigation or inquiry right after it. They do it, but their actions are different. Pierre, it's clear the attorney general William Barr is going to be pulled into this. He absolutely has been. We're hearing from a source close to him he was surprised and angered that the president lumped him in with Rudy Giuliani and that investigation. Here's the thing that's fascinating to me about the complaint, not only does it lay out the conversation where the president asked for intervention by the president of Ukraine, it also lays out white house officials who were concerned about it in real time that they had, quote, witnessed an abuse of power. Who are those officials and will they come to congress to testify? The other key piece is that's not the first time they felt compelled to do that. There were other conversations, according to the whistle-blower, they had to move it to a highly secret server, not because the information was highly classified, but because the information is damaging. It lays out a road map of who Adam Schiff is going to talk to. Two points, one is there's a memo done before the phone call. I'll take a bet. Asking for Biden's information. It's not on that memo. It's input from CIA, state, defense. What's the purpose of the phone call? There's no mention of Joe Biden there. The second thing is I'll make a prediction here, the meeting where the president took the notes from the translator with Putin is in that same computer. The other thing key is did the president use the power of the presidency and other parts of the administration to pursue this matter. You saw one of the key players at the state department resign. Was he asked about allowing Rudy Giuliani interview the prosecutor over there. All these officials that were brought into this, that is going to be key. Did the president try to use the power of the presidency to involve other parts of the administration? That's what I want to bring to Chris Christie. Mayor Giuliani said he was asked by the state department to do this. In some ways that would make this world wouldn't it, if the entire government was brought into this? It depends. Everything is in context, George. We have private citizens used by presidents in the past to be special envoys outside the department. But he clearly wasn't doing that. That's what you say, Rahm. It depends what the president asks Rudy Giuliani to do. What direction he gave him. We don't know those answers. Again, the speed of this, we're jumping to every conclusion. You can't divorce the fact that Joe Biden, who is the target of Rudy Giuliani's escapade is a candidate and a frontrunner candidate for the democratic nomination. You can't look at this completely in isolation. You can say the optics of what hunter Biden and Joe Biden may have been doing are bad. You can't divorce that from president trump's challenger. The optics are bad. Let's go back to a point Rahm was making before about the server. Let's not forget context. Earlier in the administration you had a similar memo from Australia and a conversation with the Australian prime minister leaked. Another with the Mexican president was leaked. What I think the president needs to do now is he needs to get someone in the administration to look into who those white house officials are, to find out what they did, why they did what they did and he needs that explanation. That would be the last thing I would recommend. I would not ask the president who shows no boundaries about the law asking I want to know what white house officials did. It's his administration. You're assuming -- if he did not direct this stuff, he has an obligation as the president to know why they did it. Those things were leaked before -- My advice would be -- I hope he doesn't listen to me. My advice is the white house counsel, not the president. I didn't say the president. He's called the whistle-blower treasonous. I would not have him investigating who in the white house -- I'm not suggesting he investigate it. As the head of the executive branch, you have to know what your staff is doing in your Of course. He needs to know that before congress finds it out. It's who does it, Chris. Let white house counsel do Any action taken by the white house we heard from Adam Schiff could be perceived as obstruction. Exactly, George. We're at the beginning stage. When they bring in those witnesses, assuming they can get them to come in, they're going to find out the details about, okay, did someone direct the state department to say, okay, Rudy go interview and push the prosecutor in the Ukraine about investigating Joe Biden. Julie, the witnesses are the ambassador to the Ukraine who was removed from her job, the president's special envoy to Ukraine who according to the memo the whistle-blower said he was told he was trying to contain the damage of Rudy Giuliani. To get back to where we started on the speed question, I think Democrats see speed as their friend. They want to start corroborating the whistle-blower's complaint in short order. They feel like if they can keep the story moving, keep backing up what the whistle-blower says, adding creditability, that is in their favor. Only if they're seen as objective. Sure, absolutely. When you have Adam Schiff doing what he did -- read the transcript. Everyone can draw their own conclusions. Adam Schiff sat there and -- if you're an American citizen and you come in the middle of the Adam Schiff statement, you assume he's saying what the president said, when in reality he wasn't. This is where they make their mistakes. It's unfair for the president. Here's what -- did you want to say anything? George -- I want it on the record I did that. I was having an out of body experience. You're totally out of your personality. What's going on? The basic question the American public are going to have to answer -- I'll leave it to the political gurus to sort out -- is it okay for the president of the united States to ask a foreign leader to investigate his rival? Then secondarily, did the withholding of the aid have anything to do with that? That's the basic question. Not only withholding the aid, but when the president of the Ukraine was getting sworn in, the vice president which is an establishment was supposed to attend as a representative of the United States government, then it was downgraded to the secretary of energy. The president of Ukraine hears no military aid. The visit from the united States, our number one ally against Russia, has been downgraded. All this sends a message. Until you do what I want you'll be in the dog house and I won't let you out until I get what I want. That is dirt on Biden and your use of your criminal justice system. Here's what's incredible. The whole thing from foreign policy is that Ukraine should take politics out of the criminal justice system. Everything our president is doing is saying put politics back into the criminal justice system. You made a good point, Chris, about whether the Democrats will look fair or not. Whether speed is their friend or enemy. Taking a step back. If you look at the whistle-blower's complaint. If an investigation after subpoenaing Mike Pompeo and Mike pence and several white house officials who are cited in this complaint, if they start to talk, isn't that where the danger is for the president? That's where I made the point before, but inartfully. I believe what the president needs to do now is get someone to find out for him what they're referencing in the whistle-blower complaint. Why did they move the documents from one computer to another? He should find that out. He shouldn't let the congress find that out first. He's the president. He's the head of the executive And get it out? Of course. I don't believe that the president knew about the moving of documents. I don't believe he gets into that level of detail. The question is, if you don't want to own it, you better find out who does own it. That's being a prosecutor, being smart and being an effective head of the executive branch. Find out who it is and get the information out. If they did something wrong, fire them. Think about where this leaves the west wing right now. You have high ranking officials around the president who will be looking at each other saying what did you know, who are you talking to right now. That is the last word for
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