Parts of call were 'inappropriate,' but not 'grounds for impeachment': Alice Stewart

The Powerhouse Roundtable debates the politics of impeachment and the 2020 presidential election.
15:51 | 01/26/20

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Transcript for Parts of call were 'inappropriate,' but not 'grounds for impeachment': Alice Stewart
If you take a look -- the biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we need to get rid of the ambassador. She's still left over from the Clinton administration. What, the ambassador of Ukraine? Yeah, she's basically walking around telling everybody, "Wait, he's going to get impeached. Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out, okay? Do it. President trump back in April 2018 saying take out the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie yovanovitch. A year later she was fired from her post. He was talking to lev parnas, the associate of Rudy Giuliani, indicted by the southern district of New York. We want to talk about the trial right now with Jonah Goldberg, Democrat Roland martin. You're not a Democrat? I'm not a Democrat. Republican strategist and political analyst Alice Stewart and our senior national correspondent Terry Moran. I'm a Republican for the record. You're a Republican. I used to be. Terry, let's start out assessing where we are after five days of argument. Looking at it, it's classic circumstantial evidence case. The Democrats come and they make a very meticulous, narrative argument that requires a leap to the conclusion, that they did in their arguments. That, if you look at this evidence around president trump, he did this -- he did this and it warrants removal from office. And his defense says, where is the direct evidence? That you have to make the conclusion, that leap. And that does raise the question, was it the right choice at the end of the day for the Democrats to go with this evidence, go with the impeachment you have, asking the senate now, I was in the room, president trump turned to me and said that money's not going to Ukraine unless they go to the Bidens. Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton. Donald Trump said, I could shoot someone on 5th avenue and my folks wouldn't care. It doesn't matter what the Democrats present. It doesn't matter if they run 30 people who actually were in the room. Republicans are not going to vote against him because they are deathly afraid of this man. They are scared to death. These are grown men and women who are behaving like children and so, getting everything they want from him, they will suck it up and tolerate anything. They'll never vote against Donald Trump. Democrats are doing the best they can do but it doesn't matter. Alice, it does appears the position on the Republicans hardened against witnesses this week. What about the argument you saw from Adam Schiff toward the end, you know what, the truth is going to come out at some sort anyway. It should have come out in the house impeachment proceedings if there was more information to come out and to Terry's point, the house information and their vote to impeach is based on a lot of presumption on whereondoing and not facts and evidence on wrongdoing. This was an slam-dunk case for impeachment they wouldn't be asking for more information, more witnesses and more testimony. If they needed more information they shouldn't have gone forth with the articles of impeachment. That's where they have a very difficult time with going forward with a conviction in senate and ultimately removal from office. This will make it easier for the white house counsel to say, you haven't proven your case, not enough to go for impeachment and this is nothing more than a political ploy to overturn the last election and influence the next. They did put forward volumeinous evidence. They showed often the president right there in public calling for these investigation. What Terry says, the leap to conclusion that he did it. It's a like a very small hop. Because I think it's been obvious, the basic facts have been obvious since he released the transcript. When they released the transcript that was like releasing the 18-minute tape of watergate at the beginning of the process, people priced it in but at the end of the day, white house team did much better than I thought it would. What they understand is they want -- they just need to give Republican senators enough permission to stay with the president that they need and they understood the jury much better I think than the Democrats did. And so now, look -- It's not a fair jury. They're Republicans. Of course. The way the system is up, the senate is supposed to be political body and have political judgment, still the Republicans are in a very strange place, where they're saying in effect, there's nothing new and lord hear our prayer, we won't hear anything new. That's why they don't witnesses. George, you asked senator Lankford, he wouldn't say yes, a president should not ask a foreign entity for help. He could not even say that. That right there explains everything about the Republican party. Plus, we got to remember, this is the third time that a president has impeached. No president has ever been convicted. But there are a lot of folks on the Republican side, myself include, who look at the call, my view it's inappropriate. Some of what he said. But it's not worthy of impeachment. We can certainly where something might not have been said but it's not grounds for impeachment. What should be the consequences for that -- You just said. But if there's something wrong and if he deserves some kind of consequence, the voters will decide come November. At the beginning of this process back in September when this evidence first came out, several Republicans said, if a lot of evidence came out that the president did condition the aid or solicit foreign interference we should say it's wrong. But that's completely shifted over the last several months. That has, in part on the very aggressive defense by the president. That evidence is still coming in. We just played lev parnas. If Rachel Maddow could get parnas, why didn't Adam Schiff? The night Mary scenario, over the next several years, in tell-all memoirs and blockbusters interviews, a lot more damning evidence is going to come out. That is the fault of both parties playing a game with the impeachment. I tend to think you may be right, they may have should tried harder in the courts. But there's evidence on the other side. Why didn't Adam Schiff go after John Bolton if he wanted to hear from him? The house did not need an engraved invitation to issue a subpoena to John Bolton. They did. He said he wouldn't comply. How about as a patriot, you say what's best for the country? How about that? All the folks who wave the flag, talk about what it means to be an American, how about that? Why do you have to be forced or compelled by a court order to actually step forward to say this is actually what happened? This was wrong by the president of the United States. But they won't do it because they all have their own interest as a Republican party. Jonah Goldberg, we're going to hear from John Bolton probably before the election, he has a book coming out. Whether he's subpoena by the house, at the end of the day, what's your guess that story is? This is one of the reasons you want to have him under oath. Under oath you -- John Bolton, I know John, he's not going to lie, he's a very careful lawyer. He takes an enormous amount of notes. Under oath you have to tell the story in all of its inconvenient ways, and in a book he can tell the story in any version he wants. I think that's a problem for history. It's certainly a problem for the Democrats. And if the Republicans were truly interested in fact-finding they would call him as a interest, but they're clearly not. No. So we're going to get his version of events, but it's not the same version you would get I suspect if he testified under oath. That gets to the question, will it matter if they subpoena John Botton after a likely acquittal? Then take another bite at the apple? Another impeachment if his evidence was damning enough? This process -- maybe the senate can call witnesses, I don't know how this solved the problem. This was always going to be a problem. Every president would have the right and in fact a duty, if the chief of staff and national security adviser were subpoenaed, to at least test the boundaries. Constitutionally I disagree with that the courts would get in the way. Senate is at the heights of its power. Chief Roberts could rule on it. He could but he won't. Have you been awake? I don't know if the supreme court wants to get in the middle of this question. There are lots of things that the supreme court will just not weigh in on and when the senate called for a witness. I very much doubt that the supreme court will say, hold on, we have to sign off on that. That's not in constitution. Bringing in John Bolton and other witnesses that the Democrats want, what the white house counsel pointed out yesterday is important. If we're going to hear additional information from Republicans let's hear from some of the Democrats. Let's hear from Joe Biden, hunter Biden, even Adam Schiff has important information concerning the whistle-blower. We'll hear a lot more -- Was he on the call with the president of Ukraine? He was certainly the em he tis for the president's request? You want to hear from the people that had nothing to do with the call, as opposed to the person who withheld the aid to Ukraine. What the president was seeking he should be in there. I mean, start throwing people on there. He wasn't on the call. We'll hear a lot more from the president's team tomorrow about Joe Biden. We have a new poll out this morning on ABC, a national poll of the democratic race. It shows a pretty close race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. You see right there among all Democrats, Joe Biden with a narrow lead. If you go to registered Democrats his lead increases over Bernie Sanders. Likely Democrats, increases even more. The bottom line for both is, Biden and Sanders at least nationally appear to be pulling away from the pack. You follow the Democrats very closely. Absolutely. I want to get to Iowa now, that's the national poll, but we're seeing the latest polls coming out of Iowa and new Hampshire, both showing Sanders surging. Can Bernie drive the largest nonvoting bloc young voters? Will Joe Biden drive older voters? That's going to be issue. Older voters vote. My parents are 72, they worked the polls, they vote. You don't even have to ask them what happened in the election. Young people have to be motivated and excited. If the young folks want to be the differencemakers you have to go to the polls. That's going to be the key. Bernie does not do well among older voters. Biden does not do well among younger voters. That's where the battle is going to be fought. What this poll shows is a divide right now in the democratic party. You have Sanders far to the left and Biden is more moderate. What's interesting is, when you look at these Iowa numbers with Bernie Sanders surging, this goes to show you can't underestimate the value of having the 2016 playbook in Iowa and he is surging, his numbers are going up in Iowa. I think he'll do very well in Iowa. Democrats have known the last four winners of the Iowa caucus go on to be the nominee. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Biden is a better head to head candidate against trump. Terry, in Iowa, you still have Elizabeth Warren who got "The Des Moines register" endorsement last night. Pete buttigieg who's been there the longest. And he didn't have to sit in the senate trial all week. He still has the advantage of still being on the ground. But it seems like Bernie Sanders has something special right now. For all the talk about socialism and the "Ism" that is attached to him, he's got idealism and there's something about Bernie Sanders which is not technocratic, I got a policy for that. We can be together again. A song of solidarity that he's singing. That appeals to idealistic younger voters. I'm not sure it's message of unity, but you certainly do see integrity, he's had the same message for more than 30 years -- Since 1971. Jonah, one thing that surprises me, he had a heart attack five months ago. Didn't hurt him at all in the polls It's astounding. Normally -- not to wish any harm on anybody, but if you just look at the mortality statistics, a heart attack at that age is a big deal. I think it has less to do with his message than his authenticity. Which gets to your point about consistency. He reminds me of the Rand Paul brigade on the Republican side. Young people love it because they see someone who -- they perceive as someone who's not sold out. At the end of the day, that's why Biden, because he represents the establishment, he doesn't appeal to the young people -- It's also fight. Democrats felt that Barack Obama didn't fight enough against Mitch Mcconnell, against the freedom caucus in the house. They looked at what happened to Hillary Clinton. They want a fighter. Look, Democrats are looking at the exact same thing what respects were saying in 2016, Bernie Sanders will also fight for structural change. When you hear klobuchar and Biden, they talk about incremental change. He's talking systems. You're dealing with odder voters -- But none of that is going to pass the senate. It's pie in the sky. The idea that you're going to get the filibuster or get people with socialize medicine in the senate and the house, that's not going to happen. Lot of guys are campaigning on hopes and dreams. Big ideas make you feel good. But if you don't get anything done that doesn't make you feel great. While the Democrats may be getting behind, he's a energetic candidate, I think they'll be making a tremendous mistake if he becomes a nominee, because the party, the country is not that far left. The country, the voters that they need are middle of the road voters, trump has his base, the Democrats have their base. They need to get the middle of the road voters. And those aren't Sanders voters. That explains Biden's continuing strength despite a campaign that at times seemed feeble in some ways, he's stumbled. And that does say -- there's something in the center of the country that longs for an end to this exhausting fighting. And the two of them right at the top. That's all for us today.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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