'It's not going to be a tough vote' to impeach Trump in House: Rahm Emanuel

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the latest developments in the House impeachment process.
12:21 | 12/08/19

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Transcript for 'It's not going to be a tough vote' to impeach Trump in House: Rahm Emanuel
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. Angry house speaker Nancy Pelosi after she declared the Democrats have no choice but to impeach president trump and move forward on that. Let's talk about it with our roundtable and our contributors Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel, 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 -- Which one, the one about hate or -- The first one about impeachment. She has the most -- But have Democrats made the case to the country, what needs to happen now. 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 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 nations and this lesson that comes out of the supreme court, a process that keeps evolving of a mutual assured destruction and 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 to me that's what's happening. She knows the consequence of what this may trigger for other presidents and other congresss down the road and that is the two guardrails 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 which is why she was reluctant for an entire year and a half. She had to move, meanwhile, what we're seeing from the president, he says, get it over with quickly, not participating in the house. Is that a smart move? Yeah, it is. He can't gain anything through a process that's been determined in its conclusion as you said in your initial question to Rahm. She wouldn't do it 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 to 218. Move on to the senate where they don't have the votes and get to 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 was that 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. Let's look at Lindsey graham who was probably one of the most outspoken people in the Clinton impeachment -- There's clips on both sides. Oh, yeah, he sounds like a different person. Two wrongs make a right. No, look, be consistent. Right, so if you could find reason to impeach a president, Clinton for the things that he did, why can you not find that 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 -- Two different situations. Apples and Oranges. Nancy Pelosi herself said back during the Clinton impeachment this was motivated by Republicans' hatred of bill Clinton so seeing the same thing from different sides of the -- to Rahm's point about normalizing impeachment, what we have is this impeachment possess has been driven in large part due to the Democrats' hatred of Donald Trump. That can't be further from It lowers the standard for impeachment which is a dangerous present. You have a president -- first of all, you can have my time back. Name me five presidents that asked a foreign government to come in and do op research on a political rival. Name five. Name all five. It's never happened. There aren't any. This is a totally different situation. Right. 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. 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 an American election. He said it in China, 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 is a confirmed position, the attorney general who is a confirmed position and secretary of energy who is a confirmed position cannot testify. That is an inversion of the way the process works. Clear evidence of obstruction of congress -- Three key points on that. 46 in the phone call, the July 25th phone call, zelensky and trump both have said there 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 -- It was released because the story got broke. Not because the president had a change of heart. Democrats say the request is the problem. Requesting interference is the problem. Exactly. And it's still going on today, George. That's the question I wanted to bring to Chris Christie. One thing I think you're seeing the Democrats develop these articles are going to be written and talking about a pattern and they'll talk 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? I think that's what the president wants. He wants to create even greater sense of chaos, George, and wants to normalize that behavior and he wants to say, listen, there was nothing wrong with what I did then and nothing wrong with him doing what he's that's 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 play and I think anybody who has watched him for all these years would not expect him to have any other play. What do you think he's going to go and sit in the oval office and have a contemplative moment and say, like, oh, boy, maybe I was wrong? The key word there contemplative. By the way, that's not who he is. He is a fighter. 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'd like to give you this aid for your emergency building, but before I give it to you, I'd like a little help, though. Such an illustration -- Ukraine is fighting for their existence against Russia and the president is holding that aid until he cracks them to get involved in the American election researching a political rival of the opposite party. Well, on this -- That is what's happening. And if Chris Christie said put him up against a wall in a moment that the state of new Jersey relies on him too 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 people from New Jersey and what the governor needed. Yvette, how do Democrats deal with the -- and there can be a lot of reasons for this, the fact there are no Republican, maybe Justin Amash who will vote for impeachment. We knew that. What do the Republicans have to lose by stonewalling? They're not going to step out -- the ones who have have been vilified. As soon as Mitt Romney made his comments trump came after him. They gain nothing by doing the right thing and 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 and I'm curious about and would love to ask the governor if it's true there might be senate Republicans if they were able to take a private vote that would vote for impeachment so the question is, would -- can that process happen? Let me take a version of that question to Alice. Let's say 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 and every other impeachment, whether iran-contra, Bill Clinton, some kind of apology, some concession from the president, don't think that's going to happen. Do some Republican senators need it? Senate Republicans are lockstep with this president. They don't see that he did anything wrong. While a lot 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 face some challenges in 2020. Tough vote. In the house or senate? In the house for these members. No, not a tough vote because the politics have moved. When you have 53% of the people saying it shut be an impeachment. 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 join your ticket up there -- Absolutely. Not going to be a good vote 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 they'll undershoot the consequences. Well, Jeff van drew in blue New Jersey has already said he's not voting for impeachment. And maybe Peterson in Minnesota as well -- To say it will be an easy vote for some of those swing district Democrats is has already proven to be wrong, one in the bluest states in the country, my state has -- but, Rahm, he has plenty of support from -- wait a second. From the governor from all the other members of his congressional delegation and from the two democraunited states senators, Jeff van drew could raise enough to -- he decided not to do this and in terms of overshooting the runway, Nancy Pelosi knows she's overshooting it here but has no choice but the popularity -- How about -- A higher rate than it was in the Nixon impeachment. How about in the senate. Can the president afford to lose one, two or three senators -- I think he could 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 F removal and I think that can be a good place where he lands and that allows someoike Susan Collins and Cory Gardner to take a walk. That -- That assumes Romney holds firm. Listen, I saw Mitt Romney at the vaping meeting in the white house sitting right next to the president at that vaping meeting agreeing with him ande urging him to do certain things. I don't think -- This question to you. Chris 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. It 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 very beginning. The needle has not moved significantly. If there does need to be consequences for this action, which I don't think is appropriate, I don't impeachment is the correct consequence. If there needs to be consequence let the voters do it in November and let the voters vote him out of office if he did something wrong. 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. Let's see what Doug Jones does. Alabama. In Alabama. Joe Manchin. And let's 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 have to take a quick break.

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

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