What to know about upcoming public impeachment hearings

Former ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, will publicly testify Wednesday.
9:28 | 11/12/19

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Transcript for What to know about upcoming public impeachment hearings
Well we're now at less than 24 hours now from a major milestone in the impeachment battle house Democrats at 10 AM tomorrow. Who open the first public hearings into alleged abuse of power. By president trumbull sides today gearing up holding mock hearings holding their strategies that it's this drama of course. Is set to play out on national TV screen starting tomorrow at 10 AM eastern time the world. We'll get its first glimpse at some of these witnesses much of the testimony we have heard but now. Our team we'll talk a little bit about what to expect and this phone call that's at the center on it I'm joined now by Larry Pfeiffer who is the former director of the White House situation room and flair he is our reporter. On the investigative unit we're also joined by Joseph Willett now defense counsel fellow at the national Truman security project he was also a former CIA agent and also a member of the White House. Situation room team guys thanks for being here I what does your win on this phone calls since many of our viewers. Over the next days and weeks are going to be hearing a lot about it. I'm an anti wanna start with you it's a July phone call between president trump the president of Ukraine. What do we know about it now that we've come at this point in the investigation. But what we know about it right now is that trump had a party ordered a hold on almost 400 million dollars in aid to Ukraine that Ukraine desperately needed to fend off Russian troops on its border. We also know that in the call after exchanging pleasantries that the Ukrainian president mentions javelin missiles he wants to buy more javelin missiles these of the anti take shoulder muscles. And but the trump responds well I need a favor first. And then he mentions. An unsubstantiated theory about democratic servers to being in Ukraine and then he wants an investigation into the Biden's. And we are seeing some of these quotes on the screen here because the president did release a transcript rough transcript. Of that phone call which is why we know so much about it and of course the witnesses. That had been giving depositions have corroborated. A lot of what was in their call Larry you have been part of a lot of leader calls from the situation room is this is the nerve center in a White House this sort of runs these things. What's the most unusual. Aspect to you. In what we see in this call. The most unusual aspect of this call. Tests would probably be the way the transcript was handled after the Cole was completed. This was a somewhat traditional congratulatory phone call to a president of a foreign country at least purportedly that's what it was going to be. The president I'm guessing steered also prepared talking points to you know request. Veba investigations. Sometime shortly after us the transcript was being finalized into a memorandum of conversation. Enough concern was being raised by the lieutenant colonel amendments of the world and then perhaps others about the content of the call. That fee lawyer John Eisenberg decided we need we need to park this somewhere where it will not be as readily share Ruble. And so they move did from the standards top secret. A network that we use of the White House into this more sensitive compartment it and what does that observer. Are you tells me that they were wanting to prevent this. Transcript from. Being seen by him. Our eyes. And one of the reasons why as police subsequently learned and all of this is that there was that famous line and alluded to a where the president sanity to ask a favor though a quid pro quo and this for that a request. Joseph what are bringing you into this because over the past weeks after this has come out we've heard a lot from Republicans. Saying that quid pro quotes are quite common I'm here phone causing quite common. In foreign diplomacy. What's your take on how common are they and what's different about this one. Well look the president has. You know a wider remit when it comes to shaping foreign policy rate and and as Larry knows well you know we listened to oh a lot of these calls in the situation room and you often hear. And you know large portions of the president's agenda hours national security scenes agenda being being promoted those calls and and foreign aid in and military assistance are part of with one crucial distinction and that is that in for past presidents it is Wii's been military aid and foreign assistance has always been part of pushing forward what is in the US national interest. And in this case the thing that jumps off the page to anyone reading the transcript July 25 call is that the president was clearly using. Military assistance and thorny. To promote his own personal political agenda when he says I need you to do me a favor though it immediately in a starts and on peace and you know very much debunked a conspiracy theories about. About Joseph Biden and his son in Denver is not that is where the major departure happens from from what would be normal. Occurrence in foreign policy. CNN you've talked about this that's the rub in this phone call and what everyone is going to be easier tonight is the politics of it. Is it appropriate for president to for political gain rather than national security Gainer purpose test his political questions. And have you ever been able to find any other examples of of this sort of a request. On all of the like not not as politically charge stemming I think what's important to realize in the context of looking at this the transcript of the rough transcript of this call we don't have all of the information on it. Is that a lot of what was being talked about at the White House at the Pentagon and the State Department was why would we hold up this aid everything says this is in the US national security interests. So is trump was hearing from aides who said. Please don't hold up this aid we need this to go forward. Nobody thought it was a good idea fact of the secret cable that went right to secretary of state Mike Pompeo to say. I have serious concerns with us this is from Bill Taylor who's going to be testifying to mark. And Larry you know to put Republicans in the in the White House staff seem to be re suggesting that the president's tone his state of mind on this phone call. Which received intangibles that can't be found in the transcript are going to be very important and speak to this. You've been on its phone calls it is is that something that we could be missing here in our assessment of this that. Oh president absolutely written transcript his. His appears about as cold is as you can object I've been on many calls and turn my time was with President Obama. Where. You know he would be speaking in a more stern voice order they're either the raised voices order if it was a good call. You know would be more more collegial so yes we're going to be missing a lot you're importance exist. Another note vote no voice recorder audio recordings are made of Windows Phone calls I was told when I got to the White House and was. This this process was explained to me I asked when we just record them. And the answer I got was that we stopped recording phone calls in the White House in about 1973 or nineties. An inning you're listening to too many phone calls from President Obama. Did you ever hear politics come off that anyone either in the US cider on the foreign side ever Bradley Hillary Clinton then there. By Democrats this or that. Nothing that I can remember regularly and it may have discussed. Been in the lead up to the presidential elections the second election of President Obama. There may have been instances and phone calls were a world leader in making it you know chit chat during a conversation. May have offered commentary or their viewpoints about what may be happening in the upcoming election or perhaps soliciting. Views from the from President Obama on what he thought his chances were but those were often late conversations like you and I would have surely you know this pretty ornament. Yet did you are actually making it request of a foreign government to help one politically. There's nothing I've ever heard of Angel real quickly TU you know one of the other defenses that we've heard from Republicans in the White House is that perhaps this this transcript please deposition transcripts. Which would have been out your lane. But all of this is doctor. What's the likelihood you know the staff for the career staff that works in the in the situation room. Is there even a chance for this stuff to get doctor. It didn't know than not that I mean look I tag the White House will release what it once they release it's they did decide to doctors something you know post facto. There's nothing that the situation room people likely area myself have done to stop that but that but then you're going to create a situation where there are half a dozen or more other whistle blowers who who would know full well that that what was publicly released was not. You know what they had to put on the page for the transcripts and so I don't I don't put much weight in any any -- to the White House would immediately box itself into a corner there's and I do think we have some evidence that that hasn't happened by and large that at this transcript is more or less accurate. In the fact that a colonel in men's testimony. You know said that. The April 21 call with so Lansky actually was a good call positive call there is no objections that that the president stayed on on on track and on the agenda that was laid out. And then he only had a few. Edits that he had proposed to the July 25 transcript which didn't make their way into the final documents. And and I you know some of those were material but they didn't change any of the of those that the relevant parts about extortion or quid pro quo and that transcripts I think you can have faith. In the transcripts that are out there moving forward and. Angel Willett with the Truman national security project think such a great conversation guys Larry Pfeiffer. How to Michael Hayden Centre for intelligence policy international security and our and clarity who has been leading the charge. On a reporting thank you all very much for this and hope to have you back as this investigation. I continues.

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

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