December 11, 2019, 0:41

‘This Week’ Transcript 10-6-19: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Jim Jordan

‘This Week’ Transcript 10-6-19: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Jim Jordan

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Fast track.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is about the facts.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We’re not fooling around here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The impeachment inquiry intensifies. New whistleblowers, new documents, new subpoenas.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We’ve been treated very unfairly.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the president doubles down with a new demand.

TRUMP: China should start an investigation into the Bidens.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Raising questions for his defenders.

REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY): You’re asking me a hypothetical that I’d rather not get into.

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): The president is going to say what the president is going to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And a rare concession from the president.

TRUMP: The Democrats, unfortunately they have the votes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The investigation proceeding at a breakneck pace. Will the White House delay by defying subpoenas, drawing new charges of obstruction? What new evidence will the investigation reveal? Is impeachment in the House now inevitable? Will the Republicans hold the line in the Senate? The big questions this week for House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, one of the president’s top House allies, Jim Jordan, plus insight and analysis from our powerhouse roundtable. We’ll 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK, a week of head-snapping developments in the impeachment investigation. The first key witness testimony to Congress. The first release of text messages from administration officials, broadly confirming the pressure campaign on Ukraine outlined in the original whistleblower complaint. That brazen public request from President Trump calling on China to investigate Joe Biden. Late Friday, the first subpoenas to the White House, plus a new request for documents from Vice President Pence. And this morning, more breaking news.

ABC News has learned that the legal team representing the first whistleblower is now representing a second whistleblower. Attorney Mark Zaid told me that this second whistleblower is a member of the intelligence community with firsthand information on some of the allegations at issue. The second whistleblower has been interviewed by the inspector general and his attorneys say they have the full protection of the whistleblower law because they provided information directly to the inspector general. The second whistleblower has not yet communicated directly with the Congressional committees conducting this investigation.

I want to dig into this with our Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl, our Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas. And Pierre, under this reading of the law, several other officials could claim whistleblower protection.

THOMAS: George, this is critical. We know from the whistleblower’s initial complaint that there were art least six other people that he was gathering information from. So you have the potential that those people could be witnesses coming before Congress. And George, what is key here, these are people who can not only corroborate the whistleblower’s account, but they can add layers of additional detail.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And some firsthand information, according to Mark Zaid right there. Jon Karl, President Trump was tweeting about the possibility of a second whistleblower last night.

KARL: He sure was, George. We’ve reached out with this latest news. The official comment from the White House is no comment, but late last night the president did tweet about reports there might be a second whistleblower, saying “the first so-called second hand information whistleblower got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench and another whistleblower is coming in from deep state, also with second hand info. Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming.”

Now, George, a couple of quick fact checks on this. First of all, as you just reported, we are told that this second whistleblower in fact had firsthand information, not second hand information. And the second thing is the first whistleblower’s complaint turned out to be quite consistent with what we know about the call based on the transcript — reconstructed transcript released by the White House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Jon, the president may have been responding to that New York Times report about the possibility of a second whistleblower that came out on Friday but Mark Zaid, the attorney told me he doesn’t even know if his client is the whistleblower referred to in the New York Times. Meantime, the White House is seeming to defy the subpoena from Congress.

KARL: Absolutely, George. What I am told from senior officials is the White House has absolutely no intention of cooperating with the Congressional committees on this unless Nancy Pelosi first holds a vote formally opening an impeachment inquiry. Here’s the way one White House official told me — put it to me. You don’t have — you don’t get to have an impeachment by holding a press conference. We are not going to participate in a show trial. What officials are saying is without a formal vote by the House, the White House is deprived of certain rights they would have in an impeachment process, including the right to have White House counsel present at all depositions by Congressional committee.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So far the Speaker has resisted that vote. What do we expect this week on Capitol Hill, Pierre?

THOMAS: So George, it’s going to be a key week on Capitol Hill. Gordon Sondland, who is the ambassador to the European Union, he’s expected to be deposed on Capitol Hill, also the ambassador to the Ukraine who was fired in the midst of all this controversy, her name is Marie Yovanovitch, she’s expected to testify as well, George. So, a key week on Capitol Hill.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Pierre, Jon, thanks very much.

Let’s bring in our legal experts on impeachment Barbara Comstock, former Republican member of congress, who served as chief counsel for the House Government Reform committee during President Clinton’s impeachment, and Kate Shaw, who served as legal counsel in the Obama White House, now professor of constitutional law at Cardozo Law School. You know, and Kate let me begin with you, when I was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week she said a resolution is not necessary. But there has been a resolution for every other presidential impeachment.

SHAW: Right. So I think Speaker Pelosi is clearly correct that a re solution isn’t required, it’s not required by the constitution or the House’s rules, but you’re right it’s historical practice to do one of these resolutions. So, I think even if there are no requirements, there are a couple advantages to the House to doing a resolution. One, I think, it calls the White House’s bluff on some of these document disputes. The White House says we’re not going to produce anything until you do a resolution, well, you have taken that offer off the table if you pass a resolution. And, two, I think to the extent that some of these disputes end up in court, I think the House’s position would be strengthened if they have embark on the same kind of resolution that has predated other kinds of presidential impeachment processes.
So, there are I think prudential arguments for doing the resolution.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it does, as we said, give the White House some protections.

COMSTOCK: Yes. And during the Clinton impeachment, Chairman Henry Hyde, who is the Republican Chairman, looked back at what Chairman Rodino did during the Nixon impeachment and virtually replicated it. So, we need to have a vote on the House floor, have that resolution, and then be able to move forward so the public feels that it’s fair, because with some of the things that Adam Schiff has done already, the parody that he did that certainly a Peter Rodino or say a Barbara Jordan would never have made a statement like that, that’s really undermined his credibility as well as, you know, lying about the whistle-blower. So I think they need to get this back on track and have those rights and have that vote in the House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, you know, House Speaker Pelosi said she wants a streamlined process, but is the president now courting new articles of impeachment with this call to China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens?

COMSTOCK: They can include anything in their impeachment, the obstruction. So, yes, and I think the kind of things that he’s criticizing Mitt Romney for saying — even Tucker Carlson has said the same thing. So I think we need to, you know, get back to focusing on what are the issues here. We’ll hear from first-hand witnesses. And that’s important.You know, the whistle-blower, and other whistle-blowers that may come forward, they will have information and guidance, but what the impeachment committee can do once they have that vote is hear firsthand from people who were involved directly in these things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Kate, what does this committee need to do to build their case, to establish their case? Do they need to establish there’s a direct quid pro quo between the president and the Ukrainian president?

SHAW: So I think the president, President Trump, would clearly like this debate to be framed in those terms — was there a quid pro quo, and he hopes that the answer is that no smoking gun evidence will emerge to establish a quid pro quo. So, I would say a couple things. One, I think that sort of fundamentally misunderstands the nature of impeachment. Impeachment is not about ordinary criminal offenses. Some things that aren’t crimes could be impeachable, and not all crimes should be impeachable. So, I think that impeachment is really about abuse of authority, right, political misconduct. And so I think the House would be well-served to focus on that as opposed to getting caught up in those debates about quid pro quo. All that said, if they want to build an article around a quid pro quo, I think they already have a lot of evidence that supports that case just from the call transcript, the whistle-blower complaint and the additional text messages that we have seen emerge. And of course more evidence is likely to come out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And they’ve now said that any form of noncooperation by the White
House is an obstruction article.

COMSTOCK: Well, and they did that during the Nixon impeachment. But I think, you know, the quid pro quo is very difficult to prove, and again that’s where Adam Schiff has kind of raised the bar again and put expectations out there so that’s why we need to hear directly from these first-hand witnesses. And, you’re right, the impeachment can be on anything. This needs to be taken seriously. And I wanted to quote from Barbara Jordan, because when you go back she said we are trying to be big because the task before us is big. We need to all, and both sides, need to take this very seriously and have a process, have rights for the minority, have rights for the president’s counsel and take this in a serious manner.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Barbara and Kate, thanks very much.

SHAW: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we’re joined now by the chair of the House Democratic Caucus Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. Congressman, thanks for coming in this morning. You just saw that Barbara Jordan quote, the House has to be big here. And Speaker Pelosi has resisted this notion of a formal vote, but why not follow the precedent and have it?

JEFFRIES: Well, there is no requirement for a cosmetic procedural vote. As was indicated, there’s no requirement…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But every other presidential impeachment has had it.

JEFFRIES: Correct. And a majority of the House of Representatives supports the impeachment inquiry. We are in the midst of one. The speaker has made that clear. We are going to proceed expeditiously. We’re going to proceed fairly. We’re going to proceed comprehensively. Now, the speaker has said that there is something — that that might be considered moving forward. And we will see what happens when we come back on the recess. But the bottom line is the central allegations that are issue here. The president betrayed his oath of office. He’s engaged in serious wrongdoing. The administration, without justification, withheld $391 million in military aid from a vulnerable Ukraine. The president then pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 elections and target an American citizen for political gain. That is textbook abuse of power.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But…

JEFFRIES: It undermines our national security. That’s the issue that we should be dealing with moving forward.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If it is, then why not have the vote?

JEFFRIES: Well, as I indicated, the speaker has said that might be possible, but a majority of the House of Representatives has already made clear that we support the impeachment inquiry. Now, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are going to raise things about the deep state. They’re going to raise things about a cosmetic procedural vote. They are going to raise wild conspiracy theories, because they do not want to defend the substance of the allegations and charges here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They have also criticized the way that Chairman Schiff has handled this investigation so far, including in what they call the selective release of the text messages from the ambassadors this week. Here’s Mark Meadows, your Republican colleague, with a tweet saying: “There’s a reason why Adam Schiff released cherry-picked text messages and not the transcript of the Volker interview. It’s because he’s misleading again. The actual interview directly undermined Democrats’ impeachment effort. Release the transcript. Show Americans the truth.” Why not release the full transcript?

JEFFRIES: We will see what happens moving forward. But I have full confidence in Chairman Schiff. And let’s understand this. The evidence of wrongdoing by Donald Trump is hiding in plain sight. The administration, without reason, rationale or justification, withheld the $391 million in aid from the Ukraine. The president, on a phone call, as confirmed by a rough transcript on July 25 released by the White House, pressured a foreign government to target an American citizen. The president’s own words in the public domain have indicated that he doesn’t think there’s any problem with soliciting foreign interference. The whistle-blower complaint has been corroborated by information in the public domain every step of the way. This is as serious as it gets.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think there’s enough evidence to impeach right now?

JEFFRIES: No, I’m not saying that. There’s enough evidence to proceed with the serious nature of the impeachment inquiry that is under way. At the end of the process, we’re just going to follow the facts. We’re going to apply the law. We’re going to be guided by the Constitution. And we’re going to see where that leads in order to present the truth to the American people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We saw Jon Karl report that the White House is saying they’re not going to comply with subpoenas until there is that formal House vote. Why not call their bluff? And if they do, indeed, refuse to comply with the subpoenas, is that an obstruction article?

JEFFRIES: Well, Chairman Schiff and Chairman Engel and Chairman Cummings have made clear that the failure to comply with a lawfully issued congressional subpoena undermines a congressionally and constitutionally mandated process as it relates to the impeachment inquiry and itself could lead to a negative inference as relates to the information that’s being hidden. And the question has to be asked, if Donald Trump has nothing to hide, why does he continue to hide information, hide documents, hide evidence from the American people?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Concerned he can draw this process by taking all this to court?

JEFFRIES: Not at all. And, as the speaker has indicated, we are going to proceed expeditiously because this is a matter of urgent national concern. That, in fact, was the conclusion of the inspector general to the intelligence community, who, by the way, is a Trump appointee. We also have a circumstance where the general counsel to the CIA, a Trump appointee, made a criminal referral to the Department of Justice, because she was concerned by the wrongdoing as it related to the president. So, we have Trump appointees who are clearly unnerved by the lawlessness of this President Trump.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Trump — some Trump appointees have participated in the inquiry so far, but most Republicans are holding the line behind President Trump right now.

Does it concern you that this becomes a partisan exercise and that it could actually backfire heading into the 2020 election?

JEFFRIES: Well, we think that there’s growing support for the impeachment inquiry that exists across party lines.

Evidence of that can be found in the fact that more than 300 national security professionals who served in Republican administrations and Democratic administrations have expressed public support for the impeachment inquiry and the fact that these allegations that the wrongdoing that occurred here by the president is serious in nature.

STEPHANOPOULOS: President thinks it’s going to energize his base, could actually help him in the reelection.

JEFFRIES: Well we think we need to tell the story to the American people of what happened. Congress on a bipartisan basis allocated military and economic aid to Ukraine. Ukraine is a friend, Russia is a foe. Ukraine is a democracy, Russia is a dictatorship. Ukraine is currently under attack by Russian-backed separatists. They’re in a very vulnerable situation. In that context, the aid is withheld. In February, the administration wrote to Congress and said the aid is on the way. It never arrived. Then in May, they wrote again to Congress through the Department of Defense and said the aid is on the way. And in fact, the Department of Defense said that the Ukrainian government has met all necessary steps and protocols, including the implementation of anti-corruption measures, yet the aid never arrived, because there’s no explanation. Then you have the July 25th phone call. Then all of a sudden, the aid thereafter gets released, after the president pressures the Ukrainian president to target an American citizen. This is deeply troubling. And the facts speak for themselves.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re now heading into our third week where this story has dominated the headlines. You see what the — one of the points the president is now making is that it’s overwhelming everything else, and he’s now calling you guys the do-nothing Democrats. Are you concerned that charge is going to stick and that it — that impeachment will overwhelm the rest of your agenda?

JEFFRIES: No, we’re going to continue to do the business of the American people, as we have been doing for the moment that we regained the majority. We’ve sent over 250 bills already to the United States Senate on matters like dealing with the gun violence epidemic. We are going to continue to drive down the high cost of life saving prescription drugs. We want to focus on dealing with the fact that we pay more for medicine in this country than any other developed country in the world without explanation. We’ve promised that we’re going to work to fix our crumbling infrastructure, we want to invest at least $1 trillion, create 16 million good-paying jobs. We want to get to yes, as the Speaker has consistently indicated, on the renegotiated U.S., Mexico, Canada trade agreement. We want to do it in a way that’s in the best of our farmers and manufacturing jobs in this country. We will not be distracted by our constitutional responsibility. That will proceed on a separate track.

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

JEFFRIES: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: GOP response from Congressman Jim Jordan is coming up. Plus FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and our roundtable on the politics of impeachment. We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: If impeachment helped President Trump win in 2020, would it be worth it?

PELOSI: It’s not about elections, it’s not about I don’t like him or I don’t like his policies, it’s about the facts and the constitution of the United States.

TRUMP: If you look at what’s happened with my polls, they’re through the roof. Do you know why? Because of this phony witch hunt. I got a call the other night from pastors, the biggest pastors, Evangelical Christians, they said we have never seen our religion or any religion so electrified.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: There you see Speaker Pelosi and President Trump weighing in on what impeachment means for the 2020 election. And we asked FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver if he buys the president claim that impeachment will energize his base and make reelection more likely.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SILVER: So, sure, I buy that impeachment will help Trump with his base, in fact there are already signs that the base will have Trump’s back. Sign number one, enthusiastic support for Trump maybe increasing even while overall support remains low. In Quinnipiac’s poll this week, for example, 35 percent of voters strongly supported Trump, that’s up from 27 percent in their poll before the Ukraine story broke. Sign number two, people are voting with their wallets. Trump’s campaign say it and the RNC raised $13 million in the 36 hours after Pelosi raised her support for an impeachment inquiry. That was a cherry on top of $125 million fundraising haul for Trump in the third quarter.
Here’s the thing, though, Trump’s base has alone has never enough to get him elected. He also needs some swing voters. Back in 2016, Trump won independents by four points. He won more undecided voters, especially in the Midwest. He won voters who disliked both him and Hillary Clinton by a wide margin. Those are the things that pushed him over the top in the electoral college. But so far among swing voters, Trump’s impeachment strategy does not seem to be going all
that great. Trump’s overall approval rating has fallen slightly in FiveThirtyEight’s tracking from 43 percent to 41 percent. Meanwhile, support for impeachment among independent voters has risen from 34 percent to 41 percent, according to our polling average. And just one more thing, there are still around 5 percent or 10 percent of voters who don’t approve of the president’s overall performance, but also don’t yet support impeaching him and removing him from office. It’s those voters and not just the Trump base that will be key to how impeachment plays out and frankly to his reelection prospects.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: All right, thanks to Nate. He’s tracking polling on impeachment at FiveThirtyEight.com.

GOP Congressman Jim Jordan up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: GOP Congressman Jim Jordan is standing by.

And all week long, you can get the latest on politics with breaking news alerts on the ABC News app.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call?

TRUMP: It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens. Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with — with Ukraine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: There’s President Trump on Thursday. We’re joined now by the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, Jim Jordan. Thank you for coming in —

JORDAN: You bet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: — today. Threshold question. Do you think it’s appropriate for President Trump to ask China and Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?

JORDAN: George, you really think he was serious about thinking that China’s going to investigate the Biden family?

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said it right there in public.

JORDAN: I think — I think — I think he’s getting — as I think Senator Rubio said a couple days ago. I think he’s getting the press all spun up about this. Remember, this is the president who’s been tougher on China than any other president. He wants to make sure China quits stealing America’s intellectual property. He wants to make sure they start abiding by international trade norms. And — tougher than anyone —

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said directly —

JORDAN: He’s — he’s put tariffs on China. And — and you really think he says — oh — the same guy who’s been tougher on China now thinks, oh, China’s going to investigate the — he was just making a statement to just underscore how wrong it is what took place here with — with Hunter Biden getting these — these deals that he got. That’s all he’s doing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So the president asked China to investigate. We’re not supposed to take the president at his word?

JORDAN: Again, I think — I think Senator — Senator Rubio said it best. This is — this is the — you guys would think after three and a half years, you would — with the campaign and everything else, you’d figure out some other way (ph) —

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he said in public the exact same thing he said in private to the Ukrainian president.

JORDAN: I wish there would be the same outrage for this — for — for what the president said about China, the same outrage that there was when — when we saw what — when — when the Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee hired a foreigner who worked with Russians to dig up dirt on the president, put it in a document that was given to the Department of Justice, and then the FBI used that document to go to a secret court to spy on the Trump campaign. And you guys weren’t — weren’t outraged about that. But now the president makes a statement about China —

STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m just — I’m just —

JORDAN: — the guy who’s been tougher on China than any other president, and you think this is somehow a big deal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So should I — so should I conclude from that that you don’t think it would be appropriate for the president to ask China to investigate the Bidens?

JORDAN: I think he’s just making this — I’m just telling you what the statement is. You asked me about the statement. I’m saying I don’t think he’s — I don’t think anyone in America really believes — except people maybe in the press and some Democrats in Congress really believe that the President of the United States thinks China is going to investigate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The president —

JORDAN: He’s making a statement.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well he’s asking for it and the president hasn’t said he’s joking. He said a very direct statement. He wasn’t smiling there, he wasn’t laughing, it wasn’t a joke.

JORDAN: George. You don’t think this president’s been the toughest president on China? Imposed tariffs —

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s not what — I’m asking —

JORDAN: — on China? You don’t think this president wants — wants to make sure China starts abiding by international trade norms, starts dealing with the — the — the theft of intellectual property? You don’t think — I mean, OK, you can — you can think that, but I just think that’s what —

STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m asking if you think it’s appropriate for the president to ask China to investigate —

JORDAN: I think he’s saying what’s on the minds of so many Americans —

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s not what I’m asking.

JORDAN: I think he’s saying what’s on the minds of so many Americans. It’s — it — how does the — the — the vice president’s son get $1 billion from a — from a bank — a subsidiary of the Bank of China — how does he get that deal just a couple weeks after he flies on Air Force Two to China? I think he’s just pointing out the fact — he says it in the way he says it —

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s —

JORDAN: — but I don’t think it’s really like, oh, China, go investigate the Bidens.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s not a fact and it’s not true and the Chinese have denied it as well. But I’m still — I still haven’t gotten an answer to the question. Is it appropriate for the president to ask China to investigate Joe Biden?

JORDAN: I think he’s got you guys all spun up and obviously it’s the case —

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re not —

JORDAN: — because you’ve asked me the question — you’ve asked me the question —

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’re not answering it.

JORDAN: — like four times.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, because you haven’t answered it.

JORDAN: I don’t think he really meant go investigate, because do you think China is going to investigate him?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don’t know if China is going to investigate him, but I know the president asked China to investigate him.

JORDAN: We know they’re not, George. Come on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why can’t you answer yes or no, do you think it’s appropriate.

JORDAN: Because I don’t think that’s what he did. I don’t think that’s what he did.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So — but it was right there on camera.

JORDAN: I think Senator Rubio had it exactly right. I think our side says this is exactly what
I think most Americans say this is exactly what the president was doing. You would think after, like I said, a few years of following this president you would understand sort of how this guy communicates. I think that is what he’s doing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re still not answering the question. If the president is asking China
to investigate, which he did right there, is that appropriate? Is that an abuse of power or that appropriate?

JORDAN: I think when the president is — and this is why it relates to Ukraine, I think when the president is trying to make sure that there is not corruption, that if we’re going to be sending the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people to Ukraine to help them fight Russia, to help them get their country moving in the direction that they need, to get the security assistance they need, I think he believes that we should make sure there’s not corruption there. It’s not President Trump’s fault that Joe Biden’s son was hired by a company that Mr. Volker told us this Thursday when we had him in for the interview, the ambassador, the special envoy to Ukraine, it’s not President Trump’s fault that Joe Biden’s son was hired by Burisma, this company that had a long history of corruption. I think the president, when he’s trying to decide how American tax dollars are going to be spent, and what countries they’re actually going to go to, it’s his job to make sure there’s not corruption. So when the vice president’s son is hired by this company, that Mr. Volker told us had a long history of corruption, was leaked to the government in Ukraine, I think that’s the president doing his job.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think it was appropriate for the president to ask Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Do you know of any other instances where the president has called on foreign leaders to investigate corruption did that did not involve one of his political rivals?

JORDAN: George, we heard from the ambassador for hours this Thursday. And the ambassador told us there was no quid pro quo, there was linkage between any type of security assistance money and any type of investigation. The ambassador was clear. We have the transcript where there is no — even Democratic chairman said after reading the transcript, even though before they got the transcript, they said there was going to be a quid pro quo in there, after reading it, they said there is not a quid pro quo. And the two individuals on the call, the two people on the call who know it best, President Trump and President Zelensky, said there was no pressure, no pushing, none of that, it was done in a professional manner. That’s what Ambassador Volker told us in his…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Ambassador Volker told you a lot of things this week. Let’s show some of the texts right here on July 25, this is the same day as the president’s phone call. Ambassador Volker: good lunch. Thanks. Heard from White House. Assuming President Z convinces Trump he will investigate, get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail down a date for a visit to Washington. Good luck. See you tomorrow. And then the Ambassador Bill Taylor of September 1: are we now saying the security assistance and the White House meeting are conditioned on investigations? Gordon Sondland said: call me. In that July 25 text right there, it’s very direct: the White House meeting is being conditioned on the investigation.

JORDAN: Ambassador Volker told us exactly the opposite. He said there was no quid pro quo and no linkage to any investigation and the security assistance money. But this is Adam Schiff’s partisan and unfair process that he’s going through, releasing selective texts. Why doesn’t he release the whole transcript?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I asked Hakeem Jeffries that exact question.

JORDAN: I appreciate you doing that, but the real question is why don’t you ask Adam Schiff. Why won’t he do it? The president released the call, unprecedented, he released a call with a foreign leader. That hasn’t been done very often, maybe not before. But why won’t Adam Schiff do the same thing with the — there were 67 pages of text messages. Why just a few handful, selected, highlighted by the Democrats, the same Democrat staff who by the way met with the whistleblower before he filed the complaint and Adam Schiff wouldn’t tell us that. The same Adam Schiff who did the false statement at the start of the hearing a week ago. The same Adam Schiff who met with Michael Cohen, his staff met with Michael Cohen for 10 hours before Michael Cohen testified. Why won’t — this is — and I think Americans see this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And I asked Congressman Jeffries about Adam Schiff as well. You talk about Ambassador Volker, he seems to undercut your entire premise on this question of Joe Biden with something he said also on Thursday. Let me put that up right here, “I have known former Vice President Biden for 24 years and the suggestion that he would be influenced in his duties as vice president by money for his son simply has no credibility to me. I know him as a man of integrity and dedication to our country,” that seems to undercut the entire premise of what you’re talking about.

JORDAN: No, no, it reinforces it, because Mr. Volker’s entire testimony on Thursday said there was nothing — he said we conducted ourselves in the highest professional manner. Everyone involved. Mr. Volker is the special envoy to Ukraine. Mr. Volker knows more about this subject area than anyone. And he had a — he understood that Zelensky was different. And his whole focus was to get Zelensky and President Trump together. And he knew when they get together, they would hit it off, there would be a connection. And that in the end, the best interests of the United States and the best interests of Ukraine would be served. And throughout that process he was very clear. And this is why it’s so wrong of what Chairman Schiff is doing by not releasing the full transcript and giving you in the media the full context and, more importantly, the American people the full context, because he said throughout that process there was never any quid pro quo. And when Sondland made his statement, George, the E.U. ambassador, Ambassador Sondland, made his statement, where he said it’s crystal clear, Bill, there is no quid pro quo of any kind, when he made that text message, you guys don’t — you never highlight that one. When he made that, you know what Ambassador Volker told us about that text message? He said, we knew that was the truth, and he was speaking for us all, and that had been — that had been the case throughout the negotiations.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Ambassador Volker also said quite clearly right there he believes Joe Biden is a man of integrity, did not do anything wrong.

You know, I…

JORDAN: And what I’m saying is, if you believe him there, then believe him with what he said throughout the entire seven hours that he testified. And if Adam Schiff would release that, you would see that’s the case.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We have asked him to release it. I have to go back to this, because you still haven’t answered the threshold question. Was it right for President Trump to ask China to investigate Joe Biden? Why can’t you say yes or no?

JORDAN: Because I think — because I’m telling you what he said. I think his point was highlighting that, when you’re the President of the United States, and you see something like this happen, China, he knows, is not going to investigate. He’s just pointing out to the American people what they all — what they all think about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’re telling us not to believe what we see with our own eyes, right there.

JORDAN: You’re telling me the guy who’s been tougher on China really thinks that’s going to happen? It’s not going to happen. He is highlighting what I think so many…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Whether or not it’s going to happen, he’s asking for it to happen.

JORDAN: George, let me ask you this. Let me ask you this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He’s asking for it to happen.

JORDAN: Let me ask you this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It is clear.

JORDAN: Why did Hunter Biden get the special deal with Burisma and Ukraine? Why? Because he was an expert in Ukraine? Because he was an expert in energy?

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re — you’re throwing out the accusations against…

(CROSSTALK)

JORDAN: Why did Hunter Biden get the special deal that he got in China?

STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t — the facts…

JORDAN: The president — the president is pointing out what so many Americans see. That looks unfair. That looks like — something smells about that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you’re throwing out the charges that have been discredited about the Bidens.

JORDAN: No, I’m not throwing out any charges. I’m not throwing out any charges.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’re not answering the question. You’re not answering the question.

JORDAN: I’m not throwing…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it right for the president to ask the Chinese to investigate?

JORDAN: George, George — George, first of all, I’m not throwing out any charges.

I’m just asking the…

STEPHANOPOULOS: You just did.

JORDAN: No, I’m not.

I’m asking the fundamental question. Why did Hunter Biden get the deal? Why?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don’t know the answer to that question.

JORDAN: Well, no one…

STEPHANOPOULOS: I know that he’s been investigated by the Ukrainians, and they found no wrongdoing.

I know that for a fact.

JORDAN: You know what Ambassador Volker told us about the company that hired Mr. Biden’s son? He said they had a long history of corruption. Again, we can’t see that. We can’t read that, because Adam Schiff won’t release the transcript. So all the president’s doing is highlighting what so many Americans kind of wonder about. Yeah, why did the vice president’s son get that deal with Ukraine, Burisma, the energy company, and why did he get that deal?

STEPHANOPOULOS: But your only defense to what Democrats have said is an abuse of power, the president asking China to investigate the Bidens, is that the president was joking? and we shouldn’t take the president at his word, we shouldn’t believe what we’re seeing with our own eyes.

JORDAN: I’m talking about common sense. I’m talking about common sense. Do you really think President Trump believes China is going to investigate? No.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I believe he asked them to investigate.

JORDAN: To highlight and underscore a question that’s on the minds of so many Americans, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you…

JORDAN: Why did Hunter Biden — why did the vice president’s son suddenly get these deals?

STEPHANOPOULOS: We have been going 10 minutes. You still can’t say whether you think it’s right or wrong.

JORDAN: Well, I don’t think it’s going to happen. That’s why it’s — that’s why…

(LAUGHTER)

JORDAN: I mean, it’s just — I just don’t think that’s what the president was really saying.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, thanks for your time this morning.

JORDAN: You bet. Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable is up next.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, everybody. We are in Las Vegas. I just got out of the hospital a few hours ago. And I’m feeling so much better. I just want to thank all of you for the love and warm wishes that you sent me. See you soon on the campaign trail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The other big political news this week, Bernie Sanders had a heart attack. He’s going to be off the campaign trail for a full day — for a few days, at least. We all do hope he recovers well. Let’s talk about that later on our roundtable. And I’m going to bring them in right now, chief political analyst Matthew Dowd, Republican strategist, CNN political commentator Alice Stewart, senior national correspondent Terry Moran, and Yvette Simpson, the CEO of Democracy for America. Let’s begin with impeachment, Matt Dowd. And I guess I just have to begin where I just ended there with — with Congressman Jordan. It’s something you’re seeing with a lot of the president’s defenders. They actually are put in an uncomfortable spot when they’re asked to say — when they’re asked to answer for is it right for the president to call on China, other countries to investigate the Bidens.

DOWD: Well, it seems through this entire process over the last week that every argument they make only sustains itself for five minutes and they have to switch to another argument because the fact sets don’t — go against them. And they’re — the past history of how we’ve looked at these things go against them. I mean, to me this is — Nancy Pelosi said it’s an incredibly somber moment in our country’s history. If he gets impeached, he’ll be the third president to be impeached in this process. But I think the Republicans in this entire — in this entire process have — would have a much more successful way to go in this if they would just accept the facts as they’re laid out and accept the words of the President of the United States himself, both in what he said on the South Lawn and what the call transcript summary has shown has already occurred.

STEWART: I think it is — is safe to say that whether we’re talking about what he said with regard to China on the South Lawn and in the phone call with Ukraine — the president of Ukraine, the comments and the words he used were inappropriate, they were ill-advised. But the question is were they impeachable. I do not think that they were. I think this is worthy of investigation, I think we need to look further. And this latest whistleblower report that has come to light this morning, that is worthy of further investigation. And in order to do so, let’s let the House put this for a vote. Right now what we have is a Nancy Pelosi and a squad impeachment effort but we need to put it on the floor for the House, let them take a vote and that way we can get not just second and third hand accounts of what happened, but firsthand accounts from people who were actually on the call and have more information. That’s the appropriate way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It does appear that — that the Speaker’s going to have to call for that vote, isn’t it?

SIMPSON: You know, she’s not required to. And I do think we need to acknowledge that Congress is a co-equal branch of government. The president cannot dictate how they do their — their — their work. I think this is a distraction and a delay tactic. If Congress says you need to give documents, give the documents. It’s just not required. If they do that, they probably will do a vote right after recess, but I think they want the process to be able to go forward in these committees now so that we can more forward and not let this drag into next year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Has — has the case been made for impeachment already?

MORAN: I think not for a lot of American people. And that’s why I think I — I would say that it would be wise for Democrats to do this. Because if you’re going to do something this big, bring the country together behind it. Because the president’s strategy right now is asking his people to suspend disbelief and their common sense, and not to — not to budge an iota, not a — not a micro millimeter from its perfect call, everything I’ve done is perfect. And can’t get people — can’t allow people to budge from that, because if they start asking, well, how wrong was it, and evidence comes out, then he’s lost his last line of defense. And I think for the Democrats to move forward as unified as possible and as sober as possible is the best way to serve the country. Whatever way it turns out. Because what — the other thing he’s doing is he’s saying trust me, don’t trust them, and don’t trust the media.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And scorched earth from the president on his opponents. A series of tweets — Mitt Romney, one of the few Republicans to come out and say the call on China to investigate is wrong and appalling, and the president has been nonstop on Twitter.

DOWD: Well, I mean, there’s so many things wrong with what the president did. First of all, just attacking somebody and using the words he used as a United States Senator of his own party that he attacks in this. The second part of this is if the House — which I believe the House will impeach the President of the United States and I — I believe it’s going to happen before Thanksgiving. And the American public is actually much more for the impeachment than they were for impeachment Nixon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The numbers have been going up.

DOWD: Way — and — they’ve been going up, but they’re much higher than they were during the Nixon impeachment and this time. The — the president — the — Mitt Romney is going to be a juror if the impeachment (ph). So he’s basically attacking one of the jurors who’s going to decide whether or not he should convict the President of the United States after the House impeaches. It just seems a really stupid thing to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he’s trying to keep all the other Republicans quiet, correct?

STEWART: Sure. And this is a strategy that he’s used in the past. It is to deny, deflect and denigrate anyone who opposes him. And that is something that has worked for him. But on the flip side, if Democrats want to continue in the process they’re doing, death by a thousand cuts with regard to subpoenas and whistleblower reports and selectively release text messages, that is not going to win over the American people. While polling has indicated the push for impeachment has risen amongst some, I talked to a lot of Congressman in the heartland. They’re doing constituent outreach on their break, and they’re hearing that this is enough. And the way Adam Schiff is handling it with his parody of things, if it continues down this line with drip, drip, drip, without a huge smoking gun, the American people will get frustrated and — and it will help the president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say drip, drip, drip, but this is actually moving quite fast.

SIMPSON: It is moving quite fast and I think part of it is being helped by what the president and his administration is doing, right? So he’s — as you said, we can’t get any Republican to say — one, acknowledge that the president has said this, he has done an impeachable thing in public, which I think is a way for him to try to normalize this, so let’s talk about the normalization of the fact that you just created an — you just did an impeachable thing. And also, he’s implicating everybody. I mean, it’s Pompeo, it’s Barr, Rudy Giuliani is every day, now Rick Perry made me do it. So, I think the longer this goes on — not only are the American people going to realize that there’s something here, right. He looks like somebody who has done something wrong, because he’s pointing the finger at everybody and bringing everybody in.
And so I think, one, popular opinion will continue to rise. And I think people will realize that he did something very, very wrong and he should be impeached for it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There’s something to be said about the president doing it all out there, so publicly, so transparently. I try to imagine if there had been a tape released of the president saying I want China to investigate the Bidens, in some ways that would be even more explosive.

MORAN: And by bringing it out in the public, and this is his line of defense, I have done nothing wrong. What you’re seeing is not my personal political vendetta, but my job — my constitutional job as president to root out corruption around the world. Now, he just happened to pick his first case in Ukraine with Joe Biden, and that might strain credulity, but he is saying this is not an affair — a personal affair, it’s an affair of state.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As his campaign is running ads against Joe Biden in the early states.

SIMPSON: Exactly.

DOWD: To me, when you look at this, so what could cause Republicans to vote for impeachment? What could a President Trump do that would cause the Republicans to vote for impeachment? Look at history, so when have Republicans voted to impeach a president? They voted to impeach a president in the 90s for lying about sex. OK, check mark. That’s been done with this president. They voted to impeach Andrew Johnson for being out of step with the values that the believed of America, that’s what they basically voted against Andrew Johnson, check. They could do that in this case. And now we have a president that’s fairly clear from his own words and everything he said and even if it’s out in the open and it’s all like this is outrageous, that he abused power and power of the office and welcomed the intervention of a foreign government into our elections in some manner. So I’m just curious, I would love the Republicans to tell me what instance would they vote for a President Trump to impeach a President Trump. I would love to know that.

STEWART: Well, certainly getting more information about this. As I said, this is inappropriate. This is not something that any Republican communications adviser, or political adviser, would say, hey, this is a great thing to say when you’re talking to the President of Ukraine. However, there is not enough information, and not enough evidence, to indicate a — I don’t see a quid pro quo on that transcript. I don’t see a malfeasance. I don’t see crimes befitting necessitating an impeachment, and until that happen, Republicans are going to withhold until they see more information.

(CROSSTALK)

SIMPSON: He used the word favor. He said favor. He withheld aid. What was the justification for withholding the aid? And what was the purpose of the call? And he has acknowledged he wants this investigation to happen. And so you can put two and two together and realize that one was the other.

MORAN: I think one of the things that the polls are telling us is the public definitively sees this as a very serious matter.

SIMPSON: Absolutely.

MORAN: They understand the gravity of it. And they have want to see more facts. I think that’s — I think the support for impeachment or impeachment inquiry, I think they want it to go forward. And these allegations and the evidence that they’ve already seen, they recognize it’s serious.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that’s why I wonder if this defense you’re seeing from some Republicans to release the whole transcript, let’s see all the fact, if that is actually going to backfire. I mean, these processes are dynamic. And you never know what’s going to come…

DOWD: That’s the problem I think if they are going to say let’s be transparent, Schiff be more transparent, be more transparent, he could actually say OK great. Dump it all. OK, now the subpoenas, now honor the subpoenas that have been sent to the White House, that have been sent to the Secretary of State, that have been sent to the Vice President of the United States. If we’re going to be transparent, OK welcome to it, let’s all be transparent in this process. To me, this moment, and I agree, it is incredibly — the public is focused on it, is concerned, but it goes through this partisan lens, unfortunately that we have in this process. But again I go at some point — and Mitt Romney I think has asked this question, which is why he said the things he said, Ben Sasse has said the things he’s said, Senator Collins has said the things she said, it is a very concerning moment in American history for a president — and don’t even get to quid pro quo — to invite a foriegn government, multiple foreign governments, into our election to interfere in our election on behalf of a candidate, that’s an incredibly…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Third time it’s happened.

SIMPSON: Absolutely.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If the president — if one of the president’s goals was to tarnish Joe Biden, cripple his campaign, is it working?

SIMPSON: I don’t think so. I mean you see Republicans going out in public, and they’re actually trying to try Hunter Biden in the court of public opinion, right. So, the investigation, quote unquote, may happen. It looks like the Ukrainians might actually do it. But until that happens, they’re trying to tarnish his reputation by saying a lot of things that aren’t true. I think that people are smarter than that, and I think Democrats in particular are smarter than that. I think that they can see this coming from a mile away. It’s already been asked and answered. It’s been settled. And this is just a tactic for Trump to, again, try to deflect from himself and put all of the weight and the heat on — on Biden.

STEWART: By all appearances, it is working, because all Joe Biden is talking about on the campaign trail is this. This is all that people are asking him about. And it’s — all the sound bites that come out of his rallies or his events are on this specific issue, whereas you have Warren and you have others out there that are able to talk about healthcare, about the economy, about what their plans are in order to win the primary. And the fund-raising numbers are also key, Sanders doing well with fundraising. Even Mayor Pete and Booker, all of them outraised Joe Biden in the third quarter fund-raising, not to mention you want to talk about how this impeachment has impacted the president. As we indicated, $13 million in the first 36 hours since Nancy Pelosi began this impeachment inquiry, that says a lot, and the fact that it’s helping solidify the president’s base with regards to fundraising and support and is causing more fracture in the Democratic Party. That’s where it’s going to be a long-term political impact.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of political strategists say Joe Biden has no choice now but to just take it on and make this the campaign: Donald Trump wants to beat me more than anyone else.

DOWD: I think that, especially in the short term of this process, it’s a huge benefit to Joe Biden, because he’s able to pivot one-on-one against the President of the United States. He can go back to how he introduced his campaign, which is basically a fight for the soul of America, basically asking the question, who are we? And he ought to go front and center, no holds barred, basically say, I will take on the president directly on this, because the majority of the Democrats, they aren’t necessarily concerned about who is — who is in agreement on them on policy. They want somebody who can take on the President of the United States. And what better way than someone that the President of the United States has mentioned over and over and over again?

MORAN: Joe Biden, at the very least, has a conflict — had an appearance of a conflict of interests in Ukraine. Maybe he shouldn’t have been that administration’s point person, when his son was buckraking off of his name in one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And that is going to be raised by Democrats at some point, certainly by Republicans. It is a definitional appearance of conflict of interests.

SIMPSON: Pot and kettle. I mean, the Trump family is probably more entrenched with foreign governments and their business dealings. I mean, when you compare the two, like, you cannot even…

MORAN: But we’re in a populist moment, when the notion that because daddy is your vice — is Vice President of the United States, you get to make a lot of money?

That’s…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, if he’s president, you can get trademarks in China and business development…

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: Whataboutism has become the last refuge of American…

(CROSSTALK)

SIMPSON: So, that is what is so funny about this, is that — the hypocrisy of it.

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: And not only is it something we’re going to hear from the president and Republicans, but, as Terry said, mark my word, this will be used as we get down in the primary process by either the Democratic opponents against Joe Biden or super PACs that want to raise the issue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is the last word today. Thank you all very much.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. In the month of September, two service members died overseas supporting operations in Afghanistan. That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out “World News Tonight.” And I will see you tomorrow on “GMA.”

Sourse: abcnews.go.com

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