On Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean said that President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal has all the makings of a criminal conspiracy — and that the Justice Department needs to immediately investigate the actors in the Ukraine conspiracy.
“John, I want to read you part of what [EU] Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland said during his testimony last week,” said Cooper. “He said, ‘Inviting a foreign government to undertake investigations for the purpose of influencing an upcoming U.S. election would be wrong. Withholding foreign aid in order to pressure a foreign government to take such steps would be wrong. I did not and would not ever participate in such undertakings.’ Now, according to Taylor’s testimony today, I mean that’s exactly what he did at the behest of President Trump.”
“Certainly sounds that way, Anderson,” said Dean, who accepted a plea bargain in the Watergate scandal. “But what we have here to me is most striking about Taylor’s testimony, he’s describing a conspiracy that’s in operation. And they — he gets a little bit of information about what is actually going on, but he certainly doesn’t become a co-conspirator and doesn’t like what he learns about that conspiracy. So I think that it’s also striking that the Justice Department is ignoring this whole conspiracy, which is in a sense is still ongoing. If it’s not ended soon we’ll know. But I suspect that it’s winding up at this point. Anyway, it’s devastating testimony. Sondland has problems. He has to come in and either recant or he may be prosecuted.”
“Do you think the Justice Department should investigate, I mean in what way?” asked Cooper.
“Well, they — when they — when this case was referred initially they took a pass, saying they don’t see anything amiss here. That’s just — that’s absurd,” said Dean. “Their not investigating is almost aiding and abetting the conspiracy. The fact that Barr knows they are not investigating it and turned it down. It got turned down apparently at the assistant attorney general level in the criminal division, and did it obviously because they knew the center of the conspiracy is the president of the United States, just like the Watergate cover-up.”
Republicans have ‘very little ground to stand on’ to attack Taylor and Kent: Ex-FBI deputy director
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe broke down why it was all but impossible for Republicans to attack the credibility of diplomats William Taylor and George Kent during their impeachment testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
"They have very little ground to stand on to attack these gentlemen," said McCabe. "Particularly in the case of Taylor, he is backed up assiduously by a contemporaneous record. He's got his handwritten notes and he's got the texts messages that he sent the time. So when he tells you, I was shocked by what I heard on the phone call, you know that's true because at the time, he sent a contemporaneous text."
White House is happy GOP lawmakers said Trump is too incompetent to do a quid pro quo: CNN’s Jim Acosta
On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported that the White House is happy with how Republicans defended President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill — even though their central talking point was that the president tried to engage in a quid pro quo with Ukraine but failed.
"The White House officials that responded back to the president said that they thought he had a great day when it comes to this hearing up on Capitol Hill," said Acosta. "They don't see any damage done to the president after this first day of testimony."
"I will tell you, though, Anderson, the talking points are shifting," added Acosta. "White House officials I spoke to this evening said that they were pleasantly surprised by the performance turned in by some of these GOP lawmakers who were essentially saying, well, this was an attempted quid pro quo, it wasn't a quid pro quo, so, therefore, it's not impeachable. So, Anderson, their talking points have shifted once again. They've gone from saying there was no quid pro quo to, well, an attempted quid pro quo isn't that bad after all."
Southern District prosecutors watched impeachment hearing to decide whether to charge Giuliani: CNN reporter
The first publicly televised impeachment hearing was aired to millions of people on Tuesday. But it wasn't just citizens who were watching, suggested justice correspondent Evan Perez on CNN's "The Situation Room" — it was federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who are currently investigating President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
"Both of [the witnesses], Kent and Taylor, they weighed in on the role of Rudy Giuliani in all this diplomacy," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What do you think?"
"Look, I think that's the key part of his testimony," said Perez. "I think we want to hear more from some of the other witnesses, including Ambassador Yovanovitch, and certainly Gordon Sondland, this is part of the story, the story Democrats are laying out for the impeachment inquiry. There is also another part of this, Wolf. I think the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York ... are watching this testimony today, no doubt, and trying to see whether it fits into the criminal investigation still ongoing in which Giuliani is the center of."