On Monday’s edition of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” reporter Phil Mattingly noted that there is tremendous “frustration” among Senate Republicans over President Donald Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, for acknowledging a quid pro quo and throwing a wrench in the president’s defense against impeachment efforts.
“The Republicans we’re talking to tonight are not nearly in the same place that Mitt Romney is on most things, but on Mick Mulvaney, there is an agreement and broad frustration,” said Mattingly. “Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) saying he believed if you ask Mick Mulvaney, he would acknowledge it wasn’t his best performance over the last couple of interviews. Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the number two ranked Republican said it is, ‘a rough patch for Mick Mulvaney.'”
“You’re seeing frustration about how the White House has addressed the allegations,” continued Mattingly. “How the White House has addressed what House Democrats are investigating up to this point. What you’re not seeing is a major break of Senate Republicans. And certainly no break from House Republicans as well. I asked Sen. Romney, did he believe his comments were channeling what his colleagues didn’t have the ability to say publicly and thinking behind the scenes, and he acknowledged he didn’t think so. At least not at this point. And he made clear if there is impeachment and if it gets to the United States Senate, they will be jurors and because of that, most people right now are taking it day by day and holding their fire.”
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."