On CNN Saturday, in response to the new video evidence of President Donald Trump discussing fired U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara walked through a major remaining risk to Trump and Senate Republicans in the impeachment trial.
"Just to back up, one of the things that Lev Parnas has been publicly talking about, there's — seems like there's no appetite to have Lev Parnas or anyone else as witnesses on the Republican side," said anchor Anderson Cooper. "Does this tape matter at all?"
"I think it matters in terms of context," said Bharara. "I think it shows the language that Trump used, what his state of mind was. You know, if you look at the strict transcript of the tape, arguably, you could say, look, there was an ambassador, claimed to be bad mouthing the president and claimed he'll be impeached. They had a mission to get rid of the ambassador because they had a different political errand, I guess. So, it's not crazy to argue, if you're just looking at this in isolation, that someone is saying that the president is going to get impeached. She works for the president of the United States in an ambassadorial capacity. He might have a reaction to that."
"The problem this is not existing in isolation," continued Bharara. "There's a whole series of events where she was standing in the way of the idea of Joe Biden and Burisma and the investigations. That takes it far beyond the phone call that triggered the impeachment inquiry ... it is significant because it suggests that there are other tapes or other evidence that are going to be coming out in parallel fashion to the trial, to which people have been reporting may be over next week. What's fascinating to me, that I've never seen in a trial, you have this procedure that comes out that sheds light on the proceedings and also may make it more difficult for Republicans to argue that they were right in preventing witnesses from testifying. So, there's a whole bunch of Pandora's boxes I think that could still be opened."