Rep. Adam Schiff joins to break down all of the latest impeachment news, Pete Buttigieg takes the lead in Iowa, and Elizabeth Warren offers her own Medicare for All plan. Then Senator Sherrod Brown talks to Jon F. about impeachment, health care, and his new book, Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America.
- Axios: Trump impeachment hearing: Highlights from Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony
- ABC News: 5 key takeaways from testimony by former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
- WaPo: 4 takeaways from Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony
- Politico: A smear campaign, witness intimidation and a gutted State Dept.: What we learned in Friday’s hearing
- NYT: Impeachment Briefing: What Happened Today
- WaPo: ‘Stand up’: Yovanovitch uses moment in the spotlight to call on U.S. leaders to defend diplomatic corps
- Politico: Read: Marie Yovanovitch’s opening statement at today’s impeachment hearings
- NBC News: Who is Marie Yovanovitch? Ambassador testifying at the impeachment hearing
- Politico: Trump attack on Yovanovitch exposes GOP’s muddled impeachment defense
- NYT: With a Tweet, Trump Upends Republican Strategy for Dealing With Yovanovitch
- WaPo: Marie Yovanovitch gives Democrats the compelling — and sympathetic — witness they needed
- Real Clear Politics: Chris Wallace: Marie Yovanovitch Testimony “Very Powerful” “If You Have A Pulse”
- New Yorker: In Trump’s Jaded Capital, Marie Yovanovitch’s Uncynical Outrage
- NYT: Ex-Envoy to Ukraine ‘Devastated’ as Trump Vilified Her
- WSJ: Five Moments That Mattered in Marie Yovanovitch’s Impeachment Testimony
- Politico: Sondland said he was acting on Trump’s orders, aide told investigators
- AP: Testimony ties president closer to pressure on Ukraine
- NPR: NSC Official Faults Sondland’s Role In ‘Shadow’ Ukraine Policy
- Politico: Pence aide testified that Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine were ‘inappropriate’
- ABC News: In closed-door testimony, US diplomat says he heard Trump question the EU ambassador on Ukraine ‘investigation’
- NYT: Embassy Official Confirms Trump Asked About Ukraine Investigation
- WaPo: Impeachment witness provides firsthand account of hearing Trump demand ‘investigation’ of Bidens by Ukraine
- CNN: Witness overheard US ambassador tell Trump that Ukraine would investigate Biden
- Vox: A State Department aide overheard Trump pushing for Ukrainian investigations into Biden
- LA Times: Cellphone call from a U.S. ambassador at a Kyiv restaurant could compound Trump’s troubles
- ABC News: Trump’s actions on Ukraine ‘an impeachable offense,’ says House Dem on Intelligence Committee
- NYT: Republicans Shift Defense of Trump, While He Attacks Another Witness
- The Guardian: Impeachment inquiry: Trump ally must choose between loyalty and saving himself
- WaPo: Power Up: Gordon Sondland has a lot of explaining to do. Impeachment investigators are getting ready.
- WaPo: The 5 questions Gordon Sondland needs to answer” (11/14)
- JTA: Parnas and Fruman met with Trump during White House Hanukkah party, CNN reports
- CNN: Exclusive: After private White House meeting, Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said he was on a ‘secret mission’ for Trump, sources say
- Axios: Trump forces offer president clashing advice on Roger Stone pardon
- Politico: Roger Stone was found guilty. Now all eyes turn to Trump.
- WaPo: Roger Stone’s conviction, and Trump’s ugly response, further demonstrate the president’s corruption
- WaPo: Roger Stone guilty on all counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering
- NYT: Roger Stone Is Convicted of Impeding Investigators in a Bid to Protect Trump
- CBS News: Roger Stone, former Trump campaign adviser, found guilty on all charges
- AP: Roger Stone guilty of witness tampering, lying to Congress
- WaPo: The Trailer: What President Trump does isn’t shaking the Democratic primary (so far, at least)
- WaPo: Another warning for Republicans: Trump can’t win you your election
- Politico: Louisiana delivers Trump a black eye
- CNN: Why Republicans lost another deep-red state in Louisiana governor’s election
- Slate: Democratic Governor in Louisiana Wins Reelection, Deals Huge Blow to Trump
- NPR: Louisiana Democrat, Gov. John Bel Edwards, Keeps Seat Despite Trump’s Opposition
- Vox: Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards hangs on to his seat in Louisiana
- Politico: Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards wins reelection in Louisiana
- WaPo: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wins reelection
- Bloomberg: Trump Ally Loses Bid to Unseat Louisiana Democratic Governor
- Des Moines Register: Iowa Poll: Pete Buttigieg rockets to the top of the 2020 field as a clear front-runner
- CBS News: CBS News Battleground Tracker: Buttigieg rises in Iowa and New Hampshire, Biden back atop delegate hunt
- NYT: Pete Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll
- Des Moines Register: A guide to Democrats running for president and what likely Iowa caucus participants think of them
- Des Moines Register: Pete Buttigieg appeals to broad spectrum of caucusgoers, new Iowa Poll shows
- CNN: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in Iowa, new poll shows
- CNN: By Harry Enten – Live analysis on Buttigieg surging to first place
- Vox: Poll: Pete Buttigieg becomes the presidential frontrunner in Iowa
- Des Moines Register: Iowa Poll: Bernie Sanders grapples with too-liberal label but stands on rock-solid base
- Des Moines Register: Joe Biden’s support drops in latest Iowa Poll, but likely caucusgoers say he’s most likely to beat Trump
- Des Moines Register: Iowa Poll: Support declines for Elizabeth Warren; most likely caucusgoers shy away from ‘big changes’
- Wapo: Iowa caucuses
- WaPo: Buttigieg surges ahead of his Democratic primary rivals in Iowa, new poll shows
- Axios: Buttigieg to face frontrunner scrutiny after surprise Iowa poll
- Axios: Buttigieg with 9-point lead in new Iowa poll
- FiveThirtyEight: Inside The Buttigieg Moment – A campaign confronts its whiteness as its candidate’s popularity grows. – By Clare Malone
- The Intercept: PETE BUTTIGIEG TOUTED THREE MAJOR SUPPORTERS OF HIS DOUGLASS PLAN FOR BLACK AMERICA. THEY WERE ALARMED WHEN THEY SAW IT
- Slate: Mayor Pete’s Big Announcement About Black Support Cited People Who Aren’t Black and Don’t Support Him
- WaPo: Obama tells Democratic candidates to ease off talk of revolution
- NYT: Obama Says Average American Doesn’t Want to ‘Tear Down System’
- NY Mag: Obama Tells His Party’s Elites to Relax
- Vox: Obama says that Americans are seeking “improvement” not “revolutionary” change
- NYT: Too Far Left? Some Democratic Candidates Don’t Buy Obama’s Argument
- Medium: My First Term Plan for Reducing Health Care Costs in America and Transitioning to Medicare for All
- NYT: Elizabeth Warren Vows to Expand Health Coverage in First 100 Days
- WaPo: Elizabeth Warren proposes a transition phase before Medicare-for-all
- Politico: Warren details how she’d transition country to ‘Medicare for All’
- Des Moines Register: In Iowa, Elizabeth Warren defends new public option component of health care plan as rivals step up critiques
- Wapo: Warren tries to sell her Medicare-for-all shift to Iowa voters
- WaPo: Is Elizabeth Warren looking for safer ground in health care?
- NYT: Elizabeth Warren’s Backup Backup Health Plan – Many presidents have failed to pass major health care legislation. She shared a detailed list that doesn’t require congressional approval
- Vox: Elizabeth Warren’s new Medicare-for-all plan starts out with a public option
- Vox: One advantage of Elizabeth Warren’s employer health fee plan: It polls well
- NYT: How Elizabeth Warren Got to ‘Yes’ on Medicare for All
- WaPo: Democrats fear a long primary slog could drag into summer
- NYT: How FedEx Cut Its Tax Bill to $0
- NYT: Conservative Groups Are Teaming Up to Defend Trump, and Raise Money
- WaPo: The top 13 Democratic presidential candidates of 2020, ranked and tiered
- Politico: Deval Patrick says he’ll take super PAC cash to ‘catch up’
- Politico: Bloomberg says he was ‘wrong’ on ‘stop-and-frisk’
- Politico: California Dems question whether it’s time for Harris to drop out
- Politico: ‘No discipline. No plan. No strategy.’: Kamala Harris campaign in meltdown
- WaPo: Bloomberg launching $100 million digital ad campaign as he contemplates Democratic presidential bid
- WSJ: Elizabeth Warren’s Tax Plan Would Bring Rates Over 100% for Some
- Politico: ‘Barbarians’ go to war with Warren
- WaPo: Where 2020 Democrats stand onEconomic inequality
Transcript of the Schiff Interview
Favreau With us this morning, House intelligence chairman and friend of the pod, Adam Schiff. Congressman, thanks for being here.
Schiff It’s great to be with you.
Lovett Mr. Chairman, we want to start with something that’s been troubling us about how you’ve conducted this hearing. It was bad last week. It looks to be worse this week. You’ve scheduled these hearings to begin at 8:00 a.m. eastern. That is 5:00 a.m. in California. You are our congressman, I live in your district. How can you do this to us?
Schiff Well, you’re just going to have to get up early. What can I tell you? But we have two hearings back to back, so we’ll be going all morning, afternoon and potentially into the evening. So they’re going to be long days ahead of us.
Favreau I will say, Congressman, you’ve all made us, you’ve made us all very proud out here in Los Angeles, the way that you’ve conducted the hearings so far, of all the testimony and developments from last week what do you hope the main takeaway is for people who might have not been paying super close attention?
Schiff Well, I hope people will get a sense of many things, of the seriousness of the president’s misconduct, of the dedication of the public servants from the State Department and the Defense Department and elsewhere who came forward against the wishes of the administration, who did their lawful duty, answered a lawful subpoena, and told the American people what they, what they knew. That’s the way it should be. We’re facing, I think, one of the most significant and all-encompassing obstruction campaigns that we’ve ever seen by a president. And these courageous people like Ambassador Yovanavitch and Bill Taylor and George Kent and others that the country will hear from this week have testified at great risk to themselves and their careers. And I hope the public will have an appreciation for their courage, and I hope it will inspire others.
Vietor Congressman, the Republicans’ defensive Trump seems to shift over time. But a lot of them are settling on a question about the president’s intent and his personal motives in this quid pro quo where this extortion scheme, it seems like they are, in part, dismissing evidence from witnesses as hearsay, as a way to build that defense. How will Democrats deal with that argument since, at the same time, Republicans are also trying to prevent people like Mulvaney or Pompeo or Bolton, from testifying when they would actually be able to speak to the president’s mindset and intent?
Schiff Well, this is the thing that I think is so difficult for Republicans, which is they are supporting the president’s efforts to stonewall. They’re not urging the administration to make these witnesses available. A few of them are saying anything about all the thousands of documents the administration was holding. And instead, they’re saying, well, there should be more direct witnesses. The reality is, though, we have plenty of direct witnesses. We have, for example, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s chief of staff, saying on live television how there was a quid pro quo, that essentially the military aid was being withheld because they wanted Ukraine to do this political investigation into this discredited theory that it was Ukraine that interfered in our election in 2016, not the Russians. You have other witnesses who I think quite directly, even though their testimony may be limited to discrete episodes, go right to the heart of the president’s intent. And Robert Holmes is one of them. Now I can only speak to his written testimony because that’s all that’s been released so far. But he overhears this conversation in this restaurant in Kiev between Ambassador Sondland and the president, in which the president wants to know, are the Ukrainians are going to do the investigations and Sondland assures him that they are. And when they get off the phone, the State Department employee asks, and these are not my words so you’ll forgive me, does the president give a shit about Ukraine? And Sondland’s answer is he doesn’t give a shit about Ukraine, he just cares about the big stuff. And that means what affects his personal interests. And that, I think, tells you a lot about the president’s intimate involvement in this, as well as his frame of mind, what he cares about, whether he’s acting in the U.S. interests and of course, the U.S. national security interests are in helping defend Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Favreau Congressman, you obviously don’t want to wait for weeks and months for courts to settle this, but why not at least try to subpoena Bolton and Mulvaney and then hold them in contempt if they don’t show up? What’s sort of the thinking behind the strategy there?
Schiff In terms of Bolton and Mulvaney?
Schiff Well, we subpoenaed Mulvaney. So he has received the subpoena and he has defied it. Bolton has told us if we subpoena him, he will take us to court. And this is what his lawyers have said, we’re not interested in playing rope a dope for months in the courts. We think that Bolton should do what three individuals who work for him have done, and that is he should make himself available and come and testify. He should show the same courage that those that work for him have demonstrated. They were also instructed not to testify. They also did so at personal risk. They were told in no uncertain terms that things they say could be privileged and therefore they shouldn’t come. But they did anyway. And if Bolton were sincere about his willingness to testify, then he would have come to the deposition when we asked him to.
Lovett So right now, we’ve seen testimony from Taylor, Kent, Yovanovitch. It has been, I think, extraordinary to watch, devastating to the arguments against, to the arguments that Republicans have been making. And yet I think there’s been this dichotomy in the hearings between the kind of show that some of your Republican colleagues are putting on and in the struggle of the, the Republican lawyer to actually make inroads into the argument. And I think there’s a distance there between the facts that are really impossible to argue with and the political, the political realities and equities that the Republicans are grappling with and they’re sort of desperate to try to distract from this sort of mounting evidence. Behind the scenes, is there a different posture on the part of these Republicans, are they more, are there more sort of open and reflective conversations behind the scenes that we’re not seeing? Or is what we’re seeing on television the posture they’re showing you when the cameras aren’t on?
Schiff Well, you know, I think and I certainly I get feedback from some of my colleagues on both the Democratic and Republican side, including Republicans, senior Republicans, who would come up to me after hearing and say, you did really well. That’s not something they’re going to say publicly, publicly they’re all attacking me. But others, you know, are more candid, I think, with some of my colleagues and are willing to express their concerns. You know, some, frankly, expressed that concerns early on in public. Mike Turner, for example, expressed that he thought what the president had done was not okay in that call. But as we’ve seen the president come down on anyone who deviates from the party line, that this was a perfect call in any way, they go after him. And so the Mike Turner that we heard in the hearing the other day was a completely different Mike Turner than we heard a month ago. You know, similarly, the president went after, I think, Mac Thornberry when Mac Thornberry said on the Sunday show that it was not a perfect call and it was problematic. And the president called that a fool’s errand to say things like that. And so the White House, I think, has been very heavy-handed, skillful, you might say, in so eviscerating anyone who deviates from Trump’s orthodoxy that they’re scared. And so we see this spectacle where some are auditioning for the president for future roles potentially in the Trump administration. Some are just trying to keep their head down and others are just not willing to confront this deeply unethical man. But how could you watch this testimony, how could you hear people like Ambassador Yovanovitch and Taylor and Mr. Kent and not be alarmed that the present United States was withholding hundreds of millions of dollars that all of us in Congress supported to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression and really defend the United States against Russian expansionism, and holding it up to try to coerce this dependent ally to do these political investigations. You can imagine how they would feel if any Democratic president were ever to engage in half this conduct.
Vietor Two quick things. First, I want to note that this conversation has been chockablock with pizzazz. So thank you for that. Second, second. Roger Stone was just convicted of lying to Congress to protect Trump. Gordon Sondland had to revise his testimony and may have to again. These individuals haven’t demonstrated, let’s call it, a lot of respect for the truth. Are you concerned about President Trump possibly pardoning Roger Stone and what message that might send to others who are asked to testify?
Schiff Well, I have been concerned all along with the president’s abuse of the pardon power in the way that he would dangle pardons over people like I think he did with Michael Cohen and the way that he would praise people like Paul Manafort, who refused to cooperate and call others who did cooperate rats the way he speaks like an organized crime boss. So, yes, we have to I think all be concerned with the continuing possibility that Donald Trump will pardon either Roger Stone or Paul Manafort or others. And the message that would send you know, I have to say, those kind of actions only build to the case against the president for obstruction of justice and obstruction of the Congress. So there’s a peril in the president taking those steps. You know, one thing is perfectly consistent about this president, and that is he doesn’t care about anyone else or anything else but himself. So the judgment about whether to pardon any of these people will be strictly viewed through the prism of what’s best for Donald Trump. And I don’t know how to weigh that calculus for the White House, except that they must know that, where do you engage in this kind of abuse of the pardon power, he may be just adding to the weight of evidence against the president in a potential account for obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.
Favreau Do you expect Gordon Sondland to revise his testimony once again this week? It seems like he’s in need of some recollection refreshment again.
Schiff I don’t know what to expect. I can say that one of the reasons we want to do these hearings in open session now that we’ve done our preliminary fact-finding is what the American people to be able to judge the credibility of these witnesses for themselves and make their own determinations about who they believe is telling the truth and who might not be. I think that, you know, the Stone case does demonstrate that we take perjury before our committee very seriously. There are two people now who’ve been convicted of it, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone. And I would hope that all the witnesses that come before us will be very mindful of their obligation to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Lovett Speaking of perjury, which is very hot right now, there is reports that the House may look into whether or not President Trump lied in his answers to Robert Mueller. Is is there any truth to that? And can you tell us any more about that?
Schiff Well, you know, one of the obviously the most important parts of the Muller report and indeed half the Mueller report was about the president’s efforts to obstruct justice. And if the president lied in his answers to Mueller, lied under oath, that only further substantiates a case of obstruction of justice. When we get done with our investigation in the Intelligence Committee and we make our report to the Judiciary Committee, we as a caucus, you know, in consultation with the Constitution and our conscience, are going to have to determine what’s the remedy for this presidential misconduct. And are we prepared to say that this is now acceptable? Okay? Something that we have to expect now in future presidents? Or if not, what’s the remedy? And if the remedy are articles of impeachment we’ll have to consider whether to include among those articles the president’s obstruction of justice. And if he lied to Congress, that could be part of that kind of an article. It could be something independent of that. But those are questions for another day. Right now, we still need to finish our fact-finding and, but pursuing this grand jury material and this is the context in which that issue came up today, will help inform us on the issue of obstruction of justice.
Favreau So Republicans are telling reporters that two of this week’s witnesses, Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison, will actually help undermine the case for impeachment. Why do you think they’re saying that? And what do you anticipate Republicans will try to argue in their hearings?
Schiff Well, I, look, I’m glad that the Republicans at least had some witnesses that were relevant and could provide important information to the American people. And so we’re calling them this week. I think both of these witnesses have things that are very damning to the president’s case. And so I look forward to their testimony. You know, we’ve had an extensive deposition with both. Volker was one of the first witnesses we brought in. I think we know a great deal more now than we did when he originally testified. But I think both of these witnesses have very important testimony that goes to the president’s misconduct and I will leave it to the public to judge who their testimony helps or hurts. But, you know, one of the key elements of Morrison’s testimony is that in Warsaw on September 1st, immediately after Pence’s talking to Zelensky, Ambassador Sondland and Morrison witnesses it, walks over to Andriy Yermak, one of Zelensky’s top aides, has a private conversation and comes over to tell Morrison what was said. And what he tells Morrison is, I informed the Ukrainians that if they wanted the military aid, they were likely going to have to do these investigations that the president wanted. And that is about as direct evidence of coercion, bribery, extortion as you’re going to find and why they think that’s helpful to the president, you’d have to ask them.
Favreau Yes, it seems bad. Well, I’ll just, I’ll just end where I began. I mean, obviously, you have selected sort of the order of all these witnesses for specific reasons. What is the story you’re hoping that collectively the witnesses this week tell the American people about, about President Trump’s behavior?
Schiff Well, I think these witnesses lay out a long course of conduct that began with a campaign against Ambassador Yovanovitch to, first of all, get rid of this Ambassador who was a thorn in their side, who was championing anti-corruption efforts, urging the Ukrainians not to engage in political prosecutions. And, of course, what they wanted was for Ukraine to engage in two particular political prosecutions. So they cleared the way by getting rid of Ambassador Yovanovitch. They bring in this, irregular channel that runs from the president through Mick Mulvaney to chief of staff, through Ambassador Sondland, through Rudy Giuliani to the Ukrainians in order to essentially bribe or coerce them into doing two investigations that Donald Trump believed would help his reelection. One into the Bidens and one into this debunked conspiracy theory about 2016. And the president was willing to condition a White House meeting that President Zelensky desperately wanted and 400 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russians in order to get Ukraine to do this dirty work. And I think what the American people are going to have to decide and Congress as their representatives is, are we prepared to say that that’s somehow now compatible with the oath of office, that a president can abuse his power this way. And at the end of the day, you know, I keep coming back to what Mr. Holmes said, and that is if the President of the United States doesn’t care about our defense or Ukraine’s defense, only cares about his personal interests. That’s a profound danger to the country. And we’re going to decide what needs to be done about it. So I hope that Americans are watching. I think they are and that they will help inform their representatives about what they think our response should be.
Favreau Congressman Schiff, we really appreciate you coming on. Thanks for the time and best of luck this week.
Schiff Thank you very much, you take care.