Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on September 29, 2019

9/29: Face The Nation

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:

  • Senator Lindsey Graham (read more)
  • Senator Chris Murphy (read more)
  • Rudy Giuliani (read more)
  • Representative Will Hurd (read more)
  • Representative Terri Sewell (read more)
  • Panelists: Paula Reid, Michael Morell, Rachael Bade, Adam Entous 

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."

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MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, September 29th. I'm Margaret Brennan in the nation's capital. And this is FACE THE NATION.

The whistleblower case explodes in Washington after President Trump releases details of his call to the Ukrainian president in which he asks for a favor. Ukrainian help with investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, for possible corruption. The call happened soon after the President ordered a hold on an aid package to Ukraine.

NANCY PELOSI: It is not role of the President to shake down foreign leaders for his own political purpose, withholding taxpayer money to do so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That was enough for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After months of resisting pleas from Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry, she changed course.

The next bombshell came when a whistleblower complaint filed by a CIA analyst assigned to the White House was handed over to Congress. It revealed blockbuster allegations about the President's efforts to urge the Ukrainians to meddle in the upcoming election and cited Attorney General William Barr and the President's attorney Rudy Giuliani as the points of contact.

Also stunning, details of a possible administration cover-up as the whistleblower revealed White House officials locked down the call record in a classified server due to concerns over its content. But do these developments rise to the level of impeachable offenses? Most Republicans say no. President Trump insists he's done nothing wrong but was caught on camera talking about the White House leak that led to the whistleblower complaint.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Who's the person that gave the whistleblower the information? Because that's close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right? The spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani will be with us as well as one of the President's biggest supporters, Senator Lindsey Graham. Two members of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Will Hurd and Democrat Terri Sewell will join us. Plus, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy will be here along with our political panel, just ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION from Capitol Hill. It has been a mind-boggling week of developments in the whistleblower case here in Washington. Each new revelation brings more questions. We'll be talking today with key lawmakers from both sides of the aisle as well as the person, the whistleblower, called a central figure in the case, President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. There is a sharp political divide among Americans on whether or not there should be an impeachment inquiry. A CBS News national poll just out says that more than half, fifty-five percent of Americans say there should be an impeachment inquiry into the President. That includes eighty-seven percent of Democrats and twenty-three percent of Republicans. Independents are split. Forty-two percent of Americans say he deserves to be impeached over the Ukraine controversy; thirty-six percent say the President does not. And the rests say it's too soon. Those numbers also split along party lines for the most part. There's more from our poll on our website at FaceTheNation.com.

On tonight's 60 MINUTES, Scott Pelley sat down with congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He asked her what, specifically, had prompted her to open an impeachment inquiry into the President's actions regarding Ukraine. Here's a preview.

(Begin VT)

SCOTT PELLEY (60 MINUTES): Your Republican colleagues say, well, the-- the call is the call, but there's nothing here that rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

NANCY PELOSI (60 MINUTES): Well, they're wrong. And with-- it remains to be seen because it's not just what happens in the call. It's part of the sequencing of events as well. You withdraw a couple of hundred million dollars worth of-- of assistance to a country and then a couple of days later say, by the way, can you help me with my campaign, in other words, there's a sequencing there.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: You can see more of Scott's interviews on 60 MINUTES tonight.

We turn now to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham. Senator, good morning.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-South Carolina/@LindseyGrahamSC/Judiciary Committee Chairman): Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Big week here, but I want to begin where Nancy Pelosi just left off.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Mm-Hm.

MARGARET BRENNAN: She lays out what she says is most problematic, the sequencing.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President in this call record says--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --"Would you do us a favor?" He brings up debunked myth about the DNC server and then he brings up the Biden family and the need for an investigation.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Mm-Hm.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He repeatedly lays that out. And also the aid package is mentioned.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have no problem with any of this?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I have zero problems with his phone call--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Even with that sequencing?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I just told you, I have zero problems with his phone call. There is no quid pro quo here, but I do have a problem with Nancy Pelosi. If you believe that Donald Trump did something to hurt this country you owe it to vote not talk about impeaching the President. The only way to open up an impeachment inquiry is to vote. We need a John Hancock moment from House Democrats. Quit hiding behind Nancy Pelosi. If you think the President did something wrong in this phone call then vote to open up an article of impeachment inquiry, and a lot of House Democrats won't because they are afraid.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, putting that political calculus aside I want to ask you about the content though--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --of this conversation.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Can I tell you about this conversation?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think it was ethical for--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yes. I-- it's okay.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the President to bring up Joe Biden?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yes, absolutely. I think somebody ought to look at whether or not Joe Biden had the prosecutor fired in an improper way. I love Joe Biden. I don't want to look at it. I want an inspector general somebody like Mueller. Did Biden know that his son was receiving fifty thousand dollars a month from a gas company being investigated by the prosecutor--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn't that just--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --wait a minute--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --his payment--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --wait a minute--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --for being on the board?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: The--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have reason to believe--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --the board-- the guys--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --it was anything more than that?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --on the board being investigated for corruption and the guy doing the investigation is asked to be fired by Biden. I don't know what happened. It smells to high heaven. I never said the Mueller witch hunt-- the Mueller investigation was a witch hunt. I introduced legislation to protect Mueller.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: This seems to me like a political setup. It's all hearsay. You can't get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay. The whistleblower didn't hear the phone call.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SEN GRAHAM: Who told the whistleblower--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Which he says.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --about the phone call and everything else?

MARGARET BRENNAN: He says--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Donald Trump is--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --multiple White House officials were discussing it.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --still an American. Every American deserves to confront their accuser. So this is a sham as far as I am concerned. I want to know who told the whistleblower about the phone call. I want to know why they changed the rules about whistleblowers not-- the hearsay rule was changed just a short period of time before the complaint was filed. The complaint sounds like a legal document, who help him-- who helped this guy write it or this girl write it? We're not going to try the President of the United States based on hearsay. Every American has a right to confront their accuser.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You wanted the President to release this partial call record--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I did.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --but you're saying this is hearsay. The complaint on a number of fronts--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Who?

MARGARET BRENNAN: --is matched by--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: The--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the call record.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --the transcript and the complaint are not matched. Now-- now wait a minute--

MARGARET BRENNAN: The reference to the DNC server--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --please let me talk--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the will you do--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --please, please.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --a favor. I'm laying out the facts here.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: No-- no, you're not.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The repeated--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: No, you're making an argument that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --reference to Joe Biden--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Here's the point--

MARGARET BRENNAN: All those things--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Joe Biden--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --are laid out here--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --went to the--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the fact that the attorney general was brought up.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Never mind. You know you've got an opinion and I got an opinion. You've got me on the show to tell me what-- what I think. I think Mueller did a good job for the country and there was nothing there. I think this whole thing is a sham. I can't believe we're talking about impeaching the President based on an accusation based on hearsay. Who is this whistleblower? What bias do they have? Why did they pick this whistleblower to tell a hearsay story? The transcript does not match the complaint. What's going on here? Why did they change the rules about a whistleblower you can use hearsay when you could not just weeks before the complaint? So I think this thing stinks and let me tell you about Republicans--you want to know about Republicans? Republicans believe that you're guilty just by the accusation if you're--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --Brett Kavanaugh, it doesn't matter. They don't tell you when it happened and where it happened, it just happened thirty years ago. If you're Donald Trump, you don't get to confront your accuser like every other American. Republicans believe this President is being persecuted. They don't love Donald Trump and the way he does business. They like what he does, but they believe he is being persecuted. They believe that everybody is out to get him and I believe as to this complaint it smells.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the acting director of National Intelligence who was put in that job by the Trump administration--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --said he believed that the whistleblower was--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: No, he did not.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --acting in good faith--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: No, he did not. He said they couldn't question his motives--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --but he didn't know if it's true or not. So Adam Schiff read the-- the-- the-- the transcript in a way that everybody would believe that Trump is guilty. The DNI did not say he-- he could confirm this--

MARGARET BRENNAN: No.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: He didn't know-- he didn't have any reason to believe the-- the whistleblower is doing anything wrong. What I want to know, who told the whistleblower about the transcript? Who told the whistleblower about a phone call between the President of the United States and a foreign leader?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah, he--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: This is the third time a phone call has been compromised--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I've read the transcript. I'm fine with it, but I'm not fine with this President being impeached based on hearsay. Every American should be able to confront their accuser, including Donald Trump.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the-- the whistleblower here says that multiple White House officials conveyed this to him.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Who are they?

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the fact--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Who are they?

MARGARET BRENNAN: --pattern was laid out. But just--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: What-- what bias do they have--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to-- to move on to another point--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: No, wait a minute. Let's stop right there. The whistleblower says I have no direct knowledge/

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Multiple White House officials told me this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: They tell me about a phone call. There's a disconnect. Who are these people? And what are they up to? You know this is-- Mueller wasn't a witch hunt but this is-- Salem witch trials have more due process than this--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --due process than this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --do--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: How do you know she's a witch? Somebody told me she's a witch.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you think--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: How do you know she's a witch?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think the President's--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I read articles thinking she might be a witch.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is advising him on this? Should he be out there publicly calling for the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Why don't you ask him? He's going to be on. Corruption abounds in the Ukraine--

MARGARET BRENNAN: If he's doing a good job? Do you think he's being advised-- advising the President on that?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Here's what I think. I think nobody's asking about Joe Biden calling for the guy to be prosecuted-- fired who's looking into a board that his son--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --sits on. And did Joe Biden know that his son was receiving fifty thousand dollars when he asked for the prosecutor to be fired?

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know this prosecutor though because I know you cover Ukraine, and you watch Russia very closely--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: People say he's dirty.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know that he-- yeah exactly.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah, but you know what--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Not just the United States, the U.K., IMF--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Did Joe Biden Know? Would you ask-- would you ask--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --other international organizations.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Would you ask somebody this? Did Joe Biden know that his son was sitting on a board being investigated for corruption, and the guy doing the investigation, Joe Biden said, "If you don't fire this guy--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --I'll cut a billion dollars of aid off? Now, why am I asking that? A lot of Republicans don't believe the New Yorker and the political fact-checkers are really as adequate substitute. I'm all asking is due to Joe Biden's scenario, what you did for Trump, find somebody, not me, outside of politics to look and see if it makes sense. I love Joe Biden as a person--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --but we cannot give--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Should that go--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --Democrats a pass and go after Republicans.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, our Paula Reid is reporting that Attorney General Bill Barr was quite upset to see his name linked in that transcript to this call for an investigation, he's linked there--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well you need to talk-- here's the thing--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to Rudy Giuliani, You have overs. Have you asked the Attorney General if he was asked to investigate--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah, I did. I said, "Have you ever talked to Trump about anything in the Ukraine for corruption?" "No." "Did the President ever ask you to call anybody in the Ukraine? Did he ever mention going after Joe Biden?" "No." So this is a phone call between two presidents, one just getting reelected--just got elected. Congratulations. We are very generous to the Ukraine. Other countries like Germany should do more.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: And oh, by the way, I have heard that this prosecutor that got fired, maybe he was a good guy and they fired him because he was looking at Joe Biden's son. Could you look into that? Congratulations. That to me is not a quid pro quo and the entire whistleblower complaint is based on hearsay and we're not going to impeach a President based on hearsay as long as I am around. This is a sham.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: There's a political smell to this that's far different than Mueller.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What did you tell the President when you were golfing with him yesterday? Are you advising him?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Work with Blumenthal and Murphy on guns. Keep fighting back. We have your back on this. I am openly telling everybody in the country I have the President's back because I think this is a setup. Work with us on guns. Try to do something on prescription drugs.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Govern the country and make Iran pay a price. You had a measured response when they shot down the drone. It didn't work, Mister President. They're running wild, the Iranians, put them back in a box. Try to be a good President. Defend yourself. And that's what Bill Clinton did. These numbers you saw--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: The only thing I can tell you, Americans are fair. And if they believe President Trump did something troubling, they'll count-- they'll account for that, but I don't think they're going to remove a man for office based on a hearsay accusation. And Bill Clinton was able to do two things at once.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Defend himself and govern the country and that's my advice to President Trump.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Graham, thank you.

We're joined now by Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy who traveled to Ukraine earlier this month and met with President Zelensky there. Good morning to you, Senator. You just heard Senator Graham give a full-throated defense of the President here. Would you like to respond?

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY (D-Connecticut/@ChrisMurphyCT): Well, Republicans are circling the wagons because they know this isn't about hearsay evidence. This is about a transcript in which the President of the United States seeks to trade away the credibility of the country, seeks to use the immense power of the presidency in order to destroy a political rival. The whistleblower complaint is absolutely credible, but, frankly, you don't need it because you have a transcript of a conversation in which the President of the United States tried to convince a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 election. And you have Rudy Giuliani on TV every morning and every night openly admitting that, as an agent of the President's campaign--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: --he has been coordinating with the State Department in order to try to perpetuate the President's political agenda. This is not allowable in a democracy. And, frankly, it frightens me that Republicans are standing up and defending the President because if he gets away with this, what's to stop him from essentially integrating the entirety of American foreign policy, the State Department itself, into his political re-election campaign? The Ukrainians don't have a lot of interest in interfering in our election.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: You can hear that in the way that Zelensky talks. But if President Trump has asked or does ask the Russians or the Saudis to interfere in the 2020 election, they will simply ask when and how?

MARGARET BRENNAN: The State Department has said Rudy Giuliani does not represent the U.S. government there. They've tried to make that clear, but when-- when you went to Ukraine earlier this month and you met with President Zelensky. In the retelling of that President Trump this week accused you of threatening the Ukrainian president. What exactly did you say?

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: Well, first of all, of course Rudy Giuliani is attempting to speak for the United States government, right? And you can understand how the Ukrainians are confused when the personal representative of the President is coming to them and asking them to help destroy one of his political rivals. And you can also understand how they might be concerned that if they don't do the bidding of the President of the United States there might be consequences that come to them. When I went to Ukraine three weeks ago, I told the president that he should stay away from interfering in the 2020 presidential election. And if he wants to talk to the United States government, he should talk to the State Department, because I had heard these concerns that the Ukrainians didn't understand what the consequences would be if they said no to the President's request to investigate the Bidens, and they worried, rightly, that there might be a consequence to their security and that just stands to reason. Remember whether or not there's an explicit quid pro quo--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: --there is an implicit threat in every demand that the President of United States makes: if you don't do what the President of the United States wants you know there are going to be consequences.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Did you-- did you ask if there was anything to all of these insinuations around Hunter Biden? Did you ever bring that up with the Ukrainian officials?

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: Well-- well, no, that didn't come up because we already know that there is zero evidence for the claims that the President is making. That, in fact, the prosecutor at the time was not investigating this company and that there is zero evidence to suggest--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the investigation was open, but it was not being prosecuted or pursued--

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: Well, and remember-- and remember the vice president was doing what every other one of our allies was doing. This was a corrupt and incompetent prosecutor.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: Vice President Biden, the E.U., the IMF, everyone was calling for his removal. And, by the way, at the time, there wasn't a single Republican in the United States Congress who was raising an issue with what the vice president was doing. It only comes up now that they are trying to defund-- to defend the corrupt actions of this president.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why do you think-- you sit on Senate Foreign Relations, so you have some oversight of the State Department. Secretary Pompeo has been subpoenaed by House committees; number of diplomats are coming forward for depositions this week. Why, up to this point, has the State Department refused to hand over some of the documents? Do you have any insight into that?

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: Well, listen, we're learning by the day how deeply integrated the State Department was into Trump's corrupt actions. Essentially, what Trump is trying to do--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You think Secretary Pompeo was directly involved in this?

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: What-- what we know is that-- that Ambassador Volker was involved, that Rudy Giuliani says he was doing this at the direction of the State Department. I don't know whether the secretary himself was involved. But what you cannot allow is for the President to use the massive power of his office, the credibility of the United States, in order to try to get foreign countries to interfere in an American election. That's what he was doing here today, and that's why you've seen this massive turn of public opinion. That's why Americans know that you have to open an impeachment inquiry.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is it possible to do what Lindsey Graham said here for the President to actually get things done legislatively? Are Democrats really going to be willing to work with him?

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: So I-- I'm willing to walk and chew gum at the same time. I'd love to get a deal done on background checks. That's a matter of saving lives. So, if the President's willing to work with us on guns, I'm ready to do it. If we don't get a background checks deal--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: --the only reason that it doesn't get done is because the President is distracted, not because his--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: --potential partners in Congress won't work with him.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Murphy, thank you very much.

We'll be back in one minute. Don't go away.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd. He joins us this morning from Burbank, California. Congressman, thanks for getting up early to talk to us. You heard Senator Graham say all of this is hearsay. We know the acting director of National Intelligence has said he has no reason to doubt the motives of the whistleblower. Where do you fall on this?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD (R-Texas/@HurdOnTheHill): Well, first and foremost, I think we should be protecting the whistleblower. Having laws in place to ensure that folks throughout the government are able to get to the right committees information where they think may be wrongdoing is important. There-- there are troubling issues within the whistleblower's report, but they are allegations and I think that's why we should explore these allegations through hearings where we had a hearing last week. We're going to be having some depositions this week as well in order to get to the bottom of this. And-- and I will say this, you know, I-- I was never in a terrorist organization, but I collected a lot of intelligence on terrorist organizations when I was an undercover officer in the CIA.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: And so being able to get information second hand is not necessarily a bad thing, but I can't-- I can't speak to the veracity of this whistleblower's--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --information, but that's why we bring people and we-- and try to collect-- collect facts, understand what was said and be methodical about this. We shouldn't rush it, but we should-- we should explore many of those issues highlighted by the whistleblower.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So do you support the impeachment inquiry?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Well, an impeachment inquiry I-- I-- I think this is wordplay being used by-- by Speaker Pelosi in order to placate some of the extreme wings of her party. The last three times in history that there was an impeachment inquiry of a President it was a vote on the House floor and it was done in a bipartisan way. There are many of my friends on the other side of the aisle that have been trying to impeach this--impeach this President since January of 2017 but these are investigations. We should bring witnesses forward. I want to hear from the folks in the State Department. I want to hear from--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --Mayor Giuliani. I want to hear from Hunter Biden. I think he should-- he should show up and-- and testify as well, too. So there's a lot of questions to-- to be had. And anybody who thinks that we have enough information to make a statement on impeachment, that's-- that's incredibly premature.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President was captured on camera this week saying that whoever told the whistleblower any of this is a spy and that he should be dealt with in the old way. Many perceive that to be a threat. How did you hear it and-- and what are your concerns?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Well, again, whistleblowers are important. I am concerned about the identity of this current whistleblower. We should hear from the whistleblower and-- and talk to this individual about motives--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Will you?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --who are they talking to. I-- I hope. I know the whistleblower has told both the House and the Senate committees that he or she is interested and willing to testify. That will be important. I hope we can protect this individual's name. I find it highly unlikely in this incredibly partisan environment. It's unfortunate. I believe that-- that Chairman Schiff is handling this like this is a tribal council on the Survivor and we're voting somebody off the island. This is-- this is serious business. We should be proceeding on the House side--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --the way the Senate is and do this stuff in a thoughtful manner. And transparency is important. After we've done our work let the American people know what's happening. But trying to do this in the public eye is having impact on our foreign policy. The fact that-- I'm sure many leaders of other countries are concerned--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --about speaking to the U.S. President because they're afraid their words are going to get out into the U.S. press. So these are-- this-- this type of thing is having an impact on our foreign policy, especially at a time when you have the threats like Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Especially at a time when you're dealing with the economic shenanigans of China. This is where we should be-- our allies should feel comfortable having conversations with us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: To be clear it was the White House who released that call transcript.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: That-- that's correct. That's correct.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. All right. Congressman Hurd, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much for your insights and we will be watching the developments over the coming weeks. We'll be back in a moment.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Coming up next, we'll talk to a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell, and then we'll hear from the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Stay with us.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. There was a lot of news this week and we'll have analysis ahead on our impeachment panel, so don't go away.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We turn now to a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell. Congresswoman, welcome.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL (D-Alabama/@RepTerriSewell): Thanks so much, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Now the accusation is that Democrats were chomping at the bit to impeach. But you say you were actually very reluctant to move ahead with this.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: Well, you know, look, it's not because I didn't think that there were really unpresidential behavior by this President from moment one, but because I was worried that it would get us sidetracked from other more important items for the American people. But I do believe that we've crossed a-- a Rubicon here. I do believe that this whistleblower allegation is so serious it gets to the very heart of our nation's democracy, the integrity of our elections. And if any district understands that it's my district, Alabama's Seventh Congressional District, which was the Civil Rights district where people died, fought, bled for the right to vote. And the integrity of our elections are at question when the President of the United States ask a foreign leader for a favor and then withholds millions of dollars of foreign aid in order to solicit interference in-- in our election. I don't think it gets more important than that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: A-- a-- as you've heard, Republicans dispute this idea that there was a quid pro quo, and dismiss this--

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: You don't need--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --whistleblower as just relaying hearsay.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: You don't need a quid pro quo. The reality is that the complaint speaks for itself and it corroborates the partial--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: --readout that we received earlier in the week. So, I think that, you know, none of us come to Congress to try to impeach the President. I know the people I-- elected me to go to Congress to lower prescription drug prices for them, to be sure that we have a-- an equal level playing field when it comes to education. But, I think that we find ourselves at a very sombering moment in American's history, and we can either choose to live by the oath that we took, which is to uphold this constitution and get to the bottom of what's going on. We need to understand that what we've-- what the speaker has done is initiated an inquiry.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: An inquiry. And, obviously, the road map is the complaint. It ob-- it raises lots of concerns as to the extent of-- of this-- this President's portrayal. And we need to get to the bottom of that. We--

MARGARET BRENNAN: How--

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: --do so in a deliberate manner.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Deliberate manner. How quickly is this actually going to move from inquiry to articles of impeachment?

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: Well, I can tell you that we in the Intel Committee are working diligently through this Rosh Hashanah break, and we don't know exactly when it will come, but we do know that we're working in a deliberate, thoughtful manner. We'll follow the facts where they lead us, and the American people deserve to understand and know to what extent did the President, you know, interfere in our elections--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: --and to what extent has it been a cover-up? I think all of those things are, unfortunately, we're-- we're at this moment in American history, but we need to live up to our oath if the President is not going to live up to his.

MARGARET BRENNAN: As a Democrat, you said this worried you that you wouldn't be able to get real work done for your constituents. In-- in the polling that CBS has done, forty-two percent of people polled think Congress will still work on legislation, fifty-eight percent of Americans say they're going to be just too distracted.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: But we've already shown that we can do both.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How can you work with the President when there is an effort underway to impeach him? How is it po-- possible to do both things?

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: What-- first of all, we can do things in a methodical, diligent way. The Intel Committee will-- will conduct the investigation, and I'm on the House Ways and Means Committee. We are working diligently to address a surprise billing, to address the prescription drug problem that we have in America. I'm also on the working group of Democrats that's looking at USMCA.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: So, we have a lot of things going on simultaneously. We are multitaskers as legislators and we can do both.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congresswoman, thank you very much.

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI SEWELL: Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we will be tracking how the committee investigation continues.

We will be right back with the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. He is standing by for us in New York. So don't go away.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back now with President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who is called a central figure in the whistleblower complaint. He joins us from New York this morning. Mister Mayor, thank you for joining us.

RUDY GIULIANI (Attorney to President Trump/@RudyGiuliani): Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why wouldn't the President reach out first to law enforcement, to his own agencies, if his concern was truly about corruption? Why bring this up in a phone call with the leader of Ukraine?

RUDY GIULIANI: Well, listen-- I mean this goes back actually to November of 2018. I-- I wasn't asking for this. Someone came to me, a very well-respected ins-- investigator, American citizen, and told me that in-- in-- in Ukraine there were a number of allegations of interference in the 2016 election that appear to be real and truthful unlike the Russian collusion hoax. And that it was really ironic that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, our embassy there, was collecting dirt going back to the early part of 2016 on the Trump campaign, on people who operated in the Trump campaign, on the President and that there were witnesses, quite a few of them that would support this. And they've been trying to get it to the FBI for a year to a year and a half and they have been frustrated in-- in doing so. So having gotten that as his defense lawyer, I had to pursue it. They would not--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sorry. Chris Wray--

RUDY GIULIANI: --talk to the FBI because they--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the FBI director appointed by President Trump, you're saying refused to look at this?

RUDY GIULIANI: I didn't say he refused to look at it. I said they were afraid--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You just said the FBI wouldn't look at it.

RUDY GIULIANI: I said they were afraid to go to the FBI because they had been turned down so often. And one of the central figures in it is a FBI agent who appears to be involved in the gathering of dirt, work with a particular company owned by George Soros that was collecting this information--that company is one of the companies where Biden's bribery of Poroshenko. He got that case dismissed, people were ignoring that that Biden played a role in getting these collusion allegations covered up by having the case against AntAC dismissed. So it was all one piece. The reason I investigated it is--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

RUDY GIULIANI: --as his defense lawyer, it's my job to show if there is an alternative explanation that proves him innocent.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well--

RUDY GIULIANI: I got it to the point-- let me finish. I got it to the point of affidavits. I put them all online.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

RUDY GIULIANI: Here's one of them--

MARGARET BRENNAN: A-- a-- sorry.

RUDY GIULIANI: --that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can we finish on-- on-- the first point--

RUDY GIULIANI: Here-- here-- here-- here's one of them--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --you brought up because this is very complicated, Mister Mayor.

RUDY GIULIANI: Well, I know-- I know nobody wants to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want-- I want to respond to what you just laid out.

RUDY GIULIANI: I know-- I know no-- I know nobody wants to cover--

MARGARET BRENNAN:   No, I want to actually-- I-- I-- want to bring up to you-- no, we did.

RUDY GIULIANI: --the a--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Actually, CBS News and-- and our partners BBC in Ukraine went to the prosecutor general to ask him specifically--

RUDY GIULIANI: Which one?

MARGARET BRENNAN: --about--

RUDY GIULIANI: Which one?

MARGARET BRENNAN: --about the Biden questions you're raising, the current one. Let's play the clip please.

(Begin VT)

YURIY LUTSENKO (BBC): And I told Mister Giuliani, "Okay, if you start your investigation in the United States, we can officially help you. According to international law, we will give you legal international assistance."

JONAH FISHER (BBC): Have you got any evidence that Joe Biden acted in any way which supported Hunter Biden's company Burisma?

YURIY LUTSENKO: It is not my jurisdiction.

JONAH FISHER: But have you got any?

YURIY LUTSENKO: It is not my jurisdiction. I can't do nothing--

JONAH FISHER: But--

YURIY LUTSENKO: --which is not connected with Ukrainian law.

JONAH FISHER: So under Ukrainian law you've got nothing?

YURIY LUTSENKO: Nothing.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that was Sergei Lutsenko (sic) who is one of the advisers to the current president. We also spoke--

RUDY GIULIANI: No, no, no, no, no.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --off-camera to the--

RUDY GIULIANI: Margaret, Margaret--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --prosecutor general. Who says--

RUDY GIULIANI: --this is very embarrassing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --there is no evidence there.

RUDY GIULIANI: Margaret, this is exceedingly embarrassing. Mister Lutsenko has been fired by the current president. Mister Lutsenko is exactly the prosecutor that Joe Biden put in in order to tank the case and it is suspected--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You met with him repeatedly--

RUDY GIULIANI: --both he and--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --he says about this.

RUDY GIULIANI: Well, he is not the current prosecutor general--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. I know I said the prosecutor general--

RUDY GIULIANI: --as you falsely asserted--

MARGARET BRENNAN: The prosecutor general--

RUDY GIULIANI: No, no, no.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --we spoke with off-camera as well--

RUDY GIULIANI: But you-- but you failed--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and he had-- to The Washington Post and other organizations said--

RUDY GIULIANI: Yeah, I know--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --that he didn't have--

RUDY GIULIANI: Well, may-- maybe-- maybe--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --evidence of anything.

RUDY GIULIANI: --maybe you all are so blinded because this is a Democrat you're not doing your job properly. The prosecutor general you should have spoken to is the one who was fired, who has said in this affidavit that he was fired, specifically, because he was investigating Joe Biden's son. This has been online for six months.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

RUDY GIULIANI: And the Washington media just closes their eyes to it. That's the wrong prosecutor general you're talking to. And even--

MARGARET BRENNAN: The prosecutor general you're referring to--

RUDY GIULIANI: --even-- even a simple--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --there is--

RUDY GIULIANI: --even-- even--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --Viktor Shokin and that is online. You shared that with our team and we did look at it and he was called to be fired--

RUDY GIULIANI: Did you also--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --not just by the United States, but other organizations--

RUDY GIULIANI: But-- but he-- he--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --who said he wasn't investigating. In fact, he was fired--

RUDY GIULIANI: But-- but he--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --for the thing he-- he-- you're saying he-- he wasn't doing.

RUDY GIULIANI: But, Margaret, he says the opposite under oath.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In an Austrian court--

RUDY GIULIANI: He says the opposite under oath.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --you're showing there, yes.

RUDY GIULIANI: Did you also--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that's a court filing--

RUDY GIULIANI: --also-- also--

Margaret BRENNAN: --on behalf of a--

RUDY GIULIANI: I invite--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --another individual who is facing extradition--

RUDY GIULIANI: I-- I invite your--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to the United States.

RUDY GIULIANI: --I-- I invite your reporters, who I'm sure are interested in digging out corruption, to see if this isn't corroborated by three other prosecutors who say the same thing. The one that you interviewed is the one who was corrupted.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mister--

RUDY GIULIANI: And there are a lot of allegations about--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mister-- Mister Mayor, I want to ask you about--

RUDY GIULIANI: --other areas in which--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --something that has developed in--

RUDY GIULIANI: --he dropped cases.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the past few hours.

RUDY GIULIANI: --including against Soros.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you because you may have direct knowledge here since you have said Kurt Volker, the U.S. envoy to Ukraine, set up those meetings you said for you with Ukraine's leaders. He has resigned. Do you know why?

RUDY GIULIANI: I don't know why Kurt resigned. I mean there--

MARGARET BRENNAN: He's being deposed this week.

RUDY GIULIANI: It wasn't shared with me. Kurt-- Kurt did his job honorably and decently. I think there are a lot of people in the State Department who maybe have questions about what he did and why he did it. But I should tell you, he wasn't the only one. He was joined by another ambassador who talk-- talked to me, debriefed me, gave me information about what to ask Mister-- Mister Yermak.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Who is that?

RUDY GIULIANI: I did not do this on my own. I did it at the request of the State Department and I have all of the text messages to prove it. And I also have a thank you from them from doing a good job, so--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Who? Who sent you that?

RUDY GIULIANI: I don't know why--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Did-- did-- did--

RUDY GIULIANI: --the State Department is running away from me--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Did Secretary of State Pompeo know you were doing these things? Did he ask you to do these things?

RUDY GIULIANI: He did not. Mister-- Mister Volker did, and then Mister Sondland did, but when I talked to the secretary last week he said he was aware of it. He told me that he was aware of it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So he-- you're saying the secretary of state didn't instruct you to set up these meetings, but he knew what you were doing--

RUDY GIULIANI: Well, wait-- wait-- wait--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --when you were meeting with members of the Ukrainian government--

RUDY GIULIANI: No, I--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm asking you to clarify that.

RUDY GIULIANI: I'm going to clarify--

MARGARET BRENNAN: What-- what exactly did Pompeo know--

RUDY GIULIANI: I-- I think I clarified it, but I am happy to say it again.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Please do.

RUDY GIULIANI: On Jan-- on July 19, 2019, Kurt Volker called me. Text message to prove it, I put it out last week. Would you please-- would you allow me to give your phone number to Mister Yermak who wants to talk to you to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

RUDY GIULIANI: --to clear up the confusion about your canceled trip to the Ukraine. I said it's up to you. You think I should do it. He said, the guy is a straight guy unlike another lawyer--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

RUDY GIULIANI: --who-- around the president, who is crooked. I said I am willing to do it. Let me check the guy out first. I called him back two or three days later. We arranged a meeting.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

RUDY GIULIANI: He knew about the meeting. At the end of the meeting I called Mister Volker and Ambassador Sondland and I debriefed them. I told them--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

RUDY GIULIANI: --what I had learned. And then on August 11th, I had a complete debriefing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right.

RUDY GIULIANI: At the time, they didn't mention the secretary of state. They don't have to. They're both--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

RUDY GIULIANI: --ambassadors and assistant secretaries, I think.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. We--

RUDY GIULIANI: However, when I spoke-- when I spoke to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: We have to--

RUDY GIULIANI: --the secretary last week--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

RUDY GIULIANI: I said, "Are you aware of this?" And he said, "Yes, I know about this."

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

RUDY GIULIANI: Quote.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you for clarifying that, Mister Mayor.

We will be back in a moment with our panel.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's now time for some analysis from our panel. Adam Entous is a staff writer at The New Yorker, Paula Reid is a White House correspondent here at CBS, Michael Morell is a CBS News senior national security contributor and a former acting director of the CIA. He also served as advisor to Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016. And Rachael Bade covers Congress for the Washington Post. Paula, a lot to unpack. Let's start with the President's attorney where we just left off there. What stood out to you?

PAULA REID (CBS News White House Correspondent/@PaulaReidCBS): He didn't answer the core question, which is if you thought there was any evidence of wrongdoing why did you go to Ukraine? Why didn't you go to U.S. law enforcement? The attorney general has been clear the President has never asked him to look into anything related to the Bidens in Ukraine. Rudy Giuliani has presented this affidavit. There are other officials who give a differing account. But at-- at the core of this, if you think there is a problem why wouldn't you go to the FBI, why wouldn't you go to the Justice Department or are you just trying to sow questions and seeds of doubt in the absence of any true evidence?

MARGARET BRENNAN: And in that partial call transcript, the attorney general is mentioned a few times by the President. But what you are reporting is that there was no actual contact that happened.

PAULA REID: Exactly. And I've learned from a person familiar that he was angry, he was surprised that he would be lumped in with Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani is the President's personal attorney. William Barr is the nation's top law enforcement official and it raises the question about whether the President thinks those two are one and the same. Now, there is some-- some reason for him to think that; William Barr has been-- his staunchest defender. The way he handled the Mueller report, very favorable to the President, but now it's up to William Barr going forward to try to allay any of those concerns.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mike, you know Russia, you know Ukraine, you know what happened at the time, when you hear this sort of retelling of history and what happened during the Biden-Obama years--

MICHAEL MORELL (CBS News Senior National Security Contributor/@MichaelJMorell/Former Acting CIA Director): Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --what are you hearing? What stands out to you? What do we need to know?

MICHAEL MORELL: What stands out to me is that there is a complete absence of clarity here, right? So there is this image that the vice president acted on his own, no, he was the point man for administration policy, interagency agreement, agreement across countries that we needed to pressure Ukraine to get tough on corruption.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He wasn't freelancing.

MICHAEL MORELL: He was not freelancing. The second is that there's a deep irony here, right, is that the investigation of Burisma was on hold and one of the things we were concerned about was that there wasn't enough investigations going on about corruption, Burisma was on hold when Biden was pressuring. So the--

MARGARET BRENNAN: This is the gas company that Hunter Biden ended up on the board.

MICHAEL MORELL: Exactly. So the irony here is that the vice president in pressing the prosecutor general to resign to be fired, right, was actually creating an opportunity for Burisma investigation to reopen, right? So it's the direct opposite of what everybody thinks.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's confusing to the public, though, as well here and I know you, Adam, have been digging into Hunter Biden and the work he did do for this gas company.

ADAM ENTOUS (The New Yorker/@adamentous): Right, right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there any there, there?

ADAM ENTOUS: Well, I think there's the two issues, one, should Hunter have taken this position when his father was, you know, vice president playing a key role in shaping policy towards Ukraine? Should some of Biden's advisors or White House officials or State Department officials have said to Joe Biden or said to Hunter Biden, you know what you really shouldn't be on this board that never happened. So that's-- I think that's a legitimate question on the issue of whether Joe Biden used his office in order to have Shokin, this prosecutor fired. You know I spent a lot of time looking at this. Much of what I see is the opposite. The oligarch who's-- who-- who recruited Hunter to be on this board, when Shokin was the prosecutor he was in Ukraine. He was-- he felt safe, according to former board members; he didn't feel like he had any-- he was in legal-- legal jeopardy at all. It was once Shokin was fired and Lutsenko, who's the person who you interviewed here, took over as the prosecutor. That's when the oligarchs, Zlochevsky decided to leave the country. He went to Dubai at that point because that's when he was concerned that he might actually be prosecuted.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

ADAM ENTOUS: So really when-- when so Shokin leaves, that's when the oligarch feels like he's actually in jeopardy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Rachael, you heard Senator Graham on this program fully defend the President here. This is someone who knows the details of this region, these policies. Are other Republicans standing by the President on this fight?

RACHAEL BADE (Washington Post/@rachaelmbade): Yeah. I mean, largely the party is sticking with the President right now. We are seeing a little cracks begin to emerge. I will say privately we hear a lot of griping from lawmakers on the Hill who are wondering why the President put out this transcript to begin the list and-- and think that there is something that really is damaging. We have seen a couple of Republicans start to crack, Mitt Romney, for example, came out and said that this was disturbing, sort of un-- unacceptable. We saw Republicans in a hearing last week Mike Turner from Dayton, Ohio, say that this sort of action asking a foreign leader to investigate a political adversary that would benefit you is point like not okay, but there's a difference between some Republicans and I can probably count them on one or two hands who are willing to say that this sort of activity is not acceptable and actually saying that this is an impeachable offense. We saw a really interesting sort of flip-flop over the weekend with a Republican from Nevada, Mark Amodei. He had been talking to reporters on Friday saying let's see where this goes, he was asked about the impeachment inquiry and it seemed like he was supporting it saying, you know, this is an investigation, there are concerning allegations here, let's see where it goes. Well, within twenty-four hours, he totally walked back on that and said, "I was never supporting the impeachment investigation" and, again, this is just showing that this is a party that sticks with the President who is very popular with their base.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mike, the whistleblower, as we've been reporting came from the intelligence community. And, yet, you have Republicans saying everything la-- laid out in that complaint was just hearsay. From the work you saw, that was then made public, does that look like it's based on just hearsay?

MICHAEL MORELL: So the whistleblower seems to me to be highly credible. Whistleblower made a number of allegations. We know that the first allegation that the phone call was made and the ask was made about investigating the vice president was one hundred percent correct. The whistleblower lays out not just the fact that they received this from one source but multiple sources. The whistleblower complaint is detailed. It's compelling. We still need to look into the other allegations but I think the whistleblower is highly credible.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In other words, this looks like an analysis product, that an agency would produce?

MICHAEL MORELL: So-- so when I read it, I said, this is a high quality piece of CIA analysis. The person who wrote this is well trained, they are highly skilled. I was kind of proud of the product, right, in looking at it. It seemed to me like this was a piece of CIA analysis.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Paula, are White House officials actually nervous or are they embracing impeachment as the fight they want to have?

PAULA REID: Look, the President is not likely to be removed from office, that's just basic math. And so far this administration has constantly been under this kind of controversy and scandal, but the real concern is the-- now this impeachment inquiry and possible articles of impeachment makes it almost impossible--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

PAULA REID: --to-- to expect any kind of success on the legislative front. They were making some progress getting the President's proposal together for gun control legislation. They were hoping for maybe something on prescription drugs, the USMCA, now their biggest concern is they may not have much to show when they go on the campaign trail in 2020, particularly, a trade deal. The President so far has not been able to get any of his trade deals actually approved. The USMCA was his big hope--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

PAULA REID: --and with this, unlikely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Adam, why aren't we seeing Joe Biden out there sitting down, actively defending his son and giving detailed explanations for all of this? There's a lot of dirt being kicked up into the air.

ADAM ENTOUS: I mean there's a reason why they are focusing on Hunter. This is a-- this is a really delicate issue for Joe Biden. Particularly delicate in the period that we're talking about because this is right when Beau is very sick and getting, you know, it's his last year of life, which is really when Hunter takes this-- makes this deal to work with Burisma, this Ukrainian company. And, historically, you know, aides to Biden just never wanted to address this issue with him, it was too sensitive. Things that involved his family were just considered to be off limits largely to his staff. And I think to a-- to a fault, you know, he, you know, was reluctant to really say anything to his son, you know, about the appropriateness of some of his business choices and the way they dealt with it was like a don't ask, don't tell policy where Hunter wouldn't tell his father about his activities. And Joe Biden wouldn't ask. And so they just had this area that they didn't discuss and that kind of allowed this thing to sort of stew.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

ADAM ENTOUS: And, obviously, if this had been addressed early on in 2014, when this became public that he was on this board, you know, we wouldn't be maybe discussing it now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Rachael, is opening the inquiry ultimately something that could backfire for Democrats because it keeps this story out there?

RACHAEL BADE: That was the number one concern Speaker Nancy Pelosi had about impeachment when she opened the new Congress this year. I mean, she has been the single greatest reason why Democrats who overwhelming have favored for impeachment for a while have not charged forward. But this Pelosi has said to her colleagues, she said it publicly--this is something different. This is-- there were concerns that, for example, Robert Mueller's report about ten instances of potential obstruction of justice that that wasn't resonating with the public. There were suggestions that, even though, federal prosecutors named Trump as the number one individual involved in allegations of-- well, actually paying off women who alleged affairs--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

RACHAEL BADE: --with the President in 2016, that wasn't resonating with the public and the public wasn't supporting impeachment. But what we are seeing in some of these CBS numbers just today--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

RACHAEL BADE: --that that's changing, fifty-five percent supporting an impeachment inquiry, more people supporting the impeachment of the President than actually do not. Pelosi, it seems was right that this was something different and that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

RACHAEL BADE: --this is going to move public sentiment potentially continuing in their direction.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Major story. We will continue following.

We'll be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching. And thank you to the Jones Day law firm for hosting us. Until next week for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.