Bill Taylor, testifies there was a quid pro quo. TRANSCRIPT: 10/22/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jamie Raskin, Anne Gearan, Kyle Cheney, Michelle Goldberg, Christina Greer, Neera Tanden, Ned Price
Transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  John Brennan join me to talk about the latest

on the impeachment inquiry.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being

with us.  I`m back.  It`s great to be back.  “ALL IN with Chris Hayes

starts right now.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  There was no, with pro quo.

 

There is no pro quo.

 

There was no quid pro quo.

 

HAYES:  Explosive testimony from the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine

completely undercutting the primary defense of team Trump.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There was no quid pro quo.

 

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA):  There was no quid pro quo.

 

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH):  No quid pro quo.

 

HAYES:  There was a quid pro quo.  And tonight we have new detail about

exactly how much the President was squeezing Ukraine in return for an

investigation into his political rival.

 

REP. ANDY LEVIN (D-MI):  It`s not even noon, right?  And this is my most

disturbing day in Congress so far.

 

HAYES:  What we learned today and what it means for the case against Donald

Trump.

 

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC):  If you could show me that, you know, Trump

actually was engaging quid pro quo outside the phone call, that would be

very disturbing.

 

HAYES:  Then the infuriating quota to the most ridiculous story of 2016.

 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The American people

are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.  And the anxiety of

some Democratic donors as 2020 campaigning hits full swing when ALL IN

starts right now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Good evening from Los Angeles, I`m Chris Hayes.  There was

absolutely explosive testimony on Capitol Hill today, the most damning

testimony so far against the President of the United States in the House

impeachment investigation.

 

Bill Taylor, the U.S. Chief of Mission to Ukraine currently, wrote the

famous smoking gun text “I think it`s crazy to withhold security assistance

for help with a political campaign.”  That man showed up before Congress

today with a 15-page opening statement that Democrat says was backed up by

lengthy notes and documentation.

 

I should note, Bill Taylor went in to testify at 9:30 this morning and got

out less than an hour ago.  He testified under oath for nearly ten hours. 

And thanks to his testimony, there is no longer any question whatsoever

that President Trump`s Ukraine policy was a corrupt abuse of power that did

center around a quid pro quo.

 

Before I get into all that, a quick introduction to Bill Taylor.  As he

says in his opening statement, he was a West Point cadet before becoming an

infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam.  Then, a

career State Department official who served under both Democratic and

Republican administrations in important locations through the decades

including Afghanistan, Iraq, Jerusalem, and Ukraine.

 

In his opening statement, Taylor explains it did not take long to figure

out that things were not right in Ukraine when he arrived in June to his

new job.  “Once I arrived in Kiev, I discovered a weird combination of

encouraging, confusing, and ultimately alarming circumstances.  There was

an irregular informal channel of U.S. policymaking with respect to Ukraine. 

One which included then special envoy Kurt Volker, U.S. Ambassador to the

European Union Gordon Sondland, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and as I

subsequently learned Mr. Giuliani.”

 

Taylor then describes meeting a month later when a staffer from the Office

of Management and Budget made him realize that this irregular channel of

U.S. policymaking as he put it was up to no good.  This is the staffer from

OMB – “she was from the OMB and her boss had instructed her not to approve

any additional spending of security assistance for Ukraine until further

notice.”

 

“All the OMB staff person said was that the directive had come from the

President, to the chief of staff, to OMB.  In an instant, I realized that

one of the key pillars of our strong support for Ukraine was threatened. 

The irregular policy Channel was running contrary to the goals of long-

standing U.S. policy.”

 

Again, the threat to U.S. support for Ukraine was coming from a shadow

foreign policy that was being directed personally by the President of the

United States and implemented by his acting chief of staff who also happens

to be the head of OMB.

 

Now, it is worth stopping to remember that we first learned about Bill

Taylor`s role in this entire affair from his text messages previously

shared with Congress.  And in one of those messages, he bluntly asks the

Trump appointee, an inaugural donor U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon

Sondland “Are we now saying that security assistance – that`s the money

that was appropriated by Congress – and a White House meeting are

conditioned on investigations?”  In other words, is there a quid pro quo at

the heart of this?

 

And Sondland infamously responds, call me, or rather let`s not make a

written record of this conversation.  But now, thanks to Bill Taylor`s

testimony, we know what they talked about on that phone call.  And what

they talked about undermines the core of Trump`s argument that there was no

quid pro quo.

 

Taylor says this.  “During that phone call, this is after the call me

instruction, Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump had told him

he wants Presidents Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will

investigate Burisma, the company Hunter Biden was involved with, and

alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.”

 

“Ambassador Sondland also told me, he now recognized he had made a mistake

by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials, to whom he spoke, that a White

House meeting with President Zelensky was dependent on a public

announcement of investigations.”

 

“In fact, ambassador Sondland said everything was dependent on such an

announcement including security assistance.  He said that President Trump

wanted President Zelensky in a public box by making a public statement

about ordering such investigation.”

 

Sondland said that everything including the U.S. security assistance to

Ukraine was dependent on Ukraine`s president publicly announcing

investigations into Trump`s political rival and a debunked conspiracy

theory to clear Russia meddling in the 2016 election and perhaps

nonsensically implicate the DNC in hacking itself.

 

That is a quid pro quo.  Trump demanded a public announcement of an

investigation, the quo.  In return for a meeting and military assistance,

the quid.  Now, if that was the only instance of it happening, it would be

very, very bad, indeed impeachable, but it was not the only instance.

 

Taylor describes talking to a National Security Council aide a week later

who described a conversation with Trump appointee, again Gordon Sondland,

“According to Mr. Morrison, President Trump told Ambassador Sondland he was

not asking for a quid pro quo but President Trump did insist that President

Zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations on Biden

in 2016 election interference, and that President Zelensky should want to

do this himself.

 

Trump was insisting the Ukrainian president publicly announced

investigation into his political rival, an act which again isn`t of itself

an impeachable offense.  Taylor says that Sondland spoke to Trump and

cleared things up saying, “President Trump said it was not a quid pro quo.” 

They keep saying it like it`s a magical invocation.

 

“Ambassador Sondland said that he had talked to President Zelensky and his

assistant Mr. Yermak and told them that although this was not a quid pro

quo, if President Zelensky did not clear things up in public, we would be

at a stalemate.  I understood stalemate to mean that Ukraine would not

receive the much-needed military assistance.”

 

So again, it was not a quid pro quo, but if President Zelensky didn`t do

exactly what President Trump wanted him to do, manufacture dirt in his

opponent, announce it on American television, then Ukraine would not get

the military aid passed by Congress and signed a law that it so desperately

needed to defend itself from a Russian army occupying part of the country.

 

Actually, there is another way to describe that kind of arrangement.  It`s

extortion.  Nice country.  It would be a shame if something happened to it. 

Joining me now are two Congresspeople who attended Bill Taylor`s deposition

today Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida,

Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland.  Both members of the House

Oversight Committee.

 

Congresswoman, I`ll begin with you.  And I understand the normal rules of

engagement here that you will not talk about testimony, but the public

statement is now public as a matter of record.  Your reaction generally to

what you heard today from Mr. Taylor.

 

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL):  Ambassador Taylor`s testimony was

absolutely damning.  It was the most significant testimony we`ve heard the

date.  In my opinion, it was like watching someone used one of those

connect-the-dots workbooks and go from point A, to point B, to Point C,

essentially really filling in so many of the blanks.  Many of those blanks

being completely you know, forgotten by Ambassador Sondland in his

testimony last week, a very noncredible set of testimony.

 

A very noncredible deposition in which it was extremely hard to believe

that he had as many lapses in memory over events that were significant in

the last few months, when Ambassador Taylor had really in excruciating

detail, the ability to lay out exactly the parallel and shadow foreign

policy that clearly was taking place and that the President was appeared to

be advocating to – for a foreign government, to pressure the foreign

government to open an investigation for his political benefit jeopardizing

our national security interests.

 

HAYES:  Congressman Raskin, I know – is your position that the call notes

which show the President saying famously after a question about military

assistance, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” that in and of

itself is an impeachable offense.  It`s an abuse of power.  It`s corrupt

and all those things.  You don`t need a quid pro quo.

 

That said, based on the testimony that`s been offered particularly what

Bill Taylor said today, do you think there`s sufficient evidence now that

demonstrates there was a quid pro quo?

 

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD):  Well, the cumulative effect of all the evidence

we`ve seen is overwhelming and decisive, and we haven`t seen anything that

contradicts any of it.  One of my Republican colleagues today said to me,

well, there was no quid pro quo because they never actually got the

information on the Biden`s they were looking for.

 

But you know the evidence is just preclusive it seems like that there was

this extraordinary effort for a shakedown of a foreign government for

corroboration for a discredited conspiracy theory about the 2016 race and

also for the dirt that they wanted on the Biden`s.

 

And if you think about what`s happened, if the President takes an

appropriation from Congress that we send to a besieged ally resisting

Russian aggression, and then he appends all of these restrictions to it,

that is thwarting the will of Congress.  He`s trying to usurp the

legislative power, and that is an absolute violation of the separation of

powers.

 

HAYES:  Congresswoman, this stuck out to me and it`s one of the themes I`ve

noted here is despite the fact that at times the President and his allies

seemed to want to make the argument it`s perfectly fine to do this, the

behavior of the people involved seemed to indicate they recognized

something foul was afoot, that they were up to no good themselves.

 

And I want to read this from the opening statement from Taylor.  “I sense

something odd when Ambassador Sondland told me on June 28th he did not wish

to include most of the regular interagency participants in a call plan with

President Zelensky later that day.  Sondland said he wanted to make sure no

one was transcribing or monitoring as they added President Zelensky to the

call.”  How significant do you think that is, Congresswoman?

 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think one has only to look at the text messages that were

released where Ambassador Sondland, you know, indicates to Ambassador

Taylor that he should call him like you said earlier, so that they would

avoid a written record of their conversation.

 

There clearly was an effort to keep part of this process under the radar

outside of the normal foreign policy process in order to really keep people

from knowing that President Trump was trying to A, withhold foreign aid

that Congress had previously approved, and that the Pentagon, by the way,

had certified should be released.  And B, that he was tying a meeting with

Zelensky to his insistence that Zelensky open investigation both on Burisma

and Biden as well as this wacky conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

 

And what we need to know is how Republicans feel.  Are Republican actually

OK with the President pressuring a foreign government to – you know, for

his own political and personal gain to investigate his rivals,  withholding

foreign aid that, by the way, as an appropriator, Chris Hayes, I can tell

you that we required the Pentagon to certify that corruption was reduced in

the appropriations act before that funding could be released.  And the

Pentagon sent a letter to the Congress saying they should.

 

HAYES:  Right.

 

SCHULTZ:  And it was not released.  On the contrary, it was withheld for

the President`s personal and political gain.

 

HAYES:  Congressman, one thing that`s striking to me as well, and I wonder

if this is what you make of it, the notion that the deliverable as the

pressure escalates isn`t just the investigation itself, but a public

announcement of the investigation.  Perhaps even in an interview with an

American news network.  What do you make of that?

 

RASKIN:  Well, that, of course, is what the President was looking for.  He

wanted to be able to go on T.V. and say President Zelensky announced that

they`re investigating the Biden`s they found sufficient predicate to

investigate corruption and so on.  I think that`s one of the reasons that

so many of these great State Department officials were scandalized by what

was taking place.

 

Look, a quid pro quo in the sense of well, if this president gets a meeting

in the White House, then the president would like to come to Ukraine to

have a meeting.  That kind of relationship is perfectly legit.

 

But here what happened was they said if you get the meeting in the White

House and if you get the military assistance Congress voted for you, you

give us all of the political information that we want and you give us the

statements that we want to be able to circulate around the world about the

corruption of the Biden`s.  That`s a completely different thing.

 

The quid-pro-quo there is will give you something legitimate that`s been

voted for by Congress in return for a bunch of political dirt that`s got

nothing to do with the office of the presidency and nothing to do with the

government.  It`s all benefiting you personally.

 

And that`s been the cardinal sin of this administration from the beginning. 

The corruption of public office for private purposes whether it`s money-

making or whether it`s turning the presidency into an instrument of re-

election.

 

HAYES:  Congresswoman, final question for you.  There will be – obviously,

it will be the case and the White House`s statement is out today.  There

were people that attack Bill Taylor`s credibility, attack his character. 

What is your assessment of his credibility and character?

 

SCHULTZ:  This is the most credible witness that I have heard in a long

time, his impeccable credentials, his being an expert on Ukraine, his

service in Vietnam, his service in the military before that.  This is an

individual who was unimpeachably to use the term in a different way.

 

At the end of the day, making sure that we get to the bottom through this

impeachment inquiry of President Trump`s intentions is why we`re conducting

these investigations.  And so you have to compare the information you get

from different witnesses.

 

And I will tell you that compared to Ambassador Sondland, Ambassador Taylor

was extremely credible, was excruciatingly detailed about his

recollections.  And because of his expertise and his ironclad integrity,

his testimony will be – will be held up as a significant component of the

pathway to how what we decide when it comes to articles of impeachment as

it should be.

 

HAYES:  Congressman Raskin, quickly, how close are you to moving to the

next phase of this process?

 

RASKIN:  Well, the fact investigation continues.  It`s sort of like a car

accident where you get all of the material witnesses to come in and to

state exactly what they saw and what they understood.  So you know, we

still have an open mind about everything that took place.  But it`s true

that a lot of the facts are being filled in and we`re getting a very

credible testimony from some very credible witnesses.

 

Ambassador Bill Taylor has been serving United States essentially since he

was a cadet at West Point.  He fought in the Vietnam War.  He was the Vice

Director of the U.S. Institute of Peace.  He`s had an extraordinary career

in public life.  We can`t say specifically what he said today, but I think

his testimony along with that of many other people is painting a much more

detailed portrait of what took place.

 

HAYES:  All right, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Congressman

Jamie Raskin, thank you both.

 

SCHULTZ:  You`re welcome.

 

HAYES:  Joining me now are two reporters who have been covering Taylor`s

testimony all day, Anne Gearan White House Correspondent for The Washington

Post.  She was the first to get her hands on Taylor`s explosive opening

statement today.  And Kyle Cheney Congress Reporter for Politico, he`s been

speaking to members of Congress throughout the day as the – at the exit –

as they exit the deposition.

 

Anne, you got the sense that even though much of this was sort of known, or

hinted at, or implied, there was a palpable “oh my word” reaction on

Capitol Hill.

 

ANNE GEARAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Yes, for

sure, Chris.  Some lawmakers today described gasps in the room and just,

you know, people glancing one to another as Bill Taylor`s testimony

unfolded.  And one of the things that the lawmakers seemed most struck by

is really clear in the – in the opening statement that my colleagues and I

obtained today which is it`s a roadmap.

 

He kept detailed meticulous notes by date of when he had conversations,

what they were about, who said what, and what the – what the next step

was.  And he lays it out in almost cinematic fashion in this opening

statement.  And then this happened, and then that happened, and then all of

a sudden I became completely aware that this aide was being conditioned on

not only a meeting but on the investigation of the Biden`s.

 

He`s very specific.  And he contradicts not only the president`s denials of

any quid pro quo, but he also very specifically contradicts the testimony

last week of Gordon Sondland.

 

HAYES:  Kyle, what have you been hearing?

 

KYLE CHENEY, CONGRESS REPORTER, POLITICO:  Well, two things really struck

me was that the people that were coming out of the room and speaking in

almost hyperbolic tones about what they heard in there were not the people

that were typically on the front lines of this investigation.  These are

members of the committees who have a role but haven`t necessarily been the

people that are sort of the spokespeople for what`s going on.

 

So you saw in their – in their eyes essentially of what – that they had

really felt like this is a turning point in this investigation that could

accelerate the pace of impeachment.  But the second piece is that what you

did here which was Republicans did not really come out and offer a full-

throated defense or refutation of what Taylor said as we heard from other

witnesses and other moments in this investigation.

 

HAYES:  That`s a really interesting point.  There`s a moment, Anne, to your

point about this sort of scrupulous collection of detail here, and we know

this is someone who was trying to kind of paper this as one says you know

when he was writing in text, that in his testimony, he says that John

Bolton is one of the people who basically at certain point when you`re

raising concerns, tells him to put into writing and send a personal cable

to the Secretary of State.

 

GEARAN:  Yes.  And Taylor also says that, you know, Bolton couldn`t get on

the right people`s schedules to complain about what was going on along with

officials from other department agencies.  He definitely was – he, Taylor,

was trying to paper this as you say, after he became very alarmed about

what Rudy Giuliani and Gordon Sondland were doing.  That`s what he says in

his statement.

 

But his note-taking and his very careful kind of description of what led up

to that is also going to be something that House Democrats can use as they

go forward.  Because he describes how when he took the job under some

duress, he said, he wanted to take it but he was concerned about what had

happened to the previous ambassador.  He was concerned about what he saw as

political machinations around her.  And he told Mike Pompeo that he – that

he had some reservations.

 

But nonetheless he went to Ukraine in June, and that at first what he

wanted to do in Ukraine with sort of regular foreign policy seemed to be

aligned with what the others we`ve heard so much about Gordon Sondland,

Rick Perry, and Kurt Volker were up to, and then how those things started

to diverge.

 

HAYES:  Right.

 

GEARAN:  So before he papers it, he lays out exactly what they were doing

and where his concerns began to be raised in July.

 

HAYES:  One of the things that`s most striking here, Kyle, is like other

State Department employees, he was ordered to not testify by the State

Department.  He was then subpoenaed.  He did it.  He is also the current

Chief of Mission appointed by the Trump administration to run the embassy

in Kiev at this moment even as the White House puts out a statement calling

him a radical bureaucrat.

 

CHENEY:  That`s one of the most remarkable things here is these are – some

of these witnesses are actively serving in the – in the roles if they`re

testifying about over the objections of the Secretary of State.  And

actually the existence of this cable that we`ve talked about is it points

to the fact that the State Department itself has actually blocked a lot of

documents and primary source evidence from the committee, from the

impeachment investigators that these witnesses actually want – Gordon

Sondland himself wants some of his notes and documents to get to Congress

and he can`t get them there.  So it shows you the sort of split that`s

happening in real-time within the State Department.

 

HAYES:  That`s a great point.  Anne Gearan and Kyle Chaney, thank you both

very much.  Next, a requiem for a talking point, the prime defense of

Trump-supporting Republicans “no quid pro quo” has just been decimated. 

The massive political ramifications in two minutes.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  You know, maybe Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans should have

followed Mick Mulvaney lead.  Five days ago, Trump`s acting chief of staff

admitted in front of everyone a quid pro quo, saying the White House had

withheld military aid to Ukraine in an effort to get Ukraine to investigate

debunked conspiracy theories about the DNC in the 2016 election.

 

He even added infamously the quote, get over it.  The White House and

Trump`s Republican allies quickly disavow those comments and Mulvaney has

spent the past five days desperately, humiliatingly trying to walk them

back and tell us we didn`t hear what we saw him say because the line has

always been no quid pro quo.

 

Trump even had literally those words scrawled on his notes at a cabinet

meeting yesterday so he didn`t forget to repeat them.  You can see it there

in sharpie, no quid pro quo.  With impeachment looming, this is the final

place they have all retreated to.  The place they`ve been holed up inside

but the tanks out front, the no quid pro quo fortress.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Get us up to date on what`s going on.

 

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL):  No quid pro quo.

 

MCCARTHY:  No one believes there`s any quick pro quo.

 

SEN. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC):  And what we do know is there was definitely no

quid pro quo.

 

HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY:  There was no

quid pro quo here whatsoever.

 

REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY):  There was absolutely no quid pro quo.

 

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA):  There was absolutely no quid pro quo.  The

transcript backs it up.

 

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES:  The transcript of the

President`s phone call with President Zelensky where there was no quid pro

quo, there was no pressure.

 

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL:  There was

no quid pro quo.  There was no issue about finally getting the military

assistance.

 

JORDAN:  No quid pro quo as Mr. Mulvaney said.  No linkage whatsoever

between any type of security assistance dollars for Ukraine and any type of

investigation.

 

SEN. KEVIN KRAMER (R-ND):  There was no quid pro quo in the – in the phone

conversation.  So no doubt that the haters are going to hate.

 

STEVEN MNUCHIN, SECRETARY OF TREASURY, UNITED STATES:  People who are

trying to imply that the President is asking for things or quid pro quo is

I think this is ridiculous.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you open-minded if more comes out that you could

support impeachment?

 

GRAHAM:  Sure.  I mean – I mean, show me something that is a crime.  If

you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging a quid pro

quo outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Oh really.  Well, then Senator Lindsey Graham must be very

disturbed because today Bill Taylor, the Chief of Mission of the U.S.

Embassy in Ukraine testified before Congress that there was an explicit

quid pro quo, that he was told by the U.S. Ambassador of the European Union

Gordon Sondland that “everything was dependent on announcing an

investigation into the Biden`s in the 2016 election including security

assistance which was the U.S. military aid that Trump had personally

withheld from the Ukrainians.”

 

I`m joined now by Natasha Bertrand National Security Correspondent for

Politico and MSNBC Contributor, also with me Matthew Miller former Chief

Spokesperson for the Department of Justice and an MSNBC Justice and

Security Analyst.

 

And Natasha, one wonders if they`re regretting now so clearly leaning on

the no quid pro quo talking point even when the call notes themselves

showed there was a fairly obvious one after today`s testimony of Bill

Taylor.

 

NATASHA BERTRAND, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes.  It seems like they should have

gone with what Mulvaney said which is OK, there was a quid pro quo, get

over it, it happens all the time in U.S. foreign policy.  But instead, they

were relying on what the President was putting out there which was the only

thing that was discussed within this realm was what the transcript showed

which was I didn`t explicitly say you`re not going to get military

assistance unless you investigate the Biden`s.

 

Well, I guess the Republicans weren`t banking on the State Department

employees and the career officials actually defying the State Department

and testifying to Congress and telling them everything that they knew and

found out over the last, you know, six to eight months about what Giuliani

was doing.

 

And this is also different and more explosive because for the first time

Bill Taylor has testified to the President`s direct involvement in this.

 

HAYES:  Yes.

 

BERTRAND:  With a Russia investigation, it was very much people around the

President who were interacting with the Russians who were trying to get

Russian help on this campaign.  And the President was always kind of one

step removed from it, you know, disregarding his public statements.

 

But in this instance, Trump was actually directing it.  Trump was saying

explicitly according to Bill Taylor that unless Zelensky makes this public

commitment to investigate Burisma and the Biden`s, then then the Ukrainians

are not going to get a White House summit, and they`re not going to get

aid.

 

HAYES:  Matt, to Natasha`s point, the public pronouncement here is so

telling to me because it also vitiates another talking point that like

there was any – which was always preposterous, there was like a genuine

concern with corruption, but it`s public but they`re actually seeking.  I

don`t – I don`t even know if they care about the investigations.

 

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST:  No, I don`t think they

care about the investigations at all.  They cared about the fact that Joe

Biden was under investigation not that – not that that the investigation

would ever produce anything.  It`s a little bit similar I think to the Bill

Barr investigation into the origins of the 2016 thing.  It doesn`t really

matter what that produces.  It just matters that they have a talking point

that the President can use.

 

I think the Republicans are in a little bit of a bind now.  Look, they can

attack Bill Taylor but there are a couple of problems with that.  Number

one, it appears that he detailed all this meticulously.  The direct quotes

in his statement today appear to be from notes he kept at the time. 

 

Number two, I suspect we`re going to see him in a public hearing, and it`s

hard to see – it`s hard to imagine this based on the kind of gravity of

the case he presented that he`s not going to hold up well and be very

convincing. 

 

And number three, they are making mistake if they think he is the only

witness that`s going to coming forward, that`s a mistake they made from the

beginning is somehow just taking the president`s word for it when it was I

think fairly obvious all along that the president probably did everything

that he was accused of doing.  Now they`re really stuck.

 

I mean, I would think if they were smart, they would stop trying to defend

the president`s behavior, and they have to decide – look, I am going to

cut the president loose on the propriety of his

behavior, but if I`m going to defend him I`m going to say it`s not

impeachable, because trying to defend all of this just seems to me  too

much of a heavy lift to the American public.

 

HAYES:  Well, and it`s also the – Matt brings up a great point, Natasha,

which is that this is the first round of fact gathering that`s happening

behind closed doors, we`re getting testimony from the depositions, there

will be public hearings that will be carried live on every network in which

the person saying this will be saying it in front of America, and they`re

going to have to figure out what their story is before that happens.

 

BERTRAND:  Right, and they`ll be saying it under oath.  And the Democrats

have already been moving very quickly on this investigation.  There have

already been almost a dozen interviews in the last month.  They`re going to

interview more people over the next two weeks.  People at this point, State

Department and career officials seem much more comfortable at this point

testifying against

the president and revealing things that had happened at the State

Department over the last two plus years because I think they see this

president in a weakened position, because so much has come out with proof

about what he asked Zelensky to do.

 

And with regard to other witnesses that Bill Taylor already has undercut

with his testimony today, that`s a whole other question, and that`s another

layer of information that congress has gotten.  Gordon Sondland, the U.S.

ambassador to the EU, he might be facing perjury charges.  There was a

Democrat on one of the committees who said that they may recommend that

just because he misled the committee about the extent to which he knew what

was going on behind the scenes.

 

HAYES:  Quickly, Matt.  Bill Barr again implicated here and mentioned, it

seems crazy he hasn`t recused himself in any fashion.

 

MILLER:  There`s something going on at the Justice Department.  I don`t

think we know the full story of their involvement there.  They put out

another statement today.  It was the fourth time they`ve

tried to distance themselves from the president`s actions with respect to

Ukraine or to Rudy Giuliani`s behavior.

 

I suspect that we don`t yet know the full story why they quashed the

criminal investigation and that that explains their nervousness and their

jumpiness for the last few weeks.

 

HAYES:  Great point.  Natasha Bertrand and Matthew Miller, thank you both

for being with me.

 

Republicans are quick to say that impeaching Trump will tear the country

apart, so then why aren`t any of them advising him to resign.  Michelle

Goldberg and Ned Price join me next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  The day before President Richard Nixon resigned in August 1974,

three top Republican leaders in congress showed up at the White House.  And

Senator Barry Goldwater of the Republican Party elder in the House and

Senate minority leaders.  And that day, they made the case personally to

Richard Nixon that he had lost support in congress, that he was going to be

impeached and likely convicted and then removed from office.  And all that

was left for Nixon to do, they told him, was resign.

 

The next day, August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon announced his resignation in a

prime-time address from the Oval Office.

 

Today, after revelations from Bill Taylor`s testimony began leaking out,

followed shortly by the entirety of his 15 page opening statement, New York

Times op-ed columnist Michelle Goldberg tweeted, quote, Republicans were

worried about impeachment tearing the country apart should be going to

Trump privately and telling him to resign.

 

Michelle Goldberg joins me now, along with Ned Price, a former spokesperson

for the National Security Council, a special assistant to President Obama. 

They are both MSNBC contributors.

 

Michelle, why did you say that?

 

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Well, because we`ve been hearing

from them for, you know, since this process began, that the reason that

Democrats shouldn`t do this is because it was so divisive, it was so

inflammatory.  And, you know, if you showed before, we`ve now sort of

crossed the  Rubicon, or crossed what they all said was the red line.  And

I don`t doubt that they are now going to pivot either to process questions

or to an argument that, you know, this was find, get over it, or maybe that

this wasn`t impeachable. 

 

But there is no – but, you know, their whole case, the case that they`ve

made so far, has fallen apart.  And so if they are serious, if they ever

were serious, about ever sort of preserving some shred of national unity,

that is what they would do.  And I mean, to be clear I kind of don`t think

they were that serious.

 

And it`s obvious that Trump lacks the dignity and patriotism of a Richard

Nixon, but it is what they should be doing, because otherwise what we`re

facing, I think, is just a total – an admission of a total breakdown in

the rule of law, right, if he`s not going to be convicted in the Senate, if

these crimes that have been revealed, including Gordan Sondland`s perjury

are going to be referred to a Justice Department headed by Bill Barr who

kind of corruptly refuses to recuse and is quashing all of these

investigations, you know, the admission is just that we are kind of passed

any sort of democracy and in a situation of pure authoritarianism.

 

HAYES:  You know, Ned, it strikes me to Michelle`s point about not kind of

getting out ahead in the expectation that people will act corruptly, that

we`ve already seen this play out a little bit in the way that these folks

have come forward to testify – not that they would be corrupt, because

they didn`t – but the fact that they have gone and testified even though

their employer, the United States government, told them not to, that

unexpected things can happen that you don`t have to just expect that

everyone will behave in the worst possible fashion.

 

NED PRICE, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL FORMER SPOKESPERSON:  Well, I think

that`s right.

 

You know, I had to laugh, Chris, because Secretary of State Pompeo has

bragged ever since he

went to Foggy Bottom to take on his current role that the State Department

finally had its swagger back.  And, you know, Secretary Pompeo has had a

strange way of trying to give the State Department its swagger back by

failing to stand up for career professionals, by consistently siding with

the politicals, by siding with those who are outside the administration to

the detriment of his own people.

 

But I think we can finally say the State Department has its swagger back. 

You know, you take a look at Ambassador Yovanovitch, when she was walking

into congress earlier this month, and that stare in her eyes and the

determination, you could tell that these are people who have a story to

tell and no amount of attempted stonewalling on the part of this

administration of a legal impeachment process can

get in the way of that.

 

HAYES:  You know, Michelle, there`s also the question here about the scope

of the inquiry.  I mean the story that`s told here is of an irregular

foreign policy and a regular foreign policy in the which irregular foreign

policy is being pursued to corrupt ends that personally benefit the

president.

 

What we know from reporting there`s irregular foreign policy with Saudi

Arabia that`s headed up by Jared Kushner.  And it seems there are other

irregular foreign policies out there that might be worth having at least an

audit into given what we`ve discovered here.

 

GOLDBERG:  I think Democrats are going to have to make a decision whether

they actually want to kind of go for removal.  And if you really wanted to

go for removal, I think you would sort of make the succinct case rather

than let it get bogged down and confused the way the Mueller investigation

did, because the more confusing it gets the more I think Republicans can

explain away the indefensible.

 

But, if you want a full public hearing and airing of the epic corruption of

this administration, of the total perversion of American foreign policy of,

you know, kind of a level of self-dealing that we`ve

never seen before in American history, then you basically make it broad and

have hearings almost up until the next election.

 

HAYES:  What do you think, Ned?

 

PRICE:  Yeah, I think that`s right.  Look, I think the problem with the

Mueller report was that it was 458 pages long and it covered a matter of

years.

 

Look, the beauty, the brutal corrupt beauty of the Ukraine saga is that it

is a small window that started on July 25.  We are in mid-October now and

the amount of corruption, the amount of betrayal, the amount of lawlessness

and potential criminality that we have uncovered in this short amount of

time is just staggering.

 

And so, look, I think Republicans, their posture reminds me of that old

saying, when you owe a bank a hundred dollars, that`s your problem, when

you owe the bank $100 million, that`s the bank`s  problem.  The Republicans

have invested a lot in this president. 

 

And I think they made a bargain with themselves, when they stood pie him

after Charlottesville that was the $100 million investment.  They cannot

step back at this point without making – without underscoring the

hollowness of the past three years.  And I think that`s something that

would stick with them for quite a few more years.

 

HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and Ned Price, thank you both.

 

Ahead, believe it or not, some Democratic donors are complaining that out

of the nearly 20 Democratic presidential contenders still in the race, they

can`t find the one they want.  Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Thanks to President Trump, we have a story like this today.  The

strong man from Russia and strong man from Turkey meeting today in Sochi,

Russia, for around six hours.  And between them, decided how to carve up

Syria.

 

Russian and Turkish troops will take joint control over a vast swath of

formerly Kurdish-held

territory in Northern Syria, and Kurdish forces have six days to retreat. 

 

We got here because Donald Trump out of nowhere decided to get on the phone

with Turkish President Recep Erdogan two weeks ago to completely change

policy overnight and shocked everyone, paving the way for Turkish invasion

for northern Syria.

 

So now Turkey gets what it wants, a cleaning out of the Kurds, as President

Trump himself

put it.  Russia also gets what it wants, they become the new power player

in the region or further

entrench their power player status.  The Kurds get misery.

 

What does the United States get?  Really hard to say.  Absolutely nothing

other than the cementing of our status as an unreliable actor who doesn`t

keep their word, betrays their allies, just like when we pulled out of the

Iran deal and the Paris Climate Accords. 

 

And the fig leaf the president continues to hide behind, nonsensically,

that he`s finally bringing the troops home from combat to a grateful war

weary nation, is simply a lie.  The U.S. service members have been

relocated to Iraq while he`s sending thousands more to Saudi Arabia. 

 

This is not about ending wars, it`s about Donald Trump`s subverting

American interests, the interests of the strong men that he so admires.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  In 2016, the Gallup polling firm regularly asked voters to describe

what they had read, heard or seen about the two presidential candidates. 

Researchers took those descriptions and they made them into word clouds. 

It`s a kind of infographic.  The more frequently a word is used the bigger

it appears.

 

This was the word cloud for Donald Trump, a collection of the words and

themes that were driving his campaign.

 

And this was Hillary Clinton, a cloud with one massive word in the middle,

email.  It was the most frequent answer to the question and about the best

depiction of the collective failure of press coverage of tho2016 election

you`re going to find.

 

The email controversy was born of a totally, thoroughly and obviously bad

faith effort by

the right wing, facilitated by main stream coverage decisions that lost all

sense of proportion.  According to the Columbia Journalism Review, in just

six days the The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary

Clinton`s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69

days leading up to the election. 

 

And after all that, quietly on a Friday night after more than three years

Donald Trump`s own State Department released a nine-page report on those

infamous Clinton emails, the conclusion reading, quote, “there was no

persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified

information.”

 

The thing that we all said, us, the Trump administration, the Trump

campaign that we banged on about forever, not really anything to see here.

 

Of course, that was clear at the time.  It`s not that the emails and the

investigation into the emails wasn`t a story – it was a story in the same

way that Ivanka Trump using a personal email account is a story, was a

story.  We did a story on it. 

 

Is it the only thing that`s covered about Ivanka Trump?

 

The fact that Donald Trump has been using an unsecured phone that`s been

freaking people out, including a security team.  There was a story about

that.  Is that the only story about Donald Trump?

 

Or the guy who is at the center of the Ukraine scandal, Gordan Sondland,

using a private texting app for official business, in violation of the

policies and procedures of the State Department? 

 

It just seems insane when you think of those three examples to think that

those would be the most important thing to cover.  And yet that was how

Hillary Clinton was treated in 2016, a  ghastly, collective madness that

deserves some accounting and introspection, and most importantly a

commitment on the part of the media not to fall for the exact same play

again in 2020.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Despite a large and diverse field that started with nearly 30

candidates, unprecedented

amounts of fundraising, and voter interest, some Democratic donors are

grumbling that they don`t like

the toys they`ve been playing with and they want a new one.

 

The New York Times, quote, “with doubts rising about former Vice President

Joseph R. Biden`s ability to finance a multi-state primary campaign,

persistent questions about Senator Elizabeth Warren`s

viability in the general election, and skepticism that Mayor Pete Buttigieg

of South Bend, Indiana could broaden his appeal beyond white voters,

Democratic leaders are engaging in a familiar right, fretting about who is

in the race and longing for a white knight to enter the contest at the last

minute.”

 

To talk about the sudden angst, I`m joined by Neera Tanden, president of

the Center for American Progress, and Christine Greer, associate professor

at Fordham University.

 

You know, Neera, I like the fact that this was framed as a kind of

perennial right, because

I remember…

 

NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Because it is?

 

HAYES:  It is.  And I remember – I remember in 2004 there was the Wesley

Clark boom.  Everyone looked around and said, no, no, we need the NATO

general, Wesley Clark.  I love Wesley Clark.  And I was like, he`s not a

great candidate.

 

There was Fred Thompson on the Republican side who  was going to be a

savior.

 

What is the psychology here?

 

TANDEN:  I think the psychology is that Democrats, you know, it`s sort of a

congenital condition to worry and to have agita (ph).  And I think that is

exacerbated by Donald Trump who, you know, I mean Democrats have carnal

fears about his ability to destroy, you know, people in his path,

Republican, Democrat, frail humans, you know, anyone in his path he has

kind of an ability to destroy.

 

So I think there is – those things combine to create a lot of agitation. 

I don`t think it`s not just Democrats, I think Democratic donors, it`s

around a lot of people.  But I would say just like in past election cycles,

the nominee is likely, almost I`d say 100 percent likely, but likely, to be

one of the candidates running.  And whoever emerges from this contest will

seem strengthened because they`ve defeated – that person will have

defeated so many other people.

 

HAYES:  That`s the point, Christina.  Like to me, it`s always about the

fact that campaigning exposes the candidates` weaknesses.  That`s the

process of campaigning, because people attack them on stuff.  They hold

them to account.  There is no like shrink-wrapped perfect off the shelf

candidate in American politics.

 

CHRISTINA GREER, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY:  You`re right.  You`re right.  And we

saw in 2007-2008 Barack Obama became a much better candidate because of his

long battle with Hillary

Clinton.  But, you know, I think what we really need to focus on, besides

the fundraising, is the fact that, you know, the Democrats tend to focus on

the peopled we don`t have instead of the people that we have at the dance,

right? 

 

And so we have the fact that Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote.  And

so we have the fact that we now have Democratic governors and lieutenant

governors who are young and inspiring in Michigan and Wisconsin.  We have

the fact that we have black women who have been mobilizing folks and we

shouldn`t wait until November 1 to ask them to come out.

 

And we should also look at mayors in the south and black mayors who put

together winning coalitions all across in 2018 and sort of see what they

did and what issues really motivated their citizens to come out and support

them.

 

So, if we put that together, then we can choose a candidate that we can

help get across the  finish line on November 3 in 2020 instead of thinking

about, you know, Bloomberg or all these people who are just sort of

flirting with the idea of the presidency each year.

 

HAYES:  Partly too, I think, like, Neera, to your point about the kind of

congenital aspect of this, a sort of perpetual worrying, part of it is that

like people were shell-shocked by Donald Trump winning. 

 

But if the situation were reversed, if it was a Democratic incumbent who

was polling at 40 percent and getting impeached and had all these scandals,

Democrats would be losing their mind.  They would be convincing themselves

that that Democratic incumbent was headed for certain defeat, that they

were going to lose by 15 points and there would be op-eds about you have to

resign and you have to get out of the way.  If you put the shoe on the

other foot…

 

TANDEN:  It`s not clear exactly which is better for democracy, frankly. 

You have a Republican Party impervious to facts – absolutely, you`re

100,000 percent right that Republicans look at terrible facts and just, you

know, beat their which he says and say they`ll win no matter what.  And

Democrats look at a winning hand and worry about every ability to lose

their hand.

 

And, you know, I mean, this is just what sort of makes what Democrats are,

like, underdogs

and Republicans like the Yankees.  But, I mean, it`s sort of like – I

think the thing to focus on here is that you`re that absolutely right. 

Donald Trump is the most unpopular incumbent in American history in polling

that we`ve had.  And he faces a very difficult election.  And I`d say that

the lesson of 2018

is that Democrats were able to put together broad coalitions.  They were

able to actually attract moderate voters and bring out Millennials and

their base – people of color, students, young people.

 

You can actually do that in the face of Trump.  And we should think of a

way to do that.  And I think a lot of these candidates – I mean, our

primary is really long – but a lot of these candidates to Democratic

voters, 70 percent of Democratic voters think that one of these candidates

can beat Trump, so it`s not everybody who thinks this way.

 

HAYES:  Quickly, Christina, a lot of that work can happen independent of

the candidate.

 

GREER:  Yes, indeed.  And we have grassroots organizations who are doing

it.  We have, you know, elected officials on the local level who are doing

it.

 

And just to remind Neera, you know, the Yankees lost.

 

HAYES:  That`s right.

 

TANDEN:  Exactly.  Exactly.

 

HAYES:  That`s exactly right.

 

TANDEN:  Just because they say that they`re going to win doesn`t mean they

can`t win.

 

HAYES:  That`s exactly right, the Yankees lost.

 

Neera Tanden, Christina Greer, thank you both for joining us.

 

That is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right

now.  Good evening, Rachel.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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