Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. TRANSCRIPT: 2/13/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests:
Adam Schiff
Transcript:

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. 

 

Good evening, Rachel. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  I am excited for this trip for you, my friend. 

This is going to be amazing. 

 

HAYES:  Yes.  I`m excited, too.  We`ll see you tomorrow night. 

 

MADDOW:  Well done.  Thanks, Chris.

 

All right.  Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.  Happy to have

you with us.  Lots going on tonight. 

 

The week before Christmas, this past December, we thought that the

president`s national security adviser, his first national security adviser

Mike Flynn was about to be sentenced.  Flynn had a sentencing date.  The

prosecution and the defense had both filed submissions with the court

giving judge advice on what Mike Flynn`s sentence should be. 

 

The appointed sentencing date arrived.  Mike Flynn put on a suit, got in an

SUV, turned up in court.  All the lawyers were there on both sides.  It was

time for us all to figure out in open court that day how much time Mike

Flynn was going to serve in prison if he was going to get any prison time

at all. 

 

But when it came time for Mike Flynn to be sentenced that day, in the end,

he was not sentenced.  It was sort of a shocking day in court.  You might

remember.  Flynn, of course, had plead guilty to lying to investigators

about his contacts with the Russian government while he was serving the

Trump transition.  When he plead guilty, he became a cooperator, became a

cooperating witness. 

 

The special counsel`s office thereafter told the court repeatedly and

officially that Flynn was a good cooperator, that he had cooperated

extensively with them and helped them with multiple investigations.  As

such, the special counsel`s office advised the judge in the Flynn case that

despite the seriousness of Flynn`s own confessed crimes, his cooperation

had been so valuable to prosecutors that they believed the judge should

give him little to no jail time. 

 

But nevertheless, a week before Christmas last December, the judge in the

Mike Flynn case balked.  He told Flynn in open court that day that he could

not hide, quote, his disdain, his disgust for Flynn`s criminal conduct.  In

open court, he asked prosecutors from the special counsel`s office if they

had considered putting Mike Flynn on trial for treason, of all things. 

That was a shocking enough almost suggestion from the judge that later in

the hearing he actually walked that back in open court. 

 

But whatever that judge was looking at in terms of the evidence, the

evidence that we could see, also the sealed filings, any of the background

information he had been provided in terms of Flynn`s conduct and his

cooperation, I mean, whatever the judge was seeing in the universe of

information he had access to about Mike Flynn, it had that judge fired up

enough that day in that courtroom that honestly, the real mercy that judge

showed to Mike Flynn that day was when the judge repeatedly asked to Flynn

multiple times throughout the hearing if Flynn was really sure that he

wanted to go ahead with the sentencing. 

 

The judge repeatedly went back to Flynn over the course of that hearing,

are you sure you want me to sentence you right now?  Basically, are you

sure today ought to be the day?  Are you sure you might not want to take

more time as a cooperating witness and see if there is anything else you

might possibly be able to do for your country that might possibly mitigate

the size of the book that I`m about to throw at you for your crimes, which

I`ve already said to your face in open court are crimes that disgust me? 

Are you sure you want to go ahead with this today? 

 

It was interesting as a sort of moment of human drama.  During that hearing

that day, Flynn repeatedly rebuffed those, you know, questions/suggestions

from the judge, basically saying no, your honor, no, you`re good.  Go

ahead.  I`m ready to be sentenced. 

 

Eventually, there was little break where Flynn had time to have some

quality time with his own lawyers, and after that break, Flynn did I think

figure out what was going on.  He did then concede to the judge that, yes,

maybe today wasn`t good.  Maybe it might be a good idea to take a little

more time. 

 

And so the outcome of that hearing was that Mike Flynn was not sentenced. 

That was the week before Christmas.  They put off his sentencing hearing

sort of indefinitely.  They put it off for months.  He went back to being a

cooperating witness after that shocking day in court. 

 

He`s not even going to have a status conference on the state of his case

until deep into next month.  They put this thing off for a while.  Go see

what else you can do, sir. 

 

But in that case, the case of Mike Flynn and his aborted sentencing

hearing, you might notice a little – a little melody, a little tune that

recurs that is becoming sort of a theme song for all of the various cases,

for all of the various people who have been charged and/or plead guilty in

the Russia investigation thus far.  I think there is a theme that even us

non-lawyers can recognize now when we look at these cases, when we can now

see over time with all of these cases and all these dozens of indictments

and dozens of defendants, we can now see a little bit of a recurring

melody, a little theme that you can recognize in how judges react when they

hear about, when they see evidence about the alleged or confessed crimes of

the people who have been caught up thus far in this investigation.  This

investigation that centers around the special counsel`s office, but has

been disbursed into these multiple cases. 

 

We see how judges react when they get access to information about these

defendants.  We saw that with Flynn dramatically in November.  We also see

that theme all over today`s news in multiple cases. 

 

The day before Mike Flynn`s disastrous sentencing hearing in December, the

day before that went so wrong for him in court, you might also remember

that Flynn`s business partner, his long-time business partner, a guy named

Bijan Kian was also indicted, also charged with – in his case, acting as

an agent of a foreign government. 

 

This is sort of more serious version of the charge that a number of Mueller

targets have faced, which is failing to register as a foreign agent.  What

Bijan Kian was charged with in mid-December is sort of the more serious

version of that crime.  According to his lawyers, it is something that has

only been charged in the United States a handful of times since the law was

created. 

 

But Bijan Kian pled not guilty.  He is not pleading guilty and agreeing to

cooperate like most of the other people who were charged in the Mueller

investigation thus far.  Kian has pled not guilty.  He wants to go to

trial. 

 

Today, there was a hearing in his case to among other things set a trial

date.  Kian`s lawyers pled with the judge, pleaded with the judge hearing

that case in the Eastern District of Virginia that they needed quite a lot

more time to prepare their defense before they would feel comfortable

proceeding with a trial, and mostly, their basis for arguing that today is

that there is a ton of evidence to go through in the government`s case,

what they described of as terabytes worth of data on multiple hard drives

that they had received from the prosecution outlining their case against

Bijan Kian. 

 

But one of Kian`s lawyers also told the judge today there was a more

personal reason they wanted to delay.  They wanted to delay specifically

until this fall.  And we got a transcript of that hearing today in which we

can see Bijan Kian`s lawyer telling the judge today, quote: I know it is

not of utmost concern to the court, your honor, but our client`s daughter`s

wedding is the first week of August.  So, we would like to make sure that

we don`t jam him up in that regard as well. 

 

His lawyer saying that please, can we put the trial off to the fall.  There

is so much to do.  There is so much evidence to get through, but also his

daughter`s wedding is the first week of August.  Couldn`t we do it after

that? 

 

The judge responded to that effectively sorry, when is his daughter`s

hearing?  It`s the first week of August?  You don`t want to, what did you

say, jam him up right before that?  OK, then.  The judge said we will set

his trial for July 15th.  So maybe he can just wear his father of the bride

tux to the trial in case that`s going to be the closest he gets to

celebrating his daughter`s wedding the first week in August. 

 

On the Concord Management case, there was another blunt ruling from a

federal judge today in that case.  Concord Management, you`ll remember

that`s the Russian company charged in conjunction with the Internet

Research Agency case.  This is the indictment brought early on by Mueller

charging a bunch of Russian citizens and the Internet Research Agency in

St. Petersburg and the Russian oligarch who funded and ran that and his

management company.  They`re all charged with conspiring to defraud the

United States by interfering with the lawful functions of our election

process, among a whole bunch of other crimes, including identity theft. 

They`re basically charging these defendants with having run the social

media and propaganda element of the Russian government`s interference in

our 2016 election to benefit President Trump. 

 

Now none of the Russian defendants in that indictment have set foot in a

U.S. courtroom since this indictment was handed down.  Russia as a rule

does not extradite their citizens to stand trial in the United States.  But

the Russian oligarch who is charged in this indictment, Russian oligarch

close to Putin, close to the Russian government, the guy who allegedly runs

the Internet Research Agency and ran this part of the operation, he appears

to have decided to try to use the U.S. court system against the United

States of America, and specifically, against the Mueller investigation by

taking materials obtained over the course of that criminal case and

disseminating them in Russia in an effort to try to gain intel on what

Mueller has figured out about Russian interference.

 

And prosecutors in that case say they`ve also used the materials obtained

in that court case in what amounts to another Russian intelligence

operation, an effort to take the case materials from this Concord

Management case that the lawyers representing Concord Management in that

case have obtained through the American court system.  Those materials were

obtained through this criminal case through judicial proceedings in the

United States.  Those materials then turned up online being shopped by pro-

Russia Twitter accounts as supposedly hacked material from the Mueller

investigation, that they were shopping to U.S. journalists trying to

undermine and discredit what Mueller is doing and what evidence he has

found. 

 

So, this Concord Management case, none of the Russian defendants have

turned up in court.  For Concord Management, this Russian corporate entity,

they did hire American lawyers to represent that Russian entity.  They`ve

used those American lawyers basically to obtain information from the

Mueller investigation that Russia appears to be turning around in another

op intending to target the U.S. public. 

 

So that – that case has definitely taken a bunch of weird turns.  This is

an odd duck case among all of the Mueller and Mueller derived

investigations thus far.  It`s ultimately important to know, though, about

this Concord Management case that at every turn, at every incremental step

that we have been able to see thus far in the case, Concord Management and

their U.S. defense team have lost against Mueller`s prosecutors. 

Everything they fought on, they have lost. 

 

Today was no exception.  Today the judge in the Concord Management case

issued her order on yet another request by concord management that they

should get yet more discovery materials as part of this case.  The judge

ruled flatly: no, ruled against them full stop.  No, they cannot have those

new discovery materials they`re asking for.  They have lost at every step

of this case thus far, including today. 

 

That same theme, that same little melody also seems to be applying when it

comes to the new case of Roger Stone, the long-time Trump political adviser

who was arrested at his home in Florida two weeks ago.  Stone was charged

with seven felony counts for allegedly lying to Congress and witness

tampering and obstruction of justice.  Roger Stone`s lawyers today tried to

make the case to the judge here in the Stone case, tried to tell the court

that the prosecutors acted illegally on the day that Roger Stone was

arrested. 

 

His lawyers told the court today that the indictment, the actual written

indictment of Roger Stone, it was illegally sent out to reporters before

Roger Stone was arrested while the indictment was supposed to still be

under seal that was their contention to the judge in the Stone case today. 

 

To back it up, Mr. Stone`s lawyers then provided evidence to the court that

in fact the indictment of Mr. Stone was e-mailed out to reporters after

Stone was arrested.  So, again, their big allegation to the court today was

hey, this indictment was sent out before Roger Stone was arrested.  They

then provided written evidence to the court showing that the indictment was

sent out after Roger Stone was arrested.  So, I mean, that`s a little bit

like calling in sick to work and then turning in a note from your doctor

that says Rachel`s fine.  Like maybe the proof, supposed proof didn`t help. 

 

So it`s starting to look like the Roger Stone case is not going all that

well either, although there is certainly lots to come.  At this point he is

still pleading not guilty, still planning on going to trial.  It should be

interesting. 

 

Now although this pattern seems to be clear on every legal case that we`ve

seen thus far on the Russia investigation, either directly from Mueller`s

office or from any of these associated prosecutions, so far, we have seen

this theme that nobody is faring well when it comes to these legal cases

being prosecuted.  That said, a lot of these things are still in process. 

It`s obviously not all done.  It`s obviously not all settled. 

 

Even today, there is a bunch of intriguing stuff that isn`t yet decided

that could go any way at all.  For example, the D.C. Circuit Court of

Appeals, that`s a court that`s one level below the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Today we found out from filings before that court that we`re likely to get

public access soon to some of the core materials in the mystery case.  This

is the case that the special counsel`s office has been fighting out with an

unknown company that is wholly owned by an unknown foreign country. 

 

We know the basics about this case.  This company owned by a foreign

country got a subpoena from Mueller months ago in 2018.  They have fought

to it the highest levels of the U.S. court system, including some elements

of this case that have gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Their

contention is that they don`t have to comply with the subpoena from Mueller

basically because they`re owned by a foreign country. 

 

But, again, like we`ve seen with all of these cases, as far as we can tell

with the mystery case, it appears that at every turn in this court case

thus far, they have lost.  I mean, they`re fighting it out.  They`re

fighting as I said all the way to the Supreme Court in some cases.  But

they appear to have lost at every stage. 

 

As far as we can tell from the heavily redacted filings that we have in the

mystery case, the company is now paying $50,000 per day every day as

punishment for them still refusing to comply with the subpoena because the

courts have ruled that they really do need to comply with the subpoena. 

And, you know, this is a case that has been tied up in incredibly

highfaluting litigation for months now.  It`s still not clear, I guess, in

the end if Mueller is going to get whatever it is he is demanding in the

subpoena from this company, but we did find out today that we the public

are going to have access to more material from that case within the next

few weeks, if today`s new court filings in that case are anything to go by. 

 

We also learned today that this man, Sam Patten has finally been given a

sentencing date.  Sam Patten pled guilty last August to failing to register

as a foreign agent working on behalf of a pro-Russia political party in

Ukraine.  He also admitted to prosecutors that he helped a pro-Russian

Ukrainian oligarch illegally funnel foreign money into the Trump inaugural

committee. 

 

Sam Patten pled guilty last August.  He became a cooperating witness.  What

we know of his business pasts and the filings in the case thus far show

that the case and his cooperation may be tied up not only to the Trump

inaugural committee, which was just subpoenaed last week by federal

prosecutors, but also to Konstantin Kilimnik with whom he was involved in

business relationships.  Konstantin Kilimnik is the alleged Russian

intelligence figure who has himself been indicted by Mueller on witness

tampering charge.  He is central to some of the most intriguing elements to

the Paul Manafort prosecution. 

 

Sam Patten is tied to Konstantin Kilimnik.  Sam Patten is also tied to

Cambridge Analytica, which, of course, was the Trump campaign data firm

during the election, around which there has been lots and lots of intrigue. 

We found out today that Sam Patten will finally be sentenced on April 12th. 

So, couple of months from now, a week in advance of that sentencing, in the

first week of April, we will get filings in his case that we expect to

detail the extent of his cooperation with federal prosecutors since he

plead guilty last summer. 

 

Given all of the different elements of the scandal that Sam Patten is

potentially connected to, the inaugural, Kilimnik, Cambridge Analytica,

it`s going to be fascinating to see what he`s helped prosecutors with, when

he finally turns up in court and his case, which has been totally opaque to

us the public thus far gets laid out for the public, we will understand how

he fits into this puzzle as well.  So, there`s definitely still stuff that

remains to be explained and that we will eventually learn as members of the

public who are watching all of this stuff. 

 

There is definitely cases that aren`t over, trials that haven`t been held,

questions that haven`t been answered, stuff that hasn`t been unredacted and

unsealed for public viewing.  But even in the middle of all those things,

in general, the theme, the melody is now quite recognizable.  I mean, whose

won going up against the Mueller investigation or any of the related

prosecutions?  Whose come out on the long end of the stick? 

 

I mean, if you had to decide right now which party you would want to be in

any of these cases, if you were told hey, the news gods are going to plot

you personally into any of these ongoing cases that derive from the Mueller

investigation, would you rather be on the defense side or the prosecution

side?  What do you think? 

 

I mean, in every instance, you would rather be on the prosecution side

because of how poorly everybody has come out who has thus far been on the

defense.  Even people who the special counsel`s office has called for

lenience about, people like Mike Flynn when independent federal judges get

a look at the evidence and the information supporting these cases, even

guys like Mike Flynn aren`t turning out well in court. 

 

But that – that theme which we can hear running through all of these

different cases and all of these different stories that broke in today`s

news, it is loudest and clearest when it comes to the president`s campaign

chairman, Paul Manafort.  As you know, Manafort was initially charged with

multiple felonies in October 2017.  He and Trump`s deputy campaign chair

Rick Gates were then hit with another superseding indictment, another 32

felony counts this time last year, February of 2018. 

 

In what was supposed to be the first of his two federal felony trials,

Manafort was convicted on eight felonies in the Eastern District of

Virginia.  He then in September changed his mind and on the eve of the

start of his second federal trial, he decided to plead guilty and agree to

cooperate with prosecutors rather than go through with that second federal

trial. 

 

Well, his cooperation deal with prosecutors we now know went poorly. 

Within about ten weeks of him starting that supposed cooperation deal with

prosecutors, the special counsel`s office had advised the judge in the

Manafort case that Manafort was lying.  Manafort had breached his plea

agreement, breached his cooperation agreement, and repeatedly lied to

prosecutors on multiple topics. 

 

Since the prosecution team told the judge that Manafort had been lying to

them in late November, that has been the subject of lots and lots of

billable hours and a lot of back and forth involving Manafort`s defense

team and the prosecution and the judge.  There have been tons of filings. 

There have been multiple hearings.  Tonight, the judge in the Manafort case

finally issued her ruling on the question of whether or not Manafort lied,

whether or not he breached his plea agreement and his cooperation agreement

when he lied to prosecutors. 

 

And it sounds like a little process thing, but the significance of this is

hard to overstate when it comes to Paul Manafort`s life, his natural life

and the prospects for what`s going to happen in the rest of it.  I mean,

he`s 70 years old.  He does not appear to be in great health.  He was

already looking at maybe ten years in prison based on the convictions he`s

already suffered at his first trial. 

 

As a cooperating witness, he was clearly hoping to get little to no

additional time on the charges that would have been the subject of his

second trial.  He was presumably also hoping for lenience against the

prison sentence he was expecting for his other convictions from his first

trial.  We`ll get some expert advice on this tonight. 

 

But my reading of this ruling tonight is he can now forget all that.  I

mean, the judge in the Manafort case tonight seems to have kind of sealed

Manafort`s fate in an almost existential sense. 

 

The judge tonight ruled on two matters.  First, she ruled that Manafort did

breach the plea agreement.  That means the office of special counsel,

Mueller`s office, is no longer bound by anything they agreed to with him,

and that means they can charge him with absolutely everything they believe

he has done and they can prove in court. 

 

From the judge`s ruling tonight, quote: The office of special counsel is no

longer bound by its obligations under the plea agreement, including its

promise to support a reduction of the offense level in the calculation of

the U.S. sentencing guidelines. 

 

But then there is a second matter on which the judge rules as well.  Quote,

but that is not the only question before the court to decide.  The question

remains whether the defendant made intentionally false statements in

connection with the five matters that have been identified by the office of

special counsel as matters on which Manafort lied to them.  Quote, the

answer bears upon the applicability of certain provisions of the sentencing

guidelines, in particular the adjustment for acceptance of responsibility

and bears more generally on the court`s assessment of the factors set forth

in the sentencing statute. 

 

That`s the judge saying this is the part that really is going to have a big

impact on how many years I give him.  I mean, again, prosecutors say

Manafort lied to them on five separate issues.  What the judge ruled

specifically tonight is that on three of those five issues, she says

Manafort didn`t just lie, he lied to prosecutors intentionally.  These are

those matters. 

 

Quote: The office of special counsel has established by a preponderance of

the evidence that concerning a $125,000 payment to Manafort, quote, a

matter that was material to the investigation.  The judge continues, also,

the office of special counsel has established by a preponderance of the

evidence that defendant intentionally made multiple false statements to the

FBI, the office of special counsel and the grand jury concerning other

matters that were material to the investigation, namely, defendant`s

interactions and communications with Konstantin Kilimnik. 

 

The judge also ruled that in some other DOJ investigation that we`re not

allowed to know what it was about, Manafort once again, quote,

intentionally made false statements that were material to the

investigation. 

 

So, again, we`ll get some expert advice on this in just a minute, but I

think basically this clears the way for this judge to move ahead with

sentencing Paul Manafort.  The combination of him breaching his plea

agreement and being found by the judge who have intentionally lied to the

prosecutors on matters material to their investigation, that combination

implies that from here on out what Manafort is looking at in his case is no

credit for having been a cooperating witness.  Maybe not even credit for

him pleading guilty, which usually counts in your favor because it shows

you have accepted responsibility for your actions.

 

And I think there is a chance that this might also mean that Manafort could

be looking at additional felony charges.  Potentially, the reinstatement of

the felony charges that the special counsel`s office had agreed to drop in

exchange for his guilty plea.  Potentially, they could reinstate the

additional 10 felony charges that he faced at his first trial on which the

jury was hung, on which they were not able to come to a verdict.  I mention

that he is 70 years old already. 

 

So, where we are in this as of tonight, where we are we in terms of this

devastating ruling for the president`s campaign chairman?  I mean, in terms

of Paul Manafort, I think this is a doomsday situation for him in terms of

his own fate.  Prosecutors have already raised to the judge in his case the

prospect that Manafort has been angling for a presidential pardon.  They`ve

raised the possibility to the judge that that may explain some of

Manafort`s behavior thus far, even since he pled guilty and agreed to

cooperate. 

 

We know from filings in Manafort`s case that his behavior, specifically

some of his behavior that involved that alleged Russian intelligence figure

Konstantin Kilimnik, in the word of the special counsel`s office, that`s

something that goes right to the heart of the central matter that Robert

Mueller is investigating. 

 

I mean, stepping back for us just as citizens here, big picture, everything

has gone south for everybody who has been caught up as a defendant in any

of these investigations thus far.  Nobody has won against Robert Mueller or

any of the prosecutors who have brought cases against these defendants in

conjunction with the Mueller investigation.  Nobody has won.  Everything

has gone south for every one of those defendants. 

 

For the president`s campaign chair specifically Paul Manafort, things have

not just gone south for him, he is now at the South Pole.  And if he has

just bottomed out in his case, if he has reached the end of the line, if he

is staring down the prospect of a sentence long enough to ensure that he

dies in federal prison, and if in fact there are elements of his case that

are central to the core question of the special counsel`s investigation,

which is Russia`s interference in our election and the Trump campaign`s

involvement in that, then it is starting to feel like we may know what the

final collision course is here between this president and the justice

department, including the special counsel. 

 

And as that legal collision takes shape, literally tomorrow morning they`re

going vote in the Senate on Trump`s nominee to be the new attorney general. 

Tomorrow morning is going to be the final confirmation vote on William

Barr.  William Barr, who was chosen by Trump for the job and who will

overtly make no commitment that Mueller`s ultimate findings will be made

available to Congress let alone to the public. 

 

Mueller thus far seems to be batting a thousand in all of the cases brought

in association with this scandal, but in some of these cases and in the

Manafort case in particular as of tonight, that means these prosecutions

are pushing this to the place where it ends for everybody involved, central

matters at the heart of the investigation with the cases coming to the end,

the defendants having lost in every way and in ways that put their free

life in question. 

 

Will the Justice Department, will the special counsel`s office be allowed

to see this all the way through to the end?  Will they be allowed to run

through the tape?  Because in at least one of these central cases, we`re

there. 

 

The Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was just told by the House

Judiciary Committee tonight that they believe he may have lied under oath. 

They want him back to clarify his testimony from last week, specifically

about his contact with the White House about prosecutions related to the

Russia investigation.  The new attorney general, William Barr, is likely to

be confirmed tomorrow morning in the midst of all of this, while this

collision is happening. 

 

This is not a test.  Hold tight.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Tonight, the Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has been sent

this letter from the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Congressman Jerry

Nadler of New York.  The letter advises Matt Whitaker that at his testimony

last week in Congress, quote: Members on both sides of the aisle found many

of your answers to be unsatisfactory, incomplete or contradicted by other

evidence. 

 

Contradicted by other evidence is a bad one.  I mean, the Judiciary

Committee chairman is inviting Matt Whitaker to clarify his testimony, but

the implication of his letter, this contradicted by other evidence thing,

the implication here is that Matt Whitaker may have made false statements

to the committee while he was testifying under oath. 

 

To be specific, Nadler says that the committee, quote, has identified

several individuals with direct knowledge of the phone calls you denied

receiving from the White House about the Justice Department`s prosecution

of long-time Trump attorney Michael Cohen.  Mr. Whitaker said under oath in

his testimony that he did not have communications with the White House

about the Cohen prosecution.  Jerry Nadler has advised him tonight that

they have identified several individuals who have direct knowledge of

Whitaker in fact having phone calls with the White House about that

prosecution.  If Whitaker gave false testimony under oath, that`s going to

be a big deal. 

 

As far as we know, there has been no response yet from the Justice

Department in general, or Matthew Whitaker in particular, but it will be

interesting to see how that response goes.  It will be particularly

interesting just to see if Mr. Whitaker tries to invade, tries to evade

congressional oversight on this by virtue of the fact he is about to be no

longer a Justice Department employee, because as if there weren`t enough

going on today, tomorrow the Senate is expected to vote on a new attorney

general to replace Matt Whitaker.  William Barr is on track to win

confirmation from the Republican-controlled Senate as the new head of the

Department of Justice. 

 

In his confirmation hearing last month, of course, Mr. Barr was notably

indirect and noncommittal on what he will do with any findings from special

counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation.  Barr said he could not say

whether he would make any of those findings public or even let Congress see

them. 

 

Across the Capitol in the U.S. House, however, the Democratic majority

there has suggested there may be some remedies for Congress and maybe even

the public getting access to what Robert Mueller finds in his

investigation.  The House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff says yes, he

pretty much is willing to subpoena any Mueller report if there is one and

if need be.  I also have questions as to whether the chairman believes it

would be possible to get testimony from Robert Mueller about any of his

findings in his investigation, separate and apart from any report that

Mueller may provide to William Barr or whoever is the next A.G. 

 

Joining us now is Congressman Adam Schiff.  He is the chair of the House

Intelligence Committee. 

 

Mr. Chairman, it`s good to have you with us. 

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Thank you. 

It`s great to be with you. 

 

MADDOW:  There is a lot going on.  I have a ton of things I want to ask you

about tonight.  But I`d actually like to ask you first about this sort of

breaking news that we`re following tonight, this ruling from the judge in

the Paul Manafort case, ruling that Mr. Manafort intentionally lied to

prosecutors after he had agreed to cooperate with them.  As both the chair

of the Intelligence Committee and as a former prosecutor yourself, I just

wanted to ask you your sense of how important this ruling is. 

 

SCHIFF:  Well, it`s going to be devastating to Manafort.  He is going to

get none of the benefit of the plea agreement, and I think he is likely to

have the judge throw the book at him.  I mean, look, this is someone who

after he`s arrested, while he is being tried is found to be witness

tampering, and then he agrees to cooperate and he`s found to be lying. 

 

I mean, it`s hard to have a record more appalling than that to the judge. 

What I also think is significant is it appears the judge has largely agreed

with what the special counsel argued, and that is not only did he lie, but

the motivation here is if he told the truth about his relationship with

someone affiliated with Russian intelligence while he was the campaign

chairman, that would be so damaging effectively to Trump that it would

negate his chance of a pardon. 

 

That to me is quite telling.  It`s not just that if he told the truth, it

would be damaging to Manafort or Kilimnik, but it would reflect so

adversely on the president that he would lose his chance of a pardon, and

there is obviously more to that when we find out about those meetings with

Kilimnik. 

 

MADDOW:  Are you worried – I mean, one of the things the prosecutor

suggested here is something that – one thing that might explain some of

Mr. Manafort`s behavior, including when it comes to his interaction was

prosecutors is that he might have been angling for a pardon from Mr. Trump. 

Now that Mr. Manafort`s case appears to have come to this crashing end, as

you say, it looks like the judge has no reason to not absolutely throw the

book at him. 

 

Are you expecting or concerned?  Do you have any thoughts on the prospect

that this is the moment at which the president might feel most inclined to

talk about a pardon when it comes to Manafort? 

 

SCHIFF:  It certainly is a concern, because if there was ever a president

to abuse the pardon power, it`s likely to be this one.  I think Manafort

was trying to play it both ways.  He wanted to angle for a pardon with the

president.  At the same time, he knew he could get stiffed by the president

because the president, after all, doesn`t care about Manafort or anyone

else.  He cares about Donald Trump. 

 

And so, he wanted at the same time to try to minimize his sentence and

reduce his exposure there.  And still hold out the prospect of a pardon. 

But I think he clearly felt that he couldn`t maintain any possibility of a

pardon if he was honest about what kind of a relationship the campaign had

through him with this Russian intelligence-linked individual. 

 

MADDOW:  Mr. Chairman, if you don`t mind, I`d like to ask you to stay while

we have a quick break there are a couple of other matters that arose in

today`s news and that are going to be important tomorrow.  I`d like to ask

that you stick with us. 

 

SCHIFF:  Absolutely. 

 

MADDOW:  All right.  Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Congressman

Adam Schiff, joins us again when we come back. 

 

Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  We`re back now with the chairman of the Intelligence Committee in

the House, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff. 

 

Mr. Chairman, thank you again for staying with us. 

 

SCHIFF:  You bet. 

 

MADDOW:  Tomorrow, William Barr, by most accounts, by all accounts is

expected to be confirmed as the next attorney general of the United States. 

As you know, during the course of his confirmation proceedings, he would

not confirm to the Senate, he would not pledge to the Senate that he would

allow any findings from Robert Mueller`s investigation to be released to

Congress, let alone to the public. 

 

I wonder in your role as the chairman of the intelligence committee if you

feel like that`s the final word on that, or if you feel like you with your

own powers as chairman and the powers of your committee, if you would have

some way to access those findings, even if Mr. Barr decided that you

shouldn`t see them. 

 

SCHIFF:  It`s certainly not the last word, and we will use every form of

compulsion we can to make sure that we get the report, that we make the

report public, and we may need well more than the report.  You know, one of

the facts that I think it`s very important for people to know is the

special counsel`s office is in possession of evidence that it may be

impossible to get except for from the special counsel. 

 

And to give you an illustration, there were searches done of Roger Stone. 

There were searches done of Paul Manafort.  There were searches done of

Michael Cohen.  That evidence, some of it reportedly, for example, in the

form of hard drives from Roger Stone, there may be no other way for the

Congress to get except through the Justice Department, which means that if

Bill Barr as attorney general decides you`re not going get to see that

evidence, we`re not going to include that evidence in any report to

Congress, the American people may never know exactly what happened. 

 

That is unsustainable.  The American people are going to demand it.  We`re

going demand it.  We`re going use every compulsion we can to get it. 

 

It`s too big to be swept under the rug.  And I want to make this point,

too, Rachel, and that is it`s not just whether we get a report.  It`s also

what kind of a report we get.  The attorney general could have a role in

telling the special counsel what kind of a report, whether it`s skeletal,

whether it`s extensive to file, believing that the report will be made

public. 

 

So maybe we will shape the report before it`s produced.  So, there are all

kinds of ways to play mischief here, but we`re determined to get to the

truth. 

 

MADDOW:  There was a letter sent by your colleague, Chairman Jerry Nadler

of the Judiciary Committee to the acting attorney general, to Matt Whitaker

tonight, suggesting that he – well, telling him that he needs to clarify

his testimony before Congress last week, and suggesting that Mr. Whitaker

may have lied under oath, may have not spoken truthfully under oath last

week when he denied that he had communications with the White House about

the Michael Cohen prosecution.  There are a few other matters that Mr.

Nadler raised in this letter to Whitaker. 

 

And that`s interesting about Matt Whitaker.  Matt Whitaker we believe is on

the way out, but it also raises this prospect that the White House has been

through its contacts at the Justice Department, through its appointees at

the Justice Department, that they have been trying to get information or

trying to put pressure on what the Justice Department is doing. 

 

Do you know that they have done that one way or the other?  And do you

think it has had an effect on what the Justice Department or even the

special counsel has been able to pursue? 

 

SCHIFF:  I don`t know the answer.  You know, he will say this, though. 

This is someone who has refused to follow the advice of ethics lawyers. 

So, you know, you start out with a great skepticism about whether you`re

getting the full story from someone like that.  This is someone who

obviously auditioned for the part by showing his hostility to the

investigation. 

 

And I think that the Judiciary Committee needs to demand answer, and if

there is credible reason to believe he has not been truthful, they need to

do everything necessary to hold him accountable.  And the fact that he`s

leaving the Justice Department doesn`t make him any less accessible to the

Congress.  Indeed, in many respects, it makes him more accessible.  It`s

less of an issue of pulling him out of his responsibilities as acting

attorney general. 

 

So, you know, we need to get answers, particularly if there is any question

about his truthfulness, what he has shared with the White House about any

investigation. 

 

MADDOW:  Chairman Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee – sir, I

really appreciate your time tonight.  Thank you very much for being with

us. 

 

SCHIFF:  Thank you. 

 

MADDOW:  I should correct something that I said earlier in the show

tonight.  I said in the middle of a long string of things in the a block

tonight that Paul Manafort, the president`s campaign chair, who is in so

much legal trouble as of tonight, I said that he is a 70-year-old man.  He

is apparently a 69-1/2-year-old man, and I did not mean to round up. 

 

I know when you get close to a round number it can be an even more

sensitive subject than usual.  So to the extent that I made Mr. Manafort

shy of his few months of his actual age, I apologize. 

 

Much more ahead tonight.  Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I don`t think they decide (ph) if

they wait for Bob Mueller – you know, for the Mueller report, for the one

that comes of Russia.  Congress back in Watergate times didn`t wait for

Leon Jaworski or Archibald Cox to finish a report.  They have a negative

impact on an ongoing investigation.  But I think they just need to be

responsible, serious, and focus on consequential things. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MADDOW:  Former Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder speaking

in Des Moines, Iowa, last night, after a speech at Drake University.  That

was him speaking with reporters.  And no, Eric Holder is not from Des

Moines, Iowa.  And yes, it is that time of year when political figures

mysteriously turning up in Iowa always means the same thing. 

 

Attorney General Holder has not announced that he is running for president

in 2020, but he was there in Iowa last night giving that speech and then

afterwards talking with reporters about a number of things, including the

Mueller investigation and Congress` responsibilities in light of that

investigation.  Holder says he will decide whether or not he is running for

president soon, by next month.  Of course it would be fascinating to have

the guy who very recently used to run the Justice Department hanging out on

the campaign trail every day, available to weigh in on whatever new

developments there are, not just in our politics in general, but also in

the Trump-Russia investigation as it comes to this crucial phase.  We`ll

find out next month about that, whether or not he`s going to run. 

 

In the meantime, though, there are continuing develops – develops.  There

are continuing developments in the Russia investigation that I mentioned at

the top of the show tonight with particularly devastating implications for

the Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.  We do not have Eric Holder here

next to talk about them, but we do have an incredibly talented former

prosecutor to talk us through what it means, not just for Manafort but for

the rest of us.  And that`s next. 

 

Stay with us.  

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Joining us now is Barbara McQuade.  She`s a former U.S. attorney

from the great state of Michigan. 

 

Barbara, it`s great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks for being here. 

 

BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  Oh, thanks.  Glad to be here,

Rachel. 

 

MADDOW:  I want just to get your top line reaction to this ruling in the

Manafort case.  The judge ruling even after he was supposedly cooperating,

Manafort still lied intentionally to prosecutors, among other things about

his contact with this guy linked to Russian intelligence. 

 

What does this ruling mean materially for what`s going to happen next to

Paul Manafort? 

 

MCQUADE:  It`s a very significant development for Paul Manafort.  He has

gone from facing maybe guidelines of maybe eight to ten years with this

cooperation reduction, which could be applied concurrently with his

sentence in the Eastern District of Virginia, to now a sentencing guideline

range that is 24 to 30 years.  I don`t know that he`ll get all of that, but

he could face that length of time by breaching this plea agreement. 

 

So very, very significant consequences, which makes you really wonder what

is it that caused him to lie, knowing that he was facing such severe

consequences if he did.

 

MADDOW:  And what happens next in terms of the timing?  We were – we

watched him go through his first trial.  He was about to go through his

second trial.  That got called off because of his guilty plea and his plea

agreement. 

 

Now, the plea agreement is breached and nobody`s bound by it anymore.  Does

this mean his case is essentially over now and the judge will go ahead and

sentence him?  Does he potentially go on trial for the other stuff he was

otherwise about to go on trial for in that second felony trial proceeding

in D.C.? 

 

MCQUADE:  So he could.  My guess is that he won`t.  The agreement says

basically the government gets all the benefits of this bargain and the

defendant gets none of them now that he has breached. 

 

And so his guilty plea can stand, but they can sentence him to the max, so

all the benefits that he got in exchange.  If they wanted to, they could

charge him with all of the additional things that were dismissed.  In light

of the substantial amount of time he`s facing, I doubt they would expend

the resources to do that.  They can probably already get – a sentence

longer than his natural life, so I don`t know that they will go ahead and

do any of those things. 

 

They can also charge him with additional crimes for making false

statements.  But, again, in light of the amount of time he`s already

facing, it seems that there would be no need to do that. 

 

MADDOW:  Right.  If he`s already looking – as you said the guideline is 24

to 30? 

 

MCQUADE:  Yes.  Years. 

 

MADDOW:  Wow.  Usually we talk about months when we talk about sentences. 

In his case, a 69-year-old man, a 30-year sentence, that`s the whole

enchilada. 

 

Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney from Michigan, thank you so much for

being here, Barb. 

 

MCQUADE:  Thanks, Rachel. 

 

MADDOW:  All right.  We`ll be right back.  Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  The markup started at 10:00 a.m. on HR-8 which would require

anyone selling a gun to run a background check on the person buying it. 

Today, the Judiciary Committee in the House met to make their final tweaks

to that bill and then vote on it.  They started at process at 10:00 a.m.

 

The markup lasted all day, fast forward to 8:13 p.m. Eastern Time, more

than ten hours later, quote, House Judiciary just passed HR-8.  This is the

first major gun violence legislation to pass the committee in several

decades. 

 

When the hearing was gaveled to a close, people who had been sitting in

that hearing room for ten-plus hours got up and cheered.  After ten hours. 

Again, this is background checks, the first gun reform to pass this

committee in a very, very long time.  Now it goes on to the full house. 

 

That does it for us tonight.  We`ll see you again tomorrow. 

 

Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.

 

Good evening, Lawrence.

 

                                                                                                               

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