Interview with Hillary Clinton. TRANSCRIPT: 5/1/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: We need a Democratic Senate. That`s going to
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Without a doubt.
HAYES: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democratic presidential candidate,
thanks for making time.
GILLIBRAND: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. That is ALL IN for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Much
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. The one and only
Hillary Clinton is here tonight. She`s going to be my guest this hour for
“The Interview”. She is going to be here in studio. I`m very excited
about that. I have not had a hard time coming up with things to ask
Secretary Clinton. Quite the contrary. I`ve got way too much to ask.
And that was all before we started today`s news with this: March 27th,
2019. Dear Attorney General Barr, quote: I previously sent you a letter
dated March 25th that enclosed the introduction and executive summary of
each volume of the special counsel`s report marked with redactions. We
also marked an additional two sentences for review and have now confirmed
that these sentences can be released publicly.
Accordingly, the enclosed documents are in a form that can be released to
the public, consistent with legal requirements and department policies. I
am requesting that you provide these materials to Congress and authorize
their public release at this time. As we stated in our meeting of March 5
and reiterated to the department early in the afternoon of March 24th, the
introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately
summarize this office`s work and conclusions.
The summary letter – excuse me, the summary letter the department sent to
Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24th did
not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office`s work
and conclusions. We communicated that concern to the department on the
morning of March 25th.
There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our
investigations. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which
the department appointed the special counsel, to assure full public
confidence in the outcome of investigations.
While we understand that the department is reviewing the full report to
determine what`s appropriate for public release, that process need not
delay release of these enclosed materials. Release of these materials at
this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would
answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of
our investigation. It would also accord with the standard for public
release of notifications to Congress cited in your letter, namely, that it
would be in the public interest. Sincerely yours, Robert Mueller.
Now I know that after this letter from Robert Mueller from March 27th came
out, was shown to the public for the first time this morning, I know that
thereafter Attorney General William Barr went on to testify all day long in
the Senate about Robert Mueller and about Robert Mueller`s supposed
findings from his investigation. But after seeing this letter this
morning, I mean, my god, he is the last person you would ask to tell you
anything about Robert Mueller.
I mean, this is Robert Mueller saying, hey, Attorney General Barr, stop
lying about my report. And it gives us a ton of new information about how
hard Mueller has been fighting to try to get his report out and how many
times and how many ways Barr has been blocking that from happening. I
mean, what we get from this letter from Mueller is that on March 5th, March
5th, that`s when Barr meets with Mueller, and Mueller tells him I`m going
to have introductions and executive summaries in the report on my
investigation. Those introductions and executive summaries accurately
state my findings. They`re designed for release to Congress and the
public. That`s March 5th.
Then just over two weeks later on Friday, March 22nd, Mueller hands in his
report to Barr, including Mueller`s own summaries of his findings, and
you`ll remember, as soon as Barr got that report, Barr then made a public
statement saying hey, I`m going to review this report now that I`ve
received it, and I`m going release its principle conclusions this weekend.
Well, then that weekend on Sunday, we now know in the early afternoon on
Sunday, Mueller went back to Barr and reiterated, hey, like I told you
before, there are introductions and executive summaries that me and my
office wrote here.
We wrote summaries that accurately characterize our own findings. What are
you doing here, William Barr, saying you`re going to release our principal
conclusions? We`ve written summaries of our own findings. Remember? Like
we told you we would? Here they are.
That was the early afternoon on Sunday. Boom. Later that same afternoon,
Barr slams the proverbial door in Robert Mueller`s face and says nope, I`m
releasing my own statement about your findings instead because I want to
give the president grounds for tweeting that he is totally exonerated.
Forget your precious own words summarizing your own findings. I`m going to
release my own pro-Trump statement about your little investigation. Shame
if something happened to it.
So that`s – that`s Sunday afternoon. Within a day, Mueller writes to
Barr, making sure to put it in writing saying, no, you need to release our
summaries of what we found. What are you doing?
Here. We`ve gone through our introductions, our executive summaries.
We`ve done all the redactions you might need there. Barr apparently still
And so, two days later, on Wednesday the 27th, Mueller sends over his
summaries and his introductions again. Hey, Barr, what are you doing?
You`re really going to try to get away with this? This is what you`re
supposed to release.
We wrote summaries of our own findings. What you put out instead is wrong.
These are the accurate summaries of our findings, which we wrote ourselves.
This thing that you are shopping instead as your supposed description of
our findings is creating public confusion about critical aspects of our
And Mueller says full stop, quote, I am requesting that you provide these
materials to Congress and authorize public release at this time. And Barr
says nope, nope, too bad. Who cares what you think.
So the first time they met after Barr was named attorney general, then
right after the report was handed in before Barr put out his own supposed
summary of the report, and then right after Barr put out that supposed
summary, and then again right after that when Barr still ignored him – I
mean, this is Robert Mueller we now know banging down William Barr`s door
with a caveman club about Barr covering up Mueller`s findings and
misrepresenting Mueller`s findings and refusing to release Mueller`s actual
findings, no matter what Mueller did.
He is telling him on March 5th. He is telling him again on March 24. He
is telling him again on March 25. He is telling him again on March 27th.
I mean, half way through this process, he starts putting it in writing
because clearly, light dawns on marblehead, right? Like this is not
working. I better make sure there is some record of this.
When “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times” broke the story last
night that there was this letter complaining, Mueller complaining to Barr
about Barr misrepresenting his findings, both “The Post” and “The Times”,
there were all these high-ranking anonymous Justice Department sources
quoted as saying no, no, Mueller was perfectly happy with how this all
went. He never said Barr was going anything wrong. Mueller was just
frustrated that that dastardly news media was missing all the important
context of his findings.
All those statements from senior Justice Department officials that we saw
in “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times” we now know are total
bullpucky, because now we can see Mueller`s letter. And nope, it turns
he`s not mad about the news media misrepresenting his findings. He is mad
that Barr won`t release his findings, and instead has put out his own
disinformation about what Mueller did. That`s what Mueller`s mad about.
Which tells you that this – the U.S. Justice Department under William Barr
really doesn`t care about being caught out lying about anything, right? I
mean, just last night, they`re saying oh, no, no, no, no, you`re going to
report that there was some angry letter from Mueller to Barr? Mueller
wasn`t mad about anything Barr did. He was just mad at the media, you
Literally, they`re telling “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times”
that last night, knowing that the letter is going to be released today.
They know they`re going to be caught out in those lies. They don`t care.
It seems like the working – I don`t know, the working plan there is just
win your tiny little blip in each news cycle.
Win the day. Win the morning. It doesn`t matter if you get exposed right
afterwards for having lied about something. That`s checkable. Just say
whatever you need to say in that moment. It will ultimately never matter
when you finally get caught out.
So, that`s how the Justice Department is running now. That`s what`s going
on at the Justice Department. That`s what`s going on with the great wash,
rinse, repeat cycle that is the laundering of Mueller`s investigation.
And given that, do you really care what else William Barr has to say about
Mueller`s findings right now, right? About Mueller`s investigation, rather
than hearing from Mueller himself? At what point does William Barr lose
the credibility that he might need specifically to speak for Robert
Mueller, now that we know what Robert Mueller says and thinks about how
Barr has handled that thus far?
Well, Barr testified today all day long in the Senate, and there were
revelations about what else William Barr has done and what he is continuing
to do since he came on board as Trump`s newest attorney general. For
example, William Barr admitted to Senator Kamala Harris today that he did
not review any of the underlying evidence from Mueller`s report before
asserting that the evidence in that report was insufficient to justify
charging the president with obstruction, and so therefore the president was
William Barr also today admitted I think much to the surprise of Senator
Lindsey Graham, who was questioning him in that moment, he admitted that
Mueller had objected to some of what Barr did with redactions in the
report, which we learned for the first time in that questioning today.
That makes it all the more important for Congress to get the unredacted
report, given that we now know that Mueller objected to some of the ways
redactions were handled.
After his testimony, Barr today rejected a subpoena from the House
Judiciary Committee that demanded that he hand over that full unredacted
report, so we still don`t know how that`s going to resolve, but the
redactions we now know were contested between Barr and Mueller. Barr also
today would not answer Senator Kamala Harris when she asked him if the
White House has indicated to him that there are specific investigations
they want him to open at the Justice Department. Presumably, that means
that the White House has made those suggestions to William Barr, because if
they hadn`t, he would just say so.
William Barr also would not answer today if he has been in communication
with the White House about the 14 ongoing criminal investigations that were
handed off by Mueller to other prosecutors. I mean, we the public only
know about two of those 14 cases, but there are a dozen more that are being
handled by federal prosecutors right now. William Barr would not say if he
is talking to the White House about those prosecutions.
He said today he will continue to supervise those cases. He refused today
to even seek ethics advice on whether he should be involved in overseeing
those cases. He is just keeping them. They`re his, while he is refusing
to answer whether he is talking to the White House about how the White
House wants those ongoing prosecutions to be handled.
Justice Department, just so you know, is supposed to be totally independent
of political interference in terms of who it prosecutes and who it doesn`t
and how it conducts prosecutions. But Barr today refused to say whether or
not he was consulting with the White House about the conduct of the
prosecutions that have sprung from Mueller`s report.
Barr also today announced, I`m not kidding, that if a president wants to
contend that he has been falsely accused of wrongdoing – well, that`s all
he needs. That`s all he needs if he wants to fire a prosecutor
And I know you think that I`m being hyperbolic. I know you`re thinking
right now that Barr couldn`t possibly have said that a president can fire a
prosecutor if he believes that prosecutor is investigating something that
is a false accusation. I know you think that I`m being hyperbolic here,
but honestly, that is exactly what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: If it was based on false allegations, the
president does not have to sit there constitutionally and allow it to run
its course. The president could terminate that proceeding and it would not
be a corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A president can fire anyone investigating him if the president
says the accusations that are being investigated are false. That`s all you
need. Bingo. It`s not obstruction of justice.
I mean, this, of course, follows the hallowed American legal tradition
which says if you really don`t think you`re bad, then nobody can arrest
you. I mean, imagine trying to get away with that on day one of pretend
law school, right? But like this is the attorney general of the United
States saying a president can fire a prosecutor who`s investigating him if
he thinks he didn`t do it.
I should also tell you there`s also I think an (AUDIO GAP) said today that
he may have ordered (AUDIO GAP) investigation, that he may have ordered
Mueller to stop investigating in March of this year.
We are chasing that story now. We expect to have more on that in coming
days. I will bring you more on it tonight if we are able to break that
open while I`m on the air this hour. We are working on that now. I will
keep you apprised as to what we can nail down.
Bottom line, though, if you are as gobsmacked by all this as I am, right,
seeing this letter from first thing today exposing Mueller`s personal fight
against the Trump administration to try to undo the cover-up of his
investigation and his findings, seeing that today from Mueller followed by
a full day of testimony from the attorney general sitting there before the
Senate Judiciary Committee denigrating Robert Mueller, saying that Mueller
didn`t do his job, Mueller wasn`t up to the job, proclaiming President
Trump to be innocent in every way, and indeed, calling the president
falsely accused, to see the attorney general agrees validating all of the
alleged criminal (AUDIO GAP) in Mueller`s report in terms of the
president`s own actions, right, to instead see the attorney general and
these Republican senators today casting aspersions over and over again on
Hillary Clinton as if she`s the real problem here since Russia intervened
in our last election to help Trump beat her, and so naturally, sure, it`s
her that`s the problem.
Today was a gobsmacking spectacle. I mean, this moment in history in
presidential scandal is a gobsmacking spectacle. But imagine what it would
be like to see all of this, even just to see what happened today if you are
Hillary Clinton. Imagine how that feels to you.
Secretary Clinton joins us here live next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Attorney General Barr,
has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that
you open an investigation of anyone?
BARR: I wouldn`t – I wouldn`t –
HARRIS: Yes or no?
BARR: Could you repeat that question?
HARRIS: I will repeat it. Has the president or anyone at the White House
ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or
no, please, sir.
BARR: The president or anybody else.
HARRIS: It seems you`d remember something like that and be able to tell
BARR: Yes, but I`m trying to grapple with the word “suggest.” There have
been suggestions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open
an investigation, but –
HARRIS: Perhaps they have suggested?
BARR: I don`t know. I wouldn`t say suggest.
BARR: I don`t know.
HARRIS: Inferred? You don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now here on set for her first TV interview this year is
former secretary of state, former first lady, former senator, 2016
Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Madam Secretary, thank you so much for being here.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you so much, Rachel.
I`m glad to see you.
MADDOW: How`s things?
CLINTON: A little busy.
MADDOW: Are you?
CLINTON: Well, you know, I always say personally, things are great. But
as an American, oh, my gosh. It was another day today where you just can`t
even believe what you`re hearing.
MADDOW: Well, I wanted to – I called your office and asked if we could
possibly set up this interview when I saw your op-ed last week in “The
Washington Post” in terms of American options for responding to the
Mueller. I did not know that we were going to have the day that we had
today, this interview.
I have to ask you if you have had a chance to read the Mueller (AUDIO GAP)
things as closely as we all have at this point?
CLINTON: I have. I mean, this is an absolutely critical moment in our
history, and I`ve read it. I have tried to follow it, tried to follow the
developments, watch as much of the Barr hearing as I could today, knowing I
was going to be seeing you.
But it`s just astonishing what`s going on, and it`s important to try to get
our arms around it and figure out what are the steps to take, which is part
of the reason I wrote the op-ed you just talked about.
MADDOW: In terms of today`s hearing, it looks like there will not be a
House hearing involving Attorney General Barr. He is saying no to
appearing before the House Judiciary, in part because he does not want to
speak – does not want to answer questions from committee counsel.
MADDOW: That`s one of the things you suggested would be a proper way for
the committees to respond. You praised the Judiciary Committee of the
Watergate era for having hired John Doar who is a respected Republican
Justice Department official at the time who came in and handled their
questioning. Barr doesn`t want to face that kind of questioning. You`re
specifically recommending that kind of questioning.
What`s important about having a professional counsel like that?
CLINTON: Well, I think there are several things. One is there are so many
questions to ask that it sometimes can seem as though the narrative thread
gets lost. I mean, what is it we`re trying to prove? And I`ve been in
those situations. I was in the Senate for eight years, and people have
their own particular way of questioning and even the subjects that they
want to cover.
But in something as critically as important as this, I think it is
absolutely right that Chairman Nadler said, we`re going to let all of the
members ask questions, and (AUDIO GAP) our counsel, both Democrat and
Republican be able to ask questions. And that`s when Barr balked.
Now, I don`t know whether he balked because he understands that with 30 or
40 people asking questions, the takeaway is confused and there`s no real
follow-through because you`ve got five minutes and you`re done, and he was
comfortable with that, because he could walk away and how would people make
sense of it.
Or whether he knows who these counsel members or, these counselors are. I
don`t know. But he may think, well, you know, they`re really good, I`ve
run across them before.
But the bottom line is that the committee can do what it chooses to do. I
mean, it can decide to have counsel ask those questions. There is nothing
wrong with that.
So I think that the committee now faces question that it has to answer. If
they find Barr in contempt, which they have every reason to because he
actually is, let that operate on one path, but then get back to the
business of calling witnesses who are mentioned in the Mueller report and
begin to tell the public story about what it is that is being described in
the Mueller report so that the American people can understand and follow
it. That`s what I thought was so effective with the Watergate special
MADDOW: In terms of getting those witnesses before the committee and
telling the story to the American people in that way, as you put it in your
op-ed, that would also help to fill in some of the gaps in Mueller`s
CLINTON: Right, right.
MADDOW: Whether they`re gaps because of redactions or things he didn`t
look at, telling that whole story. The White House has asserted, the
president personally has asserted that no subpoena will be honored, that
there will be no witnesses who are current or former White House or
administration personnel who will be allowed to testify. They will block
This also comes alongside them refusing the subpoena for the unredacted
Mueller report and suing his own accounting firm and bank so they don`t
respond to congressional subpoenas. There`s lots – they`re trying to
block the White House counsel from responding to a subpoena.
We`re seeing a wall come up in terms of what they`re saying they`re going
to allow. If they try to wholesale-block every witness who spoke to
Mueller from speaking to these committees, how does that resolve? How does
that end? Does it become an endless legal fight?
CLINTON: Well, first, let`s see who actually refuses to appear. It may
well be that some of the former officials understand that they don`t want
to be tainted by this continuing obstruction.
Now, it`s in the Congress. The Constitution gives the Congress the
authority to hold the executive branch accountable. It`s checks and
So, there may very well be some witnesses who say, hey, wait a minute,
don`t throw me in that briar patch. I`m getting into a new world, a new
life, maybe a new job. I don`t want to be tied up in this litigation. I`m
going to go testify. I`ll say the same things that I said to Mueller, to
the Congress and let the chips fall.
So, we have to see who is willing to come.
And, you know, executive privilege is not a totally expandable concept
where just because I talked to you two years ago or you were briefly in the
Oval Office for 10 minutes, I can assert executive privilege. So I think
it`s more complicated than to say we`re not letting anybody be able to
testify, invoking executive privilege.
I would also argue they have probably waived executive privilege. You
know, the White House had said before that they were perfectly happy to
have people go and talk to Mueller. And now they`re saying they`re going
to waive – they`re going to impose executive privilege. They may have
However, that will take time to litigate. It should be litigated quickly
as to any witnesses who refuse to come or about whom there is an argument
about executive privilege. But the process should begin, because what
they`re trying to do is push it past the next election.
MADDOW: In terms of Barr`s performance today and what we have learned,
including from Mueller himself about how Barr has handled the results of
Mueller`s investigation thus far, would you call this an attempted cover-
up? Would you say that Barr is handling Mueller`s findings in a way that
are – that is dishonest, that is inappropriate, that is something that
ought to as many Democrats said today, cause him to resign? That should
potentially leave him open to the prospect of impeachment himself?
How do you – how do you assess Barr`s – the severity of Barr`s
CLINTON: Well, I think it is incredibly severe, because I think he is
doing the job he was hired to do. He auditioned for the job with his 19-
page memo basically saying there is no such thing as obstruction of justice
when it comes to a president. He was hired to make sure that was a
reality. He has behaved in that way.
I think that the Democrats on the committee did a good job today in
exposing that, that he is the president`s defense lawyer. He is not the
attorney general of the United States in the way that he has conducted
Now, calling for his resignation makes perfect sense because he is not
discharging the duties of the office. He is not going to resign. And at
this point, I think we know that we know what we need to know about him.
Bob Mueller has made that abundantly clear, that he has not represented
accurately the context, the nature and the substance of the investigation.
I think now we need to get into the investigation, because let`s not let
Barr be the big shiny object that diverts people`s attention from the two
major findings of the Mueller report. Number one, Russia conducted a
sweeping and systemic interference in our election and not been held
accountable. And what I worry about most is that they`re going to be doing
it again, and there is reason to believe that. And that if the president
were not in office, he would have been indicted for obstruction of justice.
One of the things Barr said today that I haven`t seen too much commentary
about, which clearly was one of the Republicans` main points they were
trying to get out is in the absence of an underlying crime, you can`t have
obstruction of justice. Now, it was a long time ago, but I actually did
teach law, and that is just not true.
I mean, if, for example, Rachel, if you were going to trial, and you
believed in your heart of hearts you were innocent, but the trial was going
forward. You`ve been charged with a crime. If you bribe order intimidated
or coerced a witness to leave town so that witness could not or would not
appear, you might even be acquitted at the trial, but you have committed
obstruction of justice.
MADDOW: A new crime.
CLINTON: And that is a crime.
So there is no doubt, as many distinguished lawyers and scholars have said,
that if Trump were not president, he would have been indicted for the 11
instances that have been shown in the Mueller report to constitute
MADDOW: In terms of Barr`s argument about that today, he went I believe
even further than he went in his 19-page memo when he suggested under
questioning from Senator Leahy that the president could – without
obstructing justice – by virtue of the fact he is president fire any
prosecutor who was investigating him if the president believed himself to
be innocent of the accusations that prosecutor was investigating. Now,
that is not just the president can obstruct justice that is the president
can`t be investigated if the president doesn`t want to be investigated.
CLINTON: And that is the road to tyranny. That is what authoritarians
believe and those who service them argue.
And as a young lawyer on the Watergate investigation back in 1974, that
would have been unthinkable for either a Democrat or a Republican to argue
that. And the Saturday Night Massacre occurred because the attorney
general and other high-ranking officials in the Justice Department would
not do what President Nixon wanted them to do, which was basically stop
So when you hear something like that, and I know Pat Leahy well, he is a
former prosecutor, obviously now very veteran senator. When I looked at
his face as he was asking that question, you could just see the
incredulity. Like where does this end?
CLINTON: And that makes the role of the house even more important, because
when you have high-ranking officials in this administration jockeying to do
the president`s bidding so that they protect him as opposed to protect the
rule of law, then the burden falls particularly heavily on the House and
especially on the Judiciary Committee to be the vehicle that says wait a
minute, this is not partisan. This goes to the core of whether we are a
nation of laws or a nation of men and strong men at that.
So I`m very, very concerned about this argument that we heard made today.
And it was – it was incredibly arrogant. The level of disregard, even
contempt of the Congress` role was unmistakable, but beyond that, you get
frustrated with the Congress when you`re in the executive branch. We have
a long history of that. But the positions being taken and advocated by
Barr were unlike anything that I`ve ever heard of that were ever accepted
with any level of seriousness before.
MADDOW: We`re going take a quick break. You just mentioned this puts the
burden incredibly heavily on the House. I want to talk exactly what you
mean about that when we come back.
We`re right back with Secretary Clinton, right after this.
MADDOW: We`re back with secretary of state, 2016 presidential nominee,
Secretary Clinton, thank you.
You were talking just before the break about the weight that falls
particularly on the House and on the House Judiciary Committee (AUDIO GAP)
New York Congressman (AUDIO GAP) in terms of holding substantive (AUDIO
GAP) following up on Mueller`s findings, filling in the gaps, informing the
public about what happened here. Obviously, the Judiciary Committee is
also where impeachment proceedings start.
MADDOW: And that`s what kind of an inquiry would be expected to lead if
they found serious wrongdoing.
You, of course, watched in real-time how the impeachment of your husband in
1998 ended up benefitting him politically. He was impeached in the House.
The Senate did not remove him.
As somebody who has a realistic view about partisan politics, do you worry
that if Democrats start those hearings and hold them substantively and
follow the facts where they lead, and it really looks like they lead to an
excellent case for impeachment and they pursue, they`ll get walloped and it
will solidify Trump`s hold on the White House and Republican hold in
CLINTON: I don`t worry if it`s done right. And by that I mean, and as I
argued in that op-ed, you have to continue with your other agenda, and
that`s exactly what the House is doing. Nancy Pelosi understands that
Keep passing (AUDIO GAP) in the Senate. It may never be considered, but
you will be able to make the argument that you are moving toward election
reform. You are going to take on health care. You`re going to work to
deliver what you promised in the 2018 midterms.
So that has to continue. At the same time, though, you`ve got to educate
the American public, because the whole point behind Barr`s four-page
summary was to obfuscate, was to try to create in the minds of Americans
that, hey, nothing here. Don`t bother. We`re moving on.
And we know that`s not the case now. And obviously, Bob Mueller has in his
own way spoken out for the first time about that.
So, there do need to be hearings, and the Judiciary Committee is not the
only one that is investigating this administration, and they don`t have to
be impeachment hearings. That`s not where they are.
You have to see what it is you discover. What is the additional
information? How do you fill in the gaps? What is in those redacted
provisions that are perhaps very significant? What other investigations
are going on?
There is a whole lot of important material to be explored. So you have to
do it in a way that creates a narrative. What is it you`re finding out?
Where does it lead?
But if it leads to the conclusion that this president has committed high
crimes and misdemeanors, that`s what should motive the Congress to act.
It may not lead there.
CLINTON: And we don`t know that.
We have a pretty good idea of what the potential charges could be in the
articles of impeachment, but we don`t yet have enough information to make
But if we don`t see the House proceeding in that way, I think that will be
a failure to discharge their responsibilities. So, it doesn`t have to be
the only thing. In fact, it cannot, should not be the only thing that the
House is doing, but it does have to be part of the responsibility going
MADDOW: And in terms of flushing out that factual record about what
actually happened, including what happened with the Russian attack in 2016
CLINTON: Yes, right.
MADDOW: – I wonder as you read the Mueller report, at least the parts of
it that we can read, did you learn new things about what happened to you
and your campaign in 2016 that you didn`t know before reading it?
CLINTON: I learned more, and I learned more detail.
CLINTON: But here`s the important thing to me. What I learned is that the
Russians were successful. I don`t think there is any way to read that
report and not conclude they accomplished what they set out to do. They
had an objective to sow discord and divisiveness within our society at
large, and to help Donald Trump. And they succeeded.
So let`s move our vision forward and say to yourself if you`re in the
Kremlin, you`re Vladimir Putin who I`ve sat across. I understand his goal
is to weaken America. I know that. He doesn`t like me because I stood up
for America. I get it.
So if you`re sitting there and you`re saying this worked really well, Trump
just foments divisiveness in America. He is helping to tear the country
apart. People are so upset. What are we going to do to help him this
time? How do we best accomplish that?
And because we have no real follow-up, and one of the things that concerned
me in the Mueller report is when it`s written that they didn`t investigate
whether or not the Russian active measures actually changed votes or affect
(AUDIO GAP) because they assumed someone else was doing that. They assumed
the FBI was doing that.
And then we learned that the former secretary of the Department of Homeland
(AUDIO GAP) ordered not to talk about election interference in front of
Trump. And then we learn that there is no concerted effort going on
anywhere in our government to try to understand why it means that, for
example, at least one county in Florida was breached, but not only that,
the network of election machinery in one area. What does all that mean?
If you`re sitting in a secretary of state`s office in some state or in a
county election commission, what are you supposed to do?
And I`ll tell you, Rachel, I met with most of the candidates who are
running this time, and answered their questions. And I always tell them,
you know, you can run the best campaign. You can be the person who gets
the nomination, but unless we know how to protect our election from what
happened before and what could happen again, because there is greater
sophistication about it, you could lose.
And I don`t mean it to scare anybody, but I do want every candidate to
understand that this remains a threat.
MADDOW: That they could lose at the hands of a foreign power, not that
they could lose fair and square.
CLINTON: That`s right, that it wasn`t on the level. It wasn`t on a level
in 2016. It could be once again (AUDIO GAP) really understood as (AUDIO
And I think the Mueller report didn`t go there. That wasn`t what they
thought their charge was. And since there is no, you know, like 9/11
Commission to figure out what it is that happened. So how we prevent
should be the priority of everyone.
I worry a lot that there`s a greater sophistication. They`ve learned some
things that they now are going to deploy against us. And us means the
country, not just Democrats.
MADDOW: The cyber world as a landscape for warfare and as a landscape for
intelligence operations like the one that we saw that targeted you in 2016,
military intelligence operation designed to make sure that you wouldn`t be
president and that if you were, your presidency would be hampered.
That as the landscape of intercontinental battle –
MADDOW: – is overwhelming (AUDIO GAP) imagine myself like in a leadership
role or in some sort of policy advisory role (AUDIO GAP) should do to stop
that from happening. It feels both too big and too amorphous to hold on
MADDOW: But, I mean, as somebody who has confronted these things in a
leadership position and somebody whose been on the sharp end of this as a
target, do you feel like if the U.S. government really cared and was
motivated and wasn`t intending to stop this from happening, there are
things that we could do, we could be effective, we could stop this, and
we`re just not choosing those policy options?
CLINTON: Absolutely. And we have evidence of that.
On Election Day in 2018, we know that our government used cyber tools to
shut down a lot of the sites that they feared could be interfering. So,
number one, that tells us they know. (AUDIO GAP) two, they took action to
I think that`s just literally the tip of the spear, though. I think there
is so much more that could and should be done.
And, you know, there are a lot of people. You can read them online. You
can read their academic work. They have all kinds of ideas about what to
do to protect our systems.
The Republicans in the Senate wouldn`t at all go forward with some of the
bipartisan legislation that was meant to secure our elections under orders
from the White House.
Now, why is that? Well, because they think it helped them. And the
Republicans look at the Trump White House and say, well, you know, the
Russians probably did help them, you know, just whatever extent we may not
yet know, so we`re not going to go there. We`re going to do what they tell
Imagine, Rachel, that you had one of the Democratic nominees for 2020 on
your show, and that person said, you know, the only other adversary of ours
who is anywhere near as good as the Russians is China. So, why should
Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans,
why don`t we ask China to back us.
MADDOW: I hereby tonight ask China –
CLINTON: That`s right. And not only that, China, if you`re listening, why
don`t you get Trump`s tax returns. I`m sure our media would richly reward
Now according to the Mueller report, that is not conspiracy because it`s
done right out in the open.
So, if after this hypothetical Democratic candidate says this on your show,
within hours, all of a sudden, the IRS offices are bombarded with
incredibly sophisticated cyber tools looking for Trump`s tax returns, and
then extracts and them and then passes them to whatever the new WikiLeaks
happens to be and they start being unraveled and disclosed – nothing wrong
I mean, if you`re going let Russia get away with what they did and are
still doing according to Christopher Wray, the current FBI director, who
said that last week, they`re in our election systems. We`re worried about
2020, he said.
So, hey, let`s have a great power contest, and let`s get the Chinese in on
the side of somebody else. Just saying that shows how absurd the situation
we find ourselves in.
MADDOW: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 2016 presidential nominee.
We`ll be right back with Secretary Clinton right after this.
MADDOW: Back with us once again is secretary of state, presidential
nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Madam Secretary, thank you again for coming in to do this.
CLINTON: Glad to be here.
MADDOW: You have every option in the world and I really appreciate you
CLINTON: It`s only our country, I mean, after all, Rachel.
MADDOW: I know, but this is just my little slice of it.
CLINTON: I know, but still.
MADDOW: So, having you here means a lot.
CLINTON: You`ve tried to really cover this story, and as we were just
talking, it is far from over and it is still going on. That`s what I worry
about. I don`t want it to happen again.
And we`re in the middle of figuring it out still.
CLINTON: We are.
MADDOW: I mean, I don`t know when we`re going to get Mueller`s testimony.
I don`t know how that`s going to happen, but I feel like that`s something a
lot of this is really hanging on.
I actually want to ask you about one sort of sidebar issue that came up in
Mueller`s report that has since been added to by “The New York Times”.
It`s about you. Mueller`s report says in October 2017, President Trump met
privately with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and asked him to take a
look at investigating Clinton.
Then this past week, “The New York Times” has reported that last spring
2018, Trump also asked Don McGahn, his White House counsel, to get the
Justice Department to investigate you and former FBI Director James Comey.
Today, the attorney general refused to answer questions as to whether the
White House had ever directed him to initiate specific investigations.
This – you`re the only person in the country whose opinion I want to hear
in response to those developments. How does – what do you make of that?
CLINTON: Well, what I make of it is this as big a sign of a guilty
conscience or a real fear that you could possibly have. I mean, I`m living
rent-free inside of Donald Trump`s brain. And it`s not a very nice place
to be, I can tell you that.
So I don`t know what they`re talking about.
CLINTON: I`ve been investigated repeatedly by the other side. And much to
their dismay, but to my, you know, satisfaction, it`s been for naught. I
testified for 11 hours in the Benghazi hearing after, what, seven
committees said there was nothing there.
This is a diversion attack. Look, it is very sad to me that the lies that
were told about me, the accusations that were made about me, have
unfortunately had some residue. People say, well, you know, if she`s going
to be investigated so much and they`re going to be saying all these
terrible things even though nothing ever happens, maybe there`s something
Because I guess it is one of their tools to fire up their hard-core base.
When in doubt, go after me.
MADDOW: All these Republican senators today echoing it. Senator Graham
opening up today`s hearing suggesting that you are the one that he really
wants to go after.
CLINTON: And that`s a disgrace. It`s an absolute disgrace.
You know, they know better. But this is part of their whole technique to
divert attention from what the real story is.
The real story is the Russians interfered in our election. And Trump
committed obstruction of justice. That`s the real story. That`s what had
he don`t want the American people thinking about.
So when in doubt, say something wild about me. Thankfully, you know,
there`s no “there” there and there never has been.
But it is saddening to me, Rachel, that that is what is happening in our
United States Senate and in the White House of this great country of ours.
MADDOW: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, again, thank you for being
here. You can do any of these – you can speak to anybody how want to
speak to and be anywhere you want to be. Thank you for being here. And I
hope you`ll be back.
One of the other things I`d like to talk to you about over the course of
the next few months is this huge Democratic field –
MADDOW: – of presidential candidates who I know a lot of them are coming
to talk to you. There`s a lot going on. I hope you`ll come back soon.
CLINTON: I would love to. Thanks a lot.
MADDOW: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
CLINTON: Take care.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Whew! That does it for us tonight. We will see you again
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the