One-on-One with Adam Schiff. TRANSCRIPT: 5/20/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests:
Adam Schiff, Leana Wen
Transcript:

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON (RET.), U.S. ARMY:  Iran is not Iraq.  Iran will

fight and they will fight back and they will do so asymmetrically.  So, to

interpret their movements recently as aggressive in the region was

absolutely stupid.  I understand why Bolton would do it because Bolton

wants an incident, but it`s stupid to be doing this.  The Iranians are not

the Iraqis. 

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  All right.  Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, as

always.  A great pleasure to have you on.  Thank you. 

 

WILKERSON:  Thanks for having me. 

 

HAYES:  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

appreciated.

 

HAYES:  You bet.

 

MADDOW:  Thanks to you at home as well for joining us this hour.  Happy

Monday. 

 

There`s a lot going on tonight.  We have lots to get to.  Because of that,

I want to get this particular first little bit of news out there right

away, because otherwise, I`m going to be all nervous and distracted about

it until I finally spit it out. 

 

So right off the bat, let`s just get this done, here goes.  A few years ago

in 2012, I wrote a book.  It was called “Drift: The Unmooring of American

Military Power.”  It`s a book about how the use of the American military

basically got divorced over time from civilian politics, from our political

decision-making process in this country.  Not exactly a screaming headline,

tabloid topic, I know.  But I had something to say about that so I wrote

that book. 

 

And two things happened when I wrote the book that surprised me.  Number

one, the book did very well.  No one was more shocked about that than I

was.  Lots of people read it, and it made the best seller list for a really

long time which is crazy.  It still sells a bunch.  They teach the book in

all sorts of interesting places which I`ll tell you about sometimes if we

ever have a beer together. 

 

So, that was very surprising to me, it did great.  Knock me over with a

feather. 

 

The other thing that happened when I published “Drift” is that I publicly

and privately swore that I would never, ever write another book.  I only

did it with “Drift” in the first place because I felt like I had the idea

of that book, the sort of – the thesis of that book inside me like burning

a hole in my chest.  And the idea just wouldn`t leave me alone.  And I felt

like I had to get it off my chest in order to be able to move on with my

life.

 

But honestly, it almost killed me writing that book.  I have this whole

other job, right?  It takes a ton of mental space to write a book.  I said

I would never do it again and I meant it quite earnestly – which brings me

to the thing I have to announce. 

 

It turns out I meant to never write another book.  I really meant it when I

said I wouldn`t.  But I lied.  The same thing happened again that made me

write “Drift” in the first place.  It turns out I had another idea, another

like thesis, another argument, another case to make that was driving me

nuts.  And I was finding it very distracting and I felt like I couldn`t get

away from it because it was really stuck in me. 

 

And as much as I tried to talk myself out of it, I realized I needed to get

it off my chest, spit it out, get it down on paper, and so I have this new

book and I just got the cover from the publisher which is here.  As you can

see, it is called “Blowout”.  And you can see the subtitle is at the top

there in smaller print.  It`s at the top there in smaller print.  It`s

called “Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest,

Most Destructive Industry on Earth”.  Cheery, right? 

 

The cover is actually a bit more apocalyptic than the tone of the book

itself, I will tell you.  But basically I have just written a book about

the oil and gas industry and the consequences of that industry, which I

think are a much bigger deal than we have generally appreciated, both here

at home and around the world.  Among other things, this book may have

explained to you why I have been so unhealthfully obsessed with Rex

Tillerson and him being U.S. secretary of state.  It`s also some of what I

think underlies the Russian decision to attack our 2016 election.  It`s

also about some heroic teachers and journalists and activists. 

 

Anyway, I hope you will like it.  You can preorder it as of today.  The

official publication date is October 1st.  But as of right now, this hour,

you can get it.  You can preorder it if you go to MSNBC.com/blowout if you

want to check it out or place an order.  OK?  Okay. 

 

I will talk about it again when we are closer to the publication date, but

now, it`s in the world.  OK, I`ve said it.  I`ve at least got the

announcement done and now you know why I have aged 20 years in the last two

years while I have been writing this thing on top of my other job.  There. 

 

OK.  Now let`s dig into what`s going on tonight.  We`ve got Leana Wen here

tonight.  She is the new president of Planned Parenthood.  She`s a big

deal. 

 

There`s going to be protests tomorrow in all 50 states in the country in

response to the new radical abortion bans that Republican-controlled states

are passing all over the country, all of a sudden.  We`ve got her here

tonight. 

 

We`ve also got the chairman of the intelligence committee here tonight,

Congressman Adam Schiff of California.  We asked Congressman Schiff to come

in today, actually when “The New York Times” broke this story this morning

about Deutsche Bank and the president and the president`s son-in-law, Jared

Kushner. 

 

You see the headline there, Deutsche Bank staff saw suspicious activity in

Trump and Kushner accounts.  Here`s the lead, quote: Anti-money laundering

specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple

transactions involving legal entities controlled by President Trump and his

son-in-law, Jared Kushner, should be reported to a federal financial crimes

watchdog.  The transactions set off alerts in a computer system designed to

detect illicit activity. 

 

Bank staff who reviewed the transactions prepared suspicious activity

reports that they believed should be sent to the unit of the Treasury

Department that polices financial crimes.  But executives at Deutsche Bank

rejected their employees` advice.  Those suspicious activity reports about

Trump and Kushner that were prepared by Deutsche Bank employees who were

supposed to be specialists looking out for money laundering and other

suspicious activity, those suspicious activity reports were in fact never

filed by the government. 

 

Now, this is a “Times” piece by David Enrich, who is the financial editor

at “The Times”.  Enrich reporting, it`s well-sourced.  It cites five

current and former Deutsche Bank employees.  It also cites by name a woman

who was an anti-money laundering specialist at Deutsche Bank.  She says she

was fired by Deutsche last year after she raised concerns about the bank`s

practices concerning money laundering.  And specifically, the way the bank

was handling suspected misbehavior by politically exposed persons. 

 

That term political exposed persons is a legal term and a regulatory term

that`s used to identify people who are supposed to get extra scrutiny,

extra vetting from financial institutions as a way of rooting out

corruption and bribery and money laundering and all the other things that

tend to swarm like gnats around people that are around government power. 

 

Tammy McFadden was an anti-money laundering specialist.  She was a veteran

of that field.  She says she was fired by Deutsche Bank after she raised

concerns about how that bank was handling its high-profile clients and

politically exposed persons and how it was dealing with and specifically

kyboshing red flags raised by professional staff when they saw signs of

potential money laundering or other crimes. 

 

Now, when it comes specifically to the president`s accounts and the Kushner

accounts, what she and the other Deutsche Bank employees are telling “The

Times” is pretty hair-raising.  Quote: Suspicious activity reports are at

the heart of the federal government`s efforts to identify criminal activity

like money laundering and sanctions violations.  In the summer of 2016, so

during the presidential campaign, Deutsche Bank`s software flagged a series

of transactions involving the real estate company of Jared Kushner. 

 

Ms. McFadden, this anti-money laundering specialist at Deutsche Bank, she

tells “The Times” that she reviewed those Kushner transactions and found

that money had moved from Kushner companies to Russian individuals.  As a

long-time anti-money laundering specialist who was supposed to be looking

at red flags like these for the bank, McFadden, quote, concluded that the

transactions should be reported to the government.  In part because federal

regulators had ordered Deutsche Bank to toughen its scrutiny of potential

illegal transactions after the bank was caught laundering billions of

dollars for Russians. 

 

So, this money laundering specialist hired by Deutsche Bank to look for

this kind of activity, she sees all this money going from Kushner companies

to Russian individuals.  She, quote, drafts a suspicious activity report. 

She compiles a small bundle of documents to back up her decision.  Now,

according to “The Times”, typically, that type of report would be reviewed

by a team of anti-money laundering experts who were in a different part of

the bank, who were independent of the specific business line inside the

bank where the transactions originated. 

 

So, typically, people who might have facilitated these suspicious

transactions wouldn`t be asked to review their own work, it would go to a

different part of the bank.  In this case, right, this would mean that this

suspicious activity report would be reviewed by people who are outside the

private banking division where apparently both Trump and Kushner were doing

their Deutsche Bank business. 

 

Despite the fact that that`s standard practice, that is not how things were

handled when it came to this alleged suspicious activity involving Jared

Kushner`s money and some Russians during the campaign.  Ms. McFadden and

two former Deutsche Bank managers now telling “The Times” that while

typically this concern about Kushner would have been handled specifically

outside the private banking division, “The Times” says, quote, that did not

happen with this report.  Instead, this concern about Kushner and these

Russians during the campaign was sent to managers in New York who were part

of the private bank.  Those managers, quote, opted not to submit the report

to the government. 

 

So, this is like if MSNBC found some suspicious activity at THE RACHEL

MADDOW SHOW and typically the way they`d handle that is they`d let the

Chris Hayes staff look at it.  But instead, in this case, it was suspicious

activity at THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW and they kicked it up to me. 

 

Maddow, what do you think of this suspicious activity that you`ve allegedly

involved in?  I think this is nothing.  Can you open my trash bin, please? 

I have something to add. 

 

So that was the summer of 2016 during the campaign, which when this thing

happened with this alleged suspicious activity involving Jared Kushner and

Russians and the suspicious activity report that was kyboshed.  That was

2016, summer.  Then Trump wins the campaign and in the fall of 2016, he

becomes president. 

 

Quote: After Trump became president, transactions involving him and his

companies were reviewed by an anti-financial crime team at the bank called

the Special Investigations Unit.  That team based in Jacksonville, Florida,

produced multiple suspicious activity reports involving different entities

that president Trump owned or controlled.  That`s according to three

Deutsche Bank employees who saw those suspicious activity reports in

Deutsche Bank`s internal computer system. 

 

Some of those reports involved Mr. Trump`s LLCs.  At least one was related

to transactions involving his foundation.  But again, like the Jared

Kushner situation from the summer of 2016, quote, Deutsche Bank ultimately

chose not to file those suspicious activity reports with the government,

with the Treasury Department.  Three former employees telling “The Times”

that that was, quote, unusual for the bank to reject a series of reports

involving the same high-profile client. 

 

So, I mean, part of the reason that Deutsche Bank has been such a matter of

intrigue when it comes to the president and his finances and the whole

investigatory question of following the money is because Deutsche Bank,

someone inexplicably kept doing business, hundreds of millions of dollars,

ultimately billions of dollars of business with President Trump when every

other bank in the world would have nothing to do with him because of his

financial history.  Deutsche Bank kept giving him more money.  Even after

he sued them, right?  That`s been of interest. 

 

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank gets in serious trouble for billions of dollars in

illegal money laundering for Russians, right?  These two things exist

supposedly independently of each other in the world, but they both exist. 

Now, because they get busted for all the money laundering stuff involving

Russia, Deutsche Bank is supposed to set up newly strict internal controls

to flag suspicious activity, to identify money laundering, to not let their

bank be used in that way again. 

 

“The Times” says that, in fact, Deutsche Bank hires these money-laundering

specialists to look for that kind of stuff, but when these specialists

filed multiple suspicious activity reports on money in and out of Kushner

and Trump`s accounts, the bank nevertheless decides to blow them off for

both Trump and Kushner accounts.  The bank departs from the typical way

these red flags are supposed to be handled inside the bank and instead in

both cases, higher-ups at the bank step in and squash those concerns.  And

get rid of those reports that were prepared by their own employees, and

they do not file them with the government and do not file them with the

Treasury Department. 

 

Now, what exactly was the nature of these suspicious transactions that

Deutsche Bank employees were identifying and red flagging?  We don`t know

yet.  I mean, why during the campaign would Kushner companies be paying

Russian individuals in a way that caused anti-money laundering specialists

to write up suspicious activity reports about those reports?  I have no

idea.  Kushner companies denies any and all wrongdoing. 

 

The president himself naturally is denouncing the fake news, enemy of the

people, but that`s any day that ends in Y.  Deutsche Bank for their part,

they`re denying they did anything wrong here either, despite their multiple

employees and former employees saying they weren`t even following their own

supposedly newly strict rules about this sort of thing. 

 

But this kind of bombshell reporting from “The New York Times” does give

you some indication of what everybody is so freaked out about, right? 

About why the president may have hired a whole new fleet of lawyers to keep

his financial records from places like Deutsche Bank from being handed over

to congressional investigators.  Now, to be fair, the president and the

White House are currently fighting to keep anything from being handed over

to congressional investigators. 

 

Ever since Robert Mueller`s investigation was ended under circumstances we

still don`t totally understand, the White House has established this new

rule that no documents will be handed over to Congress for any purpose. 

That no witnesses will be made available to Congress for any purpose.  Even

when former administration officials are facing legally enforceable

subpoenas to testify and to hand over materials, those subpoenas will not

only be fought, those former officials will be ordered by the Trump White

House to not comply with the subpoena. 

 

I mean, that`s where we are.  That`s how far we got today in the case of

former White House counsel Don McGahn, who`s already under White House

orders defied a subpoena from the judiciary committee to hand over

documents.  Don McGahn is also expected tomorrow to defy another subpoena

from the same committee compelling him to testimony.  The White House today

ordered Don McGahn to defy that subpoena.  It provided him with a Justice

Department memo that purports to provide him legal cover, that he can try

to use in his own defense when the House inevitably holds him in contempt

and moves to hold him legally liable for defying that subpoena. 

 

And there`s a whole bunch of interesting questions raised by this blunt

confrontation over Don McGahn, right?  You know, Don McGahn testified to

Robert Mueller for his investigation for dozens of hours.  It`s Congress`

efforts to follow up on Mueller`s investigation and Mueller`s findings that

are being blocked by McGahn defying this subpoena. 

 

We assume this confrontation will wind up in court.  It will likely be a

ground-breaking case if and when the federal courts are asked to adjudicate

this.  The way the Justice Department argued in this memo today that Don

McGahn shouldn`t respond to the subpoena, that argument raises the question

as to whether or not they`re going to use the same argument, the same

justifications to try to block Mueller himself from testifying about his

own investigation and his own findings. 

 

And that further pushes not just the political question, but the legal

question as to whether Congress might have more of a leg to stand on when

it comes to getting testimony and getting documents from Robert Mueller or

Don McGahn or anyone, whether they might have a stronger leg to stand on if

they formally opened an impeachment inquiry into this president.  Not

because they necessarily believe they have already got the president dead

to rights on impeachable offenses, but because formally opening an

impeachment inquiry might incline the courts to tell these White House

officials and former White House officials and other witnesses that

actually these subpoenas mean something.  They shouldn`t listen to the

president here, they shouldn`t obey the orders from the White House to defy

the subpoenas, they should obey the subpoenas and they should turn up and

testify under oath and hand over the documents that are demanded of them. 

 

Would opening an impeachment inquiry put the Congress on stronger legal

footing when it comes to demanding the witnesses and testimony that the

White House is now blocking them from getting? 

 

All open questions at this point.  And while that all plays out, though,

right, this Deutsche Bank thing and these overall questions about the

president`s finances and the president`s taxes and what you might find if

you followed the money when it comes to this president and his campaign,

honestly this whole thing about Trump and money and the investigatory trail

that leads to his financial history – I mean that whole thing, all of

these legal questions and political questions are being fought over, that

whole question about hi taxes and his finances, it just looms, right?  I

mean, it looms like a burbling, belching volcano that everybody knows is

going to explode sometimes, but nobody knows exactly when. 

 

And yes, I know burbling and belching are not the right terms to describe a

volcano in such a state, but you know what I mean.  Because not everybody

getting subpoenaed, not everybody getting told to hand over documents here

is a White House official or a former White House official who`s going to

be caught in this Don McGahn tug of war, right?  Not everybody who`s

getting told to give documents here is even a Justice Department official

like Robert Mueller, who is arguably subject to how the government wants to

keep him quiet now. 

 

I mean, some of the people and entities that are getting subpoenas here are

third parties, wholly separate entities outside the government like Mazars,

the accounting firm President Trump used for years, and like Deutsche Bank

itself, right?  What, the White House is going to order them not to comply

with these subpoenas?  You and what army?  They`re not part of the

government. 

 

I mean, after the House Financial Services Committee and the Intelligence

Committee sent Deutsche Bank a subpoena telling them to hand over ten years

of financial records and account information and internal company

communications related to President Trump and his businesses and after the

House Oversight Committee submitted a similar subpoena to Mazars, the

accounting firm, President Trump and his business and his family sued

Mazars and Deutsche Bank, sued those companies to try to stop them from

complying with those subpoenas. 

 

Well, as of tonight, they have just lost the first one of those lawsuits,

and the subpoena to Mazars has been upheld by a federal judge.  The judge

is ordering Mazars to comply with the subpoena and hand over the Trump

financial documents. 

 

Here`s a little piece of that ruling today.  Quote: President Trump and his

associated entities are before this court, claiming that the Oversight

Committee`s subpoena to Mazars exceeds the committee`s constitutional power

to conduct investigations.  The president argues that there`s no

legislative purpose for the subpoena.  The Oversight Committee`s true

motive, the president insists, is to collect personal information about him

solely for political advantage.  He asks the court to declare the Mazars

subpoena unenforceable. 

 

Courts have grappled for more than a century with the question of the scope

of Congress` investigative power.  The binding principle that emerges from

these judicial decisions is that courts must presume Congress is acting in

furtherance of its constitutional responsibility to legislate and must

defer to congressional judgments about what Congress needs to carry out

that purpose. 

 

To be sure, there are limits on Congress` investigative authority but those

limits do not substantially constrain Congress.  So long as Congress

investigates on a subject matter on which legislation could be had,

Congress acts as contemplated by Article 1 of the Constitution.  Applying

those principles here compels the conclusion that President Trump cannot

block the subpoena to Mazars. 

 

According to the Oversight Committee, it believes the requested records

will aid its consideration of strengthening ethics and disclosure laws, as

well as amending the penalties for violating such laws.  The committee also

says that the records will assist in monitoring the president`s compliance

wit the Foreign Emoluments Clauses. 

 

These are facially valid legislative purposes and it is not for the court

to question whether the committee`s actions are truly motivated by

political considerations.  Accordingly, the court will enter judgment in

favor of the oversight committee, which means the subpoena to the Mazars

accounting firm is valid.  Hey, Mazars, hand over those ten years of

records about President Trump. 

 

Now, the president`s lawyers in this case, they had also asked the judge

here to issue a stay, to give them time to appeal, because they knew

exactly how this judge was going to rule because it was obvious to anybody

who paid any attention to this case.  But they asked for a stay so that

even if the judge ruled against the president and said the subpoena was

valid and said Mazars had to hand over the documents, they wanted the judge

to at least hit pause on that order to give the president time to appeal to

a higher court. 

 

Well, the judge today said, no, I am not hitting pause.  The subpoena is in

effect.  You`ve got seven days. 

 

Now, the president and his new boatload of lawyers, again, hired

specifically just to keep his taxes and finances secret, they will

undoubtedly appeal and this will undoubtedly go to some other court as an

appeal.  But there is nothing equivocal or shy about this ruling.  And like

I said, you can see it coming a mile off.  This comports 1,000 percent with

what every legal expert who has commented on this case thought would happen

here. 

 

So, now, there`s a couple of things to watch here, right?  Number one,

watch for the appeal.  Number two, watch to see if Mazars hands over this

material to Elijah Cummings within the next seven days. 

 

But number three, watch for the twin to this case.  Because this lawsuit

that the president just resoundingly lost tonight, this lawsuit was to

block the subpoena to his accounting firm, to Mazars, right?  Basically the

exact same lawsuit was filed by the president against Deutsche Bank, to

block the subpoena to them too, to stop Deutsche Bank from handing over his

financial records as well.  That case will have its oral arguments in court

the day after tomorrow.  Boom. 

 

And meanwhile, “The New York Times” is reporting on what might be in those

internal Deutsche Bank documents concerning the president`s finances.  And

meanwhile, tonight, as the Intelligence Committee considers its way forward

here, the Justice Department defying the committee`s subpoena to hand over

the unredacted Mueller report, the Justice Department defying the

committee`s subpoena to hand over the underlying evidence supporting the

Mueller report, the Justice Department defying the subpoena to hand over

the intelligence information that was turned up in the course of Mueller`s

information. 

 

With the intelligence committee poised to get its first look into the

president`s financial and tax history as it relates to the campaign and

Russian interference and the question of potential compromise by a foreign

power, as the president starts to inevitably lose these cases trying to

block these financial subpoenas – I mean, that`s a line of inquiry the

committee`s chairman has been warning for months, was not pursued by

Mueller and, therefore, must be pursued by Congress. 

 

As all those things sort of creep up to the lip of the volcano and peer

down into the molten core tonight, the intelligence committee tonight just

released more than 600 pages of transcripts of closed-door testimony from

the president`s long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is currently

serving a federal prison sentence in Upstate New York. 

 

Among other things, Michael Cohen says in this testimony that he was told

by the president`s personal counsel, Jay Sekulow, that he should lie to

Congress about Trump Tower Moscow.  He also says he was told by the

attorney for Ivanka Trump that he should lie specifically about Ivanka

Trump`s involvement in Trump Tower Moscow. 

 

This stuff has just been published for the first time tonight.  Adam Schiff

is our guest next.  Told you there was a lot going on. 

 

Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  So this is from his closed door testimony on March 6th.  This was

just released for the first time tonight.  Intelligence Committee staff

lawyer, question, now, in the text of the email from Mr. Ryan to you, he

says at the top Abbe asks us to affirmatively address in our statement on

the 25th, colon.

 

Question:  Who`s the Abbe that he refers to here?  Answer, from Michael

Cohen, that`s Abbe Lowell, representing, again, Jared and Ivanka. 

 

Question from the staff attorney: OK, could you read the four things that

are listed under there?  Answer, the first bullet point, she was not

involved in the backs-and-forths with Felix Sater and Michael Cohen. 

 

Question: Is that true?  Answer: No.  Question: Why is that not true? 

Answer: Because she knew about the back and forth.  Not at all of the back-

and-forth, but on some of it. 

 

Question: Perhaps that goes to bullet point number two.  Can you read

bullet point number two?  Yes.  Quote: She did not know Felix Sater was

involved in the possible project in that country. 

 

Question: Is that true?  Answer: That is not true.  Question: So, it`s your

testimony that she was aware that Felix Sater so she knew about this? 

Answer, that is correct. 

 

So, this guy, Michael Cohen, right, long-time employee of the Trump

Organization, long-time lawyer of the president, he`s in prison right now

in part for lying to cover up what happened during the presidential

campaign about the extent of the secret Trump Tower Moscow negotiations

that were going on during the campaign that the president was publicly

denying and lying about, right?  Cohen is in prison in part for having

helped cover up what happened with Trump Tower Moscow. 

 

Here he is being instructed in writing, he says, to lie specifically about

how much the president`s daughter was involved in that project.  Here he

says he is being instructed in writing to cover up her involvement

personally in that project. 

 

That testimony was part of 600 pages of Cohen`s testimony that were

released by the Intelligence Committee tonight. 

 

Joining us now is Congressman Adam Schiff.  He`s chairman of the committee.

 

Sir, thank you very much for being here tonight.  Much appreciated. 

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  You bet. 

 

MADDOW:  So, you released transcripts tonight of Michael Cohen`s two closed

door appearances before your committee.  Why did you want those transcripts

in the public record, and what do you think the public should understand

about what he testified to and what he provided you in those hearings? 

 

SCHIFF:  Well, I think it`s important that the public get to see as much as

they can of what these witnesses had to say.  That`s all the more important

given that the Trump administration is stonewalling on allowing witnesses

like Don McGahn to testify in public. 

 

So where we have accessed information that we can provide the public, we

want to do it.  And here you can see why we are so concerned about these

attorneys that were representing the president and Ivanka Trump and Jared

Kushner and others, that they may have been involved in trying to get

Michael Cohen to testify falsely before our committee. 

 

We want to find out were others involved in that false testimony.  One of

the things that we`ll be interested to ask Bob Mueller is, did he pursue

this, or was he deterred because they made a – what I think is a spurious

claim of privilege, the privilege to what suborn perjury?  There`s no such

privilege. 

 

But it may be Mueller made the same conclusion he did in trying to get

Donald Trump to testify and that is it would simply take too long to

litigate. 

 

MADDOW:  In terms of the Trump Tower Moscow lies, we`ve got Cohen here

spelling out and providing documents to your committee to bolster his

account, that he says he was told to downplay Ivanka Trump`s involvement to

the point where he says he was asked basically to lie about her

involvement, to say things that weren`t true in terms of excluding her from

this story. 

 

He`s also saying explicitly, and he`s admitted in court that he lied about

the timeline of this, saying that Trump Tower Moscow negotiations were over

months before they were actually over.  At this point now that you`ve

looked into this as much as you have and you`ve taken this testimony and

seen these documents, is it clear to you why the timeline is so important

here, why they were trying to minimize their involvement and specifically

make it seem like it ended earlier than it did? 

 

SCHIFF:  Sure.  I mean, the public narrative they wanted to tell was this

deal ended before the primaries even began, before the Iowa caucuses.  We

had no business dealings with any Russians or the Russian government after

that point.  That was a lie. 

 

They were seeking to make hundreds of millions of dollars.  They were

seeking the Kremlin`s help to do it.  You can imagine how damaging that

would be if the president was lying about his business interests with a

foreign adversary.  They also thought it was important to do it after the

fact. 

 

And what is so damaging to our national security in all of this is the

Russians were on the other ending of this transaction.  The Russians knew

the president was lying about this.  You have the weird prospect of the

Kremlin, through Dmitry Peskov, someone they sought to get help to make

this deal happen, this guy close to Putin, issuing a statement last year

basically helping the president cover up and say we never followed up on

these overtures when in fact the Kremlin did follow up. 

 

MADDOW:  When Michael Cohen talks about pardons and the discussion about a

potential presidential pardon for crimes associated with this whole cover-

up, is it your understanding that the pardon discussion was designed to

make Michael Cohen feel more comfortable about lying to Congress?  That it

was designed to get him to continue to lie either to Congress or to other

investigators?  That it was designed to preclude his potential plea deal

and cooperation deal with prosecutors?  What`s your understanding about the

importance of these pardon discussions as spelled out by Cohen and as you

understand from the rest of your investigation? 

 

SCHIFF:  Well, one of the reasons we wanted the full transcripts out there

is so that the public could see them, interpret them for themselves.  But I

think what comes off the page is that the lawyers around the president and

Cohen says that they were in touch with their client, the president, as

they were having these conversations about pardons.  They wanted Michael

Cohen to toe the line, and the line was we have no business deals with

Russia. 

 

And so they show Sekulow, according to Cohen, this prewritten statement

that he`s going to provide to our committee that gives a false timeline. 

It`s a false timeline that according to Cohen he agreed upon with Sekulow

to maintain this narrative that the deal was over before the Iowa caucuses. 

It was apparently shown to the president and the president was very pleased

with it.  The president would know this was false also. 

 

But, yes, this was a way of keeping him on board, keeping him of deviating

from the party line by saying the client is very happy with you, Michael. 

You don`t have to worry about anything.  You`ve got a friend in high

places.  You can sleep well tonight. 

 

So, that`s essentially saying don`t worry about any legal liability, we`ve

got you covered.  There`s a pardon waiting at the end of all of this. 

 

MADDOW:  Mr. Chairman, I`d like to ask you to stick around with us for a

second if you could.  This Deutsche Bank reporting today in “The New York

Times” strikes me as exactly the sort of thing you`ve been warning about

for months.  I`d love to get your reaction when we come back. 

 

SCHIFF:  Sure. 

 

MADDOW:  Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee

when we come back.  Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Back with us now is Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the

Intelligence Committee in the House. 

 

Sir, thanks again. 

 

Your committee has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank seeking among other things any

documents related to suspicious activity detected in the president`s

personal or business accounts since 2010.  Now, we`ve got this new

reporting from “The New York Times” indicating that Deutsche Bank did find

suspicious activity according to its own employees on accounts associated

with Jared Kushner and also with the president. 

 

I have to just ask your reaction to this new reporting? 

 

SCHIFF:  Well, of course, this suggests that what we have feared all along

may have taken place, and that is we don`t know whether Mueller looked at

any of this.  I think the report indicates that he did not.  And that is if

the president is claiming no business dealings with Russia while he`s

trying to make this Trump Tower deal take place, how he also been

concealing money laundering with Russians?  If these whistleblower

allegations are correct that they were essentially discovering transactions

that looked like money-laundering with Russians that should have been

reported to Treasury but were not reported to Treasury, that`s some serious

business that we need to look into. 

 

We need to follow the money.  The court decision today in the Mazars case

is a great indication that we are going to be successful in that, because

all the same legal arguments that have been made by the Trump organization

against our subpoena were made against the oversight subpoena in the

accounting case, and there, Rachel, what`s so striking to me about the

court opinion is it uses phrases like you have failed to raise any serious

legal question.  Your arguments are unfathomable.  I mean, it`s the legal

equivalent of get out of my court, you have no leg to stand on. 

 

And as significant as the decision on the merits was, the fact that the

judge consolidated the hearing on the preliminary injunction with the find

hearing on the merits and said I`m not staying this shows that the courts

recognize that as important as the merits are, the timing is also important

because if they can delay congressional oversight, they can effectively

deny it. 

 

MADDOW:  And in the Mazars case, as you say, the judge is not only moving

on the merits but is moving quickly to stop the delay tactics here.  We`ll

know more about what`s going happen with that Deutsche Bank subpoena when

that sort of twin lawsuit trying to quash your subpoena has its day in

court a couple of days from now.  I wonder, though, in terms of the overall

theory of the case what you think you might be looking at here. 

 

In “The New York Times” reporting today on the Deutsche Bank suspicious

activity flags, one of the things that`s described is this anti-money

laundering specialist at Deutsche Bank finding in the Kushner accounts in

the summer of 2016, quote, finding that money had moved from Kushner

companies to Russian individuals.  And you say you`re worried that this may

be signs of money laundering, that there may have been something going on

financially between Trump orbit and the Russian orbit at the time that we

certainly haven`t seen Mueller investigate, we haven`t seen other people

following the money to tell us what`s going on there.  I can`t imagine the

plot in which Jared Kushner an his companies are sending money to Russia

and that`s helping us get any better understanding of what happened between

those two entities during the campaign. 

 

Do you feel like you have an overall grasp about what might have happened

here? 

 

SCHIFF:  I really don`t.  I think the most we can say is this needs to be

looked into, because if there`s financial leverage that the Russians hold

over Donald Trump or over the individual administration that has the

broadest portfolio, Jared Kushner, if there`s kind of some financial

leverage the Russians have or Gulf nations have, that could warped our

policy in ways that are not in our national interests.  So, this has to be

looked into and I think the court is going to conclude in our case just as

it did in the other that there is an overriding legislative and oversight

interest here that cannot be denied.

 

And one other point that stood out to me about the Mazars court opinion

which is pertinent to your earlier discussion and that is that the court

said not only is their argument unfathomable, but it was unfathomable in

the context of oversight even in the absence of an impeachment proceeding. 

So, the judge was basically saying you don`t have to open an impeachment

proceeding to get this kind of information.  That`s part of congress`

constitutional right and duty.  And that, I think, is also indicative of

where the courts may come down on all of this. 

 

MADDOW:  Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence

Committee – sir, I really appreciate you being here on such a busy night. 

Thank you. 

 

SCHIFF:  Thank you. 

 

MADDOW:  Again, that`s an important point he`s raising there.  There is

this question as to whether or not the Democrats might legally,

strategically want to open an impeachment inquiry because that would give

them more access to witnesses testimony and the types of evidence they`re

trying to obtain being blocked by the White House. 

 

But what Congressman Schiff just said there about the Mazars ruling that

judge did specifically say that you don`t have to open an impeachment

inquiry, you guys should be able to get this stuff anyway.  I don`t know

how it`s going to resolve.  But it is still absolutely in flux. 

 

Much more ahead tonight.  Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Heads up.  We have just learned that on Wednesday this week, day

after tomorrow, the legislature in the state of New York is expected to

finally pass a new law that will allow the state to hands over the

president`s tax returns, his state tax returns, to three congressional

committees that could request them.  Now, state tax returns aren`t exactly

the same as federal ones, but they are likely to have a lot of the same

information. 

 

And we have been watching this Washington and White House panic attack over

the potential exposure of the president`s financial history and his taxes,

particularly as it pertains to the Russia investigation.  But all along,

there has been this potential back doorway that those finances and taxes

might come out.  That back door is the state of New York. 

 

We have been watching this wind its way through the state legislature in

New York.  The vote for this bill is now expected to be docketed the day

after tomorrow.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign it as

soon as it passes.  So watching this stuff play out in Washington, we are

about to get a new presidential freak-out about this passing in Albany

within the next 48 hours. 

 

Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PROTESTERS:  When abortion rights under attack, what do we do? 

 

Stand up, fight back! 

 

What do we do? 

 

Stand up, fight back!

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MADDOW:  This weekend in Missouri and in Alabama, there were protests

against the new abortion bans that were passed in both of those states last

week.  Alabama and Missouri though are not alone.  This is really what

Republican governance innocence America looks like right now in states that

the Republicans have governmental control all across the country.  We are

seeing a rash of these bans passed by Republican legislators and signed by

Republican governors. 

 

So far, it`s not going over well.  Even in those states.  But tomorrow

there`s going to be protests at state houses and courthouses and town

squares all over the country.  They`re expecting protests in all 50 states

tomorrow organized by Planned Parenthood by the ACLU, by Emily`s List and

dozens off other groups. 

 

Joining us now is Dr. Leana Wen. She`s the new president and CEO of Planned

Parenthood. 

 

Dr. Wen, it`s such an honor to meet you.  Thank you for being here.

 

LEANA WEN, PRESIDENT & CEO, PLANNED PARENTHOOD:  Wonderful to meet you,

too, Rachel.  Thank you.

 

MADDOW:  Sure.

 

So, tell me about the plan specifically for tomorrow, and let`s talk about

the broader issue what`s happening in these states. 

 

WEN:  Sure.  Well, there is a coordinated assault on women`s health and

rights in this country.  And as a doctor, I know the consequences. 

Hundreds, thousands of women died every year before Roe versus Wade, and we

will not go back to that time when women died because we did not have

access to safe legal abortions. 

 

And so, tomorrow, all around the country, people are rising up to defend

women`s rights and fundamental freedoms and we want everyone to join us. 

There are over 400 events being planned in all 50 states, in D.C., and

Puerto Rico.  You can find out about your nearest event by texting “no

bans” to 22422.  “No Bans” 22422 or use the #stopthebans. 

 

MADDOW:  In terms of debate about what`s going on here now, a lot of the

discussion, including here on the show about what`s going on in these

Republican-controlled states, is about how this is going to play out in the

courts, how this is designed by these various states to the send some sort

of vehicle to the Supreme Court that they hope will overturn Roe versus

Wade.  It`s really being discussed in of a legal fight. 

 

How do you think that demonstrations in the streets, how do you think that

the type of organizing effort you`re doing right here, how do you think

that affects the overall legal fight here and the overall dynamic in terms

of how successful these efforts might be? 

 

WEN:  Well, we know what these politicians are trying to do by pushing this

extreme agenda.  It`s what they`re saying.  They say that they want to pass

these extreme bills to make it all the way up to the Supreme Court to

overturn Roe versus Wade and if Roe is overturned, that means one in three

women of reproductive age 25 million women in this country would be living

in states where abortion is banned criminalized and outlawed. 

 

This directly goes against the will of the American people.  And 73 percent

of the American people support Roe as the law of the land.  People are

rising up everywhere to affirm what we in medicine and public health know

to be true which is that abortion care is health care.  And health care is

a fundamental human right, and we`re not going to be standing for this. 

Planned Parenthood no matter what attacks have come our way, our doors are

open today and tomorrow. 

 

We`re here to provide care to patients and we`re going to be fighting these

bans and joining with people all over the country to protect our rights and

our freedoms for generations to come. 

 

MADDOW:  Is part of what`s going on here the creation of the expectation

that only the most radical and draconian bans should fail, right? 

 

We`ve seen President Trump and other Republican anti-abortion, anti-

abortion rights politicians say, I`m pro-life.  I`m against abortion.  But

there has to be exceptions for rape and incest.  That`s the only problem

with the Alabama law.  All these other bans are fine. 

 

Is what`s going on right now an effort to redefine what counts as radical

as if any other abortion ban wouldn`t be radical provided it had a rape

exception? 

 

WEN:  That seems what is President Trump is trying to do, but he is going

to fail at it because the whole reason these unprecedented number of

extreme bans are being introduced is because of Trump, it`s because of

Kavanaugh, it`s because these anti-women`s health politicians are

emboldened in a way that they have not been before.  The American people

see through it. 

 

We say to President Trump, if you want to make abortion access and women`s

health and rights an issue for the 2020 election, then bring it on. 

Because this is a winning issue for us and people are rising up all over

the country to speak out against you. 

 

MADDOW:  Dr. Leana Wen, the new president and CEO of Planned Parenthood who

I understand will be speaking tomorrow at one of the hundreds of protest

tomorrow, the one at the Supreme Court, right? 

 

WEN:  Right.

 

MADDOW:  Dr. Wen, thank you.

 

WEN:  Thank you, Rachel. 

 

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

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  I have crossed over the I have crossed over the threshold and am

now accidentally standing inside Lawrence O`Donnell`s house.  Sorry. 

 

That does it for me tonight.  I`ll see you again tomorrow. 

 

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

 

Good evening, sir. 

 

                                                                                                               

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