One-on-One with Adam Schiff. TRANSCRIPT: 5/20/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
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
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
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home as well for joining us this hour. Happy
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
MADDOW: Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee
when we come back. Stay with us.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
(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
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
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.
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
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?
MADDOW: Dr. Wen, thank you.
WEN: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
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.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
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