One-on-One with Senator Warren (D-MA). TRANSCRIPT: 9/17/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
NATE SILVER, POLLSTER: She got kind of the left-wing vote early on, the
kind of college (ph), white left wing vote, I should say, which is not the
entire left wing by any means at all.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
SILVER: But now, she`s picking up the kind of – not the centrist vote,
but the center of the party, Kamala Harris, kind of Beto O`Rourke voters,
because those candidates are not doing very well in the polls lately.
HAYES: Yes, she has a lot of work to go on African-American voters where
Joe Biden still holds a commanding lead.
Nate Silver, thank you for being with me.
That is it for ALL IN for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now where I should mention, Senator
Warren herself will be sitting down with the one and only Rachel Maddow
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Not to heighten the tension or anything, Chris.
But thank you very much.
HAYES: It`s going to be great. I`m looking forward to it.
MADDOW: Yes, you`re looking for it, because you`re going to watch it. I`m
terrified because I always get nervous before big interviews.
HAYES: You`re such a stress case, I know. It really is.
MADDOW: Have you met me? Yes.
HAYES: Yes, I have. It`s going to be great.
MADDOW: Thank you. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.
HAYES: You got this. All right.
MADDOW: We do have a big show tonight.
As Chris said, Senator Elizabeth Warren is going to be here live in studio
in just a moment. We had Senator Kamala Harris here last night. We`ve got
Senator Warren here tonight.
Lots to ask Senator Warren tonight after her very, very, very large rally
in New York City last night. This was quite possibly the biggest rally of
the Democratic campaign so far this year. Senator Warren will be joining
us here in studio momentito.
She`s joining us on a day when the Democratic controlled Congress held its
first public hearing under the new rules it adopted last week setting off
the parameters of its impeachment inquiry into President Trump, which makes
today a particularly good day to have a Democratic presidential front-
runner here on the set.
This was a dramatic day. The witness list for today`s hearing, again, the
first hearing in the impeachment inquiry into Trump called for three people
to testify today. The first was Corey Lewandowski, one of the president`s
campaign managers, the one who was fired and replaced by Paul Manafort, who
is now in prison.
The committee also asked for former White House deputy chief of staff Rick
Dearborn to be there, and for former White House staff secretary Rob Porter
to be there. Both Dearborn and Porter featured multiple times in Robert
Mueller`s report. They were either, according to Mueller, involved in or
witnessed what Mueller described as potentially criminally obstructive
behavior by President Trump.
Now, just as the White House has instructed major witnesses, including
former White House counsel Don McGahn, that they should not comply with
congressional subpoenas, they should not show up and testify, last night in
this letter, the Trump White House naturally ordered both Rick Dearborn and
Rob Porter, that they too should not appear today to testify despite their
subpoenas from Congress. That letter says they can ignore the subpoena
because of something the Trump White House is calling constitutional
immunity, which is something they have sort of invented.
I mean, in this case, it means nobody who ever worked in the Trump White
House can ever be allowed to testify on any subject, no matter what. That
argument was immediately rejected from the outset by the committee
chairman, Jerry Nadler.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): We subpoenaed three witnesses to this hearing,
Rick Dearborn, Rob Porter and Corey Lewandowski. Unfortunately, we learned
last night that the White House is blocking the first two from even showing
up and tightly limiting the third.
The White House has no authority, legal or otherwise, to give these orders.
They claim Porter and Dearborn like McGahn are absolutely immune from
testifying before Congress. There is no such thing. The only court ever
to consider this purported absolute immunity doctrine totally rejected it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The only court ever to consider this absolute immunity doctrine
that the Trump administration is trying here totally rejected that
argument. Well, despite that from the committee chairman and the implicit
threat of court action to back that up, Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn, who
both worked at the White House, they did not show up there today.
Trump`s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was there, flanked by two
empty chairs with Dearborn and Porter`s names in front of them. Even
though Corey Lewandowski never worked in the White House at all, he did
today after he showed up try to claim some sort of legal authority, some
sort of legal reference for himself, refusing to answer questions from the
committee that he didn`t want to answer.
And I will tell you, I`ll sort of give you – I`ll give you the spoiler
here, honestly, the second part of the day with Corey Lewandowski got way
better and way more dramatic and they got tons more out of him. But
because of him trying to sort of cite a legal authority of some sort for
why he didn`t have to answer their questions, this is what the first half
of the day generally looked like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Are you refusing to answer, Mr. Lewandowski?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: No, Congressman, as
I`ve explained in a letter from the White House dated September 16, 2019,
to my attorney –
SWALWELL: Mr. Lewandowski, that letter –
LEWANDOWSKI: Mr. Lewandowski`s conversations with the president and senior
advisers to the president are protected from disclosure –
SWALWELL: Let`s stop the clock again for this obstructive behavior.
LEWANDOWSKI: The White House has directed not to disclose the substance of
any discussion with the president and cannot comment in private
The White House has directed I not disclose the substance of any
discussions with the president.
I can read the exact statement again. If you like, the White House has
directed that I not disclose the substance of any discussion with the
I can`t discuss a private conversation with the president. It`s in the
The White House has directed that I not disclose the substance of any
conversation with the president.
Again, the White House has directed that I not disclose the substance of
any discussion with the president.
Again, at the advice of White House counsel, I can`t answer questions that
would be privileged and I respect that privilege.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s how much of the first half of the hearing played out.
That said, despite that attitude and that sort of angle on the questioning,
Mr. Lewandowski did find himself today in the first half of the hearing
basically confirming the details of one of the central episodes of
potentially criminal obstruction that was laid out against the president in
Robert Mueller`s report, an incident that reportedly happened in June 2017
when Lewandowski was asked directly by the president to deliver a message
to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The message was that Sessions should
tell special counsel Robert Mueller that Mueller could no longer
investigate the Trump campaign or the 2016 election. He instead had to
limit his investigation to elections in the future, to crimes, in other
words, that had not yet occurred.
The president also told Corey Lewandowski that if Jeff Sessions refused to
meet with him to receive this very important message, then Corey
Lewandowski, who was not a White House employee, should nevertheless take
it upon himself to fire the attorney general. If just random civilians had
the power to fire the attorney general, who among us would not have fired
one or two over the course of an average lifetime, right?
I mean, I hereby retroactively fire Edward Meese. Ed Meese, be gone, you
are terrible. Goodbye, John Mitchell. I fire you, too. I`m a citizen.
I`m glad if we could do that. It`s ridiculous. I mean, it`s very
satisfying in some instances to imagine this.
But regardless, this is what the president reportedly told Corey
Lewandowski he was empowering him to do. As Mueller puts it in his report,
Lewandowski met one-on-one with President Trump in the Oval Office in June
2017, whereupon the president, quote, dictated a message to be delivered to
Attorney General Sessions that would have had the effect of limiting the
Russia investigation to future election interference only.
That`s what Lewandoski told the FBI and that is what ended up in the
Well, here`s Corey Lewandowski today under oath not quite knowing what to
say about that now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Didn`t you think it was a little strange that the
president would sit down with you one on one and ask you to do something
that you knew was against the law? Did that strike you as strange? You
didn`t think it would have been illegal for you to ask Mr. Sessions to drop
the investigation and to just go on to future presidents and omit
everything with this president?
LEWANDOWSKI: I didn`t think the president asked me to do anything illegal.
COHEN: He gave you dictation. He dictated to you a message to give
Sessions. Had you ever been a secretary for the president before and taken
dictation or shorthand?
LEWANDOWSKI: Many times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Many times. Oh, nailed it, yeah. I took notes for the president
Problem with that answer, because what Corey Lewandowski told the FBI about
that was the exact opposite. Quote, this was the first time the president
had asked Corey Lewandoski to take dictation and Lewandoski wrote as fast
as possible to make sure he captured the content correctly.
The source of that sentence from the Robert Mueller report is Corey
Lewandowski`s own 302, his own interview with the FBI
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): OK. Now, you stated earlier today that
president Trump asked you to take down dictation, quote, many times, is
LEWANDOWSKI: It is
JEFFRIES: But on page 91, volume 2 of the Mueller report, it states,
quote: The president then asked Lewandowski to deliver a message to
Sessions and said, quote, write this down, close quote. This was the first
time the president had asked Lewandowski to take direct dictation. The
LEWANDOWSKI: Those are not my words, Congressman. Those are the
JEFFRIES: Right. Did you lie to Mueller or are you lying to us?
LEWANDOWSKI: I didn`t lie.
JEFFRIES: OK. You`re not really here to tell the truth. You are here to
participate in a continuing cover-up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Now, if he did tell the FBI that was the first time the president
had ever told him to write something down, and then he said today under
oath, oh, I had been told to write things down taking dictation for the
president many times, this is a totally normal – I mean being under oath
to Congress and being under oath to the FBI, you can`t tell different
stories without criminally lying in one of those circumstances.
Now, I mentioned that today`s hearing was the first conducted under new
rules adopted by the Judiciary Committee last week to essentially set the
parameters for their impeachment investigation of the president. This was
the first hearing under those parameters.
Well, one of those new rules adopted by the committee last week gave the
committee the ability to have committee staff lawyers ask questions of
witnesses in addition to questions being asked by members themselves. So,
yes, members of Congress all want their five minutes. But in addition to
that under these new rules, staff lawyers get to ask too and that`s really
And we knew that was going to be really important when they agreed to that.
We got to see it in action today because when the staff lawyers started
asking questions of Lewandowski, that`s where it really got good. I mean,
hello, congressional committees, unsolicited advice here, but professional
staff are better asking questions in 30-minute uninterrupted blocks than
you are in five-minute increments where you ping pong back and forth all
the different members of the committee.
Therefore, you should do the staff questioning part first, or at least at a
very convenient time to be covered on TV. If you did that first, then all
of you individual members of Congress could follow-up with your five-minute
questions thereafter. It`s a lot more cogent and easy to follow when staff
lawyers doing the questioning in an uninterrupted way.
Start with that. How about that? Just a thought. Free advice. I`ll take
Anyway, so the back half of the Corey Lewandowski hearing, the first half
is him answering questions from all the committee members. The back half
of the hearing is him answering questions from a lawyer who is working for
the committee. And from the point of view of what the committee was
getting at, that part went comparatively well.
For example, in no time at all, the committee staff lawyer got Corey
Lewandowski to admit that he had lied in an interview earlier this year
when Lewandowski said he couldn`t recall any conversation that he had with
the president about Jeff Sessions. The staff lawyer played Lewandowski
this clip of that TV interview in the hearing room. It was an interview
with Ari Melber here on MSNBC. I`m actually going to play it to you the
way it appeared on TV, because when he played it in the hearing room today
it was a little hard to follow what it was.
But this was the actual interview that was played today in the hearing
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWANDOWSKI: I don`t ever remember the president ever asking me to get
involved with Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way, shape
or form ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t remember the president ever asking me to get involved with
Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way, shape or form ever.
So, that`s Corey Lewandowski earlier this year. That was February of this
year. That`s two months before the special counsel`s report comes out.
So, today in the hearing, the staff lawyer played that clip to Corey
Lewandowski, played it so everybody else in the hearing room could hear it,
and then the lawyer resumed his questioning
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRY BERKE, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE COUNSEL: That wasn`t true, was it, sir?
LEWANDOWSKI: I heard that.
BERKE: And that was not true, was it?
LEWANDOWSKI: I have no obligation to be honest with the media because
they`re just as dishonest as anybody else.
BERKE: See, so you`re admitting, sir, you were not being truthful in that
LEWANDOWSKI: My interview with Ari Melber?
LEWANDOWSKI: Can be interpreted any way you like.
BERKE: It is true in May 2019, you absolutely remembered when the
president asked you to deliver a message to the attorney general of a
speech for him to give related to the special counsel investigation, isn`t
LEWANDOWSKI: I`d have to think about it.
BERKE: Are you claiming, sir, that – you had been interviewed by the
special counsel about those very events which you discussed and said was
accurately recorded in the report a year earlier. Are you saying you had
forgotten it just before the report was publicly released?
LEWANDOWSKI: I`m saying my memory was much fresher when I gave the
interview with the special counsel`s report.
BERKE: Sir, is it your testimony before this committee when you said that
you did not remember the president ever asking you to get involved with
Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice, you were saying you were being
Sir, I don`t believe there`s any reason to consult with your counsel. The
question is, are you a truth teller in that interview?
LEWANDOWSKI: I`m a truth teller every time I stand before Congress or a
committee of jurisdiction and raise my hand and swear to God under oath.
BERKE: My question, sir, is when you said the president never asked you
get involved to Mr. Sessions –
LEWANDOWSKI: I have no obligation to have a candid obligation with the
media whatsoever, just like they have no obligation to cover me honestly
and they do it incorrectly all the time.
BERKE: You`re admitting on national television you were lying there?
LEWANDOWSKI: What I`m saying is they have been inaccurate on many
occasions and perhaps I was inaccurate that time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Also, I`d like you to elect me to the Senate because I`m awesome.
That same staff lawyer for the committee also got Corey Lewandowski to
expand on the obstruction incident in question from the Mueller report,
which is what this discussion was about, and how rather than carry out the
president`s order, Corey Lewandowski instead decided to delegate it to
somebody else, specifically to deputy White House chief of staff Rick
Dearborn who was one of the two absent witnesses at today`s hearing
represented by an empty chair with his name placard in front of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERKE: Why didn`t you deliver the message that the president asked you to
deliver unless you didn`t deliver it because you knew it was improper to
LEWANDOWSKI: Mr. Berke, it wasn`t a priority.
BERKE: So, let me ask you, sir, if it wasn`t a priority for you to deliver
the message, why did you enlist Mr. Dearborn to deliver the message for the
LEWANDOWSKI: Again, I can`t speak to private conversations I would have
had with Mr. Dearborn at the advice of counsel.
BERKE: I`m not asking private conversations. The fact that you did it has
already disclosed. I`m asking, why did you do it? Why? What`s going on?
LEWANDOWSKI: I knew Mr. Dearborn –
BERKE: Why did you do it
LEWANDOWSKI: Can I answer now?
LEWANDOWSKI: I have known Mr. Dearborn since his tenure as a chief of
staff to Senator Sessions. He was my primary point of contact for Jeff
Sessions during the Trump campaign and I also knew that Mr. Dearborn had
continued, like I did, to have a long standing relationship with Jeff. And
if I wasn`t going to be seeing Jeff, I figured Rick would be able to
deliver that message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Rick Dearborn never delivered that message because, as he told the
FBI for the special counsel`s report, doing so made him feel uncomfortable.
That`s understandable, because it was arguably criminal obstruction of
justice by the president, that the president was asking Corey Lewandowski
to carry out. Corey Lewandowski didn`t want to do it and so asked Rick to
do it instead. And, no, Rick didn`t want to do it either.
So although there were both proverbial dogs and ponies at the dog and pony
show today, and Corey Lewandowski did spend much of the first half of this
hearing insulting Democratic members of Congress and praising the
president`s brilliance and decrying the fake Russia narrative and repeating
the line of no conspiracy, no collusion, in the end, Corey Lewandowski, the
president`s campaign manager, did have to admit under oath under direct
questioning that, yes, actually everything in the Mueller report as far as
he`s concerned is accurate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERKE: You see where this says you were asked about it, the special
counsel concluded that taken together, the president`s campaign, the
purpose of the message was to have you tell the attorney general to move
forward with investigating election meddling for future elections. Do you
have any basis to dispute that conclusion by the special counsel and his
report, sir, about your conduct?
LEWANDOWSKI: Again, I`ve answered this question, asked and answered.
BERKE: I would ask you to answer it, sir.
LEWANDOWSKI: The gentleman will answer the question whether he`s answered
it before or not.
BERKE: I have stated to the best of my knowledge, most of the information
in the Mueller report is accurate
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Oh. The Mueller report is accurate, says the president`s campaign
manager, who admits to playing a role in attempted obstruction of justice,
also implicating White House deputy chief of staff in that attempted
obstruction of justice. That deputy White House chief of staff is now
defying a subpoena and refusing to testify.
And so, that is what happened in the House Judiciary Committee with the
help of some new rules allowing its lawyers to do the questioning. All
future impeachment hearings, all future hearings under this impeachment
inquiry will be conducted under those same rules. I think we can expect
that the relevant committees here, the judiciary committee in the House in
particular, will probably get that maybe they should put their staff
questioning on blast and let committee members follow up, but we shall see.
We are also following the other congressional drama that has been unfolding
over the last few days on Friday, Adam Schiff, chairman of the House
Intelligence Committee, issued a subpoena to the director of national
intelligence. It happened late on Friday night. We got this mysterious
scant on details pre-weekend late-night news dump about a whistleblower
complaint from inside the intelligence community.
According to Chairman Schiff, the inspector general for the intelligence
community got a complaint from a whistleblower, investigated that complaint
and found it to be both credible and of urgent concern. Now, there`s rules
about how whistleblower complaints have to be handled when something like
that happens, the inspector general for the intelligence community is
supposed to give it to the director of national intelligence the director
of national intelligence can feel free to add his or her own comments to
that, but they`re supposed to turn the whistleblower complaint over to the
intelligence committees in Congress, in this case, to Adam Schiff in the
That is prescribed by law. That is the way it is supposed to happen
because the whistleblowers are protected inside the U.S. government. But
according to Chairman Schiff, the director of national intelligence decided
instead to sit on this complaint and say that he would not turn over this
urgent and credible whistleblower complaint because he believes it involves
privileged information. Hmm? As well as alleged behavior by a person
outside the intelligence community.
Well, that implies that the person about whom the complaint has been levied
might be the president. It also implies that the director of national
intelligence is trying to cook up some crazy privilege thing that excuses
them from following the whistleblower law which makes no sense in this
Now, Chairman Schiff says he doesn`t know who the whistleblower is, doesn`t
know what the complaint is about. What`s clear though is that this isn`t
optional. It`s mandated by law that the DNI has to turn over this kind of
complaint to the intelligence committees.
Chairman Schiff says that a DNI has never prevented a credible and urgent
whistleblower complaint from being turned over to the intelligence
committees before. It`s never happened, not once. Not since we`ve had a
But the Trump administration is trying to do it now. So, on Friday night,
Chairman Schiff subpoenaed the director of national intelligence demanding
that he turn over the complaint and all relevant information about that
urgent and credible whistleblower complaint from the department that
handles, you know, the most sensitive intelligence. The deadline for that
subpoena, the deadline to receive that information under the subpoena was
Tuesday, September 17th which was, oh, today.
Chairman Schiff said on Friday night that if the DNI failed to turn over
the complaint, that the acting director of national intelligence should
expect to be testifying to Congress at an open hearing just two days later,
this week, on Thursday.
So, today was the deadline for the DNI to comply with that subpoena or not.
It looks like the DNI chose not to comply with that subpoena. Tonight,
Congressman Schiff confirmed to reporters that he has not received that
whistleblower complaint as required by law, and now also required by
congressional subpoena. I mean, I guess, technically, it still is Tuesday
for a few more hours, check your watch.
But I`m not sure how many people are left burning the midnight oil over
this over at the Office of Director of National Intelligence right now.
Congressman Schiff says he expects the acting director of national
intelligence to be in his committee, on the Hill, on Thursday, answering
questions about this in open session.
He said tonight, quote: The acting DNI has yet to provide the complaint in
response to the committee`s subpoena, so I expect him to appear on
Thursday, under subpoena if necessary.
It is now, as of this evening, just before we got on the air, looking like
that subpoena might be necessary. “The New York Times” has obtained a
letter from the director of national intelligence to Congressman Schiff
tonight, notifying him that the DNI will not be turning over that
whistleblower complaint and that the DNI has no intention of appearing
before Congress on Thursday either.
A lawyer for the director of national intelligence writing to Adam Schiff
today, saying that the DNI does not plan to show up on Thursday because,
quote, he is not available on such short notice.
Well, OK then. Stick a pen in this as it develops over the next couple of
days. This is literally unprecedented if according to the Intelligence
Committees, there has never, ever been a whistleblower complaint to the
director of national intelligence that they have refused to hand on to
Congress. That is where it is supposed to go. Congress will now
presumably use everything in their power to get that complaint and figure
out what`s going on here.
And this is developing fast. Subpoena on Friday, deadline today,
presumably a new subpoena coming if the DNI doesn`t turn that over by
midnight. And then he`s not going to testify on Thursday, a new subpoena
to try to compel his testimony. This is going to have the potential to
boil over any minute and fast, so watch that.
And there`s one more thing worth paying attention to tonight. It`s been
five days since the third Democratic presidential primary debate. At five
days, this is right about the time we would expect the ripples from that
debate to start making their way to shore, for us to start getting a better
handle on how the performances by the candidates at the debate might have
affected their standing in the race.
Well, today, the clock struck new polling o`clock post-debate, and the new
data we just got in is fascinating. It`s an NBC News/”Wall Street Journal”
poll. It`s a fresh national poll of the Democratic primary that has just
been un-embargoed within the last couple of hours.
These are the top line results. Former Vice President Joe Biden is at the
top of the pack in this new national poll with his support among Democratic
primary voters at 31 percent. Now, in terms of Joe Biden`s performance
over time compared to the same poll taken in July, he`s increased his
national support by 5 points, went from 26 to 31.
Now, look at Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He comes in third in this new
national poll. His support has been a little more static compared to this
same poll taken in July. Bernie Sanders` support has increased a little by
1 point. So, he was at 13, he`s now at 14.
Now, we`ve gotten accustomed to these two camping out near the top of the
polls over the couple of months as the field has started to sort of
solidify into tiers. But look who`s between them there. Massachusetts
Senator Elizabeth Warren coming in in second in this new national poll with
25 percent. So, it`s Biden 31, Warren 25, Sanders 14.
But in addition to that strong second place showing, of all the candidates
running in the primary, she`s gotten the biggest boost since this poll was
last taken in July. She`s bumped up by 6 points. She went up from 19 to
And that uptick for Elizabeth Warren, that boost in the polls, is not
looking like a one-off. Senator Warren has been steadily climbing not just
in this poll but basically in all polls. She has clocking solid debate
performances, she has been drawing more crowds to her rallies, culminating
last night in New York City, in Washington Square Park where Senator Warren
had not just the biggest rally of her campaign thus far, she had what may
very well be the biggest single crowd drawn by anyone in the Democratic
presidential field thus far this year.
So, as I mentioned at the top, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will
be joining us here live in studio next for the interview. Please stay with
MADDOW: Last night, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren held a rally in
New York City.
Trying to count people in a crowd like this is a little like trying to
counting drops of water in a bucket – good luck. But the Warren campaign
says as many as 20,000 people showed up for this speech.
It was a darned lot of people. It may be was the most – the largest crowd
size for any event yet for any Democratic candidate this whole year
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren,
Warren, Warren, Warren –
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 2020 is about the
direction our America goes, not just for four years, but for generations to
come. And, yes, there`s a lot at stake in this election. And I know,
people are scared.
But we can`t choose a candidate we don`t believe in just because we`re too
scared to do anything else.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And Democrats can`t win if we`re scared and looking backward.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
We win when we meet the moment. We win when we stand up for what is right.
We win when we get out there and fight.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
I am not afraid.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And you can`t be afraid either. So, if you`re ready to fight, then join
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Warren last night at the biggest campaign event of her
campaign thus far.
Joining us now for “The Interview” is Elizabeth Warren, senator from
Massachusetts, candidate in the Democratic primary.
Senator, it`s great to see you. Thank you.
WARREN: It`s good to be here.
MADDOW: I keep expecting you to be hoarse.
MADDOW: You`re fine.
WARREN: No, I`m fine.
MADDOW: I have to ask you about the selfie line thing.
MADDOW: I realize that this is now a thing that you do at every event,
every town hall.
MADDOW: You stay afterwards. You take pictures with everybody who wants a
picture taken with you.
MADDOW: Last night at that gigantic event –
MADDOW: – it was like four hours?
WARREN: Yes, a little over.
MADDOW: I assume this is something you cannot do forever because of the
amount of time that it takes, because of the energy it takes. Also, I
imagine security concerns. I mean, are you thinking about that?
WARREN: Because this is how I see it – look, we know in this country what
is broken. People know this. We`ve got a government that works better and
better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top and it`s just
not working for everyone else.
We know it`s broken. We know how to fix it. We`re going to attack the
corruption head on.
We`re going to make some structural changes in our economy. And we`ve got
to protect our democracy. We know what we need to do.
But the third part is we`ve got to build a grassroots movement to make it
And – you know, yes, I was there four hours, but I`ll tell you what? So
was the last guy in line, and he`s in. He`s all the way in this fight.
He`s in to volunteer his hour. He`s in to put in his 5 bucks or his 25
bucks. He`s in this to talk to everyone else and to bring more people into
Because when things are as badly broken as they are right now, when we`ve
got this much corruption right at the heart of our government, it`s going
to take a huge movement, it`s going to take millions of people pushing from
the outside. It`s going to take somebody leading from the inside to make
the kind of big structural change we need to make.
MADDOW: And that was really the plot of your speech last night.
MADDOW: Talking about the Triangle Shirtwaist factory and the fire that
killed 140 women in 1911.
MADDOW: I was struck by the parallel with the start of your campaign. You
launched your campaign in Lawrence, Massachusetts, at Everett Mills, right?
Huge, historic labor strike there in 1912.
And so, you`ve had these two, sort of, tent pole moments, 1911 and 1912.
Is that because you see us as sort of – I mean, that was the time when the
Gilded Age was yielding the progressive era.
MADDOW: Do you see us in that kind of transition again or is that what
you`re trying to make happen?
WARREN: I see it as we have this moment in history that if we get out
there and fight, we can turn it around. But it`s not guaranteed. It
really is about whether we get out and fight. And that`s how I see pulling
all these moments together.
You know, the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, it is a story of power. It`s
about the power of the factory owners. Who knew? There had been one
parade after another. There`d been one protest march after another. There
had been plenty of press about it about the terrible conditions, the
dangerous conditions in their factories.
And then the moment came when over 140 people died in that fire, when
Frances Perkins stood on the street and watched as one woman jumped to her
death and then another and another and another. In 18 minutes, 143 people
died their bodies lying on the ground, their blood running into the
People piled up at the fire exit that was locked because the owners were so
worried that those workers might steal a scrap of cloth.
But this time, the plan was different. It was to say we`re not just going
to have one more protest. We`re going to have a huge protest.
We`re going to build a grassroots movement from the outside. And at the
same moment, we`re going to have somebody leading it from the inside. And
that was Frances Perkins.
So, think about this: 1911, you know what she does following this fire?
She goes to Washington – to Albany. She`s 30 years old. She goes to
Remember, women can`t even vote.
MADDOW: She couldn`t vote at the time. Right.
WARREN: She could not vote.
She shows up and she leads the fight from the inside. She gets appointed
to a commission. They change the rules around fire.
But that`s not enough. She goes from fire safety to the labor laws. And
New York state rewrites its labor laws top to bottom.
Roosevelt becomes governor, then Roosevelt becomes president. And when
Roosevelt is president, he brings Frances Perkins to be the first woman to
be a cabinet secretary. She`s secretary of labor.
And here`s how you see it. One very persistent woman backed up by millions
of people, and what did they get done? Social Security, the minimum wage,
unemployment insurance, the end of child labor, the very existence of the
weekend, the right to join a union.
It was a transformative moment that took two things – the fight from the
outside and the fight from the inside, the leadership from the inside.
We had that opportunity now. And too many people say, it`s just too hard,
we can`t do it. But think of it this way: here in America, we`ve engaged
in big structural change before. We did it then.
The suffragettes that were told: too hard, give up now, right? The foot
soldiers in the civil rights movement: too hard, give up now. The early
union organizers: it`s too hard, give up now. The LGBTQ activists, gosh,
barely a decade ago: too hard, give up now.
But they didn`t give up. They got organized. They built the grassroots
movement. They persisted, and they changed the course of American history.
MADDOW: How do you map that model of social change, of big structural
change, as you say, to an electoral campaign for president?
I mean, Frances Perkins was not running for president. She didn`t have the
right to vote when she was doing these things. Presidential campaigns now
are about partisan mobilization and they are about competition in the
primary before you ever get to the general.
How do those things map together?
WARREN: Now, I think it`s there, because I think that`s what this moment
is. I think the reason 20,000 people showed up last night is 20,000 people
are not only ready for change, they are so ready for change that they`ll
show up and get in the fight.
They are so ready for change that they`re saying, call on me. I will be
part of this.
That`s why I say this is our moment and we can`t spend it afraid. We can`t
spend it under the covers. We can`t spend it nibbling around the edges of
whatever is broken.
We have to use it as the moment to root out the corruption, the moment to
make some big structural change, just a couple in this economy – to
strengthen the rights of workers, give unions more power, make it easier to
join a union, pass that two-cent wealth tax so we can invest in our young
people and cancel student loan debt and provide universal child care and
protect our democracy.
We make those changes and then we`ve got a government that doesn`t just
work for those at the top. It`s a government that works for everyone.
MADDOW: Stay right there. We`ll be right back with Senator Elizabeth
Warren right after this.
MADDOW: We`re joined again live by Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat
who is in the Democratic contention for president for 2020.
I want to ask you about what you were just talking about before the break,
this idea of change from the inside, from a person inside government being
made possible and being essentially effectuated by a big movement
MADDOW: That is something that I`ve had a lot of conversations with
Senator Bernie Sanders.
MADDOW: And you and Senator Sanders agree a lot when it comes to policy.
You clearly have mutual respect among you two as individuals.
MADDOW: A lot of overlap in your supporters and admirers.
You`re both so popular right now in this primary that it`s possible that
you two may split the progressive vote down the middle, thus resulting in a
more centrist candidate winning the nomination instead of either of you.
How do – how do you and Senator Sanders avoid that fate?
WARREN: So, look, I`ve been friends with Bernie what feels like forever
and forever, certainly long, long before I ever got into politics at all.
The first town hall I ever did was for Bernie up in Vermont when I was
But I see this as – where we are right now is we`re just out there,
everybody is, making your case for your vision of what it would mean to
have – for you to be in the White House, what your case is for the
argument for what we need to do as a country. And I think that`s a good
and healthy thing to happen, to get a lot of people into this discussion,
and to get a lot of people to say, wait, what, and start paying attention
and start making a decision that, wait (ph), this – this is my democracy.
WARREN: And I`m going to get in this fight, and I love seeing this.
I mean, like I said, that`s what the selfie lines are all about, that`s
what the town halls are all about. You know, I have been now to 27 states
and Puerto Rico. I`ve taken thousands of unfiltered questions. Done,
gosh, over 60,000 selfies now.
But what it`s really about at these town halls is the chance to be able to
make a thoughtful and coherent argument about what`s going on. A little
chance to be able to tell who I am and where I came from, about growing up
out in Oklahoma and being the baby and, you know, as my mother – always
called me, the surprise, to be able to talk through this, so that more and
more people have a chance to say, we are going to make a big decision in
2020, and here`s where I`m ready to invest in our future and who I`m ready
to have to lead it.
MADDOW: When you said last night in that clip that I just played from your
speech – we can`t choose a candidate we don`t believe in just because
we`re too scared to do anything else. Democrats can`t win if we`re scared
and looking backward.
I think, broadly, that was perceived as you talking there about Vice
President Biden. Was it?
WARREN: No. It`s talking about whether we`re going to turn backwards and
just say, the only problem is Trump. If we get rid of Trump, everything is
going to be just fine.
MADDOW: What (ph) Democratic choice would imply that?
WARREN: Right? But we can`t do it and we can`t even think of the problem
The way I see it, is things have been broken for a very long time, for
decades now, an inch at a time. The giant corporations have taken the legs
out from underneath labor and they have captured our government. They have
poured more and more and more money into controlling not just part of
This isn`t just campaign contributions, although that`s huge. It`s every
part of it. It`s the bought and paid for experts. It`s the PR firms.
It`s all the pieces, so that most of it never makes a headline but just
inch at a time. The world works just a little better for all the giant
corporations. And when they are ready for a big one, like, trillion and a
half dollars in tax breaks, it took, what? Five weeks to get it done.
This ain`t going to work. It`s not working for America.
Let me give you an example that two-cent wealth tax that I`ve been talking
a lot about. Think about this: we say just people who have more than $50
million in accumulated wealth, your first $50 million free and clear –
MADDOW: Safety net, you know?
WARREN: Yes, safety net.
But your $50 millionth and first dollar, you`ve got to pitch in 2 cents,
and 2 cents on every dollar after that.
And then to look at what it means now for 2 cents, we could then pay for
universal child care, every baby in this country age zero to 5, universal
pre-K, every 3-year-old and 4-year-old, raise the wages of every child care
worker and preschool teacher, universal technical school, two-year college,
Really level the playing field, put $50 billion into our historically black
colleges and universities, and cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of
the folks who`ve got it.
Think about the difference in an economy where you leave 2 cents with the
top 1/10 of 1 percent, the richest of the richest of the richest. Or you
say, guys, you`re doing fine. Pitch in that 2 cents and we can invest in
every young person in America.
That fundamentally changes our economy – or as I like to say, big
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren is our guest. We`ll be right back right
MADDOW: Welcoming back, Senator Elizabeth Warren, 2020 presidential
Senator, thank you for sticking around.
WARREN: It`s good to be here.
MADDOW: I wanted to ask you about something that`s going on tomorrow that
we have learned. The EPA is going to say that California can no longer set
fuel economy standards for cars. The Trump administration is going to
assert that the federal government trumps anything that any one state wants
to do better on that issue.
What`s your reaction to that?
WARREN: Well, it`s terrible. You know, this is – the urgency of the
moment on climate change cannot be overstated. A warming planet threatens
every living thing.
And so, we`re running out of runway on this. So, the direction we need to
be going, obviously, is to have tougher emission standards, and in fact, I
think we`ve got to go way beyond that.
I very much support what Governor Inslee proposed when he said, we`re going
to use our regulatory tools here, where you`ve got to – and we can do
this. By 2028, no more carbon emission from new buildings and homes. By
2030, we`re not doing any more cars that have any emissions. And by 2035,
we`re going to produce electricity, none of it with emissions, right? It`s
all going to be green and renewable.
And think about that, because that would reduce our carbon, just those
three things, by about 70 percent. And that`s a powerful step in the right
I also have a green manufacturing plant where we invest heavily in the
science and technology and then produce about 1.2 million new green
manufacturing jobs here in America, good union jobs.
And then we take that technology all around the world, because even if
America cleans up, we`re only about 20 percent of the problem. So, we`ve
got to think of this globally. That`s the direction we need to be going as
a world leader.
Instead, Donald Trump is trying to pull us in the opposite direction, and I
– the irrationality of this one, the danger that this man poses, it`s like
every day, you think, OK, that`s as low as it can go – it goes lower. And
this is one of them.
You know, this is something that not even the industry is asking for, and
yet it seems to me – I mean, this is just how I read it from the outside,
because President Obama tried to help make it cleaner, tried to help
strengthen those emissions standards because California, which is not
friendly to Donald Trump, is the one trying to clean up its own air and
water, that that just means he wants to somehow prove that he`s the biggest
guy and he can prove it by trying to break everything.
This man – I – this man is dangerous. And we need a new president.
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren, trying very hard to become that next
WARREN: It`s good to see you.
MADDOW: Senator, it`s really, really good to see you.
WARREN: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you very much.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us
MADDOW: One thing to watch overnight tonight is the election news out of
Israel. Israel just had an election last April. They just had another one
today because it was called by Prime Minister Netanyahu. He thought this
election today would strengthen his standing.
Quite the contrary. Official votes aren`t in yet but exit polling shows
Netanyahu`s party trailing his main rival from a centrist political party.
If the exit polling holds and that`s a big if, Netanyahu would likely be
out as prime minister and his centrist opponent will be given first shot at
pulling together a new governing coalition.
That opponent has come out tonight and said as much. He has said it
appears that Netanyahu has lost. Netanyahu for his part says that he will
not concede. He is blaming the media for biased coverage against him. He
said tonight that he will attempt to form a governing coalition regardless
of the results of today`s election. Keep an eye on this one overnight and
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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 content.>
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