One-on-One with Senator Warren (D-MA). TRANSCRIPT: 9/17/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Elizabeth Warren

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.




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

this evening. 


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.




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. 




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. 




REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA):  Are you refusing to answer, Mr. Lewandowski? 



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

report, sir.


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.




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

Mueller report. 


Well, here`s Corey Lewandowski today under oath not quite knowing what to

say about that now.




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. 




MADDOW:  Many times.  Oh, nailed it, yeah.  I took notes for the president

many times.


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




REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY):  OK.  Now, you stated earlier today that

president Trump asked you to take down dictation, quote, many times, is

that right? 




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

first time.


LEWANDOWSKI:  Those are not my words, Congressman.  Those are the

investigator`s words. 


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. 




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

the change.


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





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. 




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




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

clip, correct? 


LEWANDOWSKI:  My interview with Ari Melber? 


BERKE:  Yes. 


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

that correct? 


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. 




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. 




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? 


BERKE:  Please? 


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.




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.




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




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

context whatsoever.


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

us for.




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




CROWD:  Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren, Warren,

Warren, Warren, Warren –



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.




And Democrats can`t win if we`re scared and looking backward.




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. 




I am not afraid. 




And you can`t be afraid either.  So, if you`re ready to fight, then join







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 – 


WARREN:  Uh-huh.


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. 


WARREN:  Yes. 


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

supporting outside.




MADDOW:  That is something that I`ve had a lot of conversations with

Senator Bernie Sanders.


WARREN:  Uh-huh.


MADDOW:  And you and Senator Sanders agree a lot when it comes to policy. 

You clearly have mutual respect among you two as individuals.


WARREN:  Uh-huh.


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

still teaching. 


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.


MADDOW:  Uh-huh.


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

that way. 


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,

four-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

structural change. 


MADDOW:  Senator Elizabeth Warren is our guest.  We`ll be right back right

after this.




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

into tomorrow. 


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




Good evening, Lawrence. 







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