Interview with Hillary Clinton. TRANSCRIPT: 10/2/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Hillary Clinton

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris.  Thanks, my friend.  I

really appreciate it. 




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


I am very pleased to say that Hillary Clinton is here in studio tonight for

the interview.  Yes, that Hillary Clinton.  I have been looking forward to

this interview with her ever since we learned it was even a possibility

that she could come in.  We`ve obviously got – obviously got lots to talk

with her tonight about, including her book, which is called “The Book of

Gutsy Women”.  We`ll be talking with her about that.


We`ll also, of course, be talking with her to get her take on the ongoing

impeachment proceedings against President Trump, which are now in their

ninth day. 


The president appeared to have been a little sort of emotionally

overwrought today, beyond his even for him unusually bombastic online

statements today, including him swearing in all capital letters online

today.  The president also really seemed to be having a hard time at a

White House appearance alongside the president of Finland.  And the

president of Finland, honestly, did nothing to deserve this. 


The next U.S. president will presumably need to do like a big state dinner

for Finland, or maybe just send them a nice flower arrangement to try to

make up for what their president today had to sit through and get roped

into at the White House alongside President Trump who was really having a

very emotional sort of out of control, over the top day. 


Part of what appears to have set off the president may be the no uncertain

terms on which the House is now moving ahead with these impeachment

proceedings against him.  Late last night, the heads of three House

committees that are involved in the impeachment, they wrote to, and I think

this is important, the number two official at the State Department.  They

didn`t write to the number one official, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 


They wrote to the number two guy under him at the department saying this:

Dear, Mr. Deputy Secretary.  We are writing to you because secretary Pompeo

now appears to have an obvious conflict of interest.  They go on to

describe reports that Secretary Pompeo was himself a participant in the

call in which President Trump solicited help from a foreign country from

Ukraine against Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election. 


The chairs say, quote: If true, Secretary Pompeo is now a fact witness in

the impeachment inquiry.  He should not be making any decisions regarding

witness testimony or document production in order to protect himself or the



Since this letter went out late last night, Secretary Pompeo has confirmed

that those reports are true, that he was a participant on that call for

which the president is now being impeached. 


But the committee chairs continue.  Quote: Any effort by Secretary Pompeo

or the State Department to intimidate or prevent witnesses from testifying

or to withhold documents from the committees shall constitute evidence of

obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. 


And then they say this, because clearly they are not playing.  The chairman

pointing out to the number two official at the State Department that if

officials at that department like, say you, for example, Mr. Deputy

Secretary, if any officials at the State Department interfere with the

impeachment inquiry, if they, say, try to block witnesses from testifying,

the committee chairman warned the deputy secretary those officials, quote,

may be subjected to liability.  Excuse me, may be subject to liability

under several federal statutes, including one that could result in five

years in prison for obstructing Congress` inquiry. 


So, this was late last night, right?  Secretary Pompeo, you yourself, sir,

are up to your neck in this impeachment scandal.  You are conflicted

because you are implicated in it.  You should, therefore, not be making

decisions about anything having to do with the inquiry into this matter as

far as the State Department goes.


And, you know, here`s the people running the impeachment inquiry writing to

the lower level officials at the State Department, his deputy at the State

Department saying, hey, Pompeo shouldn`t be involved in the decisions at

all.  You should be making these decisions.  And if you too are thinking

about interfering here or trying to block witnesses the way Pompeo has been

threatening, that may put you in violation of a number of federal laws,

including federal laws that would put you in prison for breaking them.  So

think hard about that. 


So that was the signal late last night, the sort of we`re not playing

around here signal from Congress in terms of this impeachment proceeding. 

That we`re not playing around here theme was made explicit today by the one

committee chairman who is essentially heading up the inquiry as it moves





REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  Any effort by the secretary, by the president or

anyone else to interfere with the Congress` ability to call before it

relevant witnesses will be considered as evidence of obstruction of the

lawful functions of Congress.  They just need to know that even as they try

to undermine our ability to find the facts around the president`s effort to

coerce a foreign leader to create dirt that he can use against the

political opponent, that they will be strengthening the case on obstruction

if they behave that way.  We`re not fooling around here. 




MADDOW:  We`re not fooling around here.  That is evident both in the way

they are talking about these proceedings now.  Again now, in their ninth

day, and in how they are pursuing these proceedings. 


Tomorrow, Congress is expecting to depose President Trump`s special envoy

to Ukraine who, depending who you believe, was either suddenly fired or he

suddenly resigned late last week, after his – after his name surfaced in

the whistle-blower`s complaint about what the president did with Ukraine. 


Today, a federal judge elicited a commitment from the Justice Department

that the Trump administration will not destroy and will properly retain all

records of the president`s meetings, calls, and other communications with

foreign leaders, all documents about the administration`s record keeping

practices and policies and all records about efforts by the White House or

other executive branch officials to claw back or otherwise limit access to

records about officials` communications with foreign leaders. 


So, no more locking this stuff up, and certainly no destroying it.  This is

a voluntary commitment to the court to do this, to preserve these records

and to make sure they are preserved properly. 


But I have to tell you, the Justice Department only made this voluntary

commitment today that these records would be preserved.  They only made

this commitment today in the face of the all but certain prospect that a

federal judge was otherwise going to issue an emergency restraining order

forcing the administration to retain those records of the president`s calls

with foreign leaders and any record of how those materials like that are

being handled. 


You can see why it`s a very propitious night to have Hillary Clinton here,

right, to ask about these things, somebody who has seen these things from

so many different angles, including as secretary of state.  But before we

talk to Secretary Clinton, there are – there are two specific things that

have broken tonight that are both on their own gobsmacking, and these are

both stories we are expecting to keep developing.  In fact, both of them

since I sat down and started talking to you, I have been handed new

developments on both of them.  So, it`s clear these stories will continue

developing through the night, including this hour. 


But let`s just start with the first of these two stories, it concerns Vice

President Pence.  It`s this front page story tonight in “The Washington

Post.”  The byline here is Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Ashley Parker.  And

the headline here, I mean, it`s sort of a plot twist in this impeachment



Quote, Trump involved Pence in efforts to pressure Ukraine`s leader.  It

wasn`t just the president.  It was the vice president. 


And this is a fascinating story.  I think this will go down as a landmark

story in the saga from “The Washington Post” tonight because it involves

not only an account of Vice President Pence`s involvement in the very

simple scandal for which president Trump is now being impeached.  It also

includes lots of sort of spin and anonymous claims from both Vice President

Pence`s camp, people sort of trying to defend him, and on the other side

from unnamed White House officials who are clearly not in camp Pence, who

are clearly trying to let it be known that Pence was part of this scheme. 


And so, this article represents to some degree a little of the human drama

here at the top which may be allies of the president and allies of the vice

president turning against each other as these impeachment proceedings go



From “The Post,” tonight, quote: President Trump repeatedly involved Vice

President Pence in efforts to exert pressure on the leader of Ukraine. 

Following Trump`s July 25th phone call with the president of Ukraine,

President Trump used Pence to tell President Zelensky that U.S. aid was

still being withheld while demanding more aggressive action on corruption. 

At that time, again immediately following Trump`s call with Zelensky where

he asked for help against Joe Biden, quote, the Ukrainians probably

understood action on corruption to include the investigation of former Vice

President Joe Biden for which President Trump had earlier pressed them. 


So the basic timeline is that President Trump personally intervenes to

withhold military aid from Ukraine.  He then also withholds further support

from Ukraine in ways that are really important to their new president.  Not

just in terms of military aid, but also denying them visible signs of

support from the U.S. government, including White House trip or a meeting

with President Trump or call with President Trump that they could announce. 

Denying Ukraine that sort of support, denying them the military aid. 


When Trump finally got on the call with the president of Ukraine in late

July, we now know from the White House, that call that they released, that

President Trump heard the specific request from President Zelensky for

military assistance for his country.  Trump responded immediately by

saying, I would like you to do us a favor though.  He then immediately

asked the president of Ukraine to, among other things, take law enforcement

action involving his potential 2020 political rival Joe Biden. 


So, that very simply is what President Trump is being impeached for.  We

know from “The Washington Post” that after that call where President Trump

asked Ukraine for help in his to 2020 effort against Joe Biden, we know

that after that call, the person from the U.S. government who went over to

Ukraine and reiterated to that same president, hey, you are not getting

U.S. military aid unless you carry out these investigations, that person

was Vice President Mike Pence and he did it in person. 


And if you step back from this, that means that if President Trump is going

to get impeached for this, President Trump is going to get impeached for

this, it kind of looks like Vice President Pence did the exact same thing,

except in his role in this he may have been even more explicit in

threatening Ukraine with the withholding of military aid unless they did

what Trump was asking them. 


All right.  Now, the spin here and the sort of attempted defense by allies

of the vice president is a little bit labored.  Quote: Officials close to

Pence insist that he was unaware of Trump`s efforts to pressure Zelensky

for damaging information about Biden. 


That means Vice President Pence is conceding, he is admitting to telling

the president of Ukraine that their military aid was being withheld.  He`s

admitted to tying that to demands that they do some sort of investigation

related to some sort of corruption.  But he is trying to say that he didn`t

realize when he was pressing them about investigations having to do with

corruption that that might have been perceived as a demand having something

to do with Joe Biden. 


That`s the limits of the vice president`s defense here.  Well, how credible

is the vice president`s defense here?  Why might Mike Pence conceivably

have known about this demand recently made by President Trump?  That

Ukraine needed to give him something he could work with against Biden for

2020?  How could Mike Pence have possibly have known about the content of

that conversation between President Trump and Zelensky and Trump pressing

Zelensky specifically to give him something on Biden? 


How could Pence have known about that?  Well, quote: Perhaps most

significantly, one of Pence`s top advisors was on the July 25th call

between President Trump and President Zelensky when Trump made that

specific ask about Joe Biden.  Also, quote, the vice president would have

had access to the transcript of that call within hours of it taking place. 


And now, here`s where we get the anonymous White House officials throwing

Vice President Mike Pence under the bus.  Quote: White House officials say

Pence likely would have received detailed notes of the president`s call

with Zelensky in his daily briefing book on July 26th, just one day after

the call took place.  Those same officials also telling “The Washington

Post” tonight that that detailed record of the president`s call with

Zelensky, which we have all seen now, which shows President Trump plainly

pressuring Zelensky to give him dirt on Biden.


That five-page document, according to White House officials, should also

have been part of the briefing materials that Pence was given to take with

him to Warsaw to prepare for his own meeting with the Ukrainian president. 

Quote: Officials close to Pence contend that he did travel to Warsaw for a

meeting with Zelensky on September 1st, but these officials close to Pence

say that Pence did travel to that meeting, quote, probably without having

read or at least fully registered the transcript of Trump`s call with the

leader of Ukraine. 


So, this is the vice president`s defense against his own impeachment, I



First, he didn`t know about it.  Yes, one of his top advisors was on the

call.  Yes, the vice president had access to the transcript of that call. 

Yes, the transcript of that call was given to him the day after the call. 


Yes, the transcript of that call was, in fact, given to him again as he was

preparing to talk to that leader overseas.  Yes, the vice president`s

allies concede that it is possible that the vice president actually read

the transcript of that call.  But even if he read it, who is to say whether

or not it registered?  Who is to say whether or not it sunk in to that big



And that`s the defense? 


Quote: In his meeting with Zelensky, Pence conveyed the news that hundreds

of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine was not going to be released

amid concerns about the country`s lagging efforts to combat corruption.  We

will not give you this military aid unless you do something on corruption. 


Quote: At that point, Ukraine`s president had already spoken to Trump and

was familiar with the president`s demands, which were, once again, that

Ukraine needed to investigate Joe Biden.  Come up with some sort of

corruption investigation about Biden that Trump could use for his election. 


So the sort of open and shut nature of the impeachment proceeding against

President Trump right now is that he has been caught.  I mean, he admits,

the White House has provided the evidence that President Trump really did

call a foreign leader and solicit help from the government in producing

something he could use against one of his Democratic rivals.  Open, shut,

he`s going to be impeached.  That`s enough. 


That`s what he is going to be impeached for.  That`s at least one of the

things he`s going to be impeached for.  Now, there are a number of things

contextually around what President Trump did that make it worse, right? 

Including the fact that he had just personally intervened to block hundreds

of millions of dollars to military aid going to Ukraine right before he

made this demand on them about what kind of favor he needed from them. 


And, in fact, he raised the prospect of what he needed as favors from

Ukraine immediately in conversation right after the Ukrainian president

asked him about the military aid, right?  So that`s bad as a contextual

matter in terms of the way the president handled this. 


He was simultaneously withholding the military aid and saying, yes, do me a

favor though.  Oh, you want military aid?  Do me a favor though.  The

president is already there. 


When it comes to the vice president though, it appears to be more direct. 

Vice President Mike Pence appears to be the pro in between the quid and the

quo, because he appears to have been the one who is responsible for

explicitly linking the issue of this military aid with Ukraine`s behavior

on, quote, corruption, which at that point the vice president had every

reason to know was a direct follow-up to the president demanding help

versus Biden for 2020. 


In his defense, to, I guess, potentially being impeached himself on these

matters, if his defense is that he definitely didn`t know that Biden had

ever come up in the discussions with the Ukraine, I mean, except for his

advisor listening on the call, except for him having access to the

transcript of the call, except for him being given the notes of that call,

except for him being given the notes of that call again, except for his

advisors admitting that, yes, he probably read the notes from the call

including that part that`s explicitly about Joe Biden – I mean, apart from

his advisors admitting, yes, he might have read that – but maybe he didn`t

get it? 


I mean, that is not the world`s strongest defense.  But that is what the

vice president is leading with.  That feels like an important new

development.  That is just breaking tonight again from “The Washington



One other one.  The other story that has broken late today, which we don`t

have total clarity about, but it seems bad and it`s continuing to break

over the course of tonight.  It`s a story that we tried to give you a heads

up about last night on the show.  It involves this unusual request from the

inspector general at the State Department who yesterday contacted a whole

bunch of congressional committees and told them that he had an urgent

request for them.  He needed to see those committees right away today to

give them documents concerning the State Department and Ukraine, which, of

course, relates to the impeachment proceedings underway involving the



Well, the inspector general for the State Department delivered that

briefing to the committees today.  So we have now seen what some of these

documents are.  And you can, therefore, feast your eyes upon this. 


Have you seen this yet today?  Have you seen the visual?  This is not like

something we concocted to make this whole thing look crazy.  This is the

real thing. 


This is the envelope in which these documents were reportedly delivered

which means I think the perpetrator we are looking for here might be a

producer of wedding invitations.  Do you see that?  Secretary Pompeo,

attention Ruth.  We think that is Secretary Pompeo`s secretary.  Somebody

who knew her well enough to call her by her first name. 


In the upper left-hand corner, the return address, the White House, right,

in this calligraphic all caps, that looks very legit. 


Congressman Jamie Raskin from the Intelligence Committee, from the

Judiciary Committee, excuse me, was in on this briefing today, and as I

said, we are not entirely clear what this sort of BOLOs of information is,

but as best as we can piece it together from NBC News reporting, from some

CNN reporting that`s broken late tonight, from comments made today by

Congressman Raskin after he was briefed on these materials, the best we can

piece this together, and I reserve the right for this story to evolve in

way that clear this up further in days ahead, what we can best piece

together tonight is that the inspector general from the State Department

went it Congress today to hand over a packet of information which had

apparently arrived at the State Department in this weird envelope with

calligraphy on it.  It is material which purports to have originated at the

White House, which you can see from the envelope. 


The stuff was apparently sent over from the White House to Secretary of

State Mike Pompeo`s office in May of this year via his secretary, Ruth. 

Congressman Raskin today described it as a packet of propaganda,

disinformation, and conspiracy theories, indicating he does not think

highly of the content of this pact of information.


NBC News has published a couple of images of some of the contents of the

packet.  These couple of pages NBC News has published appear to bolster

that description of this being conspiracy theory stuff involving Ukraine. 

But based on the timing and consent content of this material and the weird

way it was delivered from the White House to Secretary of State Pompeo`s

office and then it ended up in the hands of the inspector general who

ultimately felt like Congress needed to see it given the impeachment

proceedings underway, I mean, the story that appears to be emerging here is

that this stapled and calligraphied and a highlighted stack of disproven,

conspiratorial nonsense printed out from the Internet may have been the

grounds on which Mike Pompeo and the State Department basically fired the

U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. 


This veteran, non-political career diplomat who, in the middle of all this

mishegoss was randomly yanked back from her posting as America`s ambassador

to Ukraine.  She was recalled early from that post just as this campaign

appears to have started in the White House to put this incredible pressure

on Ukraine to get that government to help Trump get elected in 2020. 


Congressman Raskin  described this material today as a material that

appeared to have been designed to sabotage the U.S. ambassador in her job

in Ukraine.  NBC News says the inspector general characterized this

material he handed over to Congress today as, quote, what he knows about

the circumstances surrounding the abrupt recall of the former ambassador to

Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. 


This packet was apparently at least 50 pages, including lots of wild right

wing conspiracy theories about the ambassador that are all debunked but

have been circulating in right wing media.  And if this is in fact what

Mike Pompeo was circulating at the top levels of the State Department, if

this is, in fact, what was delivered to him from the White House and then

circulated within the State Department ahead of Marie Yovanovitch being

fired, if this was, in fact, the basis for the recall of that U.S.

ambassador, while the president and the vice president were simultaneously

trying to press gang the government of that country into helping out

President Trump in his potential campaign against Joe Biden in 2020 – I

mean, the fact that, you know, that what`s in this packet of material

handed over to Congress today by the I.G., the fact that it`s a bunch of

nonsense sort of makes it more relevant and not less because it tells you

how they are running the place. 


It also raises some further serious questions about Mike Pompeo, who may

turn out to be in as much trouble here as the president and potentially the

vice president.  According this the inspector general briefing Congress

today, there is a senior State Department official who talked to the

inspector general about this material.  According to the senior Justice

Department official, he informed the inspector general that Secretary

Pompeo told him this packet came over, this pile of disinformation and

conspiracy theories about the ambassador to Ukraine, quote, came over.  The

official presumed that meant that it came over from the White House. 


That senior State Department official who talked to the inspector general

about this material has already given that information to the inspector

general.  He is obviously a key witness for whatever is going on with

Ukraine and the White House and the State Department, which is now the

basis of this impeachment proceeding.  That official is also, ding-ding-

ding, one of the State Department officials who Mike Pompeo has been trying

to block from testifying this week in the impeachment proceedings against

the president. 


Congress asked for a deposition with him.  He is one of the people Mike

Pompeo is trying to block from testifying.  I wonder why he wants to keep

that guy from testifying. 


So the president is freaking out.  Fine.  Wake me over in a day that ends

in “Y.”  The impeachment proceedings against the president now in day nine,

appeared to be ramping up significantly, both in pace and in seriousness. 

The administration is now legally required to preserve all records of the

president`s meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders which they have

been occasionally hiding on a stand alone, high security server that`s

supposed to be reserved for things like covert actions. 


The vice president, Mike Pence, appears, according to this report in “The

Washington Post” tonight, appears to have committed basically the same

offense for which the president is about to be impeached.  His defense to

that damning report tonight is basically, who me?  I didn`t know anything. 


And now, the paper trail is starting to emerge for what substituted for

normal government policy towards that part of the world, towards that

specific country while the president was trying to enlist that country`s

government in his re-election effort, which is illegal.  It is illegal to

solicit foreign effort – foreign help with a U.S. election.  It is also

the grounds on which Trump is being to be impeached. 


We also know that Congress in its impeachment proceedings has the names and

has already planned depositions from a bunch of the key people who were

direct witnesses to what happened here, including a number of them from the

secretary – excuse me, from the department of state. 


Other than that, a pretty normal day.  Former secretary of state, former

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is going to join us here

live next.  It`s a good night for it, right? 


We`ll be right back. 




MADDOW:  Joining us now live for the interview is former secretary of

state, former first lady, former senator, 2016 Democratic presidential

nominee Hillary Clinton.  She has a new book out this week with her

daughter, Chelsea Clinton.  It is called “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite

Stories of Courage and Resilience.”  It is currently topping the charts,

having just come out this week.


Secretary Clinton, great to see you.




MADDOW:  It`s great to have you here.


CLINTON:  Good to see you, Rachel.


MADDOW:  The last time you were here, the Mueller report had just come out

and I asked you how you were doing, and you said personally things were

great, but you said, as an American, you were feeling, and I quote, “Oh, my





MADDOW:  Are you still feeling, “Oh, my gosh”?


CLINTON:  Oh, my gosh, now 10 alarm oh my gosh`s.


MADDOW:  Really?


CLINTON:  Yeah, look, I mean, I think this incredible series of events that

we are living through right now are overwhelming in their intensity and

velocity, but they also are so sad and distressing to have a government

that is now engaged in behavior that puts our national security at risk in

order to further the president`s personal and political interests.  It is

tragic.  So everything you`re doing and others who are actually reporting

on it is so necessary.


MADDOW:  In terms of the national security risk here, obviously what the

president did – and has sort of copped to, because it`s there in the White

House records that were released – tells us something about what he was

trying to do.  But in terms of the danger here, the president did put our

support for Ukraine in a way that made it contingent.  He also has

seemingly deliberately reduced public impressions that the U.S. supported

Ukraine.  He denied them a White House visit until he could promise that he

could get what he wanted.


Why is that dangerous?  What can you tell the American people watching

right now about why it`s important for us to support Ukraine?


CLINTON:  Well, first of all, look at what he did.  He, obviously, used

taxpayer-funded assistance, passed by the Congress on a bipartisan basis,

to both threaten and intimidate the new president of Ukraine to investigate

his political opponents for the purpose of advancing his own re-election. 

Now, that has so many elements in it, and it`s one of the reasons why I

think it`s broken through to the American people.


It also is troubling that Ukraine has been a subject of constant pressure

from Vladimir Putin and the Russian interests in Ukraine.  So you have the

Trump administration, the president, the vice president, others, actually

pressuring a new president who has a part of his country invaded and

occupied by Russian troops, and putting this poor new president in this

vise.  You think you`re going to get military aid from us?  Well, we have a

favor to ask of you.


Now, we know that the aggressiveness of Putin has been unchecked and, in

fact, I would argue actually accelerated in both rhetoric and potential

adverse actions to our interests because of what Trump has made clear that

he supports and looks to Vladimir Putin.


So Ukraine is a very specific example of what is at stake.  But I don`t

think it`s the only example that we could find if we looked at the

transcripts of the calls with Vladimir Putin, for example.  We still have

no notes, no reporting about the many meetings and the many calls.


We do know that in the Oval Office early in his term, Trump basically said

to the foreign secretary of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, to the then-ambassador,

Kislyak, hey, I don`t mind that interference in the election, wink-wink. 

So this is about Ukraine, but Ukraine is the canary in the coal mine about

what this president and his allies have been up to.


MADDOW:  One of the revelations brought to light by this impeachment

scandal is that members of the president`s administration, White House

lawyers, appear to have directed an effort to hide transcripts of the

president`s phone calls with foreign leaders, including the Zelenskiy call

in question, including reportedly calls with Putin, calls with the leader

of Saudi Arabia, and others.


For me it raises this interesting question, because I feel like as a

civilian watching these things, just as an American who tries to follow

these matters, I`m not sure how much of that we should ever expect to see. 

And so I`m troubled by these reports that there is an effort in the White

House involving lawyers in particular trying to hide this stuff in places

where it doesn`t belong.  But how do you see this in terms of what sorts of

communications should be shown to the public?  You said you`d like to see

transcripts of his calls with Vladimir Putin.  What of those things should

we see and what should be kept secret?


CLINTON:  Well, the understanding I have of this particular call – and the

way calls operate is, you know, pretty elaborate.  If you`re going to have

a call between our president and a president, leader of another country,

there is a whole process before that call is placed.  People are prepping

and briefing.  They`re trying to figure out what is the goal of the call,

maybe what does the foreign leader want, what do we want in return, what

are we talking about?


So the president is given talking points, and people are in the room

usually, whatever appropriate personnel from the White House or maybe other

agencies.  So the call is placed.  The call is made.  And the call is

usually listened to, or, at the very least, quickly reported out.


Now, this is part of the transparency that we should expect.  Maybe not the

exact words, but the fact that our president spoke to Vladimir Putin or

spoke to, you know, the president of Ukraine.  That`s part of the

information that the rest of the government, that the Congress, the

American public, and press deserve to see.


You don`t have to have the exact wording, but what happened here from the

report of the call itself that came out of the White House, plus the

whistle-blower complaint, is there was nothing classified.  There was

nothing that should have been kept from the rest of the government.  This

was embarrassing and potentially impeachable because of the way the

president was pressuring the president of Ukraine.


And, of course, there can be very serious calls that never see the light of

day until 30, 40 years from now, but this was not one of those.  This was

hidden by the White House lawyers because somebody in that room who was

observing the call or hearing the president`s end of the call went, oh,

what are we going to do?  What did he just say?  We can`t let anybody see



So instead of circulating the call, because, you know, there are a lot of

people working in the Defense Department about the military aid.  There are

people in the State Department who want to know what`s happening with

Ukraine.  “We`d better deep-six this, so put it on the most classified

system,” the place where you would keep information about the raid on Osama

bin Laden in the prior administration, and don`t let anybody see it.


That, I think, as much as the call itself is what bothered the whistle-

blower, because if you read the complaint, he spends, or she, whoever it

is, spends time saying, look, here is the substance, which bothered me, but

then here`s what they did with it.  So, yeah, some calls you`re not going

to see, certainly not in any contemporaneous way.  But other calls, they

should be shared with the people working on these problems in the rest of

the government.


MADDOW:  If there were White House lawyers or other White House officials

who directed that kind of effort, an “oh, my god, what did he say, we need

to hide this” kind of effort, which is what the whistle-blower is

indicating, the way it seems at least from the outside, should those

officials bear some consequences for that?  What should – I mean, I don`t

know that what they did is illegal, but certainly it seems improper.


CLINTON:  Well, it certainly deserves questioning.  And that`s what`s going

on with this impeachment inquiry.  You know, ironically, I was on the staff

of the 1974 impeachment inquiry, and you should follow every thread to see

where it leads.  And you should look at anything that could amount to abuse

of power or obstruction of justice or contempt of Congress.  And if people

were a part of that, as they were in the Nixon administration, then, yes,

they should be held accountable.


MADDOW:  And if the Justice Department won`t bring charges for anything

that turns up in the impeachment investigation – clearly, they`re not

going to charge the president no matter what he does – but if other

officials up to and including the vice president are found in this

impeachment inquiry to have obstructed justice, to have destroyed records,

to have lied to investigators, any other number of things that may turn up,

if this Justice Department under William Barr says we`re not bringing

prosecutions on any of these things, are there any further remedies?  I

mean, it`s starting to feel like, no matter what`s uncovered, there will

never be consequences.


CLINTON:  Well, that depends.  It depends upon who`s in the White House and

who`s at the Justice Department in 2021.  That`s why the stakes of this

election have just exponentially increased, because what we`re dealing with

is a constitutional crisis.


And I`ve said over and over again, we`ve got to be able to do two things as

Democrats.  We have to be able to have a deliberative, serious pursuit of

the impeachment inquiry.  We have to continue to make our case about all of

the bills that the House Democrats have passed that have, you know, gone to

the Senate to die in, you know, Mitch McConnell`s graveyard.  So I think we

have to do both of those things simultaneously.


But if there were to be a change in administration, and certainly a change

in attorney general, because what we`re seeing with this particular

attorney general is full-throated support of every conspiracy theory that

could possibly hurt Democrats and help this president, which is deeply

disturbing to those of us who remember attorney generals quitting over a

president trying to order them to deep-six evidence back in the Nixon



So I think that there will be consequences, depending upon, you know, how

this impeachment inquiry plays out.  And let`s not forget that the evidence

right now is very damning.  And the American public really grasps that. 

This is an abuse of power that has broken through.  So if it`s determined

by the House that they`re going to present articles of impeachment, that

puts a lot of Republican senators up for re-election in a very tough spot.


So I don`t think we`re anywhere near the number of scenarios that could be

played out from this day forward in the investigation.


MADDOW:  We`ll be right back with former Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton.  Stay with us.




MADDOW:  Barbara Jordan in many ways had an unparalleled career.  In 1966,

she became the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate since

reconstruction.  By `72, she was the first Southern black woman serving in

the House of Representatives.  By `76, she became the first woman and the

first African-American keynote speaker at a Democratic convention.


But what made Barbara Jordan a household name was the Nixon impeachment

inquiry.  Here she was in her first term in office, which is important

here, serving as a member of the Judiciary Committee while they`re

considering whether or not to impeach Nixon.  Nobody knew at that point how

that committee vote would turn out, but this speech started to make it

clear.  Watch this.




JORDAN:  Earlier today, we heard the beginning of the preamble to the

Constitution of the United States.  We, the people.  It`s a very eloquent

beginning.  But when that document was completed on the 17th of September

in 1787, I was not included in that “We, the people.”  I`ve felt somehow

for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me

out by mistake.


But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I

have finally been included in “We, the people.”


Today, I am an inquisitor.  An hyperbole would not be fictional and would

not overstate the solemnness that I feel right now.  My faith in the

Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total.  And I am not going to

sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the

destruction of the Constitution.




MADDOW:  Hillary Rodham was a young staffer on that House committee.  She

writes in her new book that that commanding rhetoric, passion, and moral

clarity, she says, brought tears to her eyes.  Back with us is Secretary of

State, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.


Madam Secretary, thank you.  And congratulations on this.


CLINTON:  Thank you.


MADDOW:  “The Book of Gutsy Women,” it`s an encyclopedia of gutsy women.


CLINTON:  Well, it could have been a lot longer.  There`s a lot of women

who certainly deserve to be in it.  But it was an effort by my daughter and

myself to highlight some of the women that we were inspired by.


And I was listening to that clip of Barbara Jordan`s speech during the

hearing on articles of impeachment against President Nixon, and I remember

watching it as a young staffer on the impeachment inquiry, and it did bring

me to tears.  And it`s worth repeating, I am not going to sit here and be

an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the

Constitution.  I think that`s the time we`re in now, too, Rachel.


MADDOW:  You talked earlier before the break about the fact that the

American people are very focused and are very able to sort of grok to get

their heads around exactly what this claim is right now for which President

Trump looks likely to be impeached.


But you also talked about the need to follow these questions where they

lead and to figure out who else was involved and whether other serious

abuses were committed.  How do you think of this, in terms of how long this

process should last, how directly the House should go at the president`s

conduct that`s already been in some ways very tightly defined, in terms of

what he did that he should be impeached for?


CLINTON:  Well, look, I think that the speaker has made it very clear that

it`s going to proceed expeditiously.  I cannot put a timetable on it.  I

went to work in the impeachment inquiry staff in January of 1974, and there

was a lot else going on.  There had been lots of hearings.  There was a

Senate Select Committee that the then-senator from Alabama, as I recall,

was chairing.  And there had been – or North Carolina – and there had

been a grand jury.  There was a lot of other activity.


And it wasn`t until the tapes were finally released.  And remember what

happened.  The Nixon White House tried to provide edited versions of the



MADDOW:  Right.


CLINTON:  One of my jobs, along with other lawyers on the staff, was to sit

in a sound-proof booth with great big earphones on and listen to the tapes,

look at what the White House said the tapes said, and see what it actually



MADDOW:  Correct, essentially, their mistakes in the transcripts?


CLINTON:  Correct – exactly.


MADDOW:  Were those transcripts deliberately constructed by the White House

to be more exculpatory than they actually were?


CLINTON:  Well, that was our conclusion.  So, by July, that`s when Barbara

Jordan was making that speech.  And, remember, Republicans on the Judiciary

Committee voted for those articles of impeachment, because it was so clear

how wrong it was, the abuse of power and obstruction of justice and

contempt of Congress that was going on at that time.


MADDOW:  There were so many other officials who were caught up in what

happened in Watergate.  I was thinking this week, because of a very good

piece in the New Yorker by David Rohde, about John Mitchell, who was

President Nixon`s attorney general who went to prison for 17 months because

of Watergate-era abuses that were exposed through this.  He was loyal to

Nixon to the very end.


CLINTON:  Right.


MADDOW:  Went to prison himself.  Other cabinet officials were implicated. 

Right now, it seems like both the vice president and the attorney general

and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, your successor at the State

Department, may themselves have been at least aware, if not participants in

what the president is going to be impeached for here.


As a former cabinet secretary, do you have advice on the right way to

comport yourself in this situation?  I mean, they do all seem like they`re

up to their necks.


CLINTON:  Well, I think what many in the Nixon White House and

administration concluded was the right thing to do was tell the truth. 

Tell the truth.  And that would be advice that should be given to anybody

caught up in this, because it`s clear that the president has made a series

of decisions to benefit himself and his political fortune at the expense of

other matters in our government.


And the people you point to are certainly aware of that.  Think of all the

people who have left.  And one of the people who left early on, someone who

was on the National Security Council – Mr. Bossert, I think – he

basically said, look, we tried to convince the president not to buy into

all these wild conspiracy theories that people like Giuliani and others

were pushing at him.  And he bought it.  He bought all of the conspiracy

theories, all of the crazy, wacky ideas about all of the, you know, things

that were being done to him, and now he`s on this pursuit of trying to

prove that Russia`s systematic and sweeping influence in our election

didn`t happen because people who he wants to have around him now have

totally free reign.


You know, others who were trying to pull him back, trying to say, no, Mr.

President, there`s no evidence of that, they`re gone.  So those who are

left – and I hope some of the Republicans in the House, and particularly

in the Senate, need to start thinking about putting country over party.


We have Margaret Chase Smith in this book.  Margaret Chase Smith, a

Republican woman senator from Maine, who was the only member of her party

to take a public stand against Joe McCarthy from the very beginning.  She

eventually brought a few of her Republican colleagues with her.  But she

not only attacked McCarthy and his tactics of smear and destroy, but she

attacked her own party and said, why are we doing this?  Stop it.  Don`t be

preying on people.  Don`t be leading with fear.


We need some Republicans to step up.  And for the life of me, I don`t

understand it.  I know some of these people.  I served with some of these

people.  And the fact that they`re letting this man run roughshod over our

Constitution, over separation of powers, over checks and balances, over the

rule of law – absolutely makes no sense to me.


So the way that many Republicans are protesting or showing their opposition

is deciding not to run again, but they don`t say anything.  They just say,

I`m not going to run again.


MADDOW:  You are also a predecessor to Mike Pompeo as secretary of state. 

One of the stories that we`re right in the middle of right now appears to

be the State Department – Secretary Pompeo`s office sort of trafficking in

materials, conspiracy theories and other stuff sort of culled from right-

wing media.


CNN is reporting that this is material that was delivered to the White

House by Rudy Giuliani.  It was then delivered to Mike Pompeo for him to

look into it.  The inspector general from the department has now handed it

over to Congress.


From what we have learned about these materials, it seems like this was an

effort to sabotage and to end the career of Marie Yovanovitch, who is a

veteran ambassador and foreign service officer.


CLINTON:  Right.


MADDOW:  First, I don`t know if you know Ambassador Yovanovitch…




MADDOW:  … or if you have any insight into this sort of effort against



CLINTON:  Well, I do, and it`s disgraceful.  She is a distinguished foreign

service officer, nonpolitical.  She was – you know, came up through the

ranks.  She was the ambassador to Armenia, appointed under the Bush

administration.  When I became secretary of state, I visited Armenia.  I

know her work.  She`s a serious, level-headed ambassador, a real credit to

the foreign service.


And so what they did – and we now know Giuliani was actually seeking

advice from Paul Manafort.  What they did was to say, OK, what are all the

obstacles in our way of trying to peddle these conspiracy theories?


Because remember, Manafort was peddling conspiracy theories about Ukraine

during the 2016 election, you know, some of them aimed at me.  So Giuliani

goes to the source.  OK, you`re the guy who knows how to manipulate the

press and everybody about Ukraine.  What do we do to get everybody out of

the way?  And she is clearly the target of this smear campaign in these

materials that were delivered to Pompeo.


You know, there are 70,000 people who work for the State Department around

the world, foreign service officers, civil servants, foreign nationals who

work in our consulates and our embassies.  And very few – couple hundred -

- political appointees.  So the people who are carrying out our foreign

policy, our diplomacy, day in and day out, are people who serve from

administration to administration.


They are not partisan.  They are not even political.  They`re trying to

represent the United States.  So the idea that Giuliani and his henchmen

would go after an experienced foreign service officer who had been an

ambassador to Ukraine, a country right in the bull`s-eye of Russian

interference and aggression, in order to clear her out so they`d have free

reign inside of Ukraine – to do what, I`m not sure, except – Manafort`s

modus operandi included bribery, extortion, and smear all the time.


So, you know, I wish I could say I was surprised, but nothing they do any

more surprises me.  It is truly distressing to see people who are in our

government using it for ideological and personal and power-related partisan

interests over and above the best interests of our country.


MADDOW:  Former Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton, author with her

daughter, Chelsea Clinton, of “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of

Courage and Resilience.”  It`s really good to have you here.


CLINTON:  Thank you.


MADDOW:  Thank you for making time.  I really appreciate it.


CLINTON:  Glad to be here.


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




MADDOW:  The news is not going to let up any time soon.  Tomorrow, the

former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker who was either recently

fired or who recently resigned, we`re not quite sure, he is going to be

deposed as part of the impeachment inquiry against president Trump in the



There have been efforts by the State Department, by Secretary of State Mike

Pompeo to block former officials and current officials from the State

Department from being deposed in this inquiry.  Volker is going ahead. 

That may have something to do with the fact he is no longer working at the

State Department and they, therefore, don`t have quite as much leverage

over him.  So, that`s tomorrow. 


Also tomorrow, interestingly, Ambassador Jon Huntsman will be returning to

Utah from his posting in Russia.  Huntsman was the U.S. ambassador to

Russia under President Trump until he submitted his resignation letter in

August.  That resignation is effective tomorrow. 


The exact reason why he resigned and the timing of it all remains somewhat

of an open and interesting question.  I have to tell you, though, I have a

beat on a good source.  I`m going to be on “The View” tomorrow with among

others his daughter, who is one of the hosts of “The View”.  Do not tell

her I want to ask her about that.  I want to surprise here. 


But that`s tomorrow at 11:00 Eastern Time.  I`ll see you then.


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




Good evening, Lawrence.







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