Interview with Hillary Clinton. TRANSCRIPT: 10/2/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. I
really appreciate it.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: You bet.
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
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
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
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
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
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
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.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: How are 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.
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
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
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.
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-
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.
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.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the