President Trump suffers defeat. TRANSCRIPT: 10/11/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us for “ALL IN” for the evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friends.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: I love these live shows. So great.
Thanks to you at home. Happy Friday.
Wow. What a day. I mean, when the White House released the phone call
that has led to these impeachment proceedings against President Trump, when
they released the call of President Trump speaking with the Ukrainian
president about how President Trump wanted that foreign government to do
investigations for him, wanted to do him a favor and give him something he
might be able to use against the Democrats and Joe Biden in 2020, the most
amazing thing about the release of that transcript, of course, was just the
fact that the White House released that transcript, right?
I mean, the whistleblower complaint, which we knew a little about at the
time had suggested that the president had done this bombshell thing. He`d
actually gone to this foreign government and asked them for help against
the Democrats. It was amazing that the White House then in response to the
furor over that reported whistleblower complaint, the White House then
released this document, the notes of that call, proving that, in fact,
that`s exactly what the president had done. The whistleblower was right.
So, I mean, the most surprising thing about it, that they released it at
all. But the most chilling thing about it was what President Trump said on
that call about one particular U.S. government employee. While he was
speaking with this foreign leader seeking help on his re-election effort,
sort of apropos of nothing, the president brought up a senior State
Department official who he had just fired, who he had just recalled as
ambassador to that foreign country. And according to the White House`s own
notes from the call, which they released, the president told that foreign
leader without prompting, quote, the former ambassador to the United
States, the woman, was bad news.
He then told the Ukrainian president, quote, well, she`s going to go
through some things. That was chilling. In fact, that ambassador, that
woman, as the president puts it, Marie Yovanovitch, a 33-year veteran of
the U.S. State Department is now going through some things. We`re starting
to realize she may have been the wrong person to mess with, though, at
least the way she comported herself if this impeachment proceeding today is
anything to go by. I mean, God forbid, you or I ever find ourselves in
this kind of circumstance with this kind of pressure on us, with this kind
of incredible power arrayed against us, and with stakes this high, right?
But if it happens to any of us, really the most you could hope for from
yourself is that you would have the stones and the dignity to be one-tenth
as brave and sort of righteous as Marie Yovanovitch was in this
circumstance today. Marie Yovanovitch still works for the U.S. State
Department, even though they fired her at the ambassador to Ukraine. We
learned only today that once again in the dead of night, the State
Department apparently on orders from the White House phoned her up in the
middle of the night and told her they wouldn`t allow her to testify this
morning. She was prohibited from showing up and talking to Congress today.
Well, we also learned that in anticipation of that act from the White House
and the State Department, the impeachment committees planned ahead. They
appeared to have a subpoena for her ready to go. Marie Yovanovitch decided
today to obey that subpoena. She showed up on Capitol Hill today.
She didn`t have like some car service with blacked out windows drop her off
near one of the back entrances where nobody can see. She got dropped off
right in front, walked all the way across the Capitol grounds, unafraid,
walked into the impeachment committees and testified for hours. And it was
on the basis of her testimony today that you got these headlines across
every major news organization in the country today. “The Washington Post”,
ousted Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch tells Congress Trump pressured State
Department to remove her. “The Wall Street Journal”, Trump pressed for
Ukraine envoy`s removal. “The New York Times,” Trump had Ukraine envoy
removed on false claims, she tells House inquiry.
And there were other headlines that emerged over the course of the day
while she was testifying, that, for example, despite the State Department
under Mike Pompeo putting out this bogus statement that she was leaving her
post in Ukraine as planned, not only was her departure not as planned. It
was abrupt. She was literally told to get on the next plane, according to
her testimony today.
She also says the number two official at the State Department under Mike
Pompeo told her that she was being recalled on orders of the president and
also that she had done nothing wrong.
You have also seen headlines from Yovanovitch`s testimony today concerning
these guys. Yovanovitch testifying apparently in detail today about how
the people working in Ukraine to spread false information about her
appeared to include these two guys who seemed to have been carrying out
this op along with the president`s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
The reason we have mug shots of these guys is because these, of course, are
the same two guys who have just been arrested and are now facing criminal
charges in the Southern District of New York for, among other things, an
alleged scheme to illegally funnel large Russian donations to various
But the other truly – don`t really know the word – baller? The other
baller thing Marie Yovanovitch did today was that although her testimony
was behind closed doors at the request of the impeachment committees, she
decided to release her opening statement publicly. And I don`t know if she
will ever testify in public I don`t know if this is the only way we will
ever hear from her as the American public. But if this statement that we
got to see from her is her legacy and this impeachment inquiry, it would be
hard to imagine a more sort of stirring and cogent statement about the way
government is supposed to work on a nonpartisan basis, just the way good
government works and the way American values are supposed to be conveyed
overseas by our foreign service officers.
This was her talking about government as it is supposed to be as opposed to
what has just happened under this administration which has led to the
president now being impeached.
Let me just read – let me just read a little bit from her statement today.
Marie Yovanovitch. For the last 33 years, it has been my great honor to
serve the American people as a Foreign Service officer, over six
administrations, four republic – excuse me – for Republican and two
Democratic. I`ve served in seven different countries, five of them
hardship posts, and was appointed to serve as an ambassador three times,
twice by a Republican president and once by a Democrat.
Throughout my career, I have stayed true to the oath that foreign service
officers take and observe every day, that I will support and defend the
Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and
domestic, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. Like
all foreign service officers with whom I have been privileged to serve, I
have understood that oath as a commitment to serve on a strictly
nonpartisan basis to advance the foreign policy determined by the incumbent
president and to work at all times to strengthen our national security and
promote our national interests.
Ukraine is a sovereign country whose borders are inviolate and whose people
have the right to determine their own destiny. These are the bedrock
principles of our policy.
Because of Ukraine`s geostrategic position bordering Russia on the east,
it`s the warm waters of the oil-rich Black Sea to its south, and four NATO
allies to its west, it is critical to the security of the United States
that Ukraine remained free and democratic, and that it continued to resist
Russian expansionism. Russia`s purported annexation of Crimea, its
invasion of Eastern Ukraine and its de facto control over the Sea of Azov,
make clear Russia`s malign intentions toward Ukraine, if we allow Russia`s
actions to stand, we will set a precedent that the United States will
regret for decades to come.
She then talks a little bit in her testimony about the threat of corruption
and why corruption is bad, the kind of damage it does, why we should all
fight against it, why it`s in our nation`s interest that we fight against
it. And I know that in this statement, she is talking about Ukraine, but
it is hard not to hear America in the background, given what we are going
through right now and given the revelations surrounding this impeachment
and this administration.
She says, quote: The revolution of dignity and the Ukrainian people`s
demand to end corruption forced the new Ukrainian government to take
measures to fight the rampant corruption that has long permeated that
country`s political and economic systems. Why is this important? Put
simply, anti-corruption efforts serve Ukraine`s interests they serve ours
as well corrupt leaders are inherently less trustworthy while an honest and
accountable Ukrainian leadership makes a U.S. Ukraine partnership more
reliable and more valuable to the United States.
A level playing field in this strategically located country, one with a
European landmass exceeded only by Russia and one of the largest
populations in Europe, creates an environment in which U.S. business can
more easily trade, invest and profit. Corruption is a security issue as
well because corrupt officials are vulnerable to Moscow. In short, it`s in
our national security interests to help Ukraine transform into a country
where the rule of law governs and corruption is held in check.
To be clear, she says, Ukraine is filled with many citizens and officials
who want the very things we`ve always said we want for our own country, a
government that acts in the interests of its people, a government of the
people, by the people and for the people.
She then goes on to describe the circumstances under which she was ousted
in the campaign that was run against her by the conservative media frankly
and by Rudy Giuliani and apparently by these two guys who have now just
She says, quote: I want to categorically state that I have never, myself or
through others, directly or indirectly, ever directed suggested or in any
other way asked for any government or government official in Ukraine or
elsewhere to refrain from investigating or prosecuting actual corruption.
Equally fictitious is the notion that I am disloyal to President Trump.
I`ve heard the allegation in the media that I supposedly told the embassy
team to ignore President Trump`s orders, quote, since he was going to be
impeached. That allegation is false. I`ve never said such a thing to my
embassy colleagues or to anyone else.
Contrary to other similar reports, she says, quote, the Obama
administration did not ask me to help the Clinton campaign or harm the
Trump campaign nor would I have taken any such steps if they had.
And then she talks about her firing: After being asked by the department in
early March to extend my tour until 2020, I was then abruptly told the
following month in late April to come back to Washington from Ukraine,
quote, on the next plane. You will understandably want to ask why my
posting ended so suddenly, I wanted to learn that too and I tried to find
I met with the Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan who informed me of
the curtailment of my term. He said that the president had lost confidence
in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador. He added that
there had been a concerted campaign against me and that the department had
been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of
2018. He also said that I had done nothing wrong and this was not like
other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause. She says, I
departed Ukraine for good this past May.
And then this is the part that somebody somewhere is going to get tattooed
on them: Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the
president, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to
remove an ambassador based as best as I can tell on unfounded and false
claims by people with clearly questionable motives. I have served this
nation honorably for more than 30 years. I have proudly promoted and
served American interests as the representative of the American people and
six different presidents over the last three decades.
Throughout that time, I, like my colleagues at the State Department, have
always believed that we enjoyed a sacred trust with our government. We
make a difference every day on issues that matter to the American people,
whether it`s war and peace, trade and investment, or simply helping with a
lost passport. We repeatedly uproot our lives and we frequently put
ourselves in harm`s way to serve this nation.
And we do that willingly because we believe in America and it`s special
role in the world. We also believe that, in return, our government will
have our backs and protect us if we come under attack from foreign
interests. That basic understanding no longer holds true. Today, we see
the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within. State
Department leadership with Congress needs to take action now to defend this
great institution and its thousands of loyal and effective employees. I
fear that not doing so will harm our nation`s interest perhaps irreparably.
That harm will come not just through the inevitable and continuing
resignation and loss of many of this nation`s most loyal and talented
public servants. The harm will come when private interests circumvent
professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good. The harm
will come when bad actors and countries beyond Ukraine see how easy it is
to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system. In such
circumstances, the only interest that will be served are those of our
strategic adversaries like Russia, that spread chaos and attacked the
institutions and norms that the U.S. helped create in which we have
benefited from for the last 75 years.
I am proud of my work in Ukraine. The U.S. embassy under my leadership
represented and advanced the policies of the United States government. Our
efforts – our efforts were intended and evidently succeeded in thwarting
corrupt interests in Ukraine who fought back by selling baseless conspiracy
theories to anyone who would listen.
Sadly, someone was listening and our nation is the worse off for that.
Marie Yovanovitch today defying the White House and the State Department to
give that testimony to the impeachment committees in the House after they
subpoenaed her for that testimony.
I mean, if there`s still going to be a State Department in this country
doesn`t that make you want to be a Foreign Service officer? I mean, don`t
you want to grow up to be that nails whether or not you ever get to be an
But with this signal testimony today, this dramatic appearance today from
Ambassador Yovanovitch – I mean, let`s just be clear about what`s going on
here. The impeachment inquiry against President Trump is still as direct
and simple as it ever was. The president is being impeached by the House
of Representatives because he tried to pull off this game in which he tried
to get help against the Democrats and against Joe Biden from a foreign
country. That is illegal.
It is illegal to solicit a thing of value for a U.S. election from a
foreign entity, the president has done that. The White House has proven it
the impeachment inquiry is about that.
But what you Yovanovitch shows us is not just how her story fits into this
but how that violation both of American law and of the type of behavior
that is expected of a president that will result in his impeachment for
that behavior, how much that undercuts America`s interests writ large, how
much it undercuts even specific that what we were trying to do with that
one beleaguered country.
What Yovanovitch`s testimony shows us, what a whole bunch of other State
Department people are going to be testifying next week will show us, is
this thing that is going to result in all of the evidence coming out, which
is that the president couldn`t pull this off alone. He did try to
implement this through the U.S. government. As such over and over again,
we are seeing this dynamic in which people knew what was going on and
people who would not go along with it, people who were in the way, people
who saw the illegality of the scheme and either called it that or wouldn`t
participate in it, those people had to be removed. Those people had to be
And Marie Yovanovitch who put on this unbelievably impressive display of
integrity today and bravery today in Washington, she is exhibit A for that.
We know more about that today than we knew yesterday. And it turns out
after her, there is a big, long alphabet out there and the rest of that
really came into focus today, too, including a real potential problem for a
Trump cabinet secretary who is not the one who just resigned within the
last hour. It`s a different one.
Lots to get to. That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Today, veteran public service officer, former ambassador to
Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testified to the impeachment committees,
despite orders from the White House and the State Department that she
should not. She testified about President Trump ordering her removal as
ambassador reportedly because of her insistence that any request to the
Ukrainians for investigations, or any other thing having to do with law
enforcement, those should be handled under proper channels. There is a
proper and legal way for governments to work together on law enforcement
That is reportedly what Marie Yovanovitch insisted on when it came to
Ukraine. That, of course, would not do for the type of scheme the
president was trying to pull off with the help of his lawyer Rudy Giuliani
and a couple of guys who were just arrested the other night at Dulles
Airport trying to flee the country.
When Marie Yovanovitch resisted the idea that what they were requesting
should be handled sort of off the books and unofficially, she was taken out
of her job and we learned today that was on the president`s orders. Of
course, we now know that within days of her get out on the next plane
departure from Ukraine, which was demanded by president Trump and
apparently carried out by Mike Pompeo within days of her departure from
Ukraine, you may recall Rudy Giuliani within days was on television,
bragging about how is he how he personally was now headed off to Ukraine to
go get some investigations started, which we hoped he hoped would be,
quote, helpful to my client.
Giuliani made that announcement on TV that he was heading off to go get
some investigations cooking that would help Trump. That was within days of
Yovanovitch being told to get out of Ukraine by President Trump and Mike
Pompeo. We know that Giuliani essentially moved in on the Ukrainian
embassy as if he were a U.S. government employee to try to enact this
scheme in Ukraine, alongside the guys who were just arrested this week when
their indictment was unsealed, and alongside a different U.S. ambassador,
Gordon Sondland, who was sort of detailed to this project alongside
Ambassador Gordon Sondland had no diplomatic experience whatsoever before
his current job as ambassador to the E.U., which he got after he gave a
million dollars to the Trump inauguration. He funneled it through a few
different LLCs, but he did give the inauguration a million bucks. He is
the one who according to new reporting from “The Washington Post”
apparently blurted out at a White House meeting that Ukraine was going to
need to cough up some important investigations.
Text messages and in internal communications among Gordon Sondland and
others show that he`s the one who was pressing that Ukraine needed to not
just open investigations into Joe Biden, it needed to publicly announce
that it was doing so, because that obviously would have a better political
impact, right, if the public knew that those investigations were underway.
He`s also the Trump administration official who according to Republican
Senator Ron Johnson told him directly that President Trump had a quid pro
quo going with Ukraine here in which their military aid would be contingent
on them launching those politically salient investigations that the Trump
administration and the president himself were demanding.
So, yes, they needed to get rid of Marie Yovanovitch who saw it as her job
to stand up on behalf of the U.S. government and American natural national
interest, on behalf of the rule of law and against the perversion of
government powers for private or partisan political gain. Yet Marie
Yovanovitch would not be the one you would want there while you were
carrying out this scheme, so they got rid of her and they brought in these
The same thing appears to have happened specifically around the withholding
of that military aid to Ukraine. This is what “The Wall Street Journal”
was first able to report last night, it`s now been matched by “The
Washington Post”. They both are now reporting that career officials inside
the White House who worked on budget issues they reportedly raised the
alarm that Trump withholding this military aid to Ukraine, we now know, as
part of this deal for Trump to get help with his reelection from Ukraine in
exchange for that military aid, career officials inside the White House
reportedly raised the alarm that withholding that military aid was illegal.
We now know from “The Wall Street Journal” and “The Washington Post” that
in response to those expressed concerns by career White House officials,
the White House took responsibility for the handling of those military
funds away from those career officials and they instead brought in a guy
who was a Trump guy, who had been the executive director of the Wisconsin
Republican Party, and they put him in charge instead of arguably illegally
withholding those military funds.
Yahoo News advances this story further today with a report that the
Pentagon, quote, went so far as to conduct its own legal analysis of the
military aid being withheld, quote, determining that the holds were
illegal. Quote: a government official confirmed that such an analysis took
place so did several Capitol Hill staffers, they all described the
conclusion of that analysis in similar terms which is that it was illegal
for President Trump to be withholding that money.
If you`re trying to do something illegal, of course, you want your own guy
in there to be put in charge of that illegal thing you`re trying to do, so
the career folks the actual public servants would no longer be in the way.
So, we see that happen with the ambassador to Ukraine with Yovanovitch,
essentially being pushed out recalled abruptly because you won`t play ball
and they put in the guys from Trump world who will play ball. We see that
happening in the White House, right, with the military aid illegally being
withheld. Well, the people who know that`s illegal, they got to go, let`s
put in our own guy, he`ll play ball.
Even on the corrupt side deal that these guys were apparently trying to do
alongside the effort to illegally enlist a foreign government and helping
Trump get reelected – I mean, when these guys were working with Giuliani
on that deal, these guys who have now been arrested were reportedly running
this side hustle, in which they were trying to get the leadership changed
at the biggest natural gas company in Ukraine, even in that instance, on
the side hustle, they still wanted to install their own guys who would hook
them up with contracts from the biggest natural gas company in Ukraine. I
mean, from the federal indictment of these guys, we know that when they
made a more than $300,000 illegal donation to the biggest pro-Trump super
PAC, they arranged the paperwork so it would look like that donation was
from a natural gas company that they invented.
It`s kind of a weird part of the indictment. Why would they invent a fake
natural gas company to make this donation rather than doing it in their own
names? Well, that fake natural gas company they invented, that may be
connected to the fact that they were also running a side hustle, where they
were trying to take over and put their own people in charge of the biggest
natural gas company in Ukraine.
And again in that side hustle, the same pattern holds, right? Whatever
purpose these guys had in mind for whatever they wanted to do with that
company, right, you`d want to get the real people out of the way, right?
You want to get the people who are actually doing the work, who might be in
the way of your scheme, who might be alarmed by your scheme, you want to
get them out of your way.
NBC News has a really fascinating long report on that part of the scheme
today in which they note that these guys who were working with Giuliani who
were trying to take over this natural gas company, what they were trying to
do was push out the existing CEO of that natural gas company in favor of
somebody else who they wanted to install. The guy who they were trying to
push out was someone who, quote, had won high praise from U.S. and European
officials for his anti-corruption efforts.
Right. We`re starting to see how this goes. It`s like a master class. If
you`re running a very big corruption scheme, you have to get the anti-
corruption people out of the way.
You have to get the not corrupt people out of the way. You have to get the
people with integrity who know what`s illegal out of the way. You got to
get the ambassador fired.
You got to get the White House employees who handled the disbursement of
military aid pushed out. You got to get the CEO of the company who`s there
to make sure it`s not corrupt, right? You got to get all of those folks
out so you can instead install your own people and operate this scheme.
The problem with all of this from tip to tail is that those human beings
you have to push out, they are people of integrity, the upstanding
executives and the officials and the technocratic people in the anti-
corruption folks, the people who are there to do a legitimate aboveboard
job, those people when you push them out, they turn into witnesses for what
you did. They`re alive. They can talk. They might even defy your orders
not to talk.
In behavior we saw modeled by career foreign service officer Marie
Yovanovitch today, they will defy orders from the White House to speak and
they will respond to a congressional subpoena, to turn over to
congressional oversight committees what they know.
Now, one of the people for whom this is very bad news is the Secretary of
Energy Rick Perry. He appears to have connections to that effort to
replace the leadership at that Ukrainian natural gas company, right, to
replace the people who were there including the vaunted anti-corruption guy
who was CEO, to replace that guy and others with people who were more to
the liking of Rudy Giuliani`s now jailed henchmen.
Secretary Perry appears to have been caught up in that. He has now been
subpoenaed personally. It should be noted he has also said that his
department will cooperate fully with the impeachment investigation, we
shall see now that he`s got a subpoena on his own desk.
It is also terrible news for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was up to
his neck in this before today, but now, he`s in a terrible position. He is
not trying to cooperate. He has decided that his legacy here will be his
efforts to try to block all State Department personnel from testifying to
the impeachment committees.
Well, as of today, that is not working. Secretary Pompeo, you can order
them all you want not to testify. In response to duly issued subpoenas
from the impeachment committees, though, they can still turn up.
It was Marie Yovanovitch today. It will be a longtime State Department
hand Fiona Hill on Monday. It will be another career veteran State
Department official George Kent on Tuesday.
On Thursday, it`s going to be that Trump donor guy who got sent in
basically to replace you Yovanovitch and deliver the quid pro quo demands
to the Ukrainian government, you won`t get your military aid until we get
our investigations, he was the guy alongside vice president Mike Pence who
appears to have issued that directive to the Ukrainian government. After
him, there will be more State Department officials who are expected to
speak both in terms of depositions already scheduled and depositions that
we know are coming.
Mike Pompeo`s own role in this scheme for which the president is being
impeached, appears to be kind of a marquee thing now. I mean, it is – it
is not hard to imagine Secretary of State Pompeo being impeached for
exactly what the president being impeached for here. I mean, he is the one
who carried out the president`s orders to recall that ambassador, which was
apparently part of this scheme to clear the way for what Trump was trying
to do with Ukraine.
Pompeo`s State Department apparently up to the level of the number-two guy
in the department was aware that Yovanovitch had done nothing wrong.
Pompeo`s State Department put out this false statement that she was
returning from Ukraine as planned when in fact as they knew she was being
recalled early because the president demanded it.
For two weeks, Mike Pompeo tried to pretend publicly that he had no idea
what had gone on between president Trump and the Ukrainian president on the
call for which the president is now being impeached. It would soon emerge
that in fact Pompeo was on that call, listening in to the entire thing,
even though for two weeks he made it seem like he had no idea what might
have happened there.
I mean, Mike Pompeo today seeing this brave ambassador walk across the
capitol grounds check herself in through the magnetometer and sit down for
nine hours of testimony, seeing that ambassador defy his orders not to show
up today, seeing her show up to say her piece, including releasing a
blistering public version of her opening statement, you can imagine how
today felt for Mike Pompeo. He might have thought though that he had found
a little bit of a safe haven in his public schedule today. His main public
event today was a religious freedom event in Tennessee, whoo, that at least
should be safe.
He clearly did not expect to run into local reporters who knew exactly what
they were talking about, who were absolutely read in on this subject, who
knew what to ask, who wouldn`t back down and were ready to answer – excuse
me – ready to advance this story even when he would not answer.
Watch this from Nashville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The announcement yesterday, one of your most trusted senior
advisors resign. He`s adding his voice to a number of career diplomats
who`ve expressed frustration over what they see as your failure to stand up
for government servants and for servants like Ambassador Yovanovitch have
been caught up in the Ukraine controversy.
Did you do enough to defend the ambassador privately and publicly against
the smear campaign that was being waged against her? And will you speak to
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, maybe they have some of your facts
wrong. So you should be careful about things you have served as facts
before you state them.
REPORTER: Can you speak to Michael McKinley`s resignation?
POMPEO: I don`t talk about personnel matters.
REPORTER: Did he speak to you personally about it as he resigned?
POMPEO: I don`t talk about personnel matters.
REPORTER: Did you support an ambassador – the ambassador being recalled
months before her tenure was up?
POMPEO: I`ve supported every mission that the State Department has been
REPORTER: In mid-February, you were in Warsaw and so is Rudy Giuliani.
During your time there, did you meet with Giuliani?
POMPEO: You know, I don`t talk about how I meet with. I went to Warsaw
for a particular purpose.
REPORTER: So, you`re not going to say whether you met with him?
POMPEO: So when I was in Warsaw, I had a singular focus. My focus was
singly on the work that we have done.
REPORTER: It sounds like you`re not going to say.
POMPEO: When I was in Warsaw, we were working diligently to accomplish the
REPORTER: Text messages show that diplomats under your authority told the
Ukrainians that a good relationship with President Trump was only possible
if they investigated his political opponent and theories about what
happened in 2016. Were you aware that this was happening?
POMPEO: You know, again, you`ve got your facts wrong. It sounds like
you`re working at least in part for the Democratic National Committee when
you phrase a predicate of a question in that way. It`s unfortunate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The reporter asking those questions was Nancy Amon from WSMV,
which is the local NBC affiliate in Nashville. Wow, did she do a good job
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, listen, can`t answer questions from local
reporters, not when everybody can follow this very straightforward story
and his role in it. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may find himself
getting impeached here, not only for his role in this scheme but for how he
has tried to cover it up since.
I mean, Mike Pompeo tried to hide the fact that he was on the call for
which the president is being impeached for a couple of weeks. He appears
clearly now in an interview with NBC`s affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee,
he appears clearly now to be trying to hide something about when and where
he was meeting with Rudy Giuliani while the scheme was being hatched.
Secretary of State Pompeo, did you in fact meet with Rudy Giuliani in
Warsaw, earlier this year before we all knew this scheme was underway?
Again, this is the scheme for which the president is now being impeached.
And everybody`s trying to get as far away as they can from this, right?
But with the first arrests, with not just one but multiple photos of the
president and the vice president, with these men who were just arrested and
the president`s eldest son with these men who were just arrested, with news
about the White House dinner that President Trump invited these men who
were just arrested to just last year, that`s him inviting them to the White
House for a meeting, for a dinner meeting, right – I mean this is a
downward spiral at this point.
The homeland security secretary resigned tonight, Kevin McAleenan. The
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is facing a subpoena for his involvement in
this, including what looks like the financially remunerable side hustle
that these guys who have now been arrested appeared to be engaged in
alongside the thing for which the president`s going to be impeached. The
secretary of state appears to be at risk of impeachment himself as he is
multiply implicated in the president`s scheme with a State Department
underneath him that a now appears that now appears to have turned roundly
against him, including the resignation in protest of his number two last
Buckle up. I tell you, here we go and this is going to be another weekend
when the news does not stop. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think she has been a model diplomat and
deserved better than the shabby treatment she received from this president
and from the secretary of state.
REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): I just sat through eight hours that went like a
New York second. It was that amazing, that powerful, that impactful and
just feel very fortunate to have been there.
SCHIFF: I think she is a courageous example for others and I think all the
members were extraordinarily impressed with her testimony today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Members of Congress reacting to the testimony today from the
former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. If nothing else, her testimony today
appears from the outside to have been thorough. She emerged from that
closed-door deposition today after nine plus hours. She didn`t get out
until 7:40 p.m. Eastern Time.
Joining us now is Congressman Tom Malinowski who attended this deposition
today. Before his election to Congress last year, he serves as an
assistant secretary of state, the culmination of a long career in both the
State Department and the National Security Council.
Sir, thank you so much for making time tonight. I know it`s been a long
REP. TOM MALINOWSKI (D-NJ): Thank you so much.
MADDOW: I was struck by what Congressman Heck there said about how it was
eight hours that went like a New York second, that he seemed – he seemed
moved by the testimony. How would you describe the testimony today?
MALINOWKSI: I agree you know we spent nine hours with a diplomat, a
patriot of tremendous courage and integrity, who answered questions
honestly, thoroughly and who set an example today that not only should you
obey a legally binding subpoena, but you can. You can be a career civil
servant or foreign service officer.
And despite the president`s efforts to deny you the opportunity, to compel
you to not testify to Congress, you can.
MADDOW: Do you believe that she`s at risk of retaliation or firing within
the State Department because of her today to obey this subpoena? I know
that the State Department reportedly on orders from the White House told
her not to come when she got the subpoena. She did. Are you worried for
her career, for her future?
MALINOWSKI: She better not be at risk. What she did was to follow the
rule of law and she set an example for everybody else in doing so.
And, you know, Secretary Pompeo has a decision to make. Right now, he is
showing that he either will not or perhaps cannot defend his employees, his
institution. And if he can`t defend his employees and institution, he has
no business being where he is.
MADDOW: After your career at the State Department, sir, including serving
as assistant secretary of state, I wanted to talk to you tonight if I could
get you in part for reaction to the news that Mr. McKinley at the State
Department has resigned essentially in protest of Secretary Pompeo`s
inability to stand up for career foreign service officers and other people
who have been caught up in this, including Ambassador Yovanovitch.
Obviously, that struck me as an important resignation. The kind of thing
we have not seen very often during this administration for all of its
What was your reaction to that?
MALINOWSKI: Well, he is – he`s someone I know and worked with when he was
ambassador to Afghanistan. He is a model career public servant. I haven`t
spoken to him but this is a widespread concern in the State Department,
that the secretary either will not or cannot defend them.
And you know, it`s not just about defending our employees. It`s about
defending our interests.
Every single person at the State Department, up to and including Secretary
Pompeo, is living under the tweet of Damocles. They can`t do anything.
They can`t say anything for fear that the next morning, there will be some
something from the president that undercuts them. And so, they are frozen,
they are paralyzed.
And, you know, we`re seeing it play out in the in the Turkey-Syria
situation. We`re seeing it play out when perhaps even the secretary wanted
to defend Ambassador Yovanovitch but felt that the next day Trump could
tweet out, you know, throwing her under the bus and him under the bus. You
cannot run our diplomacy in this way.
MADDOW: Do you believe that Secretary of State Pompeo is himself at risk
of impeachment because of the way that he has been involved in this scheme,
that the president is being impeached for now and because of his behavior
MALINOWSKI: Look, I think his behavior is shameful. I don`t think we are
out to impeach the Trump administration. We are looking at the conduct of
the president of the United States. He is responsible for everything that
we are talking about today and it is our highest constitutional duty to
hold him responsible, because there is no other institution that can do so.
MADDOW: Democratic Congressman Tom Malinowski, a veteran of State
Department and the National Security Council – sir, thanks for making
time. I appreciate it.
MALINOWSKI: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Much more to come. Stay with us.
MADDOW: When Donald Trump filed his first financial disclosure report as
president in 2017, it turns out he left a little thing off. The president
left off that disclosure form any mention of his own role in the illegal
campaign finance scheme that had sent his former personal attorney to
federal prison, a scheme for which the president was designated individual
one by federal prosecutors who said explicitly that he directed the
commission of that felony. He was financially involved in that crime,
federal prosecutors say he directed its commission but he left off his
financial disclosure form any reference to his financial connection to
that. Just sure it was an oversight.
Him leaving off that reference to his involvement in that felony and later
correcting it to add reference to his financial involvement in that felony,
that led the oversight committee in Congress to maybe want to have a look
at more of the information underlying the president`s financial
disclosures. I mean, you tend to get a closer look once you`re shown to
have left a little bit out that might have been politically inconvenient
for yourself, right?
The committee also decided they wanted to go look into whether the
financial disclosure process itself should maybe be more rigorous now that
we have presidents who have shown a propensity to not include the stuff
that is related to their involvement in felonies. Right?
That initial financial disclosure debacle, that is actually the very simple
history behind what was a body blow legal ruling against President Trump at
the federal appeals court level in Washington, D.C. today, and what “The
New York Times” calls, quote, the first test at the appeals court level of
the Trump legal teams sweeping challenges to the constitutional authority
of Congress to conduct oversight of his activities. In that first test
that the appeals court level today, the president lost badly.
Quote: The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the
committee and we affirm. Contrary to the president`s arguments, the
committee possesses authority under both the house rules and the
constitution to issue the subpoena and Mazars must comply.
That was a 2-1 ruling against President Trump and his legal team at the
federal appeals court level.
And today was actually a bad a terrible day for President Trump in court on
everything. His wall got blocked in court today. Here`s how NBC News`s
Pete Williams described that ruling. A, quote, federal judge ruled Friday
that President Donald Trump violated federal law when he used his
declaration of a national emergency to get millions for building a wall on
the southern border. Trump also today lost in three other federal courts,
in three different states where judges blocked his attempt to overhaul
immigration policy that only immigrants with lots of money will be allowed
in. This is the so-called public charge rule.
Trump lost his wall today. He also lost on that immigration change today
to three times over. And none of those rulings I just described today are
about impeachment directly, but on the taxes one, this appeals court one,
the president has a couple of really big problems now here. I mean,
separate and apart from getting one step closer to having to hand over his
taxes which he seems desperate to not do. I mean, he`s lost all of the
federal cases in which he has argued that he doesn`t have to hand them
He`s lost all of those at the district level so far. Now, he`s lost his
first one at the appeals level as well. He`ll presumably try the Supreme
Court eventually, but this has just not gone well for him. And even today,
there was two judges that voted essentially against the president and one
Trump appointed judge who voted in his favor today. She lost, but even her
dissent today was terrible for the president. In her dissent today, she
said the subpoena should be quashed, the oversight committee is not within
its right to demand Trump`s financial records.
But the reason she said the committee can`t get those financial records is
because the proper way to get them would be through impeachment
proceedings. Quote: Impeachment provides the exclusive method for Congress
to investigate accusations of illegal conduct by impeachable officials,
particularly with the aid of compulsory process. Throughout our history,
Congress, the president and the courts have recognized the gravity and
accountability that follow impeachment. Presidents since George Washington
have declined demands to produce documents for legislative purposes, while
acknowledging that the same request pursuant to the impeachment power might
be treated differently.
So, this is the judge – the Trump appointed judge who voted Trump`s way
today in that - ruling against him. Even in dissent, she`s making clear,
hey, listen though if you`re in impeachment proceedings they can definitely
compel documents and testimony and witnesses.
I mean, hey, Congress, if you really want to do that, you should try
impeaching this guy, because if you`re impeaching him you`re going to get
everything you want from him. That`s the dissent that went Trump`s way
today. I mean, even when things go badly for this president in court, the
closer you look at it, the worse it is. And we have just the person to
talk to about the president`s very bad day in court joining us next.
Joining us now is Neal Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general in
the Obama administration.
Neal, Mr. Katyal, it`s great to see you. Thanks for joining us tonight.
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Great to see you.
MADDOW: So lawyers for the president have been trying to shield him from
investigation by Congress, trying to say that Congress has no right to do
that, trying to block access to his financial records. It is my sense that
he is losing all of these cases but that today`s loss might be a bigger
KATYAL: Absolutely, Rachel. I mean, you called it a body blow, and it is
a body blow, and there were several other body blows as you mentioned today
in the courts. The immigration loss and the law – the other losses that
he faced today, and I think basically you`ve got that and you`ve got
Congress really investigating the Ukraine thing hard.
And all together, you`ve got a lot of phenomenon all against the president,
and I think it suggests really, you know, what that great legal scholar
Twisted Sister said, we`re not going to take it anymore. You`ve got
Congress in the courts saying, uh-oh, Mr. President, we have checks and
balances in this country and you can`t do all of these shenanigans that
you`re engaged in.
MADDOW: Dee Snider right now is rocking out to that allusion that you just
Let me ask you, Neal, if my observation about what might be dangerous for
President Trump, even in the dissent today, even in the single Trump
appointed justice who sort of voted his way today, by sort of ratifying the
importance of the impeachment process and its potency for compelling
witnesses and documents, I felt like that was no safe harbor for him and
that might potentially sort of augur poorly for him as this goes up to
either en banc or Supreme Court review.
KATYAL: Your hundred-percent on it, Rachel. So, I mean, there`s two
problems that I think Trump has with the dissent. Number one is this
dissent by Judge Rao (ph) is not really worth the paper it`s printed on.
It`s unconvincing and to the extent that he had hoped for some sort of
rationale that would buy him traction in the U.S. Supreme Court, I don`t
think he got it today. So that`s problem number one.
Then, problem number two is, to the extent she identified a problem, it was
just a paper problem that Congress hadn`t used the magic word impeachment.
But, of course, we all know Congress is heading toward using exactly that
magic word and so you`re exactly right in saying that the even the dissent
gives the Democrats basically everything they want. And that`s how it
should be in our constitutional system and the president is asserting
preposterous arguments that he can`t be indicted, he can`t be investigated
because he`s sitting president and now he`s saying in this eight page
letter this week by his White House counsel, he can`t even be impeached.
Well, the only person in our history that`s ever been like that is King
George III, and that`s what our revolution was against. So I think even
the dissent recognized at least that minimum proposition of our separation
MADDOW: To see that – to have watched those arguments be made by the
president and his legal teams has been sort of stunning to say – to see.
As you said, the courts saying, we`re not going to take it anymore and
pushing back did feel like a big change and an important one.
Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general, sir, thank you for making
time for us tonight. I really appreciate it.
KATYAL: Thank you.
MADDOW: We`re going to be back – I`m told we`re going to be back with
some breaking news. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Didn`t I just tell you that the news is going to keep breaking
this weekend? In the last couple of minutes since we have been on the air,
we just got a new report from “The New York Times”.
And looking at one way, this is our fourth report I think that the
president`s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is under some kind of criminal
investigation for his work in Ukraine. CNN was first to report that and
ABC and Bloomberg had similar reports. All of those have tied the reported
investigation into Giuliani, to the arrests and indictments yesterday of
these two people he`s been working on, been working with. They were
arrested on campaign finance-related charges.
But “The Times” tonight adds a new wrinkle. The headline is Giuliani is
said to be under investigation for Ukraine work, but then the description
is specific. Prosecutors are investigating whether the president`s lawyer
broke laws meant to prevent covert foreign influence on the government.
That would imply that Rudy Giuliani is under investigation not necessarily
or in addition to campaign finance-related charges, but also for lobbying
laws and potentially foreign agent laws when it comes to this work he`s
been doing in Ukraine.
The news is still pouring in this late on a Friday night. I`m telling you,
this weekend is going to be like the last couple of weekends. No rest for
That does it for us tonight, at least for now. See you again soon.
Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD. Ari Melber is in for Lawrence tonight.
Good evening, Ari.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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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