Quid Pro Quo is done TRANSCRIPT: 10/18/2019, The Rachel Maddow Show
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: October 18, 2019
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, “ALL IN”: There are still tickets left.
Plus, big news, we have details for the third stop of our tour, which is
Chicago. Tuesday, November 12th. We`ll release tickets at Monday at 10:00
a.m. Central. You can get the tickets for Chicago at the same place you
got them for L.A. That`s MSNBC.com/withpodtour.
That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend.
Man, I love these live shows. Excellent. Thanks.
HAYES: I do, too.
MADDOW: All right. Thanks for joining us this hour. Happy to have you
A little bit less than a year ago, shortly after former President George
H.W. Bush died, his funeral in Washington was the kind of occasion that we
only very, very, very rarely see in U.S. politics, right? I mean, there
are only so many U.S. presidents. There are only so many ex-presidents
alive at any one time, and any one of them passing is always going to be a
very, very big deal, let alone one as revered as former President George
One of the things that was remarkable about his funeral last year were the
pictures from the funeral. Do you remember this shot? Rosalynn Carter
next to Jimmy Carter next to Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, next to
Michelle Obama and Barack Obama, next to Melania Trump, next to Donald
Trump, all there together, the vice presidents and their families sitting
You just don`t see that in real life. That`s like flipping through a
history book, right? Except there they all are on the same page in the
same place, at the same time all together. You never see that.
But President Bush`s funeral at the National Cathedral was a huge affair.
It wasn`t just presidents and vice presidents and their families. It was
everyone imaginable in U.S. politics.
One of the weirder things we have since learned about the attendance of
that funeral is that when former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided
that he would attend that funeral, he brought with him a date, a most
unusual date. The Bush family has since pronounced themselves, quote,
disappointed to learn that the man who Rudy Giuliani brought to Poppy
Bush`s funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington was Lev Parnas?
Lev Parnas now famous as one of Rudy Giuliani`s two associates who was just
last week arrested at Dulles Airport with a one-way ticket out of that
country. He and three other men have been charged with a sprawling
campaign finance scheme that prosecutors say was designed, among other
things, to funnel illegal foreign donations to the president`s re-election
effort and to a number of different Republican campaigns.
Well, since those arrests, the picture that has unfolded about Mr. Parnas,
about Rudy Giuliani`s date for the Poppy Bush funeral, it started bad, but
it`s gotten very dark very fast. Here, for example, is Ben Schreckinger
and Darren Samuelsohn writing for Politico.com.
Quote: On October 25th, 2008, the owner of a property in Florida in which
Lev Parnas had been living told Parnas he needed to leave. When the men
began to argue and the owner told Parnas he would call the police, Parnas
told the man, quote, if you call the cops, they`re not going to find you,
That`s according to a petition for a restraining order that was
subsequently filed in court in south Florida. That restraining order
petition was obtained by these “Politico” reporters. According to court
filings, despite that, they will never find you ever threat, three days
later, quote, the men met again to discuss the matter further.
According to the restraining order petition, this time it went even worse.
Quote, Lev Parnas held a gun to the man`s head and said, this is my last
warning to you. He then, according to the court filing, got into his car,
a dark blue Porsche, and he drove off.
We know from another court motion obtained by “Politico” that soon
thereafter, on Halloween night, police found Mr. Parnas and seized at least
three guns from him, including a 40 caliber Glock, a 9 millimeter
semiautomatic pistol and a .38 revolver.
So, now, in what is turning out to be sort of the criminal prosecution
offshoot to the ongoing proceedings against President Trump, some of the
mystery here, some of the weirdness here is finally start to come into
focus after a week or so of starting to figure out who this cast of
characters is. I mean, first, you should know this particular guy, the one
who went to the George H.W. Bush funeral as the guest of Rudy Giuliani, the
guy with the gun to the head restraining order filings in Florida, he`s the
only one of these four guys who were charged in this criminal case this
past week who apparently has not made bail. Interesting.
His friend, Igor, did. Igor is out on $1 million bail. After some initial
confusion as to the bail status of these guys, we actually talked with the
reporter who told us that with her own eyes she saw Igor walk under his own
power out of a federal courthouse with his lawyers. So we`re confident
that Igor was ultimately bailed on $1 million bail.
We also know from the arraignment of the other two defendants in this case,
yesterday in federal district court in New York, the other two defendants
in this case have also made bail, the guy arrested in San Francisco. Like
Igor, he was released on $1 million bail. The guy who was at large for
several days after the indictment was unsealed who was only eventually
arrested just a couple of days ago after arriving at JFK airport. He too
is out on bail, although his bail was set lower, was set at a quarter of a
We actually got the transcript of their arraignment today and we can see
from the transcript of the arraignment that the judge hearing the case –
he confirms the bail arrangements for all these defendants. The judge then
in his interactions gives us a couple pieces of information about this case
that we didn`t previously have. First of all, the judge makes clear this
might be a case that is a little bit sprawling. I mean, soon after an
arraignment like this, it`s incumbent upon the prosecutors basically to
share with the defendants and their lawyers, to share with the other side
the evidence that prosecutors are going to use to try to prove their case
against these defendants a process called discovery. It`s part of a fair
trial. You get to see what the government has against you.
Well, in the arraignment in federal court yesterday afternoon, prosecutors
told the judge that in this case, the discovery is going to be a lot. So
much so that it`s going to take a long time for them just to hand it all
From the transcript, the judge says, quote: Before we address scheduling, I
would like to ask counsel for the government if they could briefly describe
the categories and volume of discovery to be produced.
Prosecutor says: Yes, your honor. The discovery in this case is fairly,
fairly voluminous. It includes approximately 10 search warrant
applications and records obtained pursuant to search warrants for over 10
email accounts which encompass multiple gigabytes of electronic data. The
discovery will also include financial records for more than 50 bank
Again, according to the prosecutor, quote: fairly voluminous an amount, as
well as records from a number of third parties that either have been
produced or continuing to be produced. So, your honor, the government`s
intention is to begin discovery on a rolling basis.
I mean, I know it is four guys who are charged in this indictment, but more
than 50 bank accounts?
Prosecutors also made clear under further questioning from the judge that
seems like this is not over, that this investigation is not done. The
judge says, quote, to the prosecutor: Do you anticipate any superseding
indictments at this point, meaning further indictments of these four
Prosecutor says: Your honor, I think it is fair to characterize the
investigation as ongoing, but no decision about any type of additional
charges has been made.
So, I mean, we know that the government`s case, prosecutor`s case is
ongoing here because since these guys were all indicted, we know that at
least one former Republican congressman to whom they allegedly steered
illegal foreign campaign contributions, former Texas Republican Congressman
Pete Sessions has received a subpoena from the same grand jury that
indicted these guys. So, because the grand jury still handing out
subpoenas, we know this investigation is ongoing and there`s the
possibility of further charges against either the guys who have already
been charged or against additional defendants.
But now from the transcript, we`ve got it here from the prosecutor`s mouth
as well. Your Honor, I think it is fair to characterize the government`s
investigation as ongoing.
In this criminal case, though, that, again, appears to be the sort of
criminal prosecution that is adjacent and connected to the ongoing
impeachment proceedings against the president, I find it interesting that
of the four guys who were charged, only one of them appears to still be in
because no not bailed out. He`s the one opt far left, the one who has in
his public record this holding a gun to the guy`s head stuff from Florida.
There`s also been extensive public reporting on the number of outstanding
civil fraud suits that he appears to have been running from from some time.
If you look at the public record of his past experience as a stock broker,
you also find that he`s been associated with at least three financial firms
that have been shut down by financial regulators, including one that later
surfaced in a lurid, mob-connected stock scheme that involved senior
members of the Colombo crime family. Tell me again how he ended up as Rudy
Giuliani`s date at Poppy Bush`s funeral?
Tell me also how he ended up having dinner at the White House with the
sitting president of the United States. Tell me again why he`s got all
these different pictures of himself with the sitting president of the
United States. I mean, it`s almost more unnerving that in addition to the
pictures of himself with the president, we`ve also got a picture of him
with the president`s eldest son, right?
The other guy besides his codefendant on the far right side of this picture
and the president`s son on the far left side of this picture, the other guy
in this picture is a man who at the time this picture was taken was running
the main super PAC that is supporting President Trump`s re-election
efforts. That`s a super PAC called America First, which itself is named in
these felony allegations from federal prosecutors about these illegal
foreign campaign donations. We`re going to have more on that aspect of
this case coming up in just a moment, ProPublica has just published some
eye-popping new stuff about that part of the president`s re-election effort
and how that might factor in here.
But on Capitol Hill in Washington, right, I mean, the impeachment part of
this, the impeachment thing is obviously not going very well for the
president. There`s no clear sense as to who is quarterbacking the White
House`s defense for the proceedings. There have been some insinuations
over the last week or two that maybe it was White House Chief of Staff Mick
Mulvaney who was running the defense to the impeachment, whether or not
that was true before yesterday, it`s definitely not true now. Not after
Mr. Mulvaney strode to the White House podium and cheerfully admitted that
not only, yes, the president definitely submitted help from a foreign
government to use against the Democrats, but of course there was pressure
behind it, a little trade, call it quid pro quo, whatever you want, just
get over it.
White House chief of staff cheerfully, even boisterously admitting
yesterday that, yes, military aid was withheld in exchange for these
demands from the president for domestic political help against his
That performance by the White House chief of staff yesterday – I mean,
it`s scrambled Republicans defense of the president`s behavior, right?
That cheerful admission from him that yes, there was a quid pro quo. That
has undermined the chief defense of the president`s actions from multiple
Republicans in Congress. I keep they`ll be paying for that politically for
a very long time.
The other thing, though, that Mick Mulvaney set out to announce was the
plan by the administration to steer what amounts to a gigantic government
contract to the president`s golf property in Florida, which is called
Doral. We`re going to talk about that a little later on tonight in the
context of the impeachment inquiry because it`s starting to look like that
itself could end up being an additional stand-alone article of impeachment
against President Trump.
Again, that is still to come just this hour. It`s Friday, right, so the
news is like pureeing something in a blender with no lid on. It`s just
happening. We`ll get to everything, I swear.
But I do want to say tonight kudos to Bloomberg News and CNN for what I
think is the most important new reporting of the day, important new
reporting about how this scheme for which the president is being impeached
appears to have come together. They – both of these two reports give us
something new and very, very fundamental that makes a lot of what is
otherwise been confusing suddenly seem crystal clear.
Let`s start with Bloomberg. Bloomberg reporter Stephanie Baker and Irina
Reznik tonight have what amounts to the scoop I`ve been waiting for for the
past few weeks, a scoop at a finally makes the whole cast of characters
that Rudy Giuliani and the president appear to have employed here sort of
makes sense as part of one cogent and rational, if potentially quite
illegal story. It has to do with this Kremlin connected Ukrainian oligarch
who we have been talking about for the last few weeks in conjunction with
His name is Dmytro Firtash. For years, he was the Kremlin main power
player in Ukraine. The Putin government set him up in business in Ukraine
as its cutout. The deals that Putin set up for him made him very rich and
very powerful in that country. He in turn then funded pro-Putin political
parties in Ukraine, including funding the career of Trump`s now-imprisoned
campaign chairman Paul Manafort what he was working for pro-Putin interests
in that country.
The problem is that U.S. law enforcement considers Dmytro Firtash to be an
upper echelon associate of Russian organized crime and the Justice
Department has indicted him in a gigantic bribery scandal. They want to
put him on trial in the northern district of Illinois.
Now, he`s been under house arrest. Dmytro Firtash has been out on bail,
like $174 million bail, he`s out on bail in Vienna, he`s under house
arrest, he`s been fighting efforts to extradite him to the United States to
face those felony charges. He`s been fighting those efforts for years.
I`ve been obsessed with this guy for a long – I mean, he`s the reason kind
of that I wrote this book. It`s weird that it just came out at the same
time. This is happening with the president`s impeachment.
But as interesting as this story is, as important as it is to understand
that part of the world, what Bloomberg is reporting tonight kind of makes
it all fall into place. What Bloomberg is reporting tonight is that the
way we may have gotten ourselves into this impeachment drama we are in in
this country is, when his case took a bad turn for him this summer, this
thing for which the president is now being impeached seemed to sort of kick
Here`s what happened. This summer, a court in Austria ruled in what
appeared to be a final decision that this guy, Dmytro Firtash, finally had
to be extradited to the United States to face federal bribery charges in a
U.S. court. He`s been fighting this for years. This court ruling this
past summer makes it seem like it`s finally going to have to go.
Quote: In five years of court battles, Firtash`s legal team had
successfully beaten back U.S. efforts to bring him to trial in Illinois.
The tide appeared to turn in the summer when the Justice Department won a
ruling in Austria securing Firtash`s extradition. At that point, as
Bloomberg reports tonight, Firtash essentially hit the panic button in his
case, or at least decided he was going to put plan B into action.
Up until that point, his highest profile U.S. lawyer had been a man named
Lanny Davis, which might have made sense for a while for Mr. Firtash, but
after Mr. Davis became publicly associated with Michael Cohen, President
Trump`s one-time personal lawyer who famously turned against President
Trump, one Lanny Davis and Michael Cohen were an anti-Trump force out there
in the world, that no longer was a good look for Mr. Firtash`s defense
So, Mr. Firtash after that ruling that said he was going to get extradited
to the United States, when he put into effect plan B, when he hit the panic
alarm and changed gears in terms of how he was trying to avoid trial in the
United States, he got rid of Lanny Davis and, quote, shuffled his lawyers,
dropped Lanny Davis and instead added these two pro-Trump TV lawyers whom
Bloomberg describes as vocal supporters of President Trump who had worked
with Rudy Giuliani.
So, here`s Firtash, right? Putin`s guy in Ukraine, allegedly connected to
the Russian mob, very, very, very, very rich, very powerful, fears that
he`s finally going to lose his extradition fight and ends up in court. He
dumps his lawyers who might be seen as anti-Trump, picks up new Fox News
lawyers who are very pro-Trump and who specifically have connections to
What else can he do to try to help his case to stop the U.S. Justice
Department from extraditing him and putting him on trial? He believed he
had one other card to play.
Quoting from Bloomberg tonight: Associates of Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian
oligarch fighting extradition to the U.S. were working to dig up dirt on
former Vice President Joe Biden last summer in an effort to get Rudy
Giuliani`s help in the oligarch`s legal case. That is according to three
people familiar with the exchanges.
Dmytro Firtash charged with conspiracy by the United States and living in
Vienna shuffled lawyers to add vocal supporters of President Trump to their
team, vocal supporters of President Trump who had worked with Mayor
Giuliani. Around that time, Firtash`s associates began using his broad
network of Ukraine contacts to try to get damaging information on Biden.
The pro-Trump lawyers have billed the oligarch $1 million for their work
thus far, that includes costs to be paid to Lev Parnas, a Giuliani
associate who reportedly acted as a, quote, translator and important
So, this very rich guy in Ukraine is pulling every string he can to try to
get out of trouble with the U.S. Justice Department. Gets rid of the anti-
Trump lawyer, puts these pro-Trump lawyers on the payroll, and that
includes putting Lev Parnas on the payroll.
Rudy Giuliani then says he in turn has been paid about $500,000 by Lev
Parnas. I wonder where that money came from. Giuliani by his own
admission, along with his friend, Lev, according to U.S. prosecutors, then
got to work trying to get rid of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine because
they saw her as an impediment to this scheme.
They also, Lev and Igor, according to the U.S. prosecutors, suddenly became
conduits for mysteriously large sums of money that appeared to be foreign
in origin that got funneled to the president`s reelection efforts and to
multiple Republican campaigns.
Giuliani then gets inserted by the president into the diplomatic process
between the United States and Ukraine so that Ukraine through him gets the
quid pro quo message. They`re not going to get any White House meeting for
their new president. They`re not going to get their military aid unless
they cough off damaging information that President Trump can use against
And what is this specific damaging information that the president and Rudy
Giuliani want, that they think they can get from Ukraine? Turns out it`s
all stuff, all allegations against Biden, coughed up by Dmytro Firtash,
including the supposed holy grail of this whole effort, sworn allegations
against Vice President Biden from a former Ukrainian prosecutor whose sworn
statement it says right on the front page was obtained via Dmytro Firtash.
And that`s where the other big scoop of the night comes in. CNN reporting
exclusively tonight that one of the State Department depositions that
happened behind closed doors this week in impeachment proceedings against
President Trump included testimony that Rudy Giuliani intervened at the
State Department and the White House to try to get a U.S. visa to the guy
who swore out that statement with all those made-up allegations against Joe
Biden. That sworn statement that Firtash gave to Giuliani that Giuliani
have been waving around on television and saying is all the dirt on Biden
that the Ukrainian government is supposed to investigate, right?
Dmytro Firtash gave that statement to Giuliani, apparently, because he
thought it would be something that would be of value to President Trump.
This is a guy who`s very rich and directly connected to the Kremlin,
allegedly connected to Russian organized crime. He`s facing trial in the
United States. He switches gears last summer, right, when it looks like
he`s going to get extradited and he gets busy filling out his payroll and
pulling every string he can possibly get to get the Trump administration
and people connected to the president to kibosh his extradition to the U.S.
and his felony prosecution.
According to CNN tonight, the State Department objected to that guy being
given a visa because of his whole life known involvement in corruption in
Ukraine. The State Department didn`t grant his visa. According to the
State Department official who gave his deposition in the impeachment
proceedings this week, Giuliani then, quote, appealed to the White House to
have the State Department reverse its decision and grant that visa. The
man`s visa was, however, quote, never granted.
So at least that`s one story line, right? I mean, since this cast of
characters started to emerge, it was pretty clear that this was going to be
a dark story. As the impeachment proceedings go forward in Congress, as
this criminal case goes forward in the Southern District of New York, if
it`s true as reported that a counterintelligence investigation has also
been opened into Mr. Giuliani to ascertain how much of this may be a
foreign influence operation directed by a foreign government or directed by
a foreign intelligence service, presumably as all those things go forward
in concert, we are going to learn more.
But at least the view from here as of tonight, as of this part of the hour,
who knows what will break in the next two minutes, right, but at least our
view from this vantage point is – I mean, it`s a movie. The scheme for
which the president is going to be impeached kind of seems to have started
with a Kremlin-connected billionaire, who U.S. law enforcement says is
linked to the Russian mob. He`s wanted in this country on felony charges.
He`s been buying up people in Trump world to buy help for himself to stop
himself from being prosecuted for corruption in U.S. federal court. If
this new reporting bears out, it would appear that part of the way he was
trying to buy himself out of being prosecuted by the U.S. Justice
Department was by concocting anti-Joe Biden documents and allegations to
attract the attention of and win the favor of president of the United
States by giving him fake foreign origin dirt that the president could use
against his Democratic opponents in the next election. Because, of course,
why would you try that after how well everything worked for these guys in
The other piece that is emerging today thanks to new reporting from
ProPublica is that main super PAC supporting President Trump`s re-election,
that super PAC appears to be not only directly implicated in the criminal
part of this scheme involving Rudy Giuliani`s funeral date for Poppy Bush`s
funeral and all the rest of these guys, it also appears to have some other
quite serious problems that look bad in this criminal case but look worse
in terms of the new stuff that is just coming to light.
Again, this is the main dark money group supporting the president`s re-
election effort, and that`s our next story.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: When associates of Rudy Giuliani, the president`s lawyer, got
arrested last week, these guys, it was alleged conspiracy to break the
campaign finance laws of this country. Prosecutors say one part of their
scheme involved them trying to funnel foreign money into U.S. elections, in
part, through a political action committee that`s referred to as committee-
1. Committee-1 is referred to by reporters as America First Action, the
main super PAC supporting President Trump`s re-election.
Now, why were these guys allegedly carrying out this felony campaign
finance scheme that involved trying to funnel hundreds of thousands of
dollars into the president`s re-election super PAC? I don`t know. Stay
tuned. I want to go to all the court hearings.
But the same super PAC shows up in new reporting from ProPublica today.
Looks at the PAC in terms of some of their ongoing drama. Quote: Last
year, a Department of Defense contractor quietly donated a-million dollars
to this PAC, America First Action. A day after the company was awarded a
supplemental government contract worth just under half a million dollars,
they turned around and basically spent that much money on a campaign
donation to the Donald Trump super PAC.
That`s a problem because federal contractors are not allowed to donate to
political entities. Now, upon being caught out for having done this, the
company`s founder said oops, he meant to make this as a personal donation,
not as an illegal contractor donation. He subsequently filed paper work to
clean up as the did the pro-Trump super PAC.
But the company founder first acknowledged to ProPublica that, quote, the
optics of his America First donation were less than ideal. The executive
told ProPublica, quote: The facts might be a problem, but they are facts –
which means we now have a new caption for our time in this period of
Joining us now is Mike Spies, he`s a member of the ProPublica reporting
team that broke this story.
Mr. Spies, it`s really pleasure to have you here.
MIKE SPIES, PROPUBLICA REPORTER: Thanks for having me on.
MADDOW: Thanks for doing this.
So, I have been interested in the president`s super PAC for a long time,
even from before they turned up in this indictment. There have been
allegations that the president`s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, has used
this PAC basically to self-deal. He`s not supposed to coordinate between
campaign and the PAC.
MADDOW: Also, the president`s troubled inaugural committee, the treasury
from that inaugural committee is one of the board members for this PAC.
MADDOW: We all know about that trouble.
But what you`re finding is direct evidence they`ve been taking illegal
SPIES: Yes, there have been a number of complaints filed over the last
year and a half, none on which – seems like nothing will happen with them
because the FEC at the moment is utterly toothless, which is terrifying at
this particular moment in time. Though this particular example, campaign
finance law is just a giant gray area in general. The one thing, the one
thing that`s black and white is that if you have a federal contract, you
can`t do not to a political committee or campaign.
So, this was just like one of the most brazen violations imaginable, and it
went totally unnoticed for several months until a watchdog happened to
catch it and filed a complaint, which is what caused Mr. Perkins to then do
a shuffle and say something like, no, no, it did what it says specifically
was. It was a corporate check, but it was from my corporate personal
distribution account, which is a phrase I`ve never heard before.
MADDOW: Corporate personal distribution account?
SPIES: Nobody has ever heard. I have not met anyone who knows what this
actually is, but according to him the money he used will get taxed as
personal income. It`s very confusing, but it still, he admits was a
corporate check. He also said it didn`t explain they cleared it first with
America First, which presents its own issue.
MADDOW: That was another big red flag here for me in your reporting. Part
of the reason I wanted to talk to you. If people who are giving illegal
campaign donations accidentally or not to this campaign are checking it out
– this campaign committee, if they`re checking it out with the campaign
committee in advance before they do this stuff, that would imply this may
be a sort of systematically okayed, systematically organized thing by the
SPIES: Perhaps it should have been returned. What`s interesting was when
Mr. Perkins said to me, I then tried to follow up within the next day and
maybe he realized he had gone too far and wouldn`t respond to any of my
But yes, it`s also the PAC`s responsibility once it gets a donation to
check it out and make sure it doesn`t have red flags attached to it. So,
there`s something very odd happened. If there was cleared with them
beforehand, seems like it`s totally possible that they knew that they were
getting a donation that wasn`t above board.
MADDOW: And for that to be surfacing at the same time that they appear in
this indictment from this illegal $325,000 donation from these guys, weeks
SPIES: Weeks apart. It`s not the only thing, the only problem that was
MADDOW: I will say that part of the reason I wanted you here is I want to
use you as a human demonstration project to tell people we do not have an
FEC at this point in this country, we don`t have an active one. Which must
groups like the Campaign Legal Center and reporters like Mike Spies at
ProPublica are the only people who are finding these things out, which
means figure out a way to support journalism monetarily and bodily in this
country because it`s the only way we`re going to get to the bottom of some
of these criminal pursuits.
Mr. Spies, thank you for being here.
SPIES: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Appreciate it. Come back soon.
MADDOW: All right. Much more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Quote: On or about arch 6th, 2016, the plaintiff, Eric Linder
checked in as a resort guest. He was assigned a guest room in the Jack
Nicklaus villa building. The plaintiff awoke to discover that he had
multiple welts, lumps and marks over much of his face, neck, arms, and
torso and complained to resort management who had both villa guest rooms
tested for bed bugs.
The plaintiff was advised by resort staff and/or management the guest room
in the Jack Nicklaus villa had tested positive for bed bugs. The resort
generally and the Jack Nicklaus villa in particular has a history of severe
bed bug infestation, going back to at least the beginning of 2016, and the
remediation was either not performed or was inadequate. Yet the resort
permitted guests to continue to stay in unsuitable rooms nonetheless.
That`s according to the complaint filed about this incident.
Today, we spoke with a source who confirmed that these are photos of the
welts in question. This is the plaintiff from that complaint following his
stay at the resort. As you can see, the bites were all over his neck, both
sides of his face, all down his arms.
Lawyers for the resort later reached an undisclosed settlement with the
plaintiff. I think it`s fair to say he will not be returning to that
particular resort anytime soon.
But what`s the loss, really, when you have world leaders lining up to sleep
in the Jack Nicklaus villa in the meantime? Because the resort in question
here is the president`s struggling golf property in Doral, Florida.
Yesterday, the president`s chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, confirmed to the
press that that resort, the president`s golf course in Doral, will host
next year`s G-7 summit. And, clearly, this is an unprecedented use of the
presidency to put revenue into a president`s pockets. But what`s
interesting about this new scandal is that it`s also quite clearly a way to
prop up a business that has been severely underperforming for the
“The Washington Post`s” Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Fahrenthold
has done some remarkable reporting specifically on this Doral property
showing how steep of a decline the resort is in. And that`s no small thing
for the president and his business. Doral is where he makes most of his
money. It`s his keystone property. It`s his biggest moneymaker hotel.
But in the past few years, the net operating income at a club has dropped
by 69 percent. A tax consultant hired by the club has told officials it
is, quote, severely underperforming.
That maybe explains why the property has been recently not all that
discerning when it comes to the type of events that it has looked to host.
Back in July of this year, you might remember the resort teaming up with a
notorious Miami strip club at that planned event at the president`s Doral
resort, golfers were given the option to pay for a nude dancer who would
then serve as their caddie girl while they shot around at the president`s
The planned itinerary was to have everybody head back to the strip club for
what was described as a, quote, very tasteful burlesque show, one that
however should be noted could involve nudity. No promises, we`re just
saying, it could.
That strip club event at the president`s property was ultimately canceled
when the president`s family business decided not to go through with it.
More recently, though, that`s the same property that`s been in the news for
hosting a pro-Trump conference on a recent weekend. That`s the conference
in which a video was shown that depicted President Trump shooting and
murdering and decapitating and stabbing his political opponents and
specific members of the news media.
So, clearly, the natural progression is now host the G-7 summit of world
leaders at that same property.
The event is set for June when business is already very slow at that
property. Just to give you an idea in June of 2017, Doral had a 38 percent
occupancy rate. I guess if they host the G-7 there in June, maybe it`ll
help with that.
The White House said today they vetted 12 possible sites all around
America, and what do you know, Doral was just the only one that made sense.
Nobody actually knows if a selection process took place at all. Extensive
federal reviews have to be done to secure a location for an international
summit of this magnitude. There seems to me indications that reviews like
that just weren`t conducted ahead of this announcement about the G-7. Key
local officials, like, for example, the mayor of Doral, Florida, say that
they only learned about the summit when everybody else did, on Twitter, on
TV. The mayor of Doral says he`s yet to get a call from the White House
about this at all, which would imply there hasn`t been an extensive federal
review about the city`s planning and security preparations that they would
need to be able to promise to carry off an event like this.
I mean, there`s no shortage of reasons as to why this whole idea is a major
problem. My colleague, Steve Benen, who writes the Maddow Blog I think has
honed in on the biggest issue of all.
Steve writes for us today, quote: We`re watching a passive versus active
problem play out. When Saudi Arabia, for example, books rooms at the Trump
International Hotel in D.C., and some of the profits from that transaction
end up in the U.S. president`s pocket. President Trump can defend the
arrangement by saying it`s entirely passive. He played no role in the
Saudi`s decision to stay there. That defense disappears with the G-7
summit scheme. It`s all active corruption, not passive corruption.
President Trump with this deal in no uncertain terms is telling some of the
most powerful leaders that if they wish to participate in next year`s
international diplomatic summit, they have to spend quite a bit of money at
one of his struggling businesses. It`s, quote, conscious, it`s deliberate,
Well, the problem with this happening while an impeachment proceeding is
already under way, it appears to be blatantly unconstitutional, and there`s
the prospect that this alone might stand as its own article of impeachment
in these proceedings. We`re going to speak next with a lawmaker who wants
Congress to go on the record to vote on why they explicitly don`t approve
of this move on the part of the president. That`s an important thing as to
whether or not this is a proven anti-constitutional effort by the
president. When something like that happens in the middle of impeachment
proceedings, it doesn`t tend to end well for the president in question.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: In the Constitution, there`s a specific line that says a president
can`t take payments from foreign governments without the express consent of
Congress. Two things that are very important about that. First of all,
it`s just unavoidably clear. Whether it`s small payments or big payments
or market rate payments or discount payments, it doesn`t matter. The
president can`t take payments from foreign countries.
Then there`s the consent of Congress part of it. I mean, who knows what
this president considers to be permission from Congress to take money for
himself from anywhere? Now that the president has proposed that the G-7
summit be held at one of his personally owned properties, which would force
foreign governments to pay him for the privilege of coming to that event,
Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland has come up with a plan to make it
clear that the president has the opposite of the consent of Congress for
Congressman Raskin is proposing that Congress vote explicitly to make clear
that they don`t approve of this. If that happens, that would make it so
there`s no constitutional way out for the president. His resolution
opposing the decision to host the G-7 at the president`s golf resort in
Florida is planned for the House Rules Committee for Tuesday, 3:00 p.m.
Eastern Time for a vote.
If that vote goes against the president, which it will, and if the
president still goes ahead with this, that means he is explicitly taking
money from foreign governments with the explicit lack of consent from the
Congress, which sort of feels like the only two ingredients you need for a
ready-made, fully cooked new article of impeachment just on this point
Joining us now is Congressman Jamie Raskin. He sits on the Rules Committee
and also Oversight Committee, which I should mention is one of the three
committees leading the impeachment proceedings against the president right
Sir, thanks very much for your time tonight. It`s nice to see you.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Nice to see you, Rachel.
MADDOW: I want to mention before I ask you about this just how sad, how
devastated we are about the loss of your chairman in the oversight
committee. Congressman Cummings passing feels like a landmark moment in
American politics, in U.S. history. I imagine you on the committee under
his leadership, you guys must be just gutted.
RASKIN: I mean, it`s been a very tough week for us for that reason and a
very tough week in Maryland. He was, of course, our favorite son in every
way. But Elijah showed us how you fight with every fiber of your being to
defend democracy but maintain your decency and your civility and your sense
of humor at the same time. So, he leaves a remarkable example for us and
his memory will always be a blessing to those of us who had a good fortune
of knowing him.
MADDOW: Let me ask in the way that I set up this discussion talking about
this plan for a resolution of disapproval for what the president is trying
to do with this G-7 Summit, hosting it at one of his properties. To me, it
seems like that would have pretty direct implications in terms of the
surface level, unconstitutionality of what the president is trying to do.
Did I explain that in the way that you`re thinking about it? Or is there
any of that I missed?
RASKIN: No, very much so. You know, one thing we need to point out is
that no other president in the history of the United States of America has
come remotely this close to even touching the emoluments clause.
In the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln got these beautiful
elephant tusks from the king of Siam. And he took them to Congress. He
wanted to keep them and he said, can I keep these in the middle of the
civil war. They said, you`re doing a great job, Abe, but no, you have to
turn those over to the Department of the Interior.
Trump`s great racial nationalist hero, Andrew Jackson, received a gold
medallion from the prime minister of Venezuela, Simon Bolivar. He wanted
to keep that, turned it over to Congress, Congress said no.
This president has been collecting millions of dollars from foreign
governments at hotels, resorts, golf courses and business deals all over
the world. And, of course, at the headquarters of all the corruption, the
Trump Hotel in Washington, which we call the Washington emolument.
But now, he`s outdone himself with this event which will be clearly the
most unconstitutional event ever to take place at a hotel in the history of
the United States because you`ve got a convergence of foreign emoluments
violations with domestic emoluments violations. He`s going to be shaking
down these foreign governments for hundreds of thousands, at least probably
millions of dollars, which he cannot receive, as you pointed out. He can`t
take one dollar from them without the consent of Congress. And he`s not
asked for our consent.
And then he`s also going to be directing millions of dollars from the U.S.
government directly to his property. The concede here apparently is
they`re not going to take profits, whatever that means. In any event, it`s
totally irrelevant because the Constitution doesn`t say the president can`t
take profits from foreign governments. It says he cannot take payments of
any kind whatever, whether that`s gross or that`s net.
So what we`re going to do, I hope, is to adopt this resolution, which
expressly forbids the president to go ahead with this plan and to manifest
our non-consent to his collection of these foreign government emoluments.
We are also pointing out his violation of the domestic emoluments clause,
which says that the president is limited to his salary in office and he
cannot collect any other money from the taxpayers.
So when the president says, I don`t even take my salary, that`s all he`s
allowed to take. He cannot take millions of dollars flowing to his hotels
and resorts from the Department of Defense and the Secret Service and the
White House as they put people up and pay for their meals and golf carts
and so on. It`s just a scam. It`s a get-rich-quick scheme.
MADDOW: Congressman Raskin, thanks very much for being here tonight.
We`re going to be watching this closely on Tuesday. But as this continues
to unfold in the context of the impeachment proceeding, I hope you`ll come
back and talk to us about it again.
MADDOW: All right. Thank you. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Because it`s Friday, naturally, “The New York Times” has just
broken another late-night story that relates to the president`s personal
lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The headline, Giuliani mixes his business with role
as Trump`s lawyer. A dense new story from Ken Vogel and Michael Schmidt
and Katie Benner at “The New York Times.”
Central allegation in this piece, the central reporting in this piece is
that Giuliani has continued to represent clients and broker deals and take
on consulting contracts even as he emerges as a central figure in the
impeachment inquiry. Kind of along the same lines as our A-block tonight,
in terms of talking about how the impeachment proceedings appear to fit
alongside the criminal investigation of these matters, that is working its
way through the courts in the Southern District of New York.
I will just highlight this new detail from “The New York times.” Quote, a
few weeks ago, Mr. Giuliani secured a meeting along with some other defense
lawyers with the head of the criminal division at the Justice Department as
well as attorneys in the fraud section. They were there to discuss a
foreign bribery case for a client that Mr. Giuliani described as very, very
sensitive. Mr. Giuliani declined to divulge details about the meeting.
But as – serving as the president`s lawyer, he`s taking meetings with the
head of the criminal division trying to get somebody off on a foreign
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: That`s going to do it for us tonight. Presumably, I`ll be up all
night looking at breaking news because it`s a Friday. I`ll see you again
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with Katy Tur filling in for Lawrence
Good evening, my friend.
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distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
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