Details of Bill Taylor testimony. TRANSCRIPT: 11/6/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests:
Sean Patrick Maloney
Transcript:

DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  And he`s got the president where he wants

him.  I think the American people are going to learn a lot starting next

week about the president and about Republicans. 

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Neera Tanden – 

 

NEERA TANDEN, CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Yes, I would just say I

would expect public opinion to move against the president after the public

– 

 

HAYES:  That is the big test.  I`m really curious if that happens.

 

Neera Tanden, David Jolly, thank you both for being with me. 

 

That is ALL IN for this evening. 

 

“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. 

 

Good evening, Rachel.

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Chris, I`ve just been advised the cow is now

suing you asserting you this whole fake cow thing is defamation –

 

HAYES:  Another bovine lawsuit.  I`ve already got a list full of them. 

 

MADDOW:  I`ve got a hotline, baby.

 

Thank you, my friend.  Much appreciate it.

 

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.  Happy Wednesday. 

 

Since Donald Trump was elected president November 2016, there have been ten

state legislative houses, either state senates or statehouses that are

flipped in terms of which party controls them.  The first one was in

Washington state.  The Senate there flipped from Republican control to

Democratic control. 

 

And then all on one night, election night, 2018, the Colorado Senate

flipped, the Maine Senate flipped, the Minnesota House flipped, the New

Hampshire House flipped, the Connecticut Senate flipped and the New York

Senate all flipped, and all of them flipped from Republican control to

Democratic control. 

 

And then last night, the first call we got from the “Associated Press” at

9:29 Eastern Time was that the Virginia Senate would also flip, also from

Republican control to Democratic control.  And then after I got off the air

for the first iteration of our show last night, the “A.P.” made the call

not just for the Virginia Senate but the Virginia house as well. 

 

And so what that means is since Donald Trump has been president in all in

eight different states, the House or the Senate in the state legislator,

ten state legislative houses overall have flipped party control, since

Trump has been president.  And every single one of them has flipped from

Republican control to Democratic control.  And that result last night with

the whole Virginia legislator, both the House and the Senate, flipping from

Republican control to Democratic control while Democrats also control the

governorship in the state of Virginia, not just going to have a huge impact

in terms of policy and priorities in the state of Virginia, you`re now

going to have Democratic controlled government in the state of Virginia. 

 

After the courts repeatedly struck down electoral maps that the Republicans

had drawn in Virginia, when they had control of legislator, after courts

repeatedly struck down those Republican drawn maps for being discriminatory

at one level or another, what happened last night in Virginia with

Democrats taking both houses of had legislator, it also means that

Republicans aren`t going to have another shot at trying to rig the

electoral maps in their state to ensure that Republicans win even when they

get far fewer votes.  

 

So, Virginia is going to be a big, big change in terms of policy and in

terms of House districts and in terms of future legislative districts. 

That result last night in Virginia was a big deal.  A big hairy

consequential deal, and it was a surprise. 

 

We were also up late last night watching the returns roll in the Kentucky

governor`s race where NBC News fairly last evening declared that the

Democrat in the race, Andy Beshear, would be the apparent winner over

incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin.  Now, as of today, as of right

now, Matt Bevin is still not conceding that race.  He`s demanding all of

the votes be re-canvassed which is not exactly the same thing as a recount. 

It basically means they tally the votes again. 

 

Nobody`s quite sure if Bevin is going to ultimately demand a recount and if

that`s going to happen.  Nobody is quite sure how this can work out in

Kentucky.  There`s a few weird off-ramps they could take through the state

legislator or through state government in Kentucky if they want to do that. 

But if Bevin insists on not conceding, it`s uncertain how this proceeds. 

 

With all precincts reporting, it looks like Andy Beshear beat Matt Bevin by

more than 5,000 votes.  You can see the vote total difference at the bottom

of your screen there.  But Bevin is saying he won`t step down, he won`t

concede he`s been beaten, and so, we shall see. 

 

There was another governor`s race last night as well, which is in the great

state of Mississippi.  Republicans are able to celebrate if nothing else

from last night, they`re able to celebrate the fact they were able to hold

onto the governorship in Mississippi last night.  It should be noted for

context that Mississippi is a state that Donald Trump won by 28 points. 

Last night the Republican candidate for governor who president Trump

campaigned for in person right up to Election Day, he was only able to pull

off a single digit 5-point victory in that state where Trump had just

romped to victory not long before.

 

So last night`s off-year elections are exciting to Democrats.  Right, even

in a deep red state like Mississippi where they didn`t quite pull it off in

terms of the top race in the state, last night`s election results are

energizing to Democrats for obvious reasons.  And for converse reasons, the

same results I`m sure made today feel pretty overcast, pretty cloudily from

the point of view of, say, the Republican Party broadly, the Republican

controlled White House looking ahead to 2020, specifically the West Wing in

that White House where there sits Republican president Donald Trump staring

down the start of his re-election campaign and his simultaneous impeachment

in Washington. 

 

Today was a remarkable day on that front.  You will recall that one of

President Trump`s personal lawyers, Michael Cohen, his long time personal

lawyer, is already serving time in federal prison as we speak.  And

remember the day we first reported that Mr. Cohen had retained his own

lawyer.  The president`s lawyer had to get a criminal defense lawyer for

himself.  That seemed like a bad sign at the time.  Indeed it turned out to

be a bad sign since Michael Cohen is now in prison. 

 

I don`t know what you have to call it, though, when you have to report that

same thing for a second time.  But tonight, we can report that the

president`s new personal lawyer, the one who isn`t in prison tonight, he

too has had to hire his own criminal defense lawyer.  That was the news

that we got today about the president`s current personal lawyer, Rudy

Giuliani.  Rudy Giuliani has hired his own criminal defense lawyer now. 

 

And of all the lawyers in the world that Rudy Giuliani could have hired, it

turns out, sure, why not?  He hired the guy who had been Michael Cohen`s

criminal defense lawyer back in the day.  Despite the fact that that worked

out with Michael Cohen ultimately going to prison, it`s like there`s only

ten of these guys in the world, like really? 

 

Michael Cohen`s is the president`s other personal lawyer.  He`s in jail. 

You`re hiring his lawyer?  First of all you both had to get criminal

defense lawyers.  You both decided to get the same one? 

 

It`s like literally there`s ten of these guys and they`re all like in each

other`s indictments.  Hey, person one, hey, individual one, right?  Maybe

someday they`ll open a wing for them in the federal prison system.  The

commissary will all be like Trump themed.  I`ll trade you a baseball hat

for an extra long tie. 

 

But as the president`s personal lawyer, yet another one of them had to get

his own criminal defense lawyer today.  We also got big impeachment

proceedings in – big developments in the impeachment proceedings against

the president on Capitol Hill.  First of all, a senior State Department

witness showed up to testify today.  That`s notable because the White House

and State Department have told everybody they can`t testify, they`re not

allowed to testify in the impeachment committees, so every time a currently

serving administration official does show up anyway in defiance of those

instructions, it sort of changes the dynamic a little bit in terms of those

instructions, in terms of how everybody else in the administration is going

to treat their subpoenas, and whether or not that White House instruction

that they shouldn`t testify is seen as binding or more binding than a

lawful congressional subpoena. 

 

The witness who, surprise, did show up and testify today for more than six

hours is David Hale.  He`s the number three official at the U.S. State

Department.  Unlike some other officials who have testified to the

impeachment committees, we didn`t receive a prepared opening statement in

Mr. Hale`s remarks, so at this point we don`t know much about what he said. 

 

We do, however, as of today know quite a bit about the recent and explosive

testimony from another senior State Department official, Ambassador Bill

Taylor.  He was the first witness to lay out in clear detail how this whole

scheme worked for the president and Rudy Giuliani were demanding

investigations to be announced by Ukraine, investigations that could help

Trump in his re-election effort and in order to pressure Ukraine to handing

those investigations over, to announcing those investigations, the core

elements of American foreign policy towards that country were put on the

line.  Things like a White House meeting for their new president, even

military assistance that had been ordered by law, by Congress. 

 

Bill Taylor is the first one who laid that out in detail and crucially told

the impeachment committees that he takes copious contemporaneous notes and

had documentation to back up a lot of what it said. 

 

Well, today, the intelligence committee released more than 300 pages of

verbatim testimony from Bill Taylor, from his closed door deposition

several weeks ago.  They also simultaneously announced that Bill Taylor

will be a witness at the first public hearing of the impeachment

proceedings against Donald J. Trump.  That first public hearing is now on

the calendar.  It`s going to be a week from today. 

 

Ambassador Bill Taylor and another senior State Department official named

George Kent, they`re going to be the first public testimony in the

impeachment proceedings a week from today.  And then two days later, next

Friday, there will be a second public impeachment hearing, and that one

will feature testimony from the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie

Yovanovitch, the one who was called from that post and sort of inexplicably

fired essentially it seems to get her out of the way so Rudy Giuliani and

President Trump could pursue her scream in Ukraine, the scheme in which the

president is being impeached and presumably Mr. Giuliani has obtained his

own criminal defense counsel. 

 

The closed door depositions are continuing for now.  Other people have been

asked to testify, some people have been subpoenaed to testify.  Most of

those people who have been summoned to give more closed door depositions,

we expect them not to show up I guess at this point on orders from the

White House.  Although with each day, you never know who`s actually going

to turn up. 

 

I`ll tell you one of the witnesses who`s been asked to testify behind

closed doors who is expected to show up is somebody whose I am really

interested in.  And she`s going to be testifying tomorrow.  She`s not a big

name.  She`s not a high profile person, but I`ll tell you why I`m super

interested in her testimony tomorrow.  We`ll get to that a little later on

in tonight`s show. 

 

But as they sort of finish up with these closed door depositions, the first

public impeachment hearings are on the calendar now.  So here we go, and

remarkably, simultaneous to all of that, today, in federal court in

Washington, D.C., they finished jury selection and started opening

statements in the trial of the president`s long time friend and oldest

political advisor, a man who`s gone to great lengths to make him seem too

ridiculous for serious news coverage, a man named Roger Stone. 

 

Now, whether or not you`re interested in Mr. Stone himself, and speaking

from personal experience I can say that interest is hard to sustain on a

personal level – no offense.  I just don`t care. 

 

But the reason Mr. Stone is being prosecuted and the way prosecutors are

carrying out this case that started today in federal court is like forget

Roger Stone.  I mean, yes, his criminal liability here is of interest, but

forget Roger Stone.  The case is about something way bigger than that, and

we`ve known that was a possibility when we first saw the charges against

stone in the way they laid out the case against him in the indictment, but

I did not expect it to be like this in court today. 

 

Just listen to this.  We got the transcript today.  I had no faith we would

get it in time for tonight`s show, same day that it happened, right? 

 

But just before I came down to the studio and we got on the air tonight, we

got the transcript of what happened today in court.  So I have marked it

up.  Let me just lay it out here in terms of how the prosecutors are making

this case because you can tell what it`s about, and you do not have to care

about Roger Stone to recognize this is big freaking hairy deal. 

 

All right, here`s how the opening statement starts.  The judge says, all

right, you can proceed.  She says that to the prosecutor, Aaron Zelinsky. 

And now, this is Aaron Zelinsky talking.  You may recognize this name.  He

was one of the prosecutors who worked on the Mueller investigation.

 

Here`s Zelinsky.  He says, quote: We are here today because one man

obstructed Congress` investigation into Russian interference in the 2016

election.  In a critical investigation of national importance, the

defendant, Roger Stone, repeatedly lied under oath to a congressional

committee and then tampered with a witness to cover up his tracks.  Now,

you`ll hear that in 2016, the Democratic National Committee, which is the

organization that runs the Democratic Party of the United States, they

announced their computer system had been hacked by the Russian government. 

 

You`ll hear not long after that a website called WikiLeaks began to release

thousands of e-mails that were related to the DNC.  After WikiLeaks began

releasing these DNC e-mails, you`ll also hear that the defendant, Roger

Stone, started bragging he was in contact with WikiLeaks and he knew what

WikiLeaks` plans were.  At the time, the defendant`s long time friend and

associate, Donald Trump, was running for president of the United States

against Hillary Clinton.  And the defendant, Roger Stone, thought that

those e-mails would help his friend Trump, and they would hurt Clinton. 

 

So you`ll hear in August of 2016 that Mr. Stone proclaimed over and over

and over again that he was in contact with WikiLeaks, and that he had

information about what was coming.  And you`ll hear that Mr. Stone publicly

said that he knew this information because he had an intermediary, a go-

between, somebody that he was talking to that was talking to the head of

WikiLeaks. 

 

One year later, you`ll hear the United States Congress and particularly the

House Intelligence Committee was undertaking an investigation into Russian

interference in the 2016 election.  And because of the allegation that

Russia was responsible for the hacking of the DNC`s server and the e-mails

that were subsequently released by WikiLeaks, the intelligence committee

focused on WikiLeaks and they focused on Roger Stone. 

 

And the Intelligence Committee wanted to know what information Stone had

gotten from WikiLeaks, how he`d gotten it, and who he was talking to the

Trump campaign about it. 

 

Now, Roger Stone you`ll hear testified to the committee under oath on

September 26, 2017, and you`ll hear when Mr. Stone testified, he told the

committee five categories of lies. 

 

That`s the preamble, that`s how he starts.  In terms of the five categories

of lies, Stone is facing seven felony counts altogether, one of them is

witness tampering.  That carries a 20-year potential prison term.  I`ll

just mention, just in case any members of the United States are listening

right now.  Witness tampering carries a potential 20-year prison term. 

 

In addition to that, he`s facing five counts of lying to Congress and a

count of obstruction to justice.  Each of those come with a five years of

their own.  But the prosecution goes through at the outset all of the

categories of lies that Roger Stone is alleged to have told under oath. 

First category is this, the second category is this, and the third category

is this. 

 

And the final category of lies they describe him as telling is this: quote,

the last lie Roger Stone told the committee was about the Trump campaign. 

He was asked by the committee whether he`d ever discussed what he learned

from his intermediary with the Trump campaign and Roger Stone told him he

hadn`t.  You`ll hear that Roger Stone discussed what he was learning with

the senior levels of the Trump campaign.  You might ask why didn`t Roger

Stone just tell the truth to the Intelligence Committee? 

 

The evidence in this case will show that Stone lied to the Intelligence

Committee because the truth looked bad.  The truth looked bad for the Trump

campaign, and the truth looked bad for Roger – excuse me, and the truth

looked bad for Donald Trump. 

 

So this is a case about Roger Stone.  But the prosecution made clear there

in their opening statement that the reason Stone lied in the prosecutor`s

telling, the reason he`s on trial right now for these felony counts is

because he couldn`t tell the truth, because – and I quote, the truth

looked bad for Donald Trump. 

 

This is a case about the president.  I mean, it`s about Roger Stone but

it`s about the president.  And it`s in part, you know, while the house is

already in the midst of impeachment proceedings against the president, this

case that started today in criminal court in Washington is about in part

whether President Trump`s sworn written statements about Roger Stone were

true.  Whether his sworn written statements about what he knew about what

Stone was doing, whether he was any part of that, this case in part is

about whether the president`s written answers might themselves have been

illegal false statements. 

 

Back to Zelinsky here.  Quote, just after Stone got this message about new

expected dumps of stolen information about the Democrats, Roger Stone e-

mailed the chairman of the Trump campaign Paul Manafort.  Paul Manafort

wasn`t just the chairman of the Trump campaign but also a long time friend

of Roger Stone. 

 

Stone wrote to Manafort on August 3rd, he had an idea in his words to,

forgive me, save Trump`s ass, and he asks Manafort call him.  You`ll also

hear that Roger Stone e-mailed the Trump campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, and

when Stone emailed Bannon, he told Bannon that Trump could still win, but

time was running out.  And he said he knew how to win this, but, quote, it

ain`t pretty. 

 

Roger Stone knew how to win this, and he was telling that to the Trump

campaign CEO, but his way in his own words, quote, ain`t pretty. 

 

Now at the same time in August, you`ll hear Roger Stone was bragging.  He

was bragging publicly and bragging loudly and bragging repeatedly that he

was in contact with WikiLeaks.  That he had a go` between that was telling

him information about what was coming, that he had an intermediary. 

 

Stone regularly updated people in the Trump campaign at the senior levels

about whatever information he thought he had about WikiLeaks. 

 

Now, make no mistake Roger Stone could have easily told the truth to the

intelligence committee.  Stone could have testified he had many e-mails and

texts about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.  Including the ones you see here

today.  He could have said he had the messages with Steve Bannon, with Paul

Manafort, with Randy Credico, with Jerome Corsi about Julian Assange. 

 

Roger Stone could have told the truth that he told Corsi to get to Assange

and get the pending WikiLeaks e-mails and that he then told Corsi to have

an associate of theirs get to Julian Assange, and Roger Stone could have

told the house intelligence committee that in fact Corsi had responded back

to him and told him there would be, quote, dumps coming in October, impact

planned to be very damaging. 

 

And Stone could have told the committee he had all of this in writing, in

his e-mail accounts and his text messages at the time of his testimony. 

Stone could have told the committee the truth that he asked to pass along a

question to Julian Assange, that he requested information from Assange

about whether or not he had e-mails concerning Hillary Clinton and Libya. 

 

And Stone could have told the committee that he spoke with Steve Bannon and

others about what he was learning regarding WikiLeaks.  Stone could have

truthfully stated that he had hundreds of messages, emails, texts, that

would show the truth of what happened in 2016, that he had many written

records that could help the committee establish what actually happened. 

 

But Roger Stone didn`t do that.  He didn`t even come close.  Instead he

repeatedly lied to the House Intelligence Committee.  He did it because if

he had told the truth, as he said before, it wasn`t pretty, it would look

bad.  And so instead he told these lies. 

 

Roger Stone did all of this to obstruct an investigation by the House

Intelligence Committee into Russian interference in the 2016 election.  The

committee was undertaking a critical investigation about an important

moment in our nation`s history.  The House Intelligence Committee was

trying to learn the truth about what had happened in the 2016 election, and

Roger Stone, he was doing his best to stop it. 

 

And that is why after you`ve listened to all the evidence in this case and

you`ve examined the documents and heard the witnesses, we are confident

that you will return the only verdict justified on these facts, a verdict

of guilty on all counts.  Thank you. 

 

So the president`s being impeached.  Just in the past few minutes, I am

advised that “The Washington Post” has just reported that the president

asked the attorney general, Bill Barr, to hold a press conference saying

the president did nothing wrong on the president`s phone call to Ukraine

for which he`s now being impeached.  The attorney general, yes that

Attorney General Bill Barr, according to “The Washington Post” tonight

reportedly turned the president down and said he would not hold such a

press conference. 

 

Also tonight, the president`s personal lawyer has just hired his own

criminal defense lawyer.  Same defense lawyer the president`s first

personal lawyer used to have, but he`s freed up now because the other guy

who used to be the president`s personal lawyer is already in prison, so his

lawyers are available. 

 

The public impeachment hearings are going to start next week.  And, and,

and, and – and in a courtroom in Washington, D.C., as of today,

prosecutors are finally litigating for the first time not just the

obstruction of the Russia investigation, right, but for the first time they

are finally litigating what the president knew about Russia`s interference

to help his campaign and when he knew it.  They`re finally litigating that

question while he`s already being impeached for something else. 

 

Other than that, totally normal Wednesday, right? 

 

We`ll be right back.  Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  One of the things that has been interesting and actually quite

unique about covering this presidency is that this president has had a

terrible time of it in court.  From the earliest day of his administration

no matter how many judges he appoints and he seems to think that`s his way

out of it, but he just loses case after case after case on policy, on his

tax returns, right?  Now, he has impeachment to worry about in Congress and

multiple criminal cases related to his administration, included related to

the impeachment playing out in court. 

 

But just in the past few weeks, something truly astounding happened in

court even by the standards of this remarkable administration.  A judge

within the last few weeks threatened to send a Trump cabinet member to

jail.  The judge told the Trump cabinet secretary, quote, there have to be

some consequences for the violation of my order 16,000 times. 

 

The judge continued, quote, I`m not sending anyone to jail yet, but it`s

good to know I have that ability. 

 

Somehow I do not think that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos envisioned

herself wearing a polyester jumpsuit eating baloney sandwiches when she

signed up to be education secretary, but she made a federal judge mad

enough to threaten it, mad enough to eventually hold Secretary Betsy DeVos

in contempt of court and to fine her $100,000 for her going ahead with a

policy that the court had ordered her department to stop.

 

We have some context for you tonight on how it is that a Trump cabinet

member got that close to jail.  The story is about one of the country`s

largest chains of for-profit colleges.  That chain of colleges was

basically to bottom line it a total scam.  They recruited largely poor and

minority applicants by lying about how successful their programs were and

the kinds of job placements they`d get, and they sent those recruits to go

get student loans from the federal government. 

 

Colleges ultimately benefitted from that, right?  The government lends that

money to the students.  The students then pay it to that scam for-profit

college.  So the colleges collect all the money.  The graduates are left

with worthless degrees and a big student loan debt to pay back to the

government. 

 

Some students never even got the degree because the colleges went bankrupt

in 2015 and shut their doors in one days notice.  The Obama administration

tried to do something to help those scammed students.  The Obama education

department said to those students, listen, those colleges, those fake

colleges were so bad, we are not going to make this problem worse for you. 

We are going to forgive your student loan debt if you got duped by one of

those schools.  You can petition the federal government for relief from the

debt that you got scammed into because that money shouldn`t go to those

schools and you shouldn`t be on the hook for it even though it did. 

 

That was how the Obama administration handled this crisis.  Then came the

Trump administration and a new education secretary, Betsy DeVos.  She had a

very different idea. 

 

And so, her top lawyer at the education department came up with a memo

describing what would be the policy change on this matter under the Trump

administration.  And we have obtained that memo here tonight. 

 

This is the memo.  It`s from December 2017, and what it says basically is

actually some of these scammed for-profit college students should pay back

their loans, they should be on the hook for that money.  The idea as laid

out in this memo is that the students must have gotten some benefit from

these scam schools.  If the department could show that these people ended

up working in jobs that paid them more than if they had not gone to the

school on average looking at it statistically, in this memo, the department

claimed to have devised a formula for measuring just that. 

 

Well, how did that magic formula they came up with work out?  One former

student claimed she finished the course of study at this scam for-profit

college.  She never got a diploma because the company suddenly without

warning went bankrupt.  But she nevertheless tried to get a job in her

field and she discovered that the college had not actually given her the

required training to get a job in her field at all. 

 

But the Trump Education Department under Betsy DeVos, through its magic

formula, determined that eligible student – that that student was eligible

to only have 20 percent of her loan forgiven.  Eighty percent of her

education according to their new formula had actually been quite useful but

she got neither the diploma nor training necessary to get a job in her

field, they still wanted 80 percent of the money. 

 

And even without those painful consequences for the students, even setting

aside how this worked out in practice, a federal judge looked at this new

policy of the Trump administration and declared it illegal, determined that

this whole formula they`d come up with had serious problems.  For one, it

depended on the government taking private information about these students

in a way that the judge said was a violation of the law.  And so, the judge

ordered Betsy DeVos and her education department to stop collecting money

from these students and to stop using that illegal formula, and Betsy DeVos

and her Education Department ignored the judge`s order. 

 

They didn`t exactly ignore it, but they didn`t stop collecting money from

the students.  Thousands of students were told they still needed to make

payments on those loans from the scam colleges, and their credit scores got

dinged, and their paychecks got garnished and their tax refunds got seized. 

 

This Department of Education policy, the department`s determination to keep

going with the policy despite the court order striking it down – I mean,

it materially hurt these real Americans who had already been injured,

right?  This damage was painful, it was personal.  And they did it

thousands of times.  Thousands of people hurt after the court told the

Education Department and Betsy DeVos to stop doing this, this illegal

policy they had devised. 

 

And that`s why the judge fined the education secretary a $100,000 and

threatened to put her in jail.  The $100,000, the judge said, should go

toward trying to ameliorate the harm done to these former students by DeVos

and by the department violating the judge`s order.  Well, this memo laying

out this policy under the Trump Education Department.  This memo that we

have obtained tonight, the thing that lays out the new formula for

collecting money from these scammed students, its policy that got smacked

down by a judge who then held the department and its cabinet secretaries in

contempt, this memo came from the guy who at the time was the top lawyer at

the Education Department. 

 

He has a name.  His name is Steven Menashi.  He`s no longer at the

Education Department.  He now works at the White House, and President Trump

has nominated him for a lifetime seat on the Federal Appeals Court, just

one level below the Supreme Court. 

 

The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a vote on his nomination tomorrow

morning.  But here`s the thing, Mr. Menashi`s nomination appears already to

be in trouble.  If they do vote on him tomorrow, that would be the third

effort they`ve made to try to call a vote on him. 

 

His nomination keeps getting kicked.  It keeps getting rolled over to new

date after new date, because he is one of Donald Trump`s most controversial

nominees which is saying something given the roster Donald Trump has tried

to turn into judges.  We`ve talked about Mr. Menashi before on the show and

paper trail left of his own writing. 

 

For example on an Italian prime minister`s proclamation of the superiority

of Western civilization over Islam.  Mr. Menashi says, quote: Mr.

Berlusconi did nothing other than state the obvious, the obvious

inferiority of Islam. 

 

He also wrote how offensive it was to him that the Matthew Shepard murder

got so much attention.  That definitely didn`t need as much attention as it

got. 

 

He also opined on the movement against campus rape, against rape and sexual

assault on college campuses.  He said campus gynocentrists are throwing

around these accusations but there`s no similar leeway for men. 

 

And there`s of course his law review article entitled ethnonationalism and

liberal democracy in which he argues, quote, the solidarity underlying

democratic polities rests in large part on ethnic identification.  Surely,

it does not serve the cause of liberal democracy to ignore this reality. 

The article goes onto argue that ethnically heterogeneous societies,

ethnically diverse societies have less good stuff in them when it comes to

being a good democracy, a working polity.  Ethnic heterogeneities, not

ideal. 

 

Just that stuff alone has been dragging behind the bumper of the Steven

Menashi judicial nomination, like just married decoration made of anvils

and millstones, right?  He has expressed regret for some of his writings. 

But it`s all stuck to him in part because there`s so much of it. 

 

The Senate Judiciary Committee has been voting very right wing judicial

nominees right on through, but they`ve been holding up Steven Menashi, and

they have this memo to consider, this education policy from Steven Menashi

that proved disastrous for students and embarrassing and expensive and

potentially incarcerating for our nation`s secretary of education. 

 

We reached out to the White House with some questions for Mr. Menashi about

this memo.  We haven`t heard anything back from them.  I`m telling you,

though, I`m not taking it personally because they also apparently did not

answer questions tonight from “The New York Times” which as of this evening

is also reporting this story tonight.  An excellent piece in “The New York

Times” tonight from Erica Green who`s also obtained this memo. 

 

I just read you the lead in Erica Green`s story on this tonight on “New

York Times”.  Quote, a judicial nominee slated for Senate confirmation vote

on Thursday, meaning tomorrow, helped device an illegal education

department effort to deny debt relief to thousands of students cheated by

their for-profit colleges.  Well put. 

 

Yeah, he devised this illegal effort, it resulted among other things in not

only people illegally having their wages garnished and their tax returns

seized and their credit scores dinged and all the rest of that, people who

absolutely should not have been subjected to that, thousands of people.  It

also resulted in the secretary of that in jail time and hit with a $100,000

fine. 

 

So, naturally, that`s the guy they`re putting from a lifetime appointment

as a judge just one level below the Supreme Court.  And on top of

everything else that`s going on right now, the Senate Judiciary Committee

is scheduled for now to be voting on Steven Menashi`s nomination tomorrow

10:00 a.m. Eastern.  We`ll see.  We`ll keep you posted. 

 

(COMMRECIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Ambassador Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine,

decades of diplomatic experience under presidents of both parties, when he

was called to testify before the impeachment proceedings recently, we knew

shortly after he showed up, when we got his opening statement we knew he

would confirm that, yes, President Trump really did block military aid to

Ukraine to get that country to gin up some dirt on his domestic political

rivals.  That quid pro quo plot line is very simple, very consistent across

all the testimony from all the witnesses so far.  Taylor is the one who

first laid it out more clearly than anybody else. 

 

Because that plot line is simple and direct and now been reiterated by all

the other witnesses, I mean, to be honest you don`t necessarily need all

the details that we got from the 324-page-long transcript of Bill Taylor`s

testimony that the impeachment committees released today.  But even if you

don`t need it, you might want some of these details anyway. 

 

For example, there`s this moment when Ambassador Taylor is describing the

National Security Council having to convene a whole bunch of interagency

meetings to try to figure out why the military aid to Ukraine is being held

up.  Taylor says in his testimony that literally everyone was in agreement

that that military aid should be released without delay.  The defense

secretary, CIA director, national security advisor, everybody wants the aid

released, so they`re all scheduling meetings trying to get the president to

release this stuff, trying to figure it out. 

 

But it turns out they were having trouble scheduling a meeting with the

president to talk about this matter for a very specific reason.  Taylor

says, quote, I think this was about the time of the Greenland question,

about purchasing Greenland which took up a lot of energy in the National

Security Council.  Chairman Adam Schiff, OK, that`s disturbing for a whole

different reason. 

 

The president is trying to shakedown a foreign leader for dirt on his

political opponents, he`s holding up military aid to try to force them to

do it, and his National Security Council can`t find the time to get him to

stop doing that because they`re all too busy dealing with his stated

efforts to buy a whole different country, to buy it.  That`s – that`s a

good day at the Trump White House.  So there`s that. 

 

But then there`s also the human reaction from these witnesses who, again,

are mostly long time public servants and experts in their field.  At one

point in his testimony, New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney asked

Ambassador Bill Taylor, quote, what was your emotional reaction to these

events?  And Taylor got a pretty stunning response.  He says, quote, I

think Ukraine is objective important to the United States.  The emotional

piece is based on my time in Ukraine, in 2006, 2009 when traveling around

the country I got to know Ukrainians and their frustrations and

difficulties in those kinds of things. 

 

And then coming back and seeing it now where they have an opportunity,

they`ve got a young president, young prime minister, young parliament.  The

prime minister is 35 years old.  This new government has appealed to young

people so idealistic, so pro-West, so pro-United States, pro-Europe, that I

feel an emotional attachment, bond, connection to this country and these

people.  I care about this country.  I didn`t want to see it screwed up.  I

wanted to see it succeed. 

 

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney says, quote, and you didn`t want to see it

screwed up by some political agenda coming from Washington, is that fair to

say?  Ambassador Taylor says, well, what I didn`t want to do is have U.S.

assistance to Ukraine be blocked or suspended for no good reasons that I

could see.  And there are some bad reasons that I didn`t want to see that

blocked. 

 

Bill Taylor is going to be the first witness in the public testimony that

has just been announced in the impeachment proceedings for one week from

today. 

 

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney joins us next. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  So, today, we got more than 300 pages of testimony transcript from

the top diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor.  This is from his deposition in

the impeachment proceedings, a deposition in which he laid out the story

that has been confirmed now by witness after witness that the president

held up military aid to Ukraine to try to get that country to gin up dirt

on the president`s political opponents. 

 

With everything else that`s been turned up during the course of these

impeachment proceedings, that remains the core of what is happening here.

 

Joining us now is New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.  He`s a member

of the Intelligence Committee.

 

Sir, thanks for being here.  It`s nice to see you.

 

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY):  My pleasure.

 

MADDOW:  So public hearings start a week from today.  How should we prepare

for that as people are going to be watching this to try to figure out

what`s happening overall with this story and what`s happening in terms of

the president`s culpability? 

 

MALONEY:  Well, I think the transcripts are a great place to start.  I

mean, I know they`re long and they can be dense, but there`s a very

important story there.  It`s also a very sad story.  It`s a story about

failure at the highest levels of American political leadership. 

 

It`s a story about advancing shabby political interests over our national

security.  If you actually care about the American government, if you spent

your youth thinking we were capable of great things, it`s heartbreaking to

read the conduct the American president engaged in.  But it`s important. 

And Ambassador Taylor lays it out very clearly. 

 

MADDOW:  In terms of the remaining closed door depositions I know there was

one today where a State Department official David Hale actually showed up. 

I know tomorrow you`re expecting to hear testimony from a person who worked

in the vice president`s office.  It`s the first time that I know that a

vice presidential adjacent person will be speaking. 

 

There was also a decision today to drop a subpoena for an official who had

gone to court to try to have a judge decide whether or not he should obey

the subpoena.  Can you tell us anything about that decision? 

 

MALONEY:  Well, in the last case, the Kupperman subpoena as I understand

it, the point is that we don`t want to do anything that would advance the

strategy to delay through litigation when in the McGahn case, a separate

case the judge is going to rule very quickly on the same question.  About

whether there is some blanket never heard before wall to wall immunity from

the authority of Congress to do oversight on officials like this. 

 

It`s a frivolous claim.  It`s going to be disposed of earlier, and as I

understand it that`s the point, to essentially take away Mr. Kupperman`s

legal arguments and have them advance more quickly through the McGahn case. 

 

MADDOW:  In terms of his dramatic revision to his testimony we saw from

Ambassador Sondland yesterday, it was a remarkable document saying I`ve had

my recollection refreshed, I now recall things – and basically what he

discloses is that on the side lines of a meeting Vice President Pence had

with the Ukrainian president where vice president pence said you`re not

getting your military aid unless you give us these corruption actions that

we want, corruption related actions we want, Sondland is now admitting he

made clear what we mean is you`re not getting your military aid unless you

announce those investigations. 

 

Now, tomorrow, somebody from – who works in the vice president`s office is

going to be testifying.  Is Vice President Pence one of the people who

carried out this scheme for President Trump? 

 

MALONEY:  Well, I asked that question of some of the witnesses.  I`m

interested in that.  He did meet with the president of Ukraine in Warsaw on

September 1st.  It`s on the seed lines of that meeting Ambassador Sondland

delivered, the explicit quid pro quo to the key aide of the Ukrainian

president, Mr. Yermak, who said you`re not getting anything, not the White

House meeting, not the desperately needed security assistance until you

issue an explicit statement which you negotiated with Giuliani saying

Burisma, 2016 election, the Bidens are the heart of this thing. 

 

And Sondland forgot that until 24 hours ago, but he`s an important piece of

this puzzle.  And it`s good he`s aligning his testimony with what has been

corroborated by other witnesses and documents.  It`s an important piece of

the puzzle.  And the vice president`s role is still a question mark on

this. 

 

MADDOW:  Is it possible the vice president will be called to give testimony

himself? 

 

MALONEY:  You know, I`m not prepared to say at this point.  I think we need

to have a lot more evidence of what he did on this.  And don`t want to lose

focus on the president, which is the central issue.  What did the president

of the United States do?  Why did he do it?  And, you know, the evidence is

overwhelming that this was a clear abuse of power for the worst possible

reason, and I want to stay focused on that at least for now. 

 

I do think it`s important that everybody involved in this answer for their

actions. 

 

MADDOW:  New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, it`s going to be a very

busy week leading up to a very busy day, a week from today when those first

public hearings happen – thanks for being here.

 

MALONEY:  Thank you.

 

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

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  This is footage from September 1st, 2019, when Vice President Mike

Pence went overseas met with the Ukrainian president.  What I was talking

about with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney about. 

 

You know who else was in that room?  We`ve got that footage and that answer

which will tell you about the most interesting thing going to happen in

tomorrow`s news next. 

 

Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  This is September 1st, 2019, Vice President Mike Pence in Europe

meeting with the Ukrainian president.  At this meeting, we believe that

Vice President Pence told the Ukrainian president, that, yes, the U.S.

government was holding up their military aid unless Ukraine took some sort

of action on corruption.  Which means in the context of this impeachment

inquiry that Vice President Pence is the one who personally delivered the

you`re not getting your military aid message face-to-face in that room. 

 

A look at who else was in that room at that time.  There`s Gordon Sondland,

U.S. ambassador to the E.U. who now admits after revising his testimony

that, yes – there he is – on the side lines of that meeting, he was

personally reinforcing to the Ukrainians, no, you`re not getting your

military aid unless you announce these investigations. 

 

But if you keep panning there, the person in the second row there, we

believe, is also newly important to the story because that is State

Department veteran who was detailed to Vice President pence`s office.  She

surprisingly has just agreed to testify tomorrow.  Jennifer Williams, one

of two staff members from Pence`s office who was listening in on the July

25th call between the president – President Trump and the Ukrainian

president. 

 

Her whole job at that point was to relay what happened on that call to Vice

President Mike Pence.  She was on that call.  She was in charge of Ukraine

issues for the vice president`s office.  She was in Ukraine in the room

when he demanded that Ukraine wasn`t going to get their military aid unless

they coughed up what the administration wanted on corruption. 

 

And now that person, Jennifer Williams, says she will answer the House

impeachment committee`s questions tomorrow. 

 

I know this is a lot.  This is all nuts.  Tomorrow will be worse. 

 

That`s going to do it for us for now.  We will see you again then.

 

It`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.

 

Good evening, Lawrence. 

 

                                                                                                               

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