Giuliani lawyer advised company shut down. TRANSCRIPT: 11/8/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests:
Jamie Raskin, Josh Gerstein
Transcript:

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Thanks to you at home as well for joining us

this hour.  Happy to have you here. 

 

By this time next week, Congress will have completed the first two public

hearings in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. 

The first one is going to happen on Wednesday.  I will tell you, one of the

things I did today is I just cleared my Wednesday morning calendar. 

 

We think these hearings are planned to start at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. 

So if you`ve got something you were planning on doing mid-morning on

Wednesday, now`s the time to find that tiny bottle of liquid paper you keep

in your third drawer to white out whatever else you had on your calendar

that day. 

 

We know the first hearing, that Wednesday hearing, is going to be dramatic

if only because of the first hearing.  I mean, there haven`t been very many

public impeachment proceedings against a sitting president of the United

States in our history.  So, Wednesday is going to be exciting if only

because it`s such a historic occasion.  But in terms of the specifics, we

know that day we`ll hear from Ambassador Bill Taylor and from the Deputy

Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. 

 

Now, over the course of these past few days, we have received transcripts

from each of the depositions that those officials gave behind closed doors

in the initial phase of this impeachment inquiry, which took place behind

closed doors.  And we`ve talked a little bit on the show this week about

the strength of Taylor and Kent`s testimony, the basic claims that Taylor

and Kent are able to attest to as witnesses. 

 

Because we`ve seen their deposition transcripts, we fully expect that their

testimony is going to be strong and dramatic and will sort of set the broad

frame for what the president is being impeached for.  But after that first

hearing on Wednesday, there`s going to be a second hearing on Friday.  That

one will have as a witness the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie

Yovanovitch, whose firing as our ambassador in that country appears to have

been part of the scheme that President Trump was trying to carry out in

Ukraine, pressuring that country to gin up investigations that he hoped

could help him in his re-election effort against the Democrats. 

 

And we don`t yet know who the other witnesses will be that the house is

going to call for public testimony at these public hearings.  Nor do we

know at this point how many public impeachment hearings there`s going to

be.  But today, they released two more transcripts from closed door

depositions by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman.  We know that from

public reporting Colonel Vindman has already offered to testify at a

possible hearing if the House impeachment committees decide that they want

him to do so. 

 

Based on the transcript released from his closed door testimony today, it

seems like a good bet they will want him to testify.  We also got a very

long transcript today from Fiona Hill.  She is a very interesting character

in this drama. 

 

And now that we have seen her testimony, the testimony that we got released

from her today, I am – I don`t know if you`d call it desperate, but I am

close to desperate to know whether or not the impeachment committees are

going to call Fiona Hill to testify at a public hearing as well, because

Fiona Jill was the top Russia expert at the National Security Council.  As

such, she was deeply involved in Ukraine issues.  Russia is at war in

Ukraine. 

 

She has testified in detail about witnessing what should have been a normal

policy process towards Ukraine basically getting hot wired and turned into

this whole other thing that was apparently design said to benefit President

Trump`s re-election prospects instead of benefitting what was supposed to

be U.S. policy towards Ukraine.  Fiona Hill is the one who give us that

vivid, vivid account of what happened inside the White House when the three

amigos, when the president`s agents in the scheme stepped in and tried to

pervert the whole process of the U.S. government engaging with the

government of Ukraine to pervert that process so that it instead would turn

to benefit President Trump politically. 

 

And I am starting to gather that the defense now will be – the president`s

defense, the president`s supporters in Congress, their defense is going to

be that what the president did and what the president had these officials

do on his behalf was totally normal, the kind of stuff that governments do

all the time.  Why are you trying to make this a bad thing now, now that

it`s President Trump`s doing it, everybody does stuff like this. 

 

Well, it`s Fiona Hill`s account of how this all played in the White House

that absolutely gives lie to that, that shows this is not at all the way

that normal government interactions happen with a foreign government,

particularly a government like Ukraine.  What the president did was both

weird and shocking and objected to instantly by people – by nonpartisan

career folks who know how these things are supposed to work. 

 

Here`s her talk about a meeting at the White House on July 10th.  She said,

quote, Ambassador Sondland blurted out, well, we have an agreement with the

chief of staff, meaning White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, for a

meeting if these investigations in the energy sector start.  Hill said,

quote, we all kind of looked up and thought that was somewhat odd, and

Ambassador Bolton, then national security advisor John Bolton, immediately

stiffened and he ended the meeting. 

 

Question to Fiona Hill: Right then he just ended the meeting?

 

Answer: Yes, he said it was very nice to meet you.  I can`t discuss a

meeting at this time.  She said it was, quote, very abrupt.

 

Question: Did you have a conversation with Ambassador Bolton after this

meeting.

 

Answer: I did.

 

Question: Describe that.

 

Answer: Ambassador Sondland said to Ambassador Kurt Volker and also

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and the other people who were with him,

including the Ukrainians to come down to a room in the White House, the

Ward Room, to basically talk about next steps.  That is also unusual. 

 

I mean, he meant to talk to Ukrainians about next steps about the meeting.

 

Question: The White House meeting?

 

Answer: Yes, the White House meeting.  Meaning the White House meeting

between President Trump and President Zelensky, which Gordon Sondland just

blurted out that meeting could only happen if Ukraine started these

investigations.  He just said it explicitly and said it had all been

arranged already through White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. 

 

Hill says, quote: Bolton pulled me back after I was walking out afterwards

and said go down to the Ward room right now and find out what they`re

talking about and come back and talk to me.  So I did go down.  And

Ambassador Sondland, in front of the Ukrainians, as I come in, was talking

about how we had an agreement with Chief of Staff Mulvaney for a meeting

with the Ukrainians if they were going to go forward with investigations. 

 

My director for Ukraine, she says, quote, was looking completely alarmed. 

We believe the director for Ukraine in this context is Colonel Alexander

Vindman from the National Security Council who sits at the Ukraine desk

there.  He`s looking, quote, completely alarmed. 

 

Fiona Hill says, quote, I came in as this discussion was under way, and I

said, look, I don`t know what is going on here.  Look, I don`t know what is

going on here, but Ambassador Bolton wants to make it very clear that we

have to talk about how we`re going to setup this meeting.  It has to go

through proper procedures. 

 

And Sondland started to basically talk about discussions that he`d had with

the Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.  He mentioned Mr. Giuliani, but then I

cut him off because I did not want to get further into this discussion at

all. 

 

Question: So, it was you personally who heard Ambassador Sondland mention

Burisma?  Correct.  In the Ward Room?  Correct.  And Mr. Vindman was also

there and heard it?  Yes, and Kurt Volker.  Oh!

 

And then after that in her testimony, she gives – you`ve probably seen it

in a few headlines – she says after this crime scene that she basically

witnessed in the White House, she has instructed, went back to go to talk

to her boss, national security adviser John Bolton.  She says, quote: I

went back to talk to Ambassador Bolton and Ambassador Bolton asked me to go

over and report this to the National Security Council`s lawyer, to John

Eisenberg. 

 

He told me, and this is direct quote from Ambassador Bolton: You go and

tell him – you go and tell Eisenberg, I am not part of whatever drug deal

Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this.  And you go and tell him what

you`ve heard. 

 

So, this is – I mean, this is already the kind of stuff that they`ve got

from their closed door depositions, which they are now one by one releasing

publicly, right?  We`re getting hundreds of pages of these depositions

released every day.  That`s why I have these circles under my eyes. 

 

But all this material that we`ve got, it shows you, as we`re heading

towards public impeachment hearings next week, it shows you now ware seeing

these transcripts, you know, among other things, how they put together

their witness list.  You saw what?  And who else was there?  They saw it

too?  Can we talk to them? 

 

It`s like the world`s simplest detective novel.  This is like clue where

there`s only three cards.  You already know who done it and when and why

and in front of whom.  We just have to figure out if they used a

candlestick and who Professor Plum was.  It`s done.  It`s all there. 

 

But there`s another piece of this that I now understand that I`m not sure I

did today, before reading the Fiona Hill 400-plus-page-long transcript, and

this thing is I think important to try to get our heads around just as

members of the public are going to be watching this thing, I think it`s

helpful to get our heads around this before those hearings start next week. 

And that point that I finally sort of figured out today, maybe everybody

got this before me. 

 

But what finally sunk in for me is the question of these hearings is going

to be done by the committee chairman who`s leading the impeachment inquiry,

by Congressman Adam Schiff.  He`s a former prosecutor.  He`s very sober and

restrained.  You have heard him in congressional hearings.  You know what

he`s like.

 

We also know that on both sides, they`re going to defer a lot of their

question time to professional committee staff who are also well-trained

lawyers who are going to be able to draw this out Perry Mason style over

the course of continuous questioning that isn`t broken up into little

blocks like we`ve seen with other dissatisfying hearings, where the

questioning is all done by members of Congress.  But it`s not going to be

just majority members and majority committee staff, right?  It`s not only

Democrats that are going to be asking their questions here.  Republicans

will get their equal time, too, both their members and their staff. 

 

And what I`m finally realizing is I think that might be the best part.  And

we know the Republicans are kind of panicking about who they`ve got on the

impeachment committees.  There`s a Republican congressman named Devin Nunes

who`s become kind of a figure of fun.  He`s like suing somebody who

pretends to be his cow and maintains a Twitter account in that guise.  He`s

suing the fake cow on Twitter.  It`s a little weird. 

 

Devin Nunes ran for office, this last time saying he`s a farmer, he`s a

farmer.  If so, he doesn`t have a farm.  He`s the one who ran up to the

White House with that evidence at the beginning of the Russia investigation

and said the whole thing about, you know, Trump Tower being wiretapped. 

 

I mean, Devin Nunes is supposedly their top man on the main impeachment

committee, which is House Intel.  They appear to be swapping Devin Nunes

out now for a different member of Congress, a different Republican named

Jim Jordan. 

 

But I want you to check this out because one of the things we now know in

this case, in the Fiona Hill deposition, Jim Jordan`s top staffer is doing

a bunch of the questioning in these depositions.  And I think it ultimately

epitomizes what the Republicans are going to try to do here, which is

they`re basically trying to continue the scheme for which President Trump

is being impeached.  Apparently the way they are approaching this is they

want to make the case, you know what, Russia didn`t interfere in the 2016

election.  Actually it was Ukraine trying to help Hillary Clinton and you

know what, they were all trying to help Hillary Clinton.  And that`s why

Hillary Clinton lost – wait. 

 

And Paul Manafort was framed.  Paul Manafort definitely didn`t take all

those off the books millions of dollars from pro-Putin political parties in

Ukraine and not pay taxes on it here in the United States.  He was setup. 

And the reason he was setup was to make Russia look bad? 

 

I mean, it`s weird.  Like the counter argument here is weird.  But it`s

apparently what they`re going for, including like the setting up Paul

Manafort part.  And I don`t know if they`re going to call Fiona Hill as one

of the public hearing witnesses, but I just want you to see how she handled

this.  In the closed door depositions thus far, just check this out. 

 

Here she is in a back and forth with a Republican committee staffer who

works for Jim Jordan who`s presumably going to be the best Republicans have

got at these public hearings.

 

Question: Are you aware of the allegation there`s been some reporting there

was a big article in 2017 about the Ukrainians efforts to affect the

outcome of the U.S. election?

 

Answer: I`m aware of the articles. 

 

Question: And do you give any credibility to some of the basic charges in

there, such as redacted, are you familiar with that?  Would it be helpful

if we marked this as an exhibit?

 

Answer: I`ve seen that article.

 

Question: OK.  Answer: And I`m very confident based on all the analysis

that`s been done and, again, I don`t want to start getting into

intelligence matters, but I`m very confident the Ukrainian government did

not interfere in our election in 2016. 

 

Question: OK.  But you`re aware of the reporting?

 

Answer: I`m aware of the reporting, but that doesn`t mean that amounts to

an operation by the Ukrainian government.  Fiona Hill, quote, “There`s no

Ukrainian government effort to subvert our elections which is comparable to

anything that the Russians did in 2016.  And if we start down this path,

not discounting what one individual or a couple of individuals might have

done, if we start down this path ahead of our 2020 elections we are setting

ourselves up for the same kind of failures and intelligence failures that

we had before.”  Republican lawyer: OK. 

 

Hill: Look, I feel very strongly about this.

 

The lawyer: Evidently.

 

Hill: I`m not trying to mess about here.

 

Lawyer: Evidently.

 

Hill: Yes, and so you should too in terms of our national security. 

 

Lawyer: Well, let me help you understand here, I`m trying to understand.

 

Hill: It is a fiction that the Ukrainian government was launching an effort

to upend our election, upend our election to mess with our democratic

symptoms.  Republican lawyer: OK. 

 

Hill: I`m not sure where we`re going with this line of inquiry here. 

Lawyer: I`m just asking you about – 

 

Hill: Because if you`re trying to peddle an alternative variation of

whether the Ukrainians subverted our election, I don`t want to be part of

that, and I will not be part of it.  Lawyer: I`m not trying to peddle

anything. 

 

Hill: Well, it`s the thrust of the question you`re asking here.  You know,

what we are dealing with now is a situation where at risk of saying that

everything that happened in 2016 was a result of Ukraine in some fashion?

 

Lawyer: Yes, I`m not saying that.  I`m not. 

 

Hill: Well, that`s certainly what it sounds like to me.

 

The lawyer: I`m not going down that path.

 

Hill: The Russians are the government that have been proven from the very

top to be targeting our government systems.

 

Republican lawyer: OK, fair enough.

 

Hill: And I`m sorry to be very passionate.  But this is precisely.

 

The lawyer: I didn`t say you did, I`m just trying to get your reaction to -

 

Hill: This is precisely why I joined the administration.  I didn`t join it

because I thought the Ukrainians have been going after the president.

 

Lawyer: I didn`t say you did.  I`m just trying to get your reaction to – 

 

Hill: Well, my reaction is pretty strong because again – 

 

The lawyer: I know.  Again, I`m extremely concerned that this is rabbit

hole that we are going to go down here – that we are going to go down in

between now and the 2020 elections.  And it will be to all of our

detriment.  I am just trying to basically here that I have very obviously

strong feelings about our national security and just want to – if I have

done anything, she says, if I have done anything, I want to leave a message

to you that we should all be greatly concerned about what the Russians

intends to do in 2020 and any information that they can provide, you know,

that basically deflects our attention away from what they did and what

their planning on doing, that is very useful to them.

 

That is useful to them.  That is useful to the Russians.  What year doing

here with this disinformation and these conspiracy theories that just

happen to exonerate Russia for what they did, I mean this is – this is

portrait of Fiona Hill, but this is portrait of Republican members of

Congress and these top Republican staffers and the way they`re going to

approach the impeachment inquiry.  They`re trying to talk Fiona Hill, this

Russian veteran intelligence officer, trying to talk her into the idea

really wasn`t President Trump onto something here?  Don`t you agree maybe

Ukraine is the one who intervened in our election, not Russia and they

should cough up these investigations that will make Hillary Clinton look

bad and Joe Biden and all that?  I mean, Dr. Hill, wouldn`t you say? 

 

And she just destroys them.  Right?  And also puts into context

authoritatively and with some passion why it`s so bad for the United States

that the Republicans are approaching it this way.  What is so dangerous to

our national security and who they are helping by doing this, which is not

the United States of America, it`s our adversaries who seek to do us the

most harm, and they are playing that game for those adversaries. 

 

So, that`s what it`s been like behind closed doors so far.  The public

impeachment hearings start next week, which means it`s, you know, show time

in terms of his presidency and the possibility that the House will impeach

him and the Senate will be asked to consider whether to remove him from

office.  We know heading into next week that the list of witnesses the

House has assembled even with those first two hearings is a serious and

formidable bunch.  If Fiona Hill is any indication from her closed door

deposition, the Republican questioning of these witnesses is going to be a

thing to behold. 

 

Now, in addition to the Republican members of Congress and their own

committee lawyers and committee staff they`re going to be asking these

questions.  And again, we`ve got a preview of that already.  The

president`s also drafting his own legal team in terms of who he will have

on his side, his defense in the impeachment. 

 

And there`s reporting today that Rudy Giuliani is still on the president`s

legal team.  He says he is still the president`s lawyer.  He has also

simultaneously just lined up his own team of criminal defense lawyers for

himself. 

 

And we`ve talked about this a little bit already this week, but now we`ve

got a little more detail on one of the additional criminal defense lawyers

Rudy Giuliani has just brought onboard.  Do you remember this guy who was

Trump`s acting attorney general for like five minutes after Trump fired

Jeff Sessions but after he hired Bill Barr?  This guy isn`t working for

Giuliani, but if you remember him – I`ll give you relevant context here. 

You might remember one of many controversies in almost sort of unbelievably

pathetic trailing ends in Matthew Whitaker`s career before Trump

inexplicably named him acting attorney general, one of the weird things we

very quickly learned about Matt Whitaker is that Whitaker had been involved

in a company called World Patent Marketing. 

 

And World Patent Marketing was shut down as a massive criminal fraud

scheme.  This was one of the real doozies when it came to Trump

administration personnel vetting.  They named this person to be attorney

general when nothing in his career suggests he would ever approach that

level of job title, or anything close to it.  Literally, six months before

they named him attorney general of the United States, that scam he`d been

associated with, World Patent Marketing, was fined $26 million by the FTC

for running a fake invention promotion grift.  They got shutdown and fined

$26 million.  That was like the next thing on his resume. 

 

Now, if World Patent Marketing isn`t ringing a bell for you, I will tell

you what you will remember.  One of the most prominent, protuberant –

that`s not the word.  One of their most pendulous, memorable promoted

inventions was what they called the masculine toilet.  Remember this?  You

remember this because regular toilets don`t work for really big guys.  Yes,

that was one of the inventions they were promoting at the Matt Whitaker

World Patent Marketing Company that got shutdown. 

 

That company, the big guy toilet company, that criminal fraud scheme that

was associated with the man who Trump appointed attorney general of the

United States also had to have a legal representative through their

ultimately unsuccessful fight to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars

in fines and getting shut down as a criminal fraud scheme, their legal

representative in that unsuccessful fight, the big man toilet company,

their legal representative through their whole shutdown is a scam, that is

now Rudy Giuliani`s defense lawyer.  While we`re told Rudy Giuliani is

still himself on the president`s legal defense during impeachment. 

 

Also on the president`s legal team, well, here again for context –

remember yesterday`s news the president had to pay $2 million and agree to

shutdown forever his fraudulent fake charity, the Donald J. Trump

Foundation, as part of a settlement in the New York court?  One of the

things President Trump had to stipulate to was the fact he used his charity

to illegally give $25,000 to a state attorney general who was considering

at the time whether or not she would have her state join a case against one

of the president`s other big fraud schemes – the Trump university scam,

for which the president ultimately had to pay a $25 million fraud

assessment just before he was sworn in as president. 

 

The president sent her a $25,000 illegal donation from his fake charity. 

And immediately thereafter, that attorney general decided that, oh, no,

actually her state wouldn`t join that lawsuit against Trump University. 

Within 24 hours of having to pay that $2 million fine and shutdown his fake

charity and admit to that illegal payment being made through his fraudulent

charity, President Trump also announced within 24 hours that that former

state attorney general to whom he had made that illegal $25,000 payment,

she`s also going to be on his impeachment legal team, just as soon as she

unregisters as a foreign agent for Qatar.  According to the associated

press tonight, that is in process. 

 

So I mean, man, get ready.  This is the world`s most serious thing, right? 

We`re the most powerful country on earth and our elected representatives

are considering the awesome and very seldomly used prospect of removing the

commander-in-chief from his office against his will for high crimes and

misdemeanors.  This is very serious thing and it is being fought seriously

on one side with very, very serious witnesses lined up in their corner. 

And then there`s the other side, too. 

 

We will be right back. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Just one little bit I want you to hear from Fiona Hill`s

transcript we got today.  This is her responding to questioning from a New

York Republican congressman named Lee Zeldin. 

 

Zeldin is again one of these – one of these Republican members who the

Republicans are thinking about trying to insert belatedly into the

impeachment committees because they think he`s so good, because they think

his questioning is so powerful and they want to get rid of their existing

members and put a guy in who`s so great.  Well, listen what happens between

Fiona Hill and Lee Zeldin here.

 

Hill says, quote: Remember, I`ve been the national intelligence officer for

Russia before this for 3 1/2 years so a lot of the information I have is

classified.  And I don`t know from my previous position about how many

people were trying to gain influence into our politics and it`s very much

the Russians who want to show in fact it wasn`t them that were involved in

2016. 

 

Lee Zeldin: So I don`t misunderstand your answer, based on your personal

knowledge you`re not aware of, redacted, being involved in Ukrainians

attempting to interfere with the U.S. election?  Fiona Hill: Correct.  And

I also just want to point out there that our intelligence agencies were

pretty thorough about a lot of the investigations and things here.  Look,

and I`m sorry to get testy about, you know, this back and forth because I`m

really worried about these conspiracy theories, and I`m worried that all of

you are going to go down a rabbit hole, you know, looking for things that

are not going to be helpful to the American people and to our future

election in 2020. 

 

You just had a Senate report coming out informing us all yet again, a

bipartisan, nonpartisan Senate report about the risk that there is to our

elections.  If we have people running around chasing rabbit holes because

Rudy Giuliani or others have been feeding information to “The Hill or

“Politico”, we`re not going to be prepared as a country to push back on

this again.  The Russians thrive on misinformation and disinformation, and

I just want to say that was the reason why I went into this administration. 

 

We are in peril as a democracy because of other people interfering here. 

The Russians who attacked us in 2016, and they`re now writing the script

for others to do the same.  And if we don`t get our act together, they will

continue to make fools of us internationally.  Whereupon Lee Zeldin

disappeared into a poof of smoke. 

 

Joining us now is Congressman Jamie Raskin, a member of the Oversight

Committee who sat in all eight of the depositions released this week. 

 

Sir, thank you very much for joining us.  It`s good to have you here.

 

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD):  Great to be with you, Rachel.

 

MADDOW:  So you guys have released more than 2,600 pages of testimony.  I

feel it in my bones because we`ve been trying to keep up here.  Tell me

about how this works structurally, releasing this testimony, almost

completely unredacted so we can see the narrative, see the questioning that

all of these witnesses have given before you head into the public hearings

part of this. 

 

Why structure it that way? 

 

RASKIN:  Well, we want the public to see everything that we saw except for

tiny bits of classified information.  We want to obviously refute the

Republicans who said there was anything untoward going on behind closed

doors.  In fact, they have 50 percent of the questioning, we had 50 percent

of the questioning.  And I see no sooner have we begun to release all of

these deposition transcripts for the public to read that the president is

now saying he`s opposed to public hearings and he doesn`t want to go

forward with the public having access to this. 

 

And I think the reason for that, you touched on just before in a perceptive

way really their last remaining argument is that in fact everything that

Rudy Giuliani and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and their team was up was in

fact leading to the truth and that it was not Russia that engaged in a

sweeping and systematic campaign to subvert our election as special counsel

Mueller found, as the FBI found, as the CIA found.  It was the Ukrainians. 

And in fact, the whole Ukraine operation was really trying to get at the

truth of some corruption that had been buried about Joe Biden. 

 

And all of that has been completely and utterly discredited by the

witnesses here.  So they don`t really have anything left.  They may double

down on all of the right wing conspiracy theories, or the alternative is

they just kind of go with the truth, and they say, yes, but it`s not an

impeachable offense because there`s nothing particularly egregious about

it. 

 

In fact, no president in the history of the United States of America has

ever done anything remotely close to this, that is to shakedown a foreign

government to get manufactured political information to go after a domestic

political rival and withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in security

assistance in the process that Congress had voted for a besieged foreign

ally resisting Russian aggression at a time when part of their country is

being occupied. 

 

So, they don`t really have many places to go, and I think you correctly

identified how embarrassing it was for the Republicans who just could not

lay a glove on any of these witnesses who are war heroes, people who have

devoted their lives to the State Department.  They are experts on Russia. 

They are experts on the Ukraine.  They`re experts on Europe. 

 

And the Republicans really don`t know what to do at this point. 

 

MADDOW:  It does seem like there`s one other – there`s sort of a door

number three they could choose here.  We have seen as I mentioned the

Republicans very quickly at the very last minute trying to change the

membership of the Intelligence Committee because they want some of their

members out who they don`t think would be effective in that room and they

want others in who they think would be more effective. 

 

NBC News is reporting tonight Republicans on the Hill are looking at the

Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings as a model, which would suggest

we`re in for some, forgive me, sort histrionics, some sort of carnival

tactics, some sort of disruptive tactics. 

 

Have you and your colleagues prepared amongst yourselves about how you`re

going to deal with that kind of potential disruption? 

 

RASKIN:  Well, I think you`re always right.  That is always the Hail Mary

Pass by our GOP colleagues.  It`s just to engage in circus diversions and

character assassination. 

 

You know, they teach you in law school if the facts are against you, you

pound the law.  If the law is against you, you pound the facts.  If both

the law and facts are against you, you pound the table. 

 

And we already saw them conduct their faux civil disobedience, where they

became the first sit-in protesters fighting for high crimes and

misdemeanors.  So, it`s just an embarrassment and a disgrace.  I suppose it

works only in a media environment where you`re speaking to people who have

no access to the facts and no access to the truth, and you`re able to

engage in these cult-like antics and provocations. 

 

MADDOW:  I just – to that point, I mean, I don`t know how this is going to

go, but I feel like my worry here reading so many hundreds of pages of

these transcripts and seeing what the story has been laid-out and having a

lot of respect for the experience and sacrifice of these witnesses you guys

are bringing forward, I feel like there`s a risk that Democrats are sort of

prepared to win the argument and to lay out the facts and to bolster in a

prosecutorial way their understanding about what has happened. 

 

And that works on paper, but if you are up against another side that is

determined to make this not about those facts and not about this argument

and instead about something that is made for TV and crazy and disruptive

and discrediting to the whole process, I don`t – I don`t know the best way

to fight against that.  And I`m not sure I`ve ever seen Democrats

effectively do it. 

 

So I guess there`s not a question there.  Just sort of just positing it to

you.

 

RASKIN:  It moves now into the public hearings where the public is going to

get a real education into what happened and what this shadow campaign was

to subvert the U.S. foreign policy by the president and by his, you know,

appointed private deputies.  But then it`s going to go to the Judiciary

Committee.  And the Judiciary Committee is now filled with people who are

battle scarred veterans of these circus-like provocations and I think

you`re going to find a majority on the Judiciary Committee that`s ready for

them. 

 

The other thing is people in the majority have been very bolstered by this

testimony.  If you read Dr. Fiona Hill, for example, she`s someone who cut

through all the nonsense and basically said you guys should cut this out

because what`s at stake is democracy.  I mean, all over the world we`ve got

the despots and dictators and strong men and tyrants on the march for

authoritarianism, anti-Semitism, racism.  They`re scapegoating people. 

 

They`re demonizing George Soros and so, and she`s basically saying you`re

playing along on their side.  You`re playing along with the authoritarians,

and we`ve got to stand up for democracy. 

 

And I think you`re going to find that the Democrats are going to be very

tough and serious about just this point, because if we let it all go now,

we`re not just throwing away our Constitution and our Bill of Rights and

everything that our forefathers and foremothers fought for in the

revolution, in the Civil War, and Civil Rights movement, and the labor

movement, and women`s movement, but we`re throwing away the chances for a

lot of chances for a lot of people around the world to have democracy and

human rights too. 

 

So we understand the stakes of the struggle and we`re really ready for the

battle to come. 

 

MADDOW:  Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, sir, thank you for your time

tonight.  I hope you get a good night sleep for next week.  Thank you very

much. 

 

RASKIN:  Thank you, Rachel.

 

MADDOW:  All right.  We`ve got a lot more to get to.  Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Sometimes being a journalist requires you to be fast on your feet

literally.  This was outside the Roger Stone trial today.  Watch what

happens as the afternoon star witness, Steve Bannon, leaves the courthouse. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REPORTER:  Are you actually reluctant witness, Mr. Bannon?

 

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE STRATEGIST:  Yes, I was compelled to

testify.  Like I was compelled to testify, I was under subpoena by Mueller. 

I was under subpoena by the House. 

 

I got a handwritten subpoena in my House testimony.  I was force today go

to the grand jury.  And I`m forced and compelled to come here today. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MADDOW:  Steve Bannon speaking to reporters today about he`s a reluctant

witness.  Yes, I`m a really reluctant witness.  I was under subpoena.  I

was forced to be here.  He said in court today he would not have been there

if he`d not been forced to be there. 

 

He neglected to mention in that answer, in fact, before he was subpoenaed,

he voluntarily spoke with prosecutors in this case.  And even though he was

under subpoena by Robert Mueller to speak with the grand jury, he also

without a subpoena spoke to Mueller`s investigators for hours and hours and

hours. 

 

He doesn`t want to talk about that, though.  He wants to talk about seeming

very reluctant to testify.  I definitely wouldn`t be doing this. 

 

Steve Bannon was Donald Trump`s campaign chief, later his chief strategist

in the White House.  Roger Stone is the president`s longest serving

advisor.  Today, Steve Bannon testified against Roger Stone.  He was a

witness for the prosecution. 

 

On the stand today, Bannon drew a straight line between the Trump campaign

and Stone as the campaign`s access point for WikiLeaks which, of course,

was distributing Democratic documents and e-mails that had been stolen by

Russian intelligence. 

 

Bannon said on the stand, quote, the campaign had no official access to

WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange but Roger would be considered if we needed

an access point, because he had implied or told me, he had a relationship

with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. 

 

In the last few weeks of run up to the election of 2016, you might remember

WikiLeaks teasing an October surprise.  It was going to be a terrible thing

to hurt Hillary Clinton`s campaign.  The group said they`d unleash that

October surprise on October 4th at a press conference. 

 

They held a press conference but didn`t actually release anything that day. 

After the press conference, we now know Steve Bannon e-mailed Roger Stone. 

He said in an e-mail, what was that this morning? 

 

That e-mail was entered into evidence in Roger Stone`s trial.  Prosecutors

asked Bannon today why he sent that after the WikiLeaks press conference. 

Bannon responded, quote, he told me he had a relationship with Assange. 

Quote, it would be natural for me to reach out to him. 

 

That`s the president`s campaign chief from that time testifying under oath

that as far as the Trump campaign was concerned, when they wanted to

communicate with WikiLeaks to obtain information from them that had been of

course stolen by Russian intelligence, they used Roger Stone as their

effort to do that.  They used Roger Stone for that purpose because he said

he could get to Julian Assange. 

 

Roger Stone was their access point, and by extension he was their access

point to the stolen material that was weaponized against Clinton in the

2016 election. 

 

The reporter who chased down Steve Bannon as he was leaving court today, as

Bannon turned to say, I`m only here reluctantly, that reporter joins us

next. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REPORTER:  Are you actually reluctant witness, Mr. Bannon?

 

BANNON:  Yes, I was compelled to testify.  Like I was compelled to testify,

I was under subpoena by Mueller.  I was under subpoena by the House. 

 

I got a handwritten subpoena in my House testimony.  I was force today go

to the grand jury.  And I`m forced and compelled to come here today. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MADDOW:  Are you actually a reluctant witness, Mr. Bannon? 

 

The reporter who asked that question, that got Steve Bannon to stop in his

tracks, stop getting in that car and wheel around and make that, yes, I

don`t want to be here, I`m forced and compelled to make that statement, the

reporter who asked that question of Bannon today was “Politico`s” Josh

Gerstein.  He`s been in the courtroom for this Roger Stone trial.  He was

there for Bannon`s testimony.  Josh is a senior legal affairs contributor

at Politico.com, and he joins us now. 

 

Josh, thanks very much for being here.  I really appreciate you making the

time. 

 

JOSH GERSTON, SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR, POLITICO:  Hi, Rachel. 

Good to see you again. 

 

MADDOW:  So, why did you ask Bannon that?  I mean, he was already to

getting in that car and bogey (ph), but your question really stopped him in

his tracks and he wheeled around to give you that answer. 

 

GERSTEIN:  Well, as you alluded to Rachel, he`s been pretty much putting

out word on the street for the last day or two that his arm has been

twisted to participate and show up in the Roger Stone trial as a

prosecution witness.  And it`s never been totally clear to me how much his

arm has been twisted.  As you mentioned he did cooperate pretty extensively

with the Mueller investigation, he even cooperated with these prosecutors

who questioned him today. 

 

But when he got on the witness stand, he not only publicly but to the jury

seemed to want to make clear he was a very reluctant witness.  He kept

using those words, compelled, forced.  He said if it was up to him, he

wouldn`t have shown up voluntarily unless he`d been subpoenaed.  So this

seems to be the message he wants to put out. 

 

I don`t know why precisely why I suspect it has to do with his audience for

his current ventures.  He`s doing something defending the president, a

media venture on impeachment and I think some of his other projects, if he

was seen sort of in track with the Mueller team or the deep state, I don`t

think it would be a very good look for him with the Breitbart crowd. 

 

MADDOW:  And just to put a fine point on this, when identify say he

cooperated extensively with Mueller and these prosecutors who brought this

case against Roger Stone, what you mean is even though he did get a

subpoena to testify to the grand jury and today, those other elements of

his prosecution, the hours of interviews he did with prosecutors for

Mueller and prosecutors in the Stone case, that was all without a subpoena. 

 

GERSTEIN:  Right, you`re not compelled to do interviews with the FBI. 

You`re not compelled to do a pre-interview with prosecutors.  If you want

to go strictly by the book and what`s legally required, you can say, I

won`t show up.  You can demand immunity for example is another thing you

can ask for.  And I didn`t hear anything from him that he asked for that. 

 

So, you certainly can be a more recalcitrant witness then Bannon was today. 

 

MADDOW:  And, Josh, it is – just my personal sort of bias or my personal

restrictions in covering the Stone trial, it`s really hard for me to summon

the energy in terms of Roger Stone`s own fate just because of his theatrics

and how much attention he wants.  I am interested in whether this trial is

essentially answering this core question as to whether Trump`s campaign was

trying to work with, trying to make contact with, trying to engage with the

people who are releasing the documents that Russian intelligence stole

during the campaign.  I mean, it seems that core question of whether that

happened during the campaign and really being addressed substantively in

the case. 

 

GERSTEIN:  It is.  And it does seem that Roger Stone was trying to cover up

at least some of his interactions with people close to Julian Assange and

WikiLeaks.  You know, he eventually owned up reluctantly to his contacts

with Randy Credico, who`s a New York talk show host who had some ties with

WikiLeaks.  But he never really admitted – he had another reporter friend,

a very conservative, right wing sort of conspiracy-oriented writer named

Jerome Corsi, who he`d also dispatched to London to try to get information

from Assange at that Ecuadorian embassy, and it seems like Mueller`s

investigators were always a bit puzzled about why Stone was being so

secretive about his dealings related to WikiLeaks, why he seemed to be

lying about some of those dealings. 

 

And they seem to have suspected maybe he had another kind of, quote, back

channel to WikiLeaks.  But it seems they were never able to really nail

that down. 

 

MADDOW:  Josh Gerstein, senior legal affairs contributor at “Politico”,

Roger Stone trial watcher, you do it so we don`t have to – Josh, thanks a

lot for being here tonight.  I really appreciate it.

 

GERSTEIN:  Thanks, Rachel.  Anytime.

 

MADDOW:  We`ve got one last story for you this Friday night, and it is a

good one.  Stay with us.  That`s next. 

 

(COMMERCIA BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  In the spring of 1864, in the heat of the U.S. civil war, an

ironclad Confederate gunboat started an assault on Union-controlled

garrison in the coast of North Carolina.  The attack by that Confederate

gunboat sunk a Union ship and damaged another.  Within a few days, the

Confederate Navy had fully overtaken that union strong hold.  It was an

important battle.  Plymouth, North Carolina, the Battle of Plymouth. 

 

Today, Plymouth, North Carolina, is a small town of less than 4,000 people. 

It`s nestled right up alongside the Roanoke River, with really nice

maritime museum.  Look at that.  it has a historic lighthouse.  It`s a

beautiful spot. 

 

That said, the government in Plymouth, North Carolina, has never really

reflected the population that lives there, at least not recently.  The

majority of the people in Plymouth are African-American.  The town`s about

70 percent black, and it`s been that way for a long time. 

 

Plymouth has never been represented by a black mayor.  And the city council

has always been majority white.  Plymouth forever has been a mostly black

town with a mostly white government. 

 

Well, this week, Tuesday, Plymouth, North Carolina, held an election like a

lot of towns and states did this week.  And this week on Tuesday in

Plymouth, North Carolina, elected themselves as brand new mayor. 

 

His name is Shawn Hawkins.  He was born in Plymouth.  He served on the

Plymouth city council before he decided to run for mayor this year.  And he

won.  He ousted the town`s current mayor who had been in the job for 18

years.

 

As of Tuesday this week, Shawn Hawkins is the first African-American ever

elected mayor in Plymouth, North Carolina.  We talked to Mayor-elect

Hawkins after his victory this week.  He told us he decided to run because

he wanted to try to bridge the gap between the local government and the

people they represent. 

 

He told us, quote: So many people have felt left behind and excluded in a

lot of what`s taken place in Plymouth.  After the outcome of the election,

there were a lot of individuals really excited and they`re looking forward

to the change. 

 

That change was reflected in the city council, too.  For the first time in

Plymouth, North Carolina, history, three of the six members of the city

council are people of color.  This is Mayor-elect Hawkins with two of the

newly elected members.  These elections this week brought big change to

little Plymouth, North Carolina. 

 

These elections this week brought big change to Virginia where Democrats

flipped the whole state legislator and to Kentucky where Democrats flipped

a governor seat.  And we look to off-year elections for signs what might

happen in the really big votes next year, for the House, the Senate, the

White House. 

 

Those also loom with an impeachment inquiry currently working its way

through congress.  And these election results next week you don`t want to

oversell them.  But they may call the question a little bit what

Republicans are going to do in Washington, in the House and especially the

Senate, because deciding how much you`re willing to standby the president

while he`s going to be impeached is honestly going to be a decision both of

conscience and of political calculation for Republicans. 

 

Do the election results we saw this week change the results at all for

Republicans who have to think about their conscience and they have to think

about their futures?  Do they change their mental math at all when they

think about it, thinking about how this next year is going to go and their

own seats being at risk? 

 

Open hearings in the impeachment inquiry start Wednesday morning. 

 

That does it for us tonight.  We will see you again Monday. 

 

Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” where Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence

tonight. 

 

Good evening, Ali.

 

 

END

 

                                                                                                               

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