Giuliani associates facing criminal charged in NY. TRANSCRIPT: 11/11/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour as well.
I always think it`s worth remembering and reiterating that while Memorial
Day is a very somber day in terms of commemorating Americans who have
sacrificed their lives for our country, today, Veterans Day, is a much
broader and almost purely celebratory occasion for everybody who has served
our nation in uniform.
I wish that we didn`t have to work on Veterans Day. I wish more people
including us got the day off, honestly, but even though that part of
Veterans Day has eroded and more and more of us are either going to school
or working on this day, seems like year after year, fewer people get this
day off. But it is still a big freaking deal and a happy occasion to
congratulate and thank and honor and, again, celebrate our veterans. So
happy Veterans Day.
Even though today is a federal holiday and a big one, the news cycle did
not skip a beat, either. We are steaming, of course, toward the start of
the first public impeachment hearings on the Ukraine scandal the day after
tomorrow, Wednesday morning. And there`s a lot to catch up on in terms of
that scandal and the developments around impeachment as we head towards
that public hearing. It feels like it`s kind of piling up with each
passing hour. So, let`s just – let`s just jump right in.
And you know me, I always like to start with the weird stuff. So, let`s
bring back my good friends, Lev and Igor. Hi, guys. These two gentlemen
have been indicted by federal prosecutors in New York in a criminal case
that is unfolding alongside the impeachment proceedings that are happening
on Capitol Hill involving the president. Since these two men were arrested
at Dulles Airport with one-way tickets to Vienna, their legal cases have
diverged from each other a little bit.
They were arrested together while they were planning to travel together.
They initially had the same lawyers and appeared to be mounting a similar
defense, but they now appear to be sort of going their own individual ways.
And now, lawyers for Mr. Parnas in particular, he`s the one here on the
left of the screen, I think of him as more the keyboard player and Igor
more as the drummer. Mr. Parnas, the guy on the left, his lawyers now tell
“The New York Times” that this spring, as early as the first part of may
this year, he, Lev, and Igor, went to Ukraine to tell the Ukrainian
government that they were not going to get any military aid and
interestingly, they were not going to get Mike Pence at the inauguration of
the new Ukrainian president unless the Ukrainian government coughed up
investigations into Joe Biden and his son. Investigations designed to help
President Trump in his 2020 re-election effort.
You see the headline there in “The New York Times,” quote: Giuliani
associate says he gave demand for Biden inquiry to Ukrainians. Quote: Not
long before the Ukrainian president was inaugurated in May, an associate of
Rudy Giuliani`s journeyed to Kiev to deliver a warning to the country`s new
leadership. That associate, Lev Parnas, told a representative of the
incoming government that it had to announce an investigation into Mr.
Trump`s political rival Joe Biden and his son, or else, or else Vice
President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing in of the new president
and the United States would freeze aid to Ukraine.
What a world we live in, right? I mean, will the vice president of the
United States attend the inauguration of an important new national leader
in the capital city of one of our key strategic allies? Well, I don`t
know, we`re going to have to run it through Lev, right? Lev is the guy who
can broker that kind of thing.
Is he with Igor? OK, yes, of course, he`s with Igor. Yeah. Are they
going to – I mean, what a world.
Now, do we believe that – do we believe Mr. Parnas in this assertion that
this is what he did in Kiev in May? I mean, his lawyer further tells “The
New York Times” that Lev`s message to the Ukrainians, quote, was given at
the direction of Mr. Giuliani who Mr. Parnas believed was acting under Mr.
Do we believe that? Do we believe what Mr. Parnas said he was doing in
Ukraine of May of this year? I don`t know.
By the end of this administration, are any of us going to be able to
believe anyone ever again especially if they`re associated with the highest
levels of the U.S. government? Will we ever regain our capacity to belief
someone when they speak? I don`t know.
I mean, everybody else associated with this story says that we shouldn`t
believe Lev on this. Mr. Giuliani says he didn`t tell Lev to say anything
like that in Ukraine. The guy from the Ukrainian government who they met
with in Kiev says, yes, I did meet with Lev and Igor at that time in
Ukraine, but they didn`t bring up military aid. The Ukrainian government
guy pointedly not bringing up the issue of whether they threatened to
withhold the Mike Pence as well. It just doesn`t address that part of it.
Igor, himself, or at least Igor`s lawyers who are quite a dream team now,
his lawyer are one of Paul Manafort`s lawyers and one of Russia`s lawyers,
John Dowd, Igor admits through those lawyers, yes, he did go to Ukraine
with Lev for that meeting in early May and, yes, there was a discussion in
Russian over coffee at a cafe in Kiev between him and Lev and a guy from
the Ukrainian government. He concedes all of that but says that, no, none
of these threats were delivered, not at least the way that Lev
And, again, I mean, who are you going to believe? Who – do you believe –
do you believe anybody who asserts anything in the middle of this scandal?
I mean, trying to sort out competing claims among associates of President
Trump and his lawyers is like trying to hold on to your lunch money at a
pickpocket convention without a money belt. Good luck. Hope you had
something stashed in your sock because anything that was in your pockets is
going to be gone.
So, I don`t know whether we should believe these guys and their competing
claims as to what exactly they were doing in this extortion campaign and
when, and who was delivering what message, but Lev says he was over there
in early May saying, you`re not getting your aid and you`re not getting
your Mike Pence unless you cough up investigations of Joe Biden. And
here`s the thing. The military aid to Ukraine did get held up and Mike
Pence did cancel his plan to go to the inauguration of the new Ukrainian
president and the explanation at the time for why Mike Pence did that was a
little weak and a little weird.
The vice president`s chief of staff said that Mike Pence`s trip to the
Ukrainian inauguration was canceled because nobody sent the advance team to
check it out. The Secret Service didn`t go over there in advance to plan
it. And so Mike Pence went to Canada instead of going to Ukraine. That
was their explanation for why he didn`t go.
Whether or not it was the fault of the Secret Service or the vice
president`s advance team failing to launch and failing to set up the
logistics for that inauguration, for whatever reason, Mike Pence did not go
– just as Lev allegedly threatened at that meeting in advance of the
inauguration. Pence, in fact, didn`t show up.
But you know who did show up? You know who the U.S. government did send to
that inauguration in place of Vice President Pence? They sent this guy.
They sent Energy Secretary Rick Perry who you may recall somewhat
inexplicably quit his job all of a sudden as energy secretary as soon as
this impeachment scandal started to break open.
Well, in a remarkable news story from the “Associated Press” today, we
learn a little bit about what Rick Perry did when he went over there for
that inauguration. Again, Mike Pence was initially scheduled to go. That
was canceled under strange circumstances. Rick Perry went instead.
And what did Rick Perry do while he was there? Honestly, it sort of brings
it home. My god, what must the Ukrainians think of us? We`ve been so
condescending and patronizing and pushy with them about how corrupt they
When it comes to just the inauguration of their new president who ran on an
almost purely anti-corruption campaign, when it comes to the inauguration
of their new anti-corruption president, I mean, in “The New York Times”
today, there`s this story about how the Ukrainian government was threatened
that the vice president of the United States wouldn`t come to that
inauguration unless he could – unless the new government could satisfy
these guys, Lev and Igor, that Ukraine would help try to get Trump re-
elected by cooking up some fake investigation into Joe Biden.
When Vice President Pence, indeed, canceled his trip to that inaugural,
Ukraine instead gets Rick Perry who, according to the “A.P.” today
basically brought his own U-haul full of grift to that first date. Quote:
Two political supporters of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry secured a
potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian
government soon after Rick Perry proposed one of the men as an adviser to
the country`s new president. Quote: Ukraine awarded the contract to
Perry`s supporters a little more than a month after Perry attended
Zelensky`s inauguration. In a meeting during that trip, during the
inauguration, Perry handed the new president a list of people he
recommended as energy advisers.
One of the four names was his longtime political backer Michael Bleyzer. A
week later, Bleyzer and his partner submitted a bid to drill for oil and
gas at a sprawling government-controlled site in Ukraine. They offered
millions of dollars less to the Ukrainian government than their only
competitor for those drilling rights but nevertheless, their newly created
joint venture won the gig. They were awarded a 50-year contract because a
government-appointed commission in Ukraine said they should get it.
This same reporting team at the “A.P.” led by reporters Desmond Butler and
Michael Biesecker reported as early as the beginning of May, as early as
the first week of May, this new president-elect in Ukraine had convened his
advisers to talk about all the pressure he was getting from the Trump
administration to gin up some sort of investigation into Joe Biden.
I mean, this guy is newly elected, newly elected on an anti-corruption
platform. His country has been invaded by Russia. His country is in an
ongoing war with Russia.
We`re their most important political ally in the world. We`re their
biggest source of military support. And he, upon getting elected, even
before he`s sworn in, he`s simultaneously getting pressured to open
investigations into Joe Biden as a political favor for U.S. President
He ultimately gets pressured that he`s not going to get a White House
meeting. That U.S. military aid could be held up. That the vice
president, who`s initially supposed to have come to his inauguration,
that`s going to get yanked.
Meanwhile, a Trump cabinet official does show up at the inauguration and
slips him a piece of paper that says, hey, I got these buddies that are
into oil and gas stuff, I hear you have government-controlled bids going.
I mean, Rick Perry goes over there for the inauguration and uses that
occasion in this context? To put in a word for these two guys, both of
whom are big political donors to Rick Perry, including the guy who loaned
Rick Perry the use of his private jet for one of Rick Perry`s presidential
Perry goes over there on May 20th for the inauguration of the new Ukrainian
president-elect, and that`s how he spends his time while he`s there.
Trying to get his political donors a gig, an oil and gas drilling gig with
the new Ukrainian government. And then a few weeks later, the Ukrainian
government bites the bullet and is like, OK, Rick Perry, your friends can
have a 50-year oil and gas contract on government-owned land here in
Ukraine, even though they offered many millions of dollars less than the
Ukrainian companies that bid for it. I guess we have to give them to you.
We`re lecturing them about corruption, right? But even still, the U.S.
assistance, this crucial U.S. assistance to Ukraine was held up. And over
the course of the past 24 hours, we`ve had a whole bunch of new information
filling in the gaps as to how that happened and when it happened and how
people inside our own government started to figure out what was going on
there because today the impeachment committees released testimony from
Laura Cooper, who is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia,
Ukraine, and Eurasia.
You might remember her testimony happened the day that Republican Trump
supporters in Congress stormed the SCIF. They stormed into the secure
hearing room that`s reserved for classified briefings and classified
testimony. They took over the place even though they didn`t have clearance
to be in there. They, like, ordered pizza and broke security and mounted
the stunt in there for hours and hours to physically block the impeachment
proceedings from going ahead.
Laura Cooper is the Pentagon official whose testimony got delayed that day
for five-plus hours because of that stunt. But ultimately, she did testify
and we got the transcript of that testimony today. And in that transcript,
we get this really interesting window into her bewilderment as a seen year
defense department official responsible for that part of the world. We get
a sense of sort of her bewilderment and shock about this crucial U.S. aid
to Ukraine being held up.
It was, for example, Laura Cooper`s office at the Pentagon that put
together the announcement that Ukraine was about to get their long-planned
delivery of U.S. military aid. This is from her transcript today. Cooper
says, quote: By mid-June, we had announced and were moving out on it.
Question: OK, when you say by mid June, we announced it, are you referring
to the May 18th public release by the Defense Department? Answer: that`s
exactly what I`m referring to. Thank you.
Question: Were you involved in the issuance of that public release?
Answer: Yes, I coordinated on the content of it. Quote: I believe that my
staff helped to draft it in consultation with our public affairs staff and
they provided me with the draft for review and I approved.
Quote, question, and that release essentially said that the Defense
Department was planning on providing $250 million to Ukraine and security
cooperation funds? Is that consistent with your recollection of the
release? Answer: yes, that would be the gist of it.
Question, what was the effect of this release on June 18th by the Defense
Department? Answer: well, one effect was that the Ukraine embassy and the
Ukraine government thanked us for making that public. They had been
looking for a public acknowledgement of the assistance. Not because this
was unusual, they just appreciate it when allies publicly note what kind of
support we`re providing Ukraine.
So, that was an immediate reaction. We got a thank you phone call from the
Ukraine embassy, our team in Kiev at the defense attache office heard
appreciation. Quote: But the second potential effect was that a few days
later, we got a question from my chain of command, forwarded down from the
chief of staff asking for follow-up on a meeting with the president.
Question, who was this email from? You mentioned the chief of staff.
Answer, yes, it came through a number of people before it reached my desk.
I don`t recall exactly how many people, but it came from the chief of staff
to the secretary of defense in our building.
Question: But you indicated you thought this might come from the White
House? Answer: The way the email was phrased, it said follow-up from POTUS
meeting, so follow-up from a meeting with the president. So, you know, I`m
thinking that the questions are probably questions from the president.
That`s how I interpreted that subject line.
So, on June 18th, right, this is the senior Pentagon official with
responsibility for Ukraine, and it`s clear, like, she and her office think
this is normal. This military aid has been approved. It`s gone through
all its clearances. They go through the trouble of publicly announcing it,
but then there`s a public announcement of it. And so, then, they get the
questions from the president, from a meeting with the president, not just a
White House meeting, the president has questions about this.
I mean, again, normal – normal chain of events here, military aid is going
to Ukraine. Ukraine is delighted. Ukraine says, thank you for saying
something publicly. Your support means the world to us. We got a thank
you phone call.
But then the president hears that this aid is going to Ukraine and they get
this series of questions, right? Wait a second, why is the president
concerned about this?
And then in July, it all just starts to fall apart. July 18th, Laura
Cooper sends her deputy to a White House meeting. At that meeting, it`s
where it`s announced the White House has ordered a hold on some of the U.S.
government`s aid for Ukraine.
At this point, Laura Cooper, this Defense Department official, seems to be
hopeful even if the other aid that`s help up to Ukraine, the aid that goes
through the State Department, at least the military aid is still going to
go through, right? No.
Five days later, on July 23rd, Cooper, herself, goes to participate in a
White House meeting. She`s increasingly concerned because she still hasn`t
heard anything specifically about the military funds, but that other U.S.
aid that`s supposed to go through the State Department, she at that meeting
starts advocating for the release of those funds because those funds are
important, too, and why are those being held up?
And sure enough, July 25th, the day of the call between President Trump and
the president of Ukraine, here comes the hammer. She gets a legal document
at the Defense Department explaining that, in fact, the military aid is
being frozen, too, on orders from the White House. And then the day after
the phone call, July 26th, she`s back up at the White House for another
meeting and all ambiguity is gone.
Quote: And there it was, to me, anyway, in my experience, it was the first
time it was stated very clearly that, yes, it is both the military funds
and the State Department funds that are both affected by this hold and that
it relates to the president`s concerns. What kind of concerns? The
president`s concerns about corruption. Oh, yes.
President Trump is very concerned about corruption, why he sent Rick Perry
over to go over there to the inauguration with the piece of paper in his
pockets with the names of his political donors he wants to get in on that
50-year Ukrainian gas contract. Whoo! Because the U.S. government`s
really concerned about corruption, in Ukraine. Yes, that Ukrainian
government, they`re very corrupt.
So this testimony from the senior Pentagon official, we just got the
transcript of it today, now indicates that it was the president`s
instruction that was holding up both the U.S. aid for Ukraine from the
State Department and the U.S. aid for Ukraine, the military aid from the
And “Bloomberg News” has some detailed and fascinating new reporting about
how half of that got freed up. How the State Department side of that got
freed up. In a previously unreported classified memorandum to Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo, State Department lawyers reportedly found that the White
House had no legal standing to block the spending of the Ukraine aid
because they had no legal standing to block it, the State Department in
early September freed up that aid to go to Ukraine, apparently without
telling President Trump that they were doing so. The State Department
reportedly internally concluded that it was illegal to not send over those
funds to Ukraine before mid-September.
Ultimately, the person who ordered the State Department to pull the trigger
after they`d conducted that legal analysis, it appears to have been John
Bolton, the national security adviser. Quoting from “Bloomberg,” quote:
Shortly before September 9th, John Bolton had relayed a message to the
State Department that the funding could go ahead. It`s not clear whether
Bolton did so with Trump`s approval. Bolton resigned from his job one week
So, that`s how the State Department aid gets freed up. The lawyers
conclude it has to go, legally, then John Bolton says, yeah, let it go,
then he quits his job.
Now, the rest of the fund, the military funds, Laura Cooper, the senior
Defense Department official, she indicates in her testimony which we just
got today that it also appeared to be quite illegal for Trump to be
withholding that part of the funding, too. She says in that meeting where
it finally became crystal clear that the president had ordered the
withholding of both the State Department money and the military money, she
says, quote, in that meeting, deputies immediately began to raise concerns
about how this could be done in a legal fashion.
Quote: The comments in the room at the deputies` level reflected a sense
there was not an understanding of how this could legally play out. Quote:
The expression in the room that I recall was the sense that there was not
an available mechanism to simply not spend money that in the case of the
State Department had already been notified to Congress and in the case of
the military assistance was money already earmarked for Ukraine. So, the
senior leaders were expressing they did not see how this option was legally
So you put all this together, and what we`ve got in all of this reporting,
all of this testimony released right ahead of the public impeachment
hearings that start the day after tomorrow, what we got is that while the
president and his amazing cast of characters were working to pressure the
Ukraine government that they had to announce investigations into the
Democrats and into Joe Biden, right? While that was happening, the
president was simultaneously ordering the withholding of aid to Ukraine –
aid that was supposed to go through the State Department and aid to Ukraine
that was supposed to go through the military and in both instances, his
efforts to hold up that money and not disperse it appear to have been
illegal which both the State Department and the Defense Department were
well aware of and were actively discussing including in at least one
classified memo that they were using to advise at least one cabinet
secretary at the time.
And while guys like Energy Secretary Rick Perry were working out their side
hustle to get their campaign donors drilling contracts from the new
Ukrainian government, while the Ukrainian government was desperate for our
assistance and support, and where, remember, the U.S. government is very
concerned that these Ukrainians might be corrupt, we really need them to up
their game when it comes to corruption because Rick Perry`s come and
somebody needs to get paid.
So when one U.S. cabinet official, Rick Perry, is working his side hustle
for his campaign donors, right, and the vice president of the United States
may or may not be having his time brokered and his overseas trips vetted
and approved by Lev and Igor, and haplessly and desperately in the middle
of all of this mishegoss from this administration, there`s Ukraine, invaded
by Russia for whom we are the most important ally and the most important
source of support, including specifically the most important source of
military support. And people inside the U.S. government who understand
what that country is going through and why we support them and how
important that is to us and them, I mean, they`re at their wits` end. They
can`t quite believe this is happening the way it`s happening.
I mean, here`s Laura Cooper. Quote: So DOD, the Defense Department, was
concerned about the obligation of funds. Policy, my team, we were also
concerned about any signal that we would send to Ukraine about wavering in
our commitment. That`s another reason why – I mean, we did not want this
to be a big public discussion, you know, if we were about to get it turned
back on again because we didn`t want to signal lack of support.
Question, why would that be a problem for Ukraine? Answer, so, the first
and easiest way of looking at that is looking at the peace process.
Ukraine is trying to negotiate a peace with Russia. If Ukraine is seen as
weak and if they are seen to lack the backing of the United States for
their armed forces, it makes it much more difficult for them to negotiate a
peace on terms that are good for Ukraine.
Question, OK, so what would weaken an ally? That being Ukraine. Is that
correct? Answer, it would weaken a strategic partner. Question, and it
would potentially strengthen our embolden Russia? Answer, that is correct.
We also got testimony released today from two other Ukraine experts in the
U.S. government, Christopher Anderson on the right, Catherine Croft on the
left, both National Security Council officials. They both testified about
this odd period in U.S. history that they lived through in their jobs this
year with all of our previous support and all stated U.S. policy to Ukraine
was suddenly up ended or weirdly put on the bubble.
Catherine Croft is asked about the upset, anxiety in Ukraine, that it would
become known that the U.S. was maybe not supporting them anymore,
particularly against Russia. Question, I think you said that word of that,
word of this hold on military assistance got to the Ukrainians and two
Ukrainian officials reached out to you quietly to ask you about this hold.
Croft answers, yes, that`s right.
Question, now, you said the two Ukrainian embassy officials, you understood
that they had no interest in this becoming public. Is that right? Answer,
that`s correct, that`s correct.
Question, and why would they not want this to become public? Answer,
because I think that if this were public in Ukraine, it would be seen as a
reversal of our policy and would, to say candidly and colloquially, this
would be a really big deal. It would be a real big deal in Ukraine and an
expression of declining U.S. support for Ukraine.
Question, so as long as they thought they could work through what was
causing the hold, they wanted this to remain out of the public attention?
So the pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political rivals to help him
in his re-election effort, that`s what the president is being impeached
for. And we will have public hearings on that subject starting the day
after tomorrow. That said, the effort to put some real muscle into that
pressure by holding up legally appropriated funds from both the State
Department and the Defense Department, those efforts appear to have been
illegal or at least judged as such by officials and experts inside the
State Department and inside the Defense Department who were scrambling how
to figure out – scrambling to figure out what to do with these illegal
But on top of all of that, I mean, the damage we have just done to our
ally, right, Ukraine`s standing, particularly when it comes to their
ongoing war with Russia and the appearance of their strength and the
implications of that for their negotiating position with Russia while they
engage in negotiations with them over an ongoing war, I mean, that damage
is done. That damage is done.
And even though this whole scandal is so ham-handed as to be laugh out loud
funny every day, right, including Rick Perry over there bringing the anti-
corruption message of the U.S. government and the Trump administration to
bear, right? That`s on one side of the car, where on the other side of the
card he`s got the name of his campaign donors because he needs them to get
the contract from the Ukrainian government, when we`re putting almost
unbelievable existential pressure on them. Here`s a U.S. cabinet official
being like, hey, hook up my buddies.
I mean, from that to Lev and Igor and Rudy Giuliani and all the rest of
these guys, through all of the other clowns in that particular clown car,
it`s ridiculous, right? But then there`s a real country in the middle of a
real war with thousands of their citizens dead right in the middle of all
of this and the damage done to them, to our ally, an ally that really needs
our help against an adversary that has invaded them and taken part of their
country, and that means nothing but harm to us, that repair work obviously
cannot even begin as long as this administration is still in office. Now
that we understand this much more about how they are conducting themselves.
It`s not just about praising Vladimir Putin and having secret
communications with them all the time. It`s at this is what we are doing
to our closest ally who is at most danger from Russia`s every move. This
is what we`ve been doing to them. Not threatening to do it, we`ve done it.
And unless this president is removed in this impeachment process, that
repair job is going to be job one for the next president of the United
States. If he is not removed by this impeachment process, we can`t start
that repair until he`s gone some other way. Whoever replaces him will have
that as day one, job one, as the cleanup for what this guy`s already done.
MADDOW: As we head toward the first public hearings in the impeachment of
President Trump, we got new testimony released today from a senior Defense
Department official and we got new reporting from “Bloomberg News” about
how officials in the State Department and the Pentagon tried to cope with
these decisions by the White House to hold up State Department assistance
to Ukraine and to hold up military assistance to Ukraine, both on orders of
the White House, even though both of those holds appear to have been
On top of that, we also got news about the Trump White House in 2017 and
2018 holding up the provision of Javelin missiles to Ukraine. And holding
up them not at that point in exchange for some investigation they wanted
about Joe Biden, no, they held up the Javelin missiles in 2017 and 2018 for
a different reason. This is from today`s newly released testimony by State
Department official Catherine Croft.
Quote: The Javelins, provision of the Javelin missiles, do you recall
whether there was a hold or freeze put on the javelins? Answer: There was
a process, and there was one hold, there was one agency that put a hold on
that decision. Quote: And which was that agency? Answer: The Office of
Management and Budget in the White House.
Question: Did you understand why? Answer: I understood the reason to be a
policy one. Question: What was the policy one? Answer: In a briefing with
Mr. Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, the question
centered around the Russian reaction.
Question: What was the concern around the Russian reaction? Answer: That
Russia would react negatively to the provision of the Javelins to Ukraine.
Question: What was the reaction of that concern from the other agencies?
Answer: I don`t know if I can provide that information in an unclassified
Question: OK, is there any way to provide it broadly? Answer: Well, I can
say all the policy agencies were in support. Question: And you mean in
support of providing the javelins? Answer, Croft, yes, correct.
Joining us now is Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley, a member of the House
Intelligence Committee. Sir, thank you very much for joining us. I
appreciate you being here.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Thank you. Glad to be here.
BURNETT: So, I`m drowning in transcripts. But I know you`ve been through
all these things live. I wanted to read that one setting up this
discussion with you because I was struck by that sort of bold-faced
testimony that the White House made the decision to hold up javelin
missiles that were otherwise due to be delivered to Ukraine and all
agencies believed should be delivered on White House concerns that Russia
QUIGLEY: Here`s what`s questioning. What`s Mick Mulvaney doing making
that decision when he`s the head of OMB? It`s extraordinarily unusual.
It leads me to believe that Mick Mulvaney wasn`t making that decision in
his role, it was making that decision based on something the president was
saying or doing which is more consistent with the rest of the policy in
Ukraine. The reasons that they state that they`re doing clearly aren`t the
MADDOW: Well, Ms. Croft goes on to discussion in her testimony that this
direction, she seems to have been under the impression that this direction
on those javelin missiles came from the president. It is hard for us, I
think, from the vantage point that we have as observers, people who`ve been
reading the transcript released by the impeachment committees, it`s hard
for us to discern how many people were acting of their own volition and how
many people were acting at the direction o the president.
Is that something you can discern from your perspective on the intelligence
committee without being able to depose people like Mick Mulvaney, people
like Rick Perry, people like Rudy Giuliani?
QUIGLEY: It`s tough, but let`s look what`s in the public record. You have
Mulvaney`s admission to this whole point. You have the White House call
transcript. You have the Volker text.
You have all this testimony here that you piece together and the bottom
line is there`s absolutely no way this takes place. All the things that
we`re learning about, the extortion of one of our closest allies, without
the president of the United States dictating that. When these gang of
three or four go to the White House and talk about the new presidency in
Ukraine, the president keeps saying over and over again, talk to Giuliani.
So, clearly, the shadow government, foreign policy they`re talking about,
has set aside the established cream of our diplomatic core so they can do
the president`s bidding to help him politically.
MADDOW: Congressman, I think a lot of people are wondering whether or not
we should expect the public hearings that start on Wednesday to be just a
public version of the kind of discussions that you all have been having
behind closed doors, that we can read these transcripts of now.
Are – for Americans who have been sort of aware that this is going on, and
watching the headlines but not following it closely, should we expect that
people tuning in on Wednesday to watch those hearings, paying attention to
this closely for the first time, that they`ll be able to follow this in
basic terms starting from square one, or are you guys kind of picking up
with where you left off with these closed-door depositions?
QUIGLEY: Well, I think there`s a reason in a jury trial, they just don`t
hang out depositions in a civil case. There`s a lot to be said for
watching these people testify. And what struck me about them was they were
clear, they were consistent, they were compelling, and I think that they
showed the truth of what they were saying.
I think it was very hard to bump them off their game. I think that will
help a great deal as the American people watch their testimony.
MADDOW: We`re going to have to public hearings this week, sir, do you
anticipate that will be a pace going forward where we`ll have a couple of
hearings per week and it will go on for a little while. Do you have any
sense of the overall timeframe here?
QUIGLEY: Look, some of this has to go with what time allows. We do have a
time crumple here, unfortunately, one we didn`t create because of the White
House`s obstruction here and the fact so many of their witnesses were not
allowed to testify.
I look back at Watergate, the Article 3 of the articles of impeachment
against Richard Nixon dictates four times in which Richard Nixon obstructed
that investigation. We saw that happen once, in one day, they obstructed
four times where four people were supposed to testify did not because the
White House told them not to. All of these witnesses were told not to.
Many of them had the courage of their conviction to come forward.
This is compelling testimony. Only a small percentage of the American
people had read the special counsel`s report on what took place with
Russia. Far more people watch these hearings as they took place. I`m
hoping we have the same effect here coming this week.
MADDOW: Congressman Mike Quigley, member of the Intelligence Committee,
sir, good luck this week. Thanks very much for joining us.
QUIGLEY: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One of the landmark hearings in Congress this year was the
marathon testimony from President Trump`s longtime attorney Michael Cohen
during which Cohen made allegations of serious criminal wrongdoing by the
president from before the campaign all the way up to the White House. That
was the Oversight Committee in Congress.
It`s also the Oversight Committee that launched an investigation into
Trump`s immigration policy and family separations at the border. It was
the Oversight Committee that has been relentless on the president`s alleged
efforts to use the presidency to his own financial advantage, whether it be
sending Vice President Pence to President Trump`s golf resort in Ireland
during his official visit to that country, or the president`s pitch to host
world leaders at the G7 at his own property in Miami.
All of those oversight responsibilities all conducted under the leadership
of that committee`s chairman, Elijah Cummings. And that was even before
that oversight committee took a central role in the ongoing impeachment
proceedings against the president. The loss of Chairman Elijah Cummings
would be hard at any time, but it has been an incredibly heavy thing to
lose a leader with such gravitas, someone with such a clear ethical core,
at a critical time like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: People will look back at this moment and
they will ask the question, what did you do? And hearing him, we would be
reminded that it falls upon each of us to give voice to the voiceless and
comfort to the sick and opportunity to those not born to it and to preserve
and nurture our democracy.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He had little tolerance for
those who put party ahead of country or partisanship above truth. But he
could find common ground with anyone willing to seek it with him. And he
liked to remind all of us that you can`t get so caught up in who you are
fighting that you forget what you are fighting for.
MAYA ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS, WIDOW OF REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Now, it is true
that he dictated every aspect of his service today and he would have told
me, Maya, I don`t want a service at the U.S. capitol, but I felt like very
strongly that they were trying to tear him down and we needed to make sure
that he went out with the respect and the dignity that he deserved.
This was a man of the utmost integrity. Do you hear me? He had integrity.
And he cared about our democracy. He cared about our planet. He cared
about our community. He wanted to make sure that we left a society worthy
of our children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The last woman you heard from there is Maya Rockymoore Cummings.
She is Congressman Elijah Cummings` wife and now widow. She`s always been
an impressive figure in her own right, most recently serving as chair of
the Maryland Democratic Party. She spent more than two decades working in
the private and public sectors including at the National Urban League and
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
And now, in the wake of her husband`s passing, a lot of people are
wondering whether she may run for the seat in Congress that was left by her
beloved late husband. Maya Rockymoore Cummings joins us here for the first
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Pleased to welcome to the show tonight, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.
She is the widow of Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. This is
her first television interview since the passing of her husband.
Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings, it`s a real honor to have you here.
ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS: Thanks for having me on, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, your husband was a very, very valued guest here whenever we
could get him. We`d talk to his staff and get a 20 percent chance or 12
percent chance or some minor chance that he could join us. Whenever we
could, we`d hold the spot for him in the hope that he could be here.
We miss him, both his role as a leader and this is somebody we could speak
to whenever we could. I can`t imagine that this hasn`t been the most
difficult time of your life this past month.
ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS: It`s been a very challenging time, but I got to tell
you, we watched you every night, Rachel. Even if he wasn`t on, he was
watching. So, just know that he appreciated you as much as you appreciated
MADDOW: Oh, that – my heart swells. Thank you for saying so.
I wanted to talk to you tonight in part because I know that you spoke with
“The Baltimore Sun” recently about your own health and your own status, but
also I believe that you`ve been doing something about your own plans and
the status of your husband`s seat. I wanted to invite you to share some of
that with us.
ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS: So, tomorrow, I will announce that I will be running
for the Congress, the seventh congressional district of Maryland. I
believe very strongly that, you know, I have the background and the focus
and the commitment and the ability to take the reins and to make a good run
for this seat. I fought right alongside Elijah for the last 12 years and
we knew each other another 10 years before that. And so, I`ve been on this
path for fighting for the soul of our democracy, for fighting for health
care, education, for a better America for all.
And so, he want – he wanted me to continue this fight, and I`m going to
continue this fight and run the race and prayerfully win.
MADDOW: So you and your husband talked about this before his passing? He
was enthusiastic about the idea of you carrying this and trying to take
this burden on for yourself?
ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS: Yes, we – you know, we`ve been discussing this for
quite some time because he had been ill for quite some time. And he had
been pondering his future and what would happen to the seat. So, about six
months ago, we were talking and he said, you know, I really do think you
should take this seat.
And so with that, you know, he would have expected it of me, and I`m going
to continue the fight. The fact of the matter is I`ve been fighting all
along. I have a track record of working on issues like Social Security,
and Medicare, health care and economic security, and certainly technology,
And so, you know, I was in the forefront of the battle to take on George W.
Bush when he tried to privatize the system. I`ve been working hard in the
trenches at every level of government to advance policies of healthy
working families. So, I`m prepared and I`m ready to roll up my sleeves and
address what Baltimore needs.
Baltimore is a city of great potential, but it has lopsided economic
outcomes, lopsided health care outcomes, lopsided education outcomes, and
the poorest people of the black and brown population of the city and
certainly surrounding areas are in need of somebody who is willing to
launch what I call an inclusion revolution, someone who is ready to tackle
the structural challenges that are facing the city and the surrounding
areas. I believe that a better future is possible for Baltimore. And so,
I`m looking forward to bringing everything I`ve got to make sure we ever a
better future for the city and the region.
MADDOW: Dr. Cummings, I wanted to ask you about this conversation you had
with “The Baltimore Sun” this week, that you plan to have a preventative
double mastectomy this week, which is an incredible decision, must be a
momentous decision for you at the same time you`re making this huge
decision for your future. Can you tell me why you went public with this
decision and how serious this is for you?
ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS: Let me just say this was scheduled before running
for office was ever a consideration, before Elijah`s health really took a
bad turn for the worst. He went with me to the doctor`s appointment where
I got a consultation about this option, and he agreed and begged me several
times before he passed away to prioritize myself. And so with that, I
decided to keep, even though he passed away and even though this race is
now before me, I decided to keep my promise to him, and I will keep this
appointment on Friday where I will do this.
I should tell you that my mother died of stage 4 breast cancer in 2015. My
sister was diagnosed with stage 2 last year. She`s my little sister
diagnosed with stage 2. She had a double mastectomy, and now I want to get
ahead of the curve and take basically the bull by the horns and stop it in
its tracks before it ever begins.
So I`m going to do this, and the way I`m going to do it is by moving
forward, one step at a time, one day at a time. That being said, although
it will take two to four weeks in terms of recovery, I will be laser-
focused on making sure that I am active, making sure that my campaign is
strong, that I`m doing everything I need to do to fund-raise and of course
focus on social media and the things that I can do to have a presence even
while I`m not physically able to be out in the community.
MADDOW: Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, thank you so much for talking with
us about all these matters. And stay in touch with us. We`d love – we`d
love – you keep us apprised as you go through all these decisions. Thank
you so much for being here, ma`am.
ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS: Thank you. MayaforCongress.com.
MADDOW: Well done. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: When you see people lining up outside the U.S. Supreme Court, you
know a big case is on the way. The people who lined up today outside the
court plan to stay all night tonight so they can get a seat inside the
court tomorrow morning for oral arguments over DACA, the Obama era program
that protects 700,000 young people in this country from being deported.
The Trump administration is trying to end that program. They want to
deport all the Dreamers.
But lower courts, thus far, have rejected that Trump decision as arbitrary
and capricious. And so, the question now goes to the Supreme Court.
One of the young Dreamers, Martin Batalla Vidal, caught the bus from New
York to D.C. with his mom today. He`s one of the named parties in the case
that`s going to be argued. He`s going to be there tomorrow inside the
court for oral arguments.
He told “The Associated Press” today, quote, I don`t know what`s going to
happen. Whatever the outcome is, we know we fought hard for it and we will
continue fighting. I`m trying to be positive.
In terms of governance, this case has potential to impact how far the
president can go in rolling back established policy of all kinds. If this
was done in an arbitrary and capricious manner and the court is going to
block him from doing so, that might mean a lot in terms of other policies
that were treated in the same way.
But in human terms, in terms of what happens now for literally hundreds of
thousands of people in this country, the Supreme Court case on DACA and the
Dreamers tomorrow, it`s as big as it gets. That hearing is scheduled to
start at 10:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow. We`re all over it.
Watch this space. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the