Interview with Cory Booker. TRANSCRIPT: 1/13/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker
Transcript:

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Cornell Belcher, Dave Weigel, thank you very

much. 

 

That is ALL IN for this evening. 

 

“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. 

 

Good evening, Rachel. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Oh, sure, like it`s that simple, Chris. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

HAYES:  It`s not that simply and I totally get people`s, like, they`re in

their head about it because it is a complicated set of questions.  But

like, you just got to do – vote for the person you like. 

 

MADDOW:  I know – and it`s hard to remember, wait, I`m supposed to wait

for the person I like? 

 

HAYES:  I`m going to mentally model the internal life of a person who works

in Ohio who has a certain job? 

 

MADDOW:  Exactly. 

 

HAYES:  Figure out what they like?  I don`t know. 

 

MADDOW:  Combination of game theory and impersonation is the best way to

approach this? 

 

HAYES:  Exactly.

 

MADDOW:  Yes.  Thank you, my friend.  Much appreciated. 

 

HAYES:  All right.

 

MADDOW:  And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Very happy to

have you with us.

 

We`ve got a really, really, really big, exciting show tonight.

 

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey today announced that he is ending his

campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. There is nobody quite

like Cory Booker, senator from New Jersey in U.S. politics. Tonight, we`re

going to be joined live here on set by Senator Booker for an exclusive

interview about his decision to end his campaign and what this past year

has been like for him in this roly-poly, topsy-turvy, rollercoaster of a

Democratic presidential primary.

 

Before we bring on Senator Booker, though, tonight, we are also going to

speak with the leader of the Democrats in the United States Senate. Senator

Chuck Schumer is here tonight at a very crucial time.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now confirming that she`s going to take one last

occasion to consult with all the Democrats in the House as to how they`re

going to proceed with the articles of impeachment against President Trump

and the impeachment process. That Democratic caucus meeting will convene in

Washington tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

 

After that last opportunity for discussion and consultation among all of

the Democratic members of the House, the House will then vote on a

resolution that will name the impeachment managers who will act as

prosecutors in the Senate trial of President Trump. That resolution will

also formally convey the impeachment articles over to the United States

Senate.

 

Now, we have sort of talked about here from the beginning, I`ve sort of

tried to advise here from the beginning that we should all be very humble

when it comes to predicting anything about how a presidential impeachment

is going to do. There have been very few presidential impeachments. They`ve

all happened in different centuries. They`re all very different from one

another.

 

Impeachment is a big enough, weighty enough, frankly scary enough deal that

I think we should be humbling about talking about how we`re sure it`s going

to go. I think impeachment is rare enough and strange enough that it should

be seen as a little bit of a wild beast.

 

So to that end, tonight, we`re going to talk with Senator Schumer about

what he is planning and what he thinks will happen in terms of the start of

this Senate impeachment trial. But, you know, stay humble.

 

Even just today and into tonight, we`ve got really interesting new

reporting that is totally recalibrating all the Washington common wisdom as

to what we`re about to see as President Trump`s impeachment moves into the

Senate. For example, because Mitch McConnell controls a 53-seat Republican

majority in the Senate, from the very, very beginning of even the prospects

of impeachment, people have pontificated that McConnell might just decide

to technically convene the Senate impeachment trial, but then instantly

take a vote to dismiss the articles, dismiss the charges, and that would be

it.

 

He could just gavel it open and boom, vote, gavel it closed. The trial

would be over. The whole thing could be done in five minutes.

 

That prospect has loomed large since it became even remotely possible that

President Trump was going to face an impeachment trial before the Senate.

 

Well, take that common wisdom and educate it, because tonight, CNN is

reporting that according to Republican sources, there are not enough votes

in the U.S. Senate. Even with that Republican majority, there are not

enough votes to pass a motion to dismiss the charges against President

Trump, without moving ahead with at least some version of a trial.

 

If that reporting is accurate, and if that math is accurate and McConnell

does not have the votes to pass a motion to dismiss – well, Senator

McConnell will have to decide whether he even wants to bother or risk

taking that vote, which he will probably lose, whether he might just skip

that, which would be a departure from how they handled it in the Clinton

impeachment, and he`s been saying he wants to follow the same rules that

they had during the Clinton impeachment.

 

So that`s interesting enough. McConnell might not have the votes to

dismiss. McConnell does not believe he has the votes to dismiss.

 

Does he even bother putting dismissal on the table then? Interesting.

 

And around the same time that CNN broke that story, CBS News broke a story

that is even more surprising and may mean that we`re about to have a way

more interesting January than you were planning on. CBS reporting tonight

that the Trump White House believes senior officials in the Trump White

House believe that not only does Mitch McConnell not have the votes to

outright dismiss the case against the president in the Senate, but at least

senior White House officials believe that Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer

in fact has the votes to insist that the impeachment trial of President

Trump not only go forward, but that it include testimony from witnesses.

 

Quote: Senior White House officials tell CBS News they increasingly believe

that at least four Republicans and likely more will vote to call witnesses.

 

And remember, four is the crucial number. If all 47 Democratic senators

vote that they would like to hear witnesses, they only need four

Republicans to join with them to put together a majority vote that would

result in their being witnesses at the president`s impeachment trial in the

Senate.

 

And CBS again tonight is reporting that there are at least four, quote, and

likely more, at least in the estimation of White House officials who, of

course, are following this closely, as if their careers depended on it,

because maybe they do.

 

So if Mitch McConnell isn`t going to be able to gavel open and then gavel

shot the impeachment trial immediately, and if McConnell is not going to be

able to stop witness testimony at the trial, and if all of that is about to

start imminently, because the House tomorrow is preparing to send the

articles over to the Senate – well, yes, then, the person I want to talk

to about all of that is Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the United

States Senate. He will join us here live momentito.

 

But before we bring Senator Schumer on board – we told you it was a big

show. Before we bring Senator Booker on. Before we bring Senator Schumer

on, told you it is a big show.

 

We are going first to go to Congressman Adam Schiff. He is the head of the

Intelligence Committee. He, of course, led the impeachment investigation in

the House. And there`s a lot to ask him about.

 

But most urgently, as of tonight, there is this really remarkable new

reporting in “The New York Times,” and maybe we should have seen this

coming. I didn`t. This is like welcome to the “50 Shades Darker” remake of

the 2016 Russian election interference effort to reelect Donald Trump,

because you can see the headline here from “The New York Times”: Russians

hacked Ukrainian gas company at center of impeachment.

 

Quote: With President Trump facing an impeachment trial over his efforts to

pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son

Hunter, Russian military hackers have been boring into the Ukrainian gas

company at the center of the affair. The hacking attempts against Burisma,

the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Hunter Biden served, began in

early November as talks of the Bidens, Ukraine and impeachment was

dominating news in the United States.

 

It`s not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were

searching for, but the experts say the timing and scale of the attacks

suggest that the Russian could be searching for potentially embarrassing

material on the Bidens, the same kind of information that President Trump

wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and

Burisma, which, of course, set off a chain of events that led to his

impeachment.

 

Quote: The Russian tactics are strikingly similar to what American

intelligence agencies say was Russia`s hacking of emails from Hillary

Clinton`s campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee during

the 2016 presidential campaign.

 

It is 2016 redux. It`s even the same units. The GRU, the Russian military

intelligence hacking units, a specialized hacking group nicknamed Fancy

Bear. It`s the same units that carried out the 2016 attack.

 

Security researchers describing this attack on Burisma as a cookie-cutter

version of the 2016 Russian hack to hurt Clinton and benefit Trump. The

Russian government hackers used fake websites and spear phishing emails

designed to steal usernames and passwords, just like they did targeting the

Clinton campaign and the DNC in 2016.

 

With those purloined usernames and passwords, they apparently were

successful. They apparently did get themselves inside Burisma`s servers to

dig up or unleash, what? You know, who knows?

 

Stay tuned. The Iowa caucuses are in three weeks. We`ll presumably find out

at some convenient time.

 

I mean, this is remarkable. You might remember on Friday night`s show, we

covered this sort of vague but still alarming report from “Bloomberg News”.

Reporter Chris Strohm reporting at “Bloomberg” on Friday that U.S. law

enforcement and intelligence agencies were investigating some sort of

effort by Russia to try to target Joe Biden, to try to mess with the Biden

presidential campaign, much as Russia messed with Clinton`s campaign four

years ago.

 

We highlighted this report on Friday night`s show, saying that there`s not

much detail here, but it`s obviously of concern if U.S. officials, law

enforcement and intelligence, are monitoring or investigating if Russia is

targeting Biden.

 

I don`t know if this is what “Bloomberg News” was referring to on Friday

night, but this new reporting tonight on the front page of the “New York

Times” says at least that Russian military intelligence hackers are at

work. Perhaps trying to dig up for President Trump`s benefit the stuff he

wasn`t able to leverage out of the government of Ukraine by force.

 

I mean, the House has already passed its impeachment articles against

President Trump already. But, I mean, what happens next here?

 

I mean, here is evidence of Russian government hackers, potentially trying

to deliver for Trump the deliverable that he was trying to pry out of

Ukraine for which he got impeached.

 

Here`s also an alleged participant in the Ukraine scheme for which the

president got impeached, Lev Parnas is currently under indictment in the

Southern District of New York. Here is Lev Parnas now delivering the

contents of his iPhone to the House Intelligence Committee this weekend and

the contents of another one of his phones apparently today that reportedly

includes thousands of pages of material, including this lovely new picture

we hadn`t seen before of Mr. Parnas and President Trump. This is reportedly

from March 2018 in Florida.

 

Also, here is the Department of Energy telling a federal judge as of today

that they will finally agree to hand over some of Energy Secretary Rick

Perry`s communications around the Ukraine scandal. You may remember him as

one of the three amigos in the middle of that scheme.

 

Here also is the Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan

investigative arm of Congress, reportedly about to publish their own

findings as to whether President Trump holding up the military aid to

Ukraine violated the law. That GAO report is expected within the next few

days.

 

So, I mean, if you`re Adam Schiff on the Intelligence Committee, you`ve

just completed an impeachment investigation which resulted in two articles

of impeachment already being conveyed, or they`re about to be conveyed to

the Senate. And that raises fascinating issues about how the Senate is

going to handle this.

 

But if you are the guy who just headed up the impeachment inquiry, and you

remain responsible for leading congressional oversight of the intelligence

community by running the intel committee, I mean, what do you now do with

this rising tide of new material and alarming new reporting that is

absolutely all about the scandal you have already turned into articles of

impeachment?

 

Joining us now live is Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House

Intelligence Committee.

 

Sir, really appreciate you making time to be with us tonight. Thanks for

your time.

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  My pleasure.

 

MADDOW:  So let me get your top-line reaction to this new report from “The

New York Times” this evening that just as the impeachment investigation was

starting up in November, Russian hackers from the GRU reportedly started

targeting Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company whose board Hunter Biden

served on. This is the company that President Trump wanted investigations

about that he thought he could use against Biden and the campaign.

 

What`s your reaction to this new report?

 

SCHIFF:  I have several reactions.

 

First, that it would not at all surprise me. This is indeed exactly what

Bob Mueller warned about in his testimony that the Russians would be at

this again. Director Wray has said the same thing, and they appear that

this reporting is correct to be in the midst of another hacking and

potentially another dumping operation designed to influence another

election in Donald Trump`s favor.

 

It is clear if that`s the case that once again they have a favorite. They

don`t want Joe Biden, it would appear from this target, and this would help

Donald Trump.

 

And I think the other thing that`s apparent from this, if this reporting is

correct is the message that Vladimir Putin has gotten is not to stay out of

American elections but you`re welcome to get involved in American elections

as long as it helps Donald Trump. It seems to be the message that President

Trump has conveyed, and – at least the message that Vladimir Putin has

received.

 

So, you know, we`re going to start by finding out what our intel agencies

know about this. I have to say, Rachel, I`m a bit distressed to see this

for the first time in a newspaper report. If the intel committee –

community is aware of this, that should have been brought to our attention

by now.

 

But I don`t find it surprising. I do find it deeply disturbing, and I would

hope that maybe both parties can get out ahead of this, even if the

president won`t, and condemn any Russian effort to influence the next

election.

 

MADDOW:  It is disturbing to hear you say that you learned about this first

in “The New York Times” and that the intelligence community hasn`t come to

you and your committee with this.

 

According to “The Times” and to the private security firm, which is called

Area 1, that reportedly detected this attack, they say that whatever was

going on here with these GRU hackers and the other hackers who were

involved in the DNC attack and the Hillary Clinton campaign attack in 2016,

they`re saying it was successful, that they did get into Burisma`s servers,

although there is no report what they actually did once they were in there.

 

If these Russian hackers stole stuff, or if they`re otherwise going to try

to release stolen information or disinformation to try to affect the

campaign, to try to hurt Vice President Biden, are we at all inoculated

against that now? I mean, does the intelligence community have a plan for

that, given what we went through in 2016?

 

SCHIFF:  Well, you know, we`re really not inoculated against it because

what would have provided the inoculation is if during the first time it

happened or thereafter, the president led a national consensus to reject

foreign help.

 

But, of course, all he has done is to invite foreign help. The very subject

of the impeachment went beyond they`re trying to invite Ukrainian

interference in the next election, but to coerce Ukraine by withholding

hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid, a White House meeting by

using the power – abusing the power of his office to solicit and coerce

that kind of foreign interference.

 

So, we`re not inoculated. We have a president who`s made it abundantly

clear time after time he is more than happy, more than willing to make use

of foreign help.

 

Now, what we can do about it is we can expose it. And so, if indeed the

intelligence community has been on top of this, if there are reports of the

Russians doing this, if there is evidence that they intend to use this in

the U.S. election, we can do our best to inoculate the public by telling

the public about it.

 

Indeed, you know, one of the qualms I had about the Obama administration`s

handling of this back in the last election was they didn`t make a more

full-throated attribution directly from the president about Russian

interference. So, we`ll have to do the best we can. But unfortunately,

we`re not nearly as inoculated as we should be.

 

MADDOW:  It is also striking that a lot of this new reporting material

turned up by FOIA lawsuits, witnesses coming forward, new public source

reporting as we see tonight in “The New York Times” does feel directly

linked to the scandal for which you led the investigation that resulted in

articles of impeachment passing the House against the president.

 

What happens to this subsequent material, the stuff that comes up since

you`ve drawn up and passed the articles?

 

Lev Parnas, who was part of the Ukraine scheme with July over the weekend,

his lawyer says he delivered data from Mr. Parnas` iPhone to your

committee, and more is on the way. These FOIA lawsuits have turned up

Pentagon and White emails and communications that you didn`t have access to

during your investigation, but since shined much more of a light in terms

of the president`s direct involvement here.

 

Will you continue to interview witnesses or do depositions or otherwise

sort of work on this case, despite the fact that the articles have already

been sent?

 

SCHIFF:  The answer is yes. And, in fact, that`s exactly what we`ve been

doing. We have received extensive documents now for Mr. Parnas. We have

received extensive, new and incriminating evidence come out of these FOIA

public releases of document releases.

 

And it underscores something very important that I don`t think the public

has heard enough about. And that is even as Senator Schumer, and you`ll

hear from him shortly, has been sounding the alarm about the need to make

this a real trial, make it a fair trial, make sure there are witnesses like

in every other impeachment in history, it`s also important to get the

documents.

 

The president withheld every single document. None of the documents we have

obtained came from any administration agency except through some of these

FOIA requests. And as we see as these documents come out, they are deeply

incriminating of the president. Those OMB documents disclose and

corroborate what we knew already, that the order to hold back the aid came

directly from the president.

 

The people didn`t know why it was being withheld. That in fact the Defense

Department was concerned that merely withholding it, not knowing of the

corrupt purpose the president had, but merely withholding it violated a

different law, the Impoundment Act. So, it`s as I think important that the

Senate get all of those documents as it is that we get the witnesses.

 

And one last point I`ll make, and that is if we`re following the Clinton

model here, and clearly McConnell really isn`t, but if we were, all of the

documents in Clinton were turned over before the trial. And that would make

sense to do here as well.

 

MADDOW:  Let me just ask briefly, sir. A lot of people are expecting that

when the intelligence – excuse me, when the impeachment managers are

named, that you will be among them. And I realize you`re not going to get

out ahead of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi in any sort of announcement in

that regard.

 

But is it your understanding that once there are impeachment managers

chosen, once the impeachment trial has started, will the managers be

constrained from presenting information to the Senate, presenting their

case? Will they be constrained to confine the evidence that they present

and that they discuss only to what your committee turned up as part of its

investigation? Or if there`s additional evidence that has come to light,

additional witness testimony or documents that have come to light, will the

impeachment managers be able to present that material, too? Or is this sort

of a prosecution frozen in time from before Christmas?

 

SCHIFF:  Well, that`s a very good question. I think the answer is we don`t

know because we don`t know what`s in the McConnell resolution, because

McConnell has not negotiated with Chuck Schumer in good faith. This is

going to be a partisan resolution by Mitch McConnell, and I`m sure it will

be drafted with the White House lawyers to give the president every

advantage.

 

I will say this, though. It`s going to be hard for the Senate to ignore

information that comes into the public record and say we`re not going to

consider that, even though it`s directly relevant, even though it`s

directly incriminating. We`re just going to turn away from it.

 

Now, one thing I am concerned about, Rachel, is the White House has not

turned over a single document. The White House should not be permitted to

introduce selectively documents to mislead the public about the documents

it has withheld.

 

You can obviously cherry-pick certain documents from OMB or other agencies

and suggest to the public or the senators during a trial that they`re

somehow representative when they`re not. If they intend to introduce any

document, they need to introduce all the documents so that we have the

complete record.

 

MADDOW:  Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence

Committee – a lot going on, sir. Thanks for joining us tonight. I really

appreciate you making time.

 

SCHIFF:  Thanks, Rachel.

 

MADDOW:  All right. We have two big guests still to come here tonight.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer joins us next as the articles of

impeachment against President Trump are being conveyed to his place of

work, the United States Senate.

 

Also, Senator Cory Booker is going to be here for his first TV interview

since ending his campaign for president today.

 

It`s a big night here. Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  So, House Democrats are all getting together tomorrow morning, a

full Democratic Caucus meeting, 9:00 a.m. at the Capitol. We expect – we

can`t know anything for certain these days, but we expect that Speaker

Pelosi will come out of that meeting with a plan to send over to the Senate

the two articles of impeachment that were approved last month by the House.

 

Now, once that ball is rolling, once impeachment moves over to the

Republican-controlled Senate to start the trial, anything could happen.

 

CBS News reporting tonight that Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in

the Senate, has apparently not been able to cobble together enough votes to

block all witnesses from testifying at the impeachment trial. Hello, John

Bolton.

 

CBS reporting that per senior White House officials, at least four and

likely more Republican senators will vote with the Democrats to have

witnesses testify at the trial. That would be enough for a majority vote if

they`ve in fact got four Republicans who will take that vote with the

Democrats. That would be enough to ensure that there would be witness

testimony. That`s a really big deal for how this month is going to go if

that reporting bears out.

 

And now that this is all becoming very real and is proceeding in a way that

lots of people did not expect, there is also this really specific issue

faced by the multiple sitting U.S. senators who are running for president

right now at this crucial phase of the campaign as we are headed into Iowa,

where the latest Iowa polling from Monmouth today shows the top four

contenders bunched tightly enough together that they`re all within the

margin of error.

 

How did the four Democratic senators running for president right now

balance the requirements of this Senate trial that`s about to start with

what they`re all trying to do with their campaigns at this critical moment?

 

There is only one person in the country who has questions like those

directly on his plate, and he`s the one who has to come up with answers for

all of them. He is Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the United

States Senate, a man whose life is about to be even busier than usual.

 

Sir, thanks for making time to talk to us tonight.

 

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY):  Thank you. Good evening, Rachel.

 

MADDOW:  Let me start with this CBS reporting tonight, that despite his

best efforts, it appears that the Republican leader in the Senate, Mr.

McConnell, has not been able to cobble together enough Republican votes to

block witness testimony in the trial.

 

Do you believe that that is true? And how significant is that if it is

true?

 

SCHUMER:  Well, I think the momentum is growing for witnesses and

documents. Three weeks ago, I sent a letter to Leader McConnell saying, to

have a fair trial, a real trial, you need to get the truth. The only way to

get the truth is witnesses and documents.

 

And he`s resisted constantly, but the American people have not. The

overwhelming majority of Americans believe that you need witnesses and

documents. What kind of a trial is there without witnesses and documents?

 

And, you know, frankly, Rachel, we don`t know what these witnesses and

documents will say. They`re hardly Democratic appointees. They`re Trump

appointees.

 

And what they say may be exculpatory. It may be further incriminating. But

the truth on something as weighty as this impeachment must come out.

 

If you can`t have a fair trial for impeachment, which is the ultimate power

the Founding Fathers gave the Congress to keep an overreaching, a law-

breaking president in check, then our Constitution is fundamentally flawed

and – well, not flawed. The Constitution is not flawed, but the

implementation is way out of balance.

 

MADDOW:  The last time you were here on this program and we talked about

these matter, you said that you were involved in trying to essentially

lobby Republicans, speak with your Republican colleagues across the aisle

on this matter about the way the trial was going to be conducted, the need

to have witnesses and documents.

 

We`ve also heard Senator Susan Collins of Maine tell her hometown paper on

Friday that she was meeting with a small group of Republican senators to

try to ensure that there would be a vote for witnesses and documents.

 

Can you tell us at all about how this has come together and how confident

you are that the votes are there?

 

SCHUMER:  Well, you can`t be confident at all.

 

I can imagine that the president and Mitch McConnell are going to put

tremendous pressure on these senators to have a cover-up, to not tell the

truth, to hide what actually happened, because if you`re – if you are what

Donald Trump says, he did everything right, everything was perfect, why

would you be afraid of witnesses and documents?

 

So they`re going to put a bee (ph) under a lot of pressure and making a

prediction is difficult to do.

 

I can tell you this: the case for witnesses and documents which I began

making three weeks ago is now gaining momentum in the Senate. It`s gaining

momentum throughout the country, and I am more hopeful than ever that we

can actually get a fair trial.

 

We haven`t overreached. We haven`t asked for a long list of witnesses to be

dilatory. We haven`t asked for truckloads of documents. Only the things

that would be eyewitness to what happened on this most serious charge that

the president actually withheld aid from Ukraine to get them to influence

an election.

 

You know, when I read the Constitution in high school and then again in

college, and they said the Founding Fathers were worried about foreign

interference in our elections, I sort of shrugged my shoulders and I said,

what`s that all about? Well, once again, the Founding Fathers were a lot

smarter than me and all of us.

 

This is very serious stuff. It weighs on different shoulders when it`s so

profound in different ways, and I am feeling a little better than I did a

days ago that we might actually get a fair trial.

 

MADDOW:  Senator, I have to ask you about some breaking news that we`ve

been reporting tonight from “The New York Times.”  “The Times`” headline

is: Russians hacked the Ukrainian gas company at center of impeachment.

 

“The Times” is reporting and they`re citing security experts who apparently

monitored this attack that Russian military intelligence hackers, some of

the same units that were involved in the 2016 attack on the Clinton

campaign and the DNC, when the impeachment scandal heated up in November,

they apparently attacked Burisma, this company that the president was

demanding investigations of because he thought he could use it against Vice

President Joe Biden in the 2020 campaign. Russian hackers have apparently

been hacking into Burisma and getting into their servers and rummaging

around.

 

The intelligence chairman in the House, Chairman Schiff, just told me that

this is news to him, that he did not learn this in his role as the

Intelligence Committee chairman. He is learning this in “The New York

Times.”

 

I know as Senate minority leader, you also tend to have access to sensitive

material. I have to ask if this – if this is news to you as well tonight

from “The Times”?

 

SCHUMER:  It is.

 

MADDOW:  Or if you had any inkling of this?

 

SCHUMER:  No, it is news. And it shows the great need for election

security. Again, to have the Russians interfere on the side of the same

person that intelligence agencies showed they interfered in the 2016

elections for President Trump is appalling and eats at our democracy.

 

And as you know, Rachel, this president has fought our efforts for election

security. Mitch McConnell has been his complete ally. We need to pass the

bipartisan legislation on the Senate floor – the House has passed a lot of

it – to deal with election security and provide the money so that our

elections are not manipulated by a foreign power. And that foreign power,

Russia seems to be gaining everywhere.

 

I want to make one other point because we`re going start debating this

tomorrow. So, it`s not exactly on topic, but it`s important, which is the

War Powers Act.

 

Russia and other countries are gaining.

 

The president`s foreign policy can be described in two words, erratic,

impulsive. He could get us into a war. He could even bumble us into a war.

And everywhere his foreign – in his foreign policy pursuits, whether it`s

North Korea or Syria or Russia, he makes us a lot – more weaker than we

were before, and there`s no strategy.

 

I am worried that we could have, as he once called it, an endless war in

the Middle East. We are getting close to getting enough votes to enact the

War Powers Act, which says that the Congress shall have to approve any war

in Iran. There`s another bill coming up, Bernie Sanders`s bill, to cut off

any funding for any war in Iran. I`m proud to be a sponsor of that.

 

And I hope we can get a few more Republican votes on this issue. We need

two more. We have two. We have all 47 Democrats.

 

The risk of war with this president is greater than it`s been in a long

time.

 

MADDOW:  I have to ask on that point, sir – I don`t make a habit of

reporting on detail on the president`s accusations and insults and tweets

and things – but part of the way that he has essentially whipping on the

issue that you just described there is by distributing an image today, a

doctored image that made both you and Nancy Pelosi wrapped up in the

Iranian flag and looking like mullahs in the Iranian regime.

 

I just have to ask your reaction to the president targeting you in that

way.

 

SCHUMER:  You know, it`s amazing how low this president can go, and it`s

amazing how our Republican colleagues – I haven`t heard hardly any

criticism of what he did – can go along with him.

 

But it`s the broader point. This is the way the president is conducting

foreign policy. This may well be the way he is conducting our interaction

with Iran right now – impulsive and erratic, no strategy. And that`s why

this war – even this cartoon makes the – or what he tweeted, rather,

makes enacting a War Powers Act so important, because it shows that this

president, when it comes to things like this, is almost out of control.

 

MADDOW:  U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer – sir, thanks for

making time to be with us tonight. I know it`s going to be a grueling few

weeks ahead. Good luck, sir.

 

SCHUMER:  Yes, thank you.

 

MADDOW:  All right. Up next, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker left the race

for the Democratic presidential nomination today, said he did so with a

full heart. He is going to be here for his first interview since that

announcement, next.

 

We`ll be right back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ):  Today, I`m suspending my campaign for president

with the same spirit with which it began. It is my faith in us, faith in us

together as a nation, that we share common pain and common problems that

can only be solved with a common purpose and a sense of common cause.

 

So, now, I recommit myself to the work. I can`t wait to get back on the

campaign trail and campaign as hard as I can for whoever is the eventual

nominee and for candidates up and down the ballot.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MADDOW:  Today, Senator Cory Booker announced that he is ending his bid for

the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, leaving the Democratic

primary field today with that same call back, the same vision of national

unity and common purpose that he outlined when he first launched his

campaign and that he ran on relentlessly for this entire past year.

 

Joining us now for “The Interview” is Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New

Jersey.

 

Sir, it`s good to have you here.

 

BOOKER:  It`s great to be back. Thank you, Rachel.

 

MADDOW:  So this is a day like no other.

 

BOOKER:  It is like no other.

 

MADDOW:  How do you feel?

 

BOOKER:  Today – you know, there`s obviously a sadness, you know, mourning

(ph) when a year-long effort comes to an end. But the experience itself,

the people I met, the rationally committed folks to the vision and the

mission that we had in this campaign, I was (ph) listening, and my heart is

really full.

 

MADDOW:  In terms of the inevitable magic wand question.

 

BOOKER:  Yes.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MADDOW:  If Cory Booker today could go back and say something to Cory

Booker on February 1st last year before you made this announcement, what do

you wish you had known? Is there any bit of this that you felt would have

changed the way you ran?

 

BOOKER:  No. This was one of those races that before we did a poll or

anything, I said this is why I`m running to my team. I think we`re getting

to this point of tribalism in our country where we agree on a lot of

things, values that our politics doesn`t reflect, and we want to speak to

that, that sense of severed belonging we have in this country, this sense

of shared values, shared pain, but not somehow having a larger American

mission in a sense.

 

So, this is one of those strange campaigns where I wouldn`t change things.

I think there`s a lot in the atmospherics that the message and the person

wasn`t the right time, and I had funny moments where I saw – I learned –

my first trip to Iowa, I learned I was going have to bring people to my

message, where I was running for a debate stage and a big guy grabbed me

and says, dude, I want you to punch Donald Trump in the face. And I looked

at him and go, dude, that`s a felony.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

BOOKER:  Let me explain to you that that`s the exact way to lose and we`d

never beat demagogues and bigots with that spirit. We beat Bull Connor not

by bringing bigger dogs and bigger fire hoses but by bringing love, and a

artist of activism that inspired other people to come. And that`s what I

was seeking to do, to show folks that we can beat Donald Trump, but that is

the floor, not the ceiling.

 

The call of our country right now is to mobilize this nation to deal with

problems that are bigger than our partisanship. And in fact, I still

remember with climate change talking to some scientists that said to me,

we`re going have to have a World War II type mobilization nationally to

deal with this problem.

 

And I remember my 4`11” grandmother talked to me about beating the Nazis.

I`m like you did not serve in the military, but she had her victory garden.

She had her war bonds.

 

MADDOW:  Uh-huh.

 

BOOKER:  And so, somehow if we`re going to deal with these problems, we`re

to have to pull together.

 

And there is a silent hurting in our country because of a need for more

courageous empathy, that we`re dealing with mental illness and addiction,

and our prison system, that we lead industrial nations in infant mortality

and maternal mortality. This doesn`t reflect our values. Our civic spaces

don`t reflect the best of who we are, and we have to change that.

 

And it`s not about beating somebody else. It`s about winning this nation,

which means, you know, bringing us together.

 

MADDOW:  Because you embody that, because these aren`t just your campaign

lines, everybody who knows you or follows you at all knows this is real.

I`ve known you long enough and said this to your face before. So I won`t

embarrass you. But you really are this earnest and this idealistic and this

idea of courageous empathy is core to you.

 

And because your campaign I think showed enough people in the country that

about you, there`s a different type of reaction to you leaving the race

today.

 

Karen Tumulty wrote a piece in “The Washington Post” today where she had –

she described you as a candidate of grace in an ugly political climate.

What was misplaced, sadly, she says, was the faith that his uplifting

message could be heard in the ugly moment that we are in.

 

People are mourning not just you leaving the race, but the fact that you

leaving the race makes us worry that an inclusive, positive, relentlessly

earnest message about empathy and love doesn`t have any room in American

politics.

 

BOOKER:  Look, I – clearly, I was not good enough to get that message

through. My experience is in the toughest of all environments, I ran for

mayor of a city that I was not originally up from, having my death threats,

thuggery, violence, a lot of challenges, and we were able to emerge and

ultimately win. There is an Oscar-nominated movie about it called “Street

Fight.”

 

MADDOW:  Uh-huh.

 

BOOKER:  So, an egregious (ph), toughest place to win an election, we won

by showing and calling to the dignity of our community, and that we could

be a city that can find uncommon coalitions and produce uncommon results.

 

And it was great experience. I took it into the Senate and did things that

I felt were the best to reflect the best. Passing criminal justice reform -

-

 

MADDOW:  In the Trump era.

 

BOOKER:  In the Trump era.

 

And the necessity doing things to me that often my side of the aisle

doesn`t like. Like I became friends with the Koch brothers` general

counsel, Mark Holden. He is a friend. We disagree on so much, but he helped

me get that bill to the floor when Mitch McConnell`s instincts were not to

put it there.

 

I told stories on the campaign trail about, you know, Brene Brown says it`s

hard to hit up close, pull people in, and talked about how my relationships

across the aisle with people I disagree with helped me get things done that

for an inner city and low income neighborhood like mine, literally, is

liberating people from prison.

 

So I`m in this to win, and I want to beat Donald Trump. I want to send

Mitch McConnell back to the back benches. Nobody is more competitive than

this former Stanford football player.

 

But, ultimately, how we win just as important as winning, because you can`t

campaign wrong and think you`re going to govern right.

 

MADDOW:  Yes.

 

BOOKER:  If the country needs to heal, if we need to create bigger bridges,

new American majorities that aren`t partisan majorities, but God, what my

grandparents told me about or my parents told me about the most wretched

moments of our history, four girls dying in a bombing in Birmingham

ultimately brought new coalitions together to lurch our nation forward.

 

And what ails me now, and I would say, if America hasn`t broken your heart,

you don`t love her enough, is we now see children dying all the time, from

Newtown to Parkland to neighborhood streets like mine, and it is not

creating that yet – it`s not stimulating that moral outrage that makes us

drive our country forward in new coalitions, even though 86 percent of gun

owners, NRA members, rather, agree with a lot of the common sense changes

we need to do.

 

So something is broken in our politics, and I was hoping this would be an

election that we could find some new healing, that it wouldn`t be a

partisan victory we seek. But the end of the Democrats, the call of my

party cannot just to beat Republicans. At the end of the day, it needs to

be about uniting Americans to a larger purpose. And that`s my prayer for

our party.

 

MADDOW:  I have nuts and bolts questions for you about what is next, both

for you and for your party, and what`s next in the U.S. Senate. Can you

stick with us?

 

BOOKER:  Yes, please.

 

MADDOW:  Senator Cory Booker is our guest. We`ll be right back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Back with us now for “The Interview” is New Jersey Senator Cory

Booker who was running for president in the Democratic primary until he

announced today that he is suspending his campaign.

 

Sir, thanks for staying with us. Appreciate it.

 

BOOKER:  Thank you very much.

 

MADDOW:  Let me ask you about this – the record diversity in the

Democratic presidential field this year. It started out as the most

racially diverse field either party has ever run. The candidates on the

debate stage tomorrow night in Iowa are going to be six white candidates.

 

Tom Steyer was the last person to get on that debate stage. He did so on

the strength of two early state polls in which he was 83 percent of the ads

in one of those states and 90 percent of the ads in the other one. He`s

just able to spend so much money that he dominated early states in that way

and got himself on the stage as you`re leaving.

 

What`s your reflection on that?

 

BOOKER:  Well, I want to remind – and you know this – that we are a party

that will succeed by not how much we can put down the people who aren`t

voting for us but how much we can inspire the people that will – want to

vote for us but often don`t come out. And the short way of saying that is,

African-American voters alone, if the same amount who voted in 2016 that

voted in 2012, it would be President Hillary Clinton right now.

 

MADDOW:  Yes.

 

BOOKER:  It is such a critical voting bloc.

 

And so, to not have candidates that can speak to that lived experience,

that can inspire that populace could end up being a disaster for us.

 

So, whoever it is, diversity is critically important, and a perception of

fairness. I remember when Kamala Harris dropped out, women in my life were

telling me how much they felt offended that someone with such a record that

she had couldn`t make it to Iowa because at the end of the day, she ran out

of money.

 

So, this is something we have to understand, that we have to inspire record

black and brown turnouts. The last time we won the presidency, we did that.

We won North Carolina when we did that, that Senate seat.

 

The path way to getting Mitch McConnell to back benches is black and brown

voters, the full Obama coalition.

 

So, I just will do everything I can to support our nominee, but as I`m

running for reelection in the Senate, I`m going to be doing everything I

can for people all over this country, because I will run myself ragged

because we have to get everyone out.

 

This is not about those 60 million Americans that voted for Donald Trump.

This is about the tens of millions of Americans who didn`t vote at all who

would be with us if we could just inspire them to the polls.

 

MADDOW:  Are you going to make an endorsement during the primary? I was

surprised that Secretary Julian Castro made an early endorsement of Senator

Warren just a few days after he got out. Are you planning on doing anything

like that?

 

BOOKER:  I don`t know yet. I`m taking a break for a little bit.

 

MADDOW:  Yes, yes.

 

BOOKER:  I literally have to pull a quick turn into the Senate race, which

we are starting from scratch.  And forgive me for this, but anyone who

wants to go to corybooker.com now and help me for that, because we have a

lot of money to raise at the start to make sure my seat in the Senate is

secure.

 

But this is going to be one of the busiest years in my life just because of

everything that`s at stake and the amount I`m going to give not only to my

own reelection, but to helping this country.

 

MADDOW:  One of the things you mentioned in your announcement today that

you`re getting out was that you didn`t – you thought you were

disadvantaged in the prospect of raising enough money to compete from here

on out in part because your presence is going to be required in the Senate

for the Senate trial that is starting likely this week.

 

Do you have any advice or any reflection on that for the four members of

the U.S. Senate who are still in the race who are going to be facing that

challenge?

 

BOOKER:  Well, the – everyone except for Michael Bennet, who was one of

the most exceptional leaders I`ve ever worked with, have a tremendous

amount of money, stock up (ph) I think, that will help them be on TV ads

and the like.

 

For us, it was a perfect storm. There was not making a debate stage, it was

being off the field for a week or two. We just got hit with everything at

once and we had to make the call.

 

But this is going to be difficult, and I hope it`s really going to rely on

Iowa voters being even more engaged even if you can`t see the candidate

right in front of you.

 

MADDOW:  Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, just almost exactly a year into

his presidential run, announcing today that he is suspending his race.

You`re here at the very beginning of your campaign which I am indebted to

you for it. I really appreciate you being here on this day of all days.

 

BOOKER:  No, thank you very much. I appreciate you more than you know my

friend.

 

MADDOW:  Thanks.

 

BOOKER:  Thank you. Thank you.

 

MADDOW:  All right. We`ll be right back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Thanks for being with us tonight. It`s going to be a big week.

We`ll see you again tomorrow.

 

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

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC.  All materials herein are

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

content.>