Judge grants Mueller more time. TRANSCRIPT: 1/31/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And while you were working, “The New York Times” has once again reported an
interview, an exclusive interview in the Oval Office tonight with Donald
Trump. It is the same newspaper that he calls the failing “New York
Times.” But somehow he just can`t stop talking to them.
And there`s amazing things in here. He talks about basically giving up on
trying to make a deal on the wall. He actually praises Kamala Harris as a
presidential candidate while attacking Elizabeth Warren. He goes on to
talk about claims that Rod Rosenstein told his lawyers that he the
president is not a target of investigation, and a bunch of things.
Also, also there`s a point, a spot in here I just want to read to you where
the president claims that being president of the United States has been
very costly for him financially. That his company is just losing money
because of this horrible curse of the presidency.
He says, I lost massive amounts of money doing this job, he said. This is
not the money – this is one of the great money losers of all time. You
know, fortunately, I don`t need money.
This is one of the great losers of all time. But they`ll say that somebody
from some country stayed at the hotel and I`ll say, yes, but I lose. I
mean, the numbers are incredible.
So there you have it. You don`t need the tax returns, Rachel. He said
he`s losing money. It`s just –
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: I can just see the presidential
challenge coin right now. President Donald Trump, one of the great money
losers of all time, and then with the dates of his presidency on it. I
would buy that trinket, for good money.
O`DONNELL: I`m sure he`s going to show us all the tax returns of the
companies and his personal tax returns that prove what a loser this
presidency thing has been for the Trump businesses.
MADDOW: Well, you know what? He does have an option. It`s not a
mandatory job. Nobody`s forcing him to stay in it if it really does suck
O`DONNELL: True. Mike Pence looks ready to go. He always does.
Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Bye, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, we have breaking news tonight from the “New York Times”
as I said, the newspaper that Donald Trump likes to call the failing “New
York Times.” It is the very same newspaper that Donald Trump repeatedly
invites into the Oval Office for exclusive interviews when he is feeling
most desperate about getting his message out there. The president knows
that what he says to Fox News has no reach beyond Fox News.
But he is obviously a lifetime believer in the power of the “New York
Times,” as are most people who grow up in New York, as Donald Trump did.
“The Times`” exclusive report from the Oval Office tonight by Peter Baker
and Maggie Haberman quotes the president as saying that Deputy Attorney
General Rod Rosenstein has said the president is not a target of the
Quote: He told me – he told the attorneys that I`m not a subject, I`m not
a target. When asked if he is a target of federal prosecutors in New York
City, the president said, I don`t know about that.
The president told “The Times” that he has given up on negotiations with
Congress for his border wall and he made it very clear in the interview
that he fears Elizabeth Warren most as a presidential candidate. He did
that by attacking Elizabeth Warren, using what the “New York Times”
described as the president`s, quote, “favorite slur” for Elizabeth Warren,
and he praised the candidacy of Senator Kamala Harris.
“The Times” notes that the president does not know how to pronounce her
name. The president said: I would say the best opening so far would be
Kamala Harris. A better crowd, better crowd, better enthusiasm.
That doesn`t mean that the president would prefer to run against Kamala
Harris. It simply means his number one priority right now is to hurt the
Warren candidacy. Senator Harris will surely come in for her sure of Trump
attacks. That`s the way Donald Trump did it last time. He picked the
person he perceived to be the front-runner in the Republican primaries,
Republican candidate Jeb Bush, and he attacked him relentlessly until he
drove down Jeb Bush`s poll numbers, and then in sequence, attacked every
candidate left standing after Jeb Bush.
“The Times” reports that the president said he had, quote, summoned his
intelligence chiefs including Dan Coats, the national intelligence
director, and Gina Haspel, the CIA director, to the White House because he
had heard they contradicted his foreign policy during testimony to Congress
But that meeting actually made it looked as if Chuck Schumer was in charge
of White House scheduling. Because at this hour last night, we brought you
what was then the breaking news, that the Senate Democratic leader Chuck
Schumer sent a letter to Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence,
urging him, urging him to have, quote, an immediate meeting with the
president to educate him about the facts and raw intelligence underlying
the intelligence community assessments.
Chuck Schumer`s letter came at the end of a day in which the president
openly attacked and insulted all of the leaders of our intelligence
agencies and everyone working in those agencies. In one tweet he screamed,
they are wrong, exclamation point. In another the president said that
people working in intelligence should go back to school. The president
launched that attack the day after the heads of those agencies testified to
the Senate and presented intelligence assessments that completely disagree
with what President Trump has said about North Korea and Iran and ISIS.
The president did not attack their testimony on the day that they gave that
testimony. It was only after the president saw the news media reaction to
the directors` complete disagreement with the president that the president
angrily attacked his FBI director, his CIA director, and his director of
national intelligence, Dan Coats.
Senator Schumer`s letter to Dan Coats ended this way: The president is
putting you and your colleagues in an untenable position and hurting the
national interest in the process. You must find a way to make that clear
And here is the picture today of Dan Coats trying to, as Chuck Schumer put
it, make that clear to the president, to educate the president. That
meeting was demanded by Chuck Schumer. Much has been written, perhaps most
authoritatively in Bob Woodward`s book, about just how uneducable president
Trump is. Sources inside the White House have told Woodward and others
that it is impossible to educate the president. And much of the public
And Senator Schumer`s letter seems to deliberately play off of that public
knowledge, that the president cannot be educated. The president proved
that once again today with his report on the meeting in which Dan Coats and
the director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, tried to educate him.
Just concluded a great meeting with my intel team in the Oval Office, who
told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate hearing was
mischaracterized by the media and we are very much in agreement on Iran,
ISIS, North Korea, et cetera. Their testimony was distorted.
It is theoretically possible to mischaracterize and distort what happened
in a Senate hearing. And that is why the Senate keeps transcripts of all
of their hearings and almost every Senate hearing is recorded on video.
And so, you can always check what was really said.
But there is no video recording of the president`s meeting in the oval
office today. There is no transcript of it. But you can be absolutely
sure that the president is mischaracterizing the meeting when he says that
the intelligence directors told him that their testimony was
mischaracterized by the media. Their testimony was not mischaracterized by
the media. It was shown by the media, on video. So you got to see just
how wrong the intelligence directors say the president of the United States
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: ISIS is intent on resurging
and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we have won against
ISIS. We`ve beaten them and we`ve beaten them badly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We`ve all seen President Trump tell the world that he believes
Vladimir Putin and that Russia did not attack our Democratic process in the
2016 presidential election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He just said it`s not Russia. I will say this: I don`t see any
reason why it would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The reason why it would be is that everyone in the American
intelligence community has told President Trump repeatedly that Russia did
it, Russia is guilty, Russia attacked our campaign processes in 2016. And
yesterday, the president`s FBI director said Russia is still doing it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Not only have the Russians continued to do
it in 2018 but we`ve seen indication that they`re continuing to adapt their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president also tweeted today that after that meeting today,
he said, I would suggest you read the complete testimony from Tuesday. A
false narrative is so bad for our country. I value our intelligence
community. Happily, we had a very good meeting and we are all on the same
Here`s a page that no one else in the world is on, except Donald Trump.
There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. For Dan Coats and
the other leaders of our intelligence community to be on the same page with
Donald Trump, they would have to have said to him today in that
intervention you saw in the Oval Office that there is no longer a nuclear
threat from North Korea.
Here`s what Dan Coats said to the Senate about that on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATS: We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD
capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and
production capabilities because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons
as critical to regime survival.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So what are you going to believe? What Dan Coats said in
public to the United States Senate or what Donald Trump claims Dan Coats
said to him in private, in the Oval Office?
Leading off our discussion now, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell from
California. He`s a member of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.
And Jason Johnson, politics editor at theroot.com and an MSNBC contributor.
Congressman Swalwell, first of all, the president`s characterization of
this meeting today in the oval office in which the only source we have on
this is the president, no transcript, no video, and he`s saying that the
intelligence chiefs came in there and said to him we didn`t say any of
those things that are now on video that we`ve all seen them say.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, good evening,
Lawrence. So telling is that the president did not watch that hearing
which I and so many others watched to learn about our worldwide threats
because if he had watched he would have seen that they laid out the threats
that we face.
What is most concerning, though, is that the threats that the president
believes face us are phantom threats and he`s putting up walls to protect
against them and those walls on the southern border would only divide us
and destroy the symbol of America being welcoming. But he`s not allowing
us to have the walls that we need for our true threats, the walls of a
cyber defense against Russia, the walls of an alliance of NATO to counter
any threat from Russia or other countries. The walls that we would need
economically to take on China.
The president, you know, has us afraid of threats that are not there and
turns us against each other. And we are almost defenseless against
emerging threats that could truly destroy us economically and security-
O`DONNELL: Jason Johnson, let`s listen to something that Nancy Pelosi said
today about this conflict between the president and the intelligence
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president just doesn`t
seem to have the attention span or the desire to hear what the intelligence
community has been telling him. So for him to make this statement that he
did yesterday, that`s cause for concern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jason Johnson, I was on the hill today and I have been given
every reason to believe that this language is being very carefully chosen
by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Nancy Pelosi there using the phrase
“attention span”; Chuck Schumer using the phrase “educate him”; because
they believe that the public believes that the president does not have the
attention span and it is impossible to educate him.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: Low I.Q., low energy,
attention span. Apparently, no one just wants to say stupid because that`s
really what they`re saying. They want to say that they really believe that
the president of the United States is too stupid and too undisciplined to
follow the basic rules and guidance and advice that`s coming from the
security chiefs, after he has spent the last two years and most of his
presidency attacking them.
But, Lawrence, what I find more disturbing, and this is a consistent thing
about this president, is his penchant for lying. His penchant that even
when it can be proven that he is lying, even when someone is speaking to
him, even when he has been proven to be incorrect, he`ll just spin the
He`s a guy who can be in the pits of hell and be like I turned them to turn
the heat up and I like pitchforks, right? Like it doesn`t matter what
people tell him. That`s what`s most disturbing.
It doesn`t just send a dangerous message to all of the national security
people we work with, but it sends a dangerous message to all of our allies
abroad, that this president when you talk to him can`t be trusted to not
only leak information to possibly Russia and then to China, but also he
will mischaracterize your conversation that ways that could be dangerous to
intelligence gathering around the world.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, I want to get your reaction to some of
the other things the president said to the “New York Times” tonight, one
being that he`s basically just given up on the negotiations with Congress
about funding the wall.
SWALWELL: Yes. He called the wall talks a waste of time. And actually,
Lawrence, only an authoritative figure would think that collaboration and
God forbid Republicans and Democrats sorting out border security would be a
waste of time. You know, I know in Washington oftentimes governance is
about theater than policy. And, you know, there has been an obsession over
Donald Trump getting schooled in the “art of the deal”, and that probably
But the truth is governance is about testing ideas. And the idea of a wall
was tested and it failed because it`s just a bad ineffective idea. The
idea of using a shutdown to get around the legislative process was tested.
It failed because it hurts people and it`s a bad idea.
Democracy is a great idea, and if we use it, we can make sure that
government helps people in their everyday lives. And I think Donald Trump
is going to learn that the hard way.
O`DONNELL: And, Jason, I want to get a quick reaction from the “New York
Times” reporting where president Trump attacks Elizabeth Warren, does the
vicious stuff and uses the slurs, but then in the same interview tries to
say and does say positive things about Kamala Harris.
JOHNSON: Yes. In addition to still not being able to pronounce Senator
Harris`s name correctly.
Look, it`s very obvious the president is concerned about running against
Elizabeth Warren in the same way he was concerned about running against
Hillary Clinton. Not that this in any way slights Senator Harris but he
doesn`t necessarily think she`s a concern.
But also remember, Lawrence, he puts it in terms of pageantry. She had the
best first act. She had the best performance. I don`t think this man
realizes that elections have consequences and even if he sees this as a
reality show that show might result in him getting canceled in 2020 if his
ratings don`t look better than Harris`s or Warren`s or Booker`s or anybody
else who runs.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, Jason Johnson, thank you both for
joining us tonight.
We are staying with this breaking news from the “New York Times” tonight.
“The Times” has just posted a portion of audio of their interview,
exclusive interview in the Oval Office with President Trump tonight.
Here is the president talking with Peter Baker about Nancy Pelosi and the
fight over the border wall.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing
what she`s doing. And, ultimately, I think I`ve set the table very nicely.
I think people understand. Well, they understand, Peter, they didn`t know
what was going on at the southern border. Now they know. They had no idea
the amount of crime, the amount of drugs, the amount of human trafficking,
which can be stopped with the proper system.
I`ve set the table. I`ve set the stage for doing what I`m going to do.
PETER BAKER, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: You`re going to wait out 21
days before –
TRUMP: Yes, I`m going to wait until the 15th. I think it`s a waste of
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That audio was just released by the “New York Times.” It`s
just a portion of their interview with President Trump tonight.
And today, the president admitted something that no president before him
ever has. The president has given up. Presidents are never supposed to
give up. They are always supposed to continue to try to govern to the best
of their abilities and to push the country and the Congress in the
direction they think we should go.
But today, the president said he`s given up on trying to make a deal with
Congress about his border wall. He also said that in his “New York Times”
interview tonight. Of course, the president will be challenged in court if
he tries to declare a national emergency to build his wall.
This morning on “Morning Joe”, Congressman Adam Schiff said that he thinks
he knows what exhibit A will be in that court fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The fact
that none of the intel chiefs brought up a threat at the southern border as
being one of the most pressing threats facing the country, that could be
exhibit A in a challenge to any kind of a declaration of a national
emergency, the fact that none of our intelligence agencies think it`s an
emergency, the fact that Congress on both parties don`t think this is an
emergency. I think if anything this is going to undermine the legal case
the president is going to try to make. That hearing yesterday could be a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of
the liberty and national security program at the Brennan Center for
Justice. Also with us, Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto
Latino, and an MSNBC contributor.
Elizabeth, I`d like to start with you. You`ve written about the
president`s authority to use the National Emergency Act to try to go in
here and build the wall.
What do we need to know about that?
ELIZABETH GOITEIN, LIBERTY AND NATIONAL SECURITY PROGRAM CO-DIRECTOR: So,
the National Emergencies Act was passed in 1976. It gives the president
incredibly broad discretion to declare a national emergency. There`s no
definition of national emergency in the statute. There`s no criteria he
has to meet.
And once he declares that emergency, the special provisions of about 123
different laws become available to him. And those laws give him sometimes
very extraordinary powers to do things in all areas of government, ranging
from military deployments to agriculture to communications. And so, it
really is an incredibly powerful statute with very few checks and balances.
O`DONNELL: But isn`t it all written in the anticipation that the president
has to have emergency powers when a response is necessary and Congress is
unavailable to in any way respond itself?
GOITEIN: That`s exactly right. I mean, the whole point of emergency
powers is not to displace Congress or get around the will of Congress.
It`s to give the president a little more flexibility in situations where a
crisis is unfolding so quickly that Congress really has no time to act. So
these are authorities that Congress has granted in advance for those
situations when things are just unfolding so fast.
And in a situation where Congress has plenty of time because President
Trump keeps saying, I`m going to give Congress more time, more time. And
then not only has that time but actually votes not to give the president
this kind of authority, then it`s just a tremendous abusive emergency
powers. And I think in this situation quite likely unconstitutional.
O`DONNELL: Yes, because then the president is just trying to get around a
negative vote by Congress. Congress has voted against what he wants to do
with the emergency power.
GOITEIN: Absolutely. And Article 1 of the Constitution is very clear the
president cannot spend funds that Congress has not appropriated. So, it`s
very much an abuse of power.
The problem is that you know, this law, the National Emergencies Act, is
written so incredibly broadly, without the checks and balances that we
need, and so it`s going to end up being a very long, very pitched battle in
the courts, and I`d like to say that the outcome is certain and that the
courts will do the right thing. But I think, you know, it`s going to be up
to this Supreme Court with five very conservative justices who have shown a
tendency to really support strong executive power at least as exercised by
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar, so the end we see coming here is that the
confreres who are meeting continue agree on some kind of spending, but does
not include any money for the wall, continued funding the government, no
money for the wall, they pass that through the House and the Senate,
president Trump in effect just ends up signing it with no comment probably,
no cameras around.
And then the president goes into this emergency mode and goes – and
invokes emergency in order to get the military to suddenly start building a
wall on the southern border. That immediately gets challenged in court.
And so, the wall becomes a court fight and the president is off the hook.
He`s done everything he can.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO: Right. And then, all of a sudden, he
appeases the conservative base, the talking heads, saying look, he did what
he said he was going to do. He tells his base, look, I just did what I was
going to do. But I really need to emphasize the fact that this president
is stress-testing every single branch of government, whether we`re talking
about the judiciary, we`re talking about legislation works.
He`s constantly trying to circumvent the traditional processes, whether
it`s opening up the government, actually presenting a bill that can be
legislated against, that can be debated against on the House floor, on the
Senate floor, about this wall, about immigration reform. I think if you
were to talk to the majority of members of Congress, everyone would agree
we need to modernize our immigration system. Everyone would agree we need
to modernize how we have national security at the border.
They would agree we have to talk about the individuals that are living here
in the shadows, the 11 million, and what future immigration is. But he
doesn`t want to have that debate because that takes steps, that takes this
also idea of political understanding of how condition works, and he has a
formidable component – individual against him which is Nancy Pelosi. She
understands the intricacies of how you legislate not only literally but
also behind the scenes. And I think that is something he is not ready to
do toe to toe.
So what does he want to do? He wants to do this away from the cameras and
then declare presidential authority. But the majority of the American
people aren`t going to buy it, Lawrence. The American people, 3 million of
them said I don`t want this immigration debate, I don`t want to fear
When it came to the midterms, he got a shellacking because they weren`t
buying this bit on the wall. And when it came to the government shutdown,
they also said look, we don`t need a wall, we need to modernize our systems
of immigration and our national security at the border but this is not the
way to do it.
O`DONNELL: So, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer sit in the Oval Office and
they tell the president no on the wall. And then the president ends up
with his shutdown tantrum, says he`d be proud to have a shutdown. And
then, Maria Teresa, we saw the president then try to find a semantic
solution. He thought maybe if we just don`t call it a wall.
Let`s just listen to all of president Trump`s attempts to not call this a
wall. And he thinks this is how you negotiate and actually get the wall.
Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The only thing that`s going to stop that is great border security,
with a wall, or a slat fence. Or whatever you want to call it.
And we`ll call it a barrier instead of a wall. And I`m OK with that too.
I don`t care what you call it. But it`s got to be there.
The wall, the barrier, whatever you want to call, it`s OK with me. They
could name it whatever they can name it. Peaches. I don`t care what they
name it. But we need money for that barrier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So now –
KUMAR: Nancy –
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, he said he`s giving up today, right, completely
giving up on the whole thing. He`s not calling it peaches anymore.
KUMAR: I was going to say.
O`DONNELL: And he issues a tweet saying let`s just call them walls from
now on and stop playing political games, a wall is a wall. The only person
playing political games with what you call this thing is the guy who was
calling it peaches.
KUMAR: Right. And Nancy is not going to give him peaches. Let`s be
And she`s still waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall. What did Steve
Schmidt say earlier? Where are the pesos?
Like his not delivering on a campaign promise. And this is not the only
one. There are several campaign promises he promised the American people
that are not coming to fruition.
But this was his signature piece for his presidency. And he`s basically
recognizing that the majority of the American people not only don`t want it
but they now have a Congress that is planning on being the checks and
balances that they promised to him and he`s going to have to basically
level with the American people in saying look, you can throw whatever
tantrum you want but at the end of the day the wall is not the primary
The majority of American people want to figure out how do they continue job
growth, how do they have access to health care, how do we have a smart
immigration policy because we can all recognize it`s broken. The wall is
just not going to cut it.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar and Elizabeth Goitein, thank you both for
joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
And when we come back, what special prosecutor Robert Mueller did today
that tells us a lot about how much more of the Mueller investigation we
will be covering and why Roger Stone could be the gift that keeps on giving
to the Democratic presidential candidates.
O`DONNELL: More breaking news tonight from the president`s interview with
“The New York Times.” President Trump claims that he has received
reassurances from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that the president
is not a target or subject of Robert Mueller`s investigation. “He told the
attorneys that I`m not a subject, I`m not a target,” Mr. Trump said. Asked
if that also covered the separate investigation by federal prosecutors in
New York, he said, “I don`t know about that.”
Trump also denied having ever spoken with his long-time associate Roger
Stone about WikiLeaks and e-mails stolen from the Democratic National
Committee and the Clinton campaign. He went on to tell “The Times” that
he`s always liked Roger Stone and that he considers him a character and
that he believes Stone`s early morning arrest by the FBI was a very sad
thing for this country.
Roger Stone`s newfound celebrity status is a dream come true for Roger
Stone. Every head in the room swiveled when he walked in. That is
according to the reliable source, gossip column in “The Washington Post”
today. The heads were swiveling to see the man who is now living his
dream, the dream of making heads swivel.
According to the reliable source, “just before noon Tuesday, Trump`s long-
time friend and Political Adviser Roger Stone, fresh from pleading not
guilty to charges relating to the Russia investigation, showed up to the
Palm, a veteran steakhouse, with an entourage of lawyers, security guards,
and a videographer.
“Every head in the room swiveled when he walked in,” said a source in the
Palm`s dining room. Not long after Stone showed up, another political
operator walked into the famous dining room, Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen`s
former lawyer and current adviser. Davis arrived after Stone and was
surprised to be in the same room as the Trump pal.
The two men, the Trump loyalist and the lawyer who represented the guy who
flipped on the president, were seated at opposite ends of the restaurant.
The Palm is used to such sticky situations. But apparently, the discretion
wasn`t necessary. Stone not only eventually made his way over to Davis`s
table but the odd couple snapped more than a few photos together.”
“The Washington Post`s” source`s take on the packed lunch hour? “This is
like bizarro world.” It is Roger Stone`s world, a world that craves fame.
And when Roger Stone sees someone in that world, that also has even a
little bit of fame, Roger Stone is drawn to that person`s fame.
Fame is the currency Roger Stone has always wanted to have. And he got it
the hard way, thanks to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who in court
today filed a motion indicating that the evidence in the indictments he has
brought against Roger Stone is both voluminous and complex.
It is composed of multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of
information consisting of among other things FBI case reports, search
warrant applications, and results, bank and financial records, and the
contents of numerous physical devices including cellular phones, computers,
and hard drives.
The motion said that the evidence spans several years. The special
counsel`s motion asked to designate the Roger Stone case as a complex case
that is not subject to the speedy trial rules of federal court. Roger
Stone`s lawyers agreed with the motion and the judge granted the motion.
So Roger Stone is not going to be scheduled for a speedy trial. So that
means Roger Stone could be making heads swivel at the Palm for the rest of
this year before he has to squeeze his lunch breaks into the lunch hour of
a federal trial. That`s one indicator that reports that the Mueller
investigation is close to completion could actually be many months
After a break, we will get Former Federal Prosecutor Glenn Kirschner`s take
on the court`s decision to delay the Roger Stone case today and what we
learned about the evidence in the case. And Jason Johnson will consider
what effect the new schedule for the Stone trial will have on the schedule
of the presidential campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, LONG-TIME TRUMP ALLY: Yes, I did not coordinate anything with
the Trump campaign pertaining to WikiLeaks. I did cover – I did follow
the story perhaps more closely than anyone else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Roger Stone offering the short version of his defense
to the news media today. But Robert Mueller`s court filing today indicates
that the case is much more complex than that.
Joining our discussion now, Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor, and
an MSNBC legal analyst. Jason Johnson is back with us.
Glenn, translate the Mueller memo today, the motion to delay the trial.
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Sure, Lawrence. So the motion
was basically an effort to get out from under the speedy trial clock, the
70-day trial deadline. And I think it`s interesting that Mueller was the
one who filed the motion but the defense immediately threw up its hands and
said, “You know what, we don`t need a speedy trial. We think this is a
really complex case so we`re not even going to oppose your motion.”
So it looks like both parties recognize that there`s still a lot of work to
be done with respect to Roger Stone`s criminal behavior. Some of which
he`s been charged with, some of which I think is probably still to come.
O`DONNELL: Any guess about what the trial date would end up being in this
KIRSCHNER: You know, my guess is that Roger Stone is going to fold like a
cheap lawn chair and cooperate with the prosecutors ultimately unless he
wants to die in prison. Absent that, if he really wants to beat his chest
and stay strong, you`ll probably see a trial within about six months.
O`DONNELL: OK. And Jason Johnson, we will have the first Democratic
presidential debates before six months. And so what interested me – one
of the things that interested me about this scheduling outcome today is
this pushes the Roger Stone trial further into what will be a real
presidential campaign. And boy, when you`re a candidate, you don`t want
anybody on your side facing any criminal trial while the campaign`s going
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: You know, President Trump,
Lawrence, is just going to be playing whack-a-mole every six or seven weeks
during his campaign. Remember, it`s not just Roger Stone. It`s additional
information out of Cohen. It`s additional things that may happen if and
when we see indictments for Jared Kushner and Don Jr.
All of these things are going to start playing out into the fall. And day
after day after day, as we move towards perhaps having 8, possibly 10,
possibly 12 different Democrats who are going to be running for the
Democratic nomination in 2020, there will be nothing to distinguish between
the ongoing investigations of Donald Trump and regular campaign rhetoric
from these different Democrats across the world.
If the president ever thought he was going to be able to escape this by
distracting the public, it`s not going to work. When Castro was out
talking about Trump in Iowa, when Harris is out talking about Trump in
South Carolina, when Booker is out talking about Trump in Texas, the
message that you have a corrupt president of the United States as we can
tell every single time Roger Stone opens his mouth and does a training day,
King Kong ain`t got nothing on me speech, this is going to be something
that will constantly be in the public consciousness and it`s going to hurt
this president when he tries to run for re-election.
O`DONNELL: Glenn, one thing the president said in his “New York Times”
interview tonight is that “Rod Rosenstein told my lawyers that I am not a
subject or a target of the Mueller investigation.”
KIRSCHNER: Yes. And I don`t want to be glib but my first thought was I
wonder if Rosenstein was wired up for that conversation. Because then, we
might actually hear what was said.
But look, Lawrence, we have all seen the president play this game before.
When he was standing at the door of Air Force One and reporters asked him,
“Were you aware that there was a payoff to Stormy Daniels?” What did he
say? “No, no, you`ve got to ask my lawyer Michael Cohen.” Of course, that
We`ve heard information about how at first they claimed that he never
participated in drafting what turned out to be a false narrative about what
happened in the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians. That was false.
How many times are people going to let the president fool him when he
claims I`ve done nothing wrong? I suspect we`re going to learn at the end
of the day that this claim is also false. He is not only a subject. He is
almost certainly a target of the investigation.
O`DONNELL: Well, the other thing about that quote is the president doesn`t
put any time frame on it. And it could have been that Rod Rosenstein said
this to him in 2017 and it wasn`t operative a month later. But the other
thing, of course, Jason, that the president knows is Rod Rosenstein can`t
confirm or deny that they ever had any kind of conversation about any of
JOHNSON: Yes. Lawrence, this is a federal investigation. It`s not “Law &
Order,” right. Like the cops, Briscoe doesn`t walk in and say, “You know,
you`re under investigation. You better enjoy that meal now.” That`s not
how this works. They`re not going to tell the president that he is a
person of interest until probably 15 minutes before Mueller drops drop some
sort of report or some sort of indictment.
So this idea – the president – I honestly think President Trump is
convincing himself that everyone tells him that he is not a person of
interest because every single human being around him is. And at some
point, if you surround yourself with interesting people, you too might be a
person of interest.
O`DONNELL: Glenn, what was your reaction to the description that we got of
the kind of evidence that Robert Mueller is dealing with in this case, in
the Roger Stone case?
KIRSCHNER: It`s pretty consequential. It sounds like terabytes. I`m not
a computer guy. That sounds painful, a terabyte. I don`t know how much
information that actually is. But I know I`ve been told it`s a lot. But
if I could jump back to just the way people have been criticizing the
arrest and the search –
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump did that in “The New York Times” interview also.
KIRSCHNER: He did. And you know what, Lindsey Graham is sort of
sheepishly now singing the same tune as the president on that front. And
you know, first of all, when law enforcement conducts an arrest and a
search, they do that after a judge, has reviewed the evidence as sworn to
by the FBI, and the judge decides there`s evidence of crime to be found in
the place to be searched. That`s why they searched Roger Stone`s
properties because a judge concluded there would be evidence of crime in
Then we had people complaining that there were too many law enforcement
agents involved in the arrest and the search. First of all, there is
what`s called an ops plan, an operation plan that goes into, you know,
strategizing for every significant arrest and search that is conducted.
And I`m quite sure Lindsey Graham wasn`t at that ops plan. And he didn`t
know what the police were facing but it was a multijurisdictional effort.
It`s U.S. Marshals, it`s FBI, it`s local law enforcement. Those people
were there because they needed to be there to protect the safety of
O`DONNELL: Glenn Kirschner, Jason Johnson, thank you both for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it.
And when we come back, we`ll be joined by one of the members of that
congressional conference committee working to reach a budget agreement
before the February 15 deadline. She will join us. And that will be a
budget agreement that Nancy Pelosi has promised to us will not contain
$1.00 for the Trump wall.
O`DONNELL: We have been thrown into breaking news mode tonight by an
interview that President Trump did with “The New York Times.” The very
same newspaper that the president calls the failing “New York Times.”
In that interview, President Trump said this about Nancy Pelosi. “I`ve
actually gotten along with her but now I don`t think I will anymore. I
think she`s doing a tremendous disservice to the country. If she doesn`t
approve the wall, the rest of it`s just a waste of money and time and
energy because it`s desperately needed.”
Earlier today, President Trump said that Nancy Pelosi will be begging for a
wall on the southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I keep hearing the words
that we`ll give you what you want but we`re not going to give you a wall.
And the problem is if they don`t give us a wall, it doesn`t work. Without
a wall, it doesn`t work. You will have so many people coming into our
country that Nancy Pelosi will be begging for a wall. She`ll be begging
for a wall. She will say, “Mr. President, please, please, give us a wall.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I don`t think she`s going to say that. The president keeps
failing in his dealings with Nancy Pelosi but her position has not changed.
No wall, not $1.00 for the wall. New polling shows that more voters now
trust Nancy Pelosi than Donald Trump. This morning, Nancy Pelosi
reiterated that there will be no money for the president`s border wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are you committed to bringing that to the floor? A vote?
REP. NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, if they come up with a bipartisan
consensus, of course.
REPORTER: Even be it includes border wall money though?
PELOSI: We`re not having a negotiation over this right now. They`re
having a negotiation over it in there. There`s not going to be any wall
money in the legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: You got that? There`s not going to be any wall money in what
the committee decides. Nancy Pelosi is technically not a member of the
Bipartisan Negotiating Committee, Conference Committee, working on a
funding solution for the government, but she is really in charge of that
negotiation. No deal will be agreed to by the negotiators without Nancy
Pelosi`s approval of every sentence of that deal.
And when we come back, a member of that Bipartisan Conference Committee,
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, will join us.
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee of
California. She`s a member of that Bipartisan Conference Committee
negotiating a funding bill to keep the government open.
Congresswoman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I know you`ve
had one official meeting of the committee. Nancy Pelosi says there will be
no border wall funding in any final agreement. Is that your position and
the position of the Democratic conferees?
REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA), BIPARTISAN CONFERENCE COMMITTEE: Absolutely.
First of all, Speaker Pelosi is very smart and she is an effective leader.
And she knows very well that $5.7 billion for a border wall, it will do
nothing. It is not – it`s a waste of taxpayer dollars.
And what she really wants and what we all want is to look at how we can
come up with a proposal for effective border security, which means using
21st Century technology, imaging, and all of the new ways of making sure
that our borders are secure.
O`DONNELL: I want to read you something that the president said in his
interview tonight with “The New York Times,” which has become breaking
news. This is something he said about the speaker of the House and this is
something that no previous president has ever said about a speaker of the
House because every previous president has understood just how powerful a
President Trump said, “I`ve actually always gotten along with her but now I
don`t think I will anymore.” And as you know, the president doesn`t have a
choice. The speaker of the House has complete control over any legislation
passing through the House of Representatives. And if he doesn`t think he
can get along with Nancy Pelosi, that means he is surrendering completely
and won`t get a single piece of legislation passed.
LEE: Well, I tell you, first, it sounds very childish.
O`DONNELL: Yes. That, too.
LEE: Secondly, it sounds like he is either uninformed or really doesn`t
care about the – our system of checks and balances. You know this is a
democracy. It`s not a dictatorship. We have three branches of government,
and the Congress has to do its job.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee and as a member of the
Conference Committee, it`s our job to put forth a conference report for
border security. The Congress has the power of the purse. So I don`t
think the president even understands the nature of our democracy.
O`DONNELL: He does say in this same quote to “The New York Times,” he
says, “If she doesn`t approve the wall.” So he now is recognizing that
Nancy Pelosi does have veto power over the wall. She does have power over
this outcome. He never told his voters when he was running and telling
them that Mexico was going to pay for it, that in reality, it was going to
be up to Nancy Pelosi whether or not there`s a wall on the southern border.
LEE: Well, he has misled his voters. He`s misled the country in general.
But I have to tell you, in this instance, he`s doing everything he can to
derail what we are, as appropriators are engaged in, in terms of our work
He`s trying to just say that – like he said earlier, he`s not going to
even read the report if it doesn`t have a wall in it, that he thinks it`s a
west of time. I mean my goodness, what does he think this country and
government is all about?
We are appropriators. We`re working in good faith, both Republicans and
Democrats, House, and Senate. And we are trying to come together to come
up with a border security proposal that makes sense, that that`s effective
and that`s evidence based.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, thank you
very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
LEE: My pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Barbara Lee gets tonight`s “Last Word.” “THE 11TH HOUR” with
Brian Williams starts now.
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