Judiciary committee subpoenas Don McGahn. TRANSCRIPT: 4/22/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
David Cicilline, Brad Miller, Mieke Eoyang, Tony Schwartz, Jim Manley
Transcript:

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  This is the demilitarized zone.  This is

the shared space.  This is as much your territory as mine, Rachel. 

 

And, you know, thanks for the first presidential campaign interview of Seth

Moulton.  So, we now have two military veterans running for the Democratic

nomination. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Three. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Oh, three.  Who is the third? 

 

MADDOW:  Tulsi Gabbard, Pete Buttigieg and Seth Moulton. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Oh.  Sorry, sorry. 

 

OK, three, and they are all among the youngest people running for

nomination, which for me is fascinating because when I was a kid, you had

to be a military veteran to run for anything.  I mean anything.  And they

all were.  The only person I can think of running for president when I was

a kid in high school was Bobby Kennedy who was the only member of his

family who didn`t serve who was old enough to serve, didn`t serve in World

War II.

 

And so, it`s fascinating to see that we then created this massive gap that

was basically provoked by Vietnam era where avoiding military service for

the first time became the dominant approach to war.  And so, we had John

Kerry, but it`s been pretty rare to have the – have military veterans

especially in a big field like this. 

 

MADDOW:  Well, yes.  I mean, it`s fascinating me.  That dynamic the

crossover of those two dynamics is exactly right.  You`ve got four

candidates of the 19 declared candidates who are 40 years old or younger. 

Of those four, three of them are the three declared veterans in the race. 

 

And so, when these candidates are able to say, listen, it`s our generation

that took on the burden of fighting the post 9/11 wars, it`s our generation

as Pete Buttigieg says who is taking the business end of climate change. 

It`s our generation as Moulton makes the case who needs to replace the

octogenarians who are running the leadership of the party.  Even when it

makes people mad that we do, I mean, they`ve earned it.  They have a right

to make those critiques and to have that sort of gravitas from which they

make that case for youth I think is impressive and it`s not something we`ve

seen before.  I think the Democrats` big field is a huge asset to the

Democratic Party this year. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Why? 

 

MADDOW:  Because every year it has happened in the modern era other than

McGovern, having a big field has busted the Democrats in terms of turning

out a stronger nominee for the general election.  I mean, there is an

exception when it comes to McGovern.  But other than that, every time

you`ve got a field, every time you have a field that isn`t dominated by one

candidate who everybody knows is the shoo-in from the beginning, you end up

with a stronger candidate for the general and stronger chance of winning. 

 

So, I think – I mean, 19 is a lot.  But I think it the Democrats would be

way better off with 19 candidates than three right now. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Quick before we go, how many do you think there will be the day

after New Hampshire? 

 

MADDOW:  Oh, god.  I still think – I mean, we`ve got the first debate, you

know?  I`m thinking how many will be on – the debate stage in Miami in

June is two nights already.  And we`re thinking you know, liking with two

nights of the debate stage, it might be weird.  What if there`s an odd

number. 

 

There`s probably going to be like 15 podiums on each of the two nights.  I

don`t know.  And they all have to qualify in order to get there.  The

winnowing process is going to be nutty. 

 

O`DONNELL:  We will watch.  We will see.  Thank you, Rachel. 

 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, we cannot escape history.  We cannot escape history. 

Abraham Lincoln said those exact words to Congress in the first years of

the civil war. 

 

Abraham Lincoln knew just how much politicians like to escape the tough

decision or the tough question and he liked to do that himself when he

could, but sometimes history catches up with politicians as it seems to be

doing now – in a House of Representatives with Democratic leadership who

seem to want to avoid impeachment but might not be able to.  They might

find that they cannot escape history.  That`s where a Republican member of

the House Judiciary Committee found himself the last time the Judiciary

Committee considered impeaching a Republican president.

 

At the end of this hour tonight, we will show you what that Republican

member of the house judiciary committee had to say when he reached his

decision to vote against his own Republican president to, vote in favor of

all three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon.  He was

the only Republican who did that, who voted for all three articles of

impeachment.  And when he did it, he quoted another Republican, Abraham

Lincoln, saying, we cannot escape history. 

 

You`ll want to see this historic video at the end of the hour because it

has in it lessons not just for Republican members of Congress but for all

members of Congress who have read the Mueller report and find themselves

once again at a point where we cannot escape history.  History has once

again presented itself to the House Judiciary Committee. 

 

It`s all about the House Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over

impeachment now that the redacted Mueller report has been delivered to

Congress, that is why we have had members of the House Judiciary Committee

on had program every night since the report was delivered and we will again

tonight.  House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler unleashed his first post-

Mueller report subpoena for a witness from the Mueller report to testify to

his committee. 

 

Today, former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn is that first subpoenaed

witness.  Don McGahn is the personification of history repeating itself

just as Richard Nixon`s White House counsel became a star witness in the

last investigation of a Republican president.  White House counsel Don

McGahn is the star witness in the second half of the redacted Mueller

report in which McGahn is quoted as saying the president was always asking

him to do, quote, “crazy crap” much of which Don McGahn seemed to believe

was illegal crazy crap. 

 

In the redacted Mueller report, Don McGahn was in the Oval Office when the

president first discovered that Robert Mueller was appointed special

prosecutor and the president said my god, this is terrible, this is the

ends of my presidency.  I`m F`ed. 

 

Don McGahn heard the president say that.  He will testify that he heard the

president say that.  He`s going to testify to all of in the House Judiciary

Committee next month may 21st. 

 

But before that, the same subpoena that requires Don McGahn`s testimony

demands that he deliver documents to the committee just two weeks from now

so that the committee can prepare for his testimony.  And the committee is

demanding a massive trove of documents from Don McGahn. 

 

Jerry Nadler is demanding all documents in Don McGahn`s possession that

relate to 36 different things beginning with statements by Michael Flynn to

be Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding contacts with Sergey Kislyak

to the termination of James Comey to the termination whether contemplated

or actual of special counsel Robert Mueller to presidential pardons whether

possible or actual for Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Rick

Gates, Roger Stone, individuals associated with the Trump campaign or

individuals involved in matters before the U.S. attorney`s office for the

Southern District of New York. 

 

This is exactly the same subpoena that Don McGahn would be receiving

tonight if House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced today that he

was beginning impeachment hearings.  And so, it appears that the House

Judiciary Committee is beginning an investigation that looks exactly like

an impeachment investigation but is not called an impeachment investigation

but could easily switch into official impeachment mode at any moment. 

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been publicly and privately trying to push

Democrats away from impeachment talk for over a year now.  She did not want

Democrats talking about impeachment in the last congressional election in

which the Democrats won back the House of Representatives. 

 

But sometimes, history looms larger than day to day politics in the House

and the redacted Mueller report has delivered history into the hands of the

House of Representatives, specifically the Judiciary Committee, and for

Democrats who want to avoid impeachment they now have to contend with the

most famous member of the House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-

Cortez, who now favors impeachment and leading presidential candidate

Elizabeth Warren who told Rachel Maddow this about impeachment on Friday

night. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  This isn`t about

politics.  This isn`t even specifically about Donald Trump himself.  It is

about what a president of the United States should be able to do and what

the role of Congress is in saying no, a president does not get to come in

and stop an investigation about a foreign power that attacked this country

or an investigation about his own wrongdoing. 

 

Equal justice under law.  No one is above the law and that includes the

president of the United States.  It is the constitutional responsibility of

Congress to follow through on that. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  On Friday night, Senator Warren told Rachel she is in favor of

impeachment in the House of Representatives even if the Republican-

controlled Senate will not vote to remove the president because she said,

it is a point of principle. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

WARREN:  There are times when it`s beyond politics, when it is a point of

principle to stand up and say, no president can do this. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  That was Friday night.  By Sunday morning, the chairman of the

House Intelligence Committee was saying something very similar. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  Impeachment is likely to be unsuccessful.  Now,

it may be that we undertake an impeachment nonetheless.  I think what we`re

going to having to decide as a caucus is, what is the best thing for the

country? 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Speaker Pelosi led a conference call of House Democrats

tonight.  We`ll be joined by a congressman who was on that call in a

moment. 

 

“Washington Post” reporting on the call tonight says House Speaker Nancy

Pelosi told lawmakers Monday there are no plans to immediately open

impeachment proceedings against President Trump, rejecting calls from

several Democrats to initiate steps to try to oust the president. 

 

In a rare Monday night conference call, the California Democrat stressed

that the near term strategy in the wake of special counsel Robert S.

Mueller III`s report is the to focus on investigating the president and

seeing where the inquiries lead but Pelosi`s message did not go over well

with several Democrats who argued that Congress has a duty to hold Trump to

account with impeachment despite the political blowback Pelosi has long

feared. 

 

Representative Val Demings, a member of the House Judiciary Committee

argued as someone with more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement,

she thought the house had enough evidence to proceed. 

 

Representative Jared Huffman said the party has a duty to openly discuss

the downside of not impeaching Trump for his actions and the precedent it

could set for the future. 

 

Leading off our discussion tonight is a Democratic member of Congress who

was on than conference call tonight, Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode

Island.  He is a member of the all-important House Judiciary Committee. 

 

Also joining us tonight, Brad Miller, a former Democratic congressman from

North Carolina.  He worked on the Democratic legal strategy to enforce

subpoenas against the George W. Bush administration. 

 

And Mieke Eoyang is with us.  She`s a former staff member of the House

Intelligence Committee. 

 

And, Congressman Cicilline, let me start with you and the conference call

tonight.  What can you tell us about that call?  Was it a call that you

would describe as mostly agreeable or was there a lot of dissension about

impeachment? 

 

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI):  No, there`s tremendous consensus within the

caucus.  The speaker has made it very clear publicly and again on this call

that the House of Representatives will not shirk its responsibilities and

will hold this president accountable and will defend our democracy.  There

was really a discussion first from all the chairs of the committee of

relevant jurisdictions, kind of an update about next steps. 

 

The Judiciary Committee will begin a series of hearings that will further

explore some of the things we`ve learned in the Mueller report.  But there

was a recognition that this report is breathtaking in its scope.  It speaks

of a sophisticated campaign by the Russians a foreign adversary to attack

our election and the willingness of the Trump campaign, and officially the

Trump campaign to openly embrace that assistance for their electoral

benefit, and it went on to talk about ten instances of obstruction of

justice and found the president engaged in acts which would constitute

obstruction but essentially concluded because the president can`t be

charged because of a DOJ memorandum, that there was no point in doing

further analysis. 

 

And then frankly the most important part of the report is the special

counsel reminds Congress at the very end of the report of our

constitutional duty to demonstrate that no one is above the law.  So,

there`s broad consensus us.  We have a lot of the work to do.  We`re still

in the evidence gathering phase.  We need to get the rest of the Mueller

report and supporting documents and really drill down and investigate

appropriately and gather all the information that`s available so we can

make and informed judgment about whether to proceed with impeachment or

some other action. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman, I listen to you in that response.  You sound like

someone who is taking the Mueller report`s handoff to Congress very

seriously.  Many read that handoff as a handoff to impeach proceedings. 

 

Did you personally advocate for impeachment proceedings on the phone call

tonight? 

 

CICILLINE:  I`m sorry, is that for me, Lawrence? 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

CICILLINE:  Yes.  No, I said on the call tonight I thought it was very

important that we approach this very judicially, in a sober way.  This is a

very grave moment for the country.  That we have the responsibility to

uphold the rule of law and show that no one is above the law, including the

president of the United States.  That we had to continue to make sure we

got the full report and the unredacted versions. 

 

But I said emphatically that the report evidences obstruction of justice by

the president, we know that is an impeachable offense as a matter of law,

we know that for sure.  So, now, the question is, we need to get the

balance of the special counsel, the unredacted portions.  They may

contribute further to this discussion.  We need supporting documents and we

need to hear from some witnesses. 

 

What`s important to remember, most of the people who contributed the

evidence for the obstruction of justice offenses in the report are members

of the Trump administration or former members.  So, this notion of like

they`re a bunch of Democrats that are after him, these are his own –

members of his own team.

 

So, these are serious allegations, and we have a fact finding

responsibility and evidence gathering responsibility.  There`s a process we

must follow.  But I don`t think anyone should think impeachment is off the

table at all.  The judiciary committee is going to continue to collect

evidence and make a judgment consistent with that evidence wherever it

leads us. 

 

And the speaker made that very clear today, that we will not shirk from

this responsibility and we will collect the evidence, assess it and do

what`s right to protect our democracy.  It cannot be a political

determination. 

 

We should never do it for a political reason and never avoid impeachment

for a political reason.  The speaker has made that very clear and I think

she`s absolutely right. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Brad Miller, you have extensive experience with congressional

subpoenas and trying to get them enforced.  This subpoena that we saw

tonight to Don McGahn is a massive subpoena especially on the documents

side of it.  Talk about what you expect to result from just from that one

subpoena with the over 30 items on the document side being demanded. 

 

BRAD MILLER, EXPERT ON CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENAS:  Well, it`s very clear that

everything the subpoena asks for is properly something Congress can require

be produced.  The Mueller report was as invitation to Congress to conduct

oversight.  It said they are concluded it was within Congress`s power to

determine if the administration of justice needed to be protected from the

corrupt use of presidential powers.  That`s almost word for word from court

decisions what congress`s oversight powers are, what proper legislative

purpose is for Congress to issue and enforce subpoenas. 

 

Congress is obviously entitled to all that.  It sounds like Judiciary

Committee is on the job.  And undoubtedly the Trump administration will

continue to try to delay everything, including very frivolous argues which

they`ve had already made and continue to make.  But the law is very clear. 

This is information Congress can require. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Mieke Eoyang, I`m going back to my days on the Senate staff,

chief of staff of a couple of committees.  I`m thinking what the Judiciary

Committee is doing now.  And I think it`s probably what I would have

advised the chairman to do back in my practical days as a staff adviser and

that is basically, go ahead, straight down the road of what is in effect

impeachment hearings. 

 

We don`t call them that and we don`t call them that until a point on the

calendar in which we developed enough evidence that we feel is worthy to

present in what we would then call impeachment hearings.  But I can`t think

of a single thing Jerry Nadler would be doing differently tonight if he had

announced today he`s starting the impeachment process. 

 

MIEKE EOYANG, FORMER STAFF MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  No, I

don`t expect so.  It`s very clear when you`re starting with the Mueller

report that you would want to get the underlying documents, that you want

to speak to the witnesses.  When you read that report, it`s very clear that

there are a whole bunch of places where the Mueller prosecutors looked at

things and said, look, if we had additional information , we might change

our minds on certain things. 

 

There`s some outstanding questions.  There are places where communications

were deleted or people refused to talk to them.  So, there`s a lot more

that Congressman Nadler can do to go back try and fill out that record. 

 

And also don`t forget, we are still missing and haven`t seen any sight of

the counterintelligence portion of the Mueller investigation, which would

detail national security risks that the president`s communications with the

Russians or his team`s communications with the Russians might have posed or

might still pose. 

 

And Congressman Schiff is looking into that and the foreign financial ties

that the president might have. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Cicilline, let me just go back to one more time

before our break I want to squeeze this in. 

 

So, the first two witnesses that Chairman Nadler wants to hear from are

Robert Mueller and Don McGahn.  How would that be any different if the

chairman announced he wanted to proceed to impeachment today? 

 

CICILLINE:  I don`t know that it would be any different.  I think you`re

going to see a series of hearings that will bring other witnesses that are

reference inside the Mueller report to give some context to their

testimony, ask some additional questions and frankly to let the American

people see and hear the story of the conduct of this president.  That`s

part of this process. 

 

It`s not only to gather information, educate ourselves about facts which

may not be known to us yet because of redactions or materials that haven`t

been provided, but also so that we do this in a transparent way and the

American people can see, you know, the Mueller report comes to life.  And I

think that`s a very important part of this process. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you all very much for starting us off tonight. 

Congressman David Cicilline, former Congressman Brad Miller, and Mieke

Eoyang, thank you all.  Really appreciate it. 

 

And when we come back, Tony Schwartz will join us.  Tony Schwartz wrote the

book about Donald Trump.  It`s the book that has Donald Trump`s name on it. 

“The Art of the Deal” was actually written by Tony Schwartz. 

 

The president is at an all-time low in his polling and yet he is tweeting

he`s never been happier.  Tony Schwartz I think has some insights about

what the president is feeling these days. 

 

And at the end of the hour, the House Judiciary Committee cannot escape

history.  We will show you the last time the House Judiciary committee

considered the impeachment of a Republican president.  And what one of the

Republican members of the committee had to say when he voted in favor of

the all of the articles of impeachment against that Republican president.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  After the release of the redacted Mueller report, President

Trump`s approval rating has hit an all-time low in one poll.  According to

a new poll out today from Morning Consult, just 39 percent of registered

voters approve of the job the president is doing compared to 57 percent who

disapprove, a difference of 18 percentage points.  That`s the biggest gap

between those two numbers since the beginning of the Trump presidency in

that Morning Consult poll.

 

On Sunday, as the country was digesting a report that showed the Trump

White House staff refusing to follow the president`s orders repeatedly and

describing the president as dangerous, the president tweeted: I have never

been happier or more content. 

 

When he was asked today by a reporter at the White House Easter egg roll if

he`s concerned his staff was ignoring his orders, the president told this

lie.  Nobody disobeys my orders. 

 

Joining our discussion now is Tony Schwartz.  He`s the co-author of Donald

Trump`s best selling book “The Art of the Deal.”

 

And, Tony, the president who you know so well, is now saying he`s never

been happier.  What is the real internal life of Donald Trump today? 

 

TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR, “THE ART OF THE DEAL”:  He tweeted I believe 30

times today. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Uh-huh. 

 

SCHWARTZ:  Thirty times.  I mean, that`s insane.  And he tweets in direct

proportion to his internal sense of disorder and rage.  So, this is a very,

very tortured man at the moment. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And the – as impeachment looms, as the new question facing the

president, the president today said he`s not worried about impeachment at

all.  One of the things that`s unique about this president in the

impeachment process is that he is such an out-of-control person.  Nixon

wasn`t saying things publicly that added to his impeachment problems.  Bill

Clinton wasn`t saying things publicly that added to his impeachment

problems.  All the problems that they had were internal to the evidence. 

 

This is a president who if faced with an impeachment process will

constantly be saying things publicly. 

 

SCHWARTZ:  There`s – what we know for the duration of his presidency that

he has no self-regulatory capacity.  His impulses overwhelm him and when he

is feeling under threat, he`s even more reactive.  That`s what you`re

seeing now.  In many ways, the thing that struck me most just reading

through before I came on, reading through the tweets is really what they

say about his character and his focus of attention because out of those 30

tweets, I only saw one which was the Easter egg hunt was today, which

wasn`t either angry or defensive. 

 

He`s the president of the United States charged with dealing with a wide

range of issues and he doesn`t have anything to say about any of those

issues, just I`m angry at them.  And they got it wrong. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, and a report comes out, the Mueller report says the

Russians definitely attacked and successfully attacked our election

process.  He has nothing to say about that. 

 

This is a part of the Mueller report that the president certainly hasn`t

reacted to.  It says: In addition to targeting individuals involved in the

Clinton campaign, the Russian officers also targeted individuals and

entities involved in the administration of the elections.  Victims included

U.S., state and local entities such as state boards of elections,

secretaries of state, and county governments as well as individuals who

worked for those entities, all in an effort to help elect Donald Trump

president. 

 

Donald Trump got that help.  He became president.  He wants that help

again, doesn`t? 

 

SCHWARTZ:  Well, unequivocally.  I mean, this is a man with tunnel vision. 

And his tunnel vision is how do I get re-elected?  His ultimate goal as we

know is to be emperor or to be at the very least an autocratic leader on

par with Putin. 

 

And I think we`re in a – you know, even in the face of all this evidence,

listen, let`s be clear.  He`s gotten away with it over and over and over

again.  And there are two voices in his head.  One says no matter what I

do, I always get away with it.  The other says, at some point, they`re

going to get me because I`m a fraud and I`m a liar. 

 

And those two impulses are operating at the same time.  And I believe that

we have a parallel process which is you know, remember Samuel Huntington?

 

O`DONNELL:  Uh-huh.

 

SCHWARTZ:  1992, “The Clash of Civilizations”?  I think we`re in a clash of

not civilizations but of world view. 

 

I think you`re seeing it in bolder and bolder relief which is that

percentage of the population that Trump represents, I think about what is

the world view that is so under threat that you`re seeing this level of

reactivity.  It`s actually I think it`s mostly about patriarchy.  It`s

about absolute authority, certainty, hierarchy, and Trump wants to hold on

to that and the people who support Trump for the most part are the ones who

most fear they`re losing that long-standing, you know, top of the pyramid

place. 

 

And set against that, so that I can not lose all hope and faith, set

against that I think is something potentially quite beautiful that we`re

starting to see, which is an equal and opposite reaction.  That`s a physics

principle.  To every action, there`s an equal and opposite reaction.  And

that is the courage, the addressing of real issues. 

 

You know, you can either be more exclusive or excluding or inclusive.  You

can either expand or you can contract.  And those tensions are so alive in

our culture right now.  I believe that there`s no guarantee we`re going to

come it out of this OK.  But if we do come out of it, the pain we`ve

experienced by unleash a leap, an evolutionary leap that would not have

happened otherwise. 

 

MADDOW:  And what it has unleashed so far is a 57 percent disapproval

rating of Donald Trump. 

 

Tony Schwartz, thank you very much.  Really appreciate it. 

 

SCHWARTZ:  Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, Democrats reportedly worried about how

impeachment hearings might affect their party. What about Republicans? How

would they look in impeachment hearings?

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  A Quinnipiac poll showed only 25 percent, 25 percent approved

of how the Republicans conducted themselves in the Michael Cohen hearing in

the House Oversight Committee, and 51 percent disapproved of the

Republicans in the Michael Cohen hearing.

 

That means not even all Trump supporters were pleased with the performance

of Republicans in the Michael Cohen hearing, which is a pretty good

template for what impeachment hearings would look like.

 

So, Donald Trump is not the only Republican with something to fear in

impeachment hearings. House Republicans have plenty to fear in those

hearings because the redacted Mueller report doesn`t give them any

ammunition to use with the most important witnesses against the president

like former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn.

 

They cannot call Don McGahn a convicted liar like they could call Michael

Cohen. In fact, the Mueller report includes description of Don McGahn as a

particularly credible witness because, among other things, he took notes of

his conversations with the president and other people.

 

So, will the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee condemn note-

taking in the Oval Office, something that every responsibility staff member

has always done in the Oval Office, something that I did in the Clinton

Oval Office when I was there with my boss, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the

chairman of the Senate Finance Committee? Everyone does it.

 

Think about it. The Republicans suffered in polling when they attacked

Michael Cohen in his hearing with that one piece of ammunition that they

had, that he was a convicted liar. How bad will they look when they don`t

have even that to throw at a witness who is testifying against the

president of the United States?

 

After this break, we`re going to be joined by former Republican Congressman

David Jolly, who will tell us how his former colleagues will handle

impeachment hearings or the Judiciary Committee hearings that will look

exactly like impeachment hearings.

 

And we`ll also be joined by Jim Manley who has much more experience on the

staff of the United States Senate than I do. Jim Manley was the chief

spokesman for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and he served for

21 years in the staff – on the staff of the United States Senate including

on the staff of former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and Senator

Ted Kennedy.

 

We`ll be right back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Do you think this is impeachable?

 

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  Yeah, I do. If proven, which hasn`t been proven

yet, some of this – if proven, some of this would be impeachable, yes.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now, former Republican Congressman David

Jolly from Florida. He is an MSNBC contributor. And joining us is Jim

Manley. He is the former chief spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry

Reid. Jim Manley is a 21-year veteran of the United States Senate staff.

 

David Jolly, I want to start with Jerry Nadler. You know Jerry Nadler. You

served in Congress with Jerry Nadler. I have to say that moment yesterday

where we actually watched Chairman Nadler think about that impeachable

question and what he could say at this point, and he didn`t find any way

out of it other than yes, it is impeachable.

 

DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER FLORIDA REPRESENTATIVE: 

Because it is. We know that the president obstructed justice. He tried to

have Don McGahn fire the special counsel and then instructed McGahn to lie

about it and memorialize the fact that the president had never done that.

 

To your question about Republicans, their response, it`s interesting,

Lawrence. What we know is it will expose their undying loyalty to this

president, a president who is historically unpopular on policies as well as

the fact he now appears to have broken the law.

 

But the unknown about Republicans is because it depends on how Democrats

like Chairman Nadler frame it, you know, if you use the Clinton impeachment

as a historical lesson, Republicans were very clear, the majority leader at

the time, the Republican leader said a nation of laws cannot be ruled by a

president who breaks those laws.

 

J.C. Watts, the number three or four Republican, confronted the question of

polling head on and said polling measures fleeting opinions, not steadfast

principles. And they framed the issues so that Democrats in the minority

were in a spot where they actually had to end up supporting censuring Bill

Clinton at the end. They moved for a censure resolution.

 

At this point, we haven`t seen that framing by Democratic leaders like

Chairman Nadler and certainly not by Speaker Pelosi.

 

O`DONNELL:  Jim Manley, you were there for the Clinton impeachment. You had

a lot of experience with these issues. But the idea that the Democrats have

a difficult political calculation to make on impeachment has been

discussed, I think, endlessly for over the last year. But the Republicans,

we now have this poll coming out of the Michael Cohen hearing showing that

only 25 percent approved of what they saw of the Republicans in that

hearing.

 

JIM MANLEY, FORMER CHIEF SPOKESMAN TO SENATOR HARRY REID:  Yeah. I mean, I

get all that, but, you know, I still have yet to see any real significant

signs that Senate Republicans in particular are prepared to  break from the

president. You know, for the last year or so, I`ve been saying that it

would take the president`s polling numbers to go down to about 30 percent

for Republicans to break with him on this issue or any other issue for that

matter.

 

But now I`m not so convinced that that`s in fact the case. More and more,

it looks to me that they made their deal with the devil and they`ve made a

political – a cold hard political decision that the only way they`re going

to survive is to stick themselves to Donald Trump as closely as they can.

 

And spare me all the talk of the rhetoric from Susan Collins or Senator

Romney. You know, those are the cheapest, you know, words known to mankind.

So, you know, hope springs eternal. But as you know and your viewers should

know, you know, it would take 67 votes in the Senate and that`s an awfully

big hurdle.

 

O`DONNELL:  David Jolly, we have Elizabeth Warren saying to Rachel on

Friday night, even if she knew ahead of time that the Senate would not

remove the president, she believes the House should still move impeachment

against this president.

 

JOLLY:  The House does not work for the Senate. The House is the House and

they are responsible for their actions or for their inactions. And that is

why it is so critical, and the American people and frankly many Democrats

are looking at the Democratic leader saying, do you understand our anger?

 

To the politics, Lawrence, this is very important. I was in the House when

Bill Clinton was impeached. In December of 1998, he was impeached. The

nation knowing that was inevitable still gave Republicans the popular vote

in Congress one month before. Republicans only lost five seats. Two years

later, Republicans only lost one seat in the House and they gained the

White House.

 

What we remember about the chaos is because Larry Flynt exposed to the

world the infidelity of the incoming Republican speaker of the House and it

threw the Republican Caucus into chaos. But the politics stayed with

Republicans on the issue. I think Democrats are fearful of something they

don`t need to be fearful for. I think they will be rewarded for principle.

 

O`DONNELL:  Jim Manley, the presidential candidates operate on a separate

track from House chairman or Senate chairman.

 

MANLEY:  They sure do. I want to be perfectly clear, to be first of all

clear. I agree with much of what the congressman just had to say. But yes,

the reality is that the Senate Democratic Caucus is going to take their own

temperature, they are going to act on their own process, and they`re not

going to be driven by the presidential candidates. Of that, I`m very

confident.

 

O`DONNELL:  Jim Manley, David Jolly, thank you for your expertise, and I

thank you both for joining us. I really appreciate it.

 

And when we come back, history is moving toward the House of

Representatives and there`s nothing the House can do to stop that movement.

We will show you the most honorable Republican member of the House

Judiciary Committee, the last time that the committee considered impeaching

a Republican president of the United States.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  We cannot escape history. When the president of the United

States said that to Congress, he knew just how much politicians like

members of Congress he was addressing and like himself always hope to avoid

the difficult decision to escape from the difficult decision, to escape

from the difficult question.

 

That is in the nature of politics and politicians, and Abraham Lincoln knew

that, when in the first year of the civil war, he told Congress, “We cannot

escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be

remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal insignificance or

significance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which

we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation.”

 

A hundred and 12 years later, a member of Abraham Lincoln`s party realized

that the time had come when he could not escape history. He was Larry

Hogan, Congressman Larry Hogan, Republican congressman, was a member of the

House Judiciary Committee who was considering articles of impeachment

against Republican President Richard Nixon.

 

Congressman Hogan was the only Republican on the committee who voted in

favor of all three articles of impeachment. Most of the Republicans of the

committee voted against all of the articles of impeachment.

 

When Larry Hogan announced how he was going to vote, it was one of the most

dramatic moments that the country witnessed in the Nixon impeachment

hearings. Larry Hogan began by quoting Abraham Lincoln, saying we cannot

escape history, and then he said this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

LAWRENCE HOGAN, FORMER MARYLAND REPRESENTATIVE:  Today, we are again faced

with a national trial. The American people are troubled and divided again,

and my colleagues on this committee know full well that we cannot escape

history, that the decision we must jointly make will itself be tested and

tried by our fellow citizens and by history itself.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  History itself. That`s what was at stake for Republican Larry

Hogan in his votes in favor of impeachment of a Republican president. Then

as now, there were 17 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, and

once again, the House Judiciary Committee cannot escape history.

 

Larry Hogan took 15 minutes of the committee`s time to explain his

decision, going through the points of evidence and how hard it was for him

to vote against a president who he enthusiastically supported in three

presidential campaigns.

 

Richard Nixon`s failed 1960 campaign against John F. Kennedy, and then

Nixon`s successful 1968 campaign, and then his hugely successful 1972 re-

election campaign in which President Richard Nixon won 49 states.

 

A Republican voting to undo that 49 state mandate for Richard Nixon wasn`t

an easy thing to do. But in his decision, Larry Hogan left a lesson for

today`s congressional Republicans.

 

Now, I have to squeeze in one more commercial break here so that I will

have enough time on the other side of the break to show you everything that

I want you to hear that Congressman Larry Hogan said to the Judiciary

Committee on that historic day in which the members of his – of both

parties of the Judiciary Committee today should be remembering and acting

on. We`ll be right back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Republican Congressman Lawrence J. Hogan of Maryland, the

father of the current governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan Jr., was the only

Republican on the House Judiciary Committee to vote for all three articles

of impeachment against President Richard Nixon in 1974.

 

In the dramatic moment when Congressman Hogan announced his vote to the

committee and a national TV audience, he talked about the feelings that he

had to put aside when he was considering his vote, including personal

affection for Richard Nixon and party loyalty.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HOGAN:  Now, I`m a republican. Party loyalty and personal affection and

precedence of the past must fall, I think, before the arbiter of men`s

action – the law itself. No man, not even the president of the United

States, is above the law.

 

It isn`t easy for me to align myself against the president to whom I gave

my enthusiastic support in three presidential campaigns, on whose side I`ve

stood in many legislative battles, whose accomplishments in foreign and

domestic affairs I`ve consistently applauded.

 

But it`s impossible for me to condone or ignore the long train of abuses to

which he has subjected the presidency and the people of this country. The

constitution and my own oath of office demand that I bear true faith and

allegiance to the principles of law and justice upon which this nation was

founded. And I cannot in good conscience turn away from the evidence of

evil that is to me so clear and compelling.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Larry Hogan, who died in the first year of the Trump presidency

at age 88, was an accomplished attorney and a former FBI agent. He was

outraged at the way the president dealt with the FBI.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HOGAN:  And the FBI is conducting an investigation. So, he says publicly, I

want to cooperate with the investigation and the prosecution, but privately

all his words compel a contrary conclusion. He didn`t cooperate with the

investigation or the prosecution.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Sound familiar? Congressman Hogan, whose personal investigative

skills were among the best on the committee, said that he read and reread

all of the evidence against the president before coming to his conclusion

that, “Richard Nixon has beyond a reasonable doubt committed impeachable

offenses.”

 

He addressed himself to his fellow Republican members of the committee

particularly Charles Sandman, who voted no on all three articles of

impeachment.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HOGAN:  My friend from New Jersey, Mr. Sandman, said last night he wants to

see direct proof and some of my other friends on the side of the aisle said

the same thing. But I submit what they`re looking for is an arrow to the

heart. And we do not find any evidence an arrow to the heart. We find a

virus that creeps up on you slowly and gradually until its obviousness is

so overwhelming to you.

 

We have to step back and we have to look at the whole picture. And when you

look at the whole mosaic of the evidence that`s come before us, to me, it`s

overwhelming beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Hogan recited a lawyerly summary of the specific

evidence against the president of the United States and ended with this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HOGAN:  He consistently tried to cover up the evidence and obstruct

justice, and as much as it pains me to say it, he should be impeached and

removed from office.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Time for the gentleman has expired.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  The time of the gentleman has expired, but the time of the

gentleman`s historic words is upon us once again. The honorable Lawrence J.

Hogan gets tonight`s last word. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts

now.

 

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight, President Trump says he is not one

bit afraid of impeachment as Democrats plot their path forward.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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