Judiciary committee subpoenas Don McGahn. TRANSCRIPT: 4/22/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
(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
(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
“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
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
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
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
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
CICILLINE: I`m sorry, is that for me, Lawrence?
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Donald Trump got that help. He became president. He wants that help
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?
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
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
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?
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
We`ll be right back.
(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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
He addressed himself to his fellow Republican members of the committee
particularly Charles Sandman, who voted no on all three articles of
(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
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
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Copyright 2019 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