Nadler’s ultimatum to Barr. TRANSCRIPT: 5/3/19, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: All right, busy Friday, busy week, busy weekend
ahead. Keep in mind that Monday is not only the day that Michael Cohen
reports to prison, it is the deadline set by the Judiciary Chairman Jerry
Nadler for the Justice Department to hand over the unredacted Mueller
report, 9:00 a.m. Monday is the deadline.
Today, Nadler said the committee will move to contempt proceedings if the
Justice Department doesn`t comply. Monday is also the treasury secretary`s
deadline for telling the Congress whether he`s going to give them
presidential tax returns or not.
There`s a lot going on right now. There`s a lot to worry about over the
weekend. But Monday and Tuesday are going to be a little bit nuts as well.
So, stay on your toes.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again on Monday. Now, it`s time
for “THE LAST WORD” with Joy Reid, filling in for Lawrence tonight. Good
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. First of all, stipulating that
Monday is normally my Saturday –
REID: – so typically I would be asleep until like 10-ish.
REID: But I`m going to be up –
MADDOW: I know.
REID: – because those deadlines are like weighing on my soul. I cannot
wait to see A, whether or not any compliance happens, it probably won`t,
but also what the Democrats do about it. There has really been this
conundrum where the Democrats don`t seem ready to do the max, like the
things they could do.
MADDOW: Well, I mean, especially with Nadler. You get the sense – Charlie
Savage had a good piece about this in the Times today. You get the sense
that he is sort of filling in the record for a future court for a future
federal judge who will be looking at his behavior and who will want to see
evidence that he did everything possible to come to a negotiated solution
that he gave them every out.
I mean, to a certain point, you know, you can bend over backwards until
you`re facing forward again. Monday`s deadlines – I mean, it`s the IRS
MADDOW: That`s a statutory deadline.
MADDOW: There`s the contempt deadline in terms of getting that report.
There`s Cohen turning up to prison. That was the original deadline for the
Deutsche Bank subpoenas. I mean, all of this stuff is coming through. Don
McGahn`s document subpoena is due on Tuesday.
REID: Yup. And it`s Michael Cohen`s day that he has to report. There is so
much going on Monday. But it is interesting because you make a good point.
It feels like the Democrats are playing to an audience of one, one guy
named John Roberts.
REID: If any of this ends up in the Supreme Court, to your point, they may
want to have shown, look, we dotted every “I,” we dotted every “T,” we
weren`t out to get this guy, we really had no choice.
MADDOW: Yes. I think that`s exactly right. And you have to balance that at
some point, right?
MADDOW: Clearly, what the president is doing, which is just exactly what
Nixon was doing in `74, is playing for time.
REID: That`s right.
MADDOW: Try to delay, try to delay, try to delay.
MADDOW: I hope that some other eventuality pops up –
MADDOW: – that makes the delay worth it. You know, the Democrats right
now are allowing those delays to happen.
REID: They are.
MADDOW: At some point, those two interests will diverge –
MADDOW: – and the Democrats will decide to finally drop the hammer.
They`ll have to.
REID: Yeah. As somebody that I really love once said, watch the space.
MADDOW: Watch the space all the time.
MADDOW: I wonder who that is.
REID: It`s you. Rachel Maddow, have a great weekend.
MADDOW: Thanks, Joy. Bye.
REID: Bye. Well, I`m Joy Reid, in for Lawrence O`Donnell. OK, picture
this. You are the president of the United States. You`ve taken an hour-long
phone call with the president of Russia, the man who launched a cyber war
against the United States in an attempt to dictate the outcome of the
presidential election in which you became president.
What might be your big takeaways from that conversation? And what might you
want the country that you`re ostensibly leading to know about it? If you`re
Donald Trump, it`s that the Russian president smiled during the call.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Mr. President, did you address the
election meddling issues that came up in the Mueller report with Mr. Putin
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just got steady. Actually
sort of smiled when he said something to the effect that it started off as
a mountain and it ended up being a mouse. But he knew that because he knew
there was no collusion whatsoever. So, pretty much that`s what it was.
REID: He actually sort of smiled. That was the actual scene today in the
Oval Office, where Donald Trump speaking to reporters or more like speaking
at them, recounted a call he had this morning with Vladimir Putin.
The White House actually had to clarify later that it wasn`t a video call.
So it`s not clear how Trump knew Putin was smiling. Maybe he just felt it
in his spirit. Now, we could think of one reason why Putin might be smiling
during that phone call.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Mr. President, did you tell him not to
meddle in the next election?
TRUMP: Excuse me, I`m talking – I`m answering this question. You are very
rude. So we had a good conversation about many different things. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Did you tell him not to meddle in the
TRUMP: We didn`t discuss that.
REID: Robert Mueller`s 22-month long investigation concluded that “The
Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping
and systemic fashion and that the Trump campaign sought to benefit from
what Russia did.”
The fact that the president apparently has no time or interest confronting
Vladimir Putin about Russian meddling in future American elections should
raise alarm bells, and it`s not just because per two years of reporting,
Trump will do almost anything to avoid talking about Russian interference
because it makes him feel insecure about the legitimacy of his election,
and per that reporting, White House officials have been only too happy to
The New York Times reported last week that then Homeland Security
secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, was instructed not to bring up Russian
interference in Trump`s presence even as she was tasked with ensuring the
security of the 2020 elections.
And one former senior intelligence official told The Washington Post in
2017 that mentions of Russian interference, take meetings with Trump “off
the rails.” One explanation for this is that despite the unanimous
agreement of his intelligence services and a 400-plus page report from the
special counsel, Trump simply doesn`t believe Russian interference
happened, apparently because per his solicitous performance in Helsinki
last year, Putin told him so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have President Putin. He just said it`s not Russia. I will say
this. I don`t see any reason why it would be. I have great confidence in my
intelligence people. But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely
strong and powerful in his denial today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The more alarming explanation is that again, as was detailed in the
Mueller report, Trump`s campaign sought to benefit from Russian
interference. The Mueller report detailed how Russia`s Facebook efforts
reached more than 100 million people, targeting voters they hoped would
disenfranchise themselves by staying home and not voting. Mueller wrote
about how Russia organized pro-Trump rallies and attempted to find numerous
points of contact on the Trump campaign.
You think a president not seeking to benefit from that kind of activity
again in 2020 might do the release of the Mueller report as an ideal
opportunity to readdress the issue with Putin to get tough and show the
country that whatever you think of his campaign in 2016, a Donald Trump
administration will not stand for any kind of interference in our election.
You would think.
But as The Washington Post`s Aaron Blake writes, none of that was
apparently worthy of Trump`s time when he had a chance to talk to the man
who U.S. Intelligence says was behind it all. Clearly though, there`s
something that Trump wanted to talk about with Putin. Kremlin said that the
conversation was at Trump`s initiative. And Russian news agency, TASS,
which released this photo of Putin during his call with Trump, reported
that “The conversation lasted for almost 1.5 hours.”
If that reporting is true, then Donald Trump had nearly 90 minutes to
confront Vladimir Putin and warn him not to interfere in our elections.
Trump didn`t say a thing, until the question we`re left with tonight is why
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Getting along with Russia and China. Getting along with all of them
is a very good thing. Not a bad thing. It`s a good thing. It`s a positive
thing. Getting along with other countries, including your country, by the
way, but getting along with countries is a good thing. And we want to have
good relationships with every country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Leading off our discussion tonight: Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI
assistant director for counterintelligence; Evelyn Farkas, senior fellow at
the German Marshall Fund and a former deputy assistant secretary of
defense; and Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning
columnist for The Washington Post. All three are MSNBC analysts.
Thank you all for being here. I want to start with you, Frank, because
there are two ways to think of Donald Trump`s refusal to confront Vladimir
Putin regarding the attack on our election in 2016.
One, per Helsinki, he just doesn`t believe it happened, so he doesn`t think
it`s important. Or two, the more sinister explanation, he wants to benefit
from it again. When you look at Donald Trump`s behavior in the Oval Office
today and what he said, which of those seems more plausible to you?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, MSNBC ANALYST, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR
COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Many of us have been asking the question why. Why
would you be on the phone for an hour with the Russian leader and not bring
this up in a very firm way? Think of the political capital the president
could have gained with voters beyond his base, Joy, if he simply said, I
brought it up, I chastised him, threatened him with additional sanctions.
But he didn`t do that.
Many would have said, hey, he`s doing the right thing. He`s trying to make
sure this doesn`t happen again for the good of the country. So I`m left to
this conclusion, Joy. As you say, it`s not because he doesn`t think that it
happened. It`s not because he does not believe the Intelligence Community.
And it`s also not because he thinks it happened but it didn`t change the
outcome of the election.
I`m convinced that he`s fearful that he thinks it happened and it might
have actually impacted the outcome of the election, and he is OK with that
happening again. That`s the only conclusion that I can see here that makes
sense to me. And so he is essentially in – you know silence is assent. If
you`re not bringing it up with Putin, you`re essentially giving him the
FIGLIUZZI: As with other mob bosses and that mentality, when you are
silent, when you give someone the look, the nod, you`re essentially saying,
keep doing it.
REID: Yeah, and you know, Evelyn Farkas, the challenge with an alternative
explanation to what you just heard Frank articulate, is that Donald Trump
has been shown over the years to pretty much like anybody he thinks likes
him, and to think that anyone who is on his side is on the good side. And
that`s the way he sort of delineates the world in his binary way.
Let`s go back to Helsinki. Here is Vladimir Putin saying in his own words
what he wanted to happen in 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): President Putin, did you want President
Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help
him do that?
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Yes, I did,
because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And then here is Trump today tweeting about his call with Putin. “As
I`ve always said long before the witch hunt started, getting along with
Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing. We discussed
trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, nuclear arms control, and even the
Russian hoax. Very productive talk.”
So Donald Trump knows that Vladimir Putin wanted him to be president. He
knows that there was a big report saying that Vladimir Putin took action to
help him be president. And he says getting along with Russia, top priority
for him, he is getting what he wants. How else to interpret it that Donald
Trump is open to a repeat?
EVELYN FARKAS, MSNBC ANALYST, SENIOR FELLOW AT GERMAN MARSHALL FUND, FORMER
DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Yeah, I can`t – I don`t want to
speculate too much, but everything Frank said and what you said makes
sense, Joy. I think the thing to be disturbed about is regardless of his
motive, Donald Trump is playing with fire, because Vladimir Putin is a
risk-taking leader who thinks that Donald Trump and America is weak.
I spent some time this week with Russian former oligarch who no longer
lives in Russia. I`m not going to say who it was. He talked very openly
about the fact that Putin himself is politically at a weak point
internally, domestically, which of course always makes Putin then look for
a way to distract his people and that is usually what he does is he takes
some sort of international military action.
We see him in Venezuela and I don`t know if you`re going to get to that
later in the conversation, but Putin lied to Trump about Venezuela and he
apparently accepted the lie just as he did in Helsinki about the
interference in our elections.
So I think the problem here is that regardless of the motive, our president
is playing with fire because Vladimir Putin is a man who sees President
Trump and America as weak. And Vladimir Putin himself is weak and when he`s
weak, he lashes out. And that could present a lot of danger for us and our
REID: And just to stay with you for a moment, Evelyn, because we know now
that North Korea has fired off yet another missile.
REID: Donald Trump keeps saying that he solved the problem on the Korean
peninsula. He claims that Vladimir Putin apparently is advising him on what
to do. But that`s what happened today.
FARKAS: Right. And they just met, Joy. So President Putin just met with
Kim Jong-un this past week. God knows what they discussed. The one thing we
know they discussed was probably sanctions because Putin came out with a
statement saying, we should find a way in exchange for North Korea`s good
behavior. He didn`t use that language but basically good faith actions. We
should find a way to relieve the sanctions.
Well, North Korea hasn`t taken any good faith actions. I mean, except for
maybe the long range ballistic missile, you know, the fact that they`re not
conducting those tests right now. But as you just said, they conducted the
short range test. This is the second one in a matter of a week or so.
They`re clearly signalling to our government that they want President Trump
to make more concessions.
FARKAS: And that`s exactly what President Putin wants as well.
REID: And Eugene Robinson, I don`t get it just from a standpoint of a
president seeking re-election. This all makes him look quite weak. You have
the Kremlin putting out readouts of his interactions with Vladimir Putin
that are more detailed than what we get from the White House.
You have Donald Trump being taken for a ride on Venezuela, taken for a ride
on North Korea, and essentially sort of acting like he is the junior
partner in this new partnership with Vladimir Putin. I don`t get it just
from a political standpoint. Do you?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC ANALYST, ASSOCIATE EDITOR FOR THE WASHINGTON POST:
No, I don`t. You know, I fear – I mean, I`m not sure this is the case, but
all of you may be making far too much sense and being far too logical about
this. You know, one thing we should take into account when we talk about
President Trump is not just his venality and his ignorance and all the
other things that make him unfit, but also his massive narcissism.
And you know, at some level, I think he probably understands full well that
Vladimir Putin`s massive interference in the election quite likely put him
over the top. I think he understands that. I think he cannot admit that. He
cannot stand to have that talked about in his presidency. He cannot stand
to acknowledge it publicly. He certainly can`t acknowledge it to Putin with
whom he has the sort of almost junior partner relationship that is – that
But that has been pretty consistent. He has always seemed to look up to
Putin. You know, hard to do when he`s, you know, 6`2” and Putin is about
5`7”, but he looks up to him.
REID: Yeah. And you know, Frank, what might a foreign intelligence service
then make of an American president who seems to want to make himself the
underling of the Russian president who, to Evelyn`s point, isn`t even a
strong president at this point? What might a foreign intelligence service
do in that stead when you have an election coming up?
FIGLIUZZI: Well, rest assured other foreign intelligence services are
monitoring this very, very closely. They`ve done a personality assessment
and they`re seeing, as Eugene said, this kind of illogical behavior that
they will try to capitalize on. So, you can compromise this president by
merely making him think that you`re helping him.
And if you do that in the context of the upcoming 2020 elections, let`s say
China, let`s say pick your country, decides to let him know with a wink and
a nod we are helping, we are behind you, we are going to do some social
media propaganda, we might do some hacking, they`ve got him. They`ve got
him. They own him. And rest assured we`re going to see them try to do that
unless our defenses are in place.
REID: And Eugene, all of that then comes in the context of an attorney
general of the United States, who could not say with clarity that anything
that Frank just described would be illegal or would even be wrong.
ROBINSON: Right. I mean, it was astounding – certainly – basically as I
understand Attorney General Barr`s position. The president cannot be held
accountable. He certainly could not be held accountable for winking and
nodding and sort of welcoming the next round of Russian interference. It
was an astounding performance the other day and it`s a sad state that our
Justice Department seems to be in under William Barr but that`s where we
REID: Yup. Now, it`s going to be an interesting election. Eugene Robinson,
Evelyn Farkas, Frank Figliuzzi, thank you all very much.
Coming up, one of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon was
tied to his refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas. Is Donald Trump
wandering into just that territory? Congressman David Cicilline joins me,
And Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and the other white male candidates have been
sucking a lot of the oxygen out of the Democratic primary race, but a woman
may be beginning to close the gap. That is coming up.
REID: Donald Trump and his administration have made it clear that they are
determined to stonewall any attempt at congressional oversight, and that
increase in brinksmanship is forcing reluctant House Democrats to explore
increasingly aggressive options to force the administration to comply.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I do think that the path of investigation and
getting more information and you never know that one thing can lead to
another. Impeachment is never off the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: After dismissing Russian election interference in a phone call with
Vladimir Putin, the president teed up yet another battle with Congress over
calling additional witnesses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Does Mueller testify? Would you like to
see him testify?
TRUMP: I don`t know. That`s up to our attorney general, who I think has
done a fantastic job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Did you decide whether you will invoke
the executive privilege as it relates to Don McGahn?
TRUMP: That would be determined over the next week or so.
REID: Joining me now is a member of the House Judiciary Committee,
Democratic Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island. He is also a member
of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman, thank you so much for your
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): My pleasure.
REID: Let`s first talk about William Barr who has essentially stopped
complying. He did not show up to a hearing at the House Judiciary Committee
where he was scheduled to appear. He does not appear to be willing to
cooperate further. I want you to listen to your colleague, Congresswoman
Jackie Speier, who was on “Hardball” earlier tonight with my colleague
Chris Matthews. And this is what Congresswoman Speier says should happen if
Barr does not begin complying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Once there are specific subpoenas and he does
not comply with them, he can be brought before the House. He can be tried.
He can either be held there to testify or he can be punished. And there is
actually a jail in the Capitol which has been used as recently as 1930. And
there was actually the brother of a former attorney general during Teapot
Dome that was actually brought in from Ohio with a deputy sergeant of arms
to be required to testify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Teapot Dome has finally been invoked on a segment of television I`m
doing. Are you willing to go that far? Do you believe that William Barr if
he refuses to testify, if he refuses to comply with lawful subpoenas from
Congress, should be arrested?
CICILLINE: Well, there`s no question that Congresswoman Speier is
absolutely right. Congress has the inherent authority to hold individuals
in contempt who defy a lawful subpoena that was affirmed by the Supreme
Court in 1821 and again in 1935. I hope it does not have to come to that.
But let me be very clear. Our congressional oversight is dependent on our
ability to compel the production of documents and to compel the testimony
of witnesses under oath. And when the committee issues a lawful subpoena,
they must be enforced. If we leave it to the executive branch to decide
what they`re going to provide, that will effectively extinguish our
Clearly, that`s not permitted. I think members of the committee are
committed to making sure we get the materials and witnesses we need to find
the truth to demonstrate no one is above the law. The really tragic part of
all of this is all the stonewalling that the president is doing is wasting
an enormous amount of time.
We ran on an agenda for the people of this country to drive down health
care costs, raise family incomes, rebuild the country, and take on
corruption in Washington. We`re moving forward on prescription drug,
reducing prescription drug prices. We are moving forward on infrastructure
bill. We passed HR-1, a major reform. We passed equal pay for equal work.
We reauthorized the violence against women act. We`re getting a lot done.
But every minute we have to fight over getting what we`re entitled to is
not good for the American people. I think the whole committee understands
we will get the witness before the committee that we need to hear from to
get to the truth, to collect all the evidence we need, to make a final
judgment in this matter.
REID: You know I`m glad you mentioned some of the things that Democrats
are trying to do. I think respectfully, sir, what a lot of the Democrats
are saying – you know, Democratic voters are complaining about is, that
the Democrats seem to be so focused on getting back to business, back to
doing the agenda that, as you said, Democrats ran on to get elected to take
over the House.
That they`re willing to put up with a lot – and a lot abrogation of
Democrats` constitutional authority and really not willing to go to the
maximum while the administration is willing to go beyond the maximum to
simply say we don`t owe you any compliance at all. There`s a piece in The
New York Times today reporting on how Chairman Nadler, the chairman of the
Judiciary Committee, has made yet another counter offer.
Yet another counter offer in terms of getting the full Mueller report
saying, “If the dispute moves to the courts, as seems likely, one of the
issues that will arise is whether each branch has tried to accommodate the
other branch`s constitutional needs. In previous legal battles, courts have
said the constitution requires both sides to negotiate in good faith to
find a solution. If nothing else, Mr. Nadler is establishing a record that
House lawyers can point to in any such litigation as they urge a judge to
find the administration`s position is unreasonable.”
Is what looks to a lot of the public like caution, really the attempt to
build a record that can survive the Supreme Court?
CICILLINE: Yeah, absolutely. Look, I think we understand we have to do
both things. We have to deliver on the commitments we made in the election
to reduce health care costs, raise family incomes, to take on the
corruption in Washington, and to deliver results for the American people.
We`re doing that.
But we also understand we were elected to hold this administration
accountable and to discharge our responsibilities under the constitution.
And I think many on the committee are pressing the chairman. I think he`s
quite right in being certain that he develops a record because this will be
And it`s absolutely the case that the court will look at what
accommodations you have attempted to make, and Mr. Nadler has really made a
magnificent record of all of the efforts he`s made to be reasonable with
the attorney general, to seek accommodation. But on Monday, if he doesn`t
comply, we`ll begin the proceedings to hold him in contempt and to compel
But what`s really stunning, Joy, is to think about the attorney general of
the United States has refused to come before the Judiciary Committee
voluntarily to answer some important questions. And you have to wonder why.
What is he afraid of? This is the chief law enforcement officer in the
country and he`s afraid of 30 minutes of questioning by a staff attorney?
That`s the real question here.
But we`re going to get him before the committee. We`re going to get the
full Mueller report and all the materials we need to make an informed
judgment about next steps for the committee.
REID: Congressman David Cicilline, thank you so much for your time
tonight. I really appreciate it.
CICILLINE: Thanks for having me.
REID: Thank you. Coming up, Donald Trump is accused of ignoring his duty
to protect the United States from foreign election interference and is
accused of obstructing justice. And still, there is silence from his
political party. How long can that last? That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JONI ERNST (R-IO): Russia will show no hesitation. They have not in
the past. They won`t in the future. And using these types of acts of
aggression in an attempt to undermine our elections process and our way of
life. And it doesn`t matter if the attack is coming from the end of a
barrel of a gun or the click of a mouse.
REP. BEN SASSE (R-NE): In a digital cyber era, you don`t need a bar and a
hooker anymore. You can surround people digitally much easier and we know
that we`re going to be having these kinds of attacks in the future and we
need to up our game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: During this week`s Senate hearing on the Mueller report, it wasn`t
just Democrats who voiced concern about Russian election interference.
Republicans did it, too.
But today, when we learned that Donald Trump spoke on the phone with
Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than an hour and didn`t once tell
him to stop attacking our elections, Republicans haven`t said a word.
Joining us now is Tom Nichols, a national security expert, and former
Republican Senate staff member. Also joining us, Evan McMullin, a former
CIA operative and a former independent presidential candidate and he`s the
co-founder of Stand Up Republic.
Tom, I`m going to start with you because you had quite a tweet today. You
tweeted, “I eagerly await the inevitable explanations from Republican
apologists and enablers about why the president told Putin he doesn`t
accept the Mueller report and why he won`t let McGah testify. If you think
I`m questioning anyone`s patriotism, let me just assure you, I am.”
Do you believe at this point that Republicans are willing to allow Russia
to interfere in an election just so that they can stay in power?
TOM NICHOLS, NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT: I don`t think Russians – that the
Republicans are willing to let the Russians interfere with an election.
And the part about McGahn turned out to be an error from an earlier NBC
But the fact that Republicans aren`t speaking up about this, the
Republicans, the party of national security as they once billed themselves,
the party of Ronald Reagan, that they are not standing up, that they are
not criticizing this means they really have chosen party over country.
They have chosen to enable this administration rather than to do their
Constitutional duty and speak up about this problem. And I question the
judgment and the patriotism of anybody who thinks that this is somehow
acceptable. I really do.
REID: And Evan McMullin, just to be specific, the Mueller report was very
detailed in the things that it says, that the GRU, which is the sort of
follow-on to the KGB what they did. Just one part of it.
In November 2016, the GRU sent spearfishing emails to over 120 e-mail
accounts used by Florida County officials responsible for administering the
2016 U.S. election. We understand the FBI believes that this operation
enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida
When Marco Rubio who is never really that strong in criticizing this
president, he`s pretty much a fan, most of the time. But in an interview,
Senator Marco Rubio took it a step further saying that Russian hackers not
only accessed a Florida voting system but were in a position to change
voter roll data.
My biggest concern he said is that on election day, you go vote and have
mass confusion because voter registration information has been deleted from
the system. This is an ongoing threat of literal disenfranchisement of
American voters by a foreign intelligence service.
How do you explain why Republicans don`t have their hair on fire and aren`t
standing up and demanding that the White House do something about it?
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, it`s incredibly frustrating and
incredibly dangerous. And I have to tell you that you know, I`ve been
concerned for a few years now and I`ve made that clear. But I am more
concerned now about the future of our democracy than I`ve ever been.
And look, I think if you ask why Republicans are behaving the way they are,
if you`re an elected Republican, you look at the base and you see the base
is still with Trump even in the midst of the Mueller report and all that it
revealed about his welcoming, encouraging and planning to capitalize on the
Russian attack and then all the efforts to obstruct justice, they are still
the Republicans. The Republican base is still with the president.
And it`s not a surprise. Why? Because “Fox News” and the Republican media
establishment continues to lie to the base and to mislead them. And so
then elected officials see that and they say well if I`m going to be
reelected again, I`ve got to continue to go along with this.
But it`s even more than that now. Now, they`ve justified, they`ve defended
the president for so long, amid all this information, all these revelations
of wrongdoing that now they have to protect the president because if they
don`t, this entire Trumpian house of cards collapses. And they go down
along with it in the next election.
And so now they have to protect it. They have to stand it up. Even at the
expense of our democracy, at the expense of American freedom. And it is
disgusting how they`re willing to do that.
And I`m beside myself these days and it`s a time for them to stand up and
speak truth to the American people and stop looking out for themselves.
Our democracy is truly on the line right now. And they`re the ones that
have to act.
REID: You know, and Tom Nichols, I think to Evan McMullin`s point, the
base of the Republican Party doesn`t believe that Russia interfered in the
election. “The Washington Post” latest last poll of Republican voters
dated March 26 to 29 found that 54 percent said no, they don`t believe that
Russia interfered because, of course, their president is telling them that
it didn`t happen.
But you do have Patti Davis wrote a piece in “Washington Post” in which
really laid down the gauntlet and said essentially stop naming Ronald
Reagan as your hero, stop using the Reagan legacy if you`re going to stand
silent as America is dismantled and dismembered as democracy is thrown on
the ash heap of yesterday. She says shame on you. don`t use my father`s
name on the way down.
Republicans still want to claim the mantle of Reagan. They still want to
say that they`re tough on national defense. But there`s an ongoing threat
to the election that`s coming up.
It`s hard not to make the argument that maybe that they`re like, you know,
if the outcome is on our side, that`s fine.
NICHOLS: First of all, I agree with Evan. I`ve never been this concerned
either. I mean I just have never seen anything like this. I`ve never seen
this kind of collapse of an American political party and the collapse of
their voter base that`s covered so much territory in 30 years to go from
being the party of Reagan to whatever this is.
But look, I believe that there are Republicans. I shouldn`t say I believe.
I know that there are Republicans who are deeply concerned about this.
But a principle isn`t a principle if you only voice it when it`s
politically convenient. And that`s the problem is that you know, they`re
just concerned about taking on that minority in the primary vote who is the
majority of the Republican Party but a minority of voters.
And they don`t want to go down with that ship. That`s just incredibly
dangerous. This is a time to speak up.
REID: Yes. Yes. Tom Nichols and Evan McMullin, thank you guys very much.
Really appreciate your time.
MCMULLIN: Thank you.
REID: Thank you. Coming up, the ideas candidate. Senator Elizabeth
Warren is defying the Democratic primary boys club and moving up in the
Lawrence`s interview with Senator Warren on her ideas to help the middle-
class that Donald Trump`s policies to help the rich are leaving behind.
REID: It`s still very early in the Democratic presidential primary for
2020 but already we`re seeing some interesting movement in the polls. Joe
Biden and Bernie Sanders have topped most of the early polling so far.
But this week, three different polls showed Senator Elizabeth Warren whose
campaign has been doggedly focused on policy, not flash, climb into the top
three. One poll even found Warren one point ahead of Sanders in a
statistical dead heat.
Earlier this week, Lawrence spoke with Senator Warren about how her policy-
driven campaign might be affecting her standing in those new national
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Let`s agree it`s way too early for the polls to be telling us
anything definitive about what`s going to happen in this race. But there`s
very good news for two candidates in there. There`s very good news for Joe
Biden who`s at the top of all of these polls.
And the other good news is for your candidacy which has moved up and
actually it`s in the top three of each one of those polls. Coming in
number two in one of the polls moving slightly ahead of Senator Sanders,
actually in a statistical tie with him but you`re at 12 and he`s at 11.
That`s a big jump up for you in that poll.
And everyone has been noticing that you have been rolling out more new
policy. And I want to stress new policy because it`s one thing for
candidates to be coalescing around things like Medicare for All which is an
idea that has been gaining traction over time.
But you and some of the other Candidates are introducing new policies but
no one more than you. Do you believe that this move in your candidacy is
actually about these policies that that`s what voters are listening to in
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So look, I
can`t say anything about the polls. It is way, way too early on polls.
But here`s what I can tell you. Having a chance to go out and talk with
people all across this country about how we could actually make this
government work, not just for a thin slice at the top but make it work for
everyone else, and watching people engage that idea, it`s enormously
You know, I get out and talk about a wealth tax. Two cents on every dollar
above $50 billion for the great fortunes in this country. Just two cents.
They pitch that in and all of a sudden, as a country, we can provide
universal childcare, universal Pre-K. We could pay our child care and Pre-
K workers professional level wages. We could do a universal college. We
could knock off student loan debt for nearly 95 percent of the people who
have student loan debt. And still, have nearly a trillion dollars left
A trillion dollars to put into green energy, to put into infrastructure.
That`s how you begin to rebalance an economy. So it isn`t just working for
those at the top. It`s working for everybody. We could actually do that.
O`DONNELL: We have a page one report in “The New York Times” above the
fold about the biggest corporations in this country playing not just paying
zero in corporate taxes, actually, and you know the punch line to this,
getting a rebate.
WARREN: I do.
O`DONNELL: A rebate.
O`DONNELL: And I`ve got to say, that shocked me, even having worked on tax
law myself. I understand that they get away with paying zero. But the
idea that Amazon and some of these big companies actually getting a rebate
from the government, this is the kind of issue you`ve been talking about
And when I read in that story your quotes from voters who are very angry
about this and they`re not attaching in that article to particular
candidates. But it`s very clear to me that the Democratic campaign, you in
particular and some of the other candidates, are talking very specifically
to that issue.
WARREN: Yes. So I have another proposal. I got a plan for that. And the
other plan around corporate taxes is to acknowledge those big companies
that are doing that like Amazon.
They tell the public, they tell their investors, they set their executive
compensation on saying, we made more than $10 billion in after-tax profits.
Whoo-hoo. And then they turn around and say to the IRS, well, by the time
we`ve jumped through this loophole and done this part and done this trick,
it`s actually zero or you owe us a refund.
You know, that`s just not right. So what I`ve proposed is that for the big
companies, the ones making more than $100 million in income each year, that
they pay seven cents on the dollar. Seven percent of what they publicly
announce as their after-tax income.
They do that, whatever the rest of the taxes are because we shouldn`t be in
an America where you know, most Americans are paying taxes, but these big
guys are making a zillion bucks. And yet, they`ve wired the tax code so
that they are either paying nothing or getting a refund?
If we did that, we would raise a trillion dollars over 10 years. And
here`s the deal. You know, for everybody across this country, we just want
to say the guys at the top, whether it is a giant corporation or it`s one
of the great family fortunes in this country, you made it big. Good for
But you built those fortunes, you know, employing workers the rest of us
helped pay to educate. You built those fortunes using roads and bridges
all of us helped to pay for to get your goods to market. You built those
fortunes using police and firefighters all of us helped to pay for.
And the deal is you make it that big, put something back in so everybody
else has got a chance to make it. That`s what this is about.
And that`s what my campaign is about. It is about ideas and it is about
how we can really build a future together. I hope that everybody who likes
campaigns about ideas will go to elizabethwarren.com, that they`ll
volunteer an hour, they will pitch in ten bucks.
They will be part of this because this is how we`re going to build an
America that works, not just for a thin slice at the top, but one that
works for all of us.
O`DONNELL: Senator, I want to ask you what you would have said to the
president if you were in that meeting with the Democratic leadership and
the president on infrastructure. I would also like to ask you what you
think the House of Representatives should do in reaction to the president`s
obstruction on their subpoenas.
But the commercial break structure of this show requires me to squeeze in a
minute or so. Could you stay with us across that break and we`ll just do a
couple more questions after that?
WARREN: Of course. Of course.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to be right back with Senator Elizabeth
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-NY), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We just had a very
productive meeting with the president of the United States. We came to
this meeting with an understanding that there is great need in our country
for rebuilding our infrastructure.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We agreed on a number
which was very very good, $2 trillion for infrastructure. Originally, we
started a little lower. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And we`re back with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator, as you
know, the Democratic leadership of the House and Senate met with the
president to talk about infrastructure. It`s hard for me to see them ever
coming to an agreement. But if you were in that meeting, what would you
have told President Trump about infrastructure?
WARREN: So I really want to see us make an investment in infrastructure.
This is how we build the future in this country. This is how we build jobs
for the future in this country. We have got to make those investments.
So I`d ask him, where is the money coming from? You know, we can`t just
talk about this in the abstract. I`ve got two proposals on the table. And
ultra-millionaires wealth tax and a corporate tax. Either one would raise
money for trillion dollars in infrastructure spending. What is your plan,
O`DONNELL: How about an increase in the gasoline tax?
WARREN: I got to say, I have real hesitation about that. That hits
working families hard. Why should we be going there instead of to the
75,000 richest families in this country?
Why should we be going there instead of to corporations that announce a
hundred million dollars or more in profits that are paying no taxes right
now? Why don`t we do something that`s a little more progressive?
O`DONNELL: And you have seen the obstruction that the White House
administration and the attorney general seems to be complicit in that
obstruction of the House investigations on multiple fronts, the president
trying to deny every – all sorts of cooperation and subpoenas in a way
that we`ve never seen before.
You have got an attorney general saying I will not take questions from
counsel in House hearings, something that has been happening in hearings
for my entire lifetime. What would be your suggestion to the House of
Representatives about how to deal with this administration and the
obstruction that they`re running into now?
WARREN: So I think this is a moment that, again, Congress needs to assert
itself. We have responsibilities under the Constitution of the United
States, including oversight responsibility.
We`re supposed to be out here to make laws, to investigate the fact that a
hostile foreign government attacked our elections in 2016. And to make
sure that we are properly prepared as we roll into 2020. We have a job to
do and part of that involves getting information from the administration.
So I have a lot of confidence in our leadership in the House. I know they
will be strong on this. And they just need to keep bearing down because
the Constitution talks about two branches of government, not simply a
president and everyone spinning around him.
O`DONNELL: Senator Warren, before you go, let me just squeeze in a
question I`ve asked every presidential candidate who`s been here. What is
the best policy idea you have heard from one of your competitor`s in this
WARREN: Oh, I think Julian Castro, his idea around immigration and about
changing how we treat people who come here and who are not documented. I
think he`s got some really good ideas around this. I`m very interested in
his work. I admire it.
O`DONNELL: Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you very much for joining us
and for staying a little bit extra with us. We really appreciate it.
WARREN: You bet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Well, that`s tonight`s last word. Be sure to join me tomorrow
morning for my show “A.M. JOY” which starts at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, weekend
mornings. And we`ll talk about the two candidates who had the best week
this week, both of them women, both of them you have seen in the last two
THE LAST WORD – I mean “THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS” starts now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, Donald Trump`s hour-long phone call
to Vladimir Putin.
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