Gunman kills 12 in VA Beach shooting. TRANSCRIPTS: 5/31/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Alyssa Andrews, Jim Cavanaugh, Mieke Eoyang, Tom Steyer; Tom Malinowski; Jeffrey Rosen
Transcript:

ALI VELSHI, NBC NEWS SENIOR ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT:  Not a

happy night to have to deliver this news. Rachel, have a good rest to your

weekend.

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC:  I appreciate it. Thanks, Ali.

 

VELSHI:  I`m Ali Velshi, in for Lawrence O`Donnell. We have a lot to get to

tonight but we do begin with that breaking news in Virginia Beach where

another tragic mass shooting has left at least now 12 people dead.

 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

CERVERA:  We are in the process of identifying the victims and making

notification to their families. I can tell you that we do have an

additional victim to report. We now have 12. One victim succumbed to the

injuries on the way to the hospital. We also have four additional victims

being treated at area hospitals, and we have reports that others may have

self-transported.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  The terror unfolded this afternoon when a city worker entered a

municipal building and began firing at co-workers indiscriminately. The

rampage continued over multiple floors as police quickly rushed to the

scene. The shooter was killed while exchanging gunfire with police in what

the police chief described as a long-term gun battle.

 

At least five people were injured and rushed to the hospital including one

police officer who was treated for his injuries. Authorities say his life

was saved, thanks to his bulletproof vest. According to the police chief,

the gunman was a current and long-time Virginia Beach Department of Public

Utilities employee, but police declined to comment about a possible motive

for the shooting.

 

Witnesses described frantically running down stairwells or barricading

themselves behind desks to escape the barrage of bullets. Listen to how

some witnesses describe the horrific scene.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We heard shooting. We heard shooting, but we didn`t

think it was that close like in proximity of the building, so I just thank

God that they were able to alert us in time.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There was a lady on the stair unconscious, blood on the

stairway. We didn`t know what happened. When she ran upstairs, she found

out something else. She came back down saying get out of the building. Guys

were shot.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We just heard people yelling and screaming to get

down. I just – I don`t know what kind of person would do something like

that.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  Neither the shooter nor the victims` identities have been released

at this time. The words of the mayor, this is the most devastating day in

the history of Virginia Beach.

 

Joining me now is Alyssa Andrews. She was waiting for her daughter nearby

when the shooting occurred. Alyssa, you took a photograph that we are going

to put up on our air in which you see a man with a policeman with a hand on

his shoulder. This man has got blood all over his shirt. Tell us what this

was.

 

ALYSSA ANDREWS, EYEWITNESS TO VIRGINIA BEACH MASS SHOOTING (via telephone): 

I was in the car with my 1-year-old grandson looking at all this go by, and

I saw an officer run with this gentleman and they stood in front of my car.

And I didn`t know what happened to him, but I opened the door and I said,

“Can I help you? I`m an R.N.” The officer said, “No, get back in your car.”

So I`m not sure.

 

VELSHI:  What did you subsequently learn had happened?

 

ANDREWS:  I don`t know if he was one of the ones that got shot or not.

Someone had said it was. So I don`t know. I pray that he`s OK.

 

VELSHI:  This is a remarkable tragedy for any community of any size. But

Virginia Beach is not a big place. To have 12 people now – the police

chief is saying 12 people succumbed to their injuries, four in surgery

right now. What`s the sense of people you`ve talked to around there?

 

ANDREWS:  It`s unimaginable. You just can`t believe somebody would do such

a thing, you know. Innocent people, we were right in the middle and I just,

you know, I couldn`t believe what was going on when it went on. It`s just

terrible.

 

VELSHI:  And this is a public building. This is a place somebody would go

to get their building permits or, you know, things that you need to engage

with the municipality of Virginia Beach. So, this wasn`t a place that

anybody could have been there.

 

ANDREWS:  Not anybody, yeah. I mean, it`s not like the courthouse where you

have to get checked in. Anybody can walk right in, you know. People with

kids were there, you know. I don`t even know if they`re one of the

fatalities, hopefully not. But we were right in the middle of it. My 1-

year-old grandson, thank God, we were safe, and my daughter was in building

one.

 

VELSHI:  I always wonder, the police chief said, you know, we have to keep

in mind as we report these things and we always talk about who the

perpetrator was, but that the victims, the families of the victims, their

lives have been changed forever. Twelve people have lost their lives. All

of those first responders, their lives are changed.

 

But really, everybody in your community`s lives had been changed because

now Virginia Beach enters the annals of history in the way that you didn`t

want to be.

 

ANDREWS:  Absolutely. It`s a sad thing. Virginia Beach is such a beautiful

place. You don`t want that to happen anywhere.

 

VELSHI:  How do you feel hours after this? You were right there. You know

how close you were and your grandson was to this. How do you – what does

the passage of time make you think?

 

ANDREWS:  My heart is still beating out of my chest right now. I was just

terrified. Finally, you know, SWAT was running by and the police officers

were right there. I commend them for what they did, for their speediness to

get there. But they told us – told me to get my grandson and get out of

the car and run to the next building, you know, when everything went down.

So –

 

VELSHI:  It`s remarkable that you say that because you`re an R.N. You`re a

nurse. You have seen things. You are not squeamish. You don`t get alarmed

by the sight of blood. You saw blood and you thought, “What can I do to

help?” But it`s sort of hard to express how helpless everybody feels in a

situation like this.

 

ANDREWS:  Absolutely. It`s devastating. And I don`t know if I`ll sleep

tonight.

 

VELSHI:  I wouldn`t blame you if you didn`t. Alyssa Andrews was an

eyewitness to the Virginia Beach mass murder. She took the picture that

you`ll see tonight that we just had on the screen. We`ll show you one more

time. It is a man who is in front. She pulled up her car and this man, this

police officer and this man with blood all over his shirt were standing in

front of her. Alyssa, thank you so much for joining us. I don`t think you

will sleep tonight but I hope you do.

 

Jim Cavanaugh is joining me now. Jim and I have an unusual relationship

because the only time he and I ever talk is when something like this has

happened. We talk a lot. Jim, we talk. You and I spend a lot of time

together analysing, understanding, trying to figure out why this happens

over and over and over again uniquely in America.

 

JIM CAVANAUGH, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT:  Yeah. Well, we need (ph)

leadership in Washington and people are not committed to it. The voters

will change it, Ali, we hope. You know, what strikes so much – so many

details in this press conference to talk about, but from the witness you

just interviewed, Alyssa there, you know, their lives are changed.

 

VELSHI:  Yup.

 

CAVANAUGH:  Well, the killer, the loser killer, that`s what he wants to do.

 

VELSHI:  Yup.

 

CAVANAUGH:  That`s his goal, mass murder, agony. He wants misery. He wants

to die. That`s what he`s trying to do. He comes in there and listening to

what the police chief said, he had a 45-caliber handgun with extended

magazines and a silencer.

 

VELSHI:  Uh-huh.

 

CAVANAUGH:  One of the witnesses said, “We heard the shots but we didn`t

think they were close.”

 

VELSHI:  Right.

 

CAVANAUGH:  Well, the reason –

 

VELSHI:  That`s the silencer.

 

CAVANAUGH:  That`s the silencer. So he could have been in the next room.

 

VELSHI:  Yup.

 

CAVANAUGH:  And you see he`s got that silencer, he`s got that extended

magazines, and he`s going through massacring all the people. The chief said

it was an extended gun battle with his two detectives and two K-9 officers.

 

VELSHI:  Unbelievable.

 

CAVANAUGH:  This guy is loading probably these 30-round magazines into that

pistol. He has a distinct advantage because when you are shooting with a

silencer, you don`t get the loud bang. A 45 will recoil your pistol back,

so you cannot get the sight on target quite as quick, it jumps back at you.

 

But when you put the silencer on there, you get a distinct advantage. It`s

much quieter. It`s much better for shooter. And of course, people can`t

hear you coming. So, you know, it`s a devastating case.

 

VELSHI:  You don`t know where to run. They don`t know where to hide. And a

45 is a large caliber bullet that does go through little things. If you`re

hiding behind something that`s thin, if you`re behind a drywall wall and

somebody shoots through it, you`ll get hit, you could get killed.

 

CAVANAUGH:  Exactly, Ali. It has knockdown power. The 45 is designed – it

was a military round. They used it in the early war, World War I, knocked

the enemy back from the trenches. They complained about the 38s. There is a

lot of different, you know, early wars where these guns were tested. They

wanted something to knock the soldiers back, the enemy soldiers that could

stop them.

 

And a 45 had a lot of stopping power and so the military needed it. But,

you know, it`s a weapon when in the proper hands for shooters and

sportsmen, it`s good. But when it gets out there in the hands of these guys

like this, this guy that has a problem, he wants to kill everybody he works

with, this is just not a guy going home and getting the gun.

 

VELSHI:  Yeah.

 

CAVANAUGH:  I think that`s the point we should make America look at. He

didn`t pull a gun out of his dresser drawer that was in there for 20 years.

This guy went and got some kind of gun that he made sure he could kill a

lot of people with, large caliber, extended magazines, and the silencer.

There`s a lot of purpose. There`s a lot of reason, determination for mass

killings.

 

VELSHI:  Let me ask you a quick question. In the time that you`ve been

covering this and the time that you`re a veteran of the ATF, you`re a

special agent in charge in the time I`ve been a journalist, the way police

respond to these things has changed dramatically.

 

It`s not thought of as a hostage situation. It`s not thought of as setting

up a perimeter. These police officers who train for this stuff – but it`s

Virginia Beach, they are dealing with this stuff all the time –went in and

engaged in what the police chief called a long-term running gun battle.

Cops don`t use that kind of language easily.

 

CAVANAUGH:  That`s right, total heroes, total heroes going in there facing

this guy down. They know he`s got something large and he`s spitting all

those rounds real fast. They know it`s silenced once they engage him. They

know he`s got advantages. So, yes, total heroes, absolutely.

 

VELSHI:  They`re heroes and the lives of those families, those police

officers, and the lives of those 12 people who have lost their lives and

the four who are in surgery right now are changed forever. Jim, thank you

for joining us tonight.

 

CAVANAUGH:  Thanks, Ali.

 

VELSHI:  All right. Coming up, we`ve got a lot of other news today.

Attorney General William Barr muddied the waters about Robert Mueller`s

report and the reason for not accusing the president of obstruction of

justice as members of Congress are facing more pressure about impeachment.

That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

VELSHI:  Donald Trump`s attorney general, William Barr, now appears to have

undermined his own explanation for how and why he cleared Donald Trump of

obstruction of justice after the Mueller report. Here`s what he said in a

new interview with CBS News.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL:  We didn`t agree with the

legal analysis, a lot of the legal analysis in the report. It did not

reflect the views of the department. It was the views of a particular

lawyer or lawyers. And so we applied what we thought was the right law.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  “We didn`t agree with a lot of the legal analysis of the Mueller

report, so we applied what we thought was the right law.” That`s what

William Barr, your attorney general, says now. But that`s not what William

Barr told the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, on May 1st.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BARR:   We took each of the 10 episodes and we assessed them against the

analytical framework that had been set forth by the special counsel. And we

concluded that the evidence developed during the special counsel`s

investigation was not sufficient to establish that the president committed

an obstruction of justice offense.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  Now, this distinction is important, because Robert Mueller

publicly said that he would have cleared the president of obstruction if he

could, but he could not. William Barr then cleared the president based on

what he said is the analysis presented by the Mueller report. Until today

when Barr said he didn`t agree with the analysis in the Mueller report.

Barr was also asked about his investigation of the FBI`s surveillance of

the Trump presidential campaign.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JAN CRAWFORD, CBS NEWS CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT:  What have you seen? What

evidence? What makes you think, I need to take a look at this?

 

BARR:  Like many other people who are familiar with intelligence

activities, I had a lot of questions about what was going on. I assumed I

would get answers when I went in and I have not gotten the answers that are

well satisfactory, and in fact have probably more questions, and that some

of the facts that I`ve learned don`t hang together with the official

explanations of what happened.

 

CRAWFORD:  What do you mean by that?

 

BARR:  That`s all I really will say. Things are just not jiving.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  Things are just not jiving. So if you didn`t hear William Barr

present any facts just then to support that politically charged

investigation, that`s because he didn`t present any. William Barr probably

didn`t lessen the perception that he`s politically motivated when he said

this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BARR:  I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it`s

President Trump that`s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence

of that. From my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically

elected president and basically throwing everything at him and, you know,

really changing the norms on grounds that we have to stop this president,

that`s where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  All right. Starting off our discussion tonight are Mieke Eoyang, a

former staff member for the House Intelligence Committee and the vice

president of the National Security Program at Third Way, and Matt Miller,

former spokesperson for Attorney General Eric holder and an MSNBC

contributor. Thank you to both of you for joining me on a Friday night.

 

Matt, William Barr is talking about the shredding of institutions. There

are some who are concerned that in his misrepresentation and what appear to

be false statements about the Mueller report and the conclusions it did or

didn`t draw, that he might actually be doing lasting damage to the

Department of Justice.

 

MATT MILLER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  I think that`s right. Look, he`s done

incredible damage to the department in the short tenure that he`s been

there.

 

I think that remark about the president not being the one who is the victim

somehow of an investigation versus the one who is actively out ruining the

reputation of law enforcement, hurting the public`s faith in law

enforcement, trampling on the wall that traditionally has separated the

Justice Department from the White House when it comes to criminal

investigations, it`s the kind of remark that Jeff Sessions wouldn`t have

dreamed of saying.

 

We all thought Jeff Sessions was an attorney general who was weak in

standing up to President Trump. I think there were a lot of things that

were really kind of galling about the attorney general`s presentation

today. The way he continued to smear former members of the intelligence

community, former members of the FBI without providing any evidence.

 

Look, he has said he has concerns. Let`s give him the benefit of the doubt

that he does. I`m extremely doubtful that he has legitimate concerns. But

let`s just pretend he does for a moment. He`s asked the U.S. attorney to

conduct an investigation. He ought to shut his mouth until that

investigation is over. If there is any evidence at the end of that

investigation, he can present it to the public.

 

In between now and then, it`s completely inappropriate for him to come out

with this kind of McCarthy (ph) tactic where he says, I have the secret

evidence but I won`t tell what it is, but you ought to have real doubts

about the appropriateness of the behavior of people that used to lead this

department.

 

VELSHI:  So Mieke, you know, one wonders what you`re supposed to do about

this. For decades, we`ve seen presidents assuming more power than some

thought the constitution intended for them to have. We hope that if

something is not right at the Justice Department, that congressional

oversight might come into play. But (INAUDIBLE), we`ve described what Bill

Barr is saying to Congress as giving them the middle finger.

 

MIEKE EOYANG, FORMER STAFF MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  Yeah, I

think that`s right. You`ve seen real resistance from this Department of

Justice not just against Congress but even against the judicial branch.

Today, the Department of Justice flat out refused to obey a judicial order

about releasing documents and didn`t even offer the judge a reason why or

ask for appeal on that.

 

We see Congress, however, stepping up and saying we are going to

aggressively challenge this president on oversight authorities. They`re

seeking to enforce their subpoenas. We`ve seen that being fast tracked in

the courts.

 

This is really the only way that you can have Congress rebalance power

between the branches from an executive who has taken too much by saying we

will not back down, we are going to enforce our powers, we are going to

continue to seek the documents that we want, we`re going to hold this

president accountable and we`re not going to be cowed by press statements

by the attorney general.

 

If they don`t do that, then you`ll see a president running roughshod over

them.

 

VELSHI:  Matt, the judgment that Mieke refers to, the government`s response

to that Carol Leonnig from The Washington Post tweeted her reaction to it.

“I have never before seen the government tell the judge that his order for

materials is not relevant.” Kind of amazing.

 

MILLER:  Yeah, it was a very bizarre thing for the Justice Department to

do. Look, I`m not that concerned about this one yet. I want to see how this

plays out to see whether the Justice Department really is just going to try

to thumb their nose at a judge`s order or whether this is the start of a

kind of a back and forth between the department and the judge.

 

The judge did do something weird where he ordered the transcript of the

calls between Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, to be

made public. It was a weird thing. I don`t know why it was relevant to what

the judge is doing, at least relevant for it to be made public.

 

I would expect the Justice Department then to go in and make a filing under

seal, kind of requesting the judge not to do that. I think they have

legitimate reasons that those ought to stay secret. But for them to thumb

their nose at the judge the way they did, I think, was very unusual, a bit

troubling.

 

I want to see if they continue to just kind of resist. That`s when I think

it`s time to sort of light our hair on fire and say that they`re resisting

a lawful order. I will tell you one thing about this judge. This is not a

judge who takes this kind of behavior from the department lying down. I

suspect we will see a very fiery response from Emmet Sullivan.

 

VELSHI:  You know, Matt, at least you have hair to set on fire.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MILLER:  Less and less every day.

 

VELSHI:  Mieke, Matt was talking about this comment by Barr about the

investigation into the FBI. He was asked about this a little more in that

CBS interview. I want you to listen to this one with specific reference to

the word “treason.”

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CRAWFORD:  You don`t think that they`ve committed treason?

 

BARR:  That is a legal matter.

 

CRAWFORD:  You have concerns about how they conducted the investigation?

 

BARR:  Yes, but, you know, sometimes people can convince themselves that

what they`re doing is in the higher interest, the better good. They don`t

realize that what they`re doing is really antithetical to the Democratic

system we have.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  Whether or not you believe that, Mieke, whether what he believes

the FBI was doing was antithetical to the Democratic system we have, that`s

not treason. He said it`s not treason in a legal matter. Treason is

actually only a legal matter. It`s defined by law. You can`t kind of just

throw that around.

 

EOYANG:  That`s right. What we`ve seen is that this attorney general for

all that he`s a lawyer and has been one his entire career is using a lot of

words very sloppily to really question the patriotism and the integrity and

the institutional objectivity of the law enforcement agencies that he

leads.

 

When he says that the president`s campaign was spied upon, when he says

it`s a legal matter about whether or not this is treason, a matter of legal

analysis, this wasn`t treason. It`s not like they were working on behalf of

a hostile foreign power to say try and obstruct an investigation into what

that hostile foreign power had done.

 

These were people who were concerned about foreign influence who were

trying to get to the bottom of that. To say that that is somehow akin to

treason or leave that imputation there for listener is really troubling and

very sloppy use of language.

 

VELSHI:  If anybody`s concerned about this, look up treason. It is very,

very specific in its meaning. You have to be aiding and abetting an enemy

of the United States. Technically speaking, the United States doesn`t have

enemies. We haven`t been at war with anybody since about World War II.

 

Thanks to both of you, Mieke Eoyang and Matt Miller. We appreciate spending

the evening with you. Coming up, Tom Steyer has been using his own money to

fund a campaign for impeaching Donald Trump long before dozens of members

of Congress backed it. Tom Steyer joins me next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

VELSHI:  Since Robert Mueller`s public statements this week reiterating

that he could not exonerate the president of obstruction, the number of

House members calling for impeachment or an impeachment inquiry has grown

to 53, 52 Democrats and one Republican. That is according to NBC.

 

My next gest is pretty consistent. He has been calling for Donald Trump`s

impeachment since October of 2017, long before we learned of Robert

Mueller`s findings. Here is his latest message to Democratic leaders.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  For over two years, this president has broken the

law.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And nothing happens.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You told us to wait for the Mueller investigation.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  When he showed obstruction of justice –

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nothing happened.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When this president –

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Took money from foreign governments.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And blocked the release of his tax returns.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nothing happened.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And when his administration illegally refused to

testify –

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  – nothing happened.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Now you tell us to wait for the next election?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Our founding fathers expected you –

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  – Congress –

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  – to hold a lawless president accountable.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  Joining me now is the man funding that ad, Tom Steyer, founder of

NextGen Climate and Need to Impeach, a movement to impeach Donald Trump.

 

Tom Steyer, you and I have discussed this several times.  And it does seem

like opinion is moving in your direction.  The point that you and I have

argued about in the past is that this is not something – impeachment is

not something that should be done for political outcome or based on what

the political outcome is.  But as your ad states, you believe it`s a

process that Congress is compelled to undergo.

 

TOM STEYER, FOUNDER, NEED TO IMPEACH:  Absolutely.  Ali, this is a question

of right and wrong.  And there`s no – we`ve been saying for a year and a

half, it`s important for America, it`s important for the American people

that this president be held to account.

 

And that`s really what Mr. Mueller said this week.  He said, “I can`t say

he`s innocent.  I`m not allowed to indict him.  It`s up to Congress to do

something now.”

 

VELSHI:  All right.  So at this point, I`ve got 53 legislators, federal

legislators, on your side.  But you`ve got a couple of people who don`t

share your view on this.  Jerry Nadler who is probably one of the key

people in charge of investigating Donald Trump as the chair of the

Judiciary Committee was on Brian Lehrer`s show on WNYC.  Here`s what he

said about it very specifically.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  Again, you can`t

impeach the president until the people support it.  And you also – it`s a

political act.  You also don`t want to divide the country so that half the

country is bitter for the next 30 years saying we won the election, you

stole it.

 

You have to develop if it isn`t there.  If there is justification which I

think there certainly is, you then have to develop the awareness in the

country and the agreement basically before you can take the real step of an

impeachment.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  So I think you would agree with the back half of his statement,

right.  I think there`s justification.  You have to develop the awareness

which you have spent a lot of your personal money doing.

 

But the beginning of it, he says you cannot impeach until the people

support it and you don`t want to divide the country.  What`s your response?

 

STEYER:  Look, Ali, we`re a grassroots organization.  We`ve got over 8

million people who have signed our petition saying the president should be

impeached and removed from office.

 

We think that the way that this should transpire is very similar to what

Chairman Nadler says, that there should be televised impeachment hearings

so the American people can understand what`s happened.  And I believe that

they will be disgusted by the behavior of this administration and this

president.

 

And they will insist across party lines and across geographies that, in

fact, Americans stand up for their values and do the right thing.  So this

is very, very different.

 

From a partisan approach, what we`re saying is Americans around the country

across every kind of dividing line will understand and together insist that

we come together and do the right thing.

 

VELSHI:  So it`s really logical except that second part of it, the will be

removed from – impeached and removed from office.  The removed from office

does depend on the Senate under the Constitution.

 

And we have not seen indications that members of the Senate faced with the

same evidence that you and I have read, 438 pages of the Mueller report and

lots of other things, seem unmoved.

 

STEYER:  Well, I think that what is going to move them, Ali is what I just

said and that is the American people.  We believe in the intelligence, the

integrity, the bravery of the American people.

 

And I believe that when their constituents say to them remove this

president or we`ll remove you, that these senators will find that that is

the exact thing that they`ve always believed was the right thing to do and

they will, in fact, change their minds.

 

It will be the power of the American people itself as it should be that

will determine the fate of this president.

 

VELSHI:  Tom, I want to just play for you what Nancy Pelosi said on the

Jimmy Kimmel Show.  Because obviously, Nancy Pelosi is key to whether or

not impeachment proceedings move forward.  Here`s what she said.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  He knows it`s not a good

idea to be impeached.  Well, the silver lining for him is, then he believes

that he would be exonerated by the United States Senate.

 

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, THE JIMMY KIMMEL SHOW:  I see.

 

PELOSI:  And there is a school of thought that says if the Senate acquits

you, why bring up charges against him in the private sector when he`s no

longer president.  So when we go there with our case, it`s got to be

ironclad.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  Do you think Donald Trump thinks that way?  Do you think that he`s

fishing for impeachment because he feels safe in the Senate?

 

STEYER:  Absolutely the opposite, Ali.  I think this is a panicked

president who understands that he`s guilty as sin and understands that

everybody in Washington, D.C. believes he`s more than met the criteria for

impeachment.

 

In fact, part of the urgency about getting this process going and getting

rid of him is the fact that he is panicked and you can see his behavior

deteriorating and I expect it will deteriorate every single day between now

and November of 2020.

 

So, in fact, when you see him acting against Mexico with tariffs, you can

see a president who is out of control, who is panicked and who is going to

be taking irrational decisions to try and move the conversation away from

the fact that everybody knows he`s guilty.

 

VELSHI:  Tom Steyer, good to talk to you as always.  Thank you for joining

me tonight.

 

STEYER:  Ali, it`s great to be here.

 

VELSHI:  Coming up, a shocking new report about the dictator that Donald

Trump fell in love with.  That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We spent pretty much all day

with Kim Jong-Un who is – he`s quite a guy and quite a character and I

think our relationship is very strong.  I think we`ll end up being very

good friends with Chairman Kim and with North Korea and I think they have

tremendous potential.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  That was Donald Trump after his second summit with Kim Jong-Un in

February.  Now, it`s being reported that “North Korea has executed its

special envoy to the United States on spying charges as its leader Kim

Jong-Un has engineered a sweeping purge of the country`s top nuclear

negotiators after the breakdown of his second summit meeting with President

Trump”.

 

A major South Korean Daily reported on Friday.  The envoy was executed by

firing squad in march at the Mirim Airfield in a suburb of Pyongyang, the

North Korean capital.  South Korea`s largest daily newspaper reported on

Friday citing an anonymous source.

 

Neither American news outlets nor South Korean officials have independently

confirmed the execution.  That`s not necessarily surprising since North

Korea is the most isolated country on earth.

 

The “BBC” notes that there have been previous reports of executions that

have turned out to be untrue but it adds, “The report is plausible.  These

key officials have been out of the public eye since the summit in February. 

Kim Jong-Un is clearly angry at the outcome of his talks with Donald Trump

and may have been looking for someone to blame.”

 

Kim Jong-Un has carried out executions in the past.  In 2013, Mr. Kim`s

powerful uncle was executed for treason.  Today, Secretary of State Mike

Pompeo said the Trump administration is investigating the report.  Its

plausibility serves as a stark reminder about the character of President

Trump`s potential very good friend Kim Jong-Un.

 

Joining me now, Freshman Democratic Congressman Tom Malinowski of New

Jersey, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Congressman, good to

see you.  Thank you for being with us.

 

REP. TOM MALINOWSKI (D-NJ), MEMBER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE:  Thank you.

 

VELSHI:  Let`s just – it gets lost in the normalization of the discussion

of North Korea and Kim Jong-Un that the president is not simply trying to

move the needle forward on our relations with North Korea but he has

benefited from, he has praised, he has given Kim Jong-Un two international

stages on which to become legitimized.

 

MALINOWSKI:  Yes, he`s fallen in love with Kim Jong-Un.  Look, I don`t know

if Kim killed his negotiators.  I`m afraid the president of the United

States has killed our negotiators.

 

This is the problem here.  Back in March, the administration imposed new

sanctions on North Korea.  The next day, Trump rescinded those sanctions

and the White House says said it was because he liked Kim Jong-Un.

 

Then our negotiators tried to get a permanent freeze on missile testing in

North Korea.  Trump goes to Japan, the country most threatened by North

Korean missiles and says that it`s no big deal, that they`re testing these

missiles.

 

So imagine being an American diplomat today.  You`re negotiating with

Russia, with Iran, with North Korea, with anybody.  You may not get killed

by a firing squad, you will be killed by a tweet.

 

VELSHI:  But if you`re a diplomat and folks don`t take anything you say

seriously because the president says something else, the president

contradicted his own Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan.  Acting

Secretary of Defense Shanahan said Wednesday that North Korea`s recent

missile tests are a violation of the United Nations` resolutions, an

assessment that contradicts comments made by President Donald Trump.

 

This is what Trump said.  “Let me be clear, these were short-range

missiles.  Those are a violation of the UNSCR.” That`s what Shanahan said,

he told reporters.

 

So Shanahan, Bolton, both said that North Korea was in contradiction of

U.N. resolutions and the president said he didn`t really think so.

 

MALINOWSKI:  Right.  So if you`re a foreign leader, a foreign government,

why listen to the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State or anybody

who is negotiating on our behalf?

 

You`re going to want to get into a room with the president of the United

States because you`ve noticed that you can flatter him into agreeing with

you, maybe by attacking Joe Biden, for example, or just simply by praising

the president.

 

And that`s dangerous.  That`s what`s important about this.  It`s not just

that it`s disgraceful that he`s in love with Kim Jong-Un.  It`s that it

undermines our ability to conduct diplomacy in the national interest.

 

VELSHI:  What do we make – again, there are so many things that we have to

draw attention to that some things that otherwise would have been headline

news for days, sort of follow by the wayside.  The comment about Joe Biden,

Kim Jong-Un insulting Joe Biden`s I.Q. and Donald Trump sort of letting

that go and said that he – said he agrees with him.

 

That`s the kind of thing that we have for decades in this country felt

inappropriate that once you leave the shores of this country, you don`t

take your political arguments with you.

 

MALINOWSKI:  Well, sometimes you do, right?  That rule has often been

broken but I can`t think of a time when an American president has quoted an

evil dictator in opposition to an American like Joe Biden, a former vice

president, somebody who is respected in this country.

 

You know, if Barack Obama had done that if George Bush had done that, if

Bill Clinton had done that, that there would have been absolutely no

tolerance of that sort of behavior.  And so it`s what it says about what

we`re willing to tolerate now that really disturbs me.

 

We know about Trump.  It`s what he`s doing to our body politic that I worry

about.

 

VELSHI:  So your perspective on the reports of the USS John McCain, you

know, because Donald Trump didn`t want to see it, you actually have a more

serious concern about this than the idea that somebody was perhaps

appeasing the president who didn`t like John McCain.

 

Your concern is the idea that it`s actually the military.  So this is not a

conference where you hide somebody`s chair or you hide somebody`s name. 

This is the United States Military which is not supposed to be politicized.

 

MALINOWSKI:  Exactly.  So if the military is now so afraid of making the

president angry that they`ll hide John McCain`s name, what else are they

going to hide to avoid making him angry?  Intelligence on Iran, on Russia,

on North Korea.  That is serious.

 

That`s something that – you know, we can`t have a servile military any

more than we can have a servile Department of Justice.  These institutions

have to be above politics.

 

They have to be willing to speak truth to power on behalf of our national

interests.  They serve the country, not a man.

 

VELSHI:  Let`s talk about this discussion I was just having with Tom Steyer

about impeachment.  There does seem to be a growing push for amongst your

colleagues for people who want to begin some sort of impeachment inquiry. 

Jerry Nadler, Nancy Pelosi and other members of leadership in the

Democratic Party say, “We`ve got a process.  It`s underway.  Let`s not rush

to something.”

 

And some are warning that there might be political consequences as there

were for Republicans going after Bill Clinton.  What`s your take?

 

MALINOWSKI:  I wasn`t there even a week or two ago but I`m at a point where

enough already.  I`ve concluded that the rule of law in this country can

survive bad people trying to violate it.  It can`t survive the hesitation

of good people to defend it.

 

And at a certain point, it looks like hesitation if, you know, people are

being ordered not to obey lawful subpoenas, if the Justice Department is

being turned into a political weapon against the president`s enemies, if

the intelligence community is being told you have to give up secrets that

our allies have shared with us so that the attorney general can persecute

the FBI.

 

At some point, you`ve got to stop screaming about it, you have to speak

more softly and carry a bigger stick.

 

VELSHI:  And so how does that discussion go amongst Democrats?

 

MALINOWSKI:  I think it`s a very difficult dilemma for us because Speaker

Pelosi is absolutely right about the Senate.  And you know, a lot of

prosecutors won`t bring a case if they don`t think they can get a

conviction in their jurisdiction.

 

But again, I think at the end of the day, in the face of these kinds of

offenses against the rule of law, there has to be some institutions in

Washington that`s willing to say, there is a line that cannot be crossed

because if nobody says that, there`s no line.

 

VELSHI:  Congressman, good to see you.  Thank you for joining us.

 

MALINOWSKI:  Thank you, sir.

 

VELSHI:  Congressman Tom Malinowski.

 

Coming up, some legislators are admitting that they`re passing anti-

abortion laws hoping that challenges to those laws get in front of the

Supreme Court with two Trump appointees.  What happens if that strategy

worked?  Supreme Court expert Jeffrey Rosen is my next guest.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CROWD:  We are open.  We are open.  We are open.  We are open.  We are

open.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  That was the scene outside the St. Louis Planned Parenthood, the

only abortion services provider in the State of Missouri.  Today, the

United States came the closest it has come in nearly half a century to

having a United States, a state, with absolutely no access to legal

abortion services.

 

For years, the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, Missouri, has been that

state`s one and only abortion services provider.  That facility was set to

close today after Missouri`s Republican Governor, Mike Parson, announced

that a state audit found what he called “a number of serious health

concerns” at the facility.

 

The clinic Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St.

Louis region says the audit`s results were politically motivated and that

the state had made unreasonable requests in order to try and force the

clinic to close.

 

In a ruling this afternoon, Missouri`s Circuit Court Judge Michael F.

Stelzer ruled that the clinic would be able to remain open as the case

works its way through the courts.  Writing that such a decision was,

“necessary to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable injury.”

 

This ruling comes just one week after that same Missouri governor signed

into law a ban on all abortions in the state after eight weeks of

pregnancy.  The latest in a series of restrictive abortion laws around the

country.

 

On Wednesday, Louisiana`s Democratic anti-abortion Governor John Bell

Edwards signed into law a similarly restrictive ban on abortions after six

weeks.  A period during which some women don`t even know that they are

pregnant.

 

This is all part of an effort by anti-abortion forces around the country to

push the issue to the United States Supreme Court to try to get the court`s

conservative majority to overturn the landmark precedent in Roe V. Wade,

which codified the right to an abortion in the United States.

 

Earlier this evening, the former head of Planned Parenthood, Cecile

Richards joined my colleague Chris Hayes and issued this stark warning.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CECILE RICHARDS, FORMER HEAD, PLANNED PARENTHOOD:  This is not a drill. 

This is no longer an intellectual question.  Roe is absolutely at risk and

so is the healthcare and wellbeing of millions of women in this country.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI:  There is no way of knowing how the Supreme Court will rule on a

challenge to Roe V. Wade if it chooses to rule on one at all but

antiabortion advocates are confident that this Supreme Court may be willing

to overturn one of the most important rulings of the last hundred years.

 

But here`s the thing to consider.  Regardless of where you stand on

abortion, let alone the legality of it, Roe was not just a landmark case

for abortion rights but for American legal jurisprudence, and specifically,

as it related to privacy.

 

So what would it mean for the future of our legal system, indeed, our

expectation of privacy, if Roe V. Wade were to fall?  Joining me to help

answer that question is Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National

Constitution Center and author of the book “The Supreme Court: The

Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America” and several other books

on the presidency and the court.

 

Jeff, thank you for being with us tonight.  The decision in Roe was based

on a broader understanding of the right to privacy as outlined in the 14th

Amendment of the Constitution.  So the question I have for you tonight is,

what might the unintended consequences of challenging Roe because of one`s

belief about abortion, what could those unintended consequences be?

 

JEFF ROSEN, PRESIDENT & CEO, NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER:  Well, you`re

absolutely right that Roe is based on a notion of privacy.  It came from a

case called Griswold V. Connecticut, that recognized a married couple`s

right to use continue contraception.

 

So in theory, that right could be at risk if any state wanted to restrict

contraception again.  But Roe was extended in cases most notably the

marriage equality case which rooted its recognition of the right of all

people to marry those whom they loved and ideas of privacy, dignity, and

autonomy.

 

So jurisprudentially, even the marriage equality cases could be at risk if

Roe were to fall.  But what`s so significant about this recent challenges

is that states like Missouri and Alabama and Georgia are now going a step

further, they`re saying that the fetus is a full constitutionally protected

person from the moment of conception.

 

And if the court in overturning Roe were to agree that states have the

right or even the obligation under the Constitution to recognize fetal

personhood, then a whole series of other laws and understandings could

fall.  People could be required to pay child support for unborn fetuses.

 

It would be possible that a couple that used in vitro fertilization and

destroyed an embryo in the course of doing that could be prosecuted for

homicide.  And even more significantly, a noncitizen who is pregnant, a

woman, might not be able to be deported unless her unborn pre-citizen fetus

had some kind of judicial hearing.

 

So in other words, the consequences of recognizing fetal personhood in the

law has been constitutionally protected could be very, very sweeping,

indeed.  And that`s why this strategy is so significant and really deserves

our close attention.

 

VELSHI:  So I`m way in over my head at this point but I`m going to ask you

about a quote from the 1974 decision, Mitchell V. W.T. Grant, that was

actually quoted in the 1991 case, Planned Parenthood V. Casey about

changing established decisions or stare decisis, established law based on

the Supreme Court`s makeup.

 

The quote is this.  “A basic change in the law upon a ground no firmer than

a change in our membership invites the popular misconception that this

institution,” meaning the Supreme Court,” is little different than the two

political branches of government.  No misconception could do more lasting

injury to this court and to the system of law which is our abiding mission

to serve.”

 

This was written in 1974 for decision.  It was quoted by O`Connor, Kennedy,

and Souter in 1991.  Does this still hold?

 

ROSEN:  Well, it`s a concern of many justices, most importantly, the chief

justice of the United States, John Roberts.  He`s very concerned about

institutional legitimacy.

 

In a decision last year emphasizing the importance of precedent, he

expressed concern that citizens might think of the court as political if

its decisions change based on its membership.  And he has embraced the same

three criteria that that decision you cited, Casey v. Planned Parenthood,

used in evaluating whether decisions should be overturned.

 

First, has society come to rely on them?  Second, have facts changed?  And

third, would – has the decision become unworkable?

 

And those are the same considerations that he would weigh now.  The

conventional wisdom for better or for worse at the moment is that the chief

is not eager to hear cases that would directly challenge Roe.

 

That`s why just this week, the court unanimously refused to consider a

challenge to the heart of an Indiana law that restricted sex-selection-

based abortion, so an institutionally-minded chief has also persuaded

Justice Kavanaugh in a case involving privileges of hospitals to vote

against hearing the case because he does not seem at the moment to be in a

rush to overturn Roe.

 

But what`s so significant about this debate is that the states are making

it harder and harder for the court to duck this question by embracing these

broad claims about fetal personhood that Justice Blackman in Roe, himself,

acknowledged strike at the core of the reasoning in Roe V. Wade.

 

VELSHI:  I`ve got 30 seconds left.  I want to ask you does the issue of

whether a justice thinks a case in the past was in their opinion wrongly

decided come into play here?

 

ROSEN:  Yes.  Those three criteria apply even if the justice thinks a case

was wrongly decided as Justice Kennedy and Justice O`Connor and Justice

Souter may have done when they upheld the core Roe V. Wade,

 

They`re still not supposed to overturn that case if society has come to

rely on it if the facts haven`t changed, and if the decision isn`t

unworkable.  So those are the three criteria and they`re going to be hugely

important along with this overwhelming question you identified.  So

important, Ali, of the chief justice and his concern about institutional

legitimacy.

 

VELSHI:  Jeffrey Rosen, it`s my pleasure to see you tonight. Thank you for

joining us.  That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

 

THE 11TH HOUR with Brian Williams, begins right now.

 

END   

 

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