Judiciary Committee to hold hearing. TRANSCRIPT: 6/7/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Despite her wishes, despite her doctor`s
wishes, that`s his wishes as state director. He is the one who came up with
that, and so women have to do it.
Watch this space. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on
Monday. Now, it`s time for “The Last Word” where Ali Velshi is in for
Lawrence tonight. Good night.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: What a remarkable story. I`m Ali Velshi, in for
Lawrence O`Donnell. A lot to talk about tonight at the end of this very
busy week, and we will have more on Rachel`s special report over the last
two nights, about the concerning situation at the last remaining Planned
Parenthood clinic in St. Louis.
Doctors there, as you just heard, required to perform invasive unnecessary
procedures on women. I`ll be joined in a few minutes by one of the doctors
who say the new rules there amount to state-sanctioned sexual assault.
Also tonight, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib joins me live as part of the blue
wave of freshman Democrats this cycle. She is no stranger to making
headlines, and now she`s making news for introducing one of the biggest
proposals yet on how to lift America`s struggling families out of poverty.
I`ll also talk to the congresswoman about the big week ahead on the
investigations of Donald Trump on Capitol Hill.
And at the end of the show, the story behind this extraordinary video, a
near collision between ships from Russia and the United States. Our guest
tonight at the end of the show says this, what you`re looking at, was no
accident. It`s deliberate. Is Russia testing President Trump?
But first tonight, the president has announced an agreement with Mexico
following days of growing pressure from congressional Republicans, major
corporations, and state governments to not impose tariffs on Mexican
imports to the United States. It seems like their collective prayers have
The president tweeted about 90 minutes ago. “The tariffs scheduled to be
implemented by the United States on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby
indefinitely suspended. Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures
to stem the tide of migration through Mexico, and to our southern border.
This is being done to greatly reduce or eliminate illegal immigration
coming from Mexico and into the United States.”
Tonight, the State Department released the broad outlines of the agreement
including that “Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase
enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its
National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.”
“Those crossing the U.S. southern border to seek asylum will be rapidly
returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum
claims. In response, Mexico will authorize the entrance of all those
individuals for humanitarian reasons in compliance with its international
obligations while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims.”
State Department officials were with the delegation from Mexico for 12
hours today working out this agreement. You would be forgiven for thinking
the president was solely focused on these negotiations today before the
Monday deadline when the tariffs would have gone into effect.
But it seemed his mind was elsewhere. After all, who can focus on tariffs
when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is getting under your skin? The president
was ranting again for the second day in a row about Speaker Pelosi, after
she reportedly said in a private meeting that she would rather see Trump in
prison for his alleged crimes than see him impeached.
During his trip home from Europe today, the president used a series of
pejoratives to describe Nancy Pelosi that we will not repeat here. That
followed this remark on Fox, which he made in front of a U.S. military
cemetery in Normandy, France.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She`s a nasty, vindictive,
horrible person. The Mueller report came out. It was a disaster for them.
They thought their good friend Bobby Mueller was going to give them a great
report, and he came out with a report with 13 horrible angry Democrats who
were totally biased against me.
Nancy Pelosi, I call her “Nervous Nancy.” Nancy Pelosi doesn`t talk about
it. Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, OK? She`s a disaster. And let her do what
she wants. You know what? I think they`re in big trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: The president seems to have a short memory when it comes to talk
of jailing opponents after his years of leading “lock her up” chants. He`s
not the only one with memory problems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Speaker Pelosi now apparently telling senior
Democrats she would like to see Trump behind bars. Based on no actual
crime, she wants a political opponent locked up in prison? That happens in
banana republics – beyond despicable behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: It`s not clear what triggered Trump`s Pelosi tweets, possibly just
general outrage, but he seemed to be watching Fox Business on his trip home
as he sent some tweets about the moon and NASA just minutes after the
network discussed those very topics.
Those were the topics, the moon and Nancy Pelosi, that Trump was apparently
focused on as Air Force One headed back to Washington, D.C. We can`t say
for certain how involved the president was in these negotiations, but his
Twitter feed might give you a bit of an idea.
However, I do know somebody who was involved in this because I`ve been
watching her e-mails about it all day. Joining us by phone is NBC News
White House correspondent Kristen Welker, who has been following the
discussions. Kristen, we now have some details about what Mexico agreed to
in order to get these tariffs not to be imposed on Monday. It was a long
and involved meeting for a second day.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Ali,
it was long. It was involved. You talked about the 12 hours of negotiations
today. Remember that that capped three straight days of negotiations
between U.S. and Mexican negotiators. So this has been an intensive
In terms of how involved the president`s been, I`ve been told that they
have been updating him frequently, and then once he stepped off of Air
Force One – by the way, I tried to shout some questions to him today to
see if in fact there was a deal. I was told that he was presented with the
final outline of this deal that ultimately seems to have come together. So
you talked about some of it. The sticking points they`ve worked through.
The biggest one I would say, Ali, the breaking point I would say, likely
the fact that Mexico has agreed to hold asylum seekers in Mexico. That`s a
big one. It`s going to require more resources on the part of Mexico, more
detention center. They`ve also agreed to boost intelligence sharing. They
are going to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops. So they have come to the
table in ways that the United States was already pushing them to do.
The politics of this is also significant, Ali. Of course, the president was
getting a lot of pressure from members of his own party who said bottom
line, if these tariffs go into effect on Monday at five percent and then
start to increase over time ultimately, ultimately that is going to hurt
So tonight, this is a victory for not only the president but for the
Mexicans, as well. But it may be a temporary one. They`re going to keep
talking and they`re going to re-evaluate this in 90 days, Ali.
VELSHI: So there are two elements of this. As you said, the things that
the Mexicans are going to do at the U.S. border including taking asylum
seekers from the United States and having them wait while their hearing is
underway. That`s a fairly big departure. I don`t even understand the
legality of it, but it`s a big departure from the way things work now.
And then there`s the other element in which Mexico is going to be deploying
members of its National Guard including to its southern border where a lot
of these migrants enter Mexico.
WELKER (via telephone): That`s right. I think that`s an important
distinction. This is going to be, I`m told, the Guatemala region and
they`re essentially going to be trying to head off the migrants there to
try to essentially control the flow, so that you aren`t seeing these huge
swells make their way to the United States.
If you speak to officials, they say that the numbers have been staggering.
They have used these figures to really try to turn up the pressure on
Mexico. According to CBP, 140,000 migrants, if not more, crossed the border
last month alone. Ali, it was 13th-year high.
That`s why there was so much concern, according to the White House. That`s
why they were making the case that this was a real crisis and why President
Trump was really moving to try to do something. Again, I can`t trust this
enough. He was getting a lot of pressure from his own party –
WELKER (via telephone): – essentially saying look, we might move to pass
legislation to block you. That would have been a huge rebuke to this
Republican president. So he was under pressure himself, Ali, to try to get
And what the U.S. negotiators were saying is look, it`s fantastic that
Mexico is offering to send those 6,000 National Guard troops to the border
with Guatemala, but we need more. And they finally got it tonight in the
form of Mexico agreeing to hold asylum seekers. That is a big give on the
part of the Mexican government.
VELSHI: Kristen, I appreciate your reporting on this. Thank you for
joining us tonight. Kristen Welker –
WELKER: Absolutely, Ali. Thank you for having me.
VELSHI: – White House correspondent, thank you, in Washington. All right,
NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.
Joining me now, Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and contributor to The
Daily Beast, he is the author of the book “Everything Trump Touches Dies.”
Jennifer Rubin, opinion writer at The Washington Post and an MSNBC
contributor, and Brian Klaas, columnist for The Washington Post and the
author of “The Despot`s Apprentice: Donald Trump`s Attack on Democracy”
Thanks to the three of you for joining us.
Rick, Kristen made the point at the end, that the president gets Republican
support on being tough on immigration and at the border. He gets a little
less support on the tariffs on China. But there was really a shot across
the bow earlier this week including by Mitch McConnell who said, “Don`t do
this. Don`t this Mexico thing without talking to us first.”
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: That`s because Mitch McConnell
realizes that tariffs are always an economic disaster. They`re always
attacks on Americans and they always hurt American consumers. He also
realizes that there are three economists in the whole country who believe
the same thing Donald Trump believes about tariffs, and they all work for
him. They`re all morons.
WILSON: And so there was a very clear signal from McConnell and a very
clear signal from other members of the Senate that this was a line they
weren`t going to cross, they weren`t going to deliberately tank the economy
because Donald Trump believes in some esoteric 17th century trade model
that doesn`t exist and that is nothing but an economic disaster.
By the way, I don`t think – I want to see the actual paper before we say
the president achieved anything yet. This is a man who is very, very famous
for making some very broad claims about his success in negotiations and
when the rubber hits the road, there`s a whole lot less there than usually
VELSHI: This is an interesting point. Like Kristen said, they`re going to
evaluate this in 90 days. But on paper, I`ve got the State Department`s
wording in front of me, Jennifer. First of all, let`s acknowledge, it was a
self-imposed crisis because there was no issue with tariffs on Mexico, and
then it was a self-imposed deadline of Monday. As Kristen said, the
president had to meet that deadline because he understood he wasn`t going
to get support from his Republican colleagues.
That said, if what is on this paper that I`ve got, that the State
Department has put out, in that Mexico is going to hold asylum seekers in
Mexico and they`re going to deploy troops to the southern border in
Guatemala, the president can start to translate that into something that
people are going to say –
JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR, OPINION WRITER AT THE WASHINGTON POST:
No, he can`t. Those are both nonsense things. I would encourage the press
to really look at these things. Under U.S. law, asylum seekers cannot be
held in a foreign country. We have an obligation to hold them here. In
fact, it`s already been adjudicated in complaints about this when the
president tried to roll this out once before. So that is just nonsense.
In terms of the National Guard, this is an outfit that has just set up and
they`re not sure that they have these people, let alone that they can
deploy them to the border. So this is nonsense. I really have to urge the
press. We cannot take anything he says at face value. This is all kabuki
dance. We should absolutely see what we actually have gotten, see what
actually legal. And I think this is all nonsense.
VELSHI: I want to read to you from this thing because what you said, this
is what I was saying to Kristen, I`m not – I don`t understand the legality
of setting asylum seekers back. The wording from the State Department,
Brian, in response, Mexico will authorize the entrance of all those
individuals for humanitarian reasons in compliance with its international
obligations while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims.
I`ve been sort of understanding immigration for years as the international
obligation is on the country to which someone makes the asylum claim.
WILSON: Claiming asylum.
BRIAN KLAAS, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s traditionally correct.
I think this is something where we also have to think about the
humanitarian implications of this because we already have a problem dealing
with these migrants on our side. So Mexico, which has limited capacity
compared to the United States, might have even worse humanitarian responses
And beyond that, I also think that generally speaking, Trump`s foreign
policy and his “deal making” have involved him acting as both the arsonist
and the firefighter. This is what I think we are seeing right now. He`s
created this crisis, manufactured the crisis, and now is claiming victory
for the status quo with some modest changes.
So I think the question is what will the long term damage be of creating
this sort of tariff war and that damage might significantly outweigh any of
the small concessions that we see even if they do pass the –
VELSHI: Right, because sometimes, the firefighter can`t put out the fire
that they set. With the international tariff war, Rick, with investment
banks saying that the likelihood of a recession has been increased as a
result of this thing, you know, the president likes to talk up the economy.
He could easily set a fire that he can`t put out.
WILSON: Look, I think that he`s been playing this game of chicken on
tariffs with Mexico, with China, now with Australia. And in every single
case, he has this political utility in his mind that he wants to demagogue
some angle of it. And the reason I think that the entire thing with Mexico
is a fraud, and as Jennifer correctly pointed out, there is no National
The reason this whole thing got pulled back was that the economic numbers
were much softer than anticipated because he`s been doing this for several
months. The revision of the prior month`s economic numbers was quite a bit
more significant than folks expected.
And so I think he`s sniffing the wind and knows that if the economy softens
and if there`s not a big, you know, river of QE coming from the fed, he`s
in some political trouble based off of that. And I think that that this is
a guy who understood that his bluff had been called.
VELSHI: And that is on top of other political trouble, Jennifer, that the
president is going to continue to face this week with more things going on
in Capitol Hill, hearings on Capitol Hill, hearings into corruption.
The Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings has said that he would go
ahead with a contempt vote against Bill Barr and Wilbur Ross. Now, the
discussion is turning to the citizenship question. To some degree, this
invented crises that he can solve seem to help him navigate a little bit,
but in the end, it is coming down on him.
RUBIN: That`s right. First of all, the numbers are going to come in for
next month. When the numbers are just as bad as they have been and up
ticked quite a bit at the border, he has to come up with some other
explanation for what`s going on.
You`re absolutely right, Ali. This next week is going to be interesting.
First, we are going to have on Monday at 2:00 p.m., so tune in, the
judiciary hearings in which you`re not going to have percipient witnesses.
You`re not going to have Don McGahn who is not going to show up. You`re not
going to have Hope Hicks.
But you are going to have some top flight former prosecutors. You`re going
to have John Dean. You`re going to have someone from the Heritage
Foundation, a conservative legal mind who is going to kind of begin to walk
the American public through the Mueller report. And that`s going to be
fascinating. That is the beginning of the show and tell hearings.
We also heard today from Adam Schiff, who is the chairman of the House
Intelligence Committee. He`s going to be doing the same thing. He`s going
to be inviting up former intelligence officers to explain volume one of the
RUBIN: To explain what a threat Russia was and why it was appropriate for
the FBI to open up their investigation. So I think the House has finally
figured out that their problem is not proving that Trump has done all these
things. It`s explaining –
RUBIN: – to the American people what is in the Mueller report.
VELSHI: Right. That`s the problem with a 438-page report. Some people on
Capitol Hill haven`t read it. A lot of Americans haven`t read it. By the
way, two of our MSNBC legal contributors, Barbara McQuade and Joyce Vance,
will be testifying on Monday and Tuesday. Brian, the idea now is that they
are going to find all sorts of ways in Congress to spell out the things
that are articulated in that report.
KLAAS: Yeah, that`s very important. I have read the Mueller report. It`s
very, very problematic. It shows a pattern of criminality. It shows a very
serious attack on our election system. And the response to it has been
appalling. There`s been no real effort among Republicans to not just
investigate the president but also to shore up elections in the United
States that are under foreign attack.
And so I think that this sort of, you know, exposure in a bigger arena is
very important for the American people to understand the magnitude of the
threat and the magnitude of the response that is required to deal with it
going into 2020, because the Mueller report is not just about 2016, it is
also about insuring that American democracy and rule of law is preserved
going forward. That`s what this fight is really about.
VELSHI: And one of the things, Rick, that Justin Amash, the one Republican
congressman who has called for President Trump`s impeachment, tweeted today
to this last point that Brian just made, he was talking about the change in
tone from the White House.
He said, “When Barr`s letter came out the White House abruptly changed its
tone. Trump said the Mueller report was great and that Mueller had acted
honorably. He touted the report as total exoneration. Kellyanne Conway
referred to the investigation as “the gold standard.”
“But as we later found out, Mueller`s report is damning for the president.
If Barr`s letter accurately reflected the report, the White House would not
have the reacted positively. With Mueller`s report now out, the White House
no longer has anything positive to say about Mueller and his team.”
And that situation that Congressman Amash tweets about is only going to get
more perilous for the White House in the coming days.
WILSON: I agree with that completely. A big part of this is, you know,
Donald Trump started tweeting that stuff out because they set up a strategy
with Bill Barr, where Barr no matter what the report said, was going to
issue a clean bill of health. That was a brilliant media strategy on their
But unfortunately, like a lot of their strategies, it falls apart very
quickly when it collides with reality as it has in this case. I don`t think
it`s going to get easier going forward.
I do think as you build up this mosaic for the American people about the
depth of Russia`s commitment to electing Donald Trump, about the squeezy
people in the campaign and about how the obstruction of justice in the
White House is so unbelievably overwhelmingly documented, we`re going to
end up with a different picture here politically.
I think you`re going to end up with the president going back to a lot of
his old tricks, a lot of his old demagoguery. You`re going to hear about
the caravans again any minute now because he is going to hate the thought
that we are going to have to focus on Bob Mueller`s report and what Russia
did in 2016 in order to elect Donald Trump.
VELSHI: We just saw a little bit of the president`s interview with Laura
Ingraham, Jennifer Rubin, in Normandy, France. It was an unusual interview.
He said things that are hard to make sense of including referring to Bob
Mueller`s incorrect testimony. The only testimony Bob Mueller has provided
is a 438-page report and a short statement that he made the other day in
which he resigned and talked about his report.
The point is the president is spinning a narrative here and clearly some
percentage of people, Jennifer, continue to believe that narrative. What if
Rick is saying is true and that he continues to spin his interpretation of
it with or without William Barr`s help. Some people are listening.
RUBIN: There are and there will be people who to the last day in office
will swear that it`s all been a witch hunt and a fraud. There will be
people who will insist that everything that comes out of Donald Trump`s
mouth is true.
The problem is that they live in a closed narrative loop in which what the
president said is repeated to them by another cable network and by talk
show people. They ingest it, they spit it back, and it all turns around and
around to the point in which it`s incoherent. As you pointed out, the
president is not only saying things that are patently bizarre but doing it
at the gravesite of Americans –
VELSHI: Very unusual.
RUBIN: – at Normandy. Oh, my gosh. It really is the height of
inappropriateness. But to the point, I think it does make a difference with
the rest of the population. With the population that is actually somewhat
attentive and somewhat influenced.
Listen, 60 percent of the American people don`t think he tells the truth.
Sixty percent of the American people don`t think that his handling of this
report has been exemplary to put it mildly. Sixty percent of these people
think that Mueller did a good job. So there is a body of Americans out
there who are at least susceptible to facts, and I think it is important to
build that up.
And particularly when you look at the experience of Watergate, my colleague
at the Post, Dana Milbank, went back to look at those approval ratings
during Watergate. What he found was that there was a tremendous movement in
public opinion by independents. So I think what we don`t know is whether
there will be an impact. What we don`t know whether polarization is so bad
that no one changes –
VELSHI: Right because there was movement amongst Republicans when polling
numbers changed because independents moved over. That`s what I don`t
understand how that works in 2019. Independents may move over but there`s a
stubborn group of people that seem to believe, as you mentioned, whatever
comes out of the president or Bill Barr or whoever is carrying his water at
any given time.
RUBIN: That`s true. I think the numbers are how big are those Republicans.
RUBIN: How big is that block, and how far from reality is the president
going to get in trying to persuade those people to stick with him.
VELSHI: Brian Klaas, how does it play out in the coming weeks with the
increasing numbers of Democrats mostly and one Republican calling for the
president`s impeachment? Nancy Pelosi continues to try and manage this
It is said by some that she talked about wanting to see Donald Trump go to
prison as opposed to be impeached to mollify some of those people, the
growing numbers of people in the caucus, who are talking about either
impeachment proceedings or an impeachment process itself.
KLAAS: Yeah, I don`t think those comments are really tenable for the long
term because if somebody should be in jay, they should not be the president
of the United States. So I think given the overwhelming evidence of alleged
criminality, we have the Department of Justice who calls the president
“Individual One” and says he orchestrated a criminal conspiracy, that`s the
DOJ saying that, it`s not me.
Then beyond that, you have the allegations of tax fraud. They are
documented extensively by The New York Times. You have 10 instances of
alleged obstruction of justice, a case that strengthened as we heard the
audio from the White House lawyer. I think there is a series of criminal
acts that we`re getting a very clear picture of.
At some point, the question that I think Nancy Pelosi has not been asked
that I hope she will be asked is precisely how many crimes do you have to
commit before impeachment hearings at least are justified? I think that`s
the question that a growing number of Democrats are going to ask and demand
a larger audience for the airing of these alleged crimes.
VELSHI: Thank you to the three of you, Rick Wilson, Jennifer Rubin, and
Brian Klaas. My thanks to all of you for getting us started tonight. Coming
up, the extreme war on women unfolding tonight in Missouri. Rachel Maddow
had her first special report on this last night. It`s an important story.
Up next, we will have a doctor from St. Louis, from Planned Parenthood, who
says what is happening there amounts to state-sanctioned sexual assault.
And later, my live interview with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. There is
much to talk to her about from her reaction to the women`s rights battle
playing out to her new legislation to fight poverty to the impeachment of
President Trump. Stay with us.
VELSHI: New details tonight in the disturbing attack on women`s rights in
the state of Missouri. Missouri may soon become the first state in the
country to provide no legal abortion services since Roe v. Wade guaranteed
a woman`s right to choose in 1973.
Last week, the state`s last abortion clinic came under attack after
Republican state officials refused to renew the clinic`s license which
expired last Friday. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the state.
We`re waiting the judge`s ruling.
Now, Republicans in Missouri are adding a new hurdle by forcing women to
undergo an intrusive and unnecessary pelvic exam, an internal exam, before
getting an abortion. It`s having a traumatic impact on patients and doctors
alike. Rachel Maddow was the first to report the shocking news last night
in an exclusive special report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Doctors at this Missouri clinic, they do perform pelvic exams
right before they do an abortion, which is standard medical practice, which
But now, as of this week, what the state has started doing, what the state
government is now doing is that they`ve told the doctors at that one
remaining clinic that they must do a second medically unnecessary invasive
pelvic exam on every woman before she is allowed to start the punitive
three-day waiting period that is required of all women who need an abortion
I mean, at that point, you`re literally just going in to sign a consent
form and meet with a doctor before they have to send you home to wait for
three days. Only now, before they let you go from the first appointment,
you must by order of the state take off your clothes and submit to an
intrusive vaginal inspection that you do not need and that your doctor does
not want to give you.
KAWANNA SHANNON, DIRECTOR OF SURGICAL STUDIES, ST. LOUIS PLANNED
PARENTHOOD: We make it very clear that this is not our doing. We do not
want to violate your rights. We do not want to make you do unnecessary
invasive procedure that we wouldn`t do at this moment. And most women are
quite disturbed at that. But they`re pretty remarkable because they`re
actually apologizing to my doctor saying, I`m sorry you have to do this to
me. And that`s shameful.
MADDOW: So maybe the state is hoping that these doctors faced with this
impossible imperative, maybe the state is hoping the benefit of the state
here is that they`re hoping the doctors will give up and stop providing
abortions all together, which of course would leave Missouri with no
providers since they are down to that one last clinic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: All right. Joining me now, Dr. Colleen McNicholas. She is a board
certified OB-GYN at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, which is the last
remaining abortion clinic in the state of Missouri. Dr. McNicholas, thank
you for joining me.
There is – I`m a numbers guy. To me, I think about it numerically. There`s
an absolute relationship between illegal abortions increasing when legal
abortions go away. But that question was put to Dr. Randall Williams, the
director of Health in Missouri who implemented this new regulation that
Rachel Maddow talking about. And let`s hear what he said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDALL WILLIAMS, SENIOR SERVICES DIRECTOR, MISSOURI HEALTH: While we
think access is always important, again, we just can never sacrifice safety
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you worried about lack of access will jeopardize
women`s safety because they`ll be forced to seek an illegal abortion, which
puts them in danger?
WILLIAMS: I do not believe that to be true that you will see an increase
in illegal abortions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Dr. McNicholas, make sense of that for me. He does not think it
will be true that you will see an increase in illegal abortions if the only
abortion provider in Missouri goes away.
COLLEEN MCNICHOLAS, OBGYN, PLANNED PARENTHOOD SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI: Well,
thanks so much for having me, Ali. I will tell you, I can`t even begin to
express how disappointing it is that Dr. Williams who is as OBGYN like
myself has continuously chosen to put politics above what he has learned as
a physician. And what science and evidence tells us
He continues to use fearmongering to distort the facts about the safety of
abortion, really to politicize the issue and with no other reason than to
shut down the clinic. You`re right. It is absolutely true that as access
continues to dwindle, more and more people will turn to abortion outside of
the legal framework. There`s no question about that.
VELSHI: And this really isn`t a matter of whether you agree with or
believe in a woman`s right to an abortion. We`re just discussing a medical
practice here. We`re discussing the fact that an abortion is a safe
procedure in America, largely because there is access to it and it is
legal. And it is a procedure in which there is a pelvic exam before an
abortion is performed. If there`s a danger, that will be identified by an
OBGYN like you. There is no argument for the second intrusive exam.
MCNICHOLAS: You know, pelvic exams are incredibly invasive and really
private matters. The framework that we are always using in determining if
somebody needs a pelvic exam is based on clinical scenario in which they
present to us, the medical reason that we might be seeing the patient and
then we always contextualize that in a framework of shared decision making.
And you are 100 percent correct that there is absolutely no reason in any
person seeking an abortion that they would need multiple pelvic exams other
than to just another hoop to the many things that they are having to
navigate to secure their abortion access.
VELSHI: I want to read you a tweet by a doctor who said today, “I was
forced by the state of Missouri to perform an unnecessary pelvic exam on a
patient terminating her pregnancy for a fetal anomaly. She is heart broken
over her situation. I was forced to do an invasive uncomfortable exam. It
broke me as a physician to do this to her. “
But that does seem to be goal, doctor, that you go to try and break doctors
or break the women going who are going for this exam with as many hurdles
as you can put into place.
MCNICHOLAS: Well, that certainly seems to be a reasonable conclusion given
the tactics that are used by the state. Given that there is no medical
evidence. And in fact, multiple organizations the American College of
Obstetrician Gynecologist, the American College of Physicians, organization
like Missouri Foundation for Health, all of these organizations have come
out in support of Missourians in support of eliminating these total
unnecessary and really quite harassing practices that the state is
VELSHI: One of the other issues that Dr. Randall Williams brought up is he
said Missouri has several states around it and people can go elsewhere for
abortions. It`s not really that clean cut because people live all over the
place in Missouri, and if you`re in the middle of the state, that`s
But we spoke to a worker in Illinois who said they`re getting phone calls.
They`re getting phone calls from women who are worried that they will be
committing a crime if they go to Illinois to get an abortion.
MCNICHOLAS: Yes. You know, the first thing I would say is that
perspective that women can just go somewhere else for an abortion is the
perspective of privilege. There are already Missourians for whom abortion
access is essentially been eliminated because of the multiple levels of
regulation and restriction. Women driving multiple hours, multiple times,
you know, navigating time off of work and negotiating child care. It`s
really quite astonishing how unrealistic and how unfamiliar Dr. Randall
Williams is with the current situation.
VELSHI: Doctor, I appreciate the time that you`ve taken to join us
tonight. Dr. Colleen McNicholas of the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Saint
Louis, thank you for being with us tonight.
MCNICHOLAS: Thank you so much.
VELSHI: Coming up next, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib joins me live. She`s
just introduced an important new bill to help Americans fighting to stay
out of poverty. We`re going to discuss that and her powerful moment during
a hearing on domestic terrorism this week.
And later, the dangerous moment in the Pacific, captured on camera, a near
disastrous collision between Russian and US warships.
VELSHI: We are just two and a half weeks away from the first Democratic
presidential debates of the 2020 cycle hosted by MSNBC, NBC News and
Telemundo. Already, the Democratic primary has become a contest of bold
policy ideas. And this month, the debate will be the first opportunity for
candidates to try to make their ideas stand out from the wide field of
candidates. But presidential contenders are not the only ones unveiling
ambitious proposals for how to solve our most pressing problems.
Yesterday, freshman Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib released a new
plan to address poverty and inequality in America which the Washington Post
is calling “the closest plan in Congress to universal basic income.”
According to the Post, Tlaib`s plan would “give direct cash to help those
at the bottom of the income distribution annually offering $3,000 to
individuals and $6,000 to families in an attempt to reduce poverty in the
United States and bolster the wages of the poor.”
The idea is similar to one proposed by senator and presidential candidate
Kamala Harris in October of last year. But unlike Harris`s plan, Tlaib
would not require poor Americans to be working in order to receive the
subsidy. The plan is also similar to one proposed by tech entrepreneur and
presidential candidate Andrew Yang that would give individuals $1,000 per
month regardless of their income. That`s universal basic income.
However, Tlaib`s plan would phase out for individuals earning more than
$50,000 and for families earning more than $100,000.
Joining me now to discuss this is in greater detail, Democratic
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from Michigan. She`s a member of the Oversight
and Financial Services Committees. Congresswoman, good to see you, thank
you for being with us again.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEES: Thank you for
VELSHI: Let`s talk about what this is. It is not universal basic income
because you`re phasing it out at some point. But, you know, the median
family income in the United States is now about $59,000. Tell me why
$6,000 for a family a year will make a meaningful difference.
TLAIB: It would make a tremendous difference. I mean, my district is the
third poorest congressional district in the country. Majority of the
children in my district are living in poverty. Many of the residents
across the country nearly half are literally emergency away from you know,
striking into poverty and not being able to take care of their basic needs
from food to healthcare to housing. And more and more of our families
are, you know, struggling. I think one out of four don`t even have $400 in
their savings account.
I mean, look, I`ve gone through bailout of the banks, bailout of
corporations right here in the Metro Detroit Area and I`ve seen us trying
to uplift them, these various corporations. And we have continued to leave
our families behind and this is a way to lift them up.
And we know over and over again from studies from all across the nation
that when we put money back in the pockets of regular American people, that
it goes right back into our local economy. And to me, that is a win-win
for our country and we need to be doing more again for children living in
poverty. We`re talking about 9 million children that will be possibly
impacted by this plan as well as 3 million families.
VELSHI: Yes, 2 million Americans have no income at all. And you`re right
that the lower someone`s income, the more any dollar they are given in
assistance gets put in because they don`t any ability not to spend the
money. They don`t have the luxury of saying I`m not going to spend the
money I just got from the government.
TLAIB: That`s right.
VELSHI: However, in the Washington Post article, Leonard E. Burman, a tax
expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said, “The plan could run into
political hurdles and warned that it would make the poor less likely to
seek employment.” He says. “It will discourage people from working who can
work and politically there`s much more support for people who are trying to
Historically, this is even something Democrats have faced that working
people who support Democrats say, “Hold on. I`m working and you`re giving
somebody who is not working but able bodied flee money?”
TLAIB: No. I don`t know who can live on $3,000 a year or even $6,000 a
year. That`s impossible. This is about lifting up people and making sure
that they`re not pushed in even more into poverty. Most of the people that
is going to be impacted by this are disabled, their caretakers, their
students. Many of them again are contributing in some sort of way to our
society and to our neighborhoods.
Again, this is a win-win when we put money back into the pockets of the
American people, real people struggling every single day in our country.
You know, when people talk about political hurdles, I can tell you some of
the most bode transformative changes that we`ve seen in our country from
earned income tax credit, I mean, this says to me earned income tax credit
on steroids. We have seen over and over and this is the best anti-poverty
program that we have right now in our country.
And for alongside with education, I think this LIFT-Plus Act is as close as
we can get to making sure that we`re lifting everyone especially working
families, especially those caretakers and those that are, you know, living
in with disabilities and things that I think every day Americans know and
every single person around the world, country right now has someone in
their family that this would help.
VELSHI: So, I mean, I don`t disagree with you but I just got to point out,
so many of your other Democrats including those running for president have
said increase the earned income tax credit. So you said it`s like that on
steroids but the distinction is, you`re offering a benefit that doesn`t
call for work. The earned income tax credit by definition does.
TLAIB: You know, Ali, this is what the problem is. If we`re not helping
every single American, even those that are inclusive, the broader umbrella
of including folks in the LIFT-Plus even with zero income, is the fact that
if we`re not helping them now, guess what, we subsidize for taking care of
them anyways at the end.
So why not try to uplift everyone equally at the same time. It is again,
something that I know is going to fuel our local economy. I know it`s
something that is going to be as close as we can to universal income. But
it`s going to be something that I know even those that are earning income
that they are going to be able to benefit from it in the local economy.
Even my small businesses locally here in the 13th Congressional District
love this idea because they know when we are helping everybody in the
community and neighborhood, that`s how we can be able to uplift everyone.
VELSHI: Congresswoman, I did want to talk to you about a hearing on
Tuesday that you participated in on white supremacy. And I want to start
by playing a clip of something you said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TLAIB: I`ve been in office for about six months. And when you get at
something like this attention Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and
rug-heads, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, I was totally excited and pleased
when I heard about 49 Muslims were killed and many, many more were wounded
in New Zealand.
This is a great start. Let`s hope and pray that it continues here in the
good old USA. The only good Muslim is a dead one. How is that enough, not
enough to fall under domestic terrorism if they`re targeting solely based
on my faith and others in saying that a good Muslim is a dead one,
obviously directed to me.
By the way, they copied in this threat to my office. They copied the US
Department of Justice, the President, Department of Homeland Security and
so forth. And we get so many of them and I keep asking what happens? What
happens to these individuals? Are they you know, I`m being sincere. I`m
not trying to – I`m really sincere. I`m a mother, so I want to go home to
my two boys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: The only good Muslim is a dead one. What was the argument you
were making there, that we do not take those kind of threats as seriously
as we take others?
TLAIB: Absolutely. Department of Justice and the FBI have the tools right
now to look at white supremacy and nationalism going on in our country
right now as a global threat, as terrorism in itself. And I feel like
we`re not putting the resources nor are we treating it equally as if we
were treating somebody that was, you know, immigrant, maybe somebody of
I`ve seen it over and over again where we are unequally treating the same
people with the same kind of agenda of pushing violence through some sort
of form of hate toward somebody solely based on faith, and their ethnicity,
and their background.
And I really was trying to make a point that alone in the six months that
I`ve been in office and these kinds of deadly threats invoking violence
solely based on my faith is something that I truly believe the Department
of Justice, FBI need to be working towards in addressing because those are
the same individuals that are probably going after my, you know, Jewish
neighbors and my LGBTQ neighbors, my African-American, Latino neighbors,
these are the same people pushing this different agenda that I think is
very harmful and is a big threat in our country.
VELSHI: Congresswoman, good to speak to you again. Thank you for joining
me on a Friday night. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, all right.
Coming up, the near collision of US and Russian war ships, our guest
tonight explains these are not accidents. The Russians are making these
VELSHI: The US Navy is accusing a Russian destroyer of nearly causing a
collision this morning with an American guided missile cruiser in the
The Navy released this video. Look at this. Taken from the USS
Chancellorsville that says it shows the Russian ship accelerating and
closing to within 50 to 100 feet of the American ship while it was in the
process of recovering its helicopter.
The Chancellorsville was forced to put its engines in full reverse to avoid
a collision, according to the Navy, which called the Russian move “unsafe
and unprofessional, and not in accordance with the international
regulations for preventing collisions at sea.” Now, the Russians came so
close that Russian sailors can be seen sunbathing in the video. The
Russians are blaming the American ship claiming that it “suddenly changed
direction and crossed their path.”
Now, that despite this aerial photo released by the Navy that appears to
support the US version of events, this is the second near miss with Russia
in four days.
On Tuesday, a Russian fighter jet made a high-speed pass directly in front
of a US plane over the Mediterranean according to the Navy. This also
comes as Vladimir Putin is strengthening Russia`s ties with China, hosting
the President Xi Jinping in Moscow this week.
Now, some are wondering if today`s incident could be a gesture of support
by Vladimir Putin to China. So what is Russia up to and how will the
President who endorsed Putin`s denials on election interference, react to
Russia`s new aggression?
Naval War College Professor Tom Nichols joins us next.
VELSHI: Acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, said this after a
Russian destroyer nearly collided with a US Navy ship in the Philippines
PATRICK SHANAHAN, ACTING SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: the behavior is
unsafe and unprofessional. We`ll have military-to-military conversations
with the Russians and, of course, we`ll march them. But, you know, to me,
safety at the end of the day is most important. It will not deter us from
conducting our operations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Joining us no now is Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War
College and expert on Russian affairs and a former Republican Senate staff
member. Tom, good to see you, thank you for being with us.
Great that the acting secretary of Defense saying it will not defer us,
does it matter if you don`t hear from the President on this?
TOM NICHOLS, PROFESSOR, NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: I think it does matter, Ari.
Of course, I don`t represent the views of the government on this. I think
it`s good the secretary of Defense got out there in front, said that
they`re going to raise this on a military-to-military level.
But yes, if the Russians suspect that the President himself doesn`t really
have the Defense Department back on this. They may shrug it off and simply
say that that`s the bureaucracy and the American national security
establishment just complaining as it always does about Russia. So they may
well be trying to take advantage of what they see as distance between the
White House and everybody else at that level in the national security
VELSHI: You tweeted that, “This is happening with no other crisis in the
hopper. The Russians are doing it because they can. Their audience is not
Trump who they know they have cowering but the rest of US defense and
national security community.” What do you mean by that?
NICHOLS: This is the Russians and another audience of course is China
because the fact that this took place in the pacific is really significant.
The Russian Pacific fleet is not exactly a mighty force and this is – this
is kind of like when they flew bombers to Venezuela. It`s a stunt more
than it is any kind of power projection.
But what they`re trying to say is, look, we matter. You have to treat us
like a peer. You have to threat us like a fellow superpower, and it
doesn`t, you know, it doesn`t matter if you`re the preeminent naval power
in the world, we can still make your life miserable. And I think that`s
the message they`re trying to send.
Not just to us but to other people in the world to try and flex muscle in a
place where they`re really not known for having very much muscle to flex in
the first place.
VELSHI: Well, President Xi earlier this week before this incident said of
Vladimir Putin, “I have had closer interactions with President Putin than
any other foreign colleague. He is my best and bosom friend,” he told the
Russian news agency, TASS, according to the Washington Post.
What`s that about? Why are Xi and Russia who do not have a military
alliance becoming bosom friends?
NICHOLS: You know, I think this, again, as one of those things, it seemed
that a lot of audiences.
NICHOLS: I think Americans for a long time have worried about a kind of
Sino-Russian axis forming. I`ve worry about it less because the Russian
and the Chinese really don`t have a lot of things in common.
But the fact that Xi would say this –
VELSHI: That in itself is interesting.
NICHOLS: – is really alarming. That in itself is an issue, yes.
VELSHI: Tom gets tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams
starts right now.
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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