Trump sides with North Korean dictator. TRANSCRIPT: 6/11/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Ron Klain, Jennifer Palmieri, Rick Wilson, Ezra Levin
Transcript:

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel. 

 

I`m so glad you showed that Jon Stewart video.  I think it`s the viral

video of the day.  You just can`t turn away from it when you watch it. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Yes, Jon Stewart retired from his TV career now

for a few years, but he`s been stalwart on this issue.  He`s been there

every time.  It`s amazing.  They just need to keep doing it. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, he really is so faithful to this subject.  He has picked

his subject and really, really stuck with it.  It`s really impressive to

see. 

 

MADDOW:  Yes.  Thanks, Lawrence. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 

 

Well, as Rachel just showed you, Mr. Stewart went to Washington today and

once again Jon Stewart went down to Washington to once again plead to a

House committee for continued funding, this time permanent funding to

support 9/11 first responders who continue to this day they continue to get

new diagnoses of deadly illnesses from their exposure to the toxins we now

know where at Ground Zero immediately after the collapse of those buildings

and for weeks and weeks and weeks after that. 

 

And at the end of this hour we`ll hear more of what Jon Stewart had to say. 

But more importantly, and I`m sure Jon Stewart would agree that this is

more important than what he had to say today.  We will hear the testimony

of some of those first responders who joined Jon Stewart in that hearing

room today, and one of them gave us details of what happened at Ground Zero

on 9/11, on that very first day that I for one have never heard before. 

Haunting detail. 

 

Another testified that he will be having his 69th chemotherapy treatment

tomorrow, because of what happened to him at ground zero.  Most of us

probably have already seen what Jon Stewart had to say.  You just saw it

with Rachel.  I`ve seen the full nine minutes online, as many, many people

have today, but you will really want to hear what those first responders

sitting with Jon Stewart had to say today, too. 

 

Now, to the news of the day, that really is the single most important thing

that happened in Washington today.  And it`s never easy to pick that.  It`s

never easy to say what the most important thing is.  But it was something

Donald Trump said today. 

 

And to say that Donald Trump shocked the world today is to say that it`s

Tuesday.  No one has been able to keep track of how many times President

Trump has shocked the world, but he has never done anything publicly quite

like what he did today.  On a typical day in this news environment, it

really is not easy to say what the most important thing is that happened in

the Trump administration. 

 

But today, it`s absolutely clear, there is just no question about it, today

the president made a public statement that will live in history today as

the most important thing that the President Trump – that President Trump

said today.  The president was talking about Kim Jong-un again today and he

talked about receiving what the president called a beautiful letter from

Kim Jong-un.  He has talked that way many times before. 

 

So most of the news media seized on the president once again referring to a

beautiful letter that he got from a murderous dictator who has done

absolutely nothing to deserve President Trump`s respect or anyone`s respect

anywhere in the world, but what the president said about the CIA and Kim

Jong-un`s half brother in the middle of what he said about the beautiful

letter is the most important thing that Donald Trump said and did today. 

 

Yesterday, “The Wall Street Journal” reported that Kim Jong-un`s half

brother was an informant for the CIA, possibly the most valuable North

Korean asset the CIA has ever had, until Kim Jong-un had him murdered in

public in the airport at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

 

The president, of course, was asked today about this extraordinary

revelation by “The Wall Street Journal” that Kim Jong-un`s half brother was

a CIA informer and this, this is what the president of the United States

actually said. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And I just received a

beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un.  And I think the relationship is very

well, but I appreciated the letter. 

 

I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother or half

brother, and I would tell him that would not happen under my – under my

auspices.  That`s for sure.  I wouldn`t let that happen under my auspices. 

 

But I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un.  I can`t show you

the letter, obviously, but it was a very personal, very warm, very nice

letter.  I appreciate it. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother

or half brother and I would tell him that would not happen under my

auspices.  That`s for sure. 

 

So the president of the United States is telling Kim Jong-un he would not

have used his brother as a CIA informant, and he seems to be telling Kim

Jong-un he won`t use anyone as an informant against the most dangerous and

murderous dictator on earth. 

 

We have heard the word “treason” used more during the Trump presidency than

at any time since World War II, which was actually the last time anyone was

found guilty of treason in this country.  Every use of the word “treason”

you have heard during the Trump years has been wrong technically because

courts have essentially held that the legal definition of treason is giving

aid and comfort to a country that is a formally declared enemy of the

United States in a declaration of war.

 

But what the president did today is as close as you can get to treason with

a country that is not a subject of a formal declaration of war by the

United States.  North Korea is the only country in the 21st century that

has specifically threatened the United States with nuclear attack, although

North Korea is not yet apparently capable of carrying out such an attack. 

 

Now, let`s just reset what President Trump did today to 1962, the year

President John F. Kennedy faced the Cuban missile crisis and forced the

Soviet Union to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba.  Imagine if “The Wall

Street Journal” reported that Fidel Castro`s brother was a CIA informer and

the next day, President Kennedy publicly promised Fidel Castro that he

would not allow the CIA to use an informer like that against Fidel Castro. 

 

President Kennedy would have been impeached and removed from office by the

end of the week.  It is hard to be shocked by Donald Trump, now more than

two years into the Trump presidency, but even all of Donald Trump`s

admiring statements and trusting statements about Vladimir Putin do not

equal what he said today about Kim Jong-un – Kim Jong-un`s half brother

and the CIA. 

 

This makes North Korea an even more urgent issue for presidential

candidates now.  Before the president made his latest outrageous statement

about North Korea today, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said this –

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You will not see me exchanging

love letters on White House letterhead with a brutal dictator who starves

and murders his own people. 

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Also today, Joe Biden said this –

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  He embraces dictators like Kim

Jong-un, who is a damn murderer and a thug.  Well, the one thing they agree

on, Joe Biden, shouldn`t be president.  He quotes Kim Jong-un saying, I

agree with him.  He`s right about Biden. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Now, let`s watch the evolution of Donald Trump`s feelings about

Kim Jong-un from rocketman to a man he now says he loves. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. 

They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. 

 

Rocketman is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. 

 

Lil Rocketman.  He is a sick puppy. 

 

REPORTER:  Mr. President, what surprised you the most about Chairman Kim? 

 

TRUMP:  Great personality and very smart.  Good combination. 

 

REPORTER:  Is he a worthy negotiator? 

 

TRUMP:  He`s a very talented man.  I also learned that he loves his country

very much. 

 

And then we fell in love, OK?  No, really.  He wrote me beautiful letters. 

And they`re great letters.  We fell in love. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Leading off our discussion now is Ambassador Wendy Sherman. 

She`s the former undersecretary of state in the Obama administration. 

She`s an MSNBC global affairs contributor. 

 

Also joining us is Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and former senior

director and spokesperson for the National Security Council in the Obama

administration.  He is also an MSNBC national security contributor. 

 

And Ron Klain is with us.  He was a former senior aide to Vice President

Joe Biden and President Obama and former chief counsel to the Senate

Judiciary Committee. 

 

And Wendy Sherman, I want to begin with you.  You have experience dealing

with North Korea when you were working back in the Clinton administration. 

I think we all have different now shock response mechanisms to Donald

Trump.  I can`t think of anything he has said as president that is – that

more violates the trust that that job has imposed on him, to actually say

he would not have used this intelligence asset, Kim Jong-un`s half brother,

would not have used that as a CIA asset. 

 

What was your reaction to that today? 

 

WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE:  This has so many disastrous

implications, Lawrence. 

 

Obviously, if the president of the United States is into Kim Jong-un, I

have news for him – Kim Jong-un is just not that into you.  He is playing

you for all that it`s worth.  He understands the use of flattery. 

 

The president saying he wouldn`t use intelligence connections is really

critical to everything we do in diplomacy, everything we do to protect our

national security.  It is once again undermining an American institution. 

 

And one thing that`s really important in all of this is anybody that the

CIA is currently trying to recruit, Ned knows this probably better than any

of us, they now know that the United States may not have their back, and so

our ability to get informants, our ability to get intelligence has been

completely undermined by the president of the United States and the

commander-in-chief of our forces. 

 

One more point that`s really important here.  Our intelligence has been a

critical relationship through the years.  It was not for nothing that the

director of national intelligence, Jim Clapper, went to North Korea to

bring hostages back here. 

 

That didn`t just happen.  There are things that happen in this world that

protect Americans, that keep us safe, and we need to continue to ensure

that that can happen. 

 

When we were negotiating during the Clinton administration, last point, we

discussed, in fact, opening liaison offices and we were all very clear with

each other that that would include intelligence capability because it`s

important to every country.  I can assure you, Kim Jong-un has not stopped

looking for assets to help him – nor should we. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ned Price, here is a murderous dictator who has attacked the

United States.  He actually – he attacked the Sony Studios in Los Angeles. 

He`s actually launched a successful cyber attack in the United States.  He

has murdered countless people.  He starves people to death. 

 

We desperately need intelligence on him.  And Donald Trump is saying he

won`t use an intelligence source if the intelligence source is actually

that close to Kim Jong-un, if it`s actually a member of his family,

apparently. 

 

NED PRICE, FORMER CIA ANALYST:  Yes, Lawrence, you know, this is not the

first time you and I have discussed this president`s insults to the men and

women of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Let`s be clear, that`s exactly

what this is. 

 

But I tonight am much less concerned about their morale, about how they are

approaching this because they have seen this movie before, they have been

through this before.  After all, this is a president who didn`t even wait

until he was inaugurated to start knocking our intelligence and law

enforcement communities. 

 

I`m much more concerned with the point Wendy brought up, and that is the

implications that this is going to have for the individuals around the

world who are – or potentially might provide information to the U.S.

government, commit treason against their own regimes to help us advance our

interests, to help us defend our country against any number of threats. 

And I think we can`t look at this in isolation, Lawrence.  We have to look

at this together with a series of incidents, including recently, the

president`s decision to authorize to the attorney general declassification

authority, allowing him to essentially declassify anything he sees fit vis-

a-vis the start of the Russia investigation. 

 

And we`ve all heard the news reports that informants in Russia may have

been key to the start of that investigation.  All of these steps send a

chill down the spine of the brave men and women who want to help us and who

we and this president, I should say, are essentially turning away, turning

away in droves, tying our hands behind our back and unilaterally disarming

ourselves where we need it most, including in places like North Korea. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ned, knowing the operations of the CIA the way you do, and the

current director is a career CIA operative, Director Haspel.  Is it

possible, is it possible that Donald Trump did not know until “The Wall

Street Journal” reported it that Kim Jong-un`s half brother might have been

a CIA informer? 

 

PRICE:  Well, Lawrence, I guess I should stipulate by saying we`re all

assuming in this conversation that “The Wall Street Journal” and other

reporting about this is accurate.  Let`s just assume that for the sake of

argument. 

 

I think it is very possible if you listen to the way Donald Trump responded

to that question this morning that he was taken by surprise.  And it

shouldn`t come as a surprise to us if Donald Trump was not briefed on this. 

 

If you are the CIA director, if you`re the director of national

intelligence and your primary customer, the president of the United States,

is someone who is prone to spill secrets in the Oval Office, is someone who

is reportedly prone to tell the leader of a foreign country the location of

our nuclear sub-marines, a president who is prone to go on Twitter and

according to some accounts acknowledge a covert action program.  If this is

a president who is prone to spill other covert actions, including to the

Russians, why would you divulge to him the identities of specific CIA

sources? 

 

These are the crown jewels of our intelligence community, and typically the

names and positions of CIA assets don`t leave Langley, and I think that`s

especially important during this administration when you have a president

who has met one-on-one with our adversaries, Kim Jong-un and Putin – in

the case of the latter, without another American official in the room. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ron Klain, imagine, if you will, when Soviet missiles were in

Cuba aimed at the United States.  “The Wall Street Journal” reports that

Fidel Castro`s brother is a CIA informer and President Kennedy comes out

publicly and says he will not allow the CIA to have an informer who is

Fidel Castro`s brother. 

 

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VP BIDEN:  Yes, Lawrence, it`s a great

metaphor and a shocking comparison.  It`s a particularly fitting metaphor

because as you said at the outset of the show, North Korea is the one

country that has issued a specific nuclear threat against the United States

in the past decade.  And we know that Donald Trump is closing his eyes to

the threat that North Korea poses for advancing its nuclear program. 

 

He so much wants to claim this lovey-dovey relationship and success that he

is not listening to the intelligence community, not looking at the clear

signs that North Korea may be proceeding with this program, and so it`s not

just that he`s refusing intelligence, which is very bad, it`s not just that

he is outing – that he is sending the signal that both Ned and Wendy

talked about to intelligence sources around the world, that we may not have

their back. 

 

I think even the scarier thing still is that the president is turning a

blind eye to the potential acceleration of the North Korea nuclear program

and that`s really putting America at risk from the one country that says

they`re going to use nuclear weapons against us. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ambassador Sherman, to that point, you`re out there and you

have been cooperating with the CIA or some other branch of the American

government, intelligence system, and you hear the president of the United

States basically express his love for the most murderous dictator on the

face of the earth.  And whether you`ve been helping with North Korea or

Saudi Arabia or any other country that the United States is interested in

getting information about, don`t you have to pause and say at some point is

this president going to fall in love with the regime I`m helping the United

States with if he hasn`t already, and if he does, will I be exposed? 

 

SHERMAN:  Absolutely.  It`s simply breathtaking.  It`s terrifying. 

 

At the end of this month, the president goes to the G20.  He`s going to

meet with South Koreans.  He`s going to meet with Japan.  He`s going to go

to Seoul I think as part of this conversation. 

 

And they have to wonder what this president is doing.  The South Koreans

want detente with the North.  They want a relationship.  But not at all

costs. 

 

And when the president is – says that these missiles going off don`t

matter to him, when John Bolton is saying they`re a violation of the U.N.

Security Council resolution and these short-range missiles can hit South

Korea and can hit Japan and the president doesn`t seem to care, one wonders

what the strategy is here.  Everything the president does is tactical, it

is a win/lose kind of negotiating strategy.  It doesn`t see all the pieces

on the table to get to the result that Ron was talking about. 

 

We need to be concerned about the threat that North Korea poses and no

number of beautiful letters are going to solve this problem. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Ned Price, Ron Klain, thank you all

for starting us off tonight.  Really appreciate it.  Thank you. 

 

And when we come back, a new poll shows President Trump losing to every

Democratic candidate he was matched against in that poll.  But today,

President Trump was focused on only one of those candidates.  That`s next. 

 

And the House Judiciary Committee today fought back against obstruction

from the Trump White House. 

 

And Jon Stewart got a standing ovation at a House subcommittee hearing

today, but he was not the only one.  You will hear from the retired NYPD

detective who also got a standing ovation in that room today and who

tomorrow will be getting his 69th chemotherapy treatment. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  A new Quinnipiac poll out today shows President Trump losing in

head-to-head match-ups against every Democratic candidate that he was

matched against in that poll.  All of those candidates lead Donald Trump by

at least five points, but in that new poll no one did better against Donald

Trump than Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, who leads the

president 53 percent to 40 percent in that poll. 

 

That poll came out today as Joe Biden and President Trump both headed to

Iowa on the same day.  President Trump is obviously treating Joe Biden as

the front-runner in the Democratic field and the one he expects to face in

the general election and the one he fears the most, which means Joe Biden

is now the candidate who Donald Trump is obsessed with and must find the

craziest insults for. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  I`d rather run against I think Biden than anybody.  I think he`s

the weakest mentally, and I like running against people that are weak

mentally.  I think Joe is the weakest up here.  The others have much more

energy.  I don`t agree with their policies, but I think Joe is a man who is

– I call him 1 percent Joe because until Obama came along, he didn`t do

very well. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Joe Biden went on to deliver three speeches across the state of

Iowa.  When a protester interrupted at the beginning of his first speech,

Joe Biden used that opportunity to show he is a very different person from

Donald Trump. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BIDEN:  No, no, that`s OK.  No, no, no, this is not a Trump rally.  Let him

go.  Let him go. 

 

(CHEERS)

 

BIDEN:  Shh.  If you hush up I`ll answer your question.  If I answer your

question, will you let me go on to other things?  No, that`s OK. 

 

(INAUDIBLE)

 

BIDEN:  Look, I`ll tell you what, I promise you I`ll answer your question. 

Come on up and we`ll do it after this is over, OK?  I promise I`ll sit with

you, OK? 

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now, Jennifer Palmieri, former White

House communications director for President Obama and former communications

director for Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign. 

 

Also with us, Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and a contributor to “The

Daily Beast.”  He is the author of “Everything Trump Touches Dies.”

 

Thank you, Rick, for having a title that I can`t say with a straight face. 

 

Jennifer, let`s – let`s go to that moment that we just saw.  Joe Biden

gets the heckler at the speech.  We`ve seen that time and time and time

again at Donald Trump`s campaign rallies in 2016 and since then, and every

time Donald Trump went after those people from the podium as viciously as

he could.  That is not what we saw today with Joe Biden. 

 

JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT

OBAMA:  Yes.  He was deft and he was kind.  These are two traits that don`t

normally apply to President Trump.  So I thought he handled that really

well. 

 

You know, he`s a human, and he had – and, you know, he`s had a good – he

had a good day today.  He had a good poll.  That Quinnipiac poll that you

talked about, I thought it wasn`t just that Biden had the biggest lead,

right, over Trump, that number of how many people supported Trump was the

lowest for him, right?  It was only 40 percent. 

 

So the – that shows that Biden got – was able to attract a lot of Trump

support and Biden was able to keep Trump`s number down, right?  If the

Trump re-elect sees that 40 percent number and that makes them very

nervous.  So, you know, that was a good day. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Rick Wilson, is it your reading based on Donald Trump`s

obsession with Joe Biden today that Joe Biden is the one that Donald Trump

fears the most? 

 

RICK WILSON, AUTHOR, “EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES”:  Well, I think two

things obtained here, Lawrence.  The first is Donald Trump`s insults are

always projections. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Oh, yes. 

 

WILSON:  Donald Trump knows he is a man in cognitive decline.  He knows

that things are slipping.  He knows that things are breaking around the

edges in his own brain and his inability to focus, his inability to have

coherent series – a coherent series of thoughts and statements, his rage

tweeting, all these things are symptomatic, I think, of Donald Trump

feeling like the world is slipping away from him a little bit.

 

But his obsession with Biden is justified based on the polling and

justified based on the fact that Donald Trump has a sort of feral cunning

about his base in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. 

He`s very worried that Joe Biden will be able to connect with them because

Joe Biden doesn`t come across in the same way that a lot of the other

Democrats who are much more woke and progressive come across.  Joe Biden

still has, even though he`s been the vice president, a lot of that working

class vibe that in those states could be an effective counterweight to some

of Trump`s populism. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what Joe Biden said today about Donald Trump

being a threat to the nation. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BIDEN:  I believe that Trump poses a fundamental threat to America.  We

hold these truths self-evident, all men and women, all are created equal. 

It`s an American creed. 

 

It`s who we are.  It`s what we`ve been.  We haven`t always lived up to it

but we`ve never fully abandoned it.  We have never stopped trying to create

a more perfect union. 

 

It`s the American creed but Trump doesn`t see it that way.  He thinks when

we talk that way, it makes us weak.  He has no idea, in my view, what makes

us strong.  What makes us strong as a nation is our honesty, our decency,

treating everyone with some dignity. 

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Jennifer, Joe Biden is definitely running against Donald Trump. 

He`s not running against the others in the Democratic field, at least the

way he presents it. 

 

PALMIERI:  Yes, and that is – and I think that`s the essence of his

message, right?  Which is that if you – if you bring me into the Oval

Office, I will restore the values that we hold as Americans.  We will wash

away the Trump presidency. 

 

It`s a very high altitude message.  That`s appealing, as you can see.  It`s

also very hard to sustain in the day-to-day combat of a primary campaign,

particularly when we have, you know, more than seven months before anybody

votes. 

 

So, he has not gone to Iowa a lot.  I think, you know, that campaign has a

tough balancing act between trying to protect the vice president`s front-

runner status, his sort of – his elevated spot among the field and, you

know, you can`t protect that forever because you got to go to Iowa, you got

to do the fair, you got to do all the events that people there expect you

to do. 

 

And if you don`t do well in - if he doesn`t do well in Iowa, his strength,

which is that aura of inevitability starts to - that really starts to slip

and then you know that`s certainly what we experience on the Clinton

campaign and then he`s in for a tough fight.

 

O`DONNELL: I recall, so we had a New York Times report about the President

telling his staff to lie about their internal polls that show how weak he

is. But we`ve got a public poll today, showing that Cory Booker leads

Donald Trump. Senator Harris leads Donald Trump. Senator Warren leads

Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders leads Donald Trump. Pete Buttigieg leads

Donald Trump. How humiliating is that for the President?

 

WILSON: It`s pretty bad. I mean look hobos living under the overpass lead

Donald Trump in these polls. UTIs lead Donald Trump in these polls. He`s

getting beaten like a government mule in poll after poll and look, it`s a

long way from the election. It`s a long way from these being state polls in

the key states. But Donald Trump`s ego is such a fragile little egg, it`s

so delicate at all times that it`s driving him crazy right now. And so, of

course when Tony Fabrizio, who is a very effective pollster, I`ve known him

for years, the guy is good at the work he does. He wasn`t going to bring

the President uphold that said, hey, you`re a by gazillion points when he`s

getting his tail kicked.

 

So, Trump is obviously very unhappy about this and he lies about

everything, so why wouldn`t he lie about this. Donald Trump`s mouth is

moving, he is lying. And ordering the staff to lie about the polls is why

it leaked. They recognize that this campaign is not 2016. It is something

much more dangerous for him. It is now a referendum on Donald Trump, not a

referendum on Hillary Clinton.

 

O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson and Jennifer Palmieri, thank you both for joining

our discussion tonight. Appreciate it.

 

And when we come back, the House Judiciary Committee took action today to

get more of Robert Mueller`s work product.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): For two years under Republican control, President

Trump and his administration were able to evade accountability and

transparency with the American people. I am standing here with my

colleagues today to say that era is over.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: That was House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler,

moments after the House approved a resolution to authorize the Judiciary

Committee to go to court to enforce two subpoenas related to Robert

Mueller`s investigative findings. The resolution passed along party lines

229 to 191. It grants the Judiciary Committee, the power to petition a

federal judge to force Attorney General William Barr and former White House

Counsel Don McGahn to comply with congressional subpoenas that they have

defied. Chairman Nadler told Ari Melber tonight that the resolution

empowers the Judiciary Committee to enforce subpoenas against other Trump

connected witnesses.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

NADLER: We will use it on Mr. McGahn. We`ll use it on any other witness for

instance Hope Hicks or Andy Donaldson, if they don`t comply with subpoenas

and testify and give us the information. And the documents that we have

requested.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Other House committees will also be able to move more quickly to

court to enforce subpoenas now. The vote on these civil enforcement

resolutions comes one day after Chairman Nadler reached a deal with the

Justice Department that allows members of the Judiciary Committee to obtain

what he called “key evidence” that was his phrase, “key evidence” from the

Mueller investigation. After our next break, the group indivisible has a

new poll of Democratic supporters on their thoughts on whether the House

should move forward with impeachment proceedings. We`ll get the results of

that poll next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

NADLER: We will move as quickly as possible to go to court against Don

McGahn, the President`s former counsel and any subsequent witnesses who

disobeys a committee subpoena. We are going to move quickly to court for

access to grand jury material in the Mueller Report.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Ezra Levin, co-Founder and co-

Executive Director of the Indivisible Project and Ezra you have a new poll

on impeachment. Who did you poll? What did you find?

 

EZRA LEVIN, INDIVISIBLE PROJECT CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: That`s right

Lawrence. So, Indivisible of course is made up of locally led volunteer

groups all around the country and blue states and red states and purple

states. These are the folks who were showing up at town halls in 2017 to

kill the attack on the Affordable Care Act. These are the folks who helped

build the big blue wave that we saw in 2018. And so, after Mueller`s

statement, after his press statement, we asked them, we asked them what do

you think about impeachment. And these again, these are the folks who are

on the ground throughout the country. And I think there are three

interesting things about this poll. We got an overwhelming response from

this movement.

 

Number one, 80 percent were in favor of impeachment, 80 percent. Only 8

percent said that we should not begin impeachment investigation, so that`s

about a 10 to 1 in favor of impeachment proceedings beginning. That was the

first interesting response. I think the second interesting response was, we

asked them, do you think this is a political winner for Democrats or do you

think this is going to hurt Democrats in their effort to retake the

presidency, to retake the Senate. And this was interesting because it cuts

against kind of conventional Washington wisdom right now. More than half

said they thought it was a political winner for Democrats. Only about 20

percent said, they thought it would hurt Democrats.

 

And I think that`s really important because the disagreement within the

Democratic caucus you see right now is not about whether Trump is committed

crimes, whether or not it`s the constitutional responsibility of the U.S.

House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings. The disagreement

among Democrats is, is this a political winner or is this going to hurt us.

And what we see among the grassroots is that they aren`t as settled on this

idea that it`s going to hurt Democrats. They actually think it`s a bad

thing for a President to be impeached.

 

Now, I`m not saying that we know one way or another what`s going to turn

out in 2020. But at the very least, the politics is unclear and when the

politics is unclear as a former congressional staffer, who`s somewhat

jaded, I say it`s good just to do the right thing. And that brings us to

the last piece that we heard from these folks on the ground which is they

are ready to do work. 75 percent want to spend several hours a week or

month to make impeachment happen. And so, this Saturday across the country,

there are going to be rallies to push congressional offices to start

impeachment. People can join their own rallies all around the country, go

to indivisible.org to find them.

 

O`DONNELL: Ezra, is it your sense that they`re at all worried about

Congress`s ability to continue to focus on the issues, legislative issues

that this group cares about and also move impeachment at the same time?

 

LEVIN: Look, I do think we need to be able to walk and chew gum. There are

several different committees in Congress for a reason. It`s the judiciary

committee`s responsibility to start impeachment proceedings. We`ve heard

from Jerry Nadler on your show, a little bit in this hour.

 

Jerry Nadler would like to begin impeachment proceedings. A majority of

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee would like to begin impeachment

proceedings. It`s currently House Democratic leadership who is preventing

that from happening. I think Judiciary Committee should be able to do what

they want to do as well.

 

O`DONNELL: Ezra Levin, thank you very much for joining us. I really

appreciate it.

 

LEVIN: Thanks for having me.

 

O`DONNELL: And as Ezra was saying they can do more than one thing at a

time. Jerry Nadler chaired a subcommittee hearing today of the Judiciary

Committee, where Jon Stewart appeared along with some first responders who

were there. On 9/11 at Ground Zero. Immediately after the buildings came

down. And I heard a detail from one of them, a haunting detail that I have

never heard before. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: The House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the

impeachment process has shown repeatedly this year that the committee is

doing more than just investigating the President and the committee showed

that again today. But I`m not sure we would know that if it were not for

Jon Stewart, who single handedly managed to focus our attention on a

Subcommittee hearing today in the House Judiciary Committee.

 

The video of Jon Stewart`s nine minutes of moral outrage has gone viral

today and many of you have seen every word of what Jon Stewart had to say

when he demanded as he has done repeatedly before, continued funding for

the Federal Victims Compensation Fund to support 9/11 first responders, who

continue to be diagnosed with deadly illnesses because of their work on

what they call the pile. The steaming rubble at Ground Zero, which we now

know was toxic.

 

Some of the people who were poisoned by those toxins at Ground Zero spoke

at the hearing today before Jon Stewart spoke. Jon Stewart was obviously

deeply moved by their stories even though he had already knew their

stories. And Jon Stewart referred to them by name in his own statement.

 

One of them was firefighter Michael O`Connell, who was the first of

hundreds of firefighters who were exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero, who

have since been diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease. Michael

O`Connell was a 25-year-old probationary firefighter on 9/11. He was not

yet even a graduate of the New York Fire Department`s Academy. He was at

home when the towers were struck, and he immediately rushed to his fire

station in Queens.

 

No matter how much you know about 9/11, there is always something new to

learn. Another haunting detail and that`s what happened for many of us

today. When Michael O`Connell talked about what he heard on 9/11 at Ground

Zero.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MICHAEL O`CONNELL, FIREFIGHTER: Upon arrival, we went to work right away in

the war zone later known as Ground Zero. We were given many tasks and tried

our best to search for human life, but unfortunately, we weren`t very

successful. Countless hours we spent digging by hand. To this day, there is

really only one memory etched into my brain and one that still haunts me to

this day and every night as firefighters, we wear Scott packs that are

equipped with pass alarms, pass alarms are meant to go off, when a

firefighter is laid motionless making a screeching sound, so you can go

find them. Well, for the first few minutes of our arrival and the countless

hours that passed that`s all we heard that was our brothers trapped beneath

the pile of concrete and steel and we cannot get to them.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back with more from today`s hearing.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Here is Jon Stewart today testifying to a Subcommittee of the

House Judiciary Committee.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: The official FDNY response time to 9/11 was five

seconds, five seconds. That`s how long it took for FDNY, for NYPD, for Port

Authority, for EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public. Five

seconds.

 

Hundreds died in an instant, thousands more poured in to continue to fight

for their brothers and sisters. The breathing problems started almost

immediately, and they were told they weren`t sick, they were crazy. And

then as the illnesses got worse, things became more apparent. Well OK,

you`re sick, but it`s not from the pile. And then when the science became

irrefutable, OK, it`s the pile, but this is a New York issue. I don`t know

if we have the money. And I`m sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but

I`m angry.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Jon Stewart`s righteous anger was building today when some of

the victims of the toxins at Ground Zero made their statements to the

committee before Jon Stewart did.

 

Jon Stewart`s moral outrage was pitch perfect. Today in that committee

hearing room, where he was trying to obtain once again continued funding

for the Victim Compensation Fund for the First Responders who continue to

be diagnosed with grave illnesses and fatal illnesses after being exposed

to the toxins at Ground Zero. Jon Stewart got something you rarely see in a

Congressional hearing room, a standing ovation. But he wasn`t the only one.

 

Just before Jon Stewart spoke, retired NYPD Detective, Luis Alvarez also

got a standing ovation in that hearing room.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Detective Alvarez.

 

LUIS ALVAREZ, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Luis Alvarez and I`m a retired NYPD Detective from the bomb

squad and a proud military veteran. Less than 24 hours from now, I will be

starting my 69th round of chemotherapy. Yes, you heard that correct. I

should not be here with you.

 

But you made me come, you made me come because I will not stand by and

watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than

anyone else, because of when they get sick, they die. It is my goal and it

is my legacy to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders. We

were there with one mission and we left after completing that mission.

 

I have been to many places in this world, excuse me, I`ve done many things.

But I can tell you that I did not want to be anywhere else, but Ground

Zero, when I was there. We were part of showing the world that we would

never back down from terrorism, and we could all work together. No races,

no colors, no politics. You all said you would never forget. Well, I`m here

to make sure that you don`t.

 

You made me come down here the day before my 69th round of chemo. And I`m

going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11

responders. Thank you for your time.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Detective Luis Alvarez gets tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR”

with Brian Williams starts now.

 

 

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

BE UPDATED.

END

 

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