Boris Johnson to become UK next PM. TRANSCRIPT: 7/23/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
You know, I think to that question that the Judiciary Committee has some
slightly different rules on what it means once someone who is sworn in as a
witness, but we have a Judiciary Committee member here with us who is going
to answer all of that. I now believe that the Intelligence Committee
hearing now might turn out to be the better of the two hearings because I
think Aaron Zebley`s contribution could be really invaluable tomorrow. I
suspect he will be less tight and constricted in the way he talks about
He`s certainly in a position to know everything, and I mean everything. He
was the go-between, as “The New York Times” reports, between the Mueller
team and the Justice Department. That means that every interaction with
Rod Rosenstein and then with William Barr –
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Mmm-hmm.
O`DONNELL: He was a party to. He knows every single thing that Rosenstein
allowed them to do or maybe was reluctant to allow them to do. He`s just
filled with a level of detail that I think is invaluable.
MADDOW: And because of that, because of his role as the person who was
running the day-to-day operations of the office but also that go-between
role at the Justice Department, you`d sort of be I think particularly
interested in what Zebley might have to say about, you know, charging
decisions around obstruction of justice and some of that really
controversial stuff from volume two of the report. Volume two of the
report is going to be what they`re discussing in the morning with the
Judiciary Committee, which is the time you`d want Zebley to be able to
answer those questions.
As of right now, we don`t think he`s going to be answering questions, he`s
just going to be sitting there whispering in Mueller`s ear. As I said, I
don`t know if the Judiciary Committee has it within their power to change
that arrangement, but now that intelligence has, why don`t they?
O`DONNELL: But even that role in the Judiciary Committee is also very
valuable because we all know the Mueller report is a massive document and
it actually does not include every single thing that they experienced
during that investigation.
MADDOW: Of course.
O`DONNELL: And to have somebody there at your side to be able to remind
you or quickly point to page 78, paragraph 2, this is – this is the best
answer for that.
O`DONNELL: And that`s invaluable. This would be a better show, you know
it, if my staff was sitting here throwing in the better questions that I
could come up with, but we just don`t have the physical room for it and
there`s other TV conventions about why that doesn`t happen, but we know how
valuable it is to have more than one voice reacting to these kinds of
MADDOW: If you ever wanted me to anchor buddy like that for you in your
hour, I would do it as long as you would do the same for me in the
O`DONNELL: Oh, boy –
MADDOW: Come on.
O`DONNELL: I need that help so bad.
MADDOW: We`d do it like doubles.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`ll do it.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, Katie Porter is back. Congresswoman Katie Porter has been on the
Deutsche Bank case and “The New York Times” has reported that convicted sex
criminal Jeffrey Epstein now facing new charges in New York has had dozens
of accounts at Deutsche Bank which some of the employees flagged for
possible illegal transactions. We`ll get Congresswoman Porter`s reaction
to Deutsche Bank`s handling of Jeffrey Epstein`s accounts at the end of the
hour tonight because we have so much to cover before that.
And we begin tonight with the Mueller hearings. The breaking news at this
hour is that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff
has sent a letter to Robert Mueller contradicting the letter that the
Justice Department said to – sent to Robert Mueller last night. The
Justice Department letter to Robert Mueller insisted that he comply with
very strict restrictions on his testimony that would mean, in effect, he
could not say anything that does not appear in print in the Mueller report
Chairman Schiff`s letter to Robert Mueller tonight says, quote: The DOJ
letter attempts unduly to circumscribe your testimony and represents yet
another attempt by the Trump administration to obstruct the authorized
oversight, activity and legitimate investigations of the committee. And
accordingly, I fully expect that the DOJ letter will have no bearing on
your testimony before the committee tomorrow.
Robert Mueller is going to have help in his testimony to Congress tomorrow.
Also, the breaking news tonight, attorney Aaron Zebley will be sworn in as
a witness along with Robert Mueller at the House Intelligence Committee
hearing. Aaron Zebley will also accompany Robert Mueller to the House
Judiciary Committee hearing but will at this point anyway as far as we know
not be sworn in as a witness in the Judiciary Committee hearing. There, he
will be appearing as Robert Mueller`s counsel at minimum to advise and
assist him with his testimony whenever necessary.
Aaron Zebley first worked with Robert Mueller when Mueller was the director
of the FBI and Zebley was his FBI chief of staff. He then joined the same
private law firm that Robert Mueller joined and left that law firm with
Robert Mueller to work at the special counsel`s office where Aaron Zebley
was the deputy special counsel.
Aaron Zebley had wide-ranging responsibilities overseeing the entire
Mueller investigation, volume one and volume two of the report. And he was
the primary go-between with the Justice Department. That puts Aaron Zebley
in a position to know everything about the Mueller deep`s communications
with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was supervising the
investigation, and then Attorney General William Barr when he took over the
supervision of the investigation.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee both
said today that they believe Robert Mueller does not have to comply with
the restrictions on his testimony that appeared in last night`s letter from
the Justice Department to Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): I think it`s incredibly arrogant of the
department to try to instruct him as to what to say. It`s part of the
ongoing cover-up by the administration to keep information away from the
American people. But I think that it`s not going to have a real impact.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We don`t recognize that limitation at all, and
what`s more, they don`t recognize that limitation. They say it`s well-
established DOJ policy that the prosecutor can`t talk about this. Well,
the department doesn`t comment on people not indicted, tell that to Bill
If the attorney general ignores the DOJ policy, then how does he have any
right to ask Bob Mueller or anyone else to follow this policy when it`s not
a policy at all?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And we are lucky to be leading off our discussion tonight with
two members of the committees who will be questioning Robert Mueller
tomorrow: Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. He`s a member
of the House Judiciary Committee. And Democratic Congressman Peter Welch
of Vermont. He is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman Raskin, let me go to this issue of will Robert Mueller be
testifying alone or how is it going to work? Will it be different?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): I wasn`t a party to those negotiations but last
I heard he is the only witness there. The Republicans undoubtedly will try
to draw everybody into it, and, you know, on the assumption that if you`re
sitting at the table you`re fair game, but I don`t think that our chair
will put up with that.
O`DONNELL: The Republicans seem to be objecting to any version of Mueller
being accompanied by anyone to your committee.
RASKIN: Yes. They don`t want him accompanied. They also want to put him
in a complete straitjacket and have him operate under a gag rule.
But, look, that`s consistent with the whole effort to cover this thing up
from the beginning. Remember, the report came out on March 22nd, and
Attorney General Barr didn`t get it to us until April 18th, a day or two
before Easter and Passover took place.
Large parts of the most critical elements were redacted from it and they
spent many weeks misleading the country about the contents of the report
prompting the special counsel, prompting Mueller to write two letters of
protest that the attorney general was confusing the country. So, we`ve got
this thick fog of propaganda and deception that`s out there and the most we
can hope for now is that Mueller`s testimony in his own voice, in his own
words about the actual findings of the report will pierce through this fog
of propaganda and let the people see that there were ten episodes of
presidential obstruction of justice.
And as my colleague will I think help us to get to, that there was lots of
interaction between the Trump campaign and the Russians as they opened the
doors and threw open the windows to this attempt to undermine and derail
O`DONNELL: In your committee tomorrow, Aaron Zebley`s going to be a sworn
witness at this stage. Do you expect committee members to solicit
testimony from him as well as Robert Mueller? As much as Robert Mueller?
REP. PETER WELCH (D-VT): Our focus is going to definitely be on Mueller,
and our goal is to let Mueller speak because if he just describes what is
in the report, that`s very, very damaging to the president. But it is very
good that Zebley is going to be there as well because if it`s just to give
advice, he`s going to have specific details about all of those interactions
you mentioned. Also, we`re establishing the precedent that we`ve been
fighting for that some of these investigators, we have a right to call
WELCH: To inquire what`s going on. Mueller is at the top, but a lot of
the people doing the details, where they know what the negotiations were,
they know what happened, they`re relevant to get the story out to the
American people. So we think – we`re glad that he`s going to be there and
we are glad that he`s going to be sworn in.
O`DONNELL: And the – every member of the committee has a staff member
nearby, when you`re not coming up with exactly the right thing in the right
moment. And so, the idea that Mueller will have somebody there to also
make sure that his answer is focused, you know, it`s one of those
situations where Mueller might give an answer and he could easily lean in
and say, you know, you might want to add that.
And if you watch can hearings, it happens all the time, you know, with the
members and with the chairman.
RASKIN: Well, Mueller`s been clear that he`s not going to venture outside
the four corners of the report. In other words, there`s not going to be
any new factual bombshells, but the report is filled with bombshells for
the 99 percent of the American people who haven`t read the report yet. So,
it will be astonishing and astounding to people to hear in his own words
the description of the president attempting to obstruct justice, attempting
to tamper with witnesses, essentially cooperating with the Russians. Not
turning any evidence over to law enforcement or the FBI about all of these
attempts, you know, to get into the DNC and the DCCC and so on and
encouraging this subversion of our election.
So I think that this whole hearing could be like a second chance for
American democracy. Barr and Trump with their moronic mantra of no
obstruction, no collusion, have set the country back. They derailed us.
But this is an opportunity for us to try once again. But even up to the
last minute, there are all these desperate ploys from the Trump
administration to shut it down.
O`DONNELL: If Mueller does confine himself to strictly what`s in the
report, that means he will not answer what I think is now – by now the
number one question that people have been saying they want to hear for
months now, which is if Donald Trump were not the president of the United
States, would he have been charged with a crime?
WELCH: That`s right.
O`DONNELL: According to the – not going beyond the report, Mueller simply
will refuse to answer that question if he`s going to stay confined to the
WELCH: Which would show the limitations. I mean, I do believe Mr. Mueller
is going to try to get the truth out from his report, and if he is given a
chance to do that, we`re going to hear how the Trump campaign actually
provided detailed polling information to the Russians knowing that it was
intended to sow social media disinformation.
And it was the internals, not just the horse race numbers, and that`s just
a vivid example of how there was cooperation between the Trump campaign and
the Russians. And that`s a pretty shocking thing, never before done in
American history. A lot of what`s going on now is the drama about the
battle that is essentially between Mueller and Barr. Mueller`s job through
the report was to get the information out.
Barr has defined his job as to conceal it. That`s essentially what`s going
on. And these sideshow fights are essentially just the relentless effort
on the part of the Trump administration now, unfortunately, with the
assistance of Attorney General Barr to conceal the facts through
O`DONNELL: The – one of the ongoing conditions of this investigation was
something we`ve never seen before, which is the president attacking the
special investigation of the president. Previous presidents had never gone
into that kind of pure attack mode. President in effect threatening to
fire them all publicly – saying publicly I can fire them, I haven`t fired
them that, that sort of thing.
And then in the course of the investigation, White House counsel Don McGahn
testifies to the special prosecutor that I was ordered to fire you and I
was ordered to fire you twice, and here is what is not in the Mueller
report. What was Robert Mueller`s reaction to that as a prosecutor? Did
he take any precautions? Now that the threat of firing was so vivid, did
that in any way affect the way he or his staff approached this work after
knowing that the president tried to fire them?
And if Robert Mueller sticks to the report, he will not answer a simple
question like, were you concerned or were any of your staff concerned about
being fired by the president?
RASKIN: Well, I think you`re right, he`s not going to answer that
question, which goes to his state and mind and subjective impressions and
sentiments that he had. He`s not going to go there. He wants to stick to
O`DONNELL: It may not necessarily be subjective, meaning the answer – the
true answer could be, and we may discover this some years from now, the
true answer could be we sped up the investigation because we were afraid of
being fired or we didn`t subpoena the president because we were afraid of
being fired or we didn`t subpoena Donald Trump Jr. because we were afraid
of being fired. That is not a subjective feelings reaction.
RASKIN: It`s a process question that he`s going to avoid. He`s going to
say that goes –
O`DONNELL: But is that – is that a service to the country?
WELCH: No. No, it is not. It`s not. You know –
O`DONNELL: And not reveal things like that.
WELCH: What we know, Mueller wasn`t afraid of being fired. He`s just got
too much credibility, too much integrity, too much respect, but a lot of
people working for Mueller might well have been afraid of being fired, and
essentially what you saw with the Mueller report being shelved while Mr.
Barr put out his four-page summary was the two men were in a fight, and one
showed up with a gun and another showed up with a knife, and Barr won.
And what the question is for Mr. Mueller, what`s his higher duty? Is it to
defend his report and does that have – does that require him to go out
beyond his comfort zone when his report is being so eroded by a take-no-
prisoners Attorney General Barr?
O`DONNELL: Yes, and that`s actually why I`m hoping there`s two comfort
zones in the hearing. Mueller`s and Aaron Zebley`s comfort zone is a
different comfort zone, and possibly a wider comfort zone.
RASKIN: Well, let`s hope that`s the case. I mean, look, we shouldn`t pin
everything on Mueller because there`s a lot of other information that needs
to come out. And remember, the Mueller report itself doesn`t deal with any
financial wrongdoing. It doesn`t deal with money laundering from Russian
oligarchs through the office tower in the hotels. It doesn`t deal with
financial fraud. It doesn`t deal with repeated and continuing violations
of the emoluments clause by pocketing money from foreign governments.
So it`s not the be all and the end all. Let`s let him convey what he has
to say according to the terms that he set for himself, and I think that
that will do a service to the public. I mean, we can be disappointed in
some decisions he`s made, but that`s water under the bridge.
Let`s let him speak and then we`ve got to look much more broadly at the
corruption, the obstruction of justice and the lawlessness of this
administration. And that`s up to us. We can`t pin it all on the special
We are Congress. We`re the Article 1 branch. We are the people`s
representatives. We are the law-making power. We`ve got the
responsibility to move against the lawlessness and the criminality taking
place in the White House.
O`DONNELL: And that is something that Robert Mueller could make verbally
clear. I think his point makes that clear, that it is your responsibility,
especially in the end of the report.
WELCH: That`s right. You know, essentially what I hope we have an
opportunity to do is let Mueller talk about his report because what that
report shows is that there has been a shattering of important democratic
norms. No candidate for president in our history has cooperated with a
foreign power, and you can call it whatever you want. I`ll let the lawyers
argue about collusion or conspiracy. Just the facts of what the Trump team
And then secondly, to have the president leading the charge and trying to
cover up what happened and then to launch in to his attacks on fake news on
journalism, on the courts, the things that he`s doing as standard
procedure, it`s a shattering of norms that the Mueller report really
reveals that started from the moment candidate Trump came down that
escalator and started vilifying people on the basis of their ethnic origin.
O`DONNELL: You recently came out in support of impeachment. Are you
hoping that tomorrow`s hearing helps clarify that for other members of the
WELCH: Not really. Because I think that does get it into the partisan
aspect of this. What I`m hoping is that just the report gets out because I
– it hasn`t been read.
WELCH: And if people are aware of what the facts are, it`s going to allow
them to come to their own conclusion, and that`s what we have to do.
So I see this as essentially a duty that we have and see where it leads.
But there has been no wide dissemination of the actual details that are in
the report. This is an opportunity for Mr. Mueller to do it.
O`DONNELL: Do you think there are any house members who are just in effect
waiting for this testimony and then will announce their support for
impeachment after it?
RASKIN: I think there are some. You know, Justin Amash is an instructive
example of this. I mean, he read the report and he said the conclusion was
irresistible, inescapable in his mind that there was substantial or
overwhelming evidence that the president had committed high crimes and
misdemeanors, and he challenged all of his colleagues to read the report.
He was one Republican who did. He`s no longer a Republican. I think
that`s an enormously promising sign.
You know, The original groups of people to come out for it are the ones on
the investigative committees who are most closely connected to the
investigation, and we`ve seen real up close and personal the trampling of
the norms that Peter`s talking about but also the violation of the laws and
the absolute defiance that this administration has shown towards
congressional power and our lawful power to get information, even war with
WELCH: I was going to say, I did come out for impeachment. It was
reluctant. We`ve got to honor the outcomes of elections, but there`s two
things that have happened.
Our Constitution says no person is above the law and every person is
entitled to the full protection of the law. And Donald Trump every single
day is repudiating that. He is not submitting to any recognition of
Article I responsibility to Congress.
And he`s attacking people not for what they believe or what they`re doing,
it`s on the basis of who they are. What`s their ethnic origin? What`s
their race? What`s their gender?
And that is a complete shattering of those norms that hold us together and
allow us to make progress in difficult times.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Peter Welch gets the LAST WORD in this round. I
don`t think you`re going to get the LAST WORD in the hearing tomorrow. I
think that`s going to be Robert Mueller.
Congressman Jamie Raskin, Congressman Peter Welch, thank you very much for
starting us off tonight. Really appreciate it.
RASKIN: Thanks for having us.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, John Heilemann will join us to discuss
some of the political aspects of tomorrow`s hearings.
And Congresswoman Katie Porter will join us to discuss today`s “New York
Times” story about Donald Trump`s bank flagging suspicious transactions
made by Jeffrey Epstein. They both used the same bank.
O`DONNELL: Democrats are approaching tomorrow`s Mueller hearing as a fact
illuminating forum for voters who have not taken the time to read the
Mueller report and Republicans seem to view tomorrow`s Mueller hearings the
way they seem to view everything, a Trump re-election rally.
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz will be questioning Robert Mueller in the
judiciary committee hearing. He told “The New York Times” that his goal
for the Mueller hearing is this: We are going to re-elect the president.
Joining our discussion now is John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for
NBC News and MSNBC`s co-host and executive producer of Showtime`s “The
John, when you listen to Matt Gaetz`s approach, that`s a very different
thing than what we heard from the two Democratic members of Congress.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it certainly has the
virtue of honesty, Lawrence.
HEILEMANN: At least it`s straightforward. Something we rarely see from
Republicans, which is kind of straightforward honesty. That`s what this is
for them, a political exercise and they`re going to do everything they can
to try to discredit Bob Mueller, to try to bludgeon Bob Mueller. They`re
not interested in trying to find out the facts of what happened or even to
have a real engagement with the facts that are in the Mueller report.
So I think we know what they`re going to do and it`s not really of much
consequence, I think. I do think that it`s also the case that although in
no way discrediting in the comments that you heard in your – that you got
in your “A” block from congressmen, it`s also clear this is a huge
political moment for Democrats on the committee. This is, I think, you
know, I don`t think it`s overstating things to say that the stakes
politically could not be higher if you are a Democrat who hopes to still
have a chance to impeach Donald Trump or open up an impeachment inquiry
into Donald Trump.
This has to go well for you. You know, I think history will be very –
will have a lot to say about what`s happened over the course of these three
months since the Mueller report came out to this day. But there is no
doubt that there is a lot on the line here and that public opinion needs to
be moved in order to create the kind of – the kind of political support
that Nancy Pelosi and others in the Democratic leadership desperately need
and want if they are going to do anything other than continue to sit on
their hands when it comes to the impeachment question.
O`DONNELL: One of the interesting aspects of the reporting on this is that
Republican Congressman Jim Jordan says that he wants to stress that phrase
“insufficient evidence.” That there was insufficient evidence to find a
O`DONNELL: – between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Now, the insufficient evidence line is seen as very condemning by
Democrats, and – meaning there was evidence, there was a certain amount of
evidence but it was insufficient evidence. What you want in politics is
there was zero evidence –
HEILEMANN: Yes, right.
O`DONNELL: – of any kind of conspiracy.
But Jordan seems very happy with insufficient evidence and he seems to say
that`s what he`s going to be playing on tomorrow.
HEILEMANN: Yes, and if you think, Lawrence, that the argument here is
going to be – this is something the Democrats have to get right if they
want to make this a political winner is try to make people understand that
insufficient evidence to charge a criminal conspiracy to defraud the
American people in the 2016 election is a – is an extraordinarily high
I mean, the reality is what the report is replete with is evidence all over
the place of conduct that was obviously corrupt, conduct that was obviously
inappropriate, conduct that was obviously unpatriotic, conduct that was –
that was – that should be politically damaging to the Trump forces, and if
Democrats can get Robert Mueller, who seems in this area to be very eager
I mean, if you take him at his word from his press conference, though, he
said he wanted to stick within the letter of the four corners of the report
and the report is his testimony. The report itself is incredibly damning
in its first section with respect to what it says about the Trump
Organization, the Trump campaign did in the 2016 campaign to solicit help
from a hostile foreign power. So I think in that sense properly framed,
the elucidation of that evidence, the recitation of that evidence could be
incredibly damaging if Robert Mueller goes as far as I think he wants to
go, because I think he feels as though the first part of the report has
gotten a short shrift in the public consciousness.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Really appreciate it.
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, in just a few hours, the British version
of Donald Trump will officially become Britain`s next prime minister. And
if you think our electoral college is crazy, wait until you hear how he
became prime minister.
And Congresswoman Katie Porter will be joining us later in the hour.
O`DONNELL: If you think our Electoral College is crazy, the United Kingdom
has just outdone it. Boris Johnson just became the new British Prime
Minister without even having an election.
He was chosen by a private vote of members of the Conservative Party to
replace Conservative Party Prime Minister Theresa May who quit because of
the impossibility of implementing Britain`s exit from the European Union,
commonly referred to as Brexit.
Just over 1/10 of 1% of the British population actually voted in the
Conservative Party choice of a new Prime Minister. The voters, included
children, because there are no real laws about this kind of private voting
within a party. And the voters were obviously dominated by people who like
Boris Johnson. Do not distinguish between fact and fiction.
A “New York Times” op-ed piece by British writer James Butler, says “Boris
Johnson is how Britain ends. Such is the gloom in Britain tonight.” Boris
Johnson is regarded as the Donald Trump of the United Kingdom, which means
that Donald Trump likes Boris Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They say Britain Trump - they
call him Britain Trump and people are saying that`s a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No British Prime Minister has ever been - has ever been more
unpopular on his very first day in office than Boris Johnson. Like Donald
Trump, Boris Johnson made it to the top of British politics with the help
of Vladimir Putin and Russians who attacked the British voting system and
helped deliver an electoral victory for Brexit in a Referendum three years
ago. 51.9 percent voting in favor of Brexit with Russian support and 48.1%
voting against Brexit.
Like his predecessor, Boris Johnson, is promising to do the impossible and
negotiate a new exit deal with the European Union. But unlike his
predecessor, he is also promising to do the impossible when he fails to
negotiate a new exit deal. Boris Johnson says he will simply lead the
United Kingdom out of the European Union without any exit deal at all,
which would instantaneously bring a level of chaos to Britain, not seen
since World War II.
“The Washington Post`s” Brian Klaas and National Security Expert, Jeremy
Bash will join us after a break to discuss Donald Trump`s new competition
for most reckless and incompetent leader of what once was one of the most
important and stable governments in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, INCOMING U.K. PRIME MINISTER: I know that there will be
people around the place who will question the wisdom of your decision and
there may even be some people here who still wonder what quite what they
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now Brian Klaas, Columnist for Washington
Post and host of the new podcast “Power Corrupts” and Jeremy Bash, MSNBC
National Security Analyst and Former Chief Of Staff at the CIA and Defense
And Brian let me go to you in London. What is the mood in London tonight?
BRIAN KLAAS, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, disbelief. I think that
this is - it`s a trump-like figure rising in Britain. You now have on both
sides of the Atlantic, a narcissistic serial liar who has larger-than-life
hair, who was born in New York, who has made racist statements and who has
encouraged political violence, in power both in the U.K. and in the U.S.
And I think that there`s also a lot of worry, because there is 99 days
until this so-called do-or-die that Boris Johnson has pledged to remove
Britain from the European Union, even without a deal, which would cause
And at one point the British Ministry of Defense was the largest purchaser
of refrigerators in the entire world, because they are stockpiling
medicines in peace time for this. So there`s serious risk ahead and Boris
Johnson may not be up to the task.
O`DONNELL: Jeremy the - another big win for Vladimir Putin.
JEREMY BASH, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That`s right, because of
course, there are strong allegations that Russia interfered in the British
selection of Brexit as their future path and it`s not a mystery.
We know what Putin`s endgame is. He wants to obviously separate the U.K.,
which is America`s key ally in the transatlantic alliance from the rest of
Europe. So he wants to break the European alliance, just as he wants to
break apart NATO, which binds the United States Canada and our
transatlantic allies. This is Putin`s game.
When he goes one-on-one against the country, he feels he can win. It`s when
he goes against an alliance like NATO or the European Union, he feels
completely isolated and small.
O`DONNELL: And Brian for Putin he wants to weaken every institution
involved. He wants to weaken Britain and the British government, he wants
to weaken the European Union and the hard Brexit this chaos stuff would do
KLAAS: Yes. I mean, we`re talking about serious economic damage. We`re
talking about serious divides between Brussels and London, which will have
knock-on geopolitical ramifications - right, that are very, very welcome
for Vladimir Putin.
Because as Jeremy rightly points out, if you have the U.S. retrenching
being Donald Trump`s America first style strategy, combined with a weaker
EU, and isolated economically declining United Kingdom, all of that is
music to the ears of Vladimir Putin.
And so you know I think that over the long run, this is something that we
should pay attention to in the United States as well, in the sense that
this is bad for American interests to have a close ally - an important ally
like the United Kingdom inflicting such obviously avoidable damage on
O`DONNELL: This might be a very short-lived British government. Boris
Johnson is going in there without an electoral mandate of any kind.
BASH: Brexit is a terrible idea. It`s even worse with no deal with the rest
of the continent. So I can`t see how Britain escapes this moment unscathed.
But I think the broader issue, and it`s kind of a momentous matter here,
Lawrence, that we have, the election or the selection of Boris Johnson
within 24 hours of Robert Mueller going to the Hill tomorrow to lay out in
grave detail the way Donald Trump requested Russian assistance.
He received Russian assistance, he welcomed Russian assistance, he covered
up Russian assistance and then he rewarded a Russian assistance. And how
did he reward Russian assistance, in part, by denigrating NATO, in part by
cheering on Brexit, in part by cheering on the breakup of the European
So here you have Putin`s handiwork that will now be on full display on
Capitol Hill tomorrow.
O`DONNELL: And Brian it is such a powerful coincidence, because Robert
Mueller will be testifying, especially to the Intelligence Committee about
the ways in which Russia does this, and they`re very similar to what we saw
in the United Kingdom with the additional element of some ability to trace
what appear to be Russian financial contributions to the Brexit campaign.
KLAAS: Yes, that`s right. And I think this is something where the
disinformation playbook, the information warfare playbook that Vladimir
Putin has started to fine-tune in running up to the 2020 elections in the
United States. It`s something that everybody in Europe and in the U.K. is
getting used to. It`s the new normal.
And I think part of that is because as Robert Mueller will likely point out
tomorrow, there has been no serious consequences to it, both in the - from
the British government or from the United States government. And so I
think, that`s something that we`ll have to look at, whether Boris Johnson
is up to the task of actually standing up to Vladimir Putin.
And the problem is because he needs new allies, because the alliance with
European Union is being downgraded, he won`t have the luxury of being tough
on authoritarian adversaries like Russia and China, which is again all very
good news for autocrats around the world that Donald Trump loves and
admires and that are going to inflict serious damage on Western
Brian Klaas and Jeremy Bash thank you both for your expertise on this
important subject tonight, really appreciated. Thank you.
And when we come back, Congresswoman Katie Porter has some questions about
“The New York Times” report that Deutsche Bank flagged suspicious trends
actions made by Jeffrey Epstein - flagged those transactions to the
Treasury Department earlier this year.
Congresswoman Katie Porter will join us, coming up.
O`DONNELL: Tonight “The New York Times” is reporting that Deutsche Bank
reported some suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department this year
made by convicted sex criminal and now accused sex trafficker, Jeffrey
The Times reports Deutsche Bank reported the transactions to a federal
agency in charge of policing financial crimes according to people familiar
with the bank`s internal processes. The report came as the bank started
looking for signs that Mr. Epstein was using his financial resources for
the purposes of sex trafficking.
Earlier this year as the bank rushed to disentangle itself from him,
officials discovered additional transactions that they saw as problematic,
the people said, that prompted the bank to submit a suspicious activity
report to the Treasury Department.
This is not the first time Deutsche Bank had raised concerns about Jeffrey
Epstein`s financial transactions. “The Times” reports, in 2015 and 2016
anti-money laundering compliance officers in Deutsche Bank`s offices in New
York and Jacksonville, Florida raised a variety of concerns about the work
the bank was doing with Mr. Epstein.
The compliance officers on at least one occasion noticed potentially
illegal activity in one of Mr. Epstein`s accounts, including transactions
in which money was moving outside the United States, the people said.
The compliance officers produced a so-called suspicious activity report,
but it is unclear whether the report was ever filed with the Treasury
Department`s Financial Crimes Division. Deutsche Bank has been under public
scrutiny since it was revealed that they provided Donald Trump hundreds of
millions of dollars in loans over a period of two decades when other banks
refused to do business with Donald Trump.
Congresswoman Katie Porter has questioned Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin
about Deutsche Bank`s handling of suspicious transactions by President
Trump. Congresswoman Porter will join us after this break, with her
reaction to the news tonight about Deutsche Bank`s handling of Jeffrey
Epstein`s banking transactions and what she expects to hear from Robert
Mueller`s testimony tomorrow. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: “The New York Times” is reporting tonight that convicted sex
criminal Jeffrey Epstein who is now facing new sex trafficking charges in
New York has had dozens of accounts at Deutsche Bank, which flagged
suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department involving Jeffrey
Epstein earlier this year.
The Times reports, the bank decided to sever ties with Mr. Epstein late
last year after the Miami Herald published an investigation into the
government`s handling of the earlier sexual abuse allegations against him.
But that process proved more complicated and time-consuming than executives
had initially anticipated.
As of late spring, there were still transactions taking place in some of
Mr. Epstein`s Deutsche Bank accounts. Executives now believe that they have
closed all of Mr. Epstein`s accounts.
Joining us now is Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of
California. She`s a member of the House Financial Services Committee. I
know you have been questioning the administration about Deutsche Bank
involving President Trump, what`s your reaction to this story tonight?
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Well, I think this is exactly on brand for
Deutsche Bank and they seem to be the lender of last resort for unsavory
characters. So if you`re a Russian oligarch, if you`re a pedophile, if
you`re president Trump - I mean you give joy to make a call.
And so this is very much what we`ve seen a pattern of over a series of
years from Deutsche Bank, which is a failure to follow anti-money
O`DONNELL: Is this something that would provoke the committee the Financial
Services Committee to drag in Deutsche Bank to say what are you doing with
this so-called you know private banking service?
PORTER: Absolutely. This is something we should be asking about with
Deutsche Bank. We`ve been trying, of course, to give information from them
related to their banking of the President, which is going on for a very
long a period.
But I think this is another sign, in a pattern. I mean, I think this is the
least surprising thing about this is that the financial institution banking
Mr. Epstein was Deutsche Bank. If you had to ask me where does Epstein
bank? I would have said probably Deutsche, because that seems to be who
their clientele is these days.
The fact that they didn`t - they took him on as a client, keep in mind, he
was looking for a bank, because JP Morgan Chase wouldn`t do business with
PORTER: –after his initial conviction. So the fact that Deutsche even took
him on, I think, says something and they ignored this ongoing pattern of
O`DONNELL: The positive element of this story about the bank is that, when
you read the story it`s very clear, that this story is coming from people
inside the bank who don`t like this aspect of their own bank`s business.
PORTER: No, I mean this is what happened. They - the banking compliance
folks do their job. These are hardworking Americans who are carefully
trained and they tried to raise these concerns.
But what happened, the upper-crust people at Deutsche Bank decided that it
was worth it to them to take on this business, to do business with any rich
person, whether he was involved in lawful activity or really unlawful and
immoral activity like Mr. Epstein.
And so I think this should harden us that there are still hardworking
people out there trying to follow the laws. But we should ask ourselves why
are those people not running these institutions?
O`DONNELL: I want to go to the big business of the House tomorrow. You are
not on the Intelligence Committee or the Judiciary Committee. If you were,
what would you be asking Robert Mueller tomorrow?
PORTER: My first question would be, “Based on your investigation, can you
exonerate the President of federal crimes, “Yes” or “No”. And the answer,
if you`ve read the report, has to be no. So this is the first rebuttal to
what Mr. Trump has been - President Trump has been tweeting. Mr. Mueller
cannot exonerate him.
And then my second question would be, based on the evidence - is there
substantial evidence that the President committed one or more acts of
obstruction of justice? The answer to this has to be yes. It states that in
And then I think I would say, “How many acts of obstruction of justice did
you find substantial evidence of - one, two - stop me when I get there”.
One, two, three, four, five, six - because there actually are up to 14 acts
in which there`s evidence of obstruction of justice. There`s at least four
acts in which he says that all of the elements of obstruction of justice
O`DONNELL: When you did that - stop me when I get there on the number, the
reason I chuckled, is because that is the Katie Porter hearing style. I
have seen you do exactly the kind of thing with cabinet members, with
banking executives and you have that is - just unlike anything, I`ve seen
before in congressional hearings in the way you kind of make the outcome of
these questions inevitable.
PORTER: Well, I mean I think this is the goal. The outcome of these
hearings should be inevitable. It should inevitably be the truth for the
American people. So there is a purpose to asking these questions.
No matter what witness comes before me, I have the same goal. I want the
truth for the American people. So I try to frame the question in a way that
will get us to the truth. I don`t presume to know what that is, that`s why
they`re posed as questions.
But I really do have a goal and that goal is the truth and that should be
the goal that, I hope, all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle
bring to these hearings.
O`DONNELL: And I`ve learned, just listening to you here, because I`ve been
kind of struggling with this concept of Mueller is not going to say
anything that isn`t in his report. And the kind of questions I have are not
answered in the report like, “Why didn`t you subpoena the President” and so
forth. But the questions you just asked are all in the report. The answers
all live within that report.
PORTER: And I think we need to start there. So we need to begin by helping
the American people understand what are the basic conclusions of the
report, which is that Director Mueller - Special Counsel Mueller - excuse
me - cannot exonerate the President.
That based on his investigation he cannot exonerate him. That there is
substantial evidence of multiple counts of obstruction of justice and then
I would ask him to name each of those four counts of obstruction of
O`DONNELL: Now you are - came out in favor of impeachment after a careful
deliberation about it. You`re in one of those districts where reportedly
Nancy Pelosi worries about members like you who are representing previously
Republican districts and that you might not be able to go as far on these
issues as some other members.
What is the experience, but it`s by my memory it`s over a month that you
came out in favor of impeachment. What`s happened back in the district to
you as a result of that?
PORTER: Well, people still talk to me about all of the issues they were
talking to me about. I mean, I think, there`s two separate things here. One
is did the special counsel conclude that the President broke the law.
Yes, he did. He said there`s substantial evidence and that`s my job in the
House of Representatives. If there`s substantial of a federal crime by our
President, then we have a duty to begin an impeachment inquiry and to put
that forward then to the Senate for trial.
Separately from that, I don`t think anyone should be concerned that I`m not
on my job with financial services. I have banks coming in tomorrow to talk
about one of the largest bank mergers in recent history. I`m preparing for
So I still hear lots of people talking about prescription drugs. Where`s
the effort to reduce the cost of prescription drugs? What`s going on with
the deficit? What`s going on with the transportation? So I definitely can
take on all of these issues at the same time.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Katie Porter, everyone –
PORTER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: – watching these wishes you were in one of the hearings
tomorrow. Katie Porter, 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
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the