Mueller: the President could be charged. TRANSCRIPT: 7/25/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Val Demings, Neal Katyal, Sean Patrick Maloney, Bill Weld
Transcript:

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

 

And you just did I think what might be my favorite guest introduction

you`ve ever done, when you said someone who needs no introduction, which

has a certain cliche ring to it, which is really true, and then you say the

part that I really liked, and for whom there is no need for an explanation

about why he`s here. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Yes.

 

O`DONNELL:  Cut to Michael.  It`s like perfect.

 

MADDOW:  Yes, sort of the only person I could do that from but honestly.

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

MADDOW:  If you just like the cameras came on and oops, wrong cameras came

on and showing Michael instead of me, everybody would know what he`s doing

here. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, sure.  I mean, really, literally and every sense needs no

introduction.  I did not know who you were talking about until Michael

appeared and it made perfect sense. 

 

MADDOW:  Cascaded into shape.  Keeping you on your toes.

 

O`DONNELL:  By the way, you`re talking about Val Demings in your last hour. 

She`s going to joining us.  She`s going to be our first guest tonight. 

Congressman Val Demings. 

 

MADDOW:  I didn`t know you had her.  I would have tried to steal her. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Sorry, I would have stolen Michael. 

 

Here is what I love about what we saw in yesterday`s hearings, and you see

this frequently in hearings.  You see it with Katy Porter, for example. 

Congressman Katy Porter.  You see the background of that congressperson

coming out in the hearings, in Katy Porter`s case, a former law professor. 

 

Val Demings` case, former police chief in Orlando, Florida, with all of

that law enforcement experience, and watching what that informs in the way

she handles a situation like yesterday`s hearing was really kind of

wonderful to watch.  It was – everything she said was just filled with her

experience and then directly tailored into what the issues of the day were. 

 

MADDOW:  And I would also say, don`t – I don`t want to be weird but the

fact that she was not only has such a law enforcement and distinguished

career but she was chief for so long.  Like part of the way you can read

that is the way she brings everything to a halt when she speaks. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

MADDOW:  She`s got that chief thing going on where she owns every room

she`s been in, and you can`t help but hang on every word.  Like she`s got

that natural authority thing that like makes you get in line. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, you`re used to that, Rachel, owning every room you`ve

ever been in.  That`s your thing.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, that room.  That room you`re in right now.  That one. 

That one. 

 

MADDOW:  Maybe.  Yes, maybe not even one.  Thank you, Lawrence. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 

 

Well, Joyce Vance has just published a new piece in “Time Magazine” in

which she identifies what she thinks is the single most important question

and answer in Robert Mueller`s testimony yesterday, and because we have so

much to cover tonight, we won`t get to Joyce Vance`s most important

question until the end of this hour.

 

But our first guest tonight will be Congresswoman Val Demings, former

police chief of Orlando, Florida, who is the person who asked the question

that Joyce Vance says is the most important question that was asked

yesterday.  So we`re perfectly book-ended in this hour. 

 

Tonight, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee the day after Robert

Mueller`s testimony says that the next step for the committee is to hear

from the most important witness in the Mueller report, the witness who

delivers the most damming evidence of Donald Trump`s obstruction of justice

and crimes, former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn. 

 

Here is Chairman Jerry Nadler tonight on MSNBC. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  The American people have to hear directly, for

example, from Don McGahn as to – he has to testify in front of the

Congress so he can say what the president said to him, what illegal

instructions the president said to him.  We have to hear from other

witnesses who testified to Mueller, but we need to hear and the American

people need to hear their testimony directly.  This is blocked and we`re

going to court to unblock it. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Chairman Nadler says committee lawyers will be in court

tomorrow, tomorrow seeking to enforce their subpoena of Don McGahn as a

witness.  Don McGahn`s name appears in the Mueller report more than 500

times and several committee members asked Robert Mueller about Don McGahn

yesterday. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. HANK JOHNSON (D-GA):  Your investigation found that President Trump

directed White House counsel don McGahn to fire you, isn`t that correct? 

 

ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL:  True. 

 

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA):  The president told the White House staff secretary

Rob Porter to try to pressure McGahn to make a false denial, is that

correct? 

 

MUELLER:  That`s correct. 

 

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA):  So, it`s accurate to say the president knew

he was asking McGahn to deny facts that McGahn, quote, had repeatedly said

were accurate unquote, isn`t that right? 

 

MUELLER:  Correct. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Congresswoman Val Demings had two opportunities with Robert

Mueller, first in the Judiciary Committee and then in the Intelligence

Committee.  Here is what Congresswoman Demings asked in the judiciary

committee. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL):  Lies by Trump campaign officials and

administration officials impeded your investigation. 

 

MUELLER:  I would generally agree with that. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Later in this hour, you will hear Joyce Vance identify that

question as the most important question of the day and explain why and

explain how that question links volume one and volume two of the Mueller. 

And here`s what Congresswoman Demings asked later in the intelligence

committee hearing. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DEMINGS:  Director Mueller, I want to focus on the written responses that

the president did provide and the continued efforts to lie and cover up

what happened during the 2016 election.  Were the president`s answers

submitted under oath? 

 

MUELLER:  Yes.  Yes. 

 

DEMINGS:  What did you determine about the president`s credibility? 

 

MUELLER:  And that I can`t get into. 

 

DEMINGS:  Well, let`s go through some of the answers to take a closer look

at his credibility because it seems to me, Director Mueller, that his

answers were not credible at all.  Did some of President Trump`s answers

relate to Trump Tower Moscow. 

 

MUELLER:  Yes. 

 

DEMINGS:  Did President Trump answer follow-up questions – according to

the report, there were follow up questions because of the president`s

incomplete answers about the Moscow project.  Did the president answer your

follow-up questions either in writing or orally?  And we`re now in volume

2, page 150 through 151. 

 

MUELLER:  No. 

 

DEMINGS:  He did not. 

 

In fact, there were many questions you asked the president that he simply

didn`t answer, is that correct? 

 

MUELLER:  True. 

 

DEMINGS:  And there were many answers that contradicted other evidence you

had gathered during the investigation, isn`t that correct, Director

Mueller? 

 

MUELLER:  Yes. 

 

DEMINGS:  Director Mueller isn`t it fair to say the president`s written

answers were not only inadequate and incomplete because he didn`t answer

many of your questions but where he did, his answers showed he wasn`t

always being truthful? 

 

MUELLER:  I would say generally. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congresswoman

Val Demings of Florida.  She`s a member of the House Judiciary Committee

and the House Intelligence Committee. 

 

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congresswoman Demings.  I

really appreciate it.  I know it`s been a busy week. 

 

DEMINGS:  It`s good to be with you, Lawrence.  Thanks for having me. 

 

O`DONNELL:  I want to go to what we just saw you questioning Robert Mueller

about and that is reminding us all that the president did submit to written

questions and answering written questions but as you illuminated, he did to

put it mildly a terrible job of answering the written questions. 

 

DEMINGS:  He did a terrible job and let`s start with Director Mueller not

being able to comment on the president of the United States credibility. 

And then his answer regarding the written questions and we do know the

president refused to do a sit-down interview, Director Mueller tried to get

him to do that for a year, he refused but then obviously in his written

answers, he was not always truthful as director Mueller indicated. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And the Mueller report does comment on the credibility of other

witnesses, comments favorably on the credibility of witnesses where it

finds them credible.  And so, Robert Mueller could have if he found the

president`s written answers credible said so. 

 

DEMINGS:  I think it`s reasonable to assume that if as you`ve just

indicated, if the president thought or if director Mueller thought the

president was credible, he certainly would have said that.  He even

commented about the credibility of Gates and Cohen, Michael Cohen saying

after thorough vetting, he was able to find their testimony about WikiLeaks

credible, but he wasn`t able to comment on the president`s credibility. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Bringing all of your years of law enforcement into what you

heard yesterday, what is your assessment of the criminal liability of

Donald Trump? 

 

DEMINGS:  You know, yesterday, Lawrence, was actually a very painful day. 

You know, what we – what Director Mueller confirmed is that Russia

interfered.  The president didn`t seem to care much about that.  Matter of

fact, he loved it and welcomed it and that he engaged in multiple instances

of obstruction of justice to impede the investigation into Russia

interference. 

 

The section about Don McGahn where the president repeatedly asked him to

get rid of the special counsel and then called in multiple times asking him

like a mobster if it had been done.  Yesterday was a painful day but it

clearly indicates why director Mueller was unable to exonerate the

president or find him innocent, basically, of any wrongdoing. 

 

O`DONNELL:  You brought up the point that with the written questions, they

had follow-up questions after they had seen the answers, especially since

the answers were incomplete.  Some of them they just didn`t answer at all,

and then the president didn`t answer any follow-up questions. 

 

DEMINGS:  According to Director Mueller, he was strong there and said, you

know, to a direct question, did he answer any of your follow up questions,

no.  And if you read the president`s responses over 30 times, over 30 times

the president said he did not recall or remember key instances or key

conversations during the case.  So the president I clearly understand after

listening to director Mueller why he was unable to exonerate the president. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And in your career in law enforcement, you`ve seen cases that

are slam dunks.  You`ve seen cases that are close calls, not sure.  Should

we charge?  Should we not charge?  What do we have here?  You`ve seen cases

get dismissed in court.  You`ve – and not been surprised and then

sometimes surprised because you understand the various weights that

evidence can have. 

 

What`s your assessment of the case against the president that Robert

Mueller assembled in this report? 

 

DEMINGS:  Lawrence, when the report first came out and I had an opportunity

to read it, and remember, as a member of both committees I`ve had an

opportunity to read the unredacted version, as well.  But when I first read

the redacted version, I was convinced then that the elements of multiple

crimes was there and that we should have begun impeachment proceedings at

that time.  Certainly after reading the unredacted version and just

everything being topped off with Director Mueller confirming some very

critical portions of the report, I have no doubt in my mind as a 27-year

law enforcement officer, a police detective and police chief the president

engaged in wrongdoing and were it not for the Department of Justice OLC

opinion, he would have been indicted. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Is it only members of the Intelligence Committee who have been

able to see the unredacted version? 

 

DEMINGS:  I can`t – I`m not sure about that particular portion.  I believe

there are some limited members of the judiciary like the chairman but I

know members of the Intelligence Committee have been able to review it. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Can you give us some sense of how much more people would

understand if they were able to see the unredacted version? 

 

DEMINGS:  Well, the unredacted version really has more to do with

identifying information and sometimes when you know who is involved, it

really helps you to better be able to piece the pieces of the puzzle

together. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Would you say the unredacted version would add to possible

impeachment charges against the president? 

 

DEMINGS:  Remember, I`ve thought for a long time for four months now there

was plenty evidence in the redacted version to begin impeachment

proceedings but every bit of information, every bit of evidence certainly

helps us get to the point where we need to be.  

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Val Demings, thank you very much for leading us off

tonight.  I really appreciate it. 

 

DEMINGS:  Thank you. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And the question that I was most looking forward to in

yesterday`s hearing was asked by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY):  Why didn`t you subpoena the president? 

 

MUELLER:  We were almost towards the end of our investigation and had

little success in pushing to get the interview of the president.  We

decided that we did not want to exercise the subpoena powers because of the

necessity of expediting the end of the investigation. 

 

MALONEY:  What did you think of the president`s written responses, Mr.

Mueller? 

 

MUELLER:  Certainly not as useful as the interview would be. 

 

MALONEY:  By my count, there were more than 30 times when the president

said he didn`t recall, he didn`t remember, no independent recollection, no

current recollection and I take it by your answer it wasn`t as helpful. 

That`s why you used words like incomplete, inprecise, inadequate,

insufficient. 

 

Is that a fair summery of what you thought of the written answers? 

 

MUELLER:  That is a fair summery.  I have presumed that comes from the

report. 

 

MALONEY:  Sir, I ask this respectfully, by the way, the president didn`t

ever claim the Fifth Amendment, did he? 

 

MUELLER:  I`m not going to talk to that. 

 

MALONEY:  Nobody told you you couldn`t subpoena the president, is that

right? 

 

MUELLER:  No, we understood we could subpoena the president. 

 

MALONEY:  So, my question, sir, is, did you have sufficient evidence of the

president`s intent to obstruct justice and is that why you didn`t do the

interview? 

 

MUELLER:  No, there is a balance.  In other words, how much evidence you

have to satisfy the last element against how much time are you willing to

spend in the courts litigating the interview of the president?  The reason

we didn`t do the interview because of the length of time it would take to

resolve the issues attending to that. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now is Democratic Congressman Sean

Patrick Maloney of New York.  He`s a member of the House Intelligence

Committee.

 

Congressman, first of all, thank you very much for asking the question that

I wanted to ask, but it was such an obvious question and I was sure someone

would ask it.  Do you feel it was answered?  Do you feel you now know why

they did not subpoena the president? 

 

MALONEY:  Yes, I sure wish they had, though.  I think it`s very important

to listen to what the director said and what he said is – by the way, they

wrote this in appendix C and page 13 of volume 2, that they had significant

and substantial evidence of the president`s intent to obstruct justice, and

they said a bunch of cases where, it – you know, those cases point out

that you frequently show intent to obstruct justice without an interview of

the investigation subject, that`s often how it works because people don`t

admit they were trying to obstruct justice.  And in those cases, it`s more

than enough to infer intent.

 

And when you say you have substantial and significant evidence of the

president`s intent, my point was simply they are telling us on those pages

that they thought they had enough. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, and I had found that use of the word intent and I have to

say it surprised me when I landed on that use of the word intent because

how would you establish intent without talking to the witness but as you

point out, they believe that they had so much information that it clarified

intent, but, but, the report does not then say what the intent was and

Robert Mueller didn`t say that yesterday. 

 

MALONEY:  Well, that`s because remember the special counsel is basically in

a box.  He can`t prosecute the president and he said that fairness concerns

would prevent him from accusing the president of a crime without giving the

president the opportunity he would have to defend himself in a normal

situation where he was charged with a crime. 

 

Therefore, this is the most you can do.  In other words, you can forgive

the special counsel for laying it all out on ten different instances of

obstruction saying he had sufficient evidence without an interview of the

president`s intent, a key element and believing that the attorney general

would care about that and wouldn`t lie about it to the American public or

dissemble or hide it for weeks, and, by the way, that the Congress would

care.  I think he told us everything he could tell us under the

department`s rules and under the fairness concerns they were operating

under. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, those department rules that prevented him from discussing

deliberations.  That was an enormous thing to leave out, because you could

have asked him about the discussions of the office about this decision to

not issue the subpoena.  But what about the part of his answer where he

said we basically just didn`t want to take the amount of time given that

there was no time limit on the investigation, why would he be concerned

about the amount of time it would take to enforce that subpoena? 

 

MALONEY:  Yes, I think that`s a hard question and I`m disappointed that

they didn`t take that time.  I served in the White House when a president

was put under oath for hours before a grand jury on videotape under oath

and that was because the independent counsel had subpoenaed the president. 

That was President Clinton, and that was the moment when the American

public had to see him answering tough questions under oath. 

 

We should not have been deprived that moment of this president.  Donald

Trump should have been put in a chair and asked tough questions and I

regret that.  But I want to say that respectfully because I believe here

the special counsel was telling us something important, which is that he

had a – he had substantial and significant evidence.  Those are his words

of the president`s intent to obstruct justice and they lay it out chapter

in verse and he was under constraints previous counsels were not under. 

 

So, in a sense, this is the best you were going to get. 

 

O`DONNELL: Yes, and he – big distinction he was not an independent counsel

like Kenneth Starr.  He was special counsel, and, unfortunately, for Robert

Mueller and his team, that meant they could be fired at any time, and there

was the president of the United States in effect publicly threatening to do

that.  Then there comes a day in Don McGahn testimony where they discover

the president has already a couple of times ordered Robert Mueller to be

fired. 

 

And one of the questions I was wondering about which no one got to

yesterday but maybe further investigation it will come out, was Robert

Mueller or anyone in the Mueller team concerned, concerned about the

possibility of being fired by the president and if they were concerned, did

that affect the speed of their investigation?  Did that in effect speed

them up?  Might that explain why Robert Mueller felt there was in effect a

time limit with the threat of being fired by the president? 

 

MALONEY:  I suppose that`s possible and there was, remember, a brand-new

attorney general coming online. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes. 

 

MALONEY:  And worked for that attorney general as you point out so the

attorney general was confirmed I believe in early March, I want to say and

the report was done two or three weeks later.  So, I think there were

definitely a lot of things coming together at that time frame but honestly,

and again, respectfully of Mr. Mueller because I have enormous respect for

him.  It was 16 months after his appointment that they got written answers

and those written answers were by his own language incomplete, imprecise,

inadequate and they were getting rope-a-dope by the president`s lawyers for

months and months.  They had to know, they had to know they were never

going to get anything truly useful out of the answers.

 

So, there was always going to have to be a subpoena and an in person

interview.  I guarantee the president`s lawyers were surprised they didn`t

have to give one of those, and I just think it`s one of the great missed

opportunities of this investigation because we`ll never see this president

sitting in a chair under oath answering the tough questions and I sure wish

we had had that opportunity. 

 

O`DONNELL:  I could do this with you all night.  The one other point I`d

make, Robert Mueller specifically did not answer the question of which was

president going to invoke the Fifth Amendment.  So if they had a Fifth

Amendment conversation and Mueller and company knew that even if they

enforced subpoena, Donald Trump will sit there and take the Fifth Amendment

to everyone question, that could be another reason not to do it. 

 

But so much more investigative work for you to do this. 

 

MALONEY:  Well, there are some serious unanswered questions and I think it

definitely under scores the role that Congress needs to play given the

constraints the special counsel is under.  We`ve got work to do. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, very good work yesterday,

thank you for joining us tonight.  I really appreciate it. 

 

MALONEY:  My pleasure. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, we`re going to follow up on something

that Jill Wine Banks said on this program last night, something that never

occurred to me and I felt stupid when I heard her say it because I felt it

should have occurred to me.  I didn`t give it enough air last night.  And

so, tonight, we`re going to get a second opinion, a second legal opinion

from Neal Katyal on ho president actually can be indicted even though the

Justice Department has a policy against indicting the president. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MUELLER:  We at the outset determined that we – when it came to the

president`s culpability, we needed to, we needed to go forward only after

taking into account the OLC opinion that indicated that a president, a

sitting president cannot be indicted. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  That was in the judiciary committee hearing yesterday.  Later

in that same hearing, Republican Congressman Ken Buck asked a question

everyone knew the answer to and it was not a question comforting to Donald

Trump. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO):  Could you charge the president with a crime after he

left office? 

 

MUELLER:  Yes. 

 

BUCK:  You believe that he committed – you could charge the president of

the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office? 

 

MUELLER:  Yes. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Last night at this hour, a former Watergate assistant special

prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks made a point about indicting a president that

had not occurred to me. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  The evidence of all the elements of

the crime has been established and were he not protected by the Office of

Legal Counsel, an opinion by the way that I think is flawed

constitutionally and legally, I think it`s incorrect, it`s time for someone

to challenge it or change it.  It may take a state prosecutor indicting the

president to take it to the Supreme Court for a decision and whether you

can cover up your own crime and get away with it. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, state prosecutor could get around that Justice Department

rule. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  And joining us our discussion now is Neal Katyal, the former

acting solicitor general in the Obama administration and MSNBC legal

contributor.

 

And, Neal, if a state prosecutor were to indict the president and the

president were to appeal the constitutionality of that indictment all the

way to the United States Supreme Court and that state got Neal Katyal to

argue the case, could you argue it?  How would it go? 

 

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes, I think you could argue it. 

Both of the clips you just showed, Lawrence, are right, Congressman Buck is

absolutely right, on January 21st, 2020, President Trump assuming he loses,

he will not have immunity from prosecution at the federal level.  So that`s

one route, January 21st. 

 

The second route as Jill Wine-Banks points out is that state prosecutors

could still indict.  Now, there is this Office of Legal Counsel opinion

that is being talked about that Mueller is talking about.  That`s a federal

opinion.  That`s about federal prosecutions but in our constitutional

system, we also have a separate set of prosecutors, state prosecutors and

they aren`t bound in any way, shape or form by the office of legal opinion. 

 

Now, I expect the president were he indicted by a state prosecutor to make

the same kinds of arguments that he`s been making all along, he`s immune,

he`s the king and so on, and I think that those arguments will get

somewhere when it comes to the trial of a sitting president.  But I don`t

think it`s going to get to the indictment part, that is I think that the

best arguments in terms of constitutional law say you can indict a sitting

president at the state level.  You may not be able to try them for I think

important reasons like 1861, I don`t think you`d want South Carolina to be

able to force Abraham Lincoln and haul him in to court to face a criminal

trial because after all, he has the nation`s business to attend to and a

war to prosecute. 

 

But I think the indictment could happen and so I suspect if there are state

charges that are viable, that those can and will be brought against the

president. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to another point raised by Mike Quigley yesterday. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL):  What if a president serves beyond the statute of

limitations? 

 

MUELLER:  I don`t know the answer to that one. 

 

QUIGLEY:  Would it not indicate that if the statute of limitations on

federal crime such as this are five years, that a president who serves his

second term is therefore under the policy above the law?

 

MUELLER:  I`m not certain I would agree – I`m not certain I would agree

with the conclusion.  I`m not certain that I can see the possibility that

you suggest. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Neal, what`s the answer? 

 

KATYAL:  So, I think two things.  Number one, I think the interchange shows

one of the main reasons Trump wants a second term is to extend his get out

of jail free card, that Office of Legal Counsel opinion, but the Office of

Legal Counsel opinion has in it that says the statute of limitations would

be automatically told that is held in advance so you can still indict him

afterwards if he were to win a second term.  So, that`s number one. 

 

Number two, Lawrence, this goes to the fund mental problem with this

administration, which is they are totally lawless.  This president is

saying and thumbing his nose at the Congress and courts and saying I don`t

need to show up to be interviewed by Mueller.  I don`t need to give him

answers even though there is damming evidence against him. 

 

I don`t need – you know McGahn, as you were talking about the start of the

show, doesn`t - his top lawyer, doesn`t need to show up even though there`s

a subpoena against him and things like that.

 

And this is the culmination of that whole line of thinking. “I am

effectively the King. You can`t indict me and I have such immunity that I

can outrun the Statute of Limitations.” I mean I can`t imagine what our

founders of our great government would have thought about a President

making such ridiculous, anti-constitutional assertions.

 

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, thank you very much for joining us.

 

KATYAL: Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: Appreciate it. And when we come back, it is a routine stop for

presidential candidates to go to the NAACP Convention, but not Donald

Trump. But there is another Republican presidential candidate who did go to

the NAACP Convention yesterday. That candidate will join us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: During the Mueller hearings yesterday some of the Democratic

presidential candidates were in Detroit at the annual NAACP Convention.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is an inflection

moment in the history of our country. It is a moment in time where we are

being required to look in a mirror and ask a question. That question being

who are we?

 

JULIAN CASTRO (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I haven`t been afraid to be bold

and fearless in the face of a President who is the biggest identity

politician to come along in the last 50 years, trying to divide us along

racial and ethnic and religious lines.

 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a President who

is a racist, a President who is a pathological liar and a President who is

trying to divide the American people up based on the color of their skin,

where they were born or their religion.

 

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s a lot at stake. We`re really

in a battle for the soul of the country right now and we have a President

who has done everything to divide us, to split us apart, and this is not

who we are as a nation.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: The NAACP Convention is a routine stop for presidential

candidates, including Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and

John McCain both spoke at the NAACP Convention when they were running for

President.

 

But Donald Trump, of course, refused an invitation to speak at the NAACP

Convention when he was running for President in 2016 and he refused again

this year. But the other Republican running for President - yes, there is

another Republican running for President, former Massachusetts Governor

Bill Weld did accept an invitation to speak at the NAACP Convention

yesterday.

 

Bill Weld is the only Republican, as of now, who is challenging Donald

Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2020 Republican

primaries. Here is how the only Republican presidential candidate who

appeared at the NAACP Convention yesterday began his remarks.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BILL WELD (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning, everybody. My name is

Bill Weld and I`m already running against Donald Trump in the Republican

primaries. So let`s get one thing out of the way right at the beginning.

Donald Trump is a raging racist, OK. He`s a complete and thorough going

racist.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld joins us next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Here is former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, now a

Republican presidential candidate for President at the NAACP Convention

yesterday.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

WELD: Unless the Republican Party in Washington expressly - expressly

rejects the racism of Donald Trump, they`re going to come to be universally

viewed as the party of racism in America.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: And Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld joins us now.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight Governor, really appreciate it.

 

WELD: Lawrence, always a pleasure. Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: Tell us more about your appearance at the NAACP Convention. Why

you thought that was an important stop for you as a Republican candidate

and what - we just showed little clips of what you had to say. What was

your basic message there?

 

WELD: Yes, I was making the point Lawrence. That if the Republican Party

doesn`t distance itself from the unbelievably overt racism of President

Trump, it`s going to be stigmatized throughout the country as the party of

racism, and they`re not going to be a national party anymore.

 

They may be able to win the states that the Dixiecrats won in 1948 and that

George Wallace won in 1968, but a national party, not so much. So that`s a

message I wanted to deliver to the Republicans.

 

You know, I said that the President made the choice to be a racist a long

time ago when he boasted - when he was in the housing business with his

father, we have ways to keep people like them - meaning people of color,

out of our projects.

 

But now the Republican Party has a choice. They act like they think

sometimes it`s a political choice. It`s not a political choice, it`s a

moral choice and they`re going to be judged by the results of that choice.

 

O`DONNELL: You know, I think, some viewers around the country now having

heard what they have heard and silences that they`ve heard from Republicans

over the last several years about these kinds of issues, might be surprised

to hear a Republican talking this way.

 

But what I`m hearing is what I would call an Ed Brooke Republican. When you

and I were still in school in Boston, Ed Brooke was the Republican senator

from Massachusetts–

 

WELD: Sure.

 

O`DONNELL: –the only African-American member of the United States Senate

at the time. And so I don`t find this at all surprising in the history of

Massachusetts republicanism.

 

WELD: Well, yes, and we were the party of Lincoln and - you know, I think

it`s Donald Trump who`s the rhino. He`s the guy who`s a Republican in name

only.

 

The best traditions of the party, including you know the abolition of

slavery and conservation movement - environmental conservation, that`s

conservative, fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget like everybody in

the country has to do, except for the federal government. That`s a

Republican tradition.

 

A strong foreign policy, not isolationist, that`s a Republican policy. Free

trade has been a Republican policy. It`s Donald Trump who`s the odd man out

on all these finest traditions of the Republican Party.

 

O`DONNELL: Let me talk about another Republican who we saw yesterday and

that`s Robert Mueller testifying to the House Representatives. You worked

with Robert Mueller in the Justice Department. You were actually his boss,

I presumed, you taught him everything he knows.

 

WELD: He taught me. He taught me.

 

O`DONNELL: And also think of you as a Mueller Republican and I think that`s

a label you`d be proud of. What was your reaction to Bob Mueller`s

testimony yesterday.

 

WELD: Well, I think, he confirmed what we all knew that there`s an

overwhelming case of obstruction of justice in Volume 2 of the Mueller

report. Myself - if I`d had that case, I would have charged the President.

 

You know this Office of Legal Counsel opinions that everyone`s pointing to,

they`re not like a judicial opinion, they don`t have the same force of law.

The Office of Legal Counsel, Assistant Attorney General is the lawyer for

the President and the lawyer for the Attorney General. Those are his or her

only two clients.

 

So it`s almost like citing a brief instead of a judicial opinion to cite

that Office of Legal Counsel opinion as the basis for not indicting a

President. I think you could have charged him and suspended and sealed the

indictment so that the Statute of Limitations would not run out.

 

O`DONNELL: And–

 

WELD: I would have if I`d had that case.

 

O`DONNELL: OK. And I want to get another reaction for you and that is the

Republican Senate controlled by Mitch McConnell would not bring to a vote

or debate in the Senate this week, legislation about election security.

 

In the face of all of this testimony that we`re getting and all the

evidence in the Mueller report that we need election security to defend

against the Russian attack. And Republican Leader of the Senate wouldn`t

even allow debate on it.

 

WELD: Yes, I thought that was extraordinarily unfortunate timing for Mitch.

I mean, the one thing that Bob Mueller did do handsprings on was he said,

“Look, this Russian interference was real and it went on and on and it`s

going on right now. And it`s the most serious thing I`ve ever seen in my

life”, that`s Bob Mueller talking.

 

And you know the bill that is getting bottled up, is a bill that would

simply say that when election officials see evidence of foreign tampering

foreign efforts to tamper with the election, they should report it to

federal authorities who obviously have superior investigative capability.

 

And now we know the Russians aimed to target at all 50 states and that they

got their hands into the Illinois database. Well, they could easily delete

precincts where they thought there were minority voters, if they wanted to

say favor Mr. Trump in the next election.

 

Or they could just say, well, we were all over this election, these states

that President Trump lost, there by casting into doubt the election

results. And that the President joked during the 2016 campaign that if he

lost, he was going to say the election was rigged.

 

Well, I`m not sure, that`s entirely a joke. It`s like he I`m talking about

wouldn`t it be nice to have a third term. You know, I don`t think that`s

really a joke. I think that`s what he`d really love to have.

 

O`DONNELL: Bill Weld, Republican presidential candidate thank you for

joining us once again tonight, really appreciate it.

 

WELD: Thank you, Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, Joyce Vance will join us to talk about

what she thinks, what she`s identified in the new article as the most

important question and the most important answer in the Mueller testimony

yesterday.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: OK. As promised at the beginning of this hour it`s time for

Joyce Vance`s most important question and answer of the Mueller hearings.

In an important new article for “Time Magazine”, former federal prosecutor

Joyce Vance has identified a question that she says perfectly links Volume

1 and Volume 2 of the Mueller report.

 

She`ll explain that link in a moment. But first here is congressman Val

Demings asking what Joyce Vance thinks is the most important question in

the hearings.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

(ROBERT MUELLER`S TESTIMONY)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance is with us, but to give her enough time to explain

the importance of what you just saw, we`re going to try to - we`re squeeze

in a final commercial break right here, because I don`t want to do that in

the middle of what Joyce has to say. And Joyce hold on, Joyce will tell us

what is so important about that question and an answer you just saw right

after this break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: And we are back with the cliffhanger former U.S. attorney and

MSNBC Legal Analyst, Joyce Vance. Joyce let`s take another look at the

short version of the question and answer that you found so important

yesterday.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

(ROBERT MUELLER`S TESTIMONY)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance you have the floor, why was so important?

 

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It seems to me Lawrence that this is the

linkage of Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Mueller report. We`re used to

looking at them separately. Yesterday we had two separate hearings.

 

But it`s important I think that we understand - and Mueller made it clear

that we needed to understand that the obstruction ultimately impacted their

inability to charge a conspiracy or other crimes related to connections

between the campaign and Russia.

 

And that its ultimately that obstruction of justice, not just from the

President, but also from people around him, people who Mueller and the

report tells us, didn`t tell the whole truth, lied, destroyed evidence.

It`s that obstructive behavior by an entire circle of people that

ultimately serves to keep the American people in the dark about what

happened.

 

O`DONNELL: And so in Volume 1, when we get to the phrase “Insufficient

Evidence”, this is part of how we got to that phrase “Insufficient

Evidence”.

 

VANCE: You know, it is - and Mueller clarifies that. He says, we believe

that we have the full story. But because there are gaps in our evidence, it

is possible that if we had more information, if some of these folks had

told the truth, that we would cast the evidence that we have in a new

light. That we would view these differently or maybe in a completely new

light.

 

And that, I think, is something that we should all understand is the risk

here. That when people obstruct justice, it keeps prosecutors from getting

to the full truth. And when we are talking about the President of the

United States, engaging in a pattern of relationship of behavior with

Russia, it is very dangerous for us to not know the truth.

 

O`DONNELL: And Joyce, Robert Mueller seems to think - seem to suggest there

was a lot of lying that they were aware of and different grades of it, all

the way to outright liar. Outright liar, we can presume, I guess, Michael

Flynn, he got charged with that as a crime.

 

But there aren`t - it seems as though there aren`t as any perjury charges

as you might expect from a prosecutors who is saying we dealt with all of

this lying.

 

VANCE: Perjury is different from having witnesses come and lie to you.

Because it`s a legal charge, it requires you prove intent, it requires that

you prove the materiality of what you are being told.

 

And here we have witnesses who came in and perhaps told lies or told half-

truths in a posture where it wasn`t possible, feasible, desirable for

prosecutors to spend all of their time on that and yet it impeded the

investigations.

 

We saw charges in the most important cases involving lies. But I think we

really don`t know - we know, because Mueller tells Congresswoman Demings

that it did impact the investigation. What we don`t know is how much, how

pervasive it was.

 

O`DONNELL: It`s very clear that Donald Trump is trying to impede the

investigation. He is trying to stop the investigation. He is trying to fire

Robert Mueller and it could be that the drama of that, as it unfolds in the

reading of the report, casts such a shadow that people don`t notice, all of

this other lying that Robert Mueller says was impeding their investigation.

 

VANCE: I think that that`s the risk here. We really don`t know the answer

to that ultimate question - was there a conspiracy? And we don`t know

because they`re so successful of obstruction. That`s a dangerous place for

us to be.

 

O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance. Your article is at time.com. Everyone should grab

it. Joyce Vance, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Joyce Vance

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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