Rep. Adam Schiff interview. TRANSCRIPT: 8/6/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
So much to comment on in your last hour. One thing I just want to begin
with is that the civil rights law that enabled a lot of the lawsuits that
you were talking about, in fact, all of the lawsuits you were talking about
at the beginning of your show against racist groups, comes under a heading
of civil rights law in which the plaintiffs` attorneys, these private
attorneys who are bringing those cases are referred to as private attorneys
And that goes directly to your point about how what do you do if the
William Barr Justice Department – if the Justice Department doesn`t take
the action? And Congress was anticipating that by creating what they –
through these laws what they call private attorneys general.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I did not know that, and that makes absolute
sense given the way we`ve seen those laws work in practice and the kinds of
wrongs that they tried to redress.
Thank you, my friend. I did not know that at all.
O`DONNELL: And, Rachel, one other thing, Connie Schultz, that interview
with Connie Schultz where she`s talking about the Ohio Republican
Congressman Mike Turner – I was taking notes during this. And talking
about him coming over – across the line, finally, in supporting now some
possible gun regulation, including possibly the restriction on sale of
O`DONNELL: And she said, whatever gets them here, welcome. Those were her
words when she was saying, you know, a lot of people are going to criticize
Republicans who make any kind of step like that and say it`s too late,
where were you, you should have done this before this happened, but her
words, whatever gets them here, welcome – that is exactly what you live by
O`DONNELL: – if you actually do legislation do a living. When I was
working in the Senate, that is exactly the way I felt. There were
Republicans, sometimes there were Democrats who absolutely were never,
never on the side I was working on on Democratic legislation, but every
once in awhile, they would come over and you just embrace them when they
MADDOW: Yes, and that`s – that means keeping your eyes on the horizon,
you know what I mean? That means not getting so caught up in whatever your
grudges or petty dramas or your day-to-day stuff is because you`ve got
something to get done and you`re going to get there by whatever means you
need to get there. And I also think that Connie Schultz is just a wise
MADDOW: And is – you know, she`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.
She`s a leader in her own field. I think that when a lot of people were
talking about Sherrod Brown being an attractive candidate potentially for
the Democrats for president this year, a lot of what people had in mind
when saying that was, wow, wouldn`t it be amazing for Connie Schultz to be
the first lady of the United States if her husband chose to run?
And part of that is that kind of the moral leadership that she has shown.
And I think that she`s sort of opened my mind on these issues, with the way
she approached that. And I think that sort of leadership is not only
smart, it`s soulful.
O`DONNELL: It was a great hour, Rachel. I really appreciate it.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Everything that I learned. Thank you. Thanks, Rachel.
O`DONNELL: Well, we must call the El Paso shooting what it is, Trump-
inspired terrorism. I didn`t say that, those are the words of Professor
David Schanzer. He is the director of the Center on Terrorism and Homeland
Security at Duke University. He`s a former high-ranking staff member in
the House Homeland Security Committee.
And Professor Schanzer says, quote, it is staggering to imagine how much
more violence this president may motivate. Professor Schanzer will join us
at the end of this hour tonight.
We`ll also be joined tonight by Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of
the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Schiff told his California
constituents yesterday that he blames Republican opposition to every form
of gun regulation on what Congressman Schiff says is, quote, a contagion of
cowardice in the Congress.
We begin tonight with the words of another member of Congress, a freshman.
I met her in Texas last year when she was running for what was then Beto
O`Rourke`s seat in the House of Representatives, representing El Paso, and
then a year later she joined us here on this program as a member of
And, today, Representative Veronica Escobar tweeted her reaction to
President Trump`s announced visit to El Paso tomorrow.
The White House invited me to join Donald Trump during his visit to El
Paso. My response was clear. I requested a phone call with him today in
order to share what I have now heard from many constituents, including some
who are victims of Saturday`s attack. I was told that Donald Trump is too
busy to have that conversation.
I declined the invitation because I refuse to be an accessory to his visit.
I refuse to join without a dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful
words and actions have caused our community and country. Tomorrow, I will
again be spending time with fellow El Pasoans who are dealing with the pain
and horror left in the wake of this act of domestic terrorism fueled by
hate and racism.
Congresswoman Escobar explained what she would have told the president in
the phone call that never happened. My message would have been that he
needs to understand that his words are powerful and have consequences.
Using racist language to describe Mexicans, immigrants and other minorities
dehumanize us. Those words inflame others.
Donald Trump is going to El Paso while he still owes the city of El Paso
over half a million dollars from his last visit to El Paso. That is money
that El Paso needs now more than ever for police overtime and all sorts of
costs. “The Texas Tribune” reports that according to the communications
manager for the El Paso city manager`s office, the president has an
outstanding bill of $569,204.63 for police and public safety services
associated with a February campaign rally in El Paso.
And that was one of the many rally speeches in which the president used the
very same language about people trying to enter the country at the southern
border that the El Paso mass murderer used for those people in his written
manifesto before he killed them.
Here`s part of the president`s speech in El Paso about the people seeking
entry at our southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Murders. Murders. Murders.
CROWD: Build that wall!
TRUMP: We will. We will.
CROWD : Build that wall!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The mayor of El Paso said that he would meet with the president
tomorrow in his official capacity as mayor. Mayor Dee Margo said that he
would ask the president, quote, to support our efforts with any and all
federal resources that are available.
The last time Donald Trump went to El Paso, the mayor called Donald Trump`s
comments untrue. Last night, Mayor Margo said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR DEE MARGO, EL PASO, TX: I will continue to challenge any harmful and
inaccurate statements made about El Paso. We will not allow anyone to
portray El Paso in a manner that is not consistent with our history and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tonight on this network, Congresswoman Escobar told Chris Hayes
that even people suffering from their wounds in the hospital in El Paso
that she`s been visiting have made the effort to tell her that they do not
want Donald Trump to come to El Paso.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): This community is full of hope and
resilience and beauty, but the other thing that I heard, Chris, totally
unsolicited from victims still in the hospital as they`d grab my arm and
tell me – tell him not to come here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: An open letter to Donald Trump from organizations and
individuals in El Paso insists that he should not come to El Paso.
The letter says: Dear President Trump, we send you this letter in the hope
that in the aftermath of this heinous crime you will not come to El Paso,
our home. Your presence would bring no comfort, no respite from the pain
so brutally and callously imposed upon us. We ask instead for your
We say this because we recognize that it is your rhetoric and your actions
that led us to this terrible moment. This shooter was inspired by your
words and your attitudes. Given this history of hate on your part, we ask
that you stay away. In the meantime, we will lament this loss, the 22 dead
and 24 wounds, our mothers and fathers, neighbors and friends without you.
We must insist you are not welcomed here.
Leading off our discussion now is one of the signatories of that letter,
J.J. Martinez. He is a member of the El Paso Young Democrats. Also with
us tonight in El Paso, Richard Parker. He is the author of “Lone Star
Nation: How Texas Will Transform America”. And Maria Teresa Kumar joins
us. She is the president and CEO of Voto Latino, and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Richard Parker, I want to start with you in an op-ed piece in “The New
York Times” about this event in the aftermath of it, you wrote: We have
invaded nothing. We were already here.
Please explain that to our audience.
RICHARD PARKER, OP-ED WRITER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it`s exactly that.
I am the son of a Mexican immigrant who is now a citizen of the United
States and an American father. My mother`s family has come back – has
come through Texas and back to Mexico many times. My late great uncle
enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II and lost his life as
a Mexican citizen fighting for this country.
So, the idea that there`s any kind of invasion going on is farcical. The
president has said this over 60 times. Obviously, it`s a core component of
his re-election strategy. And he shows no signs whatsoever of backing off
of this horrible untruth, which is not just aimed at El Paso but all 60
million Latinos in this country.
O`DONNELL: And, Richard, the land you`re standing on there is called El
Paso, has a Spanish place name, as do places in California because it was
not part of the United States when these places got their names.
PARKER: All of this territory that you`re talking about from the Gulf of
Mexico to the Pacific Ocean was part of New Spain, beginning in around
1690, and populated by people who came from Mexico at the time who were
both European and of indigenous backgrounds. And to this very day, the
linkages whether they`re economic or social or cultural are strongly wedded
to Mexico and to Latin America.
That has – that was the root of my father`s career. The reason he came
here is the reason there are 2.3 million people in this larger metropolitan
So, this fantasy that the president has purposefully fed people, which has
poisoned our political discourse in a way I`ve never expected in my entire
lifetime, is not only farcical, but as I said it is an insult to Latinos
everywhere, from Los Angeles to New York, from San Antonio to Seattle.
O`DONNELL: J.J. Martinez, what – why did you sign that letter asking the
president not to come and what has been the reaction to it in El Paso?
J.J. MARTINEZ, EL PASO DEMOCRATIC PARTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Of
course, thank you for having me on, Lawrence.
First, let me say, I don`t understand, Lawrence, how a man who has called
the people who make up this bi-national community, called Mexican
immigrants rapists, drug dealers, has called us breeders, who at a campaign
rally laughed at the idea of shooting a people coming over. I also don`t
understand how a man who also owes the city of El Paso over half a million
dollars for his last visit and who prides himself with supporting white
nationalists like Stephen Miller, I don`t understand how that man hopes to
come to this city that he so often insults and hopes to comfort us. It`s
something that, unfortunately, we have to experience.
I don`t think anybody would have imagined that we would have to be asking
the sitting president of the United States not to come after such a
horrendous shooting, but it is the words of this president, like my
congresswoman has said, that make it – that we do not want him here. That
until he apologizes for that hateful rhetoric, that racist and white
supremacists use, he should not come. We need time to heal and we need to
heal as a community. We need words of love, not words of hate.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, what do you expect to see tomorrow when the
president goes to El Paso?
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So, Lawrence, I have family in El
Paso and I spend a lot of time mostly recently, and I have to say to really
underscore that this is the safest city in America. It is 85 percent
Latino. And we keep failing to recognize that a white supremacist attack
on this city was second largest only to Oklahoma City. This was a massacre
of the Latino community, and the president coming in and trying to create a
farce that he cares is really hard to swallow.
He started his campaign in the Latino community, tried to create a swath of
individuals, calling us criminals. Yes, he said Mexican immigrants but
everybody in the Latin American community knew what he was talking about.
We heard that dog whistle.
And his words have consequences, and oftentimes, all we say is that it`s
rhetoric, but he also has policies of caging children. He has policies of
creating denaturalization task force for naturalized citizens. He has
policies that try to create a citizenship question to disenfranchise us
from our political power.
So, it is not just his rhetoric but – that has caused great harm in El
Paso, but it`s also his policies that have caused great harm. And what he
is – what the shooter did was send a resounding message to American
Latinos and to Latinos in immigrant communities everywhere, Lawrence, that
as a Latino in the safest city in the country, if you can get hurt there,
all of a sudden, we should all be on high alert and that is what is
That our security as people of color, as brown people, as Latinos who work
hard, who die for this country, who are patriots are, all of a sudden, now
open up for arms. And we need the president to try to be as unifying as
possible, but the city – but El Paso, again, I was there just – just last
week. When you would talk to them about politics, they didn`t want to
engage. They wanted to have more conversations that were more communal and
all of a sudden he has made El Paso a place where everybody cannot get away
from what is happening now.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democratic
senator, says he`s going to say to the president because he has decided
that he will join with the president when the president visits Dayton,
Ohio, tomorrow. Let`s listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): I want to say to the president, you talk about
mental health. If you care about mental health don`t cut Medicaid, don`t
repeal the Affordable Care Act, and I`m going to say to the president first
how important it is that he call on Senator McConnell, as I did on Sunday,
he call on Senator McConnell to bring the Senate back into session, that
the president tell McConnell to pass the background check bill, and the
president promise to the American people and to McConnell that he will sign
And I`m going to ask the president that. I will, if given a chance, talk
to him about the assault weapons ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: J.J. Martinez, is that what you`re hoping that your mayor says
to President Trump in El Paso tomorrow?
MARTINEZ: Well, of course, our hearts go out to the people of Dayton and
I`m thankful for the senator`s words, but I do hope that Mayor Margo does
raise those concerns with the president when he comes.
I think it`s important, Lawrence, to say first and foremost he needs to
apologize for the racist – the rhetoric that white supremacists use that
he`s been spewing since day one of his presidency, since he got down that
escalator. He needs to apologize for that. He needs to tell his
supporters that he was wrong. That it stains the office that he now holds
and that we do not accept racism or white supremacy in this country.
And I agree with the senator that he needs to call Mitch McConnell and tell
him that he needs to reconvene the Senate and vote on the bipartisan
measures that the House had passed. I hope that Mayor Margo raises those
issues with him, and I do hope that Mayor Margo represents our city, the
city that is hurting, that we hope that no city has to go through again. I
hope that Mayor Margo does pick that up with the president tomorrow.
O`DONNELL: Richard Parker, what is the feeling in your hometown this week
and tonight? Is it the feeling of a wake and a funeral, a large collective
wake and funeral?
PARKER: Well, in my talking to people around the city, what I have
uncovered, at least from my perspective, is there is some fear – for the
first time in my life in my hometown when I walk out of an establishment
somebody would say, stay safe. It was a phrase I`ve never heard
practically anywhere, but certainly here.
So there`s a certain amount of fear. There is a certain amount of anger,
frankly. I think it is directed at the fact that the – this was a
political attack on one of the largest ethnic groups in our country, and
there`s no question about that. This is not about video games and mental
health issues, which have become the new thoughts and prayers, frankly, of
the Republican Party.
But there is a great deal of anxiety now, too. As in any one of these
cases, this is my third to cover I think, we`ve had three in Texas in a
couple of years. There`s a lot of anxiety. And it`s not so much about
one`s personal safety, though that exists, it`s really about the state of
affairs in this country.
I interviewed a 62-year-old woman yesterday and she had a mix of emotions,
like anybody who is grieving, she too lost a friend in the massacre. But
beneath the fear and beneath the anxiety, beneath the anger, I should say,
was the anxiety. And it`s hard for me to imagine, I think as J.J. said,
that the president`s visit here is going to help that. Unless he`s willing
to renounce white supremacist ideology, which is at the very core of his
campaign for re-election, and, frankly, it`s been at the core of his
presidency, let face it.
Nothing`s going to change here because of his visit. In fact, the only
thing that will happen is that it will – could well be and understandably
construed as rubbing salt in the wound.
O`DONNELL: Richard Parker, J.J. Martinez and Maria Teresa Kumar, I am very
sorry that you are joining us tonight on this subject, but I greatly
appreciate your guidance through it. It is very important for us to be
able to hear from you.
And, Richard and J.J., I`m very, very sorry for what has happened this week
in your hometown and what it means for you to try to get through this week.
We really appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.
KUMAR: Thank you, Lawrence.
PARKER: Thank you.
MARTINEZ: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, former San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian
Castro will join us. He is now a Democratic candidate for president.
And later, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will join us
to discuss the growing threat of white supremacist terrorism in the United
O`DONNELL: One thing American mass murderers have in common is that they
are the very best equipped mass murderers in the world. They can thank
Republicans for making sure that the best tools of mass murder are still
legally available to them. And just like the mass murderer at a Pittsburgh
synagogue before him, the mass murderer in El Paso agrees with Donald Trump
that there is an invasion at our southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s an invasion of our
We have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people.
I don`t care what the fake media says, that`s an invasion of our country.
We have right now an invasion. If you look at what`s going on with the
caravans, it`s an invasion.
Stop this onslaught, this invasion into our country.
People hate the word invasion, but that`s what it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: “The New York Times” reports that since January, Mr. Trump`s
re-election campaign has posted more than 2,000 ads on Facebook that
include the word “invasion”, part of a barrage of advertising focused on
immigration. According to data obtained by “The New York Times,” the Trump
campaign had one of its biggest expenditures on Facebook ads about
immigration last week just before the El Paso massacre.
And surely the El Paso mass murderer noticed when one or more Trump
supporters at a Trump rally in Florida yelled the solution to the invasion
was to, quote, “shoot them.” The president clearly heard his devoted
supporters yell “shoot them,” and the president smiled. The president
didn`t say don`t shoot them, the president welcomed the comment.
Everything about the president`s reaction to one of his voters saying
“shoot them” indicated that the president approved of the idea. The
president actually offered his audience the strategic advice to not try to
get away with saying “shoot them” unless they`re in a place like the
The president`s exact words were: That`s only in the Panhandle you can get
away with that statement.
Now, I`m not going to show you that video tonight because in this mourning
period, it is just too profoundly ugly and hateful to watch. And I`m sure
most of you remember it, and I am very sure that the El Paso mass murderer
remembers exactly what the president said about shooting them.
Joining our discussion now is Julian Castro, Democratic presidential
candidate. He was secretary of housing and urban development in the Obama
administration after serving as mayor of San Antonio, Texas.
Secretary Castro, your reaction to what has happened in El Paso and Ohio?
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it`s sad for our country.
And it`s especially sad that the leader of our country is stoking the
hatred and the bigotry and the division that is prompting people like that
shooter to go and specifically search out Latinos to kill. This is the
climate that we find ourselves in in 2019.
And, you know, what else can you say, except that that`s sad and all of us
should be sad. We should also be infuriated, as I know a lot of people
are. And now, what we need to do as a country is to figure out a way to
channel that anger into something that will change things in our country –
common sense gun safety legislation.
I was glad to see the folks in Ohio chant back and interrupt their
governor, telling him to do something. It`s also time for Congress to
actually do something.
And then also, we need to give the tools to the Department of Justice that
they need so that they can root out this domestic terrorism, whether it`s
white supremacist terrorism or other types of domestic terrorism, because
as you know, the Trump administration actually took money away from the
agency that does that.
And maybe most importantly, I think the best way to channel this anger is
for people to register to vote and encourage others to register to vote and
actually turn out and vote, and vote in leaders at every level who actually
believe and have a track record of trying to bring people together instead
of tearing people apart. Those are the things that we can do in our
country to make things better.
O`DONNELL: I`d like you to listen to three El Paso residents, three
teenagers. This is on Sunday at a vigil. They`re speaking to Chris
Jansing. Let`s listen to what they have to say and then I`d like you to
speak to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANILA QUIZ, EL PASO RESIDENT, 16 YEARS OLD (through translator): To see
that our city has been attacked by an outsider was just so hurtful and full
DIANE TISCARENO, EL PASO RESIDENT, 17 EARS OLD: I`m having to, like,
realize that racism is so alive and strong that people are willing to kill
us for it. I never had to come to terms with my own mortality for being
CAROLINA ARRENDONDO, EL PASO RESIDENT, 15 YEARS OLD: We`re supposed to be
one of the best countries in the world, and this is still happening?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The 17-year-old girl saying, I never had to come to terms with
my own mortality for being Hispanic.
CASTRO: You know, I have a 10-year-old daughter and I want her to grow up
in a country where she can be proud of who she is and comfortable in her
own brown skin and know that she is as every bit American as anybody else.
And I think about my own family. You know, my on my dad`s side they got
here around 1900 and on my mother`s side in 1922, that you`ve had
generations of Latinos that have been a part of defending our country in
war, building up our nation in every single way that you can.
And for a President now to base his entire political strategy on turning
the Latino community, and especially recent immigrants into the other, into
the danger toward America, it doesn`t belong in this country. He doesn`t
belong as President, and that`s one of the reasons I know that I`m running
to replace him and I bet that a lot of other people who are in this race
feel the same way.
O`DONNELL: Secretary Julian Castro, thank you for joining us on this
difficult night. I really appreciate it.
CASTRO: Good to be with you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, the Chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff will join us.
O`DONNELL: There has been a contagion of cowardice in Congress, that`s what
California Congressman Adam Schiff told his constituents in Pasadena
yesterday in a meeting about gun violence.
In his New York Times column today Paul Krugman noted quote, “Republicans
have blocked any effective control over sales of assault weapons.” At the
end of that column, Paul Krugman examined where the Republican Party`s
opposition to sane gun regulation has left us.
Quote “In effect then the Republican Party decided that a few massacres
were an acceptable price to pay in return for tax cuts. I wish that were
hyperbole, but the continuing refusal of GOP figures to criticize Trump
even after El Paso shows that it`s the literal truth.”
Joining our discussion now is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff,
California. He is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Mr.
Chairman, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Talk about what you identified as the contagion of cowardice. How does that
express itself in the Congress and what are the results?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well I think we`ve always known that courage is
contagious, but we`re also saying that so is cowardice. There are any
number of my GOP colleagues who will express their private misgivings about
the President, about how divisive he is, about how he`s tearing down our
But they refuse to speak out about it. They refuse to have vote in a way
that would put a check on the President. This goes to his racist vile, this
goes to common sense and gun safety legislation.
I mean, the GOP members of Congress understand just as the Democrats do, it
makes no sense to have a system where you can go into a gun store and be
turned down, because you`re a felon and go out and buy that same gun off
the back of someone`s truck perfectly legally.
They understand the same facts that we do, but they`re unwilling to speak
out. They`re unwilling to risk an angry tweet. They`re unwilling to risk
the ire, not even of the NRA members, but the NRA leadership, getting a bad
grade from the NRA. And I don`t know how to describe that other than a
contagion of cowardice.
I don`t know why they`re there faced with these tragedies if they`re
unwilling to do something about it, when they know what`s right.
O`DONNELL: I want to ask you about this as a former prosecutor yourself.
What changes in law, other than gun regulation, other than banning assault
weapons as California`s senior senator was able to do during the 1990s -
Dianne Feinstein got that push through. What about in prosecutions of cases
like this well?
I think we should think about having a domestic terrorism statute that
parallels the statute basically that bars international terror. The kind
that we`re used to thinking about in terms of ISIS or Al-Qaeda inspired
terror. Not only to put this on a par, which it should be. We now have
about the same number of people killed since 9/11 in these domestic often
white supremacist oriented hate crimes.
But also it gives you the ability to prosecute some of the supporting
crimes, the providing material support to terror which would not be
available in a domestic terrorism case. It also, I think, gives the same
priority and stigma to these crimes as any other form of terrorism.
In our bill this year the Intelligence Authorization Act, we demand an
annual report on domestic terrorism. We have been working with the
intelligence agencies - the NCTC, Department of Homeland Security, FBI to
find out are they devoting the resources to this, are they looking for the
trends, are we thinking about in the same comprehensive way that we have
fought since 9/11 about dealing with the ISIS and Al-Qaeda inspired terror.
O`DONNELL: Domestically, this is primarily in in federal terms FBI
jurisdiction and we have reports that 80% of the FBI`s attention in this
arena is focused on the foreign inspired terrorists, not the domestic
SCHIFF: I think that`s right, but I think it`s changing. And we heard
Director Wray say recently just how many domestic terrorism investigations
are ongoing right now, and what a growing problem this is.
But even while we recognize that, a lot of this is domestic - in the sense
these are homegrown terrorists with a homegrown agenda. They`re also
influenced by overseas like-minded people.
The shooter in Christchurch was influenced in these dark online chat rooms.
The same chat rooms that some of the domestic shooters the United States
have been inspired by so. There is a transnational element to this. In the
same way that people have been inspired to act out by ISIS propaganda, even
though they weren`t under ISIS direction.
O`DONNELL: So just to clarify for the audience. There are limits to what
investigative powers can be used in domestic cases. CIA can`t be involved.
The NSA can`t be eavesdropping on conversations, for example. There is a
SCHIFF: There is. There is. But, nonetheless, even those agencies can look
at the international dynamic that is those overseas that are pushing out
this kind of white supremacist ideology, which is global in nature, so
there is a role even for the intelligence agencies to play.
But many actors like the FBI that have both an international and a domestic
terrorist agenda and the lawful authority to investigate, they`re going to
have to place a much higher priority on this.
O`DONNELL: Can you stay with us after a break?
SCHIFF: Of course.
O`DONNELL: Because I was asking more about where the investigations of the
President are going and now that a majority of Democrats favor impeachment
where the - where impeachment stands in the House. We`re going to be right
back with Chairman Adam Schiff.
O`DONNELL: Yesterday on “Morning Joe”, Mike Barnicle asked Jerry Nadler,
the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over
impeachment, about the possible calendar for impeachment and whether that
might be blocked by the election calendar?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Well the calendar is whatever it is. We can`t let
the election calendar dictate. I think that we will probably get Court
decisions by the end of October or maybe thereafter we`ll get.
We`ll have hearings in September and October with people we don`t - who are
not dependent on that witness, which is not dependent on the Court
proceedings and we`ll do it through the fall.
And if we decide to report articles of impeachment we could get to that in
the late fall perhaps - late - latter part of the year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff is back with us. He is Chairman
of the House Intelligence Committee. What`s your reaction to what you heard
Chairman Nadler say there?
SCHIFF: Well, I think that the reality is the Trump administration is
trying to draw this out as long as possible to effectively bring about
justice delayed being justice denied. And justice here being a potential
impeachment of the President.
We just see today actually the Justice Department weighing in the first -
for first time in the Mazars litigation - the accounting litigation that
the Committee chaired by Elijah Cummings is pursuing, basically making the
Justice Department Donald Trump`s law firm. Weighing in in a way to support
the President`s position that is not in the interests of the Department of
Justice or the American people for that matter, but is in the interests of
the person of Donald Trump.
What are we going to do to confront that? I think the reality is if the
litigation takes too long. That is if they are able to legally string this
out too long, we will have to make a judgment about whether to go forward
with articles of impeachment even in the absence of being able to bring
these witnesses in and obtain these documents, because the obstruction of
Congress itself will have risen to that level.
So that`s a decision we may have to make this fall. We are already
thinking, frankly, of the post-Watergate reforms that will come out of this
Watergate. And one of them, I think, is going to have to be expedited court
process when it comes to congressional oversight so that no future
President can engage in this kind of dilatory tactic.
O`DONNELL: What about new legislation on independent counsels and creating
an actual independent counsel as a - which - was the status that Robert
Mueller did not have. Robert Mueller could have been fired by the President
at any time during the investigation.
SCHIFF: Well, I think, we`re going to have to strengthen that law as well.
And you`re absolutely right, Bill Barr made it clear in his confirmation
testimony that in his view, the President could have made the Mueller
investigation go away anytime he wanted, because he thought it was unfair.
Which also means that all of those investigations that the Special Counsel
rolled off to other elements of the Department of Justice or other U.S.
Attorney`s Office, presumably, the President could make those go away.
We are riding shotgun on that, trying to do our oversight of that, trying
to make sure there`s no political interference in those cases. But we may
be reliant on whistleblowers to come forward. But these are the issues
we`re going to weigh when we get back from the recess.
As you mentioned, there are now more than half of our caucus in favor of,
at least, a formal inquiry. From my own point of view we are already, as
far as the law is concerned, in a proceeding preliminary to a potential
We are already entitled to obtain the grand jury material. Now whether we
go beyond that with a formal vote on an impeachment proceeding, our caucus
will have to discuss. But we also may reach the point in the fall where we
have to decide we just can`t take the time to let this play out in the
courts, because that could take another year and a half.
And from an evidentiary standpoint and especially as a former prosecutor as
you look at it, in the over 400 pages of the Mueller report, are there
pieces there that simply can be lifted directly into articles of
SCHIFF: If they could. The Mueller report itself is not the evidence.
Mueller`s testimony wasn`t the evidence. The evidence really was the
witness testimony that was summarized in that report, and the documents
that were summarized. That`s exactly what we`re trying to obtain.
If we liken this to a criminal proceeding, I`d like to bring these
witnesses before the grand jury and hear what they have to say directly,
not rely on the FBI 302 or summary of what they have to say.
But if we`re deprived of that - if the administration games it out and
deprives us of the ability to do that, then we may have to think about
whether the obstruction itself is an offense - an impeachable offense.
But what is really at stake here at the end of the day in addition to
holding this President accountable is, whether future Presidents can be
held accountable. If this President can show that Congress`s oversight
function is a paper tiger, it means that any future President can be as
corrupt as they want and know that they can`t be held to account.
O`DONNELL: Chairman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for joining us
tonight, really appreciate it.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Up next, Trump inspired terrorism that is what one expert calls
the massacre in El Paso. That expert - Professor David Schanzer who served
as a senior staff member of the House Homeland Security Committee will join
O`DONNELL: In an essay for “The Guardian” entitled “We must call the El
Paso shooting it is: Trump inspired terrorism.” Professor David Schanzer
“While Trump does not overtly call for his supporters to use violence to
further his agenda, his rhetoric is infused with notions of violence and
dehumanization. These messages are not lost on people like the El Paso
Your President shares your view, that immigrants and racial minorities are
our scourge on America. They are not deserving of the privileges of
citizenship and must be denied political power at all costs. They are
animals anyway, so the use of violence is permissible.
We remain 15 months from the 2020 election. It is staggering to imagine how
much more violence this President may motivate if he continues down this
deeply disturbing path.”
Joining our discussion now is Professor David Schanzer. He is the Director
of Duke University`s Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.
Professor, establish for us what you see as the link between Donald Trump`s
rhetoric, Donald Trump`s hate speech and what happened in El Paso.
DAVID SCHANZER, PROFESSOR DUKE UNIVERSITY, SANFORD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY:
Lawrence the way terrorism works, there are a lot of angry people, there
are a lot of ideologically motivated people out there. But it takes the a
piling on of grievance, a exacerbation of grievance and also a
dehumanization of the enemy in order to take somebody who is angry and
politicized and have that mobilized and cross that threshold to violence.
And I think that`s what we seen, especially in the last couple months with
this drumming - beating the drum on this whole issue of invasion, but also
the comments about the four members of Congress of color, and the rats and
the vermin. All of those things are part and parcel of what brings somebody
from just being a highly politicized ideological person to a violent
O`DONNELL: And you make the point in your essay about the language of the
mass murder in Pittsburgh at the synagogue, the language of the mass murder
in El Paso, being Trump language. This desperate fear they have about what
they call this invasion at the southern border.
SCHANZER: It`s the whole series of these grievances that triggers these
very deep emotions in people. They say that the immigrants are going to
harm them economically. He says they`re going to take away their security,
that they`re all criminals, rapists. And then
And then he talks about they`re coming into the country. They`re going to
vote me out of office. They`re going to do all these things to me, and
you`re going to be under a different rule. You`re going to be under
minority rule. So they`re taking away their political power.
So he piles on one set of grievance after the other. And these are - this
is what highly ideological terrorist organizations do to motivate their
followers to violence.
O`DONNELL: You make the point that what - how much more of this kind of
violence might we see in the next 15 months of the presidential campaign.
And you say if the president continues with this kind of rhetoric, it`s
hard to imagine the President using any other kind of rhetoric. This is
what he`s been using since the day he announced his candidacy.
SCHANZER: Well, you`re right about that. I mean, I would certainly plea to
him to turn back. He announced his campaign - started his campaign in July,
and here we are in august, and this has happened.
I don`t think the country can take 15 months of that kind of heightened
highly politicized, highly racialized rhetoric and still keep our social
fabric together. So I`m desperately hopeful that he`ll find it to be not in
his political advantage to do that anymore. And those who are contesting
him, whether they be candidates or people, the public, need to continue to
speak out and call him on that, because this is the inevitable result.
O`DONNELL: Greg Miller, a National Security Correspondent for Washington
Post tweeted today that “There is deep concern among national security
officials/experts that Trump not only incites the far right with his words
and policies, but impedes the government`s ability to respond.”
You`ve worked on the Homeland Security Committee and the House of
Representatives - high ranking staffer on that Committee. Do you see that
in the Trump statements that they actually not - don`t just incite people,
but they actually get in the way of the government trying to deal with
SCHANZER: Well, I have a lot of faith in the integrity of the FBI that
they`re going to follow the facts and the evidence where they go. The
question is resources. And some of your prior guests spoke to that. If you
don`t have the resources and your people aren`t allocated to work on these
issues, then you`re just not going to be looking at the intelligence,
gathering the information, following the leads with as much vigor.
So it`s the government that allocates the resources, even the Congress
can`t really do that so much internally. It`s really a FBI function, and
it`s very, very possible that because of Trump`s inclinations it`s the
resources that aren`t being dedicated to this problem that really need to
O`DONNELL: Duke University Professor David Schanzer gets tonight`s LAST
WORD. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Professor.
SCHANZER: Thanks you for having me.
O`DONNELL: “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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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