Jon Ossoff (D) to run for Senate. TRANSCRIPT: 9/9/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Mieke Eoyang, Stanley Greenberg, Jon Ossoff, David Lammy
Transcript:

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  And it`s been a real frenzy of news in

London.  And so, at the end of the hour, I`m going to go to London to a

member of parliament who is really eloquent on everything that`s been

happening there.  Historic is the word we keep using every, I don`t know,

20 minutes. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Well done, my friend.  Thanks, Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 

 

Well, I follow exactly one British member of parliament on Twitter, David

Lammy, who represents a district in London.  He got a law degree from

Harvard Law School after already getting a British law degree.  And his

American experience makes him one of the very best explainers of British

politics and Brexit to an American audience. 

 

You can follow him @DavidLammy on Twitter.  And you should follow every

word that he has to say tonight when he joins us on this historic night for

the United Kingdom with parliament now going out of session until October

14th after denying British Prime Minister Boris Johnson everything he

wanted from parliament, including the right to schedule a new parliamentary

election in the United Kingdom.  David Lammy will join us with the latest

on the political and governmental chaos in London at this hour.  He will

get THE LAST WORD in this hour. 

 

And we will be joined tonight by someone who might be entering the race for

United States Senate in Georgia and might finally confirm that he is

running during our interview tonight.  And we begin tonight with breaking

news. 

 

There is breaking news tonight from NBC News and “The New York Times” about

a spy inside the Russian government who worked for the CIA for years and

was extracted from Russia by the CIA in the first year of the Trump

presidency. 

 

CNN reported earlier that the CIA extracted the spy in part because of

fears that President Trump might leak information about the spy to

Russians, including possibly Vladimir Putin.  But “The New York Times” is

reporting tonight that the CIA had other concerns about ways the spy`s

identity might be compromised, and the CIA was considering extracting the

spy from Russia to safety because reporters for NBC News and “The New York

Times” and “The Washington Post” began reporting about the CIA`s possible

sources inside the Kremlin in 2016. 

 

“The New York Times” reports tonight the Moscow informant was instrumental

to the CIA`s most explosive conclusion about Russia`s interference campaign

that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself.  As

the American government`s best insight into the thinking and orders from

Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the CIA`s assessment that he

affirmatively favored Donald Trump`s election and personally ordered the

hacking of the Democratic National Committee. 

 

The informant, according to people familiar with the matter, was outside of

Mr. Putin`s inner circle, but saw him regularly and had access to high

level Kremlin decision-making, easily making the source one of the agency`s

most valuable assets. 

 

“The New York Times” report tonight includes this about former CIA director

John Brennan: The informant`s information was so delicate and the need to

protect the source`s identity so important that the CIA director at the

time, John O. Brennan, kept information from the operative out of President

Barack Obama`s daily brief in 2016.  Instead, Mr. Brennan sent separate

intelligence reports, many based on the source`s information in special

sealed envelopes to the Oval Office. 

 

Leading off our discussion now with more reporting about this story is

intelligence and national security correspondent for NBC News, Ken

Dilanian, who today tracked down a person who reports to be, quote, a

former senior Russian official living in the Washington area under U.S.

government protection. 

 

Ken, what more can you tell us about your reporting? 

 

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: 

Sure, Lawrence.  Well, I can`t report to our satisfaction that this is in

fact the asset referred to by “The New York Times”, CNN and now “The

Washington Post.”  But what I can say is this is a – this was a Russian

government official with access to Vladimir Putin, a high level official

who is now living in the United States under U.S. government protection,

living in the Washington, D.C. area, in fact. 

 

And I went to his house today, and I knocked on his door.  He didn`t appear

to be home.  There was no answer.  I went back to my car on the street, and

as I was sitting in my car, an SUV with two young men came screaming down

the street right at my car, parked nose to nose.  It seemed to be in a

hurry.  I was a little concerned.  I stepped out of the car.  I walked over

to them.  I asked if I could help them, and then they asked if they could

help me, and we kind of went round and round. 

 

They were asking who I was.  I was asking who they were.  It was pretty

clear that they were monitoring that house, that they saw me there somehow,

detected that I was there and came quickly. 

 

And we`ve been asked by the U.S. government to withhold some key details

about this individual, including his name, and the reason we began looking

at him because they say his life is in danger.  And they are now moving him

from that location, him and his family because essentially he has been

discovered.  And while we aren`t naming him, it won`t be hard for others to

figure out who he is, Lawrence. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ken, I think a lot and judging on twitter response to your

appearance with Rachel in the last hour, a lot of people are wondering if

his life was in danger, how could he be first of all located in proximity

to Washington, D.C like that? 

 

DILANIAN:  Yes. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Why would he be located there?  And why – if his life was in

danger, would be in such a position that he would be using his real name,

and that you would be able to find him?

 

DILANIAN:  Exactly.  That`s the question I`ve been asking U.S. officials

and others with knowledge of this situation all day.  And the answer I`m

getting is kind of nuanced, Lawrence.  What they tell me is it`s probably

not a secret to the Russians that this man is there and that he was a spy

and that he was exfiltrated by the CIA.  The Russians knew that when he

disappeared, right?

 

But what they`re saying is it`s one thing for him to be living here in

secret.  They don`t expect that he`ll be the target of an assassination

attempt.  That hasn`t happened on American soil that we know of, although

it did happen in the United Kingdom.  What they worry about, though, is

when it becomes publicized that this person was spying for the CIA, that

this is a person close to Putin, that they say is like poking the bear.  It

infuriates Vladimir Putin, and he is more likely to do things that threaten

this person`s life, and that`s the situation they feel they are in now. 

 

So, while they may not have been as worried 48 hours ago, now that he has

been discovered, they`re more worried.  So, while I was able to get to the

house, and then there was a response, now it seems that he is under greater

protection. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ken, let`s go become to “The New York Times,” the basic

reporting on this – the asset, the Russian asset that the CIA had who has

been extracted who leaf aside for the moment whether that`s the same person

whose door you knocked on.  In that information, they`re saying this was

the person who provided the essential keys of the Russia investigation pre-

election? 

 

DILANIAN:  Absolutely.  And they`re reporting that this is an asset that

the CIA had been cultivating for more than a decade as he moved up the

ranks in the Russian government.  And that`s another reason that some

people believe that the person I talked to is the same person because there

aren`t – the CIA does not have very many high level sources inside the

Kremlin with access to Vladimir Putin.  If they had more than one during a

period, I would actually be surprised. 

 

And so, this person, while he wasn`t in Putin`s inner circle, “The Times”

reports, he saw Vladimir Putin on a regular basis and had access to his

decision making.  And he was the source of the information that Putin

directly ordered this 2016 election interference campaign, directly ordered

the hack of the DNC and wanted to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald

Trump.  We had reported and others reported during the election campaign

that that information came from human sources, and it was a CIA assessment. 

 

And now, we`re learning that it came from in particular this high level

source who apparently has been exfiltrated from Russia. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ken Dilanian, I know you`re going to be developing more on

this.  I cold kind of tell the way this story was unfolding today that by

10:00 p.m. tonight, we would know a lot more than we knew when we were

thinking about it this afternoon. 

 

Thank you very much for joining us, Ken.  Really appreciate it. 

 

DILANIAN:  Thank you, Lawrence.  You bet.

 

O`DONNELL:  And we`re joined now by Mieke Eoyang.  She`s a former staffer

with the House Intelligence Committee.  Also joining us, John Heilemann,

national affairs analyst for NBC News, and MSNBC.  He`s co-host and

executive producer of Showtime`s “The Circus.”

 

And, Mieke, this is one of the nights where we really need you and your

intelligence experience and expertise.  This story is so strange, not just

for me, but I know for viewers out there that there could be this very,

very valuable CIA asset, so valuable that he had to be actually – she

perhaps, who knows, this person had to be extracted from Russia for their

own safety after delivering so much high-level, high-value information. 

 

But then living under the person`s real name in the Washington area? 

Should we be as stunned by this or is this not so surprising to you. 

 

MIKE EOYANG, FORMER STAFF MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  Well, this

has happened before during the Cold War. 

 

O`DONNELL:  What?  This has happened before? 

 

EOYANG:  During the Cold War, right, when it was the Soviet Union, we did

have high level sources, and many of them have lived in the United States

and, you know, were exfiltrated from Russia.  And some of them are actually

out there in their true name and have written books about their time in the

Soviet Union.  So it`s not so unusual that this happens. 

 

The question is why, because we know that Vladimir Putin gets very

sensitive about people who have betrayed him and his regime and who go back

out there into the world like Sergei Skripal who was killed in London.  So

I think there is tremendous risk to this individual.

 

But one of the things that this story shows, that the CIA goes to great

lengths to protect its human sources, right?  They were very concerned

about his safety.  They exfiltrated him from Russia.  They brought him to

the United States.  They have him under protection here. 

 

They need the world to know that they take the protection of their sources

very seriously. 

 

O`DONNELL:  But, Mieke, when we say it`s happened before, it happened

during the Soviet regime, but those books didn`t come out until the Soviet

regime was over.  This is someone who`s in danger right now.  And I don`t

think it – I don`t think it sounds very protected that this person is in

so much danger – of mortal danger that a reporter like Ken Dilanian can

simply walk up to the door and knock on the door.  That doesn`t sound

especially safe. 

 

EOYANG:  I don`t want to underplay ken`s reporting skills on this, but I do

think that there is some question about how people feel at the CIA about

Russia`s willingness to engage in activities and attacks on American soil. 

That has really been a red line in the U.S./Russia relationship in the sort

of spy versus spy world.  Once people get here and once they`re under CIA

protection, people typically have not – have not found themselves in

danger the same way. 

 

That`s not the same as people who are still on Russian soil.  And even

American operatives on Russian soil have faced really dangerous

circumstances.  They get hassled.  They can get assaulted.  They are pretty

aggressive in other places.  It may just not be they`re as concerned about

it in the United States. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And, John Heilemann, one of the elements of the reporting in

“The New York Times” is this is the loss of major asset, I mean, this

Russian asset has been brought to safety in the United States, but “The

Times” reporting indicates that information flow hasn`t been replaced. 

 

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  Right.  And I think it`s

incredibly – reading from people who know more about this than you and I

who follow this world, everyone is noting just how devastating this loss is

for America`s intelligence capacity in general, but particularly modern

Russia, at a time when we know the Russians were successful in attacking

our democracy in 2016, when they waged other attacks on our democracy in

2018, and we expect them to wage further attacks on our democracy in 2020. 

 

And we are now as many – the metaphor that keeps coming through, a single

word metaphor which is blind.  We are blind –

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

HEILEMANN:  – at the highest level of the Russian government.  We had the

magic asset, the kind of asset that comes along once in a generation for

the American government, now gone at a moment when the Russian government,

when Vladimir Putin are emboldened and have been invited to meddle in

American election 2020. 

 

We are flying far more blind than we were in 2016.  We couldn`t stop them

then.  But this is a very bad position going into this next election.

 

O`DONNELL:  But, Mieke, there is also a question in a lot of the reporting

about the ability to recruit an asset like that now because Russian

sources, people working within the Russian government who might in some

point in the past been inclined to help the United States would probably be

living in the fear that the information about what they`re doing would not

be safe necessarily in those private discussions that Donald Trump has with

Vladimir Putin with no one else in the room. 

 

EOYANG:  That is a very big concern.  Look, these assets take a very long

time to develop.  As you see according to the reporting, this is a person

they had been trying to recruit over a decade, trying to plant lots of

seeds and hope that some of them grow into the right places.  I think

that`s a real challenge when you have a president who is as cavalier with

classified information as the president has been both in his tweets and to

other foreign adversaries. 

 

It makes it very hard for the CIA to do their job in recruiting human

sources when those sources are worried that the president of the United

States will reveal their identities or reveal information that would allow

the adversary to figure out who they are.  Hopefully, this is not the

situation that will go forward indefinitely, and we will eventually get

back to a place where we have presidents who are very careful about

classified information and in particular human sources. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, we have big news from the House Judiciary Committee

today.  The committee announced it is formally now moving into impeachment

mode, and that on Thursday of this week, the committee will vote on the

procedures, quote, for future hearings related to its investigation to

determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to

President Donald Trump.  The new procedures will allow House Judiciary

Chairman Jerry Nadler, quote, to designate full or subcommittee hearings as

part of the investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of

impeachment. 

 

Committee counsel may question witnesses for an additional hour beyond the

five minutes allotted for each member of Congress on the committee. 

Evidence may be received in closed executive session.  This allows the

committee to protect the confidentiality of sensitive materials when

necessary such as with grand jury materials, and the president`s counsel

may respond in writing to evidence and testimony presented to the

committee. 

 

Today, Chairman Nadler said this. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  The president is clearly trying to run out the

clock.  The president has been – said he would deny all – oppose all

subpoenas.  That was Article 3 of the Nixon impeachment that the president

opposed subpoenas.  Nixon wasn`t foolish enough to say in advance he is

going to oppose all subpoenas.  That in itself I think is a crime and

misdemeanor under the Constitution, that you`re obstructing the work of

Congress in investigating. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  John Heilemann, impeachment is on. 

 

HEILEMANN:  Well, certainly on in the mind of Jerry Nadler who wanted to

proceed in this way for a while. 

 

I think the question now, Lawrence, is a couple of things.  And we talked

about the clock on the show an awful lot over the months.  You`ve got Jerry

Nadler and a bunch of others who would like to commence impeachment – the

impeachment process.  You have Nancy Pelosi who still seems to not want to

go down that path. 

 

The question, though, of whether this formal – this road map that`s been

laid out, whether this turns out to be largely a political exercise in

which the leverage of opening impeachment – the impeachment process is

used to try the get politically damaging witnesses, fact witnesses in front

of these various committees, people like Don McGahn who can do some

political damage to the president, or whether it is really a pathway

towards impeachment.  And I think that question remains unresolved. 

 

But I said the thing about the clock a second ago.  Man, there are not very

many legislative days this Congress has scheduled in session this fall. 

And if you believe that with a very limited legislative calendar going

forward and a presidential election a couple of months away that you`re

going to launch into a genuine real impeachment process, not a political

one, but real one to try to get the president impeached in the House if not

convicted in the Senate, man, I – it`s hard for me to see how that`s going

to happen.  I`m not ruling it out, but it does not look that likely. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Mieke, with your experience on House committees, it looks like

there is a lot of procedural advantages for Jerry Nadler in the

recommendations that they`re going to vote on Thursday. 

 

EOYANG:  That`s right.  And by tying it to an impeachment inquiry, you are

really amping up the powers of the House in this investigation, and it`s

not really important whether or not this is a formal impeachment inquiry or

an oversight investigation into potential crimes committed by the

president. 

 

I disagree with John a little bit.  I don`t think this is just a political

exercise.  Every day, we are treated to new stories of things that the

president has done that if done by other elected officials would be

considered public corruption, would be violation to the emoluments clause,

would be considered obstruction of justice.  They have to build an

evidentiary foundation for that, and that`s going to mean going and looking

into things beyond just what was in the Mueller report, and they need the

subpoena power and the investigative power to be able to do that. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And meanwhile, John, committees like house armed services will

probably be looking into how frequently does the Air Force land near the

Trump golf course in Scotland and then have the crews stay at the Trump

hotel and what other Trump properties.  So, there is this other arena of

kind of administration scandal. 

 

HEILEMANN:  Right. 

 

O`DONNELL:  That other committees can be investigating at the same time,

that will get headline just as big. 

 

HEILEMANN:  Indeed.  I think – and you know, you think about – laid out

today on a bunch of fronts.  It`s not merely an impeachment procedure road

map, but in a broader investigative road map of the ways in which what –

how costly if we look back, 2018, losing control of the House is going to

be to Donald Trump. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

HEILEMANN:  In a run-up to presidential election, where now the president

has three intraparty opponents running against him, where he`s got an array

of Democrats and now he has a House controlled by Democrats who can launch

an array of investigations across matters of corruption, malfeasance, the

emoluments clause, the armed forces investigation you just talked about. 

This is not the way you want to run for reelection.  It`s not the way you

like to cruise straight in with no obstructions before you meet up with

your ultimate general election opponent in the summer of 2020. 

 

Donald Trump is going to be tied up in knots for months. 

 

O`DONNELL:  John Heilemann and Mieke Eoyang, thank you very much for

starting us off tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

 

And when we come back, Stacey Abrams insists that Georgia can win it all

for the Democrats next year with 16 electoral votes for president and two

Senate seats at stake in Georgia.  Former Democratic congressional

candidate John Ossoff will join us, and we`ll find out if he is ready to

join the dramatic fight for Georgia as a candidate for one of those Senate

seats. 

 

And the most colorful character in the British House of Commons announced

his resignation today.  We will show you why regular viewers of TV coverage

of the House of Commons will be very sad to see the speaker go. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Ft. Lauderdale`s WSVN reporter Brian Entin captured the story

of people in the Bahamas being forced off a ferry to safety when the

captain made an announcement that the Trump administration was refusing to

allow hurricane victims in the Bahamas to enter the United States without a

visa, something that is customarily done for victims of natural disasters

and shipwrecks if a foreign ship goes down off of our coast and the

lifeboats make it to shore, they are not pushed back out into the Atlantic

ocean because the crew does not have visas. 

 

Here is some of WSVN`s report last night. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They`re saying that they just got a call from CBP, and

CBP told them that everyone that doesn`t have a U.S. visa and who is

traveling on police record has to come off.  At the last minute like this,

it`s kind of disappointing.  It`s hurtful, because I`m watching my

daughters cry. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think this is terrible.  I think they should allow

everyone to come into the U.S.  They originally said you can come without a

police record and without a visa, and now they`re taking that back.  That`s

really ridiculous. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Today, President Trump thought it was perfectly reasonable to

deny hurricane victims a trip to safety.  He then invented things about the

people trying to flee to safety, saying that some were, in his words very

bad people.  He accused some of them of being gang members, and of course,

quote, very bad drug dealers, end quote.  That`s his standard accusation

for people who are not white and seeking refuge in the United States. 

 

The president seems to believe that his reelection depends on anti-refugee,

anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric.  But a new book by the Democratic

pollster Stanley Greenberg argues that Americans in the Trump era are more

accepting of immigrants than they have ever been, and increasingly diverse

and pro-immigrant America could be the end of not just Trump`s presidency,

but the entire Republican Party. 

 

Stan Greenberg writes: Stoking the anti-immigrant fires will end badly for

Trump`s GOP.  The proportion believing immigrants strengthen the country

with their hard work and talents has surged to 65 percent, just as Trump

was charging that immigrants fueled gangs and included murderers and

rapists.  The proportion who said immigrants, quote, burden the country by

taking jobs, housing and health care, end quote, plummeted to just 26

percent in mid-2017. 

 

Three quarters in mid-2018 favored granting permanent legal status to

immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.  The country settled

these issues.  They are not contested. 

 

Joining our discussion now is Stanley Greenberg.  He is the pollster to

presidents, presidential candidates and prime ministers across the globe. 

And the most important reason to listen to Stan Greenberg is that he is

lucky enough to be married to Connecticut Democratic Congresswoman Rosa

DeLauro who has taught him everything he knows about politics. 

 

He is author of the new book “R.IP. G.O.P.:  How the New America is Dooming

the Republicans”.  That book is out tomorrow. 

 

Stan Greenberg, thank you very much for joining us tonight. 

 

STAN GREENBERG, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER:  OK. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Now, you know, whenever we begin a segment with pollsters after

2016, I know the audience thinks, hey, the pollsters got it wrong in 2016. 

Why should we listen now?

 

What have we learned from 2016?  And where do you think we are now?  What

is your book telling us about where we are now? 

 

GREENBERG:  I think all of us learned a lot about America, not just

polling.  You know, I think many of us woke up the day after the women`s

march, I`m sure you did.  I`m sure your whole coverage changed as you

covered day by day the intense politics that played out and is reported on

your show at night, the last show. 

 

Now, we have – but now what I did, I got up every morning, wrote this book

because what I believed, believed at the time and believe now is that

Donald Trump`s victory will speed the – accelerate the defeat of the

Republican Party, because what`s happened is as women became more conscious

of their need for equality and independence after watching him in office,

that`s also happened across the board. 

 

So we`ve watched it on immigration.  But you can see it in every area.  On

immigration, it`s probably the most important, and in some ways reassuring. 

I mean, it`s so tragic to watch what`s happening in the Bahamas, watch

what`s happening with immigrants, but also knowing that people are becoming

very conscious of our history, our values, that we`re an immigrant country,

and that this fight against a diverse America is leading this country, a

great majority of this country to say enough, resist, we will sink this

Republican Party, which is battling against our diverse country. 

 

O`DONNELL:  You are confident about the 2020 presidential election.  You

say the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota will not

be close, nor will Maine, New Hampshire and Virginia.  Iowa will be back in

the Democratic column. 

 

What`s the basis for that, Stan? 

 

GREENBERG:  Well, first of all, I think we need to pay a lot of attention

to the 2018, you know, midterm elections, which were much bigger than

people I think imagined.  Obviously, there was a big swing, and it was

visible in the number of seats in the suburban seats that went to the

Democrats across the country, gave them the 40 seats, that gave them the

majority that they currently have.  But the biggest swing of voters in that

election was the 14-point swing of rural voters compared to where Trump

performed in `16, and about a 14-point swing of white working class voters,

both men and women who turned against the president. 

 

Now, because the statewide Senate races were in the most red states and our

incumbents greatly outperformed what Trump did in those states,

nonetheless, it hid what was going - what was happening in the country.

There was already a pullback of many of these voters. Not the base voters.

The core of his party, the reason why he is pursuing the policies is that

he has his base of tea party evangelical and observing Catholics who are

still with him. But the secular conservatives, the moderate women,

independents have been driven away.

 

And we now face a lot of Trump voters who are swing voters, not the base,

who are saying what was I thinking? They look at him on TV, and we played

in focus groups, we played TV ads of the rallies of watching him speak

about what he was doing. And they shake their head, they look at the

divisiveness, they look at the lack of respect for women, and there`s just

been a movement away in places that lead you to say this is not what we`re

going to - we`re not going to face in `20 what we faced in `16.

 

O`DONNELL: Stanley Greenberg. The book is “RIP GOP.”

 

Stan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

 

GREENBERG: Thank you for having me.

 

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we now have breaking news to report to

you in the Georgia Senate race. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has just

reported that Jon Ossoff will run for Senate in Georgia. And we will be

joined by Jon Ossoff next to confirm this breaking news about the

Democrats` campaign to knock Mitch McConnell out of the Majority Leader`s

job in the United States Senate. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: “The Abrams Playbook” is out today. Here it is. Got that? There.

Yes.

 

Stacey Abrams has issued an urgent 16-page memo to the Democratic Party

telling them, quote, “Next year, Georgia will be the premier battleground

state in the country. When analyzing next year`s political landscape and

electoral opportunities, any less than full investment in Georgia would

amount to strategic malpractice. We can win Georgia.”

 

Stacey Abrams talked about how Democrats should do that earlier tonight on

“Hardball.”

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

STACEY ABRAMS (D), 2018 CANDIDATE FOR GEORGIA GOVERNOR: Georgia was not

only ground zero for voter suppression but also ground zero for

opportunity. We can pick up two Senate seats, give 16 electoral votes to

the Democratic nominee, and we can flip the House - the State House as well

as taking - holding one and adding another Congressional seat. Those are

extraordinary opportunities, and Georgia is the place to fight voter

suppression but also fight for Democratic votes.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Jon Ossoff was the Democratic Congressional candidate in a

special election in Georgia in 2017 who showed us how much the political

ground shifted in Georgia in the first year of the Trump presidency,

running in a district that the last Republican had won by 23 points. Jon

Ossoff came within three points of winning that House seat, which was a big

clue about the big blue wave that was to follow in the next election.

 

When Jon Ossoff decided not to run for that seat again in 2018, Lucy McBath

did run, and she is now one of the freshmen Democratic members of the House

who have transferred control of the House of Representatives to the

Democrats.

 

Tonight, within the last hour, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has

reported that on the very day that “The Abrams Playbook” has declared

Georgia the premier battleground state in the country, Jon Ossoff has

decided to heed Stacey Abrams` advice to Democrats and fight for Democrats

in Georgia by running for the United States Senate.

 

And joining us now for an exclusive interview to tell us about his decision

to run is Jon Ossoff.

 

Jon, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

 

JON OSSOFF (D-GA), CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE: Thank you so much for having

me.

 

O`DONNELL: So you can confirm you are a candidate for the United States

Senate in Georgia?

 

OSSOFF: Tomorrow morning, I`ll be announcing my candidacy for the United

States Senate in Georgia. I`m excited, and I`m excited to be here tonight.

 

O`DONNELL: Which seat - there`s two seats. There`s the Johnny Isakson`s

seat where he recently announced he`s going to retire, and then there is

Senator Perdue who`s running for reelection. Which one are you going to run

for?

 

OSSOFF: I`ll be challenging Senator Perdue. Senator Perdue - this is a guy

who in a half decade while children in rural Georgia, one out of three of

them live in poverty, while Georgia has the highest maternal mortality rate

in the country, this man has not once in five years come down from his

private island to hold a single public town hall. He is a caricature of

Washington corruption. And I`m running because we face a crisis of

political corruption in this country.

 

When nine out of 10 Americans support universal background checks for

firearms purchases, but Congress refuses to act because they`re bought by

the NRA, that`s corruption. When the federal government is silencing its

own scientists, its own environmental scientists because their findings

threaten the profitability of the fossil fuel industry, that`s corruption.

 

As power becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and wealth becomes

concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and those wealthy and powerful

groups can spend limitless amounts in secret on a vicious political

propaganda to manipulate elections, that`s corruption.

 

I`ve spent the last six years as an investigative journalist. I lead a team

that`s taken on powerful corporations, ISIS war criminals, crooked judges,

all over the world. And we need now to mount an all-out attack on political

corruption in America, or I`m not sure our democracy will survive.

 

O`DONNELL: What did you learn in your Congressional race that you will

bring into this race? And what will be the number-one policy issue in this

race in Georgia?

 

OSSOFF: Lawrence, I was 29 when Donald Trump was elected President of the

United States. And like millions of Americans who have fought and worked

tirelessly since then, I didn`t sit back in despair. I stood up and ran for

Congress in a district where the last Democrat had lost by 23 points. And

everyone counted me out. But it became one of the toughest, closest races

in American political history. The national Republican Party all the way to

the President himself made my destruction their number-one priority.

 

And what I learned is that I will never be intimidated from telling my own

story and touting my own accomplishments because of the inevitable partisan

smears that come down from Washington. We have to be bold and direct and

clear in the face of that kind of intimidation.

 

O`DONNELL: What about issues? Is healthcare the number one issue in this

campaign?

 

OSSOFF: The interesting thing is that for all of the political division and

all of the rancor that we face right now, most Georgians and most Americans

agree on the solutions to our basic problems. Most Georgians and most

Americans agree every American should have health care. Most Georgians and

most Americans agree we have to save our environment and revolutionize our

infrastructure. Most Georgians and most Americans want to get secret dark

money out of politics.

 

So the question is, if there is a consensus, why aren`t these things

happening? And it`s because there is a political corruption deeply embedded

within our system that prevents the will of the people from being expressed

through their elected representatives.

 

David Perdue is the image of Washington corruption. He retired into the

Senate. I will go to the Senate to work every day for Georgians.

 

O`DONNELL: Jon Ossoff, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Please

come back during the campaign. We want to hear more about it.

 

OSSOFF: Thank you so much for having me.

 

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much.

 

OSSOFF: Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: After another chaotic and historic day in the British

parliament, we will explain the latest Brexit developments with the help of

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and David Lammy, the Member of

Parliament from London who is the only MP who I follow on Twitter. That`s

next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight from London where parliament has

officially been suspended for five weeks. There were raucous scenes in the

House of Commons as members opposed to the suspension chanted “Shame on

you” as they left the chamber. Before the official suspension, members of

parliament rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s second attempt at

scheduling a new election on October 15th.

 

In the HBO drama, “Brexit,” Benedict Cumberbatch plays the real-life

political opponent Dominic Cummings, who was the mad and rude genius behind

the political strategy that won the Brexit referendum three years ago.

 

Here is Benedict Cumberbatch playing Dominic Cummings in a scene that

combines his technical wizardry, political insight, and rudeness to the

ruling class of Conservative members of parliament.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Political discourse has become utterly moronic, thanks

to the morons who run it.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there it is. If that is the way that it is to be,

then I will get us across the line in whatever way I can. But in order to

do that, we have to restack the odds in our favor. We have to hack the

political system.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hack it.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a cyber hack. Get in through the back door.

Reprogram the system so it starts working for us. You`re talking about

posters and flyers. I`m talking about ordering the matrix of politics.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Dominic Cummings is now being called a psychopath by a senior

member of the Conservative Party. Now that Dominic Cummings has risen to

the position of chief strategist for the Conservative Party`s new Prime

Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings has masterminded the most

disastrous debut of a British Prime Minister in history with Boris Johnson

on the losing-end of votes in parliament consistently and then forcing

Conservatives who voted against him in parliament to leave the party, which

then provoked Boris Johnson`s own brother to resign from the government,

which reportedly reduced Boris Johnson to tears.

 

Matt Sanders, who used to work with Dominic Cummings, told “The New York

Times,” “We are in absolute chaos, and Dominic loves chaos.” Because Prime

Minister Boris Johnson reportedly delegates so much of his power to Dominic

Cummings, Jenni Russell, a columnist for “The Times” of London says Dominic

Cummings may be “the most important man in Britain right now.”

 

To survey the absolute chaos of the British government and British

politics, we will be joined in a moment by one of the most eloquent members

of parliament, David Lammy. David Lammy picked up a Harvard law degree

after earning a British law degree, and his American experience makes him

uniquely gifted in explaining Brexit to us.

 

David Lammy is the one Member of Parliament who I follow on Twitter. And no

matter how confused you may be about Brexit, I promise you will follow

every word of what David Lammy has to say about it after this break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, today

announced that he will resign on October 31st, the date on which Prime

Minister Boris Johnson has promised to take the United Kingdom out of the

European Union even though parliament has passed a law preventing Boris

Johnson from doing that unless he has somehow miraculously negotiated a

last-minute final deal with Europe for exiting the European Union.

 

Here is an example of Speaker John Bercow in action instructing the new

Prime Minister last week on the rules of the House of Commons.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: –that Labour Party led by

Jeremy Corbyn.

 

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, UNITED KINGDOM: Yes. We don`t

name people in the chamber. People must observe the rules. No, no. Order.

Order. Order. I am simply and politely informing the Prime Minister of the

very long-established procedure with which everybody, including the Prime

Minister, must comply. That`s the position. No doubt. No argument. No

contradiction. End of the matter.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Our next guest, Labour Party Member of Parliament David Lammy

rose in the House of Commons today to commend Speaker John Bercow, who was

first elected to parliament as a member of the Conservative Party.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DAVID LAMMY, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: To stand up to

that establishment and never be cowed. The next Speaker has very, very big

shoes to fill.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is David Lammy, a member of the British Labour

Party. He represents a district of London in parliament.

 

Thank you very much for joining us tonight. And I wanted to get your

reaction to the resignation of Speaker John Bercow.

 

DAVID LAMMY, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: Well, your viewers

will know, John Bercow has been an extraordinary Speaker standing up for

the sovereignty of parliament and ensuring that backbenchers like me get a

say and get to hold this government and previous governments to account.

 

He`s also been the most inclusive Speaker ensuring that women, minorities,

those with disabilities get to put their views and get to hold the

executive to account. It`s a very sad day that after a decade, he`s

standing down. But he`s staying right up to the 31st of October, and that

is hugely important.

 

O`DONNELL: There is another character in your politics who is emerging here

in the United States I think for the first time. And that is Dominic

Cummings, an adviser to Boris Johnson. There are a couple of profiles of

him a few days in a row here in the American news media. But he was played

by Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV movie about Brexit. And so that`s the

only familiarity I think American audiences have had.

 

How important is Dominic Cummings in what is happening now?

 

LAMMY: Well, he is the unelected prime minister. He`s hugely important,

hugely influential, hugely dangerous, a master at dark arts, has very

extreme hard-right politics, has taken very strange views on issues like

eugenics, and is now driving this country off a cliff. He clearly has Boris

Johnson in his pocket. He won the referendum in very dubious ways.

 

Many of your viewers will understand what I`m saying when I say that. The

use of Facebook, worries about international interference from -

particularly from Russia and other places. So, very, very worried to see

Dominic Cummings right at the center of power here in the U.K. and

influencing events in Europe as well.

 

O`DONNELL: One unnamed member of the Conservative Party told “The New York

Times” this weekend, referring to Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson, “One

is a charlatan and the other a psychopath.” And I believe the charlatan is

Boris Johnson in that comparison. Is that overdone?

 

LAMMY: No. It`s not overdone. Something sick and cancerous has entered into

the system here in the U.K., this wonderful country, the mother of all

parliaments behind me, one of the birthplaces of modern democracy and the

sovereignty of a nation and those elected to represent it. And I`m afraid

we are hugely divided.

 

The Conservative Party - not my party - but nevertheless, a great party

here in Europe has been taken over by a bandit of tea party extremists

determined to wrench us out of the European Union using xenophobic,

sometimes racist rhetoric to deliver that, and to deliver a small, smaller

United Kingdom because surely the Scots, the Welsh and others will leave

the United Kingdom and leave us in a small little England. It`s deeply

depressing. It has to be fought. And I`m very pleased that the opposition

are coming together to try and defeat this mob.

 

O`DONNELL: Now, you`ve passed a law, parliament has passed a law saying

that the Prime Minister must request an extension of time from the European

Union, but there is new reporting suspecting that Boris Johnson will not

obey that law. Is there any way the Prime Minister can avoid the

requirements of that law?

 

LAMMY: It`s an extraordinary development that in the birthplace of the rule

of law, we have a Prime Minister say that he will not implement a law that

has been passed in this place to mandate it, to ask for an extension in an

event that he has no deal from the European Union. And frankly, if he

disobeys the law, then the Metropolitan Police will have to enter Number

10, put him in handcuffs and arrest him because he must obey the rule of

law. So they`re trying now to suspend parliament.

 

I mean, literally, it`s like an episode of “The Handmaid`s Tale.” And we

must resist that, of course, but we - look, we`re not coming back until

October the 14th, an extraordinary time of crisis in our country. And we`re

now out of parliament because of what they are attempting to do. So we`re

going to be in for a real fight in the middle of October.

 

Let`s see where it ends up. But as night follows day, I`m telling you, we

will not be exiting the European Union on the 31st of October with a no-

deal Brexit. It will not happen. We will be entering into a general

election, I suspect, in November, and fighting, frankly, for the future of

this country.

 

O`DONNELL: David Lammy, thank you very much for joining us. Really

appreciate it.

 

LAMMY: Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: That is 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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