Chaos in Syria. TRANSCRIPT: 10/14/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: No, good evening, Rachel, and thank you
for that correction because I know, I was kind of puzzled – these guys are
obvious flight risks.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: More so than the average person who has a mortgage to pay.
Some are not too far from the courthouse or something. And so, it must be
that they are working on really locking down these conditions for release.
In a case like this, it`s going to be more complex than a normal resident
and citizen of the United States who has a mortgage, a job, the wife, the
kids, all these things you look for, as anchors in the community.
MADDOW: Yes, and they`re expected in federal court in New York really
soon. They`re due to be in federal court in New York on Thursday, so the
idea they would be out in the meantime and it would be no big deal that we
would hear about many paragraphs in a “Wall Street Journal” story was super
intriguing to me, which is why I put it at the top of the show. It is
interesting – I mean, we never get a call from SDNY. Do you know how many
times we called them we never get a call back?
MADDOW: Getting a call from them during the show tonight was like, oh,
right, OK, got it.
O`DONNELL: Well, it`s very important point of correction.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence. I appreciate it, man.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
Well, we have breaking news now at this hour. NBC News is reporting some
very, very important breaking news.
U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, will tell Congress
on Thursday that he thought Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch of Ukraine, our
Ukrainian ambassador who Donald Trump got rid of, he`s going to say that he
thought she was great and that he has nothing negative to say about her
performance as ambassador to Ukraine despite her removal from that job by
A person with knowledge of Sondland`s testimony is telling NBC News tonight
that Yovanovitch was an able and professional diplomat and that he had
absolutely no issues with her whatsoever. That`s a big piece of breaking
news from NBC News tonight.
And there`s another also from NBC News. Correspondence between Fiona
Hill`s lawyers and White House deputy counsel Michael Purpura obtained by
NBC News show that the White House counsel tried to limit Fiona Hill`s
testimony today in her closed door deposition with the congressional
impeachment investigation by raising the issue of executive privilege.
They tried to impose that on her.
She, of course, is the former National Security Council adviser to
President Trump on Russia issues, primarily. The White House did not try
to block her from testifying, but according to the correspondence, the
White House told Fiona Hill`s lawyers that there were areas where she could
not possibly testify, or that would fall under executive privilege. They
said that those areas were direct communication with the president,
diplomatic communications, meetings with other heads of state, staffing
presidential phone calls, foreign heads of state.
Now, her lawyers immediately wrote back to the White House on Sunday,
yesterday, the day before the testimony, and said they did not believe the
White House legal reasoning, and they said some of the information that has
already come into the public`s sphere can no longer be considered
privileged, and hill`s lawyers also made the legal argument. That is
correct, the executive privilege disappears when there is reason to believe
there is government misconduct.
Hill`s lawyers asked the White House to add any comments they wanted to
make to that, but the White House lawyers said absolutely nothing,
apparently, that actually did inhibit Hill`s testimony today. And there
have been no reports of any of the testimony delivered to the impeachment
committees about Donald Trump`s dealings with Ukraine that are in any way
favorable to Donald Trump. No one is coming out of those depositions
saying here`s all the favorable things said for Donald Trump in those –
those under oath depositions.
Every new witness appears to be adding more corroboration for the
whistleblower`s complaint that started this investigation. That
whistleblower complaint said that Donald Trump was soliciting help from
Ukraine in his reelection campaign by asking Ukraine to investigate Joe
Biden. This is not the way Trump followers imagined Donald Trump taking on
Joe Biden. They think Trump is tough enough to fight Biden face to face.
To be a Trump follower, a Trump voter, a Trump supporter is to be, to
varying degrees, a fantacist. Some businessmen supporting Donald Trump
might like to live with the fantasy that they just vote to support his
giant tax cuts that bankrupt the treasury of the United States and want his
racism, not his vulgarity, not his rank ignorance about every subject he
ever speaks about publicly.
Some Trump supporters live in a world of complete fantasy about Donald
Trump himself, the fantasy that somehow Donald Trump will still get Mexico
to pay for the wall. The fantasy that there will be a wall to pay for.
The fantasy that Donald Trump is smarter than anyone else in politics, the
fantasy that Donald Trump is a tough guy, even though he grew up a spoiled
rich kid. The fantasy that Donald Trump is brave, even though he got
repeated draft deferments to avoid the war of his era and has never once
since then ever exhibited a single moment of bravery of any kind in his
life. Still, the Trump fantacists see him as tough and brave and even thin
and energetic as they do in this video that was shown at a Trump campaign
event at a Trump property in Florida.
That`s about the only place where people would show this video publicly.
We aren`t showing the video, and I noticed today that CNN hasn`t been
showing the video, because in this video, this fantasy version of Donald
Trump shoots and kills someone from NBC, and someone from CNN, someone from
CBS, and someone from BBC News, along with many other murder victims from
many other news organizations. The fantasy Trump character shoots and
kills Congressman Joe Kennedy whose grandfather was shot and killed while
campaigning for president, and whose great uncle, President John F.
Kennedy, was shot and killed, assassinated.
In the video, the fantasy Trump kills more people than you can count,
including Rosie O`Donnell, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton,
Bill Clinton, and, of course, of course, the fantasy Trump completes what
is perhaps the most rewarding of the fantasies in this video for Trump
fantacists by breaking President Trump`s neck and killing him. Everyone
named Trump is now claiming they knew nothing about this video, including
Donald Trump Jr., who was at the event where the video was shown.
President Trump has, through a White House spokesperson, condemned the
video after claiming he has not seen the video.
What are the chances Donald Trump has not seen that video? That is code
language for his followers to understand that he really doesn`t condemn the
video, when he tells them he`s condemning the video without having seen it,
he`s telling them that this is just a political thing that I have to say
right now about the video, which I hope you watch and I hope you think of
me this way, especially the thin part, fantasy.
So far, that is all Donald Trump has to offer in his defense in the
impeachment investigation, and the fantasy is crumbling. Donald Trump`s
completely unqualified ambassador to the European Union who purchased his
ambassadorship through a million dollar contribution to the Trump
inauguration has been subpoenaed to testify to the impeachment
investigation on Thursday, and all indications are, as NBC News is
reporting tonight, is that he will finally testify after being prevented
from testifying by the State Department last week.
“The Washington Post” reported over the weekend what to expect in Gordon
Sondland`s testimony about the now famous text of his, which was a reply to
an even more famous text to acting ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor,
whose text said, I think it`s crazy to withhold security assistance for
help in a political campaign. Records show that it took Sondland five
hours to respond to that text and we now know that somewhere in those four
hours, Gordon Sondland calls Donald Trump and they discuss what to say in
response to Bill Taylor`s text, and that Gordon Sondland finally texted
back, according to “The Washington Post”.
And what he texted back was that Donald Trump told them to say, Bill, I
believe you are incorrect about President Trump`s intentions. The
president has been crystal clear. No quid pro quos of any kind.
According to “The Washington Post”, that`s what Donald Trump told Gordon
Sondland to text Bill Taylor. “The Washington Post” reports, according to
someone close to Sondland, quote, Sondland plans to tell lawmakers he has
no knowledge of whether the president was telling him the truth at that
moment. It`s only true that the president said it, not that it was the
Leading off our discussion tonight are Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda
of California. He`s a member of the House Oversight Committee and he was
present today for all 11 hours of Fiona Hill`s deposition.
Also joining us, Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of
defense in the Obama administration. She`s an MSNBC national security
And Josh Lederman is with us. He`s a national political reporter for NBC
News. Josh is the reporter who has broke the news tonight that we began
this discussion with.
And, Josh, I just want to start with you because of that breaking news that
you revealed to us at the beginning of this hour, these indications are
that Ambassador Sondland`s testimony is not going to be the kind of
testimony that Donald Trump any way wants to hear.
JOSH LEDERMAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It`s certainly going
to be a different narrative than we`ve been hearing from Trump and the
White House. And what Sondland plans to say, particularly on Marie
Yovanovitch, the ambassador that President Trump recalled, he plans to say
that he has only good things to say about her, that he thought she was an
able professional diplomat, had no reason to doubt her competence or
qualifications for the job.
So, let`s take stock of this, Lawrence. We now have Gordon Sondland
planning to basically defend Yovanovitch. We know that Fiona Hill and her
testimony today also had good things to say about Yovanovitch and her
So, Congress is hearing a consistent message from these folks who are that
Yovanovitch was doing a good job, didn`t have a reason to be pulled out,
and that is going to raise further questions for Democrats about why she
was removed apparently as part of this plot by Rudy Giuliani to get rid of
her because he thought she was blocking what he and the president were
trying to do in Ukraine.
O`DONNELL: And, Josh, you`re reporting on the White House letters to Hill
prior to her testimony, telling her about executive privilege, all these
things. One thing I noticed in your reporting that I read is that the
White House lawyers tried to say to her lawyers, this is not a real
LEDERMAN: Yes, and it echoes some of what was in that letter that the
White House lawyer sent to Nancy Pelosi just about a week ago when they
were saying they`re not going to comply with this impeachment inquiry.
This came as this was a flurry of negotiations just in the last couple days
leading up to this testimony today between the White House lawyers and
Fiona Hill`s lawyers about what exactly she could say.
The White House didn`t go as far as to exert executive privilege and say,
we don`t think she can testify at all. That had been a big question. But
they did lay out several areas where they said, we think this is covered by
executive privilege, communications with the president, diplomat
conversations. We think she should not be able to talk about these things.
Fiona Hill`s lawyers pushing back and saying, look, there is an implication
here that there is wrongdoing by the government and executive privilege
doesn`t apply in that instance. And basically where things ended up as
they headed into this very lengthy testimony today was with the White House
lawyers reminding Fiona Hill and her lawyers, we advise you, do not talk
about anything out of school, anything that could be classified or that we
consider to be covered by executive privilege.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Rouda, was it your sense that Fiona Hill had any
reluctance about answering any of your questions based on those kinds of
instructions from the White House?
REP. HARLEY ROUDA (D-CA): No, I think she did a remarkable job. She was
incredibly credible throughout the process, completely nonpartisan,
apolitical, an uncanny ability to remember facts and meetings. And she
really handled herself better than any person I`ve ever seen in any
deposition. A true patriot and we should all be proud of her testimony.
O`DONNELL: And what would you say she added to your understanding of this
case at this point?
ROUDA: It`s a good question. I`m not going to go into the specifics, but
I will tell you that for me personally, that her testimony today makes me
further believe that we need to continue this investigation, because as we
peel the layers of this onion back one layer at a time, we are finding more
and more information and evidence that demands further investigation for
the American public.
O`DONNELL: And, Congressman, the closed door nature of the depositions has
been criticized by some Republicans. My understanding of it is this is
kind of standard pretrial activity that takes place certainly in civil
cases, (INAUDIBLE) such things, that you don`t want these witnesses to be
publicly share information through their testimony that other witnesses
might then be affected by or adopt or change their stories to fit it. But
does that mean at some point, we will see all of Fiona Hill`s testimony, or
will she then be brought into a public hearing to do it again publicly?
ROUDA: Lawrence, you`re spot on. That`s exactly the point. We want to
make sure that each of these witnesses that are coming through and
testifying, that they`re able to do that based on their knowledge and their
understanding without being tainted, so to speak, by any previous
So, that`s why we`re going to do each one systemically in this process. As
to see whether the testimony that was provided today, as well as future and
past witnesses, whether that`s going to be released in its entirety or
partial parts thereof will be determined by Chairman Schiff and the other
chairmen of the committee. But I would suffice it to say once we get
through this process a little bit further, you will start to see some of
this evidence coming out of the general public.
O`DONNELL: Evelyn Farkas, I`ve never heard – Congressman Rouda is the
second person to come out of that deposition room to say this about Fiona
Hill – simply the best witness they`ve ever heard. I`ve never heard a
senator or member of the House say that a bout a witness in any hearing
EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes, I`ve known
Dr. Fiona Hill for many years now. She`s incredibly smart. I said the
doctor thing to give her credentials a little bit. She knows her
She probably picks some good lawyers. But she also knows Russia inside-
out. She knows Ukraine inside-out. She knows how things are supposed to
function because she`s worked for multiple administrations, so she can
describe when things don`t function properly.
I think from the media accounts, we know that she was quite angered by the
renegade operation that Sondland and Rudy Giuliani and these two guys who
are now in jail were running vis-a-vis Ukraine. And so, she clearly had
been – it sounds like she was advocating for Ambassador Yovanovitch behind
Sondland, frankly speaking, I think, is behind the cabal, if you will. I
think that the president had them there watching Giuliani and these guys,
and trying to make sure that a deal was made. So, I think he`s going to
tap dance to try not to implicate himself. We`ll see whether he can,
because he can`t get away with lying, because we know those other two guys
are being deposed by the Southern District in – you know, by the FBI right
now, by attorney from the FBI.
O`DONNELL: Evelyn, if feels that there is some feeling that the dam is
breaking the way witnesses who the White House was trying to block are now
getting around those blocks, getting to those blocks and getting testify.
As someone who`s worked inside an administration like this, you probably
have a sense of what it`s like for the other people who are either still
inside this administration or who have left this administration who are
watching this happen, who might also have something to say themselves.
Does this become contagious, this kind of willingness to step forward
directly to the committee and testify?
FARKAS: Yes, Lawrence, and I think in a good way, because my understanding
is that morale is really low, not just at the State Department but also at
the Defense Department. My successor once removed the woman in the job
right now. She`s going to be deposed.
I can well imagine that for a lot of these people, it`s a relief to go in
there and tell an oversight body that has equal power with the executive
branch what`s going on. Because many civil servants, most of them, I think
are truly disturbed by all of this. And they would like to go back to
business as usual, and the only branch of government that can force
business as usual in this current situation looks like Congress.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Rouda, it does seem like Gordon Sondland certainly
can afford the highest price criminal defense lawyers in town to tell him
exactly where his most difficult liabilities might be here in this
And according to Josh Lederman`s reporting tonight, it seems like he`s
stirring away from those. He is going to be coming down solidly on the
side of the ambassador, who Donald Trump wanted to get rid. He`ll be in
the direct conflict with Donald Trump over that because we know in the
phone call transcript that`s even in there, that Donald Trump going after
the ambassador, we know from his own words that Donald Trump was extremely
negative about this ambassador and it sounds like he hasn`t gotten any
support on that point in the testimony you`ve heard so far. Is that
ROUDA: Well, the key is come in and tell the truth and put country in
front of party and country in front of president. And I think if he does
that, he`ll be fine. And I`m hopeful he`ll do. Based on the reports we`re
seeing, we`re getting indications that he is prepared to do so.
And I think if he goes that direction, the country will be very glad he
O`DONNELL: Congressman Harley Rouda, Evelyn Farkas, Josh Lederman, thank
you all very much for starting us off tonight. I really appreciate it.
ROUDA: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we have more breaking news tonight. We
have new details of the reported criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani.
They are investigating his financial records. The former federal – the
federal prosecutor`s office that Rudy Giuliani used to run is now studying
his financial records. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Rudy Giuliani is under federal criminal investigation tonight
by the same U.S. attorney`s office that he used to be in charge of in
Manhattan in the 1980s. Rudy Giuliani`s friends who were working with him
on trying to get Ukraine to help the Trump reelection campaign have been
arrested and charged with federal crimes, and some Trump administration
officials are now coming forward to testify to the impeachment committees
after the Trump administration has tried to block their testimony.
Tonight, Chris Hayes asked Congressman Denny Heck, a member of one of the
impeachment investigating committees, if it feels like the dam is breaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): It feels like the dam is breaking, right, Chris?
I thought the fact that Mr. McKinley agreed to come before us, I believe
it`s the day after tomorrow, was very significant. He`s a distinguished
career diplomat who has an incredible depth of understanding about how
diplomacy should work.
He`s had some of the most significant diplomatic postings within the State
Department. And I think we`re going to learn a lot from him, but then
again, I think we`re learning a lot from each and every one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney and MSNBC
legal analyst, and Sam Stein, politics editor of “The Daily Beast” and
MSNBC political analyst.
And, Sam, that feeling of the dam breaking, we`re talking about Michael
McKinley, who was Pompeo`s – one of Pompeo`s senior advisers. He quit –
he just resigned from the State Department last week. It wasn`t clear
whether that was a principled resignation of some kind, a protest
But here he is very quickly agreeing to go under oath to the investigating
SAM STEIN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and the sense you get from
talking to people on the Hill is that there`s a umber of people in the
administration who may not be Trump loyalists per se who recognized where
this story is going and how it`s unfolding and don`t want to be a part of
it or at least want to get their side out. I think part of this is a bit
of savvy on how the impeachment investigators have handled this. You
mentioned this in your last block, but not releasing the transcripts after
the interviews are done so potential witnesses don`t know exactly what to
say would compel someone to come forward to make sure they get their story
out there first.
But I also think a lot of this is sort of revealing the house of cards
element in the Trump presidency. A lot of Trump`s strength comes from the
idea that he could punish people from stepping out of line. And once
someone steps out of line and isn`t punished, it`s an invitation to other
people to do the same thing, so that comes in the form of testifying and
not having the president go after you, but it also comes in the form of
speaking out and not having the president go after you.
And what I was alluding to there was when Mitt Romney spoke out initially
about how troubled he was by the phone call, Trump did hit him back pretty
hard. But it wasn`t to the degree that you would normally expect Trump to
go after a Republican. I think that`s invited other Republicans to stick
their necks out more than usual.
So, a lot of this is unraveling and I think the administration and the
president himself are getting a bit spooked by it all.
O`DONNELL: And, Joyce, why don`t you tell us what you`re learning now
tonight about the investigation of Rudy Giuliani. They`re looking at his
bank records. They`re looking at financial records. They`ve been doing
this for months now.
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It`s very clear after what we`re
learning tonight that Rudy Giuliani isn`t just an incidental player, that
he`s someone that prosecutors are taking a hard look at as at least a
subject of this investigation, possibly a target.
Here`s what it means for prosecutors to be looking at his bank records. It
means that they`re trying to figure out who is paying Rudy Giuliani or who
is paying for his travel. And that may hold very important elements of
this case. And as you point out with the dam breaking, I sort of think
what we`re seeing on Capitol Hill comes together with Rudy Giuliani`s
This is more like revenge the nerds than just a normal dam breaking. It`s
hard working government employees who kept their heads down, they did their
jobs and suddenly they look like superheroes with capes. And it may
ultimately be their evidence that this brings together, either on Capitol
Hill or in a prosecution.
O`DONNELL: When I hear revenge of nerds, I think Sam Stein.
And so, Sam, on Giuliani, we`ve gone from Michael Cohen, Trump lawyer now
in prison, Rudy Giuliani, Trump lawyer, Trump`s so-called lawyer, now under
STEIN: Right. Well, first of all, I`m going to ignore the reference to me
as a nerd, OK? I`m just going to skip by that.
Yes, I mean, there`s – Rudy Giuliani is not in an enviable position right
now. I think all roads are leading to him. It`s an open question in
public circles about whether Trump cuts bait and throws him under the bus.
There was an elusion to it that Trump made last week where he`s talked
briefly, you know, you have to ask Rudy about whether his involvement here.
But, you know, it seems like the writing is on the wall here. The question
is, what does Rudy do in this moment? Does he talk to Congress about what
his involvement was in Ukraine?
We`re getting reports tonight that Ambassador Sondland is going to testify
that a major Ukraine decision, whether the president can meet with Trump
was had to be cleared by Rudy. Would Rudy testify to this stuff, or will
he wait for a lifeline from Senator Lindsey Graham who, if I`m not
mistaken, last week hinted he would invite Rudy to his committee in the
Senate where controlled by Republicans, to testify about all this and his
escapades in Ukraine.
So, I am – when I last talked to Rudy about a week ago, he said basically
he had no plans testified before on Schiff`s committee. He did not return
my comment about Lindsey Graham`s committee. I`m curious if he engages and
these leaks that come out about Sondland and others throwing him under the
bus, if that compels him to engage more.
O`DONNELL: And, Joyce, if Rudy has hired a professional criminal lawyer
and because this is Rudy Giuliani, we`re not sure he has, because he
doesn`t seem to do anything that is rational. But if he has, that lawyer
is telling him, don`t you dare go and testify to the Senate –
O`DONNELL: – Judiciary Committee while you`re under investigation by the
VANCE: Donald Trump used to love to talk about perjury traps. That was
his excuse ultimately for not sitting for an interview with Bob Mueller.
If Rudy Giuliani walks in front of this committee, it seems almost a sad
but foregone conclusion that he`ll put himself in a perjury box, that he`ll
run into trouble.
Sometimes it looks like he doesn`t even know what the truth is, his stories
shift so much over time. So, you know, they say the lawyer or the client
that`s his own lawyer, I`m going to now completely mess up that statement
but you probably know better than I do.
It`s essentially you`re a fool if you act like your own lawyer once you
become the client. And that, you know, I think would be a terrible mistake
for Rudy Giuliani here. He certainly needs a lawyer, he certainly has
exposure. There is an intriguing possibility here, and we`ve seen this
before in Trump world with Manafort.
We`ve been here with Michael Cohen. Will Rudy Giuliani be the person, the
Former U.S. Attorney, who looks at the prospect if he is ultimately
indicted, spending a number of years maybe the rest of his life in prison,
and finally decides that Donald Trump isn`t worth it, and that will require
a good lawyer to get him across that threshold.
O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance and Sam Stein, thank you both for joining us
tonight. We really appreciate it.
SAM STIEN, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back Ambassador Wendy Sherman Former
- Seith will join us to explain the depth and destruction that Donald Trump
caused by abandoning our allies, the Kurds.
O`DONNELL: Catastrophic. That`s what Mitch McConnell is calling what Donald
Trump has done in Syria after Donald Trump withdrew a small group of U.S.
military personnel from Northern Syria which then allowed Turkey to invade
the area and kill as many of our Kurdish allies there as possible, which is
yet another Trump decision that works perfectly for Vladimir Putin.
The Kurds, who U.S. forces were working with and protecting in that region,
now need protected by someone after being abandoned by Donald Trump and so
they are turning to Vladimir Putin just as Russia and everyone involved in
this conflict, knew that they would.
Donald Trump is now turning to a very weak packet of sanctions aimed at
just individuals in the Turkish government like the Turkish Defense
Minister, but not Turkish President Erdogan, who got exactly what he wanted
from Donald Trump in their last phone call before Turkey embarked on its
attack on the Kurds.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress are now working on actions that they
can take that they hope can reverse the President`s decision. The United
Nations Secretary General said in a statement today that the Turkish
military offense in Syria has resulted in “Many civilian casualties and
displaced people at least 160,000 civilians”.
Today “The New York Times” reports that the foreign ministers of all 28
European Union member states agreed to stop selling arms to Turkey in an
unprecedented step toward a fellow NATO member. Turkey`s attack has forced
the Kurds to abandon some of the camps where they were keeping ISIS
fighters and supporters in custody.
NBC News reports that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces SDF and
Syrian Observatory for human rights said Sunday that close to 800 members
of a camp holding the families of ISIS fighters had escaped after Turkish
All of this is on Donald Trump. All of this happened because Donald Trump
decided to allow it to happen and no one knows why. The President of the
United States has not explained his decision to the American people. He has
not explained it to anyone in Congress. Donald Trump abandoned American
allies and has left them to die, and no one knows why.
One element of this story that links it with many other decisions Donald
Trump has made as President is that it is very good for Vladimir Putin.
After this break I`ll ask Former Undersecretary of State, Ambassador Wendy
Sherman, why she thinks Donald Trump did this and what she thinks will
(BEGINN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D-DE) FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Who made an abrupt
decision without close consultation with allies and against the advice of a
number of senior military and diplomatic advisers is creating a chapter
here where the only real winner is Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Ambassador Wendy Sherman. She is
Former Undersecretary of State in the Obama Administration. She`s now an
MSNBC Global Affairs Contributor.
Ambassador Sherman, I want your reaction to actually something Donald Trump
himself said which is he absolutely fine with the Kurds becoming an ally of
Russia. He said anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is
good with me whether it is Russia, China or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they
all do great, we`re 7,000 miles away!” Yes, the President of the United
States actually did say that.
AMBASSADOR WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL
AFFAIRS: I think it`s extraordinary, but I think we all get surprised every
single day. The President once again Lawrence is both the arsonist and now
he wants to be the fireman?
I think he did this again because he wants to put Russia in charge for a
reason that we all still don`t understand. I think he did it on the moment
he did it because he wanted to take attention away from impeachment. But
because he`s so impulsive he didn`t stop to think about the consequences.
He didn`t stop to think that this might cross the line for some of his
closest allies in Congress.
Lindsey Graham came out quite strongly but now he sort of roped him back
in, in common cause to try to solve a problem that didn`t even need to
O`DONNELL: And what about institutional resistance to this? There have been
times in our history when we`ve seen the resignation on principle. It
happened in the Clinton Administration over domestic policy. Would this be
a moment for a Secretary of State, for an Undersecretary of State, for a
Secretary of Defense to resign, to stand up and just resign?
SHERAN: Well, I think it would be a moment except that I think Secretary
Pompeo is all in with the President of the United States. I think Secretary
Esper, the Secretary of Defense, is brand new and doesn`t really know how
to get his hands around any of this. And most of the other senior officials
in our government are acting officials with no authority.
The President says that it is the deep state who is really holding him back
from doing the things that he knows needs to be done but is, in fact, the
patriots, the civil servants who service every day who are the ones who are
bringing out the truth.
So we have Bill Taylor, the Acting Ambassador in Ukraine. We have Marie
Yovanovitch Masha, who has come out and spoken, and Fiona Hill today and
Mike McKinley who is just a superb Ambassador. All of these people are
coming forward to really tell the truth to the American public.
And it`s quite wonderful, I think, that it is public servants who really
serve the constitution and serve all of us who are going to show the
President what the truth really is and what the constitution is really
O`DONNELL: The latest reporting from “The New York Times” indicates that
the thousands troops that we have there that the President moved are now
trapped. They don`t have an actual way out since Turkey has cut off the
roads and the exit routes that they might use, and so now there is the
question of will there be an airlift? How will we get the U.S. troops out?
SHERMAN: This is reminiscent, you`ll know this. We haven`t had to get
troops out like this since the fall of Saigon. This is going to be very,
very difficult. It is one of the many, many down sides of the dangerous
impulsivity of the President. We also have 50 tactical nuclear weapons that
are at - air base in Turkey, and Turkey is now is in essence holding, our
technical nuclear weapons hostage in this negotiation to get to a sea spire
to stop the death of the Kurds.
The President has done, he is basically handed the country back over to
Assad, to Putin and to Iran and to ISIS. And meanwhile, Turkey is going to
use those tactical nuclear weapons and millions of refugees as leverage to
make sure it can hold on to a piece of Syria.
O`DONNELL: I guess we`ll continue to be asking this question for a long
time but why does he want to do these things for Vladimir Putin?
SHERMAN: This is the more than $64 million question. Maybe this is the $10
billion question if that`s what Donald Trump is really worth, though I
doubt it. Clearly he has business interests. Clearly that Putin has got
something on Donald Trump.
But the other thing, and I hate to say this, is Donald Trump really
believes in strongmen. He believes that the President should have unbridled
powers. His Attorney General, William Barr, believes the President should
have unbridled powers. And Secretary Pompeo, who just gave a speech that
until it got pulled down, was headlined on the website being a good
Christian on a government website.
I`m all for Christianity and Christian values but totally inappropriate for
a Secretary of State. So the President of the United States likes
strongmen. He wants to be Vladimir Putin, and clearly Vladimir Putin has
something on Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thank you so much for joining us. I
really appreciate it.
SHERMAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we have breaking news from Fort Worth
tonight. The police officer who shot and killed a 28-year-old woman in her
own home while she was playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew,
that police officer has tonight been arrested and charged with murder.
We`ll have more on these late developments next.
O`DONNELL: Breaking news, Aaron Dean, police officer who shot and killed
28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her home in Fort Worth, Texas, was
arrested tonight and charged with murder. At 2:25 am on Sunday morning,
resident of Fort Worth, Texas, called the nonemergency police hotline after
noticing that his neighbor`s door had been left open.
Within minutes of that call, the man`s neighbor, 28-year-old Atatiana
Jefferson was shot and killed in her own home by Officer Aaron Dean.
Tatiana Jefferson was playing video games at the time with her 8-year-old
nephew. Officer Dean entered her yard through an open gate, approached the
window of her home and, without identifying himself as a police officer,
shouted put your hands up. Show me your hands before then firing a single
Less than two seconds later. That shot killed Tatiana Jefferson right in
front of her 8-year-old nephew. The Officer`s body camera footage capturing
the incident was release by the Fort Worth Police Department. We`re going
to show you a portion of that video now but before we do we must warn you
that you may find some of this video disturbing. You won`t see the actual
shooting on this video though but here is that body cam video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up. Show me your hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It`s a fast moving day in the breaking news of this case, ending
with the arrest of Officer Dean. Earlier in the day the Police Chief said
that he intended to fire Officer Dean, but the resigned before the
department could take any action. It is an American way of death. Unarmed
black person committing no crime shot and killed by police.
We have never before seen a case where the unarmed black person is a woman,
playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew in her own home. Marq
Claxton has seen a lot. He has never seen a case exactly like this one.
Marq Claxton is a Former New York City Police Detective. He is now the
Director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance. Marq Claxton will join us
after this break.
O`DONNELL: Darius Carr serves in the military station in San Diego. He
rushed to Fort Worth as soon as he heard that a Fort Worth police officer
had shot and killed his sister in her own home while she was playing video
games with her 8-year-old nephew. Here is Darius Carr today before that
officer was arrested and charged with murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARIUS CARR, BROTHER OF ATATIANA JEFFERSON: My name is Darius Carr,
currently stationed in San Diego. I served my country for the last 12
years. In that time, I`ve been trained and taught, there are pre planned
responses to everything you do.
Everything you`re trained about, there`s a way to do things. When you don`t
do it the way you`ve been trained, the way you`ve been taught, you have to
answer for that. This man murdered someone. He should be arrested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Marq Claxton, Retired NYPD Police Detective
and Director of The Black Law Enforcement Alliance. Marq, I can`t say -
it`s always something like this that brings you back to the show to discuss
this, with your expertise. But what Darius Carr just said seems to be the
important note of the day.
This was a rookie cop, apparently less than two years experience on the
force and you can see in that video, he`s not following what he was trained
to do in a situation like that.
MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE DIRECTOR: Yes. And regardless
of - even the response. Let me just say, Lawrence, the response to this
incident, to this tragedy, to this killing has been somewhat unusual.
There`s been a significant shift in responding to these types of incidence
from government, Administrative, Managers, Mayor, Police Department, et
However, as the brother points out, that until we deal with the issue of
national professionals, clear national standards, holding your
professionals accountable and responsible for adhering to those standards
you can`t possibly hope to avoid these types of tragedies.
You must also begin to deal realistically and honestly with the
relationship between law enforcement and race. There`s a dynamic that is
involved here that is irrefutable, that`s unavoidable and that pops it`s
head up every time we have some of these incidents that occur throughout
O`DONNELL: Marq, is that dynamic, the racial dynamic in policing addressed
CLAXTON: There`s minimal address of the racial dynamic in training. More
recently, agencies have gone to dealing with or attempting to deal with
what they call implicit bias training.
However, baked into law enforcement strategies across this nation are race-
based, race-driven initiatives that prove to increase the interactions
between black and brown communities and police agencies, it`s baked into
the enforcement strategies in many agencies across this nation.
You look, for example, in the dynamic that existed in New York City with
stop and frisk. It exists in many other large cities with stop and frisk of
policies that they have. Many of these enforcement strategies are race
When you add into it implicit or explicit bias into race-based enforcement
it`s a recipe for disaster and tragedy. Time and time again I`ve come here
and we have had discussions about these types of incidents. They are
absolutely avoidable and it`s necessary for us to address the role that
race plays in law enforcement.
O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton gets the last word tonight. Marq, thank you very
much for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.
CLAXTON: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams
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