Chaos in Syria. TRANSCRIPT: 10/14/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Harley Rouda, Sam Stein, Wendy Sherman, Marq Claxton

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.




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

President Trump.


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. 



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

impeachment inquiry. 


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

situation before. 



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

the scenes. 


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. 

Thank you.


ROUDA:  Thank you.


FARKAS:  Thanks.


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. 




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. 




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

federal investigation. 


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 – 


STEIN:  Right.


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.




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

happen next.







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.




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.



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.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up. Show me your hands.




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.





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.




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.



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

the nation.


O`DONNELL: Marq, is that dynamic, the racial dynamic in policing addressed

in training?


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

starts now.







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