Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on impeachment invest. TRANSCRIPT: 10/24/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Evelyn Farkas, Wendy Sherman, Sam Stein
Transcript:

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

 

And we`re going to have former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance joining us in

this hour to consider what this breaking news means tonight.  As you`ve

been covering it for the hour, it broke minutes before you went on.  And I

studied that “New York Times” article.  None of the reporting, none of it,

gives the slightest hint of what the crime might be –

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Yes. 

 

O`DONNELL:  – that would be investigated in this criminal investigation,

which makes it so very peculiar, because, in fact, it`s extremely difficult

for an FBI agent to commit a crime in the course of his or her

investigative duties.  It is extremely difficult for a prosecutor to commit

a crime and very difficult for CIA officer to commit a crime in the kind of

investigation we`re talking about, other than some form of perjury, some

form of untruth delivered in an under oath environment.  And there actually

isn`t very much of that environment controlling what they do most of the

time. 

 

MADDOW:  Right. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And so this could be kind of a shell of a criminal

investigation, one of the many, many, many legitimate criminal

investigations that the Justice Department has conducted in its history

that produce no charges.

 

But the Republicans and the president get now to say, get to deflect, Fox

News gets to say the most important investigation in the world right now is

not the impeachment investigation of the president of the United States. 

It`s this other thing that no matter how long we stare at it tonight, we

can`t quite figure out what it is, what`s the crime they`re investigating. 

 

MADDOW:  Right.  And what we`re left with is the president and his

supporters having alleged that the law enforcement and intelligence

professionals who investigated what Russia did, who investigated this

crime, they`ve been denounced as traitors, right?  They`ve been denounced

as people who should be subject to capital punishment as traitors in this

country for having engaged in that investigation. 

 

The president has been saying that for two years, chanting it at rallies

and they`ve been echoing it on conservative media and he finally got

himself an attorney general who watches enough Fox News and echo the stuff

enough that he is willing to put these things into legalese as well.  And

now, you`ve got him leading an empowered criminal inquiry that could lead

to criminal charges against the investigators who looked into this thing

for the country, who they really have been saying are worst – are guilty

of the worst things that you can charge an American with.  It`s – I mean,

I don`t know the depths of what Bill Barr is planning to do here, but this

is – this is a big deal.

 

O`DONNELL:  We`re going to get into it with Joyce Vance later in the hour. 

Thank you, Rachel.  We really appreciate it.

 

Well, we`ll have coverage of all the breaking news of the hour, especially

coverage of impeachment at this hour, including a corroborating witness for

Ambassador William Taylor who is scheduled to testify next week in that

investigation.  The impeachment investigation of Donald Trump was suspended

today in honor of Elijah Cummings who, only 30 days ago – just 30 days ago

when he was named as one of the leaders of the impeachment investigation,

his role then as chairman of the Oversight Committee.  Congressman Cummings

died last week from medical complications. 

 

And today, he became the first African-American member of Congress, first

African-American elected official in history brought to lie in state in the

capital. 

 

Eugene Robinson will join us at the end of the hour to share his memories

of and perspective on the life and times of the honorable Elijah Cummings. 

 

Our first guest tonight is the youngest member of Elijah Cummings`

committee, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who will share what it

was like to take her place in the House of Representatives this year, and

win a valuable seat on the House Oversight Committee, with Chairman

Cummings as her guide, welcoming her to that committee. 

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has changed the definition of the possible for

freshmen members of the House of Representatives.  She has captured more

public attention than any freshmen member of the House of Representatives

in history. 

 

And in politics, attention is power.  Without the attention Congresswoman

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has brought to the Green New Deal, it would not be

one of the leading agenda items of the Democratic Party and one of most

prominent issues debated in the presidential campaign and without the

professionalism that she has brought to her legislative agenda in the

House, she would not have a Senate partner on the Green New Deal, which is

absolutely mandatory for any realistic legislative enterprise. 

 

But like an old pro at legislating, the freshman congresswoman found a

partner in Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who has pushed the Green New

Deal on the Democratic agenda in the United States Senate.  There`s no

reason to expect leadership like that from a freshman member in the House

because we have never seen leadership from a freshman member of the House. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the freshman members of the House who

have changed what is possible in committee hearings by the sharpness and

inescapable logic of their questions in the five minutes that they are

allowed to ask them. 

 

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez did that yesterday in what became five of the

worst minutes of Mark Zuckerberg`s very rich life as the CEO of Facebook,

who has gotten through most of the years of his life without ever having to

answer difficult questions.  We`ll show you some of that video of what Mark

Zuckerberg ran into yesterday when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got her five

minutes. 

 

But we begin with impeachment.  And as luck of history would have it,

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the members of Congress who is

participating in the impeachment investigation as a member of the House

Oversight Committee. 

 

Contrary to Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz`s lies as he was leading his

congressional drunk driving collision with the investigating committees

yesterday, there are, in fact, dozens of Republican members of the House

who are also allowed to participate in and ask questions in the

investigation, including in the closed door depositions, because they are

members of the investigating committees. 

 

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is introducing a resolution in the Senate

to object to the procedures being used by the House of Representatives.  We

will consider Lindsey Graham`s objections later in this hour when we will

be joined by former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance and former Under

Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. 

 

Most Republicans are supporting Lindsey Graham`s resolution objecting to

the House procedures, but in what could be an ominous sign for Donald

Trump, as of tonight, eight, eight Republican senators have chosen not to

support Lindsey Graham`s resolution, including Senator Mitt Romney, Senator

Susan Collins, Senator Lisa Murkowski.  If just half of those eight

senators were to join with Democrats in the Senate and vote against Donald

Trump in his impeachment trial, then a majority of the Senate would be

voting against the president, which would be an important note for history,

even though the president could remain in power because it takes 67 votes

to convict and remove a president in an impeachment trial in the Senate. 

 

And joining us now is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who

represents the state of New York`s 14th congressional district, which

covers portions of the Bronx and Queens in New York City. 

 

Congresswoman, thank you very for joining us tonight on this very important

news night. 

 

And I want to get your reaction to what is happening in the impeachment

investigation, beginning quickly with that very strange car crash of a

scene we saw of Matt Gaetz leading a physical attack into the committee to

disrupt it. 

 

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY):  Yes, Lawrence.  Well, first and

foremost, I remember seeing, you know, that sea of men banging outside of

House Intelligence, thinking that it was quite funny, because many of them

are my colleagues on the House Oversight Committee and have access to those

depositions.  So, they were pretending that they weren`t able to be in

these depositions, like many members of Congress, Republican and Democrat

alike, in order to create a spectacle. 

 

But the truth of the matter is, is not that – the reason they were doing

that, because they knew exactly what was going on inside.  They know

exactly what this testimony and what these depositions are adding up to and

that, frankly, it is revealing a very disturbing sequence of events and

very likely abuse of power and breaking of our oath to the Constitution of

the United States. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Now, I know you were in Ambassador Gordon Sondland`s closed

door deposition there.  We had Congressman Peter Welch with us the other

night.  And after William Taylor testified in direct contradiction of

Ambassador Sondland, let`s listen to what Congressman Welch said about the

possibilities of perjury charges there.  Let`s listen to that.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Is Gordon Sondland in danger of perjury charges of his

testimony to your committee? 

 

REP. PETER WELCH (D-VT):  I think he is.  The evidence is coming out now

that he, in fact, was a very active instrument to try to essentially assist

Giuliani in the effort to have this rogue foreign policy.  So, yes, I think

Ambassador Sondland has some reason to be worried about how his testimony

is going to be evaluated when reviewed by potential prosecutors. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  And today, Ambassador Sondland`s criminal defense lawyers

relied on the “do not recall” defense to cover the conflict in his

testimony with Ambassador Taylor`s testimony. 

 

What is your sense of how much possible perjury charge danger Ambassador

Sondland is in? 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Well, I think a lot of what we`re seeing here does reveal a

decent amount of testimony that, frankly, just isn`t lining up.  This is

exactly why, in the House of Representatives, we separate all of our

witnesses and depose them individually and in private, so that we can get

these stories down and see what adds up and what doesn`t. 

 

That is also a major reason why these Republicans are fighting to perhaps

make all of this public.  You know, it is known that this is done with the

blessing of the president.  And perhaps one of the reason they`re fighting

for all of this testimony to be public is so that folks could potentially

line up their depositions.  We don`t know. 

 

But with respect to Ambassador Sondland – well, you know, the fact that

they`re relying on this do not recall, let`s see what comes out, I do not

think bodes very well for him.  But once again, we still have more

depositions left to go and we have to really get all of the facts. 

 

O`DONNELL:  It has been a very sad week for you and the members of the

House, and the committee in particular, with the loss of Chairman Cummings. 

 

What`s it like for you to be, first of all, win a seat on his committee and

then be welcomed on to that committee by Elijah Cummings? 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  It was the complete honor of a lifetime.  When I first

asked to be assigned to the House Oversight Committee, he brought me into

his office personally and really wanted to know not just why I wanted to be

on this committee, but he wanted to know who I was.  And it was a real

testimony to who Elijah Cummings was as a leader.  He cared about serving

the most vulnerable Americans, about bringing truth to light, about

speaking truth to power. 

 

And unlike the – and contrary to the culture of Congress, which is so

focused on the power of seniority, he, as Speaker Pelosi mentioned today

earlier this year said, I want all the freshmen on my committee. 

 

He was a relentless coach.  He was an inspired mentor, and he believed and

invested time in each and every one of us.  And I feel profoundly blessed

to have spent the last ten months with our chairman. 

 

O`DONNELL:  The – it seems at this point certain that the House of

Representatives is going to deliver articles of impeachment, at least one,

to the United States Senate for trial, which leaves the senators in the

posture of jurors.  Some of them are actually refraining from comment on

the basis of being jurors.  We`ve seen this before, when the Clinton Senate

jury was assembled. 

 

Some of them – it`s unlike a court jury where you`re not allowed to make

any comment.  They can.  They can decide ahead of time how they`re going to

vote.  Some of them announce that, some of them don`t. 

 

What is your sense of how the presidential candidates who are going to be

jurors – there`s about five of them now – from Senator Sanders, the

candidate you endorsed, through Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy

Klobuchar, how they should handle themselves now as the prospect of being

potential jurors in the Senate trial becomes more and more serious? 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Well, first and foremost, I think what`s important to

acknowledge is that the president has committed crimes in public, and that

– this is something that we know.  This is something that all people know

from the – from, you know, from the green of the White House, he solicited

election interference and discussed election interference with respect to

China.  He released public notes of his calls where he solicited and

engaged in using the power of his office to create a politically motivated

investigation against a political opponent. 

 

So, this is all out in the public.  We know that he has committed a crime. 

 

The question is, how many other people are implicated in this?  The

question is, how often did he do it?  Did he do it in other circumstances? 

How big does this get? 

 

And so, with respect to the number of articles, I think that it`s fair to

say, let`s look at what rolls in.  But with respect to Ukraine and several

other instances it`s a very open and shut case.  So, I think it`s important

that we discuss the fact that he has committed impeachable crimes.  It`s

just a question of how many and how many people were involved and who knew. 

 

O`DONNELL:  In addition to your work in the committees and investigative

committees, you`re also become very active now in the political campaign,

actively campaigning for Bernie Sanders, endorsing Ed Markey for Senate in

Massachusetts, endorsing a new candidate, Attorney Cisneros in Texas,

running for the House in Texas.  You`re spreading your endorsements around

the electoral map. 

 

How much of that is something that is distracting from your daily work in

the House? 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Well, I put my work in the House front and center.  But

what I do believe is that these endorsements are part of the work that we

have to do in the House. 

 

Very frequently, someone will say, oh, we can`t pass a Green New Deal.  We

don`t have support for that. 

 

Oh, Medicare-for-All is, quote/unquote, unfeasible, because we may not have

support in certain areas of the House. 

 

Well, if we want to change that, then we need to be changing – we need to

be changing the map of the House.  And we need to be protecting those folks

who are leading and are taking political risks in order to serve the people

of the United States of America. 

 

And so, my work, first and foremost, informs the other work that I do to

organize the electorate.  But it`s – it is important to acknowledge that

in order to pass a transformative agenda for working class Americans, we`ve

got to have the numbers and we`ve got to have the leadership in place. 

 

And so, we have to play in both if we`re really going to change this

country and if we`re serious about that. 

 

O`DONNELL:  I want to take a look at what your five minutes with Mark

Zuckerberg was like yesterday.  We do have squeeze in a commercial break

here.  We can do it on the other side if you can stay with us. 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Sure, of course. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you.  We`ll be right back with Congresswoman Ocasio-

Cortez. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Some of the freshman Democrats in the House of Representatives

have decided to concentrate on an aspect of their jobs that many members of

Congress frequently ignore – asking sharp questions in hearings. 

 

Here is freshman Congresswoman Katie Porter questioning Mark Zuckerberg

yesterday about how he runs Facebook. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA):  You`ve got about 15,000 contractors watching

murders, stabbings, suicides, other gruesome, disgusting videos for content

moderation.  Correct? 

 

MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO:  Congresswoman, yes, I believe that that`s

correct. 

 

PORTER:  You pay many of those workers under $30,000 a year and you`ve cut

them off from mental health care when they leave the company, even if they

have PTSD because of their work for your company? 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Then came freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

pressing Mark Zuckerberg on why he refuses to fact-check political

advertising on Facebook. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  You`ve announced recently that the official policy of

Facebook now allows politicians to pay to spread disinformation in 2020

elections and in the future.  So I just want to know how far I can push

this in the next year. 

 

Under your policy, you know, using census data as well, could I pay to

target predominantly black zip codes and advertise them the incorrect

election date? 

 

ZUCKERBERG:  No, Congresswoman, you couldn`t.  We have – even for these

policies around the newsworthiness of content that politicians say and the

general principle that I believe that –

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  But you said you`re not going to fact check my ads. 

 

ZUCKERBERG:  We have – if anyone, including a politician, is saying things

that can cause – that is calling for violence or could risk imminent

physical harm or voter or census suppression, and we roll out census

suppression policy, we will take the content down. 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  So, you will – there is some threshold where you will fact

check political advertisements?  Is that what you`re telling me? 

 

ZUCKERBERG:  Well, Congresswoman, yes, and for specific things like that,

where there`s imminent risk of harm. 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Could I run ads targeting Republicans in primaries saying

that they voted for the Green New Deal? 

 

ZUCKERBERG:  Sorry, could you repeat that? 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Would I be able to run advertisements on Facebook targeting

Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal?  I

mean, if you`re not fact-checking political advertisements, I`m just trying

to understand the bounds here, what`s fair game. 

 

ZUCKERBERG:  Congresswoman, I don`t know the answer to that off the top of

my head.  I think –

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  So you don`t know if I`ll be able to do that. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is back with us. 

 

And, Congresswoman, what I was fascinated by was, I think the simplest

question you asked him was the one he needed you to repeat, and one of the

things I`m wondering is, does he even understand that all Republicans

oppose the Green New Deal and, therefore, your ad would be a lie?  It`s not

clear to me that he actually understood that underlying element of your

question. 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Yes, yes.  You know, and the key is that if he didn`t

understand that, he should have asked and clarified.  But instead, he just

immediately went for the probably, yes. 

 

And when you pair that with the fact that Facebook has officially made its

policy that it will not fact-check paid political advertisement, that they

will take money in order to publish and spread disinformation is

extraordinarily concerning. 

 

And, by the way, this is also why I asked, in addition, to this line of

questioning about what mark Zuckerberg knew about Cambridge Analytica, when

and what did he about it?  This is extremely concerning, because we`re not

just talking about rehashing the 2016 election and the disinformation

campaign.  We`re talking about whether Facebook is going to play a role in

affirmatively allowing the disinformation campaigns into the 2020 U.S.

election. 

 

And if that is the case, we need to take action.  I believe we need to take

preemptive action and we need to take action right now. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And when you were closing in on him on Cambridge Analytica,

there were reporters who cover Mark Zuckerberg very closely, have been for

years, who were kind of tweeting on their edge of their seats that they`ve

never been able to get these questions in front of him.  But he did kind of

just slither away from those questions. 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Yes.  And as a matter of fact, what we decided to do after

he answered in very frankly strange and bizarre ways to those questions is

that we are actually going to send follow-up questions, pen them to the

record of the hearing and send them to Facebook for an official answer to

these questions.  We need to get it on the record. 

 

We need to know whether Mark Zuckerberg knew.  We need to know who in

Facebook`s leadership knew about Cambridge Analytica, and we need to know

whether they decided to do nothing while the 2016 were being manipulated

and if they`re deciding to do nothing again. 

 

Because if that`s the case, they are not the innocent bystanders that they

like to say that they are.  They may be active participants.  We don`t

know. 

 

And so, for that, we have to get to the bottom of this.  We need to

understand what role they are deciding to play, especially given the light

of the fact that they are going to take money to public disinformation ads

from political campaigns. 

 

Broadcasters are held to a much higher standard.  While they cannot

discriminate on what kind of advertisements they run, there is a base level

of fact checking that must go on. 

 

And so for this, in order for him to go far below that standard raises very

serious questions about the integrity of the information that people are

receiving. 

 

O`DONNELL:  I mean, there is a simple solution for Facebook, and that is

simply to take no paid political advertising. 

 

Does Facebook make enough money to survive if they don`t have that income? 

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  That`s a – you know, that`s an excellent question.  Full

disclosure, I am a candidate that runs Facebook ads.  But even given that,

that was a very common question. 

 

You know, some folks have noted that the night before my hearing, I took to

Twitter, ironically enough.  And I asked the public, what would you want to

know from Mark Zuckerberg?

 

And one of the most common questions that I got from people here in the

United States and around the world is why don`t you just ban political ads

if you`re not even going to put in the resources to fact-check them? 

 

And I think it`s a very legitimate question.  If Facebook doesn`t want to

put in the very basic investments of fact-checking on a very essential

level, then why should they take the money to run these ads at all?  They

didn`t always run them.  And I think it`s a natural question of should you

run them if you`re not going to fact-check them? 

 

O`DONNELL:  Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, thank you very much for

starting us off tonight.  Really appreciate it.

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Of course.  Thank you. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you. 

 

And when we come back, we have breaking news, there is new reporting

tonight that a witness being deposed next week will corroborate Ambassador

William Taylor`s damning testimony against Donald Trump in the impeachment

investigation.  That`s next. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Breaking news, there is new reporting tonight that another

witness who will testify next week to the impeachment investigating

committees will confirm key elements of Ambassador William Taylor`s

testimony about President Trump pressuring the President of Ukraine to

publicly announce an investigation of Joe Biden in exchange for security

assistance that was already authorized by Congress, and that the President

had no legal right to block or to use as a bargaining chip for his

political campaign.

 

That witness next week will be Tim Morrison, a top ranking Europe and

Russia advisor on the National Security Council in the Trump White House.

And tonight, The Washington Post is reporting that the White House`s Trade

Representative Robert Lighthizer in late August withdrew a recommendation

to restore some of Ukraine`s trade privileges, after John Bolton then

National Security Adviser warned him that President Trump probably would

oppose any action that benefited the government in Kiev.

 

House Democrats are now preparing to go public with the evidence against

the President, possibly in mid-November, according to The Washington Post.

Potential public witnesses include Ambassador Bill Taylor, former

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and former National Security Advisor John

Bolton.

 

Joining our discussion now, Ambassador Wendy Sherman, she`s the former

Undersecretary of State in the Obama administration; Evelyn Farkas is with

us, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Obama

administration; and Joyce Vance, former US attorney; and Matt Miller a

former spokesperson for Attorney General Eric Holder, all our MSNBC

analysts.

 

And I want to start with the story, Rachel spent her hour with, and Rachel

and I began discussing. Matt Miller, I`d like to begin with you on this,

the idea that the Barr Justice Department has now officially launched a

criminal investigation of the beginnings of the investigation of Russian

interference in the 2016 election.

 

MATT MILLER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND

MSNBC ANALYST: I think it`s incredibly concerning, Lawrence. I think it`s

the most concerning development we`ve seen out of Justice Department since

Donald Trump became President.

 

Look, if there was a crime committed, obviously it ought to be

investigated. But we know more about the Russia probe and the origins of

the Russia probe than probably any investigation in the Justice

Department`s history.

 

Bob Mueller wrote a 450 page report that became public, the department

released a FISA application from that investigation, something it`s never

before done in its history, there`s been extensive reporting, and through

all of that, we`ve never seen a single evidence of a crime, not even an

allegation of a crime something that would give a predicate to an

investigation.

 

And I think it`s notable that in this story tonight, it doesn`t say what

the allegation of a crime is that the department is now investigating. If I

- I know John Durham, I worked with him when Eric Holder appointed him to

investigate alleged torture by officers at the CIA. And if I thought he

were running this investigation alone, I would have some confidence in it.

But I don`t think that`s what`s happening.

 

Bill Barr has been micromanaging this, he`s been flying around the world to

interrogate foreign officials about what happened, and I don`t think it`s a

coincidence that the day after an Ambassador goes up to The Hill and gives

incredibly damning testimony about the President extorting a foreign

government that we see this leak from the Department of Justice. And I

think it`s incredibly concerning about the administration of justice and

the rule of law in this country.

 

O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance, if Mr. Durham is an honorable straight shooting

prosecutor, nothing for anyone to worry about.

 

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. AND MSNBC ANALYST: Well that`s true and it`s not

unheard of for prosecutors to use a grand jury investigation to close out

allegations that aren`t warranted.

 

After all, if you want to leave folks with the conclusion that you left no

stone unturned before you close an investigation without any indictment,

this is a pretty good way to do it. And Durham has that sort of reputation.

 

Nonetheless, as Matt says, this is deeply concerning. The Inspector General

was already running an administrative investigation to see whether there

had been any misconduct by anyone involved in the origins of the

investigation.

 

So it`s always been troubling to have these parallel investigations,

particularly one where the Attorney General of the United States, a person

with a pretty full plate and a lot of work to do, seemed so involved that

he was investing the time to fly all around the world, always been very

troubling.

 

O`DONNELL: Joyce, let me just get one more question on this, before we turn

to the story that a - maybe this story is intended to divert, which is of

course the story of the investigation of the President, and that is I spent

an hour trying to figure out, OK what crime can you possibly be

investigating here, because it is not easy for FBI agents to commit crimes

in the course of their duties, it`s not easy for prosecutors to do that,

it`s not easy for CIA officials to do that.

 

There has to be some kind of crime, it seems the most likely thing would be

something involving at least some kind of charge of perjury or a cousin of

perjury somewhere in the law, some kind of false statement being made.

 

But procedural irregularities are corrected by defendants that the

investigators use procedural irregularities against, they`re corrected by

the appeals process in trials and all of that sort of thing. It just - I

can`t figure out what they could possibly be seriously investigating as a

crime here.

 

VANCE: So what you`re saying I think is extremely important and that point

is that, if there are prosecutors or investigators who do things that are

wrong in the course of an investigation that comes to light during a

prosecution and defendants have the opportunity to move to dismiss the

indictment or judges exclude evidence or in extreme cases a conviction can

be overturned.

 

And so, you`re exactly right about that. Chuck Rosenberg and I had this

conversation earlier tonight, and the cousin of perjury that we came up

with was 18 U.S.C. 1001, making false statements to the government or

perhaps some sort of a leak involved with something to do with this

investigation.

 

It`s very difficult to contemplate what the federal crime that

investigators would be looking at so hard could possibly be.

 

O`DONNELL: Evelyn Farkas, I want to turn to what`s going to happen next

week, Tim Morrison testifying. You know Tim Morrison, what do you expect

will happen in that testimony?

 

EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND MSNBC

ANALYST: I think it will be different from Bill Taylor`s testimony, because

Bill Taylor was a voluntary super-friendly witness. He was a guy who wanted

to go and give the 9/11 report on everything he knew, give the narrative,

the full story, all the details.

 

Tim is a different story, he`s a political appointee. However, he`s worked

a long time on Congress on The Hill in the House Foreign Affairs Committee

staff and also in the Senate. He knows the Constitution, he will not - I do

not believe that he will lie, but I don`t believe that he will offer

voluntary fulsome information necessarily.

 

So it remains to be seen. He may surprise us and be more forthcoming, but

he may also just play it more safe as it relates to the President.

 

O`DONNELL: And Wendy Sherman, as the evidence close in - closes in on the

President, we are not hearing from any Republican in the House or the

Senate a single comment on the evidence. You have Matt Gaetz leading this

kind of Congressional drunk driving rampage through the halls of the House

to try to crash into the room.

 

You have Lindsey Graham introducing a Senate resolution taking issue with

how the House is doing business, which is most meaningless document you

could possibly raise. The idea of the House ever criticizing the Senate or

the Senate ever criticizing the House is the most meaningless thing you can

do. But no one is on the Republican side talking about the evidence.

 

AMBASSADOR WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL

AFFAIRS AND MSNBC ANALYST: I think we`re seeing two things. One, because

there is no substance they can attack, they are doing all process and

they`re actually acting in pretty silly and ridiculous and absurd kinds of

ways, as well as putting our national security at risk by bringing their

cell phones into the SCIF, into the secured area in the House that really

is against the law what they did, but also makes us vulnerable to Russian

and Chinese hacking, getting into the phones and knowing what`s going on

there.

 

They`re going to have to clean out the SCIF all over again and reseal it.

But we`re also seeing the intimidation tactics that you were just

discussing with Joyce and Matt, where you`re really saying to witnesses who

are going to come forward be careful what you do, because we may come after

you.

 

And indeed all of these people who are coming forward are patriots because

they know they`re going to get attacked. But they think that their

commitment to the Constitution is so deep that they`re going to do it. And

I quite agree with Evelyn, I think we have to be very careful.

 

I think Tim Morrison`s going to be under tremendous pressure. Unless he

gets his statement out quickly, he`s going to be under tremendous pressure

to be pretty nuanced in what he says.

 

O`DONNELL: And Evelyn, as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, some of

the people who raided the room, Republicans pretending that they were being

locked out, were actually members of the Committee and had reserved seats

in the room that they could have been sitting in, which bring us to the

fact that there`s about 48 Republican members of the House who have the

right to be in every one of these depositions, listening to every word.

 

We don`t know how many of them are exercising that right and how many of

them are spending their time doing something else. But they are certainly

in a position to reveal any evidence that they hear in that room that`s

helpful to Donald Trump and we have silence from all 48 of them.

 

FARKAS: Right. I mean look, I`ve actually been in that room, I actually

testified. Part of the intimidation is not just being in the face of the

witness, which was pretty much what they did to Laura Cooper, my successor

once removed from the Defense Department. But they also - it`s also

intimidating when you have to hire a private lawyer, right.

 

It costs a lot of money when you are a government official. That`s not in

your household budget. So there are levels of intimidation and yes they`re

not going to - if they had something they could reveal, you better believe

they would have leaked it, if it was helpful to them. But there`s nothing.

I mean there`s nothing exonerating Donald Trump thus far.

 

O`DONNELL: And Matt Miller, Ambassador Sondland who one member of the

Committee told me the other night is in danger of perjury charges, because

William Taylor completely disagrees with Ambassador Sondland on key

discussions that those two had. Ambassador Sondland is one of those rich

guys who can afford the best criminal defense lawyers and his very good

criminal defense lawyers today came up with the, he does not recall,

defense.

 

They are attributing to their client that he does not recall the

conversation in which William Taylor now is essentially saying Gordon

Sondland lied under oath to Congress.

 

MILLER: Yes, he does have a very good criminal defense attorney, the same

attorney that got Karl Rove out of being indicted when it appeared he had

lied to the grand jury during the Bush administration.

 

I think Gordon Sondland has a lot of problems. Look, he can`t - if you just

read his opening statement, even before Bill Taylor testified, he wanted

you to believe that, in all the time that he was pushing for an

investigation into Burisma and that he was talking to the President about

this investigation, talking to others in the administration and outside

people like Rudy Giuliani.

 

He had no idea that meant an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. He

just thought it was a Ukrainian company apparently that had no connection

to the President`s political opponents. That was hard to believe on its

face.

 

And if I were him, I would have been worried about going and giving that

kind of answer, if there`s another witness that can come forward and say,

well Gordon Sondland said to me that this was all about Joe Biden, he knew

everything that there was about.

 

You then add on top of it the contradictions that appear between his

testimony and Taylor`s, and you have to look at which one of them would

have a motive to lie. Bill Taylor has no reason to come up and lie to the

Committee. Gordon Sondland very much does and I think I would be very

concerned, if I were him at the end of this, that there`s a referral to the

Department of Justice not under this administration, Bill Barr`s not going

to do anything, but if there`s a new government in a year and a half,

there`s a new administration, they might not take so kindly to members that

go up and lie to Congress to protect the President of the United States.

 

O`DONNELL: Now the President tried to hire Trey Gowdy as a possible

impeachment defense lawyer. That didn`t work out. Let`s listen to Trey

Gowdy defending exactly the way this investigation is being conducted

behind closed doors. He actually offered this defense in 2015. Let`s listen

to this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TREY GOWDY, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I can just tell you that, of the 50

some odd interviews we have done thus far, the vast majority of them have

been private, and you don`t see the bickering among the members of Congress

in private interviews. You don`t see any of that. The private ones always

produce better results.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Wendy Sherman, the Republicans seem to have no memory of their

own conduct.

 

SHERMAN: Indeed, not only during the Benghazi hearings, but during the

Clinton impeachment hearings, much of it was done behind closed doors.

These are House rules under which Adam Schiff and the rest of the House

committees are operating. And as you pointed out at the beginning, 48

members that includes Kevin McCarthy in his role as the Minority Leader get

to sit in those hearings and there`s equal time for questions, and they

have been following that rule.

 

So the Republicans get as much time as the Democrats to ask questions.

Nothing has come out that doesn`t corroborate what we heard particularly

from Bill Taylor.

 

O`DONNELL: And the Republican staff is filled in the chairs in the

background of that room. There are so many Republican opportunities to

reveal helpful information that comes out in those depositions to the

President. They`re not doing it - we have a right to believe that no

helpful information is coming out there. We`re going to have to break it

here, former Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Evelyn Farkas, Joyce Vance, Matt

Miller, thank you all for joining us in this important discussion.

 

And when we come back, the Presidential debates haven`t been fun to watch,

but the debate we really want to see is Senator Lindsey Graham debating

against Congressman Lindsey Graham of 21 years ago. We will show you what

that very intense heated debate would look like in a moment, when you`ll

see Lindsey Graham contradicting Lindsey Graham about closed-door

depositions in the impeachment investigation of a President.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Here is Lindsey Graham explaining why closed-door depositions in

an impeachment investigation of the President are the very best way for the

House of Representatives to discover impeachment evidence.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The depositions I think will determine whether

or not we go forward with hearings, I think it`s a very smart thing to do

is to depose these people and find out what they`ve got to say and not drag

this thing out unnecessarily.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: That was 21 years ago, and since then, Lindsey Graham has

learned to tie a necktie and today he is saying exactly the opposite and

lying, while he`s at it.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

GRAHAM: They`ve created a process in the Intel community committee that`s

behind closed doors doesn`t provide access to the President`s accuser,

shuts Republicans out for all practical purposes, and is an unworthy

substitute for the way you need to do it, is that it`s core un-American.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Lindsey Graham continued to push the Republican lie that

Republicans are, as he put it, shut out of the closed-door depositions in

the House of Representatives. Every Republican member of the committees

conducting those depositions is allowed to attend those depositions and ask

questions in those depositions.

 

48 Republican members of the House of Representatives - remember that

number, 48 are allowed to attend all of the closed-door depositions and ask

as many questions as they want, and not one of those 48 Republicans has

attempted in any way to contradict any of the testimony that they have

heard against President Trump in those depositions.

 

Eight Republican Senators have so far refused to co-sponsor Lindsey

Graham`s Senate resolution criticizing the impeachment procedures of the

House of Representatives. Every one of those Republican Senators knows that

Donald Trump wants their names on that resolution immediately, and as of

tonight, they are defying Donald Trump.

 

And so Lindsey Graham`s resolution as of now is showing you that Donald

Trump`s Republican line of defense in the United States Senate is not as

solid as some people thought it appeared to be, until Lindsey Graham made

the mistake of asking all Republican Senators to put their names on a

frivolous resolution that has no meaning and will have no impact on the

impeachment process.

 

Joining our discussion now is Eugene Robinson, Associate Editor and

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post; and Sam Stein,

the Politics Editor of The Daily Beast is with us. They are both MSNBC

analysts.

 

And Sam, the Lindsey Graham versus Lindsey Graham debate is the one I want

to see.

 

SAM STEIN, THE DAILY BEAST POLITICS EDITOR AND MSNBC ANALYST: Yes, I mean

we both know and I think everyone knows that Lindsey knows better than

this. Certainly having been involved in 20 years ago, he knows the

particulars about the process.

 

And what he`s essentially saying is that he wants the Senate trial to be

the House impeachment process. That`s what he`s saying. So the question is

why is he doing this. And that`s sort of been the question throughout

Lindsey Graham`s conduct during the Trump administration, why do this to a

degree it`s sacrificing of his reputation, to a degree it`s a sacrificing

of his dignity.

 

And I`m not sure how far it gets him. I`ve talked to a bunch of people in

and around the President`s political orbit over the past couple of days

about how they feel this process is going. And to a person, they think

Lindsey Graham is letting them down. They don`t care for pointless

resolutions like the one that he introduced today. They think they`re

largely immaterial and superficial.

 

What they really want him to do is they want him to use his perch as the

Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and call people up to testify to

his Committee that might be involved in this allegation against Hunter

Biden or John Brennan type.

 

And so far, Lindsey Graham has refused to do that saying that, well if he

had to do that, the minority party would be able to call their witnesses as

well, and he`s right about that. But to the point of Lindsey Graham`s

reputation, it`s interesting to see him go to this length to try to cover

for Donald Trump and still piss off people who are close to Donald Trump.

 

O`DONNELL: And Eugene Robinson, my explanation for Lindsey Graham is there

is absolutely nothing he will not do to get reelected in South Carolina,

and it doesn`t matter that much to him what the White House thinks about

what he`s doing. What he cares about is what do South Carolina Republican

voters think about what he`s doing to protect Donald Trump. And if it looks

good to them, that`ll work for Lindsey Graham.

 

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST ASSOCIATE EDITOR MSNBC ANALYST: Well

that`s certainly is his prime objective is to ensure his re-election. I

think he`s been clear over the years, he just wants to get reelected in

perpetuity. I don`t think there`s any point to not getting reelected. And

so he`s going to do what he has to do, and what he has to do in the context

of South Carolina`s Republican Party is at least for now stick close to

Donald Trump.

 

So that`s what he does. But Sam is right, I mean this ineffectual

resolution that has no impact whatsoever is not what Donald Trump would

really like to get out of Lindsey Graham. He`s in a very powerful position

in the Senate, and Trump believes he could be carrying his water in a more

meaningful way. And he`s not prepared to do that, and he`s kind of in the

middle.

 

O`DONNELL: And Sam, so far what Lindsey Graham`s accomplished is to

identify for us eight Republican Senators who are leaning against the

Republican talking points certainly on the impeachment investigation of

Donald Trump.

 

STEIN: That`s remarkable to me because this resolution is ceremonial at

best. It will have no bearing on the House impeachment process. It`s merely

a way to get through a new cycle without the President berating you.

 

And yet, eight members of the President`s own party are not putting their

names on this resolution. I expect some of them eventually will, but it`s

an embarrassment. This was done strictly to make the President feel good

about himself and it will have the opposite impact.

 

Trump will have to look at this and say, OK if a trial comes to the Senate,

I know at least eight members are not willing to buy into my process

arguments that I`ve been using to demean the entire impeachment proceeding.

 

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to leave it there. Sam Stein, thank you very

much for joining us tonight, and Eugene Robinson, please stay with us. When

we come back, we will reflect on the Congressional career of the Honorable

Elijah Cummings, that`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): This is a critical moment in our country`s

history. Don`t be fooled, and it is a moment which people will be talking

about and reading about 300, 400, 500 years from now. And they`re going to

ask the question, what did you do when we had a President who knew the

rules and knew that our founding fathers had done a great job of creating a

Constitution and they put in all the guardrails, but never anticipate that

we would have a President that would just throw away the guardrails.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Congressman Elijah Cummings. Eugene Robinson is back with us.

And Eugene, it was just 23 years ago that Elijah Cummings made that 25-

minute trip down from Baltimore to Washington.

 

And I got to say he seemed like a senior member about, I don`t know, 90

days in.

 

ROBINSON: Exactly. He sort of lapped up the seniority chart in a

preternatural natural way. He was - I have a good friend who went to Howard

University with him, and he always told me that the Elijah Cummings you see

now is the Elijah Cummings that you saw then.

 

I mean he was destined even at that point to have this sort of impact on

people`s lives and determined to make people`s lives better. He was that

rare person who walked the talk in every aspect of his life. He was

passionate, he was sincere, brilliant, a fierce defender of the city of

Baltimore and the people of Baltimore, and he meant what he said.

 

And that`s really why people listen to him and why you saw that really

heartfelt outpouring in his memory today at the Capitol, it was quite

stunning.

 

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson, thank you very much for joining us tonight,

really appreciate it.

 

ROBINSON: Good to be here.

 

O`DONNELL: And now, for tonight`s LAST WORD.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CUMMINGS: I`m hoping that all of us can get back to this democracy that we

want and that we should be passing on to our children, so that they can do

better than what we did. When we`re dancing with the angels, the question

will be asked, in 2019 what do we do to make sure we kept our democracy

intact?

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: The Honorable Elijah Cummings gets tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE

11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts now.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END

 

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