Democrats win big off-year elections. TRANSCRIPT: 11/6/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Gregory Meeks, Mieke Eoyang, Amy Klobuchar
Transcript:

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

 

And you have to wonder about Jennifer Williams testifying.  One reason to

do it could be that what she believes she has to say would be helpful to

Mike Pence.  That`s one possibility. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Sure. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Other possibilities include she just doesn`t want to deal with

the kind of legal fees that she might be incurring by trying to steer her

way around testifying and running up billable hours with an expensive

Washington law firm.  I think one of the most fascinating stories we`re

going to get, when, I don`t know a year from now, whenever is this

decision, a decision by people who got with these requests and these

subpoenas, that decision of do we fight it, do we go to court, what do we

do?  Or we do just go and testify, and why do we go and testify? 

 

MADDOW:  And the White House clearly believed and Mike Pompeo and the State

Department clearly believed, oh, we`ll just tell people they`re not going,

and that will be enough.  And faced with you`re not going versus a lawful

congressional subpoena that you need to go, a lot of people particularly

people who are not hyper-partisans who were just doing their job, are

deciding this assertion from the White House is bullpucky, and ultimately,

that will be material in how the courts adjudicate whether not that

instruction from the White House means anything in the face of a subpoena. 

 

But watching David Hale turn up today, watching Colonel Vindman, turned up

a couple of weeks ago, watching Taylor turned up, watching Yovanovitch and

now watching Williams tomorrow, it`s a – it`s a fascinating cast. 

 

O`DONNELL:  So, there`s an interesting passage in Taylor`s deposition

transcripts about exactly this, and it`s one of those things that the

Republicans really – I focused on the Republican testimony, Rachel, the

Republican question because there isn`t any.  It`s like there`s just

nothing there.  Republicans don`t release highlights of the depositions

because there are no Republican highlights of the deposition which I think

is hugely important, that there`s no defense there. 

 

One of the things that the committee, the Republican committee council

spent a great deal of time on was the question of a subpoena to Ambassador

Taylor.  And he clarified in there – by the way, totally irrelevant,

right?  Why use your time on that? 

 

But for our purposes right now, he clarified in there when Ambassador

Taylor did get a subpoena, the state department did not say to him defy the

subpoena.  At that point the State Department pulled back and said – just

sort of pulled away from that.  But before that, they were saying, don`t

go.  But then when they got the subpoena, the State Department just – goes

hands-off.  So that`s one process that was revealed pretty clearly in that

testimony. 

 

MADDOW:  But it`s – you know, this is White House officials, DOD

officials, state department officials.  Tomorrow we`re going to have

somebody a State Department veteran detail today, the vice president`s

office for the first time.  I mean, every – you know, everybody has their

equities here but ultimately everyone`s going to have to answer to their

conscience too. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, thank you, Rachel.

 

MADDOW:  Thanks.  Appreciate it.

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, we have breaking news with the headline: Trump wanted

Barr to hold a news conference saying the president broke no laws in call

with Ukrainian leader.  Attorney General William Barr decided not to hold

that press conference. 

 

Also tonight, today was the first day of Roger Stone`s trial where

prosecutors from Robert Mueller`s team accused Roger Stone of committing

crimes to protect Donald Trump.  We`ll have more on both of those important

stories later in this hour. 

 

But, first tonight, we are now one week away from the first public hearing

in the impeachment investigation of President Donald J. Trump.  The acting

ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, will make history next Wednesday as

the first witness to testify publicly in what will become the fourth

impeachment investigation of a president in American history. 

 

A transcript of Ambassador Taylor`s deposition to the impeachment inquiry

was released today.  It shows Ambassador Taylor testified that he

threatened to quit if President Trump continued to withhold military aid to

Ukraine.  Ambassador Taylor said that the Trump position was that the

president of Ukraine would be granted a White House meeting with the

president of the United States, and Ukraine would receive military

assistance mandated by Congress only if Ukraine helped the Trump re-

election campaign by investigating Joe Biden. 

 

Chairman Adam Schiff pointed out that the Trump position fit the literal

definition of quid pro quo.  Chairman Schiff said, if they didn`t do this,

the investigations, they weren`t going to get that, the meeting and the

military assistance.  Ambassador Taylor, that was my clear understanding. 

Security assistance money would not come until the president committed to

pursue the investigation. 

 

Schiff, so if they don`t do this, they are not going to get it, that was

your understanding?  Taylor, yes, sir.  Schiff, are you aware quid pro quo

literally means this for that?  Taylor, I am. 

 

Congressman Tom Malinowski of New Jersey asked, who is responsible for

setting all this into motion?  Was it Mr. Sondland?  Was it Ambassador

Sondland? 

 

Taylor, I don`t think so.  I think the origin of the idea to get President

Zelensky to say out loud he`s going to investigate Burisma in the 2016

election, I think the originator who came up with that is Mr. Giuliani. 

 

Malinowski, and he was representing whose interests?  Taylor, President

Trump. 

 

Ambassador Taylor testified that four cabinet level officials tried to get

a meeting with President Trump to undue his blocking of aid Ukraine, but

the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the CIA director and the

national security advisor were never granted that meeting. 

 

Donald Trump`s resistance might not have been the only reason that that

meeting was never scheduled.  There`s also the general hectic pace of

activity within the White House.  Ambassador Taylor suggested that one

reason was another Trump created distraction that was diverting White House

attention from Ukraine. 

 

Taylor, I think this was also about the time of the Greenland question,

about purchasing Greenland, which took up a lot of energy in the National

Security Council.  Schiff, OK, that`s disturbing for a whole different

reason. 

 

It was Ambassador Taylor`s testimony that first provoked questions of

possible perjury in the testimony of Donald Trump`s ambassador to the

European Union, Gordon Sondland who testified before Ambassador Taylor and

claimed that he didn`t recall any discussions with the White House on

withholding security assistance from Ukraine.  Ambassador Taylor quoted

Gordon Sondland telling him exactly the opposite.  Gordon Sondland was then

forced to change his under oath testimony by adding a written statement

that was attached to the end of his deposition that was released yesterday. 

 

In that written statement, Gordon Sondland said that reading accounts of

Ambassador Taylor`s testimony and other witnesses testimony, public

accounts of them had refreshed his memory.  The William Taylor deposition

transcript like all the other deposition transcripts released before it

show that the Republicans have nothing, no defense of Donald Trump.  The

Republican council to the oversight committee asked most of the Republican

questions and William Taylor`s deposition, and he spent most of his time

asking about a 2-year-old “Politico” article that Ambassador Taylor had

never read. 

 

Congressman Jim Jordan chimed in a couple of times, no more than two

minutes at a time.  There was nothing aggressive in Jim Jordan`s

questioning.  It was not the Jim Jordan that you see on TV.  It was not the

Jim Jordan that we will see if he participates in the televised hearings

where his mission will be to create as much of a distracting spectacle as

possible. 

 

Jim Jordan asked about a phone call.  And the thing he wanted to know was

whether Ambassador Taylor placed the phone call or received the phone call. 

That was a phone call of members of the National Security Council.  That

was what Jim Jordan tried to accomplish in there. 

 

Ambassador Taylor said that he thinks he initiated the phone call, but he

couldn`t be absolutely sure.  That was all Jim Jordan had.  That`s all he

tried to do in that deposition was ask about who placed the call, who

received the call. 

 

No Republican in that room tried even the slightest attack on the

ambassador Taylor who`s a West Point graduate and served in every

administration Republican and Democrat since Ronald Reagan`s. 

 

In next week`s televised hearing, Republicans will not be fighting with

Ambassador Taylor.  His deposition transcript shows it`s impossible for

Republicans to try to do that.  But they will need to create a diversion in

the hearing room to try to shift the attention from the devastating

testimony about what Donald Trump had Rudy Giuliani and Gordon Sondland

were doing with Ukraine. 

 

And so, you can expect Jim Jordan if he`s there will be yelling at

Democrats in that hearing, yelling about the procedures being followed by

the impeachment inquiry and complaining that they are somehow unfair. 

Republicans will be yelling, but the Republicans will not be yelling at

Ambassador William Taylor.  They will be trying to distract from the power

of his testimony as the impeachment process goes live on television for the

first time on Wednesday of next week. 

 

Leading off our discussion tonight, Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks of

New York.  He`s a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  He

attended Bill Taylor`s deposition.

 

Also joining us, Mieke Eoyang, a former staff member of the House

Intelligence Committee, and Ned Price, former CIA analyst and former senior

director and spokesperson for the National Security Council in the Obama

administration.  He`s an MSNBC national security contributor. 

 

And, Congressman Meeks, you were in the deposition, so none of this is news

to you, but for us to finally see exactly what transpires in these

depositions and I have to say for me, and correct me if I`m wrong about

this, but the striking thing about it is what I don`t hear from

Republicans.  I`m reading– this is the Republicans` chance, they`ve got

William Taylor who`s got devastating evidence against Donald Trump and they

did nothing.

 

Did I miss something? 

 

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY):  You didn`t miss anything.  What they saw and

what the American people will see when they testify is a dedicated public

servant who all he cares about is the love of this country and because of

his special connection to Ukraine and the hope they will have a better

tomorrow, he was committed.  He was hesitant to even take this job, but it

was because of his loyalty, he said a friend asked him, you know, who he

respected.  He said if your president calls you and you think you can make

a difference, you`ve got to do it, and that`s why he was there. 

 

And so, we – none of us in the room had any clue of what he was going to

testify to until he testified.  It`s not like there was something – we had

no idea, but then listening to him, and you can see the shock on my face

and I think Democrats as well as the Republicans.  And that`s why they had

no real – for an hour because it`s equal amount of time in that room. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

MEEKS:  Democrats would have an hour to question, and Republicans had an

hour to question.  They could not come up with anything subsistent, and I

think they were scared because it was the whole thing if you ask a question

and the way you come back, they would have been more confirming the outlook

and the statement that was made by the whistle-blower in the first place. 

It was shocking, and I think that the American people to get to see his

demeanor, to get to feel his character because one of the things

Republicans had been trying to do when these testimonies were finished to

go in front of the camera to say something that might question the

integrity of the person that testified. 

 

Oh, wait until the American people see, and that`s why I`m so glad we`re

going to have public hearings shortly.  And that`s why I`m so glad that the

transcripts are being released because they speak for themselves. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Mieke Eoyang, you`ve been in that room as a staffer for the

Intelligence Committee.  What stood out for you in the Taylor transcript? 

 

MIEKE EOYANG, FORMER STAFF MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  You know,

in the Taylor transcript, we`d seen his opening testimony before, so it was

really interesting to see him recount the detail, to be very clear that

Sondland was so explicit about saying the president is conditioning the

release of the aid in these meetings on this deal.  You know, for all the

Republican denials of quid pro quo, what we see here is very clear that

pressure is being brought to bear. 

 

And it`s really important to understand the context on this and what was

going on in Ukraine, because it`s not just a quid pro quo.  It`s not like

they were trying to get to a contract on this.  Ukraine is suffering under

a civil war with Russian aggression where there are people literally dying,

and Donald Trump is holding back the means they have to protect themselves. 

 

So when you think about this they are under threat of force or fear.  They

are not just trying to make a deal free and clear.  This is extortion. 

This is where people are feeling under pressure to do something they don`t

want to do. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Gerry Connolly actually made that point.  Let`s listen to what

he had to say. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA):  Look, we keep on using this euphemistic

expression quid pro quo.  The actual term for what occurred is extortion,

and extortion is a crime.  The president extorted the president of Ukraine

for political dirt in a prospective political opponent and dangled military

aid in and presidential visit in exchange.  That`s called extortion.  It`s

an abuse of power, and it`s also illegal. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Ned Price, you could study these transcripts all day and look

for a Republican angle on the evidence that somehow moves it in any way in

Donald Trump`s favor.  And not only is there not one, there`s not even an

attempt at it, there isn`t not one person, one Republican member, not Jim

Jordan, not the Republican counsel, none of them attempt to actually move

this witness`s testimony in a way that is helpful to the president. 

 

NED PRICE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  You`re never going to find one, Lawrence,

and that`s precisely for the reason there is not one.  Look, I think we

have seen in ambassador Taylor`s testimony and Alex Vindman`s testimony and

Ambassador Yovanovitch`s testimony, they have one by one obliterated and

eviscerated the substantive defenses that the White House and President

Trump`s defenders have put forward, the idea this was about corruption

generally and not the Bidens specifically. 

 

The idea that, you know what, Europe needed to do its fair share, and so,

we had to hold this back – one by one all of those have fallen apart. 

That`s why I think it`s notable, Lawrence, that we`re now seeing President

Trump rely on one defense that is non-substantive but it`s actually

incredibly disturbing. 

 

And this is what he calls the perfect transcript defense.  It`s two words,

very Trumpian in sort of it becomes a catchphrase.  And it is again not

substantive and you know as well as I do President Trump could be lying

through his teeth when he tells his supporters, when he tells his adoring

crowds that he believes it`s a perfect transcript. 

 

But even the prospect, even the possibility that President Trump actually

buys into this explanation that nothing wrong, illegal, there was no

betrayal on that transcript, that should be chilling for all of us because

when you couple that with what Mick Mulvaney said in his infamous press

conference when he said we do this kind of thing all the time, and when you

marry that with what`s been reported about Donald Trump using his personal

cellphone, potentially even to call foreign counterparts away from

transcribers, away from stenographers, away from aides, it paints the

picture, at least the possibility of a picture where Ukraine is one in a

series of scandals, one in a series of attempted extortions on the part of

the president, using the trappings of his office, using everything to

include in the case of Ukraine we know American taxpayer resources. 

 

I think it`s incredibly dangerous that the president has put this forward,

and it should be a frightening thought that this is actually in his mind

perfect. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Meeks, this was a unique experience today reading

this particular transcript, because it`s released – Ambassador Taylor`s

transcript is released on the same day we discover Ambassador Taylor is

going to be the first public witness in the first televised hearing.  And

so, as I`m reading it and I`m reading the emptiness of the Republican part

of the transcript, I`m thinking what are they going to do?  These aren`t

the TV Republicans that are in this transcript.  This is not the TV Jim

Jordan. 

 

What are they going to do, one week from now with this very same testimony,

this very same witness?  It occurred to me toward the end of it, they`re

going to attack Gregory Meeks, they`re going to attack Chairman Schiff,

they`re going to attack what they`re going to call your unfair, democratic

process that has got us to this point.  They will attack the fact that the

deposition was private.  They`ll attack the fact the hearing was public. 

They`ll just attack, attack, attack because I can`t think of anything else

they can do on TV for Donald Trump, to impress Donald Trump which is the

audience of one they`ll be playing to. 

 

MEEKS:  They can`t do anything.  And it`s the old saying, you know, if you

have the facts on your side, you argue the facts.  If you have the law on

your side, you argue the law.  If you have neither, then you just throw up

distractions. 

 

Just do – and they are going to be so compelled to be backed up.  Because

when you look at what the president did, he did not care about the

relationship with the United States and Ukraine at all.  The only focus he

had was himself and to get dirt, abusing his power, extortion as indicated

and putting our national security at risk because who benefitted from this

and who was laughing was Russia.  And they had no way, no back door out of

this.

 

And so, that`s why you see people like Lindsey Graham now saying, I`m not

even going to read the transcripts and try to make it as if it doesn`t

exist.  Well, you can run but you can`t hide, and, you know, there`s an old

expression, who do you believe, me or your lying eyes, and that`s what`s

going to take place.  You`re going to see – the American people will be

able to see Mr. Taylor, Ambassador Taylor speak.  And you`ll see and hear

with your own eyes, and all they`re going to try to see is don`t believe

them or come up with something they want to just make up out of the clear

blue. 

 

They have no way out.  The doors are closing in, and as you saw with

Sondland coming back to change his testimony, others will be stepping up to

make their testimony because one of the things I`ve always said, you know,

if you even go back to the Nixon days, those that lie went to jail.  And so

people got to start thinking about their own interests.  They know that the

president`s not going to stand up behind them, so you`re going to see more

of the truth coming out as to what the president has done and how he

continues to do it. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Gregory Meeks, one of the front row witnesses to

history in this impeachment inquiry, thank you very much for coming in and

joining us tonight.

 

Ned Price, thank you.  Mieke Eoyang is going to stay with us for more. 

 

When we come back, Gordon Sondland who apparently brought his Trump

ambassadorship with $1 million donation to Donald Trump`s inauguration

after actually being an opponent of Donald Trump`s candidacy took a

stunning step yesterday that Congressman Meeks just referred to when he

changed his testimony in the deposition after the fact by adding some

written material to it.  Does that save him from possible perjury charges? 

Is it that easy? 

 

We will ask a former federal prosecutor next. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

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

testimony to your committee? 

 

REP. PETER WELCH (D-VT):  I think he is. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  That was Congressman Peter Welch after Ambassador William

Taylor testified. 

 

Gordon Sondland obviously considered himself in so much danger of perjury

charges that he changed his testimony of the House impeachment inquiry by

adding four written pages to his deposition transcript after news reports

of other witness testimony according to Sondland, quote, refreshed my

recollection about conversations involving the suspension of U.S. aid. 

 

But today, another witness to the impeachment inquiry says that Gordon

Sondland still isn`t telling the truth about conversations he said he had

over coffee with Fiona Hill, a former top Russia advisor of the National

Security Council.  Fiona Hill`s lawyer said in a tweet today, quote,

Sondland has fabricated communications with Dr. Hill, none of which are

over coffee.  Dr. Hill told Sondland what she told lawmakers, the lack of

coordination on Ukraine was disastrous and the circumstances of the

dismissal of ambassador Yovanovitch, shameful. 

 

Joining our discussion now is Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney and

an MSNBC legal contributor and Mieke Eoyang is back with us. 

 

And, Barbara, is it that easy, I testify under oath falsely as another

witness comes in some days after I do and testifies very credibly in an

opposite fashion, indicating that I wasn`t telling the truth either

willfully or not?  Is it that easy for me to avoid perjury charges I just

go in and I say here, I`d like to just tag these written pages on that

correct all the things that aren`t true in my deposition? 

 

BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  The answer is maybe.  You know, this

is a somewhat unusual circumstance.  Ordinarily, you know, perjury is when

you testify falsely under oath, when you then and there know what you`re

saying is false and it`s about a material matter.  There is a defense if

you recant, but the law says you have to recant in the same proceeding, and

you have to recant before it became obvious that your lie would otherwise

be exposed. 

 

And so I think in this instance, Gordon Sondland had some problems.  One is

that the same proceeding if it happens more than two weeks later, and even

more importantly I think is it seems quite clear from the other pieces of

transcripts that we`ve seen so far that the reason that he recanted wasn`t

that he had a change of heart or he wanted to fulfill his duty to provide

truthful information to the committee, but his lie was going to be exposed

because it contradicted the testimony of other witnesses. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Mieke, you`ve been depositions like this before,

situations like this before.  How does the committee regard that?  I mean,

in courtrooms, as Barb was saying, they`re view of it is you can correct

that testimony while you`re still on the witness stand but don`t try to

come back to us after the fact like this. 

 

How does the committee regard that? 

 

EOYANG:  Yes, traditionally, Congress doesn`t take a very favorable view of

these things but their remedies for punishing it have been somewhat

limited.  We`ve seen this for example of past DNI who was mistaken about

testimony and then we went back to the office and much later tried to

correct it.  I think there were senators who felt like that testimony was a

lie when it was about a surveillance program. 

 

I think the question for Sondland is whether or not people consider this

material or given the pace that the House is on, are they going to stop and

actually seek punishment of Sondland now, or are they moving forward with

charges against the president given how the calendar is working out this

year?  It may be that Sondland will get a breather on this for a while, and

there`s some question about when they`ll come back to it. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Barbara, what do you make of the preparation that Sondland and

his criminal lawyers went through for his testimony?  This could have been

avoided.  I mean, his lawyers could have gotten the full story from him and

said, look, do not try to shave off this corner of the testimony here, just

get it straight. 

 

MCQUADE:  Yes, I think that – I don`t know what his lawyers advised him,

but whatever it was, he either disregarder their good advice or got bad

advice.  He claimed not to recall certain things, and, you know, in our

common knowledge, there are things people don`t recall.  I probably can`t

recall right now what I had for breakfast, but it seems certain that people

would recall whether they participated in negotiations to withhold $400

million in military aid in exchange for a political investigation with a

head of state. 

 

That is such a significant thing that it just really strains believability

to think that`s something that would have slipped someone`s mind, and only

after other witnesses come forward with that information to suddenly recall

that that`s true.  In fact, I worry that providing this information after

the fact might just make it look even worse for Gordon Sondland to say I

suddenly recall, now I remember that these other people have brought it up,

now I remember.  Sometimes it`s a good idea to correct the record, and it

seems like he believed his hand was really forced here, that he had no

other choice but to admit he knew these facts in light of the other

transcripts being produced. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And this, by the way, is obviously why the depositions were

private, so witnesses could not coordinate their testimony by getting full

reporting of what the other witnesses have said, a practice that Congress

has moved many times before. 

 

Barbara McQuade, Mieke Eoyang, thank you both for joining us tonight. 

Really appreciate it. 

 

And when we come back, “The Washington Post” is reporting tonight the

breaking news that President Trump didn`t just ask the President of Ukraine

for a favor, he asked Attorney General William Barr for a big favor about

Ukraine. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight from “The Washington Post.”

According to “The Washington Post,” Donald Trump wanted Attorney General

William Barr to hold a press conference, declaring that President Trump had

broken no laws in his phone call with the President of Ukraine. William

Barr didn`t do it.

 

And “The Washington Post” reports that Donald Trump has privately

complained that “He wished Barr would have held the news conference.”

Joining us now is Matt Miller, former Spokesperson for the Attorney General

Eric Holder and an MSNBC Contributor.

 

Matt, not surprising it`s one of those Trump stories where it is it is both

shocking and not surprising at the same time? Of course, of course, he

asked William Barr to hold a press conference when the transcript of the

phone call with the President of Ukraine came out and have him simply

absolve Donald Trump of any wrongdoing.

 

MATTHEW MILLER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. That`s exactly right, Lawrence. It

is a completely inappropriate thing for a President to ask an Attorney

General to do. But you can see why Trump would do it, you would see why he

would think that Barr would actually follow through and grant that request.

 

Given that this is basically what Barr did around the release of the

Mueller report, where he held a press conference and cleared the President

despite the underlying findings of the report doing no such thing.

 

So you start with that, you start - and then you take his action since then

where he has opened this investigation into the origins of the Mueller

report that the President wanted. He`s talked to the President about that

report, kind of obliterating the line that`s supposed to exist between the

Department and the White House.

 

And you can understand why the President would think, well, look, this is

just the kind of favor that Bill Barr regularly does for me, so I`m going

to ask and I expect that that he`ll do it.

 

And I think the fact that he said no, that that Bill Barr has been so

willing to kind of sacrifice his own reputation for Trump in the past, that

he wouldn`t do it here, shows just how heavy - how big a lift this would

have been. Barr, I think, was more than willing to intervene on the

President`s behalf on the Ukraine scandal when it was private.

 

He`s squelched a full criminal investigation into this phone call. He and

the Department blocked the whistleblower complaint for several weeks from

being sent to Congress. I think they were happy to do it while it was

public - it was private. But the minute it became public - it seems a

little bit like John Bolton where this is someone very smart, very

seasoned, who said “I don`t want any part of this drug deal.”

 

O`DONNELL: And Matt is it possible that William Barr already knew that the

Southern District of New York was investigating the activities of Rudy

Giuliani and his friends, his associates involving Ukraine and this this

could just be an area that gets out of control.

 

MILLER: I think so they said they were briefed - he was briefed to some

extent. We don`t know to what extent about those investigations. And I

think your questioning gets at something that I`ve suspected for a while,

which is there. It`s something underlying at the department that we don`t

know yet.

 

There`s a reason why they`ve put out three statements distancing themselves

from the Ukraine scandal. I don`t know why. But there`s something there

they`re worried about us finding out.

 

O`DONNELL: Matt Miller, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really

appreciate it.

 

MILLER: Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: And when we come back William Barr`s confirmation hearing. At

his confirmation here Senator Amy Klobuchar asked him if the Attorney

General is the President`s lawyer or the people`s lawyer. We`ll see that

answer and Senator Klobuchar will join us next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There have been times

throughout our history, including during Watergate, when the personal

interests of the President do not align with the interests of the country.

In those critical moments, is the attorney general the people`s lawyer or

the president`s lawyer?

 

WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I–if the President directs

an attorney general to do something that is contrary to law, then I think

the attorney general has to step down.

 

KLOBUCHAR: Okay.

 

BARR: It`s that simple.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota

and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is a candidate now for

President of the United States. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Senator, where are you now tonight, is this new Hampshire?

 

KLOBUCHAR: Thanks Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL: Are you in New Hampshire tonight?

 

KLOBUCHAR: I am in Manchester.

 

O`DONNELL: OK. They you are.

 

KLOBUCHAR: I am in New Hampshire, in Manchester, yes.

 

O`DONNELL: So–

 

KLOBUCHAR: And I was thinking of those words that kind of hit the nail on

the head there with that question. You anticipated where we are tonight and

“The Washington Post” reporting, their headline that Trump wanted Barr to

hold a news conference saying that the President broke no laws in the call

with the President of Ukraine. And at least apparently William Barr has

found a favor that he will not do for Donald Trump.

 

KLOBUCHAR: That`s correct. It doesn`t surprise me given how outrageous this

is, given how the evidence is mounting. But remember there`s a reason that

the President thought that Barr would give in to his request.

 

And that is that literally when Barr applied for this job, he put out a 19

page memo to all of Trump`s friends showing how he believed in a broad

concept of executive power. And we`ve seen a number of actions, as Mr.

Miller pointed out, since that time.

 

But I think what happened here was for anyone enough is enough. And when

you look at the evidence that comes out from the diplomats that we`ve heard

- seasoned diplomat, who are not affiliated with local parties, who are

all–

 

O`DONNELL: I think we just lost Senator Klobuchar in New Hampshire. The

control room, what do we know about it - can someone tell me what`s going

on up there. Can we hang on or should we go?

 

I guess, we`re going to have to go to commercial. See if we can restore

this connection to New Hampshire or if I can just keep talking until we

restore this connection to New Hampshire. And we`re going to go to a break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: We are still working on trying to re-establish our connection to

Senator Amy Klobuchar in New Hampshire. We will do it one way or the other,

either in that satellite truck or by telephone.

 

But first, we - today was the criminal trial of President Trump`s longtime

confidant and 2016 campaign adviser Roger Stone. That trial officially got

underway. Stone`s trial is the last case filed by Special Counsel Robert

Mueller in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016

Presidential campaign.

 

One of Mueller`s prosecutors in his opening statement today directly tied

President Trump to the charges that Roger Stone lied under oath to the

House Intelligence Committee - the same committee now leading the

impeachment inquiry.

 

Prosecutors argued that Roger Stone lied to Congress quote “because the

truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald

Trump.” Prosecutors say, “hundreds of text messages, calls and e-mails show

Roger Stone repeatedly tried to contact the founder of WikiLeaks and that

he discussed those efforts with senior members of the Trump campaign.”

 

Joining us now is NBC News Intelligence and National Security Reporter, Ken

Dilanian who was one of the lucky ones in the courtroom today. Ken, it was

really - Rachel read much of the transcript, including just the very

beginning of the prosecutor`s opening statement. And it seems like a very

dramatic presentation in that courtroom today.

 

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It was Lawrence. In some ways I felt

like I was listening to the unwritten final chapter of the Mueller report,

because here you had this prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky who worked for Robert

Mueller, who is a part of that investigation.

 

And it almost seemed like he`d been waiting for months to get on the public

record that Roger Stone called Donald Trump on the very day that the

Democratic National Committee announced that they had been hacked by the

Russians and that their e-mails have been compromised.

 

And Zelinsky was very careful to note that the government didn`t have the

content of that call, which we can all agree is probably a shame. They were

not listening to Roger Stone`s phone calls at that moment. So we don`t know

what Donald Trump said. But the implication that Zelinsky was creating was

that Donald Trump was in on the discussions about what to do about these e-

mails.

 

Because right after that phone call, Roger Stone set off in motion to try

to find out what was - what WikiLeaks had and how Stone could use that

information to benefit the Trump campaign and to hurt Hillary Clinton.

 

He went to his pal Jerome Corsi and there were there were months and months

of back-and-forth. And there were other phone calls with Donald Trump. And

Stone also reached out to Paul Manafort who was the Chairman of the

Campaign, according to the prosecutor, and he send the e-mail to Steve

Bannon where he said. “Look we can salvage this candidacy.”

 

At that point people thought Trump was doomed. But it ain`t going to be pre

or Stone`s locution. And so Bannon actually is going to be a witness. He`s

going to be called by the prosecution in this trial.

 

So the bottom line here is that. This trial and this evidence is making

very clear that senior levels of the Trump campaign, and perhaps Trump

himself, were keenly interested in trying to obtain these hacked emails

that everyone knew at the time were hacked by Russian intelligence.

 

So there are parallels to the impeachment inquiry playing out today. It`s -

again it`s the use of intelligence from a foreign power for political

benefit.

 

O`DONNELL: And there is a linchpin of collusion in here if the government

proves its case.

 

DILANIAN: Yes. And it really to me raises a couple of questions. One is,

why Robert Mueller didn`t try harder to interview Donald Trump? Because

Trump told Mueller in those written answers that he didn`t remember ever

talking to Roger Stone in the six months before the election.

 

And Stone told “The Washington Post” that he talked to Trump quite

frequently, but he never discussed WikiLeaks and the e-mails, which is

incredibly hard to believe given the mountain of evidence we see.

 

Stone was working on almost nothing else and the prosecutor said he lied

about it and it was a silly lie, because he claimed that he had a back-

channel - he wasn`t trying to hide that. He just lied about which person he

used as a back channel and whether he had e-mails.

 

And the prosecutors - as you said, said he did that because he thought that

the whole truth - his enlistment of Jerome Corsi and the other things that

he did, would be embarrassing and bad for Donald Trump and so he lied to

Congress according to prosecutors. And now he`s on trial and he`s looking

at several years in prison if convicted.

 

O`DONNELL: It is going to be fascinating to see what the defense has in

this case and you will come back to us with that when they start presenting

it.

 

DILANIAN: I sure will.

 

O`DONNELL: Ken Dilanian thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really

appreciate it.

 

DILANIAN: Thanks Lawrence, you bet.

 

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we will go back to Presidential Candidate

Senator Amy Klobuchar in New Hampshire. We will establish a connection one

way the other and we`ll talk about what Kentucky voters did last night when

they turned down Donald Trump.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you lose, they`re going to

say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. This

was the greatest. You can`t let that happen to me.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

ANDY BESHEAR, KY GOVERNOR ELECT: Voters in Kentucky sent a message loud and

clear for everyone to hear that what`s unites us as Kentuckians is still

stronger than any national divisions.

 

KLOBUCHAR: This is a country of democracy and that the President is not

King and our citizens last night made their voices known loud and clear.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: And now we are joined by phone by Presidential Candidate,

Senator Amy Klobuchar who`s in Manchester New Hampshire tonight. Senator,

we`re going back to 20th century communication levels here to make–

 

KLOBUCHAR: We`ll pretend we`re in a major snowstorm.

 

O`DONNELL: We going to make sure this works. I want to get your reaction to

what you saw in Kentucky last night. That was a flip of - clearly Trump

voters had to flip to vote for the Democrat for governor.

 

KLOBUCHAR (via telephone): They did and that is exactly what I`ve been

talking about nationally Lawrence. And that is that if we want to win, and

win big, so that we can take back the Senate and actually get all of these

things done, from climate change legislation, to finally doing something

about pharmaceuticals and health care. We`ve got to bring people with us

and not shut them out. And that is exactly what happened in Kentucky.

 

A lot of this had to do with mean-spirited policies, and I hope some of our

Republican colleagues are doing some soul-searching when they think about

the fact that the Affordable Care Act is now nearly or over 10 points more

popular than the President of the United States.

 

And so people voted for their health care, but they also voted all over the

country, including Virginia, for a values check, for a check on patriotism

on this President, and that`s what I`ve heard in New Hampshire today.

 

O`DONNELL: And then when you look at the Governor`s campaign there. It was

a campaign against what Matt Bevin did. So in Presidential terms, it would

be the equivalent of campaigning against what Donald Trump has done, what

he has tried to do, what he has wanted to do.

 

And I think in the Democratic campaign so far when we see the debates with

candidates kind of debating - arguing with each other. It isn`t so clear

that the real argument is against what Donald Trump has done.

 

KLOBUCHAR (via telephone): Well that`s why I`m at debate stage I`ve

repeatedly taken it to Donald Trump, because we have to remember that it`s

not just Democrats watching those debates, as important as that is. There`s

also independents and moderate Republicans and people that are showing up

everywhere that want to see something different. And so we really can`t

screw this up.

 

I think it is on us. It is our obligation to lead a ticket that doesn`t

just win at the top, but brings people with us, including legislative races

like you saw in Virginia and Governor`s races like you just saw in

Kentucky.

 

And most importantly, it will allow a new President, herself to govern in a

big way and get things done, and that`s why I want to be the President not

for half of America, but all of America you.

 

O`DONNELL: And the other senators running for Presidents have a unique

challenge possibly coming up in your campaign scheduling. Normally a

senator simply has to figure out how to manage attendance at Senate votes

as well as being out in Iowa and New Hampshire and other places.

 

You may have to be a juror in an impeachment trial. Have you begun to think

about what that does to your Presidential campaign schedule?

 

KLOBUCHAR (via telephone): Of course, but my big job here is to do my duty,

and that duty will be an impeachment trial if that comes over to the U.S.

Senate. But that doesn`t mean I can`t do two things at once.

 

I don`t need a lot of sleep. I`ve got endorsements all over the country and

people that are willing to go out there for me, including of course, in my

own family, and that`s going to be really important.

 

And in in Iowa actually, Lawrence, I have more endorsements of elected and

former electives than any other candidate in the race. And we just made

today the December debate I did and already had made the November debates

quite a while ago and so I`m just going to keep moving.

 

But that doesn`t in any way mean that I don`t have a duty to do my job. And

that is, if that case comes over from the House of Representatives, we have

a solemn obligation to hear that evidence and make a decision.

 

O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar thank you very much for joining us

tonight. And next time we`re going to make sure we get a camera system that

works you.

 

KLOBUCHAR (via telephone): That`s OK.

 

O`DONNELL: In New Hampshire or Iowa or wherever you are–

 

KLOBUCHAR (via telephone): Always good to - Lawrence you have a great crew

here working hard. So everything is fine.

 

O`DONNELL: I know, I know. And I don`t - they did everything they possibly

could, and it`s just one of those nights that happens.

 

KLOBUCHAR (via telephone): I can`t help. We`re in the middle of a big

blizzard.

 

O`DONNELL: That`s right. Yes, there you go. Amy Klobuchar gets tonight`s

LAST WORD. Thank you very much for joining us, Senator. “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       

 

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

content.>