Excerpts from book by “Anonymous”. TRANSCRIPT: 11/7/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And I was listening to every word of what you found in that portion of the
anonymous book, which is, what, two weeks away from being published,
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: And does it give you any setting for these meetings? I mean,
we don`t know in these discussions whether this is a budget discussion or
whether it`s a Homeland Security discussion. Is that the way it reads that
you can`t quite fix that?
MADDOW: Well, it reads like somebody who`s in direct contact with the
MADDOW: Or somebody who was otherwise able to assert confidently that they
can directly quote the president and describe not only his actions and his
words but his demeanor. And what`s described here is security stuff in
part and the president`s odd fixation on visual memes and visual cues even
when he can`t absorb anything with a comma in it. Basically anything that
has more than one concept in it that`s delivered to him in prose at one
O`DONNELL: And with any other White House or most other White Houses,
there`d be – there`d be ways of narrowing down the possibilities of who
was likely to hear conversations like that. The trouble is this was the –
it certainly was for a long time maybe still is, the open door Oval Office
where we have these reports of Donald Trump just waving all sorts of people
in. There really isn`t a gatekeeper.
Apparently, John Kelly tried to be a gatekeeper to keep people out, but you
couldn`t really do that. So, there`s a kind of atmosphere in there where
it`s very hard I think for people in that White House to keep track of who
might be in the room at any given time.
MADDOW: Yes, and that`s actually part of what anonymous writes about is
that the president would fix his mind on something, often something he got
from television, decide he was going to do it and then randomly the next
White House aide who he came across would be the person who was in charge
of receiving that briefing from the president and potentially acting on it
or conveying a message to the White House press spokesperson that this
should now be convey today the public as the new idea of the American
government and the new action that the president was ordering being taken,
that it was somewhat random, that it was whoever he lit upon near him would
then be roped into whatever the crazy idea was.
And that is interesting in terms of his behavior and the process in this
White House, but it also very much tells you it could be complicated to
figure out who the person was who was at all of these meetings who
witnessed all of these things. And the process of elimination may not
apply here if literal randos walking by are drafted into these
O`DONNELL: This book comes after Michael Wolff has taken into similar
scenes in the first inside the Trump White House book, after Bob Woodward
has taken us into similar scenes in his inside the Trump White House book.
How does this read compared to those? What is the difference when you`re
holding an account that is written by someone who is part of the team in
MADDOW: This – I mean, clearly one of the things that is somewhat unique
about this is that it`s written from the perspective of a senior
administration official and somebody who did not come into it disinclined
towards President Trump`s agenda. And so, it`s written from the point of
view of somebody who isn`t – isn`t there to be critical and isn`t there to
observe. It`s from the point of view of somebody who`s there to try to
And so, when I think you`ve had other authors characterize the feelings of
their sources, even multiple sources in terms of how people around Trump
reacted to him or felt about his behavior, in this case you get in it in
the first person, you also are privy to conversations according to
anonymous that this author had with people in a similar role. Other people
in senior administration jobs who were pro-Trump nevertheless driven to
actual panic in terms of trying to stop him from doing what he wanted to
So, you do get – I mean, you`re closer to the – I mean, I guess I would
say you`re closer to the source, right, because this is the source writing
in his or her own terms. But I`m not – it`s not inconsistent with the
portraits that we`ve had through, you know, daily newspaper reporting on
the behavior of the president and from those books that you described. It
is all of a piece.
And there is news in this book which has started to be reported elsewhere.
Other people have started to see passages of the book. But the stuff I was
able to read tonight I think gives you particularly a window into the upset
among people who are otherwise inclined to support this president who were
horrified by and full of regret for their own decision to be there.
O`DONNELL: I think, Rachel, for me, the shocking part of tonight about
hearing you read is not that I felt like I was learning something new about
Donald Trump. The other accounts had all this kind of stuff in it. But it
is yet another moment where you kind of sit there and you think about all
of the people around Donald Trump who are going along with this including -
- including the author of this piece.
Now, this author takes us into the interior dialogue of how difficult that
is and maybe I should have resigned at Charlottesville, maybe I should have
done this. But is that – is that a look inside hundreds of minds of
Republicans in the House of Representatives and in the Senate? Or have
they just stopped thinking about this? Have they just gone along with this
long enough that they are just now robotically going along with all of
Donald Trump`s stuff?
MADDOW: It`s a very good insight and a very good question. I mean, I
think if we think the best of our fellow Americans who have gone into
public service and we imagine the best possible intensions for those whose
hearts and minds we don`t know ourselves, the best case scenario you can
think in some of the worst moments like, you know, after Charlottesville
when he`s praising the neo-Nazi side and all of these things is that people
maybe did think that they were the adult in the room and that by them being
in that job things were going to be better because they were not that bad a
person and they would stop things from going as bad as they could, and so,
not quitting and not speaking out in order to hold their place in the
administration or in Republican politics was somehow going to benefit the
Clearly, this anonymous author was in that position when this person wrote
the op-ed last year, saying literally the adults are in the room. We want
to reassure you, America, don`t worry we`re trying to thwart the worst
stuff he wants to do. That is not the tone of this book.
The tone of this book is people trying to thwart his will within the
administration is not enough. A, there`s not enough of them? B, the best
ones are gone already. And C, even the ones that are still there are not
able to do enough to protect the country. This is warning about danger to
the country and the fact having some self-proclaimed adults in the room
And so, if that is the best case scenario of how some people of conscience
have been there supporting or sticking up for this president, this is an
argument against that.
O`DONNELL: It really – a warning is the most kind of understated title
that book could possibly have. Thank you very much, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks a lot, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Thank you.
Well, after the Democrats` big win in Kentucky this week, Charlie Cook will
join us tonight with more good news for the Democrats about swing states,
the swing states of Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, those
four states. Charlie Cook has been studying them, taking a look where
Donald Trump is now sinking in the polls in those states and why he`s
And it is about the issues. It is about tariffs. It`s about the issues
that Democrats are bringing to the campaign. There is surprisingly strong
support in those states for progressive policies like the Green New Deal in
Charlie Cook`s new research. Charlie Cook will bring us all of that at the
end of this hour.
But, first, we have some breaking news, as Rachel just mentioned. NBC News
has confirmed that the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed White
House of chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for a previously scheduled deposition
before the impeachment investigating committee tomorrow morning at 9:00
a.m. That deposition had been scheduled but the delivery of the subpoena
tonight is a new development. We will have more on that in a moment.
Donald Trump wanted to hear the words “Biden” and “Clinton” from the
president of Ukraine. We know that now. He wanted to hear those words in
a public announcement by President Zelensky that Ukraine was investigating
Biden and Clinton. That is the under oath testimony of George Kent that we
will be hearing in public next week in the first televised hearings of the
impeachment inquiry. The transcript of George Kent`s closed door
deposition was released today.
Also today, the impeachment inquiry conducted its first closed door
deposition of a member of the vice president`s staff. Jennifer Williams is
an advisor to Mike Pence on Europe and Russia. None of her testimony has
yet been released.
George Kent is the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and
Eurasian affairs. Ukraine is in his departmental jurisdiction, which gave
George Kent a close up view of what he said under oath was Rudy Giuliani`s
campaign of lies about Ukraine, a campaign that Rudy Giuliani says he
conducted entirely on behalf of the president of the United States.
George Kent is one of the witnesses along with the acting ambassador to
Ukraine, William Taylor, whose testimony forced Gordon Sondland to change
his under oath testimony to try to avoid perjury charges. Gordon Sondland,
Donald Trump`s completely inexperienced and incompetent ambassador to the
European Union, added a 4-page supplement to the transcript of his
deposition, saying that he now agrees with Ambassador William Taylor`s
testimony and George Kent`s testimony after reports of their testimony had
helped him refresh his memory.
George Kent testified under oath that Gordon Sondland told him that Donald
Trump, quote, wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to a
microphone and say investigations, Biden and Clinton. Those were the magic
words. Those were the words Donald Trump had to hear before he would hand
over military aid to Ukraine – Investigations, Biden and Clinton.
Ukraine`s survival depended on those three words – investigations, Biden
and Clinton. But as George Kent`s testimony shows, President Zelensky even
though he was knew at his job realized how wrong it would be for him to say
those words. President Zelensky`s staff made it very clear to George Kent
that they understood how wrong it would be for President Zelensky to be
forced to say those words and how wrong it would be for President Zelensky
to be forced to investigate American political rivals of the president of
the United States.
George Kent was warned by Ukrainian officials that Rudy Giuliani was
working in the shadows to try to control American Ukrainian policy. The
Ukrainian minister of interior told George Kent that Giuliani`s method was
to throw mud. Quote: And I said throw mud at whom? And he said, a lot of
people. I asked him whom, and he said towards Masha, towards you, towards
Question, Masha is Marie Yovanovitch? Kent: Former Ambassador Yovanovitch,
George Kent provided hours of details about Rudy Giuliani`s activities
which George Kent referred to under oath repeatedly, as quote, a
continuation of his campaign of lies.
Rudy Giuliani can sue George Kent for those words, can sue him for
defamation, for calling Rudy Giuliani a liar, conducting a campaign of
lies. Giuliani could sue if and only if George Kent is not telling the
truth and the full truth about Rudy Giuliani. But Rudy Giuliani will not
sue George Kent.
George Kent`s description of Rudy Giuliani`s campaign of lies now lives in
the congressional record forever. But Rudy Giuliani could find himself in
a courtroom because of his campaign of lies. Rudy Giuliani is now the
subject of a criminal investigation of his activities which has already
resulted in the indictment of two associates of Rudy Giuliani.
Mr. Giuliani spent the last few weeks searching desperately for a criminal
defense lawyer to represent him and being repeatedly rejected by a number
of high powered attorneys before finally landing on Robert Costello who
served as an intern for Rudy Giuliani when Rudy Giuliani was the head of
the U.S. Attorneys Office in New York, the same office that is currently
And, of course, the life lesson is: always be nice to the interns. You
never know when you`re going to need them.
Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell
of California. He`s a member of the House Intelligence Committee and the
House Judiciary Committee. He attended George Kent`s deposition, and he
attended Jennifer Williams` deposition today.
Congressman Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us. Really
I want to begin for a moment with –
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Of course, and, Lawrence, as a former
congressional intern, that advice is absolutely right.
O`DONNELL: I knew that was coming. I knew that was coming. Good word for
Jennifer Williams testifying today, what can you tell us about her
willingness to testify and what resistance was put up or not in getting her
SWALWELL: Well, I`ll address what Rachel read earlier and you alluded to
in the opening, you know, the concerns expressed by anonymous. Anonymous
talks a lot about the adults in the room, and I would suggest the adults in
the room respond to lawful subpoenas, and today, Jennifer Williams was one
of the adults in the room. She showed up, and that in and of itself is
And every time a witness has shown up, we`ve learned new information to
fill in the time line and understand who was a part of the defense dollars
for dirt scheme, and who was doing honest foreign policy work on behalf of
the United States. And so, we filled that in. We`re ready to move into
these open hearings next week. And, you know, Ms. Williams, I thank her
and so many others who have bravely served our country but have been
patriots when our country needed them to respond to a lawful subpoena.
O`DONNELL: George Kent, I ask what can you tell us about what she might
have added to your understanding of the case today?
SWALWELL: Well, Ms. Williams, you know, worked for the vice president in
the same role that Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman for the president.
And so, in many ways, it`s corroborating what you hear from other
witnesses. And, Lawrence, if she said something today that exonerated the
president or was an arrow pointing in the opposite direction of where all
the arrows are pointing in this scheme, I could tell you that. But that`s
not what occurred.
We saw more corroboration of this shakedown scheme from President Trump.
But also to you your point about Rudy Giuliani, we now have a number of
witnesses who have described Rudy Giuliani being told to them by President
Trump as Rudy is our guy in Ukraine. So, you have this agency relationship
between Rudy Giuliani and president Trump, a sharp straight line between
the two of them. So, even if Rudy Giuliani is carrying out some foreign
policy position, that is Donald Trump`s foreign policy position. And the
two are inseparable.
O`DONNELL: The – when you look at George Kent`s testimony and recognizing
that he`s going to be one of the public witnesses next week, one of the
things I noticed in the release of the deposition transcript today as with
every one of them, is that the Democrats release a summary of highlights of
the testimony that the Democrats want us and everyone to focus on. Those
are elements that you believe make the case or direct where the case is
The Republicans issue no highlights for any of the depositions. In other
words, there are no lines in these depositions, not a single line, that the
Republicans want us to concentrate on, want us to report to the American
people. And when you read the depositions, you see why. There isn`t a
single moment where the Republicans make any kind of defense of Donald
O`DONNELL: That`s right, Lawrence. And that`s why it was so disingenuous
for the past few weeks, that they suggested that if the public only saw the
transcripts, they would see how innocent the president was in this scheme.
Actually, it was more harmful to us that the president was not seeing the
transcripts as we took on all this incoming from the Republicans as they
made their process attacks when in fact if they`d seen their transcripts at
that time, the public would have understood there is a fair process, the
facts are very, very concerning what we`re seeing here.
And so, you know, we will move now to public hearings, and it`s my hope,
Lawrence, that the Republicans get serious. This is a serious allegation
against the president of the United States, an extortion scheme. And it`s
time for them to start acting like the adults in the room.
O`DONNELL: Before you go, we know they`re not going to get serious.
That`s a good thing to say. It`s not going to happen. We know they`re
going to try to create as much of a circus atmosphere as possible because
all they have is divisionary circus tactics because they can`t deal with
Are – is their planning going on among the Democrats about how to deal
with the chaos that the Jim Jordans and others if they`re in the room will
try to create?
SWALWELL: Chaos is a consciousness of guilt, and if they want to bring
chaos to the proceedings, Lawrence, as people in uniform, wounded warriors,
immigrants to the United States, public servants raise their right hand and
tell the truth about what this president did, the public will look at the
seriousness of these witnesses compared to stunts by the Republicans and
they`ll say they`re only doing this because they have a guilty client that
they`re trying to defend.
But, again as I`ve said to you before on the show, Lawrence, they are not
the public defenders of the president of the United States. They are
representatives of their constituents and they have a reset opportunity
next week to start conducting themselves that way.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. Really appreciate it.
SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back we have new reporting tonight about how
Donald Trump almost – almost got away with his extortion scheme with
Ukraine. He almost succeeded in forcing the president of Ukraine into
making a public statement about investigating Joe Biden.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news reporting tonight about just how close
Donald Trump came to forcing the president of Ukraine to say –
investigations, Biden and Clinton – the words President Trump wanted him
to say. After Gordon Sondland told the president of Ukraine that Ukraine
would get no more military aid from the United States without a public
statement by President Zelensky about Ukraine investigating Joe Biden and
Hillary Clinton, President Zelensky`s staff began debating whether they
should comply with Donald Trump`s demand and if so exactly what President
Zelensky should say. The future of their country was at stake, everything
was at stake.
And so, they went so far as to schedule an interview on CNN with Fareed
Zakaria, in which President Zelensky might have said what President Trump
wanted him to say or something close to what Donald Trump wanted him to
But as that interview approached where President Zelensky might have said
the magic words into a microphone as Donald Trump wanted, “Politico”
published an article based on a leak that military assistance for Ukraine
was being held up. And then “The Washington Post” published a similar
And as “The New York Times” reports tonight, word of the freeze in military
aid had leaked out, and Congress was in an uproar. Two days before the
scheduled interview, the Trump administration released the assistance and
Mr. Zelensky`s office quickly canceled the interview. Not only had the
news leaked out that Donald Trump was holding up assistance to Ukraine, but
what the Trump administration already knew was that a whistle-blower
complaint had been filed against the president that was a very accurate
description of President Trump`s extortionist telephone call with President
Joining our discussion now is Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney for the
northern district of Alabama, and MSNBC legal analyst, and Ambassador Wendy
Sherman, former under-secretary of state for political affairs in the Obama
administration and an MSNBC global affairs contributor.
And, Ambassador Sherman, as you read this account, this kind of day by day
account of what was going on in Ukraine, aides to the president of Ukraine
thinking maybe we do have to say this in order to save the country, were it
not for the whistle-blower and were it not for “Politico”, which is to say
were it not for a free press and a whistle-blower, who knows what might
WENDY SHERMAN, MSNBC GLOBAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR: Indeed, Lawrence. This
is incredibly tragic. You know, we heard from George Kent today in that
transcript that he`s a Foreign Service officer who believes his job is to
really insist n the rule of law. And it appears that Masha Yovanovitch,
the ambassador, lost her job because she pushed for the end of corruption
and the rule of law of in Ukraine, and that wasn`t liked because it got
Rudy Giuliani and in President Trump`s way to get done what they wanted to
get done and the deal they wanted to make with Zelensky.
And so, it`s just rather heart breaking to hear that a young, new leader of
a country who`s trying to do the right thing and bring that rule of law to
his country, to really escape from the shadow of Russia is indeed almost to
the point because over 14,000 people have died since 2014, 24,000 people
have been injured, he doesn`t want more people to die, the Javelins would
really create fear among the Russians. They could deal with the tanks that
are in the Donbass.
Here, we have this young president trying to do the right thing, our
Foreign Service officers trying to do the right thing. And yet he had to
think about seriously making this deal in many ways with the devil.
O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance, what`s your reaction when you hear Republicans
say, look, in the end Ukraine got the aid, so what`s the problem?
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, one of the problems with this
administration, Lawrence, is that so much happens every day that it`s hard
to keep track of it. But I can remember back in the early days of the
Mueller investigation where Republicans said, you know, it`s one thing if
it`s just colluding. If there was an actual crime, then we can talk. But
as long as there`s not an actual crime, there`s nothing serious here.
And what we have with Trump`s conduct in Ukraine is an actual crime. The
bribery statute makes it illegal for an elected official, for a public
official to seek something that`s of personal value to them in exchange for
being influenced in an official action.
So, we wade through all this detritus that sort of surrounds this Ukrainian
events, but at bottom what we have is a crime. There`s no other way of
looking at this, and that makes the response, the lines of attack that we
see from Republicans all the more perplexing.
O`DONNELL: And, Wendy Sherman, it`s – what`s your reaction to what we`re
reading about the Ukraine side of all this? Here they have American
officials, Gordon Sondland, these officials trying to give them exact
wording of what they want the president of Ukraine to say.
And there`s a lot of resistance. They are resisting. They recognize in
Ukraine what`s wrong with this. And they delay and delay as much as they
can and they schedule that Fareed Zakaria interview for a couple of weeks
down the road.
And they`re just constantly trying not to do this thing that Donald Trump
is trying to force them to do.
SHERMAN: Indeed, that`s sort of the good news, Lawrence. President
Zelensky and the people around him knew this was wrong. They didn`t want
to get in the middle of American domestic politics. They didn`t want to do
this deal with Donald Trump brought to them by Rudy Giuliani and by Gordon
They knew that it was wrong, and yet the safety, security of their country
– you know, there was a report in the George Kent testimony that indeed
the president changed his view of Ukraine after phone calls with Vladimir
Putin and with Viktor Orban of Hungary, both people who do not have
Ukraine`s future in their minds unless that future becomes part of their
orbit. And so, it`s really distressing what the president tried to do
And the only good news in all of this is that President Zelensky and the
people around him resisted as long as they could, understood what was going
down here and wish they didn`t find themselves in this place.
O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance, I want to get your reaction to what we might
expect in the public hearings next week because we have seen such a
spectacle the Republicans make of public hearings in the House of
Representatives that it`s hard to predict, it`s a level of chaos that even
experienced people in Washington can`t quite predict. You`ve come from the
world of courtrooms where there`s so many more constraints on behavior,
there`s so much more order, it`s impossible to get out of hand the way
these Republicans do in these hearings.
Have you, as you`ve watched these hearings, thought of any way procedurally
given that they have the right to speak? But anyway for the Democrats to
try to maintain control over the proceedings and make sure that what`s
happening is actually relevant to the investigation?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, not only if I watched
these hearings, Lawrence, I`ve lived a little bit of it. This summer I
testified on the Hill on the House side on the Mueller report and
experienced firsthand what it`s like to be in the middle of this back-and-
forth 5 minutes per side bantering.
And I was struck by how serious the questions were about substance from the
Democratic side and how flippant and sort of spurious the Republican
comments were. And that`s what you do when you have no argument of
substance that you can make. The Republicans are still in that position now
when it comes to Ukraine.
What will be different next week is this process change that the Democrats
have written into the rules where these hearings will open with 45 minutes
of questioning on each side by staff attorneys. That I think is a total
game changer. It gives each side, and particularly the Democrats here, who
are sort of the proponents of this activity, the opportunity to give the
American public a cohesive narrative.
It`s hard to sit down and read through all of these transcripts for people
with busy lives and day jobs. But they`ll be able watch, I think, in
pretty, short pretty precise snippets the key moments here. And the key
information gets conveyed in a much more meaningful way.
The five-minute back-and-forth is still going to happen, it`s the nature of
JONES: Joyce Vance, Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thank you both for joining us
tonight appreciate it.
AMB. WENDY SHERMAN, MSNBC GLOBAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
JONES: And when we come back, House Republicans have a right to call
witnesses at the public hearings and the impeachment inquiry and they have
a deadline for their witness list, 11:20 a.m. Saturday morning. We`ll
explain to you exactly why it is 11:20 a.m. when we come back.
JONES: Republicans have until Saturday at exactly 11:20 a.m. to submit the
list of witnesses they want to call in the house impeachment inquiry. That
deadline is exactly to the minute 72 hours after House Intelligence
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff notified the Republicans of the schedule for
House Rules allow the minority party 72 hours after that scheduling
announcement to submit their witness list. Chairman Schiff and the
Democrats on the committee have essentially veto power through a committee
vote over any witnesses that Republicans might want to call.
Traditionally the minority party is usually accommodated when it asks for
witnesses. But the Republicans are no longer a real congressional governing
party. They are simply chaos creators. And their witness lists will tell us
just how much chaos the Republicans will try to create.
Chairmanship Schiff has told the Republicans in writing that their
witnesses must be relevant to the issue being investigated, which is
president Trump`s request from the President of Ukraine for an
investigation of Joe Biden. Some Republicans are insisting that the
whistleblower be called as a witness, but those same Republicans complain
about hearsay testimony, which is the only kind of testimony the
whistleblower could provide.
The whistleblowers complaint was a written description of what other people
told whistleblower about the president`s phone call with the president of
Ukraine. That is hearsay. The whistleblower has no personal knowledge of
what was said on that phone call until of course the - we all got the
knowledge of what was in the phone call by seeing that partial transcript
of the phone call when it was made public.
And of course, calling the whistleblower as a witness would reveal the
whistleblower`s identity which is what the whistleblower law is designed to
prevent. Calling the whistleblower as a witness is the kind of stunt that
the Democratic majority on the committee will have the power to prevent.
The public hearings will have drama, they will have condemning testimony
about the President of United States. The hearings will include confusion,
also if the Republicans get their way. At minimum, they will try to
introduce confusion to the hearing and if what they`re saying is very hard
to follow, that is the point. At least they will be taking focus off what
Donald Trump actually said to the President of Ukraine.
The Republicans actually conducted themselves very politely, very kind of
quietly, they had very little to say in the closed-door version of these
hearings in those depositions. They were very professional in those. But
next week the doors will be open and the cameras will be on and the
Republicans, as usual, will be out of control, that`s next.
JONES: The first two public witnesses to testify in the impeachment inquiry
next week are William Taylor and George Kent. William Taylor is a graduate
of West Point, a Vietnam combat veteran. He has served in every
presidential administration Republican and Democrat since Ronald Reagan. He
is now serving as the Acting Ambassador to Ukraine.
George Kent has served in the State Department`s Foreign Service for nearly
30 years. He`s a Harvard graduate who speaks seven languages. He spent
several years posted in Ukraine, fighting corruption, including during the
- during and after the Orange Revolution. He currently serves as the Deputy
Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs.
Joining our discussion now Evelyn Farkas former Deputy Assistant Secretary
of Defense in the Obama administration and a former staff member on the
House Foreign Affairs Committee, David Jolly former Republican Congressman
from Florida. They are both MSNBC analysts.
And David I normally defer to the elected or former elected officials
first, but Evelyn knows George Kent and so we`re going to begin with Evelyn
telling us what we can expect to see when George Kent testifies next week.
EVELYN FARKAS, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think you`re going to see
a real straight-shooter. And it`s really interesting reading the
transcript, because if you thought Bill Taylor was a straight shooter and
you know stood up for the constitution, George is even more pointed. He
uses kind of a little bit of colorful language, but he`s a serious guy, and
he`s not afraid.
I mean, what comes through there very clearly, more so, we don`t know what
Taylor was doing behind the scenes. But George lays out clearly what he was
doing what he was saying, he`s not afraid.
And I actually had picked up a little bit some of my former colleagues
saying, “I hope George is OK.” And I didn`t really understand, I just heard
that whisper a while back, and now I understand, because he`s been fighting
this fight for the truth, for the Constitution really for months - maybe
JONES: David, your former Republican colleagues are very different people
behind closed doors, in the closed-door depositions. They`re actually quite
professional. They do go off in some irrelevant directions here and there.
But most of them had nothing to say, which is the most professional choice
they could make in those depositions under the circumstances.
What`s going to be different next week when the cameras are on? When your
Republican - former Republican colleagues take their seats in this hearing?
FMR. REP. DAVID JOLLY (R-FL): Yes. They`re going to be playing to the
cameras. And if there is a political strategy in this for Republicans,
they`re playing not to lose the base. They`re not going to win anybody over
with their political hijinks. What they have to do is keep the base riled
up angry and believing in conspiracy theories, because they can`t go into
2020 with an eroding base.
And I think it`s important Lawrence to understand the different lanes of
arguments and what they all have in common. There`s the Jim Jordan, Matt
Gates kind of crazy caucus argument that this is all a “Never Trump”
Mark Meadows seems to make the case that it all stopped at Giuliani and
Mulvaney and never reached the President. Ted Cruz says the President never
had criminal intent. Senator Johnson and Kennedy say, this was routine, it
happens all the time, these quid pro quos. Lindsey Graham says, the
President was simply too stupid to engage in some type of corrupt practice.
But what each one of those arguments requires the American people and why
they fail ultimately in the eyes of the American people is it`s asking the
voter to believe secondhand information and interpretation of politicians
over the firsthand fact-based corroboration of people who were there - Bill
Taylor, Gordon Sondland, Mike McKinley, Ambassador Yovanovitch, George
Kent. Each of those who are saying, yes, the President was involved. Yes,
he was coordinating it. Yes, there was intent and yes there was impeachable
Which leaves Republicans with one only one argument, which they have failed
to yet resolve and come down to, which is it`s simply not impeachable
conduct. They don`t want to reach that argument yet, but it`s inevitable
they will have to.
JONES: Evelyn, George Kent - I can`t figure out how you attack him as a
witness? But the Republicans just going to spend a weekend trying to figure
out how to do that.
FARKAS: I mean, I think they`re going to look really bad if they start to
attack him. He`s going to stay calm cool and collected, that`s the person
that I know. So if they attack him, I think that they`ll look foolish.
And he knows his stuff, he knows Ukraine really well. They can`t confuse
him. He knows how the government`s supposed to work and I think they can
say all they want to say and try to confuse. But he`ll remain unflappable.
JONES: Evelyn Farkas, David Jolly, thank you both for joining our
discussions tonight, really appreciated.
JOLLY: Thank you, Lawrence.
JONES: And when we come back Donald Trump is averaging 59% disapproval in
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, states he has to win. That`s
according to new poll numbers, that`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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)
JONES: They let it happen to him. And after a big defeat for the
Republicans and Donald Trump in Kentucky this week, there`s new polling
tonight about four swing states that very narrowly gave Donald Trump his
electoral college victory in 2016.
Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by less than one percentage point in
Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And in Minnesota, which is also
included in this poll, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by just less than
two percentage points, so all very close States.
And there are danger signs for President Trump in a poll released today by
the Cook Political Report and Kaiser Family Foundation among registered
voters in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 59% disapprove
of how Donald Trump has handled the presidency. In Pennsylvania 61%
disapprove President Trump, in Michigan 58% disapproved President Trump,
Minnesota 58% disapproved of President Trump, in Wisconsin 57% disapproved.
The poll shows that defeating Donald Trump is the number one motivation for
voting in 2020 in those states. And this poll also has revealing numbers
about a Democrat running stronger than Joe Biden in three of those states.
And after this break we will discuss that and what this means for Donald
Trump with Charlie Cook, the Editor and Publisher of the Cook Political
JONES: New poll show Senator Elizabeth Warren leading in three swing
states. Elizabeth Warren leads the democratic field with 25% in Michigan,
25% in Minnesota and 22% in Wisconsin. Joe Biden leads in Pennsylvania with
27% to Elizabeth Warren`s second place of 18%.
Joining us is Charlie Cook, the Editor and Publisher of “The Cook Political
Report”, columnist for National Journal. He is also an NBC News Political
Analyst. And Charlie, let`s begin, I want to get to the democratic numbers
later, because they are really kind of surprising in those states. But
let`s begin with the President`s situation in these swing states that
CHARLIE COOK, NATIONAL JOURNAL COLUMNIST: Well, we look with the Kaiser
Family Foundation, sort of the structural damage that the President has
sustained. And this is very, very substantial. I mean, when you look at,
59% either strongly disapproving or somewhat disapproving, that`s pretty
substantial. 41% approve or strongly approve or somewhat approve.
And it shows sort of the potential that Democrats have to beat him if they
come up with a candidate that`s not - that doesn`t become terribly
polarizing themselves. But this is for the three states, Michigan,
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin that effectively elected him. These are really,
really tough numbers if Democrats can capitalize on him.
JONES: And your polling seems to indicates that these are both probably
temperament regarding Trump, but issue-based differences. Things like the
tariffs - these voters don`t like the Trump tariffs. And things like the
Green New Deal, surprisingly popular in some of these states.
COOK: What we did - one of the parts that I really found interesting is, we
looked just at primarily at swing voters and how did they feel about seven
different progressive proposals. And what we found is three of them were
actually pretty popular - pathway to citizenship for people here illegally,
Green New Deal, and a ban on future sales of assault rifles. Those were
really three pretty popular things.
But then there were two that were very unpopular. One was eliminating the
ban on - or detaining people in the U.S. illegally. That was very, very
unpopular with swing voters and the other is a National Medicare for All
that eliminated private insurance. That was very, very unpopular with swing
And then two that were sort of in the middle eliminating - banning
ownership of assault weapons with a mandatory buy back, that had like 54%
support and 45 opposition. And then banning fracking - hydraulic
fracturing, that was sort of the other way, about 54% were opposed to the
ban, 40% were in favor of the ban. So somewhere in the middle.
But it was interesting to look at the swing voters and how they differ from
where the Democratic base is and that`s something that Democrats need to
really kind of keep in mind.
JONES: And let`s take a look at how Elizabeth Warren is performing in those
states. I think if you had just asked people to bet who is going to have
the lead in those states, Biden would have been the natural for having
leading those states, but Elizabeth Warren really doing very well there.
COOK: Yes, in the - this polling, it was a - lot of it was back in October,
a little earlier and it was sort of before you started seeing some of
Warren`s numbers kind of tapering off a little bit, because she was really
on the rise and then she sort of flattened out during our interviewing
Where a lot of the questions about, the cost of her plan and Medicare for
All - eliminating private insurance, I should say, that kind of pushed her
down a little bit. But this was back sort of before she was getting that
push back. So my guess is if you took the poll today, they would probably
be a little lower for Warren than it was back when the interviewing - most
of the interviews took place.
JONES: Again, to go back to the Trump numbers, it looks extremely difficult
for Donald Trump there, and it`s a policy-based challenge that he seems to
face with these voters.
COOK: Well, it`s policy, but it`s also personality. Is that, everything is
how do you view him? And that sort of overshadows everything else. But
there is a descent amount of support for some of these progressive agenda
items if Democrats sort of pick and choose them carefully and not get off
into eliminating private insurance and things like that.
JONES: Charlie Cook gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thanks for joining us
Charlie. Appreciate it.
COOK: Thank You, Lawrence.
JONES: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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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