Esther Duflo wins Nobel Prize. TRANSCRIPT: 11/11/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
I have a bit of a cold that you might be able to hear.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You seem to have a little frog in your throat.
O`DONNELL: Yes, instead of our usual evening chat, I`m not sure how many
words I`m actually going to be able to speak tonight, so I`m going to have
to save it for the TV show here, the actual story stuff we have to do.
We`ll chat tomorrow night if I have any voice.
MADDOW: I`ll drop off some hot cider.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.
Well, despite the cold, I am very excited about tonight`s show, not just
because of the impeachment ground we have to cover tonight, because at the
end of this hour, I am going to be in super fan mode because we are going
to be joined by this year`s co-winner of the Nobel Prize in economics whose
work is already in the center of the Democratic presidential campaign, even
if many of the candidates don`t realize that.
The Nobel Prize in economics was not established until 1969, and when I
became an economics major in college in the 1970s, professors in the
economics department at my college won the Nobel Prize three years in a
row, and they were the biggest stars in the world to me. And they still
are. And tonight you will meet the second woman in history to win the
Nobel Prize in economics, and she will tell you what you need to know about
the most important issues in the presidential campaign that you discuss
every day already and that the candidates discuss every day.
And you will be surprised which billionaire agrees with her, at least on
some of her research. That is at the end of this hour and you don`t want
to miss that.
But we begin tonight, of course, with impeachment. The Ukrainians knew.
The Ukrainians knew that Donald Trump was withholding military aid
authorized by Congress. And the Ukrainians knew long before the first
public report in “Politico” in late august that that aid was being
That was the single most important point in the transcript released today
of Laura Cooper`s deposition testimony to the impeachment investigation of
Donald J. Trump. Because that destroys the Republican defense that Donald
Trump couldn`t possibly have committed extortion if Ukraine did not know
that Donald Trump was withholding the aid to Ukraine. That is one of the
Republican talking points that they`re planning to use in the public
hearings, talking points that were obtained by “Axios.” We`ll have more on
That particular defense is now gone because Ukraine knew. Laura Katherine
Cooper is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and
Eurasia. Military aid to Ukraine was the most urgent issue in her
jurisdiction at the Defense Department. She testified that Ukrainian
officials learned of the Trump administration withholding of military aid
and begun asking questions about it well before “Politico” first reported
it in late August, according to what she had been told by Kurt Volker, the
Trump special envoy to Ukraine, and the acting ambassador to Ukraine,
Quote, I knew from my Kurt Volker conversation and also from sort of the
alarm bells that were coming from Ambassador Taylor and his team that there
were Ukrainians who knew about this.
On July 26th, Laura Cooper found out that both military and humanitarian
aid were being withheld from Ukraine, and at her level, all of the
governing professionals like herself were worried that it was illegal.
Quote: Immediately, deputies began to raise concerns about how this could
be done in a legal fashion, Cooper said. The comments in the room at the
deputy`s level reflected a sense that there was not an understanding of how
this could legally play out.
Laura Cooper testified that Ukraine had met all of the requirements for
U.S. aid before President Trump put a hold on that aid in addition to her
worries about the legality of the hold, Laura Cooper was worried about what
it meant for Ukraine`s very survival. Quote, if they are seen as weak and
if they are seen as lacking the backing of the United States for their
armed forces, it makes it much more difficult for them to negotiate a peace
on terms that are good for Ukraine.
Mick Mulvaney was drawn deeper into the Trump appeasement of Russia in
another deposition transcript released today of the testimony of Catherine
Croft, a special adviser for Ukraine at the State Department. Catherine
Croft testified that a previously unknown hold was placed on a separate
piece of military aid to Ukraine. Catherine Croft testified that the
Office of Management of Budget run by Mick Mulvaney put on hold to Ukraine
because Mick Mulvaney expressed concerns that, quote, Russia would react
That is exactly why those missiles were authorized to be transferred to
Ukraine, so that the missiles would have a negative impact on Russia`s
policy in the region. Catherine Croft testified that the Office of the
Management and Budget was the lone objector to transferring the missiles to
Ukraine and that all the policy agencies, including the State Department,
and the National Security Council, supported the transfer. Ultimately,
Mick Mulvaney surrendered to all that pressure and Ukraine finally received
Christopher Anderson`s deposition transcript was released today.
Christopher Anderson, a career foreign service officer who has been
involved in Ukraine policy at the State Department testified that during a
June 13th meeting, John Bolton made a joke about every time Ukraine is
mentioned, Giuliani pops up and that the president is listening to Giuliani
It turns out that was not a joke. Christopher Anderson testified that the
acting ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, quote, repeatedly expressed
his concern that Giuliani would make his job difficult. Christopher
Anderson testified that he agreed, quote, that if Giuliani`s narrative took
hold that the Ukrainian government was an enemy of the president, then it
would be very hard to have high-level engagement, it would be harder for us
to pressure Russia to come back to the negotiating table in that case.
As usual, the Democrats issued highlights today of the hundreds of pages of
transcripts that they released. Those highlights identified by the
Democrats are all harmful to President Trump. The Republicans did not
release a single page of highlights in any of today`s depositions or any of
the previous depositions because there are no highlights in these
depositions that are helpful to Donald Trump`s defense.
Republicans were in every one of these depositions. Republican Jim Jordan
was in each of the depositions he released today and he did not make one
helpful point to the defense of Donald Trump in these depositions. There
is no evidence in these depositions of why Republicans decided to remove
one of their members from the intelligence committee so they could give
that seat to Jim Jordan so he would be the star inquisitor for the
Republicans in the public hearings this week held by the Intelligence
Committee. Jim Jordan was able to be in the depositions because those
depositions allowed three committees to be present, including the Oversight
and Reform Committee, and Jim Jordan is already a member of that committee.
But the public hearings will be for the house Intelligence Committee only
and the Republicans` big move, their big move for the defense of the
president in the public hearings, was to bring in Jim Jordan on the same
week that Jim Jordan was once again credibly accused of being aware of a
team doctor sexually assaulting members of the Ohio state wrestling team
when Jim Jordan was a coach on that team. NBC reported last week that a
lawsuit filed on Thursday says that when a person identified in court
papers as John Doe 42q saw Dr. Richard Strauss masturbating in front of him
at a wrestling match, he reported that directly to Jim Jordan, who was the
assistant coach. Yes, that`s Strauss, Jordan and then then-head coach Russ
Hellickson replied, according to the lawsuit.
If that claim in that lawsuit if proven true, then Donald Trump would not
be the first sexual assaulter that Jim Jordan has protected.
Leading off our discussion tonight are Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes
of Maryland. He`s a member of the House Oversight Committee and has
attended several of these impeachment investigation depositions. Also with
us, John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He is
co-host and executive producer of Showtime`s “The Circus”.
And Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the
Obama administration, a former staff member of the Foreign Affairs
Committee. She is an MSNBC national security analyst.
And, Congressman Sarbanes, I want to get your reaction to the depositions
today, especially to the point that the Ukrainians knew, they knew that
this aid was being withheld and they knew it long before it became public.
REP. JOHN SARBANES (D-MD): Well, Lawrence, thanks for having me on today.
I think we were pretty confident just based on the overall testimony that
was coming forward over the last few weeks that it would become clear that
the Ukrainians were aware of this hold having been placed. Now, you have a
direct corroborating testimony to that, and it puts a lie to the Republican
defense that somehow the quid pro quo wasn`t there because there wasn`t
Ukrainian knowledge that there was a quid pro quo.
They knew exactly what was being done to them. It was a breathtaking abuse
of power on the part of the administration to tie this security assistance
to a promise that they would investigate – the Ukrainians would
investigate a political rival of the president. That`s all becoming clear.
It will be much more clear this week, I think, to the broad public when we
get the testimony from these three diplomats. These are very professional
people. The testimony they delivered in closed session was very
compelling, and I think you`ll see that will have a real impact in terms of
the public getting an opportunity now to hear directly from these
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, we`re going to discuss later this hour what the
Republicans have planned for the public hearings.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, it`s compelling.
O`DONNELL: The big public move is Jim Jordan moves up to the center spot
here in the Intelligence Committee hearings.
HEILEMANN: Yes. And, you know, look, it signals as clearly as could be
that Republicans will not fight this fight on the facts. They will not
fight this fight any other way than rhetorically and through demonization
of these witnesses and trying to impugn their characters and impugning
their motives. They think this is a political firefight and they`re
bringing in one of their political firefighters with a big rhetorical
flamethrower to fight the fight.
And I think, you know, all we`ve seen, Lawrence, over these last weeks is
increasingly clear, vivid, undeniable picture of what actually happened
here. And I think Republicans, as pernicious as they are in many cases, as
pathological in their lies as they are, they`re not stupid, and I think
they recognize at this point there is no argument to be made on the merits.
The only argument now to be made is going to be, yes, there was quid pro
quo, but it wasn`t maybe a totally bad quid pro quo. It was a small quid
pro quo, not a big one, and, hey, these guys are all terrible people who
are testifying against Donald Trump, and we have an election in 2020, so
let`s – this isn`t enough of a big deal to throw him out of office.
That`s going to be the argument in the House and Senate, I think, which is
much more vociferous and pernicious on the part of the House Republicans
than on the Senate Republicans.
O`DONNELL: Evelyn Farkas, there`s two tracks that emerged in the
testimony, especially the depositions released today, and that is the
specifics of what the Trump administration was up to. But another track
that`s very clear in these depositions is why this is important, why this
is not a minor offense that President Trump is accused of here, and there
is a lot of talk by these witnesses about just how important this aid was
to Ukraine, how important it was on a daily basis.
EVELYN FARKAS, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. I mean, because
this aid was so critical to defending Ukraine`s sovereignty, they`re
essentially holding the Russians back from launching a bigger offensive.
Yes, there is ongoing sighting, as Laura Cooper herself points out in the
testimony, but there is always a view that the Russians and the separatists
that they back we`ll do more, they`ll try to take more territory, or try to
take more Ukrainian lives to put pressure on the new Ukrainian president in
I think it`s really unsettling because it shows you, then, that the
president, president Trump putting pressure on the Ukrainians, trying to
get a bribe from them, basically, he`s trying to get this bribe, this dirt
on Biden, and this dirt relating to the 2016 elections, right, in order to
then release the aid. I mean, it`s actually a dirty game that the
president is playing with them, and it`s, again, putting lives at risk.
O`DONNELL: There is a really startling revelation in Christian Anderson`s
deposition released today showing Donald Trump`s just constant posture of
appeasement – I`m not sure what else to call it – towards Russia. It
comes this way in “Politico`s” highlights of this antidote. It says in one
highlight related by Anderson, he described an early 2019 conversation in
which the then-national security adviser John Bolton revealed Trump had
called him as his home to complain about a CNN story that made it appear
the Navy was pushing back against Russian aggression in the Black Sea. We
met with Ambassador Bolton and discussed this, and he made it clear that
the president had called him to complain about that news report. And that
may have been just been that he was surprised.
Congressman Sarbanes, how surprised were you and other members of the
committee when you hear testimony like this?
SARBANES: I mean, this is astounding, Lawrence, if you think about it.
The president is protecting Russia, it appears to be the case, at the
expense of an ally, Ukraine. And he`s prepared to hold back $400 million
of security assistance that that country needs to defend itself against
Russian aggression because he`s more interested in defending Russia than
defending an ally that the United States Congress decided should receive
foreign assistance to the tune of $400 million.
And if you think about it in terms of these diplomats that are going to be
testifying this week, if you look at the record of William Taylor, of Marie
Yovanovitch, of George Kent, these are diplomats who have spent their whole
careers fighting corruption, and their own president is trying to pull them
into a corrupt scheme. And to their credit, I have to say they`re raising
a red flag, they`re pushing back, and they`re saying, this is not right.
And they`re doing everything they can – you can see that from the
testimony – to make sure that that kind of a trade will not happen on
But they`re under tremendous pressure. I think when the public sees and
hears the testimony from these professionals, they will see that these are
folks that are playing it straight, that wanted to represent the interests
of the United States, not the interests of Russia or anybody else, the
interests of the United States, and that`s why we can have such confidence
in the testimony they`re going to be delivering.
O`DONNELL: And, Evelyn, that`s going to be one of the challenges in the
committee`s presentation publicly is to get that balancer right between the
specifics of what`s being – what the president is being accused of here
and the reason why it`s important, which is what Congressman Sarbanes was
just talking about and what the witness was talking about, and that is
Ukraine policy, which may be more of a challenging thing to make clear to
FARKAS: Well, I think, Lawrence, I think the way to do it is to actually
focus on Russian policy. So, the opposite of pushing back on Russia in the
Black Sea is surrendering to Russia in the Black Sea, right? That`s not in
U.S. national security interests, it`s not in the security interests of our
neighbors – sorry, of the neighbors there, so Turkey, for example, a NATO
ally, a problematic one, but still. It`s not in the interest of freedom of
If you surrender to Russia in any of these items, you will see Russia
pushing further. And that`s not in the U.S. national security interest,
because Russia has violated international law. They have broken the taboo
on changing borders using military force. There are other leaders in other
countries who would like to do the same starting in Europe.
So, Again, it is in the national security interests of the United States to
stop Russia so that we don`t have other wars breaking out.
HEILEMANN: I just – I tell you, with due respect to Congressman Sarbanes
and with due respect to “Politico,” “Politico” says it`s an odd anecdote.
HEILEMANN: And the congressman says it`s astounding. It`s appalling.
It`s not outstanding and it`s not odd because there was not any time in
Donald Trump`s administration where he`s ever not acted when the chips were
down, when the choice had to be made, where he`s never not acted in the
interests of Russia. He`s he often defends Russia.
This is the pattern. The pattern is, in circumstance – of course he was
upset about pushing Russia against the Black Sea. Donald Trump has been
acting in Russia`s interest in every crucial respect, meta, macro, micro.
Across the three years, it`s the least surprising thing in the world. It`s
disgusting but it`s not astounding.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Sarbanes, you`ve been invoked here. A quick LAST
WORD, congressman, I think you might have a semantic disagreement here. Go
SARBANES: Well, look, I certainly agree with John on that, that it is
disgusting, but he`s not just acting in Russia`s interest, he`s always
acting in Donald Trump`s personal political interests, and that`s why this
is an abuse of his power. It`s a betrayal of his oath of his oath of
He gets up every morning, unfortunately, he`s not thinking about the 350
million Americans whose interests he should represent. He`s thinking about
his own personal political gain. This is just another example of that.
The witnesses this week are going to show that`s what`s going on.
O`DONNELL: Congressman John Sarbanes, Evelyn Farkas, thank you both for
starting this off tonight.
John Heilemann is going to stick around.
And up next, what are Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton up to? They`re trying
to defy the congressional subpoenas and create a delay tactic?
And later, the Republican witness list for the impeachment inquiry was
submitted over the weekend. It is not going to fly. And there is a leak
tonight about the Republican planned tactics in the public hearings this
O`DONNELL: What is John Bolton up to and what is Mick Mulvaney up to?
Mick Mulvaney tried to join a lawsuit brought by John Bolton, and another
subpoenaed witness to the impeachment investigation. The Bolton lawsuit is
unnecessary and it`s trying to ask the judge whether John Bolton should
answer to a subpoena or should he take Donald Trump`s advice not to
testify. John Bolton is a private citizen now who was beyond the control
of the president of the United States and there is no legal reason for him
to evade that subpoena.
Mick Mulvaney dropped his legal attempt today to join the Bolton lawsuit
after Bolton objected to Mick Mulvaney joining his lawsuit. Mick Mulvaney
says he will now file his own lawsuit asking the same question of the
judge. In both cases these are delaying tactics designed to slow down the
impeachment investigation, but Chairman Adam Schiff says they will not –
the committee will not engage in a months-long legal pursuit to enforce the
congressional subpoenas of these witnesses.
But the investigation will take a negative inference from Mick Mulvaney`s
refusal to testify on the assumption that if Mick Mulvaney had something
helpful to say about Donald Trump, anything helpful to say about Donald
Trump, he would testify. And, therefore, his refusal to testify can be
taken as a negative inference against President Trump.
The first news reports of John Bolton`s memorable – John Bolton`s
inevitable book appeared this weekend. Viewers of this program knew that
John Bolton was working on a book deal the day he left the Trump White
House since I announced it here on this program that night because it was
wicked obvious. Reports indicate that John Bolton is getting a $2 million
advance for his book from Simon & Schuster. In order to get a book advance
like that, the author has to tell the publisher what the publisher is
paying for, what the publisher is getting.
Therefore, there are people at Simon & Schuster tonight in midtown
Manhattan who already know what John Bolton is refusing to tell the
Joining us our discussion now is Chris Lu, who served as a senior aide to
president Obama. Before that, he was deputy chief counsel of the House
Oversight Committee. And John Heilemann is back with us.
Chris Lu, I want to get your reaction to this legal maneuver that we`ve
never seen before. I`ve got a congressional subpoena. I`m going to go
bring a lawsuit to ask a judge what I do with it.
CHRIS LU, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE CABINET SECRETARY: I think it`s fair to
say none of this is on the level, Lawrence. I mean, this is a case of Mick
Mulvaney wanting to avoid being held in contempt of Congress, wanting to
delay the proceedings but only willing to abide by the court`s ruling if it
goes in his favor. And so, what he`s doing, really, is trying to
eviscerate congressional oversight.
During my eight years on the House Oversight Committee, part of it was
during the Clinton administration. We took depositions of senior Clinton
administration aides. When I managed President Obama`s candidate, Eric
Holder testified on the Hill about Fast and Furious. Hillary Clinton
testified about Benghazi.
So this idea that White House aides never testify is completely at odds
with precedent. If it`s taken to its logical extreme, it just simply wipes
out Congress` ability to do any kind of oversight. And let`s not forget
the most important point, if there is any kind of privilege here, Mick
Mulvaney already waived it. You`ll recall he stood up in that press
briefing room and he admitted there was quid pro quo. So, again, as you
correctly pointed out, if he had something good to say, he would be out
there saying it right now.
O`DONNELL: And, John Heilemann, as we know, $2 million book advance for
John Bolton means he`s telling people, book agent, book editors, pitching
the material that he`s refusing to tell the Congress.
HEILEMANN: Yes, and I think it`s likely that you and I know some of these
HEILEMANN: If we went out with the proper implements, we could probably
extract this information from them if we were hard-hitting enough about it.
I think the question from Bolton is a tricky one. What if we assume, if
all the following is true, based on some of the testimony today it does
seem Bolton was with these people, these professionals, who looked at this
and said this is likely illegal. It looks like Bolton weighed in at
various points in order to get that aid ultimately released.
We all have views about John Bolton`s politics, his ideology, but it seems
in this case he recognized the illegal peril in place here and tried to get
out of testifying if only to save his own skin. Now the question is, what
is his in his economic best interest? And there`s two competing things
here. Being a hero in this case is probably in his economic interest in
terms of selling books. A public thought John Bolton did the right thing
telling that story to sell a lot of books.
Unfortunately, becoming a hero in the story requires him to testify and if
he testifies he gives away some of the stuff that would be the news in the
book. So he`s got a very tricky thing to figure out here. How do you
figure out a way to land this plane that drives the most interest, gives
away some of the information but not all so the book is not drained of all
O`DONNELL: The book, Chris, quite predictably, as I said the first night
when he left the White House, is scheduled for publication before the
presidential election, because, of course, if Donald Trump were to lose,
the book value collapses right away. But – and so does a book like this
have to get cleared the way James Comey`s book had to get cleared because
he worked with the FBI? Since Bolton works on national security issues, is
there a clearance process for that and can the Trump administration simply
refuse to clear him?
LU: Well, Lawrence, there`s actually two issues. One is the clearance
issue if there`s classified information or might implicate classified
information that`s in there. The other important thing is you`ll recall,
all Trump officials apparently signed a nondisclosure confidentiality
agreement which Trump has selectively enforced or tried to enforce against
some of his former aides, including this anonymous book that just came out.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
I suspect John Bolton probably realizes on the nondisclosure agreement,
that`s not really enforceable. It`s never been enforceable against
anybody, and he`s probably a smart enough guy to understand what is
classified and what`s not classified and will probably state it in broad
O`DONNELL: When the book deal is introduced in court in the Bolton
lawsuit, I`m sure the judge is going to have even more reluctance to take
the Bolton case seriously.
HEILEMANN: Yes, I think that`s probably right. And, look, I think one of
the things that Chris says – we are all under the impression that people
sign these NDAs. It has been claimed. Certainly at the beginning of the
administration Trump tried to get everyone to sign.
I`m not sure everyone did sign and Bolton came relatively late to the
administration, so it`s not clear if they were as rigorous about trying to
get everyone to sign those NDAs and I`m certain that John Bolton knows it`s
the most unenforceable paperwork in the history of the world. So that I
think is meaningless. The other one is a question for him in terms of the
White House screening issue on classified information.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to have to break it there. Chris Lu
and John Heilemann, thank you both for joining us.
And when we come back, Republican chaos. That is what is planned for the
public impeachment hearings, outright Jim Jordan-led chaos.
And later, it`s been the billionaires versus Elizabeth Warren, and those
billionaires are worried about what she wants to do with taxation and other
issues. But the current - this year`s co-winner of the noble prize in
economics has much to say about that policy debate. She will join us at the
end of this hour.
JONES: On Saturday Republicans submitted the list of witnesses they would
like to call in the public impeachment hearings, and that list shows us
that they are not at all serious about actually investigating the
accusations against President Trump.
Almost all of the witnesses that they want, which include Hunter Biden and
the whistleblower are not relevant to the impeachment inquiry, and so they
will not be allowed to testify by Chairman Schiff, which will be supported
by a majority vote of the committee.
Three of the witnesses requested by the Republicans already testified in
depositions, so there is a chance those witnesses will be allowed to
testify publicly. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff
responded to the Republicans` request saying they will consider
But added the impeachment inquiry and the committee will not serve as
vehicles for any member to carry out the same sham investigations into the
Bidens or debunked conspiracies about the 2016 U.S. election interference
that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political
Chairman Schiff noted that the Intelligence Committee would not participate
in efforts to threaten or intimidate or retaliate against the
whistleblower. He also made clear that the impeachment investigation has
yielded growing evidence that renders the whistleblower`s testimony,
“redundant and unnecessary,” and would only place their personal safety at
AXIOS is reporting tonight that House Republicans on the Impeachment
Committee have settled on four talking points that they will use to
undermine the democrats` arguments that the President should be impeached
according to a staff memo circulated to committee members Monday night.
We`ll discuss those Republican talking points in the secret staff memo,
that`s not so secret anymore with David Jolly after this break.
JONES: Tonight a memo obtained by AXIOS shows the four talking points that
Republicans say they`re going to use in their defense of Donald Trump in
the public hearings. The July 25th call summary - the best evidence of the
conversation, shows no condition conditionality or evidence of pressure.
President Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure
on the call. The Ukranian government was not aware of a hold on U.S.
security assistance at the time of the July 25th call. Too bad, that`s
already been proven untrue.
And president Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security
assistance flowed to Ukraine on September 2019, both of which occurred
without Ukraine investigating President Trump`s political rivals.
Joining us, David Jolly, a former Republican member of Congress from
Florida. He`s an MSNBC Political Analyst. David, are you surprised by your
former colleague`s approach to the public hearing according to the leaked
DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I`m not, nor am I surprised that its
largely inaccurate, because as you mentioned, Lawrence, all the
corroborating testimony of witnesses suggest that in fact there was this
orchestrated scheme and Ukraine was aware of it, even to the extent of U.S.
diplomatic personnel drafting statements for Zelensky to read.
What is interesting in this though is each of their four arguments seems to
play into a broader theme that they`re going to argue there was no quid pro
quo, and that`s an inflection point for Democrats to have to make a
strategic decision. Because I would make the case no quid pro quo is
It certainly didn`t need to be felt by Ukraine, but the act of asking
Ukraine to investigate the Biden`s in and of itself even without a quid pro
quo was impeachable behavior by the President of the United States.
The Republicans four arguments are all trying to undermine a quid pro quo
argument. Corroborating evidence will overcome it. But Democrats will have
to make the decision, do they require quid pro quo to move an impeachment
article or not.
JONES: Yes, it`s so clear that it`s the solicitation that is the violation
and that`s all you need is the solicitation and the solicitation doesn`t
have to be rewarded with action by the other side that you`re solicited
from, it`s all right there in solicitation.
But this is one of those arguments where the it sounds to me David like the
Republicans are just going to keep saying the thing whatever that thing is
and they don`t care whether it`s true or not. And they don`t care whether
it`s just merely feuded by a witness. They just need to say it so that`s
the piece of video that Fox News can use.
JOLLY: Yes. Lawrence neither the facts nor the Founders are on the
Republican side in this impeachment inquiry. We know that we will hear on
Wednesday there was a quid pro quo. That Rudy Giuliani was a personal
representative of the President, not a diplomatic representative the State
And we will know that - and we will learn that there was a direct line to
the West Wing to Mick Mulvaney and the Donald Trump from Ambassador
Sondland. The facts are not on the Republican side.
Neither are the Founders. James Madison worried when they were writing the
Impeachment Clause of President would engage with a foreign power, engage
in deceit. George Mason was worried a President would try to interfere with
an election. This is exactly the presidency that the Founders feared.
And so what we will hear from Republicans is not an argument about the
facts or about the Founders` view of impeachment, it will be geared towards
a Republican reelection strategy in 2020 - this grievance politics that
Republicans are victims. This will be about keeping their base and ensuring
there`s no erosion of Republican voters in 2020.
JONES: And David I expect we`re going to see all sorts of parliamentary
disruption, point of order, Mr. Chairman, interruptions, objecting to
questions every little thing they can think of they`re going to turn this
into as much of a circus as they can.
David Jolly, thank you very much for joining us. We`re going to have to
have you back once I see how they do handle themselves in that hearing
And when we come back it`s the billionaire`s versus Elizabeth Warren, but
don`t mistake Bill Gates as one of those billionaires who is afraid of
Elizabeth Warren`s policy positions, that`s next.
JONES: We have now reached the billionaires versus Elizabeth Warren stage
of the presidential campaign where it seems every other day, another
billionaire is given a public microphone to express outrage at Elizabeth
Warren`s proposed wealth tax and just generally express billionaire terror
about a possible Elizabeth Warren presidency.
Last week Bill Gates said something that in the fractured quote world of
Twitter made him appear to be just another billion afraid of Elizabeth
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL GATES, CO-FOUNDER OF MICROSOFT CORPORATION: I`ve paid over 10 billion
in taxes. I`ve paid more than anyone in taxes. But I`m glad to have paid.
If I`d had to pay 20 billion, that`s fine. But when you say I should pay a
100 billion, OK, then I`m starting to do a little math about what I have
left over. Sorry, I`m just kidding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: He said he was kidding, but many people believed that he was really
worried about having to pay a $100 billion in wealth taxes. And so
Elizabeth Warren took that opportunity to send him a tweet saying, “I`d
love to explain exactly how much you`d pay under my wealth tax. I promise
it`s not a 100 billion.”
To which Bill Gates said, “I greatly respect your commitment to finding
ways to address wealth inequality and poverty at home. While we may
disagree about some of the ways to get there, we certainly agree we need a
lot of smart people committed to finding the path forward. I`m always
willing to talk about creative solutions to these problems.”
Bill Gates and Elizabeth Warren agree much more than they disagree. You
just heard Bill Gates say that if you want to double his taxes he`s cool
with that, and that makes Bill Gates more progressive on income taxation
then most of the Democrats running for President.
Bill Gates stays out of politics as much as humanly possible. He doesn`t
endorse candidates. He hasn`t created some giant super pack with all of his
wealth. But he did make it very clear in that interview last week,
brilliantly conducted by Andrew Ross Sorkin, that he would vote for
Elizabeth Warren against Donald Trump if that`s who`s on the ballot next
He made that clear when he was asked that specific question. Bill Gates
didn`t name names, but he said that the thing that he would value most in a
candidate is what he called a professional approach to the presidency.
The audience started to laugh because obviously Donald Trump has the least
professional approach to the presidency in history. And everyone in the
room knew that Bill Gates was saying in effect that he would vote for the
Democrat no matter who it is.
Bill Gates is one of the few billionaires who agrees with our next guest
that billionaires are undertaxed. Esther Duflo is this year`s Co-Winner of
the Nobel Prize in Economics and she won that prize by putting economic
theory aside and studying the way people make real economic decisions in
real life - people like Bill Gates and people living in poverty around the
world. And what she found contradicts most of what you have heard from
politicians about real-world economics and her findings should be heard in
the presidential campaign.
Esther Duflo is the second woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in
Economics and she joins us next.
JONES: The Nobel Prize in Economics was an afterthought. the first Nobel
Prizes were established in 1895. 74 years later a Nobel Prize in Economics
was added to the mix in 1969. And in the 50 years of Nobel Prizes in
economics since then only one woman had won a Nobel Prize in economics and
now there are two.
This year Esther Duflo is the Co-Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics for
her real-world study of how economics really works in real people`s lives
and how that knowledge can be used to improve the economic lives of more
in an echo of Esther Duflo last week, Bill Gates gave voice to one of her
important findings that contradicts much political talk about taxation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GATES: We can raise taxes in a lot of ways, including making some gifts to
foundations more taxed. We have a lot of room. The current thing is not
either in terms of encouraging philanthropy or discouraging and forming new
business. We`re not close to the limit. I mean there was a time where we
had 70% taxation rates–
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Joining us now is MIT economics professor Esther Duflo, this year`s
Co-Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Her new book is, “Good Economics
for Hard Times” Co-Authored with her husband Abhijit Banerjee who is also
the Co-Winner of this year`s Nobel Prize in Economics. Thank you very much
for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
ESTHER DUFLO, 2019 NOBEL PRIZE ECONOMICS CO-WINNER: Thank you so much.
JONES: It must have been so exciting for you and your husband - a first
husband-wife team in history to get the Nobel Prize in Economics. Getting
that phone call early morning, is it, when you suddenly discover that
you`re the Nobel Prize winners?
DUFLO: Yes. It was pretty incredible way to be woken up at 5:00 am.
JONES: Yes. And you have no hint it`s coming, right? I mean, people don`t
realize how the Nobel works.
DUFLO: No hint whatsoever. There`s no nominees, that`s - you`re not clear
at all. So let`s go to what Bill Gates just said, because it`s one of the
central elements of your book and the Republican argument is, of course,
you must not tax anyone more than we`re taxing them. And if you tax these
rich executives more, they`ll just work less. It`ll be a disincentive to
work if we tax them at the highest level.
There`s Bill Gates, there`s no one who`s worked harder than him. Who`s
saying, oh no, no, there`s much more room to tax us at the highest end.
DUFLO: There certainly is. And if we taxed the rich more they would work
just as hard. Think about football players. In many cases there are caps on
their salaries and that doesn`t stop them from trying to win.
JONES: Yes. The salary - you compare - and that`s what`s so fascinating
about this. This is not just your opinion from observing the world. You`ve
actually looked at salary caps on professional athletic teams in the United
States versus Europe where there are no salary caps. And you don`t see any
effort difference in the salary capped players versus the players that
don`t have any salary caps at all.
DUFLO: No, of course, not because winning is everything and it`s the same
thing among CEOs. All they want is to be richer than their friend CEOs. The
level doesn`t really matter. What matters is the rank.
JONES: And this incentive issue is what you`re finding throughout your
research. that incentives in in classical economic theory in the real world
don`t work the way we might think they do. For example, the argument about
welfare, disincentivizing people, they won`t try to work if you give them
welfare. What did you find about that?
DUFLO: Similarly the poor also don`t stop working if there are no
incentives for them to work, that`s also an illusion. When, for example,
welfare become more generous, people don`t stop working. It`s now being
demonstrated in countries after countries. Poor countries, rich country,
middle-income countries, the poor are not discouraged from working.
In fact, we`ve known that since the late 60s and 70s in the U.S. where
there were the so-called negative income tax experiment that actually gave
money to the poor people and taxed it away at rate of 50% and it had no
discouraging effect on their work. So it`s actually a little secret that we
have sort of kept it hidden.
JONES: There`s also and let`s - again what`s so important about this work
is you go into the field you do real experiments to find out really how
things work. And you`ve looked at immigration, and you tell us in this book
a very different story about what immigration in the United States is doing
DUFLO: Yes. There is two big misconception about immigration. The first one
is that the floodgates are just waiting to be open and if immigration was
more liberal everybody would want to come to this country, because they
live in poorer country than we do.
And the second misconception is if that happened then the native workers,
the poor workers in the U.S. would be poorer. But in fact there is a huge
literature that shows that neither of these are true.
First all the migration flows are quite low even when there are no barriers
to migration. For example within Europe when there was a big crisis in
Greece, people mostly stayed in Greece. So it`s not that people are like
waiting for an opportunity to jump and come.
People only come when they are desperate or if they are super enterprising
and really we want to make a better life for themselves, in which case, we
should want to have them here, because they`ll contribute to the economy
and be entrepreneurial et cetera.
The second misconception is that, if a lot of low skilled worker come they
will take away jobs or wages from the people here in these countries and
that also happens to be not true. People have looked at - if it was from
like the influx of Cuban refugees in Miami when we kicked out many migrant
worker from California in in the 60s and there are dozens of episodes like
that that shows that migrant do not take away wages from native worker. And
this is something people do not know.
JONES: You also mentioned in here something - a new fact that I wasn`t
aware of, is that our internal migration rates have dropped dramatically.
America used to be a place where people - we had a very high rate of people
moving from place to place within the country, generally to where the jobs
And now when jobs get wiped out in a particular location, people are not
moving the way they used to, which by the way is what classical economic
theory always said they would do, they`ll just move to find a job. What if
they don`t and that`s what you`re finding.
DUFLO: Yes, that`s actually very important presumptions because of
economists and perhaps much more importantly of politicians that people
would move. If I lose a job my job making furniture in North Carolina I can
move to New York to sell furniture, but in fact that`s not true. The rate
of mobility are very low. They are about half what they were in 1948.
JONES: We`re going to have to leave it there. Esther Duflo,
congratulations on the Nobel. It`s a real honor to have you here. I
really appreciate it. This is a very important book, “Good Economics for
Hard Times.” This book belongs at the center of the presidential campaign.
That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the