Bill Weld on The Last Word. TRANSCRIPT: 12/2/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Simon Shuster, Bill Weld, Molly Jong-Fast
Transcript:

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

 

And in the interest of planning your day, I spoke to Chairman Schiff in the

hallway on my way racing into this room.  And the one thing I wanted to

know is, what time tomorrow?  What time tomorrow? 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  He wouldn`t tell me, did he tell you? 

 

O`DONNELL:  No, he wouldn`t.  So the answer was, tomorrow.  So, I narrow it

down to, tomorrow. 

 

MADDOW:  Yes.  I asked him, how long is it?  He said it`s long.  I was

like, I – yes.  Well. 

 

O`DONNELL:  I just want to – one group that I just want people to think

about tonight after we all had our varying degrees relaxing Thanksgivings

and time off are the staff, the staff of the House Intelligence Committee

who I guarantee you were lucky if they were able to get a bite of anything

on Thanksgiving Day.  That staff has been working basically 24 hours a day

in a relay in order to write a document which is going to be a very

substantial, very long document. 

 

It`s an amazing feat to put this together.  Chairman Schiff told me not

only were the staff involved in this, but he and some other members were

also deeply involved in this throughout that – this last week.  And it`s

difficult.  It`s a difficult thing for them to did it`s a difficult thing

for them to do working around family schedules that we all had last week. 

 

So, I just want that one note of thank you to them for the job that they`ve

been doing, that they have taken an oath to do. 

 

MADDOW:  And they can`t even have – you know, you get that relief when you

finish a big project, even if it`s been killing you to get it done, you

finally – at least it`s done.  In this case, one of the things I talked to

Chairman Schiff about is the fact that they consider this to be an open and

ongoing investigation.  They will continue to collect evidence and send out

subpoenas and talk to witnesses, and they will continue to add to and

potentially put out subsequent reports as they get more information on

this. 

 

So, obviously, they`re putting out what they believe to be the bulk of

their findings, but this will be a rolling process from here on out.  And

so, no rest for the wicked. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Rachel, as I was listening to your interview with Chairman

Schiff, when he got to his emphasis about President Trump`s obstruction of

justice, obstruction of Congress, it really sounded like he certainly wants

to see, at least he wants to see if there`s going to be articles of

impeachment, an article that is specifically about the obstruction that the

president has brought to the Congress` investigation. 

 

MADDOW:  Yes.  I think that is exactly my same read on it.  I mean, and he

makes a substantive point.  I think a lot of us watching this process look

at sort of expressions of concern, the expressed objections from Chairman

Schiff, from other members involved in this process, and say, yes, you`re

frustrated, you want to be getting this stuff from the White House and

you`re not getting it.  But if you spend too much time objecting to the

White House not giving you stuff, you`re going to get bogged down, they`re

going to be allowed to stonewall this thing forever, they`re going to drag

this out until after the election, however long they want it to go. 

 

I think we see it in a very instrumental way.  But what Schiff is

articulating is saying, this is about precedent, this is about whether or

not White Houses in the future ever just direct members of their staff to

not respond to subpoenas, to not hand over documents, to pretend like

congressional oversight isn`t a real thing.  Regardless of how utilitarian

these objections may be in the moment, he`s like, we got to play for the

long haul. 

 

O`DONNELL:  All right, Rachel.  Tomorrow, it`s tomorrow.  Sometime

tomorrow. 

 

MADDOW:  I know. 

 

O`DONNELL:  That`s when we get it. 

 

MADDOW: I`m going to stay up all night. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Great interview, Rachel.  Thank you. 

 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, Lisa Page speaks.  That is the title of Molly Jong-Fast`s

article in “The Daily Beast” in which former FBI lawyer Lisa Page speaks

publicly for the first time about her two years under public attack from

the president of the United States.  Lisa Page said that it was Donald

Trump`s appearance at a rally a few weeks ago that made her finally realize

she had to speak. 

 

It was the rally in which Donald Trump brought the presidency and

performance art in general to a new low when he, according to many

observers, including Lisa Page, publicly, on stage, into the microphone,

faked an orgasm.  I will leave to it you to judge exactly what Donald Trump

was doing in that piece of video which we will show you at the end of this

hour when Molly Jong-Fast joins us with her exclusive report on Lisa Page`s

description of being endlessly attacked by the president of the United

States.  Lisa Page says, quote: It`s sickening, and she said it`s like

being punched in the gut. 

 

We begin tonight with the steadily progressing impeachment investigation of

the president of the United States and the president`s stunning decision to

refuse to defend himself, a decision no other president under investigation

has ever made – the decision to simply not defend himself. 

 

Now, if you are under investigation and you had information to prove your

innocence, would you withhold that information?  Would you not allow

witnesses to testify who could help prove your innocence? 

 

That`s what Donald Trump wants you to believe.  He wants you to believe

that he is innocent and that he is withholding evidence and blocking

witnesses who could prove that he is innocent.  All you have to do is say

that out loud to hear how ridiculous that idea is. 

 

But it means that so far, the president of the United States is refusing to

have his lawyers participate in the first official impeachment hearing in

the House Judiciary Committee this week.  That strategy could easily change

at any time.  The president`s lawyers will always be allowed to participate

in the Judiciary Committee`s impeachment hearings.  The rules of the

impeachment investigation allow for the full participation by the

president`s lawyers in the judiciary committee. 

 

And so far, the president`s lawyers have nothing to say.  They have no

defense.  The first hearing in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday will be

a largely academic one with four law professors, including one selected by

the Republicans on the committee, offering their views on the impeachment

process as described in the Constitution and as established by centuries of

congressional precedent. 

 

As Chairman Adam Schiff described to Rachel Maddow in the last hour, the

House Intelligence Committee had access tonight to review Chairman Schiff`s

report of the committee`s findings concerning President Trump`s request to

the president of Ukraine to invite – to investigate Joe Biden.  Chairman

Schiff told Rachel that the report will become public sometime tomorrow and

the intelligence committee will meet at the end of the day tomorrow at 6:00

p.m. to vote on approving the report and then sending it to the House

Judiciary Committee where it can then be considered as the basis for

possible articles of impeachment.  The House leadership announced tonight

that they would keep the House of Representatives in session an additional

week in December.  That means that the House of Representatives will not

recess for the Christmas holiday until as late as December 20th. 

 

And that might mean that the House Judiciary Committee will use the first

three weeks of December to bring articles of impeachment to a vote in the

House Judiciary Committee. 

 

Leading off our discussion tonight, Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant

Watergate special prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst.  And John Heilemann,

national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.  He is the editor-in-chief

of “The Recount.”

 

John, we just heard from Chairman Schiff in the last hour saying the report

is ready.  It is written.  It`s ready to go.  It will be released tomorrow. 

We`ll all have it by this hour tomorrow night. 

 

The Democrats are moving with all deliberate speed, exactly as Nancy Pelosi

said they would at the beginning of this process. 

 

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  Look, let`s be clear,

Lawrence.  I think what we have learned over the course of the last year,

but specifically in the last two months, is that the two crucial players in

the House of Representatives on this matter are Nancy Pelosi and Adam

Schiff, both of whom made a political judgment for a long time that they

did not want to proceed with impeachment until it became absolutely

necessary for matters related to questions of precedent, for questions what

was they would allow to stand, and because they thought the politics were

tolerable to go forward. 

 

But they are still calling the tune.  And this big question that has

hovered over once we get through Thanksgiving, which was, and I don`t think

there was ever much of a question, because Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff

were clear on it, was, would they let this thing drag?  Would they give it

all deliberate speed?  Would they try to pursue through the courts, getting

John Bolton and other witnesses to come in? 

 

It was clear.  I think for weeks it`s been clear that they would not do

that, that they will have this vote done by Christmas, and they are still

sticking to that throughout.  If you want to see what`s going to happen

over the course of these next few weeks, watch those two. 

 

O`DONNELL:  We have something that Chairman Schiff said in the last hour. 

I think the control room has it ready, about where they are in this

investigation and why they are not going to wait around at this point to

gather more evidence. 

 

Let`s see if we have that. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  You get to a point in an investigation where you

can tell it is going to be a long time before you get the next valuable

increment of information. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Jill Wine-Banks, I assume you`ve been there as a prosecutor

where you have a case, you know there`s more evidence to be gathered, but

you`re looking at the calendar, you`re looking at how long it will take. 

You are looking at other factors and you say, let`s make our move now. 

 

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Absolutely.  I started as an

organized crime prosecutor.  I could have investigated for the rest of my

life – 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

WINE-BANKS:  – if any one of the crime families, and I would have kept

getting bad information every single day. 

 

But at some point, you say enough, it`s sufficient, I have enough to make a

case.  And I – it`s important that I take these people out of circulation,

and I have to act now.  And I think that was a very wise choice on the part

of the House right now. 

 

And I would also say that although there is obviously a lot more that could

be gained by the witnesses who have refused to testify, and I believe the

courts will say they have to testify.  In the meantime, it is perfectly

legitimate, people in their everyday lives do this and courts allow it, you

can say you can draw an adverse inference from the fact that they have

failed to come forward.  And that`s enough. 

 

Between all the evidence that we have and the adverse inference from the

fact that they have not brought forward anyone, if the president had

something that would exculpate him, he would have presented that evidence. 

There is none.  That`s the problem. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what California Republican Congressman Tom

McClintock said about the president not participating in the Judiciary

Committee hearing. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R-CA):  I think it would be to the president`s

advantage to have his attorneys there.  That is his right.  But I can also

understand how he is upset at the illegitimate process that we saw unfold

in the intelligence committee. 

 

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS HOST:  So you think they should bring in lawyers? 

 

MCCLINTOCK:  I think it`s to his advantage, yes. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Jill, the reason I showed that is Tom McClintock is one of

those formerly reasonable conservative Republican members of Congress.  And

you can get to a point in this discussion with him where he has to admit,

yes, there`s something a little strange about not defending yourself. 

 

HEILEMANN:  Of course, something more than a little strange.  There`s

something completely unprecedented as you pointed out earlier.  And in some

sense, strange and not strange.  Not strange in the sense that, if there

was a case to be made on the facts, not only would the lawyers be present

but these other witnesses we were just discussing, the Boltons of the

world, the Mulvaneys of the world, the Pompeos of world will be coming

forward, the president would free all the fact witnesses to come forward if

they had facts that would help exculpate him, he does not. 

 

And so, in some sense, it`s a really strange.  Now, on another level, it`s

the most rational thing the president`s doing. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Jill, this reminds me of what I used to hear criminal defense

lawyers saying when I was hanging around courthouses in earlier life, when

they had somebody who was, let`s just say, a very difficult defendant to

represent.  And the question they`d ask each other is, can you put your guy

on the stand?  And when they couldn`t put their defendant on the stand, it

meant that really there wasn`t a very strong defense to be made from the

witness stand. 

 

And this kind of feels like that.  This feels like one of those cases where

it`s like, well, what defense do you expect us to present?  We don`t really

have one. 

 

So, the president is making a lot of noise about the process, attacking the

process, claiming there`s no point in offering a defense in this process. 

But what defense would there be to offer? 

 

WINE-BANKS:  There is no defense.  And what they have said in the minority

report, which is completely outrageous, is they simply say, there is no

evidence to support the accusations.  But they don`t present any evidence

that says there is a defense to those. 

 

And it`s sort of like, if I went into a bank and I wrote a check on my own

bank account and cashed the check and then I pulled out a gun and said to

the teller, now give me all the money in the vault.  The fact that I did a

legal transaction by withdrawing from my own account does not legalize the

fact that I pulled out a gun and robbed the bank. 

 

And the same thing is true right now in terms of this.  They`re saying,

well, the president was concerned about Ukraine`s corruption.  Well, if he

was, he never let anybody know.  But even if he was, it wouldn`t excuse the

fact that he withheld the money and put in danger our national security and

that of Ukraine, an ally, by doing that. 

 

And he helped only one person, himself, and Putin.  So I guess he helped

two people, not just one.  And that makes it illegal.  It makes it

criminal. 

 

And people have to understand the danger that this poses to our democracy

and to the 2020 election, and that even though the election is less than a

year away, we can`t wait that long.  We need to protect our election.  And

I think, unfortunately, he has pushed into the Democratic Party to the

point where they had no choice but to bring impeachment. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Jill Wine-Banks, John Heilemann, thank you both for starting us

off tonight. 

 

And when we come back, the president of Ukraine speaks.  He has submitted

to an interview with “Time” magazine.  One of the interviewers who was

there in the interview with President Zelensky will join us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  I don`t trust anyone at all.  That is in the headline of “Time”

magazine`s report by our next guest, Simon Shuster, on an interview with

President Zelensky of Ukraine.  President Zelensky complained about

President Trump blocking aid to Ukraine, saying, quote, if you`re our

strategic partner, then you can`t go blocking anything for us. 

 

When President Zelensky was asked directly about the connection between

military aid from the United States and the Trump demand for

investigations, President Zelensky said, quote, look, I never talked to the

president from the position of a quid pro quo, that`s not my thing.  I

don`t want us to look like beggars, but you have to understand we`re at

war.  If you`re our strategic partner, then you can`t go blocking anything

for us.  I think that`s just about fairness, it`s not about a quid pro quo,

it just goes without saying. 

 

Joining us now is Simon Shuster, correspondent for “Time” magazine covering

Europe, Russia, and Ukraine.  He joins us by phone from the Ukrainian

capital where he has been reporting about the impeachment inquiry. 

 

Also joining us, former U.S. ambassador to Russia during the Obama

administration, Michael McFaul.  He is an MSNBC national security analyst. 

 

And, Mr. Shuster, in your interview with President Zelensky, what was your

sense of what he was willing to say and not willing to say about his

interactions with President Trump?  Did you sense there were limitations

about what he was willing to answer about that? 

 

SIMON SHUSTER, CORRESPONDENT, TIME MAGAZINE (via telephone):  Yes, most

definitely there were limitations.  The purpose of the interview was not at

all to talk about impeachment or quid pro quos or any of the other things

related to the impeachment inquiry.  He wanted to talk about his ongoing

war against pro-Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine, and most importantly,

about the upcoming peace talks that he has next week with President

Vladimir Putin of Russia. 

 

When it came to impeachment-related issues and other issues that are

stirring up such a storm of scandal in the United States, he was very

hesitant.  And you have to keep that in mind as you read the quote that you

just read out.  You know, even for him to step out and say something like

that, that critical of the United States policy toward Ukraine, is quite a

risk for him.  He is still extremely dependant on the United States for

support, for financial support, and perhaps even more importantly for

political support as he heads into these negotiations with Putin. 

 

And as we said in the headline of the interview that I do read out, he

feels all alone.  So, it`s extremely important for him to be cautious.  You

know, the situation with his dependence on the United States has not

changed. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Ambassador McFaul, even with that dependence that Mr.

Shuster was just talking about, and I think we`re all very aware of,

President Zelensky did not say president Trump did nothing wrong.  But, of

course, Donald Trump characterized the interview as President Zelensky

saying – he said, President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong, that is

the Trump summary of this interview.  That`s not what this interview says. 

 

FORMER AMB. MICHAEL MCFAUL, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST:  That`s right. 

That`s why I read the interview three times to see if there`s any evidence

to support what President Trump said.  There was none. 

 

First of all, I congratulate Simon.  It was a great interview, a really

interesting interview to get insight into the way President Zelensky

thinks. 

 

As he goes into these negotiations, I think it`s really important for

Americans to understand he is at war with Russia.  He`s trying to get a

cease-fire in Donbass.  This is the utmost importance. 

 

In previous administrations, in previous times, we supported the Ukrainians

100 percent.  Yet you have not heard a single word of support for President

Zelensky from President Trump as he goes into these very crucial

negotiations.  I just think it`s very important for people to understand,

there are big national security concerns under way here.  We are talking

very little about it, including the president himself.  He almost never

mentions it. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Another complaint that President Zelensky has in the interview

with “Time” magazine and with Simon Shuster is Donald Trump talking about

corruption in Ukraine.  And, of course, let`s remember, it`s the only

corruption in the world that Donald Trump has ever talked about. 

 

And President Zelensky says: When America says, for instance, that Ukraine

is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals.  It might seem like

an easy thing to say, that combination of words, Ukraine is a corrupt

country.  Just to say it and that`s it. 

 

But it doesn`t end there.  Everyone hears that signal.  Investments, banks,

stakeholders, companies, American, European, companies that have

international capital in Ukraine, it`s a signal to them that says, be

careful, don`t invest.  Or, get out of there.  That is a hard signal. 

 

And Mr. Shuster, it`s the kind of signal that Vladimir Putin must be very,

very happy President Trump is sending about Ukraine. 

 

SHUSTER:  I think Vladimir Putin has made that quite clear in his

statements about two weeks ago when he said that, if I`m remembering

correctly, thank God that now no one in the U.S. is accusing Russia of

meddling in the 2016 elections, they`re now accusing Ukraine.  And I think

the same thing goes for the constant conversation about corruption in

Ukraine.  You know, that is a much better narrative for the U.S. media and

U.S. political figures to be focused on than issues like U.S. aggression

against Ukraine.  Or U.S. continued efforts to – for Russia to meddle in

the U.S. elections. 

 

So, of course, I think that goes along with what Putin says, that this is a

very positive development from Russia`s perspective.  It`s quite a negative

development from Ukraine`s perspective.  It`s very painful. 

 

And the quote that you just read is the point where I think President

Zelensky became most upset and spoke most emotionally, most freely, really

wanted to get the message across that, it is doing harm for U.S. officials,

including the U.S. president, to constantly be banging the drum about

endemic corruption in Ukraine. 

 

He admitted during the interview that, yes, Ukraine has a major problem

with corruption.  But the way that it`s been framed as this sort of all-

encompassing problem within Ukrainian society and Ukrainian politics, that

President Trump is somehow trying to root out by freezing the aid this

summer and fall, you know, he says that that really hurts the country, it

hurts him, and it prevents the country from attracting the kind of foreign

support that it needs to defend itself against Russia. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Ambassador McFaul, this is the kind of thing, of course,

that any ambassador to Ukraine would tell the president not to say for

specifically these reasons? 

 

MCFAUL:  Exactly.  And, Lawrence, I`m really glad you underscored that

passage.  I found it to be the most powerful.  Remember, Zelensky was

elected president because he was an anti-corruption candidate.  People need

to understand that.  That this was the moment they were going to throw out

all the corrupt people.  That`s why he won. 

 

And so, right as he enters to do that, brings in one of the youngest

governments in all of Europe, brand-new people, the president of the United

States is saying, oh, wait a minute, I`m going to withhold aid to fight

corruption.  That`s exactly the wrong signal. 

 

And most Americans now associate Ukraine with the word corruption.  That`s

not in Ukraine`s interests.  It`s not in America`s interests. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Ambassador Michael McFaul, Simon Shuster of “Time” magazine,

thank you both very much for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

 

MCFAUL:  Thank you.

 

SHUSTER:  Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, Republican presidential candidate Bill

Weld will join us.  He worked as lawyer in the impeachment investigation of

President Richard Nixon.  And he is running against Donald Trump for the

Republican presidential nomination. 

 

Bill Weld joins us next. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Two Presidents have survived impeachment investigations but no

President has ever survived a stronger than expected challenge in the New

Hampshire primary.

 

In 1968 President Linden Johnson won the New Hampshire primary but

Democratic senator Eugene McCarthy`s stronger than expected second place

showing meant the beginning of the end of the Johnson re-election campaign.

 

President George H.W. Bush won the New Hampshire primary at the beginning

of his re-election campaign but Pat Buchanan`s strong second place finish

was an accurate forecaster of how vulnerable President Bush would be in the

general election against Bill Clinton.

 

Now Massachusetts former governor Bill Weld is challenging Donald Trump and

the Republican Presidential primary. The latest New Hampshire primary poll

shows Bill Weld rising to 14 percent against Donald Trump so how scared is

Donald Trump of Bill Weld?

 

Well, Team Trump has convinced Republicans in some states to just cancel

their Presidential primaries and other states are blocking Republican

candidates from getting their names on the Republican Presidential primary

ballots.

 

Joining us now is Bill Weld, former Republican governor of Massachusetts

who is running for the Republican Presidential nomination against President

Trump and during Watergate, he was a council on the House Judiciary

Committee on the Republican staff.

 

Things are operating very differently with both the Republican staff and

the Republican members of the impeachment investigation. Now what is your

reaction to what you are seeing in the way the Republicans are approaching

this investigation of the President?

 

FORMER GOV. BILL WELD (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t really think they

have any evidence. They`re saying there is no evidence but that`s not an

argument. It`s a conclusion and I would call it a legal conclusion but it`s

bereft of any legal support.

 

And they`re saying these are nameless faceless - faceless bureaucrats

hurling these accusations. Last time I looked Gordon Sondland, who`s a mega

donor to Trump and a political appointee buried everybody, threw everybody

under the bus.

 

Perhaps I shouldn`t use that phrase but he was very clear. We all did this

because the President directed us to do it. Yes, there was a quid pro quo.

 

O`DONNELL: What is what is happened to the Republican Party since the time

you were working on the staff of the impeachment investigation on the

Republican side? And where we are today?

 

WELD: Well, that was a different era, I`m so sorry to say and it was you

know fiercely fought and you know Jim Sinclair representing President Nixon

fought for the rights for cross examination and Albert Jenner and John Door

on the other side said well, we don`t want to give you too much, too much

of your nose under the tent.

 

But it was you know, contested fairly evenly and wound up being 10

Republicans going against the President. Seven going other way around. 10

going for him and 10 going against.

 

O`DONNELL: The Republicans issued a kind of a document tonight establishing

their position and it`s basically what you just said. They don`t argue the

others. They don`t get into details of evidence. They simply say this, the

evidence does not establish that President Trump pressured Ukraine to

investigate Burisma holdings, Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden or

Ukrainian influence in the 2016 election for the purpose of benefiting him

in the 2020 election.

 

So they`re simply saying it doesn`t establish what the Democrats–

 

WELD: I`m sorry but the July 25th transcript which had 12 witnesses to it,

establishes that beyond any doubt. It was confirmed by a number of live

witnesses and there was no rebuttal. So the evidence does establish that

and saying it doesn`t - really doesn`t advance the query very much.

 

O`DONNELL: You`re a former federal prosecutor, former U.S. attorney in

Boston. Evidence like that is the kind of evidence that you were always I

assume trying to find?

 

WELD: Oh yes, no, this is a slam dunk case, really. Just as the 10

obstruction articles against in the Mueller report against President Trump.

You never see evidence of obstruction like that. Someone, the ringleader

ordering people to destroy evidence and file false documents and commit

perjury.

 

I`ve never seen that in obstruction case and I`ve presided over quite a

few.

 

O`DONNELL: Please stay with us across this commercial break. I want to pick

up exactly there when we come back. We`ll be right back with Bill Weld.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is back with us and

you`re a former federal prosecutor, you started off working on the

impeachment investigation of President Richard Nixon on the Republican

staff in the House.

 

Given your experience in these issues, what do you make of this

unprecedented decision by this President to not send his lawyers up to the

Judiciary Committee hearing?

 

WELD: Well, he`s taken the position that they can`t investigate him.

Period. There`s never been a position like that advanced in court by any

President in history of United States. It flies in the face of the division

of powers between Article 1 and Article 2. It`s - it`s beyond any

comprehension, how someone could argue that as a legal matter.

 

O`DONNELL: So if you had your original Washington job back and you were

working on the staff of the Judiciary Committee and now, would you see

articles of impeachment taking shape?

 

WELD: Oh, there are three potential articles that just scream out. Number

one, would be the Ukraine matters which is extortion and bribery of a

foreign power, seeking them to interfere in U.S. internal affairs and a

Presidential election at that and one in which the President was a

candidate and that also involves the use of the President`s office to try

to advance his personal gain.

 

Those are the two things the framers were most worried about, foreign

interference and corruption of the office. Two would be the 10 examples of

obstruction of justice in the Bob Mueller report which 1000 federal

prosecutors signed a document saying, it`s among the most clear and

convincing overwhelming cases of obstruction of justice that they`ve ever

seen.

 

And three could be just like in Nixon, obstruction of Congress and

obstruction of justice by refusing to play the role that Article 2 assigns

to the President of United States. That`s - that`s interfering with the

proper workings of government and that`s quintessentially what the

impeachment and removal power is aimed at.

 

They better come up with something else by way of defense if and when this

thing goes to the Senate or there`s not going to be much to talk about.

 

O`DONNELL: But what - but what do you make of a Republican Senate in which

so far, the no defense is an adequate defense for Republican senators?

 

WELD: Well, it`s - it`s no defense at all and you know, I don`t know

whether Chief Justice Roberts who presides over that trial would have

something to say about that but there`s a common misunderstanding here,

people seem to think that the Senate controls all those proceedings.

 

The House appoints managers to come and conduct the proceedings as

prosecutors on behalf of the House so if everyone throws up their hands and

says, we don`t know what you`re talking about, that`s just not a very

impressive performance.

 

O`DONNELL: The - we`re hearing from Republican senators now, they are

parroting this case that Vladimir Putin makes which is that Ukraine

attacked our election, Russia did not attack our election and now you have

Republican senators saying well, they both did, you know Russia did but

Ukraine did it just as badly.

 

They seem - there seems to be many people have said this is actually in

service to what Vladimir Putin wants people to be saying in this country

and Republican senators are saying it.

 

WELD: Yes, so far as I`m aware, U.S. intelligence services did not uncover

evidence that Ukraine was interfering the election, quite the contrary,

Russia was. So this again is the Putin storyline and it`s part of you know,

what the President`s done by insulting NATO and trying to undercut it and

basically siding with Russian in Crimea and you know, withholding the

javelin missile funds from Ukraine so that Russian tanks could continue to

roll across the border and fire with impunity.

 

It`s - it`s all part and parcel of a pro-Russia tilt and yes, Mr. Putin

must be delighted.

 

O`DONNELL: When you talk to Republican voters in New Hampshire and

elsewhere about this particular issue, about the Ukraine phone call, about

what the evidence they`ve seen, are they defensive of the President or are

you finding Republican voters who are bothered by what they`re seeing the

President–

 

WELD: They don`t want to talk about the details. They are just so sick of

it. All over the country people are just exhausted but I will say when I

was in a parade in Concord, New Hampshire, maybe 10 days ago, people were

coming in the middle of the parade ground, grabbing me and saying get this

guy out of there.

 

That`s their view.

 

O`DONNELL: Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, thank you very much for

joining us and so today it was Georgia who decided no Republicans on the

Presidential primary ballot, they`re fixing it for Donald Trump in Georgia.

 

WELD: Right.

 

O`DONNELL: And it just keeps happening that way.

 

WELD: Yes, I can`t wait to see how all that pans out. One state is trying

to keep us off the ballot now after having cashed our check $15000 to get

on the ballot.

 

O`DONNELL: You are facing challenges no one`s ever faced before on this.

Thank you very much for joining us and when we come back, Former FBI lawyer

Lisa Page is finally speaking out about being attacked endlessly by the

President of the United States.

 

She describes those attacks in emotional terms exclusively to Molly Jong-

Fast in an interview in the Daily Beast. Molly Jong-Fast will join us next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Here`s something no one in the Trump family has ever thought or

sent. From very early on I knew I wanted to work for the government and

make the world a better place. Lisa Page said that in her very first public

comments about her years of being attacked by the President of the United

States.

 

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page broke her public silence with our next guest

Molly Jong-Fast. In that interview Lisa Page said something that no one has

ever said about any President of the United States until now.

 

Honestly his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the

camel`s back. This is what Lisa Page was referring to.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Lisa Page. What a group?

She`s going to win 10 million to one, she`s going to win, I`m telling you

Peter. I`m telling you Peter she`s going to win. Peter, oh, I love you so

much. I love you Peter. I love you too Lisa. Lisa, I love you. Lisa, Lisa,

oh God, I love you Lisa.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL: And that`s the moment that changed everything for Lisa Page

according to Molly John-Fast`s report in the Daily Beast. She said, “I had

stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away but instead it got worse.

It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control

the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

 

And joining us now is Molly John-Fast who`s article in the Daily Beast is

entitled Lisa Page speaks. Molly, thank you very much for joining us. It`s

an extraordinary piece. We`ve been wondering about this woman for years as

the President attacks her on a daily basis and here she is finally telling

us not only how she felt about it.

 

But why she came out that moment at - just in October when the Vulgarian-

in-Chief does something that we`ve never seen before.

 

MOLLY JONG-FAST, CONTRIBUTOR, THE DAILY BEAST: It was an amazing moment to

sit with her two weeks later and they hear her tell me that that was the

thing that made her decide she was going in like just take it back and it

was - I mean I felt very honored to get to be a part of that moment.

 

O`DONNELL: And just for the - for the record, for the audience, her offense

against Donald Trump is that she was in 2016 during the Presidential

campaign watching the most incompetent, least informed Presidential

candidate in history.

 

She watched him with fear like most of the Americans and like most

Americans, she didn`t want him to be President and she privately

communicated that with others and text of that private communication

eventually became public, including private communication with her then -

with a former lover of hers at the FBI.

 

They had a right to that private communication, they had a right to the

personal view that Donald Trump should not be President, would be a bad

President. They were completely right about that.

 

JONG-FAST: Right.

 

O`DONNELL: And Donald Trump has attacked her and others as if they had no

right to ever think that he would be a bad President.

 

JONG-FAST: Well, the only possible law that they could`ve broken would be

the Hatch Act and they didn`t break the Hatch act but ironically Kellyanne

Conway breaks the Hatch Act all the time.

 

So they`re always like obsessed with you know saying that people are doing

the things that they`re actually doing.

 

JONG-FAST: Yes and Hatch Act is publicly advocating for client which

government workers can`t do which she did not do and then the issue becomes

was her judgment in any of the elements involving the investigation of the

Russian interference in our election, was any of her judgment colored by

the fact that she didn`t want Donald Trump to be President?

 

And we have found absolutely no evidence of that.

 

JONG-FAST: She`s been totally exonerated. I mean it`s such and we know that

this December 8 IG report is going to exonerate her further because we`ve

seen that in the leaks. The question is really like why did the President -

why were these text messages leaked? And how does the President use women

to distract?

 

You know how does he get his base all ginned up with misogyny to distract

from the things he`s doing, that are sort of nefarious. And we see it again

and again and again, you know.

 

O`DONNELL: It almost seems like he would have to invent a Lisa Page if he

didn`t have one.

 

JONG-FAST: Or a Christine Blasey-Ford or you know, Mari Yovanovitch. It`s

just this continual women that he finds to use to abuse.

 

O`DONNELL: And you see and your reporting indicates that for Donald Trump

there`s extra fuel in this when it`s a woman he`s attacking.

 

JONG-FAST: Yes and I think there`s this sexual angle like the lover Lisa

Page but yes, he gets much more involved in the narrative, when into women

and you see - I just - I`m always shocked and like we saw with E. Jean

Carrol, I wrote about her and it was that same kind of thing where she just

- he just went after her and he`s - you know, he said - you know, I mean

this is my favorite Trump thing he does.

 

I mean - I mean no disrespect, right?

 

O`DONNELL: Yes, he uses that phrase.

 

JONG-FAST: And then he`s like horrendously disrespectful.

 

O`DONNELL: He means nothing but disrespect.

 

JONG-FAST: Right, you can`t - it doesn`t mean - you know, that doesn`t

negate the disrespect.

 

O`DONNELL: Yes and what did you find, who is this woman, Lisa Page you

spent time with?

 

JONG-FAST: She`s amazing. She`s completely self-made. She`s - was one of

the only women - she was the only woman in her DOJ honors course. Like

she`s just a very extraordinary smart woman and you know Andy McCabe

thought she was incredible.

 

You know, he really trusted her with everything and she`s a lawyer and

she`s very lawyerly and the stuff you know, she speaks just and she`s just

really a great person.

 

O`DONNELL: The Daily Beast has the piece. Molly Jong-Fast got the story. It

is such an honor to have you here. I`ve been following your thinking and

your writing and your tweeting for years and years and years. Great to have

you here. Appreciate it.

JONG-FAST: Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: And when we come back ,13-year old Maggie Thundoo gets the LAST

WORD.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Not that we`ve survived Black Friday and made it through another

cyber Monday, we find ourselves once again on the eve of Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is the day when instead of shopping for Christmas gifts or

grabbing big sale discounts for ourselves, we pause all of that for today

to consider giving to a good cause.

 

MSNBC is the signature media partner of Giving Tuesday for the sixth year

in a row and we here at THE LAST WORD always have a suggestion for you on

how to combine your gift shopping with your charitable giving on Giving

Tuesday or any other day.

 

Faithful viewers of this program know that I`m talking about the Kind Fund.

Kids in need of desks, the partnership that I created with UNICEF and MSNBC

to deliver desks to schools in Malawi where some kids have never seen

desks.

 

Here`s Maggie Thundoo, hard at work just days ago at her village school.

Maggie is 13 years old and she never saw a desk in her classroom until we

delivered desks to her school thanks to your generous giving to the Kind

Fund.

 

When Maggie and her classmates sat down at their desks for the very first

time, they did what the kids always do without anyone directing them. They

just burst into song, song of celebration and gratitude.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

[CHILDREN SINGING]

 

O`DONNELL: Later Maggie told us that finally having desks in her school has

relieved her of the pain in her back that she always felt after hours of

sitting on the floor. And that writing on the desk instead of the floor has

greatly improved her handwriting.

 

You can go to lastworddessks.msnbc.com and give the desk in the name of

anyone on your holiday gift list and UNICEF will send that person a

notification of the gift that you have given in their name.

 

You can choose to contribute any amount toward the purchase of a desk. No

contribution is too small or you can contribute to a scholarship fund for

girls where in Malawi, where like most African countries, public high

school is not free and most families cannot afford the tuition.

 

When the family can afford to pay high school tuition, they are more likely

to send a son to high school than a daughter and so high school graduation

rate for girls in Malawi is half, just half the graduation rate for boys

and that`s why our scholarship program is focused on girls education.

 

If you can`t afford to give this year, please consider helping pass the

word about the Kind Fund on social media. Maggie told us that her new desk

has inspired her to work even harder on her dream of becoming a nurse.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

 

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

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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