new voting right act TRANSCRIPT: The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, 12/6/2019
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I want you to have a good weekend but I want you
to know you`re going to have to be up early on Monday. 9:00 a.m. Monday,
Judiciary Committee holds its next public impeachment hearing – ought to
be kind of a doozy.
Half an hour later, 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, there are oral arguments in
federal court in the emoluments lawsuit. Also on Monday, we`ll be waiting
for prosecutors to drop their sentencing memo that`s due in the criminal
case against Rick Gates who was the deputy campaign chairman for Trump.
They`re going to recommend how much prison time he ought to get.
Also on Monday, the inspector general of the Justice Department should
release its review of the FBI`s decision to open up the Russia
investigation in 2016. That`s all happening on Monday plus a bunch of other
Tomorrow is going to be a day off. Sunday is going to be a day off.
Hopefully, Monday is going to be nuts. See you then. That does it for us
tonight. We`ll see you again on Monday, but it`ll be crazy. It`s now time
for “Last Word.” Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence. Good evening, Ali.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: None of this is true, Rachel. None of this is
true. Your viewers do not have to get up in the morning to do all this
because anything good that happens on Monday you will tell them about at
MADDOW: Yes, but its live events. I mean, the impeachment hearing is live,
obviously, and on television at 9:00.
MADDOW: That 9:30 an emolument hearing is one of those rare federal court
hearings that we`re going to have live audio of. So you`re going to listen
and watch in stereo. I mean, it`s going to be a crazy day.
VELSHI: I shall be watching along with you my friend and then I`ll see you
on Monday night. You have a fantastic weekend, Rachel.
MADDOW: I will do. Thanks, Ali. Much appreciated.
VELSHI: Ahead tonight, what does the White House want after weeks of
protest that the administration couldn`t participate in the impeachment
proceedings; the White House`s top lawyer has just rejected an offer to
participate in the impeachment proceedings.
And Pelosi versus Trump. The Speaker of the House is taking the president
head on as he attempts to derail the investigation into his Ukraine
Plus, at the end of the show, what was the most shocking statement that
came out of the Trump administration this week? It is something that
deserves a lot more attention than it got.
But first tonight, the national security threat coming from the White House
– damaging evidence against the president continues to come out of the
impeachment investigation and a blockbuster report in the “Washington Post”
shows just how the president`s actions have put U.S. interests in danger.
Thanks to President Trump`s habit of using a vulnerable cellphone. Russians
possibly knew about his attempts to extort Ukraine long before that
information was made public, officials tell “The Post.”
Phone logs released this week by House Democrats showed multiple calls from
Trump`s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to White House phone numbers at
critical moments during the pressure campaign on Ukraine.
The calls underscored the degree to which Trump and Giuliani seemed to have
coordinated their efforts. But the “Washington Post” reports that those
unsecured calls were just the beginning.
According to current and former officials the president speaks with Rudy
Giuliani and others, “all the time on cellphones.” Vulnerable to monitoring
by Russia and other foreign actors.
“It is absolutely a security issue, a former Trump aide told the
“Washington Post.” It is a bonanza for them.” That Trump and his personal
lawyer would regularly skirt security protocols in their private chats is
of course hypocritical. Recall that the president made an issue about how
Hillary Clinton handled sensitive information during the 2016 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know Hillary can`t be
trusted. We`ve learned that with America`s security. You take a look at her
e-mail situation. Can we trust her with our security?
How can Hillary manage this country when she can`t even manage her e-mails?
We can`t have someone in the Oval Office who doesn`t understand the meaning
of the word confidential or classified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: More than that, the president seeming carelessness constitutes a
significant threat to national security, and it`s not the first time.
Remember that just a month into his presidency the president dealt with a
North Korean missile test in the Mar-a-Lago dining room.
Then he discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian officials in
an Oval Office meeting in May 2017. And, as we also learned from the
impeachment investigation, he talked loudly about his plot to extort
Ukraine on a phone call with E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland. President
Trump has never been particularly careful in his handling of sensitive
And U.S. officials suggest to the “Washington Post” that it was a virtual
certainty that Russia had listened in on Trump`s phone calls with Giuliani,
telling the paper that the Kremlin may have been able to “learn about
aspects of Trump`s attempt to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival
months before that effort was exposed and could have used those insights to
adapt or amplify its propaganda promoting the baseless claim that Ukraine
rather than Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee in the 2016
In fact, one former official told the paper that Russia likely knows more
about Trump`s conversations with Giuliani than impeachment investigators
do. “Congress and investigators have call records that suggest certain
things but have no means whatsoever of getting the actual text of what was
said,” that`s according to John Sipher, former deputy in chief to Russia
operations at the CIA. “I guarantee the Russians have the actual
Leading off our discussion tonight are Greg Miller, national security
correspondent for the “Washington Post.” He`s the co-author of that report
about President Trump`s unsecured phone calls.
Rick Stengel is a former undersecretary of state in the Obama
administration and an MSNBC political analyst. He`s the author of
“Information Wars: How We Lost The Global Battle Against Disinformation and
What We Can Do About It.”
Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor and an MSNBC legal analyst.
Welcome to all of you. Greg, let`s start with you. You have done this
reporting. You are hearing from people who say the threat is not perceived
or possible. It is real.
President Donald Trump has been warned over and over again by officials who
work around him and national security officials, don`t make phone calls on
your personal phone. He continues to do it.
GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Yes. And to
me one of the more staggering things we`ve learned and reported in our
story was about the efforts of those closest to him to get him to stop
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly urged him to use hard lines in the
White House, secure lines when he went back to the residence at night and
made phone calls. And he did this for a while.
But when he realized that John Kelly was then able to track logs of the
president`s calls and who he was speaking with, Trump got annoyed and
discontinued the practice and went back to the cellphone.
So, it`s not just his disregard for the security protocols that almost all
of his predecessors in the office have adhered to, it`s that he appears to
be trying to hide much of his communications from his own staff, from his
VELSHI: This is a problem, Rick Stengel. You have spent much of your life
as a journalist, right. We use phones a lot. We talk to a lot of people.
It`s probably a hard habit to break. But this is not random. This is the
president of the United States. People before him had to go through this.
They`ve had to be told that someone can listen in on your conversations.
It`s not just that Donald Trump seems to be having conversations that are
casual, checking up with friends, but in fact, some of the important stuff
that we need to know about is stuff that is not done on the White House
logs, it`s done on this, as Greg Miller says, to avoid the scrutiny of his
own staff but endangering possibly national security as a result.
RICHARD STENGEL, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE: Of course it`s a national
security risk. Now, Donald Trump tweeted tonight that he had only used
government issued cellphones as though that rebutted the “Washington Post”
story. That`s false, too, in the sense that even government issued
cellphones are not secure either.
And when you think about it, it`s not just the Russians who are listening,
and there are probably a half-dozen other nations. And when they know
something about what you`re saying that your own staff doesn`t know, much
less Congress –
STENGEL: – that is security risk. The Russians have kompromat on him in
the sense that they know what he was maneuvering with the Ukrainians. They
listened to all the Ukrainian telephone calls, and then that gives them
leverage over the Ukrainians, too. That is real national security issue for
the United States.
VELSHI: Glenn Kirschner, the problem here is of course we know certain
things that Donald Trump was saying about Ukraine because we know it from
the actual memos of the transcript that the White House has released. And
we think the average person who`s not a lawyer can imagine that that is
So, the idea that there are other conversations possibly with Rudy Giuliani
who is like where`s Waldo – he is in the middle of everything here, we can
surmise as Rick Stengel says, others, the Russians or others have
information that our investigators that Congress doesn`t even have, that
his staff doesn`t even have.
GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Ali, and let me go to sort of
the gravest threat to national security. In your run up, you highlighted
the fact that the Russians could exploit some of what they were hearing for
propaganda value and build on that and continue to sort of pour
disinformation into for example our social media.
But you know what else they`re getting? They are potentially getting
information that they can use militarily to decide when they might want to
make moves on the Ukraine in what everybody calls that hot war that they
are involved in, their unlawful aggression into Ukraine.
Because if they`re overhearing the president of the United States saying
things like I`m going to withhold military aid, I know they want javelins,
anti-tank weapons, they`re not getting them right now until I get what I
If you`re Vladimir Putin and you`re directing your military troops and your
efforts to attack Ukraine, do you think you`d want to know that kind of
important intelligence about U.S. Military operations.
VELSHI: And Rick, let`s just talk about this because you were in the State
Department so you had to be conscious of the fact that the stuff that you
talked about, even casually, not to you, not the president of the United
States is of interest to foreign governments.
The “New York Times” is reporting on Donald Trump`s phone habits. When
President Trump calls old friends on one of his on iPhones to gossip,
griper, solicit their latest take on how he`s doing, American intelligence
reports indicates that Chinese spies are often listening and putting to use
invaluable insights into how to best work with the president and affect
administration policy, current and former American officials said. This is
better information than you can get by using spies.
VELSHI: If you`re actually hearing from government officials who are
forming policy, spies are secondary, tertiary.
STENGEL: You don`t even need spies in the age of the cellphone. When you
walk into the State Department as an employee one of the first things they
tell you is that anything you say even within the confines of the State
Department, that is not in a SCIF, a Secure Compartmented Intelligence
space is liable to be listened to by any number of other powers.
STENGEL: And when those people have information about you, even when he
talks to his friends, that is something that goes into their intelligence
service and they use.
And by the way, to speak to the earlier point, Zelensky is meeting with
Russians on Monday to begin negotiations about a possible cease-fire in
that Donbass region of Ukraine.
Think about what the Russians know about what Zelensky can do or can`t do
given to what the Americans have said.
VELSHI: Right. Right.
STENGEL: I mean, they have tremendous leverage that we`ve given them by
them listening in on our calls.
VELSHI: Greg Miller, what`s your sense of how much of what you`ve reported
on and people have spoken to you about this – how much of this is
conjecture and how much of this is them knowing things like Rick Stengel
knows, that you could be picked up talking in the State Department let
alone user your random phone that`s not protected by the government?
MILLER: Look, I don`t think that there`s any real chance that this is just
merely conjecture here. I mean, we have actual cases. I mean, four years
ago two American diplomats were surveilled by Russian intelligence in
Ukraine – in Ukraine where Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Gordon Sondland
and others have having conversations now.
And the Russians actually leaked that conversation during the Obama
administration as a way of driving a wedge between the United States and
I mean, they have substantial intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, and it
is a former Soviet state that they pay extremely close attention to. So, I
just really don`t think that we`re talking about theoretical risks here.
VELSHI: Glenn Kirschner, I think the line that stood out to me the most
was that it is possible that adversaries including Russia have better
information on what Giuliani and Trump and others were talking about than
our own investigators.
In other words, you can`t even subpoena this information. The texts of
those phone calls don`t exist if you weren`t otherwise spying or tapping
the phone call.
KIRSCHNER: Ali, you hit the nail right on the head. As a federal
prosecutor for 30 years, trust me, I acquired a lot of information about
bad guys` cellphones, but I had to do it legally.
So if I wanted something as basic as the call detail records, the numbers
that two cellphones were dialing or receiving calls from, I had to issue a
grand jury subpoena.
If I wanted what was called cell site information, where a phone was at the
time it was being used, I need to either obtain a search warrant or a court
And the granddaddy of all sort of cellphone investigative measures, if I
wanted to listen in realtime to what somebody was saying, I had to get a
Title 3 wiretap and the legal hoops and hurdles we had to jump through as
law enforcement are enormous.
Rightfully so, because if the government are going to surveil your calls in
realtime, we want lots of protections in place. None of those protections
apply to Russian intelligence agencies or other foreign intelligence
VELSHI: Yes. We do want those protections. We do want to know that our
government doesn`t eavesdrop on our phone calls, except someone else might
be doing so.
KIRSCHNER: Yes, and they have things that we don`t have, that the people
who are going to prosecute an impeachment case don`t have. That is an
enormous security risk.
VELSHI: Guys, thanks very much for kicking this off for us. Glenn
Kirschner, Greg Miller and Rick Stengel, I appreciate that. Thanks for
getting us started tonight.
Up next, could Nancy Pelosi`s House vote to impeach President Trump
(inaudible) President Trump, and then opt to not send that to the trial in
the Senate until they finally hear from all the witnesses in the White
House or the witness the White House is holding up?
And later, the strong women in the impeachment hearings that are pushing
back against President Trump. At the end of the hour, we`re going to have
the most important comment of the week that didn`t get nearly enough
attention. It was the most totalitarian comment that I have heard uttered
by the Trump administration today.
VELSHI: Breaking news tonight, the House impeachment committees have
officially transmitted their impeachment inquiry report to the House
In a letter addressed to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, the
committee chair is right that the impeachment records are being transmitted
on flash drives and that those records include “certain sensitive
Now, it is unclear to us what those sensitive materials are at this point.
Earlier tonight, despite weeks of complaints from Republicans that the
White House was not getting a fair shake in the impeachment process because
it wasn`t being allowed to participate, the White House has formally
rejected an offer from the House Judiciary Committee to, wait for it –
participate in the impeachment investigation.
The White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Chairman Nadler
complaining about the proceedings and a senior administration official
tells NBC News, “the letter means the White House will not participate in
the House proceeding.”
Chairman Nadler shot back saying, “If the president has no good response to
the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the committee.
Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is
unfair. The president`s failure will not prevent us from carrying out our
solemn constitutional duty.”
On Monday, as Rachel told us, the Judiciary Committee which is charged with
drafting articles of impeachment will hear evidence from House Intelligence
Committee lawyers on the investigation into the president`s conduct towards
Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado. He is a
member of the House Judiciary Committee, a committee that is going to,
congressman, gain notoriety amongst Americans that it has not had since
REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): Good to be with you, Ali.
VELSHI: Congressman, what is the process now? What happens? You – I
assume you have learned that your committee has received this information
on flash drives. What actually happens next?
NEGUSE: So, I did and reviewed that letter just before appearing on your
program. So, as you know, the report has been officially submitted to the
Judiciary Committee from the Intelligence Committee, the Government
Oversight Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.
And the evidence underlying that report has also been transmitted to the
Judiciary Committee for its review. We`ve noticed a hearing for Monday
where we will have an opportunity to hear from the counsel for the
Intelligence Committee, both the majority and minority and give them an
opportunity to present the evidence in greater detail.
And then ultimately, the committee will have a solemn duty ahead, which is
to review that evidence against the legal standards that were defined and
expounded upon during the hearing earlier this week, where we had an
opportunity to hear from constitutional scholars discuss the constitutional
context and historical context of the power of impeachment under our
And then make a decision from there as to what potential articles, if any,
to refer to the full House. And again, discharging that duty in a serious
and methodical way that meets the moment and we intend to do precisely
VELSHI: Congressman, tell me about the moment because you and I have
spoken for a long time since you`ve been elected. We had one of the earlier
conversations after you were elected. This is a moment. Whatever side of
this thing you are on, this is an important moment.
Your committee is now going to draft articles of impeachment that may
result in the impeachment for the third time of a president of the United
States. How do you think about this and how do you talk about this to your
NEGUSE: You know, look, it`s a solemn moment. It is a somber moment for our
country and I thought that Speaker Pelosi stated it so eloquently earlier
this week when she talked about this matter fundamentally, not being about
But about our constitution, about us as a constitutional republic and the
duty we have to honor the oath that each and every one of us in the House
takes to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Look, I`ve been on your program before and as you know, I do believe that
there`s significant evidence that this president abused his power and
ultimately betrayed the national interests by corrupting our elections.
And Congress as a co-equal branch of government must honor its role under
Article I, to hold this administration accountable. So, it is a grave
moment for our country. I wish that my Republican colleagues would treat
this process with the respect that it deserves and to understand the
gravity of the matter that we are now considering.
I`m hopeful that some of them will ultimately choose country over party,
but that will remain an open question for now.
VELSHI: Congressman, I want to read to you, you again have probably seen
this as does your chairman, Jerry Nadler, responding to the White House`s
refusal to participate in your proceedings.
He says, “The American people deserve answers from President Trump. The
House invited and then subpoenaed his top advisers. The president ordered
them not to show and continues to block key evidence from Congress. We are
disappointed that the president has once again failed to provide those
Now, you know that, your chairman has sent that to the White House. We have
read it. There are millions, if not, tens of millions of Americans who are
getting another story tonight.
They are getting a story about a process that is unfair, a process that
does not allow the president or his representatives to participate. How do
you respond to people, your constituents possibly who are hearing that
NEGUSE: Well, look, this administration has engaged in a wholesale
obstruction of Congress, the likes of which we have never seen before. And
we have an obligation on the Judiciary Committee and as members of Congress
to explain the president`s conduct and the realities of why ultimately that
conduct is not consistent with the way in which the framers intended our
republic to function.
And so, as you may know earlier this week when he had the opportunity to
question a wide range of constitutional scholars during the Judiciary
Committee`s hearing, I had an opportunity and chose to use my time to focus
on this very issue.
To highlight the historical context of the way in which even President
Clinton and to some extent President Nixon participated at greater lengths
in their impeachment inquiries than this president, who has directed his
executive branch to simply not participate at all.
And he has had every opportunity to engage in good faith and has chosen not
to and instead has, you know, released these outlandish letters by the
White House counsel, all in my view in an attempt to obfuscate from the
fundamental egregious nature of the president`s conduct that ultimately
undermines our national security.
So again, look, I`ve never lost faith that Congress is a co-equal branch
under Article I, would ultimately take the steps necessary to hold this
administration accountable, to discharge our oaths and neither should the
VELSHI: Congressman, good to see you again. Thank you for joining me
tonight. Congressman Joe Neguse of the House Judiciary Committee.
Coming up, the speaker of the House versus the president of the United
States. Nancy Pelosi is just one of the strong women who have been at the
center of the impeachment saga. That`s up next.
And later, the House tried to strengthen voting rights today. We`ll tell
you how many Republicans voted in favor of that.
VELSHI: This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi showed the world what fearless
authority looks like when she announced that the House will draft articles
of impeachment against President Trump. And speaker Pelosi pushed back when
a reporter questioned whether she made that decision out of hatred for the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker? Speaker?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don`t hate anybody. I don`t – I was raised in
a Catholic house, we don`t hate anybody. Not anybody in the world.
This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead
to the president`s violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic I
resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Speaker Pelosi has held strong and firm throughout this
impeachment inquiry but she`s not the only strong woman who`s played a
vital role in this process.
During both closed door and public testimony in the impeachment inquiry,
women stood out as star witnesses including Marie Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill
and Pamela Karlan.
Their testimony offered startling revelations into President Trump`s abuse
of power, but they are not only being praised for their brave testimony,
they`re being praised for potentially bringing down Trump as women,
especially given the president`s long history of demeaning and allegedly
sexually abusing women. Let`s take a look at some of the testimony from
these fearless women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: How is that foreign
corrupt interests could manipulate our government. Which country`s
interests are served when the very corrupt behavior we have been
criticizing is allowed to prevail.
FIONA HILL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR ON RUSSIA: Some of you on this
committee appears to believe that Russia and its security services did not
conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps somehow for some
reason Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated
and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.
PAMELA S. KARLAN, LAW PROFESSOR, STANFORD LAW SCHOOL: Maybe when he was
first running for President, he had never been anything other than a
reality TV show - you know that was his public - that was his public life.
Maybe then he could think Russia if you`re listening is an OK thing to do
but by the time he asked the Ukraine. Ukraine, if you`re listening, could
you help - help me out with my reelection, he has to have known that that
was not something consistent with his oath of office.
VELSHI: And when we come back, Zerlina Maxwell and Ana Marie Cox will join
me to discuss how strong women have played an important and vital role in
the impeachment inquiry. That`s next.
VELSHI: While Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s leading House Democrats through the
impeachment inquiry, here`s what President Trump felt the need to address
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The light bulb, they got rid of the light bulb that people got used
to. The new bulb is many times more expensive. And I hate to say it, it
doesn`t make you look as good, because being a vain person that`s really
important to me. It gives you an orange look. I don`t want an orange look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: They got rid of the light bulb. He also talked about toilets not
flushing properly today. Joining us now Zerlina Maxwell, the Senior
Director of Progressive Programming at Sirius/XM radio, an MSNBC political
analyst and Ana Marie Cox, the host of the political podcast, `With friends
Thank you for joining me tonight. There`s some crazy stuff the President`s
been talking about but really, if you have been one of those Americans and
I think the number is about 70 million Americans who were glued to the
first week of impeachment testimony, you would have been taken aback by the
fact that the most - much of the most compelling testimony Zerlina, was
presented by women.
ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that`s not surprising. I
think there`s a couple of different points throughout this Trump era if you
will, that have demonstrated that women are very angry and were willing to
make that known to everyone. So the day Donald Trump is sworn in, there is
bunch of MAGA people in DC but the very next day, women in pink hats
descended on DC.
Then there was also moments where Maxine Waters was reclaiming her time,
essentially saying that women are taking back this moment to quote
Charlotte Alter of Time magazine. She talked about this moment as the
moment that women thought Hillary Clinton was going to be the President.
We finally would have some sort of representation that was equitable and
now this moment is the Trump era instead and so in a lot of ways that
Maxine Waters moment, led us to the MeToo moment, also to Brett Kavanaugh`s
confirmation where I feel like women essentially were giving a primal
scream that they are not consenting to the white male leadership structure
that traditionally has led this country, that is not doing a good job
leading the country.
We`re literally living for impeachment and so women are actually standing
up against that and it`s wonderful to see so many different types of women,
none of these women are the same, none of them have the same presentation
but all of them are strong.
VELSHI: And Ana Marie, what`s interesting is when you look at some of the
key women and there were many by the way in the testimony but some of the
key women. Marie Yovanovitch wasn`t that they chose a woman, she was the
United States Ambassador to Ukraine.
When you look at Fiona Hill, it wasn`t that somebody chose a woman. This
was the woman in the job at the National Security Council who is the expert
on U.S. - Russia - Ukraine relations. When you look at Professor Karlan,
Pamela Karlan, it`s not that somebody went and chose a woman. This is a
woman who is a constitutional scholar and well informed.
So the fact is no one was looking at this for the stage craft.
ANA MARIE COX, POLITICAL REPORTER & HOST, POLITICAL PODCAST: That`s true
also but I will point out when it comes to the ambassador and Fiona Hill,
the other important thing about them is that they chose to be on the right
side of history. There are plenty of other people in similar positions who
did not speak up and who did not testify.
And these women had the let`s say, guts to do so.
VELSHI: You were going to say something else.
COX: But I also want to point out. Maybe but yes, but I don`t want to be
gender specific. I do think it`s important point out that when it comes to
the impeachment, white women have a lot of to atone for when it comes to
Those are mainly white women that were participating in the impeachment
process and I`m all here for it but white women helped elect Trump, it`s
kind of the least we could do to help get rid of him. So I`m glad to see
them there but I also want to call attention like Zerlina said that Maxine
Waters is a huge part of it, also the undocumented women that have spoken
about being employed at Trump - Trump`s country clubs.
Those are just as important and then of course like you mentioned, there is
the fact that he is an admitted sexual predator and I feel like his crimes
against the country are important, that`s what he`s being impeached for but
those are not his biggest crimes against humanity and certainly not his
biggest crimes against women.
VELSHI: You know Jason Johnson tweeted something Zerlina that makes me
think about this. I want to just read the tweet, it says, “Literally every
woman that has testified during impeachment hearings has delivered the
strongest points and messages but somehow this country can`t figure out how
to put a woman in the White House.”
And the fact is Ana Marie Cox and Zerlina Maxwell and Alley Welsh as she
talking about this on the Last Word amounts to a hill of beans when it
comes to power structures, right? In the end, Jason makes an important
point. Women continue to go on changing our world and putting into stark
relief what you and Ana Marie are saying but we still continue to have the
same problem, right?
If it`s incidental that a woman happens to be the Ambassador to Ukraine so
be it. If there`s remarkable expert on Russia-U.S. relations who happens to
be a woman so be it. If the expert on constitutional law happens to be
women, so be it. We`re not putting her in the White House just yet.
MAXWELL: Yes, I feel like there is there`s an existential moment we`re
going through right now. We`re having this big debate about `electability`
but we`re missing what`s happening in this moment. We keep asking about
whether or not Elizabeth Warren can win in 2020 and we`re forgetting that a
whole bunch of women of all different colors and backgrounds won in the
last election we had in 2018.
And so the idea that a woman could not win when the woman who ran the last
time got more votes than the unqualified and unexperienced man running for
the same position, I think that we have to be honest about the fact that a
woman absolutely could win, that women are competent and that we generally
have to get rid of this notion where men are over estimated for their
competence and abilities and women are often underestimated which is why we
we`re so surprised when they show up and they do their job so
I`m more like wow, she seems to know her - her stuff. Well, yes, you don`t
get to be the Ambassador to Ukraine unless you know your stuff.
VELSHI: Ana Marie, just so that we don`t end up talking to women just about
women, we actually - I told my viewers something else earlier tonight and
that there are some people suggesting that the House may vote on
impeachment articles but not send it to the Senate and I actually already
have a few tweets that say, wow, that`s really weird.
Let me just read your tweet from John Dean who said, “Let`s impeach him now
and not send it to the Senate, rather keep investigating in the House and
add such supplemental articles as needed. Just let it hang over his head.
If the worst happens and he`s re-elected, send it to the Senate. But keep
Because the President has tweeted tonight and others have said, let`s get
this done. You know what? We know what`s going to happen in the House.
Let`s go to the senate because he knows he`s not going to get outed by the
Senate. He`s not going to get kicked out of office. This is an interesting
concept. Impeach and don`t move forward.
COX: I like it. It certainly as I alluded to before, there are many crimes
that he deserves to answer for but I do kind of wonder at least in
theoretically if the Congress might not be painting a life size map of the
If they chose to investigate everything that they could impeach him for.
The list is probably almost literally endless. You know it might be again
with election fraud but certainly it would continue to the caging of
children on the border and I - and the fraud and corruption and emoluments.
I mean really, every day, like whenever I think about this White House and
the crimes and the criming, I think of the Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate
factory and like trying to just keep up with the crimes coming out of the
machine like we just couldn`t do it.
I mean, I would love them to see investigate more. I worry about the
physics and of it basically. Like whether or not the time and phase
continue and could handle.
VELSHI: It is a real concern. Ana Marie and Zerlina, please stand by. We`re
going to squeeze in a break but when we come back, we`re going to talk
about the efforts to expand voting rights. This is important. I`m going to
tell you how many Republicans voted along with the Democrats on this one.
This may one surprise you.
REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL): The price for freedom is not free. It has been
paid for and bought by those brave soldiers so that one day a little black
girl from Selma, Alabama could one day sit in aghast body.
I know I`m not the only black and brown colleague of ours that owes our
very presence in this chamber to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: That was Congresswoman Terri Sewell before the House voted on H. R.
4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Here is civil rights pioneer and
Congressman John Lewis who gambled in the final vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): On this vote, the yays are 228, the nays the 187.
The bill is passed without objection. The motion to reconsider is laid on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: That was the re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act. Every re-
authorization of the Voting Rights Act since 1965 has received bipartisan
support. In 2006 192 Republicans voted for that re-authorization, 33 voted
Today Republicans voted almost unanimously against the measure. The lone
Republican to vote in favor was this man Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of
Pennsylvania. Back with us Zerlina Maxwell and Ana Marie Cox. Zerlina, I
don`t even know what to say about that.
MAXWELL: Well, look, I`ve been thinking a lot about this because I`m trying
to think through the demographic shifts that are happening in the country
so few research has predicted that this country is going to be majority
non-white by 2045.
And what that means is that the Republicans you know, traditional
Republican voters are going to be a minority, nationally, not necessarily
in some of these more gerrymandered districts but essentially, I think what
this says is they`re aware that the demographic shifts and the present
realities are not on their side.
And for me, that`s fundamentally a problem. People died from my right to
vote. My grandfather, my aunt Ann, both marched in Selma, Alabama. My aunt
was only 17 years old and she hid from the Ku Klux Klan the night before
And so for me, the right to vote is a sacred one and for Republicans not to
understand that we should expand access to more people and then fight over
the ideas later and whoever gets the most votes wins. That`s the system
that we should all want. That`s really a troubling reality to be living
VELSHI: Ana Marie Cox, this is a layup. This is not complicated. This is
not asking people to stretch the imagination very much to vote for the re-
authorization of the Voting Rights Act - Voting Rights Act of 1965.
COX: I don`t think so. No one here thinks so. You know I`m a little bit of
an expert on Congressman Fitzgerald - Fitzpatrick, see I`m an expert
because I looked at his Wikipedia page and you know, what`s interesting
about him is he`s a former FBI agent. So clearly he`s a member of the deep
state or he is an institutionalist who values the structures of democracy.
It also turns out he was head of their election crimes commission and was
once stationed in Ukraine and Iraq. So I think he knows something about the
fragility of democracy and speaking of the fragility of democracy, I know
the same numbers that Zerlina talked about and what frightens me about the
Republicans voting against this is the brazenness of it.
Their willingness to show their hand that they do not even want to try to
compete on a level playing field. To me, and I`ve said this before but to
me, this terrifies me because to me this says that this is a party that
isn`t worried about winning a fair election because they don`t think
they`re going to be anymore.
VELSHI: It`s remarkable. That is an interesting and thought provoking way
to end this conversation. Ana Marie Cox, thank you for joining us tonight.
Zerlina, thank you as well.
Coming up, Attorney General Bill Barr made a shocking and chilling comment
or threats this week about respecting the police and now tonight,
Congressman Val Demings, a law enforcement veteran and Orlando`s first
female police chief is taking him to task. That`s next.
VELSHI: Finally tonight, it`s been a jam packed and historic week of news
with the announcement that the House will draft articles of impeachment
against President Trump as well as Donald Trump`s much discussed NATO
Rudy Giuliani`s latest you John to Ukraine but there`s one thing that
happened this week that cannot be overlooked or lost in the news coverage.
I was shocked when I heard it on Tuesday. I said that and that it might be
one of the most totalitarian like statements issued yet by a member of the
It was Attorney General Bill Barr in a speech to police officers, talking
about Americans needing to respect the police and what could happen if they
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: But I think today
American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and
the service that is given by our law enforcement officers and they have to
start showing more than they do.
The respect and support that law enforcement deserves and if communities
don`t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the
police protection they need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Zerlina Maxwell and Glenn Kirschner are back with us. Glenn, I -
just - I just, I think it`s relevant here. I don`t talk about my background
a lot. My parents grew up in apartheid South Africa. I find that chilling.
I find what he said chilling that I - I - he had me until he said if
communities don`t start showing that respect, all the first part about
sacrifice and service and police and - and - and what they do and - and how
difficult their job is, he had me at that.
The threat, I thought was chilling.
KIRSCHNER: And I have to take a deep breath before I answer this one Ali
because for 30 years, I worked beside men and women of law enforcement.
More officers, detectives, investigators and agents than I can count.
Right here in Washington DC, I worked with the Washington DC Metropolitan
police department, FBI, ATF, DEA, Park Police, Capital Police, Secret
Service Uniformed Division, Metro Police, Amtrak Police, Postal Police, the
U.S. Marshal Service, I could go on.
In the military, I worked with the MP`s, the military police investigators.
The CID agents. You know what I never heard a single one of them say? I
never heard a single one of them say, I am here to protect and serve but
only if the citizens show me the proper respect.
What Bill Barr said as anti-American. It`s the exact opposite of what law
enforcement agents and officers stand for and like you say, welcome to Bill
Barr`s autocracy or totalitarian state. It is chilling and despicable.
VELSHI: Zerlina, I don`t need to - to queue you but I want to read to you
because it`s important what Rep. Val Deming`s, Orlando`s first female Chief
of Police wrote in an Op-ed in The Washington Post. It was entitled, `What
William Barr doesn`t understand about law enforcement.` “Law enforcement is
not a protection racket. It is a sacred charge. We take an oath not to any
individual or faction but to the constitution or in other words, to society
at large because at the end of the day, law enforcement and the community
are the same.
The police are the community. The community is the police. Modern policing
at its best, is a dynamic, constructive, collaborative, empowering
relationship between officers and civilians predicated on the fundamental
principle that in the eyes of the law, all of us are equal.
When Barr referenced certain communities that have failed to give the
police proper deference, it seems clear, he meant black and brown
communities, the very communities in which we should be working the hardest
to build relationships and cooperation. Zerlina.
MAXWELL: It`s so infuriating when folks try to play respectability politics
when it comes to how black and brown people should try to stay alive during
these interactions with the police. I mean, when you hear the Chief Law
Enforcement Officer in the country say, you can complain later.
No, that`s not what the Fourth Amendment actually says in fact. You don`t
have to complain later. As an American, you have rights and you can
articulate them and ask law enforcement why are you stopping me. Why are
you asking me these things? No, I don`t want you to go in the trunk.
There is a new movie out, `Queen and Slim` which tackles this very issue
and I think that a lot of Americans need to perhaps see this film because I
think one of the most powerful things about it is, it shows you just how
universal this fear of the police is.
I, as a black American can be driving home tonight, Ali and I can be pulled
over and my life can be over in a second and then they will tell a story on
the news tomorrow, potentially about what I`ve ever done in my past that
can justify it and that is not OK.
And I just think that you know if Bill Barr is so concerned with Americans
not respecting law enforcement then I think he needs to take a maybe a car
ride down the street and talk to Donald Trump because he has disrespected
law enforcement and the FBI throughout this entire administration.
And I think that perhaps they need to respect law enforcement and their
investigations, not American citizens who are just going about their daily
VELSHI: Glenn Kirschner, final word to you. Is there - is there some
consequence to saying this. This is - this crosses the line into something
that as you said, is anti-American.
KIRSCHNER: Bill Barr should stand up and say you know what? That was a poor
choice of words. Our law enforcement officers and agents are going to
protect everybody, every community, regardless of how we think they should
He really needs to stand up and correct the record.
VELSHI: Thank you to both of you tonight. Powerful words to end the show.
Zerlina Maxwell and Glenn Kirschner. That is tonight`s Last Word. The
Eleventh Hour with Brian Williams begins now.
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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