DOJ IG pushes back against A.G. Barr. TRANSCRIPT: 12/11/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And we`re going to go live to that Judiciary Committee hearing I think in a
few minutes, but one of the things striking about it is that the Republican
side has been kind of muted tonight, meaning – I just mean this in terms
of volume mostly. You know that yelling you have to get used to in that
committee, we got some of that from Congressman Collins, but what has been
striking about the rest of them is how they haven`t really gone into those
fevered screaming versions of their statements. They avoid the evidence as
they always have, but it`s been a quieter let`s get this over with attitude
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: Outrage burns a lot of calories and in
the winter we`re not trying to slim down, we`re trying to fatten up for
hibernation. So, I can see as they`re trying to conserve themselves as we
head into what we know is going to happen.
O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s almost as if they`re trying not to attract attention
to the president is being impeached.
MADDOW: Which is exactly what`s going on. They`re hoping everything else
happening in Washington is some sort of distraction from it but they`ve got
to live it now.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, during this breaking news night, we can`t tell you right
now for sure exactly who will be joining us in this hour because as the
House Judiciary Committee continues its work session tonight on the
articles of impeachment, some of the members of that committee might be
able to join us this hour if they get their work done.
We definitely will be joined by a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee
who asked some of the most important questions at today`s hearing with the
Justice Department inspector general. Senator Amy Klobuchar kept it focus
on the big picture in that hearing today, and she will probably be taking a
new oath in January. It is the oath the Senate administers to senators
when they act as jurors in an impeachment trial.
The House Judiciary Committee`s articles of impeachment being debated
tonight are being based on the investigative work of the House Intelligence
Committee and Congressman Jim Himes is a member of the House Intelligence
Committee. He is one of the ones who will definitely be joining us
The House Judiciary Committee is now working on towards voting articles
tomorrow. A standard procedure in most committees is for the chairman and
ranking minority to make opening statements only, but tonight for this
momentous hearing, Chairman Nadler allowed each member of the committee,
Democrat and Republican, to make opening statements after Chairman Nadler
began the historic session with these words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Today, we begin
consideration of two articles of impeachment against President Donald J.
Trump. The first article charges that the president used the powers of his
public office to demand that a foreign government attack his political
rivals. The second article charges that the president obstructed
congressional investigation into his conduct.
Other presidents have resisted congressional oversight. But President
Trump`s stonewall was complete, absolute and without precedent in American
history. Taken together, the two articles charged President Trump with
placing his private, political interests above our national security, above
our free and fair elections and above our ability to hold public officials
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Most of the Republicans did not mention any of the evidence
referenced in the article of impeachment. But we will now go to the
hearing as Congressman Joe Neguse makes his opening remarks.
REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Americans listening and
watching who may disagree with the steps this committee is taking. I hope
you will understand that we are proceeding on this path truly out of love
for our country. We are your neighbors. We are your colleagues, your
fellow worshippers, and we are all citizens of the greatest nation on
We are blessed to live in a country where our similarities far outweigh our
differences. My parents immigrated to this country, and every day I am
grateful to them for their decision and to the United States of America for
giving us the opportunity to live the American dream. My parents came to
this country because they wanted their children to grow up in a place that
is free, a country where leaders expect the rule of law and where they
don`t use the power of government to target political opponents. A country
with fair elections and where everyone has the right to vote.
Thomas Paine described voting as the primary right by which other rights
are protected. Our sacred right to a free and fair election is ingrained
in our Constitution. It is right offered to every American no matter their
And yet, today, that right is under attack like never before. In 2016,
Russia interfered in our elections in sweeping and systematic fashion. And
as we know, the Trump administration campaign welcomed at that time that
interference. And now, the president of the United States has solicited
the interference of a foreign government in the 2020 presidential election
for his own advantage.
President Trump abused his power and then engaged in a wholesale
obstruction of Congress to cover it up. The fact remains that in the
history of our republic, no president has ever ordered such a complete
defiance of an impeachment inquiry until now. If anything is clear it is
this, every American deserves to know that their president will not
endanger our national security, that he or she won`t seek to use their
power to undermine our free and fair elections and that they won`t tap a
foreign government to help tip the scales in their favor.
The framers of the Constitution described impeachment in that sacred
document because they feared a moment like this one. And the articles of
impeachment are our mechanism for accountability. So ultimately we must
forward with the solemn and heavy work before us.
But I hope as we do so, while some way agree with this process and some may
oppose it, everyone will remember at the end of the day, each and every one
of us are Americans. We all treasure the same flag. We all revere the
same Constitution that this committee is working so hard to uphold.
Like many of my colleagues, when I ran for Congress, I knew that the
hardest part would be being away from my wife and my infant daughter. My
daughter is 15 months old now, and I think a lot about the world that she
will inherit. She`s not old enough to understand the proceedings before us
today. But one day she will be, and I one day I hope that she will know
that this committee had an obligation to defend our democracy, to honor our
oaths and to uphold the rule of law.
So I will support the articles of impeachment before us because it is what
the Constitution requires of us and it is what my conscience demands. And
I hope and I pray that my colleagues will do the same. And with that I
O`DONNELL: That was Congressman Joe Neguse in his opening remarks tonight.
Leading off discussion tonight here is Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant
Watergate special prosecutor and an MSNBC legal analyst.
Barbara McQuade is with us. She`s former U.S. attorney for the Eastern
District of Michigan. She`s an MSNBC legal contributor.
Ron Klain is the former chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee and
was a senior aid to Vice President Biden and to President Obama. He was an
advisor of Joe Biden`s 2020 presidential campaign.
And Lisa Graves is with us. She is a former chief counsel for nominations
with the Senate Judiciary Committee and former deputy assistant attorney
general under President Clinton.
Ron Klain, let me start with you on what you saw in this Judiciary
Committee hearing tonight. This is one of the most historic moments that
any of those members of that committee will experience.
RON KLAIN, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL: It was,
Lawrence. I think what you saw was Democrats proceeding on the evidence
and the facts making the case with some reluctance about having to do what
And the Republicans really just kind of throwing in the towel. They don`t
really have a defense of the president. They don`t really have a defense
of the conduct. They make some lame arguments about the procedural defects
they claim in this process.
But basically they are just sitting there waiting for this to be over
because they know that the House is going to do its job and this committee
will proceed to vote tomorrow on articles of impeachment.
O`DONNELL: Jill Wine-Banks, we always turn to you for how this differs
from the version of this that occurred during the Nixon impeachment in that
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well,
first of all, what I heard is pretty much what Ron heard, with the
Republicans having no factual rebuttal to anything that the Democrats are
saying. And they are holding firm, which is something that didn`t happen
during Watergate. During Watergate, the Republicans actually listened to
I heard an argument this is happening too fast. But it happened fast
because Donald Trump did what he did in public. And it was discovered
immediately, it was reported immediately, and that`s why it happened
So, the other argument I`m hearing is that the Republicans are holding firm
and the Democrats have prejudged – well, they haven`t prejudged. They`ve
listened to the facts and facts matter. They`ve paid attention to the
evidence and they`re acting in accordance with what they`re actually
hearing not with what they wish they heard.
So I think that`s the differences between Nixon`s impeachment and this one.
O`DONNELL: With most Republicans, not all but most Republicans not
referring to any of the facts of the case, Congressman Eric Swalwell used
his time to remind the Republicans of the facts of the case.
Let`s listen to what Congressman Swalwell had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): The facts here are not in dispute. Donald
Trump abused his power by putting his pure personal gain over our country.
Here are the facts. Donald Trump directed Rudy Giuliani to smear his
political rival. Donald Trump fired an anti-corruption ambassador who
stood in his way. Donald Trump withheld $391 million in aid that was
essential to Ukraine. And Donald Trump withheld a White House meeting
unless Ukraine`s president would do him a favor.
In this scheme, Donald Trump was not an incidental player. He was the
central player. And anything we don`t know about what Donald Trump did is
because Donald Trump continues to this moment to block us from knowing.
Donald Trump used his office to abuse his power to re-elect himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Barbara McQuade, what did you make of that summary of the case
against Donald Trump?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I thought Congressman Swalwell did
an excellent job of summarizing the case there just as he did in the
questioning in yesterday`s hearing where he asked the counsel for the
Democrats, in a similar way, he asked a series of questions all of which
elicited the same answer.
Who was it, who hired Giuliani to smear Joe Biden? President Trump. Who
was it that withheld the aid? President Trump. Who was it who withheld
the White House meeting? President Trump.
And so focusing this was not a rogue Rudy Giuliani. This was not
underlings at the State Department. This was President Trump utilizing his
office to put his own personal political interests ahead of the interests
of the country. And I think when you frame it that way, it really makes
the question of impeachment a very compelling one.
O`DONNELL: Lisa Graves, we heard a vast array of irrelevant things thrown
into the mix by Republicans tonight. My favorite included dragging in
Robert de Niro and Kathy Griffin and complaining about how the president of
the United States has suffered so much, including negative things said
about him by Robert de Niro and Kathy Griffin.
That – it`s harder – that to me is the best description of the emptiness
of the defense case that we were hearing tonight.
LISA GRAVES, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL: I think
that`s right. And one of the things that really struck me is how little
that Republicans had to say. They were subdued tonight. But they lied and
they obfuscate for this president, and the idea this president is so thin-
skinned that their lament is over him being insulted when he insults so
many people on a regular basis is astonishing to me.
But also, in that way I think denigrates the importance of this matter.
This is about our democracy, about our Constitution and those Democratic
senators in that committee, or pardon, Democratic representatives in that
committee spoke so eloquently about the evidence, the only evidence we have
before us is compelling testimony under oath, showing time and again all
the support for these impeachment pieces, because it`s clear there`s
evidence – substantial evidence to impeach this president and the
president has mounted no defense, and his allies have basically just
continued to obfuscate and misdirect the American people.
O`DONNELL: And, Ron Klain, it did seem like, with your experience and the
way these hearings are organized, it did seem like there was an organizing
principle in the Republicans` approach tonight because tonally and I really
mean mostly just the volume part of it and the lack of emotion in it was
unusual for them. They quieted down. They kind of rushed through their
statements. They weren`t leaning very hard on any particular part of this.
Jim Jordan was not memorable even in this discussion tonight. And that
seems like a coordinated decision of some kind.
KLAIN: Yes, I think from their perspective, they`re trying to make what
happened over on the Senate side today and the Senate Judiciary Committee,
the I.G. – the hearing on the I.G. report, on the news of the day. But I
think, Lawrence, it`s going to be a very, very failed effort. I mean,
we`ve only had a president get to impeachment process four times in the
230-year history of this country. And nothing that happened today in the
Senate Judiciary Committee is going to change the historic nature of what`s
happening in the House tonight, change the significance of the House`s
action and move towards impeachment.
And certainly, none of it is in any way, shape or form relevant to the
conduct that House is looking at today. So, I think they`ve got a very
tactical approach here for a very historic moment and I think they`ve
missed the mark once again very badly.
O`DONNELL: Jill, do you expect the Republicans to continue with this
particular – with this strategic approach or just – let`s do this kind of
in a muted and quiet way and rush through it as much as we can?
WINE-BANKS: I don`t see what choice they have. They don`t have any
exculpatory evidence. If they did, they would have presented it long ago.
So, if you can`t argue the facts – and I wrote an op-ed in October with 16
of my Watergate colleagues, and we basically predicted where we are.
We said the Congress shouldn`t wait, that there is a prima facie case, that
means there`s a case in plain sight for all to see, and that was long
before we had the hearings with live witnesses testifying to what Donald
Trump himself had done, putting it right in his hands. It`s just like the
June 23rd smoking gun tape.
O`DONNELL: Jill Wine-Banks, Barbara McQuade, Lisa Graves, Ron Klain, thank
you all for starting us off tonight.
And when we come back, today, Congressman Jim Jordan was invited to attend
a luncheon in the Senate with all of the Republican senators presumably to
discuss the defense of Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.
Congressman Jim Himes joins us next to explain what Jim Jordan doesn`t seem
to know about the evidence against Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told Republican
senators against Donald Trump`s wishes that Mitch McConnell doesn`t want
any witnesses called in the Senate impeachment trial because Mitch
McConnell believes that will create what he called mutually assured
destruction in the Senate trial. Reports indicate that the McConnell
strategy will be to keep the impeachment trial as short as possible.
Impeachment was the subject today when Congressman Jim Jordan and
Republican staff counsel Steve Castor were invited to a lunch with all of
the Republican senators. They presented a version of the defense argument
that Steve Castor presented to the Judiciary Committee on Monday which
amounted to 34 seconds of falsehoods.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN CASTOR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCER & JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, MINORITY
COUNSEL: The transcript is complete and accurate. It shows no quid pro
quo, no conditionality. That`s number one.
Number two, there`s no pressure. But Zelensky and Trump have said that
repeatedly. President Zelensky said that at the United Nations and in
subsequent news articles on October 5th and December 1st.
And number three, the Ukrainians and Zelensky did not know of a pause in
aid at the very least at the time of call.
And number four, no investigations were announced, the aid was released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Congressman Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut.
Congressman Himes, I want to go through those four points if you don`t mind
one by one. Let`s begin with number one. The call record shows there was
no conditionality at all.
REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): Yes. Lawrence, that`s just not the case. I mean,
you can go read the transcript and you`ll see when the president of
Ukraine, Zelensky, is talking about we`re ready to buy some new javelins,
we really appreciate the help, we`re ready to go with military aid, the
very next thing President Trump says is where, yes, we want you to be a
You know, you don`t have to be a rocket science – rocket scientist to see
those two things connected. And, oh, by the way, the way these things
work, it`s like these things are put down into contract, like unless you do
this clause one, I won`t you do this for you clause two.
But, you know, the transcript shows the quid pro quo. And Ambassador
Sondland says there`s no quid pro quo and every other piece out there,
including everyone in the United States government not understanding why
military aid was being held up demonstrates that there was a quid pro quo
O`DONNELL: All right, and number two is there was no pressure on President
HIMES: Well, again, they`re building their case on the fact President
Zelensky is saying publicly that he didn`t experience pressure. You know,
in domestic abuse, quite often the victim of domestic abuse is not willing
to say they`re being abused because they are afraid, because they are
negotiating for all kinds of reasons.
Ukraine needs the United States president, needs United States aid. Had
Zelensky come out and said, yes, I felt pressured, you can bet that
everything that he needs for his country and the fight against Russia would
be in jeopardy. So, relying on what Zelensky who is the victim here, says
is not sufficient to say there wasn`t pressure here. Of course, there was
O`DONNELL: And then, his defense point number three is the Ukrainians and
Zelensky did not know about the hold on the aid, the blocking of the aid at
the time of that phone call.
HIMES: Yes, yes. So, you know, again, I heard you say earlier, Lawrence,
that Mitch McConnell doesn`t want to call witnesses. And I have a
different theory why that is. And that is because every single witness
called by the House, every single e-mail we were provided, not of course by
the White House or executive branch agencies but by people like Ambassador
Sondland and Ambassador Volker, every single e-mail showed the quid pro
quo, showed the dirtiness of this.
So, of course, Mitch McConnell doesn`t want more evidence presented in the
Senate. And that, of course, is what`s going on and that`s sort of absurd
defense. We heard from an official at the Department of Defense and this
is one of those sort of blockbuster moments that upon polling her staff,
she actually – there were instances of the Ukrainians in July calling up
and saying, hey, what`s going on with this aid, we`re worried about this
So, yes, they did know.
O`DONNELL: And then, his final point number four: no investigations were
announced and the aid was released.
HIMES: Right. That`s the beauty, right? So remember when the aid is
released. The aid is released on September 11th. When the White House has
known for a full week and a half about – probably more, probably two
weeks, about the whistle-blower complaint and it is clear that Congress is
going to launch an investigation. So, yes, let`s give them credit for
that. When the bank robber heard the sirens and the police running up the
stairs to the bank that was being robbed, the bank robber put down the
money. That is not exculpatory.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Himes, what do we know about who the – if this
does go to a trial in the Senate, who the House managers will be. Since
the evidence was developed by the Intelligence Committee, normally, House
managers in an impeachment trial are from the Judiciary Committee. Will
there be some Intelligence Committee participation in the impeachment
HIMES: Yes, good question. There`s plenty of speculation in this building
about that. I don`t think anybody knows. It`s not clear to me necessarily
that the speaker has actually chosen who the managers will be.
You know, I think under the – in the Clinton impeachment, I`ve been told
there were roughly a dozen, maybe a dozen managers. That obviously is a
number that allows you to bring people both from the Judiciary committee,
from the intelligence committee, maybe from the overnight committee which
has been pretty actively involved.
So, again, unknown but I imagine we`ll learn that in the next couple of
O`DONNELL: Congressman Jim Himes, thank you very much for joining us on
this important night. Really appreciate it.
HIMES: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, in the Senate Judiciary Committee today,
Republicans wanted to talk about one part of the inspector general report,
Democrats another. But the Democrats who pulled back the committee back to
look at the big picture of what that report is about in the investigation
that that report is about, that is the senator who will join us next.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Tonight`s impeachment hearing is drawing to
a close in the next few minutes, but it was not the only important hearing
on Capitol Hill today in the Senate, in the Senate Judiciary Committee
there was also another hearing competing for attention.
And for years Donald Trump has said that the FBI had no good reason to
begin an investigation of the Trump Campaign`s possible involvement in
Russia`s attack on our election. Today in that Senate hearing the Inspector
General of the Justice Department Michael Horowitz said Donald Trump is
wrong about all of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL HOROWITZ, INSPECTOR GENERAL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: We determined that
the decision to open cross fire hurricane was made by the then FBI
Counterintelligence Division Assistant Director Bill Priestap and that his
decision reflected a consensus reached after multiple days of discussions
and meetings among senior FBI officials.
We reviewed department interfered policies and conclude that Assistant
Director Priestap`s exercise of discretion in opening investigation listing
compliance with those policies. We did not find documentary or testimonial
evidence that indicated political bias or improper motivation influencing
his decision. We found that cross fire hurricane was open for an authorized
investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Inspector General identified a set of mistakes involving
just one of the people in the FBI`s investigation, one of the people the
FBI was investigating, Trump Campaign Advisor Carter Page who was never
charged with a crime. The Inspector General did not find that the FBI made
any mistakes of the investigations of the people who were eventually
convicted of crimes as a result of that investigation.
Many people such as Donald Trump`s first National Security Advisor Michael
Flynn, the Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Paul Manafort`s Deputy
Rick Gates, Trump`s Political Advisor Roger Stone and Trump Campaign
Advisor George Papadopoulos. Here`s what the Inspector General said about
the FBI mistakes involving only the un-accused Carted Page.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOROWITZ: We found that investigators failed to meet their obligations of
ensuring that the FISA were scruplessly accurate. We identified significant
inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications seven in the
first application and a total of seventeen by the final renewal
application. As a result the surveillance of Carter Page continued even as
the FBI gathered information that weekend the assessment of probable cause
and made the FISA applications less accurate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar reminded everyone in the room of the big
picture of the investigation that they were discussing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Does anything in your
report call into question the finding in the Special Counsel`s report that
the Russian government interfered in the 2016 Presidential Election in a
sweeping and systematic fashion in?
HOROWITZ: No, it doesn`t and in fact we cite the Special Counsel`s report
here in a foot note laying out all the different reports that are being
released on that issue.
KLOBUCHAR: Does anything in your report call into question the finding and
the Special Counsel`s report that “The Russian government previewed it
would benefit from a Trump Presidency and worked to secure that outcome?
HOROWITZ: We don`t take issue with any part of the Special Counsel`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
Senator Klobuchar is now a candidate for President of the United States.
Senator thank you very much for joining us tonight.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We really appreciate it. I want to get your overall assessment
of what you think were the important revelations in today`s hearing.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, my first revelation that I was surprised by, as you know
I`ve been about the country was just the ferociousness that some of my
colleagues, and you`ll hear this from the President as well, going after
law enforcement, going after the FBI. I follow Senator Cruz and I was
shocked because he literally said they`re not Jason Born, they`ve Beeves
and butt head. He said that right before I spoke.
I found it insulting to our law enforcement. I literally started by saying
let`s change the tone here. There were people putting themselves on their
lives, on the line everyday on behalf of our country. And in fact we have
here a report where the Inspector General looked at an investigation and
found that in fact the investigation was launched not for reasons of bias,
but it was launched because of security concerns, because a friendly
country in this case an Australian diplomat reported some information that
And then we went onto discuss the fact I guess my other revelation is that
the Inspector General was very clear that there was not systematic bias in
the department and there`s one incident in which you point out called for
some oversight and training and that the FBI is now taking those measures.
That`s exactly what an Inspector General is supposed to do.
And I think the report basically showed that the FBI was simply doing its
job and my colleagues should not have been going after the FBI, nor should
the President of the United States call them scum which is exactly what he
did when he was in that rally in Pennsylvania last night.
O`DONNELL: And your Republican colleagues were going after the FBI for
mistakes made in FISA applications involving exactly one person, and just
Carter Page who was never in the end accused of a crime, and eventually
that same FBI stopped seeking renewals of those FISA applications against
Carter Page. The Republicans on the Committee seemed to treat this as a
very first hint that there has ever been a problem or irregularity in a
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. And we know that isn`t true. We know there have been
problems and we`ve had vast hearings about issues, about FISA applications.
We know that`s not the case but I think the bigger picture here which was a
point I was trying to make Lawrence is instead of focusing friend, we can
discuss this oversight, what needs to be done, the changes may?
But they are literally ignoring the fact that a foreign country tried to
invade our election. What do I mean ignoring? Well, some of them actually
try to blame Ukraine for it as we saw over in the House and in fact,
Senator Graham today, the Chair of the Committee, did definitively say it`s
not Ukraine, its Russia.
But then why aren`t they doing something about it? Why aren`t we are
passing the bill that Senator Langford and I have to push those 11 states
that don`t have back up paper ballots to get them, to have audits and to
make sure there is better coordination between state and federal
government`s as we approach the 2020 election.
I clearly ask the Inspector General if anything would undermine the
findings of Trump Intelligence Agencies, that this was happening and that
they`re getting boulder, he said no.
O`DONNELL: Senator the House Judiciary Committee has just completed its
work for the night. They will reconvene tomorrow to actually vote on these
articles of impeachment. Can I ask you to stay across a commercial break so
that I can ask you about the oath you or it seems are destined to take as a
juror in an impeachment trial?
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, I would love to talk about it.
O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back with Senator Amy Klobuchar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): Attorney General Barr expressed his doubt
about the legitimacy of the FBI`s investigation in press statements. Did
Attorney General Barr provide any evidence that caused you to alter this
key finding that the FBI investigation had an adequate predicate?
HOROWITZ: No, we stand by our finding.
FEINSTIEN: Did either Barr or Durham present anything that altered your
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar who was at that hearing today is back with
us. And Senator just wanted to touch on that stunning note that was raised
today. Because this is the first time an Inspector General`s report has
been greeted by public disbelief by the Attorney General.
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. I mean, he basically is undermining the work not only
of the Inspector General but of the people that work for him. And again the
Inspector General found that they were basically doing their jobs. That
they were doing their jobs because they got a report and they pursued it
and that there was not systemic bias in the department and that no agents
were misused in some way and they just were following the evidence.
And then for him to basically be acting not as a people`s lawyer but as the
President`s lawyer when he takes an oath to represent the United States of
America I think is wrong and it`s in keeping with from the very beginning
when he did this 19 page job application when he wanted to be Attorney
General and it was sent to friends of the President, he basically showed
this expansive view of executive power. But I personally never thought it
would extend to undermining the people that work for him.
O`DONNELL: Senator, this is the oath that you will be given in addition to
the Senate oath you`ve already taken because you take on the role of a
juror. You will be given this oath for impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump
in the United States Senate presumably in January. And that oath says I
solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the
impeachment of President Trump now pending I will do impartial justice
according to the constitution and laws so help me God. As a loyal and
partisan Democrat can you take that oath and act on that oath as you
evaluate the evidence in the Senate trial?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I can, Lawrence. And that`s one of the reasons I`ve made
clear that while I believe strongly the House should procedure and this is
in fact impeachable conduct which is what you see happening in the House.
Then as a juror I`m going to look at all the evidence here. And now, I
think that our job can only be done if we`re able to see all the evidence.
I think there are some very serious allegations that are going to be coming
our way from the House with some very credible witness testimony of
impartial people who were in the military and diplomats. But I do not
understand as we right now the current status is that the President is not
allowing us to hear from all the President`s men, those people around him,
Pompeo and Bolton and Mulvaney and Rick Perry who was involved in this.
He appears to be blocking them from coming forward. That`s not even what
happened in Watergate when then President Nixon said that those types of
witnesses could testify. And if he won`t say fact based exoneration then we
should be hearing from those witnesses and it really bothers me. My friend
from - King the independent Senator from Maine did an excellent opinion
piece on this in USA today that I suggest people read because it gets at
this, why are you blocking witnesses because we should be on a search for
O`DONNELL: Presidential Candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar thank you very much
for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. It`s great to be on Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back you will hear what Congressman
Val Demings said in her opening statement in the House Judiciary Committee
tonight where she said no one is above the law and put in her own personal
historical terms as a descendent of slaves.
O`DONNELL: The House Judiciary Committee is now in recess for the night and
will return tomorrow morning at 9:00 am when they are expected to begin
voting on approving the referral of article of impeachment to the full
House for a vote of the full House, which means that President Trump could
be impeached by the House of Representatives next week whereupon Donald
Trump will take his place in history as an impeached President. Here`s what
Congresswoman Val Demings said is at stake in the impeachment of Donald
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): I come before you tonight as an African-American
female. I come before you tonight as a descendant of slaves, slaves who
knew they were not make it but dreamed and prayed that one day that I would
make it. I come before you tonight proclaiming that in spite of America`s
complicated history, my faith is in the constitution. And I say that today
with perfect peace. I have enforced the laws and now I write the laws. I
know that nobody is above the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Congresswoman Val Demings. And at the start of this
hour, I told you we were not sure who`ll be joining us tonight because of
the members of the Judiciary Committee might still be working. As of this
moment we have at least one member of the Committee on the way to a
microphone in Washington, we`ll see who we have when we come back from this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): The President is the smoking gun. His
obstruction of Congress and blanket directive to deny us even a single
witness, a single document is unprecedented.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of
Washington State. She has just left the House Judiciary Committee session
tonight. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Congresswoman, we
really appreciate you making the time for us. For you tonight, what did you
think were the most important if you heard them defense points raised by
JAYAPAL: Well, I think that was the thing I was most surprised by. There
were very few people who actually defended anything that the President did.
Most of them talked about other issues, they talked about the Steele
dossier, they talked about things that they talked about for a long time
But very, very few of them offered a real defense of what the President has
done. So, I thought it was not a particular strong showing for them and I
guess contrasted with that, I am just so proud to be part of the Democratic
Majority where we had just such a rainbow coalition of incredible, powerful
stories about what the constitution means? About what it means to not allow
the President to be above the law? But what it means to take that oath of
office and stand up and defend our democracy?
O`DONNELL: I want to show the audience something else you said in tonight`s
session because you are talking about the on-going threat that the
President represents and that`s actually written into the articles and I
have not heard any Republicans address the ongoing threat that the
President`s conduct represents. I want to listen to the way you put it
tonight at the hearing. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAYAPAL: President Trump has solicited foreign interference before he`s
doing it now and he`ll do it again. The smoking gun is already reloaded.
And whether or not it gets fired, that`s up to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I have to say that`s a concept we never seen before in any kind
of investigation like this. There is always a search for the smoking gun
but the idea that the smoking gun is being reloaded during the
investigation so it could be used again. It is not a concept that we have
been dealing with before.
JAYAPAL: Yes, I think this is really central. It was very central to how I
think about this case and what the gravity of the situation is? People keep
looking for a smoking gun. I started in my comments and you`ve played that
clip saying Trump is the smoking gun. He came out on the White House lawn
and he told the American people exactly what he wanted from that call with
President Zelensky, but then we know that he has done this multiple times
and invited foreign government to interfere in our election, Russia, China
We know he`s doing it right now, Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine as we speak
and so the threat of a President who absolutely refuses to acknowledge
there is anything wrong with asking a foreign country to interfere in our
election, that`s the smoking gun reloaded and then really are we going to
Are our Republican colleagues going to say that there is anything wrong and
unconstitutional about asking a foreign power to engage in our democracy
and take power away from, we the people which is really where the President
derives his power from we the people.
O`DONNELL: Has Chairman Nadler given you members of the Committee any idea
who`ll be selected to be House Managers who go to the Senate floor to
present the case against Donald Trump in the Senate trial?
JAYAPAL: No, we really haven`t talked about that at all. We are really
focused on you know doing the work in front of us. That`s I think is going
to be Speaker Pelosi`s decision. But we have big work to do here as we
finish up tomorrow. I think the Republicans did not interrupt very much
they didn`t try to bring down the proceedings tonight. But I think tomorrow
we may see something different. We may see them once again trying to
object, trying to disrupt and really taking us away from this really
crucial question of our constitution.
O`DONNELL: And Congresswoman I know you have to be back out at 9:00 am
tomorrow morning there on the Committee. So we thank you very, very much
for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Lawrence. It is great to be with you.
O`DONNELL: That is “Tonight`s Last Word.” “The 11th hour” with Brian
Williams starts 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