Schumer wants to hear from Mulvaney. TRANSCRIPT: 12/16/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And tonight, Isabel Bueso is going to join us. You`re going to want to
want to see this at the end of this hour. You`ll be home in time to see
this, because thanks to your reporting and reporting of others that she has
been granted officially from the Trump administration the right to remain
in this country for her life-saving medical treatment. So, the good news
is how we`re going to end the hour tonight.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Excellent. I am very much looking forward to
that. I`m so glad you`re doing it.
O`DONNELL: And, Rachel, you`re talking about the polls, the Fox poll about
impeachment, couple numbers fascinating. Obviously, the 15 percent in
favor of impeachment and removal of the president in the Fox poll.
And then there`s the 54 percent who were in favor of just impeachment and
not removal. What`s so interesting about that is those people recognizing
there is a difference, that these are two different decision levels with
different thresholds of proof.
MADDOW: Uh-huh, and, in fact, in American history, there has never ever
been a president who was impeached in the House and removed by the Senate.
It has never happened.
And so, to know that – people are talking about this will be a failed
impeachment effort if the Senate acquits, the only thing we`ve ever had in
American history is the House impeaching a president. A Senate has never
removed. That people being able to make that distinction, I think the
public is much more capable of divining these differences than most
politicians treat them.
O`DONNELL: And the other fascinating number was that 60 percent, 60
percent who believe that it`s inappropriate to ask foreign countries for
help against your political rivals. And only 24 percent think it`s
appropriate. So, can the impeachment trial move that 60 percent from
inappropriate to something stronger than inappropriate?
MADDOW: Yes, and the way that it gets fleshed out in the House, I had Eric
Swalwell talking about the length of that debate and how long they`re going
to go until they get the floor vote down. The question of how substantive
that`s going to be and how compelling as a public matter, I mean, that`s
potentially going to be important in terms of the way the public views this
If the Senate doesn`t pick up what they`re going to do, they`re part of
trial part of this until January, well, that`s a ways off and things happen
fast. I feel like this is a live, still-evolving issue.
O`DONNELL: By the way, Rachel, my favorite thing you just told me about,
my schedule tomorrow at the end of your program, 11:00 a.m., that was my
favorite that I heard you say. Rules Committee, at 11:00 a.m., finally a
MADDOW: I can also tape it for you if you need to go later.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, history has been marching steadily toward impeachment for
the last 90 days, and this week it is sprinting toward impeachment with a
vote tomorrow in the Rules Committee and a vote on the House floor on
impeaching the president of the United States. Along this road to
impeachment, we have seen many things that we`ve never seen before,
including the Attorney General William Barr publicly contradicting his
inspector general`s investigation of the origins of what became the Mueller
The inspector general found there was no political prejudice in the launch
of that investigation, and the one person who has held the job of FBI
director and the job of CIA director and who calls himself a friend of
William Barr`s is now very disappointed in what he has heard from William
Barr, and he has said so publicly.
Ninety-five-year-old former FBI and former CIA Director William Webster is
speaking up in defense of the FBI as the president continues to attack the
FBI and as the attorney general continues to publicly undermine the work of
the FBI and the Justice Department prosecutors.
For analyses of all of that, as well as an evaluation of the evidence in
the impeachment case against Donald Trump, we`ll be joined tonight for the
first time by former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who was one of
the top prosecutors hired by Robert Mueller to conduct the Mueller
investigation and contribute to the Mueller report.
We are saving our good news of the night for the end of the hour as I just
told Rachel when Isabel Bueso will join us to share her joy in not being
deported by Donald Trump, to share her job in able allowed to stay in this
country where she can continue to receive life-saving treatment and where
she can continue to participate in medical studies that are saving the
lives of other people with her rare disease.
Isabel Bueso got the Christmas present she`s been hoping for, the legal
right to remain in the United States. You`ll be hearing from her at the
end of this hour.
We are now in the sprint phase of impeachment history, just 48 hours away
from President Donald Trump becoming the third president in history to be
impeached. Getting to that historic vote by the House of Representatives
on Wednesday is a two-step process that begins tomorrow in the House Rules
Committee. Everything that goes to the House floor in the House of
Representatives for a vote passes through the House Rules Committee on its
way to the House floor. Each bill going to the House Floor gets its own
set of rules. The Rules Committee attaches a set of rules to everything
that goes to the House floor for a vote.
That set of rules establishes how long the debate will be, for one thing,
one of amendments, if any, will be allowed and will be order. The Rules
Committee is controlled by the Democratic majority in the House of
Representatives. And so, the rules for Wednesday`s debate on two articles
of impeachment will be whatever rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern in
consultation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides what those rules will
Republicans will probably make some noise tomorrow in the Rules Committee,
but the rules for the impeachment articles will pass the committee and the
articles of impeachment will go to the floor of the House. Accompanying
the articles of impeachment now in the House of Representatives is a 658-
page report on the evidence in the impeachment inquiry written by the staff
of the House Judiciary Committee and submitted by Chairman Jerrold Nadler.
The Judiciary Committee report says President Trump has realized the
Framers` worst nightmare. He has abused his power in soliciting and
pressuring a vulnerable foreign nation to corrupt the next United States
presidential election by sabotaging a political opponent and endorsing a
debunked conspiracy theory promoted by our adversary, Russia. President
Trump has done all of this for his own personal gain rather than for any
legitimate reason and has compromised our national security and democratic
system in the process.
The report says that the president`s abuse of power is impeachable and is
the kind of abuse of power the Founders anticipated in writing the
presidential impeachment clause in the Constitution.
The report says: To the founding generation, abuse of power was a specific,
well-defined offense. It occurs when a president exercises the powers of
his office to obtain an emperor personal benefit while injuring and
ignoring the national interest. The evidence shows that President Trump
leveraged his office to solicit and pressure Ukraine for a personal favor.
This unquestionably constitutes an impeachable offense. This
unquestionably constitutes an impeachable offense. To the founders, this
kind of corruption was especially pernicious and plainly merited
The report says that President Trump`s blocking of the duly authorized
congressional subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry, quote, was categorical,
indiscriminate and without precedent in American history. The report says
the Judiciary Committee believe the Congress cannot wait for the next
election to allow voters to render a verdict on the president`s misconduct.
The report makes the case for taking action now this way: President Trump
has fallen into a pattern of behavior. This is not the first time he has
solicited foreign interference in an election, been exposed, and attempted
to obstruct the resulting investigation. He will almost certainly continue
on this course.
Indeed, in the same week that the committee considered these articles of
impeachment, the president`s private attorney was back in Ukraine to
promote the same sham investigations into the president`s political rivals,
and upon returning to the United States, rapidly made his way to the White
House. We cannot rely on the next election as a remedy for presidential
misconduct when the president is seeking to threaten the very integrity of
that election. We must act immediately.
We must act immediately. And so, the Rules Committee will act tomorrow and
the full house will act the next day. With the impeachment of President
Trump clearly on its way to the United States Senate for trial, the
Senate`s Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer proposed a set of rules for that
trial, and those rules are modeled on the last impeachment in the Senate in
1999 when the trial of President Bill Clinton lasted five weeks.
Assuming President Trump is impeached this week, Senator Schumer proposes
that after the Christmas break, the United States Senate begin the
impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the Senate on January 7th. Senator
Schumer is asking Mitch McConnell to agree that the Senate should hear
testimony from four witnesses, former national security adviser John
Bolton, chief – White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, senior adviser
to Mick Mulvaney, Robert Blair, and Michael Duffey, associate editor in the
Office of Management and Budget.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): To conduct a trial without relevant witnesses
who haven`t been heard from, to just rehash the evidence presented in the
House just doesn`t make any sense. If Leader McConnell doesn`t hold a full
and fair trial, the American people will rightly ask, what are you, Leader
McConnell, and what does President Trump hiding?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: This afternoon, Mitch McConnell responded, telling reporters,
quote, we`ll be getting together and we`ll have more to say tomorrow. The
only two Democrats who voted in October against authorizing the House
impeachment inquiry announced that they will vote against impeachment, as
expected. One of those, Congressman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, actually
spent the weekend speaking to Republicans about switching parties.
That provoked members of his staff to cosign a letter of resignation,
saying, quote: Sadly, Congressman Van Drew`s decision to join the ranks of
the Republican Party led by Donald Trump doesn`t align with the values we
brought to this job. When we joined
his office as such, we can no longer in good conscience serve in the
The letter is cosigned by the newly unemployed but still principled Javier
Gamboa, Edward Kaczmarksi, Justin O`Leary, Mackenzie Lucas, and Caroline
Several freshmen Democratic members in the House who won their seats last
year in previously Republican districts have announced their support for
Here`s freshman Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin making her dramatic
announcement at a town hall in her congressional district in Michigan
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): So I will be voting “yes” on obstruction of
Now, obviously I know and I can hear that this is a very controversial
decision, and I knew that. All I can ask from the people who are listening
is that while we may not agree, I hope you believe me when I tell you that
I made this decision out of principle and out of a duty to protect and
defend the Constitution.
I feel that in my bones, and I will stick to that regardless of what it
does to me politically because this is bigger than politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, we`re lucky to have
Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He is the chairman of
the House Democratic Caucus and he`s member of the Judiciary Committee in
Also with us, Andrew Weissmann, former FBI general counsel and former
federal prosecutor. He`s now an MSNBC legal analyst.
And, Congressman Jeffries, let me begin with you.
And the five people I want to begin with are the five names of those
staffers, those Democratic staffers who resigned in protest, in protest of
President Trump`s policies, in protest of President Trump`s misconduct
which has led to this impeachment, when their member started talking to the
Republicans about switching parties. And what we see there is the
The reason I wanted to put their names on the screen is the principle
resignation is the thing we have not seen in the Trump administration these
three years, no matter how many lines Donald Trump has crossed.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Yes, that`s been very unfortunate what we`ve
seen is that my Republican colleagues continue to put party over principle,
corruption in this case over the Constitution, and demagoguery over
democracy. That`s been quite unfortunate.
These five individuals have demonstrated principled public service. These
are obviously individuals who agreed to staff Jeff Van Drew, who was
elected as part of a historic midterm election with Democrats ascending
into the majority, committed to fighting for the people torque on things
like health care costs, infrastructure, increasing pay for everyday
Americans dealing with gun violence and serve as a check and balance on an
Their principal has obviously decided in this case, referring to their
former boss, to go in a different direction and & they made a selfless
decision at a very difficult moment for our country and our democracy.
O`DONNELL: Congressman, another tough decision we`re seeing made are these
freshmen Democrats who took Republican districts, who were stepping
forward, telling their former Republican districts that they are voting to
impeach the president. I know you`ve been very concerned over this last
year, actually, including the last 90 days about how difficult this process
has been for them.
What is your reaction to what you`re seeing in their decisions?
JEFFRIES: Look, the class of 2018 is an extraordinary group of Americans
who stepped forward at a very vulnerable time for our democracy and decided
that they were going to run for office having already done so much for the
country and the national security space as veterans, as doctors, as nurses,
as educators, have come to Congress to do the right thing on behalf of the
people they were elected to represent.
This is a very difficult decision for any member. Impeachment is a very
serious, solemn, and sober moment. But when you layer on top of that,
these are members from tough districts with constituents who have sharp
opinions that differ on how to most appropriately hold this president
accountable, yet they`ve decided to elevate their oath of office, elevate
their constitutional responsibility, be guided by their conscience, unlike
many of my colleagues other side of the aisle and certainly unlike the
O`DONNELL: Andrew Weissmann, given the two responsibilities, the one
responsibility the House has, the other the Senate has. Is it a reasonable
proposition for a member of the house to say I haven`t decided on this
evidence in a final judgment way, but I want to send it to the United
States Senate for trial, I believe there`s enough evidence to send this to
trial in the Senate?
ANDREW WEISSMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, that is responsible. The
analogy would be taking a federal prosecutor and submitting something to a
grand jury. The grand jury just decides whether there`s probable cause for
a charge. You don`t have to have the grand jury find there`s proof beyond
a reasonable doubt. That`s for the trial jury.
So you could imagine somebody in the House saying that. But in reality,
what happens for a federal prosecutor is you would not ask a grand jury to
vote an indictment unless you thought you could win because you wouldn`t
want to put somebody through that. But that is a slightly different
context. There you`re talking about someone`s life and liberty. You could
leave it to the Senate to make a determination about what they thought
about the quantum proof and whether it was appropriate to go forward.
O`DONNELL: Because there is no judicial review of the Senate`s finding in
this, the question of standard of proof is in effect up to each individual
senator to say here`s the standard I`m using. Some might use proof beyond
a reasonable doubt, some might use more likely than not. They can pick
what it is. What do you think they should use as their standard of proof?
WEISSMANN: So I agree that there`s not a lot of law in this. This is new
territory. I think it`s got to be something fairly close to beyond a
reasonable doubt, even though you`re not sending someone to jail like a
criminal case. Here we`re not talking about Trump. We`re talking about
just the president in terms of what system do we want.
I think even though there are other ramifications for the president, it
does take the choice that Americans have voted for and said this is no
longer going to be the case. We`re going to counter-manage what you voted
for. So, that should be a very high level of proof. Whether it`s beyond
the reasonable doubt or something to close to that, I don`t know the answer
to that. But it should be something significantly high that this is not
O`DONNELL: High so that you can explain it to voters, in fact. That`s the
WEISSMANN: Absolutely. The other is, you know, it`s not required as in a
criminal case you would have to have a unanimous verdict. And here you
don`t. It`s still high, but it`s not unanimous.
So that actually is in favor of a high threshold in terms of proof because
you don`t have to convince all of the senators as you would if it was
actually going to a jury.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Jeffries, this time Wednesday night, will the
president of the United States be impeached?
JEFFRIES: It`s my expectation that there will be a majority of the House
of Representatives that does conclude that the president should be
impeached. The evidence is overwhelming. It`s uncontroverted that Donald
Trump used a foreign government to target a citizen solely for political
and personal gain at the same time withheld $390 million in military aid
from a very vulnerable Ukraine without justification, and as part of that
scheme, effectively solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election.
That strikes at the heart of the concern the founding fathers had, A, abuse
of power, B, betrayal of the Constitution for personnel gain, and C,
corrupting our free and fair elections.
The president`s misbehavior implicated the trifecta of tenures the framers
of the Constitution had, and for that reason I shall he should be impeached
and he will be impeached as of Wednesday.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Andrew Weissmann, thank you both
for starting us off tonight. Really appreciate it.
JEFFRIES: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And, looking back, the only person that`s been both the
director of the FBI and the director of the CIA is now speaking out about
Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, who he still calls a
friend. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: The FBI and the CIA are, quote, under assault from too many
people whose job it should be to protect them. Those are the words from
the only person in history who has served as both the director of the FBI
and the director of the CIA.
William Webster was a federal judge when President Jim Carter appointed him
FBI director in 1978. He served in that role until President Ronald Reagan
chose him in 1987 as the CIA director, a position that he continued to hold
under President George H.W. Bush. William Webster now chairs the Homeland
Security Advisory Council.
In a new opinion piece in “The New York Times”, 95-year-old William Webster
writes, I know firsthand the professionalism of the men and women of the
FBI, the aspersions cast upon them by the president and my longtime friend,
Attorney General William P. Barr, are troubling in the extreme, calling FBI
professionals scum as the president did is a slur against people who risk
their lives to keep us safe.
Mr. Barr`s charges of bias within the FBI made without providing any
evidence and in direct dispute of the findings of the nonpartisan inspector
general, risk inflicting enduring damage on this critically important
This afternoon, Andrea Mitchell asked William Webster why he decided to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM WEBSTER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF FBI AND CIA: It`s not something I want
to do, but something I feel compelled to do because American people are
asking now what`s happening to our government, what`s happening to the
people that we trusted and need to trust, why is all this stuff going on?
And I tried to raise that question because it does affect the ability of
organizations like the FBI that we love and cherish, and the CIA that`s
done so much together, intelligence for us, it affects their ability to do
their job and their willingness to do their job, and it shouldn`t be. It`s
not American. It`s not our way of life. And it`s not the rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: You can watch more of Andrea`s interview with William Webster
tomorrow at 12:00 noon on “ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS” right here on MSNBC.
Joining our discussion now, former FBI assistant director for
counterintelligence, Frank Figliuzzi. He`s an MSNBC national security
And Andrew Weissmann is back with us. He`s the former FBI general counsel,
and a former federal prosecutor. He`s an MSNBC legal analyst.
Frank, your reaction to William Webster finally speaking out on this.
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Lawrence, when somebody
like William Webster speaks, which he doesn`t do often anymore, America
needs to listen. When someone like William Webster says this isn`t
American, this isn`t the rule of law, we need to listen.
And I think if you read his op-ed in “The New York Times,” you`ll see his
reference to what`s coming down the road, where this could be headed.
So I want people to understand, this isn`t about a thin-skinned group of
FBI folks who can`t take criticism. FBI agents bashed and beaten and shot
at. They can take the criticism. What I think pops out at me out of the
editorial is Webster saying this isn`t so much about where we are right now
about where this is headed.
He talks about losing the independence and neutrality of an FBI. That`s a
dangerous place to be when we see a president thinking about removing the
current FBI director. We have an attorney general criticizing an I.G.
report saying the FBI is spying on a campaign. You know where that`s going
based on hints and clues we`re getting? That`s going to a political person
running the FBI and a political person in the attorney general telling the
FBI what to do or not to do.
That`s what I think Mr. Webster is really concerned about.
O`DONNELL: And, Andrew Weissmann, in the Mueller investigation, you in
that team lived through what William Webster is arguing against here, this
kind of attack on FBI agents, attack on federal prosecutors. One of the
things that struck me about the impeachment hearings is the one thing
Donald Trump could not do, which he did with your team almost every day, he
could not threaten to fire Eric Swalwell. He couldn`t threaten to fire
Adam Schiff as he was doing throughout the Mueller investigation.
What is the effect of that – of that kind of attack from the president of
the United States on federal investigators?
WEISSMANN: Well, I think you`re seeing it because you see the corrosive
power that he has because you can see just what`s happened with the change
of White House counsel going from McGahn to Cipollone and seeing the letter
that Cipollone signed is really not what you expect from the White House
counsel. You might expect that from his personal counsel. And then you`ve
seen the change from Attorney General Sessions to Attorney General Barr.
And, you know, former Director Webster I thought was really poignant in
attacking not just what the president`s doing, but also what the attorney
general is doing. To follow up with what Frank is talking about, the
danger here is if you don`t have an independent Department of Justice and
independent FBI, that means it is subject to the political process.
Do we really want to live in a society where we are now a banana republic?
Look, everything we have fought to have Ukraine not be is what we will
become because it means the president or the attorney general can just go
after political opponents. And that really is the end of the rule of law.
That`s what I think he was talking about.
O`DONNELL: And, Frank, Director Webster fit – actually managed to squeeze
in a reference to Rudy Giuliani here, who`s not a government official but I
think correctly sees him as part of the Trump/Barr operation, this critical
front that he needs to stand up against.
FIGLIUZZI: Well, he speaks to Rudy because he knows Rudy. That`s kind of
also the special nature of this op-ed is he`s talking about William Barr
because he knows William Barr. He`s talking about Rudy Giuliani because
And what does he say about Rudy? He`s disappointed. He`s disappointed in
a man who`s become something that we can`t figure out anymore and has
bought into all of this nonsense that could lead to deep trouble for the
rule of law. I`m glad that William Webster spoke out and I hope Americans
listen, and I hope the right Americans listen who are on the fence
wondering whether there`s damage being done that we need to stop in
O`DONNELL: And William Barr also found fault - I`m mean, sorry William
Webster found fault with Attorney General Barr`s criticism of the Inspector
General`s report. He says that the Attorney General criticized Inspector
General`s report, and the claim that the FBI investigation was based on a
completely bogus narrative.
Those were William Barr`s words. He then goes on to list the findings of
the Mueller investigation. And Andrew Weissmann, that is just something
that I don`t think anyone could have anticipated that there would be an
Attorney General publicly arguing against the findings of an Inspector
General`s report and doing so with no evidence whatsoever.
ANDREW WEISSMANN, DEPARTMENT OF FORMER CHIEF OF THE FRAUD SECTION: Well,
see the other thing that`s just remarkable is if you look at the time
period that is covered by the Inspector General`s report, there are things
that happened during the Obama Administration and there are things that
happened during the Trump Administration.
You have the Attorney General, the current Attorney General saying, you
know, I don`t think they followed the Attorney General guidelines. Those
are his guidelines. I don`t see him changing them. So for him to pretend
this is something that just happened under somebody else`s watch, that`s
not true also talking about the Carter Page, FISA. That happened not just
under the Obama Administration not also happened under Trump
Administration. So he`s really not taking responsibility.
O`DONNELL: We`ll have to leave it there. Andrew Weissmann, Frank Figliuzzi,
thank you both very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
When we come back, Donald Trump doesn`t want anyone to find out what he
says to Vladimir Putin, but a Trump-appointed federal judge has sided with
litigants who are fighting to get the records, the translator`s notes of
those conversations the head of that organization leading that legal fight
will join us.
And with just one week of Christmas shopping left, we want to remind you
about kids in need of desks. You can go to lastworddesks.msnbc.com and give
desk to schools in Malawi in the name of anyone on your holiday gift list
and UNICEF will send that person a notification of the gift you have given
in their name.
And you can choose to contribute any amount for the purchase of the desk or
to a scholarship fund for girls to attend high school in Malawi where at
high school is not free. No contribution is too small. And as always, we
thank you for your kindness.
O`DONNELL: Note to Brett Kavanaugh for future reference. A Trump-appointed
judge ruled against Donald Trump in a hugely important case last week that
is about nothing less than about what Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin talk
about when Donald Trump thinks no one else is listening.
After his first meeting with Vladimir Putin in July of 2017, Donald Trump
seized the notes of his interpreter. Those notes were the only written
record of the meeting other than of course the Russian written record of
the meeting which Vladimir Putin has. And the problem for President Trump
is his translator`s notes don`t belong to him and they don`t belong to the
They belong to you, which is to say they belong to the American government
under the Federal Records Act which requires the translator`s notes to be
kept in the custody of the State Department. Our next guest filed a lawsuit
against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is supposed to be one of the
legal custodians of those notes. That lawsuit seeks to produce those notes.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., Trevor McFadden, who was appointed by
Donald Trump, ruled against Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo who attempted to
have that lawsuit dismissed. Judge McFadden ruled that they can proceed
with the lawsuit and have the case go to trial. He actually gave Mike
Pompeo a January 10th date to file a written response to the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Russian state media cannot resist depicting what it considers
Russia`s power over Donald Trump. Russian TV aired a segment entitled
“Puppet Master and Agent: How to understand Lavrov`s meeting with Trump.”
that`s actually what they called their segment. That was after Donald Trump
met with Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office last week and Russian media is
now rerunning video of Fox News segments showing sympathy for Russia in its
war with Ukraine.
After this break we`ll consider what Donald Trump might have been worried
about when he seized his translator`s notes after his conversation with
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump reportedly seized his translator`s notes after his
first conversation with Vladimir Putin. But of course Russia has notes of
that conversation and all of Donald Trump`s conversations with Vladimir
Putin. And last week Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov publicly
humiliated Donald Trump and the Trump Administration by offering to make
those notes public and claiming that the Trump Administration is refusing
to agree to allow Russia to make public the notes of the conversations
between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROA, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We suggested to our colleagues
that in order to dispel all suspicions that are baseless, let us publish
this closed channel correspondence starting from October 2016 till November
2017 so it would all become very clear to many people. However,
regrettably, this administration refuses to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Austin Evers he is the Executive
Director of the Organization of American Oversight. He previously served as
Senior Counsel in the State Department for Oversight and Transparency
Matters. Austin, it`s your lawsuit that is chasing the translator`s notes
of the Putin/Trump conversations, but there`s Lavrov basically offering you
the Russian notes of the conversations. But the Trump Administration is not
agreeing to that.
AUSTIN EVERS, AMERICAN OVERSIGHT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: No. It`s absurd and
it`s actually rather striking that maybe that`s a good deal for the
American public that we should rely on probable Russian propaganda to find
out what our President said to Vladimir Putin.
The bottom line is when the President snatched those notes from his
translator he not only violated all sorts of norms for how Presidents
should act? He also violated the law. So our lawsuit with our colleagues a
group called Democracy Forward tries to get those notes back in the custody
of the State Department. So hopefully they can be ultimately produced to
the public and we can check what the President`s saying?
O`DONNELL: Do you have any indication that the notes, the Trump translated
version of the notes still exist?
EVERS: We just don`t know. There`s been a lot of rumor and speculation in
the media, which is actually what, triggered our lawsuit, realizing that
the President had snatched those notes? The bottom line that we`re looking
for is some answers on what happened to them? Were they destroyed? Are they
something the State Department could recover, if so, the law requires them
to do that?
The deadline that the State Department has in January will require them to
give some of those details to us and to the public so we can take the next
steps and forcing some transparency. I`ll point something else out. Donald
Trump thought the Ukraine call was perfect and he published it and now he`s
getting impeached for it.
What has to be in those notes that caused him to snatch them from the
translator immediately? And now two years later we still don`t know what he
O`DONNELL: That`s such a good point. He had the presence of mind based on
something that was said in that conversation that no one should ever know
what was in that conversation? You compare that to the Ukraine conversation
where he also knew people were listening, and he still went ahead and said
these things that are now impeachable.
EVERS: It really, really draws a lot of attention to it. We need to know
what he said. Nancy Pelosi is right. This always keeps coming back to
Russia and Vladimir Putin. There`s been too much secrecy around it. And so
groups like American Oversight, Democracy Forward, and I hope Congress will
keep their eye on this because even after we sprint through this
impeachment process, there`s a tidal wave of accountability behind this
President and we just need to keep fighting to suppose it.
O`DONNELL: Austin Evers, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
EVERS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: When we come back, Isabel Bueso will be our last guest of this
hour. She was issued a death sentence by Donald Trump when Donald Trump
ordered her deportation, sent her a deportation notice. She`s in this
country getting life-saving medical treatment. Isabel Bueso will join us in
tonight`s LAST WORD.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISABEL BUESO, RECIPIENT OF MEDICAL DEFERRED ACTION: I`m asking Congress and
Administration to come together and right the wrong of this change in
policy. This is not a partisan issue. That is humanitarian issue and our
life depends on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Isabel Bueso testifying for her life in the House of
Representatives after the Trump Administration threatened to deport her by
revoking her legal right to remain in the United States for life-saving
medical treatment and issuing her a deportation order.
Isabel was one of many people in this country for life-saving treatment who
received letters from the Trump Administration ordering their deportation.
When “The Boston Globe” and “The New York Times,” and Rachel Maddow started
reporting on this story, the Trump Administration was forced under public
pressure to eventually stop threatening Isabel Bueso and others with
But no one knew what would happen next? As Isabel`s doctor Paul Harmatz
told us on this program, deporting Isabel would be a death sentence because
she could not receive medical treatment she needed outside of the United
States. Four months after Isabel Bueso received an Official Deportation
Notice from the Trump Administration she has finally received a Christmas
present she`s been waiting for.
In a letter dated December 6th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
wrote to Isabel, “This is to advise you effective August 14th, 2019 you
have been granted deferred action for period of two years, the action will
expire on August 13th, 2021.” After this break, Isabel Bueso will join us
to share what this happy news means for her? That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUESO: I still feel that there are so many questions that has not been
answered. I feel like I`m still in the limbo with not really clear
direction of where this is going. It`s been - I`m really overwhelmed. I
don`t feel 100 percent safe that, you know, I`m stable, but I hope that
soon we can get a solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Isabel Bueso with Rachel in September after the Trump
Administration said they would not enforce the deportation order they sent
to Isabel but they also would not clarify her legal status in this country
to receive life-saving medical treatment.
But last week, Isabel Bueso finally got that in writing from the Trump
Administration and she`s now legally allowed to remain in this country for
medical treatment for two more years. And I`m very happy to say that
joining us now is Isabel Bueso. Isabel thank you very much for joining us
tonight I`m glad you`re still here. I`m glad you`re still in this country.
And that you have this good news the letter that I have here saying that
you now have legal deferred action status for another two years. This will
be bringing you up to August 13th, 2021. What was it like to finally get
that letter saying you are here? You`re safe, for two years?
BUESO: Well, hi, Lawrence very nice to meet you, and thank you for having
me. As you mentioned, I finally received a letter that I`ve been waiting
for so long, for months, and I`m just really happy and I feel really
relieved and I`m really happy, there is different emotions going on through
my head this past few weeks, but I`m really, really happy.
O`DONNELL: And it was a very difficult road to get here. You had to testify
to Congress. You met both Democrats and Republicans when you testified to
Congress about your situation. How important do you think it was that you
were able to tell this story directly to Congress in a hearing?
BUESO: Well, I feel like, you know, going back a little bit, I mean, this
was unexpected for me to go through. I never imagined, you know, go and
testify, you know, share my story, but I knew that I had to use my voice,
you know, and say, you know, the problem and, you know, share my story
because I knew that what was happening in a moment was just really unfair
and scary and overwhelm.
So, so, and I feel like it helped, you know, it helped because I`m sure
there are other families going through the same situation with fear and
overwhelm and I`m really happy I was able to use my voice and share my
story and testify. And, you know, just say, you know, the situation, you
know, but I`m really happy with the good news and hopefully other families
can get some answer really soon.
O`DONNELL: And in your letter, it also says that you are eligible to apply
for another extension for two years as this one is moving toward the end of
its term. Is this the kind of letter that you used to get routinely?
BUESO: Yes. Yes. Every two years, we got that same letter that we were good
for two years and then after those two years then you have to apply again.
It has been the routine.
O`DONNELL: And so does it feel like this has now been restored to the way
it was? Do you feel confident that in two years from now, in 2021, that
you`ll be able to routinely get this extended?
BUESO: I thought about, like, what`s going to happen in two years, but, you
know, I feel like sharing my story, you know, in D.C. in September, saying
the situation about the status, medical deferred action. My hope is in two
years hopefully they`re going to come up with a better solution.
I really do hope that I don`t have to go through this again because this -
it was really stressful and overwhelm for me and my family and I`m sure for
other families, so I`m hoping and praying that things will get better.
O`DONNELL: Well, Isabel, I want to thank you also on behalf of all of the
families of - and the patients, the other patients out there, who have MPS
VI, this rare disease, that you`ve participated in the research with Dr.
Harmatz that has helped those other patients. That was a very important
part of your story that you haven`t just been here being helped by the
special medical treatment you`re able to get only here, but you have helped
other patients by being part of the studies and the advances for this
disease that has been so difficult for people to deal with, and I just
wanted to thank you on their behalf for what you`ve done.
BUESO: Yes. Yes. I`m really happy, you know, to help, you know, the MPS
Community and participate in more clinical trials so they can do more
research and everything. And Dr. Harmatz and I`m really blessed and
grateful that whatever thing I do to help them in the clinical trials, so
I`m really, really blessed.
Thank you so much for having me and to share this story along with Rachel,
I really truly appreciate it, and this is like the best Christmas present
for me and happy holidays.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Isabel. Really appreciate it. The heroic Isabel Bueso
gets tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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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