New Parnas information. TRANSCRIPT: 1/16/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, you don`t mean call in sick ahead
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: I know.
O`DONNELL: Let`s put a public service announcement, she didn`t mean that
MADDOW: Well –
O`DONNELL: Rachel, another extraordinary hour. I have so many pieces of
your interview here that we`re going to rerun and analyze with the people
we have here to analyze – Joyce Vance, John Heilemann, professor Laurence
Tribe is going to join us later.
But it seems as though, it`s very clear, your interview has created more
momentum for witnesses in the Senate trial. We`ve had a couple of senators
now come out and say based on your interview they believe Lev Parnas should
be on the witness list.
What do you think – what do you think developed here as some of the more
interesting witnesses that you`d want to hear from who Lev Parnas has been
MADDOW: Well, I think that – that`s interesting – that`s an interesting
approach and I think that`s the right way to look at it that Mr. Parnas is
obviously speaking from his own perspective. He`s talking about situations
he says he was in and things he says he saw and things he says he heard,
but he is to the extent that what he`s saying can be corroborated by either
other people`s testimony or by documents and text messages and that sort of
thing, what he`s really pointing at is other people who should be asked
questions. And other people who can explain what really happened.
And he identified, I think, himself, some of the key people who could
explain things in terms of what really happened and how culpable the
president was and how culpable other senior officials are. Definitely John
Bolton, definitely Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, definitely Rick Perry,
definitely Vice President Pence, and definitely other officials who can
speak to their actions and their movements.
I mean, the fact that the White House and the administration has withheld
all documents from the impeachment investigation means that it`s hard to
find a trail without other people to lead you to other witnesses, to other
accounts, and to other potential documents and communications that the
White House and the administration can`t block from the investigation, but
he`s basically providing a roadmap for where it looks like potential
criminal behavior happened and which senior officials were involved in it
and how it could be checked. It`s, I mean, it`s a remarkable decision by
him to come forward, but he does advance the story and advance the sort of
reporting chain of events, I think in an almost immeasurable way.
O`DONNELL: And tonight, you developed more of his rationale for forward
which makes increasing sense the more you listen to it including the
problems he had with his original lawyers who he got rid of in a dramatic
scene he talks about in – when he was in jail, but he certainly had the
feeling that he was in a kind of trouble that his previous friends up until
the time where he got arrested were no longer going to help him and
probably turn against him and those – that included President Trump. That
included Rudy Giuliani and others.
MADDOW: There is this moment where he pivots from thinking that his
connections with the president and his connection with Rudy Giuliani, his
connection with all of these other powerful people who work in the White
House, who work in the administration, who work at high levels of
Republican politics, Republican members of Congress, there`s a moment when
he had previously believed that all those connections are going to help
him. And then he comes to the realization that all of those connections
now are going to be people who are out to hurt him, to the extent that he
had seen as somebody who has a story to tell that will be detrimental to
the president`s political future.
And when he realizes, oh, this gift of a lawyer who has been handed to me
by express permission from the president with coordination with the
president`s counsel, Mr. Sekulow and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani,
oh, wait, this lawyer isn`t actually here to help me, that revelation
creates that angry and dramatic scene that he described in the portion of
the interview that we played tonight.
And I think it also started him on the road toward speaking on his own
terms in part to try to protect himself because he did not want to be the
man with this stuff all in his head and all in his phones and his devices
and nobody knowing it other than the Justice Department which he doesn`t
trust, not only just as a regular run-of-the-mill criminal defendant, but
because he believes that William Barr is used as a tool of the president to
bring the power of the Justice Department to bear against the president`s
O`DONNELL: More great reporting tonight, Rachel. And it`s going to carry
us through most of this hour talking about what you just covered.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have, as I said, Professor Tribe will give us
your evaluation of what your work here now has done to the potential
witness list in the Senate trial.
MADDOW: Thanks, my friend. Much appreciate it.
O`DONNELL: Thanks a lot, Rachel.
Well, the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump began today and began
solemnly in the United States Senate with the swearing in of the judge –
Chief Justice John Roberts took an oath to, quote, do impartial justice
according to the Constitution and the laws. And then Chief Justice Roberts
then administered exactly the same oath to 99 senators. One Republican
senator was absent and will take the oath when the trial reconvenes on
Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.
The first stage of suspense in the Senate trial is all about the witnesses
and if the Senate does hear witnesses, that then could create a second
stage of suspense which could be more important because that could be
suspense about the final outcome of the trial depending on the testimony of
Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton is the number-one
witness that senators in favor of calling witnesses want to hear from,
including Republican Senator Mitt Romney.
But after Rachel`s interview with Lev Parnas tonight, some senators now
have Lev Parnas on their potential witness lists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): I think he should be brought before us so that
we can determine his credibility. There are many ways to judge credibility,
but there`s no question that the interviews that have occurred in the last
24 hours bring to light facts that should be pursued and should be reviewed
by us as the United States Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tonight, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey said that Lev Parnas
should be a witness.
Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe will be joining our discussion
tonight. He will argue that the Senate must call witnesses in the Trump
impeachment trial and when Laurence Tribe speaks, chief justices listen.
And not just when professor Tribe is arguing a case before the United
States Supreme Court, as he has done countless times. Professor Tribe
taught constitutional law to Chief Justice John Roberts when Roberts was a
Harvard Law school student, and professor Tribe has written a book about
impeachment and so we will, once again, be taking notes when Laurence Tribe
joins us later in this hour.
In the last hour, Rachel once again delivered more of her interview with
Lev Parnas that drove President Trump today to deny that he even knows Lev
Parnas. A lie that could not survive if Lev Parnas is a witness in the
impeachment trial of Donald John Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEV PARNAS, INDICTED GIULIANI ASSOCIATE: My only objective is to get the
truth out because I never thought I did anything – was doing anything
wrong. I still – you know, I regret certain things that I did because,
like, you know, hurting the ambassador and, you know, because that was not
something, but it was part of – it`s like when you`re in a war you think,
like, casualties and stuff like that. It`s bad to say, but it was – it was
– I keep saying, it was like, you know, being in a cult. I mean, when they
say organized crime, I don`t think Trump is like organized – I think he`s
like a cult leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion, John Heilemann, national affairs
analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He is the co-host of show time`s “The
Circus” and editor in chief of “The Recount.”
Also with us, Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney and professor at the
University of Alabama School of Law. She`s an MSNBC legal contributor.
And, John Heilemann, Lev Parnas no longer in the cult, what he refers to as
the Trump cult and where the headquarters of that cult apparently is that
Trump Hotel in Washington which is in the center of most of the scenes he
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Turns out that there are
Trump henchmen and then there are henchmen henchmen. If you`re a henchman
henchman, especially one who`s facing time in the slammer, you revert back
to saving yourself and telling the truth if that`s what saves yourself.
And I think, you know, it does not surprise me there are Democrats who want
to hear from Lev Parnas. Interesting to see whether Republicans will ever
get to that point. I think there`s no doubt that whether Lev Parnas ever is
a witness or not, I have my doubts about that because I think Republicans
will say, you know, he`s saying what he`s saying. Always seeing the Trump
people saying, you know, this is all just to save their skin.
The fundamental fact is it`s increasing the political pressure to let some
witnesses in, because the facts he`s attested is he`s providing
corroboration to allegations and assertions that are made in the past. And
I think the politics of this have changed dramatically in these last couple
weeks. Nancy Pelosi held back the articles. I now for the first time I
think have come to the conclusion that I think that the odds are higher
than we`ll have witnesses than not.
O`DONNELL: Yes. I agree. The odds have definitely moved in favor of
Joyce, I need – we need your legal opinion on something here. And it`s
going to be about Jay Sekulow where Lev Parnas is talking about his
interactions with Jay Sekulow and what Jay Sekulow knew about the whole
Ukraine scheme. This could affect Jay Sekulow`s ability to even appear as
the president`s lawyer in the Senate impeachment trial so this is really
Let`s listen to what Lev Parnas said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Did you ever have any communications with the counsel to the
president, Jay Sekulow, during the time that you were involved in all this?
PARNAS: Several conversations. One, in particular, which I would have to
refresh my memory by looking at my text messages with him and but had to do
with, I think it was Viktor Shokin`s visa, or something to do with Ukraine
and Rudy was busy at the time and basically told me that Jay was aware of
everything, he brought him up to speed, and that I could call him and he
was on top of it.
MADDOW: By that, did he mean that Mr. Sekulow was aware of this effort to
try to get Ukraine to announce investigations?
PARNAS: Oh, absolutely. One of the things I think was the best quotes
ever, was when Mr. Sondland said, “everybody was in the loop.” And –
MADDOW: You believe that everybody was in the loop?
PARNAS: I don`t believe. I know.
PARNAS: I know they were in the loop. I was witness to conversations and,
you know, between them and everybody was in the loop. Everybody didn`t
agree with the loop, I mean, Jay Sekulow didn`t agree with what Rudy was
going, but he knew what he was doing.
MADDOW: How do you know that he didn`t agree with it?
PARNAS: Because I heard them talk about it.
MADDOW: What was his objection?
PARNAS: He didn`t want to be involved in the Ukraine stuff. He – I don`t
know what his – you`d have to ask him what his – but my feeling from the
conversations and watching the way Jay approached that situation was he
just didn`t want to be a part of it, wanted to stay away from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joyce Vance, if this were a criminal trial, there`s to question
that the prosecution would want to call Jay Sekulow as a witness and say,
what did Rudy Giuliani tell you about what he and the president were doing
with Ukraine? Also want to ask Jay Sekulow, what didn`t you like about it?
According to witness, Parnas, he says you didn`t like it and disapproved of
What does this do to Jay Sekulow`s ability to appear as counsel in this
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, it`s a terrible idea to be a
lawyer in a case where you`re also a witness, right? There are ethical
Impeachment is a little bit different. It`s not a criminal trial. I think
if I was Sekulow, I`d be calling the state that I`m barred in and asking
the folks at the bar for advice about whether or not I can ethically do
this. His license to practice law could be at risk if he makes the wrong
But stepping back from just that raw requirement of what they`ll let you
do, a lawyer with good sense in this situation would withdraw from the
representation, would not participate in the impeachment trial. It`s just
too ethically challenging.
O`DONNELL: And, John, the Lev Parnas – to call it a can of worms, it is a
– it is just a gigantic bucket of worms.
HEILEMANN: More than a can. More than a can.
O`DONNELL: Every minute Rachel has with him in effect a new name comes up.
You go, he should be a witness. I didn`t think Jay Sekulow should be a
witness until I heard that.
HEILEMANN: Yes, it`s true. Look, I mean, I think it`s one of the things
about fixers and henchmen, right? A guy like this who really was the sharp
end of the spear and integrated in this very tight, relatively tight unit
of people who knew what was going on in what John Bolton referred to as a
I keep coming back to that, because, you know, you got Rachel asking Lev
Parnas why does Sekulow not want to be involved in this? Because most smart
lawyers don`t want to be involved in a drug deal. They get that.
And when you`re the central henchman in the operation, this guerilla
operation, Rudy Giuliani is running it, this is a small group communicating
with you, you`re going to know about a lot of the communications. You`re
going to know who knew what. In a lot of these cases, you`ll occasionally
hear him qualify and say, he must have known or I would have assumed he`d
But in most of the cases, this guy has a pretty decent sense of the chess
board here. And who`s – who are – so, he is the treasure map. I`m using
all kinds of metaphors. He`s, what you would want to do if you were a
prosecutor in this case, assuming Joyce will agree with me that I know this
much, is that guy is the guy who you sit down with and say, let`s talk
about every name we think is of interest here, tell us what you know about
that person and his connection to these activities and you`d have a lot to
work with there.
O`DONNELL: And, Joyce, frequently in those situations you end up with much
more important witnesses than Lev Parnas because he says, well, behind that
door over there is John Bolton and he`s telling Rachel, as we`ll hear
later, that Donald Trump told John Bolton to fire the ambassador and Bolton
didn`t do it.
VANCE: That`s right. He`s a roadmap. Whatever else he might be, he`s a
great roadmap to investigators of everybody that they need to talk to. All
of the documents that they need to look at.
I sort of like having witnesses like Parnas. Used to when I was a
prosecutor for this reason. I didn`t pick them as the prosecutor, right?
The defendant picks those witnesses.
This is who Donald Trump picked to tell part of his story. The American
people should hear it.
O`DONNELL: I want to show one part of Parnas which is the biggest reason
that the Republicans who don`t take their oath seriously will not want to
hear from him and that`s Lev Parnas saying Joe Biden did nothing wrong.
That is the testimony that the Rand Pauls and the McConnells do not want to
hear. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PARNAS: When I was in the middle of the thick of things, I think was kind
of – I keep saying it`s like a cultish environment being around President
Trump because, I mean, like, I`ve been in D.C. for two years. I`ve never
left the Trump Hotel type of a situation.
So I truly believed seeing different information that was handed to us at
that time that Joe Biden was doing something illegal, not so much Hunter
Biden, but more Joe Biden. But after analyzing all the evidence and sitting
back and really, what`s it called, understanding what`s going on, I don`t
think – I don`t think Vice President Biden did anything wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Those Republicans don`t want to hear that.
HEILEMANN: They do not, and this is the guy, right, whose job it was to
either find or manufacture or stitch together the evidence that would prove
as a political matter from Donald Trump`s point of view that Joe Biden did
That guy has no legal standing. We know he – again, would say anything to
save his skin. This is an opinion, not a fact point, that are more
valuable. But as a piece of dicta, the kind of thing you just don`t want to
hear from the guy who`s seen it all –
HEILEMANN: – dug in every dirty hole, looked in every crevice with the
miner`s hat on, he comes back and says, nah, nothing there. Not great.
O`DONNELL: There`s no Republican who has more information on what Hunter
Biden did in Ukraine –
O`DONNELL: – or what Joe Biden did in Ukraine than Lev Parnas does.
O`DONNELL: If they did, they`d be out there running around with it and
he`s saying, did nothing wrong. Joyce Vance, John Heilemann, thank you for
starting off our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.
When we come back, professor Laurence Tribe will join us. He says that the
Senate must call witnesses. And the chief justice who`s presiding over that
Senate trial learned his constitutional law from professor Laurence Tribe.
O`DONNELL: After Rachel`s interview last night, here`s what Donald Trump
said about Lev Parnas today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t know him at all.
Don`t know what he`s about. Don`t know where he comes from. Know nothing
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Of course, Lev Parnas told Rachel about being at dinner with
President Trump in the interview segments that were used tonight and
President Trump actually ordering the firing of Ambassador Yovanovitch at
that dinner and he told Rachel about several other times he`s been with
So that obviously is not true. And if President Trump were a witness in the
impeachment trial, that would be proven to be not true.
Tonight, Lev Parnas explained to Rachel why he didn`t testify in the House
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PARNAS: I was brought in to John Dowd`s house and we – he got Jay Sekulow
on the phone and also Rudy and Victoria and then basically they came up
with a situation that said that because I worked for Rudy and because I
worked for Victoria and because Rudy worked for the president, we had
three-way privilege and that basically Pat Cipollone was going to be
writing a letter to Congress telling them that nobody`s cooperating and
that would protect us under the same order and he would follow up with
Again, this was the president of the United States, so, I mean, I thought,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe taught constitutional law
to chief justice John Roberts when Roberts was a Harvard Law school
In an op-ed piece for the “Boston Globe” yesterday, professor Tribe wrote:
Senators who take seriously the solemn oath that Chief Justice John Roberts
will administer to them at the outset of the forthcoming impeachment trial
cannot in good conscience, whatever the political fallout, vote not to hear
and see all the evidence that would shed light on whether and how this
president abused the powers entrusted to him by the American people.
Joining us now is Laurence Tribe, Harvard law professor, professor of
constitutional law. He`s the co-author of “To End a Presidency: The Power
Professor Tribe, we just heard Lev Parnas in that segment of the interview
explain why he did not testify to the House investigation because the Trump
lawyers told him he was part of the privilege that the president was
exercising because he worked for Rudy Giuliani and Rudy Giuliani worked for
the president, he didn`t have to testify.
What does that do to the case now for calling witnesses in the Senate
LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Well, it really makes the case
overwhelmingly powerful. Just take the example of Lev Parnas. This is a guy
who is at the heart of everything. If you doubt his truth, call him and
cross examine him, but he`s involved not only in the shakedown of Ukraine
but also in the president`s obstruction of Congress. We just heard him
explain why he did not testify, although he would have wanted to, during
the House investigation.
You know, nobody expects senators to have a completely blank mind. They
have preferences. They know who they would like to see come out on top, but
that doesn`t mean that they are free to take a solemn oath. To do impartial
justice and then shut their eyes, shut their ears, refuse to listen to
obviously relevant facts, whether it`s from Bolton or Parnas or, perhaps,
as we now know, maybe Rick Perry or Mulvaney or Pompeo.
There are a great many people that anyone who actually is trying to get to
the truth would have to listen to. And so the question of not listening to
witnesses is really off the table at this point.
You know, it was a solemn occasion that we watched today. There was silence
in the room. And in the sounds of silence maybe some of these senators will
find a conscience and actually listen. It`s very different from the bluster
and the cacophony and the clownishness that we sometimes witness on the
floor of the House and sometimes the Senate. So they have to listen to
O`DONNELL: What do you expect, what are you hoping to see, in your former
student presiding over this trial, Chief Justice Roberts?
TRIBE: Well, he was very smart. He`s very thoughtful. He cares about the
If he is asked to issue a subpoena, I think he will use his power to do it.
He will at least rule, if the evidence is relevant, that it ought to be
heard, but he knows he can be overruled by a majority of the Senate. What
I`m wondering is what will happen, and I don`t think I had this
hypothetical in class when he was my student, what will happen if 50
senators vote to hear Parnas and 50 vote not to hear him? Or 50 vote to
hear Bolton and 50 vote to treat him as completely irrelevant and
everything he has to say as privileged?
That point, if Chief Justice Roberts follows the precedent of Justice
Chase, the chief justice in the Andrew Johnson trial, he will break the
tie. In fact, he will have no choice because the vice president who
ordinarily breaks ties is not allowed to take part in an impeachment trial
of the president.
What I would hope that this chief justice will do is indicate when a motion
is made to hear a witness that his inclination is to search for the truth.
He could just punt. He could say, I`m not going to rule, I`m going to turn
it over to the floor, but if he does that and doesn`t indicate which way he
would go, there`s a chance of a 50/50 tie and then he`ll have no choice.
But I think he is going to give a sense of solemnity not just in terms of
decorum but in term what`s really at stake to these proceedings, and I may
be an eternal optimist, but I want to believe that even some of these
senators who think they`ve made up their mind, who think they have to vote
a certain way if they want to get re-elected, will realize that there are
sometimes more important things than their immediate political future, if
they have a future in history to worry about.
O`DONNELL: Well, it is a very interesting possibility with the tie vote
which is that if the chief justice decides to rule, let`s say Chuck Schumer
gets up and makes a motion for subpoenaing John Bolton, and if the chief
justice rules in favor of that subpoena and then a Republican senator tries
to overturn it with a vote, if that vote is a 50/50 tie, then the chief
justice`s ruling will stand because a 50/50 tie does not change. No action
can be taken by the Senate on a tie vote. So the chief justice –
O`DONNELL: – would in effect win that ruling. There`s so much that we`ve
never seen before that we might see in this trial. We`re going to need you
for much of it.
Professor Laurence Tribe, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it.
TRIBE: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, a juror, a new juror, who took her oath
as a juror today, Senator Amy Klobuchar will join us. We`ll ask her whether
she now thinks Lev Parnas should be on that witness list in the Senate.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rick Perry is back in tonight`s interview
with Lev Parnas. Rachel brought out Rick Perry`s involvement in what the
Trump administration was trying to do in Ukraine. Here is what Lev Parnas
told Rachel tonight about Rick Perry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Mr. Giuliani told Secretary Perry, what you need
to convey to the Ukrainian government is that they need to announce an
investigation into Joe Biden.
LEV PARNAS, INDICTED GIULIANI ASSOCIATE: Absolutely.
MADDOW: Do you know if part of the message that Mr. Giuliani conveyed to
Secretary Perry was also that Ukraine would lose their military aid, they
would lose their U.S. aid, if they didn`t announce those investigations?
PARNAS: I don`t recall them having a specific conversation about that. It
was more of just telling him what he needs to do to announce it. I don`t
know what other conversation they could have had prior or after. But I know
that there was another conversation that Perry called after the
inauguration, telling him that he spoke to Zelensky and Zelensky is going
MADDOW: Perry says I spoke with Zelensky and I got him to agree.
MADDOW: I got him to agree to announce the investigation?
PARNAS: Yes. And they did announce, but they didn`t announce that. See,
this was the whole key. They would constantly - every time somebody would
meet Zelensky they would, like, agree and then they would walk it back. So
they announced something about corruption, that he`s going to get
corruption, but that Giuliani blew his lid on that saying that`s not what
we discussed. That it wasn`t supposed to be corruption announcement. It has
to be about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and Burisma.
MADDOW: He said the name, Biden, needs to be spoken, was his insistence.
PARNAS: Always. always.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Senator Amy Klobuchar. She is now a
candidate for President of the United States and a juror. We all watched
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: –this oath taking today, and it`s - it`s unlike - I saw this
once before in the Senate, so it`s been - I got to say, that kind of
silence, that kind of solemnity, when I worked there had a real effect in
the room. What was it like for you?
KLOBUCHAR: It was a very serious moment, and people were respectful. People
stood for the Chief Justice. And then in groups of four, by alphabetically
order, we went up and signed the book to show that we had actually taken
this oath as a record of the oath. And I hope that all my colleagues take
this very seriously. We have to get to the bottom of this. This is a trial.
And when there`s a trial, there`s witnesses. And that is one of the things,
as I looked over to my Republican colleagues, you talk here and there and a
few of them have put out signals publicly that they`re open to witnesses. I
don`t know how you have a trial if you don`t have witnesses.
And, I mean, one of the counts that we will be looking at is obstruction of
Congress with the whole idea, when you look at the - when you read the
count - is the fact that this administration is, the first time in history,
has literally blocked people from testifying. Blocked documents that people
And so, As I said at the debate the other night in Iowa, you may as well
give him a crown and a scepter and just call him king if you`re not going
to do your constitutional duty. So, I`m hoping everyone had that moment to
sit back, whatever their predispositions are, and think about what this is.
It`s a trial and we should look at evidence.
O`DONNELL: We just had a former federal prosecutor at the beginning of this
discussion tonight, talk about how it`s witnesses like Lev Parnas, in her
experience in prosecutions, who lead you to the doors that you should open.
Doors like Rick Perry.
John Bolton, we already knew about, but we learned more from Lev Parnas
that Donald Trump told John Bolton to fire the ambassador and John Bolton
refused to do it. Would like to hear john Bolton`s version of that. He`s on
your witness list already.
KLOBUCHAR: He is.
O`DONNELL: What about Rick Perry when you hear Lev Parnas saying Rudy
Giuliani told Lev Parnas that he told Rick Perry - Rick Perry is the person
who knows the answer to those.
KLOBUCHAR: And actually the Department of Energy is one of the agencies
mentioned. When you look at the report that we got today from the Inspector
General where they have said that there is a legal issue here, that the
Trump administration violated the law.
They`re a nonpartisan agency and not providing this information and
blocking the money from going to Ukraine and not following the rules of
informing Congress. And then you look at the counts of the indictment, and
there you have blockage again of information going to Congress. It just
And one of those agencies is the Department of Energy and one of the people
that we would like to hear from, of course, is the Secretary of Energy and
that`s Rick Perry. And I thought that Rachel`s point was very good.
It would take a long time to parse through all of the - all of the bits of
the interview there, and I would love to get to the bottom of it as a
former prosecutor and we should. But at least we should be getting to the
principles - the principles that have the information.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, as it is, Chuck Schumer only asked for four
witnesses, John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney; and then Michael Duffy, an OMB
official; Robert Blair, a white house official. But when you listen to Lev
Parnas, it seems to me that Lev Parnas should be at least deposed.
O`DONNELL: And could easily be deposed over the course of this weekend. And
see when he`s under oath and he`s challenged and deposition needs–
O`DONNELL: –lawyers from both sides.
O`DONNELL: Let him be challenged by the other side and see what happens.
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, and I think Senator Schumer said he didn`t rule that out
today. But the point is, right now they aren`t giving us any witnesses and
I think the more this information comes forward, everything from the
Inspector General`s report to what we heard in this interview, to the
information that just keeps coming at us that we already had from the
House, it is outrageous that we are not getting a trial yet.
And my colleagues - I look across from, literally a few yards away, this is
their moment to decide. And at the same time, you have the press being
blocked out from certain parts of this and a whole bunch of bad stuff going
on that doesn`t feel like it`s a fair trial.
O`DONNELL: The Republicans - some Republicans are saying, well, if you get
John Bolton or anyone then we want Hunter Biden. Would you make that deal?
We just heard Lev Parnas say Hunter Biden did nothing wrong.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, irrespective of what Mr. Parnas said, I think it`s pretty
clear that the witnesses we want are the witnesses that have evidence about
what happened here, which is a president that made a call to a foreign
leader, trying to get dirt on an opponent. And we want to hear all the
details about exactly what happened to make a determination.
O`DONNELL: You`re going to be in the Senate trial, you`re trying to run a
presidential campaign at the same time. It`s going to start Tuesday. They
might have Saturday sessions. You just had kind of a surge in the polls in
New Hampshire. you`re up to, what?
KLOBUCHAR: 10 points.
O`DONNELL: You`re running closer to Elizabeth Warren than before. She`s
about 14, you are 10. So New Hampshire closes that way. But you need to be
in New Hampshire. Is there a plan? Do any of you senators running for
president have plan?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, I have the most endorsements of elected and
former elected legislators in Iowa than anyone on the race. Those people
are on the ground. They`re there for me. And I think they understand that,
and all the supporters of the senators who are in the trial understand they
got to stand up for us. Because we have a constitutional duty, and everyone
that`s voting in those four early states get that it is - would be wrong to
not be there.
And so that means we can`t be at every house party, then someone else will
be there, including my husband and daughter who are going to be out for me
this week and including people that know me well. The Governor of
Minnesota, the Lieutenant Governor who`s the highest ranking American-
Indian elected to any office in the country is coming down for me to Iowa.
And so I will have those people there for me. I trust them to do their
jobs, and we are on a surge and I`m not going to be stopped simply because
I have a duty to do. And we felt good about the debates. We`ve been raising
more money and we`re clearly on the up. And to have a poll like that in New
Hampshire, which borders two of my opponent states, that`s something.
O`DONNELL: You`re not just a member of the opposing party of this president
who`s on trial. You`re also a presidential candidate seeking to defeat him
in November. How can you assure this country that you will be impartial as
the - according to the oath you took today?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I am someone that while I`ve said it`s impeachable
conduct, which is very clear what that means, which is the House should
have gone forward with the impeachment, which they did, I have said I will
listen to the evidence for these two counts. Obviously, to me, the evidence
seems strong from my former life in the criminal justice system, and this
is not a criminal trial.
But I look at things. I was involved in the last impeachment trial of a
federal judge. But you never know what you hear and see, and I hope my
colleagues feel the same way. That we have a duty to listen to this
evidence. We`re not going to have any cell phones in there. We`re not going
to have any VIZIO (ph) - laptops, nothing.
We are going to be writing notes on pieces of paper and listening to the
evidence. This is our moment to do that and hopefully people will search
deep in their souls, why are we here? Why are we in the Senate? Why do we
have a constitution? Why do we have a democracy? It`s our job. We are 100
jurors, yes, but we are representing the people of this country.
O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much–
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: –for joining us on this important night.
KLOBUCHAR: It`s great to be on.
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: And when we come back, we have more from Lev Parnas tonight. New
information that he gave Rachel Maddow in tonight`s interview.
O`DONNELL: Why did they want her fired? Why did Rudy Giuliani and Lev
Parnas want the Ambassador to Ukraine fired? Why did they need that? Lev
Parnas explained that to Rachel Tonight. He explained the reason they
needed Ambassador Yovanovitch to be fired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: On march 22nd, Mr. Lutsenko texts you in Russian, and there`s a
translation that`s provided by the committee. It says, “It`s just that if
you don`t make a decision about madam, you are bringing into question all
my allegations including about B.” So when he says “madam” is he talking
PARNAS: Ambassador Yovanovitch.
MADDOW: Ambassador Yovanovitch.
MADDOW: And when he says “all my allegations about b.”
MADDOW: Is that about Burisma or Biden?
MADDOW: OK. And is it - do you know if it`s Burisma or Biden? I guess, it
could be either.
PARNAS: It was always Biden. Burisma was - it was just - I mean, nobody
cares about Burisma or Zlochevsky. It was the - the concern was Biden,
MADDOW: In that text message to you is Mr. Lutsenko saying to you in
effect, listen, if you want me to make these Biden allegations, you have to
get rid of the ambassador.
MADDOW: And he said - was he threatening that if you didn`t get rid of the
ambassador, he might withdraw his Biden allegation?
PARNAS: He actually did. He withdrew then several times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Matt Miller, the former Spokesperson
for Attorney General Eric Holder; and Ned Price, a former Cia Analyst and a
former Senior Director and Spokesperson for the National Security Council
in the Obama Administration. They are both MSNBC Contributors. And, Ned, we
now know according to that testimony why they wanted the ambassador fired.
NED PRICE, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: We do, and it wasn`t because
she was not sufficiently loyal to President Trump or she was bad mouthing
him, she was saying that he was going to be impeached. So her embassy need
not listen to instructions from Washington.
In fact, it was another pretty naked quid pro quo and it wasn`t pretty
naked, it was entirely naked. It was a brute-force quid pro quo. If the -
if she were removed from the picture the then-Prosecutor General of Ukraine
would be able to move forward offering this information on Biden.
It had nothing to do with corruption generally, with anti-corruption goals
in Ukraine specifically. It had everything to do with Biden. It had
everything to do with a tit for tat that was essentially the Ukrainians
trading her for information that President Trump and his allies and his
defenders and his cronies wanted on Hunter Biden and his father.
O`DONNELL: So, Matt, if this testimony is true, if Lev Parnas` testimony
could hold up in what he just said there to Rachel, this is like another
article of impeachment. This is President Trump actually paying a bribe,
the bribe being a firing, paying it to this Ukrainian, so that Ukrainian
would then go out and say negative things about joe Biden.
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, that`s exactly right.
And I think Ned nailed it, which is another quid pro quo. We`ve actually in
the course of this investigation seen three quid pro quos.
There`s, of course, the one we spent most the time talking about, whether
president was trying to leverage aid to get the investigation launched.
There is this new trade where they were trying to get information out of a
former corrupt prosecutor of Ukraine in exchange for getting rid of
And then there was another one where they were trying to affect the
dropping of charges against this corrupt Ukrainian oligarch, Firtash, in
exchange for him turning over aid. So you see all throughout where the
president has one goal and only one goal and that`s to manufacture dirt on
Joe Biden. And his people are trying to use all the levers of the United
States government, no matter no matter what they are, and no matter the
O`DONNELL: Matt Miller, and Ned Price were jam for time tonight. Thank you
very much for joining us. We really appreciate it. And when we come back,
Lev Parnas on the Trump hotel.
O`DONNELL: Today, Donald Trump said that he doesn`t know Lev Parnas at all.
And so tonight Lev Parnas told Rachel Maddow about one of the many times
that he was in a small dinner. This one of six people with Donald Trump.
And Lev Parnas in that dinner actually talked to Donald Trump into firing
the American Ambassador in Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PARNAS: Basically at that dinner we had a conversation. It was six of us
there into the dinner.
MADDOW: at the White House?
PARNAS: It was - no, it was at the Trump Hotel, but it was a private like
area there. Looks like a little white house.
MADDOW: And the President was there?
PARNAS: Oh, absolutely yes. The president was there. His son Don Jr. was
there. I don`t know how the issue is - the conversation came up. But I do
remember me telling the president that the ambassador was bad mouthing him
and saying that he was going to get impeached — something to that effect.
And at that point, he turned around to John DeStefano who was his aide at
the time and said, fire her. And we all - there was a silence in the room.
And he responded to him said, Mr. President, we can`t do that right now,
because Pompeo hasn`t been confirmed yet. That Pompeo was not confirmed yet
and we don`t have — this is when Tillerson was gone, but Pompeo wasn`t
So they go, we`ll wait till this (inaudible). So several conversations, he
mentioned that again and again. I don`t know how many times at that dinner
- once or twice or three times. But he fired her several times.
MADDOW: He reiterated that she should be fired and that he was ordering her
to be fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann is back with us. And today, of course, President
Trump said - this is what he said word-for-word about Lev Parnas. “I don`t
know him at all. Don`t know what he`s about. Don`t know where he comes
from. I know nothing about him.”
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Never met him.
O`DONNELL: Never met him.
HEILEMANN: Barely know him.
O`DONNELL: Just had dinner with him–
HEILEMANN: Yes, well, he says–
O`DONNELL: 2018 he starts, the firing of the ambassador.
HEILEMANN: Married with my daughter, barely know him - hardly. The one way
you know Donald Trump knows someone really well as if he says he`s never
met him and hardly knows him. I mean, there`s a long history of this. I
have to say, the best story that Lev Parnas told right there, if you`ve
ever spent any time with Donald Trump, which I have. That story has the
ring of truth.
It`s a kind of, I think, like Trump often he - something comes into his
head, he seizes on it. It gets stuck in his craw and he comes back to it
again and again. The thing where you heard Parnas say at one point, he
fired her three or four times and that dinner.
HEILEMANN: That is a thing that you hear from Trump associates all the
time. He repeats. He goes back to something again and again and again. And
you can imagine him, fire her - fire her– we can`t her. And in about 15
minutes later, we should fire that woman. That`s a very - has the ring of
O`DONNELL: And it turns out, Parnas goes in a longer piece of the interview
tonight - that was aired tonight by Rachel. To say that, Giuliani got Trump
to fire her several times over the course. That first one was 2018, so
right up through - over a year. And apparently he told Pompeo to fire her
and he didn`t. He told John Bolton to fire her and he didn`t. And he just
kept going with that. It`s amazing how long it took Donald Trump to get his
HEILEMANN: Yes, that`s thing as Trump of vindictiveness, vengeance and in
competence all married together. The other thing we talked earlier about
how he`s a roadmap, right - that Parnas?
HEILEMANN: It turns out this - the map that he`s the road door - or the
road that he`s the map to, goes back a lot longer than we thought. We of
think this is a scandal that just broke over the summer after the Mueller
report, but he was cleared from the - after Mueller`s testimony on Capitol
It turns out that this thing`s got, like, a deeper roots. And another
reason why we want to hear more from this guy is I think there`s a much
bigger story here.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And let`s listen to more of what he said about why he was
as quiet as he was for as long as he was. This is something he told Rachel
about his lawyers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Is the implication of this story of the lawyers that you feel that
people loyal to the president and close to the President were trying to
influence your defense and your case in a way that was against your
interests, but in the President`s interests?
PARNAS: Absolutely. I think they`re trying to keep me quiet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And he says that`s why he didn`t testify to the House
investigative committees. And here - and here are those people - the
Republicans saying, why would anyone listen to this guy who didn`t testify
in the investigation?
HEILEMANN: Yes. There`s a lot of a lot of circularity in the Republican
arguments about a lot of these things. Well, why didn`t the Democrats get
those first time? But they are not witnesses, they should have called them
and we hear this all the time. But that - there is, of course, a perfectly
logical explanation in his case.
And the story with him and the lawyers, we`re hearing, again, something
that bears a lot more investigation because there are a lot of ways in
which Donald Trump uses - pulls levers to try to influence people in ways
positive and negative. And this guy has been pulled and pushed in a lot of
ways by Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Where are you going to be next week, Washington or the campaign
trail? It`s tough?
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, thank you very much for joining us once again,
really appreciate it. That is tonight`s “Last Word”. “The 11th Hour with
Brian Williams” starts now.
Copyright 2020 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 content.>
Copyright 2020 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