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Sanders hospitalized for Heart Procedure. TRANSCRIPT: 10/2/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Guests: Elisabeth Bumiller, Carol Leonnig, Andrew Desiderio, ShaquilleBrewster, Catherine Lucey

-- I agree with you that that was a key moment.  I`m also eager to hear about the President`s deep and abiding concern about corruption in Russia, in the Philippines, in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in all these other countries he`s happy to deal with.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR:  And that is tonight`s LAST WORD.  "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts right now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight, unprecedented and unglued, swearing on social media, ranting in front of the cameras, at one point channeling a De Niro character.  The President losing his temper.  Takes wild swings at the media, the democrats and what appears to be his approaching impeachment.

The outburst followed an appearance by the guy the President really doesn`t like, Adam Schiff of California, who warns today that Democrats aren`t fooling around on impeachment and it sounds like more subpoenas are under way.

At the White House tonight, proof that Mike Pence can read the papers, a not so thinly veiled effort by his aides to keep him clear of the wreckage over Ukraine.  The problem with that is Mike Pence was also involved with Ukraine and the questions are mounting over what he knew and when he knew it.

But wait, there`s more.  Rudy Giuliani has been communicating with federal inmate, Paul Manafort, through an attorney on the topic of Ukraine.  All of it as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way on a Wednesday night.

And good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.  Day 986 of the Trump administration and the President is clearly deeply troubled by the escalating impeachment inquiry that`s headed his way.  We`ve seen him invoke coups and witch hunts and hoaxes just this week.  But today it all came out while the President of Finland was next to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We don`t call him shifty Schiff for nothing.  He`s a shifty, dishonest guy, who, by the way, was critical of the one of the great secretary of states.

He can`t -- you know, there`s an expression, he couldn`t carry his blank strap.  He should resign from office in disgrace and frankly, they should look at him for treason.

They`ve been trying to impeach me from the day I got elected.  I`ve been going through this for three years.  He either got it totally wrong, made it up or the person giving the information to the whistleblower was dishonest.  And this country has to find out who that person was, because that person is a spy, in my opinion.

Nancy Pelosi hands out subpoenas like -- you know, she has to approve it.  She hands out subpoenas like they`re cookies.  You want a subpoena?  Here you go, take them.

Believe it or not, I watch my words very carefully.  There are those who think I`m a very stable genius.  OK?  I watch my words very, very closely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  So before we heard that, Trump slammed the Democrats for, "wasting everyone`s time and energy on BS," the polite form of the word he used.  Tonight, there is new reporting on this story involving Trump`s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, because actually it`s been months since we heard his name.  He`s currently in the slammer as a federal inmate.

"The Washington Post" reports that Giuliani has told them that in recent months he`s, "consulted several times with Manafort through the federal prisoner`s lawyer in pursuit of information that would bolster his theory that the real story of 2016 is not Russian interference to elect Trump but Ukrainian efforts to support Hillary Clinton."  "The Post" adds that it`s all still about Mueller, "The alliance stems from a shared interest in a narrative that undermines the rationale for the special counsel investigation."

"The Post" also reports that Trump involved his Vice President in efforts to pressure the President of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.  But the paper says aides close to Pence, "insist that he was unaware of Trump`s efforts."

The piece goes on to say, "one of Pence`s top advisers was on the July 25th call and the Vice President should have had access to the transcript within hours."

Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that he was listening in on that same call.  First time we`ve heard him publicly address since the report surfaced that he had heard Trump`s -- heard the telephone conversation that Trump had with the President of Ukraine.  There is also new reporting on the whistle-blower`s efforts to get his concerns about Trump and Ukraine to Congress.

"The New York Times" writes House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff received an early account of the accusations against the President before the official whistleblower complaint was filed.  Indeed, it should be pointed out, whistleblowers often come to congressional committees first.

The whistle-blower in this case, "approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the CIA`s top lawyer.  The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff."

Schiff`s spokesman says the whistle-blower`s identity was never made known, that he was told to file his complaint through the proper channels and Schiff never saw the complaint in advance.

Here, however, is what Trump said when asked about this reporting on Schiff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  I think it`s a scandal that he knew before.  I go a step further.  I think he probably helped write it.  OK?  That`s what the word is.

It`s a scam.  It`s a scam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  Today, House Democrats said they would subpoena White House officials by Friday of this week if their demands for documents on Ukraine are not met.

And there was this warning to the administration from the aforementioned Adam Schiff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA, INTELLIGENCE CMTE. CHAIRMAN:  We`re not fooling around here.

They need to know even as they try to undermine our ability to find the facts around the President`s efforts to coerce a foreign leader to create dirt that he can use against a political opponent, that they will be strengthening the case on obstruction if they behave that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  Earlier today, Trump was asked by a Reuters reporter, Jeff Mason, to explain exactly what he wanted from the President of the Ukraine and it left us with this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF MASON, REUTERS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Mr. President, can you just make clear right here, what do you or what did you want President Zelensky to do with regard to Joe and Hunter Biden?

TRUMP:  What I was having a problem with are two things.  Number one, Ukraine -- before him, went to tremendous corruption, tremendous.  More than just about any country in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What about Mr. Biden?  What did you want about Biden?  What did you want him to look into about Biden?

TRUMP:  Look, Biden and his son are stone-cold crooked.

MASON:  The question, sir, what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter?

TRUMP:  Are you talking to me?

MASON:  Yes, it was just a follow-up of what I just asked you, sir.

TRUMP:  Listen, listen, are you ready?  We have the President of Finland.  Ask him a question.

I`ve given you a long answer.  Ask this gentleman a question.  Don`t be rude.

MASON:  No, sir, I don`t want to be rude.  I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked you.

TRUMP:  I`ve answered everything.  It`s a whole hoax.  And you know who is playing into the hoax?  People like you and the fake news media that we have in this country.  And I say in many cases the corrupt media, because you`re corrupt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  So, with the tip of that, to Martin Scorsese, we are under way.  Elisabeth Bumiller, aka, the boss, she happens to be Washington Bureau Chief for "The New York Times," Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent also with "The New York Times," Carol Leonnig Pulitzer Prize- winning Investigative Reporter for "The Washington Post" and Frank Figliuzzi, former Assistant Director of the FBI for Counterintelligence.  Good evening and welcome to you all.

And Elisabeth, I`d like to begin with you.  Given that you are in management at the paper and given that this is something we struggled with in our own newsroom today and tonight, how do you go about explaining a day like today?  It fits no known norms.  There`s no story file we can reach for.

And I know on the conference call every day, and every night, New York gives you a certain amount of space in the print edition and on the website.  How did you determine how to put what we witnessed today?

ELISABETH BUMILLER, THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  Well, thank you for asking that question.  There was a lot of discussion today.  I think one of the most extraordinary things I heard today before I completely answer your question is when the President said to Jeff Mason, are you talking to me?  I`ve never heard a President of the United States say that at a news conference.  Who else would Jeff have been talking to?

Nonetheless, it was a very confusing day.  There were developments very late into the evening.  Basically today was an escalation of the clash between the White House and Congress and, actually, the Trump administration and Congress.  What`s interesting or challenging about this situation is that it is a war on so many fronts.  It encompasses much of the federal government.  It encompasses the State Department, the White House, the Congress, the intelligence agencies.  The I.G.s for those agencies and it`s hard to keep track.

But basically what you see is the Trump administration fighting, you know, on multiple fronts against a very, very determined effort in Congress and a very fast-moving effort in Congress to hold the President account -- to account for the transcript of phone call that the White House itself put out.

WILLIAMS:  Carol Leonnig think about the names this has touched already.  Pence, Giuliani, much to his frustration, Manafort, I`m sure.  How do you determine where the floor is based on where we are?

CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL INVESTIGATIONS REPORTER:  Well, I couldn`t agree with Elisabeth more that it was quite a day.  There were so many stories.  It was hard to keep track of which one was the most important.  And so I think I`ll answer your question that way.

We have a President who said a series of epithets in social media that children can read.  He has made jokes about a blank strap and whether or not someone can carry it.  That`s an important story, the President sort of coarsening the national discussion.

The other really important story is that it appears that Pompeo, the Secretary of State and also the Vice President, were involved in this call.  And I interviewed several people who said that it would be really unusual for a secretary of state or a vice president to sit in on a call.  Their schedules don`t usually align enough for them to be able to be on any presidential congratulatory call to a foreign leader.  And that that signifies that this was not just important to the Vice President and his aides to go on that trip but also important to Pompeo to be on this call and, thus, important to the President.

WILLIAMS:  Frank Figliuzzi, we learned tonight that Rudolph Giuliani reportedly in touch through the required federal intermediaries given that one of them is in the slammer, with Paul Manafort over the origins of the Mueller investigation.  Anything to see here?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASSIST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE:  We reached the sad point where the President`s personal attorney is consulting with an imprisoned, convicted felon on some kind of bizarre strategy that wants us to look elsewhere, to create a bright, shiny object away from Russia and toward Ukraine as responsible for everything from hacking and social media propaganda to supporting Hillary Clinton.

The problem is that bright shiny object, Brian, is really just a mirror.  And the mirror reflects Vladimir Putin`s narrative that he wants them to spin, the narrative being that Russia did nothing wrong.  This is all about Ukraine.  The indictment of two dozen Russians, including 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking social media propaganda from the special counsel, that`s all wrong.  Don`t look there.  Nothing to see here.

We`re also hearing Vladimir Putin come to the defense of our President and say that a whistleblower complaint filed by a U.S. intelligence official is baseless.  So we`ve got an imprisoned felon and Vladimir Putin trying to help the President and Rudy Giuliani right in the middle.

WILLIAMS:  Peter Baker you, too, are a veteran journalist.  The three of you that have on this broadcast are consensus walk-on Hall of Famers and we are happy to have you.  Can you rank what you saw from this President with anything else in your repertorial memory?

PETER BAKER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  No not certainly with any president before him.  Obviously, I would start by saying that Jeff Mason, who you showed asking that question, is an all- star.  For heaven`s sake, that guy is the best in the business and he was very unflappable in the face of what can only be described as presidential intimidation.  And I think he was asking an important question.  And I think that he didn`t get the answer he was -- to the question he asked.  He stood there and held his ground until the President made clear he wasn`t going to ask his question.

And I think you saw a president today who is agitated, who is riled up, who is angry.  He thought that the threat had gone away with the Mueller investigation over the summer, with Mueller`s testimony not changing the political dynamics very much.  He thought the threat was gone and suddenly just like this in the last two weeks, basically, his world has changed, his political world is upside down.

But you also see a president who basically doesn`t yet have a strategy for fighting back other than himself.  He is a one-man war room at this point.  There is no operation around him, there is no strategy around him other than to support, you know, one president and his twitter feed.  And that, right now, is his defense.

His defense is offense.  It`s all about the other people.  It`s about the whistleblower.  It`s about Adam Schiff.  It`s about the democrats.  It`s about the media.  It`s about everything except for himself.

WILLIAMS:  Elisabeth, indeed, to Peter`s point, people who came up the traditional way in politics or covering politics look at this president, this West Wing and ask how can there not be an overarching strategy here?  How can there not be a rapid reaction show?

BUMILLER:  Well, the problem is, for them, is that they are divided about how much they should actually be doing and how serious the threat is there.  There`s also a lot of debate about who would run the war room.

And the President himself, as Peter said, has 65 million twitter followers.  He has the largest megaphone.  He is the most active.  And right now, he is the one that people pay attention to.  But I think, you know, that they don`t have -- there`s talk that the White House counsel, Mr. Cipollone would be, you know, would be taking charge of the impeachment inquiry.  They probably did not have enough lawyers in there for people.

But it`s kind of extraordinary.  We keep asking, what is the strategy, what is the strategy?  And we get back that there isn`t a lot of focus just yet.  What you see is what you get today, which is a very angry president, lashing out a number of times every day and then, of course, starting the tweets early in the morning and going till late at night.  And they`re getting more and more incendiary, the tweets we`ve seen.  Tweets about the civil war, about treason and then all sorts of profanity.

WILLIAMS:  Carol Leonnig, talk to us about your reporting around the records of just the Ukraine phone call thus far.  The President misspoke when he said we have a word for word recitation of that phone call.  We don`t.  It says on the declassified document that they gave us, it warns us that this is not a verbatim transcript of that call.  Specifically, is there reason for Democrats to fear that they`re going to get their hands on what they want that is also in that server because of its sensitivity?

LEONNIG:  You know, this is such a great mystery and yet it`s hiding in plain sight, Brian.  We`ve interviewed, you know, many, many, many people who handle the transcripts and the records, memorializing foreign leader calls with the President and it`s basically it breaks down like this.  Situation room, people in the White House, staff take a voice to text dictation.  So they have essentially created a word-for-word transcript.  It is sent around the White House after the call and it is edited for clarity usually, edited for care in getting the words right, the proper nouns, the spellings.

What the President may have inadvertently told us all is, there`s a word- for-word transcript for this, just as the whistleblower has said in his complaint.  There is a word-for-word transcript that we have not seen yet.  That seemed to be what the President was intimating.  The situation room document, we`ve not seen yet, and it would be really interesting if that were subpoenaed and we were able to view it.

WILLIAMS:  Frank, first of all, just as a point of order here, White House has stenographers throughout the building.  Usually the President doesn`t utter a word in front of witnesses without steno there.  Secondly, voice notes on your phone would suffice.

FIGLIUZI:  Well, the irony here, Brian, is that this is a complete abuse of the classification process.  So, the only halfway plausible defense they can make is we classify this thing at top secret compartmented because the President compromised himself in the conversation.

And, of course, you know, at that point, we`d say, well, it`s already out in public.  He has admitted to it.  So, declassify this document.  Let Congress see it.  It`s absolutely necessary.  And if there`s a fuller transcript, that needs to go to the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

WILLIAMS:  Peter Baker, a little bit lost in today is the fact that whistleblower`s -- and that is, of course, as we have learned is a term of art that has -- as part of it, confidentiality and the guarantee of protections.  Whistleblowers often come to congressional committees first, before they have done the rest of their due diligence.

The attacks on Schiff under way and already relentless -- I guess what I want to know from you is, do you think they`ll reach such a level as to really hamper his task, which, of course, I`m sure is the President`s goal?

BAKER:  Yes.  There`s something about Adam Schiff that has clearly gotten under the President`s skin.  He seemed to viscerally dislike him.  And he also -- just not that he is a convenient target, perhaps more useful to him politically than Nancy Pelosi.  Perhaps he has decided that Nancy Pelosi is not the one he wants to take after, whereas Adam Schiff is a better villain for his narrative.

You know he says for instance, the thing he has really seized on, he repeated it today, more than once, was that Adam Schiff misrepresented the nature of the call in a comment before the committee.  Well, Adam Schiff said before he made this comment, this is an essence of what the President was saying.  He was giving an interpretation of what the President is saying.  He made it very clear it wasn`t a word-for-word reading of the transcript.

But then the President said not only was it outrageous of him, it was a crime.  It was treason.  He should be arrested.  He should resign from office for the crime of putting words into the President`s mouth.

And then the President himself put words in Adam Schiff`s mouth, he said, Adam Schiff was clearly doing this because he said gosh, he did nothing wrong.  I mean, he, the President, did nothing wrong.  So he put words in Adam Schiff`s mouth that Adam Schiff, of course, didn`t say.  He does this all the time.

But when somebody like Adam Schiff does it, it`s a crime and should be punished by treason.  That`s because he likes these villains.  He likes to have somebody to playoff.  He likes to have somebody as an adversary that he can, you know, attack and go after, somebody to focus on, somebody to focus on his own energy on, and focus his supporters on.  Adam Schiff happens to be his number one choice of them all.

WILLIAMS:  Even at the end of another long day, our guests have all agreed to stay with us as we fit in a quick break here.

Coming up, we`ll show you how it happened today in a single instant when Vladimir Putin trolled our own correspondent, our President and all of us in the process.  THE 11TH HOUR is just getting under way on a Wednesday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS:  We mention this had before the break.  It`s not overstatement to put it this way.  We want to show you the moment today when the President of Russia trolled our own reporter, our President and all of us by extension.  Here was the scene, a conference in Moscow, moderated by our own veteran correspondent, Keir Simmons, who asked Putin through a translator about interference in our elections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIER SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Is Russia, as Robert Mueller alleged, attempting to influence the 2020 elections in the United States?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator):  I`ll tell you in a secret.  Yes, we will definitely intervene.  It`s a secret so that everybody can laugh and so we`d go big.  But don`t tell anyone, please.  Please don`t tell anyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  Also during that conversation, Putin said he would be fine with the White House releasing notes of his conversations with Trump during last year`s summit in Helsinki.  Until now, Moscow has been opposed to releasing conversations between the two leaders.

You may recall Putin met for the leader of our nation -- with the leader of our nation for two hours with just translators present.  So that`s reassuring.

Putin also today gave a full-throated defense of Trump on the whistleblower controversy that he faces.

Our guests remain here with us, Elisabeth Bumiller, Peter Baker, Carol Leonnig and Frank Figliuzzi.

Peter, having been stationed there in your career and lifetime, you know a thing or two about Putin and the Russians.  What was he up to there today?

BAKER:  Well, you know, it reminds us, of course, of when the President and President Putin met most recently in Osaka, Japan.  And President Trump say exact same thing.  A reporter ask him, well, sir, are you going to tell President Putin not to interfere in our next election?  And he turned to him and her sort of made a joke, her said, don`t transfer.  And they both laughed about it.  And you`re seeing President Putin laugh about it here.

And why not laugh?  If you`re President Putin, this has accomplished a lot of what you wanted.  You know, putting aside even who he wanted to be elected and the Intelligence Community has concluded they wanted President Trump to be elected.  They wanted to disrupt our democracy.  They wanted to disrupt our system.  They wanted us to cause doubt in our institutions and our leadership and here we are, at each other`s throat as a country.  And that`s almost exactly what Vladimir Putin would have wanted.

WILLIAMS:  So, Elisabeth, we`re looking at two leaders, disparate, though they might be with interlocked interest?

BUMILLER:  That`s right.  That`s right.  What`s it shows you was how much they`re in simpatico with each other.  You know, Putin was joking, and so was Donald Trump, about a major attack on our democratic system in 2016.  Let`s not forget that.

The other thing we need to remember is that when Putin met with Trump in Germany in 2017, they were alone, only with a translator, with an interpreter and Trump took the interpreter`s notes from that conversation.  They haven`t been seen since.  It`s very interesting that they just disappeared.  Those conversations are usually kept within the government and as records of history.  We don`t have that.  We don`t know what transpired between those two leaders in that private meeting.

WILLIAMS:  Frank, what do you make of the Putin we saw today?

FIGLIUZZI:  Yes, let`s be clear.  This was not some light hearted moment with Putin.  Putin is no prankster, that`s not his reputation.  What we were watching was the response of a trained veteran KGB officer to a question that made him very uncomfortable.

He chose to respond in humor, impart because of his discomfort with it.  But also, Brian, because if he chose to do an outright denial, no, Russia has intention of interfering with the 2020 election, he wouldn`t leave open the possibility that he might.  And that is to sow further doubt and discord in the outcome of the 2020 election.  He`ll never come out and say we won`t do it, because he wants us to think that he might and that he has if we don`t like the outcome of the 2020 election.

WILLIAMS:  Carol Leonnig, the President travels to Florida to an event, a Medicare event at the massive senior complex called The Villages.  I`m tempted to ask what could go long, but certainly he has every ability to give us a new lead story by tomorrow night.

LEONNIG:  I`m sure it will start tomorrow some time after 6:30 a.m. with a tweet.  I hope it doesn`t involve the word BS, but I imagine that there will be a lot of venting on the part of the President to let us all know that he`s a victim, he is unfairly being accused by Democrats and that this shadow has been over this President since he began and he is sick and tired of it.  I`m sure we`ll hear a lot of that.

WILLIAMS:  We`re much obliged to Elisabeth Bumiller, to Peter Baker, to Carol Leonnig, to Frank Figliuzzi for joining us.  Forgive me while I continue to deal with the plague.

Coming up, hours from now, House members will hear from a career diplomat who, because he`s now out of the State Department, could be one of their most important and candid witnesses on Ukraine.  Two veteran reporters sticking around to tell us what to expect, when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS:  So a big name in the whistleblower complaint will testify in front of Congress just hours from now actually.  According to the complaint it says, "On July 26, a day after the President`s call, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Kurt Volker", that`s the guy, "visited Kiev and met with Ukrainian President Zelensky about how to navigate the demands that the President had made".

Now this Volker is a longtime John McCain acolyte (ph) resigned on Friday, a day after the whistleblower complaint was made public.  Our former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine also scheduled to testify next week.  She was abruptly re-called in May and is also named in the whistleblower complaint.

So, we`ve got this two career diplomats who are going to be talking and coming up for us.  Two reporters, one on the White House beat, another covering Congress tell us what to watch for in this next, that`s when THE 11TH HOUR continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  We are proceeding deliberately, but at the same time we feel a real sense of urgency here that this work needs to get done and needs to get done in a responsible period of time.  We`re not fooling around here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  So having set the stakes, here with us tonight for a look at what`s still to come, this busy news week, Andrew Desiderio, Congressional Reporter for POLITICO and Catherine Lucey is here with us in the studio, White House Reporter now with The Wall Street Journal.  Welcome to you both.  Andrew, we`ll start with you.  What`s the chance that Pompeo`s resistance, his nervousness to, as they`re affectionately called in Washington, two career dips, career diplomats coming before Congress with really nothing to lose and no disincentive to not tell the truth?

ANDREW DESIDERIO, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO:  That`s exactly right.  And the suspicion among lawmakers and aides with whom I spoke today on Capitol Hill was that Kurt Volker resigned last week precisely so that he could, a, cooperate and, b, defend himself.  As you mentioned before, he was mentioned in the whistleblower complaint specifically with regard to a meeting he had with President Zelensky the day after Zelensky`s phone call with President Trump.  I suspect he wants to go in there and defend himself and tell his side of the story.

But not only is he showing up to Capitol Hill, Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled from Ukraine back here to Washington earlier in May, she`s also going to appear next week.  And it appears based on Secretary Pompeo`s letter yesterday that he doesn`t want any of them to testify, right?  So this is a show of resistance, I think, not just for Volker but also for Yovanovitch as lawmakers try to fully understand sort of the extent of Rudy Giuliani`s potential involvement with State Department officials and the allegations that he was sort of trying to leverage government officials and career government contacts really with Ukraine to try to dig up this dirt on Joe Biden of course on behalf of the President.

WILLIAMS:  So Catherine, we have the President doing a senior citizen event in Florida tomorrow.  We have these gentlemen on Capitol Hill.  By this time tomorrow night, we might know a lot concerning what aspects of foreign policy Rudy Giuliani was doing without portfolio overseas in a dicey area for us.  How goes the anti-impeachment effort as we might have more evidence and ammunition tomorrow?

CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:  Well, certainly, the President is getting out of town, which sometimes they try to do if they`re trying to change the subject.  The problem is keeping the President on message is never easy, as we all know.  So he`s supposed to go down to Florida, talk about health care.  It`s an event at the villages.

WILLIAMS:  Medicare.

LUCEY:  Medicare.  And he could talk about Medicare.  He could also talk about impeachment, as he has been doing for days.  And using words that I can`t use even on a 11:00 hour TV show, showing, venting his frustration.  I mean, the things we know today are that the Democrats and the White House are escalating.

Adam Schiff made it very clear today they are very serious.  They are going to do serious interviews with both of these officials.  They are going to push very hard for details on meetings with Zelensky, meetings -- conversations with Giuliani, any details about why the Ambassador was ousted.  And so they are proceeding on this track aggressively as the President is fighting back, increasingly wildly.

WILLIAMS:  Andrew, I`ll take one for the team here.  At this hour last night, our lead story was that all we knew was the State Department Inspector General had asked for an urgent meeting with congressional staff.  Then came the moment this afternoon, the meeting was over.  A member of Congress from Maryland, who was within his rights to attend, even though it was for staff, came out with a color photocopy of a fake White House envelope.  We`ll play what he said and then talk about it with you on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  It`s essentially a packet of propaganda and disinformation spreading conspiracy theories.  Those conspiracy theories have been widely debunked and discredited.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  So, Andrew, since then, Rudolph Giuliani, correct me if I`m wrong, has taken credit for delivering these documents to the White House, that then got them over to the State Department Inspector General.  Was this a total blowout today?  Again, it was our lead story last night, not knowing the contents of it.

DESIDERIO:  Right.  And talking to people who were in the briefing, Brian, I can tell you it was truly bizarre and confusing.  They were given these packets essentially of all of these documents, all these materials that essentially were an attempt to smear not only Marie Yovanovitch who I mentioned before as the former U.S. Ambassador of Ukraine but also to smear Joe Biden and Hunter Biden with unfounded conspiracy theories that Rudy Giuliani has been pushing over the last few week and behind the scenes, of course, over the last few months and throughout all of this year.

And talking to people who were in there, it was just interesting to hear their recollections of this.  It wasn`t technically a classified briefing.  They could talk about the information.  Obviously, you saw Congressman Raskin there holding up what appeared to be an 18th century style letterhead that said the White House on it.  Some of them said, you know, the folders were saying that they were from the Trump hotel, something like that.  It was truly a bizarre episode on Capitol Hill today.

But it really is, in terms of this investigation, it`s another data point that shows the extent to which Rudy Giuliani was trying to coordinate his efforts with the State Department as early as back in March, and April and May, which was when the State Department Inspector General was first informed that these documents and these packets were delivered to the State Department.

WILLIAMS:  And Catherine, in the walk and chew gum department, I need your help in telling our audience that this is the time to be alert.  We put together a few headlines of what else is going on.  Wall Street Journal, you may be familiar with, DOW Industrials drops as manufacturing data disappoints.  Factories had heir worst period in a decade, by the way.

The Agriculture Secretary has said there`s no guarantee small dairy farms are going to make it in this coming period.  And then North Korea fires missile days before resuming U.S. talks.  A major missile from a submarine base under the water that was given a very high trajectory, had it been flattened out, there`s no telling where it might reach.  All of this is going on at the same time.

LUCEY:  Well just because there`s an impeachment process going on doesn`t mean that the economy and farm policy and all these other things suddenly leave your plate.  Economic questions are very serious.  What`s happening with the agriculture sector, what`s happening with the Dow?  And this is something that`s a huge concern for the President and his advisers.  Because for months, we`ve seen their leading argument for reelection was a strong economy.

WILLIAMS:  The Trump economy.

LUCEY:  He was talking about this again today in the Oval, strong economy.

So if that goes away, that`s a real issue for this.  And it puts more pressure on, you know, is there a bigger incentive to get a trade deal with China, for example?  Do they feel they have to try and push to do some of these things to bolster confidence?  But that`s a big issue.

And the same -- He has sought to argue that, sort of having meetings with North Korea, having, you know, limits to testing with North Korea which increasingly are not the case.  He has had a farm policy victory.  And as time goes on it`s less and less clear that he is going to get a deal with North Korea.  I do wonder if they`ll going to try and, you know, set up another meeting or do more talks.  And so, that`s another thing that`s going to keep percolating.  It`s not going to let up just because he is fighting this front with Congress.

WILLIAMS:  The world we`re living in, in October of 2019.  With great thanks to Andrew Desiderio and Catherine Lucey for talking us through it tonight.

DESIDERIO:  Thank you.

WILLIAMS:  Coming up, the first big disruption in the 2020 Democratic field.  We`ll tell you about it if it involves that man.

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WILLIAMS:  We learned today that Senator Bernie Sanders was hospitalized last night after experiencing chest discomfort, that`s how they put it.  The 78-year old presidential candidate was discovered to have an artery blockage.  Doctors inserted two stents to open up the blood flow.  As surgeries go, thanks to the marvel of modern medicine, this one is considered relatively minor, considered noninvasive, the recovery is very quick.  For starters, patients usually feel much better right away.

The underlying problem was no less serious, however, and in the days before stents, it was life threatening in some cases.  All of Sanders` campaign events have been canceled until further notice.  Earlier today, the Senator said he was feeling good, thanked everyone for their well wishes and added, "None of us knows when a medical emergency might affect us and no one should fear going bankrupt if it occurs", Bernie Sanders told.

And for more, we are joined here by NBC News Campaign Reporter, Shaquille Brewster who has been covering the Bernie Sanders campaign.  Thank you for coming in off the road.  Welcome.  I imagine this was a big surprise.

SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, REPORTER, NBC NEWS:  It was a big surprise and it`s clear that it surprised a lot of his staff in terms of how this came about and how his chest discomfort and hospitalization affected the campaign.  What we know is that, first, Jane Sanders, who is not always on the campaign trail with him, flew out and is now in Vegas with him, in the Vegas area.  She is now taking -- she`s with him, and as he`s resting, he`s now off the campaign trail for several days.

But we also know that he was having a campaign event.  He was having a grassroots fundraiser.  Obviously, his campaign just yesterday announced that big fundraising haul.  It`s interesting so see how this takes attention away from that.  But he was having a grassroots fundraiser.

And something interesting at that fundraiser is at times he leaned on the podium a little bit.  And he, at one point, asked for a chair, asked to sit down, which I cover Sanders all the time on the road, that`s completely unusual for him to do.  He`s someone who, even if that there`s seats around, he tries to stand up and engage with people and have that interaction.  So his campaign events have been canceled.  He`s off the road for a little bit, his appearances have been canceled.

And his ad buy, he had this $1.3 million ad buy in the state of Iowa that came off that news of the fundraising numbers that he had, the campaign has postponed that ad buy.  And we`re kind of seeing this campaign in pause right now as we watch to see how long this is going to impact -- how long he`s going to be off the trail, and how long this is going to impact him.

WILLIAMS:  Obviously on a personal level we hope for nothing more than his complete and full recovery.  There`s no reason to believe this will be anything.  But, I know a lot of guys who`ve had the stents, the journalists and surgeons and firefighters, the following is not ageism.  He is 78.  Campaigns are a rough and brutal business.

BREWSTER:  Right.

WILLIAMS:  This can`t be a great look optically.  And I`m looking at the Monmouth poll, Warren, Biden, then Sanders, then Mayor Pete.  This is the height of the battle in our new accelerated primary schedule.

BREWSTER:  That`s exactly right, and that Monmouth poll last month showed essentially a three-way tie between Vice President Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Bernie Sanders.  Now we`re seeing, in that poll, Senator Sanders dropping a little bit.  Elizabeth Warren now leading Biden, still in that margin of error, so you can`t read too much into that at this point.  But you`re seeing some separation in the field there.  And this cannot come at a worse time for him.  When people, at least the narrative is that he`s losing momentum, that people are questioning his candidacy and the excitement around his candidacy.

I will say one thing to watch, especially now is that many voters on the campaign trail do bring up his health as an issue, or his age, excuse me, bring up his age, as an issue.  He`s one of the older candidates in the race.  Just turned 78 last month.  And there`s a question of, is he too old?  And when you have candidates like Elizabeth Warren who represent and kind of agree with him ideologically, have that parity there, are voters going to now see this news and say, hey, this is someone I can have the same policies that I would in Bernie Sanders with a younger candidate, someone who`s newer on the scene, and someone who is not battling now this health issue.

WILLIAMS:  An important point to make and one we`re hearing in the coverage after all.  Our thanks to Shaquille Brewster, known to his friends around here as Shaq Brewster.  We appreciate it, great to see you.

Coming up, the President`s anti-impeachment brain trust may be small, but it`s loud.  Every American ought to see this performance.  Our viewers will when we come back.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Believe it or not I watch my words very carefully.  There are those that think I`m a very stable genius, OK?  I watch my words very, very closely.

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WILLIAMS:  Last thing before we go here tonight, if you`re old enough to remember, then you remember when, we, Americans really had reason to fear that our President was unbalanced.  It was on August 9th of `74, Nixon`s farewell.  The day he passed the presidency to Gerald Ford.  He was sweaty and exhausted and he was crying as he talked about the death of his brothers from tuberculosis, and as he called his own mother a saint.

Fast forward to now and it`s been said in all kinds of different ways that we`ve never had a president talk like this one or act like this one.  It is indeed hard to imagine Gerry Ford or Barack Obama swearing on social media as our President did today.  It`s all still brand-new territory.  And yet just today, people in responsible positions started using words like unhinged and unglued.  And here now some examples from just today of why they said that.

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TRUMP:  I watch my words very, very closely.  And I hear about the word impeachment.

How can you impeach somebody on that conversation?

A beautiful conversation.

And it was a great conversation.

And it was 100 percent.

The call was perfect.  A perfect conversation.  I heard Rick Scott today say that was a perfect conversation.  In fact, Lindsey Graham said, I didn`t know you could be so nice.  It was perfect.

This is a hoax.  This is the greatest hoax.  It`s a whole hoax.  It`s corrupt and it`s fake.

I don`t even use fake anymore.

It`s a scam.  It`s a scam.  The whole thing is a scam.  It was so evil.

When little Adam Schiff saw the text, when he read it, he couldn`t believe it.  Shifty Schiff who should resign.  We don`t call him shifty Schiff for nothing.  He`s a shifty dishonest guy.  He`s a low life.

I think he had some kind of a mental breakdown.  Now look at Nancy Pelosi.  She hands out subpoenas like they`re cookies.  You want a subpoena?  Here you go, take them, like they`re cookies.  But we`re having a lot of wins.  He said, wow.  I said, whoa.

You know, there`s an expression, he couldn`t carry his blank strap.  My favorite word, reciprocity.  A moat, whatever that is.  It`s not a word I use, but they used it.  A moat.

I say bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Don`t be rude.

But you people should be ashamed of yourselves.  And you should be ashamed to yourselves.  OK, I think I`ve answered most of your questions.

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WILLIAMS:  Our President, from just today.  And that is our broadcast for tonight.  Thank you for being here with us and good night from NBC News headquarters here in New York.

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