IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump under fire as Congress confronts him. TRANSCRIPT: 10/16/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Guests: Peter Baker, James Stavridis, Berit Berger, Jill Colvin

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

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight the blowup at the White House.  The photo shows the speaker standing up to the President right before she walked out, saying Trump had a meltdown, indicating the already isolated President is not well.

For his part the President insulted and diminished the Kurds who fought and died alongside Americans.  The same Kurds who are now on the run and being killed by the Turks because of Trump`s actions.  And along the way he also managed to insult General James Mattis.

Meantime, in Congress the impeachment inquiry is moving fast.  Another insider spoke up today.  Another Rudy associate was arrested today as the heat is now on Trump`s friend and lawyer.

And the letter proudly released by Trump today that people just assumed was a fake.  All of it as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way on a Wednesday night.

Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.  And this indeed was day 1,000 of the Trump administration.  And tonight by all accounts an increasingly isolated President facing furious pushback from Congress is looking very much to preserve, protect, and defend his friendships and alliances in his own party.

Trump`s effort to stonewall the impeachment inquiry took another hit today with testimony from only the latest veteran State Department official to appear before House investigators.  Michael McKinley, who quit his job as a top aide to Mike Pompeo just last week, testified for five hours today in his opening statement he said, "The timing of my resignation was the result of two overriding concerns, the failure, in my view, of the State Department to offer support to foreign service employees caught up in the impeachment inquiry on Ukraine, and second, by what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives."

Tomorrow Congress will hear from Trump donor turned Ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, who has emerged as a figure at the center of the pressure campaign against Ukraine.

"The New York Times" reports former Trump Russia adviser Fiona Hill testified for her part on Monday.  She considered Sondland a potential national security risk and described him as "metaphorically driving in an unfamiliar place with no guardrails and no GPS."

Current Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor will get his chance to speak to Congress, also a closed-door deposition next Tuesday.  Back in September he sent a text to Sondland about the wisdom of withholding security assistance to Ukraine in return for help with a political campaign.

On the matter of the crisis in Syria, Trump today defended his decision to abandon our U.S. allies, the Kurds, who are now battling a week-long assault from Turkey.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  That has nothing to do with us.  And the Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight.  And as I said, they`re not angels.  They`re not angels.  Take a look.

It`s not our border.  We shouldn`t be losing lives over it.

So a lot of sand.  They`ve got a lot of sand over there.  So, there`s a lot of sand that they can play with.

Our view of the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be for the United States strategically brilliant.

We`re 7,000 miles away.  Russia`s much closer.  Iran is right there.  Turkey is right there.


WILLIAMS:  A long-time water carrier for this President, Lindsey Graham, has been so incensed over the President`s decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria that today he actually said bad things about the decision and the President.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE:  He`s not listening to his commanders.  He`s not listening to his advisers.  He`s not -- he`s making the biggest mistake of his presidency by assuming the Kurds are better off today than they were yesterday.  That is just unbelievable.

I can`t imagine if Obama said that what Republicans would be saying now.  So I`m going say it with Trump.  That is just unfair, dangerous, and quite frankly it`s dishonorable for us to abandon the Kurds.

You know, the problem with President Trump, he talks like Ronald Reagan and he acts like Rand Paul.


WILLIAMS:  This afternoon the House voted overwhelmingly to condemn Trump`s withdrawal of U.S. forces.  The tally was 354-60.  That means 129 Republicans supported that resolution, went against Trump.  After that vote congressional leaders headed over to talk with Trump about Syria.  They were invited to the White House.

According to the Democratic leaders present, the meeting quickly went off the rails.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA, HOUSE SPEAKER:  The meeting started by the President saying he never invited any of us there.  He asked for the meeting.

As Speaker of the House I reported to the President that shortly before the meeting we had a vote in the Congress.  He just couldn`t handle it.  The 2- 1 Republicans voted to oppose what he was doing in Syria.  He just couldn`t handle it.  So he kind of engaged in a meltdown.

REP. STENY HOYER, (D) MARYLAND MAJORITY LEADER:  The President came in to my observation, angry and defensive.  And frankly it got worse from there.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK MINORITY LEADER:  He was insulting, particularly to the speaker.  She kept her cool completely.  But he called her a third-rate politician.  He said there are communists involved and you guys might like that.  He said the communists are taking --

HOYER:  Some of Isis were communists.

SCHUMER:  Communist and you would be happy with that.

PELOSI:  That might make you happy.


WILLIAMS:  First mention of communists on our watch.  Pelosi, by the way, later clarified the President`s insult.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What did the President say that got this meeting on the wrong foot?  Leader Schumer said he called you a third-rate politician.  He said you were --

PELOSI:  No, no, a third-grade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A third-grade.  Thank you for clarifying.

PELOSI:  Grade.  And I said I wish you were politicians.


WILLIAMS:  Glad to clear up.  Tonight Trump posted this photo of today`s meeting writing "Nervous Nancy`s unhinged meltdown."

Schumer did note that Trump also handed out copies of a letter he said he sent to Turkey`s President a week ago.  Three days after Trump told Erdogan that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.  The letter was first released by Trish Regan of Fox Business and it reads, "Dear Mr. President.  Let`s work out a good deal.  You don`t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don`t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy, and I will.  History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way.  It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don`t happen.  Don`t be a tough guy.  Don`t be a fool.  I will call you later."

There was also this from the President today while alongside the leader of Italy.


TRUMP:  Our country is looking into the corruption of the 2016 election.  It was a corrupt election, whether it`s Comey or McCabe or Strzok or his lover Lisa Page, the two great lovers.  There was a lot of corruption.  Maybe it goes right up to President Obama.  I happen to think it does.


WILLIAMS:  With that and here for our lead-off discussion on a Wednesday night, we welcome back to the broadcast Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for "The New York Times," Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, and here in New York Berit Berger, veteran and federal prosecutor, former assistant U.S. attorney with both the Eastern District of New York and the Southern District of New York.  Good evening and welcome to you all.

Peter Baker, this was one of the stranger days of recent times.  If this isn`t chaos, it will do until chaos gets here.  Does this indicate a total lack of structure on the inside?

PETER BAKER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, it did feel like the day was kind of spiraling out of control at various points.  From one rather extraordinary moment to another, to see the President of the United States say on camera in front of the world that we don`t basically care about what`s happening in the Middle East was a rather striking, especially given that it happened just hours before his Vice President and Secretary of State were to jet off to the region to try to implement a ceasefire.  That certainly didn`t help their diplomatic mission to have the President say this doesn`t really matter to the United States, that it`s not of concern to them.  Then to see both parties, not just the Democrats but the Republicans, pile on with criticism is something that we haven`t seen very often in this presidency.

And then you see the remarkable meeting with Speaker Pelosi and that letter you that quoted.  You know, it`s a one-man presidency obviously.  This is something where he is driving the train, that the people around him have tried giving him advice that`s different than he is taking it and he is following his own instincts.  His argument is I got here on my own and if I have to, you know, follow those instincts they will be successful for me and I don`t have to listen to advice that I consider to be bad advice.  But, at moment it feels like things are sort of, you know, unraveling a little bit.

WILLIAMS:  Berit Berger, you`ve been with us to talk about the law for a good many of these past 1,000 days of this administration.  So we have the Mueller report.  It comes and goes.  The difference right now is this parade of testimony before the House.  These are insiders who have chosen to stick their heads up and say what they saw.  And I imagine the undercurrent of everything we`re watching every day, the legal jeopardy just increases.

BERIT BERGER, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTY. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY:  I think one of the big differences between the Mueller investigation and how things are proceeding here is because this is proceeding in Congress, we`re getting a lot more information about what`s happening in real time.


BERGER:  Now, one of the things that everyone said about the Mueller team and it was to their credit was there was no leaks coming out of their shop, which was really commendable.  But what it meant is we were in this black box.  We didn`t know these big developments that were happening.  There wasn`t sort of this building public support or building public outrage in the same way that there is now.

The fact that even though witnesses are now testifying in closed sessions we`re getting reports about what they said.  Chairman Schiff has said that he`s going to release the transcripts of what`s happening as soon as it won`t effect the investigation.  So we really are able to learn more about this.  And I think it`s helping the public to be able to follow more along and to really understand the severity of this.

WILLIAMS:  Frank, what was your takeaway from today?  What did it confirm perhaps to you about the kind of government we`re being governed by currently?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASSIST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE:  I was on the air today with Nicolle Wallace when that letter from Trump to Erdogan was released.  And she read it.  And I -- after first realizing that it was not a hoax I was saddened by, it Brian, because what I see in the letter is a president who is begging for help, saying I screwed up, can you please help me, please don`t slaughter thousands of Kurds, I`m going to look really bad.  And of course he flips it on Erdogan and says it`s you that`s going to look really bad, let`s make a deal.  It`s a plea of desperation.

This is the leader of the free world begging for help after a colossal error.  And what does that mean for our government?  I`ve heard people in the last 24 hours, Brian, say we are seeing a government like never before.  We`re seeing what it`s like to have no government.

I say it may be even worse than that.  We have a leader who every day is not just a vacuum, he`s not just absent, he`s actively undermining our national security and our form of government with every action that he takes.  And it`s dangerous.  It`s reached the point of dangerousness.

WILLIAMS:  And Frank, while I have you because it`s part of your title, this word counterintelligence.  We saw those reports today that Mr. Giuliani is the target perhaps or among them of a counterintelligence investigation.  Just what for us, the consumers of this news, what does that mean?

FIGLIUZZI:  Yes.  And I want to exercise caution because just because FBI agents who happen to work counterintelligence are questioning people doesn`t necessarily mean that they`ve put Rudy Giuliani`s name in the subject line of a case.  But let`s assume for the moment that they are looking at Giuliani from a C.I., counterintelligence perspective?  What is it mean?  Well, it`s not a criminal investigation, it`s a national security investigation.

And specifically it means that there`s predication to believe that a foreign power or foreign intelligence service is somehow operating against U.S. interests through people like perhaps Rudy and/or his associates.  So what would some predication for that be?  Well, let`s look at what we know.  We know that about a million dollars flowed from Russian -- or excuse me, foreign national number 1, that`s what they call him, in the indictment of Rudy`s associates into the United States and through the associates into campaigns or pacs.  That`s a lot of money that would get the FBI`s interest.  And that foreign national number 1 is supposed to be a Russian.  That would get even further attention.

And then we see even Rudy openly saying, I`m working over there with Ukraine, I`m working for a guy who was a pro-Russia candidate.  And that would get the FBI`s attention and say, are you unwitting or wittingly working on behalf of Russia?  As Nancy Pelosi said today, all roads seem to lead to Putin.  For the FBI looking at Rudy or his associates, all roads may indeed lead to Russia.

WILLIAMS:  And Berit Berger, of course, this is your former shop.  It`s never a good look when four former associates of yours are rounded up as part of this talk about the potential legal jeopardy Giuliani is looking at.

BERGER:  Yes, I mean, I think we don`t know yet exactly what the range of jeopardy is that he`s facing.  But you`re exactly right.  It`s never a good thing when four of your associates, people that have paid you money are now under criminal indictment.

I mean, to build off of what was Frank was saying, one of the areas that the Southern District could be looking at is a potential violation of the FARA statutes, which is the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which is basically a pro-transparency statute, saying if you`re doing work on behalf of a foreign government and you`re either lobbying or doing some sort of public relations work here in the United States, you have to register with the Department of Justice.  You have to make this known.  It has to be, you know, out there and there are sanctions for not doing that.  So that could be one of the areas that the southern district is looking into Giuliani if in fact what he was doing, you know, was not really traditional legal advice but was crossing more into sort of the lobbying realm.

WILLIAMS:  Peter Baker, let`s talk about Lindsey Graham.  As we said, a veteran, a water carrier for this President though seemed his remarks today seemed to be fueled by genuine anger and emotion.  Hard to tell if it`s going to turn out to be a mirage in the end.  If it`s real, will he give other Republicans air cover to come out?

BAKER:  Yes, I think it is real.  I think this is one area where Senator Graham has long-standing feelings.  You know, he`s a hawk in the McCain style of his mentor, specifically about the Middle East.  The, you know, the issues of Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan, these are something -- things that he`s been fighting for and feeling strongly about for many, many years.  Obviously that overrode his sense of loyalty that he has been expressing about President Trump.

Does it give air cover to others?  Yes.  I think you saw that today.  As you pointed out, 2/3 of the House Republicans voted to rebuke the President on this, 2/3.  And Senator McConnell opened his weekly press conference by saying, you know, he feels for the Kurds and he wishes this is not what was happening.  Obviously Mitt Romney has spoken out.  You know, Joni Ernst from Iowa, others.

And so I think on this issue Republicans do feel free to break with the President because they do have a lot of company.  What`s different is they have not speaking out against him on the Ukraine thing.  Even if they don`t think it`s an impeachable offense, they`ve been relatively quiet just about what he did in terms of pressuring Ukraine because that is an existential threat to this President and that is a line that they feel like if they cross might be, you know, a step too far for them.

WILLIAMS:  Our thanks to all three of our start-off guests for tonight.  We appreciate you very much coming on to start off our conversation.  Peter Baker, Frank Figliuzzi, Berit Berger, thank you.

Coming up for us, the former supreme allied commander of NATO is here to lay out just what we have done to our applies and what we have triggered in the Middle East, which our President described today as a lot of sand.

And later the White House stunt that backfires and the grieving British family stuck in the middle of it.  As THE 11TH HOUR is just getting started on this Wednesday night.


WILLIAMS:  We don`t get the chance to say this often, but earlier today two United States F-15 fighter jets bombed our own facility.  It was an old cement factory that had been taken over as an American military outpost in Syria.  We bombed it because we won`t be needing it anymore and we didn`t want the Turks to come in and take our stuff.  And this is all because of the American military retreat from the area as ordered by our President.

"The Wall Street Journal" is reporting it this way tonight, "The decision to target the base, which included warehouses used to train and equip the Kurdish-led fighters, came after Turkish-backed forces moved on the facility on Tuesday.  As the Turkish-backed forces moved closer to the LaFarge cement factory facility south of Kobane, the Kurdish-backed forces set fire to their part of the base and fled."

With us we are so pleased to welcome to the broadcast Admiral James Stavridis.  An Apollo`s (ph) graduate who spent 30 years in the United States Navy retiring with the rank of four-star admiral.  He happens to be the former head of the U.S. Southern Command.  He happens to be the former supreme allied commander of NATO.  He also happens to be the author of a new book you will start seeing wherever books are sold.  It is called "Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character."

It is a great pleasure to have you here.  Thank you for being here.

ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS, U.S. NAVY (RET.):  Thank you, sir.

WILLIAMS:  What has the U.S., what has our President gone and done in the Middle East?

STAVRIDIS:  Well, it`s hard to imagine how one could in a single stroke re- enable Isis, allow this forest fire which had almost been put out to reflash, elevate Iran, a significant part of this, allow Vladimir Putin, the puppet master, to continue his upward trajectory, and simultaneously put war criminal chemical weapon user Bashar al-Assad in the driver`s seat in Syria, with one stroke of a pen, really one phone call to the Pentagon, withdrawing 2,000 or 3,000 U.S. troops from Syria, a tiny number, Brian.

When I commanded the mission in Afghanistan, it was 150,000 troops.  As you know well, Afghanistan, 185,000 troops.  Here in Syria, we pulled 2,000 troops out and yet that was the small hinge that a big door is swinging on.  This is a geopolitical mistake of near epic proportion.

WILLIAMS:  Having been around naval aviators all your career and knowing the fearsome capability of our aircraft, it must also break your heart to know that we had two F-15s engaged today to destroy our own facilities.

STAVRIDIS:  Indeed.  Generally, when a military force is burning its own equipment, destroying in its wake and effectively cutting and running, the next thing you see are helicopters lifting off of rooftops.  You and I are old enough to remember Vietnam in 1975.


STAVRIDIS:  It has that kind of feel.  And the knock on effect here will be a lack of trust in the United States as an ally.

And let`s face it.  Here is an issue upon which Bernie Sanders and Lindsey Graham are in complete agreement.  Nancy Pelosi on one hand and over here Mitch McConnell are in agreement.  This is a mistake.  The President ought to reverse course on this.  At a minimum, we need to do everything we can to try and rebuild our position here.

WILLIAMS:  This photo the President tweeted out from the White House meeting that went off the rails today, there`s a lot to take in.  But I noticed one guy in particular seated to the President`s right.  He is our new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.  If you know him at all, if you`ve ever met him, you know he`s a taciturn New Englander unless you want to talk about the patriots or the Red Sox.  You also know that his hatred of politics is genuine and long-standing and he loves the U.S. military.

STAVRIDIS:  Yes, I know Mark extremely well.  When he was a colonel in the Pentagon, I was a three-star officer.  And I needed somebody to brief Don Rumsfeld, a famously difficult Secretary of Defense to brief.  We settled on Mark Milley, fellow Princeton graduate.  Mark was also captain of the hockey team at Princeton.  He`s a tough, flinty New Englander.  You categorize it perfectly.

That photograph is an image of how the military wants to stay out of politics.  Mark Milley is in a tough spot right now.

WILLIAMS:  Talk about one of the men you profile happens to be one of my favorites and that`s Admiral Chet Nimitz.  And his ethos and whether or not we can get that back today.

STAVRIDIS:  Boy, I hope so, Brian. Here`s Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz.  I was a four-star admiral.  In war time only we have five-star admirals.  They are fleet admirals.

Chester Nimitz, Chet Nimitz, came from a small town in Texas, took command of the pacific fleet a couple of days after Pearl Harbor.  He surveyed his beautiful fleet and they were sunken hulks in the water, cord eyed in the air.  He couldn`t take command on the deck of a beautiful battleship because they were all sunk.  He took command in a pair of khakis on the deck of a diesel submarine.  And he squared his shoulder, he built a team, and he defeated the Japanese empire.

It took him four years.  He did it without ego, without bombast, without endlessly touting himself.  He did it in the way of quiet confidence that character is all about.  And that`s really what the book is about.

WILLIAMS:  And like guys like McCain`s dad, like Admiral Halsey, these guys were legends. T hey also came home and almost all of them kind of smoked themselves to death and they -- lacking their central cause to be alive they were dead within a few years.

STAVRIDIS:  Indeed.  And here again, Nimitz continued his march.  He continued his voyage, I should say, in a naval context.  He continued to work for the nation.  He was a representative to the United Nations.  He lived into his 80s.  He`s an inspiration to us all for the kind of quiet confidence which we lack so much in our politics today.

WILLIAMS:  The book is on sale across the country.  Who do you hope reads the book beyond those of us who are naturally drawn to the subject matter?

STAVRIDIS:  You know, what I hope for the book is that it is a lesson that leadership is what we exert over others.  It`s important.  But at the end of the day character, which is inside ourselves, is more important.  I think it`s a book for everyone in that sense.  The big door of leadership swings on the small hinge of character.

So I hope it`s a book that can help ameliorate the polarization in our politics, bring us back to character as a defining feature for our nation.  And in the end light a lamp in this very dark, troubled world we live in today.

WILLIAMS:  We don`t get many four-star admirals around these parts.  So thank you very much for visiting.

STAVRIDIS:  We`ll do it again.  Thank you, sir.

WILLIAMS:  Admiral Stavridis, again, is the author of "Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character."

Coming up for us, what to expect when Ambassador Gordon Sondland, one of the so-called three amigos, appears before Congress tomorrow.  This is where we are.  Two of our veteran White House reporters are here to explain it all when we come back.


WILLIAMS:  OK, let`s reset here regarding tomorrow.  It marks another important day in this fast-paced impeachment inquiry.  The President`s Ambassador to the E.U. is expected to testify in private on the Hill.  Our own Josh Lederman is reporting tonight, "Lawmakers plan to grill Gordon Sondland on Thursday about a private discussion he had with top Ukrainian officials in the White House in which he explicitly mentioned the Ukrainian gas company linked to Hunter Biden amid negotiations over granting Ukraine`s new President an audience with President Donald Trump."  That`s a lot.

And here with us to talk about it tonight, Shannon Pettypiece, a Veteran Journalist and Senior White House Reporter for NBC News Digital, along with Jill Colvin, White House Reporter for The Associated Press.  Welcome back to the both of you.  And Shannon, let`s not waste time.  Let`s go directly to speaking English.  What`s the guessing on the Ambassador?  Is he going to take one for the team?  Or is he going to tell the truth?  Because I don`t imagine you can do both.

SHANNON PETTYPIECE, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, NBC NEWS:  Well, he is, or at least was at one point, a supporter of the President, a donor.  He was put into this position as Ambassador to the E.U.  And then even though the Ukraine is not part of the E.U., that was added to his portfolio presumably because the President trusted him to deal with the Ukraine and put this sort of pressure on the Ukraine that he wanted to see to investigate the 2016 election and to investigate this energy company related to the Bidens.

What I think the revelation that could come out of this, or at least what the Congressional investigators are going to try and get to the bottom of is whether or not the President was dangling a meeting over the Ukrainian President in exchange for getting the Ukrainians to investigate the 2016 election and the Bidens.  And that meeting between, you know, the American President and the Ukrainian President was something that would be very important to the Ukrainians to establish this relationship with the U.S. to show the Russians, who of course there is this sense that President Trump has a very close relationship with President Putin, but to show Putin that the Ukrainians have a close relationship too and that the U.S. is still on Ukraine`s side.

So it`s not just sort of like a vanity meeting that the Ukrainians wanted.  This was something that would be very strategically important.  And as we saw from those text messages, that Sondland was involved in, it appeared that that meeting was on conditions of the Ukrainians investigating Trump`s political rivals.

WILLIAMS:  Jill Colvin, it is said that when the President bid farewell to Nancy Pelosi and her delegation in the cabinet room at the White House today, his last words were, we`ll see you at the polls.  Are we to indicate from that that he is not bullish on the chances of any impeachment proceeding removing him from office prior to Election Day?

JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:  Well, that is the thinking of multiple officials in the White House and a perspective that the President seems to have adapted here.  Whether that is a result of positive thinking or any kind of actual polling or information they`re gleaning from the ground is completely unclear.  But their thinking is look, this is a President who has really excelled at being able to run as the victim.  He loves to stand up there at his rallies, at the podium saying that he is under attack, that the establishment is trying to take him down.  He`d be able to tell his voters that Democrats in Washington have tried to impeach him from day one, that they`re trying to undo the votes of the 2016 election and that this is the way that they`re trying to invalidate that election that they`re trying to do it again in 2020.

So this is something that they believe that the President might be able to weaponize in the 2020 campaign, making it an effective talking point.  And you`ve already started to see now how his campaign is trying to target what they see as vulnerable Democratic seats, specifically some of those freshman Democrats who won in 2018 in the midterm elections, a district that the President won in 2016.  And they`re trying to take the case, holding events in these districts, putting the pressure on those Democrats saying is this really what you elected these members to do, to impeach the President of the United States?

WILLIAMS:  And Shannon, in the meantime, can you speak to the tonnage of testimony that`s piling up that the House is taking?

PETTYPIECE:  And this from a White House that has pretty successfully blocked much of its administration from cooperating.  The State Department is not cooperating and yet in a almost sort of silent revolt, you have State Department officials continuing to come forward and testify.  The White House isn`t handing over documents.  The Office of Budget Management not turning over documents.  The DOD is following the White House`s guidance and not turning over documents.  The Vice President is not turning over documents and cooperating.

So, yet the Democrats in the House have still been able to get enough people to essentially defy the White House`s request and come forward and give this testimony.  So it does show that there is some momentum to their investigation but I`m not sure we know where it goes from here.  We know next week, I think Bill Taylor is scheduled to testify.  But beyond that then the hearing docket quiets down a little bit.  And so I don`t know necessarily how much they`re going to advance things a week from now.  But of course everything keeps advancing so quickly.  It`s really impossible to know where we`ll be a week from now.

WILLIAMS:  I`m glad you feel that way because it sure seems that way from here.  Both of our guests have agreed to stay with us just over this break.

And coming up, day 1,001 of his administration, we`ll see this President at yet another campaign rally, this time in Texas.  We`ll have a preview when we come back.



GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  You`ve said that impeachment stops with you, does that mean you wouldn`t have a trial if the House it over?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER, KENTUCKY:  No, no, no.  Under the impeachment rules of the Senate we`ll take the matter up.  The chief justice will be in the chair.  We will have to convene every day, six days out of seven.  At 12:30 or 1:00 in the afternoon, senators will not be allowed to speak, which will be good therapy for a number of them.  And we intend to do our constitutional responsibility.


WILLIAMS:  So POLITICO reporting today that that man, Mitch McConnell, is preparing for a speedy impeachment trial that would conclude before the end of the year, writing, "McConnell told Senate Republicans Wednesday that he expects Speaker Nancy Pelosi to approve articles of impeachment as early as Thanksgiving according to five people familiar with Wednesday`s party lunch.  McConnell then surmised that the Senate could deal with the trial by Christmas, concluding the impeachment proceedings before the Democratic presidential primaries begin".

Back for round two, where the points are now doubled, Shannon Pettypiece and Jill Colvin.  Jill, McConnell when asked about today`s White House meeting said he didn`t see anything and wasn`t going to say anything.  Is there palpable distance increasing between the President and these Republicans he is going to lean on so hard in the days and weeks to come?

COLVIN:  Yes, such an interesting political dynamic happening right now because just as the President needs Republicans to rally behind him, to be on the airwaves defending him, he`s also infuriated so many members of the party with his stance on Turkey and Syria.  That you have this sort of split screen where today you had the House overwhelmingly with Republican support passing this resolution slapping his hand saying we don`t approve of what you`re doing here and this increasingly dire situation and at the same time then coming out and defending him.

WILLIAMS:  Shannon Pettypiece, the President tomorrow night, Dallas, Texas.  We`re tempted to ask what could go wrong.  But instead we`ll ask, are we bound to see the most recent list of grievances aired?

PETTYPIECE:  I know Jill and I will both be there.  So we`ll bring you a full update.  You know, this last Minnesota rally he had was I thought quite off script.  A lot of these rallies we`ve seen him sort of sticking to the script.  He -- It was pretty much 90 minutes of improvisation, attacking -- it was like his area stark list.  He went down one after another, after another going through his favorite targets.  So we could definitely see that again.

The idea that he`s going to Dallas is certainly also a curious location.  And I don`t think the campaign is concerned at all that the President`s going to lose Texas though there is this idea of a trending blue.  He`s really going there to help Republicans, to help raise money and to help drum up support for local Republicans who maybe the President`s still doing OK in Texas.  But a -- I mean, we`ve seen a number now of Republicans in Texas and Congress dropping off.  So I think it`s an interesting location and it kind of shows how concerned the Republican Party is about where Texas is at that they`re taking the President`s time and the money that it costs to put on one of these rallies to send him there.

WILLIAMS:  And Jill Colvin, this is -- this all goes toward the Trump re- election campaign.  We should probably point out to folks just how wealthy it is since a lot of the Democratic fund-raising numbers have come out lately.  This President has raised a ton of money.

COLVIN:  Yes, an extraordinary amount of money.  And I will say that they are reporting a significant surge since the impeachment inquiry started, bringing in a lot of new money, a lot of new donors, showing that this is something that really charges the Republican base.  And just to, you know, add to what Shannon said, the fact that the President in his rallies the past couple of weeks have mostly been deployed to help other Republicans, I think just provides such a contrast.  And you`ve got the situation in Washington here with the impeachment fight and so much frustration and so much controversy surrounding the President.  And yet when he goes to some of these states, when he speaks in front of the audiences, he`s really seen as a huge help to Republican candidates.  Shows just how popular he remains with the Republican Party.

WILLIAMS:  And Shannon, with the few seconds we have left, I mentioned that Democratic fund-raising numbers.  So much attention on Joe Biden at the debate last night, not swimming in cash.

PETTYPIECE:  No.  And -- I mean, it`ll kind of be interesting to see what happens after this last debate because he did not have some sort of stellar breakout moment.  I don`t think he really swayed anyone`s minds one way or the other while you had other candidates like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg coming out there trying to prove that they are an alternative for the moderate voters who are maybe behind Biden if they`re uncomfortable with Warren and then not sure about Biden.  They could be an alternate there.

And I think right before we came on the air, Amy Klobuchar put out some big fund-raising numbers.  So, some competition there.  And yes, to Jill`s point about the fund-raising of the Trump campaign, this campaign has been organizing for three years.  I believe it`s $150 million they have in the bank.  They are training hordes of organizers out there.  They`ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars on data.  They have a massive campaign operation.  While the Democrats are, as we saw last night, still fighting amongst themselves and, you know, raising a million here, a million there and have, you know, pretty limited cash on hand at this point.

WILLIAMS:  Thank you to you both for coming on tonight, and safe travels to you both to Texas and back tomorrow.  Shannon Pettypiece, Jill Colvin, we greatly appreciate it.

And coming up for us, a big story on both sides of the Atlantic that hasn`t really received the attention it deserves because of all else that is going on.  We`ll have it for you, though, when we come back.


WILLIAMS:  We have an update tonight on what has become a huge story in Great Britain.  Not as big here, because all of what we`ve been covering.  This involves the wife of an American diplomat who was behind the wheel of a car when it hit and killed a British teenager on a motorcycle.  The family of that young man, Harry Dunn traveled to the U.S. from the U.K. this week.  They went to the White House after being invited by the Trump administration.

During their meeting yesterday, the family says in a move right out of a reality show reveal, Trump dropped a rather shocking and very unwanted surprise on them.  The report tonight from NBC`s Stephanie Gosk.


STEPHANIE GOSK (voice-over):  Harry Dunn`s parents weren`t expecting an invitation to the White House.  When the grieving couple got there, another surprise was waiting.

CHARLOTTE CHARLES, MOTHER OF HARRY DUNN:  The bombshell was dropped not soon after we walked in the room.  Anne Sacoolas was in the building and was willing to meet with us.

GOSK (voice-over):  Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American intelligence officer struck their 19-year-old son, killing him on a road in the U.K.  According to her attorney, she left the country three weeks later, claiming diplomatic immunity.  It would have been the family`s first chance to confront Sacoolas face-to-face, but no one prepared them.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I offered to bring the person in question in, and they weren`t ready for it.

GOSK (voice-over):  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on Sacoolas to return to the U.K., which is where Harry`s parents say that meeting should take place.

CHARLES:  We made it very clear that that needs to be on our terms, on U.K. soil when she has faced our justice system.

GOSK (voice-over):  Sacoolas` lawyer says her client was driving on the wrong side of the road and had no time to react when she saw the motor bike approaching.  Calling the accident a tragic mistake, Sacoolas wants to apologize, but hasn`t said if she will return to the U.K.  Harry`s parents implored the President to help them.

CHARLES:  You know, if it was your son, you would be doing the same as us.  And he actually grabbed hold of my hand a little tighter and he said yes, I would be.

GOSK (voice-over):  The British couple says they are still hopeful, but left the White House feeling, in their words, a bit shocked.  Stephanie Gosk, NBC News, New York.


WILLIAMS:  Coming up for us after our last break, a milestone 1,000 days in the making.


WILLIAMS:  Last thing before we go tonight.  This was day 1,000 of the Trump administration, and this moment calls for some truth in reporting.  I`ve been waiting to say this.  First off, it`s a completely meaningless standard of measurement, important only to journalists who love benchmark, round numbers and anniversaries.  The famous Schlesinger book on JFK, "A Thousand Days" bore that title despite Kennedy having served 1,036 days as President.

So, having established that, here are some other numbers we have witnessed in these first thousand days.  The President has spent 310 days at Trump branded properties, roughly a third of his time in office.  237 days at Trump-branded golf properties.  Washington Post has logged 13,438 false or misleading games.  That was as of a week ago.  The total went significantly higher just today.

The turnover rate of most senior people around the President, 80 percent, according to Brookings.  (INAUDIBLE) the highest rate of Cabinet turnover in the modern history of our presidency.  The last White House press briefing?  Seven months ago.  A former staple of American life and media coverage just gone, vanished, disappeared.

Here now a review of what else we have watched as time goes by.


WILLIAMS:  Donald Trump today became our 45th President.

TRUMP:  American carnage.

Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.

WILLIAMS:  Day 63.

TRUMP:  This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.

They will be met with fire and fury.

I think there is blame on both sides.

Little rocket man.

Has been no collusion.  There`s been no crime.

WILLIAMS:  Day 418.

TRUMP:  Very soon we`re going to mars.

You have to ask Michael Cohen.  Michael Cohen is my attorney.

We had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you`ve ever seen.

When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, you have to take the children away.

Now we`re going have the space force.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

I`m a very stable genius.

WILLIAMS:  Day 543.

TRUMP:  President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

We`re going to have -- by the way, crystal clean water.

And then we fell in love, OK?  No, really.  He wrote me beautiful letters.

WILLIAMS:  Day 669 of the Trump administration.

TRUMP:  I would give myself an a-plus.

I will shut down the government.


TRUMP:  National emergency.

It was a complete and total exoneration.

Take a look at the oranges, the oranges of the investigation.

WILLIAMS:  Day 861.

TRUMP:  Word impeach.  It`s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word.

It`s not an interference.  They have information.  I think I`d take it.

It took over the airports.  It did everything it had to do.

I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world.

Which going towards the gulf.  That was what we -- what was originally projected.

A perfect phone call with the President of Ukraine?

Impeachment for that?

And we`re going to defeat socialism and put a man on the face of the moon.

WILLIAMS:  Day 1,000.


TRUMP:  And that`s the way it is, whether it`s good or bad.  That`s the way it is.


WILLIAMS:  Which brings us today 1,001 scant seconds from now.  And with that, that is our broadcast for this Wednesday night.  Thank you so very much for being here with us throughout and good night from our 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