LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: We`re going to have to leave it there. Esther Duflo, congratulations on the Nobel. It`s a real honor to have you here. I really appreciate it. This is a very important book, "Good Economics for Hard Times." This book belongs at the center of the presidential campaign. That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts right now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, what promises to be a colossal week in the impeachment effort begins with more transcripts being released, more testimony from the inside. Further confirmation that military aid was held up for political dirt on the Bidens.
As another storyline tonight emerges, Trump`s Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney put a hold on the aid to Ukraine for fear of upsetting the Russians.
Meanwhile, someone is trying to spread doubt about last weeks election results in Kentucky. Even though there is no doubt about the result. Tonight, an expert will show us the shadowy operators pushing the story on social media and what it tells us about 2020.
Speaking of which, another Democrat apparently mulling over getting into this race as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way for a new week on a Monday night.
Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. Day 1,026 of the Trump administration. And this will be a big week for this presidency. In less than 48 hours, House Democrats call their first witnesses to give public testimony in the impeachment inquiry. Tonight they released more transcripts of those closed door depositions from Defense Department official, Laura Cooper along with State Department officials, Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson.
Now, Laura Cooper, who was the only Pentagon official to testify, spoke to lawmakers on 23 October, the same day that Republicans stormed into that Intelligence Committee hearing room in protest. It was her deposition, you may recall, that they interrupted for several hours. When she finally was able to testify, she told investigators that upon hearing that aid to Ukraine was frozen, deputies "immediately began to raise concerns about how this could be done in a legal fashion. There was not an understanding of how this could legally play out."
That by mid August she "knew from my Kurt Volker conversation that there were Ukrainians who knew about this. And Ambassador Volker did mention an effort that he was engaged in to see if there was a statement that the government of Ukraine would make."
And she added, "the path he was pursuing to lift the hold would be able to get them to make this statement."
Katherine croft, who worked with Volker, testified that the office of Management and Budget were involved in policy discussions about military aid to Ukraine and chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was concerned, "That Russia would react negatively to the provision of javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine."
Christopher Anderson who preceded Croft as a Volker aide told lawmakers that if he quote-- that he quote, "had the fear that if Giuliani`s narrative took hold that the Ukrainian government was an enemy of the President, then it would be very hard to have high-level engagement."
Shortly after those documents were released, Trump weighed in with this, "Just like Schiff fabricated my phone call, he will fabricate the transcripts that he is making and releasing." We`re duty bound here to note that the transcripts are not fabricated and Republican members of Congress were there and did participate in the questioning.
As we mentioned, the public will get to hear impeachment witnesses. This week, State Department veterans George Kent, Bill Taylor, Marie Yovanovitch will appear Wednesday and Friday.
A Democratic aide tells NBC News that Taylor is going to, "lay everything out and that his exquisite note taking will lend credibility to his testimony which corroborates the whistleblower`s complaint.
Our White House Correspondent Geoff Bennet explains the Democrats strategy in these hearings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOFF BENNETT, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All right. Democratic source familiar told me that these hearings are intentionally choreographed so that even if the American people just tune in for the first hour, they will have heard plenty.
The first hour is designed to be a bombshell. And these hearings will look different than -- from any other congressional hearing that people have seen to this point because the first 45 minutes Adam Schiff, the Democratic leader of the House Intelligence Committee will be able to make the case. Republicans will have a heavier lift in trying to do President Trump`s bidding in trying to undercut the argument that Democrats are trying to bring against him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: In the meantime, one of Rudy Giuliani`s indicted business associates in "is speaking out." His attorney telling "The New York Times" that "Lev Parnas told a representative of the incoming Ukrainian government that it had to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son or else Vice President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing in of the new President and the United States would freeze aid.
Well, there you have it. Parnas says he made that threat at Giuliani`s direction. But Giuliani told the "Times" he didn`t tell him to say that.
And new reporting from the Associated Press says political supporters of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, wait for it, won a potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government not long after Perry put forward one of the men as an adviser to the country`s new president just as the new president was seeking military aid from the U.S. to defend against Russia.
Again tonight, it`s a lot. But here with us for our lead-off discussion on a Monday night, three returning veterans, Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff of the CIA and the Pentagon and notably former Chief Counsel to the House Intel Committee, Anita Kumar, White House Correspondent and Associate Editor for Politico, and Annie Karni, White House Reporter for "The New York Times." Good evening and welcome to you all.
Jeremy, I have a dual question for you. First off, just because it`s top of mind, expressing worry that javelin missiles could upset the Russians, is that usually the kind of thing expressed within our government?
JEREMY BASH, FMR. CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, look, I think the Ukrainians were in the fight of their life. They were taking on a Russian adversary that had invaded their territory, invaded Crimea. And it had been a consensus position in Washington, both on Capitol Hill and throughout the executive branch that Ukraine needed these anti-tank weapons to defend themselves.
So, being sensitive or overly sensitive to Vladimir Putin`s feelings or not wanting to offend the Russians really undermines a classic hard-nosed approach to Russia that Washington had been taking. And in some ways exposes, Brian, I think the total Putin approach that the Trump White House has taken.
WILLIAMS: Indeed. Let`s widen out big picture of the Republicans were calling for transparency, enough of these depositions. They got transparency in the form of these near daily release of transcripts. It is a lot for even us to get our arms around. Jeremy, what stood out to you in today`s document release?
BASH: Well, Trump has been saying read the transcript. I think Democrats are going to be saying read the transcripts, plural. Because now we have additional transcripts of the closed door depositions. Today`s came from a senior Pentagon official, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, the most senior person in the Pentagon overseeing Ukraine policy. And she was shocked to learn that the security assistance package had been held up, that it had been held up at the direction of the White House. There was no legal basis for it and it was undermining our effort to support Ukraine in the fight against Russia.
WILLIAMS: Anita, reporting of in-fighting within the West Wing, not particularly new. How is that affecting, if at all, the process of determining the defense against impeachment, or are you going to tell me it`s up to one guy with a cell phone?
ANITA KUMAR, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It`s up to one guy with a cell phone. Well, the House Republicans, well, are kind of doing their own thing a little bit, right? They have some things that they`re going to push.
At the White House, you are right. There is a disagreement, as there often is on what the strategy should be, what the message should be. They`re -- you know, the President mostly, as you know, doesn`t often listen to some of those advisers. But what we`re hearing from Trump allies and people close to the White House and in the White House is that they really do want one person to be in charge and they still don`t have that one person.
So the White House counsel and acting chief of staff are sort of fighting over that role. You have Jared Kushner, the President`s son-in-law. So there is not one person in charge, as you`ve heard. The White House is bringing in a couple new people, including the former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, as was announced last week, to kind of talk about things on T.V. and put a message out.
But the President doesn`t have one message. He says six or 12 messages, depending on the day or the time of day. So, it`s going to be very interesting to see what he does now that it`s public. It`s a new, intense scrutiny for him. He`s going to be watching and paying attention and how he responds, we`ll see probably on Twitter.
WILLIAMS: And Annie Karni, the President has expressed concern that many already pliant Republicans are not fighting hard enough for him. Question is, does that get tougher, effective Wednesday morning?
ANNIE KARNI, THE NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, that`s the big question here. It looks like the Democrats have, you know, more than a dozen incredible witnesses who are corroborating each other`s accounts of what the President did in terms pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival and withholding money in return.
And now, not only that we have the transcripts, so we`re going to be seeing the movie version of the book now. And -- but, what`s going to be the challenge for Democrats is so far we haven`t seen a single Republican break from the bloc, saying we don`t think anything he did was impeachable.
And will the public hearings be enough to change public opinion so that some moderate Democrats think they need to break with the President because public polls are changing? So far that`s not happen. So as strong as the case as the Democrats think they might have here, the question, is this going to start and end along party lines? So far there`s no sign that that will not be the case.
WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, as you know, when cops and investigators descend on a crime scene they like to separate everybody out and then interview them individually to see if stories check out. That, so far in these proceedings, has happened. You`ve got to see of public servants of various stripes come in and tell their version, their slice of this overall story. Though Jeremy, I hasten to add, we`ve watched the Republican defense, let`s call it, migrate a bit over the past few days.
BASH: Yes, the Democrats approach is really a two-step approach. First they interview the witness in private, then they make public their transcript as that person is preparing to testify publicly. Not much of what will be testified to publicly probably will vary from the detailed closed-door depositions. And for that reason I think most of the committee members know what to expect.
And it`s going to lead off on Wednesday with Ambassador Bill Taylor, and Army veteran, West Point graduate, served in Vietnam, served in combat in the 101st Airborne Division, devoted his life to public service serving Republicans and Democrats. He`s got an unassailable public service career. And he, Brian, the front row seat to that irregular policy channel that he described between Rudy Giuliani, President Trump and the Ukrainians.
And he talked with the Ukrainians and saw firsthand the impact of withholding that military assistance.
WILLIAMS: Anita Kumar, what don`t we know sitting here tonight that perhaps could be answered that we`re not expecting along the way in these hearings?
KUMAR: Well, one of the testimonies or the transcripts that came out today talked a little bit about this, the foreign aid. That`s really the big question my colleagues on the Hill who are covering this say that we don`t know.
We don`t really know -- we know that the aid was held up. But we don`t know exactly who called for that. Did the President actually make the call? Did Mick Mulvaney? Did someone else? Who made the call? What day and what exactly were they told?
Now, we`re piecing together a lot of that based on what people are saying. But it`s not direct knowledge about who made that call initially. And we don`t know a lot of details. And this sis actually one of the things that the House Republicans are going to push. We don`t know a lot of details exactly what the President did. What was his role?
We know a lot of people around him, what they were doing. But we don`t know exactly what he did. And that`s, of course, because we don`t have Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Chief of Staff. We don`t have John Bolton, the former National Security Adviser, people that are in direct contact with him testifying. So, there`s a couple of things we don`t know. The President`s role and exactly how that aid was held up.
WILLIAMS: And Annie Karni, let`s say following some of the high jinx in the Judiciary Committee, the spotlight goes to the Intel Committee. Chairman Schiff chose in the last televised hearing to give a dramatized version of the President`s phone call with Ukraine. It gave the President a talking point that he used as recently as today. You could argue the Democrats have not always shown themselves and able to handle the big moment. Is there any reason to believe that that will change effective Wednesday morning?
KARNI: I think you`re right that there have been some big moments of this presidency that have been a flop. Like the biggest one is probably Robert Mueller`s testimony which after a lot of buildup did not, as I said, this is -- the book was better than the movie in that case. It did not add or amplify the written report.
Here, the question is with someone like Bill Taylor, will him telling his story, as Jeremy said, there`s probably not a lot of new facts that aren`t in the transcript that we`re going to hear from him tomorrow. Will the Democrats be able to lead him through in a compelling way that viewers tuning in will understand a very simple story line when it comes down to it? A quid pro quo, will they be able to lay it out in a way that voters understand, a, what the President did and, b, why he`s not supposed to do that? And hat is the question for them. That is the challenge.
WILLIAMS: On that very point they predict they will bypass the Latin and start using words like "extortion." Our great thanks to Jeremy Bash, to Anita Kumar, to Annie Karni. Appreciate the three of you starting us off tonight.
Before we head to our first break, a quick health update on former President Jimmy Carter tonight. As you may have heard he`s been admitted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta this evening where he is scheduled to undergo a procedure tomorrow to alleviate pressure on his brain. Doctors discovered a brain bleed after a series of falls the former president has taken recently. The most recent of which left him with a broken pelvis. And despite that, of course, he`s already been back to teaching Sunday school in Plains, Georgia.
He recently said he is totally at peace with dying. But we have learned one thing around here. Never bet against Jimmy Carter, as we send him and his family our very best wishes tonight.
Coming up for us, as we continue, why Mick Mulvaney wanted in, and then out of a lawsuit, naming his boss as one of the defendants.
And then later he was once a rising star of the Democratic Party. Well, tonight, new reports he could be considering jumping into the already crowded 2020 race. Those stories and more as THE 11TH HOUR in sight of the Iwo Jima Memorial on this Veterans Day is just getting started on this Monday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The command for investigation by the democrats was part of the reason to withhold funding for Ukraine?
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In withholding the funding?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Remember the day that aired and everyone watching was saying, did he just -- Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney did backtrack from that just hours later essentially saying he did not say what everyone heard him say live and on television, using his words.
This evening, it was Mulvaney`s lawyers reversing course, pulling a motion to join a law suit filed by former Deputy National Security Advisor Charles Kupperman. After Kupperman was subpoenaed in the impeachment inquiry last month, he needed air cover. He asked the court to decide whether he had to testify.
Last week the House withdrew that subpoena but Mulvaney tried to join Kupperman`s lawsuit any how. Earlier today Kupperman`s lawyers asked the judge to turn Mulvaney down.
As our Justice Correspondent, Pete Williams reports, after saying what he did on live television, "Mulvaney might have already waived, or given up, any claim he has to immunity from the subpoena, Kupperman`s lawyers argued. They added that allowing Mulvaney into the case could bog it down in new issues that would drag the case out when it was likely to be dismissed because the House withdrew Kupperman`s subpoena."
We need a lawyer, isn`t that what you`re thinking right about now? I have one for you, Maya Wiley, former assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, these days with the New School here in New York. Can you please, explain what`s going on? And more than that, to quote Al Gore, what controlling legal authority is going to tell the White House chief of staff your appeals are over, they`re done, you have to come in and talk to us. This is the United States.
MAYA WILEY, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTY. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: Well, there`s a lot to unpack here, as you know, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Sorry about that.
WILEY: The first of which is, you know, the expansive nature of this White House suggesting that under no circumstances can Congress get access to any --
WILLIAMS: As blanket rule. Yes.
WILEY: -- anyone, even Corey Lewandowski who never even worked for the White House.
WILEY: That it has taken such an extreme position. The thing that is happening here, though, with Kupperman, who really we should think of as Kupperman and Bolton, right?
WILEY: They have the same attorney. Is that they are in a different position than Mick Mulvaney. First of all, all the witnesses are suggesting that they, at least John Bolton, were raising the red flags that this was appropriate behavior.
WILEY: Mick Mulvaney on the other hand --
WILLIAMS: It was further implicated today.
WILEY: Up to his eyeballs.
WILEY: Not only did he implicate himself by virtue of saying nothing wrong here and yes, absolutely Donald Trump was going backwards to the origins of what essentially became the Mueller probe. But that he himself has been implicated in both stopping military aid approved by Congress. We`ve heard evidence now that there were lawyers raising questions about whether the OMB could even do that legally.
The position that they`re taking is essentially that John Erlichman during Watergate could not be subpoenaed by Congress to testify about Watergate. I mean, think about that. That`s essentially the argument they`re making.
So they are really in different positions. But also, as you pointed out, the Democrats had already pulled the subpoena and said, look, forget that. We`ve got the Don McGahn case going much more quickly. We want this to go fast. We want to get a ruling from a court much more quickly that says this entire line of obstruction of Congress is a problem and witnesses have to start testifying.
WILLIAMS: As you know, courtroom lawyers and lawmakers at hearings have to engage in a little performance art. Are you convinced this is a story they can tell starting Wednesday morning? They can tell to the American people?
WILEY: This is an absolutely story they can tell with the American people. And I think what`s important is for them to really hone in directly on the personal gain for the President. That that`s really the central fact here. So this isn`t about national security because the national security interests of the country were to get that military aid to Ukraine.
WILEY: That that --
WILLIAMS: Defend them against Russia.
WILEY: To defend them against Russia in a hot war that all of the experts across the political spectrum agreed should happen. And that the only reason it wasn`t is because Donald Trump, the man, wanted dirt on the Bidens for his own personal gain. Putting his interest ahead of the national security of the country is an abuse of power. And that story is one that I think any American can understand if they just methodically as I think they can with Bill Taylor`s testimony and the testimony of others focus directly in on what were the nation`s interests and what did Donald Trump direct.
WILLIAMS: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you invite Maya Wiley to your broadcast. Maya, as always, thank you for stopping by.
WILEY: Thank you, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Coming up, why is it that what we`re seeing in Kentucky right now -- I`ll get it out -- is sounding a general alarm about our upcoming general election in 2020? We`re going to be joined by an expert after this.
WILLIAMS: "The New York Times" reporting that last week`s election in Kentucky could be a hint of things to come for all of us in 2020. According to the paper, "A few hours after polls closed in Kentucky last Tuesday, a Twitter user posted a message to his 19 followers saying he had just shredded a box of Republican mail-in ballots. It wasn`t true but that seldom matters on social media anymore. The Times reports the account does not appear to be from Kentucky.
For starters, Louisville was misspelled. Twitter has since suspended that account yet the damage has been done and the false claim is still spreading on its own tonight. "Hyper partisan conservatives and trolls were pushing out a screen shot of the message boosted by what appeared to be a network of bots and providing early grist for allegations of electoral theft in Kentucky. High-profile right-wing figures were soon tweeting out their own conspiracy theories about the election being stolen, messages that were in turn pushed by even more trolls and bots and the Bevin campaign, the losing campaign of the incumbent governor began talking about irregularities in the vote without offering any specifics or evidence".
The Times says there`s no evidence of any actual irregularities in the voting. Republican Governor Matt Bevin, there on the right, still has not conceded to Democrat Andy Beshear. But today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who we quickly add is from Kentucky, told reporters Bevin came up short and barring some dramatic reversal, it appears Kentucky is getting a new governor.
Well, here with more on election disinformation, Clint Watts, a former FBI Special Agent, a distinguish research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, author of "Messing With The Enemy: Surviving In A Social Media World Of Hackers, Terrorist, Russians and Fake News," exactly what we`ve been talking about here in this segment. I have in front of me this tweet in question. I don`t know why I want to read it in a Russian accent but it says, just shredded a box of Republican mail-in ballots. Bye-bye Bevin. What is going on here? What do people look for along these lines and what`s the alarm bell for 2020?
CLINT WATTS, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, MSNBC: I think the alarm bell for 2020 as well is was the Russians over the forerunners in 2016. It will be Americans that do this to other Americans in 2020.
WILLIAMS: No barrier in entry, I guess.
WATTS: There`s no barrier in entry. We`ve seen a proliferation, a disinformation on social media. Russia will be one of many. And the ones with the most technology and the most money really come down to political campaigns, political supporters, activists. They`re really going to blow this out.
And I think what you`re seeing with a lot of these social bots, this computational propaganda is that anybody can rent these on the dark web, they can make them, they can deploy them. And they can have a dramatic effect just with one tweet perfectly timed on the right topic and the right day.
WILLIAMS: If you have 19 followers speaking of collusion, doesn`t this kind of require you to have gained out one of those people to see it, like it, send it on its way?
WATTS: Usually. And what it comes down to is when you have key influencers in an audience that are looking for a reason to justify the outcome they want, in this case, that it`s Bevin supporter or a Bevin outcome or election fraud or voters -- election rigged voter fraud. They will amplify that. And once that`s amplified, just once, it could be someone with five followers, it could be one follower. That will blow up and it will take on its own viral effect.
WILLIAMS: I have asked our bosses to make sure you are in this studio for election night 2020, because I fear so much of the plot line is going to be exactly in your area of expertise. We could be talking about 50 state elections with people alleging on social media, there have been irregularities with the vote in New Mexico, IN New Hampshire, Vermont and so on.
WATTS: The one thing we are worried about, my team -- I work with two guys, Jim Berger and Andy Weissberg on election night 2016. As much as we had watched the Russians, what we are worried about the most was election rigged voter fraud. Those claims were getting people to show up at the polls that if the outcome didn`t come out the way they wanted, they would maybe secure the election or the ballot box or there could be violence.
I think that is the biggest worry in this case. And what`s ironic about this is is how much time has been spent -- I said at intel committee when I testified there, trying to convince the American people that Russia didn`t change any votes. And yet what do we have? We have a governor saying we don`t know if the vote is correct.
Guess who`s in charge of that vote? The governor of that state. Guess who is supposed to be authorizing fundings for this election integrity? Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky who blocked that because why? He didn`t want the Feds messing around in local and state elections. Well, maybe we need to do that, Mitch McConnell.
WILLIAMS: Well done without a white board connecting all those dots. So I was going to ask you, and we can use the governor of Kentucky as a jumping on point. What happens when big name candidates start to embrace something we know is a conspiracy theory?
WATTS: The funniest thing -- it`s not funny, just the irony of this whole thing is what Russia really wanted to do long run. Short run, sure, they`ll go for a candidate that supports their views, and they`ll elevated but they want to degrade democracy. And how do you do that? Erode confidence and constituents about elections, institutions, officials, are they appointed, are they actually winning the vote? You want to break their confidence and trust in all of those institutions so the democracy fails and degrades.
And here what we have our elected officials essentially doing that bidding for the Kremlin at this point and really tearing down democracy across the board. There will be a number of people over the next few days that will never believe that that election was genuine and authentic. And so now you have a governor taking office, maybe it`s someone who is stepping into office that doesn`t have the mandate of the people. They are constantly going back and having to fight over an election that they already won. This makes it difficult to move forward when nobody can agree on who actually won the election.
WILLIAMS: Look at what they`ve done and look what we`ve allowed to happen in our own country. Clint, always a pleasure, though, your message is often scary, we need to hear it. Appreciate it very much. Clint Watts, our guest tonight.
Coming up, House Republicans are preparing to fight what one Democrat says will be blockbuster testimony on Wednesday. A preview of the GOP`s likely impeachment defense when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Adam Schiff is a corrupt politician that`s not giving us due process, not giving us lawyers and despite all that, we`re kicking their ass.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: That`s our President and his preferred line of defense against impeachment these days, and his allies have been out there to back him up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: The bottom line is this. You know, here we go again. This is witch hunt 2.0. Ukraine. OK, but on human growth hormone and steroids. Now due process, again, ramping hypocrisy again. A wild conspiracy theories, lies, hoax again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: At least one high-ranking Republican national security official is expressing very real concerns about the Trump administration dealing with Ukraine and there she is. At a conference in Abu Dhabi, former Bush 43 National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice had this to say about Rudolph Giuliani. "What I see right now troubles me. I see a state of conflict between the foreign policy professionals and someone who says he`s acting on behalf of the President but frankly I don`t know if that is the case. It is troubling. It is deeply troubling."
For more, we welcome to our broadcast Kurt Bardella, he`s former Spokesman for House Oversight, he`s a former Republican for that matter who left the party to become a Democrat, and these days a contributor to USA Today and msnbcnews.com. Also, back with us tonight, returning Veteran Jonathan Allen, NBC News National Political Reporter. Jonathan, if I might, take a whack at this. All the Republican complaints about due process, secrecy, lack of transparency. Does that have an expiration date? Do they shift to a new defense effective Wednesday morning?
JONATHAN ALLEN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, NBC NEWS: I think, Brian, we will start to hear new defenses but we`ll continue to hear some of this due process defense. Where false is that the Democrats have followed the constitution in terms of impeachment, which gives the sole responsibility to the House of Representatives and allows the House of Representatives to make its own rules and the Democrats have essentially followed the rules that were set up under Republican administrations.
In addition to that, what you saw in the witness list that House Republicans produced, the people they would like to hear testify, there was an omission from it. President Donald Trump was not someone they wanted to hear from as a witness. And I`m certain that if the Republicans wanted to call him as a witness, the Democrats would be happy to make time to hear from him under oath about all of this.
WILLIAMS: I`m guessing you`re correct. Hey, Kurt, you write Republicans have largely themselves to blame for the way things are. What if their worst fears are correct and they wake up and turn around in a few years, look around and there`s very little of their party left?
KURT BARDELLA, FMR. SPOKESPERSON FOR HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Well, that`s really the path that they`re headed right now, Brian. We`ve seen that with the most recent elections, we`re seeing with all the retirements that are happening right now. Almost 20 members already have announced they`re not going to run for re-election, that`s on top of the number of people that didn`t run in the last midterm election in 2018 that led to 40 Democrats getting elected and giving them the House majority. This is an unsustainable path for the Republican Party. And we`ve seen this play out before.
What happens when with one of the major parties allows the extreme side of their base to hijack their entire platform? That`s what happens to the California Republican Party. People don`t remember this, but there was a Republican governor in the mid `90s, the Republicans held the majority of the state legislator in the mid `90s and two generations later because they went to the far extreme and embraced xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric they`ve been wiped out of every office and state constitution. They`ve been wiped out of the state legislator. That path is exactly what the national Republican Party is doing right now.
WILLIAMS: Speaking of that, Jon Allen, what do you think Nikki Haley is up to?
ALLEN: I think she`s up to good politicking, Brian. I think she wants to preserve her options, to run for president in the future. I know there`s some speculation that she would like to replace Mike Pence on the ballot. But what I really see here is her trying to keep one foot in the camp of sort of establishment traditional Republicans and the other foot solidly in a place where some day she could take advantage of that Trump base that is so powerful within the Republican Party.
And I don`t think there`s any Republican politician that`s done a better job of appealing to both sets and both sides of the Republican Party. A very difficult thing to do. I know she`s got a lot of detractors out there, people who don`t like what she`s saying, but this is somebody who`s done very, very good politics over the course of the last few years.
WILLIAMS: Kurt, if you had placed a bet with the odds makers in Las Vegas that deeply troubling would be the phrase that pays in 2019, you would have been way ahead of the game financially. So the latest Republican who is deeply troubled is Condi Rice. The question is, do you think she speaks for, for lack of a better term, a silent majority of people who identify as Republicans out there?
BARDELLA: I do think that she`s saying what a lot of people think privately, and a lot of Members of Congress if they`re being candid. And if you listen to what they say behind closed doors to themselves, every time they see something from this President, every time they see one of his defenders like Rudy Giuliani on TV, that`s what they say, that they`re concerned, that they`re worried. And yet at the end of the day publicly, Brian, they still go out there and tow the party line and they`re going to put on this show on Wednesday and you`re going to see it from the opening minutes of this hearing when they ardently defend the President, when they regurgitate his language talking about hoaxes and due process and anonymous whistleblowers.
It doesn`t really matter what you say privately. It matters what you say on the record publicly in these proceedings, and that`s what they`re going to be judge by in the long run.
WILLIAMS: All right, both of these gentlemen have agreed to stick around with us over this break.
And coming up, when we continue our conversation, what is happening to Republicans in the House? We`ll take on that topic after this.
WILLIAMS: Long time Long Island Republican Congressman Peter King joins the ranks of Republicans calling it quits ahead of the 2020 election. King was no rookie. He served in the House for 28 years. He announced today he won`t run for re-elect.
But let`s put the larger Republican Congressional picture this way, by quoting, Dave Wasserman of The Cook Political Report, he wrote this today, distilling our own numbers from our NBC News political unit and we quote, "When President Trump took office in January 2017, there were 241 Republicans in the House. Since then, 101 have either been defeated, retired, otherwise left office or are retiring in 2020". That means, put another way, over 40 percent of Republicans in the House vanishing in some form or fashion.
Still with us, two veterans of the business, Kurt Bardella, Jonathan Allen. Kurt, to take your point on California, and I`ll get back to Congressman King in a second. We looked at the 25th District, the Katie Hill district. Sadly she`s been in the news of late for all the wrong reasons. This is voter registration, new registrations since 2018, April. Democrats up over 11,000 Republicans, a net loss of 11. So getting back to Peter King, getting back to what`s happening for the Republicans in the House, you can`t take away a chunk of the population that large without to, your previous point, going in to kind of permanent minority status for a generation or more.
BARDELLA: Well, and that`s why it`s so almost confusing to me as someone who used to be a Republican and who was part of the California Republican Party and watched that happen to them. And even in the last midterms, Brian, we saw a number of seats in California including my former boss`s (INAUDIBLE) go Democrat. We saw Orange County, a traditionally, reliable, Republican, strong hold go Democrat.
And with Peter King`s seat that`s a seat that Obama narrowly won when he ran for president and a seat that became a Trump seat. But I`ll tell you, these are the type of districts, a suburb districts that are really indicators where Republican Party`s direction in life after Trump. If they lose these type of seats now and some of the seats that they lost even at the state level in Virginia and the election that we had on Tuesday, those are places that they`re going to have a hard time getting back if they lose them now. And the furthermore to the extreme that they keep going and doubling down on Trump and this policy of xenophobia and homophobia and anti-immigrant and all that, that is losing them in the suburbs and that is killing the future of their party.
WILLIAMS: Jonathan, let`s switch to the other side and talk about the Democrats. Deval Patrick, former Justice Department official, Harvard, Harvard Law School, former two-term Governor of Massachusetts. The rumor mill has it made its way into print that he is the latest Democrat considering joining this race, albeit late, handicap him and his chances for us?
ALLEN: There`s a huge opportunity right now, Brian, for anyone who can consolidate either or both the black and Hispanic votes in this country, particularly in the Democratic primary. What you`ve got right now is a Democratic electorate that is unsettled and you`ve not seen anybody consolidate those two huge backbones within that Democratic primary process. That doesn`t necessarily need to be a candidate of color, but certainly there`s an opportunity for a candidate of color there.
Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, people who might be able to take advantage of that particularly as we see Iowa and New Hampshire in the first part of the year, see how those elections go. But I think that there are folks on the sidelines. Deval Patrick obviously, one of them, looking at this and saying to himself there are delegates available for the Democratic convention that are lined up right now not being taken advantage of by any of these candidates.
WILLIAMS: And Jon Allen before we go, I just want to get you on the record on the Republican departures from the House specifically because sooner or later you`re at 101, these numbers add up.
ALLEN: It`s really amazing, Brian. Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp. I don`t think he meant that 40 percent of the Republican Party was going to turn over in three years or less than three years we`re going to see that incredible draining of the Republican side. But what I think you`re seeing in the retirements right now is an acknowledgment by senior Republicans that they don`t believe that the Republican Party has a chance of taking over the House in the next elections, because what it means is they don`t believe it`s worth fighting in their next election to try to win because they`re not going to get those chairmanships next time around. They`re going to have to wait more than one cycle, maybe two cycles.
And in the case of some of these folks, Will Herd in Texas for certain and perhaps even Pete King in New York, those might even be difficult re- election battles. So, the judgment to make from all these is it`s going to be an up hill fight for Republicans, more up hill even than folks might have thought in the midterms in 2018 for them to take the House back from Democrats.
WILLIAMS: Gentlemen, I want to thank you both for joining us and sticking around for our extended conversation tonight. To Kurt Bardella, to Jonathan Allen, our thanks.
ALLEN: Thanks, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Coming up here this evening, how one particular combat veteran chose to mark this Veterans Day of 2019.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go here tonight is about how one particular veteran chose to mark this Veterans Day. Her name the Tammy Duckworth, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, also Retired Lieutenant Colonel Tammy Duckworth. Fifteen years ago tomorrow, Tammy Duckworth was shot down in a Blackhawk helicopter she was piloting in Iraq. She lost both legs, her right arm had to be reconstructed, and in that instance, Tammy Duckworth, the Purple Heart recipient became the first female double amputee of the Iraq war.
In her spare time, she earned her PhD, ran for successful campaigns for the House and Senate and started a family. And then just today, this decorated Vietnam -- this decorated Iraq war veteran crossed from California into Tijuana, Mexico to visit a facility that helps U.S. military veterans who have been deported in the Trump era. Duckworth described the facility as kind of a safe house where they can care for each other. While she is using her voice and her visibility to help them in their fight, think about this, to access VA benefits which they are entitled to even though they`ve been deported, sent out of the country they volunteered to serve.
She is fighting the Trump era policy of deporting non-citizen veterans who have sense been found guilty of non-violent offenses many of whom were honorably discharged from the United States military. And to mark tomorrow`s 15th anniversary of her so-called Alive Day, the day she was shot down but survived, she is assembling her old air crew for the first time all together. She`s also tracked down a military nurse who was critical to her survival. For Senator Duckworth, for Lieutenant Colonel Duckworth, this has been a meaningful Veterans Day 2019.
That is our broadcast for this Monday night as we begin a new week. Thank you so very much for being here with us and good night from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.
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