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Two students killed in CA school shooting. TRANSCRIPT: 11/14/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Guests: Berit Berger, Philip Rucker, Tamara Keith, Rick Wilson

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST:  He certainly would.  Joyce Vance, thank you for joining us tonight.  And that is "Tonight`s Last Word."  I`m Joy Reid.  "The 11th Hour" with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight the late word that another government employee is prepared to break administrations silence on the critical portion of the impeachment investigation as we are hours away from a veteran former ambassador who says she felt threatened by her own government while working for the U.S. overseas.

Plus, what words were they talking about?  Cameras capture an animated conversation in the Oval Office between the President and his loyal attorney general despite a waiting helicopter in the backyard.

The speaker compares the President to Nixon and then spells out the crimes she believes he`s guilty of.  While on the other side of the Capitol, the Democrats have received a brutal lesson in the consequences of elections.  All of it as "The 11th Hour" gets underway on a Thursday night.

Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.  Day 1,029 of the Trump administration.  A day between this week`s public impeachment hearings, the President flew to the friendly confines of a Trump rally tonight in Louisiana.  While back in Washington there is word of a new witness who was ready to break ranks and go against the White House ordered to remain silence and defy Congressional subpoenas in this impeachment inquiry.

"The Washington Post" reports that Mark Sandy, a career employee over at the Office of Management and Budget will appear in a closed door session with lawmakers on Saturday if subpoenaed.  This has been confirmed by NBC News.  "The Post" writes that he would be the first OMB employee to testify in the inquiry after OMB Acting Director Russell T. Vought and two other political appointees at the agency defied congressional subpoenas to appear.  Sandy could provide insight into the process by which some $400 million in military and security aid to Ukraine was held up."

They go on to add "He was among the career staffers who raised questions about the hold-up on the aid."

While this comes ahead of the second public hearing in this investigation, of course, which begins in less than 12 hours now.  Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. the former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will appear before the House Intel Committee.  She was abruptly removed from her most earlier this year.  And while it is not unusual in that line of work for ambassadors to be recalled, in her closed doors testimony, she told impeachment investigators there was "a concerted campaign against me, and that the Department had been under pressure from the President to remove me since the summer of 2018."

She said a senior Ukrainian official, "told me I really needed to watch my back."  She also testified having powerful adversaries working against her in Ukraine, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his now indicted associates Lev and Igor.

At yesterday`s hearing top diplomats George Kent and William Taylor who replaced Yovanovitch, by the way, describe the effort to oust her.


GEORGE KENT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR EUROPEAN AND EURASIAN:  Over the course of 2018 and 2019, I became increasingly aware of an effort by Rudy Giuliani and others including his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to run the campaign to smear Ambassador Yovanovitch and other officials at the U.S. embassy and Kiev.

WILLIAM TAYLOR, TOP U.S. DIPLOMAT IN UKRAINE:  The former Ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, had been treated poorly.  Caught in a web of political machinations both in Kiev and in Washington.


WILLIAMS:  Tonight, Bloomberg News reports that Rudy Giuliani is now under scrutiny from federal prosecutor in Manhattan for possible campaign finance violation and a failure to register as a foreign agent.

Tomorrow House investigators will hear from another key witness, David Holmes.  We just learned his name yesterday.  He is the guy who apparently overheard Trump on a cell phone call with the E.U. ambassador in a restaurant in Kiev.  He is scheduled to testify in close sessions tomorrow.

The Associated Press reports that a second U.S. official was also able to hear the President on that cell phone call.  NBC News had not spoken to anyone who has confirmed that particular bid reporting.

Next week, witnesses with first-hand knowledge of Trump`s conduct will testify publicly including Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman who was on that July 25th call, the aforementioned Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Dr. Fiona Hill who took part in several meetings at the heart of this investigation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still being very cautious about steps beyond these hearings and whether we`ll see actual articles of impeachment drawn up.  But, today she did use the word bribery to describe the evidence against the President and she took no prisoners when it came to the defense spread by Trump and his Republican allies.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  -- and that the President has something that is exculpatory.  Mr. President that means you have anything that shows you are innocent.  Then he should make it known.  And that`s part of the inquiry.

SHERYL STOLBERG, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES":  Given that Republicans have been arguing that yesterday`s witnesses only heard things second-hand, I`m wondering if you think it would be worth waiting for the -- those who have heard things firsthand like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney to testify --

PELOSI:  Oh, Sheryl, oh Sheryl, don`t fall into the second-hand stuff, really.  That is such a fraudulent proposition put forward by the Republicans.  They know it and that`s why they are talking about process rather than the substance if what we heard.  I just won`t even dignify what they are saying.


WILLIAMS:  Well there is also this.  This is substance, but it`s the visual kind.  Just before the President left the White House, cameras and reporters observed and animated conversation with his Attorney General Barr in the Oval Office.  Shortly after that, AP photographers caught Barr talking with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

Here for our lead off discussion of all of it on a Thursday night, Phillip Rucker is here with us in New York, he is the Pulitzer Prize-winning White House Bureau Chief for "The Washington Post," in Washington Tamara Keith, White House Correspondent for NPR and Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for "The New York Times" and coauthor of the recent and timely book "Impeachment in American History."  Good evening and welcome to you all.

Phil, I`d like to begin with you.  What does Mark Sandy bring to the investigation, bring to the conversation?  Remind us the OMB role in this story.

PHILIP RUCKER, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF, "THE WASHINGTON POST":  Yes.  So Mark Sandy, Brian, is as career official at the Office of Management and Budget, which mean he`s not a political appointee of President Trump.  And therefore he has decided to defy the order or the wishes, rather, from the White House counsel and the President himself, trying to prevent all of these executive branch employees from testifying.

He could provide important information to Congress because it was the OMB that was involved in stopping that aid, that $400 million in aid from flowing into Ukraine.  The aid eventually went to Ukraine but there was a delay, it was ordered according to reporting by the President, sets forth by Mick Mulvaney, the Acting White House Chief of Staff and the OMB director.  And Mr. Sandy, the OMB staffer could shed much more light and detail on the process inside that office for how that aid was stopped, what concerns were raised by himself and other career employees at the time and what the system was for documenting that.

WILLIAMS:  Tamara, we should repeat these witnesses that have come forward are about to appear in these hearings are people who have given their depositions in closed-door sessions attended by both parties.  They are not limited in their testimony to what`s on the deposition indeed.  Mr. Taylor, yesterday, gave us new details we didn`t know.  What is Yovanovitch likely able to add to the story tomorrow?

TAMARA KEITH, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "NPR":  Well, what she does not know a lot about is what happened after she left.  So, she doesn`t have a lot of visibility on that July 25th phone call.  But she knows a lot about what happened leading up to her firing.  And the campaign that was led by Rudy Giuliani to have her ousted at one point even the President`s son was tweeting that she should be fired.

Now, of course, the President has the right to fire any ambassador he wants.  But she is somebody who was working with civil society group.  She was working to push back against corruption in Ukraine.  And so she is a figure who has some insights into what was going on in Ukraine and this sort of alternate channel, this side channel of foreign policy that was being led by Rudy Giuliani.

WILLIAMS:  Peter Baker, meanwhile this was on Thursday in Ukraine, a nation involved in the military effort against Russia and it really wasn`t until the two veteran diplomats yesterday spoke with empathy and passion about Ukraine and the Ukrainian people that we had our attention focused back on that conflict in their on-going trouble.  You tweeted out a photograph yesterday that I`d love for you to describe along with the verbiage that came with it.

PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES":  Yes, right.  Well, look, one thing that President Trump can rightly say and his defenders made that point yesterday is that he did something that President Obama didn`t do to help Ukraine.  He authorized little assistance.  Not just night goggles and blankets and food rations and so forth, but actual, you know, basically guns.

And the biggest symbol of that are these javelins and tight tank weapons that he has been very proud of supplying.  But what we often gets missed in this conversation, as my colleague Andrew Kramer who was based out there has pointed out to us, is the javelins are not allowed under the U.S. conditions to actually be used in the war.  They`re stored in a safe and secure location and not actually on the front line, instead, what Ukrainian soldiers have been doing is creating sort of fake javelins was -- you know, with -- at the ammunition box (INAUDIBLE) and so forth to give the silhouette of what a javelins would look like in order to scare off potential Russian tanks.  So even when we talk about, you know, the lethal President Trump has had, it comes with limit, it comes with, you know, with loopholes and conditions on it that have not been as useful to the Ukrainians as they would like.

WILLIAMS:  I think it`s a useful reminder of the struggle that goes on there.  Phil Rucker, I have never have been successful in getting you to speculate wildly.  I love to hit one tonight.  What do you think was going on in the Oval Office late today?  Marine One is idling and it`s not quite when it is.  It`s very clear your ride has arrived if you`re the president but he stayed behind in the Oval Office.  And again, all we saw was just speculation and both men with his A.G. talking in the Oval Office.

RUCKER:  Yes, Brian to be a fly on that curve wall, right?

WILLIAMS:  Yes, exactly.  That wall have no corners.

RUCKER:  The truth is, we really don`t know what was being discussed in that moment.  But there are a couple of things to keep in mind about Attorney General Barr.  He is in the middle of personally overseeing this investigation into the investigation.  That`s the probe that the Justice Department has launched into the origins of the Russia investigation, something President Trump cares personally very deeply about.  Perhaps, that came up in the discussion.

This is something that Barr himself has traveled to several foreign countries to try to get to the bottom of.  And there`s a desire among the President`s conservative allies for conclusion at that investigation to be reached sometimes this fall in -- as a way of kind of detract attention away from the impeachment proceedings as if that would be possible.

And one thing to remember from a couple years earlier in the Trump administration, this has happened before.  There was that moment when the President was late to get on Marine One --


RUCKER:  -- and was in the Oval Office yelling at Don McGahn, the White House counsel, Reince Priebus, then the chief of staff, Steve Bannon, the chief strategist.  It`s all documented in the Mueller report.  But it was one of those rages that the President had about Comey, about the Russia investigation.  And so this is not the first time we`ve seen a moment like this.

WILLIAMS:  The bullet proof glass is so thick, it gives everything a green cast and yet we can still see often especially given the lighting of what`s going on inside the Oval Office.

Tamara, so, we`re underway.  These hearings are a given and they continue tomorrow.  We`ve been lead to believe there is no war room per se in this White House, but has anything about the reaction machine changed in these intervening 24 hours?

KEITH:  Well, they have certainly amped-up their communications, the White House has amped-up their communications to their surrogates, both sort of in the broader conservative community and then also on Capitol Hill.  So, although they are not sending talking points to the press particularly, there been a few little bits, but they have -- there has been steady stream of information sent to the President`s surrogate.

And it was interesting during the hearing President Trump was not doing his usual play by play and television criticism.  He was busy with President Erdogan.  So, it will be interesting to see in a day with a less heavy schedule tomorrow whether the President is watching the hearing and commenting on it or if he`s going to continue the talk of just retweeting allies who are saying things that he likes.

WILLIAMS:  Peter Baker, the coverage on the right hand side that the ledger has already gotten personal tonight.  Mr. Hannity said that apparently during the Yovanovitch deposition, she was moved to tears.  He wondered if the same thing would happen perhaps even on queue at tomorrow`s hearing.  Your news analysis piece tonight has an incredible drive by takedown of Ambassador Taylor by the President`s former lawyer/

BAKER:  Yes, it does.  It`s -- most of the Republicans yesterday tried not to go after Ambassador Taylor in a personal way.  He obviously came across with the great deal of gravitas and credibility.  There wasn`t any effort to tear him down in the way that the President torn down other witnesses.  But I did get in touch with John Dowd just to see what he had to say, the President`s former lawyer.  He`s never wanted to be shy.  And he referred to Ambassador Taylor as -- I`m putting the exact words, you probably have them in front of you, but basically, you know --

WILLIAMS:  I`m being told in my ear.  Pitiful?

BAKER:  Yes.

WILLIAMS:  -- insubordinate with no trusty information.

BAKER:  Yes.  Exactly.  You know, and that`s what I`m sure President Trump and some of you around him actually, but they are trying very carefully not to go there.  Yesterday John Dowd gave voice to what they were thinking.  This is somebody who is part of the deep state in their view, somebody who`s part of the conspiracy to take down the President who doesn`t actually have any first-hand knowledge.  He -- it`s hard to make that case in public.  They tried instead to focus on the issue of the second-hand quality of his testimony.

And it was my colleague, Sheryl Stolberg you showed asking Speaker Pelosi about it.  She may want to brushoff that question, but it`s a legitimate question.  If Ambassador Taylor didn`t actually hear the President say these things, then does that factor into how much weight to get to his testimony.  It would obviously be more useful to the Democrats to hear it from somebody like John Bolton or Mick Mulvaney who actually are in the Oval Office every day or at least was in the case of John Bolton before he was pushed out or left it was on accord (ph) depending on who you believe.

But, they haven`t been able to get those two, they`re refusing to testify.  And it does look like the Democrats are willing to wait for any kind of court (ph) action to compel them.  They think they have enough to go in what they`ve got.  And they may be right for a party line vote, but it probably won`t change any Republican minds.

WILLIAMS:  And the corollary (ph), your point, Peter, is that the argument for hearsay probably has a time limit, a timer on it before that runs out.

Our thanks to our big three returning veterans for starting us off tonight, Philip Rucker, Tamara Keith, Peter Baker, greatly appreciate it gang.

Coming up for us, Speaker Pelosi today uses that word bribery against the President.  We`ll ask a former federal prosecutor, her take on the Democrats` case thus far against Trump.

And later, with a stroke of a pen, another candidate has entered the 2020 race.  Let`s be honest here, it was not suffering from a shortage of Democrats, now they now have two baseball teams worth.  "The 11 Hour" just getting started on this Thursday evening inside of the Washington monument.



RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.

PELOSI:  What President Trump has done on the record in terms of acting to advantage his foreign power to help him and his own election and of the obstruction of information about that, the cover up, makes what Nixon did look almost small, almost small.


WILLIAMS:  The first impeachment hearing in a generation is now history.  The second comes up tomorrow morning.  Today the speaker gives Trump`s crime a name as she says it.


PELOSI:  The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery coverage in the inquiry.  And that the President abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.

Bribery, and that`s in the Constitution attached to the impeachment proceeding.


WILLIAMS:  Nick Fandos of "The New York Times" points out, "The speaker`s explicit allegation of bribery, a misdeed identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offense, was significant.  Even as Ms. Pelosi said that no final decision had been made on whether to impeach Mr. Trump, it suggested that Democrats are increasingly working to put a name to the President`s alleged wrongdoing and moving toward a more specific set of charges that could be codified in articles of impeachment in the coming weeks.

Back with us tonight is Berit Berger, former Assistant U.S. Attorney with both the eastern district of New York and the southern district of New York.

Berit, please expand for us on why it is significance, why is it important to label this bribery.

BERIT BERGER, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTY. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK:  So I think Nancy Pelosi was very specific in calling this bribery for two reasons.  The first is that unlike quid pro quo, bribery is something that most people understand especially people who have children, right?

WILLIAMS:  Yes, exactly.

BERGER:  We all sort of have a general understanding of that.  But the second reason is that this is one of those delineated things in the Constitution, that is a basis for impeachment along with treason, along with high crimes and misdemeanor, bribery is specifically identified.  So much like other prosecutors, what she`s doing here is really narrowing up the facts and the law.  She`s saying, these are the facts and this is the law that we would think they would go with.  is the specific bases for which it could lead to impeachment.

WILLIAMS:  And remind us what subset of the case Ambassador -- former Ambassador Yovanovitch can speak to and fit into?

BERGER:  Yes.  So, she really expands the timeline.  As you discussed earlier in the program, she doesn`t have much knowledge about what happened in the call.  What she can talk about is sort of what happened before that.  She can show that this was part of a broader picture that she was really the target of this smeared campaign by Giuliani and others that were a part of this irregular foreign policy chain that we heard about the other day.

WILLIAMS:  That`s a (INAUDIBLE), if I`ve ever heard one.

BERIT:  Exactly.  Not outlandish, just irregular.  But she can really talk about what she thought was the issue and why she felt that she was being removed.

WILLIAMS:  I`m glad you mentioned Rudy Giuliani.  I have something for you from the "Guardian."  "In a telephone interview with the "Guardian" in response to a question about whether he was nervous that Trump might throw him under a bus in the impeachment crisis, Giuliani said, with a slight laugh, "I`m not, but I do have a very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid."  Giuliani`s lawyer, Robert Costello, who was on the call, then interjected: "He`s joking."

I know because I`ve talked to your fellow former prosecutors at the southern district of New York, Rudy`s picture as former U.S. attorney remains on the wall there prominently so.  They are the investigating arm in this case.  How much jeopardy does he face as of right now tonight?

BERGER:  I think it if the southern district of New York is looking into you, you are facing a lot of jeopardy.  It`s never a good day if the prosecutors from the southern district start to digging through a case to see if there is evidence against you.

Now, we heard a reporting earlier that at least one of Giuliani`s former associate, Lev Parnas may be cooperating.  If he`s cooperating, that could be devastating for Giuliani because, again, to get a cooperation agreement in southern district of New York, you have to testify about all the misdeeds of people that you know.  And if Lev Parnas is cooperating, that would probably include everything he knows about Giuliani, everything he knows this entire Ukraine scandal.

WILLIAMS:  Dan Goldman, a fellow graduate of the southern district of New York was the civilian attorney doing the questioning yesterday.  We have every reason to believe he`ll be there tomorrow.  I`m assuming you believe that the insertion of civilian lawyers is good for pacing and fact gathering and to get it away from filibustering potentially members of Congress.

BERGER:  Absolutely.  And -- I mean, Dan really led a master class the other day in how to do an effective examination.  I thought he handled it just perfectly.  I mean, look, they have the benefit of having deposition transcripts.


BERGER:  So, it`s a friendly witness.  It`s obviously a little bit more difficult if it`s a hostile witness.  He did a great job of not only listing the facts, but of really showing why they were important, of showing how this was not just a bad phone call, but really a national security threat.

I think if they can keep up that side of the narrative of really driving home why not only the Senate should care about this, why the House should care about this, why the public should care about this and how this is a threat to the United States, I think that will be continuing in the right direction.

WILLIAMS:  Always a pleasure to have you Berit Berger.

BERGER:  Of course.

WILLIAMS:  Thank you so much.

Coming up, Nikki Haley has made a lot of glowing statements of late about President Trump.  And now her kindness seems, in fact, to extend to Rudy Giuliani when we come back.



STEPHEN CASTOR, REPUBLICAN STAFF ATTORNEY:  In fairness, this irregular channel of diplomacy is not as outlandish as it could be, is that correct?

WILLIAM TAYLOR, TOP U.S. DIPLOMAT IN UKRAINE:  It`s not as outlandish as it could be.

CASTOR:  It might be irregular but it certainly not outlandish.


WILLIAMS:  There`s a phrase that pays.  That was one argument the Republican council tried to make in the effort to defend the President from impeach.  You can judge its effectiveness for yourself.

With us tonight to talk about all things political, the veteran journalist Jason Johnson, Politics Editor at The root and Rick Wilson, Republican Strategist, soon to be following up on his book, "Everything Trump Touches Dies" with his new work, "Running Against The Devil" due out in early 2020.  Gentlemen, welcome to you both.

Rick, the President said tonight, Republicans have never been more united.  Is that what you saw watching the hearing yesterday?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, look, what I saw watching the hearing yesterday was Republicans who were in a state of edgy panic and they were trying to talk faster and louder in hopes of trying to allied (ph) pass the fact that those two witnesses stood on the -- sat there and laid out a timeline, a calendar, additional facts, additional and witnesses.  This was not a good day for those folks.  And no matter how many times, you know, Jimbo Baggins (ph) gets up there and dances around like a crazy leprechaun (ph), it`s not going to shape the fact that the facts are against Donald Trump and the timeline is against Donald Trump, and the witnesses are against Donald Trump.

And this is -- that was day one.  They had a bad day on day one.  I don`t think it`s going to get much better as we go forward.

WILLIAMS:  Jason. The Democrats, with day one in the books, we have learned they can schedule witnesses and conduct questioning.


WILLIAMS:  When will you have confirmation that they have indeed found the right messaging that with all we have lived through with Mueller, 400 plus pages.  This is the story to tell, this is the story people can understand because at the heart of it is a phone call.

JOHNSON:  So this is -- we`re going to find out over the next couple of days if Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff are auditory (ph), if they`re good managers, if they can set up the lineup properly with the witnesses.  And I think they did a good job.  With this first day, you had two people who, as you said, they set the timeline, they were clear, they won`t flustered, they didn`t allow Jim Jordan or anybody else to ask him any sort of strange questions that got them off the line.

And I think the Republicans, they weren`t unified.  They didn`t seem to have a coherent strategy other than do you follow all the conspiracy theories that we know about on Reddit.  So I think the Democrats did a very, very good job.  This is not going to be a knockout punch situation, that`s not going to what`s going to happen.

What they need to do is not screw up and lay out the story because the American public already seemed to be in favor of impeachment.  They just don`t want to blow that sort of enthusiasm.

WILLIAMS:  But let me follow up on that.  Do you think this hearsay line of argument is catching on?  And do you think it has a time limit on it?

JOHNSON:  I don`t think hearsay works because you got too many people talking about the same story, right?  It doesn`t -- look, everybody out there who`s watching this, the people who are at home, my grandmother, grandparents, everything else like that, they`ve watched "Law & Order".  They (INAUDIBLE) the difference with hearsay and what seems like a credible witness.  And these people all come across as credible until someone blows up, until someone has that Sam Waterston moment where they get angry on the stage.

Everyone watching this right now is when they say, well these people credible.  We`ve been hearing about the story.  And so far the Republicans having given us an alternative story to think that this impeachment doesn`t make sense.  And that`s really the weakness I saw on Tuesday.

WILLIAMS:  Rick, I have something for you.  This is Nikki Haley tonight on CNN on the topic of Rudy Giuliani.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST:  Was it appropriate based on everything you experience in the world of diplomacy for Rudy Giuliani, the President`s personal lawyer, someone who had no security clearances to be engaged in what`s being described as a shadow of diplomacy.

NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS:  I -- During my time at the United Nations, I never saw Rudy engaged in that way.  It is best practice if you have a special envoy to handle certain areas.  And we do that all the time.  I think they should have named him the special envoy so that everyone within the administration knew what his role was.


WILLIAMS:  So instead of former Mayor of New York, Special Envoy Rudy Giuliani, Rick, is that the rosiest possible reading of the situation Rudy is in question two.  What is going on do you think with Nikki Haley?

WILSON:  You know, I think Nikki Haley is missing one of those profound rules in life.  The rats are supposed to jump off of the sinking ship father than on to the sinking ship.  And so tonight, she`d gambled more of her credibility away by essentially, you know, by essentially putting her arms around Rudy Giuliani, a guy who was already being dragged out behind the bar and because they are done with him.

The Trump people are trying to cut him loss.  The Republicans and Congress are going to try to blame this whole thing on Rudy when it comes down to it.  You know, that`s their last ditch scenario.  And so now she`s basically praising Rudy at a moment where his stock is falling so far with Trump personally, with the Trump`s world that, you know, it`s only a matter of time before he was just a coffee boy, a volunteer.  We barely knew him, Rudy who.

WILLIAMS:  Jason, Yovanovitch tomorrow, give us a little bit of a preview.  We tried to point out at the top of the broadcast.  We recall ambassadors all the time.

JOHNSON:  Right,

WILLIAMS:  Rarely, do they say they feel threatened in their personal lives?  Rarely, does one of the locals say to them watch your back?

JOHNSON:  Right.  When she`s saying I felt threaten, I don`t even know why the President was talking about me.  This is going to be the emotional punch.  We got the story first, now we`re hearing people felt threatened, people felt concerned, people in the country, in the Ukraine were like, we don`t even know what`s going on, what`s dangerous here.  And this is where something like Rudy Giuliani and all these other individuals come into play.

Look, it doesn`t matter is he was named special envoy.  You don`t put your ankle-breaker on staff (ph), right?  Like, so everyone knew that Trump had a lot of people operating in this sort of irregular channels.  And she speaks to have those irregular channels made regular, long-term service people feel uncomfortable.  And that`s going to be the story that Americans take with them over the weekend.

WILLIAMS:  Both of these gentlemen have agreed to stay with us over this break.

Coming up, however, a New England Democrat born in Chicago who works at Mitt Romney`s old company.  Yes, it`s complicated.  And this man just made the Democratic race more complicated.  His story, the rest of the day in politics when we come back.



DEVAL PATRICK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I love that the party has moved to the left.  I love that we are the party of the woke.  I believe that we also have to be the party of the still waking.


WILLIAMS:  Former two-term Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick made a last minute entry in the 2020 race today.  He announced his campaign in a video this morning.  Before heading over to New Hampshire to file a paperwork for the first in the nation primary.  This brings for those playing our home game, the Democratic field backup to 18 on your bingo card while we wait to see if former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ultimately gets on board.

Still with us tonight, our Jason Johnson and Rick Wilson.  Jason, Deval Patrick, born in South Chicago, mostly raised by a single mom, scholarship kid to an east coast prep school, Harvard, Harvard of law, some corporate law, Justice Department Civil Rights Division, two-term Governor of Massachusetts.  Now, however, he`s at a company we associate with one Mitt Romney called Bain Capital.  Before you answer, he was asked about Bain Capital.  Let`s run his answer and we`ll talk about best campaign practices with our friend Jason.


PATRICK:  There is a place for private equity in the private economy.  There is a place for business in our lives.  But it is also true that capitalism generally has a lot to answer for.  That is so, and we need to be able to confront that and that`s exactly the work I`ve been doing at Bain Capital.


WILLIAMS:  Handicap his entry just hours old so far if you will.

JOHNSON:  This is the worst Barack Obama-Mitt Romney remix that he could ever release on new state (ph) new day.  I mean, you know, the Bain Capital but the south side of Chicago.  You can`t say that this is a party of the woke and then start talking about how you work in this private equity.  These things don`t make sense.  But those aren`t the only mistakes that he`s made.

He doesn`t have a message.  He doesn`t have a lane.  He appears to be coming in at the same time that a lot of the activists and the Democratic Party that billionaires and millionaires are worried of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.  So he looks like he`s coming in to sort of be a supporter for them.  He didn`t even buy the proper domain name for his campaign website so he got bought by one of his political enemies in Boston who`s now putting posts and stories that insult him.

And then there are scandals about his foreclosure, his behavior with his ex-brother-in-law.  This is the worst rule out ever.  I don`t know what he`s thinking and I don`t know that he`s going to be able to make that much of a difference that alone get in the debate by December.

WILLIAMS:  Wow.  Rick Wilson, a lot to react to there.  First of all, the question to you is, does his entry into the race presuppose a Biden collapse?

WILSON:  I think what it actually does is probably it helps Biden a little bit in New Hampshire.  Because he`s, you know, he`s the local -- another local or regional candidate so he ends up dilute (ph).  I think Bernie and Warren a little bit in New Hampshire and maybe gives Biden a chance, you know.  So, if Biden loses New Hampshire which most people anticipate, it`s not going to be as bad or it`ll be sort of a diluted loss.

But I think Jason is right on point.  This roll out was -- I mean, did they just decide over the weekend?  Did they get lit up in a poker game and to say, hey, let`s run for president for a prank?  This was not well-done.  At this point, you`ve got to have your business together if you`re going to get in the race this late or you better have a lot of zeros in your bank account like Mike Bloomberg does.  This was not a successful day for him.  I don`t think he survives very long in this contest.

WILLIAMS:  Well, Jason, since Bloomberg`s name was just invoked, what lane -- we`re talking about Deval`s lane, what lane does Mike Bloomberg see for himself especially since he`s saying I`ll see you all after the first couple of primary?

JOHNSON:  Yes.  I think Mike Bloomberg, it`s same sort of coffee klatch primary up.  I`m sitting around with my wealthy friends and we don`t like what we see on television and they`re all saying, I bet you that I can do that.  That`s what happened with Howard Schultz and see how successful he`s been.


JOHNSON:  This is the problem.  You can`t be the former governor, you can`t be the former champion of stop and freeze and then say that the first primary you`re going to get into is Alabama where a large portion of the primary voters are going to be African-American.  I don`t know what he`s thinking.  He`s probably wasting his money just like Tom Steyer.  But what it speaks to is this.  The difference between what sometimes the Democratic elites think and how the voters are behaving, because satisfaction with the Democratic field is actually high amongst voters.  But it seems like the elite donors are somehow dissatisfied with it.  And that`s a disconnect that I think both of these candidates in jumping in the race now are -- demonstrating they don`t understand.

WILSON:  I mean, that`s right.

WILLIAMS:  Rick Wilson, that is true.  I have heard some Democrats who are not at all happy to see Bloomberg`s name in this race, say, imagine what his money could buy, imagine how his money could change the fate and fortune of the democratic party.  Because here`s a guy who like it or not has changed life in America incrementally, public smoking bans, he is largely credited, well starting that in New York.

WILSON:  Look, if Michael Bloomberg, you know, a guy who is worth roughly $60 billion is dedicated to removing Donald Trump from office, he will stop this foolish idea of running for president.  He will put a billion dollars in a voter registration in Florida., Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota.  He will go up on the air and the state`s hurt by the trade war with ads that talk about how Donald Trump`s promises will broke into the folks, the farmers, the manufacturers in those state and nuke him until he glows.

He will go out there and he will do digital stuff.  He will go out and do a data science program for the Democratic candidate.  He will go out there and raise money from other people.  That`s what he wants.  If you want to get rid of Trump, that`s how to do it if you are a billionaire right now, not having a vanity project that`s going to buy a few guys extra Ferraris or beach houses but rather something that actually has a meaningful political impact.

WILLIAMS:  So Jason, if you listen to the Republicans, the Democrats are coming for your guns, they`re certainly coming for your money.  Bloomberg`s coming for any large sugary drinks in your house.

JOHNSON:  Right.

WILLIAMS:  What is going on right now in your view inside the Democratic Party?

JOHNSON:  What`s happening in the Democratic Party is this sort of fear that they always have it.  Maybe we`ve gone too far and they don`t seem to want to listen to what the public is actually saying.  Look, even Deval Patrick, when he says, look, this is the party of the woke.  40 percent of the Democratic primary voters obviously want progressive change because they want Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.  That seem to be where the country is going.

I don`t think Democrats understand that they actually won the popular vote last time.  That any Democrat, they could run, eat cheese sandwich (ph).  They`ve got a 3 million lead, all you have to do is one, and be a candidate of conviction.  But rather than trying to play in the middle which is what sometimes happening with Biden, which of what`s happening with Patrick, which of what`s happening with Bloomberg.  You have people who don`t want to realize that the country wants change.  Donald Trump was change.  The Democrats need to have a change candidate  not someone who`s going to run down in the middle and try to make people feel comfortable.  That`s not what this country wants anymore.

WILLIAMS:  Rick Wilson, last question.  When you and I have talked, you have a very kind of Marxist (ph) theory of how much of the election and the electorates, state by state is already baked in your view?

WILSON:  Look, there are 35 states in this country where God love them but the election is already decided.  We know how Alabama is going to vote in the general election.  We know how California is going to vote in the general election.  Those 35 states are done.  The swing states that we`re going to fight this thing out between 6 and 15 in the broadest sense, those states are much more complicated than, you know, most people give them credit for.  But they are not hard to the left.

You know, Minnesota is probably one of the most blue of all the swing states, but they`re not like Oregon or Massachusetts.  Wisconsin and Michigan, they have a lot of blue areas but they are not super woked.  Florida, God knows, I mean, it`s -- everything north of I-4 is basically -- we look at Alabama as being too liberal.  And so these states are complicated.  These guys cannot go in here with this, you know, national message that works great in California and hope to win in this swing states.

I mean, Georgia is on the line for the Democrats.  They could pick Georgia up this year but they`re not going to pick it up by saying things like, we`re taking away all your private health insurance.  Which I know Republicans pollsters right now are dancing in the streets because that message scares the hell out of people who would otherwise probably vote Democratic in this election cycle.

WILLIAMS:  Two friends of this broadcast who really know what they`re talking about named Jason Johnson and Rick Wilson.  Gentlemen, thank you both.

And coming up for us, we don`t know what it says about our country that it has happened again today.


WILLIAMS:  There`s been another school shooting in our country.  Two students were killed, three others wounded after a teenage gunman opened fire at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California.  First shots were fired around 7:30 a.m.  The whole thing took 16 seconds from the first shot to turning the gun on himself.  Surveillance video captured images of him pulling a handgun from his backpack and then opening fire.

The first officer to respond was a detective who had just dropped off his own child at that school.  It was the gunman`s 16th birthday.  He was taken to the hospital in grave condition.  When asked today about stalled gun legislation that`s already been passed by the House, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina blamed impeachment just as the Attorney General did yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There`s been another school shooting in California.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC):  Yes, terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What`s the latest in terms of negotiations?

GRAHAM:  You know, we`re kind of stuck, I think.  Impeachment has taken, sucked all the energy out of this place, and that`s too bad.  But, yes, I can`t tell you the latest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is there any bandwidth within the Senate and White House?

GRAHAM:  There is for me.  I`m dying to do something about this and a bunch of other things.


WILLIAMS:  Now during the Clinton presidency in the `90s and during his own impeachment inquiry, Congress found a way to pass a bill requiring background checks and an assault weapons band.  Today on CNN, the former President was asked what President Trump should do.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  You got hired to do a job.  You don`t get the days back you blow off.  Every day is an opportunity to make something good happen.  And I would say I`ve got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry and they should just have at it.  Meanwhile, I`m going to work for the American people.  That`s what I would do.


WILLIAMS:  Washington Post says this is at least the seventh shooting at a U.S. school this year.  According to The Post analysis, more than 233 school children have been exposed to gun violence in their schools since the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in `99.

Another break.  Coming up, we will meet America`s newest federal judge.  He`s never tried a case in court.  He could now be on the bench for the next half century.


WILLIAMS:  Last thing before we go tonight, the latest installment in our occasional series of reports called elections have consequences.  Short of sending U.S. troops into battle, the most awesome power of the presidency is the ability to reshape the judiciary, the Supreme Court, federal judges.  That`s how Presidents get to change American society for generations after they`ve come and gone.  And this much, Trump understands perhaps in part because his sister was a federal judge.  Here is the President from last week.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We have confirmed 157 judges to follow the constitution as written.


WILLIAMS:  Mitch McConnell has made federal judges his priority, and so just today the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Steven Menashi.  The vote was 51-41 party line all the way except for Susan Collins of Maine who`s trying to hang on to her seat, she voted no.  Menashi has never tried a case, never made an oral argument or conducted a deposition.

He now takes a seat on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals previously held by Thurgood Marshall.  At his hearing, Menashi was hammered for everything from race to Islamophobia, to education, to LGBTQ and women`s rights and choice and his own lack of transparency.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA):  Counselor, you`re a really smart guy but I wish you`d be more forthcoming.  This isn`t supposed to be a game.

STEVE MENASHI, TRUMP JUDICIAL NOMINEE:  I`ve worked on immigration matters but can`t speak further about that.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA):  And you can`t -- so you can`t tell us anything about what you did so we cannot learn anything about what your positions are.

MENASHI:  But it would be inappropriate to start weighing in --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And it`s inappropriate for you to seek this nomination.


WILLIAMS:  Democrats are fuming but powerless.  Chuck Schumer called Menashi one of the most contemptible nominees to come before the Senate in all his time there.  Democrats know to prevent this in the future.  They would need to elect a new president and/or flipped the U.S. Senate.  Steven Menashi is 40 years old.  He has now been appointed to the federal bench for the rest of his adult life. 

That is our broadcast for this Thursday night.  Thank you so much for being here with us.  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