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Kamala Harris drops out of presidential race. TRANSCRIPT: 12/3/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Guests: Lanhee Chen, Franklin Foer, Julia Ioffe, Ruth Marcus

BRIAN WILLIAMS,MSNBC HOST: Tonight the House Intel Committee opens up their books. They put out a 300 page report that is direct and damning and flat out says, our President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States. Then they name names other than Trump. All of them big names with a lot to lose.

And there are phone records. They link Trump`s guy, Rudy Giuliani to the White House Budget Office.  And they link Devin Nunes with Rudy`s guy Lev Parnas, and Parnas may soon be working for the feds.  All of this on eve of the next wave of impeachment hearings.  Donald Trump is in London.  Kamala Harris is out of the race.  We have it all covered as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way this Tuesday night.

Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York, day 1,048 of this Trump administration.  And tonight, as expected, the House Intelligence Committee has indeed voted to moved the impeachment case along to its next step.  It was a straight-up party-line vote 13-9.  And with it comes a rather withering 300-page report that methodically accuses the President of the United States of wrongdoing in dealings with Ukraine.

Now our attention becomes focused on the House Judiciary Committee, the one chaired by Jerry Nadler, Democrat of New York, which is holding its first impeachment hearing mere hours from now at 10:00 a.m.  Judiciary will use the report to draft articles of impeachment.  Details of the Intel Committee`s findings were released publicly today.  The report is based on the 10-week investigation triggered by that whistleblower complaint, let`s not forget, that was concerning Trump`s July 25th phone call with the then- new president of Ukraine.

Laid out in direct wording, the impeachment investigators found that Donald Trump, and we quote here, "personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his re-election and to harm the election prospects of a political rival."  They go on, "the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process and endangered U.S. national security."

Investigators say the Vice President, Secretary of State, the Acting Chief of Staff, Secretary of Energy and other senior officials, "were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President."  The report accuses the President of, an "unprecedented campaign of obstruction," adding, "the evidence of the president`s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress."

Today Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff offered his assessment.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA, INTELLIGENCE CMTE. CHAIRMAN:  This is not about Ukraine.  This is about our democracy.  This is about our national security.  And if we don`t care about this, we can darn well be assured the President will be back at it doing that all over again.


WILLIAMS:  This report`s biggest revelation, phone records obtained by House Democrats.  We didn`t know about those before.  They list a flurry of calls involving Giuliani, his indicted business associate Lev Parnas, and Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intel Committee who clashed, as you recall, repeatedly with the Democrats during last month`s public hearings.

The calls include several made on April 24th, same day as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was recalled.  Giuliani called the White House seven different times and had nearly nine minutes worth of conversation with a conspicuously unidentified phone number.  That same day, someone from the Office of Management and Budget called Rudy three times, the last call resulting in a nearly 15-minute conversation.

The report also reveals multiple phone calls between Devin Nunes and Lev Parnas.  On April 12th, there were four phone calls between the two, including one that lasted nearly nine minutes.  Nunes himself was asked about all that tonight on Fox News.


REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R) CALIFORNIA:  Maybe they have the recordings of my phone calls with Rudy Giuliani.  They`re welcome to play them because everything I spoke with Rudy Giuliani about is nothing that I wouldn`t care if the American people found out.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST:  Did you ever talk to this guy, Lev Parnas, or whatever his name is?

NUNES:  You know, it`s possible, but I haven`t gone through all my phone records.  I don`t really recall that name.  You know, I remember the name now because he`s been indicted.  I`ll go back and check on my records, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.


WILLIAMS:  Just a short time ago on this network, Intel Committee Chairman Schiff discussed the calls revealed in this report.


SCHIFF:  These phone records show just the kind of interaction between these different players in the midst of this scheme.  We`re trying to identify the full scope of those who were complicit in what the President was doing and these records give a window of insight into exactly that.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR:  As we were watching Devin Nunes in the hearings he knew that you had obtained phone records that included him and that those phone records would inevitably be made public by your report.

SCHIFF:  Well, he certainly had possession of the records now.  How much he looked into them, how much he discussed what they showed with his staff, I really can`t say.  You would have to ask him.


WILLIAMS: The Democrats impeachment report here also notes that Mr. Parnas appears to be in communication with Congress and, thus, anyone who dealt with Parnas could be in trouble, "Mr. Parnas has begun rolling production of certain records in his possession, custody, or control in response to the subpoena, which the committees are evaluating."

There`s also this about Trump`s pressure campaign to have Ukraine make a specific statement regarding investigations into the Bidens.  The report includes an excerpt of a draft statement sent from Ukrainian officials to then-special envoy Kurt Volker, August 12th.  The next day, Volker sent a revised version of the draft to E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland which included an added promise to investigate Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections.  The statement was never delivered publicly.

This is all unfolding during the President`s London visit for this week`s NATO summit meeting.

Tonight, Trump and other leaders joined the Queen at a reception at Buckingham Palace.  But earlier in the day and in traditional form, the President had plenty to say about what was going on back home.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think it`s very unpatriotic of the Democrats to put on a performance where they do that.  I do.  I think it`s a bad thing for our country.  Impeachment wasn`t supposed to be used that way.  All you have to do is read the transcripts.  You`ll see there was absolutely nothing done wrong.

They had legal scholars looking at the transcripts the other day, and they say these are absolutely perfect.  Trump is right when he uses the word -- those concept -- those calls that we made, two of them, were absolutely perfect calls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There`s some talk of, among lawmakers, of censuring you, instead of impeachment.  What do you think about that?

TRUMP: Unacceptable.  I did nothing wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why won`t you permit the Secretary of State or the acting White House Chief of Staff to testify?

TRUMP:  Well, I would.  I`d like them to testify but these are very unfair hearings.

I want them to testify, but I want them to testify in the Senate where they`ll get a fair trial.


WILLIAMS:  Which brings us to our lead-off discussion on a busy Tuesday night.  With us from London and traveling with the President, Shannon Pettypiece, veteran journalist, Senior White House Reporter for NBC News Digital.  Here with us in New York, Maya Wiley, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, now with the New School here in New York.  And Lanhee Chen back with us, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, former presidential campaign advisers to both Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney.  Good evening and welcome to all of you.

Counselor, Maya, I`d like to begin with you.  I heard a lawyer on cable tonight say this is much more direct and serious and damning and specific than any similar document in all previous impeachments of Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton.  In your reading of this, did they make the case?  Will the American people agree they made the case?  How many of the American people are going to read all 300 pages?

MAYA WILEY, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNERY SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK:  Well, number one, they not only made the case, it -- reading it was like seeing a flood of evidence and having read it after reading the Republican version of a report on --

WILLIAMS:  The pre-battle, yes.

WILEY: -- even at the pre-battle, they didn`t even have a sand bag to hold back the waters that are in this report.  And let me just -- you actually already identified some of the key points, but this is really laying out a play in three acts.  If what they can do, going to your question about whether people will pay attention, it`s really not 300 pages.  You could boil it down to 20 pretty easily.

They laid out a very clear timeline, which is helpful, but it`s really three acts.  One is the direct involvement of the President in setting up the drug deal.  The second act is after the preparation is bringing home the drug deal.  And then the third act is getting caught in the drug deal.

And once you do that, you can pinpoint the specific points that are very clear, very simple in the report, documented with evidence that shows Donald Trump`s direct involvement.  You point it to one of the most standing, which is the exchange of the statement --


WILEY:  -- that the Ukrainians were supposed to make.  One of the very specific pieces of evidence in the report is on August 9th, the day before that exchange of the actual text of what the Ukrainians were supposed to say, there are calls from Rudy Giuliani and Sondland.  Sondland makes two calls to the White House.  After those two calls totaling 20 minutes to the White House, he then texts Kurt Volker and says, POTUS really wants the deliverable, which he said in testimony, meant the announcement of those investigations.  That is Donald Trump directing and that is hard evidence and there has been no rebuttal to that.

WILLIAMS:  Shannon, thank you so much for getting up way too early to talk to us on live television.  Tonight our time, morning your time, is there any way to measure was this worse than what was expected if for no other reason the presence of these phone logs, which are very hard to explain away as Maya noted?

SHANNON PETTYPIECE, NBC NEWS.COM SR. WHITE HOUSE REPORTER:  I think that is a new twist that the White House and the President`s advisers weren`t as early expecting, because I will note, the White House has really been in the dark on this process because they`ve not really been cooperating.  They have refused to participate in this event.  So that means their lawyers don`t have access to what the witnesses are handing over or what these committees might have.  So that could come as a surprise.  The idea that the President`s personal lawyer, who the President has repeatedly said is his personal lawyer, the White House has referred to him as an individual citizen is calling the situation room five times, as you noted. this call to this negative one number who we don`t know who that belongs to.  But I will point out that other people I have seen have noted that that negative one number also came up in the Roger Stone trial when Roger Stone was having conversations with the President.  So we don`t know definitively that, but that implication is out there.

And we had seen the poll numbers starting to sort of trend down a bit when it came the support for impeachment, particularly among independents.  Now, that seemed to boost a bit in the past week or so after the public hearings.  So, of course, we have to watch for is with this sort of new -- it`s really sort of a turn of the screw.  Even though this is a big report and very definitive, it`s sort of one more step along this process to see what happens then.

And of course, the President has had an opportunity overseas to sidestep this, to appear President busy, being presidential and working on behalf of the American people, but of course, he hasn`t been able to help himself, but to sort of wade back into this muck of impeachment while he`s here when he gets asked about it by reporters.  And I don`t think that`s going to be any different today, he has a press conference later, today my time tomorrow, your time.  Well, he`ll certainly be asked about this and have an opportunity to really go back at it if he wants to with Democrats.

WILLIAMS:  And now to the brave life-long Republican sitting in our midst.  Lanhee, I want to read you this from David Frum on social media tonight, smoking gun showing text of draft statement without Burisma in 2016 elections and then updated text including those words.

Lanhee, if you had to prove it, could you prove that that`s a demand?  Could you prove that that is indeed a quid pro quo or, as David calls it a smoking gun?

LANHEE CHEN, FMR. POLICY DIRECTOR ROMNEY-RYAN CAMPAIGN:  Yes.  I mean, precisely to Shannon`s point because the White House hasn`t been participating in the process you end up with closures like this as well as the phone records, which present another layer of difficulty.  Now, I don`t think it`s going to impact how Republicans respond to this in general on Capitol Hill, in the media, sort of folks who are in Republican circles.

By and large, I think the response is going to remain the same, which is that regardless of how you feel about what may have happened, those things do not rise to an impeachable offense.  That is the defense we have repeatedly heard, in addition to some discussion of things that didn`t happen like Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election.  Put that aside for a moment.  With respect to how Republicans respond now, it seems that increasingly you`re hearing, well yes, there`s stuff here potentially, but it doesn`t rise to that level and therefore, this is something for the political process of elections, not for the political process of impeachment.

WILLIAMS:  Maya, five floors north of us, here our friends at "SNL" referred to Lev and Igor as the two shreks.  So, let`s take it as Lev, shrek number one, and he may be cooperating.  He may very well be talking about everything he picked up or knows to the feds.  What does that mean for the jeopardy the President may be in, saying -- maybe and saying nothing of Rudolph Giuliani?

WILEY:  Well, certainly Rudolph Giuliani should be very concerned.  But there is some peril to the President.  And first let`s say we don`t know, because one, Lev Parnas, one he wants immunity.  Two, he is indicted.  And while there is an agreement to share documents the U.S. attorney`s office is still gathering more evidence.  And you know, he`s got definitely some self-interest.  We have to see what he has and we may not because it will be governed by a protective order.  So there`s a lot of complicated stuff happening right now around this.

But I think as the phone logs showed, and as, you know, Parnas has made public statements, he had a very lengthy interview in "The New Yorker," you know, with Adam Entous where he really lays out all of his acces to Donald Trump.  He`s planting the seeds in April with Donald Trump about Marie Yovanovitch and how she was bad news.  You know his pairing and connecting Rudy Giuliani, and then him serving in a translator role.  He has placed himself directly in an engagement that includes conversations with the President.  So, who knows?

What I would say is, in a way, based on everything we`re seeing, it`s gravy but we already have the turkey.  And the turkey was pretty damn moist.

WILLIAMS:  Hey, Shannon, beyond how cool it would be to tell somebody to call you and then casually repeat that your number is negative one, we`ll try to get past that.  Frank Figliuzzi earlier on this network said that with a little convincing, this could begin to shape up like a Rico case.  There are a lot of names and if not names titles in this, at least one of them, the acting chief of staff on the trip with the President trying to talk to the members of NATO.  The President has complained early and often that this is coming out while he`s traveling overseas.  But this kind of thing can just subsume the other news on an overseas trip, as you noted.

PETTYPIECE:  Oh, certainly.  And this was an opportunity.  And I know the White House advisers have been looking forward to this opportunity to show the President engaged in substantive issues, talking about trade, Iran, Syria, Russia, national security, big-picture issues to again look like a president hard at work.  That was the strategy that was very effective for Bill Clinton.  They sent him out across the country.  When he was asked about impeachment, he did of course weighed in on it in several key moments, but for the most part he would just say, you know, I am focused on bigger issues here.

Nancy Pelosi, she was recently in Madrid.  When she was asked about impeachment, she used that as an opportunity to say I`m overseas, I`m focused on other things.  I don`t want to talk about impeachment.

This President spent about two hours yesterday talking to reporters.  He did talk about a number of issues, but when asked about impeachment, he went right into it, calling Adam Schiff a maniac, calling him a sick person, repeating again that this is an entire hoax.

And you have to think this report coming out as he is sitting down with world leaders today, a number of them, having official NATO summits, one must say to them as well that even if this isn`t impeachable, these are the type of actions the President`s have been engaged in.

WILLIAMS:  And Lanhee, back in this country, I want to show our viewers your former boss who went there today on the subject of Russian meddling in our elections.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY, (R) UTAH:  I saw no evidence from our intelligence community nor from the representatives today from the Department of State that there is any evidence of any kind that suggests that Ukraine interfered in our elections.  We have ample evidence that Russia interfered in our elections.


WILLIAMS:  So the question is, about your former boss, is that what a Republican sounds like?  And if that`s true, why is John, no relation, Kennedy using the Russian talking points.

CHEN:  Well, you know, I think for a lot of Republicans, it was Donald Trump it`s all or nothing.  And it is unacceptable to not express the point of view that Ukraine meddled in the election even though the intelligence services, as Senator Romney said, clearly do not demonstrate that that happened.  And in fact, we know factually the Russians did.

And I think, you know, look, Senator Romney is going to say exactly what it is that is truthful about the situation.  He is not afraid to do that.  He`s in a different position, though, potentially from other senators who may not have the political attitude that he does.  Not to justify or say that that`s right or wrong, simply saying that you`ve got different people in different positions.  But with respect to Senator Romney, you can always expect him to say exactly what it is that`s on his mind.

And exactly what it is in this case it`s clear evidence that the Russians interfered, not the Ukrainians.  It`s a very important statement though because it gives other Republicans potentially some cover to come out and say, OK look, you know, this notion that the Ukrainians were involved in the election is just a ludicrous, you know, we shouldn`t go there.

Whether we want to defend the President or not is one thing.  But talking about something that didn`t happen is yet another.

WILLIAMS:  Much obliged to our big three, on the Tuesday night Shannon Pettypiece from far away on London, Lanhee Chen and Maya Wiley, thanks to the three of you.  Greatly appreciate it.

Coming up, the house Democrats impeachment mentions him 525 times.  That can`t be good for Rudy Giuliani.

And later, the President bids a sarcastic farewell to another former Democratic presidential candidate, perhaps not expecting the response he got from her right away.  THE 11TH HOUR just getting started on yet another consequential Tuesday night.



RUDOLF GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S PERSONAL LAWYER:  So I`ve decided, Shannon, I`m not going to go to the Ukraine.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS HOST:  You`re not going to go?

GIULIANI:  I`m not going to go because I think I`m walking into a group of people that are enemies of the President.


WILLIAMS:  The day before announcing his Ukraine trip was off Giuliani told "The New York Times" back on May 9th he was headed to Ukraine to push for investigations that would help Trump.  Giuliani said at the time, "We`re not meddling in an election, we`re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right today do."

Giuliani is now, of course, a central figure in all of this.  And today, a new report in "The Atlantic" details what the then president-elect of Ukraine was thinking when he learned Giuliani wanted to meet with him in May.

Franklin Foer writes, "Zelensky found the mayor`s relationship with the President maddeningly unclear.  Was Giuliani an official representative of the Trump administration or a freelance operator?  Did Zelensky have a diplomatic obligation to meet with him?  And why did Giuliani want to cause so much trouble for a presidency that hadn`t even begun?  Zelensky seemed to sense Giuliani`s capacity for troublemaking.

With us for more of the aforementioned Franklin Foer, staff writer for "The Atlantic" and happens to be the author of this article.

Frank, thank you very much for coming on.


WILLIAMS:  How involved was Rudy?  And is there a Tom Hagen moment where the president-elect puts together these two guys, Lev and Igor, and Rudy, and thinks, oh, my goodness, this guy has just one client he reports to back home?

FOER:  Right.  I think Zelensky as he was coming into office didn`t know that much about Giuliani.  He didn`t understand what capacity he was descending on Kiev.  But he knew that he was causing trouble.  Everybody around Zelensky told him that you don`t want to get involved with this guy if you can`t help it because you don`t want Ukraine to become a politicized issue.

One of the great advantages that Ukraine has had is that it`s had bipartisan support as it fought its war against Russia.  But, I think they also felt that they were totally cornered by Giuliani.  Here he was coming and, you know, it was almost an accident that they avoided this first trap of having to meet with him in the transition period, where was it not for that "New York Times" article which leaked his visit and put pressure on Giuliani not to go.  There would have been this collision much earlier on.

WILLIAMS:  The call records are fascinating.  They are rather indelible.  You don`t forget them once you look through them.  And then one name in particular sticks out.  That`s the Office of Management and Budget.  Explain to our viewers why it`s so notable that he was in touch allegedly with them?

FOER:  Right.  So in the impeachment proceedings, there is still this one gap in the evidence, which is that we know that there was this quid pro quo that they were asking for the investigation.  We know that the military aid was on hold.  But we don`t have that one last link other than a bit of Gordon Sondland`s testimony that shows that the President was rendering the aid conditional on Zelensky announcing an investigation into Burisma and into the 2016 election.

Now, Giuliani is the master mind of this operation.  He is the ops guy.  He`s running around the bureaucracies.  The call logs show that he is -- he`s all over the place.  He`s talking to Pompeo.  He`s talking to Bolton.  And indeed, he`s talking to the Office of Management and Budget.  And he`s talking to them at a very sensitive moment because he`s really turning the screws on Ukrainians at a moment.

He`s just met with Zelensky`s right-hand guy, Andriy Yermak in Madrid. They have a draft statement they`re trying to get out that has what they call the deliverables.  And so if Giuliani is turning the screws by also checking in with the OMB to make sure that everything is on track with the withholding of aid, you know, then we were seeing some suggestive evidence of linkage.

WILLIAMS:  I highly recommend everyone within the sound of our voices and watching tonight seek out this article our guest has written because it is a fascinating ride through what we`ve just learned.  Franklin Foer, thank you very much --

FOER:  Thank you.  Thank you.

WILLIAMS:  -- for coming out with us tonight.

And coming for us, their job is to promote peace around the world.  And yet, our next guest says the President is waging war against them.


WILLIAMS:  In recent week career diplomats like Ambassadors Marie Yovanovitch and Bill Taylor have testified about how a smear campaign with a financial and partisan motivation overtook American foreign policy in Ukraine.  And our next guest reports it doesn`t end there.  "Trump is waging war on America`s diplomats" as the title of Julia Ioffe`s piece in the current GQ Magazine.  It begins with the story of a Foreign Service officer in the London embassy claiming he was punished after praising President Obama during a public event.

And back with us tonight, we are so pleased to have the aforementioned Julia Ioffe, a Russian born American journalist and these days a correspondent for GQ.  Julia, you had me thinking of this tonight after the first three career public servants appeared at the hearing, Donald Trump Jr. said this on Twitter.  "America hired Donald Trump to fire people like the first three witnesses we`ve seen.  Career government bureaucrats and nothing more."  And so I ask you, what must it be like for the folks doing their jobs to have their very job and their career choice under fire by the President and his henchmen and women?

JULIA IOFFE, CORRESPONDENT, GW MAGAZINE:  Right.  Well, you know, to Donald Trump Jr.`s point, at least the government bureaucrats, though they are unelected, at least take an oath to the constitution.  When you have Rudy Giuliani, Trump`s personal lawyer, and Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman running around who are accountable to nobody but themselves, I would argue I`d rather have the bureaucrats working for us.

But these Foreign Service officers, you know, they work long hours, they work often in difficult conditions in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, in places like China and Russia where they`re closely monitored and surveilled and followed and often harassed.  They do it for a lot less money than they would make in the private sector.  And they do it -- most of them do it out of a passion.  They really believe in this American project as corny and cheesy as it sounds, they really believe in advancing America`s national security interests and values abroad.

And a lot of them have told me that in the last three years, you know, when you take the advancement of American values out of it and factor in the personal attacks and the fact that the State Department is being basically eviscerated, the equation doesn`t make sense anymore.  And we`ve seen a massive exodus.  We got numbers that nobody had seen before in just the first two years of Trump`s administration, almost half of the State Department`s senior Foreign Service officers have left, either have retired or have been forced out.

WILLIAMS:  Well we`ve watched a U.S. Senator parodying the talking points that were formed by Vladimir Putin over the last two weeks.  Now I want to show you this.  This is Tucker Carlson from Fox News just last night.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST:  Could any of these people actually tell you why Vladimir Putin is so bad?  Why is he so bad?  He`s bad, Chuck Todd says.  OK.  Speak slowly so I can understand.  What makes Vladimir Putin worse than, I don`t know, a whole long list of American allies?


WILLIAMS:  So, Julia, we took the bait by airing that.  And now, I can offer you the question, what makes Vladimir Putin so bad?

IOFFE:  You know, just asking the question that has been addressed in several books, including by Fiona hill, who testified magnificently in front of the House Intelligence Committee a couple weeks ago doesn`t mean nobody`s answered it.  It just means he hasn`t read the books.

Vladimir Putin is bad because he has stolen tens and tens of billions of rubles and dollars from his countrymen while -- and women while schools and hospitals crumble and highways crumble.  He has killed journalists.  He has put dissenters in jail.  He has built a cult of personality, autocratic regime.  In Russia, that is extremely hostile to its neighbors.  It violates all kinds of international treaties.

But, you know, now that I say this, I imagine Tucker Carlson would say, well, that sounds great and it`s exactly kind of how we would want Donald Trump to be.  So it`s kind of hard to reason with somebody who doesn`t want to be convinced and who thinks that these are examples of good behavior.

WILLIAMS:  Julia Ioffe, thank you so much.  I know it may not be top of mind for our viewers, but when we next have you on, we`re going to talk about what you put out on social media this weekend about the rise of anti- Semitism that so many of us are seeing out there on a daily basis.  Julia Ioffe`s been our guest.

IOFFE: Thanks you, Brian.

WILLIAMS:  Thanks for returning to our broadcast.  And coming up, after a spectacular launch, a subdued departure just today.  And with that, another Democrat is gone from the race and there was a time some saw her as a prohibitive favorite.



SEN. KAMALA DEVI HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Over the last few days, I have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life.  So here`s the deal, guys, my campaign for president simply does not have the financial resources to continue.


WILLIAMS:  California Senator Kamala Harris is now back to being a California Senator.  Just last night here, we showed you this.  She had already fallen behind Mike Bloomberg in one poll, national poll granted, but Bloomberg`s been in the race not yet two weeks.  He`s already spent more on TV than Harris had raised during the length of her entire campaign.

And so, just two months shy of the Iowa caucuses, the first big target, Harris is out.  Her campaign launch was among the best of the television age in front of a crowd of 20,000 highly energized people on a sparkling day in her hometown of Oakland back in January.  But then came some missteps and some struggles and then a few days ago a lot of her staffers spilled their concern in the pages spectacularly so of The New York Times.

This evening the President sent her off with a post that read, "Too bad.  We will miss you, Kamala", to which the Senator shot back, "Don`t worry, Mr. President.  I`ll see you at your trial."

Here to talk about impeachment and 2020, John Heilemann, National Affairs Analyst, Co-author of, "Game Change" and "Double Down" and Co-host of "The Circus" on Showtime.  When can we get the new season out of Mr. Heilemann at all?


WILIAMS:  OK, I`m hanging there.

HEILEMANN:  They were there all through those primaries --

WILLIAMS:  I`m sorry for the trouble that means in your life.

HEILEMANN:  Not a problem.

WILLIAMS: What happened to Kamala Harris?

HEILEMANN:  I think she couldn`t figure out why she was running for president.  And I think it`s a really important thing, you know, she`s one of the -- she was a candidate with enormous potential, many people in the Democratic base and the Democratic establishment looked at her during the race and thought that she was a top-tier candidate from moment she got in.  I was at an event in Oakland.  It was -- as well staged and well produced and a strong as any campaign announcement I think I`ve ever seen.

But the reality was that on some very fundamental issues, we spent more time talking about health care in this race than any other race.  It`s the most important issue for democratic voters.  She couldn`t figure out whether she was for Medicare for All or not for Medicare for All.  She went back and forth on that issue.  That kind of make inconsistency is a problem.

She was very good at convincing people.  She would be a formidable debater.  And people could imagine her on stage against Donald Trump.

What they couldn`t get from her really was a positive vision for what she wanted to do for the country and I know her campaign struggled to kind of formulate what that aspirational vision thing was going to be for her.  And I think in the absence of that, some of the other problems that she had including on the fundraising side ended up being fatal.

WILLIAMS:  Can you tell me how it is that we`re looking at the next Democratic debate with a sea of only white faces on that stage?

HEILEMANN:  The most diverse field that`s ever run for president in either party in the history of the country, and we`re going to get to this debate right now.  There are going to be six people on that stage, all of them white.  I think we got there to no small extent because Democratic National Committee decided to institute a bunch of rules that have forbidden some people from being on the stage who probably should have been on the stage.  Some of those people were white people.

Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, who just dropped out of the race, people who have one in red and purple states who want people or electable candidates who got barred from the debate stage.  You know, August in the interest of winnowing the field, Cory Booker, someone who is not a white person, who right now is barred from being on the stage in December who many people think is as credible as anybody else in the race.

There`s -- the way we winnowed fields in the past, Brian, you`ve covered some of these races.  I`ve covered seven of them. We winnowed the field, that was the -- what the primary was for.  People ran out of money or they ran out of support.  They didn`t have the Democratic National Committee or any national committee saying, well, if you don`t have enough certain number of polls of a certain amount of fundraising, we`re going to keep you out the stage.  I think that`s part of why we`d ended up where we are and it is I think to a lot of Democrats I talked to a ridiculous situation.

WILLIAMS:  And what about Mike Bloomberg?  Doesn`t he heavy a case to say, look I`m self-financing.  I got billions at home and a wheelbarrow so you can`t use the standard of people donating money to me?

HEILEMANN:  I -- Look, I got to say, there are a lot of people in the Democratic Party who find it objectionable the notion that Mike Bloomberg is going to get -- many are trying to buy the Democratic nomination.

WILIAMS:  No kidding.

HEILEMANN:  In -- yes at their core, right, their gut.  They think this is unacceptable.  I find it troubling myself.  On the other hand, I don`t see any good reason why Mike Bloomberg should not be on the debate stages going forward.  The man was a three-term mayor of New York City.  And has a credible candidate, there`s the reason to field.  People and the Democratic Party who are worried about being Donald trump should be able to hear from people who have some reasonable claim to beat Donald Trump.

I think -- I don`t know.  Call me crazy.

WILIAMS:  This is why we love having you.  Thank you very much for coming by and seeing your old friends here.

HEILEMANN:  Thank you, sir.

WILLIAMS:  Our thanks to John Heilemann on this Tuesday night.  And coming up for us, the author of a new book on one Supreme Court justice, the guy most closely identified with beer is here to tell us what we`re about to see play out on live television that may seem eerily familiar.

And coming up for us, the author of a new book on one Supreme Court justice, the guy most closely identified with bear is here to tell us what we`re about to see play out on live television that may seem eerily familiar.



BRETT KAVANAUGH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE  OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This confirmation process has become a national disgrace.  The constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process.  But you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.


WILLIAMS:  Washington Post Veteran Columnist Ruth Marcus provides striking new details about the confirmation fight to put that man, Brett Kavanaugh, on the Supreme Court.  It`s in her new book just out today.

And in her latest column, she writes about the parallels between that confirmation fight and the current impeachment inquiry.  And I quote, "From the conservative vantage point, perhaps, the greatest similarity is the deep sense of aggrievement about the motives of Kavanaugh`s critics then and Trump`s now.  Those seeking to impeach the President over his conduct with respect to Ukraine have long been searching desperately for something, anything with which to take down the designated victim."

We`re happy to have Ruth Marcus with us here tonight.  By day, she is Deputy Editorial Page Editor and Columnist for The Washington Post.  As I might have mentioned, she also happens to be the Author of "Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover."

It is great to have you.  And I have to tell you, Ruth, I have a Democratic friend who says here`s the only viewer`s guide you need to what`s about to happen.  And he points to a picture of Jeff Flake`s concerned face.

Jeff Flake gave his concern face a good long ride during the Kavanaugh hearings, especially after he was made aware of those women`s concerns in the elevator.  Jeff Flake just decided to confirm the guy, left for Arizona, didn`t look back, is what is passed prolog in your view.

RUTH MARCUS, AUTHOR, "SUPREME AMBITION":  I think it is without the bear.  Thanks so much for having me to talk about this.  I think that we`re going to see some degree of concerned face perhaps from Republican senators and then they are going to move on and not vote to convict and remove the President from office.

And at least Senator Flake, and I write about him extensively in the book, and the long night he says he had, longest night of his life in the Senate, woke up deciding to vote for justice, then Judge Kavanaugh to confirm him, then decided to go forward with this FBI investigation, but didn`t push to have the FBI continue its investigation where it should go.

And I think that we may look back at Jeff Flake and other Republican senators` conduct in the Kavanaugh nomination and wish we had Jeff Flake back to deal with the impeachment trial because right now as I see it there is not a lot of appetite for really getting to the facts here.  There`s just fear of Donald Trump, fear of voters, and a desire to just move on from this.

WILLIAMS:  One of the newsier bits in an already newsy book concerns the contact between two fathers, Justice Kavanaugh`s father and Blasey Ford`s father, after the vote to confirm.  Tell us as much as we should know to force us into our favorite book seller by tomorrow morning.

MARCUS:  Please go to your favorite book seller by tomorrow morning if not tonight.  This is a really difficult scene in the book.  It`s the morning after Justice Kavanaugh is confirmed.  As it happens in the very small clubby world of conservative and elite Washington, Ralph Blasey, Christine Blasey Ford`s father, is a golf club friend and colleague at the elite Burning Tree Country Club of Ed Kavanaugh, Brett Kavanaugh`s father.

And the morning after the confirmation, Ed Kavanaugh opens his e-mail and he sees an e-mail from his friend, Ralph Blasey, and it says, both of our families have been through a lot.  I`m glad Brett was confirmed.

Now, Ralph Blasey was privately supportive of his daughter.  He and his wife did not go to her hearings but they went to visit her afterward.  She did not ask them to go to the hearings.  He told her repeatedly that he was proud of her but there is the fact, and it is a fact of this e-mail, and it`s a pretty shattering fact that somebody whose daughter said that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her would say he was glad she was confirmed.

Perhaps this was the observance of a man who was just being gracious.  It`s hard -- I don`t do mind reading.  I just do reporting.  But it is what it is.  It`s a pretty astonishing e-mail.

WILLIAMS:  I hold in my hand months of research and writing by a veteran journalist.  A substantial book to add to what we may think we know about this matter.  Our thanks to Ruth Marcus, columnist and author, for staying up late with us tonight.

MARCUS:  Thanks for having me.

WILLIAMS:  Again, the brand new book is called "Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover."  Thanks, Ruth.

MARCUS:  Thanks.

WILLIAMS:  Coming up, it`s about something the President said today in London.  And when we come back, we will let you be the judge of whether it is true or false.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  But if the stock market goes up and down, I don`t watch the stock market.  I watch jobs.  Jobs are what I watch.


WILLIAMS:  OK.  Last thing before we go tonight.  That was the President in London today while talking generally about China point was his assertion that he doesn`t watch the stock market.

Let`s try something here.  You`d be the judge.  Do you think he`s telling the truth in that moment?  We went back just a month in his public comments.  So listen to this.  You`d be the judge.


TRUMP:  It`s always nice to begin by saying the stock market is up again.  We just set another record.

We have another big record stock market day and another record in the stock market in the history of our country, which to me means jobs and a lot of other things.

We just hit the highest number in the history of the stock market.

So the stock market hit an all-time high yesterday.

The stock market is up big today.

Today the stock market hit a new all-time high.

You know, we just set another stock market -- you saw that, right?

I saw this morning on the -- it was just announced that NASDAQ for just this year is up 27 percent.

All three, we had NASDAQ, we had S&P, we had Dow.

All three.  If you look, all three.

We picked up tremendous stock market and economic numbers.

The overall stock market is through the roof from the time of the election.

They actually went wild the day after I won.

Set a new record.  I think it`s the 22nd time this year.  The time we were in office we set over 100.  I think it`s substantially more than 100.

Most of you people wouldn`t know these numbers because most of you aren`t very active in the market.

I think it`s like 118.  I told you we have a record stock market today.

I think it`s the 119th day that we`ve set a record.

I think that`s 132 times we`ve set a record.

Strongest economy we`ve ever had, number one.  Thank you.


WILLIAMS:  Reminder, that was just in the space of a month.  Here again, just for comparison, the President today.


TRUMP:  But if the stock market goes up or down, I don`t watch the stock market.  I watch jobs.  Jobs are what I watch.


WILLIAMS:  And so you can be the judge of our non-market-watching President in his own words to take us off the air this evening and with that.  That`s our broadcast for this Tuesday night.  We`re back on the air 9:00 a.m.  Thank you 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