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

Rep. Adam Schiff on The Rachel Maddow Show. TRANSCRIPT: 12/2/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests: Adam Schiff

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  See, I just had myself buy the book 94,000 times and called myself a nonprofit. 


HAYES:  Anyone who has ever written a book and sold a book and gone on a marketing campaign to push the book understands that like -- it`s hard.  It`s hard to sell a book.


HAYES:  And the promotional push behind people spending a hundred thousand dollars to buy your book helps a lot. 

MADDOW:  I will say like, you and I have both had books come out that have done well in recent years.

HAYES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Quite recently, I had one.  And I feel like with this Donald Trump Jr. story out there, people are giving me the side eye.  Your book looked like it did OK.

HAYES:  I can`t walk in my office, we have so many Rachel Maddow boxes covering every surface, like we have to meet in another room. 

MADDOW:  I feel like -- well, OK, so the Republican Party is buying for Don Jr., who do you think is buying for me, really?  You think the Democratic Party is buying for Chris and Rachel? 

HAYES:  The people, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Yes, yes.  Thanks, man.  Much appreciate it. 

HAYES:  Go out.  Get it in book stores, available wherever books are sold.  It`s excellent. 

MADDOW:  I`ll give you your kick back under the desk. 

HAYES:  Exactly.

MADDOW:  All right.  Thanks, man. 

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.  Happy to have you here tonight.  I hope you had a good holiday weekend. 

I had a great holiday weekend.  I`m delighted to be back. 

It`s hard to believe now looking back at it, but I kid you not, if you look back in history, you will confirm that Ted Cruz actually won the first one.  Yes, that Ted Cruz.  He won the first contest in the Republican presidential primary in 2016.  He barely won the Iowa caucuses. 

But then in very quick succession, the next three contests went to the same guy.  After Iowa was New Hampshire, New Hampshire was won by Donald Trump, by a lot.  Then the next one up was South Carolina.  That was also won by Donald Trump, by a lot.  Then the next one up was Nevada, that was also won by Donald Trump by a lot, by a mile. 

And so, yes, you look back at the history of the primary, Ted Cruz did strike first in Iowa, but Trump basically started running the table immediately therefore.  And other candidates started dropping out of the race very quickly. 

You remember how gigantic the field was.  It went fast when Trump started winning the primaries and caucuses.  You might remember at the outset, when he joined the race, Jeb Bush was the nominee of the Republican Party basically by acclimation.  That was the beltway line in how the Republican primary was going to go in 2016.  Jeb would lock up all the money, all the endorsements, he`d run away with it. 

Jeb Bush didn`t make it to Nevada.  He competed in Iowa, lost.  New Hampshire, lost.  South Carolina, lost, and he dropped out after South Carolina on February 20th, 2016. 

By late February 2016, in the nominating contest that year, candidate Donald Trump really was just running away with the primary.  But it`s interesting.  The endorsements didn`t really follow.  I mean, he -- even after he won New Hampshire, right, came close in Iowa, then he won New Hampshire, then he won South Carolina, then he won Nevada, and it was by these increasingly large margins.

Still, by that point in the race, by February 2016, by the time he won Nevada, Trump had zero endorsements from any Republican serving in Congress.  No Republican in Washington endorsed Donald Trump for president until quite late into the process when he was already way ahead toward winning the nomination. 

That made it a big deal for him and his campaign when the first endorsements finally belatedly arrived.  In the U.S. Senate, famously, his first endorsement came from then Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions.  That led to a very high profile role in the Trump campaign for Senator Sessions.  It led ultimately to his appointment, however, unlikely, as Donald Trump`s first attorney general. 

We all know how that worked out.  Jeff Sessions will forever be like a sad children`s book fable about how Donald Trump spells loyalty.  That`s how we repaid Jeff Sessions. 

But even though the Jeff Sessions endorsement for Trump kind of looms large in history because it was the first Senate endorsement and because of how pear shaped that went in the Trump-Sessions relationship, Jeff Sessions wasn`t actually the first overall from Congress.  Candidate Trump`s first endorsements in 2016 from Republicans serving in Congress came a few days before the Sessions endorsement from the Senate. 

Earlier that same week, the day after Trump won the Nevada caucuses, Trump actually got his first two congressional endorsements from these two Republican members of the House.  On your left, Chris Collins, Republican congressman from New York.  On the right, Duncan Hunter, Republican congressman from California.  Those were the first two Republican members of Congress to be willing to go out on a limb and give their support to Donald Trump as a presidential candidate in February of 2016. 

And those two first Trump endorsers have gone on to be famous in the Trump era for their own stuff.  In early August last year, Congressman Collins was arrested and charged with eight felony counts all related to an insider trading scheme. 

Then two weeks after that, the other one of them was indicted, too.  Duncan Hunter, just two weeks after Chris Collins got himself indicted, Duncan Hunter got indicted and charged with 60 felony counts.  Wow. 

He and his wife charged in a somewhat baroque alleged criminal scheme to misuse campaign funds in very creative ways.  For example, there was Congressman Hunter, buying himself some shorts at the pro shop at a golf course.  He had his campaign funds pay for the shorts but he listed them under a line item -- golf balls for Wounded Warriors. 

They bought video games and trips to Disneyland and SeaWorld, and Italy.  They bought air fare for a family pet and on and on.  The indictment was 60 counts, nearly 50 pages. 

Duncan Hunter then tried to show off his manly and ethical streak when he publicly blamed his wife for all of it.  Yes, including the multiple weekends away with his multiple mistresses, surely his wife is the one to blame for charging those things to his campaign. 

But this is kind of a remarkable story in lots of different ways.  This is a remarkable little snapshot.  I mean, first there`s this indelible fact about the rise of the, you know, Trump era, the rise of Donald Trump in the Republican Party.  Right, the first two endorsers he got from the Republican parties in Congress are members of Congress who were soon to be charged with multiple felonies.

But the story of course gets deeper.  After each of these congressmen was indicted, each of them nevertheless decided to run for reelection in 2018.  Both of them were under multiple felony counts, federal criminal indictments.  They both ran for reelection.

Apparently, by the fall of 2018, a multiple felony indictment was no barrier to a Republican`s electoral dreams.  Both Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter were reelected to Congress in their safe Republican districts despite the fact that they were both running while facing serious multiple criminal charges. 

Aside from Duncan Hunter playing the chivalry card and blaming everything on his wife, both of them try to go with the generic Trump era criminal defense strategy, which is to claim that you`re the subject of a witch hunt.  Prosecutors are terrible people who are only after them because of political bias.  Both Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter proclaimed not just their innocence but rage at being charged at all, how they were the real victims here. 

And then there`s the way it all works out in the end, in October, Chris Collins abruptly changed from the it`s all a witch hunt defense to instead plead guilty.  He changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on October 1st and resigned from Congress.  He`s due to be sentenced for his crimes next month. 

Now, today, Congressman Duncan Hunter is doing the same.  The docket in his federal criminal case indicates that he will appear in federal court in California tomorrow to change his plea as well.  His current plea is not guilty.  So that means he is changing to guilty.  Duncan Hunter confirming that intention to a local TV station in San Diego. 

This presumably means he will be resigning, although he hasn`t said so overtly yet.  I mean, we don`t know officially whether his resignation is required as part of his plea deal.  One might expect that.  Presumably he won`t make Congress expel him.  Presumably he will step down on his own terms. 

After he does so, he like his fellow Trump endorser, former Congressman Chris Collins will also be able to move on to the sentencing phase of his criminal career and hopefully put the whole thing behind. 

But as Congressman Chris Collins and Congressman Duncan Hunter leave Congress to spend more time with their soon to be cell mates, what we`re all left with are two things that I think are a little bit sort of harder to grapple with than corrupt and now convicted members of Congress who are going to jail.  I mean, in political terms we are left with this awkward evidence of what Republican voters are looking for in a candidate right now, right?

I mean, this is an indelible thing.  Heavily Republican districts easily reelected both of these men to Congress, despite the criminal charges they were actively facing, right?  They are both now pleading guilty to and likely to go to prison for those criminal charges.  Their districts, Republican voters in their districts, nevertheless happily pulled the lever and sent them back to Congress knowing about those pending charges, knowing about those active criminal indictments, knowing that these guys were at best going to go to trial. 

I mean, right, I look forward to the, you know, smart beltway pundit effort to get people to factor that in to how various candidates should try to appeal to the Republican electorate in this next election.  Look at the Republican elect rate in San Diego and upstate New York decided when they were confronted with members of Congress who were under indictment and facing trial who have now pled guilty and are going to jail. 

I mean, what do you advice people how to compete with that sort of electorate, with those sort of values from Republican voters right now?  I mean, have you considered doing a sort of mock up mug shot of yourself?  Do you want to open a legal defense fund now and brag about it?  Would you consider wearing a fake ankle bracelet on the trail so you can rail about how the deep state is after you? 

I mean, the behavior of Republican voters, Republican-base voters around these two indicted members of Congress who are on their way to prison -- I mean, that`s a real thing.  That really happened.  What do you do with that? 

The other thing we`re left with, though, is a governance issue, which is this, from President Trump in the fall of last year, after those indictments were handed down by federal grand juries.  The president in this online statement, excoriating the U.S. Justice Department, federal prosecutors for bringing those indictments against these two Republican congressmen who had endorsed him, his first endorsements during the campaign. 

And I know we expect this kind of thing from this president as par for the course right now, but this will be looked back on as a remarkable artifact of a remarkable era in Republican governance, not just in Republican politics and not just in the corruption scandals around two members of Congress on their way to prison.  I mean, this really happened.  This is a president, a sitting president of the United States, lambasting the Justice Department publicly for having brought indictments that could potentially hurt the Republican Party.  That could potentially hurt Republicans running for reelection, despite being indicted. 

The president specifically going after then Attorney General Jeff Sessions for allowing the U.S. Justice Department to indict these two corrupt and now confessed criminal members of Congress, the president saying, "Good job, Jeff," dripping with sarcasm there.  Oh, good job, you indicted Republicans? 

Now, of course, Jeff, one time senator, one time Attorney General Jeff Sessions is gone from the U.S. Justice Department, much to the president`s relief.  Couldn`t stand the way Jeff Sessions let stuff like that happen at the Justice Department.  President Trump has an attorney general he likes much better, Attorney General William Barr. 

The inspector general of the Justice Department is set to report next week, a week from today on the inspector general`s independent review of the decision by the FBI to open up an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.  This is the inspector general report that Republicans have been waiting for with baited breath for months now because they have been publicly pushing these theories that Russia didn`t interfere in the 2016 election, and any effort to investigate that let alone the Trump campaign`s complicity in that or knowledge of that, that was the product of a vast, anti-Republican conspiracy by the deep state and the FBI that was out to get President Trump and would do anything to prevent him from getting elected in the first place. 

Sources who have seen this inspector general report that the Republicans and White House have been so excited about for months now, have told reporters that much to the White House and Republican`s chagrin, according to reports about what`s in the inspector general report, the report apparently concludes that the actions of the FBI and the Justice Department weren`t inflected by political bias of any kind and the Russia investigations that the FBI started in 2016 were properly predicated under law and again uninfected with any sort of political bias. 

Now, that`s just what`s reported about what the inspector general is going to say.  We`ll find out when it comes out, but there have been multiple reports to that effect, and that, of course, has to be a great disappointment to the White House and the conservative media in particular and to the president`s Republican supporters who have been, you know, talking up this alternative narrative about this scandal for years now, right?  They have been really banking on this I.G. report, and it looks like this I.G. report is not going to support any of their conspiracy theories about this having been some hit job against Trump and the FBI and the Justice Department being some how indelibly biased against all Republicans and Trump in particular. 

Apparently, the inspector general looked into that and concluded none of that is based in fact.  And so, the White House, conservative media, Republican supporters of the president, due to be disappointed here.  But it is one thing to be just disappointed about something like this, it is another thing to be attorney general of the United States. 

And "The Washington Post" reports tonight, this is remarkable, that the current attorney general of the United States, Bill Barr, the one who President Trump liked so much more than he liked Jeff Sessions, Bill Barr, according to `The Post" tonight, plans to object to the inspector general`s reported conclusion that the FBI was right to look into Russian interference.  When the FBI learned that Russia was interfering in the election, and the Trump campaign appeared to have been told about it before it was publicly revealed, the inspector general reportedly concludes in his review that, yes, the FBI was right to look into that, and again, according to "The Post", Attorney General William Barr will somehow object to the finding from the inspector general, because despite this inspector general investigation, William Barr just, you know, doesn`t believe it.  Says that can`t be so, I mean, who knows? 

Maybe William Barr will send out his own pre-report with his own spin on what the inspector general found before we`re allowed to see the I.G. report, the way he did with the Mueller report, right?  Hey, it worked last time, why not try it this time. 

As attorney general, William Barr is earning his place in history at the U.S. Department of Justice.  And he is doing so at this incredibly fraught time when, you know, the lens of history is going to focus the heat and the light here both pretty intensely.  Impeachment proceedings against the president are well underway, right? 

As we speak tonight, members of the Intelligence Committee have been, we believe, invited of committee working space, their SCIF, so they can individually start reviewing the report on the impeachment investigation into President Trump.  Committee members, we believe, are allowed to review the draft of the report as of this evening, in that secure facility.  Tomorrow evening, the Intelligence Committee is due to vote on whether the impeachment report should be conveyed to the judiciary committee to start the process of weighing actual articles of impeachment against President Trump on the basis of that evidence. 

It is possible that we the public may get access to the impeachment report as soon as tomorrow night, although that is not yet totally clear.  I will tell you, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee who has been leading the impeachment investigation, Congressman Adam Schiff, is here live in studio with me tonight.  Hopefully he can help clarify some of that for us in terms of -- at least what we should expect to see and when. 

But you know, part of the reason we don`t have a great road map in our heads for how this is all supposed to go, for what`s supposed to happen next procedurally, this is because we haven`t had very many impeachment proceedings in the history of this country.  And so, one, there`s very little precedent.  But two, the precedent that we have in this country, we`re not necessarily following.  At least we`re not following it at the Justice Department.  Thanks again to Attorney General William Barr. 

In the Watergate impeachment, for example, you`ll remember there was special prosecutors appointed to gather evidence in the Watergate scandal, right?  They got to issue subpoenas.  They got people to come in and testify to a grand jury.  There`s Archibald Cox and Nixon figured out a way to fire Archibald Cox, and there was Leon Jaworski who come in. 

You know, recall though that when those Watergate special prosecutor finished their work, they compiled all the evidence that they and the grand jury had obtained over the course of their investigation.  They compiled it all into a confidential report.  They then went to a federal judge with the support of the Justice Department and asked the judge for permission to please convey that information to Congress, because Congress had a judicial proceeding underway. 

Congress was considering articles of impeachment, so the Justice department and the special prosecutor went to a federal judge and said, please, can we convey this grand jury information to Congress so Congress can make a decision as to what`s been turned up in this investigation and whether it amounts to high crimes and misdemeanors for the purposes of impeachment.  And the judge said fine and that information was conveyed and that became the basis for the articles of impeachment that caused Richard Nixon to resign.  That`s how it went in Watergate.

In this impeachment process, there`s no special prosecutor, right?  This Ukraine impeachment, right, there`s no special prosecutor, there`s no special counsel.  There, in fact, hasn`t been a Justice Department investigation that led up to these proceedings in any way.  When President Trump called the president of Ukraine, and pressured him to investigate Joe Biden, that we now know was referred through multiple routes to the Justice Department for potential criminal investigation. 

Under William Barr, the Justice Department decided to decline to investigate the matter.  It isn`t that they looked into it, and decided it all was fine, they literally decided it wasn`t even worth investigating.  So, there hasn`t been an FBI investigation.  There hasn`t been a special counsel or special prosecutor, there hasn`t been somebody doing what Jaworski and Cox did under Watergate.

And that has resulted in Congress doing the investigation itself, the factual investigation.  That`s the report that the members of the impeachment committees are presumably reviewing tonight and we`re hoping we get to see as of tomorrow night, the report into their own investigation.  They didn`t get to convene a grand jury under the auspices of some special prosecutor, Intelligence Committee convened hearings itself took their own testimony.  They`re compiling that evidence for members to review.  It will then be handed to the Judiciary Committee. 

It might have gone through the FBI and the Justice Department had William Barr said it could be investigated there.  But he said, no, we`re not going to look into it.  So, Barr has already affected precedent in that way.

And then, while all of that is happening on Capitol Hill, literally today in federal court in Washington, the Justice Department under William Barr, painstakingly tried to explain to a federal judge in a 71-page long dense legal brief, why they`re abandoning Watergate precedent in another way.  I mean, in Watergate, the Justice Department supported the handing over to Congress of the grand jury`s investigative materials, right, so that the Congress could consider that material from the investigation as part of their impeachment proceedings.  That`s what the Justice Department agreed should be done during Watergate. 

Well, the Justice Department under William Barr today was in federal court arguing that the Justice Department no longer approaches this issue the same way.  The Justice Department despite that precedent has now down a 180 on that issue, and they are now arguing a federal judge as of today that all the terrible collected by special counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation, that should not be given to Congress no matter what. 

Regardless of the fact that impeachment proceedings are under way, regardless of the fact the Justice Department has supported the conveying of that kind of material in the past to the Congress in the context of impeachment proceedings, now the Justice Department is trying to explain to the federal courts that they have just changed their minds on this.  Now they believe no one should be allowed to see that information, not the public, not congress, not specifically the impeachment committees, no one. 

They have had a change of heart.  They have had a change at the top.  They have had a change named Bill Barr. 

But, you know, things are proceeding on a lot of different fronts now, and fast, and we`re not sure what`s going to overtake what.  Thanks to a freedom of information lawsuit filed by Jason Leopold at "BuzzFeed News", we got a whole bunch of new information from the special counsel`s investigation released by court order tonight.  It`s mostly FBI notes from people who have been interviewed as part of the grand jury investigation and the FBI investigation under Mueller. 

Several hundred pages of material, we`re still going through that material in detail tonight.  I will tell you among other things, it appears from these materials that were just forced into the open tonight by a court order, it appears that Michael Cohen, the president`s now imprisoned former personal lawyer, he appears to have told the FBI in one of his FBI interviews that one of the president`s impeachment lawyers, Jay Sekulow, told him when he was preparing his congressional testimony about the Russia investigation and specifically the Trump Tower Moscow building project, Michael Cohen appears to have told the FBI that Sekulow told Cohen to leave out of his congressional testimony information about Trump Tower Moscow, including their direct contacts with the Kremlin about that real estate deal.  Sekulow telling Michael Cohen that he should not bring that up when he was discussing this matter to Congress.  Hmm. 

In court today in the Southern District of New York, prosecutors told the judge in the Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman case that a, quote, superseding indictment is likely in that case.  Fruman and Parnas are associated of the president`s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who have been charged with multiple felonies, including campaign finance violations, for illegally funneling foreign donations to Republican candidates into the main pro Trump super PAC. 

When they were before a federal judge today in the Southern District of New York, prosecutors said that a superseding indictment is likely.  Now, that might mean additional charges for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and their codefendants.  It could also mean new charges for new people who have not been charged in this case. 

We do know that subpoenas have recently by sent out by the Southern District of New York to people connected to the main pro Trump super PAC and also people connected to the president`s current personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who multiple news outlets have reported is under active criminal investigation in conjunction with that case brought against Mr. Fruman and Mr. Parnas. 

So, it`s all happening.  I mean, the president is -- the president`s campaign chairman is in prison.  The president`s deputy campaign chairman is awaiting sentencing.  His national security adviser is awaiting sentencing. 

His personal lawyer is already in prison, another one appears to be under active criminal investigation.  The first two congressional endorsements of this president have just recently as of today, pled guilty and will soon be awaiting sentencing themselves. 

In other words, happy Monday.  Things proceed apace, including some of the key developments in the impeachment proceedings, which are unfolding tonight on Capitol Hill and tomorrow should be a very big day. 

Congressman Adam Schiff, who has been leading the impeachment investigation, joins us live here in just a moment. 

Stay with us.


                customer:  really?! 

                tech:  being there whenever you need us  that`s another safelite advantage. 



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The White House has sent a letter tonight to House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde saying White House lawyers will, in fact, take advantage of an offer to defend the president in person next week. 

The letter to Hyde reads we will of course accept your invitation to appear before the committee. 


MADDOW:  We will, of course, accept your invitation.  That was the response from the Bill Clinton White House 21 years ago today.  The response to House Republicans offering President Clinton and his legal team the chance to show up and defend President Clinton at a public impeachment hearing. 

Clinton White House lawyers said, of course, we will accept your invitation.  They did show up at that first public impeachment hearing and they defended President Clinton vehemently. 

Now, 21 years later exactly, the Donald Trump White House has taken the opposite approach.  The White House has now officially declined an invitation from Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to appear at the committee`s first public impeachment hearing this week on Wednesday.  They were invited to come defend the president, they choose not to. 

At one point, the White House counsel and his letter rejecting the invitation.  He goes out of his way to call the expected hearing a, quote, purported impeachment inquiry as if it`s not really an impeachment inquiry.  It`s not really happening, not if you click your heels together three times and wish hard enough that it wasn`t. 

The process objections to the impeachment proceedings have been sort of remarkable, sort of hop from lily pad to lily pad.  First, the Republicans said the impeachment process was unfair because Democrats hadn`t scheduled a floor vote in the House authorizing it.  There`s no rule that says they have to do so. 

But without a floor vote in the House, this is not real.  It`s not actually happening.  It`s unjust.  So then Democrats did hold a vote in the full house authorizing it.  That meant the president`s defenders had to switch gears. 

And after the vote authorizing the impeachment inquiry they said, okay, actually now our objection is that the process is unfair because there aren`t public hearings.  You can`t have an impeachment without public hearings.  The intelligence committee then held seven public hearings featuring testimony from 12 different fact witnesses. 

After that, Republicans had to switch gears again.  Now they`ve decided actually, OK, what we meant was that the process is unfair because the president and his lawyers have not been invited to participate in this process.  Well, now the White House has been invited to participate in the public hearing that`s going to be held on Wednesday, and they say they`re not showing up.  This purported impeachment inquiry. 

Today, President Trump went so far as to blame Democrats for scheduling Wednesday`s hearing while he`s in the U.K. for this year`s, in his words, important NATO summit.  The president, of course, has repeatedly assailed NATO since taking offense and derided it and said it`s not important at all.  He just announced that he would cut U.S. financial contributions to NATO ahead of this week`s NATO summit, such is his derision for NATO and his excitement at being able to blow up and unburden the NATO summit from having to deal with any of its actual turns so they can turn on each other and fight about who`s spending what. 

Today, the Judiciary Committee announced the panel of four legal experts who they will have testifying at Wednesday`s hearing, laying out the constitutional grounds for impeachment.  That hearing will get underway at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday morning. 

Ahead of that hearing, we are expecting the Intelligence Committee to release a report detailing the findings of its impeachment investigation to date.  We believe that report is now finished because starting tonight, members have been granted access to read it at a secure facility at the capital.  Tomorrow night at 6:00 Eastern Time, the committee will apparently vote on whether or not they`re going to release that report to the Judiciary Committee, which would then use it as the basis to draw up actual articles of impeachment against President Trump. 

We are expecting the report will be made public somewhere in the middle of that process but I can`t tell you exactly when.  Tonight, the Republicans on the impeachment committee released their own impeachment report defending the president on every conceivable ground saying he did absolutely nothing wrong.  That is sort of, I guess, something that we consider to be a prebuttal to the actual report that comes out tomorrow. 

The Republican report accuses Democrats of accusing the president based on presumptions and speculation.  It says that the president`s refusal to grant the Ukrainian president a White House meeting is, quote, entirely prudent. 

As for what`s in the Democratic majority report, that will determine what happens next in this process, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will join us next. 

Stay with us. 


MADDOW:  Joining us now here on set is Congressman Adam Schiff.  He`s the chair of House Intelligence Committee and he`s been leading the impeachment investigation. 

Sir, thanks very much for joining us.  I imagine you haven`t slept in a few weeks. 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  That is true.

MADDOW:  It`s good to have you here.

SCHIFF:  Thank you.  Great to be with you. 

MADDOW:  Let me ask you just a few nuts and bolts questions about the process -- the part of the process that we`re moving into now.  From public reporting, what we understand is that your committee under your leadership has basically finished at least the initial iteration of the report on your investigation`s findings. 

Is that true? 

SCHIFF:  It is true, or almost.  We`re putting the finishing touches on the report which will be released publicly tomorrow.


SCHIFF:  Tomorrow night, we`ll also have a vote to formally transmit the committee report to Judiciary. 

At the same time, that`s not the end of our investigation.  So, even while Judiciary does its work, we will continue investigating.  We`re continuing to issue subpoenas.  We`re continuing to learn new information.  That work goes on.

But we also feel a sense of urgency.  This is a president who has sought for intervention in U.S. elections twice now.  And even in the midst of our impeachment inquiry is, again, out publicly saying not only should Ukraine do this, but China should also investigate my opponent. 

And so, this is a threat to the integrity of the upcoming election, and we don`t feel it should wait -- in particular when we already have overwhelming evidence of the president`s misconduct. 

MADDOW:  The -- you say that the report will be released publicly tomorrow.  Are there steps that you need to go through in terms of members reviewing it before the public can see it, it -- the -- presumably, members need enough time to read it before the vote.  Is it a long document? 

SCHIFF:  It`s a long document.  Members started reading it today. 


SCHIFF:  They`ll be reading it throughout the day tomorrow. 

And essentially, it outlines in considerable detail a scheme that began actually well before the recall of Ambassador Yovanovitch, and was designed to further two political objectives of the president which is an investigation into Joe Biden and an investigation into this debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine that interfered in the last election, not Russia -- notwithstanding all of our intelligence agencies concluding it was Russia, notwithstanding the fact that it`s actually Putin`s narrative that Ukraine did it, not us. 

But nonetheless, the president believed obviously this would help his reelection campaign, and he was willing to use the full force of his office to leverage Ukraine to do these sham investigations. 

MADDOW:  Now, look, the process is that when this report is included, when your committee takes a vote, that vote will be to convey to the Judiciary Committee. 

SCHIFF:  Right.

MADDOW:  The Judiciary Committee would then, if they so choose, use that as the basis for drawing up articles of impeachment. 

Now, if that`s going to be the way this goes, we`ll have to see how the Judiciary Committee decides to handle its own part of this process.  It`s a -- it`s hard to figure out how that process interacts with the fact that you said you`re expect still more information to come in, still subpoenaing witnesses and documents.  You`re still essentially flushing out the narrative. 

But articles can start to come together before that investigation is complete? 

SCHIFF:  Yes.  You know, what I expect will happen is we`ll transmit our report tomorrow night.  On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee is going to begin work with a hearing of constitutional experts on just what high crimes and misdemeanors, and treason and bribery -- just what those standards mean, what the Founders had in mind, what the relevance is in terms of the president`s conduct here. 

They will also be looking at the Mueller report, which has obviously already been provided to them.  They may get reports or information from other committees about other president`s misconduct that they should also consider.  And then the Judiciary Committee, in consultation with the full membership and our leadership, will have to make a decision should we seek articles of impeachment, and what should they look like.

But while that process is going on, we don`t intend to be static.  If we learned new information that will build on what we know already, we will file a supplemental report with the Judiciary Committee.  But the fact of the matter is, and this is something I discussed with the caucus, when we began this investigation, you get to a point in an investigation where you can tell it is going to be a long time before you get the next valuable increment of information.  And you`re at a decision point -- do we have enough information to make a decision or do we not?

And here, there`s really no contesting the facts.  There`s no contesting what all of these witnesses have said, which is the president conditioned two important official acts of his office, meeting in the Oval Office with the president of Ukraine, something they desperately sought, and $400 million of taxpayer-funded military assistance to help Ukraine fight the Russians.  He was willing to sacrifice not only Ukraine`s security but our own national security, our own fight against Russian aggression in the service of his political aspirations. 

MADDOW:  There are some matters that are going through the federal court system right now that seem to be in parallel to and sometimes abutting your investigation on impeachment, a sort of dramatic development in one of those court -- in a court hearing on one of those cases today.  I`d like to ask you about it when we come back if you don`t mind. 

Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, is our guest.  He`ll be with us right after the break. 

Stay with us. 


MADDOW:  Back with us now is Congressman Adam Schiff.  He`s the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.  He`s been the lead investigator in the impeachment investigation. 

Sir, I appreciate you being here again.

SCHIFF:  Thanks (ph).

MADDOW:  The interesting court hearing today in federal court in New York, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman have been criminally charged.  They are associates of the president`s lawyer, Mr. Giuliani.  They have been charged with, among other things, directing illegal foreign funds to various Republican campaigns and causes. 

Today, in court, a couple of interesting things happened.  Number one, the U.S. attorney himself, Geoffrey Berman, appeared in court for what was just a status hearing in their case, which is an unusual thing.  That`s -- U.S. attorneys themselves don`t usually show up for that sort of thing.  The prosecutor said, we expect there to be a superseding indictment, additional charges. 

And Mr. Parnas` lawyer explicitly told the court that Mr. Parnas has a lot of information he would like to give to you, that he would like to convey to your committee and Congress for use in the impeachment investigation. 

I just have to ask what that means and what you know about that.

SCHIFF:  Yes.  Well, I can`t go into many of the particulars here.  We are in touch with Mr. Parnas` counsel.  There is certainly information that he has that`s relevant to our inquiry. 

At the same time, we want to be careful and respectful of what the Southern District of New York is doing.  So we are in discussions with the Southern District of New York.  We don`t want anything that we might do to interfere with our ability to bring people to justice.  At the same time, if Mr. Parnas has valuable information to offer and we are already in the process of receiving documents and information from Mr. Parnas, then we want to make sure that we have the benefit of that information as well. 

So, the long and short of it is, we`re leaving no stone unturned.  But we want to make sure that what we do doesn`t prejudice what the Department of Justice is doing properly through the Southern District to bring people to justice. 

MADDOW:  And those -- presumably, that`s some sort of matter, of course, professional discussion that you have with law enforcement authorities and that kind of thing comes up regularly over the course of your work. 

SCHIFF:  Yes, and we have had these discussions during the course of the Mueller investigation, indeed involving Michael Cohen, where there were similar concerns that what we might do might interfere with what they`re doing. 

Now, we don`t always see eye to eye with either Justice or the Southern District, we have both competing but important concerns, but we do try to at least be mindful and make decisions.  If we are going to interfere with the prosecution, it has to be for a darn good reason. 

MADDOW:  You mentioned the Mueller report and those kinds of discussions that have happened.  One of the things that was released today, thanks to Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by a "BuzzFeed" reporter named Jason Leopold is that we got a whole bunch of 302s, a whole bunch of the FBI notes from interviews from people who were investigated -- people who are questioned as part of the Mueller investigation. 

Among them, one of the ones that jumped out to me was a 302 from Michael Cohen, the president`s personal lawyer who`s now in prison, who appears to have told the FBI, at least the way that I`m reading this 302, that one of the president`s current lawyers, Jay Sekulow, who`s advising him on the impeachment matter among other things, Cohen appears to have told the FBI that Jay Sekulow told him to leave out a whole bunch of information about Trump Tower Moscow when he was testifying to Congress. 

I mean, one of the things Cohen is now in jail for is lying to Congress. 


MADDOW:  In that testimony, he appears to have told the FBI that he got advice on what to leave out of his testimony from the president`s current lawyer. 

Just have to ask your reaction to that having sort of been through those wars? 

SCHIFF:  Well, this is an issue that we are very much investigating and, in fact, we`re in the process of subpoenaing information and looking at what witnesses we wanted to bring in to probe exactly this question, that is, did Michael Cohen have help in creating that false statement?  Were others involved?  Was Mr. Sekulow or others involved in essentially suborning a perjured statement before Congress?

That was something we were actively investigating and it`s still something that we are investigating.  But I have to tell you, as you might imagine, that has taken a backseat to our need to conduct the Ukraine investigation.  But, yes, when people come before a committee and they lie, there are serious consequences as Roger Stone found out, as Michael Cohen found out.  And anyone that suborns their perjury also ought to face justice, and that`s something we take very seriously.

MADDOW:  Alongside the obstruction element of the Ukraine investigation, which sounds like it may ultimately both part of your report and part of the articles when Judiciary gets to that point.

SCHIFF:  Well, and this is a very important point which is the evidence on Ukraine is overwhelming, but the evidence on obstruction of Congress is also overwhelming.  There`s never been a president that in a more wholesale way obstructed the work of an impeachment inquiry let alone oversight.  The president told the State Department, do not turn over a single document, and they haven`t.  Told the Office of Management and Budget, which held up the military, don`t turn over a single document, and they haven`t.  Told witnesses, do not show up. 

And if Congress allows that to stand, it will not only mean this president is able to escape the exposure of his full wrongdoing, but any future president can simply ignore congressional oversight.  It will fundamentally alter the balance of power between the institutions in a way that will make corruption, negligence and malfeasance much more likely because Congress will be powerless to investigate it. 

MADDOW:  Congressman Adam Schiff, the chair of the Intelligence Committee, again, telling us tonight that there will be a public release of the impeachment report by this time tomorrow. 

Sir, it`s great to have you here.  Thank you very much. 

SCHIFF:  Thank you very much.

MADDOW:  Thanks.

We`ll be right back.  Stay with us.


MADDOW:  When a candidate drops out of the presidential race, it only seems right, it only seems fair, to acknowledge their departure.  It`s our way of keeping track of the field.  When you were running before, now you`re out of the race, you have to go poof. 

This primary season, though, we`ve also run into a bit of a contrary problem, because it seems like even though there have been a number of instances in which candidates have dropped out, there have also been a number of late entries into the race, which has created sort of a production challenge for us. 

I mean, we know what to do when somebody drops out, you poof them.  But what about the opposite?  What about when somebody jumps in?  You unpoof them?  You foop them instead of poof -- I don`t know, what do we call that? 

Let`s try.  On November 14th, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick jumped into the race.  So, let`s try it.  Three, two, one, foop!  There he is, unpoofing.  Tore into the scene in a spinny little tornado. 

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg also announced he was throwing his hat into the ring a little over a week ago.  So three, two, one, foop!  There you have it.  Now we know what we do when we unpoof people. 

We also have some poofing to do.  Yesterday, former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak dropped out of the race.  He did not qualify for any of the debates and he dropped out. 

Then, today, Montana Governor Steve Bullock also announced that he was calling it quits.  So it is time for Governor Bullock to go poof as well. 

As you can see, there`s still a couple of hundred thousand Democrats who are running for the presidential nomination, but we do try to keep the records up.  We`ll see if any other candidates decide to drop out or drop in in coming weeks.  Certainly, a possibility considering only six Democrats have qualified so far for the next debate, which is scheduled for December 19th. 

That debate will be co-hosted by "PBS NewsHour" and "Politico".  We`ve recently learned who the moderators are going to be for that, PBS`s Yamiche Alcindor, Amna Nawaz and Judy Woodruff.  Plus, Tim Alberta from "Politico". 

Given that excellent moderator lineup alone, that should be a fascinating night.  Mark your calendars. 

Stay with us.


MADDOW:  I just want to underscore some news that Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff made on this show here moments ago.  Congressman Schiff, of course, has been leading the impeachment investigation into President Trump.  As of tonight, he says his committee has completed its report into the impeachment investigation.  He says members of the committee are reviewing that report tonight. 

But beyond that, moments ago, right here, Chairman Schiff told us that we, the public, will get access to the impeachment investigation report as of tomorrow.  The impeachment report, we do not know how long it will be, we do not know exactly when tomorrow it will be released, but we the public are going to get it tomorrow.  Get ready, here we go. 

That does it for us tonight.  We`ll see you again tomorrow. 


Good evening, Lawrence.

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