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Interview with Sen. Schumer. TRANSCRIPT: 12/19/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests: Chuck Schumer, Barbara Res

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Yes, I am, too.  Kudos to the folks there for doing what I think is the right thing and the difficult thing. 

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Yes, it`s an impressive piece.

HAYES:  Rick Wilson and Barbara Boxer, thank you both for being with me tonight. 

That is "ALL IN" for this evening. 

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. 

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris.  Thanks, my friend.  Much appreciated.

HAYES:  You bet.

MADDOW:  And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. 

You know, sometimes you see these wild differences in different parts of the country.  You know, the coasts see it one way and the middle of the country sees it differently.  Or rural areas see things up, and cities see things down.  You know, maybe the South or the Pacific Northwest has a particular take on it, but the rest of the country doesn`t share. 

I mean, sometimes you can do an exercise like this to see how a country as big as ours can pull in different directions at the same time, right?  We can all see things differently.  Sometimes that`s how it goes. 

And then there`s days like this one when it`s just wallpaper.  When the story is so big and so straightforward, we are all on the same page. 

From Florida, "The Tampa Bay Times", impeached.  From "The Oregonian" in Oregon, impeached.  From Missoula, Montana, impeached.  From Honolulu, Hawaii, impeached. 

From "The Spokesman Review" in Spokane, same front page as "The News Journal" in Delaware, they both say impeached.  "The Dallas Morning News" in Texas, "The Hill" newspaper from Washington, D.C., it`s the same headline for all of us now.  It`s just that one big word, impeached. 

You know, I never believed that he`s not my president stuff.  Just as a technical matter all of us are Americans, all of us have a president, one president at a time.  And right now, we are all united in the fact that dude is impeached for all of us everywhere. 

And it is unavoidable, and it is just that simple.  I mean, coast to coast and border to border and everywhere in between, we all woke up to the exact same news in the exact same way today.  That front page single word, impeached.  On the front page of "The St. Louis Post Dispatch" and "The Albuquerque Journal" in New Mexico, and "The Hartford Courant", impeached.

  "The Denver Post", impeached.  Same one word across the front page in Flagstaff, Arizona, and in Minneapolis, and in Baltimore and in Kansas City, impeached, impeached, impeached, impeached.  I mean, the headline writers of America did not have a hard day today.  You could buy every front page in the country today, you could use it as wallpaper, a recurring, relaxing, repetitive theme.  It wouldn`t even be all that hard to match up between the rolls as you papered around the room. 

Now, to be honest, there were some major papers that took a different course today instead of one word on the front page, impeached.  Some major papers went out on a limb today and said, Trump impeached.  In these papers from North Carolina and South Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee, in Fairbanks, Alaska, they all said Trump impeached, instead of just impeached.

Same thing in Pennsylvania, and in Wisconsin, and in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and in the great state of Oklahoma, Trump impeached.  In Indianapolis, they went really nuts just, not just impeached or even Trump impeached, but they had it, Trump gets impeached.  You be you "Indy Star".  You go nuts. 

The impeachment of the president for only the third time in American history is something that is almost reflexively described by pundits and columnists and observers as something that is tearing us apart, something that is cleaving the country perhaps irrevocably.  And you know, maybe -- maybe they -- events like this do, drive politicians apart from one another at least in some ways.

But, you know what, for the rest of us, we are having a collective national experience.  We are all together going through the same major moment in U.S. history, and the same serious reckoning with the seriousness of what our Constitution affords in the event of a presidency gone wrong.  This was the front page of "The New York Times" today which is basically the same as all the others across the country, Trump impeached. 

But the lead editorial today in "The New York Times" I think put the right words on it, at least for me, in terms of the seriousness of this moment, the bigness of it.  When in that editorial today "The Times" editorial board describes the impeachment of president Trump that we all witnessed and lived through last night this way.  They say, quote, a magnificent and terrible machine engineered by the Founders still and silent throughout almost all of American history has for only the third time in 231 years shifted into motion to consider whether Congress must call a president to account for abuse of power. 

It`s enough to stop you in your tracks, right, when you think about how big and how important this is and the fact we`re all living through this.  To me -- it was just me, but I find it somehow kind of comforting to know that you`re in this, we are in this together.  With every American now, we are all in this together. 

This is happening in our lifetimes.  This is our government, this is happening to our president.  This is our moment.  And how we handle this as a country is to a certain degree on all of us together right now. 

And, you know, there`s nuts and bolts stuff about how this goes forward, of course, because the process is not over.  Tonight, we`re going to talk here live on set with Senator Chuck Schumer.  He`s the top Democrat in the Senate.  We`re going to talk with him about how the trial of President Trump is going to proceed there as the U.S. Senate makes the incredibly sober decision about whether or not President Trump should be removed from office. 

We`re also going to be joined live on set tonight by someone who worked in business with the president for many years, someone I`ve invited to come be on the show tonight because I`m hoping she may be able to shed some light how he`s likely to react to those pages that you just saw to this historic moment, to these consequences, this accountability that he is facing I think for one of the first times in his life, because honestly, one of the wild cards here now is what previously unimaginable thing President Trump might do in response to this impeachment, to try to start some whole new round of competing crisis that maybe changes these front pages or tries to overshadow them somehow. 

I mean, competitive crisis has kind of been part of the way we lived through this these past few years already.  So his reaction I think is a wild card.  Don`t spend too much time thinking about the psychology or even the biography of the president.  This is a time when I feel like it is worth looking at that.

But the other wild card for us all now is just how much may change about our understanding of this scandal, before the president finally does get to his Senate trial.  I mean, presumably, the trial is going to be next month.  What new will we have by then? 

I mean the impeachment inquiry is still open.  They`re still investigating.  We just saw the chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the House, Adam Schiff, send a very provocative letter to Vice President Pence`s office on the classified matter questioning what he knew about this scheme and his involvement in it.  I mean, it`s a live question in terms of the extent of this scandal, and the question of the vice president`s involvement is of course a very sober thing to consider given the possibility that the president might be removed from office. 

But even as it still evolves and as it will undoubtedly still evolve towards the Senate trial starting, I mean just think about the scope of this.  The first time we learned about any of this was not that long ago.  It was only September that we got the very first inkling.  You will recall it was "The Washington Post" that published this short bolt from the blue editorial on September 5th that honestly called the whole thing in advance.  And it is worth remembering that and crediting them for that now this has led to the impeachment of the president. 

I mean, by rights, I`m not on the Pulitzer board, but if I was voting, I would say this editorial should be considered for "The Post" for a Pulitzer Prize.  I mean, it really did call this entire impeachment scandal before anyone else knew what was going on.  This was the headline.  Trump tries to force Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election. 

This wasn`t a news article.  It was an editorial in which "The Post" editorial board said they were, quote, reliably informed the president was up to something really bad.  It was an odd way to phrase it.  It was an odd thing this was on editorial page and not a news story. 

But you know what?  This was super important.  Everything "The Post" reported from that bolt from the blue editorial that day has turned out to be spot on and has led to the impeachment of a president of the United States for only the third time in history. 

That editorial that day said this, quote: Successive Democratic and Republican administrations have tried to draw Ukraine away from Vladimir Putin`s Russia and into the ranks of Western democracies.  But not only has President Trump refused to grant the new Ukrainian president. Volodymyr Zelensky a White House visit, he`s also suspended the delivery of U.S. military aid to a country still fighting Russian aggression in its eastern provinces.  Some suspect Mr. Trump is once again catering to Mr. Putin, has dedicated to undermining Ukrainian democracy and independents. 

But, "The Post" says -- again, this is an editorial.  But we`re reliably told that the president has a second and more venal agenda.  He`s attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden.  Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine`s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it. 

Yes, nailed it.  I mean, that -- that editorial out of the blue not connected to any public reporting that we could see that tied all these things together, but that was really the first any of us knew about the two sides of this scandal.  What the president was demanding of Ukraine and what he was holding back to keep the pressure on.  And that is what would ultimately lead to the president`s impeachment.  Last night, it was September 5th on "The Washington Post" on the editorial page. 

And what they described in that provocative editorial is exactly what we now know happened.  I mean, after they broached the subject on the editorial page, the news started cascading out on the news pages within less than two weeks.  September 18, "The Washington Post" news story, Trump`s communications with foreign leader are part of whistle-blower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and congress. 

"The Washington Post" the following day, whistle-blower complaint is said to involve Trump and Ukraine.  A-ha.  "The Washington Post" the day after that, Trump pressed Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden`s son.  Yes, that turned out to be true. 

That reporting was matched that same day by both "The Wall Street Journal" and "The New York Times."  Three days later, both "The Post" and "The Times" confirmed the worst case scenario fears about Trump`s behavior starting to un unspool in the press here.  It wasn`t just pressure on Ukraine, it was the president withholding military aid as part of the pressure campaign, just as that "Post" editorial had said from the outset. 

The day after those multiple news organizations confirm the military aid was part of the pressure on Ukraine to get those investigations to help the president in his re-election effort.  The day after that is when Nancy Pelosi announces the country will be starting an impeachment inquiry over this.  And the day after that is when the White House releases its notes from the call in question, and then, of course, we`re off to the races because there in the call notes, there`s the president in black and white doing exactly what he`s been accused of doing in that initial shocking editorial and in all the subsequent reporting that bore it out. 

Ukrainian president brings up military aid.  President Trump says, yes, I need you to do us a favor, though, investigate Biden.  It all turns out to be true and it went so fast.  I mean, in less than three weeks, we went from this almost unbelievable allegation spelled out in one "Washington Post" editorial to the White House providing proof in fact that the president did it, and then the president did it again, made the same demands out in public on the White House lawn.  And impeachment inquiry starts. 

And as all this rolls out in a rush in less than three weeks -- at the outset as all this information is not only being initially reported but then confirmed and confessed to, at the outset of all that, it seemed like for a hot minute, it kind of seemed like we all maybe were going to be on the same page in terms of what the country is going to do it about it, because at the outset, which again is not long ago, at the outset, everyday agreed what was described here in that initial editorial and all that subsequent reporting -- I mean, everybody agreed at the outset what was described there in terms of the president`s behavior was wrong. 

I mean, when I say everybody agreed, everybody agreed. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If the president said, you know, I`ll give you the money but you got to investigate Joe Biden, that is really off the rails wrong. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But if it`s something else, you know, it would be nice to know what it is. 


MADDOW:  If the president said I`ll give you the money but you`ve got to investigate Joe Biden, that would be off the rails wrong. 

Yet, it turns out that`s exactly what happened.  The off the rails part, yes, that`s it.  And lots of elected Republicans initially said how concerned they were about these reports of the president`s behavior.  That what the president was report today have done, which was later confirmed he had done -- in the words of Senator John Thune, that was, quote, not good.  Lots of Republicans are willing to say that at the outset.  But they all said they wanted to learn more, they all said they wanted to get to the bottom of it, and so the witnesses were brought in for the inquiry. 

Democrats called witnesses.  Republicans called witnesses.  The results were all the same.  More confirmation. 


WILILIAM TAYLOR, ACTING U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE:  To withhold that assistance for no good reason other than help with a political campaign made no sense.  It was -- it was counter productive to all of what we had been trying to do.  It was illogical, it could not be explained.  It was crazy. 

LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN, DIRECTOR FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL:  In order to get a White House meeting the Ukrainians would have to provide a deliverable which is investigations, specific investigations. 

DAN GOLDMAN, COUNSEL FOR DEMOCRATS ON INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  So you heard President Trump ask Ambassador Sondland is he going to do the investigation? 


GOLDMAN:  What was Ambassador Sondland`s response? 

HOLMES:  He said, oh, yeah, he`s going to do it, he`ll do anything you ask. 

TIMOTHY MORRISON, SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE IN THE NSC:  The Ukrainians would have to have the prosecutor general make a statement with respect to the investigations as a condition of having the aid lifted. 

GOLDMAN:  So just to summarize in this July 25th call between the presidents of the United States and Ukraine, President Trump demanded a favor of President Zelensky to conduct investigations that both of you acknowledged were for President Trump`s political interests, not the national interest, and in return for his promise of a much desired White House meeting for President Zelensky. 

Colonel Vindman, is that an accurate summary of the excerpts we just looked at? 


GOLDMAN:  Ms. Williams? 


AMB. GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION:  I know that members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in a form of a simple question.  Was there a quid pro quo?  The answer is yes. 


MADDOW:  Even when they got active Trump administration officials, Trump appointees testifying, the result was confirmation upon confirmation upon confirmation, right?  So this whole process -- I mean, has gone fast in terms of what we have learned and what the investigation turned up.  It went fast in part because it was pretty straightforward.  In fact, the quick confession made it easy. 

But Republicans who insisted if there was any evidence of a quid pro quo, that would be bad.  Even with conservative media, the president`s favorite TV shows just weeks ago proclaiming they were all with the president unless it turned out President Trump demanded an investigation of Joe Biden and he was withholding military aid and it was connected to that, that would be off the rails bad.  I mean, it was just a few weeks ago the conservative media was saying even we wouldn`t be with him through that. 

Nevertheless, here we are now with what ended up being almost a party line vote on impeachment.  Whatever concerns the Republicans and the conservative media may have had before now about what the president did, at least among House Republicans, they gave up those concerns for last night`s vote in these impeachment articles.  It doesn`t matter much in the end.  The Republicans lost this fight. 

In terms of public opinion, the public appears to be pretty solidly and stably evenly split on the issue of the president being not just impeached but removed from office, I mean, which is interesting because the Republicans have spent millions and millions and millions of dollars already running ads against impeachment, including tons of online ads. 

The Democrats haven`t really done anything to counterbalance that at all.  The ad wars have been fought completely on one side, but public opinion kind of stayed the same, about half and half evenly split.  And now as the impeachment has happened in the House and as the Senate trial becomes a bone of contention we`re going to talk about tonight, I mean, the wild card here we all have to contend with, I think there`s two.  One is the president`s potential behavior from here on out. 

The other is the fact the scandal isn`t over.  The scandal continues to unfold.  I mean, there`s the ongoing criminal proceedings against two people involved in carrying out the scheme with the president`s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.  That criminal case closely parallels and sort of abuts this impeachment scandal, and it`s a live criminal case in the Southern District of New York right now. 

There`s Mr. Giuliani just this past week continuing to try to run this scheme in Ukraine, continuing to try to get officials in Ukraine and former officials to make allegations against Vice President Biden.  There`s Mr. Giuliani admitting this week in "The New Yorker", he organized the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, because she was in the way of getting these investigations the president was pressuring Ukraine for. 

Whereas "The Wall Street Journal" reporting last night, as the articles of impeachment were on the floor of the House, new "Wall Street Journal" reporting that Bill Taylor who was brought in by the Trump administration to be the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine after Ambassador Yovanovitch was fired as part of this scheme, they just fired Bill Taylor, too.  Bill Taylor has just been fired by the Trump administration, recalled early from his post by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  I mean, it`s still going on. 

There`s also "The Washington Post" tonight with a jaw dropping front page story about where President Trump got ahold of this story that he`s been pushing throughout this scandal, this story it must have been Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, not Russia.  Where did he get that idea?  Where did he get that story he`s been selling in the first place?  Where where`d he come upon that? 

Quote: After meeting privately in July 2017 with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, President Trump grew insistent that Ukraine had worked to defeat him in the 2016 campaign, according to multiple former officials familiar with his assertions.  The president`s intense resistance to the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia systematically interfered in the 2016 campaign and the blame he cast instead on a rival country led many of his advisers, Trump`s own advisers to think that Putin himself help spur the idea of Ukraine`s culpability said these officials. 

Quote: One former senior White House official said Trump even stated so explicitly at one point, saying he knew Ukraine was the real culprit in 2016 because, quote, Putin told me. 

Putin told him, he says.  This is where he came up with this thing that he ended up demanding from Ukraine, right, this thing he put their military aid on the line about and needed an investigation into Joe Biden.  I also need an investigation into you interfering in 2016 to get Hillary Clinton elected. 

I mean, this thing that he pressured Ukraine about in the series of events that just led to him becoming the only the third U.S. president in history to be impeached last night, this theory about Ukraine in which Republican members of Congress are now spreading as well, U.S. intelligence officials have apparently warned Republicans in Congress now spreading this thing this thing they`re spreading was something invented by Russian security services and is a disinformation operation designed to benefit the Russian government, that apparently they don`t care.  After all, their arguments line up with President Trump. 

This thing that is part of the impeachment that Republicans in Congress are now sort of pushing despite their warnings about who`s bidding they`re doing by pushing this stuff, I mean, where`d the president get this?  Republicans are all lining up with President Trump on this.  Who`s president Trump lining up with on this?  Where`d he get it from? 

Quote: For some White House officials struggling to understand Trump`s obsession with Ukraine, the Hamburg G-20 summit meetings were a turning point.  Three former administration officials said Trump repeatedly insisted after the G-20 that he believed Putin`s assurances that Russia hadn`t interfered in the 2016 campaign.

Over the next several months, Trump privately told aides on several occasions that he believed Ukraine had interfered and tried to help Clinton win the White House. 

Quote: The strong belief in the White House was that Putin told him, said one former official. 

So, yes, I mean maybe the Senate trial is going to be more interesting than we think.  In part, I mean, yes, they`re fighting about how it`s going to go.  But part of the reason it might be more interesting than we`re thinking is because the scandal is still happening.  The investigation is still live.  Criminal investigations running parallel in the actual criminal justice system, the federal court system, those are still live. 

And in terms of open source reporting, we`re still getting bombshell stuff like this just breaking tonight.  I mean, this -- he got it straight from Putin stuff, this has come out today, tonight, the actual day after the actual impeachment in the House of Representatives.  I mean, what else are we going to get?

Will any new evidence that comes out since the impeachment vote even get discussed at the Senate trial?  Will there definitely be a Senate trial? 


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA:  Why would the speaker of the house step into that without trying to determine exactly what the majority leader plans to do?  So I applaud her for this.  In fact, I was one of the ones arguing that this ought to be the case.  And until we can get some assurances from the majority leader that he is going to allow for a fair and impartial trial to take place, we will be crazy to walk in there knowing he set up a kangaroo court. 

TV ANCHOR:  How long are you willing to wait? 

CLYBURN:  As long as it takes.  Even if he doesn`t come around to committing to a fair trial, keep those articles here, so keep it as long as it takes. 


MADDOW:  Jim Clyburn is the number three Democrat in the House.  He is in leadership.  He is among those by his own account is encouraging Speaker Pelosi to hold onto the articles of impeachment that just passed the House last night, hold onto them until the Senate determines its rules how it`s going to conduct the trial.  So, in Clyburn`s words, it won`t be a kangaroo court. 

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, today didn`t say anything how the trial is going to be run, but he did spend a half-hour on the floor today telling the Democrats that they`re terrible and saying the impeachment was terrible.  So I think that`s meant to be a hint. 

In the Clinton impeachment, the top Democratic and top Republican in the Senate worked out rules together for President Clinton`s trial.  They worked out rules that everybody agreed on.  All senators agreed to them unanimously. 

Doesn`t feel like that`s the direction we`re heading here in this Senate.  But that`s what Democrats are trying to for with this leverage from Speaker Pelosi in terms of when and whether she is going to send those articles over to the Senate so they can conduct this trial, and with Democratic leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, today making his case for a real trial with the real evidence, real witnesses. 


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER:  Will Leader McConnell breaking precedent, strong-arm his caucus into making this the first Senate impeachment trial of the president in history that heard no, no witnesses?  Is the president`s case so weak that none of the president`s men can defend him under oath? 

I have yet to hear one good argument why less evidence is better than more evidence? 

To my Republican colleagues, our message is a simple one: Democrats want a fair trial that examines the relevant facts.  We want a fair trial. 

The message from Leader McConnell at the moment is that he has no intention of conducting a fair trial, no intention of acting impartially, no intention of getting the facts.  The witnesses we suggest are top Trump appointed officials.  They aren`t Democrats.  We don`t know if their testimony would exculpate the president or incriminate him, but their testimony should be heard. 

If the president`s counsel wants to call other witnesses with direct knowledge of why the aid to Ukraine was delayed, we say they should be able to do so.  President Trump claims he wants due process.  I suspect he would rather hide or name-call because if he really wanted due process, he could get it easily.  One phone call to Leader McConnell telling him to let his aides testify, one phone call to his chief of staff telling him to release the documents to Congress.  Both of these actions would let the truth come out. 

I ask again, can none of the president`s men come defend him under oath? 


MADDOW:  Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate joins us live here next.  Stay with us. 



SCHUMER:  Will Leader McConnell breaking precedent, strong arm his caucus into making this the first Senate impeachment trial of the president in history that heard no, no witnesses?  Is the president`s case so weak that none of the president`s men can defend him under oath? 


MADDOW:  Now that the House has voted to impeach President Trump and attention shifts to the trial in the Senate, I have questions.  I also have the right person to ask for answers. 

Just after 3:00 this afternoon, the Democratic leader in the Senate and the Republican leader, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, separately stepped off the Senate floor, raising lots of eyebrows.  They reportedly then met for about 20 minutes in a side room. 

In terms of were the results of that discussion, we don`t know.  I will tell you -- this evening, Senator McConnell used another floor speech to say that the two sides remained at an impasse.  But like I say, I`ve got questions. 

Joining us now here on set is the senior senator from New York, top Democrat in the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer. 

Senator, it`s great for you to have to be here.

SCHUMER:  Great to see you.  Thanks for having me. 

MADDOW:  Thanks so much.

How`d your meeting go? 

SCHUMER:  Well, it`s very -- simply put, I told Leader McConnell that we would not support any trial without witnesses and documents.  What is a trial without witnesses and documents?  You want one side to say a case, the other side to say it and there`s no evidence?  That`s not what trials do. 

And he said no, he had no good reason. 

You know, on the floor in his 30-minute speech -- I think you showed a few excerpts.  Thirty minutes, it`s sort of a rant.  And not once did he refute why there should be -- did he give any reason why there shouldn`t be witnesses.  In fact, he talked about history. 

Well, we`ve had two impeachment trials.  Andrew Johnson and Clinton, both had witnesses. 

MADDOW:  Uh-huh.

SCHUMER:  And the people we have asked for, we`re not going on a fishing expedition.  These are the four people who should know exactly what happened and what president Trump did.  Why did he delay the aid and for what reason?  These are the people surrounding him. 

Now, the House has built a very good case, but they couldn`t get the people right there and a number of my Republican colleagues have said publicly, many more privately, well, we`re not exactly sure it`s true.  We`ll bring the witnesses on. 

And, you know, we don`t know what the witnesses would say.  Maybe they`ll say -- they`re appointed by Trump.  They`re hardly Democratic plants.  And maybe they`ll say something exculpatory about Trump. 

But the fact that they are so against the witnesses shows there`s something to hide.

MADDOW:  When -- 

SCHUMER:  It shows they don`t want to know the truth. 

And documents, too, we want to get every document, any email between the president, OMB, DOD -- Department of Defense, Department of State that talked about why the aid was withheld.  My guess is it`s damning, and that`s why they`re hiding it. 

And there`s an important point here that rises to the Constitution.  The Constitution gave the Senate the ultimate power to stop a president to his overreaching, who`s breaking the law through impeach -- impeachment. 

If the Senate cannot get facts, you`ll never have a real trial on impeachment.  And this president and future presidents will be basically able to do whatever they want.  So, this rises way above a political or partisan dimension. 

And my hope is that I doubt we`ll ever get McConnell.  But all we need is four Republican senators to side with us to get 51, because I have all 47 - - all 47 Democrats are totally onboard with it. 

If McConnell doesn`t come to an agreement, you don`t have that many powers as minority leader, but the power I do have is to force a vote, and we will force a vote on all the witnesses and all documents. 

And my guess is those Republican colleagues do not want to vote against witnesses and documents because they know how bad it looks back home, and some of them are really thinking in conscience -- like (ph), this is sort of interesting.  ABC/" Washington Post" poll, do you think the president`s top advisor should testify? 

Well, 85 percent of Democrats said yes.  But 64 percent of Republicans said -- the Republican rank and file never goes against Trump.  It`s always 70, 80 in Trump`s favor.  Sixty-four are against him on this. 

So, my hope and I think it`s very possible, these Republicans will go home over the next two weeks, and they will hear from their constituents that at least let them have witnesses and let`s see what happens. 

MADDOW:  Are you in talks with Republicans who you think might be willing to side with your view of this?  And are you open to compromise on some of the things that you`ve laid out? 

SCHUMER:  Certainly, there`s lots of talking going on between myself, but also many of my colleagues.  We talk to our Republican colleagues all the time.  I talk to them all in the gym. 

You know, I learned when I got to the Senate, Democrats exercise late in the day, Republicans early.  I go early.  When you`re a 60-year-old on a bike, panting in your shorts -- 


SCHUMER:  -- the inhibition sort of fall away.  So I talk to them. 

And the second question is, sure, I told McConnell today at our meeting, if you have modifications, if you think one of these witnesses is no good or you want to add another, you know, go right ahead. 

And there`s some argument that some have made -- well, if the Democrats have witnesses, then Republicans will ask for Hunter Biden.  Make my day.  Hunter Biden, first, has nothing to do with the trial because he has no knowledge of what the president said of the charges --

MADDOW:  You don`t think they`ll put on trial essentially as competitive --


SCHUMER:  Well, they could.  It`ll look like a circus.


SCHUMER:  And they don`t want to do it. 

So this argument is a bogus argument to deter us from getting witnesses.  I would bet -- bet my bottom dollar, Hunter Biden -- they`d never ask Hunter Biden to show up because it would backfire on them.  It would make -- it would make them look so unserious about this process that they`d lose. 

MADDOW:  I have much more to ask you about how this process is going to unfold.  Stay with us. 

SCHUMER:  I`m going to be here.

MADDOW:  Senator Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate. 

We`ll be right back.  Stay with us. 


MADDOW:  We`re back once again with the senior senator from New York, the leader of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Senator Chuck Schumer. 

Sir, thanks again for being here. 

SCHUMER:  Sure. 

MADDOW:  In addition to your meeting today with Senator McConnell and you described to us how that discussion went, I know you met with Speaker Pelosi as well. 


MADDOW:  You two are coordinating working together in terms of what should happen next?

SCHUMER:  I wouldn`t say coordinating because we`re independent bodies, but talking to each other.  But we talk all the time.  We`ll probably talk really given -- on an average day, three, four times a day. 

MADDOW:  What can you tell us -- 

SCHUMER:  I know her cell number by heart but I`m not going to --


MADDOW:  What can you tell us about this plan that`s being discussed and hotly debated in Democratic circles about potentially holding off the articles --


SCHUMER:  Well, a lot of -- a lot of Nancy`s colleagues went to her and thought it was a good idea.  And she thought it through.  She said, if I`m not going to know the outlines of the trial, how do I know which managers to choose?  Depending on what you`re going to do and what you`re going to have, you might have different managers.

MADDOW:  Whether you have witnesses, whether you have documentary evidence -- 

SCHUMER:  Whether you have witness, whether there`s -- right, exactly. 

And second, she said, I don`t want to send it over to just have a sham trial.  And that`s what McConnell is headed for now is sham trial -- at least he, if he has his own way. 

And so, I think it`s a good idea to not draw a line in the sand, and she hasn`t done it, but to say, let`s wait.  Let`s see how things evolve in the Senate. 

And that`s -- I think that`s working well because when people say why is she waiting, because we want witnesses and we want documents.  You know, it just drives the message home. 

MADDOW:  Congressman Clyburn today was asked pointedly when he was making sort of impassioned case with the type that you just made, was asked, well, how long would you wait?  And he said as long as it takes. 

Do you think that this is something that should essentially be an indefinite standoff? 

SCHUMER:  I think we`ll have to see how -- just follow it as goes. 


SCHUMER:  Nancy and I will talk, you know, constantly over this Christmas holiday and we`ll see how it goes. 

But I think not jumping in and just giving them the documents right -- giving them the impeachment articles right away as they are not ready to do the kind of fair trial that we want but instead just do a sham. 

And, by the way, you know, let`s say we don`t win the Republicans over -- I`m very hopeful, optimistic, expect that we will win some of them over.  But if we don`t, we will show that this trial and the "no" vote on impeaching Trump, on throwing him out of office, is really not based on any fact, not based on any evidence, is a sham. 

So, it`s sort of a win-win. 

MADDOW:  When you talk about -- 

SCHUMER:  I`d rather get the evidence and see what happens. 

And even if -- even if they say things that are not in our favor, we will have done the Constitution a favor by making sure that all the facts get out for this trial and God forbid any future one. 

MADDOW:  When you talked somewhat optimistically about the prospect of getting four Republican senators -- 


MADDOW:  -- to side with all the Democrats, have kind of rules you`re describing, with evidence, with witnesses and all this sort of stuff -- obviously, if there are senators who favor that sort of thing, public opinion is in favor of having witnesses at this trial.


MADDOW:  If McConnell is pressured by public opinion, if McConnell is pressured by senators on the Republican side who might think this is the right way to do it, the right way to -- 

SCHUMER:  Right.

MADDOW:  -- responsibly discharge their duty -- do you think it is also possible that McConnell might also be pressured by the White House on this?  It sort of seems like the president wants witnesses and wants a defense.

SCHUMER:  You know, this is one of those instances where Democrats, House and Senate, are united and the Republicans are divided.  McConnell is not surefooted.  He`s made a whole bunch of different mistakes. 

The other day, he said, I`m proud to be a partisan.  I`m going to be a partisan. 

Well, he`s going to take an oath -- it`s an oath in the rules of the Senate to be an impartial juror, and he`s saying he`s partial.  He`s made a lot of mistakes.  And one of the reasons is they`re all over the lot. 

Tonight, President Trump is tweeting: I want a trial. 

Well, good.  But, President Trump, if you get a trial, you`re not going to pick the witnesses.  You may get a witness of your choosing, but the witnesses that we have asked for will be there, and they will tell the truth. 

So I hope he is for a trial because that`s the right thing to do. 

MADDOW:  Senator Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democrats in the United States Senate, keep us apprised.  This is going to be -- I know we`re heading into a holiday break, but this is -- this is something you`re going to be fighting out over the next few weeks. 

SCHUMER:  You bet.

MADDOW:  Keep us -- keep us apprised. 

SCHUMER:  Thanks.  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Thank you, sir.

All right.  We`ll be right back.  Stay with us. 


MADDOW:  President Bill Clinton got impeached on a Saturday.  The next day, Sunday. he went to church.  And as he was leaving that church service, he got heckled by somebody waiting outside who told him: Please resign for the good of the world. 

President Clinton did not respond.  He just smiled and waved at other people.  After a short measured speech the day of the vote, President Clinton didn`t actually say anything publicly the day after the impeachment vote, the day of his church service. 

We look back in history to see what presidents do after they get impeached, it`s a very small sample size, right?  Only two have ever been impeached before this one.  That alone makes it hard to predict what our current president will do now that he is impeachment number three, especially because his volatility has been a hallmark of his presidency. 

I mean, throughout the scandals and upheavals of the Trump campaigns and presidency, denigrating a Gold Star family, banning Muslims from entering the United States, the Russia investigation, impeachment, all of it -- I mean, he`s never faced any lasting repercussions, nor does he seemed to have dealt with that in his business career.  Nothing has really stuck in.  He`s never been in trouble.

Now, perhaps, for the first time in his life, he`s facing the consequences of his actions, with those consequences across the front page of every newspaper in the country.  He will always be a president who was impeached.  That label will last forever. 

Last night at the very moment, he was impeached, he held a rally where he talked about home dishwashers don`t have the shoosh (ph) they used to.  That was weird.  He also disparaged the dead husband of a sitting U.S. congresswoman. 

I mean, in terms of the questions I have about what happens next for us as a country, I generally feel ill-equipped to answer the question of what the president might do.  I mean now that this history is written, now he is the third president in the history of our nation to be impeached, what should we expect from him?  It`s a hard question.  I do think we`ve got somebody here with us tonight, though, who has the kind of first-hand experience that will help us figure it out.  She joins us next. 


MADDOW:  Joining us now here on set is somebody who knows President Trump, who worked for him and with him for more than a decade.  Her name is Barbara Res. 

She started working for Donald Trump in the 1980s.  She was an executive vice president at the Trump Organization.  She`s the author of "All Alone on the 68th Floor: How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction."

Barbara, thanks so much for coming in tonight.

I did not know you would say yes when I asked you to, but thank you.


MADDOW:  The reason I want you to come in tonight is because I don`t think very much about the president`s brain and personal biography and all these other things.  I`ve got other stuff to worry about.

But I am also starting to think for -- in terms of what`s going to happen at this big moment in our country, I`m started to think about what we should expect from him.  I don`t know he`s ever had kind of an accountability moment like this before in his business.  Has he ever gotten in trouble before? 

RES:  You know, he has but not anything of this nature.  I mean, this is enormous.  This is enormous.  And he is taking this extremely seriously. 

MADDOW:  When you say he has had -- he has sort of gotten in trouble before --


RES:  Yes, he`s lose a little thing or, you know, he`ll deal with bankruptcy or something will happen with a building, and he always is able to shuffle it off to someone else and, you know, walk away from it unscathed. 

MADDOW:  Is that kind of his M.O. to try to find somebody else to --

RES:  Oh, 100 percent, it`s never, ever him. 

MADDOW:  And what do you mean, in terms of just blaming them or in terms of making somebody to actually face the consequences for him?  Or --

RES:  Yes, if he can, absolutely.  But certainly blaming them and looking for someone who made this happen in the impeachment, in my mind, he`s going around saying, well, you know, it shouldn`t have happened and you let it happen whoever he`s talking to and you didn`t do your job and screaming.  I think he`s probably really out there. 

MADDOW:  In terms of dealing with his own people, his own staff? 

RES:  Yes, yes. 

MADDOW:  We did just get a report tonight that the chief of staff, the White House chief of staff is gone, that he`s already been sidelined.  He was described in tonight as sort of being at the kids table.  He`s allowed to be seen but not speak and then he`ll be gone in January. 

That sounds like that`s in keeping with what you`re expecting.

RES:  Yes, yes, because, you know, even a person of a high stature, if Trump needs to have that person be responsible for something that he did, he`ll diminish that person.  So, I`ve seen that kind of thing, you know, longer.  I mean, you saw that with Kelly in my mind.

MADDOW:  With John Kelly, the previous chief?

RES:  Yes, yes.

MADDOW:  Were you ever in a business situation where there was some negative consequence for him, for his business and he blamed you? 

RES:  Yes.  The very last thing that I had to do and the very last day I worked for him, we were working in this big project, very complicated, in California, but a decision had to be made and I told him not to do something -- I advised him not and he didn`t listen to my advice and it was a very, very bad decision. 

MADDOW:  What kind of decision was it? 

RES:  It had to do with approaching somebody who we were at war with and, you know, letting them know basically how desperate we were to make a deal.  Not a good decision.  Not something you would think he would allow to happen. 

But at any rate, he -- we had a big meeting with his partners and stuff and he blamed me for everything.  So, it was -- and I -- I quit, you know? 

MADDOW:  That was the end. 

RES:  That was the last time.  Yes, the last day I worked for him. 

MADDOW:  One of the things that I have been wondering about and kind of expecting is I feel the way he`s dealt with things not counting his way as president is that he`s created competing crises, like something`s going bad, so I`m going to do something really outrageous that everybody feels obliged to, respond to, because it`s outrageous, and that will be the new thing to keep the news cycle moving to put this thing behind us. 

RES:  Yes, and I`ve seen him do that kind of thing.  It`s hard to remember specifically what, but he does absolutely, you know, if he`s looking bad in some way or another, all of a sudden, he`s the greatest -- you know, whatever, (INAUDIBLE) and, you know, look at what I`ve done here and take the pressure and the picture off what he had done wrong.  Sure, he did that all the time.

MADDOW:  Is there anything that you would say to people who have never dealt with him personally but the country is all sort of dealing with him personally right now -- in terms of what to expect or how to sort of mitigate any negative consequences in terms of how he might act out in response? 

RES:  You know, the days for litigation seems to be gone.  But I will say that he will once he gets through this, and he probably will -- he will exact revenge on a lot of people, a lot of people. 

MADDOW:  Barbara Res, former executive vice president at the Trump Organization, worked closely with Mr. Trump in his business career, thank you so much, Barbara.

RES:  Thanks.

MADDOW:  All right.  We`ll be right back.  Stay with us.


MADDOW:  I want to recap some of the news made here tonight by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.  He let us know tonight that he has all 47 Democratic senators unified in support of his proposed rules for the Senate trial for the president.  That would mean that he needs four Republican senators to join us.  He said tonight he does not believe that he`ll get Senator Mitch McConnell to support those rules, but he thinks they might be able to get four Republicans, and those conversations are already happening. 

That`s news tonight from Senator Schumer.  But obviously, this is live issue that Democratic and Republican side are both looking ahead to the holiday break, but it`s clear these negotiations are hot and open from here on out. 

That`s going to do it for us tonight.  Thanks for being with us.  I`ll see you again tomorrow. 

Now, it`s time for "The Last Word with Lawrence O`Donnell".

Good evening, Lawrence.


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