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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle, 9/12/22

Guests: Chuck Rosenberg, Asha Rangappa, Carol Leonnig, Kevin Baron, Abigail Spanberger

Summary

The Justice Department has issued about 40 subpoenas in the last week related to the actions of former President Donald Trump, his allies and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Trump spotted at his Virginia golf course after video of him on a flight to the DC area sparked a firestorm of speculation. The Senate Judiciary Committee announced it will investigate allegations that the Trump Justice Department sought to use the U.S. attorney`s office to support the-then president and pursue his critics. Former President Trump`s lawyers and the Justice Department provided names for a special master to review materials seized at Mar-a- Lago.

Transcript

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: That is tonight`s "LAST WORD". THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.

[23:00:24]

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight, dramatic new developments in the January 6 investigation. The DOJ issues 40 brand new subpoenas requesting records and phones from Trump`s inner circle.

Then, Ukraine surprise offensive seizing back key areas in the Kharkiv region, forcing a Russian retreat, but President Zelenskyy warns he`ll need much more U.S. aid to keep going.

Plus, months of debate over a congressional stock trading ban and still no vote. As we`ve been saying this is an issue most Americans agree on so why the holdup, as THE 11TH HOUR gets underway on this Monday night.

Good evening. Once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. And we`ve got breaking news tonight striking new signs Merrick Garland`s Justice Department has intensified its January 6 investigation in a big, big way. NBC News has learned the Department of Justice has issued about 40 subpoenas over the last week related to the actions of the former president, his allies and their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

One source telling NBC News that former Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn had his phone seized as evidence last week. He has been linked to plans to name fake electors in an attempt to block Biden`s victory. In fact, he all but admitted it to our colleague, Ari Melber earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS EPSHTEYN, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: Yes, I was part of the process to make sure that we`re alternate electors for when as we hope the challenges to the seated electors would be heard and will be successful. Part of the puff them out under the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: And a lawyer for ex NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik confirms he received a subpoena last week. It`s been reported Kerik worked on efforts to uncover quote unquote, fraud in 2020. But of course, as we all know, absolutely no evidence of fraud was ever found.

The New York Times reporting which first said the subpoenas and the phone seizures, said former Trump`s social media director Dan Scavino, remember that guy, has also received a subpoena. Although it is unclear when that happened.

And tonight the Justice Department is declining to comment on any of these subpoenas. As the DOJ investigation heats up. The former guys spent much of today appearing to golf at his Virginia club. But cameras caught him at a distance huddled up talking with his buddies, but not doing much playing, which has many people asking What were they talking about.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports tonight that the Senate Judiciary Committee is now going to investigate allegations that Trump`s Department of Justice tried to use the U.S. Attorney`s Office in Manhattan to retaliate on behalf of the former president. Those allegations are in a new book by former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. He spoke to our own Rachel Maddow earlier this evening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEOFFREY BERMAN, FORMR U.S. ATTORNEY SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Trump turned the department into his own personal law firm. He put in people who would do his bidding, and they would you know, target Trump`s political enemies and assist Trump`s friends and it was a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: It`s not a surprise, but what can be done about it. And of course, the current DOJ is in a legal battle with Trump and his lawyers over those documents seized during the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago five weeks ago. There`s huge news on that tonight, and we`ll get into that later in the hour.

But first, I want to get smarter with the help of our lead off panel. We`ve got some stars with us Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter with The Washington Post, Asha Rangappa, former Special Agent in the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI. She`s now an assistant dean at the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs. And Chuck Rosenberg is here. Former U.S. attorney and former FBI senior official.

Mr. Rosenberg, we must start with you. The DOJ January 6 investigation, 40 subpoenas. To me, that sounds huge. How significant is that?

CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it is significant and it is a lot but it`s not surprising, Stephanie, and this was a far flung scheme to steal an election. And a president can`t do that by himself. He needs help. And so that`s why you`re seeing so much action now, so many subpoenas going out.

Obviously if you want to prove a big case, you got to talk to a whole bunch of people. And subpoenas are one way to do it. This is how you get people before the grand jury take their testimony under oath and preserve that testimony in case you charge people, other people and go to trial. So, it is a lot. It sounds like a lot, but not terribly surprising.

[23:05:10]

RUHLE: Pre-Trump, you know, we all thought subpoenas were big, bad, scary things. But Chuck, we`ve seen all sorts of them appealed and ignored over the last six years or so, what are -- what did these subpoenas mean? Will people have to actually face the music this time?

ROSENBERG: Well, the subpoenas that you`ve generally seen ignored, or contested, came from Congress. A federal grand jury subpoena is a different animal, Stephanie. And it`s not one that you can easily ignore or avoid. Right? It`s a court order. And there are real penalties for disobeying it or for going to the grand jury and lying.

And so no disrespect to Congress. But they don`t have the same processes. They don`t have the same enforcement mechanisms. And a subpoena is not what -- a subpoena from the Congress is not like a subpoena from a federal grand jury. The latter has teeth. The latter can be enforced in federal court. And the latter has real consequences for disobeying it, or for lying to a grand jury after you`ve received one. So I don`t think you`re going to see the same sort of shenanigans with respect to federal grand jury subpoenas.

RUHLE: All right, no disrespect to Congress, Asha. No disrespect to the DOJ, they seize more cell phones. What took so long? If you wanted Boris Epshteyn cell phone, and you want to know what he was doing around January 6, around the election, shouldn`t you have taken it 12, 18 months ago? What are they looking for now?

ASHA RANGAPPA, ASST. DEAN, YALE JACKSON SCHOOL OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS: Well, Stephanie, remember that to seize the cell phone, you have to have probable cause. So this is going to come later in an investigation. What this means is that DOJ has done enough of an investigation to show a judge that there`s probable cause, that there`s evidence of a crime on these phones that they`ve seized. That means that these people that they`ve talked to already have given them enough information to move to this level.

And it`s not just the probable cause, once they are able to get these phones, they`re going to really get to communications behind the scenes. And for a conspiracy case, this is where the meat is at. This is where you find out, you know, what they were agreeing on? Who knew what? Who was on board? What was the goal? Did people have the requisite intent? What was the plan, and you need those communications to really piece that together. We`ve seen that in the conspiracy charges already with, for example, the Oath Keepers and the proud boys, you know, detailed communications. So this, this is going to definitely move the ball along. And it means that they are far along in some aspects of this investigation.

RUHLE: But at this point, Asha, the phones that they have seized, don`t think they have been wiped clean Smash, and anything with any evidence has been sunk in the Hudson River.

RANGAPPA: I think the FBI has their ways of recovering a lot of the data once they have the device. So I`m not so worried about that. But you know, look to your earlier point, Stephanie, I do think they`re coming late to the game overall. So for example, some of these subpoenas that have been issued have asked the recipients to turn over the documents that they provided to the House committee.

So that tells me that DOJ is really following the blueprint that Congress has laid out for them. And they`re, you know, that this was really, I don`t know if it was necessarily jumpstarted by the by the hearings, but it`s definitely being informed by the hearings, and they are following in the path that the House Committee has already gone as opposed to having been on a robust parallel investigation this whole time. That`s my sense based on the signals that we`re getting at this point.

RUHLE: Carol, some of these people named are very familiar names and they`re very close to Trump, Dan Scavino, Bernard Kerik, does that mean they`re getting closer to the man himself? I can`t claim their low level water boys.

CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: No, those people are right next to him. The Willard Room operators essentially the folks who were pushing at the very top for the electors program. You know, Bernie Kerik very, very close to Rudy Giuliani. We already know how much in the muck of this investigation Rudy Giuliani is now Bernie Kerik`s being asked for all sorts of records and being required to turn over some information himself personally.

So he was really critical in helping push sort of the big lie and to work sort of as the deputy of Rudy is essentially to be the principal deputy to Donald Trump. So you`re good question. The same with Scavino. Although I have to say the Scavino one is even more interesting because there isn`t a room that Donald Trump walks into except to go to sleep where Dan Scavino is not, especially in the waning days of the presidency.

[23:10:10]

So many sources told me and my colleagues at the Washington Post, when we asked, Well, who knows that? Well, Dan was there, you know, he was a fixture like no other. And his telephone will be pretty interesting, too, because those texts if they still exist, and I do think the FBI does have its ways, there is a very high likelihood they`ll be able through a provider and through the actual physical phone to reconstruct this.

The texts of Dan Scavino have got to be a fascinating timeline all their own, you know, the boss says, blank, he refuses to do this. He says yes to this, you better get over here. He`s mad as a hornet about blank. I wish I could be them myself.

RUHLE: The FBI might have their methods, Asha. But how long could all of this take whether it`s seething -- seizing the phones and getting that information or actually getting these people who have been subpoenaed to sit down and talk? I mean, before long Trump could actually be trying to run for president. So time is of the essence.

RANGAPPA: Yes, Stephanie. And I do think that it`s going to take a while longer. I mean, what we see is that this is a sprawling conspiracy. You know, this thread of subpoenas are at least some most of them that we`re getting a sense of are related to the fake collector scheme. We know that they`re also investigating this pack, the fundraising scheme. There`s also the connection between Trump`s inner circle and the violence that erupted on January 6.

And so there`s so many threads, and on top of this, by the way that, you know, 1,000 minions that were on the ground doing this, that they`re prosecuting, I mean, this, you have a manpower issue at the Department of Justice.

And also, as I mentioned earlier, if they`re coming a little late to the game, those two things combined, you know, a challenge of manpower and time constraint is going to make this tough. But, you know, investigations, you have to -- you have to follow the evidence where it leads, you can`t really rush it, because you want to have the strongest case that you can,

RUHLE: Chuck, will the DOJ be under any pressure to pause any of this come the midterms? They`re only 57 days away?

ROSENBERG: Yes, it`s a great question, Stephanie. So, maybe helpful to understand exactly what the Department of Justice policy says with respect to elections and investigations. So the department can`t take any overt steps overt near the time of an election. And this is important language for the purpose of interfering in the election. You can take covert steps, and you can take steps for some other purpose other than to interfere in an election.

So let me just simplify that. There`s a lot they can do. There`s a lot that they have been doing, they can continue that they can continue their investigation. What I don`t expect to see in the run up to the midterm elections are indictments or charges.

Now, I understand Mr. Trump is not on the ballot. But that said, I would think that the department would be very cautious conservative about bringing high profile charges in the run up to the election. But remember, covert (ph) steps are fine. And steps that are taken not for the purpose of interfering in the election are fine. So there`s a lot that they can continue to do.

RUHLE: Carol, Trump, Scavino, Kerik, Epshteyn, with the exception of Trump himself, none of these other guys are big time important Republicans. You know, it would solve a lot of this for the Republican Party to dump Trump, to make this his problem and they can move on. They could put a Ron DeSantis who gets you all the politics and none of the problems? Are they getting any closer to doing that as these investigations grow wider and deeper?

LEONNIG: You know, such a good question, because behind the scenes, those conversations are taking place. I know that it feels glacial for a lot of Republicans who`ve come out swinging at Trump and I`ve said, hey, you know, this is a person who`s crossed so many lines, legal, ethical, moral, every line you can imagine, at presidential norms be damned, right? Every single thing we can think of.

There are a lot of Republicans who have staked that position and they`re furious with a lot of their colleagues for not sort of coming out of the bunker because they mostly want to get reelected and not tick off the voters who support Trump so deeply. Still to this day.

However, I think you`re starting to see, Steph, the beginning of that melting because look what Bill Barr did, he chose.

[23:15:00]

I mean people can have their disagreements with Bill Barr but the former attorney general who supported Donald Trump till almost to the end chose to go on Fox News, not the Washington Post, not the New York Times, chose to go on Fox News and remind people that these records are a crime for a former president to hold that there is nothing appropriate about these government records, being at Mar-a-Lago, a beach club, and that`s a very important investigation. The J6 investigation of the Department of Justice also critical.

I want to correct something I said earlier, it wasn`t Scavino`s phone, by the way. I was -- he was subpoenaed for information, not his phone. It was Mike Roman. His phone has been sought a legal counsel to Donald Trump and strategist for him along with Boris on the campaign and really critical of fake collectors.

But back to your central question, if Bill Barr is telling people this is serious on Fox News, I`m hearing more and more people who are starting to want to join that conversation and join it publicly instead of privately.

RUHLE: Chuck, new topic before we go to break. Former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, he is now saying that Trump`s Department of Justice tried to use Berman`s office to go after Trump critics. The Senate is now investigating this. What could come of it? I mean, sadly, it`s not a surprise. That`s Trump`s MO. Remember, you`re my department of justice. You`re my attorney general, you`re going to do my bidding. That`s how he rolled. But could he actually be punished for it now? Sadly, we`ve come -- we`ve become used to it.

ROSENBERG: Well, we have become used to it and it is sad. I saw accounts with Mr. Berman said, I hope it`s not true. But I don`t know Stephanie, because it does to your point seem to fit a pattern. And I don`t mean to suggest that Mr. Berman is fabricating. I`m not saying that at all. There`s a part of me, perhaps naively that hopes it`s all some big misunderstanding.

You know, U.S. Attorney`s offices are incredibly independent. They pride themselves on that. They pride themselves on not being near or like main justice headquarters. And trying to interfere in the independent operation of the U.S. Attorney`s Office is something that doesn`t routinely happen. I`ve never seen it other -- under other administration`s, but this one was different. And this one was dangerous. And so it`s entirely plausible that some folks thought they could turn the department and some other U.S. Attorney`s Offices to their will.

I think the Senate ought to look at it. I don`t know if there will be repercussions for it beyond political repercussions. But it`s a very serious allegation that Mr. Berman has made. And I think we ought to wait and see where it takes us. Right. Let`s see what the Senate comes up with. Congress has done a good job on the January 6 investigation, excuse me, the January 6 investigation. There`s no reason the Senate can`t do a good job on this one.

RUHLE: Carol, Asha Chuck, we have too much news tonight to let you go. We`re going to take a quick break. But when we come back, we`ve got more to cover because it has been five weeks since the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago and Trump`s busy fighting about a special master but still has not said a single word, but why he had the documents in the first place.

And later, what was Senator Richard Burr up to selling a whole lot of stock just as the pandemic hit. Last Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger If Congress is any closer to moving on, or stock banding trade, THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway this Monday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:23:15]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: There is no scenario legally under which the President gets to keep the government documents whether it`s classified or unclassified.

CHRIS CHRISTY, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: As the U.S. attorney when I had to review that in the post 911 era, I had to go to a special room called the skiff to review it. I couldn`t take pictures. I couldn`t take anything with me. He had that in the top drawer at Mar-a-Lago in his desk. That`s a problem.

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Having classified documents, particularly if you are actively using them. Could be an offence well worthy of prosecution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: Those were not your average TV talking heads former members of Donald Trump`s inner circle on the legal stakes he is facing. Trump has asked the judge to continue blocking the Justice Department from reviewing classified documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago. Judge Aileen Cannon temporarily blocked the DOJ from using the documents until a special master is able to review them.

The DOJ challenged her order last week. The Justice Department said it would be open to one of the special master candidates on Trump`s list. His name, retired Judge Raymond Dearie. So let`s discuss still with us Carol Leonnig, Asha Rangappa, and Chuck Rosenberg. Chuck, what do we know about Judge Raymond Dearie?

ROSENBERG: Judge Dearie is senior status as a United States district court judge in the Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn. I have never had the privilege of appearing in front of them, Stephanie, but I`ve talked to a bunch of friends who have and they uniformly tell me the following. That he is smart. That is humble. That is kind, that is fair, and that is efficient of things you want in the federal judge.

I should add. He was also a federal prosecutor and Assistant U.S. attorney. He was the United States Attorney for that district the Eastern District of New York before President Reagan put him on the federal bench.

[23:25:07]

And he`s also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Court comprised of federal judges who review the most sensitive national security matters for surveillance and for searches, typically submitted by the FBI.

So well versed in counterintelligence and counterterrorism matters. Well versed in the handling of classified documents. And as I mentioned, a widely respected, admired and well-loved federal judge seems like a great choice to make.

RUHLE: That is very, very high praise. But Asha, we know Trump better than this. He always has an angle and everything we`ve seen so far, is Trump trying to slow play the process and run the clock? Do we know anything about the speed in which this judge works?

RANGAPPA: I don`t know the speed that this judge would work. Presumably, if he`s been on the FISA court, he has experienced reviewing classified documents, but we are talking about a huge volume of documents, Stephanie.

And I think the bigger question than the speed is exactly how this judge with all of his experience would be in a position to really determine whether, you know, which documents should appropriately be covered by executive privilege. And by the way to the point made by the Department of Justice in their filing, you know, whether documents that are classified should be included in that. I mean, he`s not a classification authority.

And we have a lot of legal issues that have basically been blurred and muddied up. You know, Trump wants to include classified documents in this, you know, executive privilege, overstate secrets can only be asserted by the incumbent president.

I mean, think about it, Stephanie, if we have secrets that are critical to our national security, we know about, say North Korea`s, you know, nuclear capabilities. We don`t want a former president to walk off with those documents, and then claim executive privilege and not let our current government be able to see them and formulate military and diplomatic policy around them.

So, these arguments are absurd on their face. And it`s not clear to me how even the most experienced judge is going to necessarily sort through them because they don`t really make sense, you know, just legally speaking.

RUHLE: Carol, Trump and his team are making every possible argument around who should and should not see these documents and when, but has had any of them, including Trump himself, made one single argument as to why he took the documents, he kept the documents, and he lied about the whole thing. It`s been five weeks since the search happened.

LEONNIG: Very good point. And it`s been 19 months since they left the place that they were supposed to be lock and key in a vault maintained by a government official called a top secret control officer. It`s just sort of mind boggling.

As for your point and question, the Trump filing, which you would think in the -- on Monday would have said to us, Hey, here`s why we feel we should be allowed to have them. Here`s why the President took those. You think there`d be something in there. But no, it`s just like sleight of hand.

In one reference, Trump`s lawyers say something that I thought was so gripping on it`s as I began to read it, because I was like, oh, good here, we`re going to get to it. And they said that some of the documents may not be currently classified.

Well, spell it out may not be currently classified. That`s your legal argument for having them. I felt as if there should have been more factual, substantial claim here. And there was none and to the Trump team`s, in fairness to them, I have to say, there`s no real pressure on them to explain, because a judge has agreed without a lot of legal grounding, to give them a special master for materials that are so clearly the government.

I`m with Asha 1,000 percent on this and how complicated it would be even for a judge of breweries (ph), you know, enviable CV and endless experience and he does have a great reputation. Prosecutors, I spoke to -- speak very highly of him. But how do you make you know, corned beef hash out of this mess because it doesn`t make sense to me which records you`re going to sort through, especially, Steph, after we learned last week that some of the records Trump had at Mar-a-Lago were so, so, so, I sound like an SNL skit, so double top secret, super duper top secret that there were people at the highest level of the Biden administration that weren`t read in on the programs and couldn`t look over this stuff.

[23:30:18]

So Judge Jerry (ph) can, that`s going to be a lot of clearance authorization before he gets to review this material.

RUHLE: Yet somehow all those papers made their way down to a golf club, a beach club, a wedding and Bar Mitzvah venue in Florida. Carol, there may not be pressure from the government, which is why people like you and I need to ask the question every single day. Why do you take them? Why do you keep them? Why do you lie about them? Carol Leonnig, Asha Rangappa, and Chuck Rosenberg. Thanks for joining us tonight.

When we come back, we`ve got some good news for Ukraine as they retake territory from Russia. Kevin Barron on the new challenges Vladimir Putin is facing when THE 11TH HOUR continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:35:37]

RUHLE: An ill-timed celebration in Moscow on Saturday, fireworks cackling overhead in Russia`s capital city, just as Russian defenses were crumbling and Ukrainian forces are recapturing key territories. Not quite what Fox News was predicting just last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Zelenskyy is now going to be hosted by the defense contractors. I wonder could they make it more obvious?

DOUG MACGREGOR, FMR. ADVISER TO THE DEFENSE SECRETARY: Probably not. Of course, when he meets with him this entire war may be over. Right now things are going very, very badly, which is why Ukrainians are so desperate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: No, no, no, no, no. As we like to say, the truth matters, but only if you hear it. Sometimes, though, you need to see it too. So here it is. Those images on your screen right now, weapons and tanks abandoned by Russian soldiers forced to retreat by Ukrainian army, which is now on the offensive and this.

In many, many weeks, families getting a taste of freedom after months of violent Russian occupation. So let`s bring in Kevin Barron, executive editor of Defense One, he has more than 20 years experience in defense of foreign affairs and national security. Kevin, this is great news for Ukraine. But can it last?

KEVIN BARON, EXECUTZIVE EDITOR, DEFENSE ONE: Well, it can. But it really depends, as always on the west and what kind of weapons the West continues to provide. When the willingness of the west especially Washington to keep to continue to up the game to keep increasing the capabilities that they`re offering the Ukrainians.

You know, I`ve said for a while that there were there were two different requests coming or two different lines of thinking from the West. On the Eastern Front nearer to Ukraine, when you when you listen and speak to world leaders there, they were always much more robust with what they`re asking for. They would say Russia must lose, Ukraine must win. No negotiations, no territory given up whatsoever, and they wanted the weapons to do it. They wanted to send their own forces to do it.

But in Washington, we continue to hear a much more reserved support for Ukraine. And until recently, all we heard from the Biden administration was that the United States would continue to arm the Ukrainians to give them the best possible position at the negotiating table, which is different than winning then we`re then pushing out the Russians.

What this weekend has shown us is for the really the first time that at any scale is that the Ukrainians are retaking territory that the Russians had had taken since what like May and June. And just today, Pentagon officials saying that they`ve seen Russian forces actually going back across the border to Russia, which is a game changer.

So, how can this continue, of course it can`t continue, will continue, but only as long as the West is willing to funnel weapons into Ukraine to keep the fight going.

RUHLE: Retired four star Army General Barry McCaffrey offered some additional insight into where Russian forces are today and really how they are. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARRY MCCAFFREY, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: The discipline of the Russian army at battalion level isn`t there. It`s just astonishing. These soldiers are drunk stupid, Ill-trained. They left units without transport as a started to flee out of the encirclement up northeast of Kharkiv. It`s really astonishing to see the glow quality, not just as a private, but of the tactile directions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: Drunk stupid and Ill-trained. Not a good look for Putin. How does Ukraine capitalize on that?

BARON: Well, what they`re doing, I think is showing that they can go toe to toe with Russians on the ground. Right. That`s what General McCaffrey is talking about. Russian forces have proven themselves to be undertrained. Their NCO Corps that is lacking meaning there are -- there`s nobody in between the high level generals in Moscow and the guys on the ground. And the constant reports that we keep hearing of Russia reaching deeper and deeper to find people willing to fight all the way up to senior citizens, right.

[23:40:00]

What the general needs out is that Russia still has things like cruise missiles and warships and the Pentagon today said there are a dozen warships steaming off of Ukraine still, cruise missiles were launched today as well. That`s different than the tanks and the ammunition that you`re seeing. It`s all good things. It`s all good image images. And he`s right. It`s astonishing to see the Russian military or whatever are these armed forces are melt away.

I mean, it reminds me of the Iraqi army melting away when ISIS rolled in, when the army is not motivated, when they`re not loyal, when they`re not trained, when they`re not paid. When you know, the list goes on and on. This is what happens.

But until everyone knows, until Putin makes the decision to stop this war, to stop the invasion, to stop launching, you know, air sorties and cruise missile strikes, this ground campaign can go on almost as long as Putin wants it to, you know, the tactical differences that we`re seeing don`t make it harder which are which are legitimate are things like cutting off supply lines, cutting off units from each other, creating all sorts of discordant scenarios on the ground and make it harder and harder for the Russians to, you know, to have any kind of coordinated offense or coordinated military president to hold that territory. Another point the Pentagon made today when trying to explain the successes that they`re seeing.

RUHLE: The question now is if Putin is looking to save face, what if he does something drastic? Kevin, you`ll have to come back soon. Because this war is not over. Karen Barrett -- Kevin Baron, thank you for joining us.

When we come back, we have been sounding the alarm about this very issue for a very long time. They need for a congressional ban on stock trading and the stock controversy surrounding one senator from North Carolina. The plot just got thicker. We`ll get into it all when THE 11TH HOUR continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:47:29]

RUHLE: There is a big update on a story we have been reporting on for months. Newly unsealed FBI documents revealed. North Carolina Senator Richard Burr made a flurry of phone calls in early 2020 just as the pandemic hit. And right around that time, he his wife and his brother sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stocks. And guess what happened next, the market plunged.

Burr was never charged with insider trading despite that mountain of evidence. And some members of Congress like our next guests are fed up and they`re trying to do something about it.

For more I want to bring in Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. She has led the charge on a stock trading ban on members of Congress. And our question tonight, Congresswoman is when is it going to happen? This is a horrible story. Right? If I had the kind of information Senator Burr had, and suddenly I sold all sorts of stock and profited off of it. I wouldn`t be in huge trouble right now. But he`s not. And it`s totally legal.

Does this news story push any of your fellow members of Congress to say we finally need to do something here?

REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA): I sure hope so. And in fact, you know, it was early reports related to Senator Burr and a number of other senators as well as House members. It was the original stories in the press about sales that they have made and purchases that they had made. You know, of course, without these FBI details, back in 2020, that ultimately led me to draft this legislation, bipartisan legislation, I co-lead it with Congressman Roy from Texas. And we were on the House floor. And we were talking about these reports in the media about people buying and selling various stocks. And kind of with exasperation saying, you know, how were you focused on your stock portfolio at the time when it you know, we knew we were headed towards potential, you know, catastrophe of an impending pandemic, the likes of which, you know, we just didn`t know how bad it would be.

And so that`s actually the original genesis of this legislation, the TRUST in Congress Act is regardless of the outcomes, regardless of the intent. This was our thought back in 2020. The American people should never doubt that when we`re getting a classified briefing about a virus percolating on the other side of the world and what it might mean for us here in the United States, the American people should never consider or worry that we might be using that information to benefit ourselves. And so that`s why we wrote this legislation again, back in 2020.

RUHLE: It`s legal to be sleazy, especially in this case, for members of Congress. She wrote this legislation in 2020.

SPANBERGER: Yes.

RUHLE: Nancy Pelosi has had months and months and months to bring this thing to a floor -- to the floor. September 30. That`s when you all go on recess. You got a little over two weeks, is there any chance Speaker Pelosi brings this thing to a vote? You can`t blame Republicans on this one.

SPANBERGER: Our legislation -- that`s right. Our legislation at this point has more -- 67 co-sponsors, Democrats and Republicans across the ideological spectrum. What I can tell you is this if the speaker wanted to bring it for a vote this week or this month, she certainly could. And so we`ve seen kind of stall tactics along the way. There was going to be committee hearing, there was. There was going to be additional legislation introduced. There, you know, we haven`t seen that.

[23:50:00]

The House Administration Committee was going to take action. We haven`t seen that. From my perspective as someone who truly believes that this legislation is important, because everywhere I go across my district, people are hungry for change. They want to see lawmakers willing to put them first in a demonstrable way. This isn`t going to solve all the challenges our nation faces in a day, certainly not.

But taking one action to say when I`m in a briefing about the fact that Russia may invade Ukraine, when I`m in a briefing about some pandemic on the other side of the world. I am thinking about you, I am thinking about what this means for my job as your representative and not anywhere in my mind, am I considering about, you know, the call I might make to a stockbroker, it`s very straightforward.

There are many industries, many places, many journalists who in fact can`t buy or sell individual stocks because of the potential conflict of interest, depending upon the subject matter that they cover. You know, our counterparts in the executive branch over at the White House, they have significant limitations put on their financial holdings. It is straightforward, and it isn`t a step in the right direction that we can take in the realm of ethics reform to demonstrate affirmatively to the American people that we are thinking of them, and that we are not, that we are not putting ourselves or our financial interests ahead of the American people. It`s straightforward legislation that we should be bringing for a vote.

RUHLE: I hear you, I see you, I agree with you. There`s a GOP Representative Chris Jacobs violated the stock trading laws, the current ones for a second time. But here`s the thing, unless you get your stock trading banned past and real consequences on the table, is there anything that`s going to change lawmakers behavior, because the money you can make is huge. And the current punishment is teeny tiny.

SPANBERGER: That`s right. And it`s -- it is a, you know, when the Stock Act was put in place, it was a tremendous step forward. But with it`s not far enough. And right now we`re seeing some of the weaknesses in the current system, to include the fact that when there are delays, when people file late, it`s a slap on the wrist.

Well, I`m I have a way to solve that problem. We don`t have to worry about people filing their paperwork too late or not having a full disclosure, when you can`t buy or sell individual stocks, you don`t have to worry about the timeliness of your periodic transaction filing. It`s a pretty straightforward way to solve that problem as well.

But the seriousness of the problem, the fact that there is just news story after news story of inappropriate action or misdeeds or even just late filings. And every time there is a story about this, it just erodes a bit of trust that the American people have in their members of Congress.

And frankly, at this juncture in our country`s history, any step forward we can be taking to say that we are working for you, not our stock portfolio is so vitally important. It`s why we have people across the ideological gamut, across the geographic scope of our nation supporting this legislation. It`s why I just worked with some of my colleagues to lead a letter last week, calling for there to be a vote on legislation that would ban members of Congress, their spouses and their dependent children from being able to sell individual stocks, if they choose to have mutual funds or a blind trust, that`s an acceptable way to make sure that they are not in the day to day process of making money when they should be serving the people.

The focus on this the, you know, frankly, the bipartisan support for this legislation is tremendous. And it`s something that I think people should be on the record for, and you will need to bring it to the floor and I continue to agitate for that to happen.

RUHLE: But unless Speaker Pelosi brings it to a very versus a portion, nothing`s going to happen yet. And she is welcome to join us any night on TV and explain why that has not happened yet.

Congresswoman, thank you for joining us. I really appreciate it.

When we come back something you must see, something I have to admit is the only thing I wanted to talk about tonight, the amazing moment of inspiration that everyone will be talking about tomorrow when THE 11TH HOUR continues. Don`t you dare go to bed. You do not want to miss this.

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[23:58:28]

RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight and the very best, don`t you ever give up on you? There were some wonderful speeches tonight at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards but one stopped us in our tracks. It is the only thing I wanted to talk about tonight. Sheryl Lee Ralph. She seemed almost in shock when her name was read as winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series is the very first Emmy for the 65-year-old avid elementary actress and once she made her way up to that stage and pulled herself together. That is when the goosebumps began. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERYL LEE RALPH, AMERICAN ACTRESS: To anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wasn`t, wouldn`t, couldn`t come true.

[00:00:17]

I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like. And don`t you ever, ever give up on you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RUHLE: Yes, ma`am. Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph to take us off the air tonight. And on that fabulous note, I wish you all a very good night. From all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News, thanks for staying up late with us. I will see you at the end of tomorrow.