Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 22, 2018 Guest: Eric Swalwell, Jennifer Palmieri
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, Rachel. And thanks. Thanks a lot.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": What?
O`DONNELL: I guess I`m the only guy in America left without a personal podcast. This show is a podcast but it`s not like a personal podcast, like you now have the show podcast and another podcast.
O`DONNELL: Like Chris Hayes has another podcast, and I`m sitting here the laziest man on prime time.
O`DONNELL: Where`s my podcast?
MADDOW: Let me just say one thing, my podcast is really weird and it`s not like a news podcast at all. It`s like this lark that I had that I wanted to pursue that came out in podcast form. I think once my podcast comes out, nobody will say, oh, gee, everyone should do one of those. It`s kind of a weird idea.
So I don`t think it`s going to create an expectation that here with me in prime time, you must also have one.
O`DONNELL: I think you just quadrupled your podcast listeners by telling us it`s Rachel being really weird. I cannot wait. Wicked, weird Rachel`s podcast.
MADDOW: We could have called it that. It`d be more fun than bag man.
O`DONNELL: That`s the Boston version, by the way.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, is it really possible that special prosecutor Robert Mueller`s investigation of the strangest presidential election in history in which the strangest presidential candidate in history lost the vote on election night but then won the Electoral College anyway? Could it be? Is it really possible that the special prosecutor`s investigation of that election will all come down to the strangest person involved in that election not named Trump?
Anyone who`s followed Republican politics for the last couple of decades knows I am referring of course to the most unusual Republican campaign operative in history, Roger Stone. New reports indicate that Robert Mueller is zeroing in on Roger Stone, and that makes perfect sense to anyone who knows Roger Stone`s history before he got involved with the Trump presidential campaign.
The Trump presidential campaign attracted the worst misfits in the Republican world, people who would never be allowed anywhere near a serious Republican campaign for city council, never mind the presidency. The most valuable and experienced Republican campaign veterans stayed very far away from the Trump campaign and have almost all condemned both the Trump campaign and the Trump presidency.
That left a very big opening for the very strange Roger Stone who had been banned from serious Republican politics since the 1990s, when he was revealed to be advertising with his then wife for sex partners preferably couples for Mr. and Mrs. Stone to have fun with, revealing photographs for Mr. and Mrs. Stone appeared in swinger magazine ads before the time those things migrated to the Internet. And no, we`re not going to show you those pictures. That`s what Google is for.
This wouldn`t have been a problem for Roger Stone in most other occupations. But politics, even liberal politics demand very conservative personal behavior. And, of course, Roger Stone was offering his professional services in those days to the party that until the Trump year always ran on what they called family values. And those family values never did include married couples advertising for and having sex with other married couples.
Now, I don`t remember a single liberal Democrat being publicly or privately scornful or judgmental in any way about Roger Stone`s choices about what he did in bedrooms. But Roger Stone`s Republican clients spent their entire careers trying to control what people do in bedrooms, and so, the Republican Party had no use for Roger Stone, none at all. And that was the very strangest end I`ve ever seen of a Republican operative`s career. And it took 20 years, and the strangest campaign in history to revive the very strange career of Roger Stone.
Because Roger Stone was one of the few people in the Trump campaign with any political experience at all, he should have been one of the people who knew it was a crime to try to obtain things of value including information from foreign governments to be used against a presidential campaign opponent. But during the presidential campaign, Roger Stone seems to know ahead of time that negative information about the Clinton campaign was going to be revealed by WikiLeaks before WikiLeaks revealed it. And we now know that WikiLeaks obtained that information from Russian government agents, who were stealing it from e-mail servers at the National Democratic Committee.
And today, "The Washington Post" is reporting, quote, last month, Randy Credico, a one time Roger Stone friend, told the grand jury that the Trump loyalist confided during the 2016 campaign that he had a secret back channel to WikiLeaks, according to a person familiar with the matter. The special counsel`s prosecutors have also zeroed in on Stone`s relationship with conservative journalist and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, examining whether he served as a conduit between Stone and Assange according to another person familiar with their interest. Corsi appeared before another grand jury last month, and FBI agents have recently been seeking to interview Corsi`s associates, according to the person.
Investigators are also examining Roger Stone`s communications with Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks. "The Washington Post" is reporting one apparent line of inquiry whether Stone lied to Congress about his alleged contacts with WikiLeaks during the presidential race according to the people.
Last September, Roger Stone met behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Eric Swalwell who was a member of the intelligence committee and was in that meeting will join us in just a moment. Today, Roger Stone denied the reporting. He said in this statement to NBC News, I never received anything including allegedly hacked e-mails from the Russians, WikiLeaks, Assange or anyone else and never passed anything onto Donald Trump, the Trump campaign or anyone else.
Last week, CNN.com reported that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his lawyers had visited Mueller`s office in Washington at least nine times in the last four weeks. That`s when Paul Manafort reached a deal with the special prosecutor.
Today, President Trump`s national security advisor, John Bolton, was in Moscow downplaying the effects of a Russian interference in the 2016 election. Bolton said in an interview, quote: The point I made to Russian colleagues today was that I didn`t think whatever they had done in terms of meddling in the 2016 election, that they had any effect on it. But what they have had an effect in the United States is to sow an enormous distrust of Russia.
"The Washington Post" report on the Mueller investigation`s focus on Roger Stone says, in recent weeks, a grand jury in Washington has listened to more than a dozen hours of testimony and FBI technicians have poured over gigabites of electronic messages. Prosecutors are closely examining both public comments and alleged private assertions that Stone made in 2016 suggesting he had a way to reach Assange, the people familiar with the investigation said.
On August 21st, 2016, in the presidential campaign, several weeks before Hillary Clinton`s campaign chairman John Podesta`s hacked e-mails released by WikiLeaks, Roger Stone tweeted that it would soon be, quote, Podesta`s time in the barrel.
On October 5th, 2016, Roger Stone tweeted this about Julian Assange and Wikileaks: Libs thinking Assange will stand down are wishful thinking. Payload coming. Lock them up.
Two days after that tweet WikiLeaks published John Podesta`s stolen e- mails.
Joining our discussion now, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell from California. He`s a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.
Also with us, Jill Wine-Banks, a former assistant Watergate special prosecutor, and Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor. They are both MSNBC legal contributors.
Congressman Swalwell, you were in the room with Roger Stone when he discussed all this with your committee. Are you surprised by these reports of Robert Mueller`s focus on him?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: No, not at all. You know, this is someone who had a long-standing relationship with Donald Trump, had encouraged him in the past to run for president and now had drawn himself quite close to Donald Trump while he was also talking to Guccifer 2.0, talking to WikiLeaks and Assange.
Now, Roger Stone would like us all to believe this self-avowed dirty trickster, that`s what he called himself --
SWALWELL: -- somehow came clean in the 2016 election, found religion and sat on the sidelines when the person close to him in his life was running for president. No one ever to Roger Stone had ever gotten this close to the presidency. It just doesn`t add up.
O`DONNELL: How would you characterize or can you characterize his testimony to your committee?
SWALWELL: It wasn`t forthcoming because he had, you know, to keep updating it as reporting came out. You know, thank God for the free press because a Republican-led committee did not allow us to subpoena and find out whether Roger Stone was being truthful. So, we couldn`t look at text messages, couldn`t look at travel records or bank records, but press reporting revealed that he had met with a Russian in Florida. And so after that came out he updated the House Intelligence Committee.
Press reporting told us he had been in contact with WikiLeaks. So, he said oh, by the way, I wasn`t straightforward with that you guys on that, here`s what I was say to WikiLeaks. So, he`s been anything but forthright. He hasn`t come clean, and I think it`s because he has a lot to hide.
O`DONNELL: And those updates were in writing after his oral --
SWALWELL: His lawyer would send additional updates to us. We wanted to bring him back in, of course. And, you know, with the Republicans buried the evidence, shutdown the investigation.
O`DONNELL: Jill Wine-Banks, this strikes me as an example of the different capacities of a Republican run investigative committee in the House and a special prosecutor.
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: It is. The Republicans have shown time and again that they aren`t interested in getting to the truth, so they aren`t asking the right witnesses, the right questions.
And Roger Stone, as you noted, is one of the more colorful characters and has a very loose affiliation with the truth so that asking him is not the way you will find out what is really going on. He is someone who should be thoroughly investigated. And I would hope that Mueller is the one who`s doing that because the Congress hasn`t done it.
O`DONNELL: And, Mimi Rocah, Roger Stone has a huge tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, and that`s not the strangest thing about Roger Stone. And this is all part of the picture of who was around Donald Trump and who was around the Donald Trump campaign. And when the best people of the Republican campaign world will shun your campaign, this is one of the ways you can end up in serious trouble with people like Roger Stone around.
MIMI ROCAH, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Right, it`s sport sort of like having Michael Cohen as your lawyer, when you have Roger Stone running your campaign --
ROCAH: -- you know, only the best.
And it`s interesting because the fact that Roger Stone so clearly obviously lied during his testimony is in and of itself as we all know by now a serious crime. But the real question is, you know, why did he lie? And what is he so afraid -- he`s not a man who`s afraid to talk. He`s not a man who`s afraid to talk pretty boldly in ways that other people wouldn`t admit to things other people wouldn`t necessarily admit to.
So what is it he`s covering up, and I think that is where -- you know, Mueller knows well by now I think that Stone had advanced knowledge of these WikiLeaks. I mean, Stone has basically said it himself both, you know, in the past and now he`s trying to walk it back. So, the question is how did he know it, and what did he do with that information and did he try to weaponize it in some way for the Trump campaign?
And, you know, I think what it really comes down to is, if I know you`re going to rob a bank, that in and of itself is probably a minor crime. But if I know you`re going to rob a bank and I help figure out the time the security guards are gone or I help figure out how to get the money of the bank, I`m part of the conspiracy.
And I think that`s really the question with Stone and other people part of the campaign.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, "The New York Times" and when they obtained a version of Robert Mueller`s suggested questions so the president thinks that Muller wanted to ask the president, one of the questions to the president that Robert Mueller wants to ask is, what did you know about communication between Roger Stone, his associates, Julian Assange, or WikiLeaks?
It seems to me if the special prosecutor`s asking that question, the special prosecutor already knows something about that.
SWALWELL: The president`s knowledge when he was a candidate is so important here. Whether it relates to Roger Stone or the Trump Tower meeting and what his son did or did not tell him. I think something so telling about the relationship between Donald Trump and Roger Stone because we expect that if Roger Stone is indicted, you`re going to see Donald Trump trying to distance himself.
There`s a documentary called "Get Me Roger Stone". And Donald Trump sat for a very long interview after being elected as president for that documentary, just elected president, one of the busiest persons in the world, you have time to sit down for this Netflix documentary?
That shows you how close they are, and I think that will be evidence to show the closeness if Roger Stone does go down.
O`DONNELL: Jill, what do you make of this fact that Robert Mueller wants to ask the president specifically what communication did he have (AUDIO GAP) communication between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks?
WINE-BANKS: (AUDIO GAP) the prosecution office knows the answer to that, and that`s why they`re asking. It is not a question you would ask if you didn`t know the answer, and Roger Stone and the president were both mentored by Roy Cohn. They go back a very long way in terms of their closeness.
And it`s probably pretty clear that he does know a lot, and they have documents that could show that he`s lying when he says the opposite. So, I don`t think we want to get Roger Stone for perjury. We want Roger Stone to tell the truth and maybe he`ll realize that he is really trapped by the fact they have documents and other evidence of what they know. Sam Nunberg has always said when he comes out of the grand jury, he`s shocked by how much they know, the details (AUDIO GAP) document and show. And that`s what`s going to happen to Roger (AUDIO GAP).
O`DONNELL: Mimi, are there prosecutorial techniques when you`re dealing with someone like Roger Stone and what you really want is the information that he can give you beyond his own involvement? Are there some techniques that the prosecutors bring to that moment to try to get that person to focus on his willingness to -- well, basically turn on the people he`s been involved with?
ROCAH: Well, I mean, you get people to cooperate when they realize that the evidence against them is very strong. I don`t think Robert Mueller is going after Roger Stone just for that reason. But if Roger Stone decides to cooperate because he sees that evidence of him having committed a crime is very strong, I have little doubt that like Michael Cohen, like Manafort, he will.
And with Stone, you know, what`s going to be key here is electronic evidence. I mean, witnesses, he could put witnesses in the grand jury, and they have and they will and they will assess their credibility and try to figure out who`s telling the truth but it sounds like there`s quite an electronic paper trail -- not paper trail, but trail. And that is going to be key because that -- he can`t wiggle out of that, Stone. And so that is really powerful evidence when prosecutors have an electronic trail to show a subject or defendant or someone is charged or about to be charged because they know they can`t get out of it.
O`DONNELL: And, Congressman, quickly before break, I want to get your reaction to John Bolton telling the Russians today your attack on our election had no effect.
SWALWELL: Well, we don`t know that because we haven`t investigated that. They`ve done everything they can to bury the investigation. But also, why didn`t John Bolton confront them about the most recent meddling they`re doing right now? We just had someone indicted last week for meddling in the 2018 election. So, if the president believes that he`s doing enough, or his team is doing enough, they`re not because they`re still meddling and it looks like we missed that opportunity.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, please stay with us. Jill Wine- Banks, Mimi Rocah, thank you for leading off our discussion tonight.
And when we come back, President Obama was in Nevada today, where he was trying to take a Republican Senate seat away from the Republicans, and help that Democratic candidate.
And Donald Trump is in Texas tonight because Ted Cruz is in serious trouble in Texas tonight, thanks to Beto O`Rourke.
And tomorrow, the Turkish president says that he will reveal the truth about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: The stakes are high. The consequences of anybody here not turning out and doing everything you can to get your friends, neighbors, family to turn out, the consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous to this country, to our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He`s back. That was President Obama in Las Vegas today trying to take a Senate seat away from Republicans and help elect Jacky Rosen as Nevada`s next United States senator. With 15 days left until the election, this was a big campaign day for both parties.
And each party sends its most powerful voices only to the places where they are most needed. And for the first time in 30 years, Republicans are really worried about losing a Senate race in Texas for two reasons.
One, a Republican candidate, Senator Cruz was memorably labeled Lyin` Ted by the now Republican President Donald Trump, who is more popular in Texas than Ted Cruz. And Ted Cruz has called Donald Trump a pathological liar, sniveling coward and utterly amoral.
When Donald Trump became president, Ted Cruz tried to make Texans forget everything he ever said about Donald Trump, Ted Cruz swallowed every insult Donald Trump ever threw at him, and his wife, and his father and disgraced himself as a person and senator by bowing to Donald Trump and clinging to the man who he had said was amoral, clinging to him for Ted Cruz`s own political survival.
And the only reason -- the other reason Donald Trump had to go to Texas tonight is because Ted Cruz`s campaign is facing Beto O`Rourke, and it is - - it is trouble because Ted Cruz obvious spinelessness and especially as I said because of his opponent Beto O`Rourke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETO O`ROURKE (D), TEXAS SENATE CANDIDATE: We are for this moment, the pettiness, the division, the hatred, the polarization, our confidence, our strength, our big heart, our willingness to see past the differences and come together, that`s what`s going to allow us not only to win this election on the 6th of November, but to deliver every single day for the next six years for every single one of us to meet these very high expectations. And we are standing by and for one another. You all ready to win?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer for "The Washington Post," and an MSNBC political analyst, and Jennifer Palmieri, former White House communications director for President Obama, and the former communications director for Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign.
And, Gene, who does Beto O`Rourke remind you of? I asked veteran political observers this because I saw him in Texas said a couple of things, and there were other reporters around and everybody immediately started talking about who he reminds them of. And for some people, it can be Bobby Kennedy, for others Barack Obama. He`s a very dynamic speaker.
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: He is a dynamic speaker.
I would go more for Bobby Kennedy, I think. It`s a bit different for Obama for me, slightly different approach. What those politicians have in common is that "x" factor, that things that allows them to reach audiences in a different way, not to just convince them but to inspire them, and to make them want to be better. And to make them think that things can be better.
And that`s a gift. That`s -- politicians either have that or they don`t. And, you know, you can get elected without it, but it`s a big help if you have that.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and, Jennifer, when politicians have that, their campaign doesn`t sound very partisan. It`s not easy to pull out the partisan bits in a Beto O`Rourke speech. And tonight, we are seeing the president of the United States, Donald Trump, rushing down to Texas because Texas is now a problem for the Republicans.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes, it is. I mean, it`s inspiring to see and it`s also very encouraging to see someone run a race like Beto O`Rourke has done, where he hasn`t used pollsters, where he just went very methodically through that state, county by county, not writing off places where Democrats don`t normally do well. And I think this is what democracy looks like, and it gets rescued from the ground up.
And, of course, you have another really talented candidate in Florida in Andrew Gillum who did remarkably well in his debate last night. And what I loved about people focused a lot on Andrew`s closing argument. And what I loved about it was how he tried to lift people up to say let`s move past this Trump era where we`re pitting people against each other and standing on each other`s shoulders as opposed to fighting one another.
And I think that`s what it`s going to take to get past Trump is someone who paints a bigger picture of America where everyone can see themselves, and we`re not having for one person to succeed, another person doesn`t have to fail. That`s what we`ve got to push behind -- beyond.
O`DONNELL: So, Eugene, tonight there`s absolutely no doubt that Ted Cruz is a liar, but you now have to choose which -- when was he lying?
ROBINSON: Right --
O`DONNELL: Was he lying when he said Donald Trump was amoral or was he lying tonight when he appeared with Donald Trump and praised Donald Trump?
ROBINSON: Right, and that`s the question that attorneys love to ask in cross-examination. When were you lying?
O`DONNELL: Because we`ll take either one.
ROBINSON: Were you lying then or were you lying now or is both? I mean, it`s -- this relationship is just so phony and so ridiculous that everyone sees through it. Now, they might still vote for him for whatever reasons, for trouble reasons or they agree with his politics or whatever. But no one can seriously think that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are bosom buddies in any sense even though the president now calls him Beautiful Ted.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, here`s the guy who spoke at the Republican convention and refused to actually endorse Donald Trump in his speech to the Republican convention. Tonight, he`s saying, I look forward to campaigning along side him in 2020.
And, Jennifer, that`ll be the first time he campaigns alongside him if he does. Let`s listen to more what Ted Cruz is up against with Beto O`Rourke in Texas. Let`s listen to Beto O`Rourke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`ROURKE: We`re here for everyone. We`re going to make sure that we win this for everyone. So is everybody ready to vote?
O`ROURKE: Is everybody ready to win?
O`ROURKE: I`m ready to do this for you. Thank you for being here today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jennifer, the president of the United States is out there calling the other side a mob. He`s saying if you don`t vote Republican you`re part of a liberal mob, and there`s Beto O`Rourke welcoming everyone. He specifically welcomes Republicans in all of his speeches.
PALMIERI: Yes, sir. And, you know, this is -- it`s a real -- I mean, you had a clip of President Obama earlier saying it`s dangerous to not vote in the midterms. And I think this is really a sober moment for the country. It`s the first elections that we`ve had since Donald Trump has become president, and we have a president who lies every day. We have a president who seemingly, you know, is conspiring with the Saudis to mix-up a story on what really happened to that journalist.
You see he`s stoking fear and lies, and this is a big moment for the United States of America to reject that or not. It can be -- we can get sort of caught up in the day to day machinations of politics, but what I hope -- and it`s really on Democrats and consciously minded Republicans and independents to turn out and vote anywhere where you are in the country no matter you`re in a competitive race or not, because I think whether or not, you know, the other side really -- it`s truly remarkable, all the Republicans have to run on right now are lies.
They`re saying they`re for the pre-existing conditions, and they are not. The president is saying he`ll pass a middle class tax cut by two weeks from now, which he`s not. They`re focused on a caravan that should be within their power sense they control the borders to manage, to scare people. And this is a big moment for us to say, you know, midway through this presidential term that he is not American. I fear what will happen if we do not.
O`DONNELL: Gene, Beto O`Rourke is seven points down in the most recent poll. That`s the kind of gap with the margin of error that could be closed with a surge by Democrats. And "The Houston Chronicles" is reporting today, really an astonishing surge in the first day of early voting in Harris County, Texas, 63,000 for this midterm election. 2010 midterm election, the previous record, less than half that.
ROBINSON: Right. Look, everyone was expecting a big turnout in this election. That number is astounding. Again, you figure that the early vote is to some measure cannibalizing, you know, the day of vote. But we don`t know how much or clearly not all of that is cannibalization. So a lot of people are going to vote.
And I have a feeling, this is not a scientific feeling. But after the experience of pollsters essentially underestimating the Trump vote in 2016, my gut is that there`s been something in that overcompensation in all the sort of likely voter screens and all the sort of filtering and adjusting that`s done to polls is being very carefully weighted not to make that mistake.
ROBINSON: And maybe to make the opposite mistake.
ROBINSON: So I would say stay tuned in Texas. It`s a close race.
O`DONNELL: Yes, polling is an art and not a science or it`s a mix of art and science. And we will see how it turns out on election day.
Jennifer Palmieri and Eugene Robinson, thanks for joining us in that round.
And when we come back, the president of Turkey says that he will reveal -- he personally will reveal the truth about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi tomorrow. Congressman Eric Swalwell will join us on that.
O`DONNELL: Tomorrow could be an important turning point in the investigation of the murder of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkey`s President Erdogan has promised to speak publicly about the case tomorrow in Ankara. Turkish government agents have been gradually revealing new condemning evidence against the Saudis in the weeks since Khashoggi disappeared.
President Erdogan has said that tomorrow he will reveal the truth of the murder "in full nakedness". CIA Director Gina Haspel traveled from Washington to Turkey today as part of the investigation into the murder and President Trump`s utterly vacuous son-in-law gave an utterly vacuous interview to "CNN" today in which he said this about the Saudi official explanation of why and how they murdered Jamal Khashoggi in what they said was a fistfight that got out of control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CONTRIBUTOR, "CNN": Do you see anything that seems deceptive?
JARED KUSHNER, TRUMP`S SON-IN-LAW: I see things that are deceptive every day. I see them in the Middle East, I see them in Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And back with us Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California.
And to see an advisor of the president, in this case Jared Kushner, laugh about this, asked about the deception of the Saudis and to say I see things that are deceptive every day and just laugh about it and include it in the deceptive things he sees in Washington that he laughs about it, when his father is the producer of more deceptions in Washington than anyone else in any days` history in Washington.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Right. And has financial interests long-standing with the Saudis. You know I think the human thing to do with the fiance who was killed would first say "Turn over the remains." We`re not even going to talk to the Saudis until they turn over the remains to the family, so they can have closure, some measure of closure.
Then I wouldn`t have sent Steven Mnuchin over to Saudi Arabia to even give --
SWALWELL: Correct. In more credibility or to elevate their status. The FBI should be involved in this, Lawrence because I don`t really trust the Turks. To tell you the truth, I don`t know why they`re being so forthcoming but Erdogan is not known for openness and transparency. It seems to be that the Saudis were responsible for this but we shouldn`t rely on what the Turks say. We should have our own FBI expert.
We have FBI agents over in Ankara and Istanbul. They should be a part of an investigation. They should be leading the U.S. investigation. U.S. person, U.S. resident, U.S. media outlet and U.S. allies suspected of the murder. We have a deep interest.
O`DONNELL: Now, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, you would normally expect to hear from CIA Director Gina Haspel who has been reported to making a trip to Turkey today. At some point, I would think you`d expect to hear from her about her trip to Turkey. But with Republicans in control of that committee, they may never ask her or question about it.
SWALWELL: Right. And with Republicans, we`ve been on recess since, you know, September. So Congress isn`t even around. The Republicans wanted to, you know, fold it up and then go out to their districts. And again, we`re seeing the abdication of our responsibility to hold the administration responsible, and now we`re just trusting them to check themselves and we know that they won`t.
O`DONNELL: The Turkish president, we don`t know what he`s going to say tomorrow and we don`t know what pressure he`s under to not say what he intended to say. That could be part of what the CIA director`s job is or part of her assignment. And Turkey tonight could be pleased, try to get control of Erdogan and don`t allow him to turn over all the cards, don`t allow him to release any audio recording they might have.
And it seems certain the way the Trump administration has approached this, there`s no reason for any Americans to trust anything that the Trump administration is doing here.
SWALWELL: No. And the president keeps trying to connect this to jobs. But I think most Americans would prefer that we have allies in people who buy weapons from us who are not out killing journalists and that we don`t just look the other way or the cost of looking the other way is a couple $100 million investment. I think we hold ourselves out to be better than that.
O`DONNELL: And Germany has already pulled out of an arms deal with Saudi Arabia over this.
SWALWELL: It used to be us, right --
O`DONNELL: Right. But also Saudi Arabia is dependent on our arms. They`re already invested in them. They have bought into American weapons systems. They -- not only do they need our weapon systems. We could charge them a premium for them because they`re already invested in them. The other competitors aren`t even close to us on this.
SWALWELL: That`s right. The Saudis need us more than we need them.
SWALWELL: But Donald Trump may need the Saudis more than he needs us and that seems to be a play right now.
O`DONNELL: And if the Democrats get control of the Congress, there could be investigations that actually reveal answers to that.
SWALWELL: That`s right. And a legislation, Lawrence, that would clean-up the emoluments clause. It would say no president, no person in the president`s family, no vice president could make any money off of a foreign national while they`re in the White House and to have a criminal penalty.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
SWALWELL: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it.
And when we come back, the Democrat leads in the Florida governor`s race, a big lead. And the Democrat is in a tie in the Georgia governor`s race. Those two candidates could make history on election night. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: As we enter the final two weeks of the campaign tonight, new polling shows a lead in the race for Florida governor with Democrat Andrew Gillum leading by 12 points, 54-42. There are other polls showing a tighter margin in that race. Early voting is already underway in Florida, and the votes appear to be pouring in at a record pace. Andrew Gillum campaigned with Joe Biden at his side today in Jacksonville.
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ANDREW GILLUM, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Election day has already started. And right here on this campus, today is election day. I don`t care what the polls say. I don`t care what the pundits say. I don`t care -- I love my mama but she thinks I`m going to win. I don`t care even about that. The only thing that matters is what we do on election day. Today is election day USF.
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O`DONNELL: One of the 930,000 ballots that have already been mailed in Florida is this one, from Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez. Emma Gonzalez and several of her fellow Parkland survivors have been organizing a nationwide campaign to turn out new young voters motivated by gun violence.
In Georgia where Democrat Stacey Abrams is locked in a very tight race for governor with Republican Brian Kemp, polls have also seen a surge in early voting this year. The governor`s race in Georgia is now a statistical tie between the Democrat and the Republican. The last time Georgia elected a Democratic governor was 20 years ago.
Is this the year when a surge in Democratic turnout will make history in the south and elsewhere around the country? Eugene Robinson and Jennifer Palmieri will answer that question next.
O`DONNELL: Last night, Democratic candidate for Florida Governor Andrew Gillum made his closing argument to voters at a debate.
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GILLUM: My mother and father would have to get up so early in the morning to go to work. They would load us all into a car, drive us over to my grandmother`s house where she would have a ritual. She would have this mantra where she said, "Go to school. Mind your teachers. Get your lesson. And one day, bring that education home." She said, "Bring it home for your mama, for your daddy who get out there and work on somebody else`s job. Bring it home for your little brother and little sister."
What my grandmother was communicating to me was that it wasn`t just about me. It`s about all of us. And in Trump`s America, we`ve been led to believe that we have got to step on our neighbor`s shoulder and their face and backs in order to get ahead. Well, I reject that.
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O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson and Jennifer Palmieri are back with us.
And Eugene, I haven`t heard a more sharper contrary argument to Trumpism than what we just heard from Andrew Gillum.
ROBINSON: It was good. I mean I thought he was very good in that debate. And his closing argument makes the point in a way that I think will connect with a lot of people. He`s done very well in the polls and this certainly could be the year for the Democratic governor and the first African- American governor.
O`DONNELL: And Jennifer, there are tighter polls than this latest "CNN" poll that has come out and so we`re going to have to wait a couple of days to see if there`s a trend here where Gillum is pulling away. But to see both of these candidates, as competitive as they are, at a minimum, in tight races, possibly statistical ties is a really extraordinary thing to be watching.
PALMIERI: Yes. And Gillum after he won the primary, there was a lot of chatter that he would not do well in the general election. And I think people see that he has a really compelling and unifying message. And, you know, Florida is a very material place. I certainly have experienced that`s a really hard place to poll. It`s basically five different states. It`s very different ethnically in each of those five different parts of the states.
So it`s a tough place but you see he has a unifying message and you see Democrats are pretty excited there, too and a lot of good reason. He`s just a real talent and the country is seeing that now. I certainly saw that during the -- he was a good surrogate for us during the Clinton campaign. Bill Clinton is the first person who told me about Andrew Gillum. And he`s an amazing mayor in Tallahassee and he`s got to be the next generation and you got to get to know him.
O`DONNELL: And Eugene, what Stacy Abrams is doing in Georgia amazes me even more. The idea that any Democrat, any kind of Democrat could be in a tie with a Republican in a Georgia governor`s race.
ROBINSON: I know. She`s tucked in. She`s an extraordinary candidate. The Democrats came up with some real, real, certainly potentially winning candidate but some really good candidate this time. One thing -- group I`m going paying attention to in both those races on election night is African- American women. Who, if you recall, not quite a year ago who elected a Democratic Senator in Alabama, who provided the votes, the margin. They were about 14 percent of the population in Alabama. There were 17 percent of the electorate and voted greater than their proportion in the population. And they voted 98 percent for Doug Jones over Roy Moore. I think there`s a potential for black women to deliver surprising vote totals for both Stacy Abrams and Andrew Gillum.
O`DONNELL: And Jennifer, if they`re going to do that in Georgia, they`re going to have to do that over some voter suppression techniques that the Republicans are certainly trying to use in Georgia.
PALMERI: Yes, it`s outrageous. I mean Eugene is right. And I read Eugene wrote a column about black women bringing Democrats to victory. And that is almost any time a Democrat wins, it`s you can -- usually, it`s because black women voted for them. They`re the best voters in the country. And by that, I mean they are the one demographic that is most likely to turn out and vote.
And in Georgia, you have Stacy Abrams. I was there last week campaigning for Lucia McBath who`s one of the mothers of the movement. Her son Jordan was killed in gun violence. She`s running (INAUDIBLE) Karen Handel who`s doing really well too.
And they are having to work so hard against this backdrop of Stacy Abrams` own opponent, the Secretary of State camped there actually throwing voters off the rolls. It`s the tens of the thousands. I believe it`s up to 50,000 names. And this is what I have said earlier about all the Republicans have left -- and it really is, you know, it really is a serious matter to consider.
All they have left is to try to make it harder for people to vote, either suppress the vote or actually throw people`s names off the rolls. And this is a very systemic effort, started about 10 years ago to make it more difficult for people of color to have their voice heard in the country. We`ve been -- for 200 plus years, we try to make it easier for people to vote. And the last 10 years, a lot of people particularly in the southern states, Republican-led efforts to make it harder.
And so both Stacy Abrams and Lucia are all having to come to try to overcome that and there`s a good chance that they will. But it`s really shocking and something that people should understand and look into more how much effort is being made to make it hard for people to vote.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Stacy Abrams said today about early voting.
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STACY ABRAMS, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, GEORGIA: Years from now, our children, our grandchildren, others, they`re going to look at us, each one of us. They`re going to look in our eyes and they`re going to ask, "So where were you at that inflection moment?" And part of our answer will be, well, we were all here together. And our answer will also not be limited to just how we felt. Our answer is going to be about what we did. What we did to get out and vote.
I usually vote on election day. It`s the way I grew up. It`s the way my parents raised us to go vote on election day. But I know that in a time when people are concerned about whether their ballots will be counted, if we vote early, we can guarantee that people have time to correct any mistakes, to deal with any concerns. And if we vote early, we can thank our votes and we will know by election day where we stand.
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O`DONNELL: And, Eugene, the voting early is one of the methods to overcome the voter suppression.
ROBINSON: It is. If there`s a problem, you find out early. You have a potential to be able to correct it. Early voting has become much more important. Again, the voter suppression efforts have now switched to early voting, right. And early voting times and hours and polling places have been curtailed in a lot of states. Precisely, because it`s so effective.
O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson, Jennifer Palmieri, thank you both for joining our discussions tonight. Really appreciate it.
Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s last word.
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SETH MEYERS, HOST, NBC: President Trump told reporters today that he gets along well with Senator Ted Cruz saying, "He`s not lying Ted anymore. He`s beautiful Ted." Dude, if that`s beautiful Ted, then you`re lying Donald.
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O`DONNELL: Seth Meyers gets tonight`s last word.
"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.