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

GOP Rep. Justin Amash defends his support. TRANSCRIPT: 5/29/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Adam Schiff, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Neal Katyal, TomColeman

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel.

We have a great lineup tonight to analyze what Robert Mueller had to say today.  We`re starting off with Adam Schiff.  We`re going to be joined by two senators, Senator Blumenthal and Senator Hirono.  Neal Katyal will be here with his in-depth analysis. 


O`DONNELL:  But there`s something coming up right at the end of this hour which I think we really need, because I`m going to be using what Robert Mueller said today very similarly to the way you did, the stashed way we use in these kinds of shows.  We take a piece of it, run it, get a reaction to that piece, we talk about that piece.  We`d show another piece, we run it.

Brian Williams at 11:00 p.m. is going to do us all a service at the end of this Mueller surprise day and run the whole 9-1/2 minutes uncut -- the 9 1/2 minutes because most people were at work.  Most people weren`t there to watch the unfolding of it, the drama, the way it you be folded in that room end to end.  Brian`s going to do that. 

It`s one of the great things about having these sequences of our hours that we can rely on what each other are doing in these situations.  I heard about this from Brian a few hours ago.  I`m relying on that here, knowing that this audience, stick around -- 


O`DONNELL:  -- and watch the whole thing the way, it should be presented.

MADDOW:  And I will just say, stick around to the very end because there`s this is great unscripted moment at the very end where he gives the assembled reporters in the room the hand.  And it is like, in case what just happened here wasn`t clear before then, the little pantomime at the end is worth seeing in real-time. 

O`DONNELL:  Teamwork.  That`s what we`re about here.  Thank you, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Rachel.

O`DONNELL:  Appreciate it. 

After Robert Mueller finally spoke today, the one Republican member of Congress who supports impeachment tweeted: The ball is in our court, Congress. 

A former Republican member of Congress has also come out in favor of impeachment.  Tom Coleman served eight terms in the House of Representatives and he now says that Democrats who believe that impeachment would help Donald Trump win a second term are completely wrong.  He believes the exact opposite.  He says if Democrats do not impeach Donald Trump, that would help President Trump win a second term. 

Tom Coleman is going to join us at the end of this hour tonight to give us that alternative view of the politics of impeachment.  And Tom Coleman has much more to say about what he calls the illegitimate presidency of Donald Trump and the illegitimate vice presidency of Mike Pence.  You have not heard a Republican like Tom Coleman talking about these issues.  You`ll want to hear what he has to say at the end of the hour tonight right before Brian. 

But, first, it was a day of Robert Mueller surprises.  First came the sudden surprise that Robert Mueller had something to say.  The news media was alerted about 90 minutes ahead of time that the most anticipated public comments of the Trump era were about to take place.  Special counsel Robert Mueller was going to speak. 

No public figure of Robert Mueller`s level of importance in Washington history has ever remained silent as long as Robert Mueller has.  That silence ended today on his last day of service as special counsel. 

Here is the very first thing he wanted America to know. 


ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUNSEL:  Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system.  The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers used by the Clinton campaign.  They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks.  The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate. 


O`DONNELL:  And here is the other big thing that Robert Mueller wanted America to know today. 


MUELLER:  We investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation.  The matters we investigated were of paramount importance and what`s critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned.  When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation, or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government`s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. 

The report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the president.  If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.  We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. 


O`DONNELL:  Robert Mueller explained that Justice Department policy prevented him from even considering charges against the president. 


MUELLER:  Under long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office.  That is unconstitutional.  Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited. 

The special counsel`s office is part of the Department of Justice and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy.  Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.  The department`s written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. 


O`DONNELL:  So it seems that Robert Mueller was saying that the Justice Department`s rule against indicting a president was at least a major factor if not the decisive factor in the outcome of his vision of the president, and then Robert Mueller added this. 


MUELLER:  The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. 


O`DONNELL:  That process is, of course, impeachment.  After Mueller spoke today, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment, was asked about impeachment. 


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  With respect to impeachment question at this point, all options are on the table, and nothing should be ruled out.  What special counsel Mueller said loud and clear today for the American people is that President Trump is lying when he says no collusion, no obstruction, and that he was exonerated.  If Mueller wanted to exonerate the president from having committed a crime, he would have said so. 


O`DONNELL:  Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this about impeachment. 


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  Nothing is off the table.  But we do want to make such a compelling case, such an ironclad case that even the Republican Senate which at the time seems to be not an objective jury will be convinced of the path that we have to take as a country. 


O`DONNELL:  Robert Mueller stressed that nothing in the Mueller report exonerates the president, including volume one of the Mueller report that describes account Russian attack on our election. 


MUELLER:  The first volume of the report details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election.  This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign`s response to this activity as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy. 


O`DONNELL:  Insufficient evidence, not no evidence of a broader conspiracy, just insufficient evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.  That phrase insufficient evidence is nothing close to exoneration.  But it was good enough for Donald Trump today.  After Robert Mueller spoke, the president tweeted nothing changes from the Mueller report.  There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our country, a person is innocent the case is closed!  Thank you. 

Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California.  He is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. 

Chairman Schiff, thank you very much for joining us on this important night tonight. 

And I want to begin with what Donald Trump said there about inefficient evidence.  It is striking that the president of the United States is claiming that there is just insufficient evidence to find that he participated in an international conspiracy with Russians to attack the presidential campaign in a way that would benefit him and work toward his election.  The president then says that inefficient evidence equals innocent, which I don`t think is true in anybody`s legal definition of these terms. 

But your reaction to that.  Let`s start with that, Congressman, that the president is standing on the point tonight of inefficient evidence.  That`s good enough for him. 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  Well, first of all, both Barr and the president make the same misdirection, that is they say because the president wasn`t charged, that means he`s innocent. 

Well, here, we`re in a circumstance where the president cannot be charged.  So he`s not a typical defendant.  He is very atypical one.  In fact, he`s the only one in that position and so that line of reasoning doesn`t work at all. 

Rather what Bob Mueller said and I think the most important points he wanted to get across today were the Russians` effort to interfere in our affairs was systemic, it was sophisticated and all Americans need to pay attention to it.  That is we need to protect the country going forward and there`s a lot more that we need to do that first begins by understanding what the Russians did.

But second, and contrary to what Bill Barr has been suggesting for weeks and weeks now, if we could have exonerated the president, we would have.  We didn`t intend for the attorney general to arrogate it to himself, to declare the president had not committed the crimes of obstruction of justice.  We intended this to be presented to Congress and more than that, to preserve the evidence for other potential actions, and I think that should be read as meaning so the department can consider when he leaves office whether the president should be charged. 

O`DONNELL:  Robert Mueller began today talking about what is basically volume one of his report which is his initial declared responsibility investigating the Russian attack on our election.  That`s your jurisdiction in these investigations as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.  You have been seeking Robert Mueller`s testimony about this. 

What did Robert Mueller say today that has changed or has it in any way changed your view of your committee`s need to hear from Robert Mueller? 

SCHIFF:  It hasn`t changed it in any way.  I think Bob Mueller, as reluctant as he clearly is to testify, has one more duty to perform for the country, and that is to come before the Congress and answer the questions the American people about his report. 

There is a lot we still do not know.  We don`t know, for example, what happened to the counterintelligence investigation into what people were compromised, whether there were crimes that were committed or not. 

And, Lawrence, you pointed out exactly right and this is a point that the president tries to obscure, the Department of Justice policy as Mueller makes clear in his report but didn`t get a chance to talk about today requires before any charging decision is made and clearly here he couldn`t make a charging decision, to be able to satisfy a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. 

So when he talks about there being insufficient evidence, he also makes clear in the report that the fact they couldn`t establish something beyond a reasonable doubt doesn`t mean that there wasn`t evidence of that fact.  And here, there`s a lot of evidence of these illicit contacts with the Russians, compromising contacts that Mueller should testify about. 

We should have questions answered why he didn`t press for the president`s testimony, why he didn`t seek to press to determine whether counsel for these other people were participating in the lie Michael Cohen told to the Congress.  There are a lot of unanswered questions that Mueller should come in and answer for the American people. 

O`DONNELL:  I want to -- let`s listen to Robert Mueller referring to one point I know you`re interested in and Chairman Nadler`s interested in.  And that is the underlying work product, the information that went into building those paragraphs of the Mueller report. 

Let`s listen to what he said about. 


ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR:  Access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office. 


O`DONNELL:  Are you involved in that process? 

SCHIFF:  Yes, I am.  I`m a little surprised to hear him say that his office is not involved in that because it was certainly our impression that there were discussions between his office and the Department of Justice about what they should turn over to Congress or what might be privileged.  But now that that office is shutting down, it`s certainly going to be true that this will be left entirely to the Department of Justice. 

We reached an agreement to provide initial documents on a rolling production basis to our committee.  We`re getting and have received already some documents as a part of that production and we`re going to press to make sure that we get all the information that we need. 

But again, that supplying of underlying evidence to our committee doesn`t relieve Bob Mueller of the obligation I think to testify to the American people.  There`s nothing as powerful as hearing from both Mueller and other witnesses directly, their observations, their findings in terms of percipient witnesses, what the president asked them to do and how he asked them to do it, the lies he wanted propagated to try to obstruct the investigation -- all of that should be brought out and not simply provided in documentary form. 

O`DONNELL:  What happened to the impeachment process in the House of Representatives today as a result of Robert Mueller going public? 

SCHIFF:  I don`t think that there`s anything in his statements today that really moves the needle in one direction or the other.  A lot of what he said was really to underscore what he had said in the report to dispel some of the confusion that Bill Barr tried to create.  He certainly I think made it clear again that this is being left to Congress now because he didn`t have the power to indict. 

But he was also not willing to say Congress should impeach.  I think that`s consistent with his fairness argument that he made that if he wasn`t going to say the president should have been indicted and notwithstanding the department policy, then he probably wasn`t going to say the president should be impeached but rather that Congress should consider what repercussions should follow, what course to take, whether it`s through an impeachment enquiry or through its oversight function.  He left that to the Congress. 

O`DONNELL:  I just want to close our discussion with Robert Mueller`s final words today that were -- he addressed them to the country but they were definitely aimed at you because you have jurisdiction over of these elements that he was talking about in his final words of the day.  Let`s listen to that. 


MUELLER:  I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election.  And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.  Thank you. 


O`DONNELL:  Your reaction to that, Chairman Schiff? 

SCHIFF:  Well, I`m glad you brought that up because this is where he began and this is where he ended.  And I have to think although I don`t know this to be the case, that he and his team may be frustrated with all of the focus on Donald Trump, and his conduct, and not as much focus on what the Russians did to interfere in our affairs. 

Part of his discussion of obstruction today was the reason why the obstruction was so serious is, it was obstructing an investigation into a hostile powers interference in our democracy and he is effectively saying at the beginning, at the end of his remarks today, let`s not lose sight of what this adversary did, and I think implied there is, let`s not lose sight of what they may do to us again. 

O`DONNELL:  House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff -- thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

SCHIFF:  Thank you.

O`DONNELL:  When we come back, two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will join us, Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.  We`ll get their reaction to what Robert Mueller had to say today. 

And Neal Katyal will join us.  He wrote the Justice Department rules for special counsels and he has much to say about Robert Mueller`s 9-1/2 minutes at the microphone today.


O`DONNELL:  At one point today, Robert Mueller seemed to be speaking directly to Attorney General William Barr who has announced that he has launched his own investigation of the beginnings of the investigation of the Russian attack on our election. 


MUELLER:  The indictments allege and the other activities in our report describe efforts to interfere in our political system.  They needed to be investigated and understood and that is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office. 


O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now, Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.  She is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Senator Hirono, has -- did Robert Mueller`s public speaking today change the direction of Congress on these issues? 

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI):  I think it moves Congress to -- toward in my view opening an impeachment inquiry because there`s nothing like hearing from the investigator himself.  There aren`t very many people who are going to read his report but to hear him focus the fact on very critical parts of the report I think also focuses our minds and our efforts.  And that`s why today, I called for the House to open an impeachment inquiry. 

And I know, Lawrence, that out of this whole report that Mueller focused on three things.  One, very clearly the Russians interfered with our elections and our democracy big-time on behalf of Donald Trump. 

Two, the Office of Legal Counsel`s memorandum memo prohibited a sitting president from being indicted or even charged.  He made that very clear in spite of the fact when Barr talked about his report, he totally gave the impression that the OLC memo had very little part to do with Mueller`s conclusions really into obstruction of justice. 

And the third is once again turning to the OLC memo.  There are other constitutional processes to hold the president accountable.  And that`s what we need to do. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, did you -- so you interpreted that part about other constitutional processes which is just another phrase for impeachment.  You interpreted that to be basically Robert Mueller handing it to the House Judiciary Committee? 

HIRONO:  I think a lot of us conclude that, because if you can`t indict or even charge a sitting president, how are you going to hold the president accountable?  You have it use these other processes of which impeachment starting an impeachment inquiry is one.

O`DONNELL:  There`s also a striking point in Robert Mueller`s statement where he says when, when someone obstructs an investigation.  He doesn`t say if someone obstructs an investigation.  We showed that video earlier in this hour. 

And he could have left it as a the hypothetical, but he made it as a statement of something that actually has occurred in his work. 

HIRONO:  I think that he certainly contemplates that someone else, i.e., Congress, the U.S. House to start, would look at his report as he kept referring to the report speaking for itself.  There`s a lot of as far as I`m concerned, evidence that should lead to at least an open of an impeachment inquiry. 

But, again, Lawrence, I cite these are not normal times.  Under normal times as 800 former prosecutors have said, they would look at the evidence in the Mueller report and conclude that this president obstructed justice.  These are not normal times.  And that is why is an impeachment in inquiry that brings a lot more what I would call ammunition to the table would be what I`d like to see happen. 

O`DONNELL:  Senator Mazie Hirono of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- thank you very much for joining us tonight on this important night.

HIRONO:  Aloha.

O`DONNELL:  Appreciate it.  Thank you, senator. 

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.  He is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Senator Blumenthal, your reaction to Robert Mueller`s statement today. 

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT):  Robert Mueller`s statement issued a really stunning rebuke to president Trump in two ways. 

Number one, his message to Donald Trump was you would be in handcuffs, criminally charged if you were not a sitting president.  And I was one of those more than 800 prosecutors who said as much that he would be literally criminally charged but for that Office of Legal Counsel policy memorandum that said a sitting president can`t be charged. 

Second, Robert Mueller issued a warning, really a plea for action in the face of continuing Russian threat to our democracy that has been denied by Donald Trump inexplicably and unjustifiably denied in the face of his own intelligence community and everyone else of any credibility saying that the Russians attacked our democracy, that his campaign welcomed and accepted assistance that was damaging to Hillary Clinton and his continued denial of that basic fact that really has bipartisan acceptance is a, itself, a danger to our democracy. 

We need to take action.  It should be bipartisan.  We`re under continuing attack.  The Russians are preparing in effect using the last election as merely a dress rehearsal. 

O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what your Democratic colleague in the Senate, Elizabeth Warren, had to say today. 


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  There`s no way around this.  These are impeachable offenses.  It is our constitutional responsibility as members of Congress to bring a judgment of impeachment against this president. 


O`DONNELL:  As a former Harvard law professor who read every word of the Mueller report she said, basically as soon as it came out, do you agree with Senator Warren? 

BLUMENTHAL:  I read every word of the Mueller report.  In fact, I read it twice.  Most American people will never read the Mueller report.  They need to see the movie because they`re not going to read the book.  And that`s why we do need hearings now. 

And I agree completely with Senator Warren that president needs to be head accountable.  We share that goal and that accountability is going to come through an impeachment proceeding or alternatively, through the courts and a criminal prosecution after he leaves office.  And my hope is also in the court of public opinion, at the ballot box in 2020. 

O`DONNELL:  There`s been a lot of talk about the house and guesses basically public guesses about how many Democrats in the House support starting an impeachment inquiry, how many Democrats are opposed to that, how many Democrats think it`s bad politics, how many Democrats don`t care about politics.

What about the United States Senate?  What about Democrats in the United States Senate?  Is there a dominant feeling among Democrats in the United States Senate about the house moving toward impeachment? 

BLUMENTHAL:  At this point, there`s probably no dominant feeling.  But here`s what`s really important, Lawrence -- the hearings in the House and maybe in the Senate because Robert Mueller should testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the House, and my hope still is that maybe our chairman, Lindsey Graham, will call him as a witness fully, fairly, publicly.  The American people deserve to hear from him. 

And one point that I think is very, very telling today.  There was nothing new in what Robert Mueller today told the American people.  He cut and pasted parts of his report.  He highlighted and read.  He drew great big circles around it with exclamation marks. 

But the words themselves had power coming from his mouth on television.  And that`s the face and voice that the American people need to hear.  That`s the case that needs to be presented to them. 

And that`s the kind of case that will move the needle both in Congress and among the American people just as it did in Watergate where the percentage of American people favoring impeachment doubled after the hearings began in the Watergate proceeding. 

O`DONNELL:  Senator Richard Blumenthal, we`re really grateful to you bringing your Senate and prosecutorial experience to our very important discussions tonight.  Thank you, Senator, for joining us.  Really appreciate it. 

BLUMENTHAL:  Thank you. 

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal tweeted today that Mueller`s statement was devastating to Donald Trump and that it undermined the president`s attorney general.  One of the many reasons you should be following Neal Katyal on Twitter but you`re going to hear him, next. 


O`DONNELL:  Robert Mueller hopes that we will not hear his voice again speaking about his investigation of the president of the United States


MUELLER:  I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner.  I am making that decision myself.  No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.

There has been a discussion about an appearance before Congress.  Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report.  It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made.  We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself.

And the report is my testimony.  I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.


O`DONNELL:  The most pointed and eloquent response to that today was another Mueller surprise.  It was another surprise in this day of surprising Mueller news because it came from Oscar Winner Robert De Niro who plays Robert Mueller on "Saturday Night Live."

In an open letter addressed to Robert Mueller published in "The New York Times", Robert De Niro wrote, "You said that your investigations work speaks for itself.  It doesn`t.  It may speak for itself to lawyers and lawmakers who have the patience and obligation to read through the more than 400 pages of carefully chosen words and nuanced conclusions.

You`ve characterized the report as your testimony.  But you wouldn`t accept that reason from anyone your office interviewed.  The country needs to hear your voice, your actual voice.

This is the report your country asked you to do and now you must give it authority and clarity.  If in fact you have nothing further to say about the investigation for your public testimony, you could just read from the report in response to questions from members of Congress.

Your life has been a shining example of bravely and selflessly doing things for the good of our country.  I urge you to leave your comfort zone and do that again.

You are the voice of the Mueller report.  Let the country hear that voice."

Joining us now is Neal Katyal, a former acting U.S. solicitor general who wrote the Justice Department rules governing the special counsel.  He`s also an MSNBC legal contributor.

Neal, I never expected to lead off with this question for you.  What is your reaction to what Robert Mueller had to say -- I`m sorry, what Robert De Niro had to say about Robert Mueller today?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL:  Well, look, I think if Mr. De Niro said that a few weeks ago, I think that that sentiment makes sense.  But I think today, we really did actually hear from Robert Mueller and we heard from him in a very powerful way.

I think the most important thing we heard from him -- because remember, he`s dealing with a several-hundred-page report and what does he choose to pluck out in his press conference today?  He plucks out the fact that he said, "Look, if I could clear the president, I would.  I have the raw legal power to do so if I thought he was innocent."  He pointedly does not do that.

And then second, he said, I couldn`t indict him.  I didn`t have the power to.  And so because of that, he says it would be unfair to do what Mr. De Niro says which is to label Mr. Trump a criminal when Mr. Trump has no way to defend himself.

And look, I understand it`s frustrating for a lot of people.  And it`s frustrating for me too.  But there`s at least -- I can understand what Mr. Mueller is saying here.

And at the same time, I think what the ultimate implication of what Mueller said today, and it doesn`t require a fancy lawyer or anything liking that to figure it out is, Congress, this ball is in your court right now.

And I`ve done the investigation.  I`ve spent a long time, two years, interviewed hundreds of witnesses and the like and I have found many instances and they`re detailed in the report of obstruction of justice and indeed almost a thousand former federal prosecutors have now read that report and said yes, if this were anyone but the president, I would indict.

So at this point, Mr. Mueller has given what in basketball we call an assist, he`s thrown the ball up in the air and now it`s up to Congress to bring it home.

O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what Robert Mueller said about the right that he had to investigate the president even though he didn`t have the right to the charge the president with a crime according to the Justice Department rules.  Let`s listen to this.


MUELLER:  The opinion explicitly precipitations the investigation of a sitting president because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available.  Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.


O`DONNELL:  Neal, co-conspirators like Michael Cohen who has been charged now, who is serving time now, and with whom Donald Trump was identified as a co-conspirator in the New York case, where the federal prosecutor said -- and Michael Cohen said that Michael Cohen`s crimes were committed at the direction of Donald Trump.

KATYAL:  Right.  What Mr. Mueller said there was I think very, very worrisome to Mr. Trump and the reason for that is it`s actually cut off right before that clip, the first words of the clip were the opinion says.

What he`s talking about -- what Mueller is talking about is a DOJ opinion which precludes the indictment of a sitting president.  And Mueller goes on to say two things about that.  Number one, it doesn`t preclude our investigation right now of a sitting president.  And number two, the remedy -- a remedy in our Constitution because we can`t indict a sitting president is impeachment.

And Mueller says all of that today effectively in the press conference.  And so either of those options is very bad if you`re Donald Trump.

Option one is, you`re looking at a criminal indictment in 2020 when you lose the election or possibly earlier if he`s impeached.  And option two is impeachment.  Either of those, not a pretty picture for the president.

And again, that`s why I understand De Niro`s concern and it`s a concern shared by many but Mueller has given Congress the tools to investigate this and the resources and background in order to bring this thing home.

O`DONNELL:  Neal, we have to squeeze in a commercial break.  Can you stay with us because there is one more thing I`d like to cover if you can stay with us?

KATYAL:  Of course.

O`DONNELL:  OK.  Thank you.  We`re going to be right back with Neal Katyal.


O`DONNELL:  Here is something that Robert Mueller`s team waited two years to hear publicly.


MUELLER:  And before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the FBI agents, the analysts, the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner.  These individuals who spent nearly two years with the special counsel`s office were of the highest integrity.


O`DONNELL:  Neal Katyal is back with us.  Neal, as I heard that, I just thought, is that enough?  Is that enough for what those people have been through and what they`ve been put through by President Trump, the attacks, the personal attacks on them, attacks on many of them by name, lies about many of them delivered publicly by name from the president of the United States?  Was that enough, Robert Mueller`s few seconds saying thank you, publicly?

KATYAL:  Well, I think I`d say two things about that.  Number one is who wasn`t mentioned in there in that long list of thank you`s?  The attorney general wasn`t mentioned or the acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

That to me is pretty significant.  I mean the whole very fact that there is this press conference by Mueller today to me indicates some very serious tension.  And I`m sure it stems from the fact Barr tried to spin the Mueller report in all sorts of ways a couple of months ago and has continued to do so until this day.

Number two, I do think it`s actually sufficient.  What Mueller is doing this there is standard Mueller, standard DOJ procedure which is understated.  You say it once, you don`t have to repeat it or put exclamation points and caps on Twitter.  That`s just how they roll.

And so I suspect that the men and women of that office are very comfortable with what was said today.

O`DONNELL:  Neal Katyal, thank you very much for joining us in this important night.  We really appreciate it.

KATYAL:  Thank you.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Neal.  And when we come back, a Republican says, if the House does not impeach Donald Trump, that will help Donald Trump win re-election.  That Republican will be our next guest and he has much more to say about what he now calls the illegitimate presidency of Donald Trump and the illegitimate vice presidency of Mike Pence.


O`DONNELL:  After Robert Mueller spoke today, the only Republican member of Congress who supports impeachment of President Trump tweeted, "The ball is in our court, Congress."  Republican Congressman Justin Amash held a town hall meeting in his Michigan congressional district yesterday where some Trump supporters were outraged and others confused.

One Republican who attended the congressman`s town hall said that she didn`t know there was anything negative about President Trump in the Mueller report until Congressman Amash started talking about it.


CATHY GARMAAT, MICHIGAN RESIDENT:  I was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump.  I haven`t heard that before.  And I mainly listen to conservative news and I haven`t heard anything negative about that report and President Trump had been exonerated.


O`DONNELL:  At his town hall, the support for Congressman Amash easily drowned out the opposition.  Here`s how the questioning began.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  First, I want to salute your courage.  And next --


O`DONNELL:  Congressman Amash said impeachment is not a partisan issue.


REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R-MI):  I`m confident that if you read Volume II, you`ll be you appalled at much of the conduct and I was appalled by it.  And that`s why I stated what I stated, that`s why I came to that conclusion because I think we can`t go -- we can`t let conduct like that go unchecked.

Congress has a duty to keep the president in check.  And that`s why I took the position I did and I would do it whether it was a Democratic president or a Republican president.  It doesn`t matter to me.


O`DONNELL:  Former eight-term Missouri Republican Congressman Tom Coleman wrote an op-ed for the "Kansas City Star" making the case for impeachment of the president.  And he argues against the Democratic leadership`s conventional wisdom that impeachment would help President Trump.

Former Congressman Coleman says if the Democrats do not start impeachment proceedings against the president, they would be handing Donald Trump a second term.  Congressman Coleman will join us next.


O`DONNELL:  Here is Republican Congressman Justin Amash responding to House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy`s attacks on him after Congressman Amash announced his support for impeachment of President Trump.


AMASH:  You saw what happened to me from our so-called leader Kevin McCarthy.  I read the Mueller report.  I`m sure he did not read it.

I stated what it actually says and he just resorted to ad hominin attacks and other various attacks that have nothing do with the Mueller report.  This is the kind of leadership in quotes that we now have in Congress.


O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now is Tom Coleman, a former Republican congressman from Missouri who supports the impeachment of President Trump.  Congressman, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  We really appreciate it.

And I want to get your reaction to what Congressman Amash has done and do you expect he will be joined eventually or at any point by any other Republicans in the House?

TOM COLEMAN, FORMER CONGRESSMAN:  Well, it is a brave move that he is making and you hope that if you were in that position that you`d be able to rise to the occasion, as well.  And I think that you got to start somewhere.

I don`t have a whole lot of hope for the Republicans in the House.  I do hope eventually if there are impeachment proceedings that go forward in the House Judiciary Committee and pass the House, that the Senate and the Republican senators over there who have the actual authority and responsibility to convict a president, remove him from office.

That`s where the real key decisions will be made and where I think we need to see some profiles encouraged.

O`DONNELL:  You make a point that I haven`t heard anyone else make.  You believe that the Mueller report shows that the Trump presidency is an illegitimate presidency, which also means that the vice presidency of Mike Pence is illegitimate in your reading of it because the Russians interfered to help Donald Trump win the presidency and it worked.  And that`s your basic case about the illegitimacy of it.

And so you argue the point that if it ever got to the point where Donald Trump was removed through the impeachment process, it would be wrong to install Mike Pence as the president because of that illegitimacy you identify?

COLEMAN:  That`s right.  They run as a ticket, obviously.  And the Russians -- I mean Putin himself said in Helsinki that he wanted Trump to win so he also wanted Pence to win as well because they came very tight.  You couldn`t separate them.

So we have an illegitimate president and illegitimate vice president.  If we remove the presidency and end up with Pence, we still have an illegitimate president.  That`s unacceptable.

So I would call on, at that point, Mr. Pence to resign or have him impeached like the president.  If for no other reason he`s been like the number one enabler of this dangerous president that we`ve seen the last three years.

O`DONNELL:  And Congressman Coleman, at Justin Amash`s town hall, a few different kinds of Republicans including one who accused him of being a Democrat and having drunk the Kool-Aid and he`s trying to insist that no, no, no, I`m as conservative as I`ve ever been on all policy issues.  This isn`t about partisanship.

Other Republicans stood up and said I`m a republican but I see your point and I`m on principle in favor of going ahead with impeachment even if the Senate wouldn`t act to remove the president.  What is your sense of Republicans out there and what the range of opinion is, how much Republican support or at least agreement acquiescence might there be if the House Democrats were to impeach?

COLEMAN:  Well, I think if the House Democrats were to impeach, they would have to go through the entire hearing process, television coverage, gavel to gavel just like Watergate.  We both lived through that, Lawrence and we know that public opinion can change.

The polls are not that far apart right now but something as serious as this, you cannot blindly follow polls.  What you need to do is follow the evidence and if you`re a member of Congress, your conscience.

I think once the public is informed and understands what all went on, just like that lady you had on up there in Amash`s district, she didn`t know anything that was wrong, that the president did wrong.  That`s going to come out.

Now, Robert Mueller today said that he was not going to testify before the Judiciary Committee.  I think that`s wrong in a sense.  I believe he owes it to the nation and to future generations to go up there and tell the story that he wrote up.

It`s not going to be the circus that he anticipates.  If the Republicans get out of hand, they will be looked at as that, out of hand.  And I think that he would provide the credibility to the report that, as we all know, a lot of people are not reading.

O`DONNELL:  And the other point that is made by that woman who is at Justin Amash`s town hall, she`s interested in government and politics enough to go to a town hall.  She had no idea there was anything negative in the report.  I mean I don`t know how Robert Mueller can think tonight that the report speaks for itself if people aren`t reading it.

COLEMAN:  Exactly.  And I think he could probably read the New York telephone book and get a lot of people looking at him.  Today, he spent nine minutes, I mean, it`s covered -- it`s wall to wall coverage.

That`s what he can command.  That`s the integrity and that`s what we need.

O`DONNELL:  Former Republican Congressman Tom Coleman gets tonight`s LAST WORD.  Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

COLEMAN:  Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL:  We appreciate it. And coming up, you`re going to see the fall 9 1/2 minutes of Robert Mueller`s statement today on "THE 11TH HOUR with Brian Williams, which starts now.

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