LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And the Hyde Amendment has been the law of the land since 1976, I believe, basically saying that no federal money can be used on abortion. That was as settled as settled issues get in Washington until today, because, of course, Joe Biden`s been around long enough that he was in a position to have to vote on that and take a position on that as everyone did in the Congress then.
And so, it`s back as an issue. I got to say, I for one didn`t see that coming.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I will tell you, I think that Senator Biden or Vice President Biden saying today, his campaign saying today that he stands by that, that he still believes in the Hyde Amendment, he still thinks that`s good law, I think that is a position that will not outlive the Democratic presidential primary.
I think that women have led, I think Hillary Clinton on 2016 in 2016 led on the issue of the Hyde Amendment. The politics on this changed without Vice President Biden noticing. The politics on this have radically changed and if he sticks with that, he`s going to drag that like an albatross around his neck with Democratic women voters. I think that position is going to change.
O`DONNELL: It is fascinating because in the Biden time in the Senate, it was as you looked on as something that actually protected Democrats because they always got to say, being pro-choice Democrats, that no federal money was used for abortion. So it was used as kind of a political shield by Democrat.
MADDOW: It was. And then Hillary Clinton blew it up because the way the Hyde Amendment works in real life is incredibly discriminatory in terms of reproductive rights access for different types of women in this country. And so, she took that on and I think she undid that -- those years of Democrats using that as a shield and trying to avoid the argument.
And that is what broke the dam on it when Clinton did that. I think Biden didn`t notice and he`s going to get destroyed on that issue by his fellow candidates in the first debate. I`m guessing. But we`ll see.
O`DONNELL: It`s very clear one of the big challenges for the Biden campaign is staying agile enough to not just 21st century politics but what is now going to be 2020 politics.
O`DONNELL: It`s a different ball game as you say from 2016 or 2008.
MADDOW: Yes, and it reminds me of that Alexandria Ocasio Cortes tweet back at Joe Lieberman, new part who dis.
MADDOW: Women have a different idea about that now and the women are leaving the party. So, it will be fascinating see
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, we have highlights of Elizabeth Warren`s town hall in Indiana tonight with Chris Hayes, including what some Trump voters had to say.
The House Judiciary Committee is under tremendous pressure these days on the question of impeachment but the committee is proving they can legislate and investigate at the same time. A House Judiciary Committee bill went to the House floor yesterday and passed with 237 votes. It provides legal status for Dreamers and a path to citizenship, some Republicans actually voted for that bill.
And then today, we learned that President Trump has new cruelties planned for the children being held at the southern border. No more English classes, no more playing soccer.
You`ll want to hear the passion that freshman effective Congressman Joe Neguse, the son of immigrants from East Africa brought to this subject on the House floor. We will show that you video from the House floor at the end of this hour and the congressman will join us. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. So, we will ask him about the crucial question of impeachment that the committee is now facing.
Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts and a former federal prosecutor, will also join us tonight. We will ask him if he supports impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
And we begin tonight with the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, who has expressed new confidence today that Robert Mueller will testify to his committee.
In an interview with NBC News, Chairman Nadler said this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REPORTER: Where do things stand with Mueller and bringing him in?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Let`s just say that I`m confident he`ll come in soon.
REPORTER: Will you need a subpoena him to make that happen?
NADLER: We may. We will if we have to.
REPORTER: How much longer will you wait to subpoena?
NADLER: I`m not going to comment, not too much.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Later in an interview on CNN, Chairman Nadler said it may very well come to a form impeachment inquiry. We will see.
Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked if she was feeling pressure from the several Democratic presidential candidates who now support impeaching the president.
I guess we don`t have that. I`m going to read there for you. Nancy Pelosi was asked about that and she said, well, first of all, the chairman she said she`s very proud of the work that the committee chairmen are doing. She said this falls to the Judiciary Committee. And then she said that where they go from here is one step at a time.
Nancy Pelosi continued to make those very careful statements that she has been making about impeachment without committing to impeachment but she said we know exactly what actions we need to take. Those were her final words on that subject. There are now 61 members of the House of Representatives including one Republican who have made public statements in favor of starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump. We don`t know how many silent members of the house are in favor of it.
Half of the 24 Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee now support impeachment inquiry. A new Morning Consult poll out today shows that 38 percent of Americans believe that Congress should start impeachment proceedings against the president and 48 percent believe that Congress should not.
In a new article in "GQ" entitled "The political costs of not impeaching Trump," former Senate staffer Adam Jentleson writes, Richard Nixon`s approval rating was at 65 percent when his impeachment process began and only 19 percent of the public supported his impeachment.
By the end, the numbers had flipped. His approval was 24 percent and support for impeachment was 57 percent.
Tonight, when an Indiana voter asked Senator Elizabeth Warren about impeachment, she said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Mueller report came out and the afternoon it came out, I started reading it. I read it all afternoon, I read all night, I read it into the next morning, all 448 pages.
I got to the end and there were three things that are just man, there`s no avoiding them. Part one, a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 elections for the purpose of getting Donald Trump elected. Part two, then candidate Donald Trump welcomed that help. And part three, when the federal government tried to investigate part one and part two, Donald Trump as president delayed, deflected, moved, fired, and did everything he could to obstruct justice.
If he were any other person in the United States, based on what`s documented in that report, he would be carried out in handcuffs. Now --
I took an oath of office not to Donald Trump. Not to any president. I took an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States of America, and that Constitution says no one is above the law, including the president of the United States.
I bet that this is politically tough, I get it. But some things are bigger than politics. And this matters for our democracy. Not just now, but in the next president and the next president and the next president. We have a constitutional responsibility here. And that`s to start impeachment proceedings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tonight, the question is what is happening in the House of Representatives? And there is a new report in "Politico" tonight at this hour saying that, and I`m quoting from the report about Chairman Nadler and Speaker Pelosi disagreeing about this.
"Politico" says Nadler pressed Pelosi to allow his committee to launch an impeachment inquiry against Trump, the second such request he`s made in recent weeks, only to be rebuffed by the California Democrat and other senior leaders. Pelosi stood firm reiterating that she isn`t open to the idea of impeaching Trump at this time.
So, are Democrats waiting for the voters to come to impeachment or are the Democrats leading the voters toward impeachment?
And for the view from inside of House of Representatives we`re fortunate tonight be joined by a senior member of the House, a veteran of the Clinton impeachment proceedings, Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett, who is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
Also with us, Adam Jentleson, who served on the Senate staff of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
And, Congressman Doggett, let me begin with you and your reaction to this reporting in "Politico" that has just come out that indicates that Chairman Nadler has basically been trying to get the OK from Speaker Pelosi to move to impeachment proceedings and Speaker Pelosi is opposing that. Is that your understanding of where it stands tonight? .
REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): Well, I haven`t verified that report or talked with him since flying out today. But you know, personally I`ve come to the conclusion and not eagerly and not quickly, that instituting impeachment proceedings is what we must do. And I believe that a majority of the Judiciary Committee feels that way and perhaps Chairman Nadler who has done an extraordinary job is reflecting not only his own views but that of his committee.
I came to that conclusion because I don`t see our actions thus far as being effective response to the total obstruction of the Trump administration. And I think the clip you just showed of Senator Warren who is always articulate and powerful really summed it up well. We have a duty to the Constitution and a duty to our democracy that we must fulfill not only because Donald Trump appears have engaged in criminal conduct but because we`re setting the precedent for future presidents.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Doggett, I`m sure you have a high degree of sympathy for Democrats especially newly elected Democrats in swing district who have taken seats away from Republicans that could easy by go back to Republicans in another election. A Democrat from Texas in the House of Representatives knows that there`s another party out there. Obviously, there used to be a lot more Democrats from Texas in the House of Representatives.
Do you -- how do you see the politics of this for those colleagues of yours in those swing districts who run that risk, who have to calculate much more carefully what this would mean to Republicans in their district and Republicans who could otherwise be willing to continue to support that Democratic member?
DOGGETT: Well, I know that whole issue figures prominently in the speaker`s thinking. Thirty-one Democrats in districts that Trump carried are very concerned about not only replacing Trump ultimately but insuring that we have a Democratic Congress finally that can respond to a new president and move forward on the issues we all care about so much.
You know, I think the effect is mixed. But my experience has always been that if you stood firmly and clearly for your principles and defined them, that people would respect them, even at a time of great division like this, I believe that most of my colleagues in those districts who are forceful, who explain clearly and who -- we begin to lay out to the public we`re always told, well the Senate will never convict.
I think we have a responsibility to do the proceeding if we conclude that impeachment is appropriate. The final judgment is not only that of the Senate, but of the American people who may be the ultimate voters on this issue in November of next year and they need to be fully informed about all the crimes that the president apparently committed.
O`DONNELL: Adam Jentleson, the kind calf political considerations that I was just raising that we know have been raised with the speaker about the risks involved for Democrats moving toward impeachment and how that could risk the positions of Democratic House Members in swing districts, that is countered by you your new piece about the risk, the political risk you`re talking about, the political risk of not impeaching Donald Trump.
What is that risk for the Democrats?
ADAM JENTLESON, FORMER SENIOR AIDE TO SEN. HARRY REID: Well, if you want to put it purely in political terms which I do, the risk is low turnout. That`s what you`re talking about here, the risk is that we spend the time between now and election day which is 17 months having these kind of political stories about disagreements with the caucus rather than uniting behind an effort to use the power the House Democrats have and wield it effectively to hold Trump accountable.
You know, I wrote about my experience in the Senate when Merrick Garland was up for confirmation and McConnell blocked him. You know, there were extreme measures we could have taken but we looked at the polls that showed Hillary Clinton confidently beating Donald Trump and we said, you know, don`t -- let`s not rock the boat, let`s not do anything extreme. We`ll win the election and Hillary Clinton will send her Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed by a Democratic Senate. It didn`t work out that way.
When you have the opportunity to wield power against your opponent, politically, you should use it.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Doggett, Adam Jentleson makes the point in his piece that one of the biggest risks politically that the Democrats did run in their current posture is the risk of looking weak by the failure to take action.
DOGGETT: I think Adam has a very important article. The focus has been mostly on what would the cost be to Democrats of impeaching and not enough on the cost of failing to do our job and sitting on our hands. We were elected to defend the Constitution and our democracy, and to stand up to Donald Trump when he`s wrong. The evidence out there is really far reaching.
And I think we need to do our job not sit on our hands. There`s no reason that we cannot continue to attempt to legislate as we did this week, as you noted, very important action on the Dream Act as we have done week after week in sending bills to the Senate that the Senate will probably sit on. But that`s not a reason to avoid our responsibility to protect the democracy by demanding some accountability from this president.
O`DONNELL: Adam, it seems the Democrats many Democrats in the leadership anyway are using the experience of the Clinton impeachment and that`s something that Congressman Doggett sat through in the House of Representatives and their lesson is that the Clinton impeachment didn`t work, Bill Clinton, the Republicans failed politically on that and bill Clinton remained popular.
What are your lessons from the Clinton impeachment that you would apply here and would not apply here?
JENTLESON: I mean look, the main lesson that I think is safe to apply in most circumstances is getting impeached is bad. It`s not a good thing to happen to a president. The Clinton situation was different than what we have now because Bill Clinton was popular, Ken Starr was not. The public thought Starr was on a fishing expedition and they thought Bill Clinton was being treated unfairly.
That is completely different than what we have now. We have a president who`s historically unpopular and you have Robert Mueller who the public thinks has been extremely fair. Bill Clinton never stood for election after he got impeachment, so we don`t really know how it would play out. We do know that his heir apparent Al Gore went on to lose an election he could have won given that he was inheriting a booming economy. So there`s an argument that it played out negatively politically in that respect.
But the closest analogy is really the Nixon situation where the evidence against Nixon was severe and was overwhelming. And it took a president who was at 65 percent down out of office. So, I think that is a much more appropriate comparison to make than the Clinton situation.
O`DONNELL: Adam Jentleson and Congressman Lloyd Doggett, thank you both very much. Really appreciate it.
DOGGETT: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And coming up, I will ask the only Republican running for President against Donald Trump, Bill Weld, where he stands on impeachment.
O`DONNELL: This is the presidential campaign we`ve seen where candidates face the constant question, are you for or against the impeachment of the current president of the United States? Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were in their second terms when Congress initiated impeachment proceedings. So, that puts a new dynamic in presidential campaigning, most of the highest polling Democratic presidential candidates for president have clearly come out in favor of impeachment.
But what about the Republican candidate for president, running against Donald Trump?
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld has some personal history with impeachment proceedings. His first job in Washington was as a staff lawyer working on the House Judiciary Committee with then Hillary Clinton as a staff lawyer doing the legal homework as the committee approached impeaching the president. Later, Bill Weld resigned as the head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department over a scandal involving Attorney General Edwin Meese who was Bill Weld`s boss at the time.
Attorney General Meese had been accused of using his office to enrich his personal friends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Indications this morning that the legal problems surrounding Attorney General Edwin Meese may force more defections from the Justice Department. The department was rocked Tuesday by the resignation of Deputy Attorney General Arnold Burns and he was followed out the door by William Weld, head of the criminal division. Both called it quits after they were unable to persuade the White House to dump Meese on grounds that his global troubles are hurting the department. Officials say Meese was stunned and was hardly able to speak when told of the resignations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Bill Weld, former Republican governor of Massachusetts. He is running for the Republican presidential nomination against President Trump.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Governor. Really appreciate it.
BILL WELD (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Lawrence. Always a pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Let`s go straight to the question of the day. Are you for impeaching of this president?
WELD: You know, Lawrence, I`ve been slow to come to there conclusion but I`ve finally come to the view that it is time. I won`t say past time. But it`s time for the House Judiciary Committee, not the whole House, to launch an inquiry, not take a vote but inquiry into impeachment of this president.
I say that for two reasons. One in recent weeks, 1,000 former federal prosecutors, not 10, not 100, but a thousand have signed a document saying that the evidence of President Trump`s obstruction of justice us the in the Mueller report senior not even a close case. It`s overwhelming and I agree with that and I signed that document.
Number two, I think people have lost sight of the timeline here. The Nixon impeachment started in October of `73, President Nixon finally lost that in august of `74, ten months later. Well, ten months from today would put us into April which is well past it the Super Tuesday of the presidential primaries in 2020. So, we probably would already know who the nominees are going to be or have a pretty good idea.
And that`s not the end of it. At that point, if the House voted to impeach, the House would then appoint six managers as prosecutors to go try the case in the Senate. That`s a minimum of another six, eight months.
And I can tell you as a former quite veteran prosecutor, a complicated investigation white collar with long lead time, grand jury investigations, takes 12 to 18 months. It doesn`t make six months. So, if the Congress doesn`t act at all now, this whole thing may be over before they can act. That`s a pretty powerful motivator.
O`DONNELL: I think what you just said, first of all you`re breaking news here tonight as a Republican candidate for president saying that this president should be the subject of an impeachment inquiry by the House Judiciary Committee. How are you going to bring that to Republican voters in these Republican primaries?
WELD: Well, again, I`m just saying 1,000 prosecutors say this is a criminal offense. You never had that before. You didn`t have that with Dick Nixon. He had carried 49 states.
You know, things change in national politics. My friend and hero, George Bush 41, was at 91 percent favorable rating in December of 1991. Pat Buchanan won 30 something percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary two months later. And that was the beginning of the end for my friend Bush 41.
So, things do shift around. And, you know, it`s not my job to carry it to Republican voters. I don`t mind citing the 1,000 federal prosecutors and saying that I know what they`re talking about because I do. But beyond that, if people won`t be persuaded, they won`t be persuaded.
O`DONNELL: It seems in the reporting that Democratic leadership in the House are worried about those swing voters in districts that congressional districts that were formerly Republican, people who voted for a Republican member of Congress but there last time voted for a Democrat. They`re worrying about alienating them.
You would be trying to appeal to exactly the same voter, holding the position that there should be an impeachment inquiry. What does that do to your path to the convention, to your ability to pick up delegates going into that convention?
WELD: Lawrence, the unstated premise of your question I think is that nothing`s going to change after the House committee launches its inquiry. Inquiries have a way of unearthing information. And voters generally if new information comes to right, they`re going to pay attention to it. And the Nixon impeachment, Nixon was hugely popular. I was advised not to take a position in that inquiry even though I was on the Republican side. They said, kid, it`s going to be the end of your career because the president is so popular. He just won 49 states.
Well, Mr. Trump has not just won 49 states and he is not at 91 percent approval of both parties as Bush 41 was. But nonetheless, you know, you don`t know what the inquiry is going to turn up. That`s the point of an inquiry.
Again, I emphasize. I`m not saying the House should take a vote. I`m saying the committee and that`s the relevant committee, Peter Rodino`s committee that I served on was House Judiciary that they should just be permitted to proceed. I`m sure they`ll have subpoenas. I`m sure there will be fights.
President Nixon wound up being an article of impeachment was obstruction of the subpoenas by the House Judiciary Committee. That could well come again because Mr. Trump has said he`s not going to cooperate with nobody, no how, if they investigate him or his administration or his family at all.
I mean, that`s breathtaking. That`s never been said before by a president. We`ll see where that goes.
O`DONNELL: A quick word, Governor, on your path in this campaign. I`m sure you hope to do very well, better than Pat Buchanan in New Hampshire, your neighboring state of New Hampshire. Then what?
WELD: Well, two paths, Lawrence. One is geographic. It would be the six New England states down into the mid-Atlantic. Then California and the west, Oregon, Washington, some of the mountain and intermountain states where I spent a lot of time in the last cycle, Utah, President Trump got 14 percent of the vote there in the primary. President Trump in California just don`t get along at all.
So I think I can play in all those states and some in the southwest. That leaves only the Rust Belt. And as has been pointed out, some of those states have changed their minded that President Trump won. 2016. The Republicans got blown away in 2018 in Wisconsin. Pennsylvania, of course, will be a huge battleground state.
And again, I`m just talking about the primary now. I`m not talking about the final. You know, I wouldn`t have a chance in California in the final as a Republican. But in the primary, I think that has some good prospects against the president.
In terms of politics, I`m not going to try to convert the Trump organizations in the 50 states. The Republican state committees in those 50 states now are made and ordered by Donald Trump. I`m going to try to go around that base so to speak, that`s a tiny base, by enlarging the electorate, bringing in more millennials, more Gen Xers, more suburban women voters. I think these abortion laws over the last couple of weeks are a complete outrage, the chattel theory of women, the impugn gender equality. I think that`s going to resonate.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Republican presidential candidate, Bill Weld, thank you very much for joining us tonight, Bill Weld.
WELD: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: I appreciate it.
When we come back, we have more highlights from Elizabeth Warren`s town hall in Indiana where she was questioned by some Trump voters.
O`DONNELL: We`re just three weeks from the first Democratic primary debates. And tonight, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren was in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in a state Donald Trump won by 19 points for an MSNBC town hall with Chris Hayes, on a day when Joe Biden said he supports the Hyde Amendment which bans federal funding of abortion and has been federal law since 1976.
Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked for her position on the Hyde Amendment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Is Joe Biden wrong?
SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MASS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
HAYES: Why is he wrong?
WARREN: Here`s how I look at this. I`ve lived in an America where abortions were illegal. And understand this, women still got abortions. Now, some got lucky on what happened and some got really unlucky on what happened.
But the bottom line is they were there. And under the Hyde Amendment, under every one of these efforts to try to chip away or to push back or to get rid of Roe versus Wade, understand this. Women of means will still have access to abortions. Who won`t will be poor women, will be working women, will be women who can`t afford to take off three days from work, will be very young women, will be women who have been raped, will be women who have been molested by someone in their own family.
We do not pass laws that take away that freedom from the women who are our most vulnerable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Re-election polling continues to get worst for President Trump. A new poll shows Donald Trump in trouble in Texas. A state the Republicans have won every presidential election since 1976.
A Quinnipiac Poll shows Joe Biden actually beating Donald Trump in Texas by four points, 48-44. Elizabeth Warren polls the second strongest against Donald Trump in Texas, tied within that margin of error at just 45 to 46. And a new poll for Michigan, a stay that was key to Donald Trump`s electoral college victory shows the President trailing every Democrat, every Democratic candidate who was polled in that election against Donald Trump.
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are both ahead of President Trump by 12 points, 53 to 41. Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are also ahead of Donald Trump in that Michigan poll. And a poll from Morning Consult shows nationwide problems for the President`s approval rating which is negative in the seven states that he won in 2016, seven important states that he won in 2016.
Joining us now is Maria Teresa Kumar, she is the President and CEO of Voto Latino and an MSNBC Contributor and Adam Jentleson is back with us.
And Maria Teresa, very bad polling for the president and a new issue in the Democratic primary as of today, the Hyde Amendment which has been federal law since 1976 has now moved into the center of the campaign.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, let`s be clear. Who are the folks that come out and vote time and again for the last six, seven election cycles? It`s been women. When you start talking about reproductive health, when you start going toe to toe with women, the idea that you`re not going to have -- give them agency over their bodies and that you`re basically going to indicate a group of women that are disproportionately may not have the means to do so, you put them danger. But they`re also voting in record numbers.
So that is one of the reasons why this will be a hot campaign issue. And you better believe that the day after that the President was inaugurated, we had women marching in throngs all over the country. It was because they recognized what the vulnerability was and women will stick together on this. And I think Joe Biden is going to have to figure out if he`s going to advance his cause, modernize his views and recognize that it`s going to be the women that will put him in office.
I think when we`re talking about the fact that the President is underwater, that is not so surprising when you talk about not only the issues that Americans really care about but when you go into places like Missouri, when you go into places like Michigan, and you`re talking about tariffs that are going to directly impact individual lives in manufacturing, on how much it`s going to cost them to get all of a sudden items that they need for every day, whether it`s clothing so on and so forth, it becomes a very economic issue.
And the President is going to have to figure out how he reconciles his tariff debates with bread and butter issues of making sure that we keep manufacturing alive and thriving, and people can actually pay their bills.
O`DONNELL: Elizabeth Warren actually wanted this town hall tonight to be in Fort Wayne, Indiana because she wanted to go into the heart of Trump country and she was asked a few things from Trump voters throughout the hour. Let`s listen to one of those exchanges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN CROPPER, 2016 TRUMP VOTER: I just feel like I`ve been betrayed, let down. I thought Trump was going to really secure American jobs and that`s just not what`s happening.
WARREN: I`m looking to make about 1.2 million new jobs. New jobs that are good jobs, that are jobs in manufacturing, that are going to be good union jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Adam Jentleson, Elizabeth Warren surrounded by Trump voters there, the four of them sitting around there, right in the middle of her town hall.
ADAM JENTLESON, PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIRECTOR, DEMOCRACY FORWARD: Yes. And I think what you, I mean, what came through for me there was that, you know, I mean, Senator Warren is a working class person from Oklahoma. I mean, that`s her background. You know, she is incredibly comfortable in those situations.
I was reading, you know, a month or so ago, she went to Kermit, West Virginia to talk about the opioid crisis. I mean, these are people she grew up with. She`s incredibly comfortable in a person-to-person situation and that really came through there.
O`DONNELL: And Maria Teresa, one of the things we saw with those Trump voters in the town hall is their disappointment at what President Trump promised. For example, on the opioid crisis, that`s one of the things that one of the Trump voters asked Elizabeth Warren about.
KUMAR: Well, I think that what you`re finding is that they -- when they`ve voted for Trump, they were basically most Americans that voted for him, they were flipping a coin. They never fully recovered from the 2008 recession and they had lost their jobs and saw things going south. And like, "You know what, we`re going to give this businessman a try." And this businessman turned out to be basically a con full of snakes in this bag, promising them absolutely nothing and not changing their lives, and instead impacting directly their livelihood.
Again, specifically, I`m talking specifically what`s happening with the tariffs. He has not addressed the opioid epidemic, and he`s not -- every single week claims infracture weak and we have yet to see that.
What Elizabeth Warren is reminding the American people of what happens when you roll up your sleeves and you reinvest in our country, will you reinvest in our infrastructure, and you get people back to work. At the end of the day, the reason someone goes out to the polls is someone that is for President who is going to make their economic life much better.
And again, remembering and reminding ourselves that not every single American has actually recovered from that recession. That is what people really care about. And that is why they`re looking for more middle of the road people. They`re looking for folks that have big ideas, audacious ideas to actually course correct the country where we are right now.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, we`re going to a break. But before we do, I wanted to hear from you on the breaking news from the Washington Post today about new cruelties that the President has in mind for the children in custody at the southern border.
KUMAR: You know it is the most disappointing piece. These individual detention centers are for profit. They are raking in the money while they`re max -- they`re basically taxing individuals and creating maximum cruelty for young people.
In this case, we`re talking about minors who don`t have their families, they`re separated from the world in many ways, and they -- all they`re asking for is basically giving them some legal aid so that they could actually have representation, giving them the opportunity to learn English and giving them a chance to play soccer outside.
And the President doubles down and says we`re not going to do that even though he knows people are making record profits off these people`s backs. We have no oversight. Congress really -- I mean, one of the reasons that so many people came out and voted in November was because they wanted accountability. And we need Congress to actually do that, hold these people accountable and make sure that someone is paying for the suffering that is being inflicted unnecessarily.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar and Adam Jentleson, thank you both for joining our discussion tonight.
KUMAR: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And after this break, when we come back Senate Republicans have finally found their breaking point with Donald Trump. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Senate Republicans have finally had it with Donald Trump. It wasn`t the obstruction of justice, it is not the Trump personal devotion to Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un, it was not the caging of children at the southern border, its tariffs. Which Senate Republicans are finally publicly admitting are taxes on the American people.
Senate Republicans are breaking with President Trump over his threats to impose massive new taxes on everything we import from Mexico unless Mexico stops people from crossing our southern boarder. The Republican senators from Texas where Joe Biden is now leading Donald Trump in the polls were the most adamant in their opposition to the threatened Trump tariffs.
"We`re holding a gun to our own heads," said Texas Senior Republican Senator John Cornyn. Texas Junior Senator Ted Cruz said, there`s no reason for Texas farmers, and ranchers, and manufacturers, and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.
We`ve been telling you for years now that the Trump tariffs are actually taxes on Americans and now finally Republicans admit that. Seven Republicans broke with the President yesterday in the House of Representatives and voted for the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019.
The bill was delivered to the House floor by the House Judiciary Committee proving that the Judiciary Committee can legislate and investigate the President at the same time. The bill would grant legal status and a path to citizenship for young people who were brought to this country as children and have lived here all of their lives.
Freshman member of the House Judiciary Committee Joe Neguse from Colorado rose in support of the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO), HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I rise today not just as a member of this body, not just as a proud American but as the son of immigrants, the son of African refugees who came to United States -- who came to the United States over 35 years ago from a war-torn country in East Africa.
They became naturalized citizens and they never forgot nor took for granted the freedom and the opportunities that the United States of America gave them and their children. That I am able to stand in this chamber with all of you today is proof that the American dream is real, and I want it to be attainable for generations to come. That is why we must pass HR-6 today.
Right now. Right now.
Right now there are young people all across our country who know no other home but the United States. These kids are dedicated and willing to put in the hard work to earn a college education. They are excelling in their careers. They are contributing to our communities in countless ways every day. We cannot allow these young people to continue to live in fear to be at risk every single day of being ripped away from their lives and losing everything that they know.
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O`DONNELL: After this final break, we will be joined by Congressman Neguse. We`ll ask where he stands on impeachment as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. And about that breaking news tonight, about a conflict between Chairman Nadler and Speaker Pelosi, and we will hear more of what he had to say about fighting for DREAMers on the House floor.
NEGUSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer a quote and the quote is as follows. "It is bold men and women yearning for freedom and opportunity who leave their homelands and come to a new country to start their lives over. They believe in the American dream, and over and over they make it come true for themselves, for their children and for others. They give more than they receive. They labor and succeed, and often they are entrepreneurs, but their greatest contribution is more than economic, because they understand in a special way how glorious it is to be an American."
That quote, that`s not my words. Those are the words of President Ronald Reagan. They were -- and they were delivered by President Ronald Reagan in 1980, the same year my parent came to the United States. Let`s pass the HR-6 today and let`s treat every person in our country who has struggled and is just as American as you and I are. Let`s treat them with the respect that they deserve.
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O`DONNELL: Joining us now is freshman Congressman Joe Neguse from Colorado. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
And, Congressman, I wanted to talk to you about this great example that you`ve delivered this week, that the Judiciary Committee can legislate and investigate at the same time. Judiciary committee passing the DREAMers bill out of committee then passing it on the House floor.
Let me begin though with the breaking news from Politico tonight indicating certainly a strong difference of opinion between Speaker Pelosi and your chairman of the Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler on impeachment. Politico is reporting Nadler pressed Pelosi to allow his committee to launch an impeachment inquiry against Trump, the second such request he has made in recent weeks only to the rebuffed by the California Democrat and other senior leaders.
Is that your understanding of Chairman Nadler`s position?
NEGUSE: Well, it`s good to be with you, Lawrence. And thanks for having me on the program.
I would say with respect to your first point, I think you`re exactly right. And that is to say that, you know, we`ve been saying for quite sometime that we could, you know, walk and chew gum at the same time, and that legislating and engaging an oversight was not mutually exclusive. And I think we`ve proven that time and time again, and certainly that was the case yesterday when we passed the Dream and Promise Act.
With respect to your question regarding that report, I have not seen that report, so I don`t know that I`m in a position to comment on it. Look, you know, you`ve reported this, as many others. There`s obviously some differences of opinion within the Democratic Caucus.
As one would expect, we are a diverse party, a big tent caucus. We represent different areas of the country, geographically diverse and idealogically diverse as well. And so, there are going to be differences of opinion both on policy and on oversight.
And obviously, as you know, there are some who believe that in a proceeding under the normal sort of oversight process is the most prudent step. There are others, and that includes me who believe that opening an inquiry, an impeachment inquiry, is the most prudent step.
And, you know, as you know, and you`ve interviewed several of my colleagues previously, those of us who serve on the Judiciary Committee, a number of us fall in that latter camp in part because we have witnessed, you know, the wholesale obstruction of Congress in a very visceral way. I mean, the subpoenas that have being ignored by this administration time and time again, are subpoenas issued by our committee. So we, of course, are going to have more, as I said, perhaps visceral understanding of kind of that obstruction happening up close.
But, look, I think our chairman is doing a terrific job, and he has scheduled a set of hearings that I believe you`ve already mentioned in your program starting next week that will really focus on the substance of the special counsel`s report, and I think again try to educate the American public about the findings in the report, which in many ways have been kind of obfuscated by the administration`s obstruction by our ability to engage in basic oversight.
O`DONNELL: I have to say, in my experience working with chairmen and committees in the Senate, to me the indicator, the public indicator that Chairman Nadler is leaning toward at minimum if not clearly favors moving to impeachment is that, he`s allowed half of the Democratic members of his committee, including you, to be out there publicly favoring impeachment. And the chairman at least used to try to control what their members said publicly.
NEGUSE: You know, I`ve only been in Congress for a few months, so, you, of course, have a far better understanding of it given your experience in the Senate for many years. But, you know, my sense of it is, you know, we govern by consensus in the caucus.
You know, each of us are elected to represent our constituents to the best of our ability and ultimately to honor the oath that we take to defend the constitution. So, you know, members are going to make the decisions that, you know, is ultimately on their own timetables and I think we ought to respect that.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Joe Neguse gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman.
NEGUSE: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.
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