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Trump sides with North Korean dictator. TRANSCRIPT: 6/11/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Ron Klain, Jennifer Palmieri, Rick Wilson, Ezra Levin

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

I`m so glad you showed that Jon Stewart video.  I think it`s the viral video of the day.  You just can`t turn away from it when you watch it. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Yes, Jon Stewart retired from his TV career now for a few years, but he`s been stalwart on this issue.  He`s been there every time.  It`s amazing.  They just need to keep doing it. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, he really is so faithful to this subject.  He has picked his subject and really, really stuck with it.  It`s really impressive to see. 

MADDOW:  Yes.  Thanks, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 

Well, as Rachel just showed you, Mr. Stewart went to Washington today and once again Jon Stewart went down to Washington to once again plead to a House committee for continued funding, this time permanent funding to support 9/11 first responders who continue to this day they continue to get new diagnoses of deadly illnesses from their exposure to the toxins we now know where at Ground Zero immediately after the collapse of those buildings and for weeks and weeks and weeks after that. 

And at the end of this hour we`ll hear more of what Jon Stewart had to say.  But more importantly, and I`m sure Jon Stewart would agree that this is more important than what he had to say today.  We will hear the testimony of some of those first responders who joined Jon Stewart in that hearing room today, and one of them gave us details of what happened at Ground Zero on 9/11, on that very first day that I for one have never heard before.  Haunting detail. 

Another testified that he will be having his 69th chemotherapy treatment tomorrow, because of what happened to him at ground zero.  Most of us probably have already seen what Jon Stewart had to say.  You just saw it with Rachel.  I`ve seen the full nine minutes online, as many, many people have today, but you will really want to hear what those first responders sitting with Jon Stewart had to say today, too. 

Now, to the news of the day, that really is the single most important thing that happened in Washington today.  And it`s never easy to pick that.  It`s never easy to say what the most important thing is.  But it was something Donald Trump said today. 

And to say that Donald Trump shocked the world today is to say that it`s Tuesday.  No one has been able to keep track of how many times President Trump has shocked the world, but he has never done anything publicly quite like what he did today.  On a typical day in this news environment, it really is not easy to say what the most important thing is that happened in the Trump administration. 

But today, it`s absolutely clear, there is just no question about it, today the president made a public statement that will live in history today as the most important thing that the President Trump -- that President Trump said today.  The president was talking about Kim Jong-un again today and he talked about receiving what the president called a beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un.  He has talked that way many times before. 

So most of the news media seized on the president once again referring to a beautiful letter that he got from a murderous dictator who has done absolutely nothing to deserve President Trump`s respect or anyone`s respect anywhere in the world, but what the president said about the CIA and Kim Jong-un`s half brother in the middle of what he said about the beautiful letter is the most important thing that Donald Trump said and did today. 

Yesterday, "The Wall Street Journal" reported that Kim Jong-un`s half brother was an informant for the CIA, possibly the most valuable North Korean asset the CIA has ever had, until Kim Jong-un had him murdered in public in the airport at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

The president, of course, was asked today about this extraordinary revelation by "The Wall Street Journal" that Kim Jong-un`s half brother was a CIA informer and this, this is what the president of the United States actually said. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un.  And I think the relationship is very well, but I appreciated the letter. 

I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother or half brother, and I would tell him that would not happen under my -- under my auspices.  That`s for sure.  I wouldn`t let that happen under my auspices. 

But I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un.  I can`t show you the letter, obviously, but it was a very personal, very warm, very nice letter.  I appreciate it. 


O`DONNELL:  I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother or half brother and I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices.  That`s for sure. 

So the president of the United States is telling Kim Jong-un he would not have used his brother as a CIA informant, and he seems to be telling Kim Jong-un he won`t use anyone as an informant against the most dangerous and murderous dictator on earth. 

We have heard the word "treason" used more during the Trump presidency than at any time since World War II, which was actually the last time anyone was found guilty of treason in this country.  Every use of the word "treason" you have heard during the Trump years has been wrong technically because courts have essentially held that the legal definition of treason is giving aid and comfort to a country that is a formally declared enemy of the United States in a declaration of war.

But what the president did today is as close as you can get to treason with a country that is not a subject of a formal declaration of war by the United States.  North Korea is the only country in the 21st century that has specifically threatened the United States with nuclear attack, although North Korea is not yet apparently capable of carrying out such an attack. 

Now, let`s just reset what President Trump did today to 1962, the year President John F. Kennedy faced the Cuban missile crisis and forced the Soviet Union to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba.  Imagine if "The Wall Street Journal" reported that Fidel Castro`s brother was a CIA informer and the next day, President Kennedy publicly promised Fidel Castro that he would not allow the CIA to use an informer like that against Fidel Castro. 

President Kennedy would have been impeached and removed from office by the end of the week.  It is hard to be shocked by Donald Trump, now more than two years into the Trump presidency, but even all of Donald Trump`s admiring statements and trusting statements about Vladimir Putin do not equal what he said today about Kim Jong-un -- Kim Jong-un`s half brother and the CIA. 

This makes North Korea an even more urgent issue for presidential candidates now.  Before the president made his latest outrageous statement about North Korea today, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said this --


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You will not see me exchanging love letters on White House letterhead with a brutal dictator who starves and murders his own people. 



O`DONNELL:  Also today, Joe Biden said this --


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  He embraces dictators like Kim Jong-un, who is a damn murderer and a thug.  Well, the one thing they agree on, Joe Biden, shouldn`t be president.  He quotes Kim Jong-un saying, I agree with him.  He`s right about Biden. 


O`DONNELL:  Now, let`s watch the evolution of Donald Trump`s feelings about Kim Jong-un from rocketman to a man he now says he loves. 


TRUMP:  North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.  They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. 

Rocketman is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. 

Lil Rocketman.  He is a sick puppy. 

REPORTER:  Mr. President, what surprised you the most about Chairman Kim? 

TRUMP:  Great personality and very smart.  Good combination. 

REPORTER:  Is he a worthy negotiator? 

TRUMP:  He`s a very talented man.  I also learned that he loves his country very much. 

And then we fell in love, OK?  No, really.  He wrote me beautiful letters.  And they`re great letters.  We fell in love. 


O`DONNELL:  Leading off our discussion now is Ambassador Wendy Sherman.  She`s the former undersecretary of state in the Obama administration.  She`s an MSNBC global affairs contributor. 

Also joining us is Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and former senior director and spokesperson for the National Security Council in the Obama administration.  He is also an MSNBC national security contributor. 

And Ron Klain is with us.  He was a former senior aide to Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama and former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

And Wendy Sherman, I want to begin with you.  You have experience dealing with North Korea when you were working back in the Clinton administration.  I think we all have different now shock response mechanisms to Donald Trump.  I can`t think of anything he has said as president that is -- that more violates the trust that that job has imposed on him, to actually say he would not have used this intelligence asset, Kim Jong-un`s half brother, would not have used that as a CIA asset. 

What was your reaction to that today? 

WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE:  This has so many disastrous implications, Lawrence. 

Obviously, if the president of the United States is into Kim Jong-un, I have news for him -- Kim Jong-un is just not that into you.  He is playing you for all that it`s worth.  He understands the use of flattery. 

The president saying he wouldn`t use intelligence connections is really critical to everything we do in diplomacy, everything we do to protect our national security.  It is once again undermining an American institution. 

And one thing that`s really important in all of this is anybody that the CIA is currently trying to recruit, Ned knows this probably better than any of us, they now know that the United States may not have their back, and so our ability to get informants, our ability to get intelligence has been completely undermined by the president of the United States and the commander-in-chief of our forces. 

One more point that`s really important here.  Our intelligence has been a critical relationship through the years.  It was not for nothing that the director of national intelligence, Jim Clapper, went to North Korea to bring hostages back here. 

That didn`t just happen.  There are things that happen in this world that protect Americans, that keep us safe, and we need to continue to ensure that that can happen. 

When we were negotiating during the Clinton administration, last point, we discussed, in fact, opening liaison offices and we were all very clear with each other that that would include intelligence capability because it`s important to every country.  I can assure you, Kim Jong-un has not stopped looking for assets to help him -- nor should we. 

O`DONNELL:  Ned Price, here is a murderous dictator who has attacked the United States.  He actually -- he attacked the Sony Studios in Los Angeles.  He`s actually launched a successful cyber attack in the United States.  He has murdered countless people.  He starves people to death. 

We desperately need intelligence on him.  And Donald Trump is saying he won`t use an intelligence source if the intelligence source is actually that close to Kim Jong-un, if it`s actually a member of his family, apparently. 

NED PRICE, FORMER CIA ANALYST:  Yes, Lawrence, you know, this is not the first time you and I have discussed this president`s insults to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Let`s be clear, that`s exactly what this is. 

But I tonight am much less concerned about their morale, about how they are approaching this because they have seen this movie before, they have been through this before.  After all, this is a president who didn`t even wait until he was inaugurated to start knocking our intelligence and law enforcement communities. 

I`m much more concerned with the point Wendy brought up, and that is the implications that this is going to have for the individuals around the world who are -- or potentially might provide information to the U.S. government, commit treason against their own regimes to help us advance our interests, to help us defend our country against any number of threats.  And I think we can`t look at this in isolation, Lawrence.  We have to look at this together with a series of incidents, including recently, the president`s decision to authorize to the attorney general declassification authority, allowing him to essentially declassify anything he sees fit vis- a-vis the start of the Russia investigation. 

And we`ve all heard the news reports that informants in Russia may have been key to the start of that investigation.  All of these steps send a chill down the spine of the brave men and women who want to help us and who we and this president, I should say, are essentially turning away, turning away in droves, tying our hands behind our back and unilaterally disarming ourselves where we need it most, including in places like North Korea. 

O`DONNELL:  Ned, knowing the operations of the CIA the way you do, and the current director is a career CIA operative, Director Haspel.  Is it possible, is it possible that Donald Trump did not know until "The Wall Street Journal" reported it that Kim Jong-un`s half brother might have been a CIA informer? 

PRICE:  Well, Lawrence, I guess I should stipulate by saying we`re all assuming in this conversation that "The Wall Street Journal" and other reporting about this is accurate.  Let`s just assume that for the sake of argument. 

I think it is very possible if you listen to the way Donald Trump responded to that question this morning that he was taken by surprise.  And it shouldn`t come as a surprise to us if Donald Trump was not briefed on this. 

If you are the CIA director, if you`re the director of national intelligence and your primary customer, the president of the United States, is someone who is prone to spill secrets in the Oval Office, is someone who is reportedly prone to tell the leader of a foreign country the location of our nuclear sub-marines, a president who is prone to go on Twitter and according to some accounts acknowledge a covert action program.  If this is a president who is prone to spill other covert actions, including to the Russians, why would you divulge to him the identities of specific CIA sources? 

These are the crown jewels of our intelligence community, and typically the names and positions of CIA assets don`t leave Langley, and I think that`s especially important during this administration when you have a president who has met one-on-one with our adversaries, Kim Jong-un and Putin -- in the case of the latter, without another American official in the room. 

O`DONNELL:  Ron Klain, imagine, if you will, when Soviet missiles were in Cuba aimed at the United States.  "The Wall Street Journal" reports that Fidel Castro`s brother is a CIA informer and President Kennedy comes out publicly and says he will not allow the CIA to have an informer who is Fidel Castro`s brother. 

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VP BIDEN:  Yes, Lawrence, it`s a great metaphor and a shocking comparison.  It`s a particularly fitting metaphor because as you said at the outset of the show, North Korea is the one country that has issued a specific nuclear threat against the United States in the past decade.  And we know that Donald Trump is closing his eyes to the threat that North Korea poses for advancing its nuclear program. 

He so much wants to claim this lovey-dovey relationship and success that he is not listening to the intelligence community, not looking at the clear signs that North Korea may be proceeding with this program, and so it`s not just that he`s refusing intelligence, which is very bad, it`s not just that he is outing -- that he is sending the signal that both Ned and Wendy talked about to intelligence sources around the world, that we may not have their back. 

I think even the scarier thing still is that the president is turning a blind eye to the potential acceleration of the North Korea nuclear program and that`s really putting America at risk from the one country that says they`re going to use nuclear weapons against us. 

O`DONNELL:  Ambassador Sherman, to that point, you`re out there and you have been cooperating with the CIA or some other branch of the American government, intelligence system, and you hear the president of the United States basically express his love for the most murderous dictator on the face of the earth.  And whether you`ve been helping with North Korea or Saudi Arabia or any other country that the United States is interested in getting information about, don`t you have to pause and say at some point is this president going to fall in love with the regime I`m helping the United States with if he hasn`t already, and if he does, will I be exposed? 

SHERMAN:  Absolutely.  It`s simply breathtaking.  It`s terrifying. 

At the end of this month, the president goes to the G20.  He`s going to meet with South Koreans.  He`s going to meet with Japan.  He`s going to go to Seoul I think as part of this conversation. 

And they have to wonder what this president is doing.  The South Koreans want detente with the North.  They want a relationship.  But not at all costs. 

And when the president is -- says that these missiles going off don`t matter to him, when John Bolton is saying they`re a violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution and these short-range missiles can hit South Korea and can hit Japan and the president doesn`t seem to care, one wonders what the strategy is here.  Everything the president does is tactical, it is a win/lose kind of negotiating strategy.  It doesn`t see all the pieces on the table to get to the result that Ron was talking about. 

We need to be concerned about the threat that North Korea poses and no number of beautiful letters are going to solve this problem. 

O`DONNELL:  Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Ned Price, Ron Klain, thank you all for starting us off tonight.  Really appreciate it.  Thank you. 

And when we come back, a new poll shows President Trump losing to every Democratic candidate he was matched against in that poll.  But today, President Trump was focused on only one of those candidates.  That`s next. 

And the House Judiciary Committee today fought back against obstruction from the Trump White House. 

And Jon Stewart got a standing ovation at a House subcommittee hearing today, but he was not the only one.  You will hear from the retired NYPD detective who also got a standing ovation in that room today and who tomorrow will be getting his 69th chemotherapy treatment. 


O`DONNELL:  A new Quinnipiac poll out today shows President Trump losing in head-to-head match-ups against every Democratic candidate that he was matched against in that poll.  All of those candidates lead Donald Trump by at least five points, but in that new poll no one did better against Donald Trump than Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, who leads the president 53 percent to 40 percent in that poll. 

That poll came out today as Joe Biden and President Trump both headed to Iowa on the same day.  President Trump is obviously treating Joe Biden as the front-runner in the Democratic field and the one he expects to face in the general election and the one he fears the most, which means Joe Biden is now the candidate who Donald Trump is obsessed with and must find the craziest insults for. 


TRUMP:  I`d rather run against I think Biden than anybody.  I think he`s the weakest mentally, and I like running against people that are weak mentally.  I think Joe is the weakest up here.  The others have much more energy.  I don`t agree with their policies, but I think Joe is a man who is -- I call him 1 percent Joe because until Obama came along, he didn`t do very well. 


O`DONNELL:  Joe Biden went on to deliver three speeches across the state of Iowa.  When a protester interrupted at the beginning of his first speech, Joe Biden used that opportunity to show he is a very different person from Donald Trump. 


BIDEN:  No, no, that`s OK.  No, no, no, this is not a Trump rally.  Let him go.  Let him go. 


BIDEN:  Shh.  If you hush up I`ll answer your question.  If I answer your question, will you let me go on to other things?  No, that`s OK. 


BIDEN:  Look, I`ll tell you what, I promise you I`ll answer your question.  Come on up and we`ll do it after this is over, OK?  I promise I`ll sit with you, OK? 



O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now, Jennifer Palmieri, former White House communications director for President Obama and former communications director for Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign. 

Also with us, Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and a contributor to "The Daily Beast."  He is the author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."

Thank you, Rick, for having a title that I can`t say with a straight face. 

Jennifer, let`s -- let`s go to that moment that we just saw.  Joe Biden gets the heckler at the speech.  We`ve seen that time and time and time again at Donald Trump`s campaign rallies in 2016 and since then, and every time Donald Trump went after those people from the podium as viciously as he could.  That is not what we saw today with Joe Biden. 

JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Yes.  He was deft and he was kind.  These are two traits that don`t normally apply to President Trump.  So I thought he handled that really well. 

You know, he`s a human, and he had -- and, you know, he`s had a good -- he had a good day today.  He had a good poll.  That Quinnipiac poll that you talked about, I thought it wasn`t just that Biden had the biggest lead, right, over Trump, that number of how many people supported Trump was the lowest for him, right?  It was only 40 percent. 

So the -- that shows that Biden got -- was able to attract a lot of Trump support and Biden was able to keep Trump`s number down, right?  If the Trump re-elect sees that 40 percent number and that makes them very nervous.  So, you know, that was a good day. 

O`DONNELL:  Rick Wilson, is it your reading based on Donald Trump`s obsession with Joe Biden today that Joe Biden is the one that Donald Trump fears the most? 

RICK WILSON, AUTHOR, "EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES":  Well, I think two things obtained here, Lawrence.  The first is Donald Trump`s insults are always projections. 

O`DONNELL:  Oh, yes. 

WILSON:  Donald Trump knows he is a man in cognitive decline.  He knows that things are slipping.  He knows that things are breaking around the edges in his own brain and his inability to focus, his inability to have coherent series -- a coherent series of thoughts and statements, his rage tweeting, all these things are symptomatic, I think, of Donald Trump feeling like the world is slipping away from him a little bit.

But his obsession with Biden is justified based on the polling and justified based on the fact that Donald Trump has a sort of feral cunning about his base in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio.  He`s very worried that Joe Biden will be able to connect with them because Joe Biden doesn`t come across in the same way that a lot of the other Democrats who are much more woke and progressive come across.  Joe Biden still has, even though he`s been the vice president, a lot of that working class vibe that in those states could be an effective counterweight to some of Trump`s populism. 

O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what Joe Biden said today about Donald Trump being a threat to the nation. 


BIDEN:  I believe that Trump poses a fundamental threat to America.  We hold these truths self-evident, all men and women, all are created equal.  It`s an American creed. 

It`s who we are.  It`s what we`ve been.  We haven`t always lived up to it but we`ve never fully abandoned it.  We have never stopped trying to create a more perfect union. 

It`s the American creed but Trump doesn`t see it that way.  He thinks when we talk that way, it makes us weak.  He has no idea, in my view, what makes us strong.  What makes us strong as a nation is our honesty, our decency, treating everyone with some dignity. 



O`DONNELL:  Jennifer, Joe Biden is definitely running against Donald Trump.  He`s not running against the others in the Democratic field, at least the way he presents it. 

PALMIERI:  Yes, and that is -- and I think that`s the essence of his message, right?  Which is that if you -- if you bring me into the Oval Office, I will restore the values that we hold as Americans.  We will wash away the Trump presidency. 

It`s a very high altitude message.  That`s appealing, as you can see.  It`s also very hard to sustain in the day-to-day combat of a primary campaign, particularly when we have, you know, more than seven months before anybody votes. 

So, he has not gone to Iowa a lot.  I think, you know, that campaign has a tough balancing act between trying to protect the vice president`s front- runner status, his sort of -- his elevated spot among the field and, you know, you can`t protect that forever because you got to go to Iowa, you got to do the fair, you got to do all the events that people there expect you to do. 

And if you don`t do well in - if he doesn`t do well in Iowa, his strength, which is that aura of inevitability starts to - that really starts to slip and then you know that`s certainly what we experience on the Clinton campaign and then he`s in for a tough fight.

O`DONNELL: I recall, so we had a New York Times report about the President telling his staff to lie about their internal polls that show how weak he is. But we`ve got a public poll today, showing that Cory Booker leads Donald Trump. Senator Harris leads Donald Trump. Senator Warren leads Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders leads Donald Trump. Pete Buttigieg leads Donald Trump. How humiliating is that for the President?

WILSON: It`s pretty bad. I mean look hobos living under the overpass lead Donald Trump in these polls. UTIs lead Donald Trump in these polls. He`s getting beaten like a government mule in poll after poll and look, it`s a long way from the election. It`s a long way from these being state polls in the key states. But Donald Trump`s ego is such a fragile little egg, it`s so delicate at all times that it`s driving him crazy right now. And so, of course when Tony Fabrizio, who is a very effective pollster, I`ve known him for years, the guy is good at the work he does. He wasn`t going to bring the President uphold that said, hey, you`re a by gazillion points when he`s getting his tail kicked.

So, Trump is obviously very unhappy about this and he lies about everything, so why wouldn`t he lie about this. Donald Trump`s mouth is moving, he is lying. And ordering the staff to lie about the polls is why it leaked. They recognize that this campaign is not 2016. It is something much more dangerous for him. It is now a referendum on Donald Trump, not a referendum on Hillary Clinton.

O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson and Jennifer Palmieri, thank you both for joining our discussion tonight. Appreciate it.

And when we come back, the House Judiciary Committee took action today to get more of Robert Mueller`s work product.



REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): For two years under Republican control, President Trump and his administration were able to evade accountability and transparency with the American people. I am standing here with my colleagues today to say that era is over.


O`DONNELL: That was House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, moments after the House approved a resolution to authorize the Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce two subpoenas related to Robert Mueller`s investigative findings. The resolution passed along party lines 229 to 191. It grants the Judiciary Committee, the power to petition a federal judge to force Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with congressional subpoenas that they have defied. Chairman Nadler told Ari Melber tonight that the resolution empowers the Judiciary Committee to enforce subpoenas against other Trump connected witnesses.


NADLER: We will use it on Mr. McGahn. We`ll use it on any other witness for instance Hope Hicks or Andy Donaldson, if they don`t comply with subpoenas and testify and give us the information. And the documents that we have requested.


O`DONNELL: Other House committees will also be able to move more quickly to court to enforce subpoenas now. The vote on these civil enforcement resolutions comes one day after Chairman Nadler reached a deal with the Justice Department that allows members of the Judiciary Committee to obtain what he called "key evidence" that was his phrase, "key evidence" from the Mueller investigation. After our next break, the group indivisible has a new poll of Democratic supporters on their thoughts on whether the House should move forward with impeachment proceedings. We`ll get the results of that poll next.



NADLER: We will move as quickly as possible to go to court against Don McGahn, the President`s former counsel and any subsequent witnesses who disobeys a committee subpoena. We are going to move quickly to court for access to grand jury material in the Mueller Report.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Ezra Levin, co-Founder and co- Executive Director of the Indivisible Project and Ezra you have a new poll on impeachment. Who did you poll? What did you find?

EZRA LEVIN, INDIVISIBLE PROJECT CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: That`s right Lawrence. So, Indivisible of course is made up of locally led volunteer groups all around the country and blue states and red states and purple states. These are the folks who were showing up at town halls in 2017 to kill the attack on the Affordable Care Act. These are the folks who helped build the big blue wave that we saw in 2018. And so, after Mueller`s statement, after his press statement, we asked them, we asked them what do you think about impeachment. And these again, these are the folks who are on the ground throughout the country. And I think there are three interesting things about this poll. We got an overwhelming response from this movement.

Number one, 80 percent were in favor of impeachment, 80 percent. Only 8 percent said that we should not begin impeachment investigation, so that`s about a 10 to 1 in favor of impeachment proceedings beginning. That was the first interesting response. I think the second interesting response was, we asked them, do you think this is a political winner for Democrats or do you think this is going to hurt Democrats in their effort to retake the presidency, to retake the Senate. And this was interesting because it cuts against kind of conventional Washington wisdom right now. More than half said they thought it was a political winner for Democrats. Only about 20 percent said, they thought it would hurt Democrats.

And I think that`s really important because the disagreement within the Democratic caucus you see right now is not about whether Trump is committed crimes, whether or not it`s the constitutional responsibility of the U.S. House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings. The disagreement among Democrats is, is this a political winner or is this going to hurt us. And what we see among the grassroots is that they aren`t as settled on this idea that it`s going to hurt Democrats. They actually think it`s a bad thing for a President to be impeached.

Now, I`m not saying that we know one way or another what`s going to turn out in 2020. But at the very least, the politics is unclear and when the politics is unclear as a former congressional staffer, who`s somewhat jaded, I say it`s good just to do the right thing. And that brings us to the last piece that we heard from these folks on the ground which is they are ready to do work. 75 percent want to spend several hours a week or month to make impeachment happen. And so, this Saturday across the country, there are going to be rallies to push congressional offices to start impeachment. People can join their own rallies all around the country, go to to find them.

O`DONNELL: Ezra, is it your sense that they`re at all worried about Congress`s ability to continue to focus on the issues, legislative issues that this group cares about and also move impeachment at the same time?

LEVIN: Look, I do think we need to be able to walk and chew gum. There are several different committees in Congress for a reason. It`s the judiciary committee`s responsibility to start impeachment proceedings. We`ve heard from Jerry Nadler on your show, a little bit in this hour.

Jerry Nadler would like to begin impeachment proceedings. A majority of Democrats on the Judiciary Committee would like to begin impeachment proceedings. It`s currently House Democratic leadership who is preventing that from happening. I think Judiciary Committee should be able to do what they want to do as well.

O`DONNELL: Ezra Levin, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

LEVIN: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: And as Ezra was saying they can do more than one thing at a time. Jerry Nadler chaired a subcommittee hearing today of the Judiciary Committee, where Jon Stewart appeared along with some first responders who were there. On 9/11 at Ground Zero. Immediately after the buildings came down. And I heard a detail from one of them, a haunting detail that I have never heard before. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: The House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the impeachment process has shown repeatedly this year that the committee is doing more than just investigating the President and the committee showed that again today. But I`m not sure we would know that if it were not for Jon Stewart, who single handedly managed to focus our attention on a Subcommittee hearing today in the House Judiciary Committee.

The video of Jon Stewart`s nine minutes of moral outrage has gone viral today and many of you have seen every word of what Jon Stewart had to say when he demanded as he has done repeatedly before, continued funding for the Federal Victims Compensation Fund to support 9/11 first responders, who continue to be diagnosed with deadly illnesses because of their work on what they call the pile. The steaming rubble at Ground Zero, which we now know was toxic.

Some of the people who were poisoned by those toxins at Ground Zero spoke at the hearing today before Jon Stewart spoke. Jon Stewart was obviously deeply moved by their stories even though he had already knew their stories. And Jon Stewart referred to them by name in his own statement.

One of them was firefighter Michael O`Connell, who was the first of hundreds of firefighters who were exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero, who have since been diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease. Michael O`Connell was a 25-year-old probationary firefighter on 9/11. He was not yet even a graduate of the New York Fire Department`s Academy. He was at home when the towers were struck, and he immediately rushed to his fire station in Queens.

No matter how much you know about 9/11, there is always something new to learn. Another haunting detail and that`s what happened for many of us today. When Michael O`Connell talked about what he heard on 9/11 at Ground Zero.


MICHAEL O`CONNELL, FIREFIGHTER: Upon arrival, we went to work right away in the war zone later known as Ground Zero. We were given many tasks and tried our best to search for human life, but unfortunately, we weren`t very successful. Countless hours we spent digging by hand. To this day, there is really only one memory etched into my brain and one that still haunts me to this day and every night as firefighters, we wear Scott packs that are equipped with pass alarms, pass alarms are meant to go off, when a firefighter is laid motionless making a screeching sound, so you can go find them. Well, for the first few minutes of our arrival and the countless hours that passed that`s all we heard that was our brothers trapped beneath the pile of concrete and steel and we cannot get to them.


O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back with more from today`s hearing.


O`DONNELL: Here is Jon Stewart today testifying to a Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: The official FDNY response time to 9/11 was five seconds, five seconds. That`s how long it took for FDNY, for NYPD, for Port Authority, for EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public. Five seconds.

Hundreds died in an instant, thousands more poured in to continue to fight for their brothers and sisters. The breathing problems started almost immediately, and they were told they weren`t sick, they were crazy. And then as the illnesses got worse, things became more apparent. Well OK, you`re sick, but it`s not from the pile. And then when the science became irrefutable, OK, it`s the pile, but this is a New York issue. I don`t know if we have the money. And I`m sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I`m angry.


O`DONNELL: Jon Stewart`s righteous anger was building today when some of the victims of the toxins at Ground Zero made their statements to the committee before Jon Stewart did.

Jon Stewart`s moral outrage was pitch perfect. Today in that committee hearing room, where he was trying to obtain once again continued funding for the Victim Compensation Fund for the First Responders who continue to be diagnosed with grave illnesses and fatal illnesses after being exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero. Jon Stewart got something you rarely see in a Congressional hearing room, a standing ovation. But he wasn`t the only one.

Just before Jon Stewart spoke, retired NYPD Detective, Luis Alvarez also got a standing ovation in that hearing room.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Detective Alvarez.

LUIS ALVAREZ, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Luis Alvarez and I`m a retired NYPD Detective from the bomb squad and a proud military veteran. Less than 24 hours from now, I will be starting my 69th round of chemotherapy. Yes, you heard that correct. I should not be here with you.

But you made me come, you made me come because I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than anyone else, because of when they get sick, they die. It is my goal and it is my legacy to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders. We were there with one mission and we left after completing that mission.

I have been to many places in this world, excuse me, I`ve done many things. But I can tell you that I did not want to be anywhere else, but Ground Zero, when I was there. We were part of showing the world that we would never back down from terrorism, and we could all work together. No races, no colors, no politics. You all said you would never forget. Well, I`m here to make sure that you don`t.

You made me come down here the day before my 69th round of chemo. And I`m going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 responders. Thank you for your time.


O`DONNELL: Detective Luis Alvarez gets tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.