New Trump administration ICE raid. TRANSCRIPT: 8/8/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Pete Aguilar, Berit Berger, Neera Tanden, Eric Swalwell, AngieCraig

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Now, it is time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". 

Good evening, Lawrence.  I`m sorry, I`m in your real estate. 

 LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Oh, come on, it`s 18 seconds. 

Rachel, it`s been fascinating to watch -- for me to watch, I guess what I would call the evolution of Jerry Nadler on the subject of impeachment as you were discussing.  I first talked to him about it right after the election in November where he was going to be elevated to chairman of the Judiciary Committee and he was right here in the studio with me. 

And I said at one point, you have complete direct control over the impeachment process, it`s up to you to begin it, and he knew that was true and kind of didn`t want it to be true in that interview at that point.  He sort of deflected it a little bit, and he was very much on the same page rhetorically as Speaker Pelosi at the time, saying impeachment is very divisive.  He wouldn`t want to do it, unless he knew the Senate could convict -- all those talking points.  They disappeared rather quickly with Jerry Nadler.

And tonight, as I was listening to them with you, he increasingly sounds and he has for months now like a House Judiciary Committee who understands his place in history and how his work will be judged in history. 

MADDOW:  Yes, and it`s also -- I mean, he`s saying listen, everybody is focused on the semantics but this is happening.  This is --

O`DONNELL:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  This is underway and we`re proceeding, yes, on the grounds of what`s in the Mueller report.  But one of the things that was interesting to hear from him tonight is other non-Mueller report grounds on which they are considering articles of impeachment against the president right now.  And it`s not all derived from Mueller but a lot of obviously what they want to continue to investigate is and they have now got everything in place to get what they need, including the testimony from the various witnesses, but they are also steaming in a goal oriented way towards what they want to get done. 

And it`s -- all the ambiguity and all the -- you know, all the punditry and all the discussion about this stuff is now moot.  It`s on.  It`s happening. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, he basically said to me last week in a similar interview that this is it.  This is the impeachment process, it`s underway. 

MADDOW:  Yes.

O`DONNELL:  And the truth of it as he clarified for me last week that there is no bright line procedurally in the House Judiciary Committee that says, OK, today is an impeachment process and yesterday wasn`t.  Once they start moving in that direction and asking questions in that direction, it is as you said, it is on. 

MADDOW:  It`s on.  Once the committee chairman says yes, we`re considering articles of impeachment against the president -- 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

MADDOW:  -- and potentially voting to recommend to remove him from office, like, OK, like we can stop arguing whether they`re going to do this, right?  It`s actually happening.

O`DONNELL:  And that makes Jerry Nadler the fourth chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in history who has said that. 

MADDOW:  Yes, wow. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you. 

Well, in tonight`s episode of "meet the freshman", you will meet a freshman member of Congress who is a married lesbian mother of four who took a House seat away from a Republican in a farming district in Minnesota, a congressional district that Donald Trump won.  If Donald Trump loses even just a few districts like that next year in the right states, he will lose his reelection campaign. 

And now, Donald Trump is the worst thing that has happened to farmers in the lifetime of currently working American farmers because of his trade war with China, a war that American farmers are definitely losing. 

Congresswoman Angie Craig will join us at the end of this hour with what might be the key to defeating Donald Trump`s reelection campaign. 

Last night at this hour, we refused to show you the propaganda video recorded by the Trump White House during the president`s visits to hospitals in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.  The news media was not allowed to see what Donald Trump was actually doing and saying in those hospitals.  The news media cameras were not allowed, and video released today shows why no one should have shown the Trump propaganda video yesterday, which was turned into a Trump campaign commercial released on Twitter yesterday.

We now have a slightly better and only slightly better idea of what happened inside those hospitals because private video recorded by people in those rooms is beginning to emerge, perhaps more will emerge.  But as of now, it is exactly the kind of obscenity you had every right to expect it to be when Donald Trump spoke in those hospitals. 

We see Donald Trump in El Paso speaking to some of the heroes in that hospital, doctors, nurses and others who spent days and continue to spend days trying to save lives and he said not one word to them about what he would try to do to prevent another massacre from sending dozens and dozens of victims to their hospital. 

Instead, he lied to them about their own community.  He insulted their intelligence and their dignity by lying to their faces about something they both know, they know is both a lie and they very much do not care about.  The lie was about the size of the crowd, yes, the size of the crowd that Donald Trump attracted when he held a hate-fueled campaign rally in El Paso six months ago.  Here is that lie. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  That was some crowd. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you. 

TRUMP:  We had twice the number outside and then you had this Crazy Beto.  Beto had 400 people in a parking lot.  They said his crowd was wonderful. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Ah, the laughing first lady and the laughing president.  Laughing about the Trump lies. 

What we said back then was that the El Paso police department estimated that Beto O`Rourke`s crowds between 10,000 and 15,000 people and everyone in that room yesterday knows that.  They know that it was not 400 people. 

But most importantly, no one in that room except Donald Trump and the third Mrs. Trump care about that crowd now.  No one cares about that this week.  No one cared about that in that hospital yesterday, except Donald Trump and that is because Donald Trump`s untreatable lifelong perversion is that he appears to care about no human being other than himself and he makes that manifest in every public moment that requires a demonstration that he is capable of caring about other people, capable of empathy. 

The White House propaganda video yesterday was designed to pretend that Donald Trump cares about other people.  A report from CNN.com says that according to an El Paso hospital official, there was a general assessment there was an absence of empathy on Trump`s part during his visit to the hospital.  The president`s absence of empathy was also on full vivid display yesterday in his public torture of children. 

Every definition legal and otherwise of torture includes mental torture, none physical torture and that is what President Trump engaged in in Mississippi yesterday on a grand scale while he was pretending to care about people being treated for gunshot wounds at a hospital in El Paso where none, none of the patients still being treated at that hospital agreed to meet with the president of the United States, none of them.  And so today, none of those patients have to regret that they agreed to meet with a man who was torturing children in Mississippi while trying to meet with them in their hospital rooms for a photo op. 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested approximately 680 people working at their jobs at seven food processing plants in Mississippi.  None of the people who hired and employ those workers were arrested for the crime of employing those workers because this is, of course, Republican law enforcement at work.  This is Trump law enforcement at work.  Arrest just the workers, not the employers. 

Local reporters in Mississippi did the work of covering the real news that Donald Trump created yesterday with those arrests.  "The Jackson Free Press" in Mississippi said children finished their first day of school with no parents to go home to tonight, babies and toddlers remain at daycare with no guardian to pick them up.  A child vainly searched a workplace parking lot for missing parents. 

Alex Love of WJTV in Mississippi delivered the most important television reporting of the day yesterday in this country far more important than anything television news was capable of capturing about the president`s photo op visits to hospitals.  Alex Love and his video crew found the victims of Donald Trump`s torture yesterday in Forest, Mississippi. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX LOVE, WJTV:  These children, some who are just toddlers, were relying on neighbors and even strangers to pick them up outside their homes after school and drive them to a community fitness center where people tried to keep them calm but many kids kept crying for mom and dad. 

(CRYING)

LOVE:  Fighting back tears, 11-year-old Magdalena Gomez Gregorio expressed to us her devastation being alone without her dad. 

MAGDALENA GOMEZ GREGORIO, 11-YEAR-OLD:  Government, please with your heart let my parents be with everybody else, please.  Don`t leave the childs with crying and everything. 

LOVE:  This came after ICE agents raided food plants across Mississippi, arresting 680 people believed to be in the country illegally.  Those children left behind and families impacted by each raid stress their parents and friends are good people. 

GREGORIO:  I need my dad with me.  My dad didn`t do nothing.  He`s not a criminal. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  That is torture.  Torture. 

Every parent knows what we`re looking at when we see that girl shaking and unable to stop crying as she tells Donald Trump that her father is not a criminal.  Every decent human being of any age, every child, everyone, any person whether they have children or not knows that is torture.  They know what we just saw, and that is a torture that will last throughout her childhood and the childhoods of the hundreds of children who Donald Trump tortured yesterday. 

Alex Love is reporting tonight that most of the parents arrested yesterday have been released and reunited with their children.  Only most of them but even those reunited children will never go to sleep again safe in the knowledge their parents will be there when they wake up, the Trump torture technique did not end with the return of these parents to their children today. 

Federal law and the army manual defined torture this way.  Torture is an act committed by a person under the color of law, specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain and suffering.  And yesterday, while Donald Trump was flashing his empty, soulless, cosmetically enhanced smile in hospitals for a propaganda video, what he was really doing was exercising his physical control over people at their jobs in Mississippi and inflicting willfully severe mental pain and suffering on them as parents and inflicting severe mental pain and suffering on their children. 

That is what the president of the United States was really doing yesterday and what he will, willfully do again.  Torture. 

Leading off our discussion tonight, Neera Tanden, former senior advisor to President Obama and Hillary Clinton.  She`s the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.  And Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar of California.  He`s a member of the Hispanic Caucus and chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Caucus. 

Congressman, I want to start with you and your reaction to what we saw in Mississippi yesterday. 

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA):  Well, it`s terrible, and it`s everything you said.  You know, ICE comes to us -- I serve on the Appropriations Committee.  They came to us and told us that they do targeted enforcement. 

There was nothing targeted about that raid.  They even pushed back when you mentioned the term raid but that is exactly what they did, and so, they are carrying out the president`s wishes to instill fear in the Latino community.  And it is -- it is shocking that on the very day that the president is in El Paso, that they move forward with this. 

So, this is -- this is wrong.  This is bad policy.  We have said this time and time again but this is an agency that is calling the playbook that Donald Trump himself wrote to instill fear in our communities. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Neera, I just want to once again praise the work of Alex Love and other reporters in Mississippi yesterday who brought us the real images of, both photographic, video, real print reporting about what was really happening, about what the president of the United States was really doing yesterday.  And the most important person we heard from about that yesterday was that little girl telling us exactly what the president in effect was doing to her. 

NEENA TANDEN, PRESIDENT & CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Absolutely and, you know, this is a president who formed a policy on family separation which was designed to essentially torture -- as you said -- torture families, break them apart, split children away from their parents in order to scare immigrants from coming to our country and scare them away from seeking asylum from the devastation they are seeing in their home countries.  So, it`s really part and parcel of that strategy, which is essentially the president of the United States has an immigration policy that is designed to torture -- I mean, as you said, really victimize, victimize children, victimize families and that little girl`s voice was just like the children crying that we heard a few years ago at the height of the family separation policy. 

And it comes on a day where people are mourning the passage of the murder of 22 people in El Paso who were killed precisely because of the president`s racist rhetoric towards immigrants.  So I mean, we`re seeing his rhetoric have impact on people and we`re seeing his policies have impact on children and, you know, essentially it`s devastating across the board. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Congressman, "The New York Daily News" is reporting today that the Trump administration tried to do something like this in New York City and failed.  They are saying Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents tried to enter a Brooklyn homeless shelter Tuesday night but were turned away after failing to produce a warrant said Christine Quinn, the shelter network`s director. 

And, Congressman, "The Daily News" goes on to say that the agents lied, they lied about having a search warrant.  They declared that they did, they could not produce one.  They had absolutely nothing to show, and the people working at that facility were ready for this, knew their legal rights, turned them away. 

ICE spokesman says, we cannot confirm or deny because we cannot comment on law enforcement operations. 

AGUILAR:  Well, the president comments on law enforcement operations.  In fact, they tell us, as elected officials, that every time we talk about these in our communities, we put people`s lives in danger, yet the president goes on twitter and says exactly just that.  That this is going to happen. 

So, thankfully, there are individuals across this country who have been spreading the message that we need to know our rights and that our community needs to know our rights and that means unless they have a warrant signed by a judge, not just a phony piece of paper, that they should not open the door.  And so, that`s exactly what they should be doing. 

But we`ve seen ICE misbehaved time and time again.  We`ve seen them detain U.S. citizens and it`s happened in my community.  It`s happened across this country.

And we know that.  We know that they will use any means necessary to instill fear.  We know that is their focus.  It is exactly what Neera said, that this is -- this is exactly what the president wants them to do. 

And so, we encourage folks to continue to know their rights, to continue to become educated on these issues and to make sure that ICE does not demonize or terrorize our communities any longer. 

O`DONNELL:  I want to highlight more local reporting in Mississippi, on this very point about what happens even to American citizens.  This is the "Jackson Free Press" reporting. 

In Canton, there was a young man working there that protested the arrests because he was an American citizen.  And they tased him, knocked him to the ground and put handcuffs on him before they finally figured out that he was an American citizen. 

Neera, that can happen to anyone at any workplace in this country, American citizen or not.  That was what was established in Mississippi yesterday. 

TANDEN:  I mean, what we`re seeing with these raids, what they are trying to do is not really just pick up undocumented immigrants, unfortunately.  They have tactics like a raid which are meant to instill fear, just like the family separation policy was meant to instill fear.  And the strategy here is to scare undocumented immigrants, is to scare the Latino community, and it is really just a violation of American principles. 

I hope that after the events of this week, we hear more just not on how do we protect ourselves from guns but how do we stop these immigration tactics that are really meant to scare and create fear in families? 

O`DONNELL:  Neera Tanden and Congressman Pete Aguilar, thank you both very much for starting off our discussion tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

AGUILAR:  Thank you. 

TANDEN:  Thank you. 

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, thousands of pages of financial documents that Donald Trump and his family are trying to keep secret are now already in the hands of investigators with possibly much more to come.  That`s next. 

And also coming up, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Eric Swalwell, will join us on the status of impeachment in the House of Representatives. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Our next guest was attacked by Donald Trump last night after he appeared on "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams. 

Donald Trump tweeted, quote: I just watched a world class loser, Tim O`Brien, who I haven`t seen or spoken to in many years and knows nothing about me except he wrote a failed hit piece book about me 15 years ago. 

Tim O`Brien wrote a very successful book which included a dismantling of Donald Trump`s claim that he is a billionaire and Donald Trump lost his liable suit against Tim O`Brien over that book.  We invited Tim O`Brien to join us tonight to discuss the "Wall Street Journal" reporting that several major banks, including Deutsche Bank, have turned over, quote, thousands of pages of documents related to Russians, who may have had dealings with Mr. Trump, his family, or his business.  People familiar with the congressional probe said more information will likely be handed over in coming weeks as the banks continue to respond to subpoenas sent in April.

And joining us is Tim O`Brien.  He`s the executive editor of "Bloomberg Nation" and the author of "TrumpNation". 

And Berit Berger is with us.  She`s a former federal prosecutor for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.  Both are MSNBC contributors.

Tim, congratulations.  It`s been years since he attacked you. 

TIM O`BRIEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Four years. 

O`DONNELL:  That means he really, really hates you when he doesn`t attack you for years because he hates giving you attention but you tripped him last night.  He just couldn`t --

O`BRIEN:  We talked about racism and that set him off. 

O`DONNELL:  That will do it.  Let`s see if you can get him going tonight. 

O`BRIEN:  Money now. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.  On this -- this is what Donald Trump said was the red line if Robert Mueller crossed this line and investigated his finances.  The red line has been crossed.  Congress is getting at the finances. 

O`BRIEN:  It`s important that Congress get it because Robert Mueller decided not to go there and I think it`s unfortunate he did because I think what is looming over Donald Trump since he became president was, was he beholden to a foreign power or foreign entities who had financial hooks into him prior to assuming to office of presidency?  I think there is a lot to be left to explore.  There are a lot of money that came into the Trump Organization in the mid 2000s, that`s still unexplained.  One of Trump`s sons has said in the past it came from Russia.

And then after they got in trouble for that, the family said no, no, it came from our business.  And people said, well, show that to us, and they said, well, some of it came from bank loans.  They had varying explanations from this, but there`s no question that a lot of money came into that organization in the mid 2000s long before he ran for president.  I think a good investigation will get it, where did that money come from and did it end up with financial quid pro quos that haunted Donald Trump when he`s in the office. 

O`DONNELL:  Or possible co-signers, for example, on big Deutsche Bank loans.  Did he have Russian oligarchs cosigning guaranteeing his loans, and that would explain virtually everything about Donald Trump`s behavior toward Russia. 

Berit, the public impression is that Donald Trump is fighting and succeeding at least in delaying the execution of every subpoena out there from New York state authorities to congressional authorities that is going after anything financial, but he`s slowing down some of it but not all of it. 

BERIT BERGER, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY, SDNY:  Right.  I think the keyword there is delay because I don`t think this is actually going to be a permanent solution. 

So, we know that at least for a few of the lawsuits that he filed to try to keep his financial information from coming to light, he lost at least on the lower court level.  These have been appealed and we`re expecting these decisions to come out relatively soon, but at least in New York and in the District of Columbia, you had lower court judges say absolutely not, Congress has a legitimate purpose for asking for this financial information so the bank should have to give it over. 

What`s interesting about the reporting that came out today is that this, some of this financial information is already coming to Congress, right?  They are getting documents from other banks, probably records relating to other people but they are already getting this information.  This is only going to make their fight in my opinion easier when it comes to getting this information from Deutsche Bank and from the other institutions that have now, you know, that they`re challenging that in the court system. 

O`DONNELL:  So, just to clarify that point, that a subpoena may have gone out.  We`re not exactly sure in the reporting what they have and where they have gotten it, but let`s say the subpoena, say, Paul Manafort`s records having to do with purchases he made of his Trump Tower apartment or other things. 

That could reveal something about Donald Trump at the same time. 

BERGER:  Absolutely.  So, it`s kind of a way of looking at both ends of the transaction, right? 

So, there is a concept in the law you have to have standing in order to challenge something in the courts, which just means you have to show some sort of legal injury to that.  So, obviously, Trump has claimed that he has standing for the banks not to release financial information about him.  However, if the banks have asked for financial information from somebody else that happens to concern financial transactions with the president, he would not necessarily have standing to challenge that document request or subpoena which may be how they are getting the documents to Congress now. 

O`DONNELL:  Tim, he may not also have knowledge of it.  There are so many ways he discovered in the Trump financial maze, there are so many ways in that they might not necessarily alert Trump Organization people or Donald Trump that they are going in that direction. 

O`BRIEN:  And in fact, wouldn`t want to, to preserve the integrity of the investigation.  And to what you were saying whether or not they are looking at oligarchs or other wealthy individuals who also might have had their claws into him and what Berit was saying about these processes, the banks that compiled with the subpoenas appeared to have the ability to freely do that which would suggestion there is individuals at the bank who are cooperating with this investigation or who at least can`t get in the way of their financial records being turned over who could be problematic and that`s where the names of people like Oleg Deripaska surface. 

O`DONNELL:  Tim, as an expert on the Trump finances and low points of the Trump finances, there appears to be from the outside an increase in his ability to obtain money and he looks to me at that stage like someone who needs co-signers.  Out there in the world you would say you have too much debt, you can`t get a car loan, can somebody sign this for you?  He would need big co-signers for the money he wanted. 

O`BRIEN:  Particularly like when he bought the Turnberry golf course in Scotland in the mid 2000s.  He said that was self-funded.  I have -- I`m very skeptical that`s the case.  I think that needs to be closely looked at. 

O`DONNELL:  The modest phrasing of Tim O`Brien, very skeptical of Donald Trump`s financial claims. 

Tim O`Brien, Berit Berger, thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

And when we come back, 45 years ago on this very day in history, President Richard Nixon became the first president in history to resign, announce his resignation because the House of Representatives had voted for articles of impeachment against him, and he was guaranteed that he would be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. That was 45 years ago.

What will happen to Donald Trump`s impeachment process, which Chairman Jerry Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee says is already underway?

Congressman Eric Swalwell is a Member of the House Judiciary Committee. He`ll join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: On this very day in history, 45 years ago, with the impeachment process closing in on him, the President of the United States said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home. Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In THE LAST HOUR here on MSNBC, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler referred to the Nixon impeachment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): And just the fact of withholding, opposing all Congressional subpoenas, that was Article III of the Nixon impeachment. And here, he`s gone way further, even to the extent of saying, "Will oppose all subpoenas," which is another way of saying we don`t recognize the separation of powers, and we were going to aggrandize power - aggrand - aggrandize power to the Executive branch, which is core impeachable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Chairman Jerry Nadler will be only the fourth Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in history to consider an impeachment investigation, and possible Articles of Impeachment against the President of the United States.

Congressman Eric Swalwell is a Member of the House Judiciary Committee. He may take his place in impeachment history, if called upon to vote on Articles of Impeachment.

After a break, Congressman Swalwell will join us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat from California, who is a Member of both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And I want you to clarify for us, do you, as a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, consider, believe, know that the House Judiciary Committee is engaged now in an impeachment inquiry?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Yes. I believe we are undergoing, I would call it an impeachment investigation. I - I - I don`t think there`s, you know, really a difference. And what the Chairman has said is that there`s a number of remedies for the President`s conduct. Of course, the most extraordinary is impeachment, and we are considering that.

And as we make our case to the court about why all these witnesses and evidence is necessary, we are telling them we need this evidence, we need these witnesses because one of the considerations is impeachment.

O`DONNELL: I want to read the language that you`re referring to, and this is in the pursuit of Don McGahn`s testimony to the court. The Committee said the Judiciary Committee is now determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the President based on the obstructive conduct described by the Special Counsel.

And let`s now listen to what Chairman Nadler said to Rachel in the last hour about the importance of this McGahn subpoena.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: It seems to me that through this lawsuit, you`re essentially trying to unlock what has been blocking other witnesses from testifying.

NADLER: That`s exactly right. That`s exactly right.

MADDOW: OK.

NADLER: The - the legal issues in the McGahn are exactly the same legal issues for Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson and all the other witnesses. So, when hopefully we win the McGahn lawsuit, well we - all the others will follow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So, the dominoes will fall, you believe, if the McGahn lawsuit is successful?

SWALWELL: McGahn is the most critical witness for us to hear from. And as we laid out in the complaint to the court for having McGahn come in, it`s not just for impeachment. That`s, of course, important. That holds the President accountable. It sets a standard for future Presidents.

But Lawrence, we are also considering what new laws we need to put in place to stop future Presidents from doing something like this. And the only way for us to consider that as a Committee is to hear from McGahn.

What this is ultimately about though is to not let Donald Trump again get away with a crime because he`s obstructing.

I think if you look at what Mueller laid out, Mueller said in his report that because witnesses, including the President, obstructed, because they lied, because they tampered with evidence, because they destroyed evidence, because they refused to testify, they were not able to fully understand what happened in the Russian investigation. Because the President is shielded from an obstruction of justice charge, he wasn`t held accountable there either.

We are the last - we`re the - we`re the backstop here. And so, we can`t let his obstruction of Congress go without him being held to account.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Gerry Connolly, a loyal leadership follower in the House of Representatives has come out in favor of impeachment. He`s a Democrat from Virginia.

SWALWELL: Good to see that.

O`DONNELL: Issued a statement saying "We cannot allow ourselves to become so desensitized to the President`s behavior that there are no consequences. This is a man who continues to debase the office he holds. He has instilled fear and incited violence.

He has called American communities infested, he has told Members of Congress to go back to where they came from, he stoked the flames of White supremacy by repeatedly referring to an invasion of foreigners, and he has questioned the allegiance of our fellow Americans.

At every moment, whether it was in the aftermath of Charlottesville or El Paso or Dayton, he has failed to heal our country and call us to our better angels. Instead, he has stained the Oval Office with his racism, xenophobia, and bigotry."

And Congressman, what strikes me about that statement--

SWALWELL: You`re going to roll into the commercial break with all the impeachable offenses there, right?

O`DONNELL: Yes, well but - but - but - but he`s not referring in that passage to anything in the Mueller report. He`s not relying exclusively on Mueller report evidence for possible articles of impeachment. Everything he`s talking about there, he believes could be a potential article of impeachment.

SWALWELL: I agree that those also could be included. But I think the Mueller report, again, you have a, you know, two-year investigation, thousands of subpoenas, hundreds of witnesses interviewed and the credibility of Bob Mueller. And so, I - I think that is the surest way to impeach this President.

But Members of Congress are going to continue to add their names to the list of wanting an impeachment investigation. I just had a Town Hall last night, and almost every single person who stood up and spoke wanted to know when this President is going to be held accountable, and I imagine that is true across America right now.

O`DONNELL: Congressman, what - what do they say to you about the subsequent trial in the Senate? They`re - they`re demanding action from you and the House of Representatives--

SWALWELL: Yes.

O`DONNELL: --to impeach. Many, I`m sure, of your constituents believe that even if impeachment occurs, one that - when it goes to trial in the Senate, Mitch McConnell will save Donald Trump in the Senate.

SWALWELL: Yes. They know the reality, but they don`t want the Senate to be, as one person told me, let off the hook, meaning don`t pre-judge what the Senate is going to do, and then just give them a pass, and then Cory Gardner and Martha McSally and Susan Collins and others who are up for reelection, they don`t have to go on record and tell the American people or their constituents how they would hold this President accountable or not.

And so, we shouldn`t pre-judge what they`re going to do. We should put the case forward. And again, if you put the case forward, Donald Trump doesn`t look better. You don`t walk away from a House impeachment, and say, "Oh, this guy should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize." He`s going to look like who he is, which is a corrupted President.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much for joining our discussion tonight.

SWALWELL: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And when we come back, tonight`s episode of Meet The Freshman, the freshman Member of Congress who we will meet tonight may hold one of the keys to Democrats winning more rural seats in the House of Representatives, and the Presidency.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump came in second with the voters in the 2016 Presidential election, but he came in first in the Electoral College by fooling enough rural voters in some swing states to win the Presidency.

Rural voters still approve of Donald Trump much more than the national average. 54 percent of rural voters approve of Donald Trump`s job performance compared to a national approval rating of only 42 percent.

Donald Trump is now literally trying to buy rural votes after his trade war with China has devastated the rural economies that are dependent on agricultural exports to China.

Donald Trump claims that he is making up farmers` losses of income by just handing them government checks, government handouts that Republicans would condemn if they were given to anyone other than farmers. But the cash handouts are not big enough to make-up for the loss of farm income, which is now half, yes, half of what it was during the Obama administration.

The Trump Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in Minnesota yesterday, where the President of the Minnesota Farmers Union attacked Trump trade policies, and Trump administration deficit spending policies.

But this has been a soda. So, he was very polite about it. He didn`t raise his voice, and the way the video was shot there, we could only see Gary Wertish`s flawlessly polite hat while he was speaking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY WERTISH, PRESIDENT, MINNESOTA FARMERS UNION: We disagree with all the President`s approach of go - go-it-alone approach, especially referring to China.

China`s recent announcement in the last couple days, they`re not going to buy any Ag products from the United States at all, this is causing a long- term devastating damage to not only farmers, but rural communities.

The Market Facilitation payments, we greatly appreciate them, but that also is going to cause us long-term political damage. It`s going to be hard, as you work in future things to get future farm bills, future fend (ph) of funding when we need. It`s very - already being referred to by the - the public as the welfare payments to the farmers as bailouts. What other industries - you know, when - when does it start? When does it stop?

In the last 2.5 years, the federal deficit has ballooned by over two to three trillion dollars. The taxpayer is not going to stand for this. And we, as farmers, we need our markets back. We need prices.

We - when we go in - if the farmer goes in to see his lender in the fall, and says that he`s sorry, doesn`t have enough money, he can`t make it, the market, he didn`t get a price, the banker doesn`t tell him that you`re a patriot, you don`t have to pay your bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is the worst thing that has happened to American agriculture in the lifetimes of currently-working farmers, and you could hear that in the applause that we just cut off of that video, after the President of the Farmers Union spoke to the Trump Agriculture - Agriculture Secretary.

They don`t all have to turn on him, all of those rural voters in a Presidential election to defeat him. But even if just 10 percent of those voters do turn on Donald Trump, Donald Trump has no chance, no chance of being re-elected.

After this break, we`ll be joined by freshman Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig who won her seat from an incumbent Republican last year in a district that Donald Trump won. If the Democratic candidate for President does as well, as Angie Craig did, Donald Trump will not be re-elected, cannot be re-elected.

Angie Craig joins us next.

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O`DONNELL: In tonight`s episode of Meet The Freshman, here`s how Angie Craig beat an incumbent Republican Member of the House of Representatives to help deliver the House Majority to the Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHERYL GREENE, WIFE OF MINNESOTA CONGRESSWOMAN ANGIE CRAIG: Angie Craig is my wife, and we`ve been married for nine years.

REP. ANGIE CRAIG (D-MN): Thank you so much for having us.

GREENE: I have to give her up to the public, and that`s OK because behind this all, I truly feel like I want to see a world where people respect each other again.

CRAIG: I believe the difference in this race in 2018 is going to come down to young people being involved. We will win this seat and we will change the course of this country together, so thank you so, so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is freshman Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig. She is a proud Member of the House Agriculture Committee. Congresswoman Craig, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

CRAIG: No, it`s an honor, Lawrence. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And you were at that meeting yesterday with Agriculture Secretary Perdue. What have you seen change in - in your voters, in your districts, in their attitude toward the Trump tariffs, because the Trump tariffs were in place when you were running for Office, and they`ve taken a bigger bite out of the agricultural economy, basically every week of those tariffs?

CRAIG: Well Minnesota farmers want what American farmers want. They don`t want a handout. They want a fair price. And they want the opportunity to have open markets.

And so, as I approach my job in Congress, you know, I talk to farmers every single day, and I listen to them, based on the policy. And if it`s a policy that the administration has put forward that I can support, I support it.

And if it`s something that I need to fight the administration on because it`s going to be bad for Minnesota`s farmers, then I stand up and fight the administration on it.

O`DONNELL: What is that - what was in your case, in your district the number one issue when you were running last year?

CRAIG: The number one issue was healthcare, and that`s still after open markets.

The number two issue that farmers talk to me about every single day, it`s the price of healthcare in the individual marketplace because most of them have to get their healthcare in the individual market or a spouse works off farm, and it`s the high price, the prescription drugs in this country.

And so, as I fight for family farmers, you know, my background of working for 25 years in healthcare comes in handy, I promise.

O`DONNELL: Well it may be that Senator Lindsey Graham did everything he could today to help your re-election campaign. Let`s listen to what he said actually on Tuesday about healthcare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If we can get the House back and keep our majority in the Senate, and President Trump wins re-election, I can promise you not only are we going to repeal Obamacare, we`re going to do it in a smart way where South Carolina will be the biggest winner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: How would that play with your voters--

CRAIG: Wow!

O`DONNELL: --in Minnesota?

CRAIG: Lawrence, I have one of the highest Congressional districts in the country of non-elderly folks who have a pre-existing condition at 51 percent. And that was one of the things I said is I will fight the administration tooth and nail to make sure that pre-existing conditions continue to be covered.

Look, the first priority, I believe, is to make sure we protect the things that we got out of the ACA, which is, by the way, now a decades-old law. That`s been one of the most frustrating things to me about being a Member of Congress is Republicans won`t help us stabilize American healthcare because if they do it, they feel like somehow they`re supporting the Affordable Care Act.

And, you know, this is beyond that. The people of my district can`t wait for us to step up. Farmers in my district can`t wait for us to step up, and stabilize healthcare, or for the next big idea on how we reform healthcare. We`ve got to, as a first step protect the advances that we`ve achieved over the last decade.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Angie Craig gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congresswoman.

CRAIG: Thank you. It`s an honor.

O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD on what is the last night of service of our summer interns, Adrien Lesser of Wheaton College in Massachusetts and Addison Cleaver (ph) of the University of Oklahoma.

"THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

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