LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: And it`s been a real frenzy of news in London. And so, at the end of the hour, I`m going to go to London to a member of parliament who is really eloquent on everything that`s been happening there. Historic is the word we keep using every, I don`t know, 20 minutes.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Well done, my friend. Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, I follow exactly one British member of parliament on Twitter, David Lammy, who represents a district in London. He got a law degree from Harvard Law School after already getting a British law degree. And his American experience makes him one of the very best explainers of British politics and Brexit to an American audience.
You can follow him @DavidLammy on Twitter. And you should follow every word that he has to say tonight when he joins us on this historic night for the United Kingdom with parliament now going out of session until October 14th after denying British Prime Minister Boris Johnson everything he wanted from parliament, including the right to schedule a new parliamentary election in the United Kingdom. David Lammy will join us with the latest on the political and governmental chaos in London at this hour. He will get THE LAST WORD in this hour.
And we will be joined tonight by someone who might be entering the race for United States Senate in Georgia and might finally confirm that he is running during our interview tonight. And we begin tonight with breaking news.
There is breaking news tonight from NBC News and "The New York Times" about a spy inside the Russian government who worked for the CIA for years and was extracted from Russia by the CIA in the first year of the Trump presidency.
CNN reported earlier that the CIA extracted the spy in part because of fears that President Trump might leak information about the spy to Russians, including possibly Vladimir Putin. But "The New York Times" is reporting tonight that the CIA had other concerns about ways the spy`s identity might be compromised, and the CIA was considering extracting the spy from Russia to safety because reporters for NBC News and "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" began reporting about the CIA`s possible sources inside the Kremlin in 2016.
"The New York Times" reports tonight the Moscow informant was instrumental to the CIA`s most explosive conclusion about Russia`s interference campaign that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself. As the American government`s best insight into the thinking and orders from Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the CIA`s assessment that he affirmatively favored Donald Trump`s election and personally ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
The informant, according to people familiar with the matter, was outside of Mr. Putin`s inner circle, but saw him regularly and had access to high level Kremlin decision-making, easily making the source one of the agency`s most valuable assets.
"The New York Times" report tonight includes this about former CIA director John Brennan: The informant`s information was so delicate and the need to protect the source`s identity so important that the CIA director at the time, John O. Brennan, kept information from the operative out of President Barack Obama`s daily brief in 2016. Instead, Mr. Brennan sent separate intelligence reports, many based on the source`s information in special sealed envelopes to the Oval Office.
Leading off our discussion now with more reporting about this story is intelligence and national security correspondent for NBC News, Ken Dilanian, who today tracked down a person who reports to be, quote, a former senior Russian official living in the Washington area under U.S. government protection.
Ken, what more can you tell us about your reporting?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Lawrence. Well, I can`t report to our satisfaction that this is in fact the asset referred to by "The New York Times", CNN and now "The Washington Post." But what I can say is this is a -- this was a Russian government official with access to Vladimir Putin, a high level official who is now living in the United States under U.S. government protection, living in the Washington, D.C. area, in fact.
And I went to his house today, and I knocked on his door. He didn`t appear to be home. There was no answer. I went back to my car on the street, and as I was sitting in my car, an SUV with two young men came screaming down the street right at my car, parked nose to nose. It seemed to be in a hurry. I was a little concerned. I stepped out of the car. I walked over to them. I asked if I could help them, and then they asked if they could help me, and we kind of went round and round.
They were asking who I was. I was asking who they were. It was pretty clear that they were monitoring that house, that they saw me there somehow, detected that I was there and came quickly.
And we`ve been asked by the U.S. government to withhold some key details about this individual, including his name, and the reason we began looking at him because they say his life is in danger. And they are now moving him from that location, him and his family because essentially he has been discovered. And while we aren`t naming him, it won`t be hard for others to figure out who he is, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Ken, I think a lot and judging on twitter response to your appearance with Rachel in the last hour, a lot of people are wondering if his life was in danger, how could he be first of all located in proximity to Washington, D.C like that?
O`DONNELL: Why would he be located there? And why -- if his life was in danger, would be in such a position that he would be using his real name, and that you would be able to find him?
DILANIAN: Exactly. That`s the question I`ve been asking U.S. officials and others with knowledge of this situation all day. And the answer I`m getting is kind of nuanced, Lawrence. What they tell me is it`s probably not a secret to the Russians that this man is there and that he was a spy and that he was exfiltrated by the CIA. The Russians knew that when he disappeared, right?
But what they`re saying is it`s one thing for him to be living here in secret. They don`t expect that he`ll be the target of an assassination attempt. That hasn`t happened on American soil that we know of, although it did happen in the United Kingdom. What they worry about, though, is when it becomes publicized that this person was spying for the CIA, that this is a person close to Putin, that they say is like poking the bear. It infuriates Vladimir Putin, and he is more likely to do things that threaten this person`s life, and that`s the situation they feel they are in now.
So, while they may not have been as worried 48 hours ago, now that he has been discovered, they`re more worried. So, while I was able to get to the house, and then there was a response, now it seems that he is under greater protection.
O`DONNELL: Ken, let`s go become to "The New York Times," the basic reporting on this -- the asset, the Russian asset that the CIA had who has been extracted who leaf aside for the moment whether that`s the same person whose door you knocked on. In that information, they`re saying this was the person who provided the essential keys of the Russia investigation pre- election?
DILANIAN: Absolutely. And they`re reporting that this is an asset that the CIA had been cultivating for more than a decade as he moved up the ranks in the Russian government. And that`s another reason that some people believe that the person I talked to is the same person because there aren`t -- the CIA does not have very many high level sources inside the Kremlin with access to Vladimir Putin. If they had more than one during a period, I would actually be surprised.
And so, this person, while he wasn`t in Putin`s inner circle, "The Times" reports, he saw Vladimir Putin on a regular basis and had access to his decision making. And he was the source of the information that Putin directly ordered this 2016 election interference campaign, directly ordered the hack of the DNC and wanted to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. We had reported and others reported during the election campaign that that information came from human sources, and it was a CIA assessment.
And now, we`re learning that it came from in particular this high level source who apparently has been exfiltrated from Russia.
O`DONNELL: Ken Dilanian, I know you`re going to be developing more on this. I cold kind of tell the way this story was unfolding today that by 10:00 p.m. tonight, we would know a lot more than we knew when we were thinking about it this afternoon.
Thank you very much for joining us, Ken. Really appreciate it.
DILANIAN: Thank you, Lawrence. You bet.
O`DONNELL: And we`re joined now by Mieke Eoyang. She`s a former staffer with the House Intelligence Committee. Also joining us, John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News, and MSNBC. He`s co-host and executive producer of Showtime`s "The Circus."
And, Mieke, this is one of the nights where we really need you and your intelligence experience and expertise. This story is so strange, not just for me, but I know for viewers out there that there could be this very, very valuable CIA asset, so valuable that he had to be actually -- she perhaps, who knows, this person had to be extracted from Russia for their own safety after delivering so much high-level, high-value information.
But then living under the person`s real name in the Washington area? Should we be as stunned by this or is this not so surprising to you.
MIKE EOYANG, FORMER STAFF MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, this has happened before during the Cold War.
O`DONNELL: What? This has happened before?
EOYANG: During the Cold War, right, when it was the Soviet Union, we did have high level sources, and many of them have lived in the United States and, you know, were exfiltrated from Russia. And some of them are actually out there in their true name and have written books about their time in the Soviet Union. So it`s not so unusual that this happens.
The question is why, because we know that Vladimir Putin gets very sensitive about people who have betrayed him and his regime and who go back out there into the world like Sergei Skripal who was killed in London. So I think there is tremendous risk to this individual.
But one of the things that this story shows, that the CIA goes to great lengths to protect its human sources, right? They were very concerned about his safety. They exfiltrated him from Russia. They brought him to the United States. They have him under protection here.
They need the world to know that they take the protection of their sources very seriously.
O`DONNELL: But, Mieke, when we say it`s happened before, it happened during the Soviet regime, but those books didn`t come out until the Soviet regime was over. This is someone who`s in danger right now. And I don`t think it -- I don`t think it sounds very protected that this person is in so much danger -- of mortal danger that a reporter like Ken Dilanian can simply walk up to the door and knock on the door. That doesn`t sound especially safe.
EOYANG: I don`t want to underplay ken`s reporting skills on this, but I do think that there is some question about how people feel at the CIA about Russia`s willingness to engage in activities and attacks on American soil. That has really been a red line in the U.S./Russia relationship in the sort of spy versus spy world. Once people get here and once they`re under CIA protection, people typically have not -- have not found themselves in danger the same way.
That`s not the same as people who are still on Russian soil. And even American operatives on Russian soil have faced really dangerous circumstances. They get hassled. They can get assaulted. They are pretty aggressive in other places. It may just not be they`re as concerned about it in the United States.
O`DONNELL: And, John Heilemann, one of the elements of the reporting in "The New York Times" is this is the loss of major asset, I mean, this Russian asset has been brought to safety in the United States, but "The Times" reporting indicates that information flow hasn`t been replaced.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Right. And I think it`s incredibly -- reading from people who know more about this than you and I who follow this world, everyone is noting just how devastating this loss is for America`s intelligence capacity in general, but particularly modern Russia, at a time when we know the Russians were successful in attacking our democracy in 2016, when they waged other attacks on our democracy in 2018, and we expect them to wage further attacks on our democracy in 2020.
And we are now as many -- the metaphor that keeps coming through, a single word metaphor which is blind. We are blind --
HEILEMANN: -- at the highest level of the Russian government. We had the magic asset, the kind of asset that comes along once in a generation for the American government, now gone at a moment when the Russian government, when Vladimir Putin are emboldened and have been invited to meddle in American election 2020.
We are flying far more blind than we were in 2016. We couldn`t stop them then. But this is a very bad position going into this next election.
O`DONNELL: But, Mieke, there is also a question in a lot of the reporting about the ability to recruit an asset like that now because Russian sources, people working within the Russian government who might in some point in the past been inclined to help the United States would probably be living in the fear that the information about what they`re doing would not be safe necessarily in those private discussions that Donald Trump has with Vladimir Putin with no one else in the room.
EOYANG: That is a very big concern. Look, these assets take a very long time to develop. As you see according to the reporting, this is a person they had been trying to recruit over a decade, trying to plant lots of seeds and hope that some of them grow into the right places. I think that`s a real challenge when you have a president who is as cavalier with classified information as the president has been both in his tweets and to other foreign adversaries.
It makes it very hard for the CIA to do their job in recruiting human sources when those sources are worried that the president of the United States will reveal their identities or reveal information that would allow the adversary to figure out who they are. Hopefully, this is not the situation that will go forward indefinitely, and we will eventually get back to a place where we have presidents who are very careful about classified information and in particular human sources.
O`DONNELL: Well, we have big news from the House Judiciary Committee today. The committee announced it is formally now moving into impeachment mode, and that on Thursday of this week, the committee will vote on the procedures, quote, for future hearings related to its investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to President Donald Trump. The new procedures will allow House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, quote, to designate full or subcommittee hearings as part of the investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment.
Committee counsel may question witnesses for an additional hour beyond the five minutes allotted for each member of Congress on the committee. Evidence may be received in closed executive session. This allows the committee to protect the confidentiality of sensitive materials when necessary such as with grand jury materials, and the president`s counsel may respond in writing to evidence and testimony presented to the committee.
Today, Chairman Nadler said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The president is clearly trying to run out the clock. The president has been -- said he would deny all -- oppose all subpoenas. That was Article 3 of the Nixon impeachment that the president opposed subpoenas. Nixon wasn`t foolish enough to say in advance he is going to oppose all subpoenas. That in itself I think is a crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution, that you`re obstructing the work of Congress in investigating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, impeachment is on.
HEILEMANN: Well, certainly on in the mind of Jerry Nadler who wanted to proceed in this way for a while.
I think the question now, Lawrence, is a couple of things. And we talked about the clock on the show an awful lot over the months. You`ve got Jerry Nadler and a bunch of others who would like to commence impeachment -- the impeachment process. You have Nancy Pelosi who still seems to not want to go down that path.
The question, though, of whether this formal -- this road map that`s been laid out, whether this turns out to be largely a political exercise in which the leverage of opening impeachment -- the impeachment process is used to try the get politically damaging witnesses, fact witnesses in front of these various committees, people like Don McGahn who can do some political damage to the president, or whether it is really a pathway towards impeachment. And I think that question remains unresolved.
But I said the thing about the clock a second ago. Man, there are not very many legislative days this Congress has scheduled in session this fall. And if you believe that with a very limited legislative calendar going forward and a presidential election a couple of months away that you`re going to launch into a genuine real impeachment process, not a political one, but real one to try to get the president impeached in the House if not convicted in the Senate, man, I -- it`s hard for me to see how that`s going to happen. I`m not ruling it out, but it does not look that likely.
O`DONNELL: Mieke, with your experience on House committees, it looks like there is a lot of procedural advantages for Jerry Nadler in the recommendations that they`re going to vote on Thursday.
EOYANG: That`s right. And by tying it to an impeachment inquiry, you are really amping up the powers of the House in this investigation, and it`s not really important whether or not this is a formal impeachment inquiry or an oversight investigation into potential crimes committed by the president.
I disagree with John a little bit. I don`t think this is just a political exercise. Every day, we are treated to new stories of things that the president has done that if done by other elected officials would be considered public corruption, would be violation to the emoluments clause, would be considered obstruction of justice. They have to build an evidentiary foundation for that, and that`s going to mean going and looking into things beyond just what was in the Mueller report, and they need the subpoena power and the investigative power to be able to do that.
O`DONNELL: And meanwhile, John, committees like house armed services will probably be looking into how frequently does the Air Force land near the Trump golf course in Scotland and then have the crews stay at the Trump hotel and what other Trump properties. So, there is this other arena of kind of administration scandal.
O`DONNELL: That other committees can be investigating at the same time, that will get headline just as big.
HEILEMANN: Indeed. I think -- and you know, you think about -- laid out today on a bunch of fronts. It`s not merely an impeachment procedure road map, but in a broader investigative road map of the ways in which what -- how costly if we look back, 2018, losing control of the House is going to be to Donald Trump.
HEILEMANN: In a run-up to presidential election, where now the president has three intraparty opponents running against him, where he`s got an array of Democrats and now he has a House controlled by Democrats who can launch an array of investigations across matters of corruption, malfeasance, the emoluments clause, the armed forces investigation you just talked about. This is not the way you want to run for reelection. It`s not the way you like to cruise straight in with no obstructions before you meet up with your ultimate general election opponent in the summer of 2020.
Donald Trump is going to be tied up in knots for months.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann and Mieke Eoyang, thank you very much for starting us off tonight. Really appreciate it.
And when we come back, Stacey Abrams insists that Georgia can win it all for the Democrats next year with 16 electoral votes for president and two Senate seats at stake in Georgia. Former Democratic congressional candidate John Ossoff will join us, and we`ll find out if he is ready to join the dramatic fight for Georgia as a candidate for one of those Senate seats.
And the most colorful character in the British House of Commons announced his resignation today. We will show you why regular viewers of TV coverage of the House of Commons will be very sad to see the speaker go.
O`DONNELL: Ft. Lauderdale`s WSVN reporter Brian Entin captured the story of people in the Bahamas being forced off a ferry to safety when the captain made an announcement that the Trump administration was refusing to allow hurricane victims in the Bahamas to enter the United States without a visa, something that is customarily done for victims of natural disasters and shipwrecks if a foreign ship goes down off of our coast and the lifeboats make it to shore, they are not pushed back out into the Atlantic ocean because the crew does not have visas.
Here is some of WSVN`s report last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re saying that they just got a call from CBP, and CBP told them that everyone that doesn`t have a U.S. visa and who is traveling on police record has to come off. At the last minute like this, it`s kind of disappointing. It`s hurtful, because I`m watching my daughters cry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this is terrible. I think they should allow everyone to come into the U.S. They originally said you can come without a police record and without a visa, and now they`re taking that back. That`s really ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, President Trump thought it was perfectly reasonable to deny hurricane victims a trip to safety. He then invented things about the people trying to flee to safety, saying that some were, in his words very bad people. He accused some of them of being gang members, and of course, quote, very bad drug dealers, end quote. That`s his standard accusation for people who are not white and seeking refuge in the United States.
The president seems to believe that his reelection depends on anti-refugee, anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric. But a new book by the Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg argues that Americans in the Trump era are more accepting of immigrants than they have ever been, and increasingly diverse and pro-immigrant America could be the end of not just Trump`s presidency, but the entire Republican Party.
Stan Greenberg writes: Stoking the anti-immigrant fires will end badly for Trump`s GOP. The proportion believing immigrants strengthen the country with their hard work and talents has surged to 65 percent, just as Trump was charging that immigrants fueled gangs and included murderers and rapists. The proportion who said immigrants, quote, burden the country by taking jobs, housing and health care, end quote, plummeted to just 26 percent in mid-2017.
Three quarters in mid-2018 favored granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The country settled these issues. They are not contested.
Joining our discussion now is Stanley Greenberg. He is the pollster to presidents, presidential candidates and prime ministers across the globe. And the most important reason to listen to Stan Greenberg is that he is lucky enough to be married to Connecticut Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro who has taught him everything he knows about politics.
He is author of the new book "R.IP. G.O.P.: How the New America is Dooming the Republicans". That book is out tomorrow.
Stan Greenberg, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
STAN GREENBERG, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: OK.
O`DONNELL: Now, you know, whenever we begin a segment with pollsters after 2016, I know the audience thinks, hey, the pollsters got it wrong in 2016. Why should we listen now?
What have we learned from 2016? And where do you think we are now? What is your book telling us about where we are now?
GREENBERG: I think all of us learned a lot about America, not just polling. You know, I think many of us woke up the day after the women`s march, I`m sure you did. I`m sure your whole coverage changed as you covered day by day the intense politics that played out and is reported on your show at night, the last show.
Now, we have -- but now what I did, I got up every morning, wrote this book because what I believed, believed at the time and believe now is that Donald Trump`s victory will speed the -- accelerate the defeat of the Republican Party, because what`s happened is as women became more conscious of their need for equality and independence after watching him in office, that`s also happened across the board.
So we`ve watched it on immigration. But you can see it in every area. On immigration, it`s probably the most important, and in some ways reassuring. I mean, it`s so tragic to watch what`s happening in the Bahamas, watch what`s happening with immigrants, but also knowing that people are becoming very conscious of our history, our values, that we`re an immigrant country, and that this fight against a diverse America is leading this country, a great majority of this country to say enough, resist, we will sink this Republican Party, which is battling against our diverse country.
O`DONNELL: You are confident about the 2020 presidential election. You say the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota will not be close, nor will Maine, New Hampshire and Virginia. Iowa will be back in the Democratic column.
What`s the basis for that, Stan?
GREENBERG: Well, first of all, I think we need to pay a lot of attention to the 2018, you know, midterm elections, which were much bigger than people I think imagined. Obviously, there was a big swing, and it was visible in the number of seats in the suburban seats that went to the Democrats across the country, gave them the 40 seats, that gave them the majority that they currently have. But the biggest swing of voters in that election was the 14-point swing of rural voters compared to where Trump performed in `16, and about a 14-point swing of white working class voters, both men and women who turned against the president.
Now, because the statewide Senate races were in the most red states and our incumbents greatly outperformed what Trump did in those states, nonetheless, it hid what was going - what was happening in the country. There was already a pullback of many of these voters. Not the base voters. The core of his party, the reason why he is pursuing the policies is that he has his base of tea party evangelical and observing Catholics who are still with him. But the secular conservatives, the moderate women, independents have been driven away.
And we now face a lot of Trump voters who are swing voters, not the base, who are saying what was I thinking? They look at him on TV, and we played in focus groups, we played TV ads of the rallies of watching him speak about what he was doing. And they shake their head, they look at the divisiveness, they look at the lack of respect for women, and there`s just been a movement away in places that lead you to say this is not what we`re going to - we`re not going to face in `20 what we faced in `16.
O`DONNELL: Stanley Greenberg. The book is "RIP GOP."
Stan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
GREENBERG: Thank you for having me.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we now have breaking news to report to you in the Georgia Senate race. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has just reported that Jon Ossoff will run for Senate in Georgia. And we will be joined by Jon Ossoff next to confirm this breaking news about the Democrats` campaign to knock Mitch McConnell out of the Majority Leader`s job in the United States Senate. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: "The Abrams Playbook" is out today. Here it is. Got that? There. Yes.
Stacey Abrams has issued an urgent 16-page memo to the Democratic Party telling them, quote, "Next year, Georgia will be the premier battleground state in the country. When analyzing next year`s political landscape and electoral opportunities, any less than full investment in Georgia would amount to strategic malpractice. We can win Georgia."
Stacey Abrams talked about how Democrats should do that earlier tonight on "Hardball."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS (D), 2018 CANDIDATE FOR GEORGIA GOVERNOR: Georgia was not only ground zero for voter suppression but also ground zero for opportunity. We can pick up two Senate seats, give 16 electoral votes to the Democratic nominee, and we can flip the House - the State House as well as taking - holding one and adding another Congressional seat. Those are extraordinary opportunities, and Georgia is the place to fight voter suppression but also fight for Democratic votes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jon Ossoff was the Democratic Congressional candidate in a special election in Georgia in 2017 who showed us how much the political ground shifted in Georgia in the first year of the Trump presidency, running in a district that the last Republican had won by 23 points. Jon Ossoff came within three points of winning that House seat, which was a big clue about the big blue wave that was to follow in the next election.
When Jon Ossoff decided not to run for that seat again in 2018, Lucy McBath did run, and she is now one of the freshmen Democratic members of the House who have transferred control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats.
Tonight, within the last hour, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that on the very day that "The Abrams Playbook" has declared Georgia the premier battleground state in the country, Jon Ossoff has decided to heed Stacey Abrams` advice to Democrats and fight for Democrats in Georgia by running for the United States Senate.
And joining us now for an exclusive interview to tell us about his decision to run is Jon Ossoff.
Jon, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
JON OSSOFF (D-GA), CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE: Thank you so much for having me.
O`DONNELL: So you can confirm you are a candidate for the United States Senate in Georgia?
OSSOFF: Tomorrow morning, I`ll be announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate in Georgia. I`m excited, and I`m excited to be here tonight.
O`DONNELL: Which seat - there`s two seats. There`s the Johnny Isakson`s seat where he recently announced he`s going to retire, and then there is Senator Perdue who`s running for reelection. Which one are you going to run for?
OSSOFF: I`ll be challenging Senator Perdue. Senator Perdue - this is a guy who in a half decade while children in rural Georgia, one out of three of them live in poverty, while Georgia has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country, this man has not once in five years come down from his private island to hold a single public town hall. He is a caricature of Washington corruption. And I`m running because we face a crisis of political corruption in this country.
When nine out of 10 Americans support universal background checks for firearms purchases, but Congress refuses to act because they`re bought by the NRA, that`s corruption. When the federal government is silencing its own scientists, its own environmental scientists because their findings threaten the profitability of the fossil fuel industry, that`s corruption.
As power becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and wealth becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and those wealthy and powerful groups can spend limitless amounts in secret on a vicious political propaganda to manipulate elections, that`s corruption.
I`ve spent the last six years as an investigative journalist. I lead a team that`s taken on powerful corporations, ISIS war criminals, crooked judges, all over the world. And we need now to mount an all-out attack on political corruption in America, or I`m not sure our democracy will survive.
O`DONNELL: What did you learn in your Congressional race that you will bring into this race? And what will be the number-one policy issue in this race in Georgia?
OSSOFF: Lawrence, I was 29 when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. And like millions of Americans who have fought and worked tirelessly since then, I didn`t sit back in despair. I stood up and ran for Congress in a district where the last Democrat had lost by 23 points. And everyone counted me out. But it became one of the toughest, closest races in American political history. The national Republican Party all the way to the President himself made my destruction their number-one priority.
And what I learned is that I will never be intimidated from telling my own story and touting my own accomplishments because of the inevitable partisan smears that come down from Washington. We have to be bold and direct and clear in the face of that kind of intimidation.
O`DONNELL: What about issues? Is healthcare the number one issue in this campaign?
OSSOFF: The interesting thing is that for all of the political division and all of the rancor that we face right now, most Georgians and most Americans agree on the solutions to our basic problems. Most Georgians and most Americans agree every American should have health care. Most Georgians and most Americans agree we have to save our environment and revolutionize our infrastructure. Most Georgians and most Americans want to get secret dark money out of politics.
So the question is, if there is a consensus, why aren`t these things happening? And it`s because there is a political corruption deeply embedded within our system that prevents the will of the people from being expressed through their elected representatives.
David Perdue is the image of Washington corruption. He retired into the Senate. I will go to the Senate to work every day for Georgians.
O`DONNELL: Jon Ossoff, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Please come back during the campaign. We want to hear more about it.
OSSOFF: Thank you so much for having me.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much.
OSSOFF: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: After another chaotic and historic day in the British parliament, we will explain the latest Brexit developments with the help of British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and David Lammy, the Member of Parliament from London who is the only MP who I follow on Twitter. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight from London where parliament has officially been suspended for five weeks. There were raucous scenes in the House of Commons as members opposed to the suspension chanted "Shame on you" as they left the chamber. Before the official suspension, members of parliament rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s second attempt at scheduling a new election on October 15th.
In the HBO drama, "Brexit," Benedict Cumberbatch plays the real-life political opponent Dominic Cummings, who was the mad and rude genius behind the political strategy that won the Brexit referendum three years ago.
Here is Benedict Cumberbatch playing Dominic Cummings in a scene that combines his technical wizardry, political insight, and rudeness to the ruling class of Conservative members of parliament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Political discourse has become utterly moronic, thanks to the morons who run it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there it is. If that is the way that it is to be, then I will get us across the line in whatever way I can. But in order to do that, we have to restack the odds in our favor. We have to hack the political system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hack it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a cyber hack. Get in through the back door. Reprogram the system so it starts working for us. You`re talking about posters and flyers. I`m talking about ordering the matrix of politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Dominic Cummings is now being called a psychopath by a senior member of the Conservative Party. Now that Dominic Cummings has risen to the position of chief strategist for the Conservative Party`s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings has masterminded the most disastrous debut of a British Prime Minister in history with Boris Johnson on the losing-end of votes in parliament consistently and then forcing Conservatives who voted against him in parliament to leave the party, which then provoked Boris Johnson`s own brother to resign from the government, which reportedly reduced Boris Johnson to tears.
Matt Sanders, who used to work with Dominic Cummings, told "The New York Times," "We are in absolute chaos, and Dominic loves chaos." Because Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly delegates so much of his power to Dominic Cummings, Jenni Russell, a columnist for "The Times" of London says Dominic Cummings may be "the most important man in Britain right now."
To survey the absolute chaos of the British government and British politics, we will be joined in a moment by one of the most eloquent members of parliament, David Lammy. David Lammy picked up a Harvard law degree after earning a British law degree, and his American experience makes him uniquely gifted in explaining Brexit to us.
David Lammy is the one Member of Parliament who I follow on Twitter. And no matter how confused you may be about Brexit, I promise you will follow every word of what David Lammy has to say about it after this break.
O`DONNELL: The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, today announced that he will resign on October 31st, the date on which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union even though parliament has passed a law preventing Boris Johnson from doing that unless he has somehow miraculously negotiated a last-minute final deal with Europe for exiting the European Union.
Here is an example of Speaker John Bercow in action instructing the new Prime Minister last week on the rules of the House of Commons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: --that Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, UNITED KINGDOM: Yes. We don`t name people in the chamber. People must observe the rules. No, no. Order. Order. Order. I am simply and politely informing the Prime Minister of the very long-established procedure with which everybody, including the Prime Minister, must comply. That`s the position. No doubt. No argument. No contradiction. End of the matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Our next guest, Labour Party Member of Parliament David Lammy rose in the House of Commons today to commend Speaker John Bercow, who was first elected to parliament as a member of the Conservative Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LAMMY, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: To stand up to that establishment and never be cowed. The next Speaker has very, very big shoes to fill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is David Lammy, a member of the British Labour Party. He represents a district of London in parliament.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight. And I wanted to get your reaction to the resignation of Speaker John Bercow.
DAVID LAMMY, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: Well, your viewers will know, John Bercow has been an extraordinary Speaker standing up for the sovereignty of parliament and ensuring that backbenchers like me get a say and get to hold this government and previous governments to account.
He`s also been the most inclusive Speaker ensuring that women, minorities, those with disabilities get to put their views and get to hold the executive to account. It`s a very sad day that after a decade, he`s standing down. But he`s staying right up to the 31st of October, and that is hugely important.
O`DONNELL: There is another character in your politics who is emerging here in the United States I think for the first time. And that is Dominic Cummings, an adviser to Boris Johnson. There are a couple of profiles of him a few days in a row here in the American news media. But he was played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV movie about Brexit. And so that`s the only familiarity I think American audiences have had.
How important is Dominic Cummings in what is happening now?
LAMMY: Well, he is the unelected prime minister. He`s hugely important, hugely influential, hugely dangerous, a master at dark arts, has very extreme hard-right politics, has taken very strange views on issues like eugenics, and is now driving this country off a cliff. He clearly has Boris Johnson in his pocket. He won the referendum in very dubious ways.
Many of your viewers will understand what I`m saying when I say that. The use of Facebook, worries about international interference from - particularly from Russia and other places. So, very, very worried to see Dominic Cummings right at the center of power here in the U.K. and influencing events in Europe as well.
O`DONNELL: One unnamed member of the Conservative Party told "The New York Times" this weekend, referring to Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson, "One is a charlatan and the other a psychopath." And I believe the charlatan is Boris Johnson in that comparison. Is that overdone?
LAMMY: No. It`s not overdone. Something sick and cancerous has entered into the system here in the U.K., this wonderful country, the mother of all parliaments behind me, one of the birthplaces of modern democracy and the sovereignty of a nation and those elected to represent it. And I`m afraid we are hugely divided.
The Conservative Party - not my party - but nevertheless, a great party here in Europe has been taken over by a bandit of tea party extremists determined to wrench us out of the European Union using xenophobic, sometimes racist rhetoric to deliver that, and to deliver a small, smaller United Kingdom because surely the Scots, the Welsh and others will leave the United Kingdom and leave us in a small little England. It`s deeply depressing. It has to be fought. And I`m very pleased that the opposition are coming together to try and defeat this mob.
O`DONNELL: Now, you`ve passed a law, parliament has passed a law saying that the Prime Minister must request an extension of time from the European Union, but there is new reporting suspecting that Boris Johnson will not obey that law. Is there any way the Prime Minister can avoid the requirements of that law?
LAMMY: It`s an extraordinary development that in the birthplace of the rule of law, we have a Prime Minister say that he will not implement a law that has been passed in this place to mandate it, to ask for an extension in an event that he has no deal from the European Union. And frankly, if he disobeys the law, then the Metropolitan Police will have to enter Number 10, put him in handcuffs and arrest him because he must obey the rule of law. So they`re trying now to suspend parliament.
I mean, literally, it`s like an episode of "The Handmaid`s Tale." And we must resist that, of course, but we - look, we`re not coming back until October the 14th, an extraordinary time of crisis in our country. And we`re now out of parliament because of what they are attempting to do. So we`re going to be in for a real fight in the middle of October.
Let`s see where it ends up. But as night follows day, I`m telling you, we will not be exiting the European Union on the 31st of October with a no- deal Brexit. It will not happen. We will be entering into a general election, I suspect, in November, and fighting, frankly, for the future of this country.
O`DONNELL: David Lammy, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
LAMMY: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "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