Maddow on her new book "Blowout". TRANSCRIPT: 10/4/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Michael Schmidt, Evan McMullin, Howell Raines, Ellen Weintraub

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Senator Sanders had been in the hospital since then, but today he emerged smiling and waving. The campaign says he was diagnosed with a myocardial infarction, which is more commonly known as a heart attack.

But he is out. He is doing well. He put out a video message today thanking his well-wishers for their support and their prayers. It is good to see Senator Sanders back on his feet heading out of the hospital today.

The senator`s campaign says that he will be back out on the campaign trail soon. We think later on this week. God speed, Senator Sanders. Get well soon. That`s going to do it for us tonight. I will see you live -- I will see you again on Monday. I`m going to be live from Los Angeles, which is one of the stops on my book tour.

I will also tell you that weirdly on Sunday night, there is a new T.V. show on the CW called "Batwoman" and I have a voice role in the new "Batwoman" T.V. show. Isn`t that crazy? I know. Anyway, it`s very fun. Now it`s time for the LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening Rachel. And I, you know, I read about your "Batwoman" thing. What is your character`s name?

MADDOW:  Vesper Fairchild.

O`DONNELL:  Vesper Fairchild. That`s my new Starbucks name. Vesper Fairchild. I`m using that from now. That is my favorite name ever to appear in fiction.

MADDOW:  It is a classic comic book character for this whole arc. I`m super --

O`DONNELL:  Lok what I got here. So, what are you doing tonight?

MADDOW:  I am not that busy.

O`DONNELL:  Do you want to come over because I`ve got some pages marked here.

MADDOW:  I`m still on crutches so it`s going to take me a minute, but I`ll be there as soon as I can crutch over.

O`DONNELL:  Hey, if you can get here by the time we finish one of these commercial breaks, we`ll just bring you right on to the T.V. show. Okay.

MADDOW:  Okay. Bye. See you in a minute.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you Rachel. So Rachel`s going to be joining us later in the hour to help us assess where we are at the end of week two in the impeachment investigation of Donald J. Trump and we`ll discuss her amazing book, which I am just going to rave about. It is also very much related to this week`s news.

And later in the hour, we will look at the ray of hope sent by Mitt Romney today indicating that at least one Republican senator is capable of speaking the truth about the president`s conduct this week. And the "Last Word" tonight, the last word of this program this week will go to the woman who warned President Trump not to do what he did on that phone call with the president of Ukraine.

And she warned him not to do what he did publicly this week when he requested help in his re-election campaign from China. He was warned. He got a legal warning not to do that. That warning cape from Ellen Weintraub, and the president did it anyway. Ellen Weintraub will get tonight`s last word.

The breaking news of this hour is that there could be a second whistleblower ready to emerge to back up the whistleblower whose accusations about President Trump`s phone call with the president of Ukraine now form the basis of the fourth impeachment investigation of a president in the history of the United States of America.

"The New York Times" headline tonight, "Second Official is Weighing Whether to Blow the Whistle on Trump`s Ukraine Dealings." The "New York Times" reports a second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump`s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistleblower complaint and testify to Congress, according to two people briefed on the matter.

The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistleblower. The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence committee inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistleblower.

The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, briefed lawmakers privately on Friday about how he substantiated the whistleblower`s account. It was not clear whether he told lawmakers that the second official is considering filing a complaint.

Because the second official has met with Mr. Atkinson`s office, it was unclear where he needs to file a complaint to gain the legal protections offered to intelligence community whistleblowers. Witnesses who speak with inspectors general are protected by federal law that outlaws reprisals against officials who cooperate with an inspector general.

And joining us is one of the reporters who broke that story for "The New York Times" tonight. Michael Schmidt, Washington correspondent for "The New York Times" who covers national security and federal investigations. Michael, thank you very much for joining us on your breaking news report. What more can you tell us about this possible second whistleblower?

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Well, look. This is a person that has more intimate knowledge. He is closer to the actual, you know, complaint, what the issue is at the center of the complaint, then the complaint.

You have to remember the person who filed the initial complaint is someone that was at the CIA, who was not at the White House, who was not intimately involved with this. Look, the interesting thing that`s going on here is that the president is having to deal with whistleblowers.

Now, there could be a second whistleblower who would create another problem for him. It is different than the Mueller investigation. In that case, it was a contained federal investigation. A lot of things weren`t supposed to come out. But whistleblowers have a different power. They have different ability. They have the ability to go to Congress.

They don`t necessarily have to go through the Justice Department. And that has freed up information to move in ways that we haven`t seen earlier in the Trump administration.

O`DONNELL:  Michael, is it your sense that people involved in this story are now kind of actively thinking about their role and thinking about whether they need to take some kind of position in relation to this whistleblower report because the whistleblower report refers to a fairly large number of people.

And you certainly get the sense that it is more than a dozen people who are referenced in one way, not necessarily by name. Is it your sense that a lot of those people are thinking about what their role is now?

SCHMIDT:  Well, I think what has gone on is that the folks in Washington who are concerned about President Trump have seen a lot of failures. They saw the Mueller report. They saw how it fell flat. They saw how it didn`t catch on. They saw the struggles of the Democrats to do anything with it and they`re trying to think of other ways that information may be able to move.

And I think that in some of that, that`s what we see here. We see sort of, you know, folks trying to think outside the box about how they can get things out. Look, we`ve seen that in the press. The press has reported an enormous amount of things while Donald Trump has been president.

That`s because people in government had been concerned about what they saw. And in, you know, at least the original whistleblower complaint, this was someone who was outside the White House that was taking such a risk to file a complaint to get this information to Congress in the hopes that something would happen. And that`s just a different thing, a different sort of aspect that we`re dealing with.

O`DONNELL:  And what do we know as of tonight about the committee`s contact level with the first whistleblower? Have they been able to come to an agreement about any testimony from that whistleblower?

SCHMIDT:  So we know that the committee wanted as early as last week to interview the whistleblower and that still has not happened. And it is unclear why they`ve struggled to do that, but they still have not interviewed the whistleblower.

There are a lot of complications around it. The whistleblower is someone, you know, who is anonymous, whose identity needs to be protected, you know, according to the whistleblower statutes. And interviewing them is not as simple as just the whistleblower driving up to Congress and going in and sitting down.

And for whatever reason, that has still not happened yet. And I`m pretty sure the committee wants that to happen. And I`ve heard that they want that to happen but it still has not gone forward.

O`DONNELL:  Michael, in your reporting tonight, you`ve mentioned that the president and his comments about the whistleblower said that he singled out the whistleblower`s sources and calling them close to a spy. Is there any indication that what the president said about those sources has something to do with provoking this possible second whistleblower to come forward?

SCHMIDT:  I don`t think so. The president is someone that has been obsessed with leaks, obsessed with loyalty since long before he came to office. And being president has just brought that more to the forefront for him.

He wants loyalty from the people around him. And he wants them to keep things, you know, closely held. And that rarely happens and things often spill out. But it is a pre-occupation that he has.

He wanted Jeff Sessions, his first attorney general, to go after leakers. Leakers were a problem. They needed to be, you know, investigated and gone after. And you know, it is a recurring issue that he has had throughout his entire presidency.

O`DONNELL:  Michael, please stay with us. We`re joined now in the conversation by Ned Price. He is a former CIA analyst and a former senior director and spokesperson for the National Security Council in the Obama administration. He is an MSNBC national security contributor. And Howell Raines is with us. He is the former executive editor of the "New York Times" and an MSNBC contributor.

And Ned Price, I want to get your reaction to Michael`s reporting tonight that there could be a second whistleblower coming forward to back up the first whistleblower, and that this whistleblower would have more direct knowledge of what happened in the president`s phone call with the president of Ukraine.

NED PRICE, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR:  Lawrence, out of all the twists and turns we`ve endured in the past few weeks, I have to say, this is probably to my mind at least, the least surprising. And I say that in part remembering what the original whistleblower wrote in the first line of his complaint.

He said in the course of my official duties I have received information from multiple U.S. government officials suggesting, as you were just alluding to, that those -- several of those with direct knowledge of what happened were so concerned that they passed on it to those around them and it eventually made its way to this whistleblower.

And so I do think there is something to this idea that Trump in some way has brought this upon himself, this possibility of a second whistleblower. And I say that because Trump, ever since this person came forward, put his complaint forward, has tried to make this not about the issues of national security and betrayal in our democracy and oversight, but about a single person.

He has tried to revisit the playbook he used against Bob Mueller, he used against Mueller`s prosecutors, he used against Christopher Steel to attack the background, the affiliations, the connections, the relationships of a single person not recognizing that the issues are so much bigger than a single person.

And I think what we`re seeing are those others who were, as Michael Schmidt alluded to, much more directly involved in these matters. Coming forward to essentially say, you know what, this is not about a single person. We witnessed this, it sounds like in some cases, firsthand.

And we will help dispel the notion that this can be personified because frankly, this can`t be personified. This is about in some cases, what we cherish most as a country that Donald Trump has decided to subordinate to his own personal and political prerogatives.

O`DONNELL:  Howell Raines, "New York Times," Michael Schmidt doing more great reporting tonight, advancing the story. And then we see the Congress then taking sometimes what we`ve discovered in newspaper reports, advancing that. Have you seen this kind of rhythm before unfold in these kinds of stories?

HOWELL RAINES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes. They are echoes of Watergate and the Clinton impeachment. And first, I want to say, Lawrence, those of us who worked in Washington in these previous times know there are certain days when you can feel the grinding of the gears of history. And those gears have now caught the coat tail of Donald Trump.

That doesn`t mean he can`t survive. He`s an escape artist. But this is deadly serious. And Michael with his great scoop about the second whistleblower put an exclamation mark on this day. But let`s go back to something earlier today.

The third article of impeachment against Richard Nixon was ignoring subpoenas of the Congress. So, the subpoenas that were sent to the White House today over the signature of Eric Engle, Adam Smith and Elijah Cummings, I think will come to be seen as an important historic document.

And the reason I say that is Trump has tended to treat democratic members of Congress as some sort of wannabes or impotent people. He says, you know, you can do what you want to. I`m going to lay down (ph) on the tall grass because I can get away with it.

This document dated October 4th from these -- signed by these three congressmen, says this Congress is asserting itself. This House is asserting itself as a co-equal branch of government and don`t trifle with us. That to me is one of the water shed developments in the series of events that you mentioned.

O`DONNELL:  And we also have reporting tonight from NBC News. They`re reporting that the CIA`s top lawyer made a criminal referral about the whistleblower`s allegations to the Justice Department and Ned Price, that story came earlier today from NBC News. That shows you that a Trump appointee, the counsel at CIA saw something in that whistleblower`s report that she thought was worthy of a criminal referral.

PRICE:  I think there are three important points about this story, Lawrence. First and this is the most interesting to my mind, everyone who heard rumors even before the whistleblower`s complaint was fully drafted, everyone who heard about it, ultimately filed a criminal referral to the Justice Department.

We previously knew about the acting DNI. We previously knew about the inspector general of the intelligence community. We learned today that in calling the Department of Justice that the CIA`s general counsel intended to do the same thing.

I think that shows just the seriousness and the concern that these complaints raise even among Trump appointees. But I was struck by the fact that when the CIA general counsel made what she intended to be a criminal referral to the Justice Department, there was another individual on the line. This individual was from the White House.

And this was the same individual, actually a White House lawyer, who was put in charge in some ways, affecting the cover-up of the transcript of the July 25th phone call. This was the individual, this White House lawyer who assured that the transcript was on this top secret compartmented National Security Council computer system.

And so my question there is, what part of the cover-up was affected before these complaints came forward and before they were widely known? I think that`s something congressional investigators will have to look to. And then finally, I also think we have to grapple with the fact that this criminal referral was communicated over the phone not in writing. And that is certainly atypical. And it suggests that perhaps the inspector general counsel didn`t want to attach her name to something in writing.

And it could suggest to me at least that Trump has so perverted these institutions that people are afraid to follow standard operating procedure. I think that`s something Congress will have to look into as well.

O`DONNELL:  Michael Schmidt, any indication in your reporting that Ambassador Volker`s testimony yesterday and the release of those text messages has in any way provoked this possible second whistleblower? I`m just trying to see if there`s anything in your reporting that`s -- the way these people are moving and deciding to come forward.

SCHMIDT:  I don`t think they`re connected at all. I just think that there are a lot of different things out there and that one of Trump`s issues is that there`s just a lot of different bets that could go against him. We saw one of them sort of come to fruition yesterday, the text messages that came out.

Now, there is the potential for another whistleblower. There`s just a lot of different, you know, issues that he`s, you know, dealing with and trying to sort of navigate and that are popping up and that are very unusual for a president to see. And he`s confronting them or maybe not confronting them for whatever they`re worth.

But it`s just an unusual set of circumstances. And there seems to be at a drum beat here. There seems to be a momentum. And the question will be whether the Democrats can really keep that up. They really struggled to do that in the aftermath of the Mueller report.

They struggled to keep up sort of a steady beat of new things coming out. But maybe in this case, on this sort of different issue off to the side, they could do that.

O`DONNELL:  And Howell, this is one of those strange investigations in which the person being investigated in his own way is trying to be uncooperative but couldn`t be more cooperative. He walks up to microphones and asks China to help him in his re-election.

RAINES:  Yes. Well, this is the latest example that we`ve seen that we`re into totally new historical and political territory here. This is very odd behavior. And I think the crazy like a fox aspect is this. Trump knows that the 40 percent are with him when he says, yes, I did it, so what.

As a legal strategy that could be disastrous. The other loose cannon on his deck is of course, Rudolph Giuliani who earlier this week said, I`ve got all of my documents from all of these interchanges. And, you know, no prosecutor or no impeachment counsel is going to forget that remark. Okay, since you`ve got them, let`s see them.

So it`s not within the normal rules of political combat, congressional procedure, certainly jurisprudence to see the targets confessing in plain sight.

O`DONNELL:  Yes. We haven`t seen that one before. We`ll take a break here. Michael Schmidt, thank you very much for joining us with your breaking news report. We really appreciate that. Ned Price, thank you for joining us. Hwell Raines is going to stay with us. We`ll hear from him later.

And as we`ve been talking, Rachel Maddow has been making her way over to this studio. She will join us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Rachel Maddow is here and every second that I spend on a flowery introduction of Rachel is time that could be better spent listening to (inaudible). So, joining us now is Rachel Maddow, the host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" and the author of "Blowout," the wicked great book that we`re going to discuss after we start catching up with Rachel Maddow`s look at the week.

Where are we? Let me give you the latest breaking. Two congressional sources tell NBC News, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, will appear Tuesday for a joint deposition before the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Intelligence Committee, the Oversight Committee.

They reported earlier that they expected Ambassador Yovanovitch to be Friday. So Gordon Sondland, whose right in the thick of this and if there is something that is adjudged to be a conspiracy about what the president`s policy was with Ukraine, Gordon Sondland is going to be one of the key Webbers --

MADDOW:  In addition to the inspector general who was there testifying today and who testified at the very start of the impeachment inquiry as well, isn`t this the first current official that they`ve had in there, right, because Volkers --

O`DONNELL:  Yes. Yes. And they`ve said no. You can`t have any of them. So obviously, they`re working on some kind of negotiation that`s getting them.

MADDOW:  Right. And then soon after, I mean, when did did you say, is it going to be Tuesday?

O`DONNELL:  Yes, Gordon --

MADDOW:  So Sondland is Tuesday and then Yovanovitch is going to be on Friday, who is also a current State Department official. She is no longer U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine, but she is still a State Department official and a Foreign Service officer.

And So this means you`re zooming in on the importance here, which is they are not blocking all current officials from testifying the way they have done through the other inquiries that the House has mounted against the administration. I mean --

O`DONNELL:  And Gordon Sondland has some texts.

MADDOW:  Yes.

O`DONNELL:  He`s in on the text game.

MADDOW:  Well, Gordon Sonland -- I don`t know anything about him other than what I read in the press. But he is a hotel magnate. He is somebody who donated a bunch of money -- held a Trump fundraiser.

And then actually around the RNC with the treatment of the Khizr-Khan family, he and his business partner stepped away and said, okay, we have been supporting Trump and now we no longer are. This is horrifying. Then once Trump actually won the election he got back in the game, provided something like $1 million to the inaugural. That`s how he ended up becoming ambassador to the E.U.

He has no foreign service background at all. He is an absolute novice in a very high falutin job who was in the middle of this thing with people who were not novices. I mean, Volker is not a novice and certainly neither is Bill Taylor who was the one who was sending him on fire text messages about the impropriety of what they were doing with Ukraine.

And so he is a guy who may be slightly over his head in terms of diplomatic matters, who has definitely come in as a Trump loyalist and that`s how he got his job. For him to be conceding or agreeing to go in and talk to these committees, it`s a very interesting decision.

I don`t know what kind of testimony that he`ll give. Obviously, he has to worry a little bit about his own neck to the extent that he knowingly participated in what is an impeachable scheme when done by the president, is probably an illegal scheme when done by anybody else.

O`DONNELL:  And the "New York Times" reporting the possible, I guess we`d call it the back-up whistleblower to the original whistleblower.

MADDOW:  Yes. This is so disappointing.

O`DONNELL:  The second whistleblower -- this one saying, according to them, more direct information. Now, more direct would probably be, I heard, the call.

MADDOW:  Probably I heard the call or I was involved in some of the other machinations here. I mean, we now know over the past couple of days that this was not something that the president cooked up alone or that the president cooked up with Rudolph Giuliani and then the two of them tried to put it into effect.

This is something that they involved a lot of people in government toward doing. They certainly involved upper echelons of the State Department in trying to work this out. And so this could be a very senior person. This could be somebody who is either in the intelligence community or in the State Department side of things or presumably they could be somebody in the military side of it.

The only thing we know is that it is somebody who the I.G. from the intelligence community has spoken to, to verify what the whistleblower said. So, clearly it`s going to be corroborating information. But whether this is somebody who was having a crisis of conscience or recognition of their own thing of liability and willing to become a constructive part of this process, with whistleblower protections built in, I mean, that is -- I`m sure this is freaking the White House out.

O`DONNELL:  Yes. And it is also someone who by inference, the president called a spy. The president said that the people who helps the whistleblower or talked to the whistleblower that was the behavior he said of spies.

This indicates that this whistleblower was someone who was involved in the original whistleblower`s report. That`s why the inspector general spoke to this possible whistleblower. So, the president himself might be out there now currently inspiring more whistleblowers by the way he`s talking about this.

MADDOW:  Yes, exactly. Every threat that he issues, especially when he issues threats that don`t even seem like, there isn`t any veil on them, you know, where it really just seemed like a threat of violence, you know, if not direct retaliation.

Every time he does that, he is inviting people who may see themselves in his comments, who may think that he`s targeting them to themselves, avail themselves of whistleblower protections that are afforded under federal law. To themselves see what they can do to protect themselves against a president who says, I`m coming for you.

O`DONNELL:  We`re going on squeeze in a break. When we come back, we`re going to talk about your book. And as I told you, I do have the audio book. Have you listened to the audio book?

MADDOW:  No.

O`DONNELL:  I had a feeling you do not listen to your own audio books.

MADDOW:  I do not listen.

O`DONNELL:  I have that feeling, but just -- now let me tell you something about this. When do you get audio book -- that`s you as you are the brilliant director, Scott Sherratt recorded it.

However, some people are in a hurry. They can speed you up. We can take you from the exact speed that you spoke, right? Up to, let`s say, 1.25. That`s you a little faster if I want to get through this book faster.

Now, if I can listen really fast, I can double, do you want to double your speed?

MADDOW:  Yes.

O`DONNELL:  Let`s double it. Yes. That`s kind of hard to listen to.

MADDOW:  It`s like me and the chipmunks.

O`DONNELL:  It is. It`s the chipmunk version. Double speed is the chipmunk version. We`re going to be right back with Rachel`s book.

MADDOW:  Let me see that. Let me see that.

O`DONNELL:  Yes, it`s fantastic.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We`re back with Rachel Maddow and her book "Blowout". Now, I don`t know how to talk about this book, because I love this book so much--

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much for reading it. And you don`t have to--

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: All right. So here`s the thing. You know what this brought me back to? It brought me back to a moment when I was a freshman in college. Toward the end of freshman year, because in sophomore year, we had to choose our majors, the area we would concentrate our studies in.

And my freshman advisor said to us - said to a group of about six of us. You don`t realize this, but the choice you make in your concentration of studies is the choice about how you`re going to look at the world. You will look at the world through literature for the rest of your life, if that`s what you do. You`ll look at it through history, you`ll look at it through chemistry, you`ll look at it through biology. And I thought biology?

And then I heard Nobel prize-winning Biologist George Wald give a lecture and I thought, oh yes, you can`t look at the world through that. And so - and I ended up through a process of elimination that was a stumble of a few months of choosing economics and so I`ve had that window.

"Blowout" by Rachel Maddow is a way of looking at the world. This has the weight of really a college major, of years of study. It has range it, has authority. It is - the subtitle could be, how the world got this way? It really could be how we got to this - and I mean all of this, that we`re living with today.

MADDOW: That is very kind of you to say. You have - I mean, you reading the book is humbling to me and I`m thankful for that. I`m also very humbled by those words. I did not intend to write a book about oil and gas.

And I started off knowing nothing about oil and gas. I was trying to answer other questions about how we got to the world that we are in right now. And big questions about why we`re in this fight between authoritarianism and democracy.

And why Russia took that wild swing at us? And why they`re such a strange malignant actor internationally, given that within our lifetime they`ve been a world straddling superpower with communist satellite, states all over the world, and they were our equal in terms of world influence.

Trying to get two answers to those questions, I ended up in an economics framework. I ended up looking at what`s wrong with their economy and how weak that made them. And when you combine their weakness and their ambition, you realize that the ways they`ve had to try to compete are desperate and also pretty narrowly defined.

And I didn`t - and therefore, I had to learn a lot about oil and gas. You know me, since I learn about a thing currently involving subject X, I have to go back to the original history of subject X and tell you the story from the Big Bang. And so it does have a lot of history of the oil industry, but only because I had to learn it in order to figure out these answers to these contemporaneous questions.

O`DONNELL: Will you take us from the time when New Bedford was the richest city in America - the whale oil industry, into John D. Rockefeller, what he meant to the oil industry here, what Vladimir Putin means to the oil market now, what oil - how oil has defined Russian behavior in so many ways as a government and so forth.

There`s so many different stories in this book. But it`s all one piece. Do you think there`s a hero in this book? Because I do.

MADDOW: Oh.

O`DONNELL: I`ve got a hero.

MADDOW: OK, go.

O`DONNELL: Of course, the hero is Austin Holland.

MADDOW: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Oh, what a character. To trace him from the beginning this seismologist in Oklahoma. In fact, Oklahoma`s seismologist. I mean, the guy who was the very first person to deal with the question of, "Why is there a sudden rash of earthquakes in Oklahoma?"

MADDOW: This incredibly stable landlocked part of the United States that is not known for earthquakes, suddenly starts having a few little shakers and then dozens and then hundreds and then this seemingly unstoppable rash.

And Austin Holland is just a scientist. He`s a sort of humble, directed scientist who`s there to do interesting work as Oklahoma State Seismologist, and he ends up being the target of the oil and gas industry that does not want to hear what he is concluding about what`s happening in that state. And he is--

O`DONNELL: Which he was very slow to conclude. This was a--

MADDOW: Slow and deliberate and follow the data kind of guy.

O`DONNELL: --years and years and years.

MADDOW: He`s not like an environmental activists out there crusading. He`s just a guy trying to do good seismology. And he`s so - he was so pretty - he was so positively disposed toward the industry, such an apolitical guy.

He didn`t look at these oil figures in the state who were starting to pressure his office and say, "Oh, those are the bad guys. They`re coming for me." He did everything he could to try to accommodate them until it came to the breaking point where it was them or it was the science, and he sided with the science.

And they ultimately forced him out of the state. But he did such good work, and he was so unassailable both in his sort of equanimity but also the quality of his work, that ultimately what he did made Oklahoma face it finally. And they had to take on the oil industry and they had to tell them to stuff it with some other anti-scientific theories to try to make this stuff go away.

And they did have to constrain them and regulate them and rein them in to stop the ground from shaking. In part, because the science could not be denied, and it does make the scientists the heroes here.

O`DONNELL: There`s a passage in here that - normally I would read this. It doesn`t make any sense for me to read your book--

MADDOW: You want me to--

O`DONNELL: Would you read that for people to get them where I want them to be, thinking about this right now?

MADDOW: I will. "Turns out Putin made mistakes over the past 15 years - big fundamental, hard to reverse mistakes. That can happen when you try to build your country`s future on the oil and gas industry.

Putin`s decisions stripped his country of its ability to compete fairly in the global economy or global politics, and limited its strategic options to the unsavory list, he and his apparatchiks are ticking down today.

His efforts to restore Russia as a world stage superpower no longer depend on capacity and know-how, they depend on cheating. Putin and his minions cheat at the financial markets, they cheat at the Olympics, they cheat at their own fake democracy. They cheat other people out of their democracies."

O`DONNELL: And here we are--

MADDOW: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Cheating.

MADDOW: Yes. When I realized the scale of the oil deal that Putin did with Rex Tillerson, during the Obama administration, it`s $0.5 trillion oil deal. That was going to make the difference for that - enough oil to burn the planet up twice over in terms of what they were going to try to get out of the Russian Arctic Sea.

When I realized the scale of that - and then that was blocked by sanctions. To then see Rex Tillerson, the guy who did that deal with Putin, brought in to run U.S. foreign policy under the next administration that Russia helped install, to me I just felt like this is something we have to face.

Like, they really, really need to get rid of those sanctions in order to keep their one lifeblood economic thing going. And we underestimate their need for that to our peril. We have a diversified economy. They really don`t. They really have only oil and gas.

And they suck at drilling their own oil and gas. And they need other Western majors to come in and help them. We blocked that when we sanctioned them. Their whole operation against us has been about dropping those sanctions, and they`re getting closer every day.

O`DONNELL: The last line in this book is actually in the acknowledgments, after you thank the staff of the "Rachel Maddow Show" for helping, enabling you to do this.

MADDOW: Their forbearance. Yes.

O`DONNELL: And you make them this promise, you say, "I swear I will not do this again." Please do this again, please. This book is beautifully written. It is so brilliant, it is your voice, it is your wisdom, it`s your insights. I learned so much. Please do this again.

MADDOW: I won`t. Thank you for saying those very nice things. Thank you for you really much.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

MADDOW: Thanks a lot my friend.

O`DONNELL: And we`re going to be right back, because today, Mitt Romney actually didn`t quite cross the aisle, but he`s got one foot right in the middle of the aisle now on the matter of Donald Trump`s conduct this week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: United States Senate was a tale of two Senators today - two Republican Senators. One who took a step toward the Democrats, who support in and feature an investigation by saying that the president`s conduct is wrong and appalling. And another Republican senator who took yet another step deeper into the darkness.

Today Utah`s Republican Junior Senator Mitt Romney, who was just elected in 2018 and will not be up free election again until 2024, tweeted, "When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China`s investigation is his political opponents in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated. By all appearances the president`s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling."

Then came Marco Rubio. Before we show you what Marco Rubio said today about President Trump, asking China to investigate Joe Biden. Let`s take a look at who Marco Rubio once was before Donald Trump took total control of him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Donald Trump is a con-artist. What we are dealing with here my friends is a con-artist. He is a con-artist. You all have friends, you all have friends that are thinking about voting for Donald Trump. Friends do not let friends vote for con-artist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And here`s Senator Marco Rubio today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Do you think it`s OK for President Trump to ask China to launch an investigation of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I don`t know that that`s a real request or him just needling the press, knowing that you guys are going to get outraged by it.

REPORTER: But you`re one of the loudest critics of China and its human- rights abuses. I mean, is it OK for him to ask, to say that?

RUBIO: I don`t think it`s a real request. I think, again, I think he did it to gig you guys. I think he did it to provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative and a former independent presidential candidate. He is the Co-Founder of Stand Up Republic; and Howell Raines is back with us.

Evan your reaction to Marco Rubio today. He thinks it`s funny. He was kind of laughing there about Donald Trump asking China to help him in his reelection campaign.

EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, yes. Well, first of all I will just say it was highly disappointing to see Senator Rubio answer that question in that way. Senator Rubio is someone who from his role in the Senate, from his position there has led our - in many ways our pro- democracy efforts around the world. He`s been a vocal advocate for freedom globally.

And then to see freedom under threat here domestically and to have a question like that posed to him which should be a softball, and to have him blow it off, I think, just really sort of describes how far he`s fallen in just the last couple of years.

He seemed defeated to me emotionally to do that. But the game he`s playing here is that - he`s saying that, look, you the media, are overreacting by responding to Trump`s urging China to interfere in our electoral processes like Russia did in 2016 or similarly.

He wants to say that the media`s overreacting, so that he doesn`t look like he`s underreacting. And it`s important for him to be able to maintain this posture that he`s decided to take, which is to not react to obviously dangerous abuses of the President.

Because as soon as he acknowledges them like the media does and like others do, then he has to do something about it, because he`s a U.S. Senator. And so he goes on pretending like nothing`s a big deal and nothing matters. But he`s clearly wrong on that and I think he knows it himself.

O`DONNELL: Howell Raines, so by Marco Rubio`s logic, Mitt Romney is overreacting to it?

HOWELL RAINES, THE NEW YORK TIMES FORMER EXECUTIVE EDITOR: That was a heart-rending clip the that you just showed, Lawrence. As Dr. King said of Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat, she had been hunted down by the Zeitgeist.

I think the spirit of this age may be hunting down Mitt Romney and offering him a chance to save his party and return it to the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, and I say that in all seriousness. And one of the things that we tend to forget about Trump is that the conservative intellectuals who were so important in the Reagan years and on into the Bush years, have totally disowned this man.

And "The New York Times" ran a piece by Bill Kristol last week that I think was an important signal for people who want to keep their eyes on Mitt Romney. He didn`t mention Mitt Romney. But if you read between the lines, and you know Bill Kristol a little bit as I do, that was a letter saying, Mitt Romney if you will offer yourself as the savior of the party, we - I and my friends will rally the conservative intellectuals in our party to your flag.

O`DONNELL: Well, we will see what happens next. Evan McMullin, Howell Raines thank you both for joining us tonight.

And when we come back, we`ll be joined by the woman who warned Donald Trump not to do it, and he did it anyway, and now he is being impeached for it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Let me make something 100 percent clear. It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation.

Now those are not my words. Those are the words of the Chair of the Federal Election Commission Ellen Weintraub. She tweeted that back in June, when Donald Trump told George Stephanopoulos in an interview that he would indeed accept help from a foreign government in his re-election campaign.

And now Donald Trump is the subject of an impeachment investigation for doing exactly what Ellen Weintraub told him not to do. After the second week of consistent repetition of the Latin words quid pro quo in news coverage, it`s time for a reminder of what words are actually in the law that the President appears to have violated.

And there is no one better to guide us through that law than our next guest, Ellen Weintraub, she is the chair of the Federal Election Commission. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

Have the words quid pro quo been driving you crazy since they are not actually relevant to the law involved here?

ELLEN WEINTRAUB, CHAIR, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: I don`t think about that Lawrence. And I want to be clear that I am not opining on anyone`s conduct here tonight. I am only here to explain the law. That is my job. I want to explain the law, so everyone understands it and hopefully everyone will comply with it.

O`DONNELL: Well go to it and just clarify what quid pro quo might or might not have to do with the law?

WEINTRAUB: Well quid pro quo is a bribery term. That`s in the criminal law. I have civil enforcement authority over the campaign finance law. So quid pro quo really doesn`t enter into it from the standpoint of the FEC.

When we talk about the foreign national ban, it is as tweeted and as you just read, pretty simple. It is illegal for anyone to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from any foreign national in connection with a U.S. election period.

O`DONNELL: And I want to go over one other concept that`s been in the coverage of this, and that`s the notion of pressure. And when the President of Ukraine was at the UN and speaking with President Trump publicly. The president of Ukraine said he didn`t - he used the word push. He didn`t feel pushed.

The word in the law is solicit and so a solicit, a request, a solicitation could be done very politely without any air of pressure around it. Couldn`t it?

WEINTRAUB: Again, not talking about any individual. But, yes, it`s a matter of law. Solicit does not necessarily require a great deal of pressure.

O`DONNELL: And what you saw - I mean, you came out with your tweet about this after we saw what the President said to George Stephanopoulos, which was at the time stunning. That after all the Mueller investigation, Mueller report he would actually say to George Stephanopoulos that he would be willing to accept help from a foreign government.

So you laid the law out there and you felt at the time kind of surprised that you had to do that. How surprised are you that we are where we are tonight?

WEINTRAUB: These are surprising times, Lawrence. I just keep trying to instruct people on the law. I think it`s really important. This is obviously a very important issue. It`s an important principle in our law. The ban on foreign national spending is enshrined in law. But it`s also a principle that was discussed by the founding fathers.

And it`s a principle that we all should be able to agree on, on a nonpartisan basis that we want elections to be run and administered and funded by American citizens. And we want American citizens to be the ones who are making choices in our elections, and we don`t want foreign interference.

O`DONNELL: Ellen Weintraub gets tonight`s and this week`s last word, and nothing could be more appropriate. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

WEINTRAUB: Thank you Lawrence.

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