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Trump wrote letter to Turkish President. TRANSCRIPT: 10/16/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Raja Krishnamoorthi, E.J. Dionne, Ben Rhodes, Amy Klobuchar

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

It`s a good thing cable news is not on six days a week. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Uh-huh. 

O`DONNELL:  Oh, wait.  Oh, wait.  Block out your Saturdays, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  The fact that McConnell thinks that the Senate is going to have this by Thanksgiving, I mean, I feel like maybe, depending on what the House decides to impeach him for, they certainly could take a vote tomorrow on some of this stuff.  But it feels like their investigation is going toward some thornier stuff, so I don`t know if that`s just him trying to make people think it will be over soon?  It`s hard to -- hard to believe that it would be over that quick. 

O`DONNELL:  Well, I think he`s balancing it with what he knows to be Speaker Pelosi`s incentive to get this done fast enough but not too fast and figuring in that resistance factor that the Trump administration has built into it, which the House might just decide to kind of bulldoze.  In effect just make the blocking of the subpoenas part -- make it an article of impeachment and go ahead. 

MADDOW:  Right, exactly. 

O`DONNELL:  So, that could get you Thanksgiving.  Good.

MADDOW:  I guess.  What, with, like, a counterintelligence investigation now open to all this, like, everything new that`s coming out, all these -- I don`t know.  We will see what they do.  At this point, I cannot guess.  Every day is like a whole new universe to me. 

O`DONNELL:  It really is. 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 

Well, you`ve never seen anything like it and I`ve never seen anything like it and I`ve been in the room where it happened many, many times.  But I never saw anyone in that room do what Nancy Pelosi did today when she literally stood up to the president of the United States. 

And because Donald Trump has the weakest mind in the history of the American presidency, he released the photograph of that moment captured perfectly by a White House photographer.  We would not have that photograph if Donald Trump had not made the profoundly stupid mistake of tweeting it.  And that photograph, thanks to Donald Trump, will now become the single- most important and indelible photographic image of the Trump presidency. 

It tells the story of the Trump presidency better than any other photograph.  Nancy Pelosi immediately placed that photograph on her twitter page and she will never replace it with a better photograph.  It is the perfect portrait of the child president, the Trump face is full of the confusion and fear of a 4-year-old boy being rebuked by an adult in the room full of adults who know he shouldn`t be there. 

Fifty years from now, schoolchildren studying American history will come upon this photograph and they will instantly know who was in charge in that room, the adult standing and pointing at the pained face across the table.  Historians will recognize that when Nancy Pelosi stood up to that president today, she wasn`t just standing up for herself and for Congress.  She was standing up for the millions of Americans and millions of people around the world who immediately stood up to Donald Trump after he was inaugurated in what turned out to be the largest inauguration protest in history, a protest that went worldwide. 

She was standing up for American voters whose democracy has been attacked by foreign agents while Donald Trump welcomes those attacks.  She was standing up for children held in custody at the southern border by Donald Trump and mothers and fathers separated from those children by Donald Trump.  She was standing up for Kurds in Syria being killed tonight by forces unleashed by Donald Trump. 

She was standing up to the lies and racist poison that Donald Trump has been spewing since he first opened his mouth about President Obama`s birth certificate.  She was standing up for all of us against all of that.  And so, of course, it was impossible for Donald Trump to understand the moment, impossible for him to understand what that photograph represents to the world.  That`s why he tweeted it into history today. 

What Nancy Pelosi was saying to Donald Trump then was -- all roads with you lead to Putin.  Those words will be forever memorable. 

Former CIA Director John Brennan will join us tonight.  We`ll ask him about the Trump roads that lead to Putin, including Donald Trump`s abandonment of the Kurds and how that serves Vladimir Putin, a point that was made strongly today by some Republican senators. 

Speaker Pelosi stood up to Donald Trump and said, all roads with you lead to Putin, after an incoherent rant by Donald Trump which she described to reporters this way. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY):  Go ahead. 

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown.  Sad to say. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  What we have to be melting down about, there`s the bipartisan resolution that passed the House of Representatives today with 129 Republican votes condemning Donald Trump`s abandonment of the Kurds.  And there`s a new devastating impeachment poll for Donald Trump.  Donald Trump is the only president in history who wakes up every day bracing for new devastating re-election polling and at the same time new devastating impeachment polling. 

The most dangerous number of all for Donald Trump is going up.  In a new Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans say that Donald Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted and removed from office by the United States Senate. 

In June, in the aftermath of Robert Mueller`s investigation, the Gallup poll found 45 percent of Americans said Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office.  The impeachment numbers are moving in only one direction, and reports indicate that the evidence being gathered in the House impeachment investigation is also moving in only one direction.  And that is in support of the accusation that Donald Trump conspired with Rudy Giuliani and others to solicit help from Ukraine in his re-election campaign by asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. 

Michael McKinley told the investigating committees today that he resigned from the State Department last week in protest.  Michael McKinley was serving as a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

In his opening statement in his deposition under oath today behind closed doors, he said: The timing of my resignation was the result of two overriding concerns, the failure in, in my view, of the State Department to offer support to foreign service employees caught up in the impeachment inquiry on Ukraine, and second, by what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives.  I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents.  Since I began my career in 1982, I have served my country and every president loyalty.  Under current circumstances, however, I could no longer look the other way.

Leading off our discussion tonight are Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois.  He`s a member of the House Oversight Committee and House Intelligence Committee.  He was present for today`s deposition with Michael McKinley. 

Also joining us, Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration.  She`s an MSNBC national security analyst. 

And Ben Rhodes is with us.  She`s a former deputy national security adviser to President Obama and he is an MSNBC political analyst. 

Congressman Krishnamoorthi, with Mr. McKinley today, we did discover his resignation last week which appeared as though it might be a resignation in protest, indeed, was, a resignation in protest. 

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTH (D-IL):  I think that`s fair to say based on his opening statement.  You can tell that.  I can`t get into the specific testimony, but what I can say is that here`s a man who served 37 years in the State Department, a career political servant.  I`m sorry, public servant, who is apolitical.  And nothing that he said was inconsistent with the claims in the whistleblower complaint. 

The second point I just want to make is he`s the latest in a string of career public servants from the government who come forward to testify before our inquiry, despite and in defiance of the Trump administration`s order asking them not to do so.  And so, that`s important. 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman, let me go to a point that Rachel just raised at the beginning of the hour which is Mitch McConnell telling the Republican senators today he expects to be going to an impeachment trial around Thanksgiving and run it six days a week in the Senate and get it completed by Christmas. 

Knowing how your investigation is going, does that make sense to you?  Is that what is likely to occur? 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  I really don`t know, Lawrence.  I think that at this point, we`re right in the throes of the investigation, we are literally having a witness a day every day of the week at this point.  And so, we`re just kind of interviewing and deposing witnesses.  Reviewing documents and gathering facts.  I think we want to do this expeditiously because there might be an ongoing crime in the Oval Office right now or in the Trump administration if the allegations of the whistleblower complaint are to be believed, namely there`s a scheme right now to coerce the Ukrainian government to interfere in our 2020 elections. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Evelyn Farkas, the testimony as it keeps coming out, indicates that the president was repeatedly telling people to check with Giuliani, check with Giuliani, as they were working toward dealings with Ukraine.  Everything had to be check with Giuliani. 

EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:  Right.  And we heard yesterday, at least through the media reports coming from members like Representative Krishnamoorthi that basically George Kent had also said that he was told to essentially even though Ukraine was one of the countries he was responsible for, he should not deal with Ukraine, essentially turn it over to Sondland and Giuliani and then, of course, we`ve heard that Fiona Hill testified saying that John Bolton, you know, also recognized there was something going on here. 

I mean, Giuliani, obviously, was not a government official.  This was a renegade operation and it`s highly disturbing the suggestion that this is still ongoing. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Ben, there`s so much accumulating evidence this week as some word leaks out about these depositions.  We`re going to have the Ambassador Sondland deposition this week also.  But what we`ve heard so far indicates that Gordon Sondland was in the middle of what was called the three amigos that, trying to put this deal together in which Ukraine would give the president what he wanted, an investigation of Joe Biden, and only after that could Ukraine expect any kind of decent relations with Donald Trump.

  BEN RHODES, FORMER OBAMA DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR:  Yes, I mean, what we have, Lawrence, at the core of this, we`ve all read that transcript of that phone call with Trump.  He, himself, is the leader of this criminal conspiracy to coerce a foreign government to interfere in our election.  What`s been interesting, though, is every single piece of information not only corroborates that, it just broadens the extent to which this conspiracy brought in other people. 

So, you take Gordon Sondland, what on earth what he was doing in Ukraine policy, anyway?  Ukraine is not in the European Union.  What he is is a political person who purchased apparently was the only person willing to go along with this scheme. 

What we`ve seen also is a lot of career people like Ambassador McKinley who testified today, like a career academic, analyst, like Fiona Hill who testified, they don`t want to go down with this ship.  And so, we`re seeing a sorting here, career foreign service officers, people looking forward to a lifetime of potentially future public service, don`t want to go along covering for this. 

And so, all the information that`s coming out is painting a more damning picture of a criminal conspiracy led by Donald Trump in the White House.  And ultimately, you go back to that photograph that you led the show with, Lawrence, all those people on Trump`s side look pretty uncomfortable to be there.  They have their eyes closed, looking at the table, because they`re doing down with this ship. 

O`DONNELL:  When you see Bill Taylor`s text to Gordon Sondland saying I think it`s crazy that they`re holding up the aid to Ukraine for political favor, does that read to you like the professionals, like Bill Taylor, are actually making sure this stuff is in writing? 

RHODES:  Absolutely.  You know, I worked with both Bill Taylor, Ambassador McKinley.  I had no idea what their politics are.  They`re professionals. 

What they know, having been in government for decades, is this never happens.  People need to understand this.  You know, Trump likes to say everybody is corrupt.  No, this does not happen where you have the president of the unit states to corrupt policy to get countries to interfere in our election. 

And so, a guy like Bill Taylor looks at this and says, I better get this down in writing, but I think this is a crazy ideas, in his words, right?  And I think one after another, what you`re seeing is people who already been uncomfortable with the Trump foreign policy and the corruption of our foreign policy see this for what it is, which is a criminal corruption of American foreign policy on behalf of his re-election and they want no part of it. 

And thankfully for them, they`re not going along with the White House stonewalling of this inquiry.  And so, even though the White House is stonewalling the inquiry, these public servants seem to revel in the opportunity to come forward and share what they know, and that`s why I do think it`s worth following the -- it`s worth following the impeachment inquiry, getting as much information as we can, seeing how long it goes, because we need to know the extent of this occupation.--

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Can I jump in on this for a second? 

O`DONNELL:  Go ahead, Congressman. 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  I was going to say something adding to that.  One thing that folks in the audience should know is that these people are putting careers on the line.  In this particular case, McKinley resigned on Friday and came in today to testify.  But in other cases, they are still members of the State Department. 

So they are coming in, putting their necks on the line, putting their careers on the line, doing the commendable and patriotic thing in coming forward and cooperating. 

And then the only other thing I would just say is that if anybody`s watching tonight, you should -- you have evidence of wrongdoing, please come forward.  It`s very important.  And we are doing everything we can to protect the whistle-blower`s identity.  We don`t want to burn his or her identity.  And we will do everything in our power to protect these people coming forward. 

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL:  Congressman, Mitt Romney -- I just want do get to this point about Mitt Romney, Senator Romney, in effect supporting your investigation today saying it`s essential that people respond to subpoenas that come from Congress. 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Yes. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Congressman, that seems like something you -- a senator would not have to say.  But I`m wondering if you know how the Romney statement about responding to subpoenas landed with your Republican colleagues in the House. 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Well, I think that they`re not saying anything publicly that`s in support of what Mitt Romney is saying but privately I think a lot of them agree that you just don`t blow off subpoenas.  And certainly, when these people are coming in, some of these State Department officials, sometimes without even a subpoena, just coming in voluntarily, and they come and testify and they sound credible and they sound consistent and compelling, you see the Republicans on the other side engaging with these people.  They are not attacking these witnesses. 

They know that these people are career public servants.  They`re apolitical.  And if anything, they have an incentive to be quiet.  Not to come forward and talk. 

So it`s been interesting watching the decorum in these private settings I think that is actually -- I got to believe that it`s -- these folks on the other side of the aisle are seeing the same thing I`m seeing.  They may not publicly talk about it the way I am.  But I`m hoping that it starts to hit home for some of them. 

O`DONNELL:  Evelyn, please go ahead. 

FARKAS:  Yes, sorry about that, Lawrence.  I just wanted to add one thing to what the congressman was saying to highlight how -- how courageous these people are because these are -- you know, I was in government for 20 years, part of it as kind of a nonpolitical -- most of it as a nonpolitical type person.

  These people don`t make a lot of money.  Every time they have to go and testify and they decide to testify, they have to bring lawyers.  The Foreign Service Association actually for the first time in living memory, I think, is raising money, is doing a fund-raiser for these people, so that they have the right representation. 

O`DONNELL:  We`re going to have to leave it there for this break. 

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Evelyn Farkas, Ben Rhodes, thank you very much all of you for starting us off tonight. 

And when we come back, because Donald Trump has no idea what smart looks like or sounds like, he proudly released a letter today that is the worst written, silliest, most ridiculous letter ever sent by a president to anyone, but it has now cost many people their lives. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump revealed in writing today what a terrible dealmaker he really is.  He made the mistake of releasing a letter that he sent to the president of Turkey last Wednesday which says: Dear Mr. President, let`s work out a good deal!  You don`t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people.

  And it ends with Donald Trump saying: Don`t be a tough guy.  Don`t be a fool!  I will call you later.

Now, imagine being told "Don`t be a fool" by someone who plays the fool on television all over the world every day.  Needless to say, the letter was ignored by the president of Turkey. 

And today, the House of Representatives voted 354-60 on a resolution condemning Donald Trump`s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria and abandon the Kurds. 

Hours later, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi walked out of a White House meeting with the president, she said this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI:  We have to pray for his health.  This was a very serious meltdown on the part of the president.  My concern that I expressed to the president is that Russia has for a long time always wanted to have a foothold in the Middle East and now he has enabled that to happen.  And I have concerns about all roads leading to Putin. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Joining us now is E.J. Dionne, an opinion writer for the "Washington Post" and visiting professor at Harvard University. 

Ben Rhodes is back with us.

And, Ben, all roads lead to Putin with him. 

RHODES:  You can`t get around the fact that the principal beneficiary of all these different things they`re talking about is Russia, is Vladimir Putin.  If you have a president of the United States withholding military aid from Ukraine, which is under attack from Russia, and essentially corrupting that relationship to turn it into some kind of narrow effort to investigate his political opponents, rather than having that relationship be about the sovereignty, territorial integrity and future of the Ukrainian democracy, that benefits Putin. 

When you have the president of the United States allow for our troops to be pulled back from Syria where they`ve been making headway against ISIS, allowing Turkey to come in, lo and behold the Kurds have to turn to Russia and Assad for help, that benefits Putin.  It`s very hard to look at the different foreign policy steps he`s taken and find any logic that connects them other that they all seem to benefit Vladimir Putin.

And whether that`s extreme incompetence or has some kind of affinity for Russia`s view of how the world should operate, it almost doesn`t matter.  The facts are the fact and we can plainly see this has been a very good week, yet again, for Vladimir Putin.

O`DONNELL:  E.J., Joe Scarborough claimed that phrase "Moscow Mitch" which got amazing traction instantly to the irritation, to put it mildly, of Mitch McConnell.  And here we have Nancy Pelosi today, this week, with all roads lead to Putin, with Trump.  Doing it in the week when Republicans are turning against a Trump policy in Syria in which the Trump road does lead to Putin, it seems like this is the week where Nancy Pelosi`s coining of that "all roads lead to Putin" phrase will gain real traction. 

E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Well, you know, we have talked for so long about how everything is broken down along partisan lines and how polarized we are.  And Donald Trump managed to bring us together; 129 Republicans voted for that resolution today condemning the president`s withdrawal of American troops.  Only 60 Republicans actually voted with the president of the United States. 

And I think what`s so striking here is you don`t have to be a hawk or a dove or something in between to say this was absolutely crazy and irresponsible.  Those troops there were preventing chaos.  Their withdrawal created chaos.  Withdrawing those troops took a sledgehammer to American credibility around the world. 

America`s enemies all over the world are saying that, no, you can`t trust the United States ever.  The Kurds fought next to us.  They fought bravely against ISIS.  We won a great victory against ISIS.  And here you have the president of the United States on a whim is what it looks like, or something worse, going along with President Erdogan, giving him a green light, and then writing a letter that a grocery store owner buying a sack of potatoes would never have written. 

A grocery store owner would have more respect for language and decorum.  It`s rare that you have a president who is both weak and reckless at the same time.  And that`s what we seem to have right now. 

O`DONNELL:  The president asked the question today about why are we there at all?  It seems as though he -- there`s no staff anywhere in the White House or administration who can explain to him why we were there, what those troops were doing there. 

Let`s listen to the way he said this today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Why are we protecting Syria`s land?  Assad`s not a friend of ours.  Why are we protecting their land?  And Syria also has a relationship with the Kurds, who, by the way, are no angels.  OK? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Ben, you`ve spent countless hours in the Oval Office in discussions with president of the United States, Barack Obama.  Imagine yourself, this is hard to do, imagine yourself in the Trump Oval Office.  He says those things with those question marks.  What do you say? 

RHODES:  Look, I couldn`t imagine saying it -- because it`s such an astonishing thing for him to say.  We made this alliance with the Kurds to fight our common enemy of ISIS.  That`s why we`re there.  We`re not protecting Syria for Assad. 

Eleven thousand Kurds died in the fight against ISIS with our support, our air support.  We started this campaign in the Obama administration, continued under Trump. 

And let`s be very clear, because of what he`s done, people are dying.  Some of these Trump decisions, they play out on Twitter, they look like a reality show.  People need to be clear here, people, the Kurds who fought with us to defeat ISIS, are currently being killed because of what Donald Trump did, because of this kind of insane message that`s in his letter that went along with the green light for Erdogan to come in. 

We also have a situation, Lawrence, where we have dozens of nuclear weapons in Turkey, you know, who we now are in some kind of conflict with.  He`s managed to put at risk the security of the Kurds, ISIS potentially hundreds if not thousands of ISIS prisoners being released that could pose a direct threat to the United States, a geopolitical crisis where you have U.S. nuclear weapons and a NATO ally that`s now moving in and attacking other American allies. 

He`s managed to wreak chaos across this region and potentially, you know, blow-back that could come to us in just one week.  And so, what we`re seeing here, this impetuous approach that he has has real-life consequences, life and life-and-death consequences. 

And that letter is fundamentally unserious.  And, Lawrence, I helped write letters like this, correspondence with foreign leaders.  That would never be written by anybody who`s actually a professional sitting in the National Security Council.  Clearly that was dictated by Trump and it shows the complete lack of understanding or regard for the gravity of his office, the consequences of his decisions in our own national security.

And if Republicans can`t see that and continue to break with him as they did on that vote, he`ll be able to continue to do this.  This really is a national security crisis but the crisis has got its root in the Oval Office, not overseas. 

O`DONNELL:  E.J., I`ve been trying to think of a historical parallel that any president has done that fits this where they are our allies, literally on one day.  They`re our allies on a Saturday and on a Sunday night after the president hangs up the phone.  They`re no longer our allies after one conversation with another foreign leader who was opposed to our allies.  I just can`t see at any point in our history where that formula worked. 

DIONNE:  I can`t think of a case where a president would do something like this and what it makes you think is Trump doesn`t have any view of foreign policy, any analysis of foreign policy, let alone any specification about it.  He is only about dealing one-on-one with people he likes and the people he likes tend to be authoritarian leaders or worse, or straight-out dictators. 

He told us once that he -- well, I have a little conflict of interest in Turkey because of his hotels there.  That gave him a good feeling about Erdogan.  And that seemed to be enough for him to set off this entire catastrophe. 

And the way he`s withdrawn these troops put our own troops in danger.  We are, indeed, opening up for the slaughter of our former allies, but he`s putting our own troops in danger and it`s such a chaotic withdrawal that we had to send in bombers to bomb the facilities that we built to combat ISIS.  There is no precedent that I can think of, that I don`t think anybody can think of for an action like this. 

O`DONNELL: E. J. Dionne and Ben Rhodes, thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

And when we come back Republicans in the House and Senate are now shocked. They are just completely shocked that Donald Trump could do something so cruel and so disloyal and get people killed in the process.

Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio are now and that they didn`t know who Donald Trump really was all these years - that they`ve been enabling him. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m still waiting to find out from him how making that call to the head of Ukraine and trying to get him involved in interfering in our election makes America great again.

I`d like to hear from him about how leaving the Kurds for slaughter - our allies for slaughter, where Russia then steps in to protect them, how that makes America great again. And I would like to hear from him about how coddling up to Vladimir Putin makes America great again.

It doesn`t make America great again. It makes Russia great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In other words, as Nancy Pelosi told Donald Trump today, "All roads with you lead to Putin." Republicans are objecting to Donald Trump`s abandonment of the Kurds as if they haven`t noticed the string of favors Donald Trump has done for Vladimir Putin before this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): He`s not listening to his commanders. He`s not listening to his advisers. He`s not - he`s making the biggest mistake of his presidency by assuming the Kurds were better off today than they were yesterday. That is just unbelievable. I can imagine if Obama said that what Republicans would be saying now. So I`m going to say it with Trump that is just unfair, dangerous, and quite frankly, it`s just honorable.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): It`s very hard to understand why it is the Vice Presidents and Secretary of State and others are going to talk with Erdogan in Turkey. Look, the troops have already been pulled out. If you will, it`s like the farmer who lost all his horses and goes to now shut the barn door. The troops have been pulled out. Turkey is devastating our allies - the Kurds, it`s too late for this kind of conversation.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Frankly, I don`t know at this point what we can do to reverse some of the damage that this is doing to our long-term national interests--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Since they ran against Donald Trump in 2016 for the Republican presidential nomination calling him a conman and a liar and a fraud, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, have spent every day of the last three years enabling Donald Trump, encouraging him in his madness and lawlessness. They did everything they could to make Donald Trump believe that he really could shoot and kill someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.

And now Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio are surprised - surprised that Donald Trump has done Vladimir Putin a huge favor - the huge favor of abandoning the Kurds, so that the Kurds had no choice but to form a new alliance with a new protector, Vladimir Putin?

Senator Amy Klobuchar was the first candidate at last night`s debate to bring up Donald Trump`s abandonment of the Kurds and handing them over to Vladimir Putin. Senator Klobuchar will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDREW YANG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have the let Russian know, look, we get it, we`ve tampered with other elections. You`ve tampered with our elections, and now it has to stop. And if it does not stop we will take this as an act of hostility against the American people. I believe most Americans would support me on this.

LACEY: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

KLOBUCHAR: I want to respond to Mr. Yang. I don`t see a moral equivalency between our country and Russia. Vladimir Putin is someone who has shot down planes over Ukraine, who has poisoned his opponent, and we have not talked about what we need to do to protect ourselves from Russia invading our election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Amy Klobuchar, Democratic Senator from Minnesota. She`s a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and she is now a candidate for president of the United States. Senator thank you very much for joining us tonight.

KLOBUCHAR: Thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: I want to give a chance to expand on that moment with Andrew Yang. I was a little surprised myself listening to that when I heard him say we`ve tampered with other elections and making that an equivalent of what Russia did in our election helping to elect Donald Trump. And were you kind of as thrown by that in that moment when you heard it?

KLOBUCHAR: I truly was Lawrence, and it was a very quick thing. And I felt like someone had to respond and that`s why I did it.

Because you have a situation where no matter what follies America has involved been involved in the past, and obviously they`ve been mistakes made around the world, you still cannot make an argument that we have been shooting down planes of innocent people or funding people who would do that like Russia did recently over Ukraine.

Or that we have been poisoning political opponents, like Vladimir Putin has done. Or the whole scale invasion of elections, not just in the United States, but also in our partners, the Baltic States.

One of the last trips that John McCain took, I got to go with him, and we went to those states including Ukraine and stood there and heard their stories of what Russia had done to them. So I don`t think you mess around when it comes to this and that was the point.

I respect Mr. Yang very much and actually thinks some of his points on automation and things we should talk about were interesting during the debate, but not on this. We have to stand as a team together and say we are standing up against this invasion of our democracy we`ve got to get back up paper ballots in every state and we need to hold Russia accountable for what they did, and not act like Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: What is your reaction to something the President said today where he sees Syria has nothing but a lot of sand?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Kurds have been fighting for hundreds of years. That all mess, it`s been going along for a long time. Syria may have some help with Russia and that`s fine. That`s a lot of sand. They`ve got a lot of sand over there. So there`s a lot of sand that they can play with--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Your reaction to that starter.

KLOBUCHAR: I just find this just against everything that we stand for as a country. Look, at what Ben Rhodes just explained here. You`ve got nuclear weapons in Turkey, so we`ve got that going on with the country of Turkey.

You have got ISIS and ISIS prisoners now getting out because of this President`s move and we had troops on the border - a very limited number and him making that decision rashly after the call from Erdogan.

You now have Kurds that have been slaughtered. You have Russia filling the void, which by the way as Nancy Pelosi said today, all roads lead to Putin. Every decision that he makes seems to help Russia.

And when I think about the Kurds that I met with when I have been to Turkey and people and I have been at the Jordan other places, some of those Kurdish fighters. When I think about what those refugees from Syria have gone through - I remember one of the women told me that what she had seen what happened to the people and her family - would make stones cry.

It is a mess in Syria. But the last thing you want to do is remove those limited troops and allow Turkey to come in and slaughter our allies. That is the evil that Donald Trump did in the last week.

And so I`m not surprised that you have hundreds of people over in the House, including all those Republicans, voting to condemn what he did. But what I am surprised at, is that they haven`t been standing up to him before this and that is in terms of its policy with Russia, how we responded to the invasion of the election.

And I guess my response is time will tell, because we`re going to be facing an impeachment trial and those Republicans are going to have to decide, are they just voting for a resolution, are they going to allow this guy to continue in office when he`s looking for dirt and putting his interests in front of the interests of America?

O`DONNELL: Even a Trump loyalist like Senator Blackburn said today that what Donald Trump has done in Syria strengthens Russia, that`s the way she put it. The resolution that the House passed specifies in its language that this choice by the President benefits Russia and that resolution is going to come to the Senate. It`s obviously going to pass in the Senate overwhelmingly as it did in the House with Republican votes.

And it is yet another document that that basically underlines Nancy Pelosi`s statement today about all the roads with Trump leading to Putin.

KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. And I think it`s very interesting that was in there, it`s helpful. But again, Lawrence, they are standing by him so far with very similar conduct with the President of Ukraine. Instead of talking to that new President about what we`re going to do about Russia invading their own country and Russia invading our elections, he chose instead to withhold their aides and try to get them to look for dirt on a political opponent.

So this is what these Republicans are going to have to decide. And the point I was making on the debate stage is that we simply have to talk about this in that broader way. That this isn`t just one incident what he did this horrible action in Syria.

It`s really what we`re seeing all over the world, when he got out of the Iranian agreement, when she got out of the nuclear agreement with Russia, when he got out of the International climate change agreement.

And these things do not make America safer, they do not make America greater, they make Russia greater. And that was that point I was making the debate stage. And we`ve gotten a lot of surge of interest ever since then in my candidacy, including here in New Hampshire where I am today.

O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar, our candidate for President of the United States, thank you very much us tonight.

KLOBUCHAR: Very good.

O`DONNELL: We appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: amyklobuchar.com, Lawrence, we always welcome support, it`s great to be on. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: You got it. You got it in there? OK. Thank you very much Senator. When we come back Donald Trump attacked former CIA Director John Brennan again today. John Brennan is one of Donald Trump`s permanent obsessions.

John Brennan will join us next on this day when he was attacked by the President and the President was rebuked by Nancy Pelosi, who told Donald Trump to his face, all roads with you lead to Putin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s obsessions were on full display today, including his endless obsessions with President Obama and former CIA Director John Brennan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There was a lot of corruption, maybe it goes right up to President Obama. I happen to think it does. But you look at Brennan and you look at Clapper, and you get some real beauties. I know that they`re looking into the corruption. Obviously, the IG report is coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is John Brennan, former Director of the CIA. He`s a Senior National Security and Intelligence Analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. And Director Brennan I have a feeling that in Donald Trump`s impeachment trial on the Florida, United States Senate when he`s allowed a final statement to the jury that he`s going to be talking about the corruption of Barack Obama and the corruption of John Brennan.

He seems incapable of facing the corruption charges that are facing him. Do you want to respond to what he said about you today?

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, Lawrence, the only thing I`ll say is that proudly we`re his criticism as a badge of honor. I think more and more Americans should take that same approach, because Donald Trump, I think, is showing his true colors more and more so every day with his continued dishonesty his continued mischaracterizations of reality.

And so it bothers me not one whit what Donald Trump says about me. I`m very proud to have served my country for 33 years for Republican and Democratic Presidents and I have never seen anything that approaches the extent of incompetence, corruption and dishonesty that I see coming out of the White House today. It`s appalling, and quite frankly, it`s a disgrace and an embarrassment. So what he says does not bother me at all.

O`DONNELL: I would ask for a more specific response, but there`s nothing specific in the stuff that he spews and I`m almost embarrassed to bring it up to you. Can you please stay with us over this break, because when we come back, I want to ask you about that statement Nancy Pelosi made today about, all roads lead to Putin with Donald Trump. We`ll do that right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: And we`re back with former CIA Director, John Brennan. And as you heard Nancy Pelosi say today directly to the President that all roads lead to Putin with you, saying that in the context of Donald Trump this week basically handing over the Kurds to Vladimir Putin. What do you look at when you see those roads that Nancy Pelosi was talking about?

BRENNAN: Well, Lawrence, the intelligence community`s assessment that was done on Russian interference in our election, that was done in January of 2017, there`s a reference in there to a Russian who was saying that the champagne corks were going to be popping in Moscow, because Russia would be able to have its way in Ukraine and Syria with Donald Trump`s election.

Unfortunately, that was a very prescient comment. But it`s clear that Trump`s ignorance of U.S. national security interests as well as global affairs, is just handing over to Vladimir Putin the opportunities to increase Russia`s influence and ability to shape our world events as the U.S. recedes from its traditional responsibilities and obligations, particularly to our allies.

And the removal of U.S. troops from that Syrian area with the Kurds is just the latest example of Donald Trump continuing to ignore what our responsibilities have been. It`s quite interesting that trump continues to tout what he has done for the U.S. military.

But I think he wants a parade ground military as opposed to a U.S. military that can help to stabilize some of these areas that are racked by conflict and war. And those thousand troops were preventing this slaughter that we`re seeing now and betraying a - the allies, the Kurds, when they gave over 10,000 lives in order to help defeat ISIS.

O`DONNELL: There are reports tonight that the investigation of Rudy Giuliani is now a counterintelligence investigation or includes a counterintelligence investigation. What does that mean to you?

BRENNAN: It means that there is concern that either classified information has been shared with a foreign entity or that somebody is actively working, usually with a foreign party, to undermine U.S. national security interests.

And so as more and more reports have come out about some of these partners of Mr. Giuliani, Furman and Parnas and Firtash and others, it is clear there was rampant corruption going on that Mr. Giuliani was at least aware of and may have been engaged in. And whether or not now there is real serious concern about the damage to our national security that could have triggered that counterintelligence investigation.

So I look to my brothers and sisters in the FBI to continue to pull these threads to understand exactly what Mr. Giuliani and then by extension Donald Trump was involved in with what was clearly corrupt intent and activities with the Ukrainians.

O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to what we`re seeing now in the State Department in particular, people who`ve put in decades of service in the State Department.

As you put in decades of service in the government, coming forward to testify in these impeachment depositions in the House, even though they`re doing it against the will of the Secretary of State and the trump administration. Is this what you would actually expect from people with that kind of dedication to their jobs?

BRENNAN: Absolutely. And I know many of these individuals. And I couldn`t be more pleased or prouder that we have these dedicated public servants in the diplomatic corps, in the intelligence community and other places that are now speaking out and rising up against what they see.

And so whether it`s Ambassador McKinley, Ambassador Yovanovitch and others. and now we have Bill Taylor, (inaudible) coming back, I think this is what the House committees needs to understand those activities that were taking place within earshot of our diplomats. And I`m glad they are speaking out so forcefully against what has been going on.

O`DONNELL: John Brennan, thank you very much for joining us.  I know this is not the last time Donald Trump will attack you.  So, we`ll always be here as your forum to respond when you want to.  Thank you very much for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it.

BRENNAN:  Thanks, 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