RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Where does the time go? That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday. Have an excellent weekend. Now it’s time for "The Last Word" where Katy Tur is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Katy
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Have a great weekend, Rachel. Thank you very much.
MADDOW: Thanks, Katy.
TUR: I’m Katy Tur in for Lawrence O’Donnell. Ahead tonight, the butt-dial heard around the world. We have details of Rudy Giuliani’s accidental calls to an NBC reporter including his attacks on the Bidens and his apparent need for a lot of cash.
And a former "Apprentice" contestant who has accused Donald Trump of sexual assault in 2007 has presented evidence in a new court filing to back up her climbs. What’s next in the ongoing court case?
But first we begin tonight with an exclusive report from NBC News about some of the 65 hours of closed-door testimony given to the House impeachment committees by Trump administration officials.
NBC News reports, "At least three current and former U.S. officials have all made the same startling admission; a coveted White House visit for the new Ukrainian leader had been explicitly conditioned on his agreeing to investigations that could have helped President Trump’s re-election."
"And when U.S. ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, was asked point- blank under oath whether that constituted a quid pro quo, he did not dispute it, people with knowledge of his testimony said."
NBC News reports that, thanks to testimony like this and thanks to public comments from Trump, his aides, and his allies, "a portrait is emerging of a quid pro quo that evolved over time with the president progressively upping the ante when his demands were not met."
This development comes on the heels of a double victory in court for House Democrats. The chief judge for the D.C. district court has ruled that the Justice Department must hand over grand jury evidence from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to the House Judiciary Committee by October 30th.
"Politico" calls the decision a "groundbreaking victory for Democrats in their effort to investigate whether President Donald Trump should be impeached for obstructing the long-running Russia probe."
Grand jury information is typically kept a secret, but Judge Beryl Howell said in her opinion that the disclosures are in, "the public’s interest in a diligent and thorough investigation into and in a final determination about potentially impeachable conduct by the president described in the Mueller report. The need for the material to be kept secret is minimal, and thus easily outweighed by the compelling need for the material."
That’s one of the victories from this court ruling. The second, Judge Howell dismissed claims from the White House and Congressional Republicans that the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate because it has not been authorized in a formal House vote.
Judge Howell wrote, "Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry." Republicans had claimed that the House Judiciary Committee cannot begin impeachment proceedings without a formal vote of the House and that even if it could; Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not empowered to simply grant that authority to the judiciary committee.
But Judge Howell rejected those arguments writing, "These contentions are at worst red herrings and at best, incorrect." Leading off our discussion tonight are Natasha Bertrand, national security correspondent for "politico" and an MSNBC contributor.
Lisa Graves, former staff member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and former deputy assistant attorney general under President Clinton and Evan McMullin, former CIA operative and a former independent presidential candidate. He is the co-founder of Stand Up Republic.
So Lisa, I do want to start with you. This is a ruling that is not going to be, I guess, taken well by House Republicans in the White House. They wanted to say over and over again that this impeachment inquiry was illegal. It was unconstitutional because they never held a vote.
LISA GRAVES, FORMER STAFF MEMBER, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well those arguments are simply misplaced and Judge Howell, the chief judge in the District of Columbia, was very clear in her analysis showing why that argument is deeply flawed.
And she also talked at length about how this is fully consistent with centuries of legal precedent, of judicial decisions in terms of access to material like this as well as a long-standing interpretation of the Constitution.
And the power of Congress to conduct these investigations without having any of the procedural hurdles that the House has attempted to assert, including statements by the founding fathers, by the framers about the power of Congress to investigate these matters in a quasi-judicial manner.
TUR: Natasha, the "Washington Post" reports that Trump and his advisers are now starting to get worried about the impeachment inquiry and they write, "After weeks of dismissing the impeachment inquiry as a hallow partisan attack, President Trump and his closest advisers now recognize the snowballing probe poses a serious threat to the president and that they have little power to block it, according to multiple aides and advisers."
Walk us through what you have learned so far about the impeachment inquiry and why -- why it’s going to give the president and his advisers, why it is giving them such pause.
NATSHA BERTRAND, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Well, if you speak to Republicans on the Hill, they would say it’s about time the White House started getting serious about this impeachment inquiry. I mean, just the cascade of administration officials that we’ve seen going to the Hill and defying explicit administration orders not to testify is reason enough for the White House to be very concerned by the precedent that sets.
I mean, you have career diplomats at the State Department who in direct defiance of what state has told them to do, which is not testify, have been testifying for hours on Capitol Hill, sometimes for as many as 12 hours at a time about all of the things that they saw going on with regard to the Ukraine matter and of course, potential abuse of power by the president.
Now you have Tim Morrison, who of course, is on the National Security Council, who has said that he will testify if he is subpoenaed. He is a very, very important figure in this because he has the position, of course, that Fiona Hill had. He has responsibility for the Europe portfolio, Ukraine, and Russia.
And so he was in a position during all of this craziness with regard to Trump’s, you know, pressure on the Ukrainian president to get him to launch investigations into the Bidens and Ukrainian interference in the election in 2016.
He had a first -- he had a window into that, a direct window into that and he was interacting directly with the officials who were involved in this. So he is defying the White House orders not to testify, and you have other White House officials, former and current considering doing the same.
So, I think Republicans now would say, look, the White House really has to start getting serious about this.
TUR: So with these officials acting in defiance and with the continuing release of revelations that are damaging to the president and his no quid pro quo defense, Evan, not only that, but the grand jury materials that will now be released to Democrats are going to have the wealth of what Robert Mueller was able to dig up.
At what point or do you see a point, I guess, where Republican support starts to crack in a serious way, more so than Mitt Romney is saying he’s concerned?
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, I think you look at the Senate and the House differently, of course, because of the political dynamics that are just different for a six-year term senators and two-year term representatives.
Look, I’m hopeful that there will be a handful, maybe a dozen optimistically Republicans who ultimately in the House vote for impeachment. But I think one thing to understand here, we’ve all been asking the question for years. When are Republicans going to decide that President Trump is no longer worth supporting?
You know, I don’t think that’s the right question anymore. I think really the way we need to see this is that these members, especially of the House, it’s not like most of them actually love the president and it’s not like they’re actually trying to protect the president per se.
It’s more that they’re trying to protect themselves. They understand that their power, that their seats, that their survival in primary contests in their districts in years ahead, not only, you know, in 2020 but beyond that, they understand their prospects which are probably overly optimistic for this cycle, winning back the House.
All have everything to do with whether the president implodes, whether his presidency implodes, or whether he somehow survives this politically. I’m not even talking about conviction and removal in the Senate. But it’s about them protecting their own power.
And for that reason the president’s going to be able to continue to do a lot of terrible things as long as he can keep his base with him. He’ll keep most of them, I’m sad to say, in line too.
TUR: Well, I guess that’s the better question. At one point to Republican voters, not even Republican voters, Trump voters start to say, you know what, I’m a little tired of this or this makes me uncomfortable. I wonder if there is a point and if this is or what might change their mind.
I’m curious though about something we learned from an ambassador -- from diplomat Bill Taylor, and I’m curious about what we might learn more about it. He talks about, Lisa, being on a conference call, a video conference call while he is still in Ukraine and there’s somebody from OMB in the room.
They’re off camera and they say we were told not to release the funds. The president told the chief of staff who told OMB. That seems to be a pretty direct link to the president of the United States.
GRAVES: That certainly does seem like a very direct link and it also is a sign of video evidence as well as potential audio evidence and we know there was an attempt by this White House to move material into more secretive files to try to prevent it from being disclosed.
It’s sort of different from the Nixon missing time on the tapes. Here you have video and potentially audio as well as documentary notes of conversations with the president that really should be made available to Congress in its investigation.
TUR: Natalie, John Bolton -- john Bolton testifying, potentially his lawyers are in contact with the House committees. What do you think, Natasha, -- sorry, not Natalie -- what do you think John Bolton might be able -- it’s 10:00 on a Friday and I’ve got a sick baby at home, so you’re going to have to forgive me.
BERTRAND: No explanation needed.
TUR: What do you think of John Bolton potentially testifying in front of House committees and what could that do to the president’s defenses?
BERTRAND: Yes, it’s a huge escalation if it does happen because, of course, John Bolton did not leave on the best terms and he has not been shy about speaking out against the president and his policies in recent months since he was kind of unceremoniously fired or resigned -- I guess it depends on who you ask.
But there’s a new wrinkle in this and this is just being reported as of a few minutes ago by the "New York Times," which is that Bolton’s deputy has now filed a lawsuit trying to compel a court to tell him who he has to listen to, the White House or Congress.
Does he have to listen to Congress when they subpoena him for testimony or does he have to listen to the White House when they tell him that he can’t testify?
The decision that the court hands down obviously will have wide-ranging implications for the other officials who the White House tells not to testify and the Congress wants to hear from in the impeachment inquiry.
So, Charles Kupperman, that’s the deputy who filed this lawsuit, he could really be setting a precedent here that the Democrats might not be happy with in the end.
TUR: And then I guess how does Rudy Giuliani factor into this? Lisa, will you expect to see House Democrats demand to hear from Rudy Giuliani? I know he’s defied this or is trying to defy a subpoena. Is his voice necessary to this investigation?
GRAVES: Well, I think it is, in part, because of the role that he’s been playing roving around the world basically advancing these threats on behalf of the president and also coordinating with the attorney general that appears.
And so you have a situation which it’s not just the campaign or the president’s personal lawyer in Giuliani, but also Attorney General Barr and Pompeo as well who have been put in service of this agenda.
So I think there are a number of officials in the government as well as people that Trump has assigned as his agents to pursue this quid pro quo who need to appear before Congress and they failed to do so at their peril.
TUR: And Lisa, let me lean on your expertise for one more question. Will the Mueller decision, the grand jury decision, holds up on appeal?
GRAVES: I think it will. Judge Howell is a very careful judge. It’s a very well-reasoned opinion. It cites ample precedent. It’s, I think very solidly grounded. We’ll see if these Trump judges actually follow the law or whether they’re going to try to tilt the courts in his favor. But on the merits, that decision should be upheld and upheld all the way up.
TUR: I know we’re kind of digging back when it comes to the Mueller investigation and we’ve moved on to an entirely different controversy, but digging back and thinking about what we were waiting to learn in the Mueller investigation, what will you be looking out for in particular, Evan, on what we might see in those grand jury documents?
MCMULLIN: Well, you know, as far as the Mueller investigation is concerned, what I still really am waiting to see, which will not necessarily come out in these grand jury additional pieces of information, are the C.I. Elements of the investigation.
I believe there was still a lot left out of that report, including a lot about Michael Cohen and his travels and contacts. And there are other pieces of the investigation that for some reason were not in the final report.
So, I don’t know if through this additional now exposure of that investigation in Congress if they’ll dig up more information on the C.I. side of things. Certainly, obstruction will a part of it now that that information is more -- what comes from the grand jury is more directly related to that.
But the important thing, I think, here is that, you know, the Mueller investigation and the Russia issue set the stage for what we are now very much focused on, which is the Ukraine scandal. I don’t think we would be as concerned as a country about the Ukraine scandal, to be honest, if we hadn’t gone through the Russia scandal first.
But because we have the Russia scandal and then the Ukraine scandal, it sets -- we see a pattern in the president’s abuse of power in his attacks with foreign powers against our democracy. And so I think what’s interesting about this is that, yes, Congress is focused on the Ukraine scandal now.
But now we’re going to circle back and now the Russia scandal is going to become, I think, part of this impeachment inquiry, again, obviously it will be. But I think it’s going to become now more a part of the American sort of consideration, the people’s consideration of whether the president should be impeached again.
It’s just interesting how the Russia scandal set the stage for the Ukraine scandal, and now the Ukraine scandal is in a way bringing the Russia scandal back into consideration, back into the situation.
TUR: Yes, and I remember two years of the Russia investigation and the big overarching theme was don’t ask a foreign government to interfere, to meddle, to attack our elections.
The very next day Donald Trump has a phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine after the investigation is over, after Robert Mueller testifies, the very next day he calls President Zelensky of Ukraine and says, do me a favor, though, investigate the DNC server and Joe Biden. Natasha Bertrand, Lisa Graves, Evan McMullin, thank you guys very much.
And coming up, Rudy Giuliani is not the most discreet person but butt- dialing an investigative reporter twice in the last month, while your supposed client the president, is the subject of an impeachment investigation in a scheme in which you play a central role?
It’s pretty shocking. And what Giuliani said while a reporter was listening is also shocking. Stay with us. That’s next.
TUR: This is just one of those headlines you don’t get to read often. Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens. NBC News investigative reporter Rich Shapiro goes on to describe not one but two voice mails from Rudy Giuliani recorded when Giuliani accidentally butt-dialed him.
In one voicemail from late September, Giuliani can be heard attacking the Bidens with unfounded allegations before apparently turning to Donald Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president. In another roughly two weeks later, he can be heard discussing overseas business dealings and his need for cash.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know, Charles would have a hard time with a fraud case because he didn’t do any due diligence. Tomorrow, I got to get you to get on Bahrain. You got to call
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
GIULIANI: You got to call Robert again tomorrow. Is Robert around?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rob? He’s in Turkey.
GIULIANI: The problem is we need some money. We need a few hundred thousand.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TUR: The voice mails are joining new scrutiny on Giuliani at a time when he’s under federal criminal investigation and accused of running a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rival.
Giuliani is now reportedly on the hunt for a defense attorney as federal prosecutors issue multiple subpoenas in the case against Giuliani’s indicted associates.
"Politico" reports that the criminal division of Attorney General Barr’s Justice Department is bringing more resources to the SDNY’s investigation into Giuliani indicating that the probe into the president’s personal attorney is both broader and moving at a faster pace than previously understood.
Joining us now is Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence and an MSNBC national security analyst, and Danny Cevallos, a criminal defense attorney and an MSNBC legal analyst. I want to get into the SDNY aspect in a second.
Something that’s interesting that the DOJ is sending in more resources for something like this, but just for stuff (ph), Rudy Giuliani and the call, what stood out to you?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well first, many people would say Rudy’s been talking out of that part of his anatomy for quite a while, but the first thing that struck me was the national security implications for the president’s attorney and unofficial global emissary not understanding phone security.
How many other people around the world and in what countries have received unsolicited voice mails from the president’s attorney? What country leader or country general counsel or administrator has received such things?
But the other thing that struck me, Katy, is there has been consistent reporting on Rudy’s third divorce, a very acrimonious divorce proceeding where his wife is claiming in court filings that his pro bono work for the president is part of a scheme to allow him to claim he’s broke and can’t afford alimony.
Yet on this recording, we hear him say the problem is we need more money or we need some money. Is it possible he’s got some legal issue with regard to hiding his income because of a divorce proceeding?
TUR: That’s interesting. There has been a question of whether Rudy Giuliani is really working for free for the president or if somebody else is paying him. This call talked about money. I’m not sure it revealed much more than him talking about money and saying we need money. There was another one where he talks about Joe Biden and why Giuliani believes he’s being targeted. Let’s play that sound bite.
(BEGIN AUDI CLIP)
GIULIANI: I expected it would happen. The minute you touch on one of the protected people, they go crazy. They come after you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got the truth on your side, which --
GIULIANI: It’s very powerful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most powerful weapon, yes?
GIULIANI: There’s plenty more to come out. They don’t want to investigate because he’s protected so we got to force them to do it. And the Ukraine, they’re investigating him and they blocked it twice.
So what the president was (INAUDIBLE). You can’t -- you can’t keep doing this. You have to investigate this. And they say it will affect the 2020 election.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TUR: They say it will affect the 2020 election. We got to get them to investigate it. What do you think, Danny?
DANNY CEVALLOS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It almost sounds like he’s justifying all of his arguments over the past few weeks to himself. Like he’s looking in the mirror and saying this is why we did this, right?
He is saying -- it sounds to me as if he’s saying, and I don’t think this is a stretch, that the protected people were the Bidens and all we were doing was asking them to investigate people who were being protected improperly and we were looking into corruption anyway.
It just sounds like a lot of self-justification. And what I think -- what stands out to me is really building on what Frank said, if he’s doing this accidentally to reporters, who else is he doing this to?
CEVALLOS: And to what degree could he possibly be acting as an attorney in one sense, as a diplomat in his own mind in another sense or as a private business person? And if there’s an added element of whether his income, he’s supposed to be receiving or not receiving it, what does it mean when he says we need this money or who is --
There are so many x factors in here, but that last clip really tended to show me that there’s a lot of justification going on, that maybe he doesn’t even believe himself.
TUR: I want to know, do you think SDNY investigators are going to want that phone call, those two phone calls?
FIGLIUZZI: I do because it could be viewed as a statement against self- interest. It could be viewed as a kind of admission that I knew this would affect the 2020 election and we’re asking for it anyway.
TUR: And then what about William Barr getting the DOJ to investigate itself?
FIGLIUZZ: Oh, my. So it’s very disturbing, and at best it reflects the fact that they believe they’re finding something criminal. But I have to tell you, Katy, when you tell FBI agents and CIA officers and analysts that they’re facing criminal exposure because of the work they did in furtherance of the national security, guess what happens.
They get lawyers and they refuse to cooperate. And so we’re about to face a spectacle where you’re going to see the White House and certain news outlets claim, look at these people. They’ve lawyered up. They must have done something wrong. So I have to wonder, is this a deliberate strategy to make that happen.
TUR: Danny, I know you’re coming back so forgive me more asking Frank one more question. Why do you think the DOJ would send SDNY more money on this?
FIGLIUZZI: On the Rudy Giuliani investigation?
TUR: Yes. More resources.
FIGLIUZZI: It’s getting complicated to the point where people are thinking they’re going to claim executive privilege by extension. We’ve heard Rudy’s associates throw around the idea that they were by proxy, working --
TUR: So what, another filter team like the Michael Cohen case?
FIGLIUZZI: Exactly, a tainting, a filter team that’s going to have to figure out whether anyone can claim privilege here.
TUR: I don’t say the T word around here.
FIGLIUZZI: I understand.
TUR: Okay. Frank Figliuzzi, thank you very much. Danny Cevallos, you will be coming back.
Coming up, Lindsey Graham announced this afternoon he now has 50 senate Republicans co-sponsoring his resolution disproving of the House impeachment investigation. Of course there are 53 Republicans in the Senate. That’s next.
TUR: There are 53 Republicans in the United States Senate. That means to pass something along party lines, Republicans can only lose the support of three senators in order to maintain enough support for Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie.
And today, Republicans appear to be right on that line when it comes to defending the president. Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a non-binding resolution that attacks the House impeachment inquiry on process grounds.
The resolution was reportedly intended to placate the White House, which reportedly believes Graham is not doing enough to defend the President. But it may have had the opposite effect. Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have all declined to sign on to the measure at this time. And over the past 24 hours grandmas only been able to muster enough Republican support to pass it with the thinnest possible majority.
Joining us now is former Florida Republican Congressman and current MSNBC Political Analyst, David Jolly; Evan McMullin, is back with us as well.
David, you’re new, so I’m going to start with you. Rudy Giuliani - this is - was meant to be a cover blanket, a warm soothing blanket for the President. Don’t worry about the Republican in the Senate. He had to water it down. It took him a while and he’s got three holdouts. What does that say to you about Donald Trump’s firewall?
DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, it’s a humiliating moment for Lindsey Graham and all Republican Senators are going along with this. That they would feel pressed to try to give the President the warm blanket he needs.
It’s also against precedent. The House and the Senate don’t often opine on the work of the other, and Lindsey Graham knows that. Lindsey Graham would be the first one to be offended if the House passed a resolution opining on the conduct of the Senate.
I think it gives some people cover to say, yes, we can criticize the process. But then they ultimately may vote yes. I think there’s about six senators right now that are in play should the House send over a clean article of abuse of power, not tied to quid pro quo, simply tied to ask that Biden be investigated.
TUR: Senator Portman, one of them?
JOLLY: He’s not. The ones I’m watching are Mitt Romney, of course; Richard Burr, the Intelligence Chairman out of North Carolina; Lamar Alexander, retiring out of Tennessee; Ben Sasse of Nebraska; Mike Lee out of Utah, the two that suggest that they are the most loyal to the constitution than anyone; Lisa Murkowski in Alaska.
Understand, each of these senators are going to have to vote on a clean article. And what the Republican are doing right now is they’re trying to muddy the waters and attack the process, so they give cover and permission to Republican Senators to say it’s not working.
JOLLY: The fatal flaw in that though is, AmEriqan voters are smart enough to see silly season when they see it. What Republicans should be doing right now is arguing that the President’s conduct is an impeachable. That’s an honest question for most AmEriqan people.
Some people are already decided I think he should be impeached. But a lot of people would be having that debate at their kitchen table. The President did wrong, should he be impeached? That’s a firmer footing for Republicans to be in.
TUR: Well, what do you think about that Evan? You are a native of Utah. Mike Lee is of Utah, do you think he’s somebody that could be on the fence?
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, his statement so far haven’t been very encouraging on this, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t change. And I think he should be on the list. I mean, I’ve got my own list of senators which largely overlaps with David’s list.
I would also though add Senator McSally in Arizona and also Senator Gardner in Colorado, both of them are facing very, very steep uphill battles and in their re-election bids this cycle. And I think it’s so difficult that it’s all - it’s maybe unlikely that they’ll be reelected at this point as I see things now.
And so I think those two will have to make a decision about what they want their legacy to be like. They’re probably going to think about what they think the Republican Party is going to be like in a post-Trump environment, post Trump presidency. But I think they should be added to the list too.
I’m not loving what I’m seeing from Senator Lee so far, but I do think he should be on the list. He does talk quite a bit about the importance of the constitution. I hope he understands the threat that the President poses. He’s been at times understanding of that in the last several years, but not entirely consistent, so we’ll see.
TUR: Yes. I remember Mike Lee after the "Access Hollywood" tape dropped. He was appalled by it and he said he could never support the President and he’s done a 180 since then and has been pretty supportive of the President.
So my question is, I just wonder if there is anything that would make Republicans stop supporting him, because of the way his support is so hardened - Donald Trump’s support is so hardened among his particular set of voters.
But, again, senators are not beholden to congressional districts. They’re not gerrymandered up. They have a whole state to convince. Does that mean there’s more leeway there?
JOLLY: There should be. Politicians either act on conviction or on enlightened self-interest. The enlightened self-interest of Mike Lee’s been acting upon is the fact that Trump GOP loyalty plays well right now.
If he were to act on conviction, Mike Lee of all senators would acknowledge what the President did abused the office of the presidency, the power of the presidency, and is worthy of impeachment.
To Evan’s point on McSally and Gardner and I’d throw Susan Collins in there, all of whom are in cycle. They have a choice whether to follow public opinion in their state or follow the money.
They all need - they each need money from the National Republican Senatorial Committee for their re-election. They need Mitch McConnell’s blessing to turn ton money for those three states for their re-elections. I’m pessimistic about their encourage and conviction. I think they’ll follow the money.
TUR: David Jolly, good to see you. Congratulations on the baby.
JOLLY: You too.
TUR: And Evan McMullin, always good to see you as well.
Coming up, all the President’s legal woes. As the impeachment investigation heats up, Donald Trump has been ordered to be deposed in an unrelated civil lawsuit in the next six weeks. That could be interesting. Stay with us.
TUR: Now that the President’s legal woes that are not the impeachment investigation or the ongoing lawsuit over his tax returns. Donald Trump is facing a court ordered deadline of December 6th to be deposed in the ongoing Summer Zervos lawsuit.
Former "Apprentice" contestant, Summer Zervos, is more than a dozen who came forward during the 2016 presidential election with allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump. Here is how Summer Zervos described the alleged sexual assault that occurred in a hotel room in 2007.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUMMER ZERVOS, FILED DEFAMATION LAW SUIT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP: I stood up and he came to me and started kissing me open-mouthed as he was pulling me towards him. He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest, put space between us. And I said "come on man, get real." He repeated my words back to me, "Get real," as he began thrusting his genitals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Zervos is suing Donald Trump for defamation after the President called her a liar and insisted the sexual assault allegations were untrue. President Trump’s lawyers have spent months trying to block Zervos’ suit, arguing that the President is immune from civil suits in state courts.
But yesterday the judge in this case ordered that President Trump must provide the court with four potential dates for his deposition, although his legal team is expected to appeal. When we come back Eriq Gardner and Danny Cevallos will tell us the latest developments in the Summer Zervos case, including the possible scope of the deposition. And the new documents revealed in court that appear corroborate her case. That’s next.
TUR: President Trump’s legal woes continued this week in a civil lawsuit in New York when he was ordered by the court to be deposed by December 6th. Former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos is suing Donald Trump for defamation after he called her a liar for making sexual assault allegations against him. New documents revealed in court this week support Zervos’ sexual assault allegations.
Joining us now is Eriq Gardener, Senior Editor for "The Hollywood Reporter" who has extensively covered the Summer Zervos lawsuit. Danny Cevallos is also back with us.
Danny, I want to look at these court documents. They were filed yesterday and they’re about conversation she had with her family, their e-mails, including one to Rhona Graff who’s the President’s press - or one of this secretaries before he became President of United States. What does that need to say in order to help Zervos win this case?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I’ve read the exhibits. I’ve looked at them. And there are a couple e-mails and excerpts from Donald Trump’s personal calendar. And what she’s trying to do is match up her allegations and show that, hey these, documents President Trump’s calendar matches up. He was exactly where we say he was exactly at the time we say he was there.
Now their complaint against Trump is that he has these documents and they just marked them confidential and they are saying that they can’t reveal those publicly as a result that by unilaterally saying hey these are confidential documents.
The plaintiff is saying not so fast, it’s the court that decides what is confidential and what is not. You don’t get to, on your own, just stamp everything confidential and it never gets to see the light of day, that’s not how this works.
TUR: Eriq she’s suing for defamation. She doesn’t like that the President called her a liar, because she says this happened. If she wins in court what does she want to happen next?
ERIQ GARDNER, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER SENIOR EDITOR: Well, I think she wants to make a point that she’s telling the truth. Remember, this is a defamation suit. She doesn’t have to prove that the sexual assault occurred. She just has to prove that Donald Trump was untruthful.
And in here, Download Trump said she never interacted with him at the hotel. Donald Trump doesn’t try to portray this as a consensual affair. He says, no, we didn’t meet in the hotel. Well here she comes along and she has proof that he was at this particular spot back in 2007.
Not only that, but she can also show that she complained about it going as far back as 2011, seeking out a lawyer. This was well before the Access Hollywood stuff. So the Donald Trump in the next few weeks is going to be in deposition being asked about his statements, being asked whether he sticks to the story that he never met her in the hotel.
TUR: Eriq what about all the other woman that he’s called liars for coming out and saying that they - that he did something inappropriate to them?
CEVALLOS: Oh, yes, absolutely, that’s going to come up in court. And I think that’s probably the biggest aspect of legal jeopardy for Donald Trump right now. The Stormy Daniels stuff has faded into the background. But as far as I know the New York Southern District is still pursuing a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization and payments.
So as this investigation plays out, Donald Trump is for the first time in his presidency going to be talking under oath about what happened in the Stormy Daniels affair and all these other affairs. Because Summer Zervos’ attorneys are going to want to get him on the record about his affairs and his accuracy and his is honesty and try to push him on all those subject.
TUR: And as Danny Cevallos pointed out during the break, any discovery of the President will have implications for any other case that may be out there. I’m sorry I have to cut it short, gentlemen, squeeze some breaking news. Eriq Gardner and Danny Cevallos thank you very much.
Breaking news from "The New York Times" on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. "The Times" reports "A key witness" in the impeachment investigation filed a lawsuit Friday, asking a federal judge to rule on whether he can testify. A move that raises new doubts about whether President Trump’s closest aides, like the former national security adviser John Bolton will be able to cooperate with the inquiry.
The key witness according to "The Times" it is Charles Kupperman who served as Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser. House Democrats had subpoenaed Charles Kupperman to testify before the appeasement committees on Monday.
But in an effort to stop Kupperman from doing so, the White House said on Friday that the President had invoked constitutional immunity, leaving Kupperman uncertain about what to do.
"Plaintiff obviously cannot satisfy the competing demands of both the legislative and executive branches and he is aware of no controlling judicial authority definitely establishing which branches’ command should prevail," the suit said.
Joining us now by phone is a reporter who broke that story, Michael Schmidt, Washington correspondent for "The New York Times." Michael explain exactly what this is?
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, this is a late Friday filing. It’s a lawsuit that Chuck Cooper the lawyer for Kupperman, and the lawyer for John Bolton has filed in federal court. And it’s significant because Democrats have really wanted to hear from Kupperman and Bolton.
Kupperman was the acting national security adviser at the time that Trump released the aid to the Ukrainians in September. And obviously, John Bolton was the national security adviser during much of the some when these discussions were going on.
But here is the lawyer Cooper going into federal court in saying hey the White House has told us that we cannot talk to the Hill. The Hill has subpoenaed us and federal judge you need to figure out whether we can testify, and that’s why this lawsuit was filed.
And it’s interesting, because Democrats had really been counting on this testimony and now it will be heading into the courts. Lots of speculation in the past few days about what Bolton may say. And certainly Kupperman being as close as he was to Bolton would be significant witness as well.
TUR: And what is constitutional immunity?
SCHMIDT (via telephone): Well it was described to me as essentially executive privilege on steroids, sort of, the executive branch the President through the White House counsel invoking his most significant powers to try and stop someone from testifying to Congress.
The President did this with his White House stopped in from testifying after the Mueller report was released and the President using it here. The President cannot use it with cabinet members, but he can use it with his closest aides. And his national security advisors, certainly the national security adviser, being one of them and him trying to use that to stop that testimony.
TUR: Is this intended to potentially stop Bolton from testifying beyond stopping Kupperman from testifying?
SCHMIDT (via telephone): I have no evidence to believe that this suit was filed as any part of trying to stop this. I think this was a situation where a witness and a lawyer were presented with the white House saying, the Hill saying, the Hill saying give us your testimony and them saying I will go to federal court and ask a judge to make that decision.
TUR: Democrats are portraying this as a legal theory as extreme and an act of obstruction by the Trump White House you say. How quickly do you think that this is going to get ruled on?
SCHMIDT (via telephone): I’m not sure. When things are before an impeachment proceeding they would tend to get more urgency within the courts, but at the same time this could be something that would play out over a long period of time.
Ultimately, look, Kupperman was supposed to go in next week. That will not happen anymore because of this and the Democrats had certainly had some momentum over the past few weeks, really building against the President with sort of daily interviews of witnesses coming in and leaks about their testimony. From Kupperman, someone who was close to the President, they will not have that now.
TUR: And what does this mean for other witnesses that are a part of the administration are they going to use this as a reason not to come forward will it scare them off?
SCHMIDT (via telephone): Well - I mean, look, the only thing I can say is that this has - you have to look at this in what it means for Bolton. Bolton is represented by the same lawyer, this this lawyer Chuck Cooper, who has gone to court and who has done this.
And the White House would likely invoke these same privileges against Bolton to try and stop him from testifying. And Bolton in in many ways is seen as a key witness here, because he is someone who is a long-standing Republican.
He’s someone that Republicans and conservatives have seen on Fox News for many years. It’s certainly someone that is different than the longtime career diplomats who have testified in recent days have been attacked by the White House.
TUR: Michael Schmidt - Michael thank you very much for coming on and giving us your great reporting. We appreciate it.
And in Baltimore today two Presidents and political powerhouses came out to honor Congressman Elijah Cummings, his life and his fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: There is nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing - there’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: And here is more of President Obama’s eulogy for the Honorable Elijah Cummings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: As President I knew I could always count on Elijah being honorable and doing the right thing, and people have talked about his voice. There is something about his voice. It just made you feel better. You know there’s some people they you have that deep baritone, deep baritone, a prophetic voice. And when it was good times, and we achieved victories together, that voice and that laugh was a gift.
But you needed it more during the tough times when the path ahead looked crooked, when obstacles abounded. When I entertained doubts or I saw those who were in the fight start to waiver, that’s when Elijah’s voice mattered most.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Joining us now Congressman Lacy Clay from Missouri. He is a member of the House Oversight Committee which was chaired by the late Congressman Elijah Cummings. Congressman, thank you very much for being here.
I had a couple of longer interactions with Elijah Cummings on Oversight. I did a documentary about the American Swamp and the separation of powers and what was happening with Donald Trump and his conflicts of interest, and Jacob Soboroff and I sat down with him twice and he got extremely emotional.
And he talked about his time being short and his desire to make a difference while he could. He talked about the separation of powers and the need for congressional oversight, especially right now. What was it like to work with him in these final months?
REP. LACY CLAY (D-MO): Well, let me first say today was a fitting, moving tribute to someone who was the Chairman of our Committee, who I got to know over the 18 years, and he embodied the decency of our humanity. He was compassionate and he was respectful to others.
And he also embodied the fact that you can disagree with someone without being disagreeable and you can be respectful of your adversary and you can also have that debate and then also be friends with somebody who has an opposing view. So he was somebody that I truly respected. I learned from.
We got to know each other over the years through phone calls, through hanging out in the members’ gymnasium, and just about every vote series that we took on that floor, we took time just to catch up with each other, to talk about our families, to talk about our common experiences, to talk about our parents. And he embodied the decency of who we should all aspire to be.
TUR: there was that memorable moment in one of the committee hearings where Congressman Mark Meadows was accused of racism and Cummings spoke very vocally against that and said they had been friends and he defended Mark Meadows.
So when you say he could be friends with people he disagreed with, there was very good example of that. Tell me, how did he - how heavy was the job of Chairman for him - Chairman of the Oversight Committee in these times. He was signing subpoenas on his death bed.
CLAY: Yes. Well, and he put everything that he had into deposition of being the Chair of the Oversight Committee, and you could tell it was a true labor of love for him. He understood the law. He shared his knowledge with us, the other committee members, and the constitution meant something to him.
He felt like no one was above the law, and that’s why when you are the Chair of the Oversight Committee and you get a letter from the Chairperson, that’s usually not a good day for you.
TUR: what will the committee be doing to honor his legacy?
CLAY: We will continue in the tradition of Elijah Cummings, of pursuing the facts and follow them where they lead us, and usually it leads you to the truth. And just like this impeachment inquiry, we will, along with the Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, we will be gathering the facts.
And then, once we compile that information, we will turn it over to the House Judiciary Committee for them to make a decision about articles of impeachment and to determine if this President and this administration have followed the letter - the law, or if they have broken the law.
And so we will continue in the tradition of Elijah Cummings.