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new voting right act TRANSCRIPT: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 12/6/2019

Guests: Greg Miller, Rick Stengel, Joe Neguse, Ana Marie Cox


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I want you to have a good weekend but I want you to know you`re going to have to be up early on Monday. 9:00 a.m. Monday, Judiciary Committee holds its next public impeachment hearing -- ought to be kind of a doozy.

Half an hour later, 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, there are oral arguments in federal court in the emoluments lawsuit. Also on Monday, we`ll be waiting for prosecutors to drop their sentencing memo that`s due in the criminal case against Rick Gates who was the deputy campaign chairman for Trump. They`re going to recommend how much prison time he ought to get.

Also on Monday, the inspector general of the Justice Department should release its review of the FBI`s decision to open up the Russia investigation in 2016. That`s all happening on Monday plus a bunch of other stuff.

Tomorrow is going to be a day off. Sunday is going to be a day off. Hopefully, Monday is going to be nuts. See you then. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again on Monday, but it`ll be crazy. It`s now time for "Last Word." Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence. Good evening, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST:  None of this is true, Rachel. None of this is true. Your viewers do not have to get up in the morning to do all this because anything good that happens on Monday you will tell them about at 9:00 p.m.

MADDOW:  Yes, but its live events. I mean, the impeachment hearing is live, obviously, and on television at 9:00.


MADDOW:  That 9:30 an emolument hearing is one of those rare federal court hearings that we`re going to have live audio of. So you`re going to listen and watch in stereo. I mean, it`s going to be a crazy day.

VELSHI:  I shall be watching along with you my friend and then I`ll see you on Monday night. You have a fantastic weekend, Rachel.

MADDOW:  I will do. Thanks, Ali. Much appreciated.

VELSHI:  Ahead tonight, what does the White House want after weeks of protest that the administration couldn`t participate in the impeachment proceedings; the White House`s top lawyer has just rejected an offer to participate in the impeachment proceedings.

And Pelosi versus Trump. The Speaker of the House is taking the president head on as he attempts to derail the investigation into his Ukraine actions.

Plus, at the end of the show, what was the most shocking statement that came out of the Trump administration this week? It is something that deserves a lot more attention than it got.

But first tonight, the national security threat coming from the White House -- damaging evidence against the president continues to come out of the impeachment investigation and a blockbuster report in the "Washington Post" shows just how the president`s actions have put U.S. interests in danger.

Thanks to President Trump`s habit of using a vulnerable cellphone. Russians possibly knew about his attempts to extort Ukraine long before that information was made public, officials tell "The Post."

Phone logs released this week by House Democrats showed multiple calls from Trump`s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to White House phone numbers at critical moments during the pressure campaign on Ukraine.

The calls underscored the degree to which Trump and Giuliani seemed to have coordinated their efforts. But the "Washington Post" reports that those unsecured calls were just the beginning.

According to current and former officials the president speaks with Rudy Giuliani and others, "all the time on cellphones." Vulnerable to monitoring by Russia and other foreign actors.

"It is absolutely a security issue, a former Trump aide told the "Washington Post." It is a bonanza for them."  That Trump and his personal lawyer would regularly skirt security protocols in their private chats is of course hypocritical. Recall that the president made an issue about how Hillary Clinton handled sensitive information during the 2016 election.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We know Hillary can`t be trusted. We`ve learned that with America`s security. You take a look at her e-mail situation. Can we trust her with our security?

How can Hillary manage this country when she can`t even manage her e-mails? We can`t have someone in the Oval Office who doesn`t understand the meaning of the word confidential or classified.


VELSHI:  More than that, the president seeming carelessness constitutes a significant threat to national security, and it`s not the first time. Remember that just a month into his presidency the president dealt with a North Korean missile test in the Mar-a-Lago dining room.

Then he discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting in May 2017. And, as we also learned from the impeachment investigation, he talked loudly about his plot to extort Ukraine on a phone call with E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland. President Trump has never been particularly careful in his handling of sensitive information.

And U.S. officials suggest to the "Washington Post" that it was a virtual certainty that Russia had listened in on Trump`s phone calls with Giuliani, telling the paper that the Kremlin may have been able to "learn about aspects of Trump`s attempt to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival months before that effort was exposed and could have used those insights to adapt or amplify its propaganda promoting the baseless claim that Ukraine rather than Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee in the 2016 election."

In fact, one former official told the paper that Russia likely knows more about Trump`s conversations with Giuliani than impeachment investigators do. "Congress and investigators have call records that suggest certain things but have no means whatsoever of getting the actual text of what was said," that`s according to John Sipher, former deputy in chief to Russia operations at the CIA. "I guarantee the Russians have the actual information."

Leading off our discussion tonight are Greg Miller, national security correspondent for the "Washington Post." He`s the co-author of that report about President Trump`s unsecured phone calls.

Rick Stengel is a former undersecretary of state in the Obama administration and an MSNBC political analyst. He`s the author of "Information Wars: How We Lost The Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It."

Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor and an MSNBC legal analyst. Welcome to all of you. Greg, let`s start with you. You have done this reporting. You are hearing from people who say the threat is not perceived or possible. It is real.

President Donald Trump has been warned over and over again by officials who work around him and national security officials, don`t make phone calls on your personal phone. He continues to do it.

GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST:  Yes. And to me one of the more staggering things we`ve learned and reported in our story was about the efforts of those closest to him to get him to stop doing this.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly urged him to use hard lines in the White House, secure lines when he went back to the residence at night and made phone calls. And he did this for a while.

But when he realized that John Kelly was then able to track logs of the president`s calls and who he was speaking with, Trump got annoyed and discontinued the practice and went back to the cellphone.

So, it`s not just his disregard for the security protocols that almost all of his predecessors in the office have adhered to, it`s that he appears to be trying to hide much of his communications from his own staff, from his own people.

VELSHI:  This is a problem, Rick Stengel. You have spent much of your life as a journalist, right. We use phones a lot. We talk to a lot of people. It`s probably a hard habit to break. But this is not random. This is the president of the United States. People before him had to go through this.

They`ve had to be told that someone can listen in on your conversations. It`s not just that Donald Trump seems to be having conversations that are casual, checking up with friends, but in fact, some of the important stuff that we need to know about is stuff that is not done on the White House logs, it`s done on this, as Greg Miller says, to avoid the scrutiny of his own staff but endangering possibly national security as a result.

RICHARD STENGEL, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE:  Of course it`s a national security risk. Now, Donald Trump tweeted tonight that he had only used government issued cellphones as though that rebutted the "Washington Post" story. That`s false, too, in the sense that even government issued cellphones are not secure either.

And when you think about it, it`s not just the Russians who are listening, and there are probably a half-dozen other nations. And when they know something about what you`re saying that your own staff doesn`t know, much less Congress --

VELSHI:  Right.

STENGEL:  -- that is security risk. The Russians have kompromat on him in the sense that they know what he was maneuvering with the Ukrainians. They listened to all the Ukrainian telephone calls, and then that gives them leverage over the Ukrainians, too. That is real national security issue for the United States.

VELSHI:  Glenn Kirschner, the problem here is of course we know certain things that Donald Trump was saying about Ukraine because we know it from the actual memos of the transcript that the White House has released. And we think the average person who`s not a lawyer can imagine that that is compromising.

So, the idea that there are other conversations possibly with Rudy Giuliani who is like where`s Waldo -- he is in the middle of everything here, we can surmise as Rick Stengel says, others, the Russians or others have information that our investigators that Congress doesn`t even have, that his staff doesn`t even have.

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Yes, Ali, and let me go to sort of the gravest threat to national security. In your run up, you highlighted the fact that the Russians could exploit some of what they were hearing for propaganda value and build on that and continue to sort of pour disinformation into for example our social media.

But you know what else they`re getting? They are potentially getting information that they can use militarily to decide when they might want to make moves on the Ukraine in what everybody calls that hot war that they are involved in, their unlawful aggression into Ukraine.

Because if they`re overhearing the president of the United States saying things like I`m going to withhold military aid, I know they want javelins, anti-tank weapons, they`re not getting them right now until I get what I want.

If you`re Vladimir Putin and you`re directing your military troops and your efforts to attack Ukraine, do you think you`d want to know that kind of important intelligence about U.S. Military operations.

VELSHI:  And Rick, let`s just talk about this because you were in the State Department so you had to be conscious of the fact that the stuff that you talked about, even casually, not to you, not the president of the United States is of interest to foreign governments.

The "New York Times" is reporting on Donald Trump`s phone habits. When President Trump calls old friends on one of his on iPhones to gossip, griper, solicit their latest take on how he`s doing, American intelligence reports indicates that Chinese spies are often listening and putting to use invaluable insights into how to best work with the president and affect administration policy, current and former American officials said. This is better information than you can get by using spies.


VELSHI:  If you`re actually hearing from government officials who are forming policy, spies are secondary, tertiary.

STENGEL:  You don`t even need spies in the age of the cellphone. When you walk into the State Department as an employee one of the first things they tell you is that anything you say even within the confines of the State Department, that is not in a SCIF, a Secure Compartmented Intelligence space is liable to be listened to by any number of other powers.

VELSHI:  Right.

STENGEL:  And when those people have information about you, even when he talks to his friends, that is something that goes into their intelligence service and they use.

And by the way, to speak to the earlier point, Zelensky is meeting with Russians on Monday to begin negotiations about a possible cease-fire in that Donbass region of Ukraine.

Think about what the Russians know about what Zelensky can do or can`t do given to what the Americans have said.

VELSHI:  Right. Right.

STENGEL:  I mean, they have tremendous leverage that we`ve given them by them listening in on our calls.

VELSHI:  Greg Miller, what`s your sense of how much of what you`ve reported on and people have spoken to you about this -- how much of this is conjecture and how much of this is them knowing things like Rick Stengel knows, that you could be picked up talking in the State Department let alone user your random phone that`s not protected by the government?

MILLER:  Look, I don`t think that there`s any real chance that this is just merely conjecture here. I mean, we have actual cases. I mean, four years ago two American diplomats were surveilled by Russian intelligence in Ukraine -- in Ukraine where Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Gordon Sondland and others have having conversations now.

And the Russians actually leaked that conversation during the Obama administration as a way of driving a wedge between the United States and Europe.

I mean, they have substantial intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, and it is a former Soviet state that they pay extremely close attention to. So, I just really don`t think that we`re talking about theoretical risks here.

VELSHI:  Glenn Kirschner, I think the line that stood out to me the most was that it is possible that adversaries including Russia have better information on what Giuliani and Trump and others were talking about than our own investigators.

In other words, you can`t even subpoena this information. The texts of those phone calls don`t exist if you weren`t otherwise spying or tapping the phone call.

KIRSCHNER:  Ali, you hit the nail right on the head. As a federal prosecutor for 30 years, trust me, I acquired a lot of information about bad guys` cellphones, but I had to do it legally.

So if I wanted something as basic as the call detail records, the numbers that two cellphones were dialing or receiving calls from, I had to issue a grand jury subpoena.

If I wanted what was called cell site information, where a phone was at the time it was being used, I need to either obtain a search warrant or a court order.

And the granddaddy of all sort of cellphone investigative measures, if I wanted to listen in realtime to what somebody was saying, I had to get a Title 3 wiretap and the legal hoops and hurdles we had to jump through as law enforcement are enormous.

Rightfully so, because if the government are going to surveil your calls in realtime, we want lots of protections in place. None of those protections apply to Russian intelligence agencies or other foreign intelligence services --

VELSHI:  Yes. We do want those protections. We do want to know that our government doesn`t eavesdrop on our phone calls, except someone else might be doing so.

KIRSCHNER:  Yes, and they have things that we don`t have, that the people who are going to prosecute an impeachment case don`t have. That is an enormous security risk.

VELSHI:  Guys, thanks very much for kicking this off for us. Glenn Kirschner, Greg Miller and Rick Stengel, I appreciate that. Thanks for getting us started tonight.

Up next, could Nancy Pelosi`s House vote to impeach President Trump (inaudible) President Trump, and then opt to not send that to the trial in the Senate until they finally hear from all the witnesses in the White House or the witness the White House is holding up?

And later, the strong women in the impeachment hearings that are pushing back against President Trump. At the end of the hour, we`re going to have the most important comment of the week that didn`t get nearly enough attention. It was the most totalitarian comment that I have heard uttered by the Trump administration today.


VELSHI:  Breaking news tonight, the House impeachment committees have officially transmitted their impeachment inquiry report to the House Judiciary Committee.

In a letter addressed to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, the committee chair is right that the impeachment records are being transmitted on flash drives and that those records include "certain sensitive materials."

Now, it is unclear to us what those sensitive materials are at this point. Earlier tonight, despite weeks of complaints from Republicans that the White House was not getting a fair shake in the impeachment process because it wasn`t being allowed to participate, the White House has formally rejected an offer from the House Judiciary Committee to, wait for it -- participate in the impeachment investigation.

The White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Chairman Nadler complaining about the proceedings and a senior administration official tells NBC News, "the letter means the White House will not participate in the House proceeding."

Chairman Nadler shot back saying, "If the president has no good response to the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the committee. Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair. The president`s failure will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty."

On Monday, as Rachel told us, the Judiciary Committee which is charged with drafting articles of impeachment will hear evidence from House Intelligence Committee lawyers on the investigation into the president`s conduct towards Ukraine.

Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, a committee that is going to, congressman, gain notoriety amongst Americans that it has not had since Watergate probably.

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO):  Good to be with you, Ali.

VELSHI:  Congressman, what is the process now? What happens? You -- I assume you have learned that your committee has received this information on flash drives. What actually happens next?

NEGUSE:  So, I did and reviewed that letter just before appearing on your program. So, as you know, the report has been officially submitted to the Judiciary Committee from the Intelligence Committee, the Government Oversight Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

And the evidence underlying that report has also been transmitted to the Judiciary Committee for its review. We`ve noticed a hearing for Monday where we will have an opportunity to hear from the counsel for the Intelligence Committee, both the majority and minority and give them an opportunity to present the evidence in greater detail.

And then ultimately, the committee will have a solemn duty ahead, which is to review that evidence against the legal standards that were defined and expounded upon during the hearing earlier this week, where we had an opportunity to hear from constitutional scholars discuss the constitutional context and historical context of the power of impeachment under our constitution.

And then make a decision from there as to what potential articles, if any, to refer to the full House. And again, discharging that duty in a serious and methodical way that meets the moment and we intend to do precisely that.

VELSHI:  Congressman, tell me about the moment because you and I have spoken for a long time since you`ve been elected. We had one of the earlier conversations after you were elected. This is a moment. Whatever side of this thing you are on, this is an important moment.

Your committee is now going to draft articles of impeachment that may result in the impeachment for the third time of a president of the United States. How do you think about this and how do you talk about this to your constituents?

NEGUSE: You know, look, it`s a solemn moment. It is a somber moment for our country and I thought that Speaker Pelosi stated it so eloquently earlier this week when she talked about this matter fundamentally, not being about politics.

But about our constitution, about us as a constitutional republic and the duty we have to honor the oath that each and every one of us in the House takes to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Look, I`ve been on your program before and as you know, I do believe that there`s significant evidence that this president abused his power and ultimately betrayed the national interests by corrupting our elections.

And Congress as a co-equal branch of government must honor its role under Article I, to hold this administration accountable. So, it is a grave moment for our country. I wish that my Republican colleagues would treat this process with the respect that it deserves and to understand the gravity of the matter that we are now considering.

I`m hopeful that some of them will ultimately choose country over party, but that will remain an open question for now.

VELSHI:  Congressman, I want to read to you, you again have probably seen this as does your chairman, Jerry Nadler, responding to the White House`s refusal to participate in your proceedings.

He says, "The American people deserve answers from President Trump. The House invited and then subpoenaed his top advisers. The president ordered them not to show and continues to block key evidence from Congress. We are disappointed that the president has once again failed to provide those answers here."

Now, you know that, your chairman has sent that to the White House. We have read it. There are millions, if not, tens of millions of Americans who are getting another story tonight.

They are getting a story about a process that is unfair, a process that does not allow the president or his representatives to participate. How do you respond to people, your constituents possibly who are hearing that false tale?

NEGUSE:  Well, look, this administration has engaged in a wholesale obstruction of Congress, the likes of which we have never seen before. And we have an obligation on the Judiciary Committee and as members of Congress to explain the president`s conduct and the realities of why ultimately that conduct is not consistent with the way in which the framers intended our republic to function.

And so, as you may know earlier this week when he had the opportunity to question a wide range of constitutional scholars during the Judiciary Committee`s hearing, I had an opportunity and chose to use my time to focus on this very issue.

To highlight the historical context of the way in which even President Clinton and to some extent President Nixon participated at greater lengths in their impeachment inquiries than this president, who has directed his executive branch to simply not participate at all.

And he has had every opportunity to engage in good faith and has chosen not to and instead has, you know, released these outlandish letters by the White House counsel, all in my view in an attempt to obfuscate from the fundamental egregious nature of the president`s conduct that ultimately undermines our national security.

So again, look, I`ve never lost faith that Congress is a co-equal branch under Article I, would ultimately take the steps necessary to hold this administration accountable, to discharge our oaths and neither should the American people.

VELSHI:  Congressman, good to see you again. Thank you for joining me tonight. Congressman Joe Neguse of the House Judiciary Committee.

Coming up, the speaker of the House versus the president of the United States. Nancy Pelosi is just one of the strong women who have been at the center of the impeachment saga. That`s up next.

And later, the House tried to strengthen voting rights today. We`ll tell you how many Republicans voted in favor of that.


VELSHI:  This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi showed the world what fearless authority looks like when she announced that the House will draft articles of impeachment against President Trump. And speaker Pelosi pushed back when a reporter questioned whether she made that decision out of hatred for the president.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker? Speaker?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  I don`t hate anybody. I don`t -- I was raised in a Catholic house, we don`t hate anybody. Not anybody in the world.

This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president`s violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don`t hate anyone.


VELSHI:  Speaker Pelosi has held strong and firm throughout this impeachment inquiry but she`s not the only strong woman who`s played a vital role in this process.

During both closed door and public testimony in the impeachment inquiry, women stood out as star witnesses including Marie Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill and Pamela Karlan.

Their testimony offered startling revelations into President Trump`s abuse of power, but they are not only being praised for their brave testimony, they`re being praised for potentially bringing down Trump as women, especially given the president`s long history of demeaning and allegedly sexually abusing women. Let`s take a look at some of the testimony from these fearless women.


MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: How is that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government. Which country`s interests are served when the very corrupt behavior we have been criticizing is allowed to prevail.

FIONA HILL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR ON RUSSIA: Some of you on this committee appears to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps somehow for some reason Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

PAMELA S. KARLAN, LAW PROFESSOR, STANFORD LAW SCHOOL: Maybe when he was first running for President, he had never been anything other than a reality TV show - you know that was his public - that was his public life. Maybe then he could think Russia if you`re listening is an OK thing to do but by the time he asked the Ukraine. Ukraine, if you`re listening, could you help - help me out with my reelection, he has to have known that that was not something consistent with his oath of office.

VELSHI: And when we come back, Zerlina Maxwell and Ana Marie Cox will join me to discuss how strong women have played an important and vital role in the impeachment inquiry. That`s next.


VELSHI: While Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s leading House Democrats through the impeachment inquiry, here`s what President Trump felt the need to address today.


TRUMP: The light bulb, they got rid of the light bulb that people got used to. The new bulb is many times more expensive. And I hate to say it, it doesn`t make you look as good, because being a vain person that`s really important to me. It gives you an orange look. I don`t want an orange look.


VELSHI: They got rid of the light bulb. He also talked about toilets not flushing properly today. Joining us now Zerlina Maxwell, the Senior Director of Progressive Programming at Sirius/XM radio, an MSNBC political analyst and Ana Marie Cox, the host of the political podcast, `With friends like these.`

Thank you for joining me tonight. There`s some crazy stuff the President`s been talking about but really, if you have been one of those Americans and I think the number is about 70 million Americans who were glued to the first week of impeachment testimony, you would have been taken aback by the fact that the most - much of the most compelling testimony Zerlina, was presented by women.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that`s not surprising. I think there`s a couple of different points throughout this Trump era if you will, that have demonstrated that women are very angry and were willing to make that known to everyone. So the day Donald Trump is sworn in, there is bunch of MAGA people in DC but the very next day, women in pink hats descended on DC.

Then there was also moments where Maxine Waters was reclaiming her time, essentially saying that women are taking back this moment to quote Charlotte Alter of Time magazine. She talked about this moment as the moment that women thought Hillary Clinton was going to be the President.

We finally would have some sort of representation that was equitable and now this moment is the Trump era instead and so in a lot of ways that Maxine Waters moment, led us to the MeToo moment, also to Brett Kavanaugh`s confirmation where I feel like women essentially were giving a primal scream that they are not consenting to the white male leadership structure that traditionally has led this country, that is not doing a good job leading the country.

We`re literally living for impeachment and so women are actually standing up against that and it`s wonderful to see so many different types of women, none of these women are the same, none of them have the same presentation but all of them are strong.

VELSHI: And Ana Marie, what`s interesting is when you look at some of the key women and there were many by the way in the testimony but some of the key women. Marie Yovanovitch wasn`t that they chose a woman, she was the United States Ambassador to Ukraine.

When you look at Fiona Hill, it wasn`t that somebody chose a woman. This was the woman in the job at the National Security Council who is the expert on U.S. - Russia - Ukraine relations. When you look at Professor Karlan, Pamela Karlan, it`s not that somebody went and chose a woman. This is a woman who is a constitutional scholar and well informed.

So the fact is no one was looking at this for the stage craft.

ANA MARIE COX, POLITICAL REPORTER & HOST, POLITICAL PODCAST: That`s true also but I will point out when it comes to the ambassador and Fiona Hill, the other important thing about them is that they chose to be on the right side of history. There are plenty of other people in similar positions who did not speak up and who did not testify.

And these women had the let`s say, guts to do so.

VELSHI: You were going to say something else.

COX: But I also want to point out. Maybe but yes, but I don`t want to be gender specific. I do think it`s important point out that when it comes to the impeachment, white women have a lot of to atone for when it comes to Trump.

Those are mainly white women that were participating in the impeachment process and I`m all here for it but white women helped elect Trump, it`s kind of the least we could do to help get rid of him. So I`m glad to see them there but I also want to call attention like Zerlina said that Maxine Waters is a huge part of it, also the undocumented women that have spoken about being employed at Trump - Trump`s country clubs.

Those are just as important and then of course like you mentioned, there is the fact that he is an admitted sexual predator and I feel like his crimes against the country are important, that`s what he`s being impeached for but those are not his biggest crimes against humanity and certainly not his biggest crimes against women.

VELSHI: You know Jason Johnson tweeted something Zerlina that makes me think about this. I want to just read the tweet, it says, "Literally every woman that has testified during impeachment hearings has delivered the strongest points and messages but somehow this country can`t figure out how to put a woman in the White House."

And the fact is Ana Marie Cox and Zerlina Maxwell and Alley Welsh as she talking about this on the Last Word amounts to a hill of beans when it comes to power structures, right? In the end, Jason makes an important point. Women continue to go on changing our world and putting into stark relief what you and Ana Marie are saying but we still continue to have the same problem, right?

If it`s incidental that a woman happens to be the Ambassador to Ukraine so be it. If there`s remarkable expert on Russia-U.S. relations who happens to be a woman so be it. If the expert on constitutional law happens to be women, so be it. We`re not putting her in the White House just yet.

MAXWELL: Yes, I feel like there is there`s an existential moment we`re going through right now. We`re having this big debate about `electability` but we`re missing what`s happening in this moment. We keep asking about whether or not Elizabeth Warren can win in 2020 and we`re forgetting that a whole bunch of women of all different colors and backgrounds won in the last election we had in 2018.

And so the idea that a woman could not win when the woman who ran the last time got more votes than the unqualified and unexperienced man running for the same position, I think that we have to be honest about the fact that a woman absolutely could win, that women are competent and that we generally have to get rid of this notion where men are over estimated for their competence and abilities and women are often underestimated which is why we we`re so surprised when they show up and they do their job so professionally often.

I`m more like wow, she seems to know her - her stuff. Well, yes, you don`t get to be the Ambassador to Ukraine unless you know your stuff.

VELSHI: Ana Marie, just so that we don`t end up talking to women just about women, we actually - I told my viewers something else earlier tonight and that there are some people suggesting that the House may vote on impeachment articles but not send it to the Senate and I actually already have a few tweets that say, wow, that`s really weird.

Let me just read your tweet from John Dean who said, "Let`s impeach him now and not send it to the Senate, rather keep investigating in the House and add such supplemental articles as needed. Just let it hang over his head. If the worst happens and he`s re-elected, send it to the Senate. But keep investigating.

Because the President has tweeted tonight and others have said, let`s get this done. You know what? We know what`s going to happen in the House. Let`s go to the senate because he knows he`s not going to get outed by the Senate. He`s not going to get kicked out of office. This is an interesting concept. Impeach and don`t move forward.

COX: I like it. It certainly as I alluded to before, there are many crimes that he deserves to answer for but I do kind of wonder at least in theoretically if the Congress might not be painting a life size map of the world.

If they chose to investigate everything that they could impeach him for. The list is probably almost literally endless. You know it might be again with election fraud but certainly it would continue to the caging of children on the border and I - and the fraud and corruption and emoluments.

I mean really, every day, like whenever I think about this White House and the crimes and the criming, I think of the Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory and like trying to just keep up with the crimes coming out of the machine like we just couldn`t do it.

I mean, I would love them to see investigate more. I worry about the physics and of it basically. Like whether or not the time and phase continue and could handle.

VELSHI: It is a real concern. Ana Marie and Zerlina, please stand by. We`re going to squeeze in a break but when we come back, we`re going to talk about the efforts to expand voting rights. This is important. I`m going to tell you how many Republicans voted along with the Democrats on this one.

This may one surprise you.


REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL): The price for freedom is not free. It has been paid for and bought by those brave soldiers so that one day a little black girl from Selma, Alabama could one day sit in aghast body.

I know I`m not the only black and brown colleague of ours that owes our very presence in this chamber to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


VELSHI: That was Congresswoman Terri Sewell before the House voted on H. R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Here is civil rights pioneer and Congressman John Lewis who gambled in the final vote.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): On this vote, the yays are 228, the nays the 187. The bill is passed without objection. The motion to reconsider is laid on the table.


VELSHI: That was the re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act. Every re- authorization of the Voting Rights Act since 1965 has received bipartisan support. In 2006 192 Republicans voted for that re-authorization, 33 voted against.

Today Republicans voted almost unanimously against the measure. The lone Republican to vote in favor was this man Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. Back with us Zerlina Maxwell and Ana Marie Cox. Zerlina, I don`t even know what to say about that.

MAXWELL: Well, look, I`ve been thinking a lot about this because I`m trying to think through the demographic shifts that are happening in the country so few research has predicted that this country is going to be majority non-white by 2045.

And what that means is that the Republicans you know, traditional Republican voters are going to be a minority, nationally, not necessarily in some of these more gerrymandered districts but essentially, I think what this says is they`re aware that the demographic shifts and the present realities are not on their side.

And for me, that`s fundamentally a problem. People died from my right to vote. My grandfather, my aunt Ann, both marched in Selma, Alabama. My aunt was only 17 years old and she hid from the Ku Klux Klan the night before the March.

And so for me, the right to vote is a sacred one and for Republicans not to understand that we should expand access to more people and then fight over the ideas later and whoever gets the most votes wins. That`s the system that we should all want. That`s really a troubling reality to be living through.

VELSHI: Ana Marie Cox, this is a layup. This is not complicated. This is not asking people to stretch the imagination very much to vote for the re- authorization of the Voting Rights Act - Voting Rights Act of 1965.

COX: I don`t think so. No one here thinks so. You know I`m a little bit of an expert on Congressman Fitzgerald - Fitzpatrick, see I`m an expert because I looked at his Wikipedia page and you know, what`s interesting about him is he`s a former FBI agent. So clearly he`s a member of the deep state or he is an institutionalist who values the structures of democracy.

It also turns out he was head of their election crimes commission and was once stationed in Ukraine and Iraq. So I think he knows something about the fragility of democracy and speaking of the fragility of democracy, I know the same numbers that Zerlina talked about and what frightens me about the Republicans voting against this is the brazenness of it.

Their willingness to show their hand that they do not even want to try to compete on a level playing field. To me, and I`ve said this before but to me, this terrifies me because to me this says that this is a party that isn`t worried about winning a fair election because they don`t think they`re going to be anymore.

VELSHI: It`s remarkable. That is an interesting and thought provoking way to end this conversation. Ana Marie Cox, thank you for joining us tonight. Zerlina, thank you as well.

Coming up, Attorney General Bill Barr made a shocking and chilling comment or threats this week about respecting the police and now tonight, Congressman Val Demings, a law enforcement veteran and Orlando`s first female police chief is taking him to task. That`s next.


VELSHI: Finally tonight, it`s been a jam packed and historic week of news with the announcement that the House will draft articles of impeachment against President Trump as well as Donald Trump`s much discussed NATO summit.

Rudy Giuliani`s latest you John to Ukraine but there`s one thing that happened this week that cannot be overlooked or lost in the news coverage. I was shocked when I heard it on Tuesday. I said that and that it might be one of the most totalitarian like statements issued yet by a member of the Trump administration.

It was Attorney General Bill Barr in a speech to police officers, talking about Americans needing to respect the police and what could happen if they don`t.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: But I think today American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers and they have to start showing more than they do.

  The respect and support that law enforcement deserves and if communities don`t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.


VELSHI: Zerlina Maxwell and Glenn Kirschner are back with us. Glenn, I - just - I just, I think it`s relevant here. I don`t talk about my background a lot. My parents grew up in apartheid South Africa. I find that chilling. I find what he said chilling that I - I - he had me until he said if communities don`t start showing that respect, all the first part about sacrifice and service and police and - and - and what they do and - and how difficult their job is, he had me at that.

The threat, I thought was chilling.

KIRSCHNER: And I have to take a deep breath before I answer this one Ali because for 30 years, I worked beside men and women of law enforcement. More officers, detectives, investigators and agents than I can count.

Right here in Washington DC, I worked with the Washington DC Metropolitan police department, FBI, ATF, DEA, Park Police, Capital Police, Secret Service Uniformed Division, Metro Police, Amtrak Police, Postal Police, the U.S. Marshal Service, I could go on.

In the military, I worked with the MP`s, the military police investigators. The CID agents. You know what I never heard a single one of them say? I never heard a single one of them say, I am here to protect and serve but only if the citizens show me the proper respect.

What Bill Barr said as anti-American. It`s the exact opposite of what law enforcement agents and officers stand for and like you say, welcome to Bill Barr`s autocracy or totalitarian state. It is chilling and despicable.

VELSHI: Zerlina, I don`t need to - to queue you but I want to read to you because it`s important what Rep. Val Deming`s, Orlando`s first female Chief of Police wrote in an Op-ed in The Washington Post. It was entitled, `What William Barr doesn`t understand about law enforcement.` "Law enforcement is not a protection racket. It is a sacred charge. We take an oath not to any individual or faction but to the constitution or in other words, to society at large because at the end of the day, law enforcement and the community are the same.

The police are the community. The community is the police. Modern policing at its best, is a dynamic, constructive, collaborative, empowering relationship between officers and civilians predicated on the fundamental principle that in the eyes of the law, all of us are equal.

When Barr referenced certain communities that have failed to give the police proper deference, it seems clear, he meant black and brown communities, the very communities in which we should be working the hardest to build relationships and cooperation. Zerlina.

MAXWELL: It`s so infuriating when folks try to play respectability politics when it comes to how black and brown people should try to stay alive during these interactions with the police. I mean, when you hear the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the country say, you can complain later.

No, that`s not what the Fourth Amendment actually says in fact. You don`t have to complain later. As an American, you have rights and you can articulate them and ask law enforcement why are you stopping me. Why are you asking me these things? No, I don`t want you to go in the trunk.

There is a new movie out, `Queen and Slim` which tackles this very issue and I think that a lot of Americans need to perhaps see this film because I think one of the most powerful things about it is, it shows you just how universal this fear of the police is.

I, as a black American can be driving home tonight, Ali and I can be pulled over and my life can be over in a second and then they will tell a story on the news tomorrow, potentially about what I`ve ever done in my past that can justify it and that is not OK.

And I just think that you know if Bill Barr is so concerned with Americans not respecting law enforcement then I think he needs to take a maybe a car ride down the street and talk to Donald Trump because he has disrespected law enforcement and the FBI throughout this entire administration.

And I think that perhaps they need to respect law enforcement and their investigations, not American citizens who are just going about their daily lives.

VELSHI: Glenn Kirschner, final word to you. Is there - is there some consequence to saying this. This is - this crosses the line into something that as you said, is anti-American.

KIRSCHNER: Bill Barr should stand up and say you know what? That was a poor choice of words. Our law enforcement officers and agents are going to protect everybody, every community, regardless of how we think they should act.

He really needs to stand up and correct the record.

VELSHI: Thank you to both of you tonight. Powerful words to end the show. Zerlina Maxwell and Glenn Kirschner. That is tonight`s Last Word. The Eleventh Hour with Brian Williams begins now.