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DOJ IG pushes back against A.G. Barr. TRANSCRIPT: 12/11/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Ron Klain, Lisa Graves, Jim Himes, Amy Klobuchar, Pramila Jayapal

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

And we`re going to go live to that Judiciary Committee hearing I think in a few minutes, but one of the things striking about it is that the Republican side has been kind of muted tonight, meaning -- I just mean this in terms of volume mostly.  You know that yelling you have to get used to in that committee, we got some of that from Congressman Collins, but what has been striking about the rest of them is how they haven`t really gone into those fevered screaming versions of their statements.  They avoid the evidence as they always have, but it`s been a quieter let`s get this over with attitude it seems. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS":  Outrage burns a lot of calories and in the winter we`re not trying to slim down, we`re trying to fatten up for hibernation.  So, I can see as they`re trying to conserve themselves as we head into what we know is going to happen. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, it`s almost as if they`re trying not to attract attention to the president is being impeached. 

MADDOW:  Which is exactly what`s going on.  They`re hoping everything else happening in Washington is some sort of distraction from it but they`ve got to live it now. 

O`DONNELL:  Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Well, during this breaking news night, we can`t tell you right now for sure exactly who will be joining us in this hour because as the House Judiciary Committee continues its work session tonight on the articles of impeachment, some of the members of that committee might be able to join us this hour if they get their work done. 

We definitely will be joined by a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who asked some of the most important questions at today`s hearing with the Justice Department inspector general.  Senator Amy Klobuchar kept it focus on the big picture in that hearing today, and she will probably be taking a new oath in January.  It is the oath the Senate administers to senators when they act as jurors in an impeachment trial. 

The House Judiciary Committee`s articles of impeachment being debated tonight are being based on the investigative work of the House Intelligence Committee and Congressman Jim Himes is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.  He is one of the ones who will definitely be joining us tonight. 

The House Judiciary Committee is now working on towards voting articles tomorrow.  A standard procedure in most committees is for the chairman and ranking minority to make opening statements only, but tonight for this momentous hearing, Chairman Nadler allowed each member of the committee, Democrat and Republican, to make opening statements after Chairman Nadler began the historic session with these words. 


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  Today, we begin consideration of two articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump.  The first article charges that the president used the powers of his public office to demand that a foreign government attack his political rivals.  The second article charges that the president obstructed congressional investigation into his conduct. 

Other presidents have resisted congressional oversight.  But President Trump`s stonewall was complete, absolute and without precedent in American history.  Taken together, the two articles charged President Trump with placing his private, political interests above our national security, above our free and fair elections and above our ability to hold public officials accountable. 


O`DONNELL:  Most of the Republicans did not mention any of the evidence referenced in the article of impeachment.  But we will now go to the hearing as Congressman Joe Neguse makes his opening remarks. 

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  Americans listening and watching who may disagree with the steps this committee is taking.  I hope you will understand that we are proceeding on this path truly out of love for our country.  We are your neighbors.  We are your colleagues, your fellow worshippers, and we are all citizens of the greatest nation on earth. 

We are blessed to live in a country where our similarities far outweigh our differences.  My parents immigrated to this country, and every day I am grateful to them for their decision and to the United States of America for giving us the opportunity to live the American dream.  My parents came to this country because they wanted their children to grow up in a place that is free, a country where leaders expect the rule of law and where they don`t use the power of government to target political opponents.  A country with fair elections and where everyone has the right to vote. 

Thomas Paine described voting as the primary right by which other rights are protected.  Our sacred right to a free and fair election is ingrained in our Constitution.  It is right offered to every American no matter their background. 

And yet, today, that right is under attack like never before.  In 2016, Russia interfered in our elections in sweeping and systematic fashion.  And as we know, the Trump administration campaign welcomed at that time that interference.  And now, the president of the United States has solicited the interference of a foreign government in the 2020 presidential election for his own advantage. 

President Trump abused his power and then engaged in a wholesale obstruction of Congress to cover it up.  The fact remains that in the history of our republic, no president has ever ordered such a complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry until now.  If anything is clear it is this, every American deserves to know that their president will not endanger our national security, that he or she won`t seek to use their power to undermine our free and fair elections and that they won`t tap a foreign government to help tip the scales in their favor. 

The framers of the Constitution described impeachment in that sacred document because they feared a moment like this one.  And the articles of impeachment are our mechanism for accountability.  So ultimately we must forward with the solemn and heavy work before us. 

But I hope as we do so, while some way agree with this process and some may oppose it, everyone will remember at the end of the day, each and every one of us are Americans.  We all treasure the same flag.  We all revere the same Constitution that this committee is working so hard to uphold. 

Like many of my colleagues, when I ran for Congress, I knew that the hardest part would be being away from my wife and my infant daughter.  My daughter is 15 months old now, and I think a lot about the world that she will inherit.  She`s not old enough to understand the proceedings before us today.  But one day she will be, and I one day I hope that she will know that this committee had an obligation to defend our democracy, to honor our oaths and to uphold the rule of law. 

So I will support the articles of impeachment before us because it is what the Constitution requires of us and it is what my conscience demands.  And I hope and I pray that my colleagues will do the same.  And with that I yield back. 

O`DONNELL:  That was Congressman Joe Neguse in his opening remarks tonight. 

Leading off discussion tonight here is Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and an MSNBC legal analyst. 

Barbara McQuade is with us.  She`s former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.  She`s an MSNBC legal contributor.

Ron Klain is the former chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was a senior aid to Vice President Biden and to President Obama.  He was an advisor of Joe Biden`s 2020 presidential campaign. 

And Lisa Graves is with us.  She is a former chief counsel for nominations with the Senate Judiciary Committee and former deputy assistant attorney general under President Clinton. 

Ron Klain, let me start with you on what you saw in this Judiciary Committee hearing tonight.  This is one of the most historic moments that any of those members of that committee will experience. 

RON KLAIN, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL:  It was, Lawrence.  I think what you saw was Democrats proceeding on the evidence and the facts making the case with some reluctance about having to do what they`re doing. 

And the Republicans really just kind of throwing in the towel.  They don`t really have a defense of the president.  They don`t really have a defense of the conduct.  They make some lame arguments about the procedural defects they claim in this process. 

But basically they are just sitting there waiting for this to be over because they know that the House is going to do its job and this committee will proceed to vote tomorrow on articles of impeachment. 

O`DONNELL:  Jill Wine-Banks, we always turn to you for how this differs from the version of this that occurred during the Nixon impeachment in that same committee. 

JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR:  Well, first of all, what I heard is pretty much what Ron heard, with the Republicans having no factual rebuttal to anything that the Democrats are saying.  And they are holding firm, which is something that didn`t happen during Watergate.  During Watergate, the Republicans actually listened to the facts. 

I heard an argument this is happening too fast.  But it happened fast because Donald Trump did what he did in public.  And it was discovered immediately, it was reported immediately, and that`s why it happened quickly. 

So, the other argument I`m hearing is that the Republicans are holding firm and the Democrats have prejudged -- well, they haven`t prejudged.  They`ve listened to the facts and facts matter.  They`ve paid attention to the evidence and they`re acting in accordance with what they`re actually hearing not with what they wish they heard. 

So I think that`s the differences between Nixon`s impeachment and this one. 

O`DONNELL:  With most Republicans, not all but most Republicans not referring to any of the facts of the case, Congressman Eric Swalwell used his time to remind the Republicans of the facts of the case.

  Let`s listen to what Congressman Swalwell had to say. 


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA):  The facts here are not in dispute.  Donald Trump abused his power by putting his pure personal gain over our country. 

Here are the facts.  Donald Trump directed Rudy Giuliani to smear his political rival.  Donald Trump fired an anti-corruption ambassador who stood in his way.  Donald Trump withheld $391 million in aid that was essential to Ukraine.  And Donald Trump withheld a White House meeting unless Ukraine`s president would do him a favor. 

In this scheme, Donald Trump was not an incidental player.  He was the central player.  And anything we don`t know about what Donald Trump did is because Donald Trump continues to this moment to block us from knowing.  Donald Trump used his office to abuse his power to re-elect himself. 


O`DONNELL:  Barbara McQuade, what did you make of that summary of the case against Donald Trump? 

BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  I thought Congressman Swalwell did an excellent job of summarizing the case there just as he did in the questioning in yesterday`s hearing where he asked the counsel for the Democrats, in a similar way, he asked a series of questions all of which elicited the same answer. 

Who was it, who hired Giuliani to smear Joe Biden?  President Trump.  Who was it that withheld the aid?  President Trump.  Who was it who withheld the White House meeting?  President Trump. 

And so focusing this was not a rogue Rudy Giuliani.  This was not underlings at the State Department.  This was President Trump utilizing his office to put his own personal political interests ahead of the interests of the country.  And I think when you frame it that way, it really makes the question of impeachment a very compelling one. 

O`DONNELL:  Lisa Graves, we heard a vast array of irrelevant things thrown into the mix by Republicans tonight.  My favorite included dragging in Robert de Niro and Kathy Griffin and complaining about how the president of the United States has suffered so much, including negative things said about him by Robert de Niro and Kathy Griffin.

That -- it`s harder -- that to me is the best description of the emptiness of the defense case that we were hearing tonight. 

LISA GRAVES, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL:  I think that`s right.  And one of the things that really struck me is how little that Republicans had to say.  They were subdued tonight.  But they lied and they obfuscate for this president, and the idea this president is so thin- skinned that their lament is over him being insulted when he insults so many people on a regular basis is astonishing to me. 

But also, in that way I think denigrates the importance of this matter.

This is about our democracy, about our Constitution and those Democratic senators in that committee, or pardon, Democratic representatives in that committee spoke so eloquently about the evidence, the only evidence we have before us is compelling testimony under oath, showing time and again all the support for these impeachment pieces, because it`s clear there`s evidence -- substantial evidence to impeach this president and the president has mounted no defense, and his allies have basically just continued to obfuscate and misdirect the American people. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Ron Klain, it did seem like, with your experience and the way these hearings are organized, it did seem like there was an organizing principle in the Republicans` approach tonight because tonally and I really mean mostly just the volume part of it and the lack of emotion in it was unusual for them.  They quieted down.  They kind of rushed through their statements.  They weren`t leaning very hard on any particular part of this.

  Jim Jordan was not memorable even in this discussion tonight.  And that seems like a coordinated decision of some kind. 

KLAIN:  Yes, I think from their perspective, they`re trying to make what happened over on the Senate side today and the Senate Judiciary Committee, the I.G. -- the hearing on the I.G. report, on the news of the day.  But I think, Lawrence, it`s going to be a very, very failed effort.  I mean, we`ve only had a president get to impeachment process four times in the 230-year history of this country.  And nothing that happened today in the Senate Judiciary Committee is going to change the historic nature of what`s happening in the House tonight, change the significance of the House`s action and move towards impeachment. 

And certainly, none of it is in any way, shape or form relevant to the conduct that House is looking at today.  So, I think they`ve got a very tactical approach here for a very historic moment and I think they`ve missed the mark once again very badly. 

O`DONNELL:  Jill, do you expect the Republicans to continue with this particular -- with this strategic approach or just -- let`s do this kind of in a muted and quiet way and rush through it as much as we can?

WINE-BANKS:  I don`t see what choice they have.  They don`t have any exculpatory evidence.  If they did, they would have presented it long ago.  So, if you can`t argue the facts -- and I wrote an op-ed in October with 16 of my Watergate colleagues, and we basically predicted where we are. 

We said the Congress shouldn`t wait, that there is a prima facie case, that means there`s a case in plain sight for all to see, and that was long before we had the hearings with live witnesses testifying to what Donald Trump himself had done, putting it right in his hands.  It`s just like the June 23rd smoking gun tape. 

O`DONNELL:  Jill Wine-Banks, Barbara McQuade, Lisa Graves, Ron Klain, thank you all for starting us off tonight. 

And when we come back, today, Congressman Jim Jordan was invited to attend a luncheon in the Senate with all of the Republican senators presumably to discuss the defense of Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.  Congressman Jim Himes joins us next to explain what Jim Jordan doesn`t seem to know about the evidence against Donald Trump.


O`DONNELL:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told Republican senators against Donald Trump`s wishes that Mitch McConnell doesn`t want any witnesses called in the Senate impeachment trial because Mitch McConnell believes that will create what he called mutually assured destruction in the Senate trial.  Reports indicate that the McConnell strategy will be to keep the impeachment trial as short as possible. 

Impeachment was the subject today when Congressman Jim Jordan and Republican staff counsel Steve Castor were invited to a lunch with all of the Republican senators.  They presented a version of the defense argument that Steve Castor presented to the Judiciary Committee on Monday which amounted to 34 seconds of falsehoods. 


STEPHEN CASTOR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCER & JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, MINORITY COUNSEL:  The transcript is complete and accurate.  It shows no quid pro quo, no conditionality.  That`s number one.

Number two, there`s no pressure.  But Zelensky and Trump have said that repeatedly.  President Zelensky said that at the United Nations and in subsequent news articles on October 5th and December 1st. 

And number three, the Ukrainians and Zelensky did not know of a pause in aid at the very least at the time of call. 

And number four, no investigations were announced, the aid was released. 


O`DONNELL:  Joining us now, Congressman Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut. 

Congressman Himes, I want to go through those four points if you don`t mind one by one.  Let`s begin with number one.  The call record shows there was no conditionality at all. 

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT):  Yes.  Lawrence, that`s just not the case.  I mean, you can go read the transcript and you`ll see when the president of Ukraine, Zelensky, is talking about we`re ready to buy some new javelins, we really appreciate the help, we`re ready to go with military aid, the very next thing President Trump says is where, yes, we want you to be a favor, though. 

You know, you don`t have to be a rocket science -- rocket scientist to see those two things connected.  And, oh, by the way, the way these things work, it`s like these things are put down into contract, like unless you do this clause one, I won`t you do this for you clause two. 

But, you know, the transcript shows the quid pro quo.  And Ambassador Sondland says there`s no quid pro quo and every other piece out there, including everyone in the United States government not understanding why military aid was being held up demonstrates that there was a quid pro quo there. 

O`DONNELL:  All right, and number two is there was no pressure on President Zelensky. 

HIMES:  Well, again, they`re building their case on the fact President Zelensky is saying publicly that he didn`t experience pressure.  You know, in domestic abuse, quite often the victim of domestic abuse is not willing to say they`re being abused because they are afraid, because they are negotiating for all kinds of reasons. 

Ukraine needs the United States president, needs United States aid.  Had Zelensky come out and said, yes, I felt pressured, you can bet that everything that he needs for his country and the fight against Russia would be in jeopardy.  So, relying on what Zelensky who is the victim here, says is not sufficient to say there wasn`t pressure here.  Of course, there was pressure.

O`DONNELL:  And then, his defense point number three is the Ukrainians and Zelensky did not know about the hold on the aid, the blocking of the aid at the time of that phone call. 

HIMES:  Yes, yes.  So, you know, again, I heard you say earlier, Lawrence, that Mitch McConnell doesn`t want to call witnesses.  And I have a different theory why that is.  And that is because every single witness called by the House, every single e-mail we were provided, not of course by the White House or executive branch agencies but by people like Ambassador Sondland and Ambassador Volker, every single e-mail showed the quid pro quo, showed the dirtiness of this. 

So, of course, Mitch McConnell doesn`t want more evidence presented in the Senate.  And that, of course, is what`s going on and that`s sort of absurd defense.  We heard from an official at the Department of Defense and this is one of those sort of blockbuster moments that upon polling her staff, she actually -- there were instances of the Ukrainians in July calling up and saying, hey, what`s going on with this aid, we`re worried about this aid. 

So, yes, they did know.

O`DONNELL:  And then, his final point number four: no investigations were announced and the aid was released. 


HIMES:  Right.  That`s the beauty, right?  So remember when the aid is released.  The aid is released on September 11th.  When the White House has known for a full week and a half about -- probably more, probably two weeks, about the whistle-blower complaint and it is clear that Congress is going to launch an investigation.  So, yes, let`s give them credit for that.  When the bank robber heard the sirens and the police running up the stairs to the bank that was being robbed, the bank robber put down the money.  That is not exculpatory. 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Himes, what do we know about who the -- if this does go to a trial in the Senate, who the House managers will be.  Since the evidence was developed by the Intelligence Committee, normally, House managers in an impeachment trial are from the Judiciary Committee.  Will there be some Intelligence Committee participation in the impeachment trial? 

HIMES:  Yes, good question.  There`s plenty of speculation in this building about that.  I don`t think anybody knows.  It`s not clear to me necessarily that the speaker has actually chosen who the managers will be.

  You know, I think under the -- in the Clinton impeachment, I`ve been told there were roughly a dozen, maybe a dozen managers.  That obviously is a number that allows you to bring people both from the Judiciary committee, from the intelligence committee, maybe from the overnight committee which has been pretty actively involved. 

So, again, unknown but I imagine we`ll learn that in the next couple of days. 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Jim Himes, thank you very much for joining us on this important night.  Really appreciate it.

HIMES:  Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Republicans wanted to talk about one part of the inspector general report, Democrats another.  But the Democrats who pulled back the committee back to look at the big picture of what that report is about in the investigation that that report is about, that is the senator who will join us next. 


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Tonight`s impeachment hearing is drawing to a close in the next few minutes, but it was not the only important hearing on Capitol Hill today in the Senate, in the Senate Judiciary Committee there was also another hearing competing for attention.

And for years Donald Trump has said that the FBI had no good reason to begin an investigation of the Trump Campaign`s possible involvement in Russia`s attack on our election. Today in that Senate hearing the Inspector General of the Justice Department Michael Horowitz said Donald Trump is wrong about all of that.


MICHAEL HOROWITZ, INSPECTOR GENERAL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: We determined that the decision to open cross fire hurricane was made by the then FBI Counterintelligence Division Assistant Director Bill Priestap and that his decision reflected a consensus reached after multiple days of discussions and meetings among senior FBI officials.

We reviewed department interfered policies and conclude that Assistant Director Priestap`s exercise of discretion in opening investigation listing compliance with those policies. We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that indicated political bias or improper motivation influencing his decision. We found that cross fire hurricane was open for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication.


O`DONNELL: The Inspector General identified a set of mistakes involving just one of the people in the FBI`s investigation, one of the people the FBI was investigating, Trump Campaign Advisor Carter Page who was never charged with a crime. The Inspector General did not find that the FBI made any mistakes of the investigations of the people who were eventually convicted of crimes as a result of that investigation.

Many people such as Donald Trump`s first National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Paul Manafort`s Deputy Rick Gates, Trump`s Political Advisor Roger Stone and Trump Campaign Advisor George Papadopoulos. Here`s what the Inspector General said about the FBI mistakes involving only the un-accused Carted Page.


HOROWITZ: We found that investigators failed to meet their obligations of ensuring that the FISA were scruplessly accurate. We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications seven in the first application and a total of seventeen by the final renewal application. As a result the surveillance of Carter Page continued even as the FBI gathered information that weekend the assessment of probable cause and made the FISA applications less accurate.


O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar reminded everyone in the room of the big picture of the investigation that they were discussing.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Does anything in your report call into question the finding in the Special Counsel`s report that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 Presidential Election in a sweeping and systematic fashion in?

HOROWITZ: No, it doesn`t and in fact we cite the Special Counsel`s report here in a foot note laying out all the different reports that are being released on that issue.

KLOBUCHAR: Does anything in your report call into question the finding and the Special Counsel`s report that "The Russian government previewed it would benefit from a Trump Presidency and worked to secure that outcome?

HOROWITZ: We don`t take issue with any part of the Special Counsel`s report, no.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Senator Klobuchar is now a candidate for President of the United States. Senator thank you very much for joining us tonight.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We really appreciate it. I want to get your overall assessment of what you think were the important revelations in today`s hearing.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, my first revelation that I was surprised by, as you know I`ve been about the country was just the ferociousness that some of my colleagues, and you`ll hear this from the President as well, going after law enforcement, going after the FBI. I follow Senator Cruz and I was shocked because he literally said they`re not Jason Born, they`ve Beeves and butt head. He said that right before I spoke.

I found it insulting to our law enforcement. I literally started by saying let`s change the tone here. There were people putting themselves on their lives, on the line everyday on behalf of our country. And in fact we have here a report where the Inspector General looked at an investigation and found that in fact the investigation was launched not for reasons of bias, but it was launched because of security concerns, because a friendly country in this case an Australian diplomat reported some information that happened.

And then we went onto discuss the fact I guess my other revelation is that the Inspector General was very clear that there was not systematic bias in the department and there`s one incident in which you point out called for some oversight and training and that the FBI is now taking those measures. That`s exactly what an Inspector General is supposed to do.

And I think the report basically showed that the FBI was simply doing its job and my colleagues should not have been going after the FBI, nor should the President of the United States call them scum which is exactly what he did when he was in that rally in Pennsylvania last night.

O`DONNELL: And your Republican colleagues were going after the FBI for mistakes made in FISA applications involving exactly one person, and just Carter Page who was never in the end accused of a crime, and eventually that same FBI stopped seeking renewals of those FISA applications against Carter Page. The Republicans on the Committee seemed to treat this as a very first hint that there has ever been a problem or irregularity in a FISA application.

KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. And we know that isn`t true. We know there have been problems and we`ve had vast hearings about issues, about FISA applications. We know that`s not the case but I think the bigger picture here which was a point I was trying to make Lawrence is instead of focusing friend, we can discuss this oversight, what needs to be done, the changes may?

But they are literally ignoring the fact that a foreign country tried to invade our election. What do I mean ignoring? Well, some of them actually try to blame Ukraine for it as we saw over in the House and in fact, Senator Graham today, the Chair of the Committee, did definitively say it`s not Ukraine, its Russia.

But then why aren`t they doing something about it? Why aren`t we are passing the bill that Senator Langford and I have to push those 11 states that don`t have back up paper ballots to get them, to have audits and to make sure there is better coordination between state and federal government`s as we approach the 2020 election.

I clearly ask the Inspector General if anything would undermine the findings of Trump Intelligence Agencies, that this was happening and that they`re getting boulder, he said no.

O`DONNELL: Senator the House Judiciary Committee has just completed its work for the night. They will reconvene tomorrow to actually vote on these articles of impeachment. Can I ask you to stay across a commercial break so that I can ask you about the oath you or it seems are destined to take as a juror in an impeachment trial?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, I would love to talk about it.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back with Senator Amy Klobuchar.



SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): Attorney General Barr expressed his doubt about the legitimacy of the FBI`s investigation in press statements. Did Attorney General Barr provide any evidence that caused you to alter this key finding that the FBI investigation had an adequate predicate?

HOROWITZ: No, we stand by our finding.

FEINSTIEN: Did either Barr or Durham present anything that altered your findings?



O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar who was at that hearing today is back with us. And Senator just wanted to touch on that stunning note that was raised today. Because this is the first time an Inspector General`s report has been greeted by public disbelief by the Attorney General.

KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. I mean, he basically is undermining the work not only of the Inspector General but of the people that work for him. And again the Inspector General found that they were basically doing their jobs. That they were doing their jobs because they got a report and they pursued it and that there was not systemic bias in the department and that no agents were misused in some way and they just were following the evidence.

And then for him to basically be acting not as a people`s lawyer but as the President`s lawyer when he takes an oath to represent the United States of America I think is wrong and it`s in keeping with from the very beginning when he did this 19 page job application when he wanted to be Attorney General and it was sent to friends of the President, he basically showed this expansive view of executive power. But I personally never thought it would extend to undermining the people that work for him.

O`DONNELL: Senator, this is the oath that you will be given in addition to the Senate oath you`ve already taken because you take on the role of a juror. You will be given this oath for impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump in the United States Senate presumably in January. And that oath says I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of President Trump now pending I will do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws so help me God. As a loyal and partisan Democrat can you take that oath and act on that oath as you evaluate the evidence in the Senate trial?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I can, Lawrence. And that`s one of the reasons I`ve made clear that while I believe strongly the House should procedure and this is in fact impeachable conduct which is what you see happening in the House. Then as a juror I`m going to look at all the evidence here. And now, I think that our job can only be done if we`re able to see all the evidence.

I think there are some very serious allegations that are going to be coming our way from the House with some very credible witness testimony of impartial people who were in the military and diplomats. But I do not understand as we right now the current status is that the President is not allowing us to hear from all the President`s men, those people around him, Pompeo and Bolton and Mulvaney and Rick Perry who was involved in this.

He appears to be blocking them from coming forward. That`s not even what happened in Watergate when then President Nixon said that those types of witnesses could testify. And if he won`t say fact based exoneration then we should be hearing from those witnesses and it really bothers me. My friend from - King the independent Senator from Maine did an excellent opinion piece on this in USA today that I suggest people read because it gets at this, why are you blocking witnesses because we should be on a search for the truth.

O`DONNELL: Presidential Candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. It`s great to be on Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back you will hear what Congressman Val Demings said in her opening statement in the House Judiciary Committee tonight where she said no one is above the law and put in her own personal historical terms as a descendent of slaves.


O`DONNELL: The House Judiciary Committee is now in recess for the night and will return tomorrow morning at 9:00 am when they are expected to begin voting on approving the referral of article of impeachment to the full House for a vote of the full House, which means that President Trump could be impeached by the House of Representatives next week whereupon Donald Trump will take his place in history as an impeached President. Here`s what Congresswoman Val Demings said is at stake in the impeachment of Donald Trump.


REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): I come before you tonight as an African-American female. I come before you tonight as a descendant of slaves, slaves who knew they were not make it but dreamed and prayed that one day that I would make it. I come before you tonight proclaiming that in spite of America`s complicated history, my faith is in the constitution. And I say that today with perfect peace. I have enforced the laws and now I write the laws. I know that nobody is above the law.


O`DONNELL: That was Congresswoman Val Demings. And at the start of this hour, I told you we were not sure who`ll be joining us tonight because of the members of the Judiciary Committee might still be working. As of this moment we have at least one member of the Committee on the way to a microphone in Washington, we`ll see who we have when we come back from this break.



REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): The President is the smoking gun. His obstruction of Congress and blanket directive to deny us even a single witness, a single document is unprecedented.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State. She has just left the House Judiciary Committee session tonight. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Congresswoman, we really appreciate you making the time for us. For you tonight, what did you think were the most important if you heard them defense points raised by Republicans?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think that was the thing I was most surprised by. There were very few people who actually defended anything that the President did. Most of them talked about other issues, they talked about the Steele dossier, they talked about things that they talked about for a long time actually.

But very, very few of them offered a real defense of what the President has done. So, I thought it was not a particular strong showing for them and I guess contrasted with that, I am just so proud to be part of the Democratic Majority where we had just such a rainbow coalition of incredible, powerful stories about what the constitution means? About what it means to not allow the President to be above the law? But what it means to take that oath of office and stand up and defend our democracy?

O`DONNELL: I want to show the audience something else you said in tonight`s session because you are talking about the on-going threat that the President represents and that`s actually written into the articles and I have not heard any Republicans address the ongoing threat that the President`s conduct represents. I want to listen to the way you put it tonight at the hearing. Let`s listen to that.


JAYAPAL: President Trump has solicited foreign interference before he`s doing it now and he`ll do it again. The smoking gun is already reloaded. And whether or not it gets fired, that`s up to us.


O`DONNELL: I have to say that`s a concept we never seen before in any kind of investigation like this. There is always a search for the smoking gun but the idea that the smoking gun is being reloaded during the investigation so it could be used again. It is not a concept that we have been dealing with before.

JAYAPAL: Yes, I think this is really central. It was very central to how I think about this case and what the gravity of the situation is? People keep looking for a smoking gun. I started in my comments and you`ve played that clip saying Trump is the smoking gun. He came out on the White House lawn and he told the American people exactly what he wanted from that call with President Zelensky, but then we know that he has done this multiple times and invited foreign government to interfere in our election, Russia, China and Ukraine.

We know he`s doing it right now, Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine as we speak and so the threat of a President who absolutely refuses to acknowledge there is anything wrong with asking a foreign country to interfere in our election, that`s the smoking gun reloaded and then really are we going to stop him?

Are our Republican colleagues going to say that there is anything wrong and unconstitutional about asking a foreign power to engage in our democracy and take power away from, we the people which is really where the President derives his power from we the people.

O`DONNELL: Has Chairman Nadler given you members of the Committee any idea who`ll be selected to be House Managers who go to the Senate floor to present the case against Donald Trump in the Senate trial?

JAYAPAL: No, we really haven`t talked about that at all. We are really focused on you know doing the work in front of us. That`s I think is going to be Speaker Pelosi`s decision. But we have big work to do here as we finish up tomorrow. I think the Republicans did not interrupt very much they didn`t try to bring down the proceedings tonight. But I think tomorrow we may see something different. We may see them once again trying to object, trying to disrupt and really taking us away from this really crucial question of our constitution.

O`DONNELL: And Congresswoman I know you have to be back out at 9:00 am tomorrow morning there on the Committee. So we thank you very, very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Lawrence. It is great to be with you.

O`DONNELL:  That is "Tonight`s Last Word."  "The 11th hour" with Brian Williams starts now.