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New Parnas information. TRANSCRIPT: 1/16/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Amy Klobuchar, Laurence Tribe

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Rachel, you don`t mean call in sick ahead of time.


O`DONNELL:  Let`s put a public service announcement, she didn`t mean that part.

MADDOW:  Well --

O`DONNELL:  Rachel, another extraordinary hour. I have so many pieces of your interview here that we`re going to rerun and analyze with the people we have here to analyze -- Joyce Vance, John Heilemann, professor Laurence Tribe is going to join us later.

  But it seems as though, it`s very clear, your interview has created more momentum for witnesses in the Senate trial. We`ve had a couple of senators now come out and say based on your interview they believe Lev Parnas should be on the witness list.

What do you think -- what do you think developed here as some of the more interesting witnesses that you`d want to hear from who Lev Parnas has been talking about?

MADDOW:  Well, I think that -- that`s interesting -- that`s an interesting approach and I think that`s the right way to look at it that Mr. Parnas is obviously speaking from his own perspective. He`s talking about situations he says he was in and things he says he saw and things he says he heard, but he is to the extent that what he`s saying can be corroborated by either other people`s testimony or by documents and text messages and that sort of thing, what he`s really pointing at is other people who should be asked questions. And other people who can explain what really happened.

And he identified, I think, himself, some of the key people who could explain things in terms of what really happened and how culpable the president was and how culpable other senior officials are. Definitely John Bolton, definitely Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, definitely Rick Perry, definitely Vice President Pence, and definitely other officials who can speak to their actions and their movements.

I mean, the fact that the White House and the administration has withheld all documents from the impeachment investigation means that it`s hard to find a trail without other people to lead you to other witnesses, to other accounts, and to other potential documents and communications that the White House and the administration can`t block from the investigation, but he`s basically providing a roadmap for where it looks like potential criminal behavior happened and which senior officials were involved in it and how it could be checked. It`s, I mean, it`s a remarkable decision by him to come forward, but he does advance the story and advance the sort of reporting chain of events, I think in an almost immeasurable way.

O`DONNELL:  And tonight, you developed more of his rationale for forward which makes increasing sense the more you listen to it including the problems he had with his original lawyers who he got rid of in a dramatic scene he talks about in -- when he was in jail, but he certainly had the feeling that he was in a kind of trouble that his previous friends up until the time where he got arrested were no longer going to help him and probably turn against him and those -- that included President Trump. That included Rudy Giuliani and others.

MADDOW:  There is this moment where he pivots from thinking that his connections with the president and his connection with Rudy Giuliani, his connection with all of these other powerful people who work in the White House, who work in the administration, who work at high levels of Republican politics, Republican members of Congress, there`s a moment when he had previously believed that all those connections are going to help him.  And then he comes to the realization that all of those connections now are going to be people who are out to hurt him, to the extent that he had seen as somebody who has a story to tell that will be detrimental to the president`s political future.

And when he realizes, oh, this gift of a lawyer who has been handed to me by express permission from the president with coordination with the president`s counsel, Mr. Sekulow and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, oh, wait, this lawyer isn`t actually here to help me, that revelation creates that angry and dramatic scene that he described in the portion of the interview that we played tonight.

And I think it also started him on the road toward speaking on his own terms in part to try to protect himself because he did not want to be the man with this stuff all in his head and all in his phones and his devices and nobody knowing it other than the Justice Department which he doesn`t trust, not only just as a regular run-of-the-mill criminal defendant, but because he believes that William Barr is used as a tool of the president to bring the power of the Justice Department to bear against the president`s enemies.

O`DONNELL:  More great reporting tonight, Rachel. And it`s going to carry us through most of this hour talking about what you just covered.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  We`re going to have, as I said, Professor Tribe will give us your evaluation of what your work here now has done to the potential witness list in the Senate trial.

MADDOW:  Thanks, my friend. Much appreciate it.

O`DONNELL:  Thanks a lot, Rachel.

Well, the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump began today and began solemnly in the United States Senate with the swearing in of the judge -- Chief Justice John Roberts took an oath to, quote, do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws. And then Chief Justice Roberts then administered exactly the same oath to 99 senators. One Republican senator was absent and will take the oath when the trial reconvenes on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.

The first stage of suspense in the Senate trial is all about the witnesses and if the Senate does hear witnesses, that then could create a second stage of suspense which could be more important because that could be suspense about the final outcome of the trial depending on the testimony of those witnesses.

Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton is the number-one witness that senators in favor of calling witnesses want to hear from, including Republican Senator Mitt Romney.

But after Rachel`s interview with Lev Parnas tonight, some senators now have Lev Parnas on their potential witness lists.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA):  I think he should be brought before us so that we can determine his credibility. There are many ways to judge credibility, but there`s no question that the interviews that have occurred in the last 24 hours bring to light facts that should be pursued and should be reviewed by us as the United States Senate.


O`DONNELL:  Tonight, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey said that Lev Parnas should be a witness.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe will be joining our discussion tonight. He will argue that the Senate must call witnesses in the Trump impeachment trial and when Laurence Tribe speaks, chief justices listen.

And not just when professor Tribe is arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court, as he has done countless times. Professor Tribe taught constitutional law to Chief Justice John Roberts when Roberts was a Harvard Law school student, and professor Tribe has written a book about impeachment and so we will, once again, be taking notes when Laurence Tribe joins us later in this hour.

In the last hour, Rachel once again delivered more of her interview with Lev Parnas that drove President Trump today to deny that he even knows Lev Parnas. A lie that could not survive if Lev Parnas is a witness in the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump.


LEV PARNAS, INDICTED GIULIANI ASSOCIATE:  My only objective is to get the truth out because I never thought I did anything -- was doing anything wrong. I still -- you know, I regret certain things that I did because, like, you know, hurting the ambassador and, you know, because that was not something, but it was part of -- it`s like when you`re in a war you think, like, casualties and stuff like that. It`s bad to say, but it was -- it was -- I keep saying, it was like, you know, being in a cult. I mean, when they say organized crime, I don`t think Trump is like organized -- I think he`s like a cult leader.


O`DONNELL:  Leading off our discussion, John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He is the co-host of show time`s "The Circus" and editor in chief of "The Recount."

Also with us, Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney and professor at the University of Alabama School of Law. She`s an MSNBC legal contributor.

And, John Heilemann, Lev Parnas no longer in the cult, what he refers to as the Trump cult and where the headquarters of that cult apparently is that Trump Hotel in Washington which is in the center of most of the scenes he testifies about.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  Turns out that there are Trump henchmen and then there are henchmen henchmen. If you`re a henchman henchman, especially one who`s facing time in the slammer, you revert back to saving yourself and telling the truth if that`s what saves yourself.

And I think, you know, it does not surprise me there are Democrats who want to hear from Lev Parnas. Interesting to see whether Republicans will ever get to that point. I think there`s no doubt that whether Lev Parnas ever is a witness or not, I have my doubts about that because I think Republicans will say, you know, he`s saying what he`s saying. Always seeing the Trump people saying, you know, this is all just to save their skin.

The fundamental fact is it`s increasing the political pressure to let some witnesses in, because the facts he`s attested is he`s providing corroboration to allegations and assertions that are made in the past. And I think the politics of this have changed dramatically in these last couple weeks. Nancy Pelosi held back the articles. I now for the first time I think have come to the conclusion that I think that the odds are higher than we`ll have witnesses than not.

O`DONNELL:  Yes. I agree. The odds have definitely moved in favor of witnesses.

Joyce, I need -- we need your legal opinion on something here. And it`s going to be about Jay Sekulow where Lev Parnas is talking about his interactions with Jay Sekulow and what Jay Sekulow knew about the whole Ukraine scheme. This could affect Jay Sekulow`s ability to even appear as the president`s lawyer in the Senate impeachment trial so this is really urgent.

Let`s listen to what Lev Parnas said about that.


MADDOW:  Did you ever have any communications with the counsel to the president, Jay Sekulow, during the time that you were involved in all this?

PARNAS:  Several conversations. One, in particular, which I would have to refresh my memory by looking at my text messages with him and but had to do with, I think it was Viktor Shokin`s visa, or something to do with Ukraine and Rudy was busy at the time and basically told me that Jay was aware of everything, he brought him up to speed, and that I could call him and he was on top of it.

MADDOW:  By that, did he mean that Mr. Sekulow was aware of this effort to try to get Ukraine to announce investigations?

PARNAS:  Oh, absolutely. One of the things I think was the best quotes ever, was when Mr. Sondland said, "everybody was in the loop." And --

MADDOW:  You believe that everybody was in the loop?

PARNAS:  I don`t believe. I know.


PARNAS:  I know they were in the loop. I was witness to conversations and, you know, between them and everybody was in the loop. Everybody didn`t agree with the loop, I mean, Jay Sekulow didn`t agree with what Rudy was going, but he knew what he was doing.

MADDOW:  How do you know that he didn`t agree with it?

PARNAS:  Because I heard them talk about it.

MADDOW:  What was his objection?

PARNAS:  He didn`t want to be involved in the Ukraine stuff. He -- I don`t know what his -- you`d have to ask him what his -- but my feeling from the conversations and watching the way Jay approached that situation was he just didn`t want to be a part of it, wanted to stay away from it.


O`DONNELL:  Joyce Vance, if this were a criminal trial, there`s to question that the prosecution would want to call Jay Sekulow as a witness and say, what did Rudy Giuliani tell you about what he and the president were doing with Ukraine? Also want to ask Jay Sekulow, what didn`t you like about it? According to witness, Parnas, he says you didn`t like it and disapproved of it.

What does this do to Jay Sekulow`s ability to appear as counsel in this Senate trial?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  You know, it`s a terrible idea to be a lawyer in a case where you`re also a witness, right? There are ethical issues involved.

Impeachment is a little bit different. It`s not a criminal trial. I think if I was Sekulow, I`d be calling the state that I`m barred in and asking the folks at the bar for advice about whether or not I can ethically do this. His license to practice law could be at risk if he makes the wrong ethical call.

But stepping back from just that raw requirement of what they`ll let you do, a lawyer with good sense in this situation would withdraw from the representation, would not participate in the impeachment trial. It`s just too ethically challenging.

O`DONNELL:  And, John, the Lev Parnas -- to call it a can of worms, it is a -- it is just a gigantic bucket of worms.

HEILEMANN:  More than a can. More than a can.

O`DONNELL:  Every minute Rachel has with him in effect a new name comes up. You go, he should be a witness. I didn`t think Jay Sekulow should be a witness until I heard that.

HEILEMANN:  Yes, it`s true. Look, I mean, I think it`s one of the things about fixers and henchmen, right? A guy like this who really was the sharp end of the spear and integrated in this very tight, relatively tight unit of people who knew what was going on in what John Bolton referred to as a drug deal.

I keep coming back to that, because, you know, you got Rachel asking Lev Parnas why does Sekulow not want to be involved in this? Because most smart lawyers don`t want to be involved in a drug deal. They get that.

And when you`re the central henchman in the operation, this guerilla operation, Rudy Giuliani is running it, this is a small group communicating with you, you`re going to know about a lot of the communications. You`re going to know who knew what. In a lot of these cases, you`ll occasionally hear him qualify and say, he must have known or I would have assumed he`d known.

But in most of the cases, this guy has a pretty decent sense of the chess board here. And who`s -- who are -- so, he is the treasure map. I`m using all kinds of metaphors. He`s, what you would want to do if you were a prosecutor in this case, assuming Joyce will agree with me that I know this much, is that guy is the guy who you sit down with and say, let`s talk about every name we think is of interest here, tell us what you know about that person and his connection to these activities and you`d have a lot to work with there.

O`DONNELL:  And, Joyce, frequently in those situations you end up with much more important witnesses than Lev Parnas because he says, well, behind that door over there is John Bolton and he`s telling Rachel, as we`ll hear later, that Donald Trump told John Bolton to fire the ambassador and Bolton didn`t do it.

VANCE:  That`s right. He`s a roadmap. Whatever else he might be, he`s a great roadmap to investigators of everybody that they need to talk to. All of the documents that they need to look at.

I sort of like having witnesses like Parnas. Used to when I was a prosecutor for this reason. I didn`t pick them as the prosecutor, right? The defendant picks those witnesses.

This is who Donald Trump picked to tell part of his story. The American people should hear it.

O`DONNELL:  I want to show one part of Parnas which is the biggest reason that the Republicans who don`t take their oath seriously will not want to hear from him and that`s Lev Parnas saying Joe Biden did nothing wrong. That is the testimony that the Rand Pauls and the McConnells do not want to hear. Let`s listen to that.


PARNAS:  When I was in the middle of the thick of things, I think was kind of -- I keep saying it`s like a cultish environment being around President Trump because, I mean, like, I`ve been in D.C. for two years. I`ve never left the Trump Hotel type of a situation.

So I truly believed seeing different information that was handed to us at that time that Joe Biden was doing something illegal, not so much Hunter Biden, but more Joe Biden. But after analyzing all the evidence and sitting back and really, what`s it called, understanding what`s going on, I don`t think -- I don`t think Vice President Biden did anything wrong.


O`DONNELL:  Those Republicans don`t want to hear that.

HEILEMANN:  They do not, and this is the guy, right, whose job it was to either find or manufacture or stitch together the evidence that would prove as a political matter from Donald Trump`s point of view that Joe Biden did something wrong.

That guy has no legal standing. We know he -- again, would say anything to save his skin. This is an opinion, not a fact point, that are more valuable. But as a piece of dicta, the kind of thing you just don`t want to hear from the guy who`s seen it all --

O`DONNELL:  Right.

HEILEMANN:  -- dug in every dirty hole, looked in every crevice with the miner`s hat on, he comes back and says, nah, nothing there. Not great.

O`DONNELL:  There`s no Republican who has more information on what Hunter Biden did in Ukraine --


O`DONNELL:  -- or what Joe Biden did in Ukraine than Lev Parnas does.


O`DONNELL:  If they did, they`d be out there running around with it and he`s saying, did nothing wrong. Joyce Vance, John Heilemann, thank you for starting off our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.

When we come back, professor Laurence Tribe will join us. He says that the Senate must call witnesses. And the chief justice who`s presiding over that Senate trial learned his constitutional law from professor Laurence Tribe. That`s next.


O`DONNELL:  After Rachel`s interview last night, here`s what Donald Trump said about Lev Parnas today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I don`t know him at all. Don`t know what he`s about. Don`t know where he comes from. Know nothing about him.


O`DONNELL:  Of course, Lev Parnas told Rachel about being at dinner with President Trump in the interview segments that were used tonight and President Trump actually ordering the firing of Ambassador Yovanovitch at that dinner and he told Rachel about several other times he`s been with president Trump.

So that obviously is not true. And if President Trump were a witness in the impeachment trial, that would be proven to be not true.

Tonight, Lev Parnas explained to Rachel why he didn`t testify in the House impeachment investigation.


PARNAS:  I was brought in to John Dowd`s house and we -- he got Jay Sekulow on the phone and also Rudy and Victoria and then basically they came up with a situation that said that because I worked for Rudy and because I worked for Victoria and because Rudy worked for the president, we had three-way privilege and that basically Pat Cipollone was going to be writing a letter to Congress telling them that nobody`s cooperating and that would protect us under the same order and he would follow up with that.

Again, this was the president of the United States, so, I mean, I thought, OK.


O`DONNELL:  Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe taught constitutional law to chief justice John Roberts when Roberts was a Harvard Law school student.

In an op-ed piece for the "Boston Globe" yesterday, professor Tribe wrote: Senators who take seriously the solemn oath that Chief Justice John Roberts will administer to them at the outset of the forthcoming impeachment trial cannot in good conscience, whatever the political fallout, vote not to hear and see all the evidence that would shed light on whether and how this president abused the powers entrusted to him by the American people.

Joining us now is Laurence Tribe, Harvard law professor, professor of constitutional law. He`s the co-author of "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment."

Professor Tribe, we just heard Lev Parnas in that segment of the interview explain why he did not testify to the House investigation because the Trump lawyers told him he was part of the privilege that the president was exercising because he worked for Rudy Giuliani and Rudy Giuliani worked for the president, he didn`t have to testify.

What does that do to the case now for calling witnesses in the Senate trial?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR:  Well, it really makes the case overwhelmingly powerful. Just take the example of Lev Parnas. This is a guy who is at the heart of everything. If you doubt his truth, call him and cross examine him, but he`s involved not only in the shakedown of Ukraine but also in the president`s obstruction of Congress. We just heard him explain why he did not testify, although he would have wanted to, during the House investigation.

You know, nobody expects senators to have a completely blank mind. They have preferences. They know who they would like to see come out on top, but that doesn`t mean that they are free to take a solemn oath. To do impartial justice and then shut their eyes, shut their ears, refuse to listen to obviously relevant facts, whether it`s from Bolton or Parnas or, perhaps, as we now know, maybe Rick Perry or Mulvaney or Pompeo.

There are a great many people that anyone who actually is trying to get to the truth would have to listen to. And so the question of not listening to witnesses is really off the table at this point.

You know, it was a solemn occasion that we watched today. There was silence in the room. And in the sounds of silence maybe some of these senators will find a conscience and actually listen. It`s very different from the bluster and the cacophony and the clownishness that we sometimes witness on the floor of the House and sometimes the Senate. So they have to listen to witnesses.

O`DONNELL:  What do you expect, what are you hoping to see, in your former student presiding over this trial, Chief Justice Roberts?

TRIBE:  Well, he was very smart. He`s very thoughtful. He cares about the institution.

If he is asked to issue a subpoena, I think he will use his power to do it. He will at least rule, if the evidence is relevant, that it ought to be heard, but he knows he can be overruled by a majority of the Senate. What I`m wondering is what will happen, and I don`t think I had this hypothetical in class when he was my student, what will happen if 50 senators vote to hear Parnas and 50 vote not to hear him? Or 50 vote to hear Bolton and 50 vote to treat him as completely irrelevant and everything he has to say as privileged?

That point, if Chief Justice Roberts follows the precedent of Justice Chase, the chief justice in the Andrew Johnson trial, he will break the tie. In fact, he will have no choice because the vice president who ordinarily breaks ties is not allowed to take part in an impeachment trial of the president.

What I would hope that this chief justice will do is indicate when a motion is made to hear a witness that his inclination is to search for the truth. He could just punt. He could say, I`m not going to rule, I`m going to turn it over to the floor, but if he does that and doesn`t indicate which way he would go, there`s a chance of a 50/50 tie and then he`ll have no choice.

But I think he is going to give a sense of solemnity not just in terms of decorum but in term what`s really at stake to these proceedings, and I may be an eternal optimist, but I want to believe that even some of these senators who think they`ve made up their mind, who think they have to vote a certain way if they want to get re-elected, will realize that there are sometimes more important things than their immediate political future, if they have a future in history to worry about.

O`DONNELL:  Well, it is a very interesting possibility with the tie vote which is that if the chief justice decides to rule, let`s say Chuck Schumer gets up and makes a motion for subpoenaing John Bolton, and if the chief justice rules in favor of that subpoena and then a Republican senator tries to overturn it with a vote, if that vote is a 50/50 tie, then the chief justice`s ruling will stand because a 50/50 tie does not change. No action can be taken by the Senate on a tie vote. So the chief justice --

  TRIBE:  Right.

O`DONNELL:  -- would in effect win that ruling. There`s so much that we`ve never seen before that we might see in this trial. We`re going to need you for much of it.

Professor Laurence Tribe, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

TRIBE:  Thanks.

O`DONNELL:  Really appreciate it.

TRIBE:  Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, a juror, a new juror, who took her oath as a juror today, Senator Amy Klobuchar will join us. We`ll ask her whether she now thinks Lev Parnas should be on that witness list in the Senate.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rick Perry is back in tonight`s interview with Lev Parnas. Rachel brought out Rick Perry`s involvement in what the Trump administration was trying to do in Ukraine. Here is what Lev Parnas told Rachel tonight about Rick Perry.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Mr. Giuliani told Secretary Perry, what you need to convey to the Ukrainian government is that they need to announce an investigation into Joe Biden.


MADDOW: Do you know if part of the message that Mr. Giuliani conveyed to Secretary Perry was also that Ukraine would lose their military aid, they would lose their U.S. aid, if they didn`t announce those investigations?

PARNAS: I don`t recall them having a specific conversation about that. It was more of just telling him what he needs to do to announce it. I don`t know what other conversation they could have had prior or after. But I know that there was another conversation that Perry called after the inauguration, telling him that he spoke to Zelensky and Zelensky is going to deliver.

MADDOW: Perry says I spoke with Zelensky and I got him to agree.


MADDOW: I got him to agree to announce the investigation?

PARNAS: Yes. And they did announce, but they didn`t announce that. See, this was the whole key. They would constantly - every time somebody would meet Zelensky they would, like, agree and then they would walk it back. So they announced something about corruption, that he`s going to get corruption, but that Giuliani blew his lid on that saying that`s not what we discussed. That it wasn`t supposed to be corruption announcement. It has to be about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and Burisma.

MADDOW: He said the name, Biden, needs to be spoken, was his insistence.

PARNAS: Always. always.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Senator Amy Klobuchar. She is now a candidate for President of the United States and a juror. We all watched this--


O`DONNELL: --this oath taking today, and it`s - it`s unlike - I saw this once before in the Senate, so it`s been - I got to say, that kind of silence, that kind of solemnity, when I worked there had a real effect in the room. What was it like for you?

KLOBUCHAR: It was a very serious moment, and people were respectful. People stood for the Chief Justice. And then in groups of four, by alphabetically order, we went up and signed the book to show that we had actually taken this oath as a record of the oath. And I hope that all my colleagues take this very seriously. We have to get to the bottom of this. This is a trial.

And when there`s a trial, there`s witnesses. And that is one of the things, as I looked over to my Republican colleagues, you talk here and there and a few of them have put out signals publicly that they`re open to witnesses. I don`t know how you have a trial if you don`t have witnesses.

And, I mean, one of the counts that we will be looking at is obstruction of Congress with the whole idea, when you look at the - when you read the count - is the fact that this administration is, the first time in history, has literally blocked people from testifying. Blocked documents that people have.

And so, As I said at the debate the other night in Iowa, you may as well give him a crown and a scepter and just call him king if you`re not going to do your constitutional duty. So, I`m hoping everyone had that moment to sit back, whatever their predispositions are, and think about what this is. It`s a trial and we should look at evidence.

O`DONNELL: We just had a former federal prosecutor at the beginning of this discussion tonight, talk about how it`s witnesses like Lev Parnas, in her experience in prosecutions, who lead you to the doors that you should open. Doors like Rick Perry.

John Bolton, we already knew about, but we learned more from Lev Parnas that Donald Trump told John Bolton to fire the ambassador and John Bolton refused to do it. Would like to hear john Bolton`s version of that. He`s on your witness list already.


O`DONNELL: What about Rick Perry when you hear Lev Parnas saying Rudy Giuliani told Lev Parnas that he told Rick Perry - Rick Perry is the person who knows the answer to those.

KLOBUCHAR: And actually the Department of Energy is one of the agencies mentioned. When you look at the report that we got today from the Inspector General where they have said that there is a legal issue here, that the Trump administration violated the law.

They`re a nonpartisan agency and not providing this information and blocking the money from going to Ukraine and not following the rules of informing Congress. And then you look at the counts of the indictment, and there you have blockage again of information going to Congress. It just keeps going.

And one of those agencies is the Department of Energy and one of the people that we would like to hear from, of course, is the Secretary of Energy and that`s Rick Perry. And I thought that Rachel`s point was very good.

It would take a long time to parse through all of the - all of the bits of the interview there, and I would love to get to the bottom of it as a former prosecutor and we should. But at least we should be getting to the principles - the principles that have the information.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, as it is, Chuck Schumer only asked for four witnesses, John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney; and then Michael Duffy, an OMB official; Robert Blair, a white house official. But when you listen to Lev Parnas, it seems to me that Lev Parnas should be at least deposed.


O`DONNELL: And could easily be deposed over the course of this weekend. And see when he`s under oath and he`s challenged and deposition needs--


O`DONNELL: --lawyers from both sides.


O`DONNELL: Let him be challenged by the other side and see what happens.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, and I think Senator Schumer said he didn`t rule that out today. But the point is, right now they aren`t giving us any witnesses and I think the more this information comes forward, everything from the Inspector General`s report to what we heard in this interview, to the information that just keeps coming at us that we already had from the House, it is outrageous that we are not getting a trial yet.

And my colleagues - I look across from, literally a few yards away, this is their moment to decide. And at the same time, you have the press being blocked out from certain parts of this and a whole bunch of bad stuff going on that doesn`t feel like it`s a fair trial.

O`DONNELL: The Republicans - some Republicans are saying, well, if you get John Bolton or anyone then we want Hunter Biden. Would you make that deal? We just heard Lev Parnas say Hunter Biden did nothing wrong.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, irrespective of what Mr. Parnas said, I think it`s pretty clear that the witnesses we want are the witnesses that have evidence about what happened here, which is a president that made a call to a foreign leader, trying to get dirt on an opponent. And we want to hear all the details about exactly what happened to make a determination.

O`DONNELL: You`re going to be in the Senate trial, you`re trying to run a presidential campaign at the same time. It`s going to start Tuesday. They might have Saturday sessions. You just had kind of a surge in the polls in New Hampshire. you`re up to, what?

KLOBUCHAR: 10 points.

O`DONNELL: You`re running closer to Elizabeth Warren than before. She`s about 14, you are 10. So New Hampshire closes that way. But you need to be in New Hampshire. Is there a plan? Do any of you senators running for president have plan?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, I have the most endorsements of elected and former elected legislators in Iowa than anyone on the race. Those people are on the ground. They`re there for me. And I think they understand that, and all the supporters of the senators who are in the trial understand they got to stand up for us. Because we have a constitutional duty, and everyone that`s voting in those four early states get that it is - would be wrong to not be there.

And so that means we can`t be at every house party, then someone else will be there, including my husband and daughter who are going to be out for me this week and including people that know me well. The Governor of Minnesota, the Lieutenant Governor who`s the highest ranking American- Indian elected to any office in the country is coming down for me to Iowa.

And so I will have those people there for me. I trust them to do their jobs, and we are on a surge and I`m not going to be stopped simply because I have a duty to do. And we felt good about the debates. We`ve been raising more money and we`re clearly on the up. And to have a poll like that in New Hampshire, which borders two of my opponent states, that`s something.

O`DONNELL: You`re not just a member of the opposing party of this president who`s on trial. You`re also a presidential candidate seeking to defeat him in November. How can you assure this country that you will be impartial as the - according to the oath you took today?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I am someone that while I`ve said it`s impeachable conduct, which is very clear what that means, which is the House should have gone forward with the impeachment, which they did, I have said I will listen to the evidence for these two counts. Obviously, to me, the evidence seems strong from my former life in the criminal justice system, and this is not a criminal trial.

But I look at things. I was involved in the last impeachment trial of a federal judge. But you never know what you hear and see, and I hope my colleagues feel the same way. That we have a duty to listen to this evidence. We`re not going to have any cell phones in there. We`re not going to have any VIZIO (ph) - laptops, nothing.

We are going to be writing notes on pieces of paper and listening to the evidence. This is our moment to do that and hopefully people will search deep in their souls, why are we here? Why are we in the Senate? Why do we have a constitution? Why do we have a democracy? It`s our job. We are 100 jurors, yes, but we are representing the people of this country.

O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much--

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: --for joining us on this important night.

KLOBUCHAR: It`s great to be on.

O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: And when we come back, we have more from Lev Parnas tonight. New information that he gave Rachel Maddow in tonight`s interview.


O`DONNELL: Why did they want her fired? Why did Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas want the Ambassador to Ukraine fired? Why did they need that? Lev Parnas explained that to Rachel Tonight. He explained the reason they needed Ambassador Yovanovitch to be fired.


MADDOW: On march 22nd, Mr. Lutsenko texts you in Russian, and there`s a translation that`s provided by the committee. It says, "It`s just that if you don`t make a decision about madam, you are bringing into question all my allegations including about B." So when he says "madam" is he talking about--

PARNAS: Ambassador Yovanovitch.

MADDOW: Ambassador Yovanovitch.

PARNAS: correct.

MADDOW: And when he says "all my allegations about b."

PARNAS: Burisma.

MADDOW: Is that about Burisma or Biden?


MADDOW: OK. And is it - do you know if it`s Burisma or Biden? I guess, it could be either.

PARNAS: It was always Biden. Burisma was - it was just - I mean, nobody cares about Burisma or Zlochevsky. It was the - the concern was Biden, Hunter Biden.

MADDOW: In that text message to you is Mr. Lutsenko saying to you in effect, listen, if you want me to make these Biden allegations, you have to get rid of the ambassador.

PARNAS: Absolutely.

MADDOW: And he said - was he threatening that if you didn`t get rid of the ambassador, he might withdraw his Biden allegation?

PARNAS: He actually did. He withdrew then several times.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Matt Miller, the former Spokesperson for Attorney General Eric Holder; and Ned Price, a former Cia Analyst and a former Senior Director and Spokesperson for the National Security Council in the Obama Administration. They are both MSNBC Contributors. And, Ned, we now know according to that testimony why they wanted the ambassador fired.

NED PRICE, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: We do, and it wasn`t because she was not sufficiently loyal to President Trump or she was bad mouthing him, she was saying that he was going to be impeached. So her embassy need not listen to instructions from Washington.

In fact, it was another pretty naked quid pro quo and it wasn`t pretty naked, it was entirely naked. It was a brute-force quid pro quo. If the - if she were removed from the picture the then-Prosecutor General of Ukraine would be able to move forward offering this information on Biden.

It had nothing to do with corruption generally, with anti-corruption goals in Ukraine specifically. It had everything to do with Biden. It had everything to do with a tit for tat that was essentially the Ukrainians trading her for information that President Trump and his allies and his defenders and his cronies wanted on Hunter Biden and his father.

O`DONNELL: So, Matt, if this testimony is true, if Lev Parnas` testimony could hold up in what he just said there to Rachel, this is like another article of impeachment. This is President Trump actually paying a bribe, the bribe being a firing, paying it to this Ukrainian, so that Ukrainian would then go out and say negative things about joe Biden.

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, that`s exactly right. And I think Ned nailed it, which is another quid pro quo. We`ve actually in the course of this investigation seen three quid pro quos.

There`s, of course, the one we spent most the time talking about, whether president was trying to leverage aid to get the investigation launched. There is this new trade where they were trying to get information out of a former corrupt prosecutor of Ukraine in exchange for getting rid of Yovanovitch.

And then there was another one where they were trying to affect the dropping of charges against this corrupt Ukrainian oligarch, Firtash, in exchange for him turning over aid. So you see all throughout where the president has one goal and only one goal and that`s to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden. And his people are trying to use all the levers of the United States government, no matter no matter what they are, and no matter the consequences.

O`DONNELL: Matt Miller, and Ned Price were jam for time tonight. Thank you very much for joining us. We really appreciate it. And when we come back, Lev Parnas on the Trump hotel.


O`DONNELL: Today, Donald Trump said that he doesn`t know Lev Parnas at all. And so tonight Lev Parnas told Rachel Maddow about one of the many times that he was in a small dinner. This one of six people with Donald Trump. And Lev Parnas in that dinner actually talked to Donald Trump into firing the American Ambassador in Ukraine.


PARNAS: Basically at that dinner we had a conversation. It was six of us there into the dinner.

MADDOW: at the White House?

PARNAS: It was - no, it was at the Trump Hotel, but it was a private like area there. Looks like a little white house.

MADDOW: And the President was there?

PARNAS: Oh, absolutely yes. The president was there. His son Don Jr. was there. I don`t know how the issue is - the conversation came up. But I do remember me telling the president that the ambassador was bad mouthing him and saying that he was going to get impeached --- something to that effect.

And at that point, he turned around to John DeStefano who was his aide at the time and said, fire her. And we all - there was a silence in the room. And he responded to him said, Mr. President, we can`t do that right now, because Pompeo hasn`t been confirmed yet. That Pompeo was not confirmed yet and we don`t have --- this is when Tillerson was gone, but Pompeo wasn`t confirmed.

So they go, we`ll wait till this (inaudible). So several conversations, he mentioned that again and again. I don`t know how many times at that dinner - once or twice or three times. But he fired her several times.

MADDOW: He reiterated that she should be fired and that he was ordering her to be fired.

PARNAS: Correct.


O`DONNELL: John Heilemann is back with us. And today, of course, President Trump said - this is what he said word-for-word about Lev Parnas. "I don`t know him at all. Don`t know what he`s about. Don`t know where he comes from. I know nothing about him."


O`DONNELL: Never met him.

HEILEMANN: Barely know him.

O`DONNELL: Just had dinner with him--

HEILEMANN: Yes, well, he says--

O`DONNELL: 2018 he starts, the firing of the ambassador.

HEILEMANN: Married with my daughter, barely know him - hardly. The one way you know Donald Trump knows someone really well as if he says he`s never met him and hardly knows him. I mean, there`s a long history of this. I have to say, the best story that Lev Parnas told right there, if you`ve ever spent any time with Donald Trump, which I have. That story has the ring of truth.

It`s a kind of, I think, like Trump often he - something comes into his head, he seizes on it. It gets stuck in his craw and he comes back to it again and again. The thing where you heard Parnas say at one point, he fired her three or four times and that dinner.


HEILEMANN: That is a thing that you hear from Trump associates all the time. He repeats. He goes back to something again and again and again. And you can imagine him, fire her - fire her-- we can`t her. And in about 15 minutes later, we should fire that woman. That`s a very - has the ring of truth.

O`DONNELL: And it turns out, Parnas goes in a longer piece of the interview tonight - that was aired tonight by Rachel. To say that, Giuliani got Trump to fire her several times over the course. That first one was 2018, so right up through - over a year. And apparently he told Pompeo to fire her and he didn`t. He told John Bolton to fire her and he didn`t. And he just kept going with that. It`s amazing how long it took Donald Trump to get his Ambassador fired.

HEILEMANN: Yes, that`s thing as Trump of vindictiveness, vengeance and in competence all married together. The other thing we talked earlier about how he`s a roadmap, right - that Parnas?


HEILEMANN: It turns out this - the map that he`s the road door - or the road that he`s the map to, goes back a lot longer than we thought. We of think this is a scandal that just broke over the summer after the Mueller report, but he was cleared from the - after Mueller`s testimony on Capitol Hill.

It turns out that this thing`s got, like, a deeper roots. And another reason why we want to hear more from this guy is I think there`s a much bigger story here.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And let`s listen to more of what he said about why he was as quiet as he was for as long as he was. This is something he told Rachel about his lawyers.


MADDOW: Is the implication of this story of the lawyers that you feel that people loyal to the president and close to the President were trying to influence your defense and your case in a way that was against your interests, but in the President`s interests?

PARNAS: Absolutely. I think they`re trying to keep me quiet.


O`DONNELL: And he says that`s why he didn`t testify to the House investigative committees. And here - and here are those people - the Republicans saying, why would anyone listen to this guy who didn`t testify in the investigation?

HEILEMANN: Yes. There`s a lot of a lot of circularity in the Republican arguments about a lot of these things. Well, why didn`t the Democrats get those first time? But they are not witnesses, they should have called them and we hear this all the time. But that - there is, of course, a perfectly logical explanation in his case.

And the story with him and the lawyers, we`re hearing, again, something that bears a lot more investigation because there are a lot of ways in which Donald Trump uses - pulls levers to try to influence people in ways positive and negative. And this guy has been pulled and pushed in a lot of ways by Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: Where are you going to be next week, Washington or the campaign trail? It`s tough?


O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, thank you very much for joining us once again, really appreciate it. That is tonight`s "Last Word". "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams" starts now.