tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC October 5, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
tour. i will tell you that weirdly on sunday night, there is a new tv show on the c.w. called "batwoman," and i have a voice role in the new tv show. isn't that crazy? i know. anyway, it is very fun. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> i read about your batwoman thing. what is your character's name? >> vesper chair fairchild. >> that's my new starbucks name. vesper fairchild. i'm using that. my favorite name ever to appear in fiction. >> it is a classic comic book characf characfor for the whole arc. >> look what i've got here. what are you doing tonight? >> i am not that busy. >> you want to -- you want to come over? i've got some pages marked here. >> i'm still on crutches, so it's going to take me a minute. but i'll be there as soon as i can crutch over. >> if you can get here by the time we publish one of these commercial breaks, we'll just bring you right on to the tv show. >> okay.
bye. see you in a minute. >> thank you. >> yep. so rachel's going to be joining us later to assess where we are at the end of week two in the impeachment investigation of donald j. trump, and we'll discuss her amazing book, which i am going to rave about. it is also very much related to this week's news. and later in the hour, we will look at the ray of hope sent by mitt romney today indicating that at least one republican senator is capable of speaking the truth about the president's conduct this week. and "the last word tonight," the last word of this program this week will go to the woman who warned president trump not to do what he did on that phone call with the president of ukraine. and she warned him not to do what he did publicly this week when he requested help in his re-election campaign from china. he was warned. he got a legal warning not to do that. that warning came from ellen
weintraub, and the president did it anyway. ellen weintraub will get tonight's last word. the breaking news of this hour is that there could be a second whistle-blower ready to emerge to back up the whistle-blower whose accusations about president trump's phone call with the president of ukraine now form the basis of the fourth impeachment investigation of a president in the history of the united states of america. "the new york times" headline tonight, "second official is weighing whether to blow the whistle on trump's ukraine dealings." "the new york times" reports a second intelligence official who was alarmed by president trump's dealings with ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to congress, according to two people briefed on the matter. the official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower. the second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector
general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower. the inspector general, michael atkinson, briefed lawmakers privately on friday about how he substantiated the whistle-blower's account. it was not clear whether he told lawmakers that the second official is considering filing a complaint. because the second official has met with mr. atkinson's office, it was unclear whether he needs to file a complaint to gain the legal protections offered to intelligence community whistleblowers. witnesses who speak with inspectors general are protected by federal law but outlaws reprisals against officials who cooperate with an inspector general. and joining us is one of the reporters who broke the story for "the new york times" tonight. michael schmidt, washington correspondent for "the new york times" who covers national security and federal investigations. michael, thank you so much for joining us with your breaking news report. what more can you tell us about this possible second whistle-blower? >> well, look, this is a person
that has more intimate knowledge, is closer to the actual, you know, complaint, what the issue is at the center of the complaint, than the complainant. the person who filed the initial complaint is someone that was at the cia, who was not at the white house, who was not intimately involved with this. look, the interesting thing that's going on here is that the president is having to deal with whistleblowers now. there could be a second whistle-blower who would create another problem for him. it's different than the mueller investigation. in that case, it was a contained federal investigation. a lot of things weren't supposed to come out. but whistle-blowers have a different power, a different ability. they have the ability to go to congress. they don't necessarily have to go through the justice department. and that has freed up information to move in ways that we haven't seen earlier in the trump administration. >> michael, is it your sense
that people involved in this story are now kind of actively thinking about their role and thinking about whether they need to take some kind of position in relation to this whistle-blower report? because the whistle-blower report refers to a fairly large number of people. you certainly get the sense it's more than a dozen people who are referenced in one way. not necessarily by name. is it your sense that a lot of those people are thinking about what their role is now? >> well, i think what's gone on is that the folks in washington who are concerned about president trump have seen a lot of failures. they saw the mueller report, they saw how it fell flat. they saw how it didn't catch on. they saw the struggles of the democrats to do anything with it. and they're trying to think of other ways that information may be able to move. and i think that in some of that that's what we see here. we see sort of, you know, folks trying to think outside the box about how they can get things
out. look, we've seen that in the press. the press has reported enormous amount of things while donald trump's been president. that's because people in government have been concerned about what they saw. and in, you know, at least the original whistle-blower complaint, this was someone who was outside the white house, that was taking such a risk to file a complaint to get this information to congress in the hopes that something -- something would happen. and that's just a different thing, a different sort of aspect that we're dealing with. >> and what do we know as of tonight about the committee's contact level with the first whistle-blower? have they been able to come to an agreement about any testimony from that whistle-blower? >> so we know that the committee wanted as early as last week to interview the whistle-blower, and that still has not happened. it's unclear why they haven't done that, but there are a lot of complications around this.
the whistle-blower is someone who's amononymousanonymous, whoe protected according to the whistle-blower statutes. and interviewing them is not as simple as just the whistle-blower driving up to congress and going in and sitting down. and for whatever reason, that has still not happened yet. and i'm pretty sure the committee wants that to happen and have heard that they want that to happen. but it still hasn't gone forward. >> in your reporting tonight, you mention that the president in his comments about the whistle-blower said that he singled out the whistle-blower's sources and calling them close to a spy. is there any indication that what the president said about those sources has something to do with provoking this possible second whistle-blower to come forward? >> i don't think so. the president is someone that has been obsessed with leaks,
obsessed with loyalty since long before he came to office. and being president has just brought that more to the forefront for him. he wants loyalty from the people around him, and he wants them to keep things, you know, closely held. and that rarely happens, and things often spill out. but that is -- a preoccupation that he has. he wanted jeff sessions, his first attorney general, to go after leakers. leakers were a problem. they needed to be investigated and gone after. and, you know, that is -- that's a recurring issue that he has had throughout his presidency. >> michael, please stay with us. we're joined by ned price, former cia analyst and a former senior director and spokesperson for the national security council in the obama administration, he's an msnbc national security contributor. and howard raines is with us, former executive editor of "the new york times" and an msnbc contributor. and ned price, i wanted to get
your reaction to michael's reporting tonight that there could be a second whistle-blower to back up the first whistle-blower, and that this whistle-blower would have more direct knowledge of what happened in the president's phone call with the president of ukraine. >> of all the twists and turns we've endured the past few weeks, i have to say this is probably to my mind at least the least surprising. i say that in part remembering what the original whistle-blower wrote in the first line of his complaint. he said in the course of my official duties, i have received information from multiple u.s. government officials suggesting, as you were alluding to, that those -- several of those with direct knowledge of what happened were so concerned that they passed it on to those around them, and it eventually made its way to this whistle-blower. so i do think there is something to this idea that trump in some way has brought this upon himself, this possibility of a second whistle-blower. and i say that because trump
ever since this person came forward put his complaint forward, has tried to make this not about the issues of national security and betrayal and our democracy and oversight but about a single person. highway has tried to revisit the playbook he used against bob mueller, he used against mueller's prosecutors, he used against christopher steele to attack the background, the affiliations, the connections, the relationships of a single person, not recognizing that the issues are so much bigger than a single person. i think what we're seeing are those others who as michael schmidt alluded to, were more directly involved this these matters coming forward to say this is not about a single person. we witnessed this it sounds like in some cases firsthand, and we will help dispel the notion that -- that this can be personified. frankly, this can't be personified. this is about in some cases what we cherish most as a country
that donald trump has decided to subordinate to his own personal and political prerogatives. >> hal raines, "new york times," michael schmidt, doing more great reporting tonight. advancing the story. and then we see the congress then taking sometimes what we've discovered in newspaper reports, advancing that. have you seen this kind of rhythm before unfold in -- in these kind of stories? >> yes. there are echoes of watergate and of the clinton impeachment. first i want to say, though, lawrence, those of us who worked in washington and these previous times know there are certain days when you can feel the grinding of the gears of history. and those gears have now caught the coattail of donald trump. that doesn't mean he can't survive. he's an escape artist. but this is deadly serious. and michael with his great scoop about the second whistle-blower
put an exclamation mark on this day. let's go back to something earlier today. the third article of impeachment against richard nixon was ignoring subpoenas of the congress. so the subpoenas that were sent to the white house today, over the signature of eric ingal, adam smith, and elijah cummings i think will come to be seen as an important historic document. and the reason i say that is trump has tended to treat democratic members of congress as -- as some sort of wannabes, impotent people. he's -- he says, you know, you can do what you want to. i'm going to lay in the tall grass because i can get away with it. this document dated october 4th from these -- signed by these congressmen says this congress
is partiesing itself, this house -- is asserting itself, this house is asserting it says as a co-equal branch of government, and don't trifle with us. that to me is one of the watershed developments in the series of events that you mentioned. >> and we're also having reporting from nbc news, they're reporting that the cia's top lawyer made a criminal referral about the whistle-blower's allegations to the justice department, and ned price, that story came earlier today from nbc news that shows you that a trump appointee, the counsel at the cia, saw something in that whistle-blower's report that thought was -- she thought was worthy of a criminal referral. >> i think there are three important points about this story. first, and this is the most interesting to my mind, everyone who heard rumors, even before the whistle-blower's complaint was fully drafted, everyone who heard about it ultimately filed
a criminal referral to the justice department. we previously knew about the acting d&i, we knew about the inspector general of the intelligence committee. we learned today that in calling the department of justice that the cia's general counsel intended to do the same thing. i think that shows just the seriousness and the concern that these complaints raise even among trump appointees. but, too, i was struck by the fact that when the cia general counsel made what she intended to be a criminal referral to the justice department, there was another individual on the line. this individual was from the white house. and this was the same individual, actually a white house lawyer, who was put in charge of in some ways effecting the cover-up of the transcript of the july 25th phone call. this was the individual, this white house lawyer, who assured that the transcript was on this top-secret compartmented national security council computer system. so my question there is, what part of the cover-up was
effected before these complaints came forward? and before they were widely known? i think that's something congressional investigators will have to look to. and then finally, i think we have to grapple with the fact that this criminal referral was communicated over the phone, not in writing. that is atypical. it suggests that perhaps the inspector -- general counsel didn't want to attach her name to something in writing. and it could suggest to me at least that trump has so perverted these institutions that people are afraid to follow standard operating procedure. i think that's something congress will have to look into, as well. >> michael schmidt, any indication in your reporting that ambassador volker's testimony yesterday in the release of those text messages has in any way provoked this possible second whistle-blower? i'm try to go see if there's anything in your reporting that suggests the way these people are moving and deciding to come forward. >> i don't think they're
connected at all. i just think that there are a lot of different things out there. and one of trump's issues is there's just a lot of different bets that could go against him. we saw one of them sort of come to fruition yesterday with the text messages that came out. now there's the potential for another whistle-blower. there's just a lot of different, you know, issues that he's dealing with and trying to sort of navigate and that are popping up and that are very unusual for a president to see. and he's confronting them or maybe not confronting them for whatever they're worth. it's just an unusual set of circumstances. and there seems to be a drumbeat here, a momentum. the question will be whether the democrats can really keep that up. they really struggled to do that in the aftermath of the mueller report. they struggled to keep up sort of a steady beat of new things coming out. but maybe in this case, sort of different issue off to the side, they could do that. >> and this is one of those
strange investigations in which the person being investigated in his own way is trying to be uncooperative but couldn't be more cooperative. he walks up to the microphones and asks china to help him in his re-election. >> yeah. well, this is the latest example that we've seen that we're into totally new historical and political territory here. this is very odd behavior. and i think the crazy like a fox aspect is this -- trump knows that the 40% are with him when he says "yes, i did it, so what." as a legal strategy, that could be disastrous. the other loose cannon on his deck is, of course, rudy giuliani who earlier this week said "i've got all of my documents from all of these interchanges," you know, no prosecutor or no impeachment
counsel is going to forget that remark. okay, since you've got them, let's see them. so it's not within the normal rules of political combat, congressional procedure, certainly jurisprudence to see the targets confessing in plain sight. >> haven't seen that before. we'll take a break. michael schmidt, thank you for joining us with your breaking news report. we really appreciate that. ned price, thank you for joining us. hal raines is going to stay with us. we'll hear from him later. and as we've been talking, rachel maddow has been making her way over to this studio. she will join us next. i can't believe it. what? that our new house is haunted by casper the friendly ghost? hey jill! hey kurt! movies? i'll get snacks! no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on our car insurance with geico. i got snacks! ohhh, i got popcorn, i got caramel corn, i got kettle corn.
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book we'll discuss after we catch up with rachel maddow's look at the week. where are we? let me give you the latest -- >> okay -- >> breaking. two congressional sources tell nbc news u.s. ambassadors to the european union, gordon sondland will appear tuesday for a joint deposition before the foreign affairs committee, the intelligence committee, the oversight committee. they have -- they reported earlier that they expected the ambassador friday. so gordon sondland who's right in the thick of this -- >> uh-huh. >> and if there is something that is judged to be a conspiracy about what the president's policy was with ukraine, gordon sondland is going to be one of the key levers of that. >> in addition to the inspector general who was there testifying today and who testified at the start of the impeachment inquiry, as well, isn't this the first current official that they've had in there, right?
>> yes. they've said, no, you can't have any of them. obviously they're working on some kind of negotiation that's getting them. >> right. and then soon after -- when did you say it's going to be, tuesday? >> yeah -- >> sondland is tuesday and yavonivich will be friday. she's no longer with ukraine but is a foreign service officer. this means you're zooming in on the importance here which is they are not blocking all current officials from testifying the way they have done through the other inquiries that the house has mounted against the administration. >> and gordon sondland has some texts. >> yeah. >> he's in on the text game. >> well, i don't know anything about him other than what i read in the press. but he is a hotel magnate. he is somebody who donated a bunch of money, held a trump fundraiser, and then actually around the rnc with the treatment of the keyser kahn
family. he and his partner stepped away and said we have been supporting trump, we no longer are. this is hiorrifying. provided something to the inaugural, became the ambassador to the e.u. he has no foreign service backgrounds. he's an absolute novice in a high-falutin job in the middle of this with people who not novemberins novices. he's and neither is taylor who sent comments about the impropriety of ukraine. he is somebody who has definitely come in as a trump loyalist, and that's how he got his job. for him to be conceding or -- or agreeing to go in and talk to these committees, it's a very interesting decision. i don't know what kind of testimony he'll give. obviously he has to worry a little about his own neck to the extent that he knowingly participated in what is an impeachable scheme when done by the president, is probably an
illegal scheme when done by anybody else. >> and "the new york times" reporting the possible -- i guess we'd call it the back up whistle-blower to the original whistle-blower. >> yeah. >> the second whistle-blower -- >> so -- >> this one saying, according to them, more direct information. now more direct would probably be i heard the call. >> probably i heard the call or i was involved in some of the other machinations here. we nowzarad know over the past e of days this is not something that the president cooked up along or with rudy giuliani and the two of them tried to put it into effect. this was something that they involved a lot of people in government to doing. they involved upper echelons of the state department in trying to work this out. this could be a very senior person. there could be somebody in the intelligence community or in the state department side of things or they could be somebody in the military side of it. the only thing we know is that it's somebody who the i.g. from the intelligence community has spoken to to verify what the
whistle-blower said. so clearly it's going to be corroborating information. whether this is somebody who's having a crisis of conscience or recognition of their own liability and willing to become a constructive part of this process, with whistle-blower protection built in -- >> right. >> that is -- i'm just -- i'm sure this is freaking the white house out. >> yeah, it's also someone who by inference the president called a spy. the president said that the people who helped the whistle-blower or talked to the whistle-blower, that was the behavior he said of spies. this indicates that this whistle-blower was someone who was involved in the original whistle-blower's report. that's why the inspector general spoke to this possible whistle-blower. so the president himself might be out there now currently inspiring more whistleblowers by the way he's talking about this. >> absolutely. every threat that he issues, especially when he issues threats that don't even seem
like -- where there isn't any veil, where it seemed like a threat of violence, if not direct retaliation. every time he does that, he is inviting people who may see themselves in his comments, who may think that he's targeting them to themselves avail themselves of the whistle-blower protection that are afforded under federal law to themselves see what they can do to protect themselves against a president who says i'm coming for you. >> we're going to squeeze in a break. when we come back, we're going to talk about your book. >> thank you. >> i do have -- i do have the audio book. have you listened to the audio book? >> no. >> i had a feeling you don't listen to your own audio books. i have that feeling. let me tell you something about this, when you get the audio book -- that's you as -- >> so weird -- >> the brilliant director, scott trass, recorded it. however some people are in a hurry. they can speed you up. we can take you from the exact speed that you spoke, right, up
to, say -- >> worth the cost, couldn't beat it -- >> 1.25. that's you a little faster. if i want to get through this book faster. now, if i can listen really fast, i can double -- use want to double your speed? >> yeah. >> let's double it. >> the team with private plans, one of the first ever big-league professionals in the playoffs -- >> yeah. that's kind of hard to listen to. all right. >> amazing. it's like me and the chipmunks -- >> it is the chip mink versiuni. i. hi. maria ramirez! mom! maria! maria ramirez... mcdonald's is committing 150 million dollars in tuition assistance, education, and career advising programs... prof: maria ramirez mom and dad: maria ramirez!!! to help more employees achieve their dreams.
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we're back with rachel maddow and her book, "blowout." now i don't know how to talk about this book because i love this so much. >> thank you so much for redding it -- for reading it man, you don't have to. so nice of you. >> this brought me back to a moment when i was a freshman in college, toward the end of
freshman year because in sophomore year we well to choose our majors, the area we would concentrate our studies in. my freshman adviser said to us, to a group of about six of us, you don't realize this, but the choice you make in your concentration of studies is the choice about how you're going to look at the world. you will look at the world through literature for the rest of your life if that's what you do. you will look at it through history, through chemistry. you'll look at it through biology. and i thought, biology? and then i heard nobel prize-winning biologist george wald give a lecture, and i thought, yes, you can look at the world through biology. and i ended up through a process of elimination that was a stumble of a few months, choosing economics. and so -- so i've had that window. "blowout" by rachel maddow is a way of looking at the world. this has the weight of really a college major, of years of
study. it has range. it has authority. it is -- the subtitle could be "how the world got this way." it really could be how we got to this, and i mean all of this that we're living with today. >> that is very kind of you to say. you have -- i mean, you reading the book is humbling to me, and i am thankful for that. i'm also humbled by those words. i did not intend to write a book about oil and gas. and i started off knowing nothing about oil and gas. i was trying to answer other questions about how we got to the world that we are in right now. and big questions about why we're in this fight between authoritarianism and democracy. and why russia took that wild swing at us and why there's such a strange malignant actor given that during our lifetime they've been a world-straddling superpower with communist satellites all over and they are equal in terms of world
influence. trying to get to answers to those questions, i ended up in an economics framework. i ended up looking at what's wrong with the economy and how weak that made them, and when you combine their weakness and their ambition, you realize that the ways they've had to try to compete are desperate and also pretty narrowly defined. and i didn't -- therefore, i had to learn a lot about oil and gas. and you know me, as soon as i learn about a thing currently involving subject x, i have to go back to the original history of subject x and tell you the story from the big bang. so to does have a lot of history of the oil industry. but only because i had to learn it in order to figure out these answers to these contemporaneous questions. >> will you take us from the time when new bedford was the richest city in america, the whale oil industry, into john d. rockefeller, what he meant to the oil industry here, what vladimir putin means to the oil market now. how oil has defined russian
behavior in so many ways as a government and so forth. there's so many different stories in this book. but it's all one piece. do you think there's a hero in this book? because i do. >> ooh. >> i've got a hero. >> okay, go. >> of course the hero is austin hall. >> yeah. yeah, yeah. >> what a character. to trace him from the beginning -- the seismologist in oklahoma. in fact, oklahoma's seismologist, i mean, the guy who was the very first person to deal with the question of why is there a sudden rash of earthquakes in oklahoma. >> this incredibly stable, la land-locked part of the united states not known for earthquakes, suddenly starts having a few little shakers and then dozens and then hundreds. and then this seemingly unstoppable rash. and austin holland is just a scientist. he's a sort of humble, directed scientist who's there to do
interesting work as -- as oklahoma's state seismologist. and he ends up being the target of the oil and gas industry that does not want to hear what he is concluding about what's happening in that state. and he is -- >> which he was very slow to conclude. this was a -- >> slow and deliberate and follow the data kind of guy. >> years and years -- >> he's not like an environmental activist crusading. he's a guy trying to do good seismology. he was so positively disposed toward the industry, such an apolitical guy, he didn't look at the oil figures in the state who were trying to pressure his office and say, oh, those are the bad guys, they're coming for me. he did everything he could to try to accommodate them until it came to the breaking point where it was them or it was the science. he sided with the science. they ultimately forced him out of the state. but he did such good work, and he was so unassailable both in his sort of equanimity but the quality of his work that ultimately what he did made oklahoma face it finally.
and they had to take on the oil industry, and they had to tell them to stuff it with some of their anti-ism? they're toes try to make -- anti-scientific they'ories to me them go away. in part the science could not be denied. it does make the scientists the heroes here. >> there's a passage in here that normally i would read this, it doesn't make any sense for me to read your book -- >> do you want me to read -- >> would you read to people to get them to where i want them to be thinking about this now. >> i will. turns out, putin made mistakes over the past 15 years. big, fundamental, hard-to-reverse mistakes. that can happen when you try to build your country's future on the oil and gas industry. putin's decisions stripped his country of its ability to compete fairly in the global economy or global politics and limited its strategic options to the unsavory list he and his apparatus are ticking down today.
his effort to restore russia as a superpower no longer depend on capacity and know-how, they depend on cheating. putin and his minions cheats at the financial markets. they cheat at the olympics, they cheat at their own fake democracy, they cheat other people out of their democracies. >> and here we are. >> yeah. >> cheating. >> yeah. when i realized the scale of the oil deal that putin did with rex tillerson, during the obama administration this half trillion dollar oil deal that was going to make the difference for, you know, enough oil to burn the planet out twice over in terms of what they were going to try to get out of the -- out of the russian arctic sea. when i realized the scale of that and then that was blocked by sanctions, to then see rex tillerson, the guy who did that deal with putin, brought in to run u.s. foreign policy under the next administration, that russia helped install, to me i
just felt like this is something we have to face. like they really, really need to get rid of those sanctions in orders to keep their one lifeblood economic thing going. and we underestimate their need for that to our peril. we have a diversified economy. they really don't. they really have only oil and gas. and they suck at drilling their own oil and gas. and they need other western majors to come and help them. we blocked that when we sanctioned them. their whole operation against us has been about dropping those sanctions. and they're getting closer every day. >> the last line in this book is actually in the acknowledgements after you thank the staff of the "rachel maddow show" for helping enable you to do this. >> their forbearance. >> you make them this promise, "i swear i will not do this again." please do this again. please. this book is beautifully written. it is -- it is so brilliant. it is your voice, it is your wisd wisdom, your insights. i learned so much.
please do this again. >> i won't. thank you for saying those very nice things. thank you. thanks a lot, my friend. >> we'll be right back because today mitt romney actually didn't quite cross the aisle, but he's got one foot right in the middle of the aisle now on the matter of donald trump's conduct this week. (burke) at farmers insurance, we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. even a- (ernie) lost rubber duckie? (burke) you mean this one? (ernie) rubber duckie! (cookie) what about a broken cookie jar?
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it's been a long time since andrew dusted off his dancing shoes. luckily denture breath will be the least of his worries. because he uses polident 4 in 1 cleaning system to kill 99.99% of odor causing bacteria. polident. clean. fresh. and confident. the united states senate was a tale two of senators today. two republican senators. one who took a step toward the democrats who support an impeachment investigation by saying that the president's conduct is wrong and appalling, and another republican senator who took yet another step deeper into the darkness. today, utah's republican junior senator mitt romney who was just elected in 2018 and will not be up for re-election until 2024 tweeted "when the only american citizen president trump singles out for china's politicization is his democratic opponent in
the midst of the process it strains creditity than to suggest it is anything butmotiv. to investigate joe biden is wrong and appalling." then came marco rubio. before we show what he said today about president trump asking china to investigate joe biden, let's take a look at who marco rubio once was before donald trump took total control of him. >> donald trump is a con artist. what we are dealing with here, my friends, is a con artist. he is a con artist. you all have friends, you all have friends that are thinking about voting for donald trump. friends do not let friends vote for con artists. [ cheers ] >> and here's senator marco rubio today. >> do you think it's okay for president trump to ask china to launch an investigation of joe biden and hunter biden? >> i don't know if that's a real
request or him needling the press knowing that you would get outraged by it. >> you are one of the loudest critics of china and its human rights abuses. is it okay for him to ask to say that -- >> i don't think it's a real -- i think he did it to get you guys, to provoke you to ask me and others and get outraged by it. >> joining us now is ed mcmullen, former cia operative and former independent presidential candidate. co-founder of stand up, republic, and hal raines is back with us. evan, your reaction to marco rubio today. he thinks it's funny. he was laughing about donald trump asking china to help in his re-election campaign. >> well, first of all, just say it was highly disappointing to see senator rubio answer that question in that way. you know, senator rubio is someone who from his role in the senate, from his position there, has led our in many ways our pro-democracy efforts around the world. he's been a vocal advocate for -- for freedom globally.
and then to see freedom under threat here domestically and to have a question like that posed to him which should be a softball and to have him blow it off i think just really sort of describes how far he's fallen in just the last couple of years. he seemed defeated to me emotionally to do that. but the game he's playing here is that he's saying, look, you, the media, are overreacting by responding to trump's urging china to -- to interfere in our electoral processes, like russia did in 2016 or similarly. he wants to say that the media's overreacting so that he doesn't look like he's underreacting. and it's important for him to be able to maintain this posture that he's decided to take which is to not react to obviously dangerous abuses of the president because as soon as he acknowledges them, like the
media does and like others do, then he has to do something about it because he's a u.s. senator. and so he goes on pretending like nothing's a big deal and nothing matters. but he's clearly wrong on that, and >> so by marco rubio's logic, mitt romney is overreacting to it. >> that's a heart-rending clip that you just showed, lawrence. as dr. king said of rosa parks when she refused to give up her seat, she had been hunted down by the zeitgeist. i think the spirit of this age may be hunting down mitt romney and offering him a chance to save his party and return it to the spirit of abraham lincoln. and i say that in all seriousness. and one of the things that we tend to forget about trump is that the conservative intellectuals who are so important in the reagan years, and on into the bush years, have
totally disowned this man. and "the new york times" read a piece by bill kristol last week that i think was an important signal for people who want to keep their eyes on mitt romney. he didn't mention mitt romney. if you read between the lines and you know bill kristol a little bit as i do, that was a letter saying, mitt romney, if you will offer yourself as the savior of the party, i and my friends will rally the conservative intellectuals in our party to your flag. >> well, we'll see what happens next. evan mcmullin, thank you both for joining us tonight. and when we come back, we'll be joined by the woman who warned donald trump not to do it. and he did it anyway. and now he is being impeached for it. your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. nice. but, uh... what's up with your... partner? not again. limu that's your reflection. only pay for what you need.
solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a u.s. election. anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation. now, those are not my words. those are the words of a chair of the federal election commission, ellen wine traub twheet that when trump indicated he would accept help from a foreign government in his re-election campaign. and now donald trump is the subject of an impeachment investigation for doing exactly what ellen wine traub told him not to do. after the second week of consistent repetition of the latin words quid pro quo in news coverage, it's time for a reminder of what words are actually in the law that the president appears to have violated. and there is no one better to guide us through that law than
our next guest, ellen weintraub, she is the chair of the federal election commission. thank you very much for joining us tonight. is we really appreciate it. have the words quid pro quo been driving you crazy since they're not actually relevant? to the law involved here? >> i don't think about that. i want to be clear that i am not opining on anyone's conduct. i am only here to explain the law. that is my job. i want to explain the law so everyone understands it and hopefully everyone will comply with it. >> well, go to it. just clarify what quid pro quo might or might not have to do with the law. >> well, quid pro quo is a bribery term. that's in the criminal law. i have civil enforcement authority over the campaign finance laws. so quid pro quo really doesn't enter into it from the standpoint of the fec. when we talk about the foreign national ban, it is as i tweeted
and as you just read, pretty simple. it is illegal for anyone to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from any foreign national in connection with a u.s. election. period. >> and i want to go over one other concept. that's been in the coverage of this, and that's the notion of pressure. when the president of ukraine was at the u.n. and speaking with president trump publicly, the president of ukraine used the word "push." he did not feel pushed. the word in the law is solicit. and so solicit, a solicitation could be done very politely without any air of pressure around it. couldn't it? >> again, not talking of any individual. but yes, as a matter of law, solicit doesn't necessarily require a great deal of pressure. >> you came out with your tweet about this after we saw what the president said to george stephanopoulos which was at the time, stunning. that after the mueller
investigation, the mueller report, he would actually say to george stephanopoulos that he would be willing to accept help from offensive coordinator , you laid the law out there and you felt at the time kind of surprised that you had to do that. how surprised are you that we are where we are tonight? >> these are surprising times, lawrence. i just keep trying to instruct people on the law. i think it is really important. this is obviously a very important issue, it's an important principle in our law. the ban on foreign national spending is a principle that was discussed by the founding fathers and it's a principle that we all should be able to agree on on a nonpartisan basis that we want elections to be run and administered and funded by american citizens, and we want american citizens to be the ones who are making choices in our
elections, and we don't want foreign interference. >> ellen weintraub gets tonight's last word and nothing could be more appropriate. thank you very much for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thank you, lawrence. >> that is tonight's last word. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. the breaking news tonight, "new york times" on the board with another exclusive. there may be a second whistle-blower about to emerge from inside the intelligence community with potentially more evidence of trump's use of foreign policy toward his own political gain. the democrats made it rain over parts of washington late today, dropping subpoenas on white house chief of staff mulvany, vice president pence, secretary of state pompeo. in political news, mitt romney being hailed as a profile in courage because he dared speak out against the president. and it turns out bernie sanders suffered a heart attack, emerging today, having kept the press in the dark, saying he cannot wait to get back out there on the trail.