tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC October 15, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
roger stone's defense team are getting ready to go to the mattress on this one. the trial starts november 5th with or without the godfather. i wanted to give you that update. don't go anywhere. i should tell you, rachel will be back tomorrow. you can always find me at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the beneath. time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. does he think, lawrence. >> good evening, ari, thank you very much. thank you. well, of course they call themselves three amigos. that is our breaking news tonight. "the washington post" is reporting tonight that white house chief of staff mick mulvaney organized a meeting in the spring of this year in the white house in which he put the three amigos in charge of ukraine policy, the three amigos as they call themselves were energy secretary rick perry, the completely inexperienced trump ambassador to the european union, gornld sondland and the envoy to ukraine, be kurt
volker. "washington post" reporting george kent testified about the meeting in his under oath closed door adopti door deposition. george kent met with investigators despite being directed by the state department not to do that. according to officials familiar with the investigation, the state department directed george kent not to appear and sought to limit his testimony. the house intelligence committee issued a last-minute subpoena organized him to appear, and he complied with that subpoena. george kent is the second current top state department official to defy a request not to comply with the house's impeachment inquiry, a request given to him by his employers is he state department. the first was marie yovanovitch, former u.s. ambassador to ukraine who president trump ordered to be removed from her post.
she is still state department employee, but she did testify. the "new york times" reports george kent raised concerns to colleagues early this year about the pressure being directed at ukraine by mr. trump and his private lawyer, rudy giuliani, to pursue investigations into mr. trump's political rivals according to people familiar with mr. kent's warnings. as far back as march, they said, mr. kent pointed to mr. giuliani's role in what he called a disinformation campaign intended to use ukrainian prosecutor to smear mr. trump's adversaries. those included former vice president joseph biden, marie yovanovitch, then the united states ambassador to ukraine and ukrainians who disseminated damaging information during the 2016 campaign about mr. trump's campaign chairman, paul manafort. late last night "the new york times" reported that then-national security adviser john bolton was alarmed by the ukraine scandal and told an aide to tell white house lawyers what
was going on. the "times" reports mr. bolton got into a tense exchange on july 10th with gordon sondland working with rudy giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, to press ukraine to investigate democrats according to three people who heard the testimony. that is the testimony of fiona hill, president trump's former top russian adviser who testified to impeachment investigators on monday behind closed doors. according to "the new york times," fiona hill testified that mr. bolton told her to notify the chief lawyer for the national security council about a rogue effort by mr. sondland, mr. giuliani, and mick mulvaney, the acting white house chief of staff according to people familiar with the testimony. i am not part of whatever drug deal sondland and mulvaney are cooking up. mr. bolton told ms. hill to tell white house lawyers according to two people at that deposition.
leading off our discussion tonight, death penalty congressman jamie raskin of maryland, member of the house oversight committee who attended george kent's deposition today. jonathan alder from "the daily beast." and rick wilson, republican strategist and contributor to the daily beast, author of "everything trump touches dies." congressman raskin, what can you tell us you learned from mr. kent today? >> i cannot give you any particulars, unfortunately, about his testimony but let me tell you what i've learned from multiple witnesses who have come forward now from the state department and the official american bureaucracy. there was basically an unofficial, illegitimate shadow foreign policy conducted by donald trump and rudy giuliani and his henchmen where they were engaged in a shakedown of the ukrainian government in order to obtain their agreement to
conduct a political hit against the bidens. and then they covered all of that up and buried it in the secret server, basically selling out our constitution and our election. but the telephone call, which made all of this infamous, the july 25th call between president trump and president zelensky is really just the tip of the iceberg because this was an ongoing campaign of sabotage in europe where they targeted a number of people. one of those people was the ambassador, the u.s. ambassador to ukraine who got sacked after a systematic disinformation and propaganda campaign that was waged against her. she was one of the early casualties of the giuliani campaign in ukraine. that's ambassador yovanovitch. that was a critical moment for a lot of people in the state department when they woke up to the fact that trump and giuliani were engaged in this effort,
totally illicit to undercut the u.s. foreign policy, which was designed to counter corruption but rudy giuliani's team basically connected with the corruption and essentially wanted to take over the corruption racket in ukraine. >> "the new york times" is reporting tonight that there is kind of an investigation of sorts going on inside the white house, which seems to be what the "new york times" is calling a search for a scapegoat, and they are focusing on johnizenberg, white house counsel for national security. "the new york times" quotes people who have seen what's going on in there as saying mr.izenberg is in a precarious position. have you detected in the evidence and the testimony that you've been getting a role that he's played in this that you could tell us about? >> unfortunately i cannot, but i will tell you this. i think that there does seem to
be growing sentiment among our gop colleagues to find some scapegoats, some fall guys. i think that rudy giuliani right now is looking pretty lonely. ambassador sondland is looking pretty lonely, and i think there may be some effort to try to amputate them from donald trump and say, oh, he was the victim of all these people. the problem is that the smoking gun in this investigation is what kicked it off. it was the phone call where donald trump reveals himself to be executing the scheme right there. i want you to do us a favor, though. that pretty much captured the entire thing. he knew he was holding up $391 million in foreign military assistance that we in congress had voted for a besieged democratic alley resisting russian aggression all in order to get president zelensky to agree to stage this political hit on the guy that donald trump was fearing as his opponent, joe biden, and his son, hunter
biden. but what's come out and what is coming out more and more every day, that this is really just the very top of the cake if you will. it's baked to the bottom with corruption. there were financial schemes being executed, political schemed that were being executed there. and all of it subverting the legitimate authority of the u.s. government. the cardinal sin of this administration is that the president has converted the public office of the presidency into an instrument of private self-enrichment and political advancement. that is precisely what the founders of the constitution warned us against. it's why we've got the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses in the constitution, why the president can't make any other money and he can't sell us out to foreign powers. but that's precisely what he's been doing on an almost daily basis. >> they didn't wait to give us the insulting three amigos.
they probably gave themselves that title, the master minds of the ukraine policy. >> this is a group -- the old phrase the gang that couldn't shoot straight. this is gang that doesn't even understand that they're setting themselves up for long-term mockery just by that name alone. but what's terrifying for trump, i think, is that he was so involved in the communications with all these people, if you're going to be the criminal master mind, you have cutouts, you have dead drops, ways you're not immediately touching the actual stinky part of the stick. well, donald trump is talking to someone, to all these guys and telling them here's what i want you to say and do. he's been out there on the transcript of the call that he says it in public over and over again. all these things, they prove that famous thing from watergate. these are not bright guys and it got out of control. they're not smart people. >> jonathan alter, mike pence and rudy giuliani both today refusing to comply with
subpoenas for documents from the house impeachment committees. yet we see yet another member of the state department currently employed by the state department showing up to testify, cracking that wall that the trump administration's trying to put up. >> and mike mckinley, former ambassador to brazil and afghanistan and a couple of other countries, who has been in a senior position in the state department, he has now resigned and is going to testify. so what you have here, lawrence, is what you could call a patriotic surge. so you remember steve bannon coined the phrase the deep state, right? it should be turned into a positive idea, the deep patriotic state. we're fortunate in this country that we have career foreign service officers whose allegiance is to the united states and the constitution, not to the person who happens to be president. and they have served -- mckinley
is going to testify, he's been in the state department since 1982. these are real professionals. they are very smart, capable people who've been trained and are experienced in looking out for the national interest. so there are now many whistle-blowers. one is three weeks old. this is about the patriotic state moving in a direction that is very good for the country. i'm actually encouraged tonight. are we out of the woods? no, there's a long way to go. there will be bad weeks for those who want to hold donald trump accountable between now and the way the story eventually unfolds. but the good guys are going to win because we have enough good guys in government right now. >> let's listen to what chairman adam schiff said about why the depositions are being held in a
closed-door atmosphere now. let's listen to this. >> we're doing these initial hearings in closed session and it makes a lot of sense to do that when you're conducting an investigation because i'm sure the white house would like nothing more than to be able to get their stories straight by hearing what these witnesses have to say. and there are good reasons not to let one witness know what another witness has said. >> congressman raskin, this process obviously has similar versions elsewhere in the judicial system for grand juries frequencies and trials in which witnesses are sequestered during the trial because they don't want the witnesses to hear each other so they can get their stories straight. but one of the flaws in that concept here is that presumably the republican members of your committees, many of them will relay as much as they possibly can, certainly to the trump
white house, about what's been said in these depositions. >> right. well, your first analogy, i think, is the most correct one, lawrence. in an impeachment process, according to the constitution, the house of representatives is acting like a prosecutor and the grand jury. in a way you could strew judiciary committee is the prosecutors who will bring before the full house acting as a grand jury, the evidence, and then the house will vote. at that point it's sent to the senate which will conduct a trial. i think a lot of our republican colleagues are falling into the fallacy of thinking of the house as conducting a trial. that's the point at which the due process protections will attach on both sides. meantime , what whaer doing is what grand juries do. . the benefit of specials appointed as with kenneth starr
in the nixon impeachment or archibald cox in the nixon impeachment, we don't have that here. mueller was very limited and circumsubscribed in time and scope to just the 2016 election. remember that started as a counterintelligence investigation, but there's nothing about ukraine there. so we're doing all of that factual assembly, we're starting it right now. this is beginning of it, and we really don't have time for all of the kind of theatrics when we were doing the mueller investigation. we have to get right down to business so we're being very sober, very methodical and very serious about it. we know that our colleagues would like to recreate the kind of circus atmosphere you saw with the lewandowski hearing, which was probably the lowest moment in the whole impeachment process that was taking place in the judiciary committee.
but this is solemn, it's behind closed doors. the republicans have tried to crash it. matt gates showed up and said he wanted to be there, he delayed he can't by 45 minutes or an hour. we expect future antics and provocations by them, but chairman schiff is running a very serious and sober process. we're getting all the evidence we need and we're going to get that evidence and we're going to be able to make serious recommendations to the judiciary committee. >> just briefly, congressman, before we go to a break here, other than matt gates and that kind of theatrical he was doing in the cameras in the hallway, the members, the republican members of the committee and the republican staff members of the committee who were there, are they doing those kinds of theoretical slowdowns if this was a public. >> event we're getting die
transcrib tribes. we have this parade of extremely capable, competent, patriotic government cervantes, public servants who have spent decades in fact the government to advance the public interest. and the juxtaposition is so striking that it has shamed kreegz and they are acting increasingly sheepish as the hearings go along. these are people standing up for the constitution, standing up for the government of the united states against these constant efforts to rip off the government, to undermine american democracy, and to shake down foreign allies. it's a very sordid tale being revealed here. when it's done, there are going to be people who live in infamy because of what they've done. and people are going to live
their lives in a respectable and honorable way and they will be quiet american heroes. >> congressman, you're making me feel sorry for rick wilson that he can't watch the republicans on those committees being shamed and embarrassed and sheepish. we're just going to have to wait for the -- >> it's coming. i bet you there will be some public -- >> we'll be there. >> we're going to have to leave it there. congressman jamie raskin, jonathan alter, and rick wilson, thank you for starting us off. when we come back, it appears the southern district of new york is closing in on rudy giuliani. giuliani used to be the boss of the u.s. attorneys office in the southern district of new york. there is news tonight that former republican congressman pete sessions is cooperating with prosecutors in a subpoena that rudy giuliani is the primary focus of. that's next. bioenergy think so. together we'll reduce emissions and landfill waste by turning garbage into jet fuel.
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"the wall street journal" is reporting tonight that former republican congressman pete sessions has been subpoenaed for documents related to rudy giuliani's business dealings with ukraine and his involvement in efforts to oust the u.s. ambassador in kiev as well as any interactions between mr. sessions, mr. giuliani, and four of mr. giuliani's associates who were indicted last week on campaign finance and conspiracy accounts. mr. giuliani is the primary focus of the subpoena. today rudy giuliani defied a
congressional subpoena for documents related to his dealings with ukraine. rudy giuliani told abc news if they enforce it, then we will see what happens. an official working on the impeachment inquiry told nbc news that house democrats will be forced to consider rudy giuliani's refusal to comply with the subpoena as additional evidence of obstruction and may infer that the evidence withheld without substantiate the accusations of mr. trump's conduct and efforts to cover it up. rudy giuliani confirmed that he is now operating without his own personal criminal defense lawyer at a time when he is now under federal criminal investigation in "new york times." today multireports reveal giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult for a ukrainian company cofounded by lev par nas, one of the giuliani associates who was arrested last week. the timing indicates that rudy
giuliani earned this money around the same time that he began working closely with lev par nas and another indicted associate, igor trueman to investigate joe biden and his family. joining us now is barbara mcquade, former u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. both are msnbc legal analysts. barrett, as a veteran of the southern district of new york, i want to get your reaction to the irony and the substance of rudy giuliani now apparently being under criminal investigation by the southern district, a u.s. attorneys office he used to run. >> yeah, i mean, it's pretty startling to say the least. i think what you'll see throughout the southern district of new york's investigation is an investigation that will proceed in many ways very differently than the congressional investigation. first, just because somebody
doesn't want to comply with the subpoena, they can't just voluntarily choose not to when that subpoena has the possibility of contempt of court behind it. the southern district of new york is not going to look favorably on people that decide to put forward baseless arrangements or just not show up for a grand jury subpoena. so i think you'll see a lot more cooperation with the investigation, but certainly the fact that the southern district of new york has now turned its sights on rudy giuliani is significant, and he should be worried. >> barbara, it seems rudy giuliani is now doing for himself what he has been doing in the past for donald trump, which is he's admitting to and revealing facts that he knows are going to come out eventually, like the $500,000. he knows eventually certainly any federal government subpoenas for his financial records are going to be enforced very quickly, and that information is going to come out. >> yeah, that is a strategy that
prosecutors typically use. i'm sure giuliani recalls the strategy from his time as a federal prosecutor. if there are bad facts that are going to come out, you want to be the one to disclose them so you can say it's no big deal as opposed to playing defense. that's if you are fairly certain that those details are going to come out. but this reporting that rudy giuliani is now representing himself, he doesn't have a lawyer, and he's thinking about reminds me of the adage of he who represents himself as a fool for a client. one of the things rudy giuliani would hear if head lawyer is he should shut the hell up. >> yeah, that seems to be the hardest thing for me to do. barrett, it's one of the things that is so strange about him, that any professional lawyer who's ever been near a courtroom knows this, knows the value of silence, especially knows the value of silence in relation to ongoing investigations.
rudy giuliani seems to have lost all comprehension of that. who knows what else he no longer understands? >> this may actually backfire on him in a number of different ways. i mean, one of the arguments put forth in this letter to congress about why her office not going to comply with their subpoena is because he said there may be some attorney/client privilege issues that he would have. by continuing to speak publicly about this very subject of the subpoena, he in many ways is rejecting claims to a privilege. the more you talk publicly about what is confidential conversation, you've waived the privilege. while it is great for congress and possibly for the southern district of new york that he continues to speak publicly, they're sort of gathering that evidence from his very mouth, it may backfire on him in the long run. >> let's listen to what congressman mike quigley said about rudy giuliani's role in what they're investigating.
>> rudy combines it all. it's shadow government and bad foreign policy. a man with little or no expertise, no security clearance, working in the shadows and moving forward with national policy. what role is he playing? a personal attorney for the president operating under the state department? this leads to extraordinary mistakes u one that we're witnessing in plain view. >> barbara, we know rudy giuliani was involved in conversations with ambassador sondland, with the two guys who've been arrested. with so many people in this thing. and the attorney/client privilege does not extend to any communication that you have shared beyond just you and your client, and so rudy giuliani's ability to invoke attorney/client privilege is something he may have shattered himself in his own conversations with other people. >> yes. you know, i think we're seeing again and again with this administration and rudy giuliani tossing off these terms that are
familiar to people like due process and hearsay and attorney/client privilege without really delving into exactly what that means. attorney/client privilege exactly has a pretty narrow definition. it is communications between a lawyer and a client for the purpose of seeking legal advice. and so anything that you say is not necessarily protected, and when giuliani is acting as an agent but not a lawyer for president trump, that activity is not protected by the attorney/client privilege. as you said, lawrence, conversations you have with other people waives the privilege, and so i think it's going to be difficult for giuliani to hide behind this defense of the attorney/client privilege. >> barbara mcquade, berit berger, thank you very much for joining us tonight. appreciate it. thank you. when we come back, former nsa inspector general joel brenner will join us to discuss the trump republican attacks on the whistle-blower. managing lipids
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for donald trump it's all about attacking individuals when he cannot defend himself because he has no evidence to defend himself with. and so yesterday he tweeted we must determine the whistle-blower's identity to determine why this was done to the usa. today republican congressman jim jordan joined in with this. >> you don't think the american people have a right to know the individual who started this process to try to remove the president of the united states 13 months before an election? you don't think the american people have a right to know that? >> you think he has no right to
anonymity. >> joining us, joel brenner who served as inspector general of the national security agency under president bush. he was head of u.s. intelligence from 2006 to 2009, senior research foal at mit center for international studies. thank you very much for joining us tonight. i want your reaction to what the president said about the whistle-blower. >> well, it gets curiouser and curiouser, lawrence. jim jordan, trying to think of a nice way to say this. the statute is very clear. it says the inspector general shall not disclose the identity of the whistle-blower. there are only a couple of instances under the statute, under the law, that the congress passed that would provide an exception. one is if the ig himself determines that in the course of the investigation there's no way
to prevent its coming out, but the ig didn't do that. quite the contrary. the other is in case of a criminal referral. but the justice department passed on that criminal referral. the answer to mr. jordan's statement is "no," the american people doesn't have a right to know because the congress of the united states of which mr. jordan is a part, has decided that the complainer, the whistle-blower, should be protected by having his identity kept secret. and one wonders what in the world mr. jordan has in mind to give the man a three-year detail by the executive protection service at taxpayer expense? you've got to remember, lawrence, that the president has practically put out a contract on this man. he said in effect, will no one
rid me of this troublesome whistle-blower? we should treat him like a trafrmt we know what that means, so protecting him, you know, this is very strange behavior. >> what is the value with this point, if any, of testimony from the whistle-blower since all the whistle-blower was doing was saying there was a problematic phone call that should be looked at. we've now looked at the phone call. the rough transcript has been released. isn't the transcript of much more value than anything the whistle-blower has reported? >> absolutely true. at virtually every material statement that the whistle-blower made has been born out by direct proof at this point. so the whistle-blower and his identity, his or her identity are really sort of -- don't much matter anymore. he's started something and we've got the proof. when he or she first made these allegations, people were demanding the proof.
well, now we have the direct proof of it, and so in the face of the evidence, the administration is basically wanting to attack the whistle-blower's motives and move the discussion away from what the president and his people actually did and try to turn this into a political question, well, this man must have been against us. saying, by the way, against the government, he's done something against the country, that's not true. the whistle-blower has done exactly what the congress provided that people in his or her position should do, and the ig has protected that identity. that's the way the law is supposed to work. >> what do these attacks from president trump from, congressman jordan and others, what does that mean for possible whistle-blowers elsewhere in the government? there could be a whistle-blower tonight in the agriculture department who knows something of import or the congress department who's looking at this
saying, well, i can't be sure that i would be able to maintain, you know, my secrecy as a whistle-blower in this government? >> people in that position are going to have to think twice, but depending on how this one comes out -- i mean, people should remember that the reason that this statute was passed, that you have inspectors general who can protect whistle-blowers is so that complaints about behavior that looks unlawful can be elevated without leaking it in public, because often this kind of behavior might involve classified information. when you close down the protection of the ig act in a case like this, you make leaking more likely. that's exactly the opposite of what we want to happen. we need a way so that people with access to classified or sensitive information can raise these concerns without
immediately going public about it. >> thank you so much for joining us again tonight. really appreciate it. >> glad to be with you. when we come back, rick wilson and jonathan alter will rejoin us to discuss those embarrassed and sheepish republicans we just heard about in those closed-door depositions that congress is conducting this week.
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senate majority leader mitch mcconnell had to say after a two-week recess. >> house democrats are finally indulging in their three-year impeachment obsession, full steam ahead. >> pulitzer prize "washington post" conservative columnist george f. will who left the republican party wrote this n. 13 months all congressional republicans who have not defended congress by exercising the constitutional rights of the place should be defeated. if congressional republicans continue their general flexions, the outcome will be a republican thrashing so severe, losing the house, the senate and the electoral votes of, say, georgia, arizona, and texas, that even this property of slow-learning careerists might notice the hazards of the earth earthquake their careers to
downward spiraling scoff law. rick and jonathan, i know anyone who knows george will knows what it takes to push him to that point, especially for republicans to have pushed him to that point. rick, go ahead. >> it's like, you know, don't make george will angry. lawrence, the point you highlighted in that quote from george, this is a party that has to learn a hard, sharp lesson. it is not going to learn unless there's pain involved at this point. it needs a sharp smack. >> jonathan, what george will is saying, he doesn't think they're going to learn it if they lose a close one. if they were to lose a close presidential election or if they were to lose the senate, you know, by one seat or something like that, he thinks they have to get wiped out. >> and this is one of the arguments for a moderate, not to say that i necessarily embrace
it, but it is a good argument for a more moderate candidate so that you can carry some of those republican states and deliver a whooping. now, there are other things in this george will column, it's a fantastic column, by the way, that are very interesting. he is not yet for impeachment over the ukraine business, a shakedown you should call it. but he is for impeachment over the ridiculously unconstitutional withholding of all documents from congress. and he thinks that the president should be impeached for that. so it's pretty astonishing when george will, who was a close friend of ronald reagan and really defined what it meant to be a republican commentator in this country for 30 years, when he is for impeaching a republican president, and he explains it brilliantly in this
column. the other thing to understand about will that she is an institutionalist. he conveys in this piece -- and it's important for everybody to understand, it's not just democrats who are under assault from trump and the press. our very institutions of government are at risk here, and any true conservative recognizes that. the only people people who support trump are fake conservatives. you can't actually be a conservative and support trump. you're a complete sellout if you do. >> i want to focus on one more point in george will's column. this is the linkage of what's happening for it kurds with impeachment. he says because frivolousness and stupidity are neither high crimes nor midsdemeanors, it is not an impeachable offense. it should, however, color the
impeachment debate because it coincides with his extraordinary impeachment challenge to congress' constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive branch. rick, that's the link george will sees. >> i think george is correct on that. and i do not think that question of being an institutionalist and respecting the constitutionally mandated powers of each of the bodies is one thing that trumpism has diverted itself from conservatism on very sharply. these are people who think the executive power is the only thing that matters, the defiance of everything having to do with congress' explicitly defined constitutional roles and rights is a joke now. and i don't think that's conservative. i think that's sort of crazy authoritarian statism, and i think george is correct to sort of point that out. and the link back to the sort of capricious action to abandon our allies and order our troops to
cut and run, it certainly speaks to his judgment in the overly temperament of the man in question. >> we're going to squeeze in a break here. kboecwhen we come back, the one number, a very big number in that poll, very big problem for donald trump. we'll be right back. cologuard: colon cancer screening for people 50 and older at average risk. i've heard a lot of excuses to avoid screening for colon cancer. i'm not worried. it doesn't run in my family. i can do it next year. no rush. cologuard is the noninvasive option that finds 92% of colon cancers. you just get the kit in the mail, go to the bathroom, collect your sample, then ship it to the lab. there's no excuse for waiting. get screened. ask your doctor if cologuard is right for you. covered by medicare and most major insurers.
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in the house. should the trump administration cooperate with the impeachment inquiry? 63% say cooperate. the trump 37% say not cooperate. rick wilson, that is i think one of the most troubling numbers yet about impeachment for the trump administration. the way they're playing it is not working with voters. >> lawrence, what it means, two-thirds of the american populace looks at this investigation as fundamentally having a legitimate purpose. donald trump wants to pretend hand wave it away or it's deep state or biased government bureaucrats, but the american people want to know the truth. they want to know what this administration did. this is a lot simpler than the mueller investigation. they've seen the a to b transactional nature of it, and they want to get to truth. and they want congress to do it, and they want them to do their
jobs. when you decide two-thirds of the american people on this, you're in peril, i think. >> jonathan, the only thing we've seen happen in impeachment polling is that the numbers keep going higher and higher against the president. so it's two-thirds now. it could go up from there. >> it could. and, you know, i think the way the american public is reacting is if they don't have anything to hide, why don't they turn over documents and witnesses? so it's sort of the equivalent of pleading the fifth, and they recognize that's what the president is doing. he's on the one hand saying his call was perfect, which everybody knows is ludicrous, but then he is not letting people come forward to tell the story. and it's understandable why the average person who is not paying close attention would react badly to that. what i'm looking forward to are the next set of approval rating polling, because i would suspect there is no indication of it yet, but i would strongly suspect they will see at least
some polls that show donald trump in the 30s in his approval rating. that's very dangerous territory for an incumbent president seeking reelection. and it raises the question of even if he is acquitted by the senate, he might not be the republican nominee, just because it looks that way right now. a lot can change between now and that republican convention in charlotte next summer. >> all right. we have to squeeze in a final break here. when we come back, we're going consider those embarrassed and shamed republicans that congressman jamie raskin was telling us about earlier in this hour. we'll be right back. ight back. . so many great stories from amazing people. makes me wanna be better. to connect with stories that i'm listening to- that's inspiration. with audible originals, there's something for almost every taste in there. everything you ever wanted to hear. our ability to empathize through these stories can be transformational. it's my own thing that i can do for me. download audible and start listening today.
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this is what congressman jamie raskin told us earlier tonight about republican members of congress in those closed door depositions in the impeachment investigation. >> we have this parade of extremely capable, competent, patriotic government servants, public servants who have spent decades working in the government and working to advance the public interest. and the juxtaposition is so striking between them and the kinds of people that we're talking about in the trump administration that i think it has somewhat shamed and embarrassed our colleagues and they're acting increasingly sheepish as these hearings go along. >> rick wilson, shamed and embarrassed and sheepish. i'm so sorry you can't watch that.
>> you know, lawrence, there is a certain degree to which the long-running double standard republicans have wanted to exercise which is to wink and nod in private and go i can't stand the guy, he is an idiot, he's a criminal, he is destroying everything. and then in public put on the red hat and go out and scream maga at the top of their lungs. that's coming to an end. you can't have that delta anymore, especially as more and more witnesses come out, especially as trump's own behavior and public statements come out and continue to drive home the clear impression that the guy is both corruption and off his rocker. >> and jonathan, this also means that those republican members cannot engage in their usual game of trying to attack the witness and attack the motivations of the witness. >> right. it makes it much harder to do that. they can't change the subject to, you know, fusion gps or the
pp tape. >> george soros. >> george soros. they'll try, and matt gaetz and some of these other clowns will try, but i think instead they're moving toward what seems to be a scapegoat strategy. so they're going to pick some scapegoat, it could be giuliani, and pile on that person, and see if that person can take some of the heat off of the president. i don't think that's going to work for them, but you can get they'll try something like that. they're not going to just abandon the president en masse. they're going to have certain other kind of short-term approaches to get by with their constituents. but they're all failing a character test. right now mitt romney and a couple of others are passing it. some people called it the grandchildren test. what do you tell your grandchildren years from now about where you stood at this time in american history. and you just sort of wonder why
some republicans can't take a broader view of this and recognize that they're probably not going to lose, you know. if they criticize trump, as they are on turkey and the kurds, they're not going to lose. this is -- he's traumatized them and infantlized them. and they think their fate is tied to him in ways that it's probably not. >> rick, with the polling that we're seeing on the white house should cooperate, two-thirds saying that, like jonathan says, it doesn't seem like a big political risk now for republican members of congress to drop their, you know, their cheerleader costumes for donald trump. >> you know, the thought of seeing some of these guys in cheerleader costumes, lawrence, is going to leave me with nightmares for weeks to come. i don't want to see matt gaetz in a pleated skirt. i just don't. but there is a certain degree to which these guys are going to end up having to make a decision.
do you want to get the political backlash that hits donald trump over and over again because of his actions or at some point, do you want to try to make the case to your voters in your state or your district that you're there for them, that you're there for -- you're there for the values of your state and the needs of your state or the needs of your district? but right now they've all defined themselves as donald trump's acolytes. and donald trump's water carriers, and i think the more difficult his circumstances are, the more a few will break away, but the early birds are going to get the benefit from this more than the guys who wait until the last minute when the building's on fire. >> rick wilson gets tonight's last word. rick, jonathan, thank you both for joining us. that is tonight's last word. msnbc's coverage of tonight's democratic debate starts right now. ♪ well,