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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  October 1, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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reinvestigate hillary's e-mails. and they're doing that right now. but i'm delighted to say she will be with us in studio tomorrow night. i'm really looking forward to that. as i mentioned also i'll be a guest on the late show to her being live in the studio tomorrow night. i'll be a guest on steven colbert tonight. then because who needs to sleep, i'll be on the "today" show at 8:30 eastern. but that hillary clinton interview tomorrow night would be keeping me up overnight anyway in terms of prepping for it. it's been a big day. thanks so much. thanks for being so nice about the launch of my book. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> your book launches today, and right after midnight last night, i got the audio book and just pouring into my phone. >> you are very kind. i'm going to reimburse you for these things. i feel like i should reimburse you for this. >> it is so great and the audio book really moves like a great movie. and i know that's you and scott
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shirat, your director of this great audio book. it's a separate experience. i'm advocating people get both. >> did you get to the point in the book yet where there's the cameo appearance by pussy riot? >> yeah. >> we had to move heaven and earth to make that happen. before we go, this breaking news of your hour, the letter from the three chairman in the house to secretary pompeo, this battle is truly engaged. >> in terms of -- this is in response to pompeo saying he doesn't want to let these -- >> yeah, the three chairmen saying you absolutely have no right to block any of this testimony, and you don't have any right to have state department lawyers in the room during these depositions, and oh, by the way, you used those rules yourself when you were a member of the house of representatives in that little benghazi investigation that you were so obsessed with. >> wow.
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>> and so this is now just as hard-hitting a battle as i've ever seen in situations like this. >> well, and, you know, it has been one thing, and i think it's been a frustration for democrats in the house to be trying to get testimony from witnesses who don't want to testify and don't want to be in the middle of this, and are trump loyalists and are kicking and screaming being dragged in there and they don't want to do it. that may not be the case for all the witnesses in the trump and what happened in the ukraine. for the trump administration to be pulling rabbits out of their hats trying to block witnesses who are part of an impeachment proceeding now, when those witnesses may not be the kind of trump loyalists who will go along with whatever the gaems are, i don't think it's going to end well for them. the state department implicated itself for the president's call for which he is being impeached, he's not in a strong position. >> that's exactly what the
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chairman is saying tonight. their letter was to the deputy secretary of state because they're saying mike pompeo can't even be in the dialogue about this. he's a witness. he can't be in the dialogue. >> it's a fair opinion. when bill barr realized that the call in question for which the president's going to be impeached involved the president routinely mentioning him, repeatedly mentioning him as part of the scheme for which he's going to be impeached, bill barr should have recused and taken himself out of it because he's implicated in it. it's the same thing with mike pompeo, and i think ultimately those norms will be ratified here, and i don't think it's going to i understand well for barr or pompeo. they don't have the same kind of immunity from liability that the president does by virtue of the oval office. >> they might have a new justice department with a new attorney general appointed by a democratic party looking into what they've been up to right now. >> attorneys general have been indicted in the past, and attorney general john mitchell
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went to prison for having done stuff for richard nixon that he knew better than to do himself. these guys saying they'll do anything for the president isn't necessarily going to help themselves even if it does help the president in the long run. >> rachel get some rest. "today show" tomorrow morning. we'll be watching. we will begin tonight with the state department's inspector general's urgent request tonight to brief house and senate committees about documents related to the state department and the ukraine. the inspector general wants to brief several committees including the senate intelligence committee. we'll be joined by senator kamala harris who is now a candidate for president of the united states. she serves in the senate judiciary committee chuck grassley who picked sides and it
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will surprise you whose side senator grassley is on. it is not so surprising. we will consider why donald trump has not yet attacked chuck grassley for chuck grassley's very strong defense today of the whistleblower. and at the end of the hour, we will be joined by american journalism's highest authority on impeachment. elizabeth drew is now covering her third impeachment proceeding of the president of the united states. she is a washington congresswoman for the new yorker. elizabeth drew wrote the book about that process which remains the highest standard in impeachment reporting. washington journal reporting watergate and richard nixon's downfall. elizabeth's drew's reporting has always been mandatory reading for me, and i can assure you her op-ed speech in the "new york
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times" has been treated as mandatory reading by the staff of all the house committees involved in the impeachment process and all of the members of those committees. when elizabeth true talks about impeachment, i for one listen, take notes and i learn, and i will be doing that at the end of this hour when we are joined by the voice of experience on impeachment, elizabeth drew. the breaking news of the hour is a letter signed by three house committee chairmen to the deputy secretary of state responding to a letter earlier in the day by secretary of state mike pompeo in which secretary pompeo attempted to block testimony from current and former state department officials. the letter tonight says, dear mr. deputy secretary, we are responding to a letter sent earlier today by secretary of state mike pompeo attempting to block testimony from current and former state department officials sought by our committees for depositions as part of the house of representatives impeachment inquiry. we are writing to you because secretary pompeo now appears to have an obvious conflict of interest.
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he reportedly participated personally in the july 25th, 2019 call in which the president pressed the ukraine president. secretary pompeo should not be making any decisions regarding witness testimony or document production in order to protect himself or the president. any effort by the secretary or the department to intimidate or prevent witnesses from testifying or withhold documents from the committees shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry given the secretary's own potential role and other state department officials being involved in or phage had able of the events under investigation. the committees may infer that he is trying to cover up illicit activity and misconduct including by the president. this would be awe blatant cover up and clear abuse of power. that letter to the deputy
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secretary of state tonight follows a report by nbc news tonight that the inspector general of the state department has made an urgent request to brief several congressional committees tomorrow about documents related to the state department and ukraine according to multiple congressional sources. the request from the state department's inspector general comes on the same day that the head of the state department, secretary of state mike pompeo, sent a letter to the house foreign affairs committee saying that he will not voluntarily make available five current and former department officials for depositions by the committee. one of the witness that is the house democrats want to hear from has already agreed to appear for a deposition on thursday, kurt volker resigned from the state department last week and therefore is no longer under mike pompeo's control. the pompeo letter does highlight one point that might be part of the discussion that the state
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department wants to have with the committees. the pompeo letter says the invitations the committees sent to the five department officials include requests that each of them personally produce a vast amount of documents. these requests appear to duplicate the subpoena that was previous served on the secretary of state. the requested records are the property of the secretary of state and are subject to disclosure of information and various executive branch privileges. the pompeo letter went on to say that the committee is asking the witnesses to, quote, produce materials that are not theirs to produce. the inspector general of the department is steve lentic who was appointed to position in 2013. the inspector general would like to meet with the staff of the house intelligence committee, the senate intelligence committee, the house foreign affairs committee, the senate foreign relations committee as well as the house oversight committee, the senate appropriations committee.
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this is an extraordinary request. it includes democratic staff and republican staff. this is a request the likes that i for one have never seen or been a party to. and fortunately tonight we are joined by guests who have much more experience than i do in state department matters and intelligence committee matters. we will be joined later in the hour by a member of the senate intelligence committee senator kamala harris, secretary's pompeo blocking the testimony complained that state department lawyers should be allowed to attend any depositions by congress of state department employees. but tonight's letter from the three house chairmen to the deputy says the same rule has been in place for more than a decade under both republican and democratic chairman on the committee and it was in place during secretary pompeo's tenure on the benghazi committee. witnesses may be accompanied at a deposition by personal
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non-governmental counsel to advise them of their rights, only members committee staff designated by the chair or ranking minority member, an official reporter. the witness and the witnesses counsel are permitted to attend. observers are counsel for other persons including counsel for government agencies may not attend. the chairman's letter to the deputy secretary of state says the rule is intended for exactly these types of circumstances to prevent an agency head with an obvious conflict of interest and who was directly implicated in the abuses we are currently investigating from trying to prevent his own employees from coming forward to tell the truth to congress. the three chairman, adam schiff, ellen engel, and elijah cummings tell the deputy secretary of state it is a criminal violation p punishable by fine or prison time influence or obstruct or
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impede or endeavor to do so the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either house or any committee of either house. and we begin our discussion of all of this with someone who would be in that meeting with the inspector general tomorrow if she still had her old job at the house intelligence committee. she's now vice president of the national security program at third way. also joining us is former deputy assistance of secretary of defense of the obama administration. she's an msnbc national security analyst. and claire mccaskill of missouri. she was the ranking member of the homeland security committee. senator mccaskill is now an msnbc political analyst. senator, let me start with you. the request by the inspector
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general is to meet with the committee staff. the fact that they are on recess means that most members are not in washington. this is a request to meet with the republican staff, the democratic staff of all of these committees. house and senate combined. it's maybe the largest collection of committee staff that will ever be gathered in one room at one time. what is your reading of this situation tonight with the state department? >> well, i think it's really interesting. first of all, steve lentic, let me give you context. he's a former doj prosecutor, spent a lot of time in fraud and corruption trials which are paper intensive trials. those are the kinds of cases that are built on documents. and so he understands the importance of documents. the fact that he is bringing documents, that means that something is in those documents that he thinks is really important that the people who are doing this impeachment
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inquiry see immediately. so, it will be very interesting to see what we find out tomorrow. but this is very unusual for an inspector general to do this. i worked with a lot of inspectors general. i did a lot of legislation. ironically with chuck grassley on whistleblowers and inspectors general. for an inspector general to step up like this -- because typically they want to go through protocols and procedures -- means something big is up. >> you would be in the room tomorrow if you had your old job. let's start with what this isn't. this is the inspector general who's asking for this meeting. so, this would not be a follow up, in effect, to secretary pompeo's letter in which secretary pompeo is raising questions about the classification of some of these documents and the availability of some of these documents. if that's what the state department was concerned about, it would have been counsel to the secretary or somebody in the
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secretary's chain of command. because it's coming from the inspector general, what does that say to you? >> what that says to me is this is different than the document request that went forward from the members of the committee earlier to pompeo where they listed out witnesses and said we need to talk to these people about what secretary pompeo heard on the call with the president, with the president of ukraine. now, there are so many things that have been happening inside the statement department. it's sort of hard to predict what exactly this inspector general is bringing forward here. is it about the subversion of the regular policy-making process? is this about some attempt to intimidate? is there another whistleblower inside the state department? but what's very clear is this inspector general is taking his independence very seriously, and he's bringing forward things that we may not have heard of before into this conversation. >> and evelyn, this inspector general to fill out his bio that senator mccaskill began, he was
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appointed by president obama, so that will provoke trump world into thinking oh, he's biased. he is the inspector general who supervised the report on hillary clinton's email that actually was highly critical of hillary clinton's use of email at the state department, said that she in fact did not comply with the federal records act, found that violation very, very clearly in his report about her email. so, that's the last big moment that we heard from this inspector general in 2016. >> right. and lawrence, i think it's interesting because whatever he's bringing forward, i think it's not only different but it probably pertains to the secretary of state if not the president himself. why do i say this? because i don't know if this is news or not, but the department of defense is also doing -- i understand that there's an ig investigation occurring also at dod and they're looking at what happened with regard to the freezing of the ukrainian funds,
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how did the department respond, the background to that. that inspector general hasn't taken it upon himself or herself to rush over urgently to the hill. so, again, this seems like a counter move to that pompeo letter where secretary pompeo said i'm not letting my personnel basically go and speak to the independent branch of government that has the right to talk to them. and if they go, they have to go with state department minders to intimidate them into maybe not telling congress as much as they know. so, it seems to me that this ig meeting is now the countermove from the state department, from state department experts and seen yor personnel. >> yeah. let's all keep in mind the sequence today of the big events involving the state department. there was the pompeo letter to the foreign affairs committee in the house saying we'll not make these witnesses or documents available. then after that and only after that came the inspector
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general's urgent request. and then that other letter that i was reporting on from the three chairmen, that came much later tonight after the inspector general. so, the inspector general was coming into this story after the pompeo letter denying the access to the witnesses and the documents. let's take a look at mike pompeo's compromised position in this story involving the phone call with the president of ukraine. let's listen to what he said last week when he was asked about a phone call that no one knew then mike pompeo actually listened in on. and we now know mike pompeo listened in on. let's listen to how he reacted to comments about that last week. >> so, you just gave me a report about a whistleblower complaint, none of which i've seen. so, i haven't had a chance to actually read the whistleblower complaint yet. i read the first couple of paragraphs and then got busy
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today. but i'll ultimately get a chance to see it. if i understand it right, it's from someone who had second-hand knowledge. >> so, now you know what mike pompeo looks like when he's not telling the truth. let's listen to what he had to say today in italy when he was asked about this. >> mr. secretary, do you have any comment on reports you're on the july 25th call with president zelenski? >> senator mccaskill, the new technique for mike pompeo when he's asked about this is turn and walk in the other direction. >> yeah, and his boss is not going to be happy about that. clearly mike pompeo is beginning to look after mike pompeo instead of donald trump. he is thinking about his future because if he was doing what trump wants him to do, he should have wheeled on the camera and said it was a perfect call, i heard it. he didn't do that. he is being careful. he was lying by omission, by not
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admitting at that moment to martha rad its that he was on the call. and today he is once again stone walling and stiffing the constitutional requirement that he cooperate and provide transparent information in an impeachment inquiry. >> mika, take us inside that room tomorrow when the inspector general's going to be meeting -- first of all, this meeting is as unprecedented to you as it is to me, right? you've never seen anything like this? >> i've never seen anything like this, but we've never had a president who was so clearly at the center of a misconduct allegation like this. we've never seen this before. >> what can you imagine the inspector general from state is bringing that is of interest to all of these different committees? his normal relationship would be only to the foreign affairs commit tea. >> it's very clear all of these committees are involved in the impeachment committee, that it was a complaint that came from an intelligence whistleblower, and the president holding up the
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aid to the ukraine as a way of digging up and manufacturing a story on his most feared rival. what we could see from this inspector general is additional corroborating evidence about the process by which the aid was held up. state department plays an important role in the distribution of foreign military aid. it could be about the ways in which pompeo is trying to hold back these witnesses. there are any number of things where the inspector general may have the goods on the inside mash nations of the trump administration. >> and evelyn, we've seen on the first -- the intelligence community's inspector general filing that whistleblower report with the house committee. we saw that process. it was paper. it was just he very -- inspector general carefully wrote basically a cover letter to a carefully-written whistleblower report and passed the paper along. that inspector general didn't
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jump in the car and race over to the house intelligence committee. this is an inspector general saying i need to come in and see you right away. there's a -- there's no time to handle this on paper apparently. >> well, that's interesting, lawrence, because it may mean that this inspector general has more paper. and i think senator mccaskill also alluded to this earlier. the whistleblower probably saw a lot of paper and a lot of paper was described in great detail to the whistleblower. so, the whistleblower knew exactly what he or she was writing about. but it seems it's possible that this state department ig has documents that he is afraid maybe will get destroyed or spirited away or something of that nature and that's why this is urgent because remember in another context, i mean we're having all these fights going on in the courts. i can't even keep track of them.
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rachel keeps really good track of them. you do. but one of these fights has to do with the state department holding on to -- and the government -- holding on to critical information pertaining to this impeachment. so, he may be worried that secretary pompeo or someone else might somehow demand that he turn over important documents. >> senator mccaskill, i've been sitting here the last couple of weeks thinking when did donald trump first hear the words inspector general. you know it's something he did not know existed in the government until he had been in there for a while. and here it is. it is coming down to the inspectors general. >> yeah. in fact, at the beginning of his administration, there was a little kerfuffle about some of the people in transition trying to get rid of all the inspoectos general to get their people in and guess who raised his said and said no, no, you can't do that. none other than chuck grassley.
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>> he's been strong on whistleblower issues. thank you all for starting us off on this important night. really appreciate it, thank you. with each passing day, more questions need to be asked of secretary of state mike pompeo and attorney general william barr. what did they know, and when did they know it? one of senators hoping to ask some of those questions is senator kamala harris who's a member of the senate intelligence committee and the senate judiciary committee. she asked attorney general barr one of most important questions he's ever been asked under oath. senator harris joins us next. er. senator harris joins us next e pn that keeps you up again, and again. advil pm silences pain, and you sleep the whole night. advil pm but it's not really something yoyou want to buy.. it's not sexy... oh delicious. or delicious...
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last week senator kamala harris of california sent a letter to the state department inspector general, steve linick, demanding that he investigate whether state department officials worked with rudy giuliani, quote, in violation of restrictions on engaging in partisan political activity. nbc news is reporting that inspector general steve linick made an urgent request tonight to brief several house senate committees tomorrow about documents related to the state department and ukraine. and joining us now is democratic presidential candidate senator kamala harris of california. she's a member of the senate intelligence committee and senate judiciary committee. senator harris, i have to ask you, is it possible that your letter to the inspector general
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is what triggered some kind of inquiry by him that has him rushing to congress tomorrow for a closed door briefing? >> i'm sure it's possible, lawrence, but as claire mccaskill said earlier, the inspectors general who have been carryovers from a previous administration i think know that fundamentally their duty is to ensure the integrity of the agencies that they serve. and on this issue, the state department and mike pompeo at the very head of it really have a lot of questions to answer about what they did to facilitate rudy giuliani's engagement with ukrainian officials and what resources and taxpayer dollars were used to facilitate basically the request of political favors from are a foreign head of government by donald trump. >> mike pompeo's letter today to the chairman in the house
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refusing to comply with their request to depose state department witnesses complained of bullying in their tactics because in their notices of the request for these depositions, they reminded the secretary of state what the law is and what they would interpret as obstruction of their activity. tonight in response to pompeo's refusal, those chairmen now have sent a letter to the deputy secretary of state reminding him that it is, as they put it, a criminal violation punishable by fine of up to five years in prison to buy threats or force or by any threatening letter or communication influence, obstruct, impede the due process exercise of their governmental powers. >> right. >> is it proper for them to be citing these criminal statutes when communicating with the
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state department about obtaining information? >> what we're talking about is the suppression of evidence. in an inquiry that is a legitimate and important inquiry about how the resources of this secretary of state and the state department have been used, and have they been used for the political benefit of this president and not in the best interest of america's national security. while we're talking about who is reminding who, i think congressman mike pompeo needs to remind secretary of state mike pompeo of what he argued when he had hillary clinton before the committee on benghazi. because it reeks of hypocrisy and of one standard in one situation and one that doesn't suit him, then all of a sudden he goes quiet and shuts down the process. so there is that, lawrence. but the bottom line is i'm very happy and excited that the i.g. has kicked in and is doing the job that he was designed to do as inspector general.
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and i think the inquiry is proceeding as it should in that regard, but secretary of state mike pompeo really has a lot of questions to answer, and frankly, i think that we all see that he is on the verge of obstructing justice if he is going to suppress evidence that may be very well evidence of a crime. >> william barr attorney general has more questions to answer too. >> yes. >> senator pompeo was in italy tonight a week after, it turns out, attorney general barr was secretly in italy which we've now discovered, and he was there once again apparently trying to help the president's reelection campaign. by trying to investigate and undermine the origins of what became the mueller investigation. you asked attorney general barr whether he's ever been asked to do investigations by the president or anyone in the white house. let's take a look at the way he handled that question.
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>> has the president or anyone at the white house ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? yes or no, please, sir. >> the president or anybody else. >> it seems you would remember something like that and would be able to tell us. >> yeah, but i'm trying to grapple with the word "suggest." there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open an investigation. >> perhaps they've suggested? >> i don't know. i wouldn't say suggest. >> hinted? >> i don't know. >> so for william barr, it all turns on the definition of the word "suggest." >> well, clearly for william barr, it all turns on the fact that he doesn't want to answer a direct question with a direct answer. and, you know, again, it just -- you know, not only in hindsight, at that very moment i think it became clear that he was not being forthright with the american people and the american
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congress -- and the congress of the united states of america. that's why i have called for him to come back and, under oath, testify an answer to that question yet again. that's why i called, lawrence, on the inspector general to find out how the inspector general was used in that matter. that's why i called have a letter that i've written to jack dorsey that donald trump should have his twitter account suspended because he's been abusing the terms of service and the terms of use. >> i want to ask you about a member of the senate judiciary committee, chuck grassley, a senator you know well, you worked with. >> yeah. >> he issued a written statement today entering -- taking his own position in the battle between donald trump and the whistleblower. and guess who's side he's on? he wrote the person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection law and ought to be heard out and protected. he said, no one should be making judgments or pronouncements
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without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts. uninformed speculation wielded by politicians is counterproductive. he said the distinctions being drawn between first and second-hand knowledge aren't legal ones. were you surprised that senator grassley took that position against donald trump on the whistleblower? >> i think with all credit to him that he, unlike so many others, has been willing on this matter to put country before party and has been willing to have the courage to stand up for what is right as opposed otto defending or coddling this president's bad behaviors. >> he was directly clearly attacking, disagreeing with the
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president there and the current chairman of judiciary lindsey graham. >> listen, if you've met chuck grassley, you'll know, when he puts his mind to something, he sticks to it. >> he certainly does. >> and on this one, i happen to agree with him that -- listen, we have to protect whistleblowers because in the design of our democracy is one of the most important methods by which there is transparency and disclosure of bad behaviors in government. and it therefore is an opportunity for us then as the american public to know what is happening in a way we can correct and hold accountable bad behaviors and abuses of government and abuses of taxpayer resources. so, good for chuck grassley on this one and i hope that more of my colleagues with recognize that this is really a matter about the integrity of our system of government and our democracy and should not be a partisan issue. we should all stand together saying that we have in common a
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desire to know there is integrity in these systems and in particular when it relates to our nation's security. >> please stay with us because i want to ask you about new reporting in the "new york times" tonight that president trump wanted to shoot immigrants at the southern boarder. when he was told that was against the law, he said he wanted to shoot them in the legs. he said he wanted to build a mote at the border. it's the wildest stuff we've heard about the border. i want to ask you about that after this break. please stay with us. >> i will. >> i will. if you build a truck tough enough to pull this much forward... you better make sure it's smart enough to back it all up. ♪ ♪
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tonight the "new york times" is reporting new details about ideas president trump has for the southern border. according to an excerpt from the new book "border wars" written by two "new york times" correspondents, privately, the president had often talked about fortifying the border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompt prompted aides to seek a cost estimate. he wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. his staff told him that was illegal, but later in a meeting, aides recalled he said they should shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. that's not allowed, either, they told him.
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senator kamala harris of california is back with us. senator, your reaction to this new reporting about the trump ideas for the border. >> i'm beyond words, to be honest with you, lawrence. it is outrageous. you know, we have -- we have a person occupying the white house right now that is not only lawless, not only probably the most unpatriotic president we've ever had, we have someone who is mean and mean-spirited and is confused about what is the real measure of strength and power. because if he were clear about it, he would understand that the true measure of strength and power is not based on who you beat down, it is based on who you lift up. but what you are telling me is that there is a report that basically has the president of the united states advocating what will be torture, mayhem of
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human beings when there is so many other tools available to address what we need to do to deal with immigration, which, by the way, is a passing comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway toward citizenship. i'm beyond words to describe how outrageous i think most americans would feel about what he advocated, and by the way, just like what we saw as the bipartisan reaction when people became aware of a policy that was about putting babies in cages and separating children from their parents in the name of border security, i believe that the american people will recognize that advocating for moats filled with snakes and alligators, that the american people would be outraged regardless of their party affiliation just knowing that's not reflective of the values of who we say we are.
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and it's just not reflective of what should be a modern president in america who values human rights. >> there is another passage in the reporting of these "new york times" reporters about the customs and border protection chief when the president said to him that he wanted him to stop letting migrants cross the border at all anywhere with no exceptions. if you get into trouble for it, mr. trump told him, i'll pardon you. now, does that qualify as a possible article of impeachment? >> well, listen, i mean, what he is basically saying is if you commit a crime, i got your back. so let's start with the fact that we have the president of the united states encouraging someone to break the law. again, further evidence of the fact that donald trump is lawless. as i've said before -- look, maya angelou told us that you should listen to people when they tell you who they are the first time. donald trump told us who he was when he was campaigning for office, when he said if i shoot someone on fifth avenue, i can get away with it.
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he told us then who he is, and all of this is evidence of the fact that we knew a long time ago. and so let the impeachment proceedings begin, and i have full faith in the ability of the united states congress, certainly in the house of representatives, to do the right thing. >> senator kamala harris, candidate for president of the united states, thank you very much for joining us tonight on this important news night. >> thank you, lawrence. thank you. take care. when we come back, what should the democrats do on impeachment? one article of impeachment quickly or multiple articles of impeachment? that is the biggest decision they are facing, both strategically and substantively in the house of representatives. that's next. nyquil severe gives you powerful relief
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the big question facing speaker nancy pelosi and house democrats is how many articles of impeachment? should they deliver one clear article of impeachment based on the rough transcript of the president's phone call showing him soliciting help in his re-election campaign from ukraine? that's what made the democrats in favor of impeachment. it is for the democrats at this point an open and shut case, and very few republicans are actually specifically defending what the president said on that phone call. that phone call has dramatically pushed up support for the impeachment investigation to solid majority support at 55%.
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but we've never seen the congress pursue only one article of impeachment. the house judiciary committee voted on multiple articles of impeachment against richard nixon and bill clinton. and the votes on those articles of impeachment were different. the vote totals were different on each count. some articles attracted more votes than others. so strategically, you might want to include three or four articles of impeachment so that a republican senator could vote against three articles of impeachment before voting for one article of impeachment. the article of impeachment about that phone call, for example. it only takes one successful article of impeachment to remove a president. elizabeth drew is now reporting on the third impeachment process of her distinguished career as a journalist in washington. in today's "new york times," she writes, house democratic leaders follow frustrated efforts to hold president trump to account, understandably want to strike quickly to impeach him on the grounds of one extremely serious issue, his pressuring the president of ukraine to get the goods on his democratic rival
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joe biden. but they're risking making their target too narrow and moving too fast. in so doing, they could end up implicitly bestowing approval on other presidential acts that amount to a long train of abuses of power and going too quickly could shut off the oxygen that might fuel republican acceptance that it's time to break with mr. trump. perhaps enough of them to end his presidency. elizabeth drew joins us next. no signal goes farther or is more reliable. get up to 50% off the new iphone, on a single line or a family plan. only at t-mobile. at outback, steak & oh no, it's phew, it's back with lobster mac & cheese. it's gone again. oh, it's back with shrimp now! steak & lobster starting at only $15.99. hurry in before these three are gone again. outback steakhouse.
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we should get this done before the end of the year for two reasons. one, so we can talk about all of our positive agenda, what we're doing on jobs, on infrastructure, and gun violence. and i want our nominee to be the face of the party in 2020. i don't want house democrats to be the face. i want them to run on a positive agenda. so we should wrap this up this year and then move on. >> congressman ro khanna. when i hear statements like that, i always wonder what does elizabeth drew think? no one in journalism knows more about impeachments of presidents than elizabeth drew and no one has covered impeachments more wisely than elizabeth drew. today in the "new york times" he she made the case for multiple articles of impeachment against president trump, and joining us now is elizabeth drew,
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journalist and author of the book "washington journal reporting watergate and nixon's downfall." thank you so much for joining us tonight. i'm going to have you make your case in a moment about the multiple articles but i want to start with somebody with you and that is the feel of where we are. you lived through 1973, 1974 in washington and felt the waves of the nixon investigation and when it started to feel more important. the same thing with the investigation of president bill clinton ultimately leading to his impeachment in the house of representatives and trial in the senate. what does it feel like now? where do you think we are? >> i think we're in a tizzy, lawrence. there are so many things flying around at the same time. with nixon it was clear what is issues were, are. with clinton it was all too clear. i mean, people talk about that that wasn't a popular impeachment or he did well afterwards because it really wasn't well grounded. these weren't really reasons to
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throw him out of the presidency. so, it wasn't -- it just wasn't serious enough. impeachment is very serious. so, we've gotten too used to the term. but in watergate we didn't have cable, we didn't have internet. if it was kind of walden pond compared to now. each day, you know, each hour something is breaking. it's almost so confusing that we can't focus. it's very important to focus on what's really going on here. >> you know, i've been listening to the debate of should there be one article of impeachment well-written, quickly-pursued, should there be multiple. i started off very strongly in the multiple articles school. i can definitely see the case for the one clear simple article that everyone understands. i get that case. i don't think it's an easy choice. is it an easy choice for you? >> no, it's not an easy choice, but i think it's very important and serious one. it's not a question of the number, lawrence. it's a question of what you cover. and i totally understand the
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democrats pouncing on the call to the president of ukraine because it's such an obvious problem and impeachable. they've been so frustrated and we could do this and get it through and impeach him, hurrah. the problem is that then you're just saying what about all the other infrjmentes of the constitutional behavior, abuses of power that president trump has committed, his enriching himself at the expense of the taxpayer and the government, his lying so much that we don't have accountable government, his threatening of alumni, distinguished alumni of the intelligence agencies with revoking their clearances because they criticized him, his threatening amazon raising its postage rates because they own "the washington post." are we going to say that's all okay? are we saying that for the
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future, these are things we should not pay any attention to. i find that a very troubling proposition. that's really why i come out that we need -- i think there would be two anyway. one would be ukraine and one would be obstruction. there's across the board obstruction of any legitimate inquiry into the administration. i think we need one that's very much like article two for nixon which don't go into great detail. but it's under the rubric of abuse of power. and trump has committed at least as many abuses of power as nixon did. and i just don't think we should say well, that's okay, for the future. that would be very troubling. and it would set a terrible precedent. so, under there you would have some of the things i listed and other matters as well. i think otherwise also if it's too thin, i think the house people are mainly going on the assumption which i don't buy that those republican senators would vote to really convict and throw trump out of office.
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i'm not sure that's true. i've never thought it's true, and i increasingly don't question whether that's true. you get to the senate, do you say well there's this one thing that we think he should removed from office over? i don't know. i think that's a hard argument to make. >> and you're not seeing the kind of defensive posture from mitch mcconnell that if you were donald trump you would want to see right now. >> except for lindsey graham you're not seeing very much for him at all in the senate. he says they're nervous as hell. that's his term. they don't know what's coming. bricks are falling every day, and they're tired of defending him. they're tired of defending the indefensible. they know this was not an acceptable thing to do to bully the president of ukraine over getting his military assistance that they had voted for. that's another one he keeps
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taking appropriations from congress and moving the money around. well, are you going to say that's all right? >> elizabeth drew, always a pleasure and an honor to have you with us. thank you very much for joining us tonight. elizabeth drew tonight, a big development. we just don't know yet what it means. the state department's independent inspector general asks for a meeting with staff, the subject is ukraine. it comes as our secretary of state accuses democrats in congress of bullying his people in their search for the truth about ukraine. this as the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani, has himself lawyered up, while trump is pressing for the questioning of adam schiff. trump goes on a tear alleging he's the victim of a coup attempt, telling his followers they're coming for your guns, your military, and rights. all of this as the "the 11th hour" gets under way on a tuesday evening.