tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC October 23, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
depositions that were expected to be impeachment inquiry that were scheduled for this week being pushed off, including to this weekend. a lot of that was done to give lawmakers time to honor the late chair of the oversight committee, congressman elijah cummings. that will do it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. when i would look in a senator, i would see more than the senator i would see the senator's staff. that's the way staffs look at it in washington. and some of the senators had better staffs than others to put it mildly. bill bradley was one of those senators who had a great staff. we were all in awe of bill bradley's staff. we frequently learned things from them the hard way, meaning they knew stuff we should have known. bill bradley was a member of the finance committee, and the senator i was working for was chairman of the committee. i look at duality, one in
particular for him as a senator then for his staff. bill bradley is going to join us tonight. >> oh. >> because when he was in his first term in the united states senate, one of the people he hired for his staff was william taylor, who became yesterday, possibly, the star witness in the case against donald trump. >> wow! >> we will get bill bradley's view of the young william taylor who came to work for him. in the united states senate. >> a, that's a fascinating backstory and b, i am already riveted. >> stay with us rachel. >> i will. thank you. well, never trump republican rick wilson will be joining us at the end of this hour. it's going to take him that long to compose his thoughts to respond the way only a phrase-maker like rick wilson can to donald trump accusing hi these are donald trump's words, these two words -- human scum. the rest of this hour's discussion will take place on a decidedly higher plain, with president obama's ambassador to
the united nations samantha power joining us to consider nancy pelosi's line that all roads lead to putin with donald trump on a day when donald trump once again gave vladimir putin everything he wants in syria. matt gaetz is one of the relatively few members of congress who has a mug shot. there it is. that picture was taken by florida police on the night matt gaetz was pulled over while driving his father's bmw. he was a recent law school graduate then and so he had the presence of mind to refuse the breathalyzer test and for everyone else who refuses a breathalyzer test in florida and most other states they automatically get their license suspended for one year. but not if you're matt gaetz and you're very white and very rich thanks to your very rich father who was a very powerful state senator at the time. arrested for drunk driving. refuses the breathalyzer test. gets his case dismissed and doesn't lose his license.
and now matt gaetz is one of donald trump's favorite members of the house of representatives, and he seems to think that he can still get away with anything because what matt gaetz did today is congressional equivalent of drunk driving in the hallowed hallways of the house of representatives. matt gaetz is still a junior member of the house of representatives, but he was the leader today of a group of about two dozen members of the republican house who violated house rules and pushed their way into a secure room where the house impeachment investigating committees were scheduled to take the deposition of laura cooper, defense department official who is an expert on delivering american military aid to ukraine. the republican house of representatives is now such a disorganized gang of rabble rousers that the number two leader of house membership steve scalise was actually one of the followers of the very junior member matt gaetz. they shouldered their way into
the room, even though they had no right to be there because they were not members of the committees conducting the deposition. when republican members of the house politely explained that to congressman isa that he could not be in the room because he was not a member of the committee, congressman isa then, quote, those are the rules. everyone in the house knows that. matt gaetz and his group didn't just violate the rules and the security of the room by bringing in their cell phones which are not allowed in that room. mieke oh yay wi mieke oye will explain tonight.
the phones in that room, the intrusion managed to delay the deposition for a few hours but it did not do what donald trump and matt gates hoped it would do when they reportedly discussed this stunt at the white house earlier this week. the stunt did not take the heat off donald trump. the stunt did not produce any helpful evidence for donald trump whose day began with a tweet that donald trump apparently did not realize was his confession. congressman john ratcliffe is a member of the house intelligence committee and is one of the many republicans who has a right to be in the secure room and participate in all of the closed door depositions. congressman ratcliffe was on ""fox & friends" this morning, and congressman ratcliff took what donald trump said and turned it into a trump tweet, quoting ratcliff, saying no witness has provided testimony that the ukrainians were aware that military aid was being when withheld. there's donald trump confessing that military aid was being withheld by donald trump, and, of course, william taylor did in fact testify in his opening statement yesterday which became public that the ukrainians were very much aware that military aid was being withheld. and we now have additional
reporting on that point tonight in "the new york times" saying that word of the aid freeze had gotten to high level ukrainian officials by the first week in august, according to interviews and documents obtained by "the new york times." the problem was not bureaucratic. the ukrainians were told to address it they were advised they should reach out to mick mulvaney, the acting white house chief of staff. the associated press is reporting tonight that more than two months before president trump's phone call with the president of ukraine, when president trump asked the president of ukraine to investigate joe biden, the president of ukraine was already worried about that issue. the associated press reports that on may 7th, president zelensky in a meeting with a small group of his advisers spent most of the three-hour discussion talking about how to navigate the insistence from trump and his personal lawyer rudy giuliani for a probe and how to avoid becoming entangled in the american elections, according to three people familiar with the details of the meeting. donald trump's defense this
morning was, ukraine didn't know that military aid was being when withheld. but ukraine did know and donald trump's defense really amounted to a guilty plea. and that's the person -- that's the person matt gaetz tried to help, tried to save by breaking house rules and barging into a room to try to stop what cannot be stopped, the continued collection of damning impeachment evidence against the president of the united states. evidence that virtually guarantees donald trump's position in history as the third president to be impeached by the house of representatives and sent to trial in the united states senate. donald trump knows the names of every one of those republican members of the house who broke the house rules today and violated security procedures of that room. and if he was capable of human feeling, donald trump would actually be grateful to them, all 24 of them, but the names he should pay much more attention to are the 173 republican members of the house of
representatives today who did not storm the barricades for donald trump, did not violate the rules of the house of representatives today in a hopeless attempt to block the collection of more damning evidence against donald trump. 173 didn't do it. they knew donald trump was watching. they knew donald trump was taking attendance at matt gaetz' version of drunk driving in the hallways of the house, and they wanted nothing to do with donald trump and matt gaetz' stunt. as the evidence pours in against him, donald trump should be wondering how many republicans in the house might eventually vote for impeachment. every day it becomes more likely that impeachment will have at least some republican votes in the house of representatives, and donald trump's firewall in the united states senate that's supposed to save him from being removed from office seems to have a new crack it in every day. today it was senator john thune of south dakota who is mitch mcconnell's number two in the senate leadership. john thune said this about what is emerging from the impeachment
investigation, quote, the picture coming out of it based on the reporting we've seen is yeah, i would say is not a good one. as donald trump's desperation deepens, he chose to put the trumpian word "perfect" in mitch mcconnell's mouth, which provoked mitch mcconnell to, in his polite senate way, call donald trump a liar. >> the president has said that you told him that his phone call with the ukrainian president was perfect and innocent. do you believe that the president's phone call -- >> i have not had any conversations on that subject. >> so he was lying about that? >> you would have to ask him. >> leading off our discussion tonight, democratic congressman ro khanna. he is a member of the house oversight committee and he was in the room today when the republicans barged in and tried to stop the deposition. also joining us, mieke eoyang, who has been in that room many,
many times but has never seen anything like that today. also ned price, spokesperson for the national security council in the obama administration, msnbc national security contributor and congressman khanna, let me begin with you on what happened when they came in there, trying to stop this deposition. >> well, it was a scene not in the united states congress but at a fraternity. i mean, you had about 20 republicans come in. they were yelling. they were basically disrupting the entire proceedings. they brought their phones into the scif, which everyone knows is against the law, and then they started ordering pizza, and there were pizza boxes strewn all over the scif. they didn't even clean up. it was an embarrassment, almost out of the annual house movie. >> this reporting tonight that laura cooper, in her deposition, talked about a lot of the technical aspects of delivering military aid to ukraine through the pentagon where she works,
how that can be paused or stopped, or how funding for that can be blocked, and that the only real ways to do that legally is congress can put a hold on the funding, but there was no description in the testimony of any legal way that that funding was being held up? >> in the reporting suggests that what happened here is that the president told people that under -- unless zelensky doesn't go on television and say that he is going to investigate biden that there's going to be a stalemate. and what has taken place is the military aid was withheld in a way that was a violation of the law, and it was clear to everyone involved that the only way they were going to get that aid is not only if zelensky investigated, but if zelensky told the world that he was going to investigate joe biden. >> mieke, you issued a very
educational tweet, flow of tweets today. i hope to get your twitter handle up there on the screen so people can follow you. it was very instructive for me. i didn't know anything about what you were saying today about the danger of bringing phones into that room and what they did by barging in the room that way. >> yeah. this is a very sensitive facility. the kind of information they handle in the facility is electronic surveillance to covert action. there is a wide range of things that happen. it's not just this testimony. so we know foreign adversaries are desperate to try to find out what happens in this room. this is a room specifically designed to keep out electronic eavesdropping, to try to prevent signals from leaking, from our adversaries from knowing what goes on inside. one of the ways we get concerned about people trying to find out what's going on is by taking electronic devices like cell phones into the room, which can be compromised in ways that can be turned into listening devices. we also know that members of
congress are very high priority targets for our foreign adversaries. because they're really interested in knowing what they're doing, what they're thinking, can they compromise them. these are people who don't typically have very good security procedures. they took these devices into this room, into this very secure facility, marching right past the armed guards and the cab meant thes that are set aside for people to lock their electronic devices in before they go into the room and started from what i understand recording even while in the room. the committee is still trying to conduct other business, oversight of classified programs and these are members wandering around, recording inside the secure facility. it's stunning. the members of the committee are very concerned about maintaining the security of this facility. and i think were likely appalled at what was happening. >> ned, i've never seen a weaker demonstration of an attempted defense of the president. you would want to hear a defense of the president on the evidence and not one of those people shouting in that room could find
one piece of evidence to defend donald trump on today. >> no. they sure couldn't. and i think when they can't defend him on the evidence, they go towards these clownish tactics. look, i think what we saw today, yes, it was clownish, but it was also startling in a number of ways. mieke just sussed a number of security applications which is not insignificant. hypocrisy, one of the congressman captured on camera filming himself, filming the facility as he walked into the scif just last year co-sponsored a house resolution calling for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate why it was that hillary clinton was not criminally charged for her handling of classified information. but to my mind, lawrence, the most jarring element of all of this is really the fact that it's a microcosm of the larger scandal that we're witnessing
around us. you have to remember at the end of the day why donald trump is in trouble is because he decided to betray his oath of office, to betray the american people and to betray our national security by putting his own narrow political interests ahead of our national interests. putting his own narrow political interests ahead of our national security. and that's precisely what we saw today from these members of the house of representatives. they subordinated our national security by walking into this scif, this secure facility in order to score a cheap political point. i'm not even sure they scored those points. they sure degraded our national security. >> congressman khanna, i am much more struck by the 170 or so republicans who refused to have anything to do with it, knowing that donald trump was watching and taking attendance at it. but it also is part of the lie, that demonstration is part of the lie that donald trump is telling on fox news, female
people like matt gaetz and others tell on fox news, that republicans are being locked out of the room. in fact you have republican members of the committees in the rooms with you at all times. what was their reaction to their fellow republicans invading their jobs there? >> well, lawrence, first, you make a very important point. republicans are in that room. they get to ask questions. they get equal time as the democrats. by the way, in the whole benghazi hearing, they had the the same depositions in the scif that were not public. so it's the height of hypocrisy for republicans to complain. i don't want to reveal the individual's name, but i went up to one of the individuals and said oh, were you there in the protest? he said absolutely not. i follow the rules. there are a lot of republicans who don't want to be affiliated with those 23 members. and privately, you do have republicans saying that some of the things are indefensible. they may not be at the point of coming for impeachment, but they don't want to hang their
reputations and the public defense of some things that are indefensible. >> and mieke, that room does have republican members of the committees in it. it has a lot of republican staff members in it. they would be in a position to make public from that room, leak, any way they wanted to, any information coming in in these depositions that is helpful to donald trump. and they have not found one piece of information in those depositions that they've wanted to, in any way, make public. >> that's right. if there was exculpatory evidence for the president they would be trumpeting that. they would be talking about it on the news saying look, this is not really what you think or see. the president said, in fact, over and over and cannot deny, that this was not the right thing to do. it was not right to set up a secondary channel. it was not right to withhold the
aid. it was not right to fire the ambassador from ukraine. it was not right to hold a quid pro quo. it was not right to condition all these things on the ukrainians and that the ukrainians did not want to do. they have been unable to find any exculpatory evidence for the president so they're stuck pulling these stunts which even though seem juvenile are undermining our national security. >> ned, we've had more man 24 hours for them the find something in william taylor's deposition that republicans want to emphasize or make public, and william taylor at this point, based on what we've been able to glean from what's happened in these depositions seems to be by far the most valuable, most important witness to have testified so far. >> it sure seems that way from what we know so far, lawrence. look, i don't think william taylor's testimony yesterday really changed the contours of this scandal, but he did add to the scope and to the scale of this scandal. and i think most importantly connected it directly to the president.
there were a lot of damning elements of his testimony and that we read in his prepared remarks. but i think none more so than the fact that president trump himself directed gordon sondland, his ambassador to the european union, to relay these demands to the ukrainians. and there was no subtly in doing this. this was not sort of a, you know, cloak and dagger operation where subtly whisper into the ukrainian ear that maybe they should think about this investigation if maybe they wanted their aid. no. gordon sondland then went to the ukrainian president and said here is the deal. you take up these investigations or we're going have, as he put it, a stalemate. he didn't use the words quid pro quo, but said there would be a stalemate and intimated the ukrainians would not be receiving their aid. that is the heart of the scandal. there is no getting around it. i think that's precisely why you've not heard anything from the republicans from what >> thank you all for starting us off tonight. i really appreciate it.
>> thank you. rudy giuliani's looking for a new criminal defense lawyer tonight after his friends were arraigned in federal court in manhattan today. that's coming up later in the hour. and president obama's ambassador to the united nations, samantha power will join us later. and next, we'll be joined by former senator bill bradley, who in his first term in the senate hired bill taylor on his senate staff. bill taylor may now become the star witness in the impeachment trial of donald j. trump in the united states senate. aid. and the 12-hour pain relieving strength of aleve. so...magic mornings happen. there's a better choice. aleve pm. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. i wish i could shake your hand. granted. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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william warren bradley grew up in crystal city, new jersey. he was basketball star at princeton and delayed his career in the nba by taking a rhodes scholarship. after princeton, after his graduate studies in england, he finally did what america was waiting for him to do and began his stellar career in the nba with the new york knicks during the glory days of the knicks. bill bradley's third season, the knicks won their first ever world championship. when his playing daying were over, bill bradley surprised no one by announcing his candidacy for united states senate for new jersey because he was always seen as a serious and thoughtful man throughout his athletic career, and he was seen as a winner. so no one was surprised when he won his first political campaign and was sworn in as united states senator in 1979 and in his first term as a senator, bill bradley hired vietnam
combat veteran who is a graduate of west point, william b. taylor, who testified under oath to the impeachment committees yesterday and who delivered the most devastating testimony yet against donald trump that the committees have heard. bill taylor detailed the various ways president trump and rudy giuliani and others in the trump administration were trying to pressure the president of ukraine to conduct an investigation of joe biden. when the impeachment praed procs moved into the public testimony phase, bill taylor might be the star witness. we're joined by the man who helped guide bill taylor's transition from military to position of service in president, bill bradley. really an honor to have you here, senator. >> i appreciate to be with you, as always. >> to donald trump tweeted and attack. calling him never trumper diplomat bill taylor, who i don't know. how do you expect donald trump's character assassination of bill
taylor to work? is that going to be an avenue that can work for trump? >> absolutely not. bill taylor is a patriot. he's led a life of service, courage, honor. he is someone, like the vast majority of public servants, who trump regularly ridicules and attacks. and west point. he worked for me for five years handling the energy and defense portfolios. 40 years in the state department taking assignments that were dangerous and complicated like iraq and afghanistan and ukraine and the soviet union. so, i think the way i would summarize it is if i had a son, i would want him to have the integrity of bill taylor. so i think trump is going down the wrong road here. but bill taylor's testimony made me realize there's an untold
story here. and the untold story is how afraid donald trump is of joe biden. >> yes. >> i mean really afraid. i mean, he knows that biden will beat him. he's already ahead of him in the upper midwest states. how else do you explain this vast effort to smear joe biden? because he's afraid of him. and i think that's the untold story. i started thinking about being afraid. trump being afraid. and i realized this is kind of a theme in his life. he was afraid to go in the military during vietnam, right? he goes all the way up to today where he's afraid to reveal his income tax returns. i don't know. what are they going to show? russian payments? i don't know. what is he afraid of? so i think this is a real fact. that's one of the things that i thought as i heard bill taylor's testimony. >> so we haven't heard him testify. it's very clear when they go to
public testimony, bill taylor is going to be one of the witnesses. who do you expect america to see when they're watching bill taylor on television that day? >> i think they're going to find a man of honor and of courage, and someone who is very clear, someone who is a true professional, somebody who is the best of the public servant lay out what the facts were, that he saw, witnessed in that position. and i think that, you know, the other thing that strikes me is president trump really ran a rather small business, right? and he never really ran a big organization. and now he's running the biggest organization in the world and he's failing. right? how else do you explain this rudy and the thugs routine and diplomacy? he's basically failing and bill taylor's testimony kind of laid
out how ludicrous some of the actions taken were. and i think that's something that will last over time. people will start to think about. a, he's afraid, and he's truly failing in the job of running the biggest organization in the world. >> bill taylor closed his testimony with something i know is very important to you as it is to him, when he went to the front line with ukraine and russia's conflict. and he's looking across that bridge and watching what russia has amassed there and he's worried for the lives that can be lost if donald trump gets his way and blocks this aid to ukraine. what is at stake for us in the future of ukraine? >> well, i think it's our steadfastness as someone who supports them in a difficult world. they're not all angels, but the reality is that we've made a commitment to them. and i think what this testimony did was to actually give you a
sense -- this isn't like watergate break-in or sex with clinton. this is life and death for a people that bill taylor happens to be very, very loyal to and supportive. not as loyal as he is to the united states of america, but he loves ukrainian people. i visited when he was the ambassador in ukraine. i could see when he had people around the table from different political parties how much they trusted and respected him. i think he made that come to life when he talked about that visit to the front lines. >> senator bill bradley, great to be with you again. usually when we were working together at 10:00 p.m., it would be on the senate floor trying to get one of those bills passed at the last minute. thank you for joining us. really appreciate it. and when we come back, rudy giuliani's pals lev and igor went to court today. that's it. that's all i have to say. lev and igor went to court today. after this break, you'll find out what happened. my insurance rates are probably gonna double.
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breaking news. we have reporting tonight saying rudy giuliani is now looking for a new criminal defense lawyer. that's after two of rudy giuliani's associates and friends, lev parnas and igor fruman appeared in federal court in manhattan today where they pleaded not guilty to four counts of campaign finance violations. lev and igor played a role in helping rudy giuliani's efforts in containi obtaining damaging on joe biden. lev's attorney raised concerns to the judge that some evidence gathered in the case already by the federal government may be protected by attorney-client privilege, and more interestingly, possibly executive privilege. he said there is a lot of attorney-client, and maybe even some executive privilege issues that are raised by the information that's already been
seized. and then of course we have the issue of mr. giuliani acting as attorney for the president of the united states and in that capacity. and i don't speak for anyone but mr. parnas, working for him. assistant u.s. attorney rebecca doneleski told the court so to the extent he is concern about perspective, we are concerned about those terms. we have a filter in place. joining us zblen kirschner, former federal prosecutor and msnbc analyst. glenn, they're talking about the executive privilege that only president trump can invoke to protect what could be communications involving him. >> lawrence, i'm going to try to talk about this topic without sounding like a crazy person because i don't quite know what to make of it. it's not every day that we have a defendant in federal court stand up and through his lawyer tell a judge you know what, judge? my client might have some privileged communications with the president of the united
states such that they would be protected by executive privilege. i have the transcript here, and i know you just put a clip of it up. let me just read two lines. the first on page 9, ed mcmahon, you can't make the name up either, that's lev's lawyer says to the judge, there have already been issues of executive privilege raised in the congressional subpoena to mr. parnas. and then he goes on, on page 10, this is sort of the money line, he says "in response to a congressional subpoena, mr. parnas' prior attorney invoked and said he had been instructed to invoke executive privilege as to some of the discussions. so if we kind of parse that out, somebody, presumably in the white house, instructed lev parnas' prior lawyer to have
parnas invoke executive privilege when he was hauled before congress to testify. now, the judge goes through questions like wait a minute, is mr. parnas part of the administration? a cabinet member? a government employee? no, no, no. so how could it be that mr. parnas, a federal defendant might enjoy privileged communications with the president of the united states that would give rise to a claim of executive privilege? the only thing i can surmise, lawrence, is that the white house seemed to be in the habit of telling people to invoke executive privilege, even when they didn't have it as a way to really just employ a delay tactic. recall corey lewandowski when he testified. it was a clownish performance. he would frequently invoke executive privilege even though
he couldn't lawfully do it because he was never a member of the administration or the cabinet or the federal government. so i'm just guessing here. it's very curious that somebody instructed mr. parnas to invoke executive privilege. >> yeah, and in the transcript, you see his own lawyer when he raises this -- he confesses that he himself is confused about what to do about this, and he recognizes that it's donald trump's right to invoke, and it's not his client's right to invoke. he just kind of throws it out there for the court as something to keep an eye on, which we will be doing. glenn kirschner, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you, lawrence. when we come back, todays episode of "all roads lead to putin" as nancy pelosi would put it. vladimir putin got exactly what he wanted in syria after donald trump's official abandonment of the kurds today. president obama's ambassador to the united nations samantha power will join us next. n us ne) welcome to our busy world. where we all want more energy.
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today donald trump declared victory for his policy of abandonment of the kurds in syria and said, quote, let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand. the president also announced the removal of all sanctions against turkey after saying turkey has agreed to what president trump is calling a permanent ceasefire in the region. join iing us now is samantha power, president obama's ambassador to the united nations and author of the new "new york times" best-seller "the education of an idealist." samantha power, your reaction to donald trump's description of the long glad stained sand and what's happening there today. >> well, it is bloodstained sand in fact because the kurds took more than 10,000 casualties in being the ground force against isis, which posed a threat to americans all over the world. so there is a grain of truth for once in what he said, but the notion that this is a place of
sand is something he keeps coming back to. it's a place of people, of families who relied on the united states and who lost loved ones again in service of this cause on reliance on a promise. >> what happens next in that region? >> well, that's the really scary thing. this triumphalism about the deal, it's an ethnic cleansing deal. the russians came out today. they said -- as trump is boasting about what he's done, the russians are pointing to what trump has done and said this is the american -- the official american betrayal of the kurds. so for once you're actually better off reading itar-tass and the foreign russian ministry statements to get a sense of what's actually happening here. but they're saying if any kurdish fighters remain, we're going to roll them over. so in other words, this is an ultimatum to the kurds to leave, which is what turkey has been saying all along. it's not a change to the status quo except in so far as it's been legitimated now by the
president of the united states. and the costs for turkey's offensive and its killings and its sponsorship of this campaign, those costs have been lifted. very, very modest costs, mind you, but those costs now have been taken away, at least for now. >> i want to ask you about something i asked senator bradley about, which is bill taylor, since you know him. and there are so many things in today's news for us to be discussing with you. i apologize for racing through them. when bill taylor does publicly emerge as a public witness in this case, as he surely will, in both the public house impeachment hearings and what may be the senate trial, what will the public see when they see bill taylor testifying? >> a pro's pro, somebody with no ax to grind. one of the things in reading his statement that was so striking was every person who read that statement could imagine themselves in his shoes, sort of thinking in an old-fashioned way that you're there to pursue u.s.
interests, thinking that when russia invades a country and the united states has made a set of commitments to the country that's been invaded that those commitments are going to be maintained, and his sort of dawning confusion about what's going on as these people keep popping and talking about investigations and things he's in this dark on. when i served in the obama administration, bill taylor was not all that happy with our policy because we weren't going far enough in defense of the ukrainian government from his perspective. he wanted us to move into providing lethal assistance much more quickly. and so his view of ukraine and the importance of ukraine's security and that security centrality to russia's security, that's not something that started when donald trump became president. he is not some deep state guy who is out to get this president. he was looking at a set of enduring national interests as he understood them. >> i want to squeeze in a
commercial break. when we come back, i want to talk about some of the they think that are in your book that struck me in bill taylor's testimony where he was describing the difficulty of making the choice to accept the job. and anyone who has accepted these kinds of jobs as you have are very familiar with the kind of personal elements he is talking about. we'll discuss that right after we come back. we'll be right back. er we come back we'll be right back. the wait at. ...and choose any car in the aisle. and i don't wait when i return, thanks to drop & go. at national, i can lose the wait...and keep it off. looking good, patrick. i know. (vo) go national. go like a pro.
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ambassador power, in my reading, the single best memoir of a u.n. ambassador since daniel patrick moynihan's, which he entitled "a dangerous place." and you both have similar backgrounds as professors who end up in government. what about that moynihan title of a dangerous place? is that the way he was referring to both the world at the time in the cold war and the u.n. itself? >> yeah. i mean, i think he felt as one did in the cold war kind of outnumbered by all the sort of soviet proxies who were voting one way, all the newly independent countries that were voting, and just the absence of enough democracies to really be able to build coalitions. by the time we got there, we had a fighting chance, israel being the exception where there was overwhelming sort of i think votes and really bias in one direction in the sense there
would be 18 resolutions on israel and one on north korea. there wasn't parity. but on every other issue, even on lgbt rights where 78 countries characterize being lgbt around the world, we could get lgbt rights recognized as human rights for the first time we could recognize an anti-ebola coalition to go and deal with the threat. so there are a lot of examples of the coffiny that drove moynihan crazy actually being harnessed for good, including the paris agreement on climate change. but it is frustrating to see so many undemocratic countries trying to gum up the works. and that still is the case, but it's a much more even fight now. >> and i think of both of you actually as entering as both idealists and by the time you enter that job, though, you have enough practical real world experience to be entering with a knowledge of the limitations of
what's possible. what do you do with that struggle against the limitations? >> well, i mean, again -- >> for an idealist struggling. >> my story is not one of dashed expectations. you're right. it was kind of like oh, there are the constraints. now whom am i going get to be my allies so we can circumvent them? a lot of it entailed building coalitions within the government. finding allies in the pentagon, for example, where people are that's interesting. i wouldn't have expected the human rights voice to be so aligned with the joint chiefs of staff on this issue or that issue. some of it was about being able to prove internally that you have support you need from other countries in the world to get the job done. other countries might say we can't do that. actually, i talked to the british, the french, the germans, you know, the swiss among the democracy, and i even think i can get russia to abstain on this. let's go forth. so it's about maneuvering within a messy world. >> i'm sure when you read bill
taylor's opening statement yesterday, you read that passage about him deciding to take the job and how that was not easy for him to take the job to go back to ukraine. talk about your own choices that you have to make when a position like this is offered to you. >> well, for me to be offered the chance to be president obama's ambassador to the u.n., i didn't hesitate. i did flash back to bad relationships i had had and questions about whether confirmation was going to be terrible, and i completely exaggerated my past foibles and thought oh my god, this is going to be terrible getting to the job. but i was incredibly gratified to work with somebody that with whom i felt i had a mind meld on how we use the international system to benefit the american people. i think the real challenge now is that bill taylor, even though he has been out of government for a while, he's worked under republican presidents and democratic presidents who operate very differently than president trump, who believe in diplomacy, who believe in global cooperation, who believe in
human rights as even if we're not perfect in observing them as a foundation to our leadership in the world. so he is thinking what am i getting into here. and like many of the people i worked with when i was ambassador, he is trying to decide will i be able to even have my voice heard given that the deep state is being attacked at all times, and i'm a career diplomat. am i going to be marginalized? am i going to be in a sense mailing it in? and so he made the call that he could hopefully do more good than harm, and maybe seek to put a brake on some of the bad habits and seek to advance our enduring interests. >> ambassador power, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> and thank you very much for writing this book. this is a beautifully written, thoughtful look into the complex life of a u.n. ambassador. thank you very much. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. when we come back, rick wilson is owed tonight's last word after donald trump called him a very bad name today. that's next. with the cooking.
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donald trump hates never trump republicans even more than he hates me. this morning he tweeted the never trumper republicans though on respirators with not many left are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our country than the do nothing democrats. watch out for them. they are human scum, exclamation point. joining us now is never trump republican rick wilson, daily
beast contributor and the author of "everything trump touches dies." and rick, there is the laugh reaction, and then there is this. that's what donald trump calls the most honorable republicans of all time. . >> donald trump is a man without honor. so i take his insult as a sort of backhanded compliment. you know, in a lot of republicans who are out there who sort of breathe a sigh of relief, oh, i'm not on that list, that prickling feeling they experience sometimes are their souls trying to get back into their bodies. look, donald trump, the insults from this guy are par for the course right now because he is desperate. he is terrified. he wakes up in a pool of his own sweat every night. he is in a very unpleasant situation every day. he recognizes that his world is turning to a very bad place very quickly, and nothing is going to change that, because he is the cause of all of these things. he is a weak, sick, sad little man.
>> and he uses language that only the most extreme, rapid trump worshipers could possibly embrace. >> right. right. and the form of that language, it reduces it so far that one of the things that donald trump wants to do is break down the traditional american tension between the parties and between the movements where there is a dynamic back and forth, and we argue things through. he doesn't want to argue. he just wants to hammer away his opposition. and the thing he hates the most is that people who still hold on for some of those old-fashioned principles like the rule of law and individual liberty and the obedience to the constitution that he hates, those are things he loathes and despises in a fundamental way. those people reminding republicans out there a huge danger to him which, you know, while on the one hand, it's oh, they're on respirators. then it's they're scum we have to get them. it's kind of a telling moment of
how desperate the guy is and how sad and how sick and how humiliated he is by his own failure. >> sad, sick and humiliated. those are the last words, and rick wilson gets those last words tonight. thank you for joining us, williams starts now. tonight faced with a steady flow of testimony going against their man and what they fear is a slow march to articles of impeachment, republicans on the hill stage a flash mob occupation of what is supposed to be a secure room. they're protesting testimony being delivered in private even though republican members are there for it every day. meanwhile, a report tonight does withering damage to a major argument for the trump team. "the new york times" says ukraine knew pretty early on that trump wanted to block money from congress in return to get them to agree to investigate the bidens. plus, when the president calls his own republican critics human scum,
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