tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC February 7, 2020 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
a normal week takes a long time to get to a friday. this week took 47 days to get to a friday. but we finally got here. you made it. that does it for us tonight. i will see you again on monday. now it's time for "the last word." ali velshi is in for lawrence tonight. good evening, ali. >> there was an impeachment vote this week. there was a state of the union. there was something else. there is the purge of alexander vindman and his brother, whose only crime it seems is being alexander vindman's brother. and then there's richard spencer saying that he's doing what he's doing for the good of the country. this is several weeks in one. rachel, have a good weekend. >> thank you very much, ali. >> we'll see you monday. ahead the lifelong republican and former trump navy secretary who as rachel just said is endorsing a democrat.
richard spencer, ousted as navy secretary after publicly disagreeing with trump's decision to reduce the penalty in a war crimes case involving a navy s.e.a.l., has had more than enough of the president. hear why a man who has never voted for a democrat is ready to do so now. but we begin with the friday night massacre. a campaign of retribution and vengeance is underway at this hour against those whom donald trump blames for his impeachment. two of the most prominent fact witnesses in the impeachment investigation against him have been fired. barely 48 hours after the senate acquitted the president. trump recalled gordon sondland, his ambassador to the european union, tonight. sondland released a statement saying, "i was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as united states ambassador to the european union." and just hours before that lieutenant colonel alexander vindman was removed from his job as the top ukraine expert at the national security council.
lieutenant colonel vindman, a decorated veteran born in ukraine, was escorted out of the white house by security and told that his services were no longer needed. according to vindman's lawyer, david pressman. in a statement, pressman said, "there is to question in the mind of any american why this man's job is over. why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the white house. ltc vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. his honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful." lieutenant colonel's twin brother, evgeni vindman, national security council attorney, was also fired and walked off the white house grounds alongside him. evgeni vindman has committed no offense except being alexander vindman's brother. we don't do that in america. he committed no offense. alexander vindman, by the way, committed no offense except testifying before congress. president trump foreshadowed alexander vindman's dismissal earlier.
>> well, i'm not happy with him. do you think i'm supposed to be happy with him? >> lieutenant colonel vindman is expected to be reassigned to the department of the army. though still unclear what his assignment will be. vindman told congress last fall in testimony during impeachment hearings that he reported concerns about trump's july 25th call with the leader of ukraine to the top national security council lawyer within hours of the call. >> i was concerned by the call. what i heard was inappropriate. and i reported my concerns to mr. eisenberg. it is improper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign government investigate a u.s. citizen and a political opponent. >> now, gordon sondland and lieutenant colonel vindman are not the only officials involved in trump's impeachment to have had their career trajectory altered as a result of their involvement. you'll recall former u.s.
ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch, a central figure in the impeachment hearing who was recalled from her post last year. she retired from the state department last month. jennifer williams, the special adviser to vice president pence on europe and russia, left the vice president's office ahead of schedule. bill taylor who replaced yovanovitch as the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine was recalled in december. david pressman, who is vindman's lawyer, went on to say in his statement announcing vindman's removal that "in recent months many entrusted with power in our political system have cowered out of fear and yet a handful of men and women not endowed with prestige or power but equipped only with a sense of right borne out of years of quiet service to their country made different choices." "they courageously chose to honor their duty with integrity, to trust the truth, and to put their faith in country ahead of fear. and they have paid a price."
that choice, to honor their duty as vindman's lawyer put it, to honor their duty might be best illustrated by a moment from lieutenant colonel vindman's testimony in a stunningly personal message about how his family fled to the united states from the soviet union when he was a child. >> dad. i'm sitting here today in the u.s. capitol talking to our elected professionals, talking to our elected professionals is proof you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the soviet union and come here to the united states of america in search of a better life for our family. do not worry. i will be fine for telling the truth. >> do not worry. i will be fine for telling the truth. leading off our discussion tonight democratic congressman raja krishnamoorthi of illinois. he's a member of the intelligence committee and he questioned lieutenant colonel vindman during the hearings.
also here, jeremy bash at the cia and defense department. he's an msnbc national security analyst zpp josh getser, former senior director at the national security council. he's the executive director for the uns toout finstitute for constitutional advocacy and protection. you and i have had spoken many times. i have fewer words tonight than he have on most nights. there are people who have pointed out that the president is entirely, entirely within his rights to have vindman reassigned, to have gordon sondland who is a trump reporter a and fund-raiser called back. we're not entirely sure why vindman's brother has been reassigned. but there is not a whole lot that anyone can convince me that does not feel a lot like authoritarianism tonight. a night of long knives. >> that's right. i think leaders in those types of countries exact retribution against people who would tell the truth against them and they also, in doing so, send a signal
to other people to basically deter, scare them, and prevent them from doing the same. and i think that's exactly what happened tonight. however, i also have to say that unfortunately senators, united states senators, this past week helped enable president trump to do what he did today. and that being said, you know, when the president first tried to go after the whistleblower, when the whistleblower came out, 17 witnesses came forward to tell the truth including lieutenant colonel vindman. there are a lot of people courageous within the public service corps of our government who are watching and who will hopefully come forward in the future with evidence of wrongdoing, just as he did bravely in this episode. >> but congressman, why would they? in the course of all this, the whistleblower's name has been put on the floor of the united states senate.
by rand paul. these people have been harassed. there was nothing you or your colleagues could do to protect them. in fact, adam schiff tweeted tonight, "lieutenant colonel vindman did his job. as a soldier in iraq he received a purple heart. then he displayed another rare form of bravery, moral courage. he complied with a subpoena and told the truth. he upheld his oath when others would not. right matters to him and to us." but tonight, congressman, what's the point of coming forward and telling the truth? every attempt to do so has resulted -- has backfired on people. and donald trump remains unrependant and is moving forward with a campaign of revenge. >> i think it is a matter of duty and honor and putting the country first. just ask bill taylor why he came forward. why did marie yovanovitch? why did fiona hill and so forth? they were all people who i believe put the country's best
interests above their own best interests. and there are a lot of people like that, ali. if this impeachment episode demonstrates anything, there are a lot of courageous, brave people who are watching and who will come forward with evidence of wrongdoing. going forward as well. >> jeremy, give me your take on this. this is a consequence of this president and this administration and many in his party who would never have done this in the past carrying on about the deep state and all these people inside government, civil servants, people who have worked with their heads down for less pay than they often would in the private sector, doing their jobs and then suddenly coming up, putting up their hand and saying something doesn't feel right about this. there's never a reward for whistle-blowers even in the private sector. any book anybody reads about whistle-blowers knows it doesn't end up well for them. but this deep state -- colonel vindman and his brother are what donald trump calls the deep state. >> that's right, ali.
and i think we should pierce the myth once and for all tonight that donald trump is somehow pro military. let's look at the facts. first he began his adult life getting military deferments from vietnam including one for nonexistent bone spurs. as a presidential candidate he launched his campaign denigrating a gold star family. the family of captain khan. he then criticized john mccain for being a p.o.w. when he became president, he went down to the pentagon and excoriated the generals for being, quote, dompes and babies in the tank, in the meeting room where the joint chiefs meet. he then ignored military advice in syria, leading to a break with his own secretary of defense, the former cent com commander jim mattis. he suspended military exercises in korea to basically reward one dictator and then undermined nato, the greatest military alliance in the world, to in essence reward another dictator. and here tonight, he fires and
dismisses a man who served in uniform, who served his country honorably, i think as the congressman said, to say to everybody else stay silent, stay quiet because i'm going to do this again and don't dare speak out against me or your job will be on the line. >> let me ask you, josh, what the consequence to national security is of doing this. because this -- whatever you think of donald trump's july 25th call to ukraine, whether you think he wasn't honest with congress, whether he didn't turn things over. in my mind i think of one thing, and that is this was a national security issue. ukraine is a united states ally involved in a war with an adversary who depended on congressionally approved aid that it was not legal for the president to stop from going on. and vindman was one of 17 people who decided to blow the whistle on him. that is a national security issue. that's not a vindman serves at the pleasure of the president and can be removed anytime.
that's true. the president can remove any of these people. but this smacks of something a little more serious. >> it's really damaging to national security. i mean, the reason we have experts at the national security council, the reason we have ambassadors in the field, all of that is to promote actual foreign policy. and in this case it's a foreign policy that's had bipartisan support, that's been blessed by congress to support ukraine in the face of russian aggression. and of course that's exactly donald trump's problem with it. he's not interested in supporting ukraine. he's not interested in resisting russian aggression. what he's interested in is promoting donald trump. that's why he wanted to take over the apparatus of foreign policy decision-making from the national security council to the state department and beyond, to pursue a very different agenda. and today continues that path that he's trying to forge of taking the instruments of national power, directing them away from protecting u.s. national security, and directing them toward promoting donald trump.
>> congressman, this is just one night. there are many nights in which weird things happen. but your colleague, congressman elliot engle, chairman of the foreign fairs committee, has released this statement saying "this is shameful of course but this is also what we should expect from an impeached president whose party has decided he's above the law and accountable to no one. any senator who voted to keep trump in office thinking he has learned his lesson must answer for this and for whatever parade of abuses we see in the future." there's a reference of course there to susan collins who gave an interview after voting to acquit the president that i think he's learned his lesson. clearly there is no lesson that donald trump has learned from this. >> well, as you know, after bob mueller testified on july 24th of last year, on july 25th we have this call with zelensky. by the way, which lieutenant colonel vindman listened in on and after hearing the president call for an investigation of biden and a debunked conspiracy
theory then went to the nsc lawyers to report on. i think that what we know about this president is that he may view this as an invitation, this acquittal as an invitation to do the next thing. that's what we have to fear right now. and that's why we have to also rely on the lieutenant colonel vindmans out there who are dutybound to basically report on wrongdoing. regardless of the consequences. i think i believe that lieutenant colonel vindman himself knew that what happened tonight was very likely going to happen after he testified the way he did. and yet, did he so anyway. >> and we played that clip in which he said, "dad, i will be okay for telling the truth." and to vindman, unlike many united states senators, losing your position is actually not
going to end your life. losing your position for taking a stance on the side of justice. lieutenant colonel vindman will sleep properly for the rest of his life. what will other lieutenant colonel vindmans or marie yovanovitches or fiona hills take away from this? because the long knives are out. donald trump is coming for you and there is no mueller inquiry, there is no impeachment process, there is no sanction to stop him from doing so. i'm struggling because i don't understand what message we really want to give these people other than congratulations, you're a good human. >> one thing i've learned in dealing with these types of folks in government, when president trump threatened to out the whistleblower, threatened the whistleblower and
said all kinds of really appalling things about the whistleblower, that's when a parade of witnesses came out. you have to wonder, why would they do it? when they know that the president is going to seek retribution against whoever comes out. and i think there's something to the effect that these folks are made out of a substance, made of stuff that's finer, higher, better quality than most people. i just have so much regard and respect for their patriotism and loyalty. i think they'll do what's right regardless of the consequences. that's the type of people they are. >> jeremy bash, if i could, i would just keep playing what vindman said to his father. that i will be okay for telling the truth. we are in a time in america where you won't necessarily be okay for telling the truth. so help me out here. what is the thing? what is the message that we
send tonight? because the night is not over. the purge is not over. it has begun. there are three people taken out by president trump tonight because of this. but there are people on the internet, on twitter, who have these people's addresses. they have their names. they are going out there and harassing them. these people have had to seek out security. they've had to seek out privacy from the attacks of right-wing lunatics. what do we do? >> i think we stay true to the ideals and values that drove them into public service in the first instance. emblazoned on the wall of the original headquarters building at cia are the words from the new testament that says, "know the truth and the truth shall set you free." and it's that adherence to the truth, adherence to the facts that really animates so many of these brave public servants. and they've got to stay in the fight. they've got to stay working on the hard problems. because the acquittal in the senate wasn't just an invitation to trump to do nefarious things. it was actually an invitation to
russia, to china, to other countries to again attack us, interfere in our elections. because they got away with it the last time. so i think we need those professionals, we need those intelligence and military professionals to stay in the fight, defend our country. it's at stake tonight more than ever, ali. >> jeremy bash, congressman raja krishnamoorthi, josh getser, thank you for joining me on what is a difficult night for democracy in america. coming up, a former trump appointee who stook his ground against trump in the administration, endorsed a democrat today. speaking frankly about why we need new leadership in the white house. that is up next. p in the white house. that is up next. quit slow turk. along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting so when the day arrives, you'll be more ready to kiss cigarettes goodbye. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. stop chantix and get help right away if you have changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, depressed mood,
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the former navy secretary who was at the center of one of president trump's most explosive confrontations with the pentagon is standing up to him again. richard spencer was ousted late last year after fighting president trump's repeated involvement in defense of a navy s.e.a.l. accused of war crimes. the s.e.a.l. was acquitted of the most serious charges but convicted of posing with corpses. he was demoted until donald trump reversed the demotion. and now richard spencer, a tomorrower marine captain and lifelong republican, is the first, note this, the first trump appointee speaking out against donald trump's re-election with some pointed statements. in an exclusive interview with nbc pentagon correspondent courtney kube he explained why he was endorsing mike bloomberg.
spencer drew comparisons with his former boss. >> we need leadership, proven leadership like mike. we need honesty, integrity, and most importantly if you heard his presentation today, he is talking about doing it collectively. he respects opinions. he is not the sole i have the only answer. which is a very dangerous position to be in i think. >> is that the position from your time working in the trump administration, is that how you see president trump? >> yes. >> joining me know, jonathan alter, columnist for the daily beast and an msnbc political analyst. he's reported on every presidential race since like 1940 or something like that. 1980, actually. zerlina maxwell -- he can't hear me. that's good. >> no, i heard you. >> zerlina maxwell. msnbc political analyst. kind of fascinating. donald trump was all in for eddie gallagher, the navy s.e.a.l., who did bad things by any -- all in. all in about the military. but lieutenant colonel vindman is out of a job tonight. and his brother, also a military man, out of a job for being
vindman's brother. >> right. that's almost more upsetting than vindman himself even though that is fundamentally morally so horrible. today i am very sad. i think we're really angry and we've been viscerally sad. the rage is right under the surface of your skin at all times. because donald trump just crosses the lines which we thought we had laid out as either the norms or laws of how a president should conduct themselves. and what kinds of guidelines they're going to follow in terms of what role model they're going to be for the country and what standards they're going to set for the military. so the fact that he is, you know, unceremoniously dismissing vindman and his brother and then backing up someone who's committed war crimes, it shouldn't be surprising to us but it should be upsetting to us. we should think about whether we want this kind of human as a president. >> jonathan alter, there is a lot that happened this day. rachel handed it over to me by
saying this felt like 48 weeks in one week. what do you make of all of this and the idea that this is the first trump political appointee to come out against donald trump? >> i actually think it's very significant. i remember, i'm old enough to remember, i was a kid at the time. but in 1972 when nixon won 49 states there was an organization called democrats for nixon. and what this spencer announcement today suggests is there could be a rather large group of republicans for bloomberg who, if he goes on to become the nominee, which of course is a huge if, but we might be in the midst of a real scrambling of our politics. and where this might hit earlier is that on super tuesday, on march 3rd, several of those super tuesday states are open primaries, which means that
republicans and independents who like mike bloomberg do not have to be registered democrats to go and vote for him in the democratic primary. and so this spencer thing takes on a lot more importance when you realize that it could be the beginning of something. >> talk to me about mike bloomberg, zerlina. there are a bunch of democrats, mike bloomberg is not one of them. on a stage tonight. having journalists cause them to draw distinctions between themselves which are actually not going to be important to most americans. the important thing as we saw out of iowa with the entrance polling and to most people who don't like donald trump is defeating donald trump sf. >> right. >> mike bloomberg is proving unusually effective at this in early days. >> when you have unlimited money to put up commercials every single week, a new one, a new ad, his latest ad has obama in, it that's going to be effective with democrats who feel very nostalgic toward ought bama era. but i do think that if you're not participating in the democratic primary process from the beginning it's a little hard
to think you can just skip the line with your -- >> although i don't think anybody got hurt by not participating in iowa. i think everybody who was in iowa is a lot of nonsense was vindicated this week. >> that is correct. and i already established that i am on the team iowa should not vote first anymore. just for a lot of structural reasons. it's not representative of the demographics of the democratic party. but in addition to that i think the candidates -- people are going to vote for a statue. right? if it's not donald trump. so i think each candidate has to make the the case for how they're going to build that obama coalition. i think we're coming to a place where we're finding that america's demographic shifts are going to lead to us a place where we're really coming to an end of white people being the center of our political conversation. we're going to expand it. we're going to expand it and include the perspectives and lived experiences of people of color because the demographics are shifting and in the democratic party they're the majority in some states already.
so unless you can get those people to lead the house -- because i think democrats are under some sort of illusion that black people will leave the house because we have no other option. right? if we have michael bloomberg, we'll leave the house to vote for him. no, that's not actually true. and in 2016 we saw that enough, a million of them did not leave the house. so as much as we talk about that 77,000, we should focus on that about 800,000 black people who did not turn out, who turned out in 2012. those are the people you need to turn out, whether it's mike bloomberg or anyone else. >> jonathan aultder, an interesting conversation about people of color, none of whom are on the stage. however, i am just being told now by my producers that the democratic presidential debate in new hampshire has just ended. so jonathan, i'll have this conversation with you over a drink in new hampshire. i'm going to hand it over to chris hayes in manchester for our post-debate analysis. chris? thank you for joining us.
i'm chris hayes. we are live in manchester, new hampshire, where the first primary votes of the 2020 election will be cast in just four days. the final democratic debate before the new hampshire primary just wrapped up. we got to watch with it an audience of new hampshire voters. many of whom are undecided. give yourselves a round of applause for that. you're so sought after. you're so valuable. we'll hear from some democratic candidates live from the spin room. of course we've got your favorite msnbc hosts right here. but if you're just joining us one of the biggest topics of the night was the senate's acquittal of president trump just two days ago. and the president's vindictive removal of lieutenant colonel alexander vindman, the army officer who had the backbone to testify about president trump's misdeeds. >> the saddest aspect of this whole thing is you have republicans in the senate who knew better. they knew that donald trump is a crook. they knew that donald trump is a cheat.
but they didn't have the guts with the exception of romney to vote against him. >> there was a lot of courage that you saw from only a few people. there was courage from doug jones, our friend, of alabama who took that tough vote. there was courage from mitt romney who took a very, very difficult -- there was -- i read today about lieutenant colonel vindman being escorted out of the white house. what he did took courage. >> i think we should all stand and give colonel vindman a show of how much we supported him. stand up and clap for vindman. get up there. [ cheers and applause ] that's who we are. we are not what trump is. >> that was probably vice president biden's best moment of tonight's debate. i thought there was a lot of really good strong performances throughout. and the debate on the whole i thought was quite good, quite substantive, quite compelling, pretty sharp. the one thing that keeps happening, and i'm curious to hear what you guys all think, is everyone keeps waiting for the knives to come out.
this primary i have to say as someone who covered 2008 and then the 2016 primary on the republican side, this primary has not been particularly vicious. these folks have not really been going after each other. there are jabs here and there. there was lots of expectations tonight because of biden's performance in iowa that he would have to go after various candidates and pete buttigieg and bernie sanders particularly. and he did and there were a few moments he went after them. but this is nothing like the bloody brawl i have seen in other primaries. obviously, nothing will compare to the 2016 republican primary. no one's talking about the size of their genitalia, thank god. thank god. but it is true that it just hasn't really gotten particularly cutting. and i think there's two reasons for that. one reason is that there is a huge multicandidate field and everyone rightly thinks they will hurt their own chances if they're seen as going negative. right? they also sense there is an
intense anxiety, this pit in the stomach of democratic voters, about unity. this worry that the party will fracture. this worry that people aren't going to unify behind the nominee in order to defeat trump and because much that no one wants to go particularly hard at someone else because they don't want to send the signal to you guys who are all shaking your heads vigorously at me when i describe that knot in the pit of your stomach. they're worried they're going to alienate you. they're worried they're going to increase the anxiety of democratic voters they need. right in the problem so far -- and i'm not saying people should get nastier with each other. but it ends up being like watching a tennis match and then selecting that person to go play football. it is very, very hard to conceive of the universe that the person who wins this nomination is going to walk into because the universe we've seen in these debates, which is a normal, sensible, substantive universe in which people have exchanges based on facts and differences about policy outcomes, is not the universe of the maelstrom of insanity and
deceit they're about to walk into. yet everybody wants to know who's the person that can go beat trump, who's the person that can stand toe to toe with him, who's the person that can mobilize people against trump? but the problem is it's very hard to sell yourself as that person in the context of a democratic party debate. sow get this kind of paradox in all these debates. you come out being like oh, that person seems smart, that person made a good point there, that person landed a blow there. but then looming in the background is this enormous once in a generation, hopefully once in an ever monster, cartoon monster that is going to have to be fought by the nominee and i think that ends up -- and i want to sort of check in with people here about how you felt about watching it. even people being impressed. i want to get at what is going on in the gut of the democratic voter, that fear, that anxiety about who can tax on trump and how they're going to actually resolve that. we've got a few voters here. some new hampshire voters.
you're the most important voters in the world right now. only for a few days. stand up, sir. so you're from new hampshire? >> yes. >> and you're undecided. >> that is correct. >> what did you think of the debate tonight? was your mind made up tonight? >> my mind was made up that no matter who wins the democratic nomination i'm going to vote for them because it was really refreshing to see seven people with policy differences disagree with each other about policy without being disagreeable. >> that's just what i said. so you like the fact it's not a brawl. >> it's refreshing, yes. i loved it. >> did it push you one way or the other -- is there someone you're leaning toward or people that are in the final round? >> i'm a registered independent. or as they call it in new hampshire, undeclared. i get to pick between a democratic sxwalt gop ballot in the -- i'm torn between picking bernie sanders over picking the gop ballot because i would relish the chance to vote against donald trump twice in one election cycle.
>> because he has -- is william weld on the primary ballot here? >> bill weld is, yes. and i wish mitt romney was at this point. >> but you're open -- you said bernie sanders has your heart but you are open to supporting anyone you saw on that stage tonight? >> yes. and i was especially impressed with amy klobuchar. she has not really been on my radar before tonight. but she was just really strong. >> thank you very much. you're applauding. stand up. are you also a new hampshire voter? >> i am. >> and you're also undecided. >> i am. >> so did you have a similar favorable imprefgs assion of am klobuchar tonight? >> i certainly did. i came in thinking maybe mayor pete was somebody i was going to think about and also bernie. and mayor pete seemed a little naive tonight at times. there was one point toward the beginning where he said something about he's not going to worry about labels. but i'm thinking wow, you better worry about labels because the republicans are -- that's -- they've been masters of labeling people. and especially trump. and name calling.
i wasn't so sure he could take trump on. >> when you think about -- when you're sitting here trying to figure out how you're going to cast your vote in a few days, what is kind of front of mind guiding that decision? are you thinking about personality or are you thinking about who you can trust? is it about formidability against trump? is it a policy agenda? >> well, i like many of their policies and i think the bottom line is who can beat trump and that's it. tonight i think amy klobuchar said -- showed me that perhaps she can. >> what was it about her performance tonight that made you think that? >> i think that she explained how she can get our country back into the global economic forces and to get us back on the world stage with some dignity. and then her empathy speech i think was very powerful at the end. >> that closing. do people -- i thought that closing was very strong. did people think that closing was good? that was probably -- that was sort of a very big moment for
her. thank you so much. you, sir. are you a new hampshire voter? >> actually, i'm not. i'm from massachusetts across the -- >> sorry. you're canceled. you're a new hampshire voter? we just -- sorry. this is first in the nation situation here, and they take this very seriously. you're a new hampshire voter? >> yes. >> are you undecided? >> yes. >> what did you think of tonight's debate? >> i thought it was interesting bays came in kind of leaning i guess but not really knowing but i thought amy klobuchar really showed who she was tonight with a lot of confidence. >> did you have her on your radar screen beforehand? >> not at all. >> that's interesting. take a seat. how many people here run decided? raise your hands. and how many people stayed undecided through that debate? so keep -- now raise your hand if you felt like the debate made up your mind. did the debate make up your mind? you here? all right. stand up. so are you a new hampshire
voter? >> i am. >> good. you get to stand. >> thank you. >> you were undecided before the debate? >> i was. >> and then the debate made up your mind? >> absolutely. >> in favor of? >> amy. >> that's a lost -- really? >> she was very consistent. i've been watching her throughout the last couple weeks. she's been very consistent in what she says. and the more she says you have a home with me or a place with me, this is the country that we live in and this is my home and i have not felt like that in the last couple weeks, that this is my home. i am a jewish american, and i've become more and more uncomfortable with maybe where i live and my surroundings. and i've never had to feel that way before. so this is serious. this is -- and she got the message to me and i am now officially on board. amy, i'm on board. >> way it works in new hampshire if i understand is that every single citizen gives a public endorsement. right? that's the privilege of first in the nation. all right.
i want to bring in our panel for the evening. we're going to be here for a while. we'll come back and talk to you guys. i don't think i need to use this anymore. we have some of my favorite people in the world, some of my best friends, esteemed colleagues. lawrence o'donnell, host of "the last word." alicia menendez who will begin hosting her own show on msnbc this weekend. chris matthews, host of "hardball." and joy reid of "a.m. joy." have a seat, everybody. have a seat. have a seat. [ applause ] look at that. well, let's sort of, i guess, 30,000 foot view on all of this. i was struck -- the thing i said at the beginning was i was struck it's not -- everyone was like this is new hampshire, you know, the stakes are high, they're going to have to go after each other. they really didn't. i mean, there were clearly a few like precalled plays to go after each other and amy klobuchar
clearly has had it with pete buttigieg. like had it. but aside from that it was fairly respectful and cordial. >> i agree. tonight what we expected to see was sanders going after buttigieg. he had sort of broadcast that he was going to create this contrast point. are you with the wealthy or the working class? but to your point it's like he brought a butter knife. right? like he came in, he tried to make the point, it didn't land as an attack. what i found even more interesting because i was wondering how the mayor was willing to engage on that point, is rather than even deal in sanders' framework he instead said that's a divisive argument and what we need right now is unity. so he found a way to pivot. i think the question is, then, how it lands with this room of voters. >> chris. >> you've got a better poll this afternoon. bernie's up by four or five points. i'll tell you, i'm with the people here so far. i thought klobuchar was wonderful. i've never seen her this good. i think she showed in the last week audacity. which you want to see from a politician, is audacity.
spontaneity. don't have it on the damn script. be somebody home with the lights on. somebody who's there. a human being. and that's how she came across tonight. she never raised her voice. she was confident. she looked, i'm sorry, it's weird to say this, she seemed like a president tonight. she seemed like the president i would like to have as president. [ applause ] secondly, she had the guts to talk about the issue of this campaign. it is that word, socialism. some people like it. younger people like it. those of us like me who grew up in the cold war and saw some aspects of it after visiting places like vietnam like i have and seeing countries like cuba, being there, i've seen what socialism's like. i don't like it. okay? it's not only not free, it doesn't fricking work. it just doesn't work. number two, she had the nerve to bring up the most popular public figure in the country this week and that's mitt romney. she chose to praise him. and i said my god, i can always tell a good politician who pays
great praise to somebody from the other party. you can always spot them. it's the democrat who loves teddy roosevelt, the republican who likes fdr like reagan did. you can always tell the great leaders because they give credit to the other side where credit's due. and damn it, it was great to see her do it. i'm afraid if she hadn't done it nobody else would have done it. and i thought it was great. audacity. the great -- last week when they were screwing around in iowa unlike you guys here-i think you know how to do it. they were screwing around out there, screwing around. and everybody's sitting on the stage like it was -- like jimmy carter and gerry ford when the lights went out that time and they just sat there like they're at the hall of the presidents. you know, and they're both sitting there like this. and she stood up and said i've got something to say since nothing else is happening out here. and every one of the other candidates stood up and took advantage because amy -- that's what you call a leader. i think she's a leader. she's not the girl next door or the woman next door. i think she's a leader and she showed it tonight. that's my thought. >> i actually -- i want to go to the spin room now for
presidential candidate, senator amy klobuchar, democrat from minnesota. senator, you've got a lot of accolades in the room here. i thought you didding? i haven't seen a lot of people do, which is specifically go after pete buttigieg's experience. why do you think it's important to highlight that contrast? >> well, as you know, i have a lot of respect for pete's military experience and what he's done. but i just think we can't mess around here and we need a leader that brings the receipts. someone that has won in the reddest of red areas, not just talk about it. and i have done that consistently. and when i think about new hampshire, i think about the fact that in 2016 hillary only won by 2,000 votes. and you see these other states, as you know, like pennsylvania and michigan and wisconsin and as was pointed out by the "new york times" and the union leader, sea coast paper as well as the keene paper, that i'm
someone that can build that coalition not only within our own party as you can see my relationships with people up there on that stage, but also for the country. and as i said, i don't have the biggest bank account. that's why i'm asking people to help me at amyklobuchar.com. i don't have the biggest name i.d. but i have literally met every single metric here as i keep going through my speech in the snow and people didn't think i was going to make it through that, the summer, every single debate. and i'm ready to win this for the country. >> you got a question about your career as a prosecutor and drugs and addiction, about how your father's addiction to alcohol shaped your views on that. if you had regrets about the prosecutions that you undertook. you talked about drug courts. but i didn't hear quite an answer to the question about whether you regretted any of the prosecutions that you undertook when you were a prosecutor. >> well, everyone -- we had 15,000 cases a year, chris. so obviously there's cases that
probably didn't go like you'd want them to go. but the point of it is that you've got to learn and you've got to do better. and we have systematic racism in this country within the criminal justice system. and i didn't get an opportunity to talk about that. but to me that means doing everything that we can to have a better system. diversify the police departments, use body cameras, do more when it comes to interrogations and have every one of those videotaped. i advocated for that when i was a prosecutor, went around the country and debated other prosecutors working with the innocence project. those are things we can do. but you can always do better. you must do better and you must go back, look back, figure out what you can do better, and that's what i do and i think as president i would usher in the second stepback. we just got the first stepback done, which reduced sentences and got people out of prison for non-violent offenses. but we have to bring that out to
the states. and i actually think while people who have been prosecutors can get criticized, having people in office that have that kind of experience that they can then say look, we can do better and bring that and know how the system works, i think that could actually result in a major change in the criminal justice system in this country and that's what i want to do. >> senator klobuchar, i think i agree with everyone at the table here that says you did very well and the audience here agrees. but if there are two jobs that you have to do and that all the candidates have to do, one of them is obviously to try to win new hampshire. the second is to then spring forward to the next sets of debates where you're going to have a much more diverse audience but you also have to pitch yourself to. we know that as a prosecutor there are? cases that have made some african-american voters uncomfortable with you. there were some questions about race tonight. they didn't really center around you. but they're going to come up in the next several debates. what pitch lu make -- >> yes, they are. >> -- to african-american and latino voters? because it's not just a matter
of winning over conservative midwestern voters. you've also got to win the base to become president. >> you have to. and my view is that african-american women have been carrying this party for a long time and they need people, reinforcements and people to join them. so my job is first of all to get people to know me. i've always had significant african-american support in my elections at home. and i need them to get to know me. secondly, i will make the case for economic opportunity. i've been a fervent supporter of immigration reform. if you look back, i was in the small group that worked on the immigration bill when ted kennedy asked me to be a part of that group, one of only two new senators. then i worked on it in the judiciary committee again. and we passed it in the senate. and it's one of my top three priorities, to get that done. as well as investing in our communities of color. and if you look at my economic plan, it is all about
opportunity and it's all about voting rights and, you know, it's going to be my case to make. and i really know that i need to reach out so people get to know me because that's my job. otherwise, you can't be president if you're not going to be able to get support from african-american and people of color in our country. >> all right. senator amy klobuchar, thank you so much for making time tonight. we really appreciate it. >> all right. thank you. it was great to be on. i appreciate it. >> lawrence, it strikes me that part of what's interesting here is that klobuchar has managed to survive. >> yes. >> right? which in itself the field has been tremendously winnowed. part of that is a fund-raising thing. and now she's survived long enough at a moment where biden came in fourth, people were concerned about buttigieg's viability past this. there are other candidates who couldn't survive this long, cory booker, kamala harris maybe getting second looks. she happens to be around to be in the position for that. >> she was among senators the
lowest voltage senator going into this presidential campaign. if you wanted to make a bet at the beginning, who will be the first senator to drop out, your bet would have been amy klobuchar. it's so amazing to see her surpass cory booker, who's had a longer public national career, kirst kirsten gillibrand. and there she is tonight. and it's so great to be here, to be here with these voters, because you know the conceit of what this is, right? when the pundits come on after the debate and we say i think klobuchar did well or i think bernie did well, what we're really saying is i think that he or she impressed voters in a way that could help their campaign. it's not guesswork tonight because you've just told us. you've just told us that amy klobuchar did very well. and that's what i was thinking back there. but now i know it's true. and so i want to just cede all of my time to you to tell us who
did what out there. [ applause ] >> lawrence is lying of course. >> well, you know, i think -- i do agree. i try to get outside my job. i try to get outside being a pundit. and remember my brothers and my family and my cousins who are working class, middle class, very regular. and i try to do -- the other day i watched trump's speech, that horrendous speech he gave at noon. but i think it worked with a lot of people. you may hate the fact that it worked. it was hideously entertaining at times. he's an entertainer. but i do try to check in. by the way, lawrence, i did have the idea before these four brilliant people that it was klobuchar tonight. >> i'm glad they agreed with me is what i was thinking. >> it is a guess about what you think. so for us to actually hear what you think is pretty -- >> also we should say that we're talking about millions of people watching the debate. people have very different opinions. what we saw tonight will be
refracted through millions of different opinions. i'm sure people have -- no one agrees on anything. that's the whole point of american democracy. right? so there's no like -- >> but you were so smart. when you should have gave the admonition tonight to the group that has come to see you tonight, and that is that look at what you're getting ready for. these aren't even a preliminary bounce and the bottom of a card on a big boxing night where the heavyweight champion at 10:00. imagine hillary clinton, who's got an iq pretty darn high and is pretty prepared in politics through all her years since being first lady in arkansas, a long time ago, has never had a gorilla stand up behind her during the debate like godzilla and just loom over her. i don't know yet what the prescription is to be behave -- what do you do, turn around and say back in your corner, clown? what do you do? back, back. i mean, what do you do? >> i just want to -- you started out saying that people weren't throwing punches at each other. i think amy klobuchar actually
did throw one punch that i think was important because one of the -- there are two lanes here. and i think it's hard to argue that the two women on that stage were not the two strongest candidates in each of those lanes. elizabeth warren to me was clearly the stronger candidate in the progressive lane. and amy klobuchar was clearly the stronger candidate -- but can i say it's very difficulty think for a lot of women to accept the argument that pete buttigieg, who really stumbled when -- he you know, he speaks in sort of mckenzie-ese, full sentences. when he had to answer some questions about race, et cetera, he didn't seem so prepared. >> i have to cut you off just because we have to go to the spin room to one of those two candidates you just mentioned, presidential candidate senator elizabeth warren, a democrat from massachusetts. [ applause ] >> senator, what do you think the most important thing you said tonight was? what was your favorite answer? >> so look, it was fun to be out there. but can i just comment on what you all were just talking about? you know, we've had three years now of donald trump and mitch
mcconnell. it was exactly three years ago tonight that mitch mcconnell tried to pitch me off the senate floor for reading a statement from koe from coretta scott king to try to stop a racist from being nominated to be attorney general of the united states. and that's when mitch mcconnell said the words that women have put on t-shirts, have embroidered on pillows, and have had tattooed on their bodies. "nevertheless, she persisted." right now there are a lot of folks around the country -- [ applause ] -- who are really worried that this race against donald trump may be unwinnable. i've been fighting fights that are unwinnable all of my life. fighting to get a federal agency to protect consumers. fighting to get the ceo of wells fargo held accountable. and by the way, i got him fired. and fighting to take back a
senate seat from a popular incumbent republican. so i think this is all going to come down to winnability. and there are a lot of folks who say oh, i don't know about this race being winnable and i don't know if she can win. now, here's how i look at it. people doubt winnability right up until we get in the race, we persist, and then we win. and that's why i'm going to be the first president -- woman president of the united states of america. >> there was a discussion a bit about the impeachment and the aftermath of it today. >> yep. >> and i thought amy klobuchar had sort of an interesting barb at pete buttigieg who said he wanted to watch cartoons. we'll play that clip later. but i wonder where you think the fortunes of the democratic party are now in the wake of that trial this very week. >> so think what that impeachment was really about. that impeachment was about
corruption. right at the heart of it. was an ambassador who bought his ambassadorship for a million dollars. and it was about donald trump thinking hey, government is my personal play thing, i get to use any part of government just to help me. and that's been the trump administration. help me, help my rich cronies, help my family get richer. that's what donald trump thinks government is. this is our chance to draw the sharpest possible distinction. it is corruption. we need to call it out for what it is. i have the biggest anti-corruption plan since watergate. and here's the deal. we talk about corruption. we talk about a washington that for decades now has just worked better and better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. and you know what? it's not just democrats who get it. it's independents and republicans. hitting the corruption point over and over and over is how
we're going to be able to bring our party together. everybody can run on it. how we can pull in republicans and independents. that's how we'll beat donald trump. >> let me ask you a question on an area in which you disagreed with some people on the stage. >> sure. >> there's a question about essentially whether to investigate this president's crimes or misdeeds and those of his associates should you be elected. and there are a bunch of people who offered responses basically saying look, using an obama line, you have to look forward, not back, that the kinds places where people in the previous administration set a bad consequence, you disagree with that. why do you think it's important to set up some kind of commission to investigate? >> now, understand, i don't think this can be a political investigation. this is not something that should be run by the house or the senate or political appointees. it should be an independent commission. but we need to re-establish rule
of law in this country and we need for every government employee to understand. you get out there and break the law, in will be consequences. look at what the alternative would mean. this isn't just about donald trump. it's about all the people who helped him. if there are people who lied under oath, if there are people who broke the law, do we really want to be a country that says hey, as long as your president is in power you will be completely isolated and insi insulated from any of the effects of law? and once you leave you just get to go off to a cushy job, no one will ask any more questions? donald trump has broken a lost norms in this country. he's done a lot of damage to this country. but one of the biggest is that he has made clear that government under his watch works for him and works for him personally. we have to re-establish that we are a country not that has loyalty to an individual but
that has loyalty to the laws. i want to see an independent commission, whatever they come up with, i will live with. >> senator warren, it's lawrence o'donnell. when you left the stage tonight, and i know you have these tight time con sfraints on your answers. when you left the stage, there must have been something in your head that was i wish i had said this. was there something like that in your head when you were leaving the stage? >> there was so much of it. you know, lawrence, the hardest part for me about running for president is i've been a career politician. now, i wasn't doing this until i ended up in that senate race against scott brown back in 2012. and getting out there, i can now see spending a year of campaigning it's the things i've worked on all my life about how america's middle class has been
hollowed out, about how working people are just getting the short end of the stick over and over and over. but in this campaign i've had the ability to talk about the opportunities, to talk about ways we can fix that, to talk about a two-cent wealth tax and talk about expanding social security payments by $200 to show how we can pay for it. yeah. lots and lots of plans that would make a huge difference in the lives of tens of millions of people. so every time i go out to talk about, especially on the debate stage like that, where lots of people are tuned in, i leave it thinking i wanted to do a good job for you, for all of the people whose lives could be touched by those plans. and i just didn't say enough, didn't fight hard enough, didn't tell you how bad i want this and how good we can make it if we just come together, if we just get out there and fight for it. i truly believe we can build a
better america. it's going to take all of us, but we can. >> senator elizabeth warren, thank you so much for your time tonight. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> we are just getting started. much more with our many candidates and more of the great audience in new hampshire. don't go anywhere. we'll be back in ten seconds. >> good evening from manchester, new hampshire. we saw the final democratic debate before the state hosts first primary of the 2020 presidential election. we have heard from our audience of undecided voters. we'll hear from democratic candidates from the spin room. if you're joining us after a strong showing by buttigieg in iowa the democrats on stage came after the south bend mayor. >> going after
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