MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell and Democratic Representative Adam Schiff obsessed over The Department of Justice, John Bolton, and the failure of the Trump Impeachment on Monday night’s episode of The Last Word. The interview illustrated how invested both men continued to be in attempting to take down President Trump.
O’Donnell was quick to tie in President Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s office, by directly accusing the President of being a criminal:
Chairman Schiff, one thing I have been wondering about is this is the U.S. Attorney's office that has the Michael Cohen prosecution, has done the Michael Cohen prosecution in which Donald Trump is essentially an unindicted co-conspirator. He's identified in all the charging documents in the guilty plea as the person who directed and participated in the crimes that Michael Cohen did as a conspiracy against the United States.
Donald Trump is in that criminal case. Presumably Donald Trump could be charged as a criminal defendant in that case when he is no longer president.
O’Donnell did not even attempt hide his bias, and quite obviously, his desire to have President Trump face criminal charges. Schiff agreed with O’Donnell’s characterization of Trump as a criminal, and then made sure to shift the conversation to former National Security Advisor John Bolton, and his failure as Impeachment Manager earlier this year.
Engaging in a bit of wishful thinking later in the interview, O’Donnell and Schiff agreed that Bolton testifying to the Senate would have changed history and led to Trump’s removal from office:
O’DONNELL: If John Bolton was allowed to testify in the Senate trial, do you believe it would have changed the course of history and changed the course of that Senate vote?
SCHIFF: Well, I think, first of all, you're absolutely right.
Schiff had the opportunity to call Bolton to testify in front of the House, but insisted that the Senate was to do so, when it was never their job to call witnesses.
The partisan Congressman has still not accepted that his role as Impeachment Manager did not bring about the end of the Trump presidency. O’Donnell, Schiff, and the left wing media will never accept the results of the 2016 election, and will keep attempting to dig up dirt on Trump.
Click Expand to read the full transcript:
MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Chairman Schiff, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I want to begin with this U.S. Attorney situation in Manhattan, and then switch over to the Bolton revelation. But as a former U.S. Attorney yourself, as you watched this unfold this weekend and this is a presidency that might only have months left in it, it’s very strange to see any U.S. Attorney replaced in this timing on the calendar. What were you watching as this drama unfolded?
CONGRESSMAN ADAM SCHIFF: Well, first, Lawrence, in the interest of full disclosure, I was an assistant U.S. Attorney but, I appreciate the promotion.
And look, I think you're absolutely right. This smells, stinks to high heaven this effort to push out this independent U.S. Attorney from an office known for its independence and replace him in the last few months of the presidency, with some golfing buddy of the president’s who’s got no prosecutorial experience. So, you know, I think what's going on is quite clear, which is they're afraid of what this office under Mr. Berman's leadership might do in terms of their criminal investigations in the months ahead. And it is part of a pattern and practice of protecting the president's friends, using the Department of Justice to punish his enemies. It is a political strategy, an abuse of the Justice Department that Bill Barr has completely complicit in. And the fact that Barr would lie about this is so true to form as well. And you now have the U.S. Attorney from New Jersey apparently saying that Barr told him also that Berman had resigned when it wasn't true and he was shocked to learn that, in fact, Barr had misled him.
O’DONNELL: Chairman Schiff, one thing I have been wondering about is this is the U.S. Attorney's office that has the Michael Cohen prosecution, has done the Michael Cohen prosecution in which Donald Trump is essentially an unindicted co-conspirator. He's identified in all the charging documents in the guilty plea as the person who directed and participated in the crimes that Michael Cohen did as a conspiracy against the United States.
Donald Trump is in that criminal case. Presumably Donald Trump could be charged as a criminal defendant in that case when he is no longer president. Is there something, a new U.S. Attorney could do in that office to somehow derail what might happen in January or next year if there is a new Biden appointed U.S. Attorney in that office?
SCHIFF: Yes. I mean, there are ways that they could make it more difficult for a subsequent U.S. Attorney to bring that case by grants of some form of immunity to cooperating witnesses or other actions that could be in a subsequent case, even some grant to the president. But the reality is what they may have been more concerned about is if Berman stayed through the end of this term and the new president kept him in that position, they know the position of that office in terms of the president's role in the conspiracy. They know the position of the career prosecutors in that office. And this may have been an effort to try to change that dynamic before there is a change in leadership. But frankly I think probably the greater imperative was to make sure they protected the president's people between now and the end of the year, and that may have a lot to do with Rudy Giuliani or it may just have to do with the fact that Berman was not a loyal Trump crony the way -- the way he wanted to replace him with was. Apparently he wasn't out there playing golf and praising Donald Trump. And so that may have been the more profound motive here.
O’DONNELL: Chairman Schiff, John Bolton has now, in effect, testified. He's done it in television programs in promoting his book, and that's what Steve Schmidt was condemning him for, not coming forward to your inquiry and doing his constitutional duty and telling the truth about what he knew. And so when we look at the Republicans in the Senate blocking John Bolton from testifying when he finally said he was willing to testify and from those same Republicans who blocked that testimony, we're not hearing a great deal of shock and surprise about what John Bolton has revealed, it does seem like the Republicans in the Senate believed that what John Bolton would say is what John Bolton is how publically saying, and that's the reason they blocked his testimony.
If John Bolton was allowed to testify in the Senate trial, do you believe it would have changed the course of history and changed the course of that Senate vote?
SCHIFF: Well, I think, first of all, you're absolutely right. The senators who voted against hearing from John Bolton did so because they were afraid of what he would say. They knew they lacked the courage to vote to remove Donald Trump.
Many of them had already found the evidence to be compelling, and it would be so much more difficult for them to justify, rationalize their vote to acquit Donald Trump if the country first heard from John Bolton. Indeed, when you look at Lamar Alexander, who I think has been more straight forward than most. He basically said I didn't need to hear from John Bolton because I already believed Trump guilty. He was already proved by the House guilty. Why did we need another witness to just add on to what had already been proven? You know, even though people like Alexander should not have wanted to deprive the country of hearing about the president's guilt and anything else that John Bolton might have had to evaluate his fitness for office, how many other votes would have been affected, I don't know.
I think the bigger risk for the president was not John Bolton's testimony alone but the fact that John Bolton's testimony may have led to other witnesses and an unraveling of the Trump defense. That's what Mitch McConnell was most concerned about. But you are absolutely right. These Senators were not trying to shield the country of John Bolton because they thought he would exonerate the president. Exactly the opposite.