Rachael Maddow Interview With Hillary Clinton
Rachael Maddow interviews Hillary Clinton about Trump and the new chapters of her book What Happened. I believe this is what she had to say.
One year ago Hillary Clinton published this book which is simply titled What Happened? It’s her perspective on what happened in the 2016 election it contains what is still one of the most comprehensive timelines of what happened to the Democratic Party what happened to her campaign. When it came to the Russian attack on the 2016 election, I mean there’s lots of other things in this book, but that like a 50 page summary starts on page 325. It’s very very readable. As I said, I think it’s one of the best summaries anybody’s done anywhere in terms of what happened with the Russian attack. It is highly readable, highly recommended. This came out last year now as of tonight there’s this version of the book as well and this version of the book has a big new caboose.
New and Improved Book Release
She has written a new chunk of the book and it is about what has happened in the past year, and it’s not good. I mean, the book is good but in Hillary Clinton’s account of what has happened in the past year is really, really not good. Here’s part of how she sums it up in the new portion of the book. She says quote, the corruption of the Trump administration is breathtaking, Our democratic institutions and traditions are under assault every day. There may not be tanks in the streets and the administration’s malevolence may be constrained for now by its incompetence, but make no mistake our democracy is in crisis. She says on writing this, not as a Democrat who lost an election, but as a Democrat afraid of losing a country. She says since this book came out my fears about what a Trump presidency would mean for our country have been repeatedly surpassed by reality. It’s not a feel-good kind of book, it’s kind of a- well, I would say it’s a fire alarm.
Hillary Sounds The Alarm
Maybe it’s a signal flare joining us now for the interview. Tonight I’m very happy to is Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2016 former senator, former first lady, former Secretary of State. Madam Secretary thank you for being here. There’s a whole bunch of things I want to ask you about. I do want to talk to you about the new parts of the book. I want to talk to you about some new evidence that has recently emerged. Actually, just in the past few days about what did happen during the election. I also want to talk to you about some stuff that’s going on in the news right now. That portion that I just read from the book, I want to jump right in with essentially that fear that you are expressing. You are not a hyperbolic person. They’re very careful and precise in your public statements why are you telling people now that you are afraid of losing a country.
Well, I think for several reasons I do say in the afterword that I, like every other American, hoped for the best, wanted to give our new president the benefit of the doubt. But the actions that we have seen coming from the White House in this administration in the nearly two years since the election have raised all kinds of signal flares alarm bells about what is happening to our democracy. Put aside partisanship and all of the ideological concerns. We have to defend the fundamental values and ideals of the American democracy, and very briefly, I look at several different challenges that are all coming at us at the same time degrading the rule of law de-legitimizing elections, attacking truth and reason, undermining our national unity. Looking at the broad cross-section of what has been going on ever since this presidency began I think it is a crisis and it’s a crisis that should concern every American.
You could even find a point on that in the new portion of the book. You say quote a growing number of political scientists and historians who studied the rise of authoritarians and the fall of democracies are sounding the alarm. The warning to us is that authoritarianism is gaining strength around the world and here at home. I share that sense of urgency and alarm. You’re worried not just about the erosion of democratic norms, those things you were just describing, are you literally worried about America becoming subject to authoritarian rule under Trump?
Well, what I’m worried about is that these authoritarian tendencies that we have seen at work in this administration, with this president left unchecked, could very well result in the erosion of our institutions to an extent that we’ve never imagined possible here.
Look we’re a robust dynamic democracy. We have lots of disagreements but I look at what’s happening in Hungary what’s happening in Poland, obviously Russia is Exhibit A, and I know that if we don’t have a very big rejection of those tendencies come in this midterm election, left unchecked and unaccountable I think you will only see more of these attacks. On our institutions, on our norms, on the rule of law that could do lasting damage. We’re not there yet but that’s because we have an election and it’s an election that could not be more critical to ending any continuing threat from authoritarian tendencies.
I feel like one of the sort of signal developments of my adulthood as an American citizen has been the erosion of people’s faith in Congress, specifically as an institution. You’ve seen the approval ratings for Congress sort of drive down and down and down every year. To the point where it’s like lower than most STD’s at this point in public approval. Maybe people just have the lowest possible expectations and the sense that Congress is essentially worthless, but you’re talking about the most serious possible threats to our country to our way of life short of foreign invasion and you’re saying that the key the solution is electing a new Congress. It’s hard to put that much faith in the idea of a transformation of Congress given the way that we as a country think of that body with such a little respect now.
Well unfortunately, we have lost respect in most of our institutions and that does have to be rebuilt. I mean, I remain optimistic that we can take on these new challenges, show the resilience that is needed. But we don’t have many options. When you have a Republican Party, which I deeply regret I served with a number of the people who are currently still in the Congress. I was there for eight years and I see them turning a blind eye to what is going on. I see them standing by when the president orders the declassification of very important intelligence information in order to help himself and hurt others. The continuing assault on the FBI, the Department of Justice. These are serious problems that the Republicans in Congress seem unwilling or unable to address. So yes. We need a new Congress and we at least need a new Congress and a new Republican Party to begin to speak out and to exercise their Constitutional responsibility as a check and balance on what the administration is doing.
Our focus has been, as the Trump administration as Trump as a president individually has broken so many political norms and worried so many people, including yourself, about very serious changes in American democracy. We have really focused as a country on what Republicans will or won’t do about it. On whether or not there are Republicans particularly in positions of power, particularly in the Senate, even in the house, who will prove to be a check on their own the president of their own party. We say that because people are subject to different kinds of wind. I think is generated by members of their own party but also because the Republicans are a majority in both place and in both both houses of Congress. If the Democrats win one or both houses, the Republican Party will cease to be such a focus of our sort of national interest. We will stop looking for individual Republican senators to stand up and stop things that Trump wants to do and it will become the Democratic Party’s responsibility to try to check him and change the country. That immediately gets people to a discussion about impeachment. Do you have thoughts on that? About whether or not that’s something that Democrats should put on the table right away if they get control of Congress.
I think there should be a much broader agenda and I know it’s difficult to imagine having the Congress work on so many issues at the same time. Because it does require a level of organization and follow-through that is hard and I know that having been there. If there is evidence that comes up about high crimes and misdemeanors? Yes, it should be followed through on, but there is so many other things that need to be addressed. If you look at what this administration has done with respect to regulations on everything from asbestos, to pesticides, to labor concerns, this is going to begin to really have adverse consequences on many Americans. So there’s there’s a role for the Congress to play in saying no, stop. Where we are not going to ignore the evidence. We are not going to live in a fact-free universe. You, administrator X need to come up here and justify what you’ve done for two years. So there’s going to be a lot to do and the Democrats need to be ready to get immediately into action right off the starting blocks. Because one year is about what they have to begin to try to right the Constitutional ship again.
Do you think that the Democrats are gonna do well in the midterms? Do you think there’s enough to flip one or both houses?
I do, but it depends upon who turns out in votes. I know that a lot of people think there should be some other way of addressing this than just urging everybody to go out and vote, but there isn’t right now. That’s our system and if we ignore the importance of this midterm election, and there is no check and balance, we don’t take back one or both of the houses of Congress. Then I think you will see even more of the dismantling of our institutions with very dire effects.
Thinking about that balance between the executive branch and the legislative branch. Of course, the other branch of government is the judiciary. I have to ask you about some breaking news tonight. I imagine you’ve been following the twists and turns of the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. So heading into this evening as we understand it, the plan had been for the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings essentially to reopen on Monday with testimony both from Judge Kavanaugh and from professor Christine Blasi Ford who alleges that he attempted to rape her when he was 17 years old. Well tonight, actually just a few minutes ago, professor Blazi’s attorney has said that Professor Blasi will not testify on this matter until the FBI has investigated it. We just obtained a letter that she has sent to Senator Grassley in which she says. I’ll just read you some of the letter,
In the 36 hours since her name became public Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and fellow citizens across our country. At the same time however, her worst fears have materialized. She’s been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kind of threats her family was forced to relocate out of their home. Her email has been hacked. She has been impersonated online. While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh, in front of two dozen US senators on national television, to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident. A hearing was scheduled for six short days from today would include interrogation by senators who appear to have made up their minds that she’s mistaken and mixed up. While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the committee and with law enforcement officials. As the committee’s recognized and done before, an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations. A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a nonpartisan matter and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions. We’d welcome any opportunity to talk with you.
Essentially, the lawyer’s saying FBI needs to look into this. The investigation needs to be conducted. The interviews need to be done by the FBI before she should testify. Do you have any reaction to that?
I think that’s a reasonable request. The White House could answer it very quickly by asking the FBI to reopen its background check, and to take into account the accusation that’s been made, and to gather the evidence about what can be known. So far they haven’t done that and, as someone who has watched this process unfold over many years, there does have to be some direction given to the FBI to pursue an investigation. I don’t think it would be a lengthy investigation. I think it could be done in an expeditious manner. If they’re still trying to have a vote on this nominee they could postpone for two weeks and probably get a lot more information than they have now. Because what they have done, as her lawyers point out, is put Dr. Ford in the position of having to make her case without any kind of investigation that could be either helpful or detrimental to her and I think she’s asking that she be given the courtesy of having some facts laid out. You know, I heard Kellyanne Conway say we shouldn’t be subjecting her to insult and I think, you can’t avoid the appearance of insult if you don’t have an investigation. So that she is able to be evaluated fairly. What I think the White House and the Republicans on the committee are trying to do is basically put her in the dock and try to rush this through.
In the Anita Hill case in 1991, the FBI did investigate Anita Hill’s allegations when they came to light. There were criticisms that it was a rush and that it wasn’t enough, but the reason the FBI did that is because the White House Counsel at the time for the first President Bush, asked to have the FBI to do that investigation.
Right. That’s the relevant precedent. Yeah, that the FBI is not conducting an independent investigation, isn’t conducting a background investigation, and the client if you will, the requester, is the White House. So the precedent that you just referred to is the precedent for getting the FBI to conduct an investigation and that’s what the White House should do.
If the Brett Kavanaugh nomination is now hurtling into the Sun which is what I think. That’s just my take on it. I don’t know if that’ll be proven right or wrong there. There’s the question about how the Senate should handle this matter going forward. I mean, there’s this screwy precedent now where Republicans would not let President Obama fill an opening on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Scalia for nearly a year until they got another shot at the White House in the 2016 election. Some Republican senators during the election campaign said that if you were elected in 2016 they were they fully intended to hold that seat open for all four years if necessary to give a Republican another shot at holding it. Given that extreme recent history do you think that Democrats should play that kind of hardball too? To be prepared to use those kinds of tactics so as not to be sort of the patsy being pushed around on this? Or do you think that Democrats should just go through regular order with whoever Trump has to put up next if the Kavanaugh nomination fails?
Well what I would like to see is a Democratic majority that actually has the chance to make that choice. Right now the Democrats have very few tools at their disposal to stop the Republicans from going full speed ahead and engaging in the kind of unprecedented behavior as they did with the garland nomination. So I’m not in favor of either unilateral disarmament or, you know, DEFCON 10. I think that there has to be some effort to try to get back to regular order. Try to get back to having a system a process in place so that we are not subjected to the hardball behavior of the Republicans that we saw in the Garland nomination, and were not subject to the outrageous denial of the information that was requested on Kavanaugh. I mean there can’t be one set of rules for Democrats and one set of rules for Republicans.
One set of rules for Democrats, none for Republican’ts!
That’s one of the reasons why people don’t have any confidence in the Congress. How can you you don’t know what’s gonna happen from day to day. I remember back in the Thomas hearings when senator Byrd was asked what he was going to do. He said, In a situation like this we should give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country. That’s what the Republicans should be doing right now. From the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Senate. Give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country. That means have an investigation that will then lead to a hearing, that will then lead to a vote if appropriate. Instead they are playing the hardest of hard balls to try to pack the court with another nominee regardless of the questions. Remember, Rachel, there were lots of questions raised in the hearing itself about some of his testimony. Some of the statements he had made when he was first confirmed for the circuit court and then additional statements. So there were already reasons to doubt the testimony and the positions that he was taking. As well as substantive issues that are fair game for senators to explore.
If he’s absolutely innocent of this charge, if this didn’t happen the way professor Blasi Ford says it did, and that is what Judge Kavanaugh asserts, do you think that the Senate is capable of giving him due process? Obviously allegations like this have there are there are lots of allegories for this and lots of times in politics. Your husband when he was president faced allegations that were not the same as this, certainly, but had connections to these kinds of old allegations from years ago. And I know that you had concerns at the time, your husband certainly had concerns at the time, that he never really had due process to defend himself from allegations like this. Have we learned anything over the years about due process. Not just for the accusers but also for the accused.
Well, I think that you have to take each of these situations sort of on their own merits and what we have today is a process that has been rushed. That has been deliberately opaque. Where information that the Congress, not just democratic senators but all senators, and the public deserves to see that they were denied. So there has to be a set of standards and, yes, there should be due process for everyone involved and I think that’s what Dr. Ford is asking for. She’s asking for due process. She’s asking that there be an investigation. At the end of the investigation she might very well decide not to pursue her willingness to testify. She might say ‘well, you know there’s there’s no way to ever prove it.’ Who knows what she might decide. On the other hand, the person she’s accusing might decide ‘well, wait a minute my memory is faulty or I didn’t I don’t remember that’ and now there’s been evidence. But we don’t know because there has been no decision to give due process on either side, and that’s why I think the White House should ask that the FBI reopen the background check.
Hillary Clinton’s book is called What Happened which came out last year, but there’s new parts now. Get your own copy of Hillary’s expanded book here.
If you love the USA then buy this book & put your money where your mouth is.
But keep your money when some Facebook bot points you the books of fraudulent imitators working counter-program operations. Read on as Mr. Nance explains how the publishing business can be manipulated by the wealthy far right. Is The Plot To Destroy Democracy buried in your local bookstores. Check to see if it’s sold out?
“The Plot to Destroy Democracy : How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West“
I heard Malcolm Nance talk about that and his new book in the studio of the best syndicated liberal talk show in what’s left of America. You should hear the great guests talk on the Stephanie Miller Show!
I’m pretty sure he said...