MSNBC "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" - Transcript: Interview with Rep. Eric Swalwell



O`DONNELL: If you are having trouble keeping track of the very long list  of Trump scandals and Trump administration scandals, here is something that  really helps. According to "Axios", Republicans on Capitol Hill are  circulating a spreadsheet among themselves listing all of the Trump  scandals they have refused to investigate as they prepare for what  Democrats might investigate if Democrats take back the House in November.

Here is a Republicans list of potential Trump investigations according to  "Axios", Trump`s tax returns, Trump family businesses, Trump`s dealings  with Russia, the payment to Stormy Daniels, James Comey`s firing, Trumps`  firing of U.S. attorneys, Trump`s proposed transgender banning for the  military, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin`s business dealing, White House  staff personal e-mail use, cabinet secretary travel, office expenses and  other misused perks, discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago,  Jared Kushner`s ethics law compliance., dismissal of members of the EPA  Board of Scientific Councilors, the travel ban family separation policy,  hurricane response in Puerto Rico, election security and hacking attempts  and White House security clearances.

Republicans may hope that the list will scare the Trump base to the polls  to protect Donald Trump from any of those investigations. But as  Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell tweeted today, "House GOP went so far  to make a list of objectionable conduct by Donald Trump."

So if they know, why won`t they investigate this stuff? Joining us now  Congressman Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California and member of the  Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. And Congressman Swalwell, that was  one of your angrier tweets about this, but it is kind of extraordinary to  watch the Republicans basically draw up the preliminary outlines of an  overall indictment of the ethics of the Trump administration, the Trump  family. And then say the danger to the country is that this will be  investigated if Democrats are elected.

ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA. Good evening, Lawrence. You almost went into  Brian William`s hour there going through that list. But, you know, what  was so concerning for me was that they know. And it`s as if a lawyer asked  their client, you know, tell me everything that you did and they compiled  this long list of their client`s exposure. Except, that`s the problem, the  Republicans view Donald Trump as their client, as someone who they are  supposed to protect. And they have put this list out there to their  donors, to their base as a reason that they must keep the majority, not to  investigate all of this alarming conduct but to protect the president from  it.
And so thank you for the list, I say. And I can assure the American people  if Democrats are given the responsibility of leading, we will look into all  of this alarming conduct because we do believe that corruption is keeping  us back from addressing issues of protecting health care, making sure  paychecks grow and protecting our environment. So thank you to the  Republicans, but we`ll do the right thing with the list.

O`DONNELL: And you may add a thing or two to that list including  Congressman Wilbur Ross`s strange business dealings, to put it moderately,  since he has been in office. I want to get your reaction to something the  president said tonight about impeachment. He`s talking about impeachment more than ever because he`s obviously worried about a Democratic House beginning impeachment proceedings against him. And he said to Bloomberg, "You cannot impeach a president who is doing a good job." What is your 
reaction to that?'

SWALWELL: He shouldn`t worry. We`re not going to impeach a president  who`s doing a good job. The problem, though, is he is not a president who  is doing a good job. But what we can assure him is that we will give him  the fairest investigation that he`s never given anyone, that there will not  be a rush to judgment, that we will conduct thorough investigations.

And if he has crossed red lines, he`s not above the law, and we will make  sure an impenetrable bipartisan case is made to the American people. But  yes, he doesn`t have to worry about someone doing a good job losing their  job.

O`DONNELL: And the president now is talking about impeachment more than  anyone else in Washington, more than any other elected official in  Washington. He`s done it in his Fox News interview. He did it again in  his Bloomberg interview today, talked about impeachment repeatedly. He  offered the theory on impeachment that not only that you cannot impeach a  president who is doing a good job, but that there is a very high bar to get  over and that all legal scholars agree that it is impossible to reach that  and anything like that in what we`ve seen of the evidence against Donald  Trump.

What is your reaction to the president`s notion that there is nothing out  there yet that would even begin to suggest the possibility of impeachment?

SWALWELL: There is certainly a lot out there, Lawrence, to investigate and  probe. And, again, we will do that. But the reason he`s talking about  impeachment is because he doesn`t want to talk about what every day  Americans want to talk about and we`ll go to the polls on, their health  care costs are going to go up as open enrollment starts this fall, that  wages are in decline and that only the wealthiest have benefitted from his  tax cuts.

As well as that right now, Lawrence, what we`re seeing in this country is  that hardworking people continue to work hard and it is not adding up too  much. Over 70 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings  account. He doesn`t want us to talk about any of that or he doesn`t want  us to talk about the fact that he just denied millions of Federal workers a  pay increase that they rightfully deserve for working so hard. So we`re  going to talk about those issues but we`re also going to be able to walk  and chew gum and investigate his alarming conduct.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us  tonight.

SWALWELL: Yes, my pleasure.