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MSNBC "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" - Transcript: "Julian Castro interview."

Interview

Date: July 18, 2019

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O`DONNELL: The House of Representatives conducted a symbolic vote yesterday on a hastily written impeachment resolution by Democratic Congressman Al Green in reaction to the president`s tweeted comments that the House of Representatives voted to condemn as racist. The impeachment resolution had nothing to do with the Mueller investigation and referred only to the president being unfit for office because of the language that he has used recently about members of Congress and immigrants and asylum seekers as is common with resolutions like that, which virtually every Democrat agrees with in part. The Democratic leadership used the procedural device of a vote on tabling the motion, basically sat -- putting it aside so that technically the vote was not directly on the issue of impeachment. The vote was simply on whether to proceed with that resolution and send it to the Senate or to delay the resolution. Ninety-five Democrats voted not to table the resolution which means we have a new count of house Democrats in favor of impeachment, 95 is significantly higher than the number of Democrats who prior to yesterday have taken a position in favor of impeachment. And we are joined by one of those 95 Democrats, Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois. She`s a member of the House Oversight Committee. I think there was no surprise about what was going to happen on that motion to table yesterday, but I was struck by -- by the way, many people in favor of impeachment actually stood and voted against it saying -- because what it would have done is simply sent it straight to the United States Senate without any judiciary committee hearings on impeachment. But you can also see in that vote of 95, the frustration of where the House of Representatives is on impeachment now.

REP. ROBIN KELLY (D-IL): I think that`s exactly what it is. People are frustrated and they were disgusted by his tweets and his comments. I know for me, I felt like I had to vote the way I voted because I was so frustrated and just to send some kind of message to my constituents that this man needs to go. And we also realize and even if we do impeach him, that Mitch McConnell is not going to do anything. That`s how frustrated my colleagues and I are at this point.

O`DONNELL: And today, continuing to show that you can legislate and investigate and condemn at the same time, the House passed a giant increase in the minimum wage in history -- $15 minimum wage, knowing that Mitch McConnell will never take it up on the Senate floor. So, what is the difference between the House Democratic leadership`s approach to legislation like minimum wage, which they know Mitch McConnell won`t bring it to a vote in the Senate. And impeachment which they also know would have troubled to put it mildly in the Senate.

KELLY: You know, I think with impeachment, we are walking a fine line. We just got back the majority and the reason we got back the majority is because so many new colleagues flipped Republican seats. So, we have to be strategic in what we do and we have to make sure we are a tracking the people we lost. We have to make sure we are attracting independents and so many people despite the president, they don`t want us to go through the impeachment. You know, they want us to take care of business. In fact, on my way over here, the person that drove me saying the regular everyday person doesn`t care about the things you guys keep talking about. They care if they have a job. They care about their health care, about their taxes. So, you know, I think that`s part of it, too, striking a balance.

O`DONNELL: I want to listen to what Congresswoman Omar said about her safety given that the president is in effect publicly inviting threats to her. Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Are you scared for your safety right now?

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I am not. What I`m scared for is the safety for people who share my identities. When you have a president who clearly thinks someone like me should go back, the message that he`s sending to every single person who shares an identity with me, and he is telling them -- you guys are going to be all right -- he`s telling them that this is not their country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: She says she is not afraid for her safety. Are you afraid for her safety?

KELLY: Yes, I`m afraid for her safety and the others also, but particularly her safety. I`m sure she has some concerns about her safety also. I hope she does, that of her family also.

O`DONNELL: What is it like day to day now serving in the House where you don`t know who`s next. You don`t know who is the president going to target next. I think you can be absolutely sure he`s going to be targeting Congresswoman Omar for a long time. He has been targeting. But this is not something that prior to the Trump era, members of the House or Senate had to worry about.

KELLY: No, I mean, this is absolutely ridiculous. It`s embarrassing. It`s almost I would say unbelievable, but he does something new every week. He as my grandmother is saying, getting into the gutter. And it`s scary about what happened in North Carolina yesterday. So many people shouting "send her back" and applauding him, saying he`s not a racist. That`s very scary that these are citizens of the United States.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Robin Kelly, thank you very much for joining us.

KELLY: Thank you.

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