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MSNBC’s O’Donnell: Lindsey Graham ‘Is the Face of Terror’ Fearing Trump’s Wrath

Like with the previous day, MSNBC’s Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell was once again a panelist during the Senate impeachment trial’s dinner break. This time on Wednesday, he opined that it’s been “another extraordinary day” and that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) defending the President represents “the face of terror” fearing the wrath of Trump.

 

 

Moments after joining the set, O’Donnell boasted to The Beat host Ari Melber:

Ari, it is another extraordinary day and we have — you know, the big question, the big suspense question is witnesses. Will there be witnesses? Well we already have witnesses. The House managers have figured out a brilliant way through video to bring their witnesses right that this courtroom, this Senate courtroom[.]

O’Donnell insisted that many Democratic senators took their jobs seriously during the Clinton impeachment trial, but then pivoted to Republicans in the Trump proceedings and made his swipe about Graham.

Referring to a clip of Graham addressing reporters earlier in the day, O’Donnell lambasted Graham as someone spending this stage of his life in fear (click “expand”):

O’DONNELL: When you watch somebody like Lindsey Graham and the clip that you showed before the break, what you’re seeing there is the face of terror. That man has lived in terror since the day Donald Trump gave out his phone number to the country when he was running against Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. He now is running in terror of Donald Trump for re-election in South Carolina this year. Every breath, every public word Lindsey Graham says is based on his terror of what Donald Trump can do to him if he doesn’t worship Donald Trump publicly and what his voters will do to him if he doesn’t worship Donald Trump publicly. There was no one like that in the United States Senate during the Clinton trial. No one.

MELBER: In either party. 

O’DONNELL: No. In either party. Absolutely not. So this is — this is a — this is a poison element on the Republican side that has been poisoned by Trump terror. The thing that guides every public moment of their lives, but there’s a — and Claire could tell you, when the — when the chamber changes into a function like this, there — something changes inside you. You feel something very, very different to be in that chamber in a situation like this. 

And then in the final minutes prior to the trial’s resumption, Melber complained that the setup of the trial has been to the detriment of the House managers with blame resting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I liken it to cooking on Chopped where you have to make the best meal you can out of the carrots and you don’t know if you’ll get a protein later.”

O’Donnell replied that the House Democrats have done “a flawless job so far in the hand they’ve been dealt in the way they have to present this and they have challenges that really don’t exist in any other legal proceedings” with the hour after hour of allotted time with Americans tuning in from multiple time zones.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber on January 22, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber
January 22, 2020
6:52 p.m. Eastern

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Ari, it is another extraordinary day and we have — you know, the big question, the big suspense question is witnesses. Will there be witnesses? Well we already have witnesses. The House managers have figured out a brilliant way through video to bring their witnesses right that this courtroom, this Senate courtroom and then, then there’s Donald Trump, who continues to testify out there in the world, this time saying this outrageous thing about they don’t have the material, the House managers, we have the material, meaning I have successfully suppressed the evidence in this case. 

(….)

6:53 p.m. Eastern

ARI MELBER: What do you think of the way the senators are taking this in? We are here when this fascinating moment where we just heard from Senator Klobuchar, we played Republican Senator Kennedy, we’re hearing different takes, we certainly have reporting and we’ve mentioned it of senators with the briefs open, highlighting, underlining, reading, but we have some senators following the McConnell line that seems to suggest, maybe this whole thing is a fait accompli, pay no attention. 

O’DONNELL: Well, it is very different from the Clinton impeachment. As that trial approach from the Senate, I knew several Democratic senators who working very hard to evaluate the evidence and to try to match it up against what their constitutional understanding of high crimes and misdemeanors was. They took it very, very seriously. When you watch somebody like Lindsey Graham and the clip that you showed before the break, what you’re seeing there is the face of terror. That man has lived in terror since the day Donald Trump gave out his phone number to the country when he was running against Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. He now is running in terror of Donald Trump for re-election in South Carolina this year. Every breath, every public word Lindsey Graham says is based on his terror of what Donald Trump can do to him if he doesn’t worship Donald Trump publicly and what his voters will do to him if he doesn’t worship Donald Trump publicly. There was no one like that in the United States Senate during the Clinton trial. No one.

MELBER: In either party. 

O’DONNELL: No. In either party. Absolutely not. So this is — this is a — this is a poison element on the Republican side that has been poisoned by Trump terror. The thing that guides every public moment of their lives, but there’s a — and Claire could tell you, when the — when the chamber changes into a function like this, there — something changes inside you. You feel something very, very different to be in that chamber in a situation like this.

(….)

7:19 p.m. Eastern

MELBER: And, Lawrence, as we look at — as the point that Donna makes which I think is — is — is certainly the case, that although many people will watch much of this, tonight is the big night, the first night of substantive opening arguments, you do see that the Democrats, as House managers, have been forced to work with what they have. Mitch McConnell has run the rules in a way as Claire McCaskill has emphasized where there might be one all in vote later so unlike a traditional trial you will see this person say X, they can’t count on that. I liken it to cooking on Chopped where you have to make the best meal you can out of the carrots and you don’t know if you’ll get a protein later. How do you think they’re doing under that challenge? 

O’DONNELL: Oh, I think — I think they’ve been doing a flawless job so far in the hand they’ve been dealt in the way they have to present this and they have challenges that really don’t exist in any other legal proceedings. There’s no such thing as a 12-hour argument or a 12-hour presentation in any courtroom in America and — and there’s — even final arguments in cases that take six months, the long version of that would be two hours, two and a half hours. 

MELBER: Well, now you’re tempting me Lawrence. Is there such a thing as jurors who say they’ll violate their oath who stay on the jury in a normal trial? 

O’DONNELL: That happens too. Yes. That happens sometimes, but — but so they’ve got an incredible challenge and, look, there’s also a very complicated television challenge here. Viewers in Maine will have a different hour of consuming this than viewers in Colorado because of our time zones and they’re trying to get viewers in both of the states to influence senators in both of those states. Utah, for example, in Romney’s case, so it’s a very tricky play for them on how to deliver what on television. 

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