Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 7/10/17 Trump’s son met with Russian Lawyer
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: July 10, 2017
Guest: Ana Marie Cox, Ron Klain„ Jill Wine-Banks, Bill Browder, Brendan
Boyle, Evelyn Farkas
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we will see you again
tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening, Rachel. This is
one of the faster moving stories in Trump – I mean, one new and big
element per day.
MADDOW: Yes, and you know, I think that this is – I mean, we were sort of
blown away a week ago Friday when the “Wall Street Journal” reported that
first evidence of there being American collusion in the Russian attack.
In that case, the big question was whether or not it could be linked to the
Trump campaign. Now, it is about the Trump campaign and now further
tonight, it`s about the Trump campaign and then explicitly being told that
it was the Russian government that was the source of this information.
O`DONNELL: And we got a new statement from Donald Trump Jr. each day of
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Until today when he hired a criminal defense lawyer, and now
tonight we`re starting to hear from the criminal defense lawyer about this
instead of directly from Donald Trump Jr.
MADDOW: And the criminal defense lawyer`s statements thus far directly
contradict everything Donald Trump Jr. has said in public about this story.
O`DONNELL: But that – but Donald Trump Jr. contradicted Donald Trump Jr.,
so that apparently is OK.
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: In Trump world, it is OK to contradict Donald Trump Jr. anyway.
MADDOW: You know, you have to be a very flexible lawyer to take on this
kind of assignment. But that makes – these guys have to be nimble,
pliable, you know, live. You know how it is.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel, really appreciate it.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, tonight we are going to begin with this breaking news
from the “New York Times” that you`ve heard reported by Rachel Maddow.
Here is the first paragraph of that story. Before arranging a meeting with
a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising
information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an e-
mail that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his
father`s candidacy according to three people with knowledge of the e-mail.
The e-mail to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone; a publicist
and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016
Joining us now, Jill Wine-Banks; former assistant Watergate special
prosecutor, Ron Klain; former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden
and Al Gore and a former senior aide to President Obama.
He`s also a former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he
was chief of staff to Attorney General Janet Reno.
Also with us, Bill Browder; the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and the
author of “Red Notice”. He actually knows the Russian lawyer who met with
Donald Trump Jr. in this meeting.
Ron Klain, I want to go first of all to you with this latest development in
the sequence of stories we`ve had this weekend.
What does this add to the story as it is now to know that there`s an e-mail
that Donald Trump Jr. received saying that this was about the Russian
government trying to help his father win the election?
RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO JOE BIDEN & AL GORE: Yes, Lawrence,
you know, the loud thudding noise your viewers hear behind me is the sound
after six months of a giant shoe finally dropping in this investigation.
You know, six months ago, the vice president told us that no one on their
campaign had met with the Russians, then one-by-one, we`ve learned about
But all along until now, they insisted the meetings were about policy or
getting to know you. And now we finally know there were meetings between
senior Trump officials, Donald Trump Jr. and of course, Jared Kushner, Paul
Manafort with Russian liaisons, to talk about how the Russian government
could aid the Trump campaign.
And that is a giant turn in this unfolding story.
O`DONNELL: Jill, we have someone who Donald Trump Jr. says he met when the
Trumps went to Russia with their beauty pageant.
That person who is not a Russian citizen, this Goldstone guy, sends an e-
mail saying, I want you to meet – it would be good if you met with this
Russian lawyer, might be able to help with the campaign.
Now that we have the element in the e-mail of – and this will be
information from the Russian government. What does that mean legally?
JILL WINE-BANKS, LAWYER: This is an astounding thing. We have, for sure,
more evidence for Mr. Mueller to look at and get the details of.
But it is collusion with a foreign adversary if they were working together
to get the information from the Russian government, and that`s what this
looks like. It looks like clear proof of collusion.
O`DONNELL: Bill Browder, you know Natalia Veselnitskaya; the lawyer who
was in this meeting, the Russian lawyer.
She – apparently, Donald Trump changed his story over the weekend. And
first, he said the meeting had nothing to do with campaign issues.
It was all about adoption and, you know, repairing the rules that would
allow adoption of Russian babies. Then the next day, his statement said,
no, it was about getting actual campaign information.
That`s what the meeting was really about. And then she turned it into a
meeting about adoption, which disappointed Donald Trump Jr.
And now tonight, we have this latest element of the information. What do
we know about who Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were
meeting with that day?
BILL BROWDER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Well,
first of all, they were meeting with a person who was representing the
Russian government, not a person who was acting in a personal capacity.
They were meeting with a person from the Russian government who had a
specific agenda, which was to repeal sanctions with what`s called Magnitsky
sanctions against human rights violators from Russia, and which is
something very important to Vladimir Putin.
And she was coming armed with something with a quid pro quo. She basically
– the Russians understand that if they want something from the Americans,
that if they want something from Donald Trump, they have to offer something
Now, I don`t know exactly what she was offering, but I know exactly what
she was asking for, which was to repeal sanctions against Russian torturers
and murderers, which is something that`s very sensitive to Vladimir Putin.
O`DONNELL: Bill, take a minute and tell us how these sanctions were put in
place and why they were put in place and whose name is on those sanctions,
how that happened.
BROWDER: So the sanctions are called the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act
is a piece of legislation named after my lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
Sergei Magnitsky was an anti-corruption lawyer in Moscow, uncovered a
massive $230 million Russian government corruption scheme.
He exposed it, he was arrested by Russian government officials, tortured in
prison and killed at the age of 37, seven years ago.
And I`ve gone on a mission to Washington to get a piece of legislation in
place which was passed called the Magnitsky Act which imposes visa
sanctions and asset freezes on Russian human rights violators.
This is something that very much upsets Vladimir Putin.
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, the sourcing for the “New York Times” original
article was three advisors to the White House briefed on the meeting with
two others with knowledge of it.
Advisors to the White House, so that indicates to me they are probably
people working outside of the White House.
But this is a Trump-friendly group of sources for the “New York Times”
article. What do you make of that?
KLAIN: Well, I think it`s hard to know what to make of that, Lawrence. I
think that, you know, tonight, in fact, the White House is kind of flipping
– doing back flips on this and Kushner and Manafort are saying, hey, no
We disclosed this in the umpteenth time we updated our disclosure forms.
And so – you know, I think they`re trying to spin this as best they can.
But really, the bottom line, Lawrence is this. Up until now, there`s been
a question of whether or not the Trump campaign tried to collude with the
Now, we know they tried to collude. The only question is whether or not
they got the job done. And that really significantly changes the direction
of this investigation.
O`DONNELL: Jill, one of the things that strikes me about the sourcing on
this is that because it comes from Trump-friendly sources, one of the
things you want to ask yourself is who is this helping?
Who is this helping within the Trump administration? And it`s Jared Kushner
in this meeting who actually has some criminal liability because he was
supposed to disclose this on his application for security clearance.
He didn`t, and he only recently updated this disclosure. And so, as you
read deeply in the “New York Times” article, you discover, oh, so the
government now does know about this meeting.
And also as you read even more deeply than that, you discover that the
house committee investigators know about the meeting.
Therefore, Trump administration people had to know this meeting is
eventually going to come out. What is the least damaging way for us to
bring it out?
What`s the least damaging time for us to bring it out? And that might have
been the decision they made this weekend.
WINE-BANKS: I think the least damaging time would have been when it first
happened. I think I wouldn`t be presumptuous enough to offer advice to the
president, but I would to his legal team.
One of the first lessons you learn as a lawyer and certainly one we learned
in Watergate is stop the drip. Get everything out that you know right
It`s much less damaging if you announce it than if you wait until your
opponents announce it. And they`re not doing that.
There are too many unreported meetings that we`ve already learned about,
and we only learn about them when someone else finds out, usually the
So we need to get it done, and they need to get the truth out. As voters,
we need to know this information.
O`DONNELL: Bill Browder, given all of your information – all of your
experience with Russia and working there, what do you make of this story,
the full picture of this story, as you see it tonight?
BROWDER: Well, what I see is that the Russians have a bunch of objectives,
Putin has a bunch of objectives and he has been trying to achieve those
One of those objectives is about sanctions. I think it`s very significant
that a person from Russia came to the Trump administration asking for
sanctions to be repealed.
He has other objectives which have to do with America not supporting NATO,
America not supporting Ukraine, and America not supporting the European
These are all Putin`s objectives. And Putin is working very hard on this,
and it`s extremely worrying to see any lapse that the United States will
have in terms of any of these objectives, which are all very important to
keep in place, to keep Russia in check.
O`DONNELL: Bill, do you expect to hear anything from this Russian lawyer?
Do you think she will make any public statement – any more public
statements about this?
BROWDER: I`m sure she will. I`m sure she will. The – I`ve been dealing
with her as an adversary for the last three years.
She`s very brash, very bold. I am sure – I don`t think she`s ever been in
the center of such a storm as this one, but I`m sure she`ll come out and
say something which will be completely untrue when she does, and it will
confuse some and firm up others opinion of what happened here.
But you should absolutely expect to hear something from her.
O`DONNELL: In the – deep in the – one of – the “New York Times” report
this morning, it says, “Mr. Manafort, the former campaign chairman, also
recently disclosed the meeting and Donald Trump Jr.`s role in organizing it
to congressional investigators who had questions about his foreign
contacts, according to people familiar with the events.”
And so, Ron, it seems to me that the Trump administration knew this is
coming out. Manafort`s disclosed it, the House investigators know it.
Now it`s on Jared Kushner`s disclosure form finally, and it represents a
possible crime in Jared Kushner`s case because he did not put it on his
original disclosure forms.
And so at some point, the Trump administration has the decision, do we want
to see this thing come out in the middle of a house hearing that Jared
Kushner is the witness at, where it lands as a bombshell on Jared Kushner,
or do we want it to come out before that and maybe come out with Donald
Trump Jr. being the star of the article because Donald Trump Jr. doesn`t
face the same criminal liability as Jared Kushner does.
KLAIN: Yes, you know, they`re shaping up for a very interesting
thanksgiving dinner in the Trump household.
You know, I mean, it does feel to me, Lawrence, kind of like you implied,
that perhaps this story was put out and hung on Donald Trump`s son to move
it away from Donald Trump`s son-in-law, who definitely has more legal
exposure, who is right in the heart of the White House, who is in the
middle of all these policy matters, who played a role in firing Director
Comey, who supposedly is one of the people who advised the president to
fire Director Comey.
Who has been, you know, threatening your colleagues here at Msnbc with bad
stories and all these things.
And so, you know, it may well be as incredible as this is, that this was an
effort by the Trump White House to hang this on Donald Trump Jr. and move
it away from Jared Kushner.
O`DONNELL: Jill, the other part of this story that is still unfolding is
what exactly – what are the words in that e-mail that have been described
to the “New York Times”?
The “New York Times” article does not quote the e-mail. It simply says
that there is an e-mail and that in that e-mail, it says that the material
was part of a Russian government effort, that that becomes clear in the e-
But we have not seen that e-mail. We don`t know the words of that e-mail
yet. And so there is more evidence to unfold here.
WINE-BANKS: There is, and that`s the job of Mr. Mueller and his team. And
I trust that they will start interviewing all the right people.
They will obtain that memo, and then they will know what to do with it.
It`s only speculation right now although, you know, you can only have so
much smoke before you have to admit that there is a fire.
And I think we`re at the point where there is much more than just a smoky
O`DONNELL: Bill, given your Russian experience, if the Russian government
had information that they wanted to let the Trump campaign know about, does
this sound like the route they would take?
Go through people who worked with Trump when he was there for his beauty
pageant, then get to this lawyer, put this lawyer in a room in Trump tower?
BROWDER: Yes, well, I mean, basically at the early stages, they probably
didn`t know how to get a hold of Trump, and this was, you know, through
this beauty contest was a smart way of getting to him.
I`m sure that the Russians didn`t just use this channel if they wanted to
approach the Trump campaign, I`m sure they used other channels.
I`m sure that as time goes on, we`ll learn about what ways in which they
communicated and didn`t. But we know for sure that this particular lawyer
was working as an agent of the Russian government for a very important
project for Vladimir Putin, and so this would make sense and fit right into
the whole picture of them trying to influence U.S. policy through Donald
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Donald Trump Jr. said last year after –
we now know after he got this e-mail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: I can`t think of bigger lies, but
that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will
They will lie and do anything to win. You hear it with the DNC where
they`re leaking e-mails about Bernie Sanders and his Jewish heritage to be
able to try to destroy him in the south.
It`s a rigged system. It`s disgusting, and the people should be fed up
because when I heard it, I certainly was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ron, that was Donald Trump Jr. talking about how all the talk
about Russian hacking was just a lie.
He was already in possession of an e-mail according to the “New York Times”
saying the Russian government wants to help.
KLAIN: Yes, Lawrence, I think you ought to invite him on your show to come
on tomorrow night and apologize to Robby Mook, who in that interview he
called despicable for saying that there was evidence that the Russians were
working with the Trump campaign, and that he gave that interview just days
after he had this meeting where we now know he was sent an e-mail saying,
hey, we want to come help.
We`re the Russians, we want to come help you beat Hillary Clinton. And so
clearly, he was just telling a bold faced lie, throwing accusations, and he
owes Secretary Clinton, her campaign, everyone involved a big apology for
O`DONNELL: Bill Browder, thank you very much for joining us tonight with
your unique perspective on all of this, really appreciate it. Also Jill
Wine-Banks, thank you for joining us again tonight, appreciate it.
Up next, member of Congress who wants to stop the president from creating a
cyber security unit with Russia, that crazy proposal that Donald Trump came
up with on Twitter Sunday morning.
O`DONNELL: President Trump and I began Sunday morning the same way,
tweeting at 7:50 a.m., the president tweeted: “Putin and I discussed
forming an impenetrable cyber security unit so that election hacking and
many other negative things will be guarded.”
As soon as I saw that, at 8:08 a.m., I tweeted, “will it be called the
collusion unit”? And six minutes after that, I tweeted, “who will introduce
a bill in Congress to stop this? Will the vote be unanimous? Why not”?
And an hour after that, I got an answer from Democratic Congressman Brendan
Boyle saying “POTUS defies common sense. This week I will introduce bill
that would ban any joint effort with Russia on cyber security.”
Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Brendan Boyle introduced that
legislation today that would block the funding of cyber security unit with
Also with us, Evelyn Farkas; senior fellow of The Atlantic Council and a
former deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.
Congressman Boyle, thank you very much for answering my tweet so quickly
yesterday. And I`ve got to say –
REP. BRENDAN BOYLE (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Yes –
O`DONNELL: When I was working in the Senate, if we saw something like
that, there would have been a race – a race among Senate staffers to get a
bill into legislative language, you know, Sunday morning.
And as far as I can tell so far, the Senate has been silent. You`ve come
forward with yours, and there – you may have others in the House who will
be coming forward with some kind of amendment or bill to stop this.
What is your proposal?
BOYLE: Yes, well, thank you, Lawrence, and glad to be Twitter pen pals
with you. I will tell you I`m doing two things.
I`m filing a standalone bill which we introduce tomorrow, our first day
back in House session, and also attempting to amend the National Defense
Authorization which just happens to be coming up this week.
My idea is to really use whatever legislative vehicle may be moving forward
to make sure Congress makes clear this completely insane and dangerous idea
never actually takes place.
O`DONNELL: Evelyn Farkas, the president apparently has backed off on this
after getting criticism from Lindsey Graham, from others.
Lindsey Graham saying it`s not –
EVELYN FARKAS, SENIOR FELLOW, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Right –
O`DONNELL: The worst idea in the world, but it`s awfully close. And so
apparently, the president is now saying it`s not going to happen.
FARKAS: Right, I think he changed his mind pretty quickly, Lawrence, and I
was also in the Senate and I remember those days of running to try to be
the first in line to –
O`DONNELL: Evelyn, you would have had this bill written by 10:00 a.m.
Sunday morning, right?
FARKAS: I would have actually predicted that it needed to be written –
O`DONNELL: Right –
FARKAS: Potentially even before the meeting between Putin and –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
FARKAS: Trump. But unfortunately, I would say, I mean, first of all, it`s
ridiculous to imagine that we can cooperate with Russia.
Back in the days when it was even impractical in 2013, actually President
Obama tried to cooperate with Russia on cyber security.
I was part of a working group, actually all we did was talk, and we ended
up meeting with one of the highest-ranking intelligence officers in the
Russian military to talk about cyber security.
So we weren`t going to get anywhere with the Russians then, and certainly
after they attacked us, we weren`t going to get anywhere.
So I think he realized to say that we`re going to cooperate with Russia, a
lot of people have used the fox in the hen house analogy.
I consulted with my friends, my friend Jim said it would be like the New
England Patriots, you know, losing in the Super Bowl championship, losing
28 to 2, 28 to 3.
And they invite the Atlanta Falcons, the opposing team into their huddle.
So for you sports enthusiasts, it indicates to you, you know, that we would
be letting the Russians in if we had this level of cooperation that Trump`s
tweet seemed to indicate.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Boyle, you know what you`re going to hear from the
Republican Committee Chairman. you know what you`re going to hear from
We don`t need this bill now, we don`t need this amendment now because the
president said he`s not going to do it.
BOYLE: Well, right, like we can take the president`s word because he`s of
course, never reversed himself, and his word is clearly his bond, right?
The fact of the matter is, it is dangerous. The longer we go and we don`t
actually, by law, restrict the executive from doing something like this, we
would be doing something dangerous and not in the national security.
I`m heartened by the fact that there has been bipartisan push-back in the
last 48 hours, but I urge my Republican colleagues to actually put country
ahead of party and vote for this much like the Russia sanctions bill passed
It`s bogged down now in the House, but passed the Senate 98 to 2. That`s
the same sort of overwhelming vote that we should cast on this and make
sure under no circumstances, a week from now, a month from now, this Trump
White House would actually put together this cyber security unit with the
O`DONNELL: Evelyn, quickly, I want to get your –
FARKAS: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Reaction to the breaking news of the night from the “New York
Times” that Donald Trump Jr. received an e-mail saying that there was
information from the Russian government that would be helpful to the Trump
campaign, that they wanted to be helpful to the Trump campaign, and that
was the basis for the meeting with this Russian lawyer that we`ve been
FARKAS: Right, I mean that`s pretty shocking, Lawrence. It doesn`t
surprise me, of course, because for those of us who have followed who the
people were who – well, first of all, the woman who was meeting – the
lawyer who was meeting with Donald Trump Jr., she has ties to the Kremlin
or certainly to the Russian government.
What she`s trying to do is in the interest of the Russian government to
lift a whole another set of sanctions from the ones that have been
discussed a lot in the military, but from these sanctions based on human
rights violations and the murder of Sergei Magnitsky.
The other, of course, individual who is behind the scenes, the guy who
brought her to the attention of Donald Trump was the oligarch who has been
– his father has been seeing getting an award from President Putin.
So it shouldn`t be surprising that the source is Russian government, but
once Donald Trump Jr. knew that, he should have known that he was going
into really dangerous territory because frankly speaking, getting a gift
like this, whatever it is, whatever the information was, that could be
considered a gift and a violation of campaign finance law.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Boyle, I want to get your reaction to the breaking
news of the night, that the – that Donald Trump Jr.`s meeting with Natalia
Veselnitskaya, Russian lawyer, that it was arranged through an e-mail that
said to Donald Trump Jr., this will be information from the Russian
government that will be helpful to your father`s campaign, and the Russian
government wants to be helpful.
BOYLE: You know, this story has been going on for – depending on when you
put the start date, I would say roughly seven months, ever since that night
the “New York Times” reported, I believe it was late in December last year
that Flynn had had the meetings that he had with senior levels of Russian
For the seven months or so that these stories have been dripping out, I do
feel like this is actually the biggest shoe so far to drop because now we
have no question of collusion and no question of Trump`s inner circle.
In fact, his own son – and let`s not forget, you also had Jared Kushner
and Manafort in the same meeting right there in Trump Tower.
Reince Priebus a couple of days ago was calling this a “nothing burger”. I
would like to see now what their attempt at an excuse may be given this
O`DONNELL: Congressman Brendan Boyle, Evelyn Farkas, thank you both for
joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
FARKAS: Thanks, Lawrence.
BOYLE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, we are just getting a new report, Donald Trump`s –
Donald Trump Jr.`s lawyer has just released a statement about this new
report tonight indicating that Donald Trump Jr. received an e-mail saying
that the Russian government had information that could be helpful to the
Trump campaign, we`ll be right back.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: And we`re back. This is the newest
statement apparently that Donald Trump Jr.`s lawyer has given to “The New
York Times.” it says that Ms. Veselnitskaya said in a statement on Saturday
that nothing at all about the presidential campaign was discussed at the
Trump tower meeting. She recalled that after about ten minutes, either Mr.
Kushner or Mr. Manafort left the room.
She said she had never acted on behalf of the Russian government, never
discussed any of these matters with any representatives of the Russian
government. None of that is actually new information from Donald Trump
Jr.`s lawyer that those statements have already been made. We`re joined now
by Ana Marie Cox, “New York Times” magazine contributor and host of the
podcast With Friends Like These. Also Ron Klain is back with us.
And Anna Marie, it`s Donald Trump Jr.`s night here in all of our news
broadcasts because he is the focus of this latest report. And we now have
the latest breaking element of it by The New York sometimes saying that
Donald Trump Jr. Himself received an e-mail directly saying that the
information to be imparted in this meeting would come from the Russian
government and that the Russian government wanted to help his father`s
Donald Trump Jr. Has adamantly said now, for the better part of a year,
that everything involving this discussion of the Russian government trying
to help the Trump campaign is a complete lie. That doesn`t seem to be
holding up for him tonight.
ANA MARIE COX, NEW YORK TIMES CONTRIBUTOR: No. I mean that`s where the
incompetence and stupidity part of the defense breaks down is because they
had this meeting and then kept lying about it, right? Like it`s easy for me
to believe that Don Jr. was duped somehow. He seems like the kind of guy,
as my friend Cody has said, who probably answers every single e-mail from
Nigerian princes you know like and then wonders, you know, wonders how it
is his bank account got cleared out.
Maybe that`s why his dad had to file for bankruptcy. Who knows? But you can
be incompetent and greedy, and the incompetence covered and greed explains
maybe taking the meeting, but then you continue lying about it and that
truly suggests (INAUDIBLE), that suggest bad intent. That also suggests
that he knows he did something wrong or else he wouldn`t keep lying about
it although, again, there`s been something kind of weird about this sort of
slow drop of the shoe over the past three days.
You know, toe, midsole, heel.
COX: Where he seems to think that saying that he wished that it had been
about Hillary Clinton`s, you know, dirty secrets and not about orphans
would be preferable. Like he was disappointed to find out they were going
to be discussing adoption and not Hillary Clinton campaign secrets. He
takes after his father. I mean you really cant - you can`t say that that`s
O`DONNELL: And his father apparently is not pleased. According to the
latest “New York Times” report breaking tonight, the final paragraph of the
story says, the president was aggravated by the news of the meeting
according to one person close to him, less over the fact that it had
happened and more because it was yet another story about Russia that had
swamped the media cycle.
And so, Ron Klain, we see once again in that account, a president who is
not at all troubled by the idea that the Russian government was trying to
help his campaign. It`s not that. It`s that this story this weekend stepped
on what he believes was his successful G20 trip.
RON KLAIN, FMR CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes,
there`s two things there, Lawrence. I mean the first is it does shows Ana
Marie eluded to an astonishing amount of incompetence around President
Trump. You would think if there was one rule on the White House chalkboard
right now would be, hey make sure you tell the boss about any Russia stuff
that`s about to break.
So why they didn`t do that seems astonishing. But secondly, you know I mean
it`s kind of humorous that he is upset there`s now another day of Russia
news that`s interrupting what? The narrative you started yesterday as you
talk about in your last segment of his crazy idea of cooperating with
Russia on cybersecurity. So, you know who created the day of Russia news
You know, President Trump himself. So if Donald Trump wants the Russia news
to stop, he ought to get all the truth out about what his campaign did in
2016, stop colluding with the Russians now, and take steps to protect
American democracy from Russian intrusion.
O`DONNELL: And Ana, the administration knew about this meeting before this
week because Jared Kushner amended his disclosure form, so White House
counsel knew about it. There were people working in the White House who
could have told the president about this rather than wait for him to read
about it in “The New York Times.” But that might be safest way for people
at the White House is to just let him read it in the New York Times.
COX: Well I mean, you`re presuming he reads “The New York Times.” And
yes, I presume - I - I assume that he has it read to him or perhaps has the
Chirons on Fox read to him that are about what`s in “The New York Times.” I
mean he doesn`t get any – he doesn`t read his daily briefings. So he
doesn`t definitely read “The New York Times.” I - I suspect that maybe
they hoped that this would somehow fly under the radar for him.
I mean so many things do. Like, you know the certain facts about the global
economy for instance. You know, whether or not health care is complicated.
He`s not a curious man. I think perhaps the only reason – again, the only
reason he`s finding out about this now is because there`s been reaction to
it. And he definitely like monitors his twitter feed. I think more than he
reads any particular newspaper or briefing book or classified intelligence.
And I find actually the idea that he didn`t know about this meeting to be
the single most plausible detail of this entire story, that his campaign
principals were out having high-level meetings with him not knowing about
it. I mean he ran for president as basically a P.R. Stunt, and I think he`s
actually kind of mad now that it`s turned out to be much harder than he
thought it would be.
O`DONNELL: Ron, tell us what Donald Trump Jr. Should have done or anyone
working in a campaign should have done if they received an e-mail saying
the Russians would like to help your campaign.
KLAIN: Yes, they should have dialed 1-800-FBI. Look if you hear from a
foreign government that a foreign government wants to help your political
campaign, you should get federal law enforcement on the phone and turn it
over. You know and as Ana Marie alluded to earlier, the idea he took this
meeting because he actually believed it was about the Russians helping the
Clinton campaign. And wind up being disappointed when it was an effort to
increase U.S.-Russian adoptions.
This is all you need to know about the Trump campaign and the rules they
were playing by in 2016.
O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to squeeze a break in here. Please both
of you stay with us. Ron, when we come back, I want to ask you about that
time in the Gore campaign, when the Gore campaign had to call in the FBI.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Will you once and for all, yes or no, definitively say that
Russia interfered in the 2016 election?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think it was Russia,
and I think it could have been other people and other countries. It could
have been a lot of people interfered. I said it very simply. I think it
could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other
countries, and I won`t be specific.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He said it very clearly. Could be anybody. Ana Marie Cox and
Ron Klain are back with us. Ron, tell us the story about the Gore campaign
when you got some material about George W. Bush and decided had to call the
KLAIN: Yes, it was September of 2000. We were getting ready in the final
throes of preparing Al Gore for the debates. Former Congressman Tom Downey,
who you know Lawrence was supposed to play George Bush in those practice
sessions. And one day he opened up an envelope that arrived in his office,
and inside was what appeared to be George Bush`s debate book.
He sealed the envelope, he called the FBI, he turned it all over to the FBI
to find out how that it wound up in his office. And most importantly, he
withdrew from the Gore campaign. He - he stopped talking to us. He pulled
out of the Gore campaign. We had to replace him in Al Gore`s debate prep.
And that`s you know what the Trump campaign should have done here.
When Donald Trump Jr. got that e-mail saying the Russians want to help your
dad become president, he should have called in federal law enforcement. He
should not have taken any of that information, and he should have gotten
out of that whole mess. And that`s what Tom Downey honorably did 20 years
ago and what should have happened here.
O`DONNELL: Ana, Daily Beast reporting that Donald Trump Jr. was the least
popular with the staff anyway, least popular surrogate during the Trump
campaign, and the behind his back nickname within the campaign staff was
Fredo of course an homage to John Cazale`s great character in the
Godfather. It sounds like that kind of non-respect for Donald Trump Jr. May
have something to do with the sources, the Trump sources who are supplying
COX: I think this may be sort of murder on the orient express scenario, if
I may switch classic movies, that there`s going to be a lot of different
fingerprints on the knife in Don Jr.`s back. I do want to push back a
little on the Fredo analogy, which is to say that sort of presumes there`s
some godfather involved here, some mastermind. I think we`ve seen enough of
the Trump campaign to know that that`s not the case. Neither a Marlon
Brando, nor an Al Pacino character are we seeing, or a De Niro, even the
young godfather not even - not even in here.
I do want to say one thing about this whole story tonight, which is we are
sort of having some fun with it, and it`s an incredibly important story.
But we would be remiss to think this is going to make a huge difference
with his base.
I think his base is going to write this off as fake news, and they are
probably – the only story that`s happening right now that might do damage
for Trump with his base is actually the Health Care Bill because the Health
Care Bill will hurt the people who voted for him if it passes through the
Senate and he signs it. And I think that`s the kind of thing that might
actually wind up chipping away at, you know, the working class, the white
working class that supported him, who are relying on the current health –
rely on Obamacare for their Opiod treatment, for their Medicaid/Medicare.
So I just want to say as important as this story is, we should not lose
sight of the Health Care Bill that`s still winding its way through Congress
O`DONNELL: Ron, Ana makes a great point about that. I want to draw in your
Senate experience for your guests tonight about is the Health Care Bill
more likely to not even come to a vote in the Senate or pass the Senate at
KLAIN: Well, I agree 100 percent with Ana Marie that maybe for the long
run, the health care fight is the more important fight and certainly more
politically significant. Look, Lawrence, I think that Mitch Mcconnell has
to bring the bill to a vote whether he has the votes or not. And right now
he doesn`t have the votes, and he doesn`t have the votes because a lot of
American`s are speaking up. They`re calling their Senators. They`re trying
to get into their offices.
They`re trying to say, you know, don`t do this. Don`t roll this back. And I
think what they`re really counting on is that people kind of give up. They
give up on the fight, and it`s important for people to keep on fighting,
keep on calling their Senators` offices in these final few days.
O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox, Ron Klain thank you both for joining us
tonight. I appreciate it.
KLAIN: Thanks Lawrence.
COX: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Trump`s non-performance at the G20 meeting
has people around the world wondering should it now be called the G19.
O`DONNELL: As we reported earlier, and the New York Times reported
tonight, the President found out about the in news story about Donald Trump
Jr. and his meeting with a Russian lawyer on his way back from the G20
summit. Something that the President seemed to think was a successful
meeting for him. But no matter how you define leadership, that is not what
you saw from the President of the United States at the G20 summit. Here is
Christ Uhlmann`s report from the Australia Broadcasting Corporation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIST UHLMANN, REPORTER, AUSTRALIA BROADCASTING: the G20 became the G19
as it ended on the Paris climate according the U.S. was left isolated and
friendless, given that was always going to happen a deaf President would
have found an issue around which he could rally most of the leaders. And
he had the perfect one process North Korea`s missile tests so where was the
G20 statement condemning North Korea which would have put pressure on China
Other leaders expect to do. They were prepared to back it but it never
came. He was an uneasy lonely awkward figure at the gathering you got the
strong sense some of the leaders are trying to find the best which to
worked around. So what did we learn? We learned Donald Trump has pressed
fast forward on the decline of the United States as a global leader.
He managed to isolate his nation and confuse and alienate his allies and
diminish America. He will seed that power to China and Russia, two
authoritarian states that will forge a very different set of rules for the
21st century. Some will cheer the decline of America but I think we will
miss it when it`s gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: MSNBC Foreign Affairs Contributor Christopher Diggy with join
us next with the world`s reaction to Donald Trump at the G20 meeting and
the investigation of Russian interference in our election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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