Interview with Cory Booker. TRANSCRIPT: 8/19/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Michael Hiltzik, Jason Johnson, Rachel Bitecofer

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel. 


And you know how proud the great Celtics legend Bill Russell is of his

basketball accomplishments? 




O`DONNELL:  He`s even more proud that his daughter Karen Russell is a

Harvard Law School graduate.  I`m very proud that Karen Russell is a friend

of mine and that`s the kind of name-dropping I thought I needed to lead

into who will be my final guest of the night because I`ve never met her and

I never read anything written by her until this weekend because Karen

Russell told me to.




O`DONNELL:  And it`s changed the way I think about the presidential



MADDOW:  Wow.  This is like the best cocktail party conversation lead in

you have ever given me.  This is great.


O`DONNELL:  And it includes a very specific Electoral College prediction,

actual number – 




O`DONNELL:  – what`s going to happen on election night.  You can learn

that tonight.  I`m afraid I may lose viewers for the next 18 months,

because people are going to know at the end of the show tonight who`s going

to win.  It`s locked.  It`s locked.


And here`s the best part. 




O`DONNELL:  Here`s the very best part.  Her name is Rachel. 




O`DONNELL:  And she may become my audiences` second favorite Rachel.  It`s

entirely possible. 


MADDOW:  You had me at that.  Lawrence, thank you, my friend. 


O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 


Well, as I say, you`re going to hear from the other Rachel tonight, and for

many of you, I`m very, very sure she will become your second favorite

Rachel in the world.  She is a political science professor who accurately

predicted last year`s big blue wave in the House of Representatives

election along before – I mean long before anyone else did. 


She issued a couple of estimates of how many seats the Democrats would pick

up, 40, 41, or 42.  And then the Democrats picked up 46.  And now she is

ready with her prediction, very specific about next year`s presidential

election.  She predicted what she thinks is the minimum number of electoral

votes the Democratic candidate for president is going to get whoever the

Democratic presidential candidate turns out to be. 


And like me, you will probably be stunned at what that number is because

that number says it doesn`t matter what the candidates say at the debates,

or who the Democrats nominate because the Democrats are already virtually

guaranteed to win 278 electoral votes and the only variability in that

number is that it might go up. 


Two seventy is the winning number for the Electoral College.  So, you`re

going to want to hear this analysis at the end of this hour by the

political science professor who accurately predicted the big blue wave in

the House, and is now predicting the number of Electoral College votes the

Democrat will get and Donald Trump will get because of his weakness in the

Midwest now and the new Democratic voter enthusiasm. 


You will want to hear this analysis.  You want to repeat it tomorrow to all

of your friends.  It will change the way you think about this election.  It

has changed the way I think about this election. 


We begin tonight with an issue raised in the last Democratic presidential

debate.  Today, the New York City Police commissioner reached his decision

in the investigation of Officer Daniel Pantaleo who was shown five years

ago choking Eric Garner on Staten Island in a video that has been seen

around the world.  And that became an issue in this year`s Democratic

presidential debate. 





chokehold that was prohibited by NYPD.  He did that for seven seconds, 11

different times, Eric Garner said he couldn`t breathe.  He knew what he was

doing, that he was killing Eric Garner, and yet, he has not been brought to

justice.  That police officer should be off the streets. 



fired.  He should be fired now. 



division of the United States Department of Justice said charges should

have been filed.  But this United States Department of Justice has usurped,

and I believe it is because that president did not want the charges to go

forward, and they overrode a decision by the civil rights division of the

United States. 


MODERATOR:  Thank you, Senator. 




O`DONNELL:  In that video of Officer Pantaleo choking Eric Garner, if that

video had not been recorded by a witness watching the arrest, then there

would have been no real investigation of what Officer Pantaleo actually

did.  And it is that video that allowed Eric Garner himself to testify

against Officer Pantaleo in the police department`s investigation.  Eric

Garner now takes his place in the tragic history of police misuse of deadly

force, as the dead victim who was still able to testify against the police



Eric garner`s testimony was instantly memorable.  We heard it on the video. 

I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I

can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I

can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  Eleven times.  I can`t



We will show you once again a portion of the video of Daniel Pantaleo

choking Eric Garner to death.  And I say that by way of warning because it

has always been difficult to watch.  We will show you about 20 seconds of

that video.  You will hear Eric Garner saying, “I can`t breathe” four





ERIC GARNER:  Every time you see me, you mess with me.  I`m tired of it. 






GARNER:  Don`t touch me.  Don`t touch me. 






ERIC GARNER:  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t breathe.  I can`t





O`DONNELL:  In the police department investigation, the medical examiner

testified that chokehold killed Eric Garner.  Chokeholds are against NYPD

rules.  But the departmental judge hearing the case found that chokehold

was acceptable for the first couple of seconds because Officer Pantaleo`s

grip slipped accidentally into a chokehold.  It`s what happened after that

that killed Eric Garner. 


Here`s how the police commissioner described that today. 




JAMES O`NEILL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: During the struggle, Officer Pantaleo had

the opportunity to re-adjust his grip from a prohibited chokehold to a less

lethal alternative, but did not make use of that opportunity.  Instead,

even once Mr. Garner was move to his side on the ground with his left arm

behind his back and his right arm still open and extended, Officer Pantaleo

kept his hands clasped and maintained the chokehold. 




O`DONNELL:  It was for that reason and the judges finding that Officer

Pantaleo did not tell the truth to investigators that judge recommended

that Daniel Pantaleo be fired.  Her recommendation was addressed to police

commissioner James O`Neill who has the exclusive authority to make the

final departmental decision in cases like this. 




O`NEILL:  I stand before you to day confident that I have reached the

direct decision.  And that has certainly not made it an easy decision.  I

served for nearly 34 years as a New York City cop before becoming police

commissioner.  I can tell you that I had been in Officer Pantaleo`s

situation, I may have made some similar mistakes.  And had I made those

mistakes, I would had wished I had used the arrival of background officers

to get situation more time to make that arrest, and would have wished that

I had released my grip before it became a chokehold. 


Every time I watch that video, I say to myself as probably all of you do to

Mr. Garner, don`t do it.  Comply.  Officer Pantaleo, don`t do it. 


I said that about the decisions made by both Officer Pantaleo and Mr.

Garner.  But none of cuss take back our decisions, most especially when

they lead to the death of another human being. 




O`DONNELL:  Enough of that long preamble.  After 13 minutes, 13 minutes

after the police commissioner began speaking today he finally said this. 




O`NEILL:  Therefore, I agree with the deputy commissioner of trials legal

findings and recommendations.  It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no

longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer. 




O`DONNELL:  Joining us now is Bill De Blasio, the mayor of New York City,

and a Democratic presidential candidate. 


Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us to night on this important






O`DONNELL:  There was a lot of talk during the presidential debate about

why haven`t you fired the officer.  Could you just clarify that for the

audience?  It`s been very clear I think to people in New York who follow

this.  But the lines of authority in these cases and how it works? 


DE BLASIO:  Absolutely, Lawrence. 


So, our state law says that this is something that has to be handled within

the NYPD through a public trial, due process, a decision by a trial judge

that goes to the commissioner as a recommendation and the police

commissioner by state law is the only person who can ultimately act. 


In decades and decades of New York City history, no matter what a mayor

says or doesn`t say, the only actual ability to fire a police officer after

due process is in the hands of the police commissioner.  And, by the way,

if you want to see the due process and how it hold up in the end, it`s

actually important that a mayor not interfere. 


Because I believe justice has been done here finally.  It took way, way too

long, but justice has been done.  And now, it`s important that this

decision stick. 


I`m sure there is going to be an attempt to challenge it in court.  But

it`s crucial that it stick.  That justice be served and that we`re able to

move on as a city and a nation.


And I have to say, Lawrence, you watched the situations all around the

country.  This is the premier police department in the nation, and not so

long ago it would not have been necessarily assumed that a trial inside the

NYPD with an NYPD deputy commissioner as the judge would result in this

level of accountability. 


That judge said, no, that was a prohibited chokehold.  That was wrong.  And

this officer should be terminated. 


The first deputy commissioner concurred.  Sent back to the commissioner,

the commissioner concurred.  This is actually the process working. 


It should have happened a long time ago.  And if it were not for the U.S.

Department of Justice telling the city of New York not to proceed, we would

have done this a long time ago. 


O`DONNELL:  And just –




DE BLASIO:  And we learned a very painful lesson from that experience with

a Justice Department over two different presidential administrations. 


O`DONNELL:  Yes, let me go to – it`s not so much that they were not

telling you not to, they were requesting that you not proceed because they

don`t actually have the authority to slow you down.  It is customary, and I

think pretty much every department and probably every city in the country

would have gone along with the Justice Department`s request. 


But if this were to happen again and the Justice Department were to make

the same request and you have this kind of convincing video and a city with

a sense of urgency about it, what you would do differently? 


DE BLASIO:  At this point, Lawrence, I don`t believe that the United States

Department of Justice is dispensing justice anymore.  There is no

conceivable way they could take five years to decide to do nothing.  That`s

unacceptable from my point of view. 


We would not – we would not honor their request in the future.  But,

Lawrence, the key is not to have another Eric Garner case, to do things so

differently that we never have this kind of tragedy again.  And I think

it`s important for all your viewers to understand, these situations, these

conflicts can be changed through de-escalation. 


We`ve taught all of our officers, 36,000 officers, we retrained after the

tragedy of Eric Garner to deescalate any kind of situation at the

community, deescalate exactly what you saw on camera there.  Now that would

be handled very differently. 


There`s a body camera on every officer.  That was not true at that time. 

Every officer is getting implicit bias training to help weed out whatever

biases are in all of us as humans. 


This is a very different city.  This is a very different police force.  And

it`s very notable that the first place there was a public trial in this

entire case, first time there was actually a trial, it was an NYPD trial. 


O`DONNELL:  Mr. Mayor, I think I`ve been studying this subject for all of

my adult life literally and the first book was titled “Deadly Force” about

this subject.  And what is very clear is it is going to happen again, just

like plane crashes are going to happen again. 


And what one of the things we absolutely need because there`s human error,

as you say.  There say bunch of ways in which this can happen again.  And

it`s the aftermath, the transparency of the aftermath that becomes so



And we see in your administration the two different versions of.  One, on

the civil side where the family was in the process of filing a civil

lawsuit to sue the city and you very quickly settled that case with

basically no legal strain on the family for $5 million, a little more than

$5 million.  And then all rest of the process, the non-civil process was

what dragged on for all of these years. 


And so again, would you simply say, for example, on the parts of it that

the city controls, let`s just go ahead with the police internal affairs

investigation, the police department possible trial as we saw in this case

and let`s not consider the timetables of any of the other processes which

we don`t control and could be slow? 


DE BLASIO:  Lawrence, in the past I would have said and you indicated it,

when the Justice Department makes that request, we used to take it very,

very seriously.  They had the higher charges.  They were not just dealing

with personnel matters.  They were dealing with potential criminal charges. 


The Justice Department had often been throughout the whole civil rights

movement and since the place that you went for objective justice, even when

localities were not providing it. 


And I have to tell you, especially because this started before the current

administration, this started in the previous presidential administration, I

just in a million years could not have foreseen this delay and this ability

of the Justice Department not to act.  Whereas as I say, in the future, we

would never do it that way again because we`ve learned this painful lesson.


But I want to contest one thing you said and I have a lot more expertise in

the study you`ve done of this issue than I probably do.  But I have to

contest one thing. 


You know, for decades, we have not trained our police officers properly in

this country to deescalate conflict.  We certainly never gave them implicit

bias training.  We didn`t have body cameras.


I think it`s a very, very different reality now.  We have a neighborhood

policing policy that`s all about actually building human relationships

between officers and the people they serve first-name basis.  Officers stay

in the community long term, getting to know people and feeling at one with

the community. 


This is happening on a mass scale in New York City.  And we`re actually

driving down crime every single year as we heal the relationship between

police and community. 


So, I do not think these tragedies are inevitable.  I agree with you, human

error is always possible in life.  But I`ve got to tell you, so much of why

this happened in the past was because officers were trained in a very

aggressive approach policing and over-policing approach, not in a humane

understanding, compassionate approach that was actually about building

relationships of mutual respect. 


And as we`ve been doing that in New York City, you`re not seeing these

incidents.  And I really think the goal should be for this whole country. 

Every single police officer, good people who choose to serve all of us,

good people who follow noble calling deserve the kind of training and

support and opportunity to build a relationship with the people they serve. 


But, bluntly, they have not been given, nor have communities been given a

chance to experience that kind of policing.  I think we need to do that all

over this country. 


O`DONNELL:  Mr. Mayor, I want to go to something one of your critics said

today, Patrick Lynch.  He heads the police officers union in New York City. 

And let`s just stipulate that the leaders of police unions around the

country are always critical of any police department or mayor whenever a

police officer is disciplined. 


But he said something very interesting because word for word, it is

actually what the protesters in the Eric Garner case want the police to do. 

He actually said, we will uphold our oath but we cannot and will not do so

by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety. 


I`m not sure Mr. Lynch under – realizes, but what he said there is exactly

what people who want police accountability, that`s exactly what people want

them to do. 


DE BLASIO:  Well, look, I`d say this way.  I think the sad reality is, and

I`m someone who believes in the labor movement very, very deeply.  But you

said it. 


Unfortunately, there`s been too many times, when leaders of police unions

did not serve their members because they sent a message that was not about

how we heal, not about how we move forward, but ultimately a very divisive

message.  And that`s what you heard today from Pat Lynch.  Very

disrespectful of our police commissioner, Jimmy O`Neill.  Very

disrespectful of the fact there was due process and there needs to be

accountable for all of us. 


But look, I think our police officers are truly professional.  I think

they`re going to continue to serve and protect people.  They`re not going

to get caught up in an attempt to politically manipulate them by a few

union leaders. 


I think our police officers are here doing this work.  It`s tough.  It`s

dangerous.  But they do it because they want to help people and protect



And this city is going to move forward.  I`ve got to tell you, Lawrence,

this has been a very, very painful episode.  But it`s also finally a moment

where there is some visible justice and some closure for the Garner family

and a chance to build something different. 


And that`s what I`m going to focus on.  I think that`s what the vast

majority of New Yorkers and Americans want, and the voices telling us to go

backwards, that`s not what people are looking for.  They want healing. 

They want us to put that past that held us back behind us. 


O`DONNELL:  Mr. Mayor, we crashed over the commercial break.  But I want to

squeeze in one presidential question about this, which would be – in a de

Blasio administration, with a de Blasio chosen attorney general, how would

the Justice Department approach these cases? 


DE BLASIO:  Lawrence, I think there should be an immediate commitment to

speedy justice.  In fact, I would support legislation of the federal level

to require a time limit whenever there is an issue of police discipline,

the case involving a police officer, this case, an unarmed civilian.  The

justice department needs to come in and make its decision in real time. 

One year, two year, whatever frame that should be decided, it should be



In my administration as president, I would say the Justice Department makes

clear to local authorities, if you`re not going to address this issue, the

Justice Department will step in, in a speedy manner and address it



O`DONNELL:  Democratic presidential candidate, New York City Mayor Bill de

Blasio, thank you very for joining us on this important night, on this very

important subject, important to New York City and the country.  Thank you

very much, Mr. Mayor.


DE BLASIO:  Thank you, Lawrence.


O`DONNELL:  We`ll be joined by another Democratic presidential candidate,

Senator Cory Booker, next. 


And later in this hour, we`ll be joined by the political scientist who

predicted last year`s 40-seat pickup by the Democrats in the House long

before anyone else saw that coming and she`s ready with her prediction

about the Electoral College.  It`s very specific.  You`re going to want to

take notes. 




O`DONNELL:  What happened to Senator Cory Booker in the last presidential

debate when he began his opening statement will not happen next time. 






Last week the president of the United States attacked an American city

calling it a disgusting, rat-infested, rodent mess.  We need a nation that

understands this tired, old language. 


(CROWD CHANTING: Fire Pantaleo!)


MODERATOR:  Stand by, Senator. 


BOOKER:  I`ll stand by. 


MODERATOR:  Please stand by. 




O`DONNELL:  The crowd chanting “fire Pantaleo” got their way today when the

New York City police commissioner fired Officer Daniel Pantaleo who was

seen on video five years ago using a chokehold on Eric Garner that the

medical examiner said caused Eric Garner`s death. 


And joining our discussion now is Cory Booker, Democratic senator from New

Jersey and presidential candidate. 


Senator Booker, I just want to begin with the developments in the Eric

Garner story today that has been five years in the making and finally we

see the firing. 


You`re a former mayor yourself.  What is your reaction to what you saw



BOOKER:  Well, first of all, this is justice delayed.  And five years to

come to this conclusion, it`s very frustrating, the process.  But I think

the larger point that I want to make as a guy who knows the fear of being

followed because of the color of your skin, being pulled over that for

every name we know like Eric Garner, there are thousands we do not.  For

every video that we actually see, there thousands of incidents that aren`t

captured on video that never get the kind of justice that this enabled. 


Remember, the police report after this incident, the way they wrote it

cleaned everything up and would have gone undiscovered.  It was really that

video that captured it.  So where we come as a society where we`re not

getting to the root of the large spread problem of police accountability

where it`s just time that something is captured on a videotape that we

actually see justice done. 


And even when justice gets done, five years later after someone, an unarmed

civilian was choked to death after saying repeatedly time and time again, I

can`t breathe.  So, as a guy who actually had to run a police department

who learned a lot along the way and now as a senator has led on police

accountability legislation.  We can so much better as a nation, dealing

with issues of implicit racial bias, accountability for use of force and

transparency in data and actions both from things like officer video

cameras, all the way to reporting requirements that could go much longer

way in dealing with this problem in our country. 


O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what Emerald Gardner, Eric Gardner`s daughter,

said today. 





you for doing the right thing.  I truly sincerely thank you for firing the

officer, regardless to however you came up to your decision, you finally

made a decision that should have been made five years ago. 


I should not be here standing with my brother fatherless.  I should be here

with my father.  But Pantaleo took that away from me on 7/7/17. 


So, yes, he is fired but fight is not over.  We will continue to fight. 

Thank you. 




O`DONNELL:  Senator, I think you and I know that she`s not the last person

who is going to lose her father in questionable circumstances, an

interaction with police.  In a Booker administration, what would your

attorney general do in cases like this and what should the Justice

Department do in cases like this? 


BOOKER:  Well, let`s go further than that, because unless you have an

administration that puts police accountability at the center of the

priority list, the Obama administration actually had a task force on 21st

century policing that came up with a whole lot of recommendations, which

this administration has failed to implement whatsoever.  This was Black

Lives Matter activists sitting at the table with big city police chiefs,

coming up with a whole constellation of common sense things that can do to

deal with this problem in our country, not just a police involved shootings

but of police accountability in general. 


And so, it`s not just waiting until something happens.  We can`t be re-

activists in this situation.  We must be activist in this situation.  We

must have a president that understands this issue in a sense – with a

sense of urgency so that we can start doing things to create police

accountability in this country, not waiting for crisis to happen to respond

to them, but who make sure that crises, that this kind of actions are not

happening in our country again. 


We can do something about it.  But we must have a president understands the

urgency and feels intimately a connection to this crisis. 


O`DONNELL:  Another thing that Donald Trump doesn`t seem to feel like a

connection or urgency about is gun safety legislation.  He made some

comments about the possibility of background checks after the recent mass

murders we saw, but then he has now since clarified that he`s not really

budging on it. 


Let`s listen to what the president had to say about it and I`d like you to

respond to it. 





have very strong background checks right now.  You go into to buy a gun,

you have to sign up.  There are a lot of background checks that have been

approved over the years. 


So I`ll have to see what it is.  But Congress is meeting, bipartisan.  A

lot of people want to see something happen.  But just remember this, big

mental problem and we do have a lot of background checks right now. 




O`DONNELL: Senator, on a Presidential debate stage with Donald Trump on

that subject, what you would have to say after he says something like that?


BOOKER: I would say he`s wrong and the kind of ignorance and idiocy that he

is putting out there even NRA members, 84 percent of which believe we need

universal comprehensive background checks.


I would talk to him about my numerous visits to Mother Emanuel Church where

the white supremacists that came in there and shot nine people to death. I

would say to those folks that, that loophole that they used to buy a gun

through the porous holes within the background check system are



This President is wrong and people are dying because of his inaction. And

I`ll tell you this right now. We live in a country where we are

capitulating to fear. We are literally surrendering our liberty and our

freedom, freedom from fear and freedom gun violence.


We`re sending kids to school right now and into September literally giving

them the message we can`t protect you so we`re going to teach you in school

how to hide, how to shelter in place. This is unacceptable. No other

country does this to its communities.


Were people I talk to Latino activist and leaders and community members who

are afraid now Sikh Americans are Muslim Americans were terrified. We see

plots being uncovered this past weekend of white supremacists to go into

synagogues and cause more mayhem and murder.


What is it going to take in this country for us to do the common sense

things that we know will save us? This is an issue of freedom and liberty,

the culture of our country. The toxin of fear is taking over because of

inaction of leaders like Donald Trump who are ultimately responsible.


He is responsible for this rise of terroristic hate in our country. Leaders

take responsibility. His language is contributing to the problem as opposed

to him taking responsibility to stop it. I`ll be the President who lives in

the neighborhood where these shootings happen to one who`s had a Mr.

Hotsmith (ph) murdered on my block.


There are so many of us that live in communities like this every single

day. We worry just about our children going to school. And so I`m running

for President and will be the President that takes a fight to the NRA and

the corporate gun lobby like they`ve never seen before and brings an end to

this terror in our communities and weakness in our country. We`re not

showing the strength that we really have to protect our children,

communities, our families and our country.


O`DONNELL: Senator Booker, I just want to take you back to Mother Emanuel

Church for a moment. Because I want you to talk about what it feel like?

What it felt like for you to be there. It`s not just a church. It`s a scene

of one of our worst mass murders of completely racially motivated mass



And it`s a place where we know Donald Trump is never going to visit. It`s

the kind of place we know most Republican candidates for office never

visit. Your neighborhood is a place most Republican candidates for office

will never visit. What are they missing by never setting foot in Mother

Emanuel Church never setting foot in your neighborhood?


BOOKER: We`re a nation that they`re used to be a time, forget party. Four

girls were killed in a bombing in Birmingham, the conscious of our country

responded, we changed laws. When women were dying because of the factory

fire throwing themselves out windows it affected the hearts of our nation.


This is about having a more courageous empathy a sense of love. Patriotism

is love of country. You can`t love your country unless you love your fellow

country men and women. Love is in a sentiment, love is saying that I`m

going to fight to defend folks. I`m going to be there when there is



And that`s why it is painful to me that we have such a constipation of

compassion and empathy and love in this country amongst some who just can`t

see the suffering of others we every single day have to live with the pain

or grief or hurt or the wretchedness of the violence that they or their

family experienced so enough of that.


We just need to get back to having a nation with a revival of a civic

grace. We understand that we have to be there for anybody. King said this

eloquently that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We

cannot have community that do nothing and wait until this violence is

visited upon them and then suddenly they`re awakened to the sense of



We have a crisis in our country that is ripping apart concerts and

nightclubs and churches and synagogues and schools. If we don`t stop this,

we wait for more and more bloodshed until we finally get it? Every day we

wait people in communities that I know intimately suffer.


Every day we wait to stop people from being able to walk in a gun show and

go to a casual seller and fill up with a trunk full of weapons. Every day

we wait. Someone right now in America, some white supremacist is plotting

against us and our values and our communities.


And so what I have to say is enough is enough. Enough talk. We need action

and if you`re not going to act, we`re going to remove from you office. This

is yet another reason why this man will be defeated in the White House

because now we need courage. We need strength and action. We need leaders

that will take responsibility. And that`s what I`m going to do should I be

President of the United States.


O`DONNELL: Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Cory Booker, thank you

very much for joining our discussion tonight. We really appreciate it.


BOOKER: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.


O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we`ll not be talking about Greenland

because Donald Trump wants us to talk about Greenland. We`ll be talking

about the very bad news that Donald Trump doesn`t want us talking about and

once again a reminder all of the Presidential candidates are always invited

on to this show.


If you haven`t seen your favorite Presidential candidate on this show, it`s

because your favorite Presidential candidate has declined all of our

invitations to be that show. While in show it`s an open invitation to all

of them in the interest of equal time and equal presentation. We`ll be

presenting you as many of the Presidential candidates as accept the

invitation to come.




O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is hoping that we spend a lot of time tonight

discussing his comments about buying Greenland. He wants us to do that even

knowing that he would be ridiculed from start to finish in that

conversation and he wants us to do that because he doesn`t want us

discussing the possibility of a slowdown in the global economy and economic

indicator showing a possible recession coming to the American economy.


And so we won`t be bothering with the Greenland distraction. In a new

national NBC News Wall Street Journal Poll, 52 percent of registered voters

say they`ll definitely or probably vote for the Democratic candidate in the

2020 election just 40 percent of registered voters say they will definitely

or probably vote for Donald Trump.


In that same poll, 55 percent disapprove of Donald Trump`s overall job

performance. Only 43 percent approve. 52 percent disapprove of the

President`s handling of the aftermath of the shootings, the mass murders in

El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. 36 percent approve.


The associated press reports that 74 percent of American business

economists expect a recession in the United States by the end of 2021

possibly the most ominous economic indicator for the U.S. economy is the

inverted yield curve and the Treasury Bond Market that we discussed last



One of the President`s economic advisors Peter Navarro was on television

this weekend saying that the inverted yield curve didn`t matter and Peter

Navarro says we should listen to him because he has written books that

explain the inverted yield curve and why it doesn`t matter.


The problem for Peter Navarro is in his books, he says the inverted yield

curve has a “Excellent forecasting track record” with an inverted yield

curve and global economic slowdown and a looming disastrous Brexit in the

fall, how many more Greenland`s will Donald Trump have to come up with to

try to distract voters from the failures of the economic policy from

tariffs to giant tax cuts for corporations and these super rich?




TRUMP: The tariffs have caused nothing in my opinion or certainly very





O`DONNELL: How much will the tariffs cost Donald Trump in his re-election

campaign? After this break, we`ll consider those questions with Professor

Jason Johnson and “Los Angeles Times” Economic Correspondent Michael





O`DONNELL: And now to not discuss Greenland we are joined by Michael

Hiltzik Pulitzer Prize Winning Business Columnist for “The Los Angeles

Times” and Jason Johnson, Politics Editor at and a Professor of

Politics and Media at Morgan State University. Professor Johnson is an

MSNBC Political Analyst.


And Michael, we have got the inverted yield curve which Peter Navarro has

decided now doesn`t mean a thing. And we`ve got the President and his

economic advisors trying to say publicly no Americans are paying one penny

of these tariffs that are disrupting the global economy. And it seems like

certainly American farmers have figured out how these tariffs work?



farmers, you`re right. The farm zone is in crisis it`s in chaos. We`ve seen

bankruptcies. We`ve seen suicides. It`s really a big problem.


When Trump and his minions talk about Americans not being affected by the

tariffs, it`s really a case of intern dysfunction or a disconnect because

after all Trump just last week said he was going to differ some of those

tariffs because he didn`t want to interfere with America`s Christmas buying



So that tells us right there that he knows that this is affecting sales.

It`s going to affect the economy. It is affecting the economy in a big way.


O`DONNELL: And Jason, tariffs are clearly having a global effect. And we`re

seeing this global slowdown. But the President has been just kind of his

method on this from the start has just been to lie and to lie nonstop. He`s

finding that he`s certainly having trouble lying especially in those

Midwestern farming states that he needs to win.



lie to himself. He can lie to the other members of his staff. He can`t lie

to my pocketbook. He can`t lie to my wallet. He can`t lie to the people who

are waiting to see if that tax cut ever trickles down into our lives.


He can`t lie to the people who are doing school shopping in the next couple

weeks and they`re not feeling any more wealthy. This is the thing. This is

really important for people to understand. The recession is not about what

the actual numbers say. The recession is about what people start feeling is

about to happen.


If people start holding on to their wallets, if people start seeing how

they see these things, you know what? Maybe I can`t travel for Thanksgiving

this year. May be we`re not going to take that trip for Christmas that, is

how the ball gets rolling.


If this President can`t convince people that all of his economic miracles

are going to continue, that is going to have serious consequences for him

electorally in 2020.


O`DONNELL: And Michael, the Republican Economic Theory has held that

everything that is happening in the California economy cannot happen

because California has a higher minimum wage several higher minimum wages

including local ones and then federal minimum wage, has more regulation,

environmental regulation. It has heavier state taxation than most other

states. And, yet, it is the leader of the American economy. Without the

California economy, the Trump National Economy would not be doing well.


HILTZIK: Well, I think there are two lessons for Trump and the Republicans

in the California economy. One is if you have a good fiscal policy, it

helps. California, but the trend we raise taxes a couple of years ago under

Jerry Brown. We turned our budget into something solid we`ve got a Rainy

Day Fund. We are more prepared than it used to be for a downturn that would

take the income tax down. That`s one thing.


The other thing is that California has welcomed diversity economic

diversity. Years ago, we had proposition 187 which was an attack on

immigrants that passed but it was over turned by the court and it destroyed

the California Republican Party. That party is out of business.


They don`t have the single statewide office holder, their Congressional

delegation has been decimated it was decimated in the last election. That`s

the message I think to Republicans around the rest of the country and to

economies and the rest of the country that if you don`t absorb and accept

and welcome immigration and diversity, you are going to be in economic

trouble and you`re going to be in political trouble.


O`DONNELL: It sounds like an area that the Democratic Candidates should be

talking more about and find the language for. Michael Hiltzik, Jason

Johnson, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. We really

appreciate it.


JOHNSON: Thanks Lawrence.


O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we`ll declare the winner. The candidate

who is currently pretty much guaranteed 278 electoral votes in next year`s

Presidential Election. The Political Scientists who has made that

prediction is the very same Political Scientist who accurately predicted

the big blue wave last year in the House of Representatives long before

anyone else saw that coming. She will join us next.




O`DONNELL: Okay Class, the Professor is here and you might want to start

taking notes. The Professor who accurately predicted the 40 seat pick up

for the Democrats in last year`s Blue Wave Election long before anyone else

saw that one coming is about to join us with her prediction for the

Presidential Election using the very same analytical tools she used to

predict last year`s House Election with astonishing accuracy.


Now imagine if you were taking notes about her prediction for the Big Blue

Wave Election and then been able to tell your friends many months before

anyone else could that the Democrats are going to pick up 40 seats. Imagine

how that would have felt.


Well, now imagine what it would feel like tomorrow to tell your friends the

new magic number. 278. And here to explain why, 278 are the most important

number you are going to learn tonight is Political Science Professor,

Rachel Bitecofer with the Wason`s Center for Public Policy at the

Christopher Newport University and Newport News, Virginia. Rachel I have

actually actively been avoiding attempting to pronounce your last name

throughout the hour. How did I just do with that?



know what, you did really well and you are not alone. I married that

monstrosity and it tackles everybody. So don`t you worry?


O`DONNELL: We`re going to turn it into a beautiful thing for our audience.

So, Rachel I have read your writing on this. It is really persuasive

survivor I urge everybody to follow you on Twitter and get to your actual

writing because we`re going to do a tip of the iceberg version of it now.


278 which you see the Democrat tonight whoever the Democrat is with 278

electoral votes eight more than needed for victory.


BITECOFER: That`s right and that`s at a starting point, they`re going to

start at that 278 before we get into four swing contests in Iowa, North

Carolina, Florida and Arizona.


O`DONNELL: And you are using tools that you first developed in the Virginia

State Elections and the legislature there where we saw a surprising surge

for Democrats in 2017 and then you transferred that experience into 2018.

What does it tell you about the electorate? What is that tell you about

what is motivating the voter that will produce this result that you expect?


BITECOFER: That`s right. I really do urge everybody who is watching this to

go and read the model read the theory that drives the model because it

really is a very huge departure from what you are used to seeing in



It is arguing that the election of Donald Trump is a needed kerosene on a -

I hate to use the word lazy but lazy and complacent Democratic Electorate

who was taking a kind of a go for granted some of the ability to kind of

sit back and ride Obama`s coat tails and then did not show up in big

numbers in 2016 and kind of took for granted that Trump would not be

elected and in 2017 in Virginia and 2018 all across the nation, we saw big

turnout surges.


And of course the media likes to talk about 2018 is as moderate Republicans

rejecting the party of Trump and joining hands with Democrats and these

swing districts. That`s not what the data shows. Albeit really seeing a

fourth coming analysis very shortly that shows the house gains in 2018 are

powered by two things, turn out surges among Democrats and left leaning

independents, not moderate Republicans jumping ship.


O`DONNELL: And so your argument is, it is all about that turnout and

energizing that turnout and speaking to those voters and that`s an easier

vote to get than trying to convince a Trump voter to switch in 2020.


BITECOFER: Exactly. I`m arguing that this ant or grand daddy`s electorate

anymore. And I think we need no more proof than to look at the election of

Donald J. Trump to the American Presidency, the time when you can persuade

large swifts of the electorate over has passed. We are in a deeply hyper

partisan era now. And I`m not saying that moderates aren`t important and

that they aren`t moderates are certainly are.


And they can be appealed to although Democrats don`t do it well.  But

really, it`s all about the base.


O`DONNELL:  Professor Rachel Bitecofer, thank you very much for just the

tip of the iceberg version.  We`re going to have to have you back and we`ll

take more notes.  Really appreciate you joining us tonight.


BITECOFER:  Oh, love it.  Thank you so much for having me.


O`DONNELL:  Thank you.  That is tonight`s LAST WORD.  “THE 11TH HOUR” with

Brian Williams starts now.




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