The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 12/1/2015

Guest: Seth Moulton, Kurt Andersen, Anthony Shaffer, Malcolm Nance, Seamus Hughes, Michael Cohen, Leslie Hairston

Date: December 1, 2015
Guest: Seth Moulton, Kurt Andersen, Anthony Shaffer, Malcolm Nance, Seamus
Hughes, Michael Cohen, Leslie Hairston

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: For THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good
evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel, thank you very much.

MADDOW: Indeed, thank you.

O`DONNELL: So, what does this mean to you when you hear it, a specialized
expeditionary targeting force?

Does that sound like troops on the ground because if it is, that`s what
we`re sending into Iraq and Syria.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ramping up the fight against ISIS.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: More American special operation
forces will be deployed in Iraq and Syria.

CARTER: We`ll over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather
intelligence and capture ISIL leaders.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It`s a reaction to Paris. There is no

like some on the Republican –


CLINTON: Side are recommending, and I think that should be a nonstarter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly two months from today are the Iowa caucuses.

primary so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be honest, I just watch it for the music.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican establishment candidates need to pick up
the pace if they hope to overtake the outsiders.

having many heart attacks day-in-and-day-out, trying to figure out how the
hell do we stop this?

TRUMP: There`s only one way you get to the top and it`s all through Trump,
let`s face it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump continues to take heat for his comments about
Muslims in New Jersey cheering 9/11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Trump is confusing cheering with screaming.


I also think he`s confusing bull – with the truth.



O`DONNELL: America`s latest war policy seems to turn on the definition of
ground troops.


troops, U.S. troops, French troops could move ISIL out of Raqqah.

But unless we were prepared to permanently occupy a country like Syria, the
only way to bring about a true and lasting end to the civil war there, to
end the refugee flows and to defeat ISIL involves a political transition.


O`DONNELL: That was the President today in Paris in an interview with
Laura Haim. It didn`t sound like the President is willing to commit ground
troops to fight the Islamic State.

But in a congressional hearing this morning, President Obama`s Secretary of
Defense said this –


CARTER: In full coordination with the government of Iraq, we`re deploying
a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish
Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on ISIL.

These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free
hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders. This force will
also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations in Syria.


O`DONNELL: Defense officials tell Nbc News that the specialized
expeditionary targeting force that Secretary Carter was referring to would
be between 100 and 200 special forces troops.

They are soldiers, they will be wearing boots and they will be on the
ground. Does that make them the proverbial boots on the ground?

Joining us now, Congressman Seth Moulton, a Democrat from Massachusetts, he
served four tours in Iraq as a Marine and as a member of the House Armed
Services Committee.

Congressman Moulton, when you heard that testimony this morning, what was
your reaction to it?

REP. SETH MOULTON (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, first of all, there`s no
question that these are combat troops. I was a military adviser myself in
Iraq in 2004.

And when the Iraqi army unit that we were mentoring came under attack and
started to get overrun, my platoon went to their assistance and it started
the fiercest fighting of the war until that time; the battle of Mazar(ph).

So, there`s no question that this is a combat mission. My concern is that
we don`t have a bigger strategic political plan to ensure the long-term
success of whatever military action we take on the ground.

O`DONNELL: And when you listen to what the secretary says these soldiers
will be doing, conducting raids, freeing hostages, capturing Islamic State
leaders, that description means there will be casualties.

MOULTON: Absolutely. This is a risky mission. They will be very much in
harm`s way, and we`ve got to be prepared for that.

We also have to make sure that they are setup for success and that they
have a strategic goal that is achievable.

And that`s where I am most concerned at this point.

O`DONNELL: And what about mission creep here? This is – as we know, this
is the way we went into Vietnam, with advisors, with small numbers of
tactical advisors, and then we were hundreds of thousands of troops in.

MOULTON: That`s right, and there`s no question that the same president who
promised to pull us out of Iraq has had to send troops back in just five
years later.

We started with 300 and now we`re up to 3,500 and adding more to that. So
there`s no question that there`s the risk of mission creep, I think we`re
already seeing it.

O`DONNELL: And so what at this point would you recommend to the President?

MOULTON: I think the President needs to have a very clear political plan
that underlies the military plan.

Because if you think about what happened when ISIS had this dramatic
expansion from Syria into western and then northern Iraq, they didn`t just
defeat the Iraqi army.

The Iraqi army put its weapons down and went home because it had lost faith
in the Iraqi government.

Well, that means it`s fundamentally a political problem in Iraq that has
allowed ISIS to spread so dramatically.

And you don`t fix Iraqi politics by just training Iraqi troops. And the
same can be said about Syria as well.

The only way to have long-term success against these extremists is to have
a plan to fill the political vacuum that they are occupying right now in
the Middle East.

The same type of political vacuum that led to terrorist training camps in
Afghanistan prior to 9/11. We`ve got to have that fundamental political
plan in place.

And then the military plan should fall on top of that. What I`m concerned
about is that we have some detailed military plans to defeat ISIS, but if
we don`t have a long-term political plan, then we could find ourselves back
there for a third time five years from now.

O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now is Lieutenant Colonel Anthony
Shaffer; a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and
former army intelligence officer.

Also joining us, Kurt Andersen, the host of award-winning public radio
program “Studio 360”. And Kurt, we`re going to go to you first, civilian
voice here with no combat experience.

The echoes here of mission creep that we experienced in Vietnam are very

KURT ANDERSEN, RADIO HOST: Sure, and you can say back in 1962, we only had
350 or several hundred most of whom were special ops people at the time.

It strikes me that certainly with this president and with the recent
experience of Iraq, the weariness of mission creep will be present.

I find it – I mean, the Congressman`s point about the lack of a larger
strategy of which these 150 new special operators will be the tip of the
spear is well taken.

This frankly, as a civilian does not worry me that suddenly, oh, a year
from now, we`re going to have 5,000 more. I don`t see that.

Now, my question is, if this is provoked by the Paris attacks, which it
probably was in some sense, this does nothing about that.

And indeed, I would like to hear the military experts speak to the issue of
whether pushing ISIL, ISIS – back in Syria and Iraq might actually cause
them to do these cheaper, higher cost benefit operations like they did in

O`DONNELL: Colonel Shaffer, take that –


O`DONNELL: Take that question.

SHAFFER: Well, they`re going to do them no matter what. If we push them
back or not, they`re already expeditionary and I think that`s one of the
things that General Dunford and Secretary Carter said today.

We have to approach this from a multi-regional perspective. Simply put,
this taskforce is going to attempt to work what they`re calling strategic

And as Congressman Moulton pointed out, we don`t have a long-term political
plan that these strategic effects need to be tied into.

And with all due respect to the Congressman, Congress has not done its job
to debate and come to terms with what authorization a president has to
conduct these operations, and more importantly, what that plan is going to

We believe militarily, and I know from experience, this task force is going
to be focused just like a task force that I served on, was from a
(INAUDIBLE) task force 121, it`s the same basic mission said, it`s the same
basic objectives.

It can be very effective. With that said, if we start winning, we have to
figure out how to seal the deal once we win.

And this is where we have to work with the Russians, we have to work with
our Kurdish partners, we have to work with the Iraqis who wish to work with

And those things are political, and that`s something that`s beyond the
Pentagon`s mission to do by itself.

O`DONNELL: President Obama will – his presidency will not cover the
period of this military exercise. Let`s listen to what one of the
candidates had to say about this today, Hillary Clinton.


CLINTON: I agree with the President`s point that we`re not putting
American combat troops back into Syria or Iraq. We are not going to do
that. This fight –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under no circumstances –


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you not do that?



CLINTON: At this point, I cannot conceive of any circumstances where I
would agree to do that. We don`t know yet how many special forces might be

How many trainers and surveillance and enablers might be needed. But in
terms of thousands of combat troops like some on the Republican side –


CLINTON: Are recommending, I think that should be a nonstarter.


O`DONNELL: Congressman Moulton, Republicans are recommending or many
Republicans recommending a big troop commitment there, bigger, certainly.

And yet this Republican-controlled Congress refuses to vote to even
authorize military actions there. What is going on in Congress on this
refusal to have a vote?

MOULTON: Well, you`re absolutely right, and frankly, we`re abrogating our
duties. It`s our responsibility to make a decision about sending American
troops into harm`s way.

And we`ve frankly punted on that responsibility. We`re still operating on
the authorization for the use of military force that came right after 9/11.

And sending special forces into Syria is a far cry from taking out the
terrorist camps that caused the attacks on September 11th.

So, we do have a responsibility there. To Tony`s point, I will say that
the political side of this, the importance of having a political strategy,
that is partly the responsibility of the administration.

I mean, the administration has to articulate a clear military and political
strategy, and I think they`re only really doing half of that. But there`s
no question.

I mean, I – as a member of Congress, I think we should be taking up this
debate and we should have a vote on authorizing the use of military force
in Syria and in Iraq.

O`DONNELL: And Kurt, the question of what we do there includes how long
can we hold on to whatever we gain there with this kind of military

And so, is there a politician who will stand up there and say I`m willing
to commit to minimum of ten years, holding this territory militarily that
we gain in this exercise?

ANDERSEN: Well, that`s been the problem all along, hasn`t it? That we are
not as a nation willing to occupy countries for the lengths of times that
when the British had an empire, they`re willing to do, we simply aren`t.

And so I hope for success here. I hope – I was surprised frankly that the
description of the mission was not neutral, but rather we`re going to
capture ISIS leaders –

O`DONNELL: Aggressive –

ANDERSEN: We`re going to –


ANDERSEN: Rescue hostages. There was – there was – it begged the
question. There was already the spectacular success implicit in the mere
statement of the brief, which frankly worried me a little bit.

O`DONNELL: Colonel Shaffer, what was your reaction to that – to the
specific things that Ash Carter said this mission was about?

SHAFFER: Well, it`s very clear that one of the things we have lacked is
the ability to take advantage of strategic objectives and opportunities.

We have actually gone in and done a number of things which have not been
reported publicly. One of those which was public was the killing of Abu

We have done other things, it`s been under the radar. I think this is an
acknowledgment of that mission, an expansion of it. Simply put, Lawrence,
we can defeat ISIS.

It`s going to be done, it can be done much more quickly than President
Obama stipulated, and especially with the Russians now in Syria.

They are motivating our side to do a lot more. So, I think again, we can
defeat ISIS, I think it`s a doable thing, I share Ash Carter and General
Dunford`s confidence in this.

But as we`ve all talked about, is, what do we do once we defeat ISIS. The
instability in that region is what has drawn ISIS to it. And ungoverned
space like we`ve seen in Libya is the magnet for terrorists.

So, we got to find a way to bring our allies in to settle up. It can`t be
us, it has to be the Arab, Kurdish and other allies bringing in to settle
that peace.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Moulton, you get the last word on this.

MOULTON: Well, I think that`s an important point is, we don`t necessarily
have to have a massive American presence on the ground to hold this
territory after we militarily defeat ISIS.

It really should be a local force, including a lot of Sunnis. That`s a
very important component, and we`ve got to figure out how to achieve that

The way Chairman Dunford put it is that we`ve learned that we need to stay
involved in Iraqi politics. We`ve got to be integrated into Iraqi

And my last question to him today was, if we had stayed integrated in Iraqi
politics after the surge, after 2009, would we be in the – in the mess
that we are, we find ourselves in now. And he said, no, we would not.

O`DONNELL: Well, that creates the follow-up question of were we welcome to
stay involved in Iraqi politics and to what extent were we welcomed to stay
involved in Iraqi politics?

MOULTON: No, frankly we weren`t. But look, the other alternative is now
we have to send troops back.

So, I think that we have to have much more aggressive diplomacy, much more
aggressive political involvement.

Because if we don`t, the alternative is putting young Americans into harm`s
way once again. And I`ll tell you, I went back to Iraq in February for the
first time since I took part in the surge.

And it was disheartening to say the least, to see so much of what we had
fought for and frankly achieved during the surge just completely squandered
because we weren`t able to hold the peace, to keep the peace.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Seth Moulton and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony
Shaffer, thank you both for joining us tonight. Coming up, the Islamic
State supporters in the United States.

A new study shows that the number of arrests and investigations of people
in the U.S. supporting the Islamic State is skyrocketing.

And a “Boston Globe” writer finally says what has to be said about Donald


O`DONNELL: This year, the Friday after Thanksgiving broke a shopping
record that we should not be proud of. The most background checks for the
purchase of a gun.

The national instant criminal background check system processed 185,345
requests on Friday, November 27th. The previous high for checks was just
over 177,000 on December 21st, 2012.

That was just seven days after the Sandy Hook School massacre. On the day
after Thanksgiving this year when America was stocking up on guns, one man
with a gun walked into the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs
and murdered 3 people and wounded 9.

We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: There has been an unprecedented mobilization of Islamic State
supporters in the United States in the last year.

According to a new report, that report says 56 people have been arrested in
the United States for ISIS-related activity this year.

That is the largest number of terrorism-related arrests in a single year in
the United States since the 9/11 attacks.

According to that report, there are currently 900 active investigations
about the Islamic State sympathizers in all 50 states.

Arrests have been made in 21 states so far this year. Joining us now
Seamus Hughes, co-author of “The Report” and the Deputy Director of the
Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

Also with us, Malcolm Nance, a former counterterrorism intelligence
officer, combat veteran and author of “Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How
They Fight, What They Believe”.

Malcolm Nance, what is it about this report that is different from
everything you`ve seen in studying ISIS up to now?

Well, I have to commend the George Washington University, I believe it`s a
brilliant report.

And what is most significant for the American public to understand is now
that we`ve taken this deep look at how the ISIS supporters, how and what we
call their fan boys, their base of operators in the United States
communicate with each other and how they support and radicalize themselves
from within the virtual world that they live in.

O`DONNELL: Seamus Hughes, what should we take from this report? I mean, if
there`s one way of looking at it is, gee, we know an awful lot about what
ISIS is trying to do here.

And you were able to obtain an awful lot of information that seems to show
that we`ve got them tracked. We kind of see what they`re up to.

UNIVERSITY: Yes, so we looked at about 7,000 pages of legal documents to
get a sense of what a typical profile of it, ISIS recruiters looks like.

And it defies using analysis. They tend to be younger, so the average age
is 26. But one – cases, they are 21 years or younger.

The FBI says that they have 900 active investigations in all 50 states, we
found arrests in at least 21 as you mentioned. I think what we`re seeing
is law enforcement is stretched a bit then, they`re triaging this.

This is unprecedented number of cases for them this year.

O`DONNELL: What about motivation, Seamus? Were you able to find what the
motivation is for joining, getting involved with ISIS here?

HUGHES: Yes, so humans are complex. They decide to do things for various
reasons. And we are able to talk to a number of people and look at court
documents, talked to family members of individuals who had joined groups in
ISIS from America and get a sense of, you know, how do they do this and why
did they decide to make this leap?

And to run a gamut, they wanted a sense of belonging, they wanted a sense
to be part of, you know, what they saw as so-called caliphate.

They saw the propaganda online, they thought they could be part of
something bigger than themselves.

O`DONNELL: And Malcolm Nance, what`s your sense of how good a grip
American law enforcement has on this in the United States?

NANCE: Well, I think it`s tenuous at best. Not just a week ago, I spoke
to over 200 federal and state intelligence officers who were tasked
specifically on this mission.

And they were desperate for information. We have a lot of intelligence
which comes from national level intelligence collection agencies.

Which does get fed down through the FBI and out into the joint terrorism
task force. But, you know, there`s a great body of knowledge out there
that`s missing with regards to how does a street officer or how does a
local county sheriff have to approach somebody who may have been

And I think this report will give them some insights unto that. But
there`s a great deal of work which needs to be done.

O`DONNELL: Seamus Hughes, it seems in your report that a certain amount of
what`s going on here is kind of youthful wanderings.

Youthful ideological wanderings and a certain amount of it will turn out to
be harmless. It will be a phase that some percentage of these people are
going through.

Any sense of how much of it is just that?

HUGHES: That`s exactly right, and that`s the problem when you look at
these issues. The 900 cases, you know, only a small percentage is actually
going to make that leap to violent act or cross that legal threshold.

So, what do law enforcement do to figure out, you know, who`s the real
threat and who`s not. You`re right when you say – talk about youthful

When we watch – and we had a team of researchers looking at 300 accounts
of Americans we saw on Twitter over six-month period, and we saw a real
time grooming of people.

So they were – we saw a young convert in the Mid West who wanted to learn
more about her faith and she was going on Twitter to do that and ISIS spot
her, essentially groomed her through this and slowly brought her into the

You have these people that are looking for a sense of belonging and they`re
finding it in the echo chamber online.

O`DONNELL: And what is it about – is there anything about their
environment, Seamus, the common denominators that you can link and family
relationships or is it – or is it just as you say, there`s really quite a
range of possibility in who gets recruited?

HUGHES: Yes, I think that`s right. There`s a diversity of who gets
recruited. There`s a diversity in terms of the profile, you know, there
are old, there are young, there`re rich, there`re poor, the high school
educated, the high school kids, the college educated.

There`s also diversity in terms of their actual support of ISIS. We`ve
seen keyboard warriors; the guys that just push out propaganda on Twitter.

We also have seen cases like Abdullah Pizarro(ph) from Saint Louis who goes
over to Syria and becomes a mid level commander for ISIS. So, runs a
gamut. There`s a diversity of both the profile and their role in the

O`DONNELL: Seamus Hughes and Malcolm Nance, thank you both for joining us
tonight –

HUGHES: Thank you –

O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it. Coming up, Donald Trump gets himself
the headline that he doesn`t want in today`s “Boston Globe”.


O`DONNELL: Tonight, Donald Trump continued his campaign of lies about what
happened here on September 11th.


TRUMP: Do you notice what`s happening in New Jersey? They`re now finding a
lot of people were saying yes, that did take place in New Jersey, right?

I wasn`t going to apologize. I wasn`t going to apologize.


A lot of things happened today where they were dancing and they were happy.
There were a lot of happy people over in New Jersey. And I saw it and a
lot of people saw it.


O`DONNELL: And that is what Donald Trump looks like when he`s lying. He,
of course, did not see anything that he just described and no one is coming
forward to support his lie.


TRUMP: Do you notice what`s happening in New Jersey? They`re now finding a
lot of people are saying, yes, that did take place in New Jersey.


O`DONNELL: No, they`re not finding anyone who says that that happened in
New Jersey. And if Donald Trump finds anyone who says that happened in New
Jersey, that person is welcome on this show to tell us exactly what that
person pretends to have seen.

Donald Trump knows that the news media will not chase his lies for very
long. They have proven that to him. He lied about President Obama`s birth
certificate for so long that the press gave up talking to him about it. He
lied about sending detectives to Hawaii to investigate the president`s

He lied about that for so long that the press has permanently forgotten to
ask him what his detectives found in Hawaii. Those mythical detectives
that, of course, he never sent to Hawaii. The news media proved to Donald
Trump years ago that it has no capacity to deal with his lies, his speed of
lies, his frequency of lies.

They have proved to him that he can get away with any lie he wants to get
away with because he knows that most people in the news media are afraid to
call a lie, a lie. Mike Cohen is not one of them.

His “Boston Globe” column today carries the headline, “Donald Trump is a
liar”. Joining us now is Michael Cohen, Columnist for the “Boston Globe”
and back with us Kurt Andersen. Michael, welcome – Welcome to the small
bandwagon in the media –

MICHAEL COHEN, BOSTON GLOBE COLUMNIST: Thank you. Good to see you, again.


O`DONNELL: – that actually uses the word, “Lie and liar” when it comes
to Donald Trump. I take it. You got to the point where you just could not
take it anymore.

COHEN: That is, basically, what happened. I just said, “This is
ridiculous. He is lying, consistently lying.” Not just about 9/11, but a
number of things. And, it is time to just say – call it what it is. He
is clearly a liar.

O`DONNELL: Kurt, no one in the American media has followed Donald Trump
longer than you have. You used to work at “Time” magazine, where they are
not allowed to call anyone a liar. This is an incredible challenge for the
mainstream media. They just cannot find the words to deal with this.

ANDERSEN: Well, because of the objective media, especially on the one hand
and the other. And, as you say, and as we were saying here, he is so
prolific in his lies, and by the way, always has been.

O`DONNELL: Always has been.

ANDERSEN: I talked to his bondholders in Atlantic City about whether they
felt lied to by Donald Trump, for instance. So, he has always been this
way. It also reminds me, he is part of a larger process of which your
former boss, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once said, “Every man is entitled to
his own opinions, but not his own facts.” That is – Moynihan was saying
that just before that was no longer true.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Right.

ANDERSEN: And, Donald Trump is the ultimate kind of apotheosis of that.
“No, I am entitled to my own facts.”

O`DONNELL: Yes, you know, Al Franken used the Moynihan quote in the senate
a few years ago. I think if any senator stood up there and said it now,
most of them would not understand what he just said.


COHEN: I mean Trump has found the perfect political party, right? Because
basically this has become the new creed on the GOP, which is to
consistently stretch the truth and to go straight out to lying.

You know, we talk about Trump, but Carly Fiorina has probably told the most
pernicious lies in the entire election cycle about the Planned Parenthood
videos. And, even after it was point out through that what she was saying
was not true, that there was no video that depicting what she claims in
those videos, she still keeps saying it. She is still saying it now. This
has become the newest approach for republican politicians suggesting you
lie over a period of time–

O`DONNELL: You make the point to your column that there is one – if you
want to talk about parties and lying that one party is way ahead of the
other party on lying. Let us look to John Kasich`s new ad about Donald
Trump. Let us see this.


TRUMP: And, now the poor guy, you got to see this guy, “Ah, I do not know
what I said. Ah, I do not remember.”



reporter with a disability.



TRUMP: He is going like, “I do not remember. Oh, maybe that is what I



BERMAN: That reporter he is talking about us Serge Kovalevsky, who now
works for “The New York Times.” As you can see right there, he suffers
from a chronic condition that impairs movement of his arms.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (voice-over): Trump says he was not mocking the
reporter because he did not know what the reporter looked like. But, in
truth, they have known each other personally for years.



TRUMP: He is going like, “I do not remember. Oh, maybe that is what I


O`DONNELL: Kurt Andersen, do you expect that to work?

ANDERSEN: Well, one would expect – you know, remember months ago when he
made his first career candidacy-killing gaffe when he spoke about John
McCain. No, I do not. He is – people say he is Teflon. He is not
exactly Teflon.

It is as though he is living in an alternate universe where the physics
normal – of politics do not apply to him. And, he got – frankly, he got
a good opponent in the democrats, which is to say Hillary Clinton, who is
not the liar that Donald Trump is.

However, part of her baggage is, “Oh, the Clintons, they shave everything
so close. What is the meaning of `It`.” Not that she said that. But,
that she is the part of this, “Oh, the Clintons are kind of speedy.” That
is a good candidate for him to be against because his base and the
Republican Party can say, “Yes, look at Hillary Clinton, she is a liar.”

O`DONNELL: And, the – by the way, when you talk to his supporter, the
Trump supporters, they all say, basically, what Kurt just said, which is
basically, all politicians are liars. Therefore, we do not care what lie
our politician, Donald Trump, told yesterday.

COHEN: Exactly. Or they will say, Hillary Clinton lies more and she is a
bigger liar. So, it all cancels each other out. The thing about Hillary
to some extent, she is actually kind of – you know, she is a lawyer.

And, so, I think there is a part of her that tries to shade the truth and
to be as honest as she possibly can be without, you know, saying something
is going to be disparaging to her. And, that is her, her. I mean it makes
her seem like she is, you know – she is cutting around the edges. But,
like Trump –

O`DONNELL: But all politicians have done that at certain point.

COHEN: Of course. All politicians.

O`DONNELL: They have all talked to that way. They are all weasly. They
do not lie with such gusto.

COHEN: Right. Right. But, then we all do it. We all sort of tell lies.
We all sort of exaggerate our own personal stories. Anyone does. The
politicians are no different. Trump just does it with more gusto and more

O`DONNELL: But, republican people – republican strategists, officials,
donors are worried according to “The New York Times.” They feel that the
Trump nomination would lead to an electoral wipeout, a sweeping defeat that
could undo some of the gains republicans have made in recent congressional,
state and local elections.

And, there, if true, Kurt, is that moment where once again, Hillary Clinton
is the luckiest politician in America. The Clintons have a way of being so
lucky in who their opponents are.

ANDERSEN: Well, he is not her opponent yet, but I think we are at the
point where we cannot just – the republicans cannot just wish that away.
We cannot assume that away. Do a thought experiment.

You say, you have a leading republican candidate who is ahead of everybody,
his second place competitor by 8, 10, 12, 14 percent in the first two state
and nationally. And, he is conservative and he is a billionaire
businessman, who can fund his own campaign. That looks like a winner to
me. That looks like a winner of the nomination.


O`DONNELL: All right, we are going to do that thought experiment during
this commercial. We are going to be right back.




MARCO RUBIO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I stand strongly on behalf of the
ability of this government to gather intelligence on our adversaries and
our enemies, especially terrorists, but other nation states. Those keep us
safer. And, there are republicans including Senator Cruz, who have voted
to weaken those programs. That is just a part of the record. It is
nothing personal.


O`DONNELL: Well, the fight is on, Marco Rubio versus Ted Cruz in the hope
that there will be a collapse of the Trump candidacy at some point along
the line. Let us look at this Rubio-backed Super PAC ad against Ted Cruz.
Let us look at this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Paris is once again in mourning.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): This was terrorism at its worst.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUCER (voice-over): Our leaders must keep America
safe. But, when Ted Cruz had the chance to fight Barack Obama`s
dangerously weak anti-terror policies, he did not. Instead, Cruz voted to
weaken America`s ability to identify and hunt down terrorists. Cruz
supported the bill that expert said was crafted to hobble the gathering of
electronic intelligence. Call Ted Cruz. Tell him to stop leading from


O`DONNELL: And, Kurt, Ted Cruz hits Marco Rubio for supporting what he
calls Hillary Clinton`s policy on Libya. Also goes after him on

ANDERSEN: I do not see how foreign policy disputes between those two are
going to have any traction. I really do not. Rubio is – has this – he
is the great white hope of the establishment, yet he is – and because of
that in part, he has great skepticism on the right. So, I just do not see
this battle among the republicans, unless Rand Paul suddenly surges, being
fought on foreign policy grounds.

O`DONNELL: And, Rubio gets hammered every day on conservative radio about
his immigration bill, which he abandoned. I mean, he did everything he
could possibly do to please those people, but they are not pleased.

COHEN: Yes, and I think that in a sense is because of his liability. The
thing about Cruz, Cruz has much more credibility, I think, among
conservatives than Rubio does. And, he has that sort of anti-establishment
persona that Rubio cannot possibly match.

If you look at this campaign, half of the electorates do not get it. The
electorate is going for Carson and Trump. It is an anti-establishment
vote. And, tonight, Cruz has been very smart. He is straddled being a
Washington insider but also being somebody every Washington insider hates.

O`DONNELL: Uh-huh.

COHEN: Being this sort of pose in the establishment. And, I think that
gives him a real advantage through going forward.

O`DONNELL: And, Rubio is going to have to get a win somewhere. Cruz is
surging in the latest Iowa poll. He might be able to take Iowa. You could
see him taking Iowa. Rubio in the New Hampshire polls and every other
poll, including Florida, Rubio is not there.

ANDERSEN: Well, you have Iowa, which Rubio almost, certainly. will not


ANDERSEN: In New Hampshire, maybe, but not looking – like I said – and
after that, you have three weeks of mainly southern primaries that do not,
to me, look like great Rubio territory.

O`DONNELL: And, as you say, you know, it could be Trump all the way.

ANDERSEN: I think – I have been saying it for a quite while –

O`DONNELL: If you had to bet tonight, is it Trump all the way?

ANDERSEN: If I had to bet simply on what is the best bet, I would say
Trump, yes.

COHEN: Yes, the best bet.

O`DONNELL: And, Michael Cohen, thanks for joining us. Kurt Andersen,
thanks for joining us, and thanks for telling me during the break that my
presentation last night about the K.I.N.D. Fund got you thinking about
contributing to the fund.

ANDERSEN: Intending.

O`DONNELL: Intending. All the way to intending. OK. Now, we have just
got to get you to a credit card. All right, thank you very much, guys for
joining us. Coming up, Chicago Alderman joins us, who says that the firing
of the Chicago`s police superintendent is not enough.




STEVE MUSALI, MALAWI WORKERS: One day, Stanley is going to sit there at
the desk that I actually made. He will be able to tell them that, “This is
my father`s work.”


O`DONNELL: That is Steve Musali, who you met on this program last night.
He is one of the workers in Malawi, who hopes that one day his son,
Stanley, who is now 2 years old, will sit at one of the desks that he
makes, that he is making in our factories in Malawi.

Steve builds the desks for the K.I.N.D. Fund, “Kids In Need of Desks.”
That is a program we created in partnership with UNICEF five years ago to
provide desks for schoolchildren in Malawi. There is just about one hour
left right now, a little more than an hour left in giving Tuesday.

So, please, if you are still looking for some place to give, my
recommendation is once again the K.I.N.D. Fund. By contributing to
K.I.N.D. Fund, you not only provide desks for schoolchildren in Malawi, but
you also help create jobs for people like Steve, who makes those desks.

Steve uses his paycheck to support his wife and his son and he also helps
pay the tuition fees for his youngest sister to stay in high school. And,
he sends money home to his parents. He is able to do that. Thanks to the
job he has, building desks for the K.I.N.D. Fund.

One of the people who donated today is former Ohio State Senator Nina
Turner, who tweeted this, “Giving Tuesday. I donated to the K.I.N.D. Fund
to provide desks to students in Malawi.”

If you would like to contribute to the K.I.N.D. Fund, you just go to the And, if you are not cyber savvy or connected at
the moment, you can call 1-800-4-UNICEF.

Jay Lee tweeted, “I was a teacher in Malawi. Do not forget that through
K.I.N.D., you can donate, so girls can help go to school. I did.” Thanks.
In Malawi only 7 percent of girls finish high school. That is half the
rate of boys who complete high school.

On future programs, I will introduce you to some of the girls, who are able
to stay in high school in Malawi. Thanks to your donations to the
scholarship fund that K.I.N.D. runs for girls.

If you cannot afford to give anything to us right now, you can still help
by tweeting or posting a link to the K.I.N.D. on your Facebook page. Judy
Frazier posted on Facebook today, “The K.I.N.D. Fund is amazing. Just
bought a desk and a year scholarship for a girl in the names of my two

And, my old favorite, Pat O`Brien tweeted, “My favorite new holiday
charity, K.I.N.D. Fund, making desks for kids who need them. Thank you,
MSNBC.” Thank you, Pat O`Brien. I really appreciate it, Pat. And, thanks
to all of you, who donated today on giving Tuesday.


O`DONNELL: On this day, 60 years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her
seat and move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was
arrested, taken into custody and had to pose for this mug shot. Rosa Parks
was fined $10 plus a $4 court fee.

The Montgomery bus boycott to protest segregated seating on city buses
started four days later on December 5, 1955, and continued for just over a
year. On December 20, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a judge`s order
to the city of Montgomery to integrate its bus system. The bus boycott
ended the next day.

Rosa Parks boarded a Montgomery bus and road in the front of the bus.
President Obama sat on that bus at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan in
2012. And, today, the president released this statement.

“Like so many giants of her age, Rosa Parks is no longer with us, but her
lifetime of activism and her singular moment of courage continued to
inspire us today. Rosa Parks reminds us that there is always something we
can do. It is always within our power to make America better.”


O`DONNELL: Tonight, Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, has asked the
U.S. Department of Justice`s civil rights division to investigate whether
Chicago police department practices violate the constitution and federal

In the statement Madigan said, “The shocking death of Laquan McDonald is
the latest strategy in our city that highlights serious questions about the
use of unlawful and excessive force by Chicago police officers and the lack
of accountability for such abuse.

Chicago cannot move ahead and rebuild trust between police and the
community without an outside independent investigation into its police
department to improve policing practices.” That request comes the same day
that the Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy was fired.


RAHM EMANUEL, (D) CHICAGO, MAYOR: Superintended McCarthy and began a
discussion on Sunday about the direction of the department and the
undeniable fact that the public trust and the leadership of the department
has been shaken and eroded.

This morning, I formally asked for his resignation. Now, is the time for
fresh eyes and new leadership to confront the challenges the department and
our community and our city are facing as we go forward. I have asked First
Deputy John Escalante to serve as acting commissioner until the police
force has conduct a thorough search.


O`DONNELL: In that press conference today, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also
announced a new task force on police accountability. According to a
statement from the mayor`s office, the task force will review the police
department`s current system of accountability oversight and training and
recommend reforms.

All of today`s developments come exactly one week after dash cam video was
released of the deadly shooting of Laquan McDonald by Police Officer Jason
Van Dyke. Officer Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder. He was
released on bond last night.

Joining us now is Leslie Hairston. She is alderman for the 5th Ward of
Chicago and a former assistant attorney general for Illinois. Alderman
Hairston, what do you make of the attorney general`s request tonight for
the U.S. Justice Department to investigate this police department?

ALDERMAN LESLIE HAIRSTON, (D) 5TH WARD, CHICAGO: I agree with the attorney
general. As a matter of fact, last week, we had also asked for the same
thing, members of the black caucus and myself. And, I have been working
with others to hopefully get a petition together to – petition the
department of justice to investigate.

O`DONNELL: When you and all the rest of the alderman unanimously voted to
compensate the family of $5 million before they even filed a civil lawsuit
in this case, had you all seen that dash cam video?

ALDERMAN HAIRSTON: No. We had not had an opportunity to see the video.
And, the corporation council is generally the practice. They appear before
the committee on finance and review the facts of the case and make a
recommendation. In this particular instance, the family and the
corporation council had already reached an agreement. And, that was the
recommendation that was made to the city council.

O`DONNELL: So, what facts were presented to the city council? Was the
city counselors told that the victim of this shooting was walking away from
police? Because at that time the public information in Chicago from the
police department and the police union was, that he was moving toward the
police officers and threatening the police officers.

ALDERMAN HAIRSTON: That was not what was stated at that meeting. I got a
copy of the transcript just to make sure, and there was language to the
effect that Laquan lunged at the police officer, which we now see from the
video that has been released that that was not the case.

O`DONNELL: So, even in presentation to reach a $5 million settlement with
the family, the story that the city was telling through the corporation
council is that he lunged towards the police officer?

ALDERMAN HAIRSTON: That is what I believe the transcript said, yes.

O`DONNELL: And, so, what was the – what did the corporation council say
that indicated there should be a $5 million settlement in this? What did
he say in favor, in effect, of Laquan McDonald, why there would be a claim
worthy of $5 million here?

ALDERMAN HAIRSTON: Well, I was not at that particular meeting, so I cannot
say what he said. I believe if I had been there, my questions would have
been different. But, I think that as with any negotiation and with
corporation council that the contents of the video were such that that if
it went to a jury trial that the city would be liable for a lot more and so
that it was in the best interest of the tax payers to settle the case and
the family`s attorney had, in fact, agreed.

O`DONNELL: Who do you think should run the Chicago Police Department now?

ALDERMAN HAIRSTON: I think there is some local people within the police
department that should be moved up, some young, fresh faces. We do not
need to recycling the old faces. There are systemic issues within the
Chicago police department. They did not just start today.

O`DONNELL: All right.

ALDERMAN HAIRSTON: And, so, we need to move forward on that.

O`DONNELL: That will have to be the “Last Word” for tonight. Alderman
Leslie Hairston, thank you very much for joining us. Chris Hayes is up


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