The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 12/2/2017

Guests:
Hassan Hassan, Anthony Shaffer, Jeremy Bash, Nasser Weddady, Stephen Yale-Loehr, Frank Rich, Asra Nomani
Transcript:

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: December 7, 2015
Guest: Hassan Hassan, Anthony Shaffer, Jeremy Bash, Nasser Weddady,
Stephen Yale-Loehr, Frank Rich, Asra Nomani>

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
evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel, I will be
watching tomorrow night.

MADDOW: Cheers, thank you my friend –

O`DONNELL: As always –

MADDOW: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel. Tonight, the FBI investigation of the terrorist
attack in San Bernardino continues and Frank Rich is here to try to sift
through the debris of the political bomb just dropped by Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening.

LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: President Obama addressed the nation last night
from the Oval office.

OBAMA: On Wednesday, 14 Americans were killed as they came together to
celebrate the holidays.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He delivered a rare prime time address.

OBAMA: Victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their co-
workers and his wife. The two of them had gone down the dark path of
radicalization.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President`s over arching message was to stay the
course in the fight against ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Presidential candidates didn`t waste any time
criticizing the speech.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He announced nothing new.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He called on the Muslim community, the Muslim-American
community to step up more.

OBAMA: We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined
as a war between America and Islam.

JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We must not
vilify American Muslims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marginalization of Muslims, even the idea or the theory
of it actually is maximization of ISIS goals.

HOLT: But late today, Donald Trump called for a total ban on Muslims
entering the United States.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP
ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering
the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

We have no choice! We have no choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The FBI has been questioning the mother of Syed Farooq who
lived upstairs in the house where authorities now say Farooq and his wife
Tashfeen Malik had set up a bomb-making factory.

Investigators are also questioning a friend of Syed Farooq who in 2011
purchased the two assault rifles used in the attack.

FBI investigators said that Syed Farooq and Tashfeen Malik did target
practice at local gun ranges and Syed Farooq practiced shooting his assault
rifle at a local range just two days before last Wednesday`s attack.

It was also real today that Tashfeen Malik attended classes at a
fundamentalist Islamic school for women in Pakistan in 2013 and 2014 after
she graduated from university.

The U.S. government released this photo of Syed Farooq and Tashfeen Malik
taken at Chicago`s O`Hare International Airport when she arrived in the
United States for the first time in July 2014.

FBI investigators said today they believe the couple had been radicalized
“for quite some time.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID BOWDICH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, LOS
ANGELES: We believe they both were, that`s the question for us is, how and
by whom and where were they radicalized? Maybe there`s not a by whom.

Remember, often times it`s on the internet, we just don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In his Oval office address last night in reaction to the
massacre in San Bernardino, President Obama continued to stress that
protecting the United States from ISIS attacks at home meant fighting ISIS
on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of
thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we
take away their safe havens.

In both countries, we`re deploying special operations forces who can
accelerate that offensive. We`ve stepped up this effort since the attacks
in Paris and we`ll continue to invest more in approaches that are working
on the ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, who is
a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

He served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. Also with us Jeremy
Bash, former Chief of Staff for Leon Panetta at both the CIA and the
Department of Defense.

Also with us, Hassan Hassan, he is the co-author of “ISIS: Inside the Army
of Terror”. He`s also an Associate Fellow at Chatham House in London, and
a Nonresident Fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

Hassan, what is your reaction to everything we`re learning about the
radicalization of this couple and the educational history of the wife in
this – in this story?

HASSAN HASSAN, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE & NONRESIDENT FELLOW, TAHRIR
INSTITUTE FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY: Well, to me this sounds familiar, if
indeed, you know, that process was the reason.

You know, they went through radicalization and then – and then they
carried out the – you know, the act.

Then, you know, it makes perfect sense because usually people who join, you
know, the – you know – or it`s sad to, you know, kind of buying into this
ideas, the ideas that ISIS sort of represent.

They go through a massive change and transformational change in a very
quick – in a very, you know, very short period of time.

And you know, it makes sense that the mother – sorry, the wife was
supposedly the reason why he was radicalized and he – you know, he was
pushed into this act.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what President Obama said last night, asking
Muslim leaders around the world to help on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working
with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that
groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote.

To speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those
interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious
tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Colonel Shaffer, how important is that in the full package of
the President`s strategies and hopes for how to defeat ISIS?

ANTHONY SHAFFER, RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY RESERVE LIEUTENANT COLONEL &
SENIOR FELLOW, LONDON CENTER FOR POLICY RESEARCH: Extraordinarily
important.

Just today, one of the groups I work with, the Association of British
Muslims in London had Prince Andrew at their footballer for peace.

It`s very important to recognize those elements of the Muslim faith who are
very much fighting the radicalism, trying very hard to stop it.

Plus, we have the Ahmadiyya Muslim community right here in the D.C. area,
in Baltimore is a very large community who have completely taken and got
rid of – it says they forego violence altogether.

So, this is an important peace. And we need to – Lawrence, we need to
really look at how to expand working with groups who are willing to work
with us because clearly this is a war of ideas as much as anything else.

We must get on top of that. We have not been doing well in the war of
ideas against the radicalization issue.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy Bash, talk about where we are on the coordination these
days between CIA, FBI, all the various investigative capacities that we
have that would be relevant to trying to prevent attacks like we saw in San
Bernardino.

JEREMY BASH, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE &
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Well, that kind of coordination, Lawrence,
happens on a daily, hourly basis, even minute by minute out at the National
Counterterrorism Center in northern Virginia.

As well as in the field that the joint terrorism task force is, and
actually out in the world at our embassies and with our allies overseas.

So, our coordination between intelligence and law enforcement, Homeland
Security is fairly well lashed up.

But what makes this case so challenging, we`re seeing this as the
investigation widens day-by-day, is that here you have a couple that may
not have had direct ties or direct connections to plotters overseas.

Yet they were engaged in stockpiling of weapons, of training, of planning,
of plotting, even of linking potentially to others on the internet.

And so this is where it makes it very difficult for our intelligence
agencies to penetrate a plot overseas and stop an attack at home. Because
often times those connections aren`t so clear.

It`s just going to require a lot more coordination, a lot better lash up, a
lot more intensive focus on understanding exactly the way individuals and
couples get radicalized here in the United States.

O`DONNELL: A lot of complaints from Republican candidates for president
saying that President Obama offered nothing new last night.

They offered nothing new themselves. There are very few – I think Lindsey
Graham might be the only one who is really willing to send in ground
troops. Let`s listen to what President Obama said about a ground war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war
in Iraq or Syria. That`s what groups like ISIL want.

They know they can`t defeat us on the battlefield. ISIL fighters were part
of the insurgency that we faced in Iraq, but they also know that if we
occupy foreign lands they can maintain insurgencies for years, killing
thousands of our troops, draining our resources, and using our presence to
draw new recruits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Hassan Hassan, do you think the Islamic State really wants an
invasion of American ground troops?

HASSAN: Well, ISIS wants many things but, you know, what it wants most is
that this – really this message that was delivered yesterday by President
Obama.

Which is to somehow suggest that everyone should abandon the whole – you
know, the whole Syrian conflict which is actually the – you know, the ISIS
was a symptom of this conflict.

It was borne out of, you know – it was borne out before the Syrian
conflict, but it would not have been this, you know, huge threat without
the Syrian conflict.

And somehow, you know, President Obama was suggesting that everyone should
somehow, you know, agree together to fight the organization rather than
actually resolving the Syrian conflict.

This is the key to defeating the group. There`s nothing you can – you
know, that the group will continue to operate in Syria and Iraq and expand
elsewhere unless you deal with the situation on the ground.

And I think that was something that was missing from the speech yesterday.
It was – there was no plan, there was no strategy of what to do.

The only thing that, you know, President Obama was suggesting that to stay
the course and not do anything beyond what`s being done at the moment.

O`DONNELL: All right, Colonel Shaffer –

SHAFFER: Yes –

O`DONNELL: What would you suggest to the President beyond what you heard
him offer last night?

SHAFFER: Well, three things. First, the President did admit that these
folks are adapting. Well, what we have to do, Lawrence, is get ahead of
them.

We have to anticipate how they`re going to adapt and get ahead of them.
This is a pattern we`ve seen before. Faisal Shahzad was radicalized in
Pakistan, in the very area where the wife of the terrorist suspect came
from.

So we have to recognize that that`s an area we have to focus on intensely.
Secondly, we have to recognize as you mentioned before, the war of ideas.

We have to get on top of that, figure out a way to work with people like
President el-Sisi of Egypt who is willing to work with us as an ally in
this war, and work to find a way to go back at these extremists with – and
war of ideas.

Third, we have to take back the terrain. We have – President Obama should
have said we`re going to double down and try to bring back governance to
those ungoverned spaces.

Lawrence, ungoverned spaces are the magnet for this sort of thing. So, we
have to do all three of those things.

And I wish the President would have been clearer about giving the Pentagon
either more authority or clear authority to go do the things necessary to
get ahead of ISIS and we`re just not doing that yet.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy Bash, what would you add to what you`d recommend?

BASH: Well, I think Colonel Shaffer illuminated some important points, and
I would also add, I think we probably need more forces on the ground in
Iraq and Syria.

Fifty special operations in Syria is not a lot, 250 special operations
forces in Iraq is not a lot. Now, of course, the President is right, a
ground force, ground operations, that`s not what we want to be engaged in.

At least, we don`t want American troops to be doing that. But we probably
need several hundred, maybe a couple of thousand to comprise a task force
that can really try to squeeze ISIS from both sides.

And really go to the playbook that we used successfully against al Qaeda
senior leadership along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Where we surged our intelligence, surged our efforts to employ special
operations forces and then engage in punishing airstrikes to decapitate and
decimate al Qaeda senior leadership.

That`s a strategy that I think we need to bring now to Syria and Iraq.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy, quickly before we go, when I hear that talk about our
success with al Qaeda, didn`t we just squeeze one end of the balloon and
the other end of the balloon expanded and that end of the balloon is now
called ISIS?

BASH: Yes, but, Lawrence, let`s not diminish that. Because the plots that
were coming out of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region were very
serious.

They would have caused major losses of life here and in Europe. And the
United States stepped up and actually stopped those plots. So, there are
people living today because we engaged in that fight.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy Bash, thanks for joining us, also Lieutenant Colonel
Anthony Shaffer and Hassan Hassan, thank you all for joining us tonight.

Coming up, how to combat Islamic radicalization, the personal end of it.
And tonight, Donald Trump has outdone himself.

The candidate who is associated in polls with the word idiot has gone to a
place where only he could go.

No other candidate is joining him in his madness tonight. Frank Rich will
be here with his reaction.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Three weeks after the terror attacks in Paris, members of the
California band Eagles of Death Metal made a surprise return to a Paris
stage tonight.

The band was called on to the stage during a U2 concert. The two bands
played the Patti Smith song “People have the Power”.

Coming up, Frank Rich will try to respond to the relentless stupidity that
is the Trump for president campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If we`re to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim
communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away
through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread
within some Muslim communities. There`s a real problem that Muslims must
confront without excuse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Asra Nomani, co-founder of the Muslim Reform
Movement and the author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman`s Struggle
for the Soul of Islam”.

Also joining us is Nasser Weddady, an expert on ISIS and youth
radicalization. Asra Nomani, what was your reaction to what the President
had to say last night.

ASRA NOMANI, AUTHOR & CO-FOUNDER, MUSLIM REFORM MOVEMENT: Well, Lawrence,
since I last spoke with you, it`s great progress that we are actually
calling out the fact that there`s an ideological problem.

I`m disappointed though that we still work with terms like cancer and
poison instead of really calling out what the problem is.

You know, on Friday, I was really proud that I stood with a group of
Muslims and we started this movement for reform and Islam.

And one of our tenets is explicitly that we stated. We posted this
declaration on the Mosque, and the Saudi Mosque in Washington, D.C.

And we wrote that we believe we must target the ideology of violent
Islamist extremism. So, to truly tackle this problem of radicalization, we
have to name it.

And Islamist ideology is one that believes in the political governance that
is wrapped around Islam and that is very much what influenced this couple
in San Bernardino, California, and it`s what influences the Islamic State.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson
said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: Now, I have an ask. It is an ask of the people in this room and
all Muslims across this country.

Terrorist organizations overseas have targeted your communities. They seek
to pull your youth into the pit of violent extremism. Help us to help you
stop this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Nasser Weddady, what is your reaction to that?

NASSER WEDDADY, EXPERT, ISIS & YOUTH RADICALIZATION: I think that
unfortunately we`re still using some of the old language and we`re not
recognizing a reality. Even I would take a little bit of an issue about
talking about religion.

Everything shows that ISIS` success has a lot to do with them creating a
global counter culture which is unfortunately, the hardest global counter
culture today that is appealing to youth.

And by the way, it`s appealing to youth who doesn`t necessarily look like
me. They have blue eyes and blonde hair. And that is something that has
not quite sank in.

It doesn`t mean that we – what I`m basically trying to drive at is that
the theology, I think that`s a little bit of a deadbeat because a lot of
the people who fall into this were not religious.

But that does not exclude what the fact is, that we do have a serious
problem with Islamism that has basically mutated and became this extremely
virulent strain that is ISIS today.

We need to recognize that reality because cohesion here at home depends on
it. Because one of the direct damages of the attacks in San Bernardino is
that a lot of people who look (INAUDIBLE) around them and saying, like,
look, this guy looks nice, but am I sure this is not going to flip on me
tomorrow?

That`s the reality that we need to address by understanding the fact that
we`re dealing with something a lot more complicated and elaborated.

Because if we don`t do that, the risk that we`re running is that we will
be, again, perpetrating the same problem, spending billions of dollars,
creating all sorts of, you know, the new hot words, CVE; counter violence
extremism which doesn`t mean much – totally vanilla.

And more importantly, with all these initiatives that are put out there,
including like the segment that you played.

OK, the Homeland Security guys going to meet with the grey leaders, old men
and women, who are perfectly incapable of understanding what a millennial
is thinking.

And again, ISIS has a heads-up start on that because it create materials
that are really good tie-back to their original point that I`m making.

They understand how millennials think. They know how their audience –
where we, the rest of us have failed to do that.

O`DONNELL: What`s your recommendation then in this area?

WEDDADY: My recommendation is very clear. Is that we need to start
fighting – fighting the war of ideas.

We need to beat them at their own game and point back the fact that
Democracy, our way of life in this country is far better than the
caliphate.

And for us to do that, we need to basically level down, start creating
materials that are very much – that encapsulate that message.

We shouldn`t be shy from stating it clearly. We in the west have a better
way of life and a better system. There`s nothing racist about that.

And furthermore, I would add that we need to listen to the youth and learn
better to address them rather than going to the Mosque, which – again, I`m
not dismissing it.

It`s important, it should be done, but it`s not the only solution because,
frankly, the Mosque itself has some issues and needs to answer for those.

O`DONNELL: Nasser Weddadi, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Asra, please stay around, I want to get your reaction to what Donald Trump
had to say tonight.

And up next, it might just be that Donald Trump has finally left me
speechless tonight which means I`m very lucky, but Frank Rich is here to do
all the talking.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, the presidential candidate who won polls shows is best
described by the word idiot said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: What`s happened is we`re out of control. We have no idea who is
coming into our country. We have no idea if they love us or if they hate
us.

We have no idea if they want to bomb us. We have no idea what`s going on.
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims
entering the United States until our country`s representatives can figure
out what the hell is going on.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Reaction was quick. Jeb Bush said, “Donald Trump is unhinged.”
Marco Rubio tweeted, “I disagree with Donald Trump`s latest proposal.

His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring
Americans together.” Governor Chris Christie said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This is the kind of thing that people
say when they have no experience and don`t know what they`re talking about.
We do not need to resort to that type of activity, nor should we.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Ted Cruz who has pushed Donald Trump out of first place in the
most recent Iowa poll was the most polite disagreer with Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: That is not my policy. I believe the focus
should focus on radical Islamic terrorism and we need to be directly
focused on threats to the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now Frank Rich, writer-at-large for “New York
Magazine”. He`s also an executive producer of “Hbo`s” “Veep”.

Frank, this is the night I need you. I have –

(LAUGHTER)

I`m at wits end as they say – he`s gone there. It`s kind of like once he
said it you realized, oh, he`s been tip-toeing up to this, hasn`t he, for
the last few weeks?

FRANK RICH, WRITER-AT-LARGE, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Yes, he`s been tip-toeing
up to it. And look, there`s nothing he won`t say, particularly if there`s
any movement against him in the polls or by another candidate.

But the whole Republican Party has been tip-toeing up to it. I don`t see
why it`s such an enormous leap to Trump`s outrageous statement for Jeb Bush
saying a few weeks ago that we should only let in Christian Syrian
refugees.

The whole party have been trading in this xenophobia and Trump just takes
it to an extreme degree, it`s an extreme xenophobia, it`s Trumpism.

O`DONNELL: It – you know, there is – you could lay out the Trump
candidacy – and as if it was a plan for it to crash. You know, you
whisper in his ear, insult John McCain, that ought to kill your candidacy.

You know, and it`s just like right down the line. Like this thing tonight
looks like, is he trying to kill his candidacy?

RICH: Is he or is he trying to appeal to a base in the Republican Party
that might sustain him in some primaries? That`s what we don`t know.

We have all these polls and we don`t know yet how the voters are going to
vote. And in the end, the only people who can really shut him down are
Republican voters in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina.

I was sort of off on the side of it because it is particularly conservative
and evangelical group in the Republican Party.

But, it is going to be up to republicans to shut this nonsense down. And,
he may not crash. We do not know. You cannot fight something with nothing
and no one has really put a glove on him nationally in terms of stealing
his thunder.

O`DONNELL: Let us listen to a former vice president who has never been
accused of being a liberal on the “Hugh Hewitt” show today reacting to
Donald Trump.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I think this whole notion that
somehow we can just say, “No more Muslims, just ban a whole religion”, goes
against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom
has been a very important part of our history and where we came from.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Frank, remember six months ago when Dick Cheney was the
toughest guy in the Republican Party?

(LAUGHING)

RICH: I know, really, the goalposts have been moved to God knows where,
but here is the thing. I think it is – look, I think it is admirable of
Dick Cheney of whom I am not a fan to say that. I also think George W.
Bush after 9/11 took a more or less understanding idea about religious
diversity in Muslims.

But, they are not in power. The people who are – where is Mitch
O`Connell? Where is Paul Ryan? Where is Reince Priebus, the head of the
Republican Party? A few state chairmen, candidates who were below 5
percent in the polls are criticizing Trump, but Cruz who has a lot to gain
by inheriting Trump is following really did not stand up strongly against
him. They are all sort of cowering the way they did – some people in that
party did before Joe McCarthy in another generation.

O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton knows what a gift Donald Trump is. She tweeted
tonight, “This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive. Donald Trump,
you do not get it. This makes us less safe.” And, she got a strong point
there, this kind of hate rhetoric is just exactly – you know, if ISIS
could have made one request of Donald Trump, it would be please say this
tonight.

RICH: Exactly. I mean, that is exactly right. Hillary Clinton is right.
You are right. And, the crazy thing is, I do not think that Trump actually
even understands that. I do not think he understands what he is doing. He
is like the kid, you know, lighting matches in a woodpile and does not know
what he is doing.

But, he is certainly helping the democrats, if we want to look at a narrow
political lens with everything he talks about, whether he is, you know,
attacking women as bimbos or attacking Muslims or everything else in his
insane arsenal.

O`DONNELL: So, Ted Cruz surging in Iowa. He may be who people end up
voting for, who are now currently thinking about Donald Trump. Let us
listen to what Ted Cruz had to say on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will carpet bomb them
into oblivion. I do not know if sand can glow in the dark, but we are
going to find out.

(AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now, Frank, I am sure he does not know that carpet-bombing is
now a war crime, but I am not sure that would have stopped him from saying
it.

(LAUGHING)

RICH: No, absolutely not. And, look, he is after the Trump brigade. He
is a smarter than Trump, much more clever and more of a professional
politician than Trump. But, he – he is appealing to the same voters with
that speech that Trump was trying to appeal to today. And, we are going to
find out how large a hold they have in the base of the GOP in the months to
come.

O`DONNELL: And, his Trump strategy now seems to have worked. He was the
one who decided early on, “I am going to embrace Trump. I will never be
critical of him no matter what he says because I am betting the day comes
when voters will fall away from Trump to the person who they think might
actually be able to win an election who sounds a lot like Trump.”

RICH: I think that is exactly right. And, of course, in Iowa he has a
weapon to use against Trump because he has an evangelical following. And,
despite Trump`s claims that he read the bible almost as insidiously as the
art of the deal, no one believes that Trump is a conservative Christian.

So, he is really going to get under Trump`s skin, but he is never going to
do anything to offend Trump or, more importantly, Trump voters because that
is his constituency.

O`DONNELL: Frank Rich, thank you very much for joining us from L.A.
Tonight. Now, I will go back to work on that best comedy on T.V.

(LAUGHING)

RICH: Thank you. Great talking to you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Frank.

Up next, we have more on Donald Trump`s religious test to enter the united
states.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANADIDATE: It is going to get worse and
worse, folks. We can be politically correct or we can be stupid, but it is
going to get worse and worse. Until we are able to determine and
understand this problem and the dangers threat it poses, our country cannot
be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad.
These are people only believe in Jihad. They do not want our system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Stephen Yale-Loehr. He is a professor of law
at Cornell Law School, where he is the preeminent authority on U.S.
Immigration Law. And, Back with us is Asra Nomani.

Professor, what is your view of the legality of this. I know that we have
controlled the number of immigrants from certain countries over time that,
that is possible within law. But, if this was ever attempted, would it
require legislation?

STEPHEN YALE-LOEHR, CORNELL LAW PROFESSOR: Yes, absolutely. I mean,
Donald Trump has a first amendment right to say anything that he wants, but
he is trying to take away the first amendment right of Muslims to practice
their religion. So, he can say and propose anything he wants but congress
would have to enact a statute and then it would be up to the Supreme Court
to determine whether that is constitutional.

O`DONNELL: And, so the problem here, it is slightly tricky because only
citizens really have rights in our courts. And, so the harm here would be
done to people who are not citizens, but can you conceive of a case there
that would involve the rights of an American citizen effected by Trump is
idea?

YALE-LOEHR: Sure. There are two instances. For example, a U.S. Citizen
relative, who may want to bring their loved one in from a foreign country,
who will be prohibited by such a statute would sue, saying that their
rights to be able to reunited with their family members had been violated
by the statute.

Similarly, Muslim immigrants, who are here in the United States who have
green cards or perhaps have U.S. naturalized citizenship, who then left the
United States under Trump`s proposal would be barred from returning. And,
as U.S. citizens, they do not lose their constitutional rights by leaving
the United States, so they could sue as well.

O`DONNELL: Yes. So – two things. One, it would never happen. Even
though, you know, the craziest presidential candidate of all times says it.
So, it would never happen. But, just to do the full thought exercise, if
it did it would never survive in the Supreme Court. Asra Nomani, what is
your reaction to Donald Trump saying this?

ASRA NOMANI, CO-FOUNDER, MUSLIM REFORM MOVEMENT: Well, it is completely
impossible and unacceptable for this to happen. But, you know, whenever
you look at any type of issue, you can look at the words, which is just
above the iceberg or you can look also below the iceberg.

And, what I am just taken back to is when I arrived in 1969 as a 4-year-old
girl in my Muslim family. I came with my brother, Mustafa, on a TWA
flight. And, we arrived at a very different time in our world. And, over
the span of my lifetime what has happened is that we have this Islamist
threat that is confronting us.

And, so, Sunday night, the president offered some strategies, but I think
that Trump`s words reveal the vulnerability that many people feel. He is
exploiting that vulnerability, that fear of a presidency that unfortunately
is not giving people confidence that we are actually dealing effectively
with that Islamist strategy.

So, while we talk about CDE and counter in violent extremism, the challenge
has been adding the “I” word, that countering violent Islamist extremism.
And, I think, ultimately, that is at the heart of this controversy. So,
what we really need is a White House that moves more to the middle and
comes up with a rational strategy.

And, we need those on the extreme right like Donald Trump to be challenged
as he is by his republican counterparts. So, we can take the middle path
in our solution for this great dilemma that is facing our country.

O`DONNELL: Well, besides the semantics what specifically would you suggest
that President Obama should do or that he has not done?

NOMANI: Well, when we think about the Islamist threat, the threat of this
ideology, it is very real in schools and in preachings that are coming out
from some of our greatest allies including the governments of Saudi Arabia
and Qatar. And, we have to challenges those allies.

We are in these unholy alliances with these country and quite frankly we
are not still confronting this ideology in a direct way. When President
Obama told Muslims to take it on, trust me, we are. We are trying. We are
doing everything that we possibly can.

Although, I would say not everybody, is because many people are still
living in a culture of denial about this, but many of us are trying. And,
so, what we need to do is have an administration that also acknowledges
that this is an ideological problem that we name very effectively.

O`DONNELL: But, what could you possibly say to the regime in Saudi Arabia
about their religious teachings that would have any impact on them?

NOMANI: Well, when he said that Muslims need to challenge the ideology
that is not compatible with western values, let us think about that for a
second. Is an ideology that sentences to death a man for the simple act of
what he thinks acceptable to our western values? It is not. And, that is
what the government of Saudi Arabia has done.

Has it acceptable to put a young man Ashra who is a poet in jail also to be
sentenced to death for the crime of writing poetry? It is not. Those are
not our western values. So, we need to have moral courage as a nation and
we need to stand up to these regimes that are, in fact, causing the same
problem that many of our Muslims have now to challenge and that is costing
many of us our lives as well.

O`DONNELL: Asra Nomani and Stephen Yale-Loehr, thank you, both, very much
for joining us tonight.

On the same day that the Justice department announces an investigation to
the Chicago Police Department Chicago Police released another video of
another deadly shooting by Chicago Police.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LORETTA LYNCH U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Specifically, we will examine a
number of issues related to the Chicago Police Department`s use of force
including its use of deadly force, racial, ethnic, and other disparities in
its use of force and its accountability mechanisms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The United States Attorney General announced that the justice
department is now conducting a general investigation into the police
practices in Chicago. Also, today, Chicago Prosecutor Anita Alvarez made a
presentation of evidence in a killing by police that she says shows the
killing was justifiable.

That presentation of evidence might not have even happened if Chicago was
not already reeling from murder charges that same prosecutor brought two
weeks ago in another case, charges that she inexplicably took well over a
year to file.

Today`s case presented the killing of Ronald Johnson, who was shown in
video being shot in the back by Police Officer George Hernandez while
Johnson was running away and carrying a gun. The prosecutor said that
although Johnson was running away from the officer who shot him, Johnson
was running toward other officers, and so was a threat to them.

The prosecutor added that Officer Hernandez has a right to shoot because
Johnson could have fired the gun at police officers behind him at any
moment without even turning around. And, then, she actually showed video
of another man doing exactly that in another confrontation with Chicago
Police. Here is that video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANITA ALVAREZ, CHICAGO PROSECUTOR: Discharged with his right hand while
running forward without ever turning his body position. The officer is
going to come from behind here after he is struck in the leg.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: A lawyer for Ronald Johnson`s family who is suing the police
for wrongful death tried to insist today that the gun shown in Johnson`s
hand in the video is not a gun, but just a shadow.

He also said that the gun police say they found in Johnson`s hand was a
plant but offered no evidence to support that claim. The prosecutor said
the gun had Johnson`s DNA on it.

Now, there are three kinds of shootings by police. A bad shooting like the
one that resulted in murder charges by – against the police officer last
month in Chicago. A legally justifiable shooting, meaning one where the
officer had a legal right to do it, maybe did not have to do it but had a
legal right to do it.

And, then there are good shootings, shootings where the criminal poses a
deadly threat and every police officer has a duty to fire at that person.
Those are the good ones. The prosecutor did not say today that this was a
good shooting, that this was commendable police work.

What she said was that it was legally justifiable, because Mr. Johnson had
a gun and could have fired at any of the officers at any time. Now, there
were other officers, who were almost as close, just about as close as
Officer Hernandez and noticed that they decided not to shoot.

They may have believed that they had a legal right to shoot, but they did
not. They were maybe waiting for just a bit more direct provocation. But,
it is possible that if they waited too long, one of them might be dead.
Officer Hernandez did not wait. He did not wait at all.

He was the only officer, who chose not to wait for any more provocation and
chose to shoot Ronald Johnson. But, by any objective reading of today`s
evidence, Officer Hernandez was technically legally justified in that
decision to shoot.

But, because the Chicago Police Department has lost the trust of the
community that it polices, many people there today wondered if they could
accept the prosecutor`s findings in this case. 30 years ago Howard
Saffold, then a Chicago Police Officer, told me, quote – a quote I will
never forget, “Cops can do things in a minute or a second but will sour a
community for a generation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: I want you to meet some girls tonight. Some girls who would
not be where they are now were it not for you. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY JANE, STUDENT IN MALAWI: We are six of us in our family, and our
parents cannot manage to consider all of us to pay our school fees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Mary Jane telling you that her parents cannot afford
to pay the high cool tuition fees for any of the six kids in her family in
Malawi. She is one of the girls, who is still in high school. Thanks to
your generosity to the K.I.N.D. Find. The program we established five
years ago that provides scholarships for girls to attend high school as
well as providing desks for kids in need of desks in African schools.
Schools that have never had desks.

And, the Malawi`s families that can afford to pay for at least one student
to go to high school, it is usually one of the boys, who gets to go to
school, which is why we are making the extra effort to support girls`
education in Malawi, where the high school graduation rate for girls is
half the graduation rate for boys.

Even with the scholarships that you provide for Mary and many other girls
in Malawi, completing high school is a very, very hard road, beginning in
Mary`s case, every day with the one-hour walk to school at 5:30 A.M.

And, after the one-hour walk home, Mary has very little time to get her
homework done because she has no electricity in her home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY JANE: We do not have electricity at home. Then when it reaches the
night, the pressures come when we have the exams the following day. So,
the parents do encourage, but we just do not have the resources.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Mary is as optimistic and determined a student as I have ever
met anywhere. She told me, she wants to be a lawyer. Here is why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY JANE: I would like to be a lawyer when I complete my education
because I would like to fight for the rights of women and the rights which
have been violated for many years in our country and have in Africa. I
also want to promote the equal justice between the riches and the poor.

Because a lot of the poor in our country, they are being violated just
because they do not have money. So, I want to promote the equal justice
for both people - the poor and the riches, and to fight for the rights of
the women and children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Aisha, who also in high school, thanks to a scholarship that
you provided, told me about the day in seventh grade when she decided she
wanted to be a nurse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AISHA: I was admiring these girls, who were walking and were wearing like
white jerseys, black shoes, walking there. They were talking like they
were in the heaven, like, “Yeah.” So, I was admiring them and I was
telling my mum like, “Mommy, when I finish school, I want to be a nurse so
that I can walk like these girls.”

(LAUGHING)

O`DONNELL: Fatouma, told me she wants to be a doctor. She told me that
she knows how hard it will be for her to make it all of the way to medical
school and through medical school and become a doctor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FATOUMA: But, I will do my best to make it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: “I will do my best to make it.” That is the kind of determined
confidence that I find in so many of the girls, who are able to stay in
high school thanks entirely to your kindness.

You can help Fatouma make it by going to the LastWordDesks.MSNBC.com. You
can contribute to the girls scholarship fund or you can contribute desks to
school. Desks like this one. You can give a desk or a scholarship to
anyone on your Christmas list and UNICEF will send them a card
acknowledging the gifts that have been made in their names.

The girls you have been listening to tonight all know that their
scholarship money comes from you. And, as we were wrapping up our
conversation last month, Fatouma told me that there was one more thing she
wanted to say. Something she wanted to say to you. And, so, Fatouma
Katete (ph) gets tonight`s “Last Word.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FATOUMA: AS for me, I thank those people who provided this for us. I
thank them a lot, because my parents cannot manage to do all these things
for me. But, I thank those people. Yes.

END

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