The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 12/22/2015
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: December 22, 2015
Guest: Lance James, David Sanger, Wendy Davis, David Frum, David Corn,
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: To talk to Flint about it – they say –
representatives from the Michigan State police to talk to Flint about it,
they say they will work closely with Flint now.
The governor`s office would very much like us to mention the $10 million
they`ve allocated to try to help fix this problem.
As for whether Governor Snyder is going to block or support Flint`s
declaration of a disaster, though the governor`s office will only tell us
that so far they have not received it.
That`s word today from your Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan, we will see
what help he gets. And this is a Michigan disaster but honestly, it`s
starting to feel like it`s no longer Flint.
It`s no longer just Michigan waiting for his answer on this anymore. It`s
starting to feel like it`s the whole country. Watch this space.
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: Hey, Rachel, I was watching your
show tonight –
MADDOW: Right –
O`DONNELL: As I always do.
MADDOW: OK –
O`DONNELL: But this time you said something, you used a word that I`ve
never heard you use before. And I can`t think of how many times I`ve heard
you use Yiddish before, but this one was really striking.
MADDOW: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) –
O`DONNELL: I am going to try in the next 60 minutes to clean things up
around here and not use that word by just not quote Donald Trump when it
comes to that word at all. Just not once.
MADDOW: Well, I wish you the best.
O`DONNELL: You don`t know if I can, but that`s –
MADDOW: You`re – make sure you even try it, I got to say –
O`DONNELL: That is my ambition for the hour –
MADDOW: Good luck my friend –
O`DONNELL: See if I can do it.
MADDOW: Good luck –
O`DONNELL: Thank you Rachel. Well, if you`re wondering why the Yiddish
word for penis has never been used in presidential politics before, it`s
because Donald Trump has never run for president before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: You are looking at somebody
who`s had a lot of terrible things said about me and –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump made her the target of a series of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was gross, he used a crude Yiddish term for the male
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In reference to Hillary
Clinton`s loss to President Obama in 2008.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t know there was a verb use of it, that`s like
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump purposely trying to fail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a schmuck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is his Spring time for Hitler.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s never been a candidacy with so many stop and
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Including mocking her for her bathroom break during
this weekend`s Democratic debate.
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP
ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: I know where she went. It`s disgusting, I don`t
want to talk about it.
JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: For crying out loud, we`re two days
before Christmas, lighten up, man.
CLINTON: We shouldn`t let anybody bully his way into the presidency.
Because that is not who we are as Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: If you took away the white supremacists from the Donald Trump
support base. If you took away all of the people who believe President
Obama is not a legal citizen of the United States.
If you took away the people who believe Barack Obama is a Muslim. Donald
Trump would be polling in single digits.
He would not be a factor in this presidential campaign and would soon be
going the way of Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham.
But instead, the haters of the President, the believers of lies have made
Donald Trump the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and
he has made himself America`s vulgarian in chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Everything that`s been involved in Hillary has been losses. You
take a look. Even her race to Obama, she was going to beat Obama, I don`t
know who`d be worse.
I don`t know. How does it get worse? But she was going to beat – she was
favored to win and she got schlonged. She lost. I mean, she lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: For 24 hours now, Donald Trump has been criticized for the
rather unpresidential use of the Yiddish word for penis.
A word that is impossible for lifetime New Yorkers not to understand. And
now Donald Trump has mounted his defense using his customary defensive
tactic, a tweet.
In which he tries to redefine the Yiddish term that no presidential
candidate and no candidate from New York City Council or even Bronx borough
president has ever used in a campaign.
There is America`s loudest vulgarian trying to redefine vulgar, trying to
tell us what is and isn`t vulgar. We reached Dr. Ruth Wisse tonight; a
Harvard Yiddish scholar who told us, “the word is a Yiddish vulgarism.
Vulgar Yiddish term for penis.” Donald Trump had more to say about Hillary
Clinton last night and revealed all of the important policy thinking that
went through his head when he was watching the Democratic debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What happened to her? I`m watching the debate and she disappeared.
Where did she go? Where did she go?
I thought she quit. I thought she gave up. Where did she go? Where did
Hillary go? They had to start the debate without her?
Phase two. Why? I know where she went. It`s disgusting. I don`t want to
talk about it. No, it`s too disgusting. Don`t say it, it`s disgusting.
Let`s not talk – we want to be very straight-up, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump who apparently has not gone to the bathroom since
he became a presidential candidate is still the Republican frontrunner.
A new Quinnipiac poll shows just how embarrassed America would be to have a
disgusting vulgarian as president of the United States.
The poll shows that 50 percent of registered voters say they would be
embarrassed if Donald Trump became president, 59 percent of women would be
embarrassed to see the vulgarian in chief take the oath of office.
Thirty five percent said they would be embarrassed to have Hillary Clinton
as president, and 28 percent of women say they would be embarrassed to have
Hillary Clinton as president.
The embarrassment question was not asked about any of the other potentially
embarrassing presidential candidates.
That same poll shows Donald Trump maintaining his lead nationally among
Republican voters at 28 percent with Ted Cruz right behind him and actually
within the margin of error at 24 percent.
Marco Rubio is at 12, Ben Carson at 10, Chris Christie at 6 and Jeb Bush at
4. Joining us now, David Frum, senior editor for “The Atlantic”.
Also with us, David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief for “Mother Jones”, and
an Msnbc political analyst. And also joining us tonight, Wendy Davis,
former member of the Texas State Senate and a Hillary Clinton supporter.
Senator Davis, first to you, on your reaction to what Donald Trump said
last night about Hillary Clinton.
WENDY DAVIS, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: Well, Lawrence, just when we`re
seeing him hit the lowest he could go, he hits lower again. And obviously,
this is not an issue for Hillary Clinton.
This rolls right off her back, she`s tough, she can take it. But from my
perspective, the reason that this is damaging for the Republican party,
number one, we haven`t heard any of the other candidates repudiate those
But it speaks volumes for that party`s perspective about women. And for me
as a mother of two young women, I think about them looking at a person like
Donald Trump possibly sitting in the Oval office.
And his disparaging comments about women and what that means for the way
that women in this country will feel about their president. This is not a
person who belongs in that Oval office, no question about it.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Palmieri tweeted for the Clinton campaign today. “We
are not responding to Trump, but everyone who understands the humiliation,
this degrading language he inflicts on all women should respond to this.”
David Frum, how should the Republican candidates respond to this?
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, they`re not responsible for
what Donald Trump has to say any more than any other individual. There is
competitors out there, there are other people –
O`DONNELL: Well, David, let me just – hold on a second. Let`s just hold
it. Let`s just – let`s stipulate that no Republican candidate is
responsible for anything.
No Democratic candidate is responsible for anything. But as candidates,
when things happen, we want to find out about their thinking.
We want to find out about them as people. So, how should they respond as
human beings? As husbands, as fathers of daughters?
As just human beings in this world, how should they respond?
FRUM: I think they should respond the way a future leader of the country
would respond and that is to be mission focused.
Donald Trump`s method has been – I forget his phrases to toss a dead cat
under the table and that dead cat becomes the center of attention.
But when you are president, every day in the era of social media, it will
be ever more intense. There`s an outrage cycle and you can participate in
You know, President Obama and his interview with Steve Inskeep from “Npr”
was asked a series of questions about what do you think about this thing
that had happened at Harvard Law school which he attended.
And he said he didn`t think it was necessary as president for him to
comment on everything that happened on every campus in the country.
It is very important for the people who are seeking to beat Donald Trump to
have a mission, to understand where they`re going and why they`re doing it.
And not to let him run their campaigns. He`s obviously not running his
own, it seems to be completely improvised. But he – they can`t let him run
O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to Jeb Bush`s response. He is the one
Republican that we do have a clear response from. Let`s listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: There has to be a level of decorum to win. It`s not a sign of
strength to insult people with profanities. It`s not a serious thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One word, does it play in the –
BUSH: It plays –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ability to use, you know –
BUSH: She`s great at being the victim. You know, this whole – this whole
enhancer of victimology status. This is what – this is what she loves
And trump is not going to be president because he says these things. It
turns people off. I mean, for crying out loud, we`re two days before
Christmas, lighten up, man?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, David Corn, that`s the best you could get from a
Republican, was disagreement with Trump but make sure there`s an attack on
Hillary Clinton within that.
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Well, I think Trump is
driving his fellow Republicans mashugana.
You know, they`re having conniptions over all the (INAUDIBLE) he`s causing
them. And they don`t really know how to respond.
I mean, I think David Frum has a point, you shouldn`t – they shouldn`t
have to respond to everything. But, you know, the – you know, Ted Cruz
played footsie with the Muslim banish shoe.
And Republicans, you know, if they don`t start trying to address Trump`s
hold on the party – and David Frum wrote a very good piece in “The
Atlantic” about this.
They may lose any standing they have to challenge him further down the
road. And whether they take him on, on the vulgarian side of Trump or on
the policy side of Trump, he is the leader and they`re going to have to do
The only problem is, taking Trump on means taking on a good portion of the
GOP base anywhere between 20 and 35 percent.
And GOP elites, the donors and the cabinets don`t seem to have the heart to
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Bernie Sanders said about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: Donald Trump is very upset, very hard
for him to deal with. I don`t know what his relationship with women has
been in his life.
But he has discovered that women go to the bathroom.
And it`s been very upsetting for him. But I`ve got to be honest with you,
I`ve got to be honest with you, I got to lay it out on the table.
I also went to the bathroom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis, the poll shows 60 percent of women would be
embarrassed to have Donald Trump as president.
The Republicans have to worry how much that embarrassment might just infect
others in this presidential field.
DAVIS: I think they do. And just take a little bit of a different
perspective and David Frum is on this. I do think it`s important that when
Donald Trump, who is speaking purportedly for the Republican Party.
Certainly in the view of a lot of people who are watching what`s going on
in the primary right now. When he is making disparaging comments about
women like this, if they don`t disassociate themselves from that.
It`s as though they`re accepting that, that language is OK. And I think it
threatens to color the entire Republican primary presidential candidates
And in fact I think it has and it will if they don`t separate themselves
O`DONNELL: I want to listen to what Hillary Clinton said today in
clarifying her statements about Donald Trump and how ISIS will use him in
Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: If you go on Arabic television as we have, and you look at what
is being blasted out with video of Mr. Trump being translated into Arabic.
No Muslims coming to the United States, other kinds of derogatory,
defamatory statements, it is playing into the hands of the violent
There`s nothing they want more than to be able to claim that the United
States is against Islam and against Muslims.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: David Corn, there`s not a word anyone can really dispute in
CORN: Right. I mean, that`s what she should have said the first time.
Being very specific about ISIS making videos that feature Trump as a
recruitment tool seems to have been, you know, not quite accurate, not
And she has, you know, refined the sentiment, which I think is accurate and
can quite – and important. Now for Trump to get out there and call her a
liar, again on his high horse about that.
It`s a little, you know, ridiculous, given that this is a guy who said he
predicted bin Laden when he didn`t. That he saw thousands of American
Muslims in video celebrating 9/11 when that didn`t happen.
And when he said, you know, made friends with Putin in the green room at
“60 Minutes” when he was in New York and Putin was in Moscow.
So, when it comes to lying, Trump is really not in a strong position to
make that accusation against anybody else in this race.
O`DONNELL: Well, there is no greater thrill a pathological liar can have
than calling other people liars. We`re going to have to take a break here,
David Frum, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Coming up, finally, my plea to include Bernie Sanders in matchups with the
Republican candidates in polls has been heard.
A new poll has that matchup and it is very good news for Bernie Sanders.
And Edward Snowden says Hillary Clinton`s idea to have tech companies
cooperate with government surveillance is, his word, terrifying.
And later, after a year of intense political and violent attacks against
Planned Parenthood, support for abortion rights in America is increasing
even among Republicans.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what Ronald Reagan`s daughter Patti Davis said yesterday
about the Republican presidential campaign.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PATTI DAVIS, ACTRESS & DAUGHTER OF RONALD REAGAN: My father would be so
appalled at what`s going on.
And he would be so appalled that I think, probably, on these candidates –
I don`t think he would – I don`t think he would be a Republican and if
another Ronald Reagan came along right now, I don`t think the Republican
Party would accept him.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Up next, Bernie Sanders goes one-on-one with Donald Trump in a
O`DONNELL: They have finally done it. A poll has matched Bernie Sanders
against Republican candidates for president.
Not just Hillary Clinton as most polls do, and this new poll shows Bernie
Sanders beating Donald Trump by significantly more than Hillary Clinton
beats Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump 47 percent to 40 percent. But Bernie
Sanders beats Donald Trump by double digits, 51 percent to 38 percent.
Thirteen points. That means that there are some Trump voters in that poll
who would switch to Bernie Sanders if Bernie Sanders were the Democratic
How can that possibly be?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I don`t have a Super PAC.
TRUMP: I`m self-funding. I`ve got to compete with these guys. I`m all
SANDERS: Today, a handful of super wealthy campaign contributors have
enormous influence over the political process, while their lobbyists
determine much of what goes on in Congress.
TRUMP: Politicians are controlled by their donors and special interests
SANDERS: Our trade policies for decades, NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR– PNTR with
China. The TPP has been a disaster for working families.
TRUMP: The TPP is a horrible deal. It is a deal that is going to lead to
nothing but trouble. It`s a deal that was designed for China to come in as
they always do, through the backdoor and totally take advantage of
SANDERS: The greed of Wall Street is destroying this economy and it`s
destroying the lives of millions of Americans.
TRUMP: These bankers are not the nicest people in the world, just don`t
feel bad. Somebody said, well, you hurt the bank. I said the bank is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is David Wasserman, a political analyst for the
“Cook Political Report”. David Wasserman, I was pretty surprised to see
this overlap, apparent overlap in that poll of Trump supporters, Bernie
What do you make of it?
DAVID WASSERMAN, POLITICAL ANALYST, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Yes, me, too.
Well, I think that poll is out now, I think we`re about to enter a period
of polling deprivation before the campaign season enters sensory overload
But you know, it`s funny because Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have about
the same share of support within their respective primary fields.
The difference is that Hillary Clinton is at, you know, about 60 percent of
the vote in the Democratic primary. Donald Trump`s opposition is split at
least five or six different ways.
And so the question is, will Republicans, particularly college-educated
Republicans consolidate around one Trump alternative or potentially one
Particularly New Hampshire on February 9th should accelerate that process,
given what we know about past Republican primaries.
But hey, it`s going to be a tight squeeze for Republicans here.
O`DONNELL: And David Corn, one of the great lost facts in this campaign
season so far is that in terms of actual voter support, Bernie Sanders has
as much or in many polls –
CORN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: More than Donald Trump because Donald Trump has, you know, 25
percent, 28 percent of Republicans which is a minority.
And Bernie Sanders has a similar size support of Democrats which is a
somewhat larger group than Republicans –
CORN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: And so – and there it is in the poll. I mean, this is –
CORN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Fascinating to see how much he beats Donald Trump by.
CORN: And Bernie just set a record by, I think, going over 2 million small
donors, beating, you know, far out-beating the record that Obama set.
So, he has 2 million people who have given him money, that`s a pretty big
deal for a grassroots campaign. But, you know, Lawrence, my friend, to put
a little droplet of cold water on your enthusiasm about this head-to-head
Basically, everybody in the universe knows Donald Trump and has a very
strong opinion of him one way or the other.
The issue with Bernie, and I like his positions and I think he`s done very
well in this campaign, is that he has – he had to go into a barrage 200,
300, $400 million of negative ads calling him a socialist.
Which would happen should he be lucky enough to get the nomination on the
Democratic side. And so, until he goes through that sort of process, it`s
really hard to sort of evaluate how he would do in a general election
against Trump or anybody else.
But clearly, you know, he does have Democratic support and support amongst
independents and even amongst Republicans who go for that economic
O`DONNELL: Well, look, my enthusiasm is simply for the fact that a
pollster has recognized that Bernie Sanders is in the race.
They`ve been doing –
CORN: Hurray! –
O`DONNELL: These one-on-one matchups with just Hillary and –
CORN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: The Republicans. And it doesn`t make sense not to do the same
thing with the guy who has the same amount of support as Donald Trump has.
It just happens to be on the Democratic side. But David, yes, we haven`t
seen any – David Wasserman, we haven`t seen any negative ads really run
against Donald Trump either.
And it seems to me the capacity for negative ads against Donald Trump is
greater. There`s richer material there than for any candidate who has ever
run, including self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders.
WASSERMAN: Well, yes, I`d say that the question over the next month or so
is whether you see Trump and Cruz beginning to engage in a back and forth
that either prolongs their mutual destruction in the campaign, against
someone else like Rubio opening here.
Look, Bernie Sanders, I think his main effect in the race right now is
exposing Hillary`s enthusiasm, gaps, her weakness in particularly academic
centers across the country.
Which Barack Obama really energized in a lot of key swing states to build
his majorities in very close contests in the electoral college.
And so, while I don`t think he`s going to come within range of the
nomination, I do think he will cause a spotlight to shine on some of
Hillary`s problems entering the general election.
O`DONNELL: But David Corn, what about that theory that even a big
frontrunner like Hillary Clinton needs batting practice out there –
CORN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: In primaries, and that – and that running against someone like
Bernie Sanders, if she beats him, only strengthens her.
CORN: I think that`s right. And I think if he wasn`t there, then it`d be
– she`d be at 98 percent, Martin O`Malley would be at 2 percent, whatever
it might be.
And the focus is so much on her, when she`s not really doing anything but
campaigning. Now there`s a little bit of a story line, what`s going to
happen in New Hampshire.
Trump is taking a lot of attention away, which is not bad at this point in
time. I think in the modern election world, to be in the spotlight for a
year and a half, two years, might be as a frontrunner is really hard to
sustain for anybody of any ideology in either party.
So, the fact that she`s mixing it up with Bernie, that creates a little bit
of a drama there. The fact that Trump`s just, you know, attacking her or
attacking anybody draws attention away.
I think right now after that sort of difficult Spring and Summer she had,
things are probably where her campaign would like them to be in terms of
the overall picture of the campaign.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and she`s getting all this practice with the attacks. I
mean, and even the refinement that we saw in the way she went after Trump -
CORN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Over ISIS and recruitment and all that in the last 48 hours,
it`s much better to get that stuff worked out now rather than later in the
We`re out of time for this segment, David Wasserman, David Corn, thank you
both very much for joining me tonight. Really appreciate it.
Coming up, now it`s Edward Snowden versus Hillary Clinton and Wendy Davis
will be back with us to discuss the new poll showing increasing support for
abortion rights in America including among Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM COOK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF APPLE INC.: On your smart phone
today, on your iPhone, there is likely health information, there is
financial information, there are intimate conversations with your family or
your co-workers, there is probably business secrets.
And, you should have the ability to protect it. And, the only way we know
how to do that is to encrypt it. Why is that? It is because if there is a
way to get in, then somebody will find the way in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Apple CEO Tim Cook on “60 Minutes” on Sunday
explaining why he has resisted calls from government officials to create a
backdoor in his company`s Encryption technology. That is one of the
tactics that Hillary Clinton wants to use to fight ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would hope that given the
extraordinary capacities that the tech community has, and the legitimate
needs and questions from law enforcement, that there could be a Manhattan-
like project. Something that would bring the government and the tech
communities together to see they are not adversaries. They got to be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And, here is Tim Cook`s response to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOK: There have been people that suggest that we should have a backdoor.
But, the reality is if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor is for
everybody, for good guys and bad guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Sanger, National Security Correspondent
for “The New York Times.” Also with us, Lance James, the Chief Scientist
at Flash Point, an Intelligence Consulting Firm. And, he founded 1.2P, an
David Sanger, not surprisingly, Edward Snowden weighed in and he weighed in
during the debate when Hillary Clinton said what we just heard her say
about a possible Manhattan project. Edward Snowden tweeted during the
debate, “And, Hillary Clinton just terrified everyone with an internet
And, so, David Sanger, there is that balancing act back again. The Snowden
view of this, versus that National Security view of this, where do you
think this debate is going?
DAVID SANGER, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Well, this is going to be a big issue
in congress, in the campaign, as you move into 2016. And, that was not
easily anticipated a year ago when we were writing stories about the
encryption debate. And, it seemed like a wonky argument over algorithms.
And, the iPhone and why it was that Apple was now moving to what is called
end-to-end encryption, which is to say when I text you from my iPhone to
your iPhone, Apple does not actually have a way of decoding that. The
encryption is in each of those two phones.
And, what you heard Hillary Clinton saying was in an era of terrorism, in a
post Snow era, where we are past the reactions of Snowden, there needs to
be some kind of compromise. A way to allow us to protect data, the way Tim
Cook was saying, and the way to allow law enforcement to get in if they
have a legal order.
And, what you hear Tim Cook saying is, I know politicians believe that it
is always nice to compromise, but in this case, there is no compromise. In
this case, the mathematics are driving this, and the mathematics show that
if you create some kind of an opening, the Chinese, the Russians, the
Iranians, North Koreans, will all focus their efforts on bursting through
that without that legal order.
O`DONNELL: Lance James, do you see any technological middle ground here?
Anything that you could imagine working the way Hillary Clinton imagines
that Manhattan project working?
LANCE JAMES, FLASHPOINT SCIENTIST: Well, not exactly. I am actually
surprised to see the Democratic Party even, you know, trying to find a
middle ground on the backdoor issue. This issue came – we had this in the
1990s during the crypto war, Clipper chip and such like that.
And, basically, if you kind of look at it, there are two reasons. And, I
think Tim Cook from Apple was basically presenting something that was
pretty solid was the fact that, one reason why you would not give the
government a backdoor is three letters, OPM, the Office of Personnel
The department of secrets cannot even keep their own secrets, right? So,
we see that you spent the last year dealing with breaches and China and all
these different concerns and National Security and Foreign Intelligence,
getting into our systems, and we cannot have both. We cannot literally
say, “OK, now we are going to have backdoors. And, then mathematically,
you know, we can change all of these numbers that have already been
Secondly, the more attention we drive to this to show we are afraid or in
fear of this encryption, the more we are actually giving more –
accelerating the attention to these programs and applications to our
adversaries in the first place. The ones that are actually already using
it are already using it. There is nothing we can do about it anyways. So,
we have to, you know, we have to kind of adapt to this. We have to adapt -
- you know, we have to adapt the other intelligence techniques or
O`DONNELL: David Sanger, what adaptations are possible? What other
methodologies might there be?
SANGER: Well, you know, the communications that are over the iPhone – and
I think Mr. Cook made the point that a smart phone has far more than what
one would pick up in a normal telephone tap. If you can get at somebody`s
phone, you got their whole life in your hands.
But, the adaptations that have been discussed have been finding ways for
the intelligence community to get some other sets of data that may not be
from inside the phone but may give them as much or more. So, for example,
the metadata that you heard so much about in the debates after the Snowden
revelation, that is to say the name, the time of a call, the number called,
tells you a lot.
GPS data tells you a lot. Frequently, the FBI has gone to companies like
Apple or gone to Google, seeking information and they found it in the
Cloud, because the cloud, by and large, is not encrypted. Some day it will
There are a lot of people in the intelligence world, Lawrence, who will
tell you right now that despite encryption, this is really the golden age
of intelligence, because there are so many more devices that are tracking
your every move, where your car goes, when you pass a toll booth, that they
never really had access to even 10 or 15 years ago.
O`DONNELL: David Sanger and Lance James, thank you both for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it.
JAMES: Thank you.
SANGER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Up next, after a year of vicious and violent and in one case
murderous attacks against Planned Parenthood, support for abortion rights
in this country has increased. Wendy Davis is next.
O`DONNELL: A new National Poll shows support for abortion rights is going
up, including among republicans. According to a new “Associated Press,”
GFK Poll, 58 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in most
or all cases. That is up from 51 percent in January. And, that comes
after a year of all republican presidential candidates campaigning against
Those who think abortions should be illegal in most or all cases dropped
from 45 percent in January to 39 percent now. Approval also rose in every
political party from January to December. Republican support increased
five points to 40 percent. Democratic Party support rose seven points to
76 percent. And, independents increased support by 11 points to 54
Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator is back with us. Senator Davis,
when you were in the senate, you did what became instantly famous
nationally, filibuster in this fight against restricting abortion rights in
Texas. And, now, we see that the – after this year, this very intense
year of all republican presidential campaigning against abortion rights,
these attacks on Planned Parenthood, the attacks on the activities of
Planned Parenthood and congressional hearings, support for abortion rights
increasing. Does that surprise you given the climate of the year?
WENDY DAVIS, FMR. TEXAS STATE SENATOR: It does not surprise me. I mean it
certainly speaks to the fact that the Republican Party is completely out of
touch with most Americans on this issue. But, I think the primary reason
we are seeing this increase for support is that this issue is clearly
present in the minds of voters across this country right now.
It has been forced into the minds of voters not only by what is happening
with the conversation in the republican primary, but also what is happening
with these laws that have been passing in states like Texas and elsewhere.
It is a key understanding that people have that this right that we have
taken for grant for a long time, actually, can be threatened.
And, I think a lot of people understand at the end of the day, this is bad,
not good for women. And, they certainly see the connection between women`s
reproductive autonomy and their economic opportunity. And, they do not
want to see us go to a place where we actually threaten that by virtue of
some of the rhetoric that is going on, on the republican side, and also by
virtue of these laws that have been passing in states across the country.
O`DONNELL: So, I mean, it seems what is going on is when this issue gets
forced into public consciousness, whether it is through action by the Texas
senate or whether it is through republican presidential campaigns or a
murderous attack on planned parenthood, a congressional hearing about
planned parenthood, that when it forces people to think about it, they do
not necessarily – they think about it in their own terms. They do not
think about it in the terms of the republican attacks that are forcing the
DAVIS: I think when we feel that this is an issue that might actually
affect us, maybe a daughter, a sister, maybe ourselves, it becomes much
more real and therefore we are kind of forced to consider what our opinion
on the issue is. I also think that there has been a great deal of effort,
effective effort, in the last year for more women, as I did, to come out of
the shadows and tell their personal stories about abortion, to put a
personal face on this.
And, to make it real and to take it out of the context of something that is
abstract. I think the more that women do that and they de-stigmatize
abortion, the better we will see the consequences in terms of people`s
support and understanding of why abortion rights in this country are still
so very important.
O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I
really, really appreciate it. Thank you. We will be right back.
O`DONNELL: The man who gave convicted Boston Marathon Bomber, Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev, the gun used to kill a police officer, three days after the
deadly 2013 attack in Boston is set to be released from prison. A judge
sentenced Steven Silva today to time served plus three years supervised
release for drug and firearm charges that he pled guilty to last year.
Silva testified in March that he lent a Ruger P95 like this one to
Tsarnaev, who told him he wanted it to rob college students in Rhode
Island. Instead, that gun was used to kill police Officer Sean Collier.
Prosecutors had sought an 18-month sentence for Silva, citing his
cooperation in the bombing investigation. He has served 17 months.
They noted that he testified that Tsarnaev, who he had been friends with
since childhood had actively sought the gun from him, evidence that helped
undercut Tsarnaev`s lawyer`s assertion that he had been a secondary player
in a plot planned by his older brother. Before his sentence was read, 22-
year-old Steve Silva apologized and told the judge, quote, “I had no idea
that the firearm I lent to Mr. Tsarnaev would be used in the way it was. I
was young, dumb and thought I could outsmart everyone.”
O`DONNELL: Attacks by Boko Haram terrorists have forced more than a
million children out of school, heightening the risks that they will be
abused, abducted or recruited by arm groups, that according to the United
Nations – United Nations Children Agency, that conflict has forced more
than 2,000 schools to close in Nigeria and neighboring countries.
Some have been looted or set on fire by the insurgent group whose name
actually means, quote, “Western education is sinful.” About 600 teachers
have been killed during Boko Haram`s six-year insurgency.
Up next, a more hopeful picture of education in Africa.
O`DONNELL: And, now tonight`s “Last Word.” We just heard about how Boko
Haram has forced more than a million children out of their schools in four
countries in Africa. Getting an education in that region is difficult
enough. Even in safer countries, where no one threatens kids just for
going to school.
Malawi is such a country. It is a stable country far from the interference
of groups like Boko Haram. But, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in
the world. The life expectancy in Malawi is 55 years. 10 percent of the
16 million people in Malawi live with HIV/AIDS. Malawi`s biggest problems
all come from poverty.
The per capita income in Malawi is $270 a year. The government`s most
basic problem then is simply that you cannot tax poverty. And, so, the
government simply does not have enough revenue and enough revenue sources
to provide even the basic services that people have come to expect of
governments around the world.
There is free public school system, but only for elementary school. The
government cannot afford to provide free public high school. And, so,
families have to pay a small tuition for public high school, and for those
few families who can afford that tuition, even fewer of them can afford to
send more than one of their children.
And, so, the child they send to high school is more likely to be a boy,
which is why the boys high school graduation rate in Malawi is double the
graduation rate for girls. And, that is why the K.I.N.D. Fund provides
tuition for girls to attend high school. We added that girl scholarship
program to the K.I.N.D. Fund after we got the Kids in Need of Desks part of
the program up and running.
And, you contributed so generously to have desks made in Malawi by workers,
workers who now have jobs, thanks to the K.I.N.D. Fund. The K.I.N.D. Fund
is delivering desks to kids in Malawi schools, who were going to see desks
in their classrooms throughout their entire education. Kids who were going
to spend their entire school lives sitting on the floor, trying to write by
holding a piece of paper on their friend`s back or on their legs.
Your generous contributions to the K.I.N.D. Fund have changed all of that
for hundreds of thousands of kids in Malawi schools. My favorite tweet of
the day today is from Jeffrey Heise, who tweeted, “Lawrence, sold a copy of
Trump`s “Art of the Deal” book on E-Bay with signature. Buying desk with
proceeds in his name. Merry Christmas.”
Thank you, Jeffrey, that is a truly brilliant and best possible use of that
book. Vanessa tweeted, “Lawrence, thank you for bringing the K.I.N.D. Fund
to my attention. I donated a year of education today. I need to do more.
This is important.” I always hear that from contributors to the K.I.N.D.
Fund that they want to do more.
And, many of them do more. Virginia Roth tweeted, “Lawrence, just made my
annual donation to K.I.N.D. as gifts for others. Every year, new folks get
to learn about the fund and your work with them.” She is doing what I do,
which is to give Christmas gifts to people on your list through the
I know I donate desks and I give girls tuitions and people on my Christmas
list get a gift acknowledgment from UNICEF that, that gift has been given
in their name. And, you can do that by going to LastWordDekss.MSNBC.com.
Any amount you give is helpful. $5 will help. That will be combined with
someone else who gives $5, and someone else. And a desk will be built and
it will be delivered to a school and that is going to happen because of
your $5. Every little bit helps.
Last night, we were joined by 8th Grader Preston Lucy and Seventh Grader
Connor Gossman, who ran a bake sale this weekend in Los Angeles to raise
money nor the K.I.N.D. Fund. They were moved to action by seeing my
reports about Malawi schools here on “The Last Word” and realizing that if
they were in 7th grade and 8th grade in Malawi, they would be sitting on
the floor throughout the school day.
They probably would not own shoes like a lot of kids in Malawi. They
probably would have to walk at least a few miles to their closest school,
maybe do that walk barefoot. And, they would do it, and they would do it
like the kids in Malawi do, just because they know, just as here in the
United States, that everything they hope for in their lives can only be
achieved through education.
Walter tweeted after last night`s show, “Lawrence, bringing those two kids
tonight was kind of you. They surely deserve spotlight and your cause
undoubtedly. Since Preston and Connor appeared on the show last night,
they inspired you to donate another $72,942 last night and today.
MJ tweeted, “Great jobs, kids.” Thanks again to Preston and Connor and
thank you all for helping us continue this important work. Thank you for
allowing girls the possibility of going to high school, who would otherwise
have absolutely no chance of going to school.
And, thank you for improving the classroom experience and brightening the
school day of those children in Malawi, whose only hope for a better future
is through what they can achieve in those classrooms at those desks that
you have so generously provided. Thank you for your kindness.
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