The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 5/5/2016
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: May 5, 2016
Guest: Jonathan Alter, Stuart Stevens, David Frum, Kellyanne Conway, Steve
McMahon, Richard Clarke, Rich Cohen
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: “Never Trump” means never ever under any
circumstances, as long as I have breath, never Trump. Get it.
Never means never. Never means never. Imagine for a moment, billions of
years from now, when the sun dims to a cinder, that`s the time scale of my
The Republican presidential defeat that likely impend, reflect an entirely
appropriate national revolting(ph) at the GOP candidate.
Whose personal record of chicanery and wild rhetoric of bigotry, misogyny
and misplaced belligerence are without parallel in the modern history of
either major party.
Republicans are having a hard time this week. Some of them, all actual
quotes from discouraged Republicans.
If you know one, be nice. That does it for us tonight, we will see you
again tomorrow from Vermont. Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, before you go, can you
send Nick over here with that drum, we could – we could use that.
O`DONNELL: It`s –
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Just a perfect mood for 10:00 p.m.
MADDOW: I will remove his sunglasses –
O`DONNELL: All right –
MADDOW: And wheel him over there.
O`DONNELL: All right, with the sunglasses –
MADDOW: Thanks, guys –
O`DONNELL: Or without sunglasses, any way you want to do it –
Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, man.
O`DONNELL: Well, Donald Trump never really was a self-financing candidate.
He`s taken millions of dollars in contributions from the beginning.
But now, it looks like he`s going to do what some of us predicted he might
do. Raise enough money to completely pay himself back for the money that
he has loaned his campaign.
And then become like all other candidates, completely dependent on other
people`s money, what he says corrupts all the other candidates.
And the Trump versus Cruz and Kasich thing is completely over now, it`s
Donald Trump versus Paul Ryan.
And in the war room tonight, which Republican or Democrat will choose to be
Donald Trump`s losing running mate?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I
hope to support our nominee, I`m just not there right now.
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP
ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: But everybody is out, I`m the only one left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Ben Sasse –
TRUMP: What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s calling for an independent candidate to run for
TRUMP: Yes, he`s a real genius.
RYAN: A lot of Republicans want to see the standard bearer that bears our
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the living Republican nominees, not a single one
right now today is for Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it is Donald Trump at the top of the ticket here in
Arizona, this may be the race of my life.
TRUMP: Hispanics, I think I`m going to do well with the Hispanic vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just think Donald Trump, he should not be president
of the United States. He should not be commander-in-chief.
TRUMP: I know Russia well, I had a major event in Russia two or three
years ago, Miss Universe contest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s really important that Trump not be the face of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you, Trump –
TRUMP: I love you, too –
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Donald
Trump is saying, it`s mine now.
TRUMP: By the way, look, it really is mine, look at that –
RYAN: He needs to do more to unify this party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m never going to vote for a guy that is saying he`s
going to ban somebody just because of the god they worship.
TRUMP: You`re fired!
RYAN: I think –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy is a lunatic.
RYAN: I get –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got work to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Whenever a Republican politician now says something for or
against Donald Trump, always check how Donald Trump did in the presidential
primary in that politician`s state or district.
Donald Trump got wiped out in Paul Ryan`s congressional district in
Wisconsin, he came in 18 points behind Ted Cruz.
We don`t know what Paul Ryan would be saying today if Donald Trump came in
18 points ahead of Ted Cruz in Paul Ryan`s congressional district.
But here is what Paul Ryan did say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: I hope to support our nominee. I hope to support his candidacy
fully, and I want to do that.
But right now, just I got to tell you, Jake, just being candid with you, at
this point, I`m just not there right now.
I think that he needs to do more to unify this party, to bring all wings of
the Republican Party together and then to go forward and to appeal to all
Americans in every walk of life, every background.
But I think what a lot of Republicans want to see is that we have a
standard bearer that bears our standards.
And that unifies all the wings of the Republican Party. It`s time to go
from tapping into anger to channeling that anger into solutions.
It`s time to set aside bullying, to set aside belittlement and appeal to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: If Donald Trump was serious about trying to win the presidency,
he would have followed the advice that the most experienced members of his
campaign staff surely gave him today.
Which was to simply say, I agree with Speaker Ryan, it is time to unite the
party and then add something rosy and positive about how confident he is
that Republicans will be able to unite.
Instead, Donald Trump`s response came from the gut. It was the kind of
response that his amateur campaign staff, that has been with him the
longest has never had the wisdom to try to prevent him from saying.
In a written statement, Donald Trump said, “I am not ready to support
Speaker Ryan`s agenda, perhaps in the future we can work together and come
to an agreement about what is best for the American people.”
They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for
politicians to put them first.
And so, he picks a fight with the speaker of the house. If Donald Trump is
elected president, Speaker Ryan`s agenda will control his life, control his
Donald Trump doesn`t know that because he has no – in no doubt believes
the TV fiction that presidents are all powerful.
Speakers of the house are whenever they choose to be more powerful than the
president on all matters of domestic governing, all legislation.
Donald Trump says he wants a big tax cut, OK, fine. Paul Ryan wants a big
tax cut, too, but the tax cut Donald Trump will get is the tax cut that
Paul Ryan decides to give him.
It will be written by Paul Ryan, every detail in it will come from what
Paul Ryan`s tax cut plan is, not the Donald Trump tax cut.
Every other piece of legislation Donald Trump might want to pass would have
to be part of Paul Ryan`s agenda or it will go nowhere, it won`t even get a
hearing in the house.
So, Donald Trump lashed out today at the man who would have more power over
him than anyone else in Washington if Donald Trump became president.
Donald Trump treated Paul Ryan just like another candidate in the
Republican presidential primary.
Someone he could just leave behind in the state where he drove him out of
the race. That is the way the politics of campaigning works, but that`s
not the way the politics of governing works.
Paul Ryan`s state Wisconsin voted against Donald Trump. Paul Ryan`s
congressional district voted against Donald Trump.
Paul Ryan himself, no doubt, voted against Donald Trump in the Wisconsin
primary. And Paul Ryan`s political friends and associates are standing
against Donald Trump tonight.
Mitt Romney, who picked Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate four
years ago has indicated that he will not attend the Republican National
Convention this year.
Nbc News has confirmed that former Presidents George W. Bush and George
H.W. Bush are not attending the convention, 2008 Republican presidential
nominee John McCain already announced that he would not attend the
And the 1996 Republican nominee Bob Dole says that he might attend the
convention briefly probably for just a day.
And he will not commit to voting for Donald Trump in November. So, all
living former Republican nominees, no support for Donald Trump for the
presumptive Republican nominee.
In a newly released audio recording from an Arizona fundraiser last month,
John McCain said this to his supporters.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MCCAIN: If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket here in Arizona, with
over 30 percent of the vote being (INAUDIBLE) vote, and no doubt that this
may be the race of my life.
People are angry, they`re upset, they feel that there`s this disconnect,
and all of that. And frankly, there`s an element of activism in this as
The Hispanic community is aroused and angry in a way that I`ve never seen
in 30 years. And so, this is going to be a tough campaign for me.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Frum; senior editor for “The Atlantic”,
Stuart Stevens; former chief strategist for Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan 2012
presidential campaign, he`s also a columnist for “Daily Beast”.
Also with us, Jonathan Alter; Msnbc political analyst and a columnist for
the “Daily Beast”.
Jonathan, you know that Paul Manafort and the experienced guys in the
campaign looked at the Ryan statement and said, yes, he just join them on
the unity thing –
JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Yes –
O`DONNELL: You leave it at that, you know, but the nuts in the Trump
ALTER: Right –
O`DONNELL: When Trump said, oh, no, I want to say I don`t care about him.
Corey Lewandowski, those are the guys who just cheer him on with this
ALTER: You know, you talked about the implications if Trump were to become
president. But the implications were set in much sooner than that.
If Ryan and Trump can`t get together and make peace, then what will the
Republican platform be?
You know, they`ll have a huge platform plate. And there`s actually time
between now and then for a – which we might call a real Republican Party
I look at the filing deadlines, most of them are in July and August for
getting on the ballot as an independent.
There are about 900,000 signatures they need nationwide, and many states,
you only need a few thousand to get on as an independent.
So, Ben Sasse, a very well regarded Republican senator from Nebraska has
been talking about, you know, we need a candidate to do this.
He`s ready to do what Strom Thurmond said did in, you know, in 1948 leave,
in that case, the Democratic Party with an independent neck as Dixie
Ben Sasse is saying he wants somebody else, I think they`re going to end up
with Ben Sasse.
And there`s at least a chance that you`re going to see Ben Sasse running as
a real, “real Republican”, a conservative independent candidacy.
O`DONNELL: And that will be a protest candidacy with no hope of winning,
but just saying, here is the place to cast your vote instead –
ALTER: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Trump –
ALTER: This is what we really stand for –
O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, am I wrong to say that a professional
Republican presidential campaign operative like say Stuart Stevens would
have looked at that Paul Ryan statement today and said to his candidate,
let`s take the parts that we can agree with and just talk about that.
Let`s just say something nice about yes, he is right about party unity and
then something rosy and leave it at that?
STUART STEVENS, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Well, sure, you know, I identify
with Paul Ryan.
They also earlier tweeted out a photo of him having a Taco Bowl, Cinco de
Mayo, talking about how Hispanics love him.
It`s embarrassing, and sort of, just crazy. Listen, but you know,
Republicans have nobody to blame but themselves.
You know, it`s kind of like, you know, your pal who meets a stripper in
rehab and brings her home and gets engaged and brings her home to meet mom
and it doesn`t go well.
It`s like you were surprised? What did you expect? This is Donald Trump and
this is what it`s going to be like.
I hope Ben Sasse does run. And look, I could spin out a scenario, it gets
thrown into the house, and Republicans prefer Ben Sasse.
It`s not crazy. But I think the more important thing is that there will be
someone that people can vote for who can`t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary
Clinton in good conscious and can feel proud to vote for someone like Ben
I would recommend everybody follow Ben Sasse on Twitter and what he`s
saying on Facebook.
It`s really extraordinary, what he`s doing. He`s saying that he would vote
for someone and support someone who ideologically was different for him.
If it was someone who had good common sense, and could – someone you could
feel honorable about in the country.
O`DONNELL: David Frum, Mary Matalin today, Republican veteran of the Bush
presidential campaigns –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Basically burned her Republican card –
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Right –
O`DONNELL: And said she is joining the libertarian party which is good
news for the libertarian party, they might get more than 1 percent of the
vote this time around.
FRUM: Look, Abraham Lincoln told a joke about the temperance preacher who
was offered some Whiskey in his lemonade, and said absolutely not.
Said, but if some of the Whiskey got into the lemonade unbeknownst to me, I
don`t think it would do any harm.
And that is, I think what is going on here. That a lot of Republicans are
saying, look, I can`t bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton.
But if somehow she got elected in ways unbeknownst to me, that wouldn`t do
any harm. And so, the possibilities like a Sasse run are ways to do that.
Because what we`re also arguing about is the future direction of the
Republican Party. The Republic is – you know, presidents last four years,
maybe eight, the Republic lasts a lot longer.
Parties last a lot longer, and to determine what is the nature of your
party, you`re going to lose a party, that`s what happened to certain kinds
of traditional Democrats in 1972.
They didn`t just lose the race, the nomination of George McGovern and the
election to Richard Nixon.
They lost control of the party. And they found the new deal party became
the new politics party.
And all of those union guys, and all of those, you know, cold war liberals
found themselves banished from the party of Truman and the party of
That`s one of the things that traditional conservatives are facing in the
Donald Trump world.
ALTER: So, this is a moral test, you and I have talked about this before.
But – and now it`s really almost some way is lesser than Trump than it is
about each individual Republican and his or her conscience.
Is if you believe that Donald Trump is a con man as I do, you can`t both –
O`DONNELL: As Marco Rubio does –
ALTER: As Marco Rubio does, you can`t both believe that and support him
for president and be a patriotic American.
This is not patriotic, but a con man in charge of our constitution. So,
you know, people have to decide whether party ask too much.
And it`s fascinating watching these Republicans go through this, what`s
essentially a moral exercise to see whether they put their country first or
their party first.
O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, to take it another step, if you believe
anything, that anyone of the Republicans running against Donald Trump said
about him including what Chris Christie said about him in New Hampshire,
then you can`t vote for Donald Trump for president.
STEVENS: Yes, I hate it when you put it that way.
O`DONNELL: Oh, yes –
STEVENS: Look, you know, I`m not going to do the Donald Trump thing and
attack others who disagree with me. I think it`s a very personal choice.
And everybody has to come to their own judgment. And I know what I`m going
to do, I`m not going to say I`m all right.
And I`m not going to say I have some high moral grounds, I just know what
feels right to me. And I know what I can live with and feel good about.
It`s not to say that`s the right choice. I don`t think that sitting around
O`DONNELL: So, Stuart, what is that choice? You will get a ballot with a
libertarian on it, with Hillary Clinton on it, with Donald Trump and maybe
STEVENS: I hope Mary Matalin –
O`DONNELL: Some other candidates –
STEVENS: I hope Mary Matalin qualifies as a libertarian and I`ll vote for
her. In an ideal world, I would love to see a strong third party like Ben
Sasse, a candidate like that, that you can be proud of.
And I think that would be better for down-ticket candidates. I mean, in my
view, if Donald Trump is the nominee which appears to be, you know, the
White House is really lost.
You`re talking about saving the Senate. I think having a candidate like
Ben Sasse from a third party would give a lot of people motivation to come
out and vote in key areas and suburbs Philadelphia, Cincinnati, who would
not – and I know, your nearest you`ve seen driving to the polls to vote
for Donald Trump.
ALTER: Politically, how did that happen, Stuart, of Sasse –
STEVENS: I don`t, I have no idea –
ALTER: No –
STEVENS: I really – I don`t – I have no way to put a number on it. But
I think this thing about the future of the party that David was talking
about, Jonathan, I think it`s a really important point.
I don`t think sitting around Thanksgiving dinner, there`ll be a lot of
Trump Republicans. I think that there will be people who voted for Trump.
But I don`t think in any way people will be carrying some torch for Donald
O`DONNELL: Well, the libertarian nominating convention this Memorial Day
weekend, and the race starts then. David Frum, Stuart Stevens, Jonathan
Alter, thank you all –
ALTER: Thank you –
O`DONNELL: For joining us tonight, really appreciate it –
Coming up, Ben Carson says he won`t be a vice presidential candidate for
He`s taken himself out of consideration, big surprise. And Donald Trump is
going to be getting national intelligence briefings when he gets the
Republican nomination that has intelligence officials something close to
Former senior White House adviser and national intelligence expert Richard
Clarke will join us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CARSON, AUTHOR & RETIRED NEUROSURGEON: There are two different Donald
Trumps. There`s the one you see on the stage, and there`s the one who is
very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully.
You can have a very good conversation with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Dr. Carson now says he`s decided he doesn`t want to be vice
president for either one of those Donald Trumps.
He`s taken himself out of the running for that nomination if he was ever
actually in the running for that nomination.
The war room is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s war room. The presidential campaign war
room is the most important place to be in any campaign.
It`s where the campaign strategists make the big decisions about what
states the candidates will focus on and how to answer various attacks.
How to launch attacks against the other candidates. And in this war room
this season, the situation they`re facing right now on the Republican side
is who should be Donald Trump`s vice president.
That`s one of the issues they`re facing, there`s a lot of strategic
interest going into that.
Ben Carson, who is supposed to be heading up that selection committee has
now said he doesn`t want the position of vice president in the Trump
Ben Carson reportedly said, I`m not interested in doing that for a number
of reasons. I don`t want to be a distraction, I`m sure you remember how
crazy the media was about me.
I don`t want to be a distraction, it`s too important a time in our life.
Ben Carson also reportedly told the “Wall Street Journal” that Democrats
may be among those considered as Donald Trump`s running mate.
Donald Trump of course denied he would consider a Democrat in a statement
to “USA Today”. Trump said, “I am sure Ben is speaking from the standpoint
that the Republican Party has not made it easy on me.
And many people would fully understand what he is saying. However, I am a
Republican and will 100 percent pick an outstanding Republican to run with
me as vice president.”
The latest electoral college prediction from the “Cook Political Report”
projects, 304 electoral votes for the Democratic nominee and 190 electoral
votes for the Republican nominee.
Donald Trump with 44 electoral votes remaining too close to call at this
point. But in no scenario there could Donald Trump win the necessary 270
electoral votes to become president of the United States.
And with 187 days left for the campaign war rooms, joining us tonight in
THE LAST WORD war room, Steve McMahon, a veteran of three Democratic
One was recently Howard Dean`s 2004 campaign and Kellyanne Conway, a
veteran of Newt Gingrich`s 2012 presidential campaign.
And Kellyanne, you were running some of the – a part of the Ted Cruz Super
PAC where you could never be in the war room because you –
KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & POLLSTER: That`s correct –
O`DONNELL: Cannot in anyway collude –
CONWAY: That`s right –
O`DONNELL: Cooperate like that. All right, the Trump war room is 180 days
here. What did they do today?
What did the Trump campaign do today to attract voters they haven`t already
– they don`t already have.
CONWAY: Several things I would say. First, he got another new cycle from
Hillary Clinton. He`s out there in West Virginia tonight.
A state that Bill Clinton carried that Hillary Clinton will not. And he
O`DONNELL: But if – when she says that, doesn`t – that means he already
CONWAY: No, not necessarily because you hear so much gloom and doom from
Republican consultants –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
CONWAY: From all over –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
CONWAY: And we just throw my hands up in the air, and there are
competitors, senate race is in some of these states as well, Lawrence.
But when he went there and he did what Donald Trump usually does, he took
Hillary Clinton`s words, he took an opponent`s words and used them back
In this case, three weeks later, she said I will put the coal industry out
of business. He went and said, I will put the coal miners back to work.
And he also is talking about a fairly long shortlist for vice president.
So far, you do have some prominent Republicans coming out against Donald
Trump that they will vote for him.
But you really haven`t heard many people say, I would never serve as his
vice president. Some people say, well –
O`DONNELL: Oh, no, we have, we got a long list. We have like –
CONWAY: Yes, but it`s –
O`DONNELL: And all people who would be at the top of the list have said
CONWAY: Maybe, but Rick Perry today endorsed him and said he`s open for
VP, Chris Christie is obviously open for VP, Newt Greenwich is open for VP.
And that`s just some –
O`DONNELL: I believe Chris Christie has an ad out asking for VP –
CONWAY: Asking that –
O`DONNELL: Yes, right –
CONWAY: And there was out in New Jersey, I don`t know if we appreciate
that by the way. But anyway – but I think look, Marsha Blackburn is open
She`s a prominent, a very conservative female from Tennessee who would be a
great, you know, rejoinder to Hillary Clinton.
But I just don`t agree what everybody says this will be a blowout. If
anything has been predictable, it`s how unpredictable.
And I think you put non-resilient, non-nimble Hillary Clinton against ex-
factor, wild card Donald Trump and we just don`t know what that toxic brew
O`DONNELL: Steve McMahon, a big switch for Donald Trump doing it –
STEVE MCMAHON, LAWYER & MEDIA CONSULTANT: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Publicly now. He`s getting someone to run his fundraising,
formerly with Goldman Sachs.
And so the claim, the very thing claim to being self-financing now will
This has been a central pillar of Trump integrity. What does –
MCMAHON: All right –
O`DONNELL: The Clinton war room do with that? They see that move by Donald
Trump into financing the campaign without the people`s money, Wall Street
money just like everybody else.
MCMAHON: Yes, I mean, I think what the Clinton campaign will be doing and
thinking about today is you know, trying to continue to drive this wedge
between mainstream Republicans like Paul Ryan and others, who are deeply
conflicted about Donald Trump`s candidacy in a hostile takeover of the
businessman from Wall Street and the Republican Party.
And I think they`re going to continue to foment the descent that you see.
You know, there`s not a single former Republican nominee or president who
right now supports Donald Trump or who seems at all willing to go to the
Donald Trump today was in West Virginia, a state which frankly, he
shouldn`t have to ever visit in order to carry.
He`s running sort of backward, and I think the Clinton campaign right now
understands that in their war room tonight, in this war room, I would be
encouraging them to continue to drive the division within the party.
To continue to highlight the statements of people like Paul Ryan and
continue to, you know, promote the candidacies of people like Ben Sasse who
is from the state that I am from.
And who you know, may turn out to be a patriot in the selection rather than
a partisan –
CONWAY: Would you vote for him? –
MCMAHON: It would be an interesting thing to watch, but well, I don`t – I
don`t need to vote for either candidates that I – that I –
CONWAY: Yes –
MCMAHON: Think will be a great president –
CONWAY: I love the Democrats, even Republicans advise – like they`ve been
all cycle – oh, you got to nominate this one, that one convince –
MCMAHON: But –
CONWAY: Hillary to say that –
MCMAHON: Kellyanne, I`m not giving you advice, I`m just simply analyzing.
If Donald Trump is campaigning in West Virginia, a state that –
CONWAY: The head of primary next week –
MCMAHON: Should be in the bag for any Republican –
CONWAY: Steve, the rally was already scheduled. They have a primary, he
went and showed up to tell the voters thank you.
MCMAHON: It`s – well, OK, he needs to be going to the purple states, you
know this as well as anybody, he needs to be in Ohio, in Virginia, in North
Carolina, in Florida.
In places that –
CONWAY: There`s plenty of time to do that –
MCMAHON: They`ve been ultimately –
O`DONNELL: Kelly, what –
MCMAHON: Decide, well, his numbers are so bad –
O`DONNELL: Kellyanne, what does he need to do –
CONWAY: It`s just like Hillary, he`s not yet the nominee –
O`DONNELL: But what does he need to do in messaging to attract new voters
that he doesn`t have.
I mean, we got Hillary Clinton in Los Angeles today, saying Donald Trump is
doubling down on his attacks and talking about deporting 11 million people
which he said again last night on Nbc News that he would absolutely deport
11 million people.
Crazy thing to say the law enforcement resources don`t exist to do it, it
would be absolutely impossible.
So, he`s locked himself on to an impossible idea that alienates massive
numbers of voters.
CONWAY: I think what he`ll do to attract voters is what he did
predominantly in the primaries and caucuses.
Which is reach into those workers on who should – many of them have voted
for Democrats before.
You see the people turning over in the – in the voter rolls, in a like
Pennsylvania, where thousands renounced their registration, registered for
Indiana had a surge in registration, I guess that many of them must have
gone to Donald Trump, he won handily there.
And I think, you know, you`ve seen focus groups, the men saying we`re
getting screwed, the women saying we`re struggling and they`re both talking
about the same thing.
And I think he`ll make some of these states for Bernie Sanders, took
Hillary Clinton on and in some cases beat her and make them competitive in
O`DONNELL: Steve, Mary Matalin leaving the Republican Party today. This
is – and is – we haven`t seen anything like this.
There`s nothing we`ve ever seen like this on the Republican side or in the
Democratic side. What does the – what does the Clinton campaign do when
they see those kinds of defection?
Now, she said she`s going to vote libertarian. Voting libertarian is good
enough for the Democrats.
MCMAHON: It is good enough. Voting libertarian is fine, staying home is
I think the Clinton campaign right now is trying to – again, I think
they`re smart to try to continue to drive these divisions within the
Republican Party, make it a choice as Stuart Stevens did between patriotism
O`DONNELL: Veterans of the war room, Steve McMahon and Kellyanne Conway,
thank you both –
CONWAY: Thank you –
O`DONNELL: For joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Coming up, once
Donald Trump is officially the nominee, when he leaves that convention, he
will get an intelligence briefing. That has some intelligence experts –
very worried. Former national security advisor to several presidents,
Richard Clarke will join us.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: I have been listening carefully to the
music played at the Donald Trump`s rallies. Do the Rolling Stones want the
music played at Donald Trump rallies? You won`t hear the Rolling Stones at
the rallies any more. If the Rolling Stones have anything to say about it
and they do. They want Trump to stop. A man has written a book about the
Rolling Stones and works Mick Jagger on the HBO show “Vinyl” will join us
and tell us just how Mick going to get what he wants. First, here is how it
looked on the campaign trail today.
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Tracking the latest developments from
coast to coast.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Safe to say there is mixed messages here.
On one hand, you have a bit of a change of tone from Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody is out, I am the
only one left, that is OK, right?
HAYES: On the other hand, you have him doubling down.
TRUMP: Everybody wants the wall. We will have the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quite a few high profile Republicans seem to be having
a little bit of a difficult time embracing this.
TRUMP: We will have people that are not going to want to play the game.
That is OK. If they don`t want to, I don`t think it matters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anything, the pendulum is swinging away from him
HAYES: He will be going out and doing what he said he would not do.
TRUMP: I don`t take the contributions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Which is go out to lobbyists and ask for money.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now he will turn all of his focus onto Hillary
TRUMP: We really affectionately call her crooked Hillary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anyone running for
office should spend as much time listening than talking.
TRUMP: Now it`s between me and crooked Hillary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: California is really the jackpot.
SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It ain`t a big deal.
CLINTON: It matters how many delegates you have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her top officials saying, taking on Trump is her top
priority. One of her supporters says it is Defcon 1 right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: That`s like a loose cannon we cannot afford.
JOHN MCCAIN, U.S. SENATOR, ARIZONA: I don`t know what Mr. Trump`s thinking
is except that it`s going to be huge.
O`DONNELL: A tradition started in 1952 a very serious tradition. There is
no rule or law that requires it, but simply by tradition, by custom, since
1952, Democratic and Republican nominees for president get a national
security briefing after they accept their party`s nominations at their
conventions. Many U.S. intelligence officials are reportedly terrified of
sharing intelligence information with Donald Trump, when he leaves the
Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Only by tradition, nominees
receive an intelligence briefing so they will be up to speed as up to speed
as possible, if they take the oath of office in January.
The intelligence community has never had to brief a nominee, like Donald
Trump who is a known conspiracy theory re-tweeter, a National Enquirer
reader and believer, a pathological liar as Ted Cruz called him the other
day for saying that Ted Cruz`s father was somehow involved with Lee Harvey
Oswald in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
What everybody knows about Donald Trump it that he is capable of saying
anything at any time, it can be true, false or completely invented, Donald
Trump does not distinguish between those categories of information, Donald
Trump has demonstrated he has perhaps the most dangerous mind ever to be
entrusted with national security information. Here is just a sample of what
has the intelligence community worried about talking to Donald Trump.
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of
Muslims entering the U.S.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Who do you talk to for military advice right now?
TRUMP: Well, I watch your shows.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Then they look at me, what do you think water boarding, Mr. Trump? I
said, I think it`s great, I think it`s just fine.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And frankly, if we can I would go many steps further than water
boarding, OK. Many, many steps further. Then there is ISIS. I have a simple
message for them. Their days are numbered, I won`t tell them where, I won`t
tell them how, ISIS will be gone if I am elected president.
O`DONNELL: The Democratic and Republican nominee each receive the same
intelligence information but it is up to President Obama to determine
exactly what classified information will be shared with them. An unnamed
former U.S. intelligence official told the Daily Beast, my concern with
Trump that he inadvertently leaks, because he speaks extemporaneously he
pulls something out of a hat, he heard in a briefing and say it. Another
unnamed intelligence official said, it is not an unreasonable concern that
he will talk publicly about what is supposed to stay in that room.
Richard Clarke was a key national security advisor to four presidents,
first at the State Department, for Ronald Reagan, and George H. Bush,
before moving to the national security council at the White House under
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Richard Clarke resigned his
post as national coordinator for security and counter-terrorism in 2003
will join us next. claiming that Bush officials ignored warnings before the
attack on 9/11. Richard Clark will join us next.
O`DONNELL: Here is what Donald Trump said tonight about receiving an
official intelligence briefing after he gets the Republican presidential
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As far as briefings and all, I will be better than Hillary Clinton
ever did with her e-mails, where she exposed the entire country to whatever
she is learning as Secretary of State. You don`t get any worse than that.
So I think that frankly, yes, I can keep a secret probably almost better
than anybody I know. Maybe better than anybody I know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Richard Clarke, whose new book is “Pinnacle
Event.” Richard Clarke, what is your – I want to go back to the thing I
mentioned in the other segment. It is all up to President Obama, what is
actually in this briefing. Is it fair for us to assume, that this it will
be the narrowest briefing a presidential candidate has ever received.
RICHARD CLARKE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, AUTHOR OF “PINNACLE
EVENT”: I think that is a safe assumption. You can get an intelligence
briefing without it containing secrets, I know that sounds like a
contradiction. But an intelligence briefing is just an assessment written
by intelligence analysts, they can do that with what`s called open-source
information, information that is available to the public. The fact that it
was written by an intelligence agency makes it an intelligence briefing. It
doesn`t have to secret reports from spies or intercepted communications or
O`DONNELL: And these are asymmetrical candidates. Hillary Clinton is
walking around, as I am sure you are to this day, with classified
information in her head she has known for many years, bringing her up to
speed is a lot easier, as it would be for any former Secretary of State,
than anybody who has ever been in government in any way. Narrowing her to
what may be this rather tiny range intelligence briefing that Donald Trump
gets, won`t, it seems to me, be diminishing her current understanding of
the world very much.
CLARKE: My understanding is that she is already getting open source
intelligence briefings every morning from her own team. I understand that
she has hundreds of national security experts on call and that they prepare
reports for her. Most in-depth issue reports and a daily morning report.
She is probably already getting more information from open sources, but
filtered by experts than will be in any briefing that two candidates get.
O`DONNELL: What do you make of Donald Trump`s comparison, of the way
Secretary Clinton`s handled her e-mail at the State Department compared to
his own ability that he`s assuring us about? To keep secrets himself?
CLARKE: Secretary Clinton clearly made a mistake with using a personal e-
mail account. Secretary Carter, our current defense secretary did so as
well. Rather more recently, so did Colin Powell, so did Condi Rice, when
they were Secretaries of State. I don`t know whether or not her private e-
mail server was hacked. I do know that State Department e-mails server was
hacked. Had she been using the State Department, as some thought she should
have, the Chinese would have been reading that, because we know the Chinese
got into the State Department system. What that points out is how bad IT
security is in the federal government, how bad IT is in general. It is very
clunky and very hard to use.
O`DONNELL: There are reports tonight indicating that some of Hillary
Clinton`s State Department staff have been interviewed by the FBI, that
Hillary Clinton has not yet been interviewed by the FBI, do you have a
reading on this case, legally, at this point, based on the public
information that we know about it?
CLARKE: Well Lawrence, thankfully, I am not a lawyer. I do understand
national security rules, because I had to live under them for 30 years. The
question here is a matter of intent. Did you intentionally reveal
classified information? Intentionally give it to somebody who wasn`t
authorized to get it? If someone did that they are in trouble. The degree
of their trouble is open to question. It might result in their being banned
from reading classified information for a period of time.
O`DONNELL: Going forward in this campaign, you have David Cameron, today,
in London, saying that everything that he said about Donald Trump`s
positions being stupid a few months ago still holds. He`s standing with
that. Have we ever seen anything like this as international reaction by
foreign leaders to a nominee here in the United States?
CLARKE: Not that I remember. I started in national security in the Carter
administration, through the Reagan administration, and the two Bush
administrations, all throughout Clinton. I don`t recall anything quite like
this where there is a universal reaction among foreign leaders and foreign
political parties on both ends of the political spectrum aside from some
real outlier right wing groups in Europe. Where they`re terrified on the
prospect of Trump. In part, they don`t know anyone who is advising him.
Most of the Republican national security experts have already signed a
piece of paper saying they won`t have anything to do with him. He can`t
name anyone who is advising him. That gives everybody a real pause.
National security is not something that you can pick up and start doing,
once you get elected.
O`DONNEL: Richard Clarke, thank you very much for sharing your expertise
with us tonight. New book is called “Pinnacle Event.” Thank you very much
for joining us.
CLARKE: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones versus Donald
Trump. Who`s going to win that one?
O`DONNELL: What did you think when you first heard Rolling Stones music
playing at a Donald Trump rally? I thought, the Rolling Stones can`t
possibly approve of this, and it turns out, they do not. Mick Jagger and
the Rolling Stones versus Donald Trump, next.
O`DONNELL: You should not be hearing the Rolling Stones at Donald Trump
rallies anymore. After the Rolling Stones issued this statement yesterday,
the Rolling Stones have never given permission to the Trump campaign to use
their songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately. Joining
us now Rich Cohen contributing editor for “Vanity Fair” and “Rolling
Stone.” He`s the author of the upcoming book, `The Sun, the Moon and the
Rolling Stones`, and he is a co-creator, with Mick Jagger of the HBO show,
And Rich Cohen I want to get your other co-creators in there, Martin
Scorsese and Terence Winter, right. Is that the whole group of co-creators?
RICH COHEN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, “VANITY FAIR” AND “ROLLING STONE”: That`s
good you`ve maintained peace. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Believe me I know. Rich, tell us a little bit how this
developed. You worked with Mick Jagger on “Vinyl” you are probably very
aware of how he thinks politically now. What was your reaction when you
first heard Rolling Stones music at Donald Trump rallies?
COHEN: First of all it was, wow, he`s got better taste than I thought, Did
he really choose that you know? It was like the one thing I liked. He
picked “Brown Sugar” but what is so crazy about it, it is that “Brown
Sugar” is kind of a nasty song. It is about kind of heroin, drug use and
slavery, and it`s a mix of all this stuff and suddenly that`s what Trump
has go behind him and he`s got people dancing to it. And I just thought
there`s no way the Rolling Stones will let this go on if they can stop it.
It`s just the opposite of what they`re all about
O`DONNELL: Can they stop it, Rich. Do you have to license the music to use
it at an event like that?
COHEN: I think you get a blanket license to sort of use any music that is
represented by ASCAP. So their ability to stop it is minimal, but it`s
embarrassing. It`s like if you are playing a song by somebody and they say
we don`t want him playing that song it`s kind of like you`re at a party
where nobody wants you. You kind of don`t want to stay at their party
O`DONNELL: Rich, what do you know about Mick Jagger`s politics?
COHEN: Well, I know that many years ago he toyed with running for
Parliament in the Labor Party, so that would put him on the left, but that
was a long time ago. Since then he`s as people get older they tend to get
more conservative, and he`s been knighted. So when people get knighted we
don`t have that, I don`t know what happens, you become a royal. It`s like
when you get the extra piece on you in checkers. I don`t know you get all
kinds of powers I guess.
I think rock stars as a rule as a species are a little bit to left, and you
always hear about rock stars complaining about their songs used by
Republicans, never by Democrats. Notice it.
O`DONNELL: And “Vinyl” wrapped a while ago so you haven`t had any work
days with Mick Jagger lately during this controversy. Have you had a chance
to talk to him or any of the Rolling Stones about this Trump controversy?
COHEN: No, I can imagine what they think about it, Just the idea of “Start
Me Up.” “Start Me Up” by the way, was originally a reggae song. So just
imagine Trump coming out to a reggae song, it is pretty funny.
O`DONNELL: It is amazing, so musically, where does this leave Trump? I
think there were a few musicians who are on Celebrity Apprentice from time
to time. He may be able to use some of their stuff?
COHEN: I think we all know. It leaves Trump with Ted Nugent. That`s his
only choice. “Smoke on the Water.” Maybe some Deep Purple. I am not sure, I
think he is going to want to steer clear of the Stones in the mid-1970s.
O`DONNELL: Rich, do you expect more artists to be issuing statements like
this? Because Trump will be basically grabs from the juke box.
COHEN: I don`t know, probably better off to go back to Sinatra. That is
probably his best bet. He`s going to want to go back to a dead artist from
an earlier era.
O`DONNELL: Then you have Nancy Sinatra and Tina Sinatra to deal with.
COHEN: That`s true.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate
COHEN: Thanks a lot. Chris Hayes is up next.
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