The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 8/11/2016
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: August 11, 2016
Guest: Ken Vogel, Peter Wehner, Hugh Hewitt, Adrian Karatnycky, Ryan
Maness, Jim McLaughlin
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Again, it`s Friday night, we were
having fun –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: You know, something though, it happens, I told
someone earlier today that it was Wednesday, guess what I found out it was
Thursday, I was happy. It means the weekend is closer than I thought it
was, sometimes it can be a good thing.
That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time
for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: So, Steve, the presidential test of the
day today was, what day is it? And at least one candidate didn`t quite have
KORNACKI: Well, I can`t be president either, I thought it was Wednesday.
O`DONNELL: No one is even dreaming of you being president, Steve, thank
KORNACKI: All right, thank you.
O`DONNELL: “Politico” broke the news tonight, breaking news. The top
Republican Party officials plan to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow with
the Trump campaign.
A campaign that is now in panic mode. One of the reporters who broke that
story will join us. Republican sources are calling the emergency meeting
tomorrow a come-to Jesus meeting. Donald Trump is going to be so
disappointed when Jesus doesn`t show up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton, commonly referred to as “crooked Hillary”.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He wants America to work for
him and his friends at the expense of everyone else.
TRUMP: Gave a speech today having to do with economic development –
CLINTON: The middle class of America is what makes America`s economy work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She seems to be renewing her push to try to get Donald
Trump to release his tax records.
CLINTON: He refuses to do what every other presidential candidate in
decades has done and release his tax returns.
TRUMP: I fight like hell not to pay a lot of taxes –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s not all –
LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: A new day and a new controversy for Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump just called the president of the United
States the founder of ISIS.
TRUMP: Barack Hussein Obama, he is the founder of ISIS. He`s the founder
of ISIS, OK? He is the founder. He is the founder. He`s a founding
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is repeating what is a demonstrably false
TRUMP: He calls it ISIL, and the reason he calls it ISIL is he likes to
bother everybody. He`s like the only one who`s still calling it ISIL.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doubling-down doesn`t begin to describe it.
TRUMP: We are going to make America great again. Once I get in, I will do
my thing that I do very well. I figured it`s probably the only way I`m
going to get to heaven.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: According to a report in “Politico” tonight, panic is sweeping
the Republican Party and possibly everyone in the Trump campaign, including
What one Republican source is calling a “Come-to Jesus” meeting. It`s
planned for tomorrow at the Orlando Ritz-Carlton between Trump campaign
officials and members of the RNC. No word yet on who gets the job of
telling Donald Trump that Jesus won`t actually be there.
One Republican source told “Politico”, “what`s bothering people on the
campaign is that they feel like they`re doing all the right things, but
they`re losing every news cycle to Hillary and there`s nothing they can do
They finally realize they need the RNC for their campaign because let`s
face it, there is no campaign. Earlier today, “Politico” reported that
more than 70 Republicans had signed an open letter to Reince Priebus urging
him to stop spending any money to help the Trump campaign.
And focus all attention now on saving Republican majorities in the house
and Senate. Many of the signers of that letter were former Republican
Party staffers and former Republican members of Congress.
A current member of the Republican National Committee said Reince Priebus
faces a possible mutiny. That source described “major tumult in the
building and staff problems and disagreements and RNC staff on the urge of
All this panic in and around the Trump campaign might explain why Xanax
Trump stepped up to the microphone this morning in Florida at the first
campaign appearance of the day. Xanax Trump is a hashtag that flies around
Twitter when Donald Trump softens his tone to the point that even Jeb Bush
would call low energy.
This usually happens after another major round of media speculation about
just how mentally unbalanced Donald Trump is. In an attempt to prove that
he`s perfectly sane. Donald Trump steps up to the microphone and speaks
softly and to some observers, creates the suspicion that pharmaceuticals
could be involved, like the calming anti-anxiety pill Xanax.
That publicly expressed speculation today about Donald Trump and Xanax
could be why he had his most gracious moment yet as a candidate tonight on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I heard Hillary`s medical records, you want to see
those or you don`t care.
TRUMP: No, I don`t want to get into that, I think that would be
inappropriate for me to know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump surely knows that demanding to see Hillary
Clinton`s medical records would open him up to the demand to see his
medical records including his prescription history if any for Xanax or who
Even the softer, gentler version of Trump this morning had a uniquely
Trumpy moment while he was reading his speech from the paper it was written
on, he actually squeezed in a criticism of Hillary Clinton for reading
speeches on teleprompters.
And his audience, oblivious to the irony, delighted in the ridicule of
Hillary Clinton as Trump audiences always do.
But this time the Trump audience was laughing at Hillary Clinton for
reading speeches while their hero was reading a speech.
The Trump audience had no idea that the unintended Trump joke was on them.
In this case, Trump and his audience were perfectly matched in mental
clarity. Just like most Trump audiences who love every word spoken by the
most ignorant and mentally unstable presidential candidate in history.
But the Trump rally audiences do not include the Republican Party
professionals who worry about preserving Republican majorities in the house
They have given up worrying about electing a Republican president since the
day Donald Trump attacked Mr. and Mrs. Khan two weeks ago.
The grieving parents of a heroic soldier killed in the line of duty in
Iraq. The best Republicans can hope for in their emergency come-to Donald
meeting tomorrow is not a strategy to win the presidency.
But a strategy to get to the finish line in this election with Donald Trump
doing no more damage to the Republican Party, and that`s a strategy that
depends on the sudden miraculous invention this weekend of a magic pill
much more powerful than Xanax.
Joining us now, Ken Vogel; chief investigative reporter for “Politico” and
Peter Wehner; Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He
worked in the last three Republican administrations, he was a senior aide
to President George W. Bush.
Ken, you`ve got the breaking news tonight, astonishing quotes in this
report about the Republican staff near mutiny. That would be I presume, a
mutiny against Reince Priebus and the way he`s been dealing with Trump.
KEN VOGEL, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, to some extent, I
mean, this has been a fraud relationship from the beginning as soon as even
before Trump clinched the nomination.
But since then, Trump has really relied heavily on the RNC because of
course he didn`t build much of a campaign, really any of the campaign
during the primary.
And he sort of relied on the RNC for the basic blocking and tackling of
politics, but because his staff hasn`t worked closely with them and the
candidate himself has occasionally clashed with Reince Priebus and the RNC,
there hasn`t been a smooth working relationship.
So, what this is, our understanding is an effort to kind of hammer out some
of the sort of key ground game specifics in particular. And some of these
swing states it`s telling that it`s in Florida where we understand that the
Trump campaign has won field office in perhaps the biggest and most
important swing states in the country.
This is – there`s some panic among the field staff around the country for
the Trump campaign that the pace of building this underground
infrastructure is way off where it should be to the point where some have
complained they don`t even have the basic collateral, that`s the yard signs
and bumper stickers and campaign literature to give out even if they had
the people on the ground to give it out.
So, this is an effort to kind of get on the same page, it may jump-start to
some extent the ground game in particular. But there are other places
where the campaign is lagging, including advertising plan, and of course,
the one that we keep on coming back to, messaging.
Donald Trump, even if all these things were in place, cannot stick to the
script and that`s hurt him again and again and again to the chagrin of the
RNC and his own campaign staff.
O`DONNELL: Can your piece quotes Florida campaign professionals saying
that they should have at least ten offices by now in Florida, not one. The
Clinton campaign has 12 at this point.
Fox News asked Donald Trump tonight about tensions with the Republican
Party, let`s listen to his answer to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s an open letter penned by some 70 Republicans
suggesting that Reince Priebus pulled back funding, maybe even pulled back
data from your campaign. Have you talked to Reince or your contact with
TRUMP: Yes, I have, I spoke to him. He just put out a press release, and
he just put out a tweet saying it`s untrue. And I mean, if it is true
that`s OK, too, because all I have to do is stop funding the Republican
I`m the one raising the money for them. In fact, right now I`m in Orlando,
I`m going to a fundraiser for the Republican Party. So, if they want to do
that, they can save me a lot of time and a lot of –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yes –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Peter, amazing, how much credibility he gave to the report
while denying it. He – there`s – at first, he says, it`s – Reince
Priebus put out a tweet saying it`s untrue. Most professional candidates
would emphasize that, leave it at that.
Trump goes on to then say in the next sentence, if it`s true, that`s OK,
too. And then, of course, he ends it with a threat to the Republican
Party, if they do that, you know, I`m their key fundraiser, they can`t do
What can anyone expect to achieve in a meeting with a campaign that`s
trying to make this guy disciplined?
PETER WEHNER, WRITER & SENIOR FELLOW AT THE ETHICS & PUBLIC POLICY CENTER:
Nothing. It`s impossible, it was clear months ago that it was going to be
impossible. Look, this guy is a political black hole and he`s going down
and he`s dragging a lot of Republicans with him.
The campaign is awful. The RNC is mishandling things, but this is
fundamentally a problem of the candidate, Donald Trump. He is not only
chaos candidate, he`s a person who has a disordered personality.
And I think that that`s really, actually, the fundamental thing to
understand about Donald Trump. If you don`t accept that, the things that
he says don`t make sense as a political candidate. But if you do
understand that, all of these distorted and disordered pieces and disturbed
pieces begin to fall into place.
This idea of a come-to Jesus meeting, I`m an evangelical Christian, I`m not
sure Jesus could pull this campaign out of the tail spin that it`s in now -
O`DONNELL: Well, it takes a miracle worker, Peter, at this point, that`s
WEHNER: Yes, and it`s just not going to happen. This is – you know, time
and time again, they come and they say let`s stop, this is just like Lucy
and the football, and it`s not going to change because that is who at his
core, Donald Trump is.
He`s a pathological liar. But there`s one thing that he is honest about,
and that is when he repeatedly says I`m not going to change. And yet
Republicans Reince Priebus and others don`t take him at his word.
They should. And there`s going to be three more months of this. This is
just a catastrophe for the Republican Party.
O`DONNELL: And Ken, we have Mitch McConnell expressing concerns tonight
about being able to preserve the Republican majority in the Senate.
And the – we – and the reason – one of the reasons your report
concentrates on Florida is it`s a must-win for the Republicans and there`s
the feeling as reported in your article that Donald Trump is dragging down
Marco Rubio in his Senate campaign there.
VOGEL: Yes, I mean, you see it across the country in some of these key
swing states where Senate candidates have distanced themselves, Republican
Senate candidates incumbents have distanced themselves from the nominee.
Mark Kirk obviously in Illinois was one of the first and he`s actually
campaigning on his distancing himself from Trump and standing up to Trump.
But that`s why the RNC resource allocation is such a key issue that`s
getting so much attention right now.
There`s a sense that money is being wasted by trying to support prop up the
Trump campaign, and that this money would be better spent going into some
of these down-ballot races and trying to save the majorities in the – in
the Senate, even potentially in the house.
Which some are saying is may be at risk if it`s a real bad landslide in
favor of Hillary Clinton. And so, if the thinking is that if you`re going
to lose the White House for sure, you should really be focusing on having a
strong or at least an existing, surviving Republican majority in both
chambers to be able to counter Hillary Clinton as president for at least
O`DONNELL: And, Peter, in a normal race, you could concentrate – we could
concentrate this discussion on Florida and not need to look much wider.
But we have a poll out of South Carolina with Donald Trump at 41, Hillary
Clinton at 39, Gary Johnson at 5.
That`s a tie, that`s two points. That`s with the imaginary. We have the
Democrat, the Democrat is tied right now with the Republican in South
Carolina. And if the Republican cannot win South Carolina, then nothing
else on the map is going to matter.
WEHNER: That`s exactly right, and you`ve got to talk something – Utah of
all states, and Georgia where Trump is behind. Look, the floor is breaking
right now on Trump and on – and on Republicans.
But I just want to come back to this point, which is, this was inevitable.
This was so predictable. People were saying this, I was saying this months
ago because this is the kind of person that you`re dealing with.
And the Republican primary voters in their infinite wisdom decided to put a
man who is not just an amateur, but as I said, it`s a person with a
disordered personality. He`s erratic, he`s cruel, he`s crude, he`s
unprincipled and he`s unstable.
And when you put a person like that at the top of the ticket, it`s going to
be trouble. And what`s interesting is as this race unfolds and the
intensity of the campaign unfolds, he`s actually getting worse, not better.
So, this thing is a – he`s a bomb and he explodes every other day, and
there`s no stopping him. I actually think that the RNC should go in and
they absolutely should stop funding the Trump campaign, the presidential
But they actually should try to use it to provoke him. Trump has said that
the system is rigged against him.
They ought to actually take steps to say, the system is rigged against you
and try and provoke him out of this race.
It wouldn`t – I don`t – look, I think it`s a long shot, but Trump is
going to get blown to bits, and on some level he may know that and he
doesn`t want to go down as a loser. And if there`s any way to give him an
exit strategy, that may be one way to do it.
Which is the RNC to say, we`re not giving you any funds, we`re urging
Democrats to vote for ticket splitter. So, that is people who would vote
for Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket for Republicans down ballot.
We`re urging them to get out, urge big donors not to go to him and hope
that provokes Trump to a point that he might withdraw.
I think it`s very unlikely. But I think it`s the best chance they have,
and I think there`s a political and moral imperative to get rid of this
O`DONNELL: Well, I think we know that Donald Trump spends his day among
other things, figuring out exactly who he`s going to blame for anything
that goes wrong.
And if this campaign is a loss in November or if he`s out before that, the
possibility of him blaming the Republican Party tonight is at least as high
as the possibility of him blaming the Democratic Party for him losing in
Peter Wehner, thank you very much for joining us tonight –
WEHNER: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Ken Vogel, thank you for joining us with the big scoop tonight,
really appreciate it.
VOGEL: Pleasure, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, how can we tell Donald Trump has not
received the security briefing yet? He`s still calling President Obama the
founder of ISIS. Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt tried to help Donald
Trump out of that hole today.
But Donald Trump proved once again that he cannot be helped. He will join
us along with Malcolm Nance; the author of the book “Defeating ISIS”. A
book that Donald Trump is reportedly reading.
And a new poll ranks the most offensive things Donald Trump has said and
done. What is the most offensive thing? What do you think the most
offensive thing is that Donald Trump has said?
The answer to that is going to be in this poll coming up. And some of our
voting machines may be vulnerable to a Russian cyber attack, or cyber
attack with somewhere else. But long before that threat was possible, many
more of our voting machines have been just as likely to collapse of old age
on election day.
BARTIROMO: Donald Trump has new Republican competition in the key
battleground state where he was already in trouble.
Evan McMullin, the Republican has won a spot on the ballot as an
independent candidate in Colorado in November. The latest four-way poll in
Colorado taken before the convention showed Hillary Clinton with a 6-point
lead there over Donald Trump.
Up next, Donald Trump insists a big lie about President Obama and he cannot
stop telling the lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I call President Obama and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS.
They`re the founders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s Donald Trump`s newest burst of madness. Lie this time
just seems like too small a word to describe the things coming out of
Donald Trump`s mouth.
Now that he`s fallen behind Hillary Clinton in the polls and could be
headed for a landslide defeat in the electoral college and dragged down
congressional majorities of Republicans with him.
Conservative talk-show radio host Hugh Hewitt tried to help Donald Trump
climb out of the hole of this particular lie about ISIS, which only then
proved how impossible it is to help Donald Trump.
Listen now as Hugh Hewitt drops a ladder down into the hole Donald Trump
has dug for himself, and Donald Trump refuses to climb out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HOST: I know what you meant. You meant that he created
the vacuum, he lost the peace.
TRUMP: No, I meant he`s the founder of ISIS, I do. He`s the most valuable
player, I gave him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the
way, Hillary Clinton –
HEWITT: But he`s not sympathetic to them, he hates them, he`s trying to
kill them –
TRUMP: I don`t care, he was the founder, his – the way he got out of Iraq
was that was the founding of ISIS, that`s no mistake. Everyone is liking
it. I think they like it.
I gave him the most valuable player award, and I give it to him and I gave
the co-founder to Hillary and you heard that.
HEWITT: No, I did, I did play it. I just –
TRUMP: That I gave her the co-founder –
HEWITT: I know what you`re arguing –
TRUMP: He`s not – let me ask you, do you not like that?
HEWITT: I don`t. I think I would say they created – they lost the peace.
They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS
came, but they didn`t create ISIS, that`s what I would say.
TRUMP: No –
HEWITT: But let –
TRUMP: I disagree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Hugh Hewitt, radio talkshow host with the
“Salem Radio Network”, an Msnbc political analyst.
And Malcolm Nance, former counter-terrorism and intelligence officer,
combat veteran and Msnbc contributor.
And the author of the new book “Defeating ISIS” that Donald Trump claims he
is reading. But Hugh, you can`t tell from that interview today that Donald
Trump has read anything about ISIS.
HEWITT: Well, if we had more time, I would have put forward my
proposition. Which is, you can say it`s, you know, the two of you can say
that it`s Zawahiri, you can say it`s bin Laden, you can say Zarqawi, you
can say al-Baghdadi.
There are a lot of people you can say are founders of ISIS, and I think a
lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats will agree that the decision to
cut and run from Iraq in 2011 was disastrous and Hillary Clinton owns it
alone with President Obama for calling them the JVs and allowing them to
But founder is a term I think is a bridge too far, but Donald Trump is
messaging in this a different way. And I`ve got to go back to this very
HEWITT: The gloom and doom with Pete Wehner, Pete is a friend of mine.
He`s a never Trumper. Look, it`s statistically tied in Iowa, in Florida
and Ohio. This race is far from over. Donald Trump needs to make,
continue to make course corrections.
I think the whole founder thing was an effort to turn the page from the
fiasco that I began the interview today by asking him, did you intend to
incite violence against Secretary Clinton? He denied that.
We talked about the Supreme Court. We reassured conservatives he will
stick to his list or allow him a (INAUDIBLE) filibuster him. We talked
about putting John Bolton at the Department of State as the Secretary of
It was over all a good interview. But this founder trapped door he fell
through and we`ll see what happens in the days ahead because it`s simply I
think, Malcolm would agree with me, it`s simply not true.
O`DONNELL: Malcolm, let`s just pretend that Donald Trump is reading your
book. And I have to say pretend because I don`t believe he`s ever read a
book in his adulthood.
But he – but could you point him to one page, because I`m guessing his
attention span could get him through one page. There`s one thing you can
point to in the book that he needs to read right now.
MALCOLM NANCE, AUTHOR & MEDIA COMMENTATOR ON INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM:
Well, I would say though, the first page on the section of the history of
O`DONNELL: OK, that`s a great – yes –
NANCE: Yes, well, I mean, you know, but so long as we`re dabbling in
fantasy here. You know, I – “Time Magazine” said that he said he had read
the book “Defeating ISIS”.
O`DONNELL: Yes –
NANCE: Now, if he`s going further than the cover, I`d be quite surprised,
it`s 540 pages of encyclopedic history of ISIS.
For anyone to come out and make a statement that, you know, whether he`s
been rhetorical or not is beyond insulting.
You`re essentially either accusing the President of the United States of
treason, or that you`re saying that he is in league with the allies of the
United States and it was his responsibility for doing that.
Patently false, it is a lie, OK? There is nothing truthful about that at
all. This started with al Qaeda in Iraq in 2003.
I`m saying from the intelligence community`s perspective, ISIS was a name-
changer with al Qaeda in 2006 and they added the S of Syria –
O`DONNELL: Can you explain, too, we had a clip earlier in the show –
NANCE: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Where Donald Trump was complaining that President Obama calls
it ISIL. He`s really mad at him for that. Can you explain to Donald Trump
why President Obama says ISIL instead of ISIS?
NANCE: OK, I`ll explain it in terms of – that you can understand. Spies
like us, we use technical terminology, which is accurate to the language.
So, the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
NANCE: Which describes the area that they intended to take was Syria,
Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. It was not just Syria. So, it is
technically far more accurate to understand that ISIS intended to take all
of those countries.
So the President uses the CIA and national directive intelligence
terminology, ISIL. And if he can`t understand that, then he really
shouldn`t have the job.
O`DONNELL: Hugh, when I listen to your interview today, and it makes me
think of this emergency meeting that they`re having tomorrow in Orlando.
And how – what can they possibly do to help this campaign if they have a
candidate who they can`t help present himself publicly?
HEWITT: I think they need to persuade him of the efficacy of some message
points. Number one being that the Hillary Clinton foreign policy is marked
by a disaster in Egypt where the Muslim brotherhood took over by this
arrangement of the Libya sub structure that allowed ISIS to flood that
At the time you`re going to negotiate the status of forces agreement in
2011 that would have allowed American forces to stay there and not turn the
western part of the country over to ISIS by the Russian reset button which
evidently included a connection to her home-based server by the threat she
poses the Supreme Court, and now the Shagari scandal.
And Lawrence, I`m sure you covered in-depth on the show last night. These
new e-mails that surfaced that show a very bad character from Nigeria,
Lebanon, Nigeria, a billionaire dealing with the Clinton Foundation to run
interference with the Secretary of State Huma Abedin in April of 2009.
The sleaze factor here is enormous. So, if they can simply get Donald
Trump to focus on the key concepts that Hillary Clinton was the worst
Secretary of State in American history.
She has a huge corruption problem and she endangered the country`s national
security. He can reverse this gap, and Mike Pence is helping him do it,
but right now, he – not only has he got it close in Florida, in Ohio, and
He`s got it close in Nevada, but he needs it in Pennsylvania as well, and
he cannot afford to lose states that – like Utah, like you brought up –
Colorado, I`ve written off.
So, the map shows it`s very close. They just need to get him to believe in
the efficacy of the messages that actually – which is, she is a terrible
Secretary of State and should be forced to defend her record, not one that
she would like to defend.
Which is a fictitious one about the President being the founder of ISIS.
O`DONNELL: Malcolm, in the space of 60 seconds or more, Hugh just gave the
very best speech that Donald Trump has never given.
But what it is a disciplined list in catalog. And before he was halfway
through it, I was thinking Donald Trump right now cannot remember the first
thing you said.
I mean, this is your problem, right? It is like you`re – if you were
trying to prepare a witness for trial and you`re saying here are the things
you need to say. He cannot retain this information.
NANCE: No, because he has no grounding in what happens outside of the Miss
Universe pageant in Moscow. If he`s not trying to put his name on a
building in Dubai, he does not understand there`s another world of human
beings out there who do not hold the same interest who we have that we may
have to interact with. He doesn`t care.
Look what happened in the Iraq war when we had experts who are deliberately
kept away from the war. Donald Trump just doesn`t understand that there`s
a world outside of the United States.
O`DONNELL: Hugh Hewitt, nice try trying to help Donald Trump today.
Malcolm Nance, thank you both very much.
NANCE: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Appreciate it.
Coming up, Russian cyber attack in the DNC was way bigger than we thought.
The question of what can happen to our voting machines. In fact, the
biggest risks our voting machine face is old age.
ANNOUNCER: This is THE LAST WORD on campaign 2016.
O`DONNELL: Howard Dean will be joining us in the campaign war room. But,
first, it`s intern night here at the last word, meaning, it is the last
night for Mariela Patron who is heading back to Berkeley to graduate
Mariela, thank you very much for everything you`ve done this summer. We`re
going to do a show next week without you and I think the audience is going
to be able to tell. It`s just not going to be the same.
MARIELA PATRON, “LAST WORD” INTERN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: What have you hated the most about New York City? I assume
it`s the ugly the humidity that we walk through every day.
PATRON: Yes, the humidity and I found that there`s a lot more bugs than in
O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s right.
PATRON: So I think it would be the bugs.
O`DONNELL: You are so lucky to be going home to the bug-less humidity-
PATRON: I`m looking forward to it.
O`DONNELL: When does school start?
PATRON: In about two weeks.
O`DONNELL: So, you have two weeks to relax a bit.
PATRON: Yes, I`ll try to.
O`DONNELL: Don`t watch any of this.
PATRON: It`s going to be hard.
O`DONNELL: Could you do us a favor?
O`DONNELL: Could you show Donald Trump how to read a teleprompter?
PATRON: I`ll try.
O`DONNELL: OK. Go ahead.
PATRON: So here is how we looked on the campaign trail.
O`DONNELL: Great, perfect, I hope Trump was watching.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There is a myth out there that
he will stick it to the rich and powerful because somehow he`s really on
the side of the little guy.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump to know
him is a man who has never forgotten the men and women who work with their
hands, teach our kids and protect our lives and property.
CLINTON: Don`t believe it.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINE: You know, the lobbyist they get
paid a fortune and they have total control over Hillary, special interest,
all of these people. They have total control over here.
CLINTON: Mr. Trump may talk a big game on trade, but his approach is based
on fear, not strength. If Team USA was as fearful as Trump, Michael Phelps
and Simone would be cowering in the locker room afraid to come out to
TRUMP: If short-circuit Hillary Clinton ever gets elected, it`s only going
to be worse.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Her opponent just says when
asked about the details, believe me.
TRUMP: Believe me, folks, OK?
KAINE: Anybody running for the job ought to be ready to share the details.
PENCE: At the time when the American people are crying out for change,
Hillary Clinton has showed up with the same tired answers that have run our
nation into economic ditch.
TRUMP: Once I get in, I will do my thing that I do very well. And I
figure it`s probably maybe the only way I`m going to get to heaven, so I
better do a good job.
CLINTON: One positive thing Trump could do to make America great again, is
actually make great things in America, again.
O`DONNELL: NBC News confirmed today that the computer hacks in the
Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee are wider than they originally believed and that they were result
of Russian hack.
Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking member of the select committee on
intelligence, released this statement earlier today. “If this, indeed,
turns out to be a cyberattack and leek conducted by foreign actor to
influence our elections, that would be a grave matter that should come with
serious consequences, that foreign actors may be trying to influence our
election, let alone a powerful adversary should concern all Americans of
But before these breaches happened, a 2014 report by the Presidential
Commission on Election Administration warned of an impending crisis arising
from the widespread wearing out of voting machines purchased a decade ago
or more. The lack of any voting machines on the market that meet the
current needs of election administrators and a standard setting process
that has broken down a certification process for new machines that is
costly and time consuming.
Joining us now, Adrian Karatnycky, senior fellow for the Atlantic Council
and an expert on Russia, and Ryan Maness, a research fellow at security
reliance studies at Northeastern University who specializes in Russian
foreign policy and cyber conflict and security.
Mr. Maness, the vulnerability of our voting machines is much larger, in
terms of the ones that simply face the problem of wear and tear and the
possible break down on Election Day, creating massive lines that then make
people turn away and leave. But the more modern ones that are vulnerable
to cyberattack, what do you see as any new concerns that should be brought
to that in light of what we`re now learning about the DNC hack?
RYAN MANESS, CYBER SECURITY EXPERT: Well, what`s going to be happening
with the voting machines is much different than what happened with the DNC
hack. The voting machines are pretty primitive in the sense they don`t
have the – they really don`t have the wherewithal to be susceptible to
sophisticated attacks. They`re like our industrial control systems,
they`re just told to do a few things like count.
So, most of these machines, to hack them, you would need to physically hack
them, meaning that you cannot do it remotely. You would have to be a human
being with a screwdriver getting p into these voting precincts maybe
undercover and then changing the firmware or hardware that way. And also,
many of these voting precincts, they have – these voting machines are
backed up by paper – by paper audits, meaning, if the machines are
counting too much votes in relation to the paper ballots, then there`s a
So, a lot of this talk about the Russians` possibly hacking our election,
is quite an undertaking compared to what they did the DNC hack. The DNC
was one network. We`re talking about 200,000 different kind of machines
for this to really kind of be impactful to the point where we can cry foul.
That`s just what I can see.
O`DONNELL: Adrian, any possibility that this was a Russian act, that
Vladimir Putin wasn`t in on it?
ADRIAN KARATNYCKY, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Absolutely not. In
2008, there was another hack of both the presidential campaigns of Senator
McCain and then-Senator Obama. It was revealed it was a Chinese hack and
they were trying to figure out what was the discussion to get on inside
intel on what the future policy course might be, just kind of a head start.
This is an effort to influence ideas and to erode confidence in
institutions. It`s a direct intervention. I think what Mr. Putin is
interested in creating chaos and creating mayhem, and undermining public
confidence. I mean, we all understand that – when people privately talk
to one another is a compromise.
O`DONNELL: But if you go into the Democratic Party, isn`t that a
deliberate attempt to undermine the Democratic Party and what it`s trying
to do. If you look at the first wave of revelation revelations, it`s
information that was very upsetting to Bernie Sanders` supporters,
understandably and rightfully so.
But what it was doing, in effect, was pitting Bernie Sanders supporters
against Hillary Clinton supporters at the time when Bernie Sanders was
trying to unify.
KARATNYCKY: Absolutely, if you look, Russia is actively involved in
electoral politics in Europe. It provides loans to far right political
candidates. It seems to have relationships with far left and political.
It`s very clear that the patterns with Putin over the last 10 years with
RTV and various media resources has been to kind of fracture and really to
create an emotion of confidence and consolidation among political
MANESS: I add that the Russians are pretty good at information warfare as
well as far as trying to influence the narrative in these Western countries
O`DONNELL: Yes, certainly, what they decide to do.
Adrian Karatnycky and Ryan Maness, thank you both very much for joining us
tonight. Appreciate it.
Coming up in the campaign “War Room” – what do voters hate the most about
Donald Trump? We actually have a poll on that.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump spoke to a group at the evangelical pastors today,
using an almost prayerful voice. But because he knows absolutely nothing
about religion, any religion, including the one he pretends his is, and
because he has no idea that evangelical pastors are not Mormons and because
he`s the first presidential nominee in 52 years who might lose Utah. He
asked this breathtakingly ignorant question about Utah this morning with an
audience of evangelical pastors in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You`ve got to get your people out to vote. And, especially, in
those states where we`re represented – I`m in a tremendous problem in
Utah. Utah is a different place and – is anybody here from Utah? I mean
– I didn`t think so. We`re having a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I guess you can say Utah is driving Donald Trump crazy, if you
didn`t think Donald Trump is already crazy.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight campaign`s “War Room”.
A new poll shows what bothers voters most about Donald Trump. The poll
ranked statements made by Donald Trump that offend voters the most.
Tied for number two in the line up was the statement he made at the
Republican convention that he, alone, can fix the country, 75 percent are
bothered by that, 75 percent are also bothered by Donald Trump`s attack on
Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Gold Star parents of Sergeant Humayun Khan who
was killed in action in Iraq.
And the thing that Donald Trump said that bothers Americans the most was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: “The Washington Post” writes an article written by nice reporter,
now the poor guy, you`ve got to see this guy, I don`t know what I said, I
don`t remember. He`s going, I don`t remember. Maybe that`s what I said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump mocking the physical disability of a reporter
bothered 83 percent of voters. Hillary Clinton`s campaign has been hitting
on that point for nearly a month in one of its most heavily run ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You`ve got to see this guy, oh I don`t know what I said, I don`t
CLINTON: Our children and grandchildren will look back at this time at the
choices we are about to make, the goals we will strive for, the principles
we will live by, and we need to make sure that they can be proud of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It`s just 88 days left for the campaign “War Room”. Joining us
tonight in the LAST WORD “War Room”, Howard Dean, former DNC chairman and
more importantly former presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton supporter
Jim McLaughlin, veteran of Bob Dole`s 1996 and Fred Thompson`s 2008
presidential campaign war rooms.
Jim, Donald Trump today very proud that he has spent nothing on TV
advertising, nothing, zero. He said, he`s proud of that while Hillary
Clinton has been running that ad.
JIM MCLAUGHLIN, WORKED FOR BOB DOLE`S 1996 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: She`s
been running it a lot.
MCLAUGHLIN: I`ve been recently to Ohio and Florida, and it`s out there.
But I think it`s only a matter of time before Donald Trump and his
campaign, they need to get up on the air. One of the things they`ll want
to do is start talking about the real issues in the campaign. I think the
ads will help them do that.
O`DONNELL: Eighty-eight days, Howard, how long do you wait?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: If he`s not on the air with some
substance about at least ten days after Labor Day, the very latest, he`s
got an enormous amount of trouble. That`s when the sentiments start to
coalesce. I can`t get too excited about the polls yet. But he`s got about
three weeks to turn this thing around or four weeks, if he doesn`t, I don`t
think he`s going to win.
O`DONNELL: Jim, you`re experienced in Republican politics. This emergency
meeting tomorrow in Florida, which Trump will not attend. He will be the
subject of discussion, though, it`s going to be all about how do we manage
this candidate, not this campaign, this human being, how do we make him
behave differently, suddenly?
MCLAUGHLIN: I wasn`t invited to the meeting, but, I guess, they`re going
to be talking about the things they want to do and one of the things is
going to be the TV ads, and I`m sure it`s going to be one of those things,
what kind of coordination they`ll have, between the RNC, between the Trump
I think the most important thing they`ll want to talk about is message
discipline, because the interesting part is, you know, I remember back
where, you know, had somebody like Mike Dukakis, was 17 points aid head of
Bush. He wants to talk about making the economy better and he wants to
attract the two-thirds of the voters things are on the wrong track right
now in the country.
O`DONNELL: How does the DNC watch what`s happening tomorrow in Florida?
They know they`ve got tensions between the Republican Party and
presidential candidate and that big question of where does the party spend
DEAN: For the DNC?
O`DONNELL: For the DNC, when they`re looking at that, is there a way for
them to add to the sense of urgency in that campaign in terms of what
DEAN: Right now, the DNC is basically Hillary Clinton. It`s how it`s
supposed to work. It doesn`t work –
O`DONNELL: What about the Senate and the House?
DEAN: Well, they have a separate – the –
O`DONNELL: They do have a separate thing.
DEAN: They get to run their own thing. I mean, the reason those bodies
exist is because the DNC or the RNC, in the case of the Republicans, has
always been subsumed by the presidential candidate. So, I think there will
be a lot of coordination on the Democratic side.
I`m not sure – Trump has incredible ability to step on his own message.
I`m just shocked and amazed of how he can turn everything into being about
Donald Trump. Every time he does it, about three quarters of the time, it
doesn`t help him.
O`DONNELL: I mean, Doctor –
DEAN: Do I think –
O`DONNELL: Is there any hope for this patient?
DEAN: There`s not any hope for him to change, he`s 70 years old. It`s
going to be really rough. Again, I`m going to be very cautious, because as
you know, I was wrong for – once a week for the entire year about Donald
O`DONNELL: But Jim just mentioned the Dukakis lead, that`s one of the
famous stories of all, he was up against extremely disciplined candidate
when they figured out what they want today do, they did it.
DEAN: Yes, they were incredibly skilled. It was a fantastic campaign,
first Bush campaign.
MCLAUGHLIN: And the truth of the matter, the voters want another four
years of Ronald Reagan and that`s what he got 90 percent of the Reagan
O`DONNELL: Out of time for tonight. Howard Dean and Jim McLaughlin –
thank you very much for joining us. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The reason I wanted to do this instead of a ho-hum speech where I
say, you know, talk about my childhood, talk about whatever, have a few
people yawning in the middle, did you notice I took the teleprompters down,
right? I had teleprompters. I had a speech written by a professional. I
said I`m not reading this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s been working so well for him.
Chris Hayes is up next.
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