The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 8/15/2016

Ron Wyden, Katie Packer, Gwen Moore, Graeme Wood, Kurt Andersen, Tim Miller, Barry Meier

Date: August 15, 2016
Guest: Ron Wyden, Katie Packer, Gwen Moore, Graeme Wood, Kurt Andersen,
Tim Miller, Barry Meier


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, good afternoon, congratulations, you did us proud
today, how are you feeling?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The background might – the background might look so
(INAUDIBLE), but it`s very real.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s all there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lads, listen, what has the last few hours been like for


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I suppose we did a bit of celebration in the
podium thing and got the podium fans as well, so that was quite nice.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Great, are just happy they got to put on their
podium pants. If you are wondering, these are their podium pants.

You know, O`Donavan brothers wearing their podium pants and one of the most
coveted medals in the world doesn`t take much to make them happy, so

That does it for us tonight, 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: Rachel, now you have me sobbing
for the O`Donovan brothers.

MADDOW: I know, I know, what`s the crack? I know –

O`DONNELL: Anyway, welcome back from vacation and –

MADDOW: Thank you –

O`DONNELL: By the way, all you missed last week was Donald Trump being

MADDOW: Oh, good.

O`DONNELL: That`s it, nothing else.

MADDOW: Just a little joke between friends.

O`DONNELL: Yes, just –


O`DONNELL: Something like that, yes.


MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence –

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. The “New York Times” reporter who broke the
story about possible cash payments to Donald Trump`s campaign Chair Paul
Manafort of $12.7 million will join us and explain how he followed the
money to the Ukraine.

And we`ll be joined by Senator Ron Widen because he might have figured out
a way for us all to get a look at Donald Trump`s tax returns. But first,
the latest polls show Hillary Clinton surging now to a big lead in the
electoral college.


ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: I`m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: That`s the guy who knows he`s going to lose.

TRUMP: I`m running against the crooked media. That`s what I`m running


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not going to win the election running against the
“New York Times”.


TRUMP: I may be wrong and on November 8th, I`ll say, I guess I was wrong.

known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security than
Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Oh, you better elect me, folks, I`ll never speak to you again.

BIDEN: It absolutely amazes me that he doesn`t seem to want to learn.

TRUMP: The time is over due to develop a new screening test for the
threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting.

CLINTON: We face real serious challenges in America. We need serious

TRUMP: You can get her out, get her out. You know, she looks just like
Hillary Clinton, actually.

BIDEN: This man is totally, thoroughly unqualified to be president of the
United States of America.



O`DONNELL: And we now know the name of the next Trump family reality show.


TRUMP: I`d call it extreme vetting. I`d call it extreme vetting.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump will assign celebrities and former celebrities to
vetting teams, and each team will compete with the other on vetting
domestic help, gardeners, cooks, house cleaners for the Trump family

Because when the children are in Africa killing beautiful animals or
vacationing in Croatia as one of them is today, the Trump kids never have
the time to vet their domestic help, never mind extreme vetting the
domestic help.

At the end of each episode with the wise advice of his kids who have been
doing such a great job advising him on his presidential campaign, Donald
Trump will fire someone, anyone, whether he or she deserves it or not.

And according to the latest polls, Donald Trump will be available to fully
commit to production of that show beginning on November 9th, the day after
election day.

When current polls indicate he will be wiped out in the electoral college.
The latest Nbc News 2016 battleground map shows Hillary Clinton surging
past the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

Nbc`s calculations based on the most recent polling show Hillary Clinton
with 288 electoral votes, Donald Trump with 174, with 76 electoral votes
that could go either way at this point.

A recent national poll shows Hillary Clinton at 42 with Donald Trump at 36,
and at least 10 percent voting for a third party candidate.

Those percentages are almost identical to Bill Clinton`s winning percentage
in his first presidential campaign in 1992 when he got 43 percent of the
vote to President George H.W. Bush`s 37 percent of the vote.

Ross Perot took 19, and Bill Clinton`s 43 percent of that vote gave him 370
electoral votes, a 100 more than he needed in what was an electoral college
landslide for President Clinton.

Donald Trump`s extreme vetting pitch today was one of the few moments where
he slightly departed from a written speech about how he would defeat the
Islamic State.

He began with an assessment of how we got to where we are today, blaming
someone he called Obama-Clinton for the current situation in Libya, Syria
and Iraq and the spread of ISIS across the Middle East and Europe.

But he also did something that no other Republican nominee has ever dreamed
of doing. He condemned President George W. Bush for the Bush-Cheney war in
Iraq. But he did it without ever mentioning the names Bush or Cheney.


TRUMP: What was the purpose of this whole thing? Hundreds and hundreds of
young people killed and what about the people coming back with no arms and
no legs? Not to mention, in all fairness, the other side, the tremendous
damage done.

All those Iraqi kids who have been blown to pieces. And it turns out that
all of the reasons for the war were blatantly wrong. All of this death and
destruction for nothing.


O`DONNELL: The Trump campaign has been so full of stunning statements from
Donald Trump, plagiarized statements from his wife and robotic madness from
some Donald Trump spokes people that it has been impossible for the news
media to step back and give properly-weighted astonishment to each of them.

But what we just heard is worth a pause. We just heard the Republican
nominee for president say that every American soldier who has died in Iraq
has died for nothing. That the Bush-Cheney war in Iraq was a waste of
lives pursued for the wrong reasons.

Nothing John Kerry could say in the 2004 presidential campaign could
convince the Republican base to change its mind in any way about fully
supporting the Bush-Cheney version of war in Iraq.

Nothing Barack Obama said could change the mind of the Republican base
about Iraq, and anyone who dared to publicly condemn the Bush-Cheney Iraq
war has always been attacked viciously by Dick Cheney appearing on “Fox
News” or a member of his family doing it for him until Donald Trump.

Donald Trump extinguished Cheneyism in American politics. Every chance he
gets, including today, Donald Trump says that the Iraq war was a mistake,
that it was all for nothing. And every time he says it, Dick Cheney, and
his previously combative daughter, silently in fear somewhere.

And the Republican base continues to cheer for Donald Trump. Here is the
strategy that candidate Trump outlined today to – as he put it, crush


TRUMP: My administration will aggressively pursue joint and coalition,
military operations to crush and destroy ISIS.

International cooperation to cut off their funding, expanded intelligence
sharing and cyber warfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and
recruiting. Their recruiting is taking place right now and they`re setting
records. It`s got to be stopped.


We cannot allow the internet to be used as a recruiting tool. And for
other purposes by our enemy, we must shut down their access to this form of
communication and we must do it immediately.



O`DONNELL: At a Clinton campaign event today in Pennsylvania where Hillary
Clinton holds a strong lead over Donald Trump, Joe Biden offered the
audience an image of Donald Trump, that according to polls scares most
people in this country – President Trump with the nuclear codes.


BIDEN: Someone who lacks this judgment cannot be trusted. There`s a guy
that follows me right back here, has the nuclear codes. So, God forbid if
anything happens to the President and I have to make a decision, the codes
are with me – he is not qualified to know the codes!


He can`t be trusted!


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Tim Miller, senior adviser for Our Principles;
an anti-Trump PAC, he`s also a former spokesman for the – communications
director for Jeb 2016. Also with us, Kurt Andersen; the host of public
radio program “Studio 360”.

And Graeme Wood; contributing editor for “The Atlantic” and a fellow at the
Council on Foreign Relations, he`s an expert on ISIS and he wrote that
definitive piece “what ISIS really wants”. Graeme, I listened to Donald
Trump`s methods for crushing ISIS.

I didn`t hear anything that we`re not doing already. Did I miss something?

extreme vetting is one of the methods for crushing ISIS –


WOOD: It`s something that we`re not doing in the way that he would like.
But it`s true, we`re already working on the cyber warfare aspect of it.
And yes, we`ve got quite a bit of boots on the ground in fact.

Helping Kurds, helping Iraqi soldiers, take on ISIS where it lives.
Already that`s happening.

O`DONNELL: What – if he is serious about doing something that we`re not
already doing, what would that be? I mean, if you were desperately trying
to pull something out of this. Is there anything in there that you could
point to?

WOOD: When he talks about disrupting recruiting, I assume that he`s
talking about something beyond on just snooping on more people`s e-mails.

What ISIS does to recruit people is a person-to-person contact. You`d have
to shut down Gmail, you`d have to shut down Yahoo Mail, you`d have to shut
down e-mail to actually make that happen.


WOOD: So, there`s no realistic way that this is a serious proposal.

O`DONNELL: And Kurt, he seems to think that that`s possible.


O`DONNELL: When you – when you hear him talk about, we must shut down
their access to this form of communication.

ANDERSEN: Well, this form of communication sounds like my grandpa –


ANDERSEN: Talking about internet access. And that`s the thing. You would
think that he or someone around him would say, shut down internet access
for every ISIS recruiter. How do we do that exactly?

It`s the most – it`s the one new thing in his here-to-for secret plan to
crush ISIS, but of course it`s impossible.

The other thing in addition to his plan, which is simply a summary of what
this administration is already doing, except for shutting down internet
access, is to make sure that nobody immigrates to the United States who is
committed to bigotry or hatred.

Now, and he said this without irony –


ANDERSEN: Donald Trump, which I found –

WOOD: We`re not assuming, I mean –


O`DONNELL: Sarcastic –



WOOD: And so exactly –

O`DONNELL: Right –

ANDERSEN: And funny if it is –

O`DONNELL: Right –

ANDERSEN: It was very funny.

O`DONNELL: Tim, the Trump prescription, none of us can find anything that
the Obama administration isn`t already doing. What is it that his
Republican supporters are hearing when they hear this?

hearing is somebody who said he`s going to be tough and strong. You know,
somebody who is not going to follow the Geneva Convention or whatever silly
rules Hillary Clinton will follow when dealing with terrorists.

That I actually did hear one new thing that he said today that is extremely
disturbing, far more disturbing than the other things he said.

And that is that our alliances under a Trump administration are going to be
mercenary. They aren`t even based on shared values or shared commitments
to human rights or to ideals as it`s been in a bipartisan consensus since
World War II.

Instead, it`s going to be who is going to pay for it and, you know, who is
going to help us regardless of their ideology and the war against ISIS.
And what that means is, it will end up allying us with Vladimir Putin and
probably Bashar al-Assad, and puts us out of alliance with many countries
who do share our values.

ANDERSEN: And indeed dictators are good, at least in the Middle East was
the policy of the day. Mubarak was better than what came after, Gaddafi
was better than what came after. Assad, we should have – we shouldn`t
have done whatever we apparently did to make Syria such a mess. That is
the Trump policy, it`s (INAUDIBLE) –

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what he said today about nation building.


TRUMP: If I become president, the era of nation building will be brought
to a very swift and decisive end.



O`DONNELL: And Graeme, he is stealing a line from President Bush`s first
presidential campaign in 2000 where he said exactly the same thing.

WOOD: Yes, he has a policy of nation wrecking. Once we`re – once we`ve
wrecked ISIS` territory, then what happens after that if there is not some
program of building then you have exactly the kind of chaos that even
Donald Trump attributes to the rise of ISIS.

So, he`s just talking about rebooting an episode that we don`t want to
watch again.

MILLER: We will build, we`ll occupy them to maintain the oil fields.

O`DONNELL: Yes, exactly, yes. He went on at length about that today,
Kurt, about, you know, we should have taken – in other words, we should
have taken – you know, I told everybody take –

ANDERSEN: I know, and said, in the old days to the victor went the spoils.
Well, to the old days, what, in the 16th and 18th century?

O`DONNELL: Well, in wars with Mexico or Indian tribes, but –


O`DONNELL: Nothing else.

ANDERSEN: Yes, that hasn`t been the way 20th century war –

O`DONNELL: We took nothing from Japan, we took nothing from Germany –


O`DONNELL: And Tim, his audience doesn`t seem to know that because that
line got huge applause.

MILLER: No, and that`s extremely troubling. And like I said, it`s a
complete departure from the post World War II bipartisan consensus. He is
the most dangerous nominee on foreign policy of either party since World
War II.

And this has been the great thing about America and no matter what you
maybe at this table might think about Reagan or George W. Bush`s foreign
policy, at least it was founded in basic American principles.

About willing to support freedom, willing to support human rights. Trump
has no interest in any of that. It`s completely mercenary and
transactional. And it`s going to end us throwing us illegal, some of the
worst people in the world.

It`s extremely disturbing on the level that I think that some people on the
coverage of it have (INAUDIBLE) because there`s so much focus on all the
Trumpiness of it.

O`DONNELL: And so much of the criticism of the Iraq war from people who
believe it was a deliberate active line to get us in there. So much of
that criticism was we went there for oil. We went there for oil.

And Graeme, Donald Trump wants to prove that, that we went there for oil.

WOOD: Yes, he says we should take the oil, if we were in there, why don`t
we keep the oil and why don`t we use that money to pay for the recovery of
wounded veterans, I think was one of the suggestions that he had.

This is – this is the going conspiracy theory about – in the Middle East
about the American intervention in Iraq. That yes, it was to simply
plunder the place, and Donald Trump says why shouldn`t we do that.



ANDERSEN: That we created ISIS, which of course, he`s also signed on to in
a big way.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, to give Americans credit for the creation of the
Islamic State is –


O`DONNELL: To completely fail to comprehend the region.

MILLER: Again, Hezbollah echoed him on this. So, this is, you know, yet
another time during the Trump campaign where he`s been basically on the
Putin-Assad message.

And now, in this case, it was Hezbollah who announced this week and said,
see, even Donald Trump says that it was the Americans that created ISIS.

O`DONNELL: Kurt, I need to get the theater critic in here since you`ve
been watching Trump longer than any of us. This was the kind of speech
that last week I called Xanax Trump. Where he – it looks like he might
not be doing this entirely on his own.

There could be pharmaceuticals involved to deliver that performance where
he kind of reads it and you`re wondering is he going to fall asleep before
I do?

ANDERSEN: Well, I think he knows that this is so not what he should be
doing. This is not the Trump that 40 percent of the Republican Party and
then the whole Republican Party bought.

It is the, you know, rim shot, let`s be funny, let`s say whatever we want.
Let`s –


ANDERSEN: Meander all over the place rather than sticking to these written
points. He looks so terribly uncomfortable. And I think he comes away
from a performance like that and knows it. Know that this isn`t what I
should be doing.

This is not me.

O`DONNELL: Well, we`ll see what he does tomorrow. Tim Miller, Kurt
Andersen, Graeme Wood, thank you all very much for joining us tonight, I
appreciate it.

Coming up, how the “New York Times” followed the money to the Ukraine,
$12.7 million in cash that appears beside Paul`s Manafort`s name,
indictments there.

One of the reporters who broke that story will join us. And it`s just a
tradition for presidential candidates to release their tax returns.
Senator Ron Wyden wants to make it a law. Senator Wyden will join us.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s episode of Republicans against Trump. The
“Financial Times” reports a group of eight senior Republicans, Asia experts
are now the latest Republicans to declare they are voting for Hillary
Clinton, not just against Trump, voting for Hillary Clinton.

An open letter declares Donald Trump would lead to “ruin this
marginalization of the United States in Asia if elected president.

The current Republican presidential candidate offers only bluster or
preposterous panaceas for Asia ideas which if they ever find their way into
policy will wreck our country`s credibility, economy and leadership in very
short order.”

Up next, the “New York Times” report about cash payments to Donald Trump`s
campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, and how they tracked that down in the
Ukraine. The reporter who broke the story will join us.


O`DONNELL: Paul Manafort has taken on the difficult and often maddening
job of being the Chairman of the Trump campaign. And he`s doing it for
nothing. He`s not being paid.

Why is he doing that and why does a ledger found in Ukraine indicate that
he was paid $12.7 million in cash while he was working for the then
president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.

Joining us now, Barry Meier; one of the reporters who broke the big story
of the day today for “New York Times” on the possible cash payment to Paul
Manafort. He`s also the author of “Missing Man: The American Spy Who
Vanished in Iran”.

Barry, thank you very much for joining us. Again, you`ve had a long day
starting with the publication of this big story where you tracked down this
ledger in Ukraine. Tell us what you found and what it suggests.

BARRY MEIER, JOURNALIST: Well, major kudos to my colleague Andrew Kramer
who was the one who went to Ukraine to find this ledger.

Essentially, you have a situation there like a bookie join, if you will.
You`ve got a legitimate economic ledger, and then you`ve got this off-books
cash ledger.

And in that ledger, there were 22 entries over a five-year period showing a
total of $12.7 million assigned to Paul Manafort. We don`t know if he got
the money.

We don`t know if the money went to anyone, went to his firm, went to his
associates, that investigation is now underway by the Ukrainian

O`DONNELL: We – what we do know is that he did serve as a political
consultant to the president of Ukraine, and that, that kind of money is
flying around there, and there`s some very big players interested in what`s
happening there.

You detailed various business deals in your article, including one
involving a Russian who the United States government regards as kind of a
gangster, who they don`t think people should be in business with.

And Manafort is in business with these kinds of people.

MEIER: That`s absolutely correct. I mean, there are business dealings
between him and Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch who has been barred
from the U.S.

Another fellow by the name of Fettash(ph) who basically is under indictment
here in the U.S., he was involved with the, you know, a revolving set of
characters on the business front than on the political lobbying front.

He had Mr. Yanukovych as his client, and there is this interlap – overlap,
I should say, between his political activities and his business activities.
And that`s – who knows what happened there. But there`s a lot of stuff
going on.

Paul Manafort released a statement today, saying he absolutely never
received any cash payments. The statement takes an odd turn as you get
down to the bottom of it.

Where he says all payments were made to my entire firm and everyone working
there. And so, it left me wondering, what are you saying?

Are you saying that you as an individual never received cash payments or
did you receive giant cash payments? They just – you just didn`t take it
to be for you as an individual?

MEIER: Well, I think you bring up a good point because I read his
statement very similarly. And it`s, I didn`t receive –

O`DONNELL: Right –

MEIER: I didn`t get, and then he says, well, there are these payments made
to my entourage or –


MEIER: My political firm. And so, what we don`t know is ,A, who were
those – who did those – who were those payments designated for if they
existed? Did they go to his associates, to his firm, and how much did he
actually make?

I mean, we`ve asked him how much did Mr. Yanukovych and the party of
regents pay you and your firm for your services during this five-year
period and in question.

And when I last checked my e-mail, was about 15 seconds ago, we hadn`t
received any kind of answer.

O`DONNELL: And how much has a politician paid a political consultant is an
easily answerable question and must be answered by law in the United
States. You must file reports about that.


MEIER: Yes, but he`s playing on a very different –

O`DONNELL: Right –

MEIER: Field –

O`DONNELL: There – and he refused to cooperate with your article in any
way, refuse to answer any questions.

MEIER: Except for stock denials by his attorney, but did not respond to
any questions from us.

O`DONNELL: Barry Meier, thank you very much for joining us tonight with
this breaking story –

MEIER: Thanks so much –

O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Coming up, turning a tradition into a
law, Senator Ron Wyden wants to require the release of presidential
candidates tax returns. Senator Wyden joins us next.



PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Mr. Trump`s position has been clear
from the beginning, he`s under audit. When the audit is completed, he`ll
release his terms.


O`DONNELL: That was Paul Manafort yesterday defending Donald Trump`s
refusal to release his tax returns. The most tax return question for Mr.
Manafort now is, do Paul Manafort`s tax returns reflect $12.7 million in
cash that he might have been handed by his former political client, former
president of Ukraine.

Despite my public urgings via Twitter, no Trump interviewer or Manafort
interviewer has asked that Donald Trump released at least his audit letter
from the IRS proving that he is being audited or at least was audited,
although an audit letter could indicate an audit commenced. We would have
no way of knowing if it is still going on.

So, there is still no proof that Donald Trump is actually being audited.
Most of the press doesn`t seem to understand that.

And President Nixon did release tax returns while he was being audited, so
there`s no reason why an audit should prevent a candidate from releasing
returns. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine released their most recent tax
returns Friday, along with this video.



if he`s a real deal or a phony if he releases his tax returns.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: The last 30 or 40 years,
every candidate has released their tax returns, and I think Donald Trump
should as well.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know, if you`re running at a
minimum, probably, you`re going to have to show your return.

If you didn`t see the tax return, you would think there`s something wrong,
what`s wrong?


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, the ranking member of the Senate Finance
Committee, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Senator, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Senator – as I said, it`s a tradition that the candidates
release their returns and you have an idea to make it requirement, tell us
how you would do that.

WYDEN: Larry, first of all, I wish it wasn`t necessary. This has been a
40-year expectation, Democrats and Republicans, the reality is a tax return
tells a whole lot about the people who want the world`s most demanding job,
the tax return doesn`t spin, it`s all there in black and white when I have
proposed is that within a couple of weeks after convention, candidate would
make it public if they don`t, it would, in effect, be automatic, you would
have the federal election commission get it from the Treasury Department,
they would put it on the web site and the American people would have the

O`DONNELL: Now, I would ask the first question that I would have asked to
the finance committee council back when I was working there, is this
constitutional? The Constitution specifies requirements for the
presidency, age, natural born citizen, but it doesn`t specify, you must
release tax returns, tax returns didn`t exist then.

WYDEN: Larry, it is definitely constitutional. This is well within the
purview of the United States Congress. In fact, I would say it is much
like when the Congress determined with the Federal Election Commission that
there`d be financial disclosures. So, there`s no question to my mind, this
is constitutional.

O`DONNELL: Yes. So, this would be another element added within that FEC
regime that does dictate, in effect, behavior of candidates?

WYDEN: I think you can say that. The reality is, the American people have
a right to know and you`ve been touching on these questions throughout the
show. For example, whether a political candidate has foreign investments.
Are there conflicts of interest there? Does a candidate give to charity?

These are questions that seems to me, Democrats and Republicans have all
said, in effect, go with the turf. Nobody is required to run for president
of the United States, but there`s been a standard that you would disclose
this information and has, apparently, been the case fairly often when Mr.
Trump thinks it`s convenient. He just ignores the standard.

O`DONNELL: Senator, I`d like you to address something since you`re the
highest ranking Democrat on the tax-writing committee, jurisdiction over
all of this in the IRS and the Senate, address something that I answer
every once in a while on Twitter, someone will say to me in Twitter, why
doesn`t the IRS just release his returns, why can`t they say whether
they`re auditing Donald Trump or not? And I try to explain, the rigorous
privacy that surrounds tax information.

But explain that to the audience about why this – how the IRS is bound to
secrecy in these matters.

WYDEN: The IRS – and this has certainly been an important political
issue, is held to very strong privacy strictures. The idea that the IRS
would just disclose this information automatically without the Congress
having the chance to debate this and direct that, just to me, would be over
the line.

I`d rather not have to go forward with a law, Larry, we usually think there
are plenty of laws, but this is a case where you have a candidate for
president of the United States, in effect, flouting the public`s right to
know and he`s doing it in a way that, in effect, walks back a tradition
we`ve had for four decades in America that`s been very much in the public

O`DONNELL: Senator, I would guess you would have bipartisan support for
this that there`s got to be a dozen or 25 Republican senators you`re
working with every day who feel like their party just got hijacked by this
candidate who it turns out, among other crazy things, won`t release his tax
returns and they want to keep people like that away from their nomination.

WYDEN: You`re being logical, Larry. That`s going to be my argument and I
will be calling when we get to September after Labor Day, I`ll be calling
on the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to bring this up right away as
priority business for exactly the reason you`ve described and I would note
that you ran a comment, again, from Mitch McConnell in the preview
indicating that he, too, thought that this was in the public interest.

O`DONNELL: Senator Ron Wyden, the once and future chairman of the Finance
Committee when the Democrats get the majority back – thank you very much
for joining us tonight, Senator.

WYDEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up next, we`ll go inside the desperate Trump campaign
war room with the “Wall Street Journal” today asking Donald Trump to get
out of the race and hand that presidential nomination to his running mate,
Mike Pence.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s campaign “War Room”, “The Wall Street
Journal” in editorial said if they can`t get him to change his act by Labor
Day, the GOP will have no choice but to write off the nominee as hopeless
and focus on salvaging the Senate and House and other down-ballot races.

As for Trump, he needs to stop blaming everyone else and decides if he
wants to behave like someone who wants to be president or turn the
nomination over to Mike Pence.

With 84 days left from presidential campaign war rooms, joining us in
tonight`s LAST WORD “War Room” is Katie Packer, a veteran of Mitt Romney`s
2008 and 2012 campaign war rooms.

Katie, “The Wall Street Journal” is, once again, clinging to this possible
– this possibility that somehow after Labor Day, by Labor Day, Donald
Trump will change, he`ll start behaving differently.

CAMPAIGNS: You know, it`s inconceivable to me that there are people out
there that think he`s going to change his spots. I mean, this is a guy
that`s shown time and time again you can give him a teleprompter, he can
give a speech, he can read somebody else`s words, and the minute he`s left
to his own devices, he`s often running in a different direction. And I
think conservatives, even those who had fallen in line once the primary
concluded, are just exhausted by it.

And so, you know, I don`t have any anticipation that things are going to
change, but I think if Donald Trump, you know, wants to keep any shred of
dignity, he`s going to have to get very serious about being a presidential

O`DONNELL: And there`s a lot of problems with that campaign trying to get
serious, chief among them is recruiting. “Politico” has a report tonight
saying that the state directors they`ve been hiring are not exactly the A
team. They said veteran Republican operatives say the battleground states
they`ve never heard of Trump state directors and they have limited
familiarity with them and they know them and question their ability to do
the job.

I mean, that`s the way this campaign begun, with Corey Lewandowski and
people who would have never been in positions like that.

PACKER: Yes, absolutely. We`ve seen this from the beginning of the Trump
campaign they haven`t been able to acquire really top level talent, even
with all of the respect to Mr. Manafort. Paul Manafort is somebody who
actually hasn`t done a campaign in several days. We`re seeing sort of his
rustiness on the campaign trail. Even he has become a distraction this
week with allegations of inappropriate behavior and financial dealings in
Ukraine, that he`s having to answer to.

These are things that should not be confronting a presidential candidate.
There are distractions. They are messy. This whole campaign is a hot

And I really do think that we`re seeing the American people that are just
tiring of it and that`s why we`re seeing these poll numbers that have just
started to crash down to earth and they`ve got a real problem on their
hands. I do think that the day is coming very, very soon where the party,
at large, is going to say, we`ve had enough and we`re going to focus on
down-ballot races and see what we can do to keep our floods from taking the
down-ballots with them.

O`DONNELL: And, Katie, every tweet I`ve read from Donald Trump in the last
24 hours or so has read like a leaked line from a concession speech,
blaming the media. I`d be 20 points ahead if they told the truth about me.
Just – it`s constant blame for why he`s so far behind in the polls.

And he could use exactly those lines and we might hear them on election
night as part of his concession speech, why he lost.

PACKER: Yes. And he sounds like a petulant child. These are the kind of
things you hear from a child, complaining life hasn`t been fair to them. I
mean, this was a guy that was born on third base and running around acting
like he hit a triple. Life has been pretty good to him. He doesn`t have
too much to complain about.

He managed to win these primaries. He had every opportunity. The lion
share of the Republican Party has rallied around him, even though he didn`t
really earn that right. But he`s continued to embarrass the party and
exhaust the party. And I really do think that patience is wearing thin.

O`DONNELL: Katie Packer, thanks for joining us again tonight in the war
room, really appreciate it.

PACKER: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Ms. Gwen Moore from Milwaukee will join us. We`ll
get a report on the latest there after a weekend that saw a killing of a
black man by police that led to disturbances there.


MADDOW: In just about 12 minutes, 10:00 Central Time, a curfew for
Milwaukee teenagers will go into effect after two nights of violence in the
wake of a police shooting over the weekend.

On Saturday, a black Milwaukee police officer shot and killed Sylville
Smith a 23-year-old black man after traffic stop turned into a chase. They
say he did not drop the gun that he was carrying, even after the officer
told him multiple times to drop that gun. Police say the gun was stolen
loaded, semiautomatic handgun.

Officials say there is body camera video showing Sylville Smith with that
weapon. But that video won`t be released until the Wisconsin Justice
Department has finished its investigation.

Today, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett urged that the video be released.


TOM BARRETT, MAYOR OF MILWAUKEE: I want the video released. I believe the
video will provide a lot of context as to what`s going on. I have not seen
the video. I saw the still shot taken from the video from which the
individual had a gun in his hand.


O`DONNELL: On both Saturday and Sunday night, local businesses and police
cars were destroyed and police made more than 30 arrests eight officers
were injured and 18-year-old was taken to the hospital last night after
being shot in the neck.

Joining us now outside the Milwaukee police headquarters, NBC`s Kerry

Kerry, what`s the situation there tonight?

KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We`ve actually moved from the
police headquarters, Lawrence, over into the Sherman Park area where
there`s been a fair amount of police activity tonight.

In fact, some of the officers wearing riot gear. They have the zip ties on
their side. We saw just a short time ago, they had a car pulled over for
about 20 minutes, just a short distance from where I am, about three
blocks, and we can see from this other picture, there was even some gunfire
here this evening. So while things are calm and there`s no repeat thus far
of what`s happened the last two nights, there`s certainly a sense of the
police being aware and a community that is on edge.

As you noted, Lawrence, there`s a lot of people who would like to see that
videotape released. It was a body camera, the police chief here calls it a
silent movie because it was not recording any audio. That audio didn`t
click in. We won`t actually, when we eventually see it, hear what the
officer may have said to the suspect that he was chasing on foot.

But what is, perhaps, most demanded from this community, they don`t want to
hear, as we just heard, the mayor describing what he saw in that single
image, rather the folks here say they want to see it. As happens on
situations like this, especially in a community where people have distrust
of the authorities, the police, they say, look, unless we get a chance to
see it, why should we believe what we`re being told.

So, what`s holding up right now, as you noted, is the department of justice
here in Wisconsin has the videotape as part of their investigation.
They`re an outside agency. Wisconsin turns to outside agencies to
determine whether there was something right or wrong.

So, the videotape may not be released immediately, and until it`s released,
I think there`s going to be a fair amount of people here, Lawrence, who
just don`t believe it. They want to see it to understand it themselves.

O`DONNELL: Kerry Sanders, live from the streets of Milwaukee – thank you,
Kerry. Really appreciate it.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore who represents the district where all this
happened in Milwaukee will join us next.


O`DONNELL: Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn had this to say about the
police body cam video of that shooting that occurred there on Saturday.


EDWARD FLYNN, MILWAUKEE POLICE CHIEF: Every time one of these is released,
it`s usually a chief airing on the side of transparency at some risk to the
criminal justice process. You`re going to find very few, you know, career
attorneys who are going to say, oh, yes, get that out in public as fast as
possible. You may get police chiefs who say that. You`re certainly going
to get some political figures who believe that very strongly as well as
community activists. But this is a balancing act and we`re doing to try to
do our best to get it right.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore whose
district includes the city of Milwaukee, where all of this trouble has
occurred this weekend.

Congresswoman Moore, thank you very much for joining us tonight. What`s
your reaction to what Chief Flynn said about that balancing act involved in
releasing the video?

REP. GWEN MOORE (D), WISCONSIN: I can tell you that our mayor and our
police chief have really tried to be very responsible to the community over
the course of the last few days. I`m really proud of the way that the
clergy, the way community-based organizations, young black male elected
officials have come together to try to bring regular order back to the

And, in fact, we`ve seen a Nate Hamilton and Maria Hamilton brother and
mother of Dontre Hamilton – Dontre Hamilton, of course, is a victim two
years ago of a police shooting. We`ve seen them out in the streets, on
their hands and knees picking up glass and debris from some of the burnt
out store fronts.

And so, this is the community that`s trying really, really hard to come
together, really trying very, very hard to address and acknowledge the
frustration of the community, but yet trying to make sure that – that we
have some calm.

O`DONNELL: One of the things with the history of this subject shows
everywhere in the United States, is that when you get a violent community
reaction like this, it is never for that one individual incident, it`s
always an accumulation of past grievances that have not been satisfactorily
addressed in terms of the community`s understanding of them, at least.

Is that the case in Milwaukee?

MOORE: Oh, absolutely, Lawrence. You know, we have one of the youngest
African-American populations in the country. And the resources for jobs,
for, you know, for economic well being, for basic things like being – the
ability to pay rent for women and the high incarceration rate for black
men. We have the highest incarceration rate of African-American men in the
country. It creates a power keg.

It`s so ironic that on the same day that this violence broke out in
Milwaukee, I was on a panel where we discussed if we would just fix our
infrastructure in this country, it would create 20 million jobs and that
would work so well for a place like Milwaukee who has seen, you know, not
only such a downturn from its manufacturing base and center, but has not
really recovered from the last recession.

And so, we are in such need of those kind of resources. We also have had a
sad history of police community relations, but I can tell you, we are
working very, very hard to bridge that.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Gwen Moore, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. Really appreciate.

MOORE: Thank you. Pray for us.

O`DONNELL: And we will. Thank you very much.

Just wanted to clarify for the audience the video you were seeing was not
from tonight, it was what was happening over the weekend. Everything is
calm there now.

We`ll be right back.



TRUMP: In the old days when we won a war, to the victor belonged the


O`DONNELL: What old days is he talking about, you mean, when we wiped out
Indian tribes or when we had a war with Mexico and we took all that land?

But did we take any of Germany, did we take anything from Germany? Did we
take anything from Japan after World War II? No, that is not the way it
works here but the Donald Trump audience doesn`t seem to know that.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

MSNBC`s live coverage continues now with Ari Melber – Ari.


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