The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 8/23/2016

Cher, Jacob Monty, Charlie Sykes, Rick Wilson, Jeffrey Pollock, Fred Goldberg, Michael Tomasky

Date: August 23, 2016
Guest: Cher, Jacob Monty, Charlie Sykes, Rick Wilson, Jeffrey Pollock,
Fred Goldberg, Michael Tomasky

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: 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, MSNBC HOST:: Rachel, do you have the cancel jitters
because Cher had to cancel last night on –


O`DONNELL: Me, but she`s back tonight, she`s –


O`DONNELL: Going to be with us tonight and –

MADDOW: Definitely –

O`DONNELL: She promised.

MADDOW: Got her.

O`DONNELL: Definitely like, you know, ten minutes from now or so.

MADDOW: OK, I will –


MADDOW: Hold tight and that will help me with my jitters.

O`DONNELL: OK, that`s why we`re doing it.


Thanks Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, man.

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump tonight said, he`s softening and Ann Coulter is
afraid that he`s panicking.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We`re going to obey the existing


ANN COULTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I`m starting to worry that he`s
panicking and talking to the wrong people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an agile campaign, he`s an agile leader.

TRUMP: Bing-bong –


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And still says he`s going to build a wall.

TRUMP: That wall will go up so fast, your head will spin.

the most optimistic people I`ve ever met in my life.

CONAN O`BRIEN, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Trump has been saying that
Hillary Clinton looks unwell.

CONWAY: I`m not a doctor. I`m not a doctor, and again, I`m not a doctor.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Can you open the jar of pickles,
is it not tampered with?


Oh, wow!

O`BRIEN: Trump then admitted he thinks any woman over 35 looks like she`s


Trump is behind in the polls is that he`s been too civil.


And now the gloves are off, the tiny gloves.



O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is softening, that`s his word, softening, and Sean
Hannity is softening right along with Donald Trump. Sean Hannity is even
more openly devoted to Donald Trump than Trump`s friend Bill O`Reilly.

I don`t know what just happened on the TV screen there. Sean Hannity has
agreed with every single thing that Donald Trump has said as a candidate,
including Donald Trump`s promise to deport all the undocumented people in
this country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think everything about Donald Trump`s
immigration plan is wrong, he`s not only wrong, but it is simply impossible
to achieve. He cannot deport 11 million people, that`s not doable.

He wants to –



O`DONNELL: Now that Donald Trump is abandoning at least, temporarily, his
promise to deport everyone who`s entered this country illegally or
overstayed a visa, Sean Hannity has to abandon everything he has said in
support of deporting all those people.

And so today, Sean Hannity asked Donald Trump, if he would “accommodate
those people that contribute to society, have been law-abiding, have kids

And Donald Trump answered, “there certainly can be a softening because
we`re not looking to hurt people.” Donald Trump may be softening and Sean
Hannity may be softening, but Ann Coulter isn`t.

Here she is on “HARDBALL” tonight with Chris Matthews.


COULTER: I`m starting to worry that he`s panicking and talking to the
wrong people, because he`s sounding a little bit more like the candidates
he defeated with the talking points about, you know, softening on deporting
the ones who – oh, they`ve been here a long time and they`re law-abiding.

You know, and that`s – yes, that`s true, but how about you just saying,
no, my policy is consistent.


O`DONNELL: Ann Coulter is on a publicity tour selling her latest book that
is of course, worshipful of Donald Trump.


COULTER: This can be the shortest book tour ever if he is really softening
his position on immigration. There are only so many things you can talk
about. Why are we talking about softening the lives of law breakers? I
just –


COULTER: I think this is a mistake –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it right card?

COULTER: It sounds like it`s coming from conservatives –



O`DONNELL: And by consultants, of course, she means Trump`s new campaign
manager, who is no doubt, the leader of Trump`s retreat on deportation.


CONWAY: I am saying that he sat down, which is there could be a way to
figure out how to do it, so that we`re not here to harm people.

And I think that`s a very important phase –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, a deportation force, we`re not going to be hearing
Donald Trump talking about a deportation force for 11 million undocumented

CONWAY: He has not said that for a while, and by the way, Senator Jeff
Sessions, who I know –


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, that`s a change of policy.


O`DONNELL: So, when Kellyanne Conway says that Donald Trump hasn`t said
something in a while, that means he doesn`t believe it any more, if he ever
did believe it.

Tonight, Donald Trump Jr. who has known Donald Trump much longer than his
new campaign manager has, has now officially and publicly, completely given
up trying to figure out what his father means.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does that mean that mass deportation of the estimated
11 to 12, 15 million illegal is off the table?

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Does it mean it`s off the table? I
don`t know, you know, I don`t know the exact details of it, you know, in
terms of that.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s public softening began after his meeting with a
Hispanic group on Saturday. Jacob Monty, who was in that meeting was then
quoted as saying, “I really liked that Trump acknowledged that there`s a
big problem with the 11 million people who are here and that deporting them
is neither possible nor humane.”

Joining us now, Jacob Monty, Houston-based immigration attorney and
Republican activist, he`s a member of the National Hispanic Advisory
Council for Trump.

Also with us, Charlie Sykes, radio host of “Wtmjam” in Milwaukee and the
editor-in-chief of “Right Wisconsin”.

And with us here in New York, Rick Wilson; Republican strategist and
contributor to “Heat Street”. He`s consulting with the Evan McMullin
campaign who is making an independent run for president.

Mr. Monty, it was your quote that went public about Donald Trump`s meeting
on Saturday that started this whole new cycle which has now landed us
tonight with Donald Trump publicly saying he is softening on deportation.

And last night, he seemed to say to Bill O`Reilly that he wouldn`t do
anything different from what the Obama administration is currently doing.
Is that your understanding of the Trump position now?

JACOB MONTY, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: I don`t view it as softening. I view
it as articulating the rest of his immigration plan. And it`s still about
building the wall, Latinos and immigrants want the wall.

But he acknowledged that we have to do something for the 11 million people
that are here that aren`t law breakers, that aren`t criminals.

And that is – that is a good thing that was well received. He showed up
in this – at this meeting prepared, it was obvious that he had studied the

And unlike a lot of politicians who want to repeat slogans, it was obvious
that he had studied the issue and he was very well received by the
community on Saturday.

O`DONNELL: I want to play for us all, again, Donald Trump`s pledge to
deport 11, 12 million people, he said it on “MORNING JOE”, let`s listen to
the way he said it.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: How do you deport 12 million?

TRUMP: OK, so, let me –


TRUMP: You do it, you do it because they`re here illegally, you do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to have a massive deportation force?

TRUMP: You`re going to have a deportation force and you`re going to do it


O`DONNELL: So, Mr. Monty, after that, how surprised were you on Saturday
to discover he now does not intend to deport 12 million people, and does
not intend to have a deportation force, even though he promised his
supporters that that`s what he would do?

MONTY: Well, it was – you know, he didn`t commit to anything at the
meeting, but he was prepared. It was obvious that he had studied it.

It was a good, you know, a good meeting where, you know, he didn`t commit
to one thing definitely, but it was obvious that he was opening – he was
open to considering a way to deal with these 11 million people that aren`t
law breakers or that aren`t felons, I mean.

But that was, you know, a very positive, very positive meeting and we`re
excited. He also announced that he would be announcing a very detailed
immigration plan and we`re awaiting that plan because we think that when it
becomes public, it will be embraced by more Latinos and more Americans, so
we`re very pleased.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, that new plan was going to be –


O`DONNELL: Described Thursday –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: In a major speech which the Trump campaign has canceled because
the softening, apparently, will continue until they figure out what his –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Position actually is. You talk to Trump supporters every day
on your radio show, they call in. How important was the deportation of 12
million people to Trump supporters?

SYKES: Well, there are flip-flops and there are mega flip-flops. I mean,
try to imagine if any other Republican candidate had used the word
softening to describe the immigration laws. Donald Trump would have
unleashed legions of all right, flying monkeys on social media against

I mean, this wasn`t just one issue among others, this was the centerpiece
of his campaign. You know, and some of us spent almost a year explaining
to people you cannot deport 11, 12 million people, and we were hammered.

No, Donald Trump knows what he`s going to do, it`s going to be huge, he`s
going to do it. And now, apparently, we`re finding out once again, that
with Donald Trump everything is subject to negotiation and there`s an
expiration date on every single promise.

O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson, this is for me a stunning reversal –


O`DONNELL: Of the Trump position. The only policy position that he
announced at the beginning of his campaign was all about immigration across
the southern border, illegal immigration, that was the entire focus on it
for weeks.

There were two pieces of it. We`re going to send them all back, and we`re
going to –

WILSON: Build a wall –

O`DONNELL: Build a wall that will never allow any more to come in.

WILSON: Donald Trump`s – the fundamental column of Donald Trump`s
campaign was to tell these very credulous folks who believe that their jobs
were taken away by immigrants and that Mexico is the source of billion
people every year coming across the border to kill them.

His fundamental column was, I`m going to build the wall, and I`m going to
ship them home. You know, the phrase you have to go back is a popular all
right meme –

O`DONNELL: Right –

WILSON: And now they don`t have –


WILSON: To go back. Now, Donald Trump has also in the all right promise
cuffed himself over immigration. He is now a guy who has flip-flopped on
the most fundamental core issue he claimed to have.

All these people that built this gigantic rhetorical construct by Sean
Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, and all these – all these –

O`DONNELL: Right –

WILSON: Folks at “Breitbart”, that immigrants with a problem, they`re the
centerpiece of all your problems. Now Donald Trump is saying, no problem,
flip-flop, it`s good.

This is – this is Kellyanne Conway has now taken basically a poison pill.
She either survives and holds this line, he does this, blows up a huge part
of his base, or –


WILSON: About a week or two, it`s Steve Bannon in charge again and we`re
back to the race war.

O`DONNELL: Jacob Monty, did – you`re an immigration lawyer yourself, you
represent defendants and the kinds of people that Donald Trump has wanted
to deport up until today, anyway.

Did you spend some time in that meeting explaining to him the humane costs
of that kind of mass deportation?

MONTY: He certainly listened, but he showed up prepared. And let me be
clear about something. In terms of the felons, there`s no disagreement
among the Latino community they have to go back. They make the rest of the
immigrants look bad.

They endanger Americans, so there`s no debate there. There`s no debate on
the wall. I think Anglos sometimes make the wall to be a bigger deal than
it is to Latinos. We want the wall. The wall protects us.

But at the same time, there has to be a way to deal with the 11 million
people that are here. Many of them have U.S. citizen children, so, I don`t
view it as a change at all, I view it as an explanation –


MONTY: Of the rest of its policy. And yet, he hasn`t announced it yet,
but when it is announced, I feel confident it`s something that Americans
will embrace.

O`DONNELL: Well, if all he wants to do is deport the criminals, that`s
what President Obama wants to do, too. What about the Dream Act?

Was there any discussion of that and Donald Trump`s determination to
reverse President Obama`s executive order on that?

MONTY: We spent a good deal of time talking about the 11 million that are
here, that was something that was discussed, that was – we also discussed
the need for more border security – look, if it wasn`t for Donald Trump,
we wouldn`t be talking about border security.

He brought this to –


The nation`s attention –

O`DONNELL: Can I – can I – can I just hold you –

MONTY: It hasn`t been at the presidential campaign –

O`DONNELL: And I just told you specifically –


Question about the Dream Act? –

MONTY: A lot of credit for that.

O`DONNELL: I`m just asking you specifically about the Dream Act –

MONTY: The Dream Act was not – the Dream Act was not discussed. You
know, every politician –

O`DONNELL: Do you – do you as an immigration – do you as an immigration
lawyer with your experience think the Dream Act is a good thing or do you
think those kids should all be deported?

MONTY: Well, we do need a Dream Act. We need a law passed by Congress,
not executive amnesty like –


O`DONNELL: So, you`re opposed to – you`re opposed to the executive action
that President Obama took on the dreamers?

MONTY: Well, it didn`t work. It was found not legal. So, you need
someone that can work with Congress. And if Hillary were to win, there`s
no way she can pass immigration reform with a Republican-controlled house.

So, if you want immigration reform and you want border security, it only
comes with the one person, and that`s Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, you just heard –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: The brand new Donald Trump campaign slogan. “Trump for
immigration reform”.

SYKES: Yes, you know, apparently, you know, Trump states, Trump University
didn`t work out for him, so, he`s going to try Trump waffles now.


I mean – I mean, really it`s a – you know, I guess my strong advice would
be, you know, at what point are conservatives going to figure out that he
doesn`t mean anything he says.

It is the art of the deal. He`s going to say whatever he feels he needs to
say to seal the deal. And you know, because the man really has no core.

So, if he needed to gin up animosity against immigrants to get himself
through the primaries, he was willing to do that.

You know, and then when the polls show that, that doesn`t work for him
anymore, he folds on all of that. But you know, none of the promises he
makes are worth any more than, you know, what would the next poll.

And I`m sorry that people have not figured that out, yet.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen – again, just to get this, the enormity of this
switch in policy. Let`s listen to what –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump said to Chuck Todd about this.


CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: You`re risking the Dream Act
executive order –

TRUMP: You`re going to have to –

TODD: Darker –

TRUMP: We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come
in, they have to come in –

TODD: So, you have to split up families –

TRUMP: Chuck –

TODD: You`re going to deport children –

TRUMP: Chuck, no, we`re going to keep the families together. We have to
keep the families together.

TODD: But you`re going to keep them together –

TRUMP: But they have to go –

TODD: Out.

TRUMP: But they have to go.

TODD: What if they have no place to go?

TRUMP: We will work with them. They have to go.


O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson, we`re going to keep the families together, they
have to go.

WILSON: This is – this is like I said –

O`DONNELL: They`re going to be deported –

WILSON: Right –

O`DONNELL: Together –

WILSON: He was going to deport –

O`DONNELL: All of them –

WILSON: He was going to deport the folks that were born in this country,
and who are by definition citizens – I don`t care where their parents came
from. If they were born in this country, they are citizens.

He was going to split those families – he was going to say – he was going
to deport U.S. citizens, deprive them of their constitutional rights by
shipping them off to whatever country of origin they come from. This is a
promise he`s now reneged on. This is another flip flop.

These are – and the people that support Donald Trump, the heartbeat of his
campaign are people that hate folks from other countries and they blame
them for everything. And now what Donald Trump is saying is, they get to

They get to be a part of society. Their kids get to go to state colleges,
they get to get driver`s license. I can imagine the fury brewing up in
those folks and Ann Coulter was just a preview of that. I mean, we`re not
just talking about the whacky spinster demo that Ann represents.


WILSON: We`re talking about a giant number of millions and millions of
Trump voters who are going to just realize what`s happened to them.

And they`ve been conned, they`ve been rocked, they`ve been taken to the
cleaners and this guy is about to just flip on them again.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, thank you very much for joining us tonight –

SYKES: Right –

O`DONNELL: And Jacob Monty, thank you for joining us, really appreciate

MONTY: Thank you.

SYKES: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Cher spent the weekend campaigning for Hillary
Clinton up and down the East Coast. She`s back in California tonight, and
she will be my next guest. Adventures on the campaign trail with Cher.

And in the campaign war room tonight, the Trump campaign says it knows
exactly why all the polls showing him losing are wrong.


O`DONNELL: Campaign TV ad update. So far in the general election, Hillary
Clinton has been hit with $6.3 million in negative campaign ads. Donald
Trump, Donald Trump has been hit with $47 million in negative ads.

Coming up next, Cher is here, she is going to join us. She`s going to tell
us about her beach adventures this weekend with Hillary Clinton.


O`DONNELL: Did you get to the beach this weekend? Cher did. She got to
three beach towns this weekend, first Miami, then Fire Island in New York.
And finally Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

And she did it all for Hillary Clinton. Cher was the headliner for the
Clinton campaign at fundraises in each of those beach towns.

Cher knows something about tough elections. The year that she won her
Oscar for best actress, she was in the toughest category in the Oscars.

Take a look at who she was up against. Meryl Streep, who had already won a
couple of Oscars, Glenn Close who already had several Oscar nominations and
would have several more.

Holly Hunter, a future Oscar winner and Sally Kirkland who turned in an
extraordinary performance that year in honor.

Cher didn`t just win an Oscar, she won an Oscar against the toughest
competition that the best actress category has ever seen.

She`s now hoping to bring her winning magic to the Clinton campaign on
election night, and Cher is joining us now by phone from her home in Los
Angeles. Cher, thank you very much for doing this tonight.

CHER, SINGER & ACTRESS (via telephone): Hi, Lawrence, I`m such a big fan.

O`DONNELL: Oh, well, there`s two fans talking to each other here. So, you
flew around the East Coast for Hillary this weekend –

CHER: Yes, I did –

O`DONNELL: And where did you have the most fun? Come on, Miami, Fire
Island or Provincetown?

CHER: Well, I – they were all different. But you know, seeing her and
listening – she gave the most amazing – I don`t know, you know, it didn`t
sound like a speech, and I`m sure she said the same things before and –
but I just, you know, as I`ve said she`s not a good speaker.

But that was a really good speech. I was kind of mesmerized and I thought
she looked so cute and so fresh. And I said to her, you know, I have been
doing this for three days and I`m dead.


How are you doing it? You know, just tell me, how are you doing it? And she
said I just love it. And she looked – and I`m not saying this because of
this other stuff about you know, she`s got whatever she`s got, I don`t

But she just looked so pretty.

O`DONNELL: How long have you known Hillary Clinton?

CHER: I worked on her – on her Senate campaign, and I – and I didn`t –
I didn`t really know her when I did it, I just was interesting – I was
interested to meet a woman that the GOP had been vilifying since before she
got into office. I wanted to know who she was and how did she cause all

O`DONNELL: You`ve got a lot of experience or real experience on the
presidential campaign trail because I remember the first time I ever saw
you in a political venue and it was with Michael Dukakis, presidential
candidate in 1998 –

CHER: Oh, that`s right and Caroline –

O`DONNELL: In New York City –

CHER: I totally forgot about that.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and so was that your first venture into presidential
politics, Michael Dukakis, 1998? –

CHER: Yes, it was. The first – the first president I actually knew was
Jimmy Carter. We had dinner in the White House with him the first night
and I loved him.

But he`s the – and then, I met Bill Clinton later, but the closest
relationship I had was with Jimmy Carter. Even though I didn`t – I didn`t
go out and stump for him.

O`DONNELL: So, you`ve been backstage with presidents and politicians at
the presidential level in campaigning. How does – how does Hillary
Clinton compare to the presidential candidates you`ve been around?

CHER: Well, I`m kind of amazed at her. And I – and I say – I mean,
look, I say what I want and sometimes I just have both of my high heels in
my mouth, OK?

But I am surprised – I am surprised at how she`s – how alive and how
generous and how the people really loved her in Provincetown.

And I just – I was uplifted by what she had to say. And I – I might
sound, you know, incredulous, it just was – after all she`s been through
and what she`s been going through and how she`s been stumping and how she`s
not – she will not quit.

She will just not quit. I don`t care what anyone throws at her, I don`t
care how tough the job is, she will not quit.

O`DONNELL: Well, you`re speaking to something that Donald Trump`s campaign
manager said tonight about Hillary Clinton. Let`s listen to that.


CONWAY: And I`m not a doctor, but I can see somebody who is not very
joyful on the trail, doesn`t seem to like the rigors of campaigning.


O`DONNELL: So, Cher, there is Kellyanne Conway saying that Hillary Clinton
is not very joyful on the campaign trail and doesn`t like the rigors of
campaigning. What`s your reaction to that?

CHER: Well, my experience, I can only tell you what my experience was on -
- in Provincetown. And if you knew me, you would know that nothing could
make me say something that I don`t believe. And she was amazing.

And I had such a great time with her and at the Greek theater, we were
jumping around like girls because she said something that was so funny and
we were just laughing so hard. And how can I say what I saw, what I saw
was real, you know, and I don`t care what that chick has to say.

I don`t like her any way and every time she opens her mouth, some smooth
piece of dialogue comes out that`s not the truth.

She really is – she`s becoming more like Trump than Trump is becoming more
like her. And we all know that, you know, lies are mother`s milk to him.

O`DONNELL: Cher, I want you to listen to just one thing that Donald Trump
said. And this was when he was speaking in, I guess, his form of outreach
to people that you know well. Let`s listen to this.


TRUMP: As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our
LGBTQ citizens from the violence and depression of the hateful foreign


O`DONNELL: Cher, what was your reaction when you heard him say that?


CHER: Oh, come on, and he says it – he says those letters like a child
that`s just learning the alphabet, and then pokes his finger in the air for

I mean, he is the most disingenuous man I`ve ever seen. And I want to tell
you, my people will not believe him for a minute.

And I read that he was at a seven-hour, you know, closed-door meeting with
400 of the most conservative, hate gay people, you know, LGB community that
there are – so what? How does he go from that meeting to telling my people
that he will protect them.

One of the reasons that I have gone out to them, because I care for all
Americans and I`m not kidding you. America has been so great for me.

I was a poor child. I had dyslexia, nothing would say that I would succeed
in this country, and I did.

And I fear for those people, and not just because of my son, you know, I
fear for what they will do to those people, to my people.

O`DONNELL: Cher, thank you very much for joining us tonight, I really
appreciate it. I think you`ve seen how excited the Twitter world has been
for the last 24 hours, knowing that you were coming here tonight. Thank
you very much, Cher.

CHER: Thank you so much, Lawrence, I am so excited talking to you and I
hope you invite me again.

O`DONNELL: How about tomorrow night?


Or any time?

CHER: OK, it`s great.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Cher.

CHER: Bye.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Trump campaign`s newest excuse – and this is an
amazing one – for why the polls do not show Donald Trump winning.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s campaign “War Room” with Rick Wilson and
Jeffrey Pollock in what is a career first for them. This is the first time
either one of them have followed Cher. If we`re here at THE LAST WORD, it
won`t be their last.

Here is the Trump campaign`s new explanation for why Donald Trump is not
ahead in the polls.


INTERVIEWER: The polling numbers for Donald Trump are looking pretty bad
out there.

cherry picked polling numbers that are put out there by media outlets that
are also been on his destruction. Donald Trump performs consistently
better in online polling where a human being is not talking to another
human being about what he or she may do in the election.

INTERVIEWER: Why is that, do you think?

CONWAY: It`s because it`s become socially desirable, especially if you`re
a college-educated person to say that you`re against Donald Trump. The
hidden Trump in this country is a very significant proposition.

INTERVIEWER: Have you been able to put a number on that?


INTERVIEWER: Good. What do you think that is?

CONWAY: I can`t discuss it.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, come on.

CONWAY: No, it`s a project we`re doing internally. I call it the
undercover Trump voter, but it`s real.


O`DONNELL: Jeffrey Pollock, see, I`m one that does better human beings
than talking to computers.

So, the undercover Trump voter, you are an actual pollster, a real live
pollster. You`re polling for her enemy, the Clinton super PAC, but how is
that for spinning the polls, how did she do?

JEFFREY POLLOCK, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Let`s just be clear – so the new
strategy for the Trump campaign to convince people they`re winning is to
say that voters are embarrassed to admit they`re voting for their
candidate. That is A, it`s preposterous.

O`DONNELL: That`s a shameful thing.

POLLOCK: That is preposterous and most importantly, it is factually
inaccurate. If you like right now at online polling, right now, Donald
Trump is actually performing slightly better in online polls than he is in
live telephone polls, right? So, that argument is completely shattered.

There was this notion during the primary that that was the case, that he
was performing better on online polls. It`s just not the case. He is
actually performing 0.9 percent better in live interview polls than in the
online polls. It just doesn`t work.

O`DONNELL: So, here is another factoid to go with this. In the primaries
averaged in the results, Rick, 2.4 percent better than polls indicated –
here is the problem, Ted Cruz averaged 2.5 percent better than the polls
indicated. And apparently, all that meant was, all the thing we called
undecided, they decided. They were actually undecided when the pollsters
called, and then on Election Day, they knew time was up.

WILSON: Sure. Here`s the thing, Jeff and I may work on opposite sides of
the fence, but magical thinking has no business in our polling or in data
analysis or in campaigns. The fantasy that there are secret Trump voters
by the billions out there who are just ashamed to say it, it`s just the
most recursive thing.

She`s also going to say something like that. It`s also going to be looking
back into, we have a secret sauce hidden underneath here, there`s something
special happening. You know, the numbers in aggregate are a disaster for
Donald Trump. He`s losing this campaign. He`s a weak, weak candidate.

He is a terrible, terrible candidate on every axis. He`s doing to get his
head handed to him.

And no matter how much Kellyanne wants to come out and say, none of you
pollsters or analysts understand, only I get it. It`s our secret in-house
Trump project.

POLLKOCK: We didn`t hear it the day after the Republican convention when
Donald Trump was actually up in all the polls, was he not? So, you can`t
pick and choose.

WILSON: Was he 50 points up then?

O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at the latest Trump campaign tactic, which is
the softening.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Is there any part of the law that you might be
able to change that will accommodate those people that contribute to
society, have been law abiding, have kids here, would there be any room in
your mind, because I know you had a meeting this week.

TRUMP: I did, I did. I had a meeting with great Hispanic leaders there
certainly can be a softening, we`re not looking to hurt people. We want
people – we have some great people in this country. We have some great,
great people in this country. So, we`re going to follow the laws of this


O`DONNELL: So, Jeff, your polling expertise, we are – he says this today,
we are what now, about six or seven days away in polling results that will
show us what the softening is doing?

POLLOCK: I don`t know that it will take that long for us to see that
nothing is working for Donald Trump, Lawrence, let`s be clear, right?
Right now, they`re flailing. That`s what you`re seeing. You`re seeing a
campaign that is flailing, trying to do anything.

So, I don`t think it`s going to be three days or seven days before you see
a difference. This is a surefire hit to his right flank. I legitimately
do not understand what the guy is doing. He`s offending the middle, which
he`s done.

I mean, by the way, let`s also remember what his first TV commercial is.
His first TV commercial is an absolutely, racially driven, racist campaign
commercial and now he`s softening? You cannot have it both ways when
you`re running for president of the United States.

O`DONNELL: If he drops on 1 percent in the polls after the softening, the
hardening will be instantaneous.

POLLOCK: Magic polls or real policy.

WILSON: Right.

O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson and Jeffrey Pollock, followed Cher tonight.

You did a beautiful job.

We will be right back.



INTERVIEWER: You say you stand by your comments. Do you still believe
Donald Trump should be transparent to release his tax returns?

CONWAY: I`ve learned since being on the inside that this audit is a
serious matter, and that he has said when the audit is complete, he`ll
release his tax returns.


O`DONNELL: That is before Kellyanne Conway started getting paid to defend
Donald Trump`s refusal to release his tax returns. Fred Goldberg, a former
commissioner, says that as an audit that does not prevent Donald Trump from
releasing his tax returns.

Mr. Goldberg has a new suggestion for Donald Trump. In an article for
CNBC, he wrote, “Donald Trump can and should immediately release the first
two pages of his form 1040 along with his schedule A for the past 20 years.
This will tell us how much he makes, how much he pays in taxes and how much
he contributes to charity. Releasing this information will have no impact
on any pending or future IRS audit of Trump, zero, none.”

Joining us now, Fred Goldberg who served as assistant secretary for the
treasury and tax policy and commissioner of the IRS during the
administration of George H.W. Bush.

Mr. Goldberg, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

And I, first of all, just want to know that we have no proof that Donald
Trump is actually being audited. And because of privacy laws, it is
impossible for the IRS to confirm that he`s being audited.

for having me.

That is correct, although that I believe that his advisers did issue a
letter saying he was under examination. I think it is fair to assume that
he is.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I`ve read that letter carefully a few times and they never
use the word audit. I think it`s a carefully phrased letter that could
mean a lot of things.

But let`s go with the assumption that there`s an audit. So, in the face of
that, with your experience as former counsel to the IRS, the head of the
IRS, your suggestion is, even if there`s an audit, why not release those
first two pages that just have the summary numbers on it and – because all
of the workings of an auditor, really all about what`s on all the other
pages of the tax return.

GOLDBERG: Lawrence, that`s correct. There is zero risks that releasing
the first two pages of his tax return, plus the schedule A that shows
charitable contributions, that will have no impact whatsoever. And it
tells the American people what they have a right to know.

He`s put these issues in the public, how much does he make, how much –
what are his charitable contributions, and what`s his tax rate. He says
his goal is to pay as little taxes as possible. That`s his right. Show us
how you`re doing it.

O`DONNELL: What do you think in your experience now, is the value of
candidates releasing their tax returns? This is not something that
happened earlier in the 20th century. I believe it started around
President Nixon`s time.

GOLDBERG: You know, Lawrence, tax returns are an amazing portrait of each
of us. I`ve seen it in my various jobs. I`ve seen that in vetting
candidates for high office. It`s a portrait. And for those who aspire to
high office, those who aspire to be president of the United States, letting
us see that portrait is a window on that person. And we have a right to
look through that window.

O`DONNELL: Having worked in Republican administrations, do you have a
view, at this point, of who you`re voting for as president?

GOLDBERG: Yes, sir, I am voting for Hillary Clinton.

O`DONNELL: What`s the basis of that decision?

GOLDBERG: I think that she – I believe she will keep us safe. I believe
that she has the ability, wisdom and experience to accomplish the
bipartisan change that this country desperately needs. And I think she
understands who we are as a country and what our country is all about.

I don`t agree with everything she says, but she gets those pieces and that
is important and I trust her.

O`DONNELL: Fred Goldberg, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Really appreciate it.

GOLDBERG: Thank you, sir. I appreciate the opportunity.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.


ANNOUNCER: This is THE LAST WORD on campaign 2016.

O`DONNELL: “The Associated Press” has a new analysis today and looking at
Clinton foundation contributors and access to Hillary Clinton while she was
secretary of state. We`ll look at that next.

But, first, here is how it looked today on the campaign trail.


TRUMP: No one owns me. I answer only to the American people. That`s why
I`m doing this.

being run in a little bit of not what can you do for your country, but,
hey, what can this campaign do for me?

uphold the highest integrity in the highest office of the land and his only
special interest will be you.

KAINE: He has highly unusual expenditures, even in this campaign.

PENCE: He understands that it`s about getting government out of the way
and letting America be America and do America.

KAINE: Donald Trump is renting space in one of his buildings to his
campaign, and the campaign is paying Donald Trump, personally. Once he
started to fund-raise dramatically, he immediately tripled the rent pay.

PENCE: When Donald Trump becomes president, the days of the rigged system
that benefit the favored few, are over.

KAINE: Donald Trump, his economic plan has not been particularly specific.
Donald Trump has tended to say, we`re going to be great, believe me, but he
doesn`t give you the details.

TRUMP: I will be the greatest jobs` president that god ever created,
believe me.



O`DONNELL: Today, “The Associated Press” has new reporting on the Clinton
Foundation. At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or
had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State
Department, donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its
international programs. According to a review of State Department
calendars released so far to the “Associated Press”, combined, the 85
donors contributed as much as $156 million.

The Clinton released this statement in reaction, “The story relies on
utterly flawed data. It cherry picked a limited subset of Secretary
Clinton`s schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed
paths to individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton
Foundation. The data does not account for more than half of her tenure as
secretary, and it omits more than 1,700 meetings she took with world
leaders, let alone countless others she took with other U.S. government
officials, while serving as secretary of state.”

Joining us now, Mike Tomasky, columnist for “The Daily Beast.”

Mike, you recently came to a decision that you wrote in “The Daily Beast”
about what should happen with the Clinton Foundation. What`s your reaction
to this news today and tell us what you`ve been thinking about it as you

great for the Clinton campaign. There`s no question about it. I mean, at
the time, you know, I don`t think it amounts to proof of racketeering
enterprise, which is a phrase that Rudy Giuliani after he apparently this

Look, here is what I think is going on here. There are two standards that
people might use to judge whether something untoward went on. One standard
is the simple fact of meetings. If that`s your standard, then this looks
really horrible. More than one of the half of the meetings are pretty

But I think then you have to ask, there is a different standard, isn`t
there? You have to ask, what happened at these meetings? You know, if
something happened at these meetings where somebody said, hey, I gave you
husband`s foundation $300,000, why don`t you hook me up with that cell
phone tower contract in Mauritania and she said, “Oh, yes, great,” well,
that would be bad news.

But there`s no evidence of anything like that, at least in this “Associated
Press” story. I mean, she`s meeting with people like Muhammad Yunus.
Mohammad Yunus is a Nobel Prize winner, who is being badgered, not to say
persecuted by a prime minister who was upset he won the Nobel Prize and not

And there were other people who – as far as we know from the – from the
“A.P.” story, we`re just trying to do good in different ways around the
world. So, you know, I understand why it`s a story, but, you know, it
doesn`t rise to me, to the level of actual corruption.

O`DONNELL: Despite all that, though, you`ve written that the Clinton
Foundation should be shutdown, you essentially agree with “The Boston
Globe” editorial on this.

TOMASKY: I do. I want to stipulate two things, the foundation has done a
tremendous amount of good work. There`s` no question about that.

I also think a lot of the media coverage of the foundation has been unfair.
But, yes, I do think they should get out of that business. When I say
shutdown, I don`t mean all these things should end, a lot of people yelled
at me on Twitter today that I was saying that. I actually didn`t say that,
I said precisely the opposite.

The good work that the Clinton Foundation has done and does must go on and
can be farmed out to other foundations that do similar work or the
foundation can be re-imagine with new boards and new names and things like
that. Apparently, Donna Shelley (ph) spoke of exactly this kind of step,
that might be taken today.

So, that`s what I think should be done. I don`t think she can go into the
White House, Lawrence, giving Judicial Watch, and the right thing, this
club they can use over her and undoubtedly will, because Judicial Watch is
a $20 million a year organization that isn`t going anywhere. Just take
that club out of their hands.

O`DONNELL: Mike Tomasky, thank you very much.

TOMASKY: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.



indicate why it`s important for us to take the federal government
seriously, the federal workers seriously. There`s a tendency sometimes for
us to bash them and think they`re these faceless bureaucrats. But when you
get into trouble, you want somebody who knows what they`re doing, who is on
the ground and working without standing officials and that`s true whatever


O`DONNELL: President Obama in Louisiana today noting that whenever the
worst possible thing that can happen to a community does happen to that
community, everyone wants the federal government there as fast as possible.

Ari Melber continues our live coverage here on MSNBC.

Hey, Ari.


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