The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 9/14/2016
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: September 14, 2016
Guest: Donna Edwards, David Cay Johnston, Michael Wildes, Tom Nichols,
Steve McMahon, Sam Stein
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us tonight, we will see you
again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell.
Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thanks Rachel, thanks a lot –
MADDOW: Thank you, I appreciate it –
O`DONNELL: Scaring me –
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Scaring me before – I have to do an RF TV now –
MADDOW: It`s not exactly scary, it`s more like –
O`DONNELL: It worked, you scared me –
MADDOW: Sorry –
O`DONNELL: Please –
MADDOW: I`m sorry –
O`DONNELL: Rachel –
MADDOW: I`ll bring you –
O`DONNELL: Please –
MADDOW: I`ll bring you some cocoa, I`m sorry.
O`DONNELL: Thank you –
MADDOW: Thanks –
O`DONNELL: Very much. Well, Donald Trump you will remember promised that
his wife would have a press conference to fully explain the full story of
how she came to the United States, came here legally.
It looks like that press conference is probably never going to happen. But
she did issue a tweet today, and it included a letter from her immigration
lawyer, and tonight, Melania Trump`s immigration lawyer will join us.
And also tonight, we finally have been waiting for this a long time. We
finally have policy news to report from the Trump campaign, a new policy.
And of course when Donald Trump announced his new policy, he just couldn`t
do it without lying about Hillary Clinton`s policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEHMET OZ, CARDIOTHORACIC SURGEON: Why not show your medical records?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Should I do it? I don`t care.
Should I do it?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We cannot afford to treat
this like a reality show.
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: Within hours of each other, both candidates have
released new details about their health.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her physician concluding she continues to remain
healthy and fit to serve as president of the United States.
TRUMP: I feel as good today as I did when I was 30.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Oz said that it was, you know, legit, he seems
OBAMA: He isn`t fit in any way, shape or form to represent this country.
TRUMP: Yesterday, I rolled out a plan to help our mothers and our families
get affordable, quality child care.
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: There is no policy on Hillary
Clinton`s website pertaining to any of these issues.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On her website she is guaranteeing up to 12 weeks of
paid family and medical leave to care for a new child or a seriously ill
TRUMP: My opponent has no child care plan.
OBAMA: You want to debate who is more fit to be our president?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: As you know, it`s health week in the presidential campaign.
And I`m going to save you some time on this whole health story about Donald
Trump and Hillary Clinton. Here is all you need to know about Donald Trump
and Dr. Oz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Oz started asking him about his exercise regiment
and what he does to stay fit, to which Donald Trump said that he makes a
lot of speeches and that his hand gesturing is the main source of his
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK, do we still have to call Dr. Oz Dr. Oz? Can we just call
him Mr. Oz? Hand gesturing is exercise in only two places on earth.
In Trump world and in Oz world. If you want to see the rest of what Donald
Trump said today to Dr. Oz, you will have to check your local listings and
Here is one of the tantalizing bits that Mr. Oz will show you tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OZ: Let`s talk about stamina. You –
TRUMP: Yes –
OZ: You use that word a lot. You made an issue in this campaign, you
argue that a president has to have a tremendous amount of stamina. if
elected at age 70, you`ll be the oldest person to ever enter the Oval
Why do you think you have the stamina for the job?
TRUMP: Yes, just about the same age as Ronald Reagan and Hillary is a year
behind me. I would say just based on my life, I mean, I`ve had – I
actually – and I don`t know if this makes sense, I feel as good today as I
did when I was 30.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK, let me just take a second here on the health thing before
we get to the policy thing. The only way a 70-year-old man who has gained
more than a pound a year since he was 30. A 70-year-old man who is about
70 pounds heavier than he was when he was 30.
The only way he can feel as good as when he was 30 is if he has suffered
severe memory loss. Total memory loss of what anything felt like when he
was 70 pounds lighter and 40 years younger.
And I guess that can happen. Hillary Clinton`s doctor released a letter
today saying that “Mrs. Clinton has remained healthy and has not developed
new medical conditions this year other than a sinus and ear infection and
her recently diagnosed pneumonia.
She is recovering well with antibiotics and rest. She continues to remain
healthy and fit to serve as president of the United States”. Dr. Lisa
Bardack also added she is in excellent mental condition.
Hillary Clinton`s excellent mental condition has been on display in all of
her public appearances, not just this year. But throughout her public life
including her public life in Arkansas, and that is the only real condition
that matters in a president.
The job having been done very successfully in a wheelchair by the disabled
Franklin Delano Roosevelt who among other things while gravely disabled and
in failing health and on his way to death in the White House, won World War
It is unclear if Donald Trump on any day of his life has ever enjoyed
excellent mental condition. And we`re not sure that the – we`re not sure
what that condition is that makes him say things repeatedly in public that
can instantly be proven to be lies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For many families in our country, childcare is now the single
largest expense, who would think that? Even more so than housing.
Yet very little meaningful policy work has been done in this area. And my
opponent has no childcare plan. She never will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump then urged the news media to go to his website to
check his brand new childcare plan, not seeming to realize that in a free
country where you can check website, the news media could also go straight
to Hillary Clinton`s website and find the childcare plan that has been
there for a year and a half.
With that speech last night, Donald Trump delivered to the political news
media something it pretends to want, policy to sink our teeth into, to
evaluate and then help voters evaluate which presidential candidate has the
best policy for them on a given issue.
And so on page one of the “New York Times” today, a campaign policy story
was there above the fold for a change. A Trump policy story. Donald Trump
unveils plan to expand aid to parents. And right here on the front page,
it said this.
But in selling his case, Mr. Trump stretched the truth, saying that his
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has no such plan of her own and “never
Stretched the truth. What happens to the truth when you stretch it? Do you
still have the truth and it`s just stretched?
We know what the “New York Times” was trying to do there. They`re trying
to point out that Donald Trump was lying without saying the word “lie” or
“lying” because the style manual of the “New York Times” doesn`t like that
word, especially when applied to a politician on a campaign talking about
And so the “New York Times” stretched the truth and called a lie a
stretching of the truth. No form of the word “truth” belongs in that
sentence in the “New York Times”. They could have saved letters, stretched
the truth takes 19 spaces.
They could have said Mr. Trump lied and used only four spaces. They could
have saved ink. They could have told a very clear truth to their readers.
Donald Trump could not talk about his own brand new policy without lying
outright about Hillary Clinton`s policy.
That is a hugely important point about a candidate. That in and of itself
is something we have never seen in any previous presidential candidate.
But every day in every way that it can, the news media discounts and
diminishes and normalizes the wild out of control, impulsive reckless lies
of Donald Trump.
The day after day in this election, they keep doing it. And the day after
– and the day after the election this year, we can only hope that these
style monitors at the “New York Times” and other news organizations around
the country are very proud of the new language that they created for
covering the Trump for president campaign.
The new language in which they stretched the truth about what Donald Trump
has done as a candidate, has said as a candidate.
The new language in which a lie is not called a lie. They believe that
their language is carefully chosen to avoid any hint of bias, any hint of
But unfairness to what? How can calling a liar a liar be unfairness to a
liar? Phrases like “stretched the truth” in reporting like that in the “New
York Times” are unfair to the truth. Here is how policy is made in the
last days of the Trump campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My daughter Ivanka is going to be involved. She is the one –
She is the one that has been pushing for it. So daddy, we have to do this,
and it`s true. She`s very smart, and she`s right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: But not smart enough to know that Democrats in Washington for
decades have been working on this problem and have been blocked at every
turn by Republicans including Mike Pence, who now presumably has completely
reversed his position in order to support Ivanka`s daddy.
Joining us now to take a look at the truth of the Trump childcare plan
versus the Clinton childcare plan, David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-
winning journalist and columnist for the “Daily Beast”.
He is the author of the new book “The Making of Donald Trump”. And
Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland, she is a Hillary
Clinton supporter. Congresswoman Edwards, you already have a bill
introduced in Congress on this subject.
Democrats have been working in this arena for decades and Ivanka Trump
doesn`t know that because in her comments last night she talked about how
this is a completely ignored policy area. And I trust that in your
experience ignored only by Republicans in Congress.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, it`s true. I mean, Democrats, as
Democrats, we have proposed expanding the childcare tax credit, making sure
that we could pay childcare workers more for the care that they give to our
children, making it more quality care available for children.
And these proposals have been rejected one after the other by Republicans
in Congress. And I`ll tell you another way that Donald Trump stretched the
truth is in his speech he kept describing it as a tax credit when in fact
on his website it`s a tax deduction.
Which really, tremendously undercuts working people and middle income
people who really do need some assistance with their childcare.
O`DONNELL: I just want to pause for a second, Congresswoman, over those
two terms: tax credit, tax deduction. People confuse them all the time.
Tax deductions are deductions off of income. Most people don`t itemize tax
deductions, so they don`t benefit from that at all.
And the people who do certainly are at the higher income levels. Tax
credit is literally an amount of money that is going to be inserted into
your return as a positive to you, whether you`re paying taxes or not.
And that`s where we get the earned income tax credit for example. Poor
workers who file tax returns then get a credit, which is to say a check
from the government. It`s a totally different thing than what Donald Trump
is talking about.
EDWARDS: It is, and Donald Trump is a businessman, he should know the
difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction.
But I think he misrepresented that in his speech, and it makes a real
difference to working families and to middle income and low income families
because that`s money that they get right away.
When you`re paying childcare, you pay it every week, you pay it every
month. You can`t wait until the end of a tax year on the off chance that
you might get something back.
O`DONNELL: And David, one of the reasons I wanted you on tonight is that
you`re a tax expert, and so much of what Donald Trump is talking about in
this proposal goes through the tax code. When it was first proposed, it
was definitely a tax deduction.
But now I have heard them use the word “tax credit”. And with Trump world,
I guess now we don`t know, do we know what it is? Have they decided? Is
this a deduction or a credit? Or is it a deduction for some people and a
credit for others?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Lawrence, this is the latest
proof of what I keep saying. Donald Trump doesn`t know anything.
O`DONNELL: Yes –
JOHNSTON: And who knows because there is no plan here. But there is some
real policy problems to this proposal. If you give a credit to mothers,
you end up distorting the labor market and encouraging discrimination
against women in their careers.
You have to offer it to both parents. The amount of money he`s proposing
is bupkis. It is immaterial to the scope of the problem.
And the idea that you`re going to finance it through fraud in unemployment
– excuse me, I`ve tried not to burst out laughing, that is just absurd.
And remember his first proposal was an unlimited deduction for childcare.
So, if you`re a wealthy young woman like Ivanka Trump and you have multiple
nannies and you fly them around with your children first class, you can
And yet parents who don`t pay income taxes because they`re so poor or don`t
itemize would get nothing. This is just not a serious proposal, and it`s
the kind of ceded-the-(INAUDIBLE) nonsense that we could expect if Donald
Trump becomes president.
One last thing, whatever people think of Hillary Clinton, she has spent her
entire life from the moment she got her law license signed working to
benefit poor children with healthcare, the chip program with better
schools, we`re getting disabled children a public education.
There`s a lot of things you can say about Hillary Clinton, but nobody can
reasonably attack her for not focusing on the welfare of children and most
especially working class and poor children.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to something that Ivanka Trump said last night
which I took to be a deplorable insult to all the people who I`ve seen
working on this issue in Washington for decades.
She is pretending that she and her father are the first ones to get there.
She talks about the intellectual energy that hasn`t been applied to this.
Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hardly, any intellectual energy has been devoted to addressing the
needs of families with children from birth to 4 years old.
In particular, little focus has been put on determining how best to
alleviate the enormous financial burdens childcare places on low income and
middle income families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Edwards, did you take that to be an insult to you
and your colleagues who have worked so hard in this arena?
EDWARDS: Well, absolutely, and frankly, the number of proposals that we`ve
had for childcare, for early childhood education, for investing in those
who care for our children and for care-givers.
And it`s a shame, Republicans could actually put a bill on the floor
tomorrow if they were really interested in dealing with this issue.
And this is a serious issue, and there are people who have been thinking
about this, not the least of which Hillary Clinton.
If you look at her website, in fact what you find is not only is she
offering details about childcare, but early childhood education, K to 12
education to make sure that young people are prepared in a nurturing
environment when they do go to – go to school.
And so there`s a depth to those proposals that`s represented by her breadth
of work over the decades on these issues.
And, you know, good Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump, welcome to our world,
those of us who had to spend 35 percent of our income on our children so
that we can go to work.
Welcome to our world, but you`re new to the game and there`s a lot to
learn, and frankly, I think that the depth of Hillary Clinton`s proposals
really demonstrates to me that she is the one who is prepared to go and
enact those proposals as president of the United States.
O`DONNELL: And David, just a quick last word before we go, again, to
taxes. Hillary Clinton pays for her plan with real taxes on real income,
JOHNSTON: Right –
O`DONNELL: The top income tax bracket. The payment scheme for Donald
Trump`s idea is incomprehensible.
JOHNSTON: No, it is totally incomprehensible. We need to be concerned
that the childcare credit can morph into a subsidy for employers and help
them hold down wages.
One little thing we have here in Rochester, Lawrence, what may well be the
best childcare in America.
The cost of quality childcare is this much more than the huge cost of the
care itself. And if the Trumps knew anything, they would know about this
and how it`s been studied and established.
How we got high quality childcare in Rochester, New York for just a smidgen
O`DONNELL: You`re going to tell us that story on another night, David Cay
JOHNSTON: I hope so –
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for joining us and Congresswoman Donna
Edwards, an honor to have you on the program, thanks for joining us.
EDWARDS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump promised us that Melania Trump would
have a press conference to explain her immigration records.
Instead, she delivered a tweet today that included a letter from her
immigration lawyer, that lawyer will join us as our next guest.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to play out a little war game later in the program
tonight. What would happen if Donald Trump carried out his threat to open
fire on any small Iranian boats that were gesturing toward our Navy
We`re going to go through that coming up in the show. Up next, Melania
Trump`s immigration lawyer Michael Wildes joins us, thanks.
O`DONNELL: Remember when Donald Trump promised that his wife Melania would
have a news conference to explain her immigration history? He promised that
the news conference would be within two weeks.
And he made that promise five weeks ago. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Oh, and by the way, they said my wife Melania might have come in
illegally. Can you believe that one?
TRUMP: They said headlines, maybe she came in illegally, maybe. Let me
tell you one thing, she has got it so documented, so she`s going to have a
little news conference over the next couple of weeks. That`s good. That`s
good. I love it. I love it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Well, it turns out instead of having a press conference,
Melania Trump met privately with an immigration lawyer here in New York,
Michael Wildes, whose law firm has the distinction of having represented
John Lennon on his immigration problems with the United States.
It was actually Mr. Wildes` father, Leon Wildes who represented John
Lennon. Michael Wildes has never before served as Melania Trump`s
immigration lawyer, but he said today “I represented several companies
which are or have been owned by Mr. Donald J. Trump including Trump models
and the Miss Universe organization.”
He said in that letter that Melania Trump tweed today. In that letter, Mr.
Wildes addresses the most contentious point in Melania Trump`s story.
He says, “contrary to published reports, Mrs. Trump never worked in the
United States in 1995 because she was never in the United States in 1995.”
This is a very important point. Because when these pictures of Melania
Trump were first published in the “New York Post”, the post reported that
the photographs were taken in New York in 1995 and appeared in a magazine
published in February of 1996.
The former editor of that magazine has now changed his story and moved
those dates one year forward. He now says the photographs were taken in
1996 for publication in February of 1997.
And Attorney Wildes says that his review of the documentation indicates
that Melania Trump, “her first entry into the United States was on August
27th, 1996, pursuant to a B-1, B-2 visitor visa.
Shortly thereafter, on October 18th, 1996, the U.S. Embassy in Slovenia
issued Mrs. Trump her first H-1B visa, a category which authorizes
employment as a model in the United States.
And so, if these photographs were taken after October 18th 1996, that would
mean Melania Trump was working legally in the United States when the
photographs were taken.
If they were taken a year earlier, according to Mr. Wildes` findings, she
would have been working illegally because she did not obtain legal
permission to work in the United States until October 18th, 1996.
And so, Donald Trump`s promise five weeks ago of a news conference by
Melania Trump within two weeks turned into a tweet and a letter.
And the closest we`re ever going to get for that promised Melania Trump
press conference is my discussion right now with our next guest, the lawyer
who wrote that letter today for Melania Trump.
Joining us now, Attorney Michael Wildes. And Michael, during the
commercial break, you mentioned a little political fact to me, you`ve
decided who you`re voting for.
MICHAEL WILDES, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: Before I get to that, I just want to
thank you for having me, regards from dad.
O`DONNELL: Oh, I love your father.
WILDES: His book came out and he has a special one for you.
O`DONNELL: So, your vote for president will be?
WILDES: Hillary Clinton. I am an ardent Democrat, I`m a former mayor, a
former federal prosecutor. Dad started this robust immigration practice in
1960, and it`s in the same building that John Lennon used to call on us and
I imagine it`s still the whole music.
O`DONNELL: So, I want to get to the letter, it turns on this question of
exactly when were those photographs taken? The people who said – the
photographer and an editor who had previously said they were taken in 1995
now say it`s a year later.
If that`s true, then there`s nothing out there by way of evidence
indicating illegal work prior to having permission to work.
WILDES: Two quick points. First, it was Donald Trump, not Melania Trump
that said there would be a conference.
O`DONNELL: Yes –
WILDES: Melania never said that there would be a press –
O`DONNELL: Right –
WILDES: Conference. Not that she`s hiding.
O`DONNELL: Right –
WILDES: Second, had the photographs even been taken on U.S. soil, even on
a B-1, B-2 visa and then shown in a foreign periodical, it would not be a
breach of that visa.
A hallmark case was one that my dad handled in 1966, both the (INAUDIBLE)
that allows for de minimis acts that may look like work that are really
business in nature.
O`DONNELL: What – there`s no –
WILDES: But the photos were taken after she already had her work visa
O`DONNELL: So –
WILDES: The whole issue moot –
O`DONNELL: Have you – have you seen with your own eyes every document
that`s referred to in your letter?
O`DONNELL: And so did you see the very first stamp on her passport –
WILDES: Yes –
O`DONNELL: In the country?
WILDES: Not only did I see that stamp, I wanted to see all the approval
notices, I wanted to see the government in (INAUDIBLE), a former prosecutor
O`DONNELL: Any reason why –
WILDES: I know the ink –
O`DONNELL: Any reason why those weren`t released, copies of those weren`t
WILDES: It`s a personal choice.
O`DONNELL: Did you advocate it? Did you say you should release these?
That`s the only way to prove it?
WILDES: This in my opinion is a trumped up – you`ll forgive the word,
controversy. Because she didn`t work out of turn illegally.
O`DONNELL: No, I understand, I`m just asking –
WILDES: And she was perfectly – let me just answer your –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
WILDES: Question. She was perfectly transparent about the process, then
there is no need for her to show the documents, it`s proprietary. If there
was some –
O`DONNELL: No, but –
WILDES: Question, I would understand –
O`DONNELL: Here`s what we`re left to. The world has to believe your
letter with no documentation. The documentation doesn`t leave you out
there as what they have to believe.
So, there`s not – is there going to be any documentation at any point?
WILDES: I don`t think so.
O`DONNELL: OK –
WILDES: And truth be told –
O`DONNELL: And no news conference –
WILDES: And I don`t know that it`s necessary. After this evening when the
photographer came out and said the pictures were taken after she had her
work visas, it rendered the whole issue moot. She had visitors visas that
She had five H1-B work visas that she respected. She applied for a Green
Card as an extraordinary ability model.
She had aspired and attained that achievement on her own. And then went
for citizenship, vetted it every time. Now there are very strict
reciprocity rules at the American Embassy in Slovenia.
So, it looked like she was coming in frequently. But the truth is, a very
well-oiled poised model is going to have as many visas as possible so that
they can dart to France, to Italy, to the United States.
And on occasion, there were visas she never used. So, I was looking not
only for the (INAUDIBLE) –
O`DONNELL: OK –
WILDES: But I was looking for the absence of –
O`DONNELL: But we are never – you`re pretty certain this is all we`re
ever going to get. There will never be an actual document to back up
anything that`s said in the letter?
WILDES: I hate to say it and I say this as a Democrat, there is no issue
here. If there was an issue, I don`t know that I would be here in all
truth because –
O`DONNELL: Well, it`s the way – it`s – right – no, it`s the reason we
release tax returns. We release tax returns because we want to see the
actual documents. So, the tax return equivalent here would be those
WILDES: Fair game for the president, the candidate. But for the wife
who`s done nothing wrong to then have to reach in and show government –
O`DONNELL: Well –
WILDES: Documents, she`s been vetted –
O`DONNELL: For the candidate –
WILDES: By the government on 12 different occasions –
O`DONNELL: For the candidate who attacks people for doing anything that
isn`t flawlessly within immigration law, this is a very serious issue.
And Michael, you represent Trump models, they are now engaged in legal
actions against them for illegally employing models, bringing them into the
I want to put up a picture of Alexia Palmer(ph), who came from Jamaica, and
she was – she has documentation indicating that she was working in the
United States for the Trump modeling agency before she was legally allowed
to work in the country.
And she and other models say the Trump modeling agency was engaged in that
WILDES: The matter is in litigation, but despite that, I`m going to
exercise a prerogative. There are governing principles on the HIB3 Visa
versus the old Visa. And it`s out of sync in many ways with the culture of
agencies and models working based on what it is they produce. There is
litigation here. There was an aspirational amount that was placed on
forms. And the young lady didn`t need it.
O`DONNELL: But immigration expert say that the Trump – the forms as
filled out by the Trump Company were fraudulent. They said that she –
they promised she would be paid $45,000. She was in fact not paid that
amount. And it is a violation of law to apply for visas putting in an
amount to money that the employer then does not pay.
WILDES: You have several metrics at play, the Labor Department and the
Immigration. Their action was thrown out of courts and they`re now taking
issue at the Labor Department. And the truth be told, if they have to make
good on it, they`ll make good on it. They were transparent about
everything from the get-go.
And there is no impropriety as far as I see, because I work diligently
under the efficacy and the legacy of my dad. In all truth we won`t –
Democratic or Republican, cross any lines.
O`DONNELL: Another – another lawyer representing the Trump Agency in this
case said, yes. We should have said this was estimated income instead of -
O`DONNELL: But that`s not what the Immigration Law allows.
WILDES: There is no way you can do one visa or the other.
O`DONNELL: But isn`t this like saying Michael, of the 55miles per hour
speed limit is too low for this road, I want to go at 75?
WILDES: Compliance. This family, this company believes in compliance. No
matter how we don`t want to hear it, there are always are compliant. If
somebody has an issue, it will be vetted in the court properly.
O`DONNELL: Michael Wildes, Hillary Clinton supporter and Melania Trump
supporter, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate
WILDES: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Up next, what would happen if Donald Trump carried up his
threat to go to war with Iran over a gesture?
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s war games. Imaging how the world might or
might not survive a President Trump. Tonight, Donald Trump moderated his
previous ravings about Iranians in little boats as sources of irritation to
our beautiful navy destroyer ships.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 2016: They have their little
boats circling our beautiful big destroyers. And our great men are sitting
there watching saying oh, would I like to give it to them. Oh, would I
like to give it to them. I know those captains and I know those people on
those boats and boy would they like to give it to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, were you counting? I counted three big lies in that. One,
Donald Trump saying that our sailors on our destroyers are saying, “Oh, I
would like to give it to them.” That`s a lie. And the lie, “I know those
captains.” He does not know one of them. And the lie, “I know those
people. And I know those boats.” He does not know anyone serving in the
United States Navy on any ship anywhere near Iranian waters.
And he doesn`t know those boats. He has never set foot on a destroyer.
Here is the way he said the same thing last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And by the way, with Iran, when they circle our beautiful
destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures at our people
that they shouldn`t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water,
OK? Believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We do believe you. That is the problem. We do believe that
you would want to go to war over a gesture. That you are the first
Presidential Candidate in history who wants to do that and we know that
puts you alone in the world, in the same category of madman as North
Korea`s Dictator Kim Jong-un.
And tonight, tonight, we must now war game the Trump scenario of shooting
little Iranian boats out of the water. Joining us now is Tom Nichols,
Foreign Policy Expert and Professor at the U.S. Naval War College. Tom,
let`s just do this step by step.
So there are these little boats that Donald Trump talks about irritating
our destroyers. And skip over the lies about the captains and the crew who
are up there going, “h, boy, we really want to get them.” And let`s just
assume that somehow there came an order from the Whitehouse. There is a
little boat near you. Blow it out of the water.
Let`s assume someone decides to blow it out of the water. What happens
next? What does Iran do? What`s the next step?
TOM NICHOLS, PROFESSOR, U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: There are a lot of things
the Iranians can do. As always, I don`t speak for the navy here. The
problem is that Trump thinks that this would be a tit for tat.
That the Iranians would have to fight us. There`ll be a big brawl on the
open seas like some kind of Tom Clancy novel. The real world as – as
always the case with Donald Trump doesn`t work that way. The Iranians
could do a lot of things asymmetrically.
They could close the Straits of Hormuz, drive shipping prices through the
roof. They could engage in small attacks against other craft. They could
attack some our big beautiful destroyers with some of those small boats.
The Iranians could do any number of things. But the other thing that I
think everyone is overlooking is if the United States opened fire on
Iranian boats for a rude gesture, we would be the ones facing a huge amount
of opprobrium in the world, including from our own allies, and rightly so.
O`DONNELL: And what would Russia do?
NICHOLS: I think the Russians would stay out of it. The Russians would
probably enjoy the spectacle and would observe the old political rule of
never interrupt your men any when he`s busy hurting himself.
O`DONNELL: And the reaction in the region? I mean, here`s Iran at this
point thinking of what can we do in return here, and what might this mean
for Israel? What might this mean for general tensions in the region?
NICHOLS: Well, the first thing, of course, was that would be that
everybody in the region, friend and foe alike would realize that the United
States is run by a temperamental man child with a short attention span and
an even shorter fuse.
And a lot of trump supporters think that would be a great thing. They
think that`s kind of a madman theory of foreign affairs that would make
others fear and respect us when in fact it would make others think of us as
unpredictable, whimsical even violent and therefore unreliable. And we
would suffer far more with our allies than we – than the Iranians would
suffer from anything we did.
O`DONNELL: And Tom, quickly before we go, you know how command works on
those ships. Can you imagine a commander in those ships carrying out a
policy like that?
NICHOLS: I think America`s military personnel will carry out any lawful
orders for the President of the United States. But I`ve never met a
military person who has been spoiling for a fight or eager to use violence.
That`s an insult to the United States Military in my opinion.
O`DONNELL: Tom Nichols, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Coming up, we have breaking news, an endorsement of a major newspaper in
O`DONNELL: Tonight, the largest newspaper in New Hampshire, the New
Hampshire Union Leader endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson for President.
The newspaper is breaking with its long tradition of endorsing Republicans.
In the latest NBC news, Wall Street Journal Marist Poll of New Hampshire
Hillary Clinton is at 39 percent, Donald Trump, 37, Gary Johnson, 15
percent, Jill Stein, 3 percent. Is this endorsement good news for Hillary
Clinton? That`s next in the Campaign War Room.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Campaign War Room. Tonight the Trump and
Clinton War Rooms are studying new polls of likely voters nationally and in
three key states, the Quinnipiac National Poll shows Hillary Clinton at two
points ahead of Donald Trump, 41 to 39, for Gary Johnson at 13, Jill Stein
at 4. The same poll last month showed Hillary Clinton up seven points.
In Nevada a Monmouth poll shows Donald Trump up two points, 44, 42, Gary
Johnson at 8. Jill Stein is not on the ballot on the ballot in Nevada. In
Ohio, two new polls show Donald Trump up 5 point, 43 to 38 in a four-way
Bloomberg poll. And 46 to 41 in a four way CNN poll, and then Florida CNN
poll shows Donald Trump up three points at 47 to 44 in the four-way version
of the race.
With 54 days left for the Presidential Campaign War Rooms, joining us
tonight in the last War Room is Steve McMahon, veteran of three
Presidential Campaign War Rooms, including Governor Howard Dean`s 2004
presidential campaign War Room.
Steve, the Manchester union leader does not endorse the Republican. That
is big news tonight. And it seems to me it`s the best thing Hillary
Clinton could have hoped for from the Manchester union leader.
STEVE MCMAHON, MEDIA CONSULTANT: It is. Given their history, they
obviously love Republicans. They almost always endorse Republicans. And
tonight they did something different. It is very good news for her
O`DONNELL: I mean, yes. I mean, they`re doing everything they can to pull
votes away from Donald Trump to Gary Johnson in New Hampshire. And that
seems to be the most they could do to help Hillary Clinton, whether they
want to or not.
MCMAHON: That`s right. You see a lot of states out there where they`re
sort of reverting to the mean. And New Hampshire is one of them. And the
mean in New Hampshire is very tight, very competitive race. Kelly Ayotte
has been picking up support, Hillary Clinton has been sort of losing
support as Donald Trump has gained. Kelly Ayotte has gained. And I think
this is a great little way for the union leader to pop that balloon.
O`DONNEL: OK, Steve you`re in the Clinton War Room tonight. You got all
these new polls in front of you. Which one cheers you the most? Which one
worries you the most? What are you looking at here?
MCMAHON: Well, I mean, I think Ohio obviously is the one that`s of
greatest concern. One of the things you see in that poll though is that
the Republican participation is a little bit higher. Looks a little more
like 2004 than 2008 or 12. So, it becomes a turnout issue.
If you look at the battleground states across the board and you start with
the fact that, you know, historically and this year, Hillary Clinton should
start with about 242 Electoral College votes, Trump about 170 which means
she goes in with an advantage.
She has to almost run the entire table in order to be competitive and you
know if you lose Ohio, it`s bad. But he`s got to win a lot more than Ohio,
Florida. He`s got to start winning Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico
and, you know, all the battleground states that you can name, New
Hampshire. And he`s not doing that yet, so I`m not that worried at this
O`DONNELL: And what do you see is the next big turn in the road here.
Everyone says the debates are the next real stop in this campaign?
MCMAHON: The debates are obviously the big stop, I think the next few days
for Secretary Clinton are important because people are going to be looking
at or watching her health. Does she look strong? Does she seems like
she`s, you know, she seems like she`s in command? Does she seem like she`s
struggling or having an easy time campaigning. And I think she`s going to
come back to the campaign trail stronger than ever and alleviate all those
doubts then it will be debates.
O`DONNELL: Steve McMahon, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I
really appreciate it.
MCMAHON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Up next, Mr. Pence goes to Washington and it doesn`t go so
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 2016: Donald Trump and
have I denounced David Duke repeatedly. And that the simple fact is that
I`m not in the name-calling business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Mike Pence, not name-calling with House Republican
leadership. A couple of hours later, Senator Mike Lee`s office released
this statement about his private meeting with Mike Pence. Senator Lee
emphasized that Republicans must identify David Duke`s racism as
deplorable. Joining us now, Sam Stein, Senior Political Editor of
Huffington Post and MSNBC contributor and Sam, we saw Mike Pence appear
with all the house leadership there.
SAM STEIN, SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR, HUFFINGTON POST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: And as the New York Times reported, he wanted them to help him
out with this deplorables thing. And none of them stepped up to the
microphone to do that.
STEIN: No, they didn`t. It`s funny. You`re seeing, you know, obvious
indisputable balance in public support among Republicans for Donald Trump.
But it`s not necessarily translating to conversations, people, officials on
Capitol Hill or in elite Republican circles.
There is still a real, you know, a real hesitancy among elected officials
here to jump on board the Trump train as they call it to endorse the guy.
And there is still skepticism when you talk to these people that he will
actually win. So it is even despite all the more optimistic polling
numbers and I think that manifested itself a lot in Mike Pence`s visit to
O`DONNELL: And apparently, these sources saying that in a meeting with
John McCain, Mike Pence got an earful about the crazy stuff that Donald
O`DONNELL: – has been saying about Vladimir Putin.
STEIN: Well, I mean and this is sort of nut of it, right? Which is that
for all the polling bump he`s had, Trump continues to espouse either
foreign policy or domestic policy positions that the elected Republican
officials and GOP establishment simply can`t get around. And so, part of
it is this weird romance with Vladimir Putin. But also even last night`s
policy prescription, which was a paid for maternity leave and child care
policy, you know, Democrats don`t love it.
But Republicans don`t love it either because they look at it as sort of a
vehicle for enhancing the welfare state. So you`re seeing a lot of
uncomfortable positions that these Republicans have to take. And I guess
when Mike Pence goes up to The Hill, he`s got to be at the brunt of it.
O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean the report was quoting John McCain saying to Mike
Pence that Donald Trump is supporting a thug and a butcher. That`s
McCain`s language. And I mean, what – how does – any word on how Pence
handles those moments with these guys?
STEIN: None. None. But it`s interesting to note that some of these guys
go out of their way to make sure that it`s known that they had these
O`DONNELL: Yes. They make sure it`s leaked. Yes.
STEIN: Yes. And they don`t even hide it. I think Mike Lee`s office was
very up-front in letting people know that he confronted him about this
stuff. And so, you know, it says something that the Republican
establishment wants it to be known that they`re taking a public stand
against Donald Trump. I believe the Mike Lee thing was about Mike Pence
actually refusing to actually say that David duke was deplorable. So, it`s
not just Donald Trump, its Mike pence as well.
But it does say something about how the GOP establishment perceives this
candidates he still in this high watermark at this point for Trump.
O`DONNELL: In a secret poll of Capitol Hill Republicans, House and Senate,
Donald Trump would lose, right? They don`t want that guy in the White
STEIN: I would want to conduct –
O`DONNELL: They don`t want him.
STEIN: Where is the polling unit here?
O`DONNELL: I just conducted it. I know, but here is the idea. First of
all, they don`t want to sit around having to wait eight years to run for
president. They don`t want to run for president four years from now
against Hillary Clinton. They also don`t want a madman at the head of
their party in the White House who they have to apologize for or distance
themselves from every day as they do in this campaign. I mean, why would
they want this to continue?
STEIN: Yes. Well, there is several reason, one is the Supreme Court
position, right? I mean this is sort of the one thing that has been
offered as a rationalization for them to get behind Trump and to continue
to be behind Trump. And I suppose the second thing is that if trump does
well conceivably and he brings new voter, Republicans to the polls, there
are down ballot impacts that could help the senate candidates in that case.
And I have heard this argument made, that you could bring in a whole new
generation of predominantly white working class tentatively Democrats who
will then go to become Republicans because Trump would bring them into the
Republican tent. That`s sort of the long view argument in favor of Trump
winning. But I can`t recall ever in, you know, seeing a party`s elected
establishment figures be that tentative with their own party nominee at
this stage of the election.
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, thank you very much for joining us.
STEIN: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: So, here`s another reason you don`t have to watch the Mr. Trump
and Mr. Oz show tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, would say anything about his eating habits or
DANIEL SINAHSON, DR. OZ SHOW AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, and he said he likes
fast food because at least you know what`s in it and that`s why he sticks
to it and when he travels a lot I guess he said, you`re not really sure
even if you go to nice restaurants what you`re getting and at least there`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: If Donald Trump knows what`s in it, he`s the only one who knows
what`s in it. MSNBC`S live coverage continues in The 11th Hour. Brian
Williams will be joined by Donald Trump supporter, New Jersey Governor,
Chris Christie. An exclusive interview and this week`s Kurt Eichenwald who
has reportings about the workings of Donald Trump`s businesses
“THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams is live and it is next.
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