The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 11/4/2016
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: November 4, 2016
Guest: Sam Wang, Krystal Ball, Josh Barro, John Lapinski, Maria Teresa
Kumar, Frank Sharry, William Barber, Nancy Giles, Dana Milbank
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again
Sunday night at 9:00, Sunday night at 9:00. Now it`s time for “LAST WORD”
with Lawrence O`Donnell.” Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Rachel, I think of you as my old pal.
MADDOW: Thank you. You`re even more delicious than this.
O`DONNELL: But let me tell you something. The stuff that you just put in
that glass, if you made me drink it, it would be torture.
MADDOW: You`re not a drinker, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: That stuff. Oh my –
MADDOW: I drink for the two of us. Don`t worry.
O`DONNELL: You do – tonight, you do. Yes. Thank you, Rachel.
Hillary Clinton is on stage tonight with Jay-Z and Beyonce and there`s
BEYONCE: I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead our country and
know that her possibilities are limitless. We have to think about the
future of our daughters, our sons, and vote for someone who cares for them
as much as we do, and that is why I`m with her. If you are ready for
freedom, make some noise. If you`re ready for freedom, make some noise.
If you`re ready for freedom, make some noise.
O`DONNELL: When Hillary Clinton leaves that stage tonight in Cleveland,
she will have just three campaign days left before Tuesday`s presidential
And all of you out there who are outraged that we just cut away from
Beyonce, please understand that they have given us instructions about
exactly how many seconds of these songs we are allowed to show you on TV.
We do not have the legal right to show you any more than what we just did.
So, we have a new projection tonight from Sam Wang, the founder of
Princeton University`s Election Consortium.
Joining us now is Professor Sam Wang. Professor Wang, as of tonight, what
are the chances that Beyonce gets her wish and her daughter gets to see a
woman president of the United States?
SAM WANG, PRINCETON ELECTION CONSORTIUM: I think that Beyonce should keep
on reassuring her daughter. The odds are overwhelming of a Hillary Clinton
victory on Tuesday. It`s a narrow lead as it`s been for much of the
season, but a pretty highly likely victory. I would be very surprised if
anything else happened.
O`DONNELL: The – your consortium has put out a projection of a 99 percent
chance of winning, is that correct?
WANG: Yes. We should be careful about probabilities this high because
once the probability gets that high, it`s not so clear that it matters
whether it`s 91 percent, 95 percent or 99 percent but yes, that`s right.
The probability is high enough that my side is reporting it as currently
above 99 percent.
O`DONNELL: Just – is it possible to get a hundred percent probability on
one of these things?
WANG: It is never possible to get exactly a hundred percent probability.
If my site says 101 percent then you should worry.
O`DONNELL: OK, so she got the best score she can get. That`s the highest
score on the SATs here as it were of this thing.
O`DONNELL: So, what is the methodology you used to calculate this,
WANG: The Princeton Election Consortium and election.princeton.edu uses
entirely state polls, state polls are the most accurate of the polls that
are available to polling analysts in the U.S.
And so what we do is we take each state, take the available polls for the
last two weeks, actually a little bit shorter period now, calculate a
median, so arrange them in order and calculate the median of those polls,
figure out the possibility from that of who`s ahead in either state, in
each of those states, and then take that and compound that across all 56
There are 56 races that determine the Electoral College and that`s over 72
quadrillion possibilities and so I have a little script that I`ve written
on my computer that does that. It figures out what the median is or the
midpoint of all those possibilities.
And the median currently is at 312 electoral votes and so the general idea
is that is our sharpest snapshot of where the race appears to be based on
today`s state polling.
O`DONNELL: That is the first time I`ve heard 72 quadrillion used in a
sentence, but that`s because I`m not in your class at Princeton. And so
between now and poll closing Tuesday night, what could change this?
WANG: It would be really unusual for anything to change. I would say that
opinion doesn`t move very quickly. In the last two decades of polarized
politics, voters have gotten more and more entrenched and the only thing
that can change is small variations in turnout.
So for instance, if there`s a really bad storm on the east coast then that
could depress turnout maybe one or two points, same on the west coast. So
I think given the way things stand right now, it would take a very large
weather event to change things and, you know, the forecasters in that
domain are not expecting a giant weather event.
O`DONNELL: And do you have a projection for the Senate?
WANG: The Senate that is where the real suspense is this year. So, the
presidential race has been mostly pretty secure, relatively easy
prediction. The Senate could go either way. Currently, my projection is
50/50 and in the event of a Clinton presidency, that means that Vice
President Kaine would break ties and that means that the Democrats would
However, it comes down to seven races that are all within 3 percentage
points and honestly, whoever wins four of those Senate races will end up in
control of the Senate so this really could go either way.
O`DONNELL: So for you, presidential race has no suspense. The Senate is
where the suspense still is.
WANG: Well, look, obviously, everybody`s watching the presidential race,
but I`m just saying that from a statistical point of view, it seems pretty
likely that the presidency is going in a particular direction.
And so I think that for anybody who is concerned about what`s going to
happen, the thing to watch very closely is Senate races for activists who
are interested in making a difference, close Senate races and places like
Nevada and New Hampshire and North Carolina.
That`s the place to be in terms of where the probabilities are, you know,
right on a knife edge.
O`DONNELL: Princeton Professor Sam Wang, thank you very much for sharing
the stage with Beyonce tonight and giving us your final predictions here.
Thank you very much, Professor.
We`re going to leave up, Beyonce. Apparently, Beyonce`s dancing is not
copyrighted, just the songs so we`re going to leave that screen there.
Beyonce is the warm-up act for another singer named Hillary Clinton.
We don`t know what she`s going to be singing when she gets to the stage
tonight. But I just want to bring in Krystal Ball and Josh Barrow, who are
joining me here in the studio. We`re going to skip all the script junk
that, if we did it, it would knock Beyonce off the screen.
KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It`s not worth it.
O`DONNELL: We ain`t doing that and we`re not showing you video of all
these little sound bites we have here. Crystal, 99 percent chance.
BALL: I like those odds.
O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton is going to be the winner on election night.
How are you feeling?
BALL: I mean, still feeling a little nervous.
O`DONNELL: Is 99 good enough for you? That`s my question.
BALL: The stakes are so incredibly high, but I think if you look at the
early voting numbers, Trump`s theory of the case has always been there`s
this mass of infrequent and first-time voters who are going to emerge and
they`ll be the ones that put him over the top.
And make up for how poorly he`s done with women and minorities and if you
look at what we`ve seen so far, there`s no evidence of that. And
meanwhile, you also have – when you`re considering first-time voters and
infrequent voters, you have to have an actual campaign running and a ground
game operation to be able to try to get those folks registered and get them
out to the polls.
And he, even though he supposedly is this brilliant business manager,
didn`t bother to actually set up a real campaign. So the Clinton campaign
is miles ahead of him in terms of getting out their own infrequent and
first-time voters, and we see that in particular with the Latino turnout
that surged across the country.
O`DONNELL: And is now Josh Barrow`s turn to share the stage with Beyonce.
BALL: Good luck, buddy.
O`DONNELL: Something Josh Barrow is probably used to by now.
BALL: Typical Friday night.
O`DONNELL: Right. Now, finally, finally, our graphics mention that
Beyonce and Jay-Z are at a rally for Hillary Clinton, because prior to
this, it was a really interesting split screen where you have, you know,
Professor Sam Way, Krystal Ball, talking politics, and there`s Beyonce over
there without any graphic explanation.
But now we`ve got it. And we also have the breaking news, which deserves
to be on the screen too, which is that Sam Wang is giving this now a 99
percent certainty, Josh, that Hillary Clinton`s going to win.
JOSH BARRO, “BUSINESS INSIDER”: Yes, I wish I were as confident as Sam is.
O`DONNELL: That`s because you can`t do calculations with – what was it,
72 quadrillion possibilities.
BALL: I think he can.
BARRO: So when you look at the – there are about six of these models, you
know, Nate Silver has one, “The New York Times” has one, “Huffington Post,”
and when you build these models, you put all those inputs in the poll –
from the polls, but then there are two sort of knobs that you can turn that
affect how high your confidence is.
One is how accurate do you think the polling is, and if you think there`s a
significant risk of a systematic polling error, which is to say that polls
didn`t find enough Republicans or Democrats. Then you have to say you`re
And then the other question is, how correlated are the different states,
which is to say that if Hillary underperforms (inaudible) in Pennsylvania,
does that mean she will also tend to do worse in Michigan and Arizona and
everywhere else or are they reasonably independent from each other?
So Nate Silver who says that there`s only about a 65 percent chance that
Hillary will win says, he`s not that confident that the polls are accurate.
There`s a significant risk of an error. And if there is an error, he
thinks the error will go in the same direction in every state.
So, because of that, he says that, you know, if Trump could – if Trump`s
behind by three points now, the polls could be off by about that. And it
would move uniformly across the map and Trump could squeak out a victory.
So, I think that`s probably not going to happen. I think Hillary`s going
to win. I would put the odds higher than the 65 percent that Nate Silver
puts at it, but I would definitely put it lower.
BALL: You`re not ready for 99 percent.
BARRO: I`m nervous and voters should be nervous.
O`DONNELL: Josh Barro introducing a note of doubt, which is really going
to upset Beyonce. It`s a good thing she can`t hear you.
BALL: You don`t think they`re doing the split screen there of our show.
O`DONNELL: I`m struck by the idea that Professor Wang only looks at state
polls and never looks at the national polls and that strikes me as probably
the best way to do this.
BALL: Yes, well, I mean, in his research, they`re more accurate so that
makes sense. He also talks about how he uses the median rather than
factoring in these outlier polls, which also makes sense. I mean, look, I
think, obviously, there`s still uncertainty here.
You don`t know for sure, but based on the numbers that people like John
Ralston, who is very smart are saying in Nevada, it looks like the Clinton
campaign is doing the things that they need to do to be at or slightly
behind or slightly ahead of where President Obama was in 2012 and that`s
what we need.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to have to take a quick break here.
Josh Barro and Krystal Ball, thank you. And if the control room can figure
it out, they`ll try to leave Beyonce on the screen during commercials.
I`m not sure what commercial would suffer by sharing a screen with Beyonce.
I mean, wouldn`t that just get them more eyeballs? What do we have here?
What`s coming up?
That`s right. Millions of people have already voted. That`s one of the
really amazing phenomenon in this election, the early vote. And we have an
NBC News polling expert who`s going to give us all of the details on the
This is also the person who is going to call the election on election night
for NBC News. He`s going to be sealed off in a room up here making the
decision on exactly when he can make that call.
Also coming up, a judge gives a big, big win in North Carolina to thousands
of people who were purged from the voting lists there. We covered this
case last night. Reverend William barber will be with us tonight to talk
about that big win.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news just in from the “Associated Press.” The
“Associated Press” is reporting that Melania Trump worked without a visa in
the United States. I`m going to read directly from the “Associated Press”
report that`s just been filed.
Melania Trump was paid for ten modelling jobs in the United States worth
$20,000 that occurred in the seven weeks before she had legal permission to
work in the country, according to a detailed accounting, the ledgers,
contracts and related documents from 20 years ago, provided by the
The wife of the GOP presidential nominee who sometimes worked as a model
under just her first name, has said, through an attorney, that she first
came to the U.S. from Slovenia on August 27, 1996, on a B1 B2 visitor visa,
and then obtained an H1b work visa on October 18th, 1996.
The documents obtained by the AP show she was paid for ten modelling
assignments between September 10th and October 15th. During a time when
her visa allowed her generally to be in the U.S. and look for work but not
perform paid work in the country.
The documents examined by the AP indicate that the modelling assignments
would have been outside the bounds of her visa, and as we recall, it was
over six weeks ago that Donald Trump promised that Melania Trump, within
two weeks of that time, would hold a press conference where she would
produce her immigration records to prove that she was always legally in
this country and never worked illegally in this country.
She has never had that press conference. She`s never produced any
documentation about her immigration history. And now, tonight, AP
reporting that they did, indeed, find records of Melania Trump working
illegally in the United States without the proper visa. We`ll be right
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The good news is
that what we`ve seen over the last several days is, in Florida, in North
Carolina, in places all across the country, votes generally have been up.
You`ve seen, in the African-American community, big surges in early vote.
Big surges in Latino vote. Big surges in youth vote. And so if we can
just sustain what we`ve done over the last several days, then I will feel
good about the ultimate turnout results.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The latest data from NBC News and Target Smart shows a record
of 35.9 million early votes have been cast in 2016 with 16.7 million in 12
key battleground states. More registered Democrats have voted in eight of
those key battleground states while more Republicans have voted in three,
in Florida, an equal number have voted with a record 4.8 million early
votes already cast.
Just four nights from now, NBC News will be projecting the winner of the
presidential election. Joining us now is John Lapinski, who will be in
charge of making that decision to make that projection as the director of
elections for NBC News.
So, John, 10:20 p.m. Tuesday night. Might we know as early as then?
JOHN LAPINSKI, NBC NEWS DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS: Look, I mean, we really
don`t know this early on in the sense of when we`re going to be projecting
this. I mean, I saw you had Sam Wang on earlier.
O`DONNELL: It`s 99 percent chance.
LAPINSKI: There`s a lot of people that think it`s a lot less than that.
And you know the thing is that one of the – when Professor Wang was
talking about the data, one of the problems we have is he said that he
based his models on state polls. A lot of the better projections do that.
But one of the issues that we have is there is not – we have a lot of
polls, but a lot of them aren`t very good. A lot of them are robo polls,
some of them are low quality online polls and so when you start – that`s
where all of this uncertainty comes about.
So I think that there is a lot of people that are sort of wondering, like,
sort of where are we in some of these states and a lot of the battleground
states, even though it appears in the national polls that Clinton has a
lead, a lot of battleground states are very close.
O`DONNELL: What do you make of that Target Smart analysis that we
presented a few days ago here, where they studied very specifically the
early vote in Florida and they basically did an exit poll of the early vote
and they found 28 percent of the early voting Republicans voting for
LAPINSKI: Yes, one of the interesting – that`s called the registration
based sampling poll and like you said, what they do is call off a voter
list and they want to see how people are essentially not what is actually
being recorded in the voter list but asking people, who are you going to
What was really interesting in that is I think the number, actually, was
too high. I really would be stunned in a quarter – it was actually 28
percent of Republicans actually were voting – splitting their ticket and
But directionally, it was interesting, because what was interesting in that
study was that these Republicans were still supporting Rubio.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Hillary Clinton here.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The intensity, I don`t even
know where to begin, because this is what America is, my friends. We have
a woman who is an inspiration to so many others. I thank her.
I thank Beyonce for standing up and showing the world we are strongest when
we look out for each other, and I thank jay for addressing in his music
some of our biggest challenges in the country. Poverty, racism, the urgent
need for criminal justice reform.
And remember, Jay memorably said something we should all recall. Rosa
Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk and Martin Luther walked so Barack
Obama could run, and Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly.
But we have unfinished business to do, more barriers to break, and with
your help, a glass ceiling to crack once and for all. I want to be a
president who helps everybody fulfil their God-given potential.
And I can`t do that unless on Tuesday we decide what kind of country we
want to be. Will we reject a dark and divisive vision for our future and
embrace a hopeful, inclusive, unified America?
So, please take this energy out with you here in Cuyahoga County, every
day`s Election Day. We could have the biggest turnout in history. If you
haven`t voted yet, tomorrow, you can go vote at 2925 Euclid Avenue from
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
And you can go to Iwillvote.com to confirm your polling place. And if you
want to volunteer, come join us by texting “join” to 47246. Help us win
I`ll tell you, I am so energized after this concert and I got to say,
didn`t you love the pantsuits? And I want to get to work for you. I want
to roll up my sleeves, work with you, and work for you and let`s make sure
that we send a loud, unmistakable message that love trumps hate. Thank you
all and God bless you.
O`DONNELL: That was Hillary Clinton following Beyonce in Cleveland
tonight. John Lapinski, Tuesday night, you`re going to be making the call
for NBC News, projecting the next president of the United States. How
nerve wracking is Tuesday for you?
LAPINSKI: I mean, every election night is a stressful situation. You
know, just because there`s a – you know, it`s not just me, I should say,
actually, we have a very large team of professionals, PhDs, data
scientists, pollsters that help. But you know, we`re – we want to be at
the top of our game and it`s a very long night.
O`DONNELL: So I guess you get more comfortable the bigger margin you see.
In your job, when you start to see a big margin that makes you confident,
increasingly confident in your prediction, that must be the thing you`re
LAPINSKI: What we`re hoping for is we`re a data-driven exercise, so we
don`t want to be wrong, and so, you know, when you larger margins –
O`DONNELL: You`re not allowed to be wrong.
LAPINSKI: We`re not allowed to be wrong. So we absolutely – we`re not
allowed to be wrong. We have – the standard is extremely high. So you
know, in a lot of these close races, they can take a long time to call
because again, again, we`re not business of making sure that we`re actually
correctly projecting the winner.
O`DONNELL: Is the earlier vote going to make this easier or harder for you
LAPINSKI: First of all, it`s interesting this year because there`s so much
of it. We`ve been getting in – we have our own operation, we work with
Target Smart. We`ve been getting in 3 million or so votes every day,
looking at it, looking for patterns.
So it`s certainly helpful, you know, in the sense of – because elections
have changed so much in this country because so many people vote before
Election Day. You know, we could have, you know, in the mid-40s, maybe
even higher than that, million voters that have actually cast their ballots
beforehand and we are looking at, like, the partisanship of voters.
It doesn`t tell you who they voted for. It just, as you had mentioned
about the Target Smart study, but it helps us, you know, there is a lot of
partisan voting. I mean, Democrats largely will support Clinton and
Republicans will support Trump.
The big question we have right now is of these voters, are they – are they
voters that are voting early this cycle that would have just voted on
election day, so we`re always trying to figure those sorts of things out
and they`re really hard to figure out essentially until election day.
But what they can tell you is – and this is like why Clinton is, you know,
has put forward such an effort. Trump would say he`s also in trying to
build out this effort. They want to bank vote early.
So we are looking at all of these states to just see, what is the partisan
splits in these states? And it`s really important. And we benchmark it to
what Obama did in 2012 because that`s how he won the presidency, right? I
mean, his early vote efforts is really – really paid off for him.
O`DONNELL: So, as the returns come in Tuesday night and the clock ticks,
do you feel the pressure of the competition or do you just seal yourself
off in that room and say, we`re making this call when we know what the call
is, and we don`t care –
LAPINSKI: We`re completely insulated. I don`t know what others are doing
and that was a policy decision that was made a long time ago at NBC News.
Just for that reason. Because you could imagine, like, you know, if it was
everybody was like sort of feeding off, you know, competition, then it
could create pressure that you really don`t want in that room and we don`t
have it in –
O`DONNELL: And I know the viewer out there, when they see one network make
a call and the other network doesn`t, they wonder what`s going on, what`s
wrong with them.
LAPINSKI: The way we do it is that, you know, we`re all independent of
each other, right, and so what it is, though, is like we`re looking at, you
know, exit poll data and vote data that`s similar, right?
And so even though we`re all doing our own analyses, when probably when
people call races together, it`s because everybody has the statistical
confidence that it`s ready to call a race, and that you know that you`re
O`DONNELL: John Lapinski, the guy with the most difficult job in the
building Tuesday night. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, John.
We appreciate it.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, more than 100,000 more Latinos have already voted in
early voting this election than voted early in 2012. Did Donald Trump make
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: It`s starting to look like Tuesday might
be the day when Donald Trump finally gets what he provoked on the day he
announced his candidacy, a massive Latino vote against him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you`re Mexico, you`re not
sending your best people over here. You`re not sending, you know, the
happily married couple that lives down the street that is wonderful. We`re
getting killers. We`re getting drug dealers. We`re getting rapists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: “Los Angeles Times” reports that enthusiasm among Latino voters
is at an all-time high, as many as 15 million Latinos may cast ballots and
the boost is being reflected in some early voting trends. Clinton campaign
manager, Robby Mook, said this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBY MOOK, CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER (via telephone): Latino voters have
been turning out at dramatically higher rates than 2012 across the country.
Let`s just look at Florida, which I think is a good example for all the
different constituent parts of this Hillary coalition.
As of yesterday, 30 percent – 30 percent more Latinos had turned out by
yesterday than all of 2012. We`ve seen a 120 percent to 130 percent
increase across the board in Latinos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And yesterday, Tim Kaine became the first candidate on a
national ticket to give a campaign speech entirely in Spanish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (Speaking in foreign
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto
Latino. She`s also an MSNBC contributor. Also with us, Frank Sharry, the
founder and executive director of America`s Voice.
Maria Teresa, these Latino turnout numbers really are extraordinary. The
Florida number alone, just amazing to hear.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: She baited us, Lawrence,
right? I mean, and we listened and it`s something I shared with you a year
ago is that we were trying to do two strategies in the Latino community and
we speak both. We speak English and Spanish and we know how to translate
that into our votes and we`re flexing our muscle.
The really interesting part of Florida are twofold. One, I`m curious to
see how many Cubans will be voting for the very first time Republican since
the 1960s will be voting Democrat on the top of the ticket but can go back
down ballot and vote Republican.
And then also in Rolando, you`re finding 29 percent first-time voters
coming out that are casting their votes. That population, more than
likely, is going to be Puerto Rican that basically once they set foot on
the United States territory have an opportunity to cast a vote because
O`DONNELL: Frank Sharry, the one thing that Republicans seem to agree on
after Mitt Romney`s loss four years ago was they had to work harder to get
this vote, to get the Latino vote. The Trump candidacy is as if someone
deliberately tried to sabotage that strategy. They couldn`t have gone in a
more opposite direction.
FRANK SHARRY, FOUNDER, AMERICA`S VOICE: That`s right. The RNC autopsy
said that if we don`t get right with Latinos, and we don`t get right on
immigration reform, we`ll never be able to win the presidency.
But there was an alternative theory on the right, not just the alt-right
but on the conservative right, the missing white voter theory, that if we
found a candidate, Republicans said, that could mobilize white working
class, disaffected voters, we wouldn`t – they wouldn`t have to reach out
Well, that`s being put to the test on Tuesday with Donald Trump, and I
think the only missing voters that are going to show up are Latinos.
O`DONNELL: And turning out tonight in reporting by the AP that the woman
who stood beside Donald Trump as he came down that escalator to announce
his candidacy, Melania Trump, apparently may have worked illegally without
a visa in the United States when she first arrived here.
We are joined now by Alicia Caldwell, one of the AP reporters who broke
that Melania Trump story within the hour. And Alicia, I just want to read
again the first sentence of your report to orient the audience for this.
We broke this news a few minutes ago, but I want to read it again. Melania
Trump was paid for ten modelling jobs in the United States worth $20,000
that occurred in the seven weeks before she had legal permission to work in
the country, according to detailed accounting ledgers, contracts and
related documents from 20 years ago provided to the “Associated Press.”
And Alicia Caldwell, what about those documents that you`re us using for
this report, how reliable do you think they are?
ALICIA CALDWELL, AP REPORTER (via telephone): We spent the last several
days documenting, verifying, authenticating these ledgers as being valid
internal business records from the modelling firm, I believe it was
Metropolitan International Models at the time.
Showing that these were the jobs booked. These were the jobs performed,
and these were the dollar figure earned for those bookings. Now, with
notable in there is, you know, the $20,000 figure, that`s gross. That`s
That doesn`t take into account what she then – what Mrs. Trump then owed
back to the modelling firm, which is also noted in various ledgers of, you
know, loans and federal taxes taken out in some instances, and so on. So
she didn`t walk away with $20,000. This is gross. This is before tax,
before other expenses and so on.
O`DONNELL: And did you get a chance to look at any of the documentation in
Melania Trump`s visa file, as it were? I mean, the only information that`s
ever been put out was a lawyer composed a letter, but no documentation
supporting the claims of her status at any given moment have ever been
released as far as I know. Have you seen any of that documentation?
CALDWELL: I personally have not, nor have my colleagues. As you know, and
you guys have had Mr. Wilds on the air in previous iterations of your show,
Mr. Wilds, the New York immigration attorney, well regarded immigration
attorney, reviewed her file in hindsight.
It`s not for immigration attorney at the time but reviewed her documents
and files and has attested to the data set forth in our story. She arrived
in late August. She was in – issued an H1b visa, which authorized her to
work on October, I believe, 18th. Excuse me, 1996.
So, about a month and a half, two months or so after her arrival in the
United States, B1 B2, which for the people who are not super familiar with
immigration, that`s a visitor visa. It allows you to come to the United
States. It`s just a visitor visa, but you can look for work.
And as a model, that was not an uncommon practice, I am told. But you are
not allowed to work and earn money as a – you are not allowed to work and
earn money inside the United States for a United States company.
O`DONNELL: But everything we know in your report tonight indicates that
Melania Trump is – was exactly the kind of worker who Donald Trump would
deport from the United States.
CALDWELL: Well, I mean, I`m not going to say that. I don`t think that
that`s necessarily – what his comments have been. He`s been pretty
prolific in his discussions of illegal immigration, those in the country
without legal authorization.
And to be clear, none of the records we have reviewed combined with the
letter from Mr. Wilds, the immigration attorney who has reviewed her
immigration documents, at Mrs. Trump`s request, suggested that Melania
Trump was in the country illegally or without authorization.
By all accounts, she arrived in the United States with a valid visitor
visa, later receiving the work visa. The question at this stage is, the
seven weeks during which the ledgers from the modelling firm detail jobs
booked and paid for during that period.
And to be clear, I don`t know when those jobs were physically paid to her,
but she earned money during that period which, according to her time line
set forth, she did not have a valid work visa.
O`DONNELL: I just want to bring back in Maria Teresa Kumar. Maria Teresa,
as you`re hearing this report tonight, and as you`ve listened to everything
Donald Trump has said about who he would deport and why he would deport
them, everything I`ve heard him say indicates that what Melania Trump was
doing in the United States, according to the AP`s report, would have gotten
her deported by a President Trump at that time.
KUMAR: Well, I think that, and the biggest – I think the biggest story,
too, is that as an undocumented worker, she paid taxes during the time that
Donald Trump did not pay taxes. And it just goes to show that how easy and
slippery the law is.
It`s 60 percent of the people that are in the United States undocumented
have overstayed their visas. That`s exactly what happened to Melania
Trump. So again, it`s this case after case of irony of when it comes to
the Trump campaign.
The “National Enquirer” – The “Wall Street Journal” just broke as I was
about to sit down that he – it looks like he actually had an affair with
someone during his marriage with Melania Trump, but the “National Enquirer”
basically bought the rights to tell that story of that affair.
So again it`s not just this idea of this hypocrisy of who he is but again,
being an undocumented immigrant, his wife at that time, which he would have
He`s constantly trying to accuse Hillary Clinton of having an unseemly
relationship with her husband, but he does the same thing but he basically
to threaten and pays people off in order not to come forward.
O`DONNELL: Frank Sharry, I just want to get your reaction to what Alicia
Caldwell and the “Associated Press” is reporting tonight about Melania
Trump`s first work in the United States, which apparently was done,
according to the AP, without the proper visa.
SHARRY: Look, if she was here on a visitor`s visa without the
authorization to work, and she worked in violation of that – the terms of
that visa, that`s immigration fraud. And that`s a serious charge.
That could actually not only have put her in jeopardy then, it could put
her citizenship in jeopardy now. If you – if the basis for your case
before the immigration authorities is that you complied with the laws but,
in fact, you covered up a fraudulent practice, she could be in jeopardy
O`DONNELL: So, Frank, in the immigration process at some point, she would
have been asked questions along the lines of, have you ever worked without
legal authority in the United States. As she was moving up the ladder, as
it were, through our immigration process.
SHARRY: Of course.
O`DONNELL: And any answer she would give in that process that wasn`t true
could legally come back to haunt her now.
SHARRY: It could indeed. Now, look, these are always complicated cases –
SHARRY: – you know, I`m from the pro-immigrant team, so we might start a
defense fund for Melania so we can go to bat for her because I suspect the
people around Trump will be looking to get her denaturalized and deported.
O`DONNELL: Well, it certainly offers you the opportunity to make the
argument of, this is why her case is one of the reasons why someone like
Donald Trump should see that there should be room made in our policy for
these kinds of cases.
SHARRY: Of course.
KUMAR: Well –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Maria Teresa, last word.
KUMAR: Well, that`s the thing. It`s incredibly complicated and like I
mentioned, 60 percent of the folks that are undocumented in this country
are a Melania Trump. They came in as a visitor`s visa and they overstayed
their time. Sometimes because their process – they`re waiting for their
paperwork to be processed.
O`DONNELL: Alicia Caldwell, Frank Sharry, Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you
all for joining us on this subject. Really appreciate it.
KUMAR: Thanks, Lawrence.
CALDWELL: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight from North Carolina as we
reported last night, the NAACP filed a voter suppression lawsuit against
the North Carolina Board of Elections and today they won that case with a
federal judge declaring that all voters purged from the voting rolls must
Here`s how President Obama described the case today in North Carolina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: A few years ago,
Roy Cooper`s opponent, Governor McRory signed a law that made it harder for
African-Americans to vote. And look, I`m not – this is me – this is not
me just opining. A federal judge looked at all the evidence, said, this
law targeted black voters with surgical precision. That`s a quote. One of
the worst voter suppression laws in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Reverend William Barber, he is the head of the
North Carolina NAACP. Reverend Barber, there`s a big win for you today,
and apparently just in time.
REVEREND WILLIAM BARBER, PRESIDENT, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP: Well, it is an
incredible win. You know, we`re telling everybody to vote. We have one
more day of early voting tomorrow up until 1:00 and then, of course,
But this affects thousands of voters, and it`s the first case of its kind
to go directly after this purging, this unnecessary purging, illegal
And the courts have basically said the GOP keeps scheming and the court
keeps speaking and saying, what you`re doing is illegal, unconstitutional,
racist and wrong.
O`DONNELL: And what is your advice to voters going to the polls now in
North Carolina who thought they were purged from the rolls?
BARBER: We`re getting the message out about these thousands, but we need
them to go to the polls. That`s the first thing. Go. If you have any
problems call 1-888-our vote. This was done by the GOP and their allies, a
group called the voter Integrity Group, they really have no integrity.
And what they basically did was sent out mailing, and if it was returnable
or undeliverable, they took stacks to the Board of Elections, and challenge
a person`s right to vote.
One lady was a 100 years old and it simply went to the wrong address.
Another had moved into a nursing home. Another didn`t get the mail because
of the hurricane and the flood.
The problem with this is it is just wrong. It`s something done
deliberately and targeted African-Americans. What I`m saying to people is
if they are fighting this hard to keep people from voting, you ought to
vote even the more.
So let`s go, tomorrow`s the last day of early voting. You can register and
vote the same day. You do not need a photo ID tomorrow. And then on
Tuesday, we need to turn out in mass. You have to be registered, however,
before Tuesday in order to vote on Tuesday.
O`DONNELL: And Reverend, this is a number, easily, that could change the
outcome of the election.
BARBER: We can never forget what`s really at stake. President Obama won
by two votes per precinct, 140 votes per county. Romney won by less than
1,000 votes per county. This is fundamental.
In the south, when these elections are turning on 1 percent and 2 percent,
you`re exactly right. And Lawrence, we know what this is. There`s been
this goal by Republicans to control the 13 former confederate states.
They know if they control those states, they control 181 electoral votes.
They only need 89 electoral votes from the other 37 states. They
understand this game, but the south is breaking open.
They are afraid that blacks and Latinos and progressive whites are voting
together. You change the south, you change the nature of the country.
That`s why this case is so big, because it`s not just about North Carolina.
It`s going to open up challenges to purging all over the south and all over
O`DONNELL: Yes, it really – a federal case with real precedent that we`re
going to see more of. Reverend William Barber, thank you very much for
joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
BARBER: Thank you so much, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Up next, Donald Trump believes that Chris Christie knew about
the “Bridgegate” scandal from the beginning, and 14 guilty verdicts today
in New Jersey support that idea.
O`DONNELL: Bridget Ann Kelly did not cry when she sent the e-mail, time
for some traffic problems in Fort Lee. She did not cry when she created a
massive traffic jam on and around the George Washington Bridge. She did
not cry when she learned that kids were stuck in their school buses in
gridlock because of what she did.
But she did cry today when she sat in a federal courtroom and heard the
word guilty 14 times, seven times for her and seven times for her co-
defendant, Bill Baroney, who was Chris Christie`s appointee to the Port
Authority that controls the George Washington Bridge.
Joining us now, Dana Milbank, political columnist at “The Washington Post”
and Nancy Giles, contributor at CBS News Sunday Morning. Nancy, one of the
things that struck me about this was that Chris Christie was considered by
most in the political media a viable presidential candidate.
Two years after this scandal broke, I had said that the first press
conference he gave on this eliminated any presidential possibilities for
him. I wasn`t the only one who was right about that, but most ignored it.
Most considered him viable for the vice presidency while at the same time,
within the same time frame, covering every new turn in Hillary Clinton`s e-
mails as if this meant the end for her.
NANCY GILES, CONTRIBUTOR, CBS NEWS SUNDAY MORNING: I know. It`s one of
those crazy – it`s not even false equivalencies. I`m so in agreement with
you. As a New Jersey resident, I couldn`t figure out why this wasn`t
getting the coverage that it deserved. I find it so interesting that now
Trump even says, I don`t – I believe that he knew. What a good, loyal guy
he is, you know.
O`DONNELL: Well, Trump said – yes. Dana, when he was running against
Christie in the primaries, he says, of course, Christie knew about the
bridge. Chris Christie released another statement saying, I didn`t know
anything about it before it happened.
His campaign events for Trump this weekend have now all been cancelled. He
was supposed to be the transition chief for the transition that is very
unlikely to happen. So he probably won`t have to be fired from the
But this is the – and the prosecutor leaves open the possibility of more
charges possibly against Chris Christie.
DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, well, Lawrence, my sources tell me
that Chris Christie has a bad cold coming on, that`s why he`s not going to
be in New Hampshire tomorrow. It is extraordinary, you know, we have
Donald Trump talking about crooked Hillary and it really sticks.
I mean, thanks in large part to the assistance of James Comey. But now
here you have not just allegations or quiet leaks from the FBI of Crooked
Christie. You have actual two federal guilty verdicts on top of a guilty
plea of another top Christie lieutenant earlier.
It is amazing the extent to which Trump has been able to tar Hillary
Clinton on one hand and it doesn`t stick to him at all. You realize if
this man is elected, he`s going to be going on trial for fraud with that
judge he said is not qualified to judge him because he`s a Mexican.
GILES: Of course.
O`DONNELL: And Nancy, you have former Prosecutor Rudy Giuliani, who`s
constantly telling people how he could get convictions against Hillary
Clinton. Hillary Clinton has many former prosecutors who are supporting
her candidacy and none of them run out and tell you how they could get
convictions against Chris Christie or anyone else who hasn`t been charged
with a crime.
GILES: It`s crazy. It`s hard to even take anything that Rudy Giuliani
says seriously at this point because it`s so illogical and the joke with
why Christie had to cancel his appearances in New Hampshire is because the
roads are blocked.
Because some other mayors maybe pulling some sort of traffic things, but I
find it again, to jump on what Dana was saying, it`s amazing how it doesn`t
seem to stick on Trump.
That`s the part that confounds me, how he imagines to bob and weave and
someone who was first an enemy and then a possible vice presidential
candidate who clearly – and I actually feel badly for the two people
convicted today. I think they were just doing Christie`s bidding. It`s
O`DONNELL: Dana Milbank, now we have the AP reporting tonight within this
hour of this program that Melania Trump worked without a visa. That is
their headline, reporting that she did ten modelling jobs over the course
of seven weeks when she was not legally allowed to do any work in the
United States, and this is the issue that everyone`s been wondering about.
The wife of the candidate who says he will deport you if you work without
documentation in the United States apparently did what Donald Trump wants
to deport people for.
MILBANK: Well, clearly, she needs to be deported to Slovenia under the
Trump standard. You know, once again, this parallels the Christie
situation. In that there is no consequence for Donald Trump and what he`s
I mean, we – this election, as has been observed many times, has been sort
of baked in. People have their views of these two candidates and it
doesn`t seem to matter, particularly to the most loyal Trump supporters,
what comes out about this.
So, are we all going to sit here and condemn Melania Trump? Well, no, not
for what`s occurred here. It`s only the hypocrisy when you layer on what
MILBANK: – what her husband`s message has been.
O`DONNELL: I find it completely understandable, what she did, but this
same woman –
GILES: Come on.
O`DONNELL: – is trying to elect a president –
GILES: Her own husband.
O`DONNELL: – who will deport people –
GILES: Like her.
O`DONNELL: – who did what she did.
GILES: Except I think it`s important to really understand that he would
deport certain immigrants. I think he has one set of standards for
European-looking immigrants and another for brown and black-skinned
It`s clear. He never called anyone from Slovenia a rapist, a drug dealer,
never called them criminals, and never accused them of being terrorists,
which he`s done with other different looking immigrants, and it`s insulting
and it`s hypocrisy, and in the biggest form.
And I – I have to say the crowds that were applauding for Melania Trump
last night, and these are the same people who would have her deported.
That`s their candidate. They don`t even know what they`re doing.
O`DONNELL: Yes. It`s – Dana, this is really into a zone where we`ve
never been before to put it mildly.
MILBANK: It absolutely has and I`m waiting for Donald Trump to build that
wall on the Slovenian border to keep her from getting into Italy to Milan
and then right back here to the United States.
GILES: A fashion wall.
O`DONNELL: Only the Trump campaign could bring us this. Nancy Giles, Dana
Milbank, thank you both for joining us. Really appreciate it.
MSNBC`s live coverage continues into the 11th hour now with Brian Williams.
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