The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 1/3/2017

Guests:
Steven Brill, Leo Wise, Julian Epstein
Transcript:

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again 

tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good 

evening, Lawrence.  

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  I can`t wait to read the gossip columns 

tomorrow.

A standing date with Senator Sanders, Rachel Maddow, Bernie Sanders.  

MADDOW:  I got to go home and tell Susan. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, thank you, Rachel – 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence.  

O`DONNELL:  Well, for Republicans, the real worst news of the day of day 

one of the new Congress is not the ethics story. 

We will get to that, but that`s not their biggest problem.  That`s a 

problem they fix in less than 24 hours. 

The biggest problem on this first real day of governing for Republicans in 

Congress has gone completely unnoticed until now.

But it will ruin Donald Trump`s first year as president. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC:  On day one of the new Congress, house Republicans 

think twice and throw out their plan to overhaul an ethics watch dog.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The president-elect weighing in on the timing of that 

epic battle.  

Saying, there are so many other things of far greater importance.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why is this the most important thing for Congress to 

be focused on right now? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It isn`t, that`s the whole thing, it`s not.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Don`t they realize what the election was about in 

November? It was about that Americans are sick and tired of what goes on in 

Washington. 

So, this should not have been the first thing that people hear about.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The amendment that was adopted last night was withdrawn 

by unanimous –  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The new Republican-led Congress is not wasting any 

time with their promise to repeal Obamacare. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Today, a bill to repeal Obamacare was introduced.  

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS:  This time they have the votes and a 

president to sign the bill.    

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST:  There`s no question that 

there will be different health insurance coverage in this country under 

President Trump. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Republicans in that repealing – remember the whole 

pottery barn rule – you break it, you own it.

Well, Republicans will end up owning everything that comes with healthcare. 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

O`DONNELL:  In the history of American presidential campaigning, no winning 

candidate has ever made more impossible promises to his voters than Donald 

Trump did. 

Some of those Trump promises were silly, some of them were 

unconstitutional, some of them were actually harmful. 

To some of Donald Trump`s supporters, but they didn`t care.  They cheered 

for all of them. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We`re going to build 

the ball, but who is going to pay for the wall? Hundred percent. 

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims 

entering the United States.

Immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare.

(CHEERS) 

(APPLAUSE)

From day one I have been saying repeal and replace Obamacare.  Real change 

begins with immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare. 

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Today is the day that professional Republicans have been 

dreading. 

And by professional Republicans, I`m only referring to those Republicans 

who draw a salary in government or politics and are professional enough to 

comprehend the demands of governing professionalism. 

So that leaves out some Republican senators and most Republican members of 

the house.

It includes most of the committee chairs in both the House and the Senate 

and definitely includes the leadership teams in both the house and the 

senate.

All of those people understand legislative reality.  The governing 

professionals in both parties always understand legislative reality much 

better than new presidents do. 

Not since Lyndon Johnson have we had a presidential with real federal 

legislative experience. 

And we have never had a president with less governing experience of any 

kind than Donald Trump. 

None of the Republican pros in the Congress thought Donald Trump was going 

to win. 

So they weren`t much worried but they would ever have to do what they did 

today – face the reality of dealing with Donald Trump`s campaign promises. 

Some of Donald Trump`s promises will just fade away, and not be missed by 

anyone, including by his supporters. 

But no one in the Congress, and no Trump voter can forget the promise that 

Donald Trump made during the campaign that was identical to the promise 

that virtually every Republican in Congress has been making for years.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER:  The Obamacare was an abysmal 

failure.  Surely, we can do better for the American people.  

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  The biggest threat to 

Medicare is Obamacare and we are going to get rid of this specter(ph) 

Medicare by repealing Obamacare. 

(CHEERS) 

TRUMP:  We will terminate Obamacare and replace it, believe me, with 

something good. 

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  And today was day one of dealing with the reality of that 

promise and it was a very bad day for Republicans.

But luckily for the Republicans, the media has been distracted by the dust 

up over the ethics enforcement process in the House of Representatives. 

Something we`ll talk about later.  And no one has noticed just how bad a 

day it was for the professional Republicans whose job it is to make Donald 

Trump`s Obamacare repeal a legislative reality. 

It could not have been more of a disaster.  ”Reuters” carried the headline 

today, “U.S. Republican senator introduces Obamacare repeal resolution.”

I hate to pick on headline writers but in reality, that`s not exactly what 

happened today. 

“Reuters” wasn`t the only one to report that Republicans in the House and 

the Senate had a budget resolution ready to go on day one that repeals 

Obamacare. 

Here is that budget resolution, 54 pages long.  Obamacare is not mentioned 

in this resolution. 

This is simply an outline of what Republicans hope will be the basic shape 

of the federal budget for the next ten years after they repeal Obamacare 

and implement Donald Trump`s giant tax cut. 

Which is really just a version of the giant tax cut previously proposed by 

Paul Ryan. 

You have to get all the way to the first line on page 3 of this resolution 

to see the first piece of the disaster that this resolution represents for 

the Republicans.

It says that “the federal government`s revenue next year will be two 

trillion, six hundred and eighty two billion dollars.

Now, I know that`s a lot of money, but it is significantly less revenue 

than we are collecting now.  

And that would be OK for the Republicans.  In fact, it would be a big win 

for the Republicans cutting taxes, raising less revenue, a very Republican 

thing to do. 

But as the very first line on the next page, page 4 shows the spending that 

the Republicans are proposing for 2017 is three trillion, three hundred and 

eight billion dollars.

And if you make it all the way to the first line in page 5 of the budget 

resolution, you will see that, that means Donald Trump`s first year as 

president, the Republicans will produce a deficit of $582 billion.

And spending will go up every year under the Republican budget.  So, the 

ten years from now the deficit will be over a trillion dollars a year. 

The Republicans are going to ask their members in the House and Senate to 

vote for a budget that increases the deficit every year and gets us to a 

trillion-dollar deficit ten years from now and the deficit just keeps going 

up after that. 

And is anyone – is anyone going to hate that more than Donald Trump? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

TRUMP:  We`re dying, we`re going to have $20 trillion in debt, $20 

trillion.  Obama-Clinton policies have doubled the national debt.

It took more than 230 years for the United States to accumulate its first 

$10 trillion in debt. 

It took President Obama less than eight years to add another $10 trillion.  

We owe $20 trillion right now, doubled under Obama and we haven`t done 

anything. 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

O`DONNELL:  In his first year in office, Donald Trump is going to increase 

the national debt. 

According to the budget outlined by Republicans today, he will continue to 

increase the national debt every year. 

And so if he runs for re-election four years from now, you won`t hear a 

word from Donald Trump about the national debt. 

And ten years from now, the national debt will be, thanks to Donald Trump 

and the Republicans, $10 trillion higher than it is now. 

And that is written right into the budget resolution that they introduced 

today that`s been ignored. 

They will have turned a $19 trillion national debt into a $29 trillion 

national debt and that is against everything that Donald Trump and the 

Republicans say they stand for. 

That is the legislative and political disaster that Donald Trump and the 

Republicans face by being forced to do the math today for the very first 

time on Donald Trump`s promises and actually put that in writing in here, 

in this budget resolution. 

Donald Trump and the Republicans like to say that the very first thing 

they`re going to do is repeal Obamacare.

But if it is the very first thing they are going to do, it is going to take 

them a very long time for them to do that very first thing. 

This budget resolution will have to be voted on by both the House and the 

Senate. 

But because there is nothing in this thing, except numbers, nothing about 

Obamacare, nothing about spending any money on infrastructure.

Nothing about spending money on building a wall with Mexico because none of 

that is here.  Committees in the House and the Senate are going to have to 

write those details into another bill about exactly how they will reduce 

revenue. 

How they will spend that government revenue, exactly what taxes they will 

cut, on exactly what programs will they increase spending, will they cut 

spending.

The repeal of Obamacare will have to be written into a completely separate 

piece of legislation, commonly referred to as a reconciliation bill which 

will then reconcile the numbers in this budget resolution. 

Reconcile them with the actual legislative changes that achieve these 

promised numbers.  Tax cuts that match the total amount of reduced revenue 

that the resolution calls for.

They will have to be legislated specifically.  Spending increases in 

specific programs that end up matching the total spending increases 

outlined, and this resolution will have to be specifically legislated. 

Budget resolutions like this, they don`t do anything.  They are simply 

promises that Congress will do something.

Republicans now in the House and Senate do not know how to pass a 

reconciliation bill that fully delivers on the promises of a complex budget 

resolution like this one, because they never have. 

They passed a functionally fake reconciliation bill in 2016 that President 

Obama vetoed three days later. 

Some like Mitch McConnell have been around long enough to know how to pass 

a real reconciliation bill, but he`s never done it as a Senate leader. 

Most Republican members of Congress have never seen it done.  They have no 

idea how difficult it is. 

When it`s done, well, it takes most of the year to do it, and during every 

minute of the year that the Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare and 

to enact a gigantic tax cut. 

They will be exposed to the political liability that is revealed here that 

they are voting to increase the national debt by $10 trillion. 

In other words, they will be voting against what used to be their 

principles. 

And unfortunately for the Republicans, even before they will be close to 

figuring out how to deliver on the promises in this budget resolution, they 

will be forced to vote to increase the debt ceiling on what will be the 

worst Saint Patrick`s Day of Donald Trump`s life. 

Saint Patrick`s Day is bad enough for Donald Trump already with an endless 

stream of paraders clogging up in front of his front door on 5th Avenue. 

But this year, it will be the day or maybe the day after, that he has 

signed his first increase in the debt ceiling, voted on by Republicans in 

Congress. 

The current debt ceiling expires at 12:01 a.m. on March 16th.  And so the 

first major crisis of the Trump presidency is officially scheduled for 

March 16th, day 55 of Donald Trump`s presidency. 

He will do on that day what every president before him has done, when 

necessary, and raise the debt ceiling. 

And when he does it, he will not be able to make any even vaguely realistic 

promises to his voters that the national debt will ever go down ever. 

Because when he signs the increase in the debt ceiling, Donald Trump and 

the Republicans in Congress will still be trying to pass this resolution, 

this stunning increase in the national debt.  

And by that time, the news media will have caught up with what`s in this 

resolution. 

And so Donald Trump supporters will know by then, what is in this 

resolution.  And by that time, the mechanisms for repealing Obamacare will 

probably not yet be written. 

But the budgetary outline for the fiscal and political disaster of 

increasing the national debt by a trillion dollars a year will be right 

there, in print, for professional Republicans in Washington. 

The weight of the Trump promises landed on them today.  And despite all 

their smiles for the camera when taking their oaths of office for the new 

Congress, today was the worst day of their legislative lives. 

And it only gets worse from here.  Coming up, what will happen if the 

Republicans do manage to repeal Obamacare? 

Steven Brill who wrote the definitive book on Obamacare joins us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  They are like the dog who caught the 

boss.  They don`t know what to do with it. 

It has so many good things.  Twenty million people covered.  Twenty one to 

twenty six, you get on your parents plan. 

Your parents would earn in a year, your child has cancer, they can`t deny 

you insurance.  Women have to be treated the same, planned parenthood.  All 

these things are very popular. 

They say, oh, we`ll keep those but get rid of ACA, they can`t.  And so, 

what do they do? 

They say we`ll repeal it and two years from now we`ll tell you what we`ll 

replace it with.  

Oh, they have nothing to replace. 

MADDOW:  But they do have – 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

O`DONNELL:  Joining us now is Steven Brill; journalist and author of 

“America`s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Background Deals and the Fight to 

Fix Our Broken Healthcare System”. 

Steven, talk about money, politics and background deals.  The year that we 

have coming on putting together this budget reconciliation bill, in which 

the Obamacare repeal will live or die.

STEVEN BRILL, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR:  Right – 

O`DONNELL:  That`s going to be another one of these years of back room 

deals.  

BRILL:  It is, except, I don`t think the deals are going to happen.  I 

think we`re going to get to 2020 with the replacement still not there and 

maybe they`ll extend the time to get the replacement. 

You know, it is sort of amazing, and you and I have talked about this that 

the law passed in 2010 from the moment it passed, they said it should be 

repealed or replaced. 

They still don`t have their replacement and I`ll bet you right here that 

ten years after the law passed they will not have a replacement. 

And the reason they won`t have a replacement is that Obamacare is the 

Republican health reform plan. 

The Democrats tried all of their plans, they tried single payer.  They`ve 

been trying plans since the Truman administration. 

But the Clinton administration tried it and Obama finally gave up and said, 

all right, let`s do Mitt Romney`s heritage society Republican plan. 

So, that`s why they don`t have an alternative plan because Obamacare is 

their plan. 

O`DONNELL:  Kellyanne Conway, which is – it`s risky to even mention her 

because we know she doesn`t speak for Donald Trump, no one does. 

But she did say today on “MORNING JOE”, “we don`t want anyone who currently 

has insurance to not have insurance.”

BRILL:  Right – 

O`DONNELL:  So, not one person currently covered under Obamacare can lose 

their insurance and the only way to do that – 

BRILL:  Well – 

O`DONNELL:  Is to preserve Obamacare. 

BRILL:  OK, but here`s the problem, you are taking her literally as well as 

taking her seriously.  

O`DONNELL:  No, I`m taking her as saying something that they are saying – 

BRILL:  I – 

O`DONNELL:  And will not be able to live up to.  

BRILL:  Sure, but just like what you said about the debt, I guaranteed you 

that Donald Trump runs for president, and for re-election saying he`ll 

reduce the debt and he reduced the debt – 

O`DONNELL:  When it will have gone up by $4 trillion –   

BRILL:  Because that – you know, that`s the real fake news we live in – 

O`DONNELL:  Yes – 

BRILL:  It`s the false equivalency of someone saying, well, actually the 

debt went up a little bit. 

They will say that everybody is getting the same health insurance.  They 

will say that Medicaid hasn`t been cut or Medicare hasn`t been cut. 

But it`s up to the press really to dig into this stuff –   

O`DONNELL:  So he – yes, so actually – 

(CROSSTALK) 

What you`re saying, he`d say something like Medicaid hasn`t been cut, we 

just put it back to the way it was – 

BRILL:  Yes, we – 

O`DONNELL:  Before Obamacare.

BRILL:  Or which gave it to the state so the states can improve it and the 

states really know how to do this.  

And they can raise the money to do it.  We`re not cutting it.  

O`DONNELL:  So, you expect Donald Trump basically to lie his way around the 

negative outcomes of – but what about the members of Congress? –  

BRILL:  I think – I think with Kellyanne Conways – 

O`DONNELL:  Have to live with that – 

BRILL:  Of the world will see everybody has the opportunity to get the same 

or better insurance.

But if the states didn`t deliver on it or if the charitable organizations 

didn`t deliver on it, or if these high-risk plans we set up didn`t deliver 

on it, well, we`re still working on it, that`s not our fault.  

O`DONNELL:  But think about the Republican Senators who will be approached 

by the big hospitals, especially research hospitals – 

BRILL:  Exactly – 

O`DONNELL:  In their states, that they care about, and that they – 

BRILL:  Right – 

O`DONNELL:  Know they`re going to spend some time in themselves, at some 

point – 

BRILL:  Right – 

O`DONNELL:  In their lives – 

BRILL:  Right – 

O`DONNELL:  Which is one of the reasons they care about – 

BRILL:  Everybody cares about – 

O`DONNELL:  Them a lot – 

BRILL:  Hospitals – 

O`DONNELL:  Care about them a lot – 

BRILL:  For that reason – 

O`DONNELL:  I have seen the way hospitals – 

BRILL:  As you know – 

O`DONNELL:  Lobby in Washington and they are very effective.  They`re going 

to come and say what you`re doing is going to kill us.  It`s going to kill 

us – 

BRILL:  Yes – 

O`DONNELL:  And those people will not be able to come up with the kind of 

spin that Donald Trump does.  

BRILL:  Well, that`s right.  

O`DONNELL:  The people who have to vote on this.  

BRILL:  Remember, Obamacare passed because it pleased the hospital lobby, 

the medical device lobby, the drug lobby, the insurance lobby. 

So, all of those interests are not going to let it be repealed easily.  And 

it`s not going to be repealed. 

It will be repealed on paper but I predict to you that there will not be 

anything different until least after the congressional elections and 

they`ll probably punt until after the presidential –  

O`DONNELL:  Yes, so, you`re betting that the best version of repeal they 

will do will be one of these things where they say we`ll repeal it with an 

effective date way down the line – 

BRILL:  I bet – 

O`DONNELL:  In the future –  

BRILL:  Yes, and we`re working on this plan and don`t worry it`s going to 

be great. 

O`DONNELL:  But then, the Republican voters who wanted this repeal really 

going to fall for that card trick? 

That we repeal it today but it doesn`t take effect for several years? –  

BRILL:  They`re not going to fall for it.  But I think the real danger is 

that the Democratic Party instead of having a meeting in Washington 

tomorrow or to meet in Kentucky and Ohio and see some of the people that I 

met when I was doing my book. 

Who are Trump voters, who are really scared by this now, because they 

didn`t quite take him seriously. 

But now they keep reading in the newspapers that this thing has been 

repealed. 

And they lose on this.  They lose big time.  I`ll bet you that more people 

helped buy Obamacare voted for Trump than voted for Clinton.  

O`DONNELL:  The advantage of it being in a reconciliation bill is you only 

need 50 votes plus the vice president`s vote – 

BRILL:  Right – 

O`DONNELL:  In the United States Senate.  The disadvantage is a 

reconciliation bill has so many things in it. 

Including defense spending, all – 

BRILL:  Yes – 

O`DONNELL:  Sorts of spending in it.  

BRILL:  It`s a new – 

(CROSSTALK) 

But there`s a lot more reasons to object to it – 

O`DONNELL:  Yes – 

BRILL:  Than just Obamacare – 

O`DONNELL:  That`s right – 

BRILL:  It`s not a stand-alone bill.  We`ve got to cut it there for 

tonight, we`re going to be talking about it all year.  Steven Brill, thank 

you very much – 

BRILL:  Sure enough – 

O`DONNELL:  For joining us tonight, really appreciate it.  Coming up, the 

gangster, the really bad guy who was with Donald Trump, he`s right there 

with Donald Trump on new year`s eve.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

O`DONNELL:  Throughout most of the history of the government of the United 

States, there has been no such thing as congressional ethics. 

Meaning there was no real policing authority for congressional ethics.  

When Congress moved to impeach President Richard Nixon in 1974, we had no 

idea how ethical or unethical the house members were who were conducting 

the president`s impeachment hearings because there were no house – there 

was no House Ethics Committee. 

There was no Senate Ethics Committee.  The House Ethics Committee was 

invented three years after the Nixon impeachment hearings. 

The Senate Ethics Committee was created a year after that.  And so, all of 

the giants of the House of Representatives and the Senate throughout 

history that you`ve read about from John Adams who was in the House of 

course to Daniel Webster to Lyndon Johnson, Everett Dirksen.

They all lived in an ethics free zone.  Since the ethics committees were 

invented, we have only become more and more concerned with congressional 

ethics. 

And so, in 2008 when the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, 

they created another layer, the Office of Congressional Ethics.

And yesterday Republicans tried to turn back the clock to 2007.  They were 

smart enough not to get caught abolishing the Office of Congressional 

Ethics entirely. 

But they did dramatically reduce its powers and its relevance in a secret 

vote conducted in a room full of Republicans last night with the door 

closed. 

Paul Ryan and others in the leadership were opposed to this idea, but the 

Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte pushed for a vote and he 

won with a vote of 119 to 74. 

And today, Republicans unanimously changed their minds and realized it was 

a very bad idea after hearing from some outraged Republican constituents 

and after this tweet from Donald Trump.

“With all the Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the 

weakening of the Independent Ethics watch dog as unfair as it may be, their 

number one act and priority?

Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater 

importance.” 

There is a possibility that Republicans were going to reverse themselves on 

this without the Trump tweet, but the Trump tweet certainly removes all 

doubt about it. 

And the good news for Paul Ryan`s leadership in this story is that, after 

allowing the rebels to have their way last night, the rebels and their 

leader last night Chairman Goodlatte were humiliated today. 

And the next time that the rebels or Bob Goodlatte tried to challenge the 

leadership of Paul Ryan, they`re all going to remember what happened this 

time. 

Joining us now is Leo Wise; he was the first staff director and chief 

counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics when it was first 

established.

Also joining us Julian Epstein; the former chief minority counsel of the 

House Judiciary Committee and a former majority staff director of the House 

Government Operations Committee.  

Leo Wise, tell us what you feel the congressional – why this new layer of 

policing of congressional ethics was necessary in 2008? 

What was inadequate at that point or considered inadequate at that point 

about the House Ethics Committee? 

LEO WISE, FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR & CHIEF COUNSEL, OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL 

ETHICS:  Well, I think it was two things.  

There was a sense that with the scandals related to Jack Abramoff and the 

members of Congress that were ensnared with him that the house wasn`t 

acting.

And these stories were playing out in the press, sometimes in the courts 

and it wasn`t clear if members were being held accountable in the 

institution where they served. 

So, the Office of Congressional Ethics were set up to really throw sunlight 

onto the Ethics process and open a window that through which the public 

could see whether the institution was investigating these allegations and 

then making decisions about the facts once they were presented. 

O`DONNELL:  And what is the record of it so far? I mean, how many cases has 

it – has it covered and reported on? 

WISE:  It`s covered and reported on dozens of cases in a non-partisan and 

professional way. 

It declines to pursue cases more often than it pursues them.  It weeds out 

unfounded accusations and then it puts together very robust fact records 

that are presented to the ethics committee.

And then ultimately to the public when these reports become public so the 

citizens everywhere can make their own judgments about their own elected 

officials and how the institution is holding them accountable.  

O`DONNELL:  Julian Epstein, one of the weaknesses of the congressional of 

ethics committee system both in the House and Senate is the inside secret 

anyway that no one wants to be on the ethics committee. 

I`ve never known a member of Congress, House or Senate who wanted to be on 

the ethics committee.

Who wanted the job of investigating his or her colleagues.  It is the most 

undesirable task in the building. 

And you would think that the 2008 move, which in a certain sense, relieved 

the ethics committee in a certain kind of way. 

You could look at it as it relieves the ethics committee of certain kinds 

of pressures, puts them in a place outside of member influence and maybe 

that would actually be a better life for the people on the ethics 

committee, who actually don`t want this burden. 

JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF MINORITY COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  

Well, you would think that would be the point of view of most members, 

including most of the members who do pretty much engage very ethically in 

their – 

O`DONNELL:  Yes – 

EPSTEIN:  Day-to-day business –   

O`DONNELL:  Most wouldn`t do, absolutely, yes.    

EPSTEIN:  Most of them do, but there are several that don`t like this idea 

of an independent agency kind of monitoring them on ethics issues. 

And I think Leo is exactly right.  It wasn`t just a Jack Abramoff issue, it 

was the Mark Foley pedophilia scandal.  And democrats came to power 2006 on 

the culture of corruption.  In the Abramoff case we had 21 public officials 

that were convicted of bribery and like charges.  

And the ethics committee kind of sat on the sidelines during the - during 

most of that process.  So, it was a big embarrassment to the ethics 

committee.  But just to further underscore Leo`s point, any effective 

investigatory agency like an inspector`s general has to have essentially 

three things.  It`s going to have the ability to compel testimony, it`s got 

to have independence, independence in terms of when to initiate an 

investigation, when to refer an investigation or criminal procedures and it 

has to be able to use other tools like whistle-blowers.  

The Office of Congressional Ethics already doesn`t have the most important 

of those three tools.  It doesn`t have the ability to compel congressional 

testimony or documents.  And what the republicans tried to do yesterday in 

an incredibly (INAUDIBLE) move that is going to have spillover effects for 

Donald Trump was that they tried to get rid of the other two essential 

things the Office of Congressional Ethics has.  

The independence, the independence in terms of when to initiate 

investigation and when, if they find something that might be criminally 

wrong or ethically wrong, when they can refer you to congress or to a 

criminal prosecutor.  The third – so they don`t have the first, the 

ability to compel.  The congressional republicans tried to take away the 

second, which is the independence and they tried to take away the third 

tool that the office needs, which is the ability to use tools like whistle-

blowers.  

So, it was an effective neutering of this agency and the republicans have 

now poked this hornets nest of ethics and they found out that there`s a 

huge grassroots movement in favor of draining the swamp, in favor of 

ethical conduct and this is going to have big spillover effects for Donald 

Trump right now who has a whole much bigger mess of ethics issues as we 

discussed last week on the show or two weeks ago on the show.  He is 

getting payments from China, he`s got entanglement with Russian interest, 

he`s got - he`s been accused of promoting his daughter`s apparel business 

with the Japanese.  

All of the issues with India, with Turkey going on down the line.  So, this 

has had, you know – this has been a very, very revealing thing that will 

have very significant spillover effects for Donald Trump. 

O`DONNELL:  Leo Wise. Quickly. before we go, were you aware of a ground 

swell among republicans of this kind of complaint that they wanted to 

weaken it?  

WISE:  No.  I mean when I was there, there wasn`t anything like that.  You 

know, the office did its job.  It did it professionally and in a 

nonpartisan way.  There were certain members that were unhappy that their 

conduct was being questioned but at the end of the day, facts are facts.  

And what this attempted to do was make those facts not known.  Didn`t 

change anybody`s conduct but to take away the ability to see what people 

were doing and then to hold them accountable.  

O`DONNELL:  Leo Wise and Julian Epstein, thank you both for joining us.  

Appreciate it. 

EPSTEIN:  Thank you Lawrence.  

WISE:  Thank you.  

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, we have some breaking news, Donald Trump tweeted 

about an intelligence briefing tonight and immediately intelligence 

officials said that the Donald Trump tweet is not true.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Tonight`s breaking news, Donald Trump tweeted this little 

earlier tonight.  ”The intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking 

was delayed until Friday.  Perhaps more time needed to build a case.  Very 

strange.”  NBC`s Ken Dilanian is reporting that a senior intelligence 

official says that the briefing with CIA, NSA and FBI heads has always been 

scheduled for Friday.  The early report that the briefing was to occur 

Wednesday apparently was wrong.  

The intelligence chiefs were not scheduled to be in New York City on 

Wednesday.  The senior intelligence official called Trump tweet disturbing 

and adversarial.  He added he is calling out the men and women of the 

intelligence community the way he called out Lockheed and Boeing but these 

are public servants.  Donald trump will learn more he says about Russia 

hacking from the McCain hearing which is scheduled for Thursday.  

Also today the confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson as Secretary Of State 

was set for January 11th, where he will face questions about his ties with 

Vladimir Putin, Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker says that Tillerson 

does not have to turn over his tax returns as the foreign relations 

committee does not usually get tax returns from secretary of state 

nominees.  Joining us now David Corn Washington bureau chief for Mother 

Jones and an MSNBC political analyst. 

Also with us Elise Jordan former senior policy advisor to Senator Rand 

Paul`s presidential campaign and an MSNBC political analyst.  Elise to the 

breaking news of the night, Donald Trump, first of all, apparently getting 

it wrong that there ever was a Wednesday scheduled meeting, but then using 

the fact that this meeting is now Friday tries to use that to attack the 

integrity of the intelligence services that will be reporting to him.  

ELISE JORDAN, FMR. SR. ADVISOR, RAND PAUL CAMPAIGN:  He`s going to war with 

our intelligence agencies and I think it is really disturbing.  I think 

that if he has problems with their analysis, if he wants to go in, approach 

the organization with skepticism that is his agenda but he should do it 

behind closed doors.  Any problems that he has with the analysis it doesn`t 

need to be aired to the world.  It hurts our spy craft and it is 

irresponsible and puts our men and women abroad their mission in question I 

think.  

I think it`s really troubling the way this has been unfolding.  

O`DONNELL:  And David Corn it`s that phrase we get used to, we`ve never 

seen anything like it.  And what`s so fascinating about it, is he puts 

himself in a direct, and unnecessary battle with the head of the FBI, head 

of CIA, head of NSA, no reason to have this battle.  

DAVID CORN, CHIEF OF THE WASHINGTON BUREAU FOR MOTHER JONES:  Well, one of 

your great producers on the show just said to me, it`s amazing, isn`t it?  

And I said actually at this point it`s not amazing.  And I think we have to 

get used to the fact that Donald Trump says things and tweet things that 

are more often false than not.  That show that he is impulsive, he could 

have easily checked with his scheduler and said, was it Wednesday, Friday?  

Why did they move but then he attributes the darkest motives to it when he 

has no reason to.  We do know he is sort of – has a liking for conspiracy 

theories and just like yesterday, or the day before when he said, you know, 

what I know something about hacking that you don`t know and I might tell 

you on Tuesday maybe Wednesday.  Well you know what that`s not going to 

happen either.  So you have a guy who`s a serial fabricator who is 

adversarial basically everything, but most of all to the truth.  

O`DONNELL:  And Elise, what he doesn`t seem to understand and apparently no 

one who has any influence over his tweeting understands is how confirmation 

hearings work.  Everything is relevant in confirmation hearing.  When 

Tillerson has his hearing for Secretary of State he is going to be asked, 

as I suggested on twitter this weekend, did you advise Donald Trump on this 

tweet when he said ” great move on delay by V. Putin.  I always knew he was 

very smart.”  Can we get that tweet up on the screen?  

That one, that went up on - over the New Year`s weekend.  Did you advise 

Donald Trump on that tweet will be question one, question two, when he says 

no which he better say, do you agree with that tweet.  It`s going to be 

impossible for Donald Trump`s secretary of state to agree with that tweet 

or what he tweeted tonight.  

JORDAN:  Well that`s why what he is doing right now makes no sense because 

he is making it more complicated for his own nominees that he wants to sail 

through their confirmation hearings.  Right now this situation is so 

politicized.  I personally think that there needs to be some evidence, if 

the charges are as serious as what the intelligence community has 

suggested.  I think that it might be a time that we reveal some of our 

sourcing that we actually show evidence and make the case, if it is what 

they say.  

If not, it has been over-politicized and Donald Trump is partially to blame 

for that because of his posture towards Putin.  He needs to stop acting so 

juvenile over twitter and saying I want to be – he previously said he 

wanted to be best friends with Putin.  You know, just recently he was 

calling him very smart.   It`s just - it`s unnecessary and while we need to 

have a strong relationship with Russia we need to project strength and 

right now not what he is showing is weakness.  

O`DONNELL:  And David Corn Rex Tillerson should be also be asked on January 

11th, do you believe Donald Trump or do you believe the director of the 

FBI, the  CIA that they were not scheduled for Wednesday, they were 

scheduled for Friday?  And also do you believe the implied corruption about 

their agencies in Donald Trump`s tweet?  

CORN:  Yes.  Do you take at face value the intelligence of establishment 

judgment that Russia hacked, meddled in our elections?  Do you believe that 

or not?  Or do you believe what Donald Trump and his supporters are saying 

that it`s all trumped up and made up?  That question should be put to Mike 

Pompeo who is going to be head of the CIA.  Elise is a hundred percent 

right that this is causing trouble for Trump and his nominees but it just 

gets to the basic problem here.  

The guy is impulsive.  He doesn`t think before he tweets.  He doesn`t 

check.  And as we`ve seen time and time again, his aides have no idea what 

he is doing.  As a guy who is in charge of the nuke - or who will be in 

charge of the nuclear arsenal in a pretty dangerous world in which things 

can go wrong very quickly, this is probably the most worrisome thing about 

the Trump presidency.  

O`DONNELL:  If senate staffers on the confirmation committees still know 

what they are doing and how to do this, they should be writing questions 

tonight using Donald Trump`s tweets.  Elise Jordan and David Corn, thank 

you both for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it.  

JORDAN:  Thank you.  

CORN:  Thank you.  

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, Donald Trump says he will hold a press conference 

next week.  It is the same press conference that he promised to have last 

month.  And how about this for a first question, why did you spend New 

Year`s Eve with a known felon and mob associate?  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump has once again promised a press conference for 

next week which does not mean he`s going to have a press conference next 

week.  But if he does he should be asked to explain what he was doing with 

Joey No Socks on new Year`s Eve.  The felon and mob associate standing next 

to him right there.  That`s next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump once again rescheduled his long awaited news 

conference on how he will avoid conflicts of interest with his businesses. 

Tweeting tonight, he said I will be having a general news conference on 

January 11th in NYC. Thank You.  This new conference will come just one day 

after President Obama`s farewell address in Chicago next week.  Among the 

many questions Donald Trump might have to answer during that news 

conference is why he spent his New Year`s Eve with this guy – Joseph 

Cinque also known as Joey No Socks, a convicted felon with mob ties. 

Joseph Cinque runs the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences which gives 

out star diamond awards in hospitality and has given multiple awards to 

Trump`s hotels, golf courses and restaurants.  In May 2015 Donald Trump was 

even listed as the Ambassador extraordinaire for Cinque `s company.  But 

just one year later, when the associated press asked Donald Trump about his 

ties to Joey No Socks, Donald Trump denied knowing him well, saying if a 

guy is going to give you an award you take it.  You don`t tend to look up 

his whole life story. Joining us David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer prize winning 

journalist who founded d.c. report.org, a non profit news organization that 

will cover the Trump Administration and has looked up Donald Trump`s life 

story and Joey No Socks life story.   David, tell us what we need to know 

about this guy. 

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, JOURNALIST:  Well Joey No Socks decided to change his 

life a bit and go in to the business of selling awards with Donald Trump on 

his board at one time and his board at a majority of either Trump family 

members or retainers after a hit on him that failed.  And he is one of many 

– 

O`DONNELL:  Whoa, whoa, you mean an attempted murder of Joey No Socks? 

JOHNSTON:  Oh yes. 

O`DONNELL:  And so that`s  what got Joey No Socks to think I should be in a 

less dangerous line of work? 

JOHNSTON:  Exactly, exactly and so art thievery and selling clothing out of 

Central Park South apartment and when he decided to hang out with Muffet 

and Biff, he also decided to take up loafers without socks.  But he is one, 

Lawrence, of a number of mob-connected people.  Donald was posing a week 

ago with Don King, who stomped to death one of his employees over a $600 

dispute in the `60s.  Now he was pardoned later but the fact is he killed 

the man.  

We don`t know what other connections Donald has.  In this case, it was so 

brazen, Joey No Socks has been coming to the Mar-A-Lago Christmas Eve party 

or New Year`s eve party every year by his account for more than decade. 

Donald Trump doesn`t know who he is.  He was with him in Scotland. Donald 

doesn`t know who he is.  That`s nonsense.  Of course Donald knows who he 

is.  But unlike everybody else he doesn`t do background checks when he 

doesn`t want to know about him.  That`s how Felix Sater the son of the 

refuted - son of the Russian mob boss in New York ends up working closely 

with Donald and traveling all over with him an then Donald said wouldn`t 

know if he was in the same room. Donald just makes the stuff up and 

journalists are not holding him accountable

O`DONNELL:  All right, quick break.  We`re going to be right back with 

David on why Donald Trump kicked someone off of his golf course last week.  

Someone Donald Trump knows very well. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Harry Hurt III a Trump biographer told MSNBC tonight about 

Donald Trump kicking him off a Trump golf  course over the holiday weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRY HURT III TRUMP BIOGRAPHER:  And I went up to him and I simply said 

congratulations sir.  I tipped my hat.  I extended my hand.  We shook hands 

and then he went into a exploitive filled (INAUDIBLE) tribe about the 

content of my book.  He then said that he thought it was inappropriate for 

me to be playing at golf course.  And he asked me to leave and I said that 

I would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Up next David Cay Johnston will tell us exactly what Donald 

Trump hates about Harry Hurt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  We`re back with David Cay Johnston.  So David, why did Donald 

Trump kick Harry Hurt off of his golf course this weekend?  He wrote a book 

about Donald Trump and I guess Donald Trump doesn`t like most of the books 

you people have written about him and I guest you`d probably run the same 

risk if he saw you on one of the Trump golf course. 

JOHNSTON:  Well Trump was actually very cordial to Harry just before he 

announced he was running for President when they ran in to each other at 

the same course.  But Donald doesn`t like Harry`s book because Harry is the 

one who in his meticulously careful reporting revealed that Ivana Trump 

said that her husband roughed her up and raped her.  Donald`s lawyer said 

you can`t rape your wife in New York.  That`s not true.  We have marital 

rape in New York.  He dug up a lot of other very unsavory facts from the 

public record he has gone through and Donald of course doesn`t want you to 

know about that.  He doesn`t want you to know that he had a fight with 

Marla where the doors were knocked off the hinges of their hotel suite, 

knocked of the hinges and other things that Harry documented carefully, 

thoroughly and accurately.

O`DONNELL:  And so I was - I thought well I kind of understand why Trump 

would go after him but what surprises me is he had a pleasant encounter 

with Trump at the beginning of the campaign.

JOHNSTON:  Because back then, Donald needed to start his calm and hide his 

vindictiveness.  And now that he`s won the election you`re going to see 

this vindictiveness come out.  Remember Donald is a man who said he gets 

pleasure from destroying the lives of other people.  You refuse a favor for 

him he will go out of his way to destroy your life.  You say something on 

daytime television like Rosie O`Donnell did and he will attack you in 

public in forum after forum.  Donald is petty.  He`s vindictive.  This is a 

good example and we will see more of this. 

O`DONNELL:  David Cay Johnston who wrote one of the books on Donald Trump.  

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate.

JOHNSTON:  Thank you.

O`DONNELL:  MSNBC`s live coverage continues into “THE 11TH HOUR”.  That`s 

next.

END    

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RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again

tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good

evening, Lawrence. 

 

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  I can`t wait to read the gossip columns

tomorrow.

 

A standing date with Senator Sanders, Rachel Maddow, Bernie Sanders. 

 

MADDOW:  I got to go home and tell Susan.

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, thank you, Rachel –

 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, for Republicans, the real worst news of the day of day

one of the new Congress is not the ethics story.

 

We will get to that, but that`s not their biggest problem.  That`s a

problem they fix in less than 24 hours.

 

The biggest problem on this first real day of governing for Republicans in

Congress has gone completely unnoticed until now.

 

But it will ruin Donald Trump`s first year as president.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC:  On day one of the new Congress, house Republicans

think twice and throw out their plan to overhaul an ethics watch dog. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The president-elect weighing in on the timing of that

epic battle. 

 

Saying, there are so many other things of far greater importance. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why is this the most important thing for Congress to

be focused on right now?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It isn`t, that`s the whole thing, it`s not. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Don`t they realize what the election was about in

November? It was about that Americans are sick and tired of what goes on in

Washington.

 

So, this should not have been the first thing that people hear about. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The amendment that was adopted last night was withdrawn

by unanimous – 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The new Republican-led Congress is not wasting any

time with their promise to repeal Obamacare.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Today, a bill to repeal Obamacare was introduced. 

 

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS:  This time they have the votes and a

president to sign the bill.   

 

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST:  There`s no question that

there will be different health insurance coverage in this country under

President Trump.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Republicans in that repealing – remember the whole

pottery barn rule – you break it, you own it.

 

Well, Republicans will end up owning everything that comes with healthcare.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  In the history of American presidential campaigning, no winning

candidate has ever made more impossible promises to his voters than Donald

Trump did.

 

Some of those Trump promises were silly, some of them were

unconstitutional, some of them were actually harmful.

 

To some of Donald Trump`s supporters, but they didn`t care.  They cheered

for all of them.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We`re going to build

the ball, but who is going to pay for the wall? Hundred percent.

 

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims

entering the United States.

 

Immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare.

 

(CHEERS)

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

From day one I have been saying repeal and replace Obamacare.  Real change

begins with immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare.

 

(CHEERS)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Today is the day that professional Republicans have been

dreading.

 

And by professional Republicans, I`m only referring to those Republicans

who draw a salary in government or politics and are professional enough to

comprehend the demands of governing professionalism.

 

So that leaves out some Republican senators and most Republican members of

the house.

 

It includes most of the committee chairs in both the House and the Senate

and definitely includes the leadership teams in both the house and the

senate.

 

All of those people understand legislative reality.  The governing

professionals in both parties always understand legislative reality much

better than new presidents do.

 

Not since Lyndon Johnson have we had a presidential with real federal

legislative experience.

 

And we have never had a president with less governing experience of any

kind than Donald Trump.

 

None of the Republican pros in the Congress thought Donald Trump was going

to win.

 

So they weren`t much worried but they would ever have to do what they did

today – face the reality of dealing with Donald Trump`s campaign promises.

 

Some of Donald Trump`s promises will just fade away, and not be missed by

anyone, including by his supporters.

 

But no one in the Congress, and no Trump voter can forget the promise that

Donald Trump made during the campaign that was identical to the promise

that virtually every Republican in Congress has been making for years. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER:  The Obamacare was an abysmal

failure.  Surely, we can do better for the American people. 

 

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  The biggest threat to

Medicare is Obamacare and we are going to get rid of this specter(ph)

Medicare by repealing Obamacare.

 

(CHEERS)

TRUMP:  We will terminate Obamacare and replace it, believe me, with

something good.

 

(CHEERS)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  And today was day one of dealing with the reality of that

promise and it was a very bad day for Republicans.

 

But luckily for the Republicans, the media has been distracted by the dust

up over the ethics enforcement process in the House of Representatives.

 

Something we`ll talk about later.  And no one has noticed just how bad a

day it was for the professional Republicans whose job it is to make Donald

Trump`s Obamacare repeal a legislative reality.

 

It could not have been more of a disaster.  “Reuters” carried the headline

today, “U.S. Republican senator introduces Obamacare repeal resolution.”

 

I hate to pick on headline writers but in reality, that`s not exactly what

happened today.

 

“Reuters” wasn`t the only one to report that Republicans in the House and

the Senate had a budget resolution ready to go on day one that repeals

Obamacare.

 

Here is that budget resolution, 54 pages long.  Obamacare is not mentioned

in this resolution.

 

This is simply an outline of what Republicans hope will be the basic shape

of the federal budget for the next ten years after they repeal Obamacare

and implement Donald Trump`s giant tax cut.

 

Which is really just a version of the giant tax cut previously proposed by

Paul Ryan.

 

You have to get all the way to the first line on page 3 of this resolution

to see the first piece of the disaster that this resolution represents for

the Republicans.

 

It says that “the federal government`s revenue next year will be two

trillion, six hundred and eighty two billion dollars.

 

Now, I know that`s a lot of money, but it is significantly less revenue

than we are collecting now. 

 

And that would be OK for the Republicans.  In fact, it would be a big win

for the Republicans cutting taxes, raising less revenue, a very Republican

thing to do.

 

But as the very first line on the next page, page 4 shows the spending that

the Republicans are proposing for 2017 is three trillion, three hundred and

eight billion dollars.

 

And if you make it all the way to the first line in page 5 of the budget

resolution, you will see that, that means Donald Trump`s first year as

president, the Republicans will produce a deficit of $582 billion.

 

And spending will go up every year under the Republican budget.  So, the

ten years from now the deficit will be over a trillion dollars a year.

 

The Republicans are going to ask their members in the House and Senate to

vote for a budget that increases the deficit every year and gets us to a

trillion-dollar deficit ten years from now and the deficit just keeps going

up after that.

 

And is anyone – is anyone going to hate that more than Donald Trump?

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  We`re dying, we`re going to have $20 trillion in debt, $20

trillion.  Obama-Clinton policies have doubled the national debt.

 

It took more than 230 years for the United States to accumulate its first

$10 trillion in debt.

 

It took President Obama less than eight years to add another $10 trillion. 

We owe $20 trillion right now, doubled under Obama and we haven`t done

anything.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  In his first year in office, Donald Trump is going to increase

the national debt.

 

According to the budget outlined by Republicans today, he will continue to

increase the national debt every year.

 

And so if he runs for re-election four years from now, you won`t hear a

word from Donald Trump about the national debt.

 

And ten years from now, the national debt will be, thanks to Donald Trump

and the Republicans, $10 trillion higher than it is now.

 

And that is written right into the budget resolution that they introduced

today that`s been ignored.

 

They will have turned a $19 trillion national debt into a $29 trillion

national debt and that is against everything that Donald Trump and the

Republicans say they stand for.

 

That is the legislative and political disaster that Donald Trump and the

Republicans face by being forced to do the math today for the very first

time on Donald Trump`s promises and actually put that in writing in here,

in this budget resolution.

 

Donald Trump and the Republicans like to say that the very first thing

they`re going to do is repeal Obamacare.

 

But if it is the very first thing they are going to do, it is going to take

them a very long time for them to do that very first thing.

 

This budget resolution will have to be voted on by both the House and the

Senate.

 

But because there is nothing in this thing, except numbers, nothing about

Obamacare, nothing about spending any money on infrastructure.

 

Nothing about spending money on building a wall with Mexico because none of

that is here.  Committees in the House and the Senate are going to have to

write those details into another bill about exactly how they will reduce

revenue.

 

How they will spend that government revenue, exactly what taxes they will

cut, on exactly what programs will they increase spending, will they cut

spending.

 

The repeal of Obamacare will have to be written into a completely separate

piece of legislation, commonly referred to as a reconciliation bill which

will then reconcile the numbers in this budget resolution.

 

Reconcile them with the actual legislative changes that achieve these

promised numbers.  Tax cuts that match the total amount of reduced revenue

that the resolution calls for.

 

They will have to be legislated specifically.  Spending increases in

specific programs that end up matching the total spending increases

outlined, and this resolution will have to be specifically legislated.

 

Budget resolutions like this, they don`t do anything.  They are simply

promises that Congress will do something.

 

Republicans now in the House and Senate do not know how to pass a

reconciliation bill that fully delivers on the promises of a complex budget

resolution like this one, because they never have.

 

They passed a functionally fake reconciliation bill in 2016 that President

Obama vetoed three days later.

 

Some like Mitch McConnell have been around long enough to know how to pass

a real reconciliation bill, but he`s never done it as a Senate leader.

 

Most Republican members of Congress have never seen it done.  They have no

idea how difficult it is.

 

When it`s done, well, it takes most of the year to do it, and during every

minute of the year that the Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare and

to enact a gigantic tax cut.

 

They will be exposed to the political liability that is revealed here that

they are voting to increase the national debt by $10 trillion.

 

In other words, they will be voting against what used to be their

principles.

 

And unfortunately for the Republicans, even before they will be close to

figuring out how to deliver on the promises in this budget resolution, they

will be forced to vote to increase the debt ceiling on what will be the

worst Saint Patrick`s Day of Donald Trump`s life.

 

Saint Patrick`s Day is bad enough for Donald Trump already with an endless

stream of paraders clogging up in front of his front door on 5th Avenue.

 

But this year, it will be the day or maybe the day after, that he has

signed his first increase in the debt ceiling, voted on by Republicans in

Congress.

 

The current debt ceiling expires at 12:01 a.m. on March 16th.  And so the

first major crisis of the Trump presidency is officially scheduled for

March 16th, day 55 of Donald Trump`s presidency.

 

He will do on that day what every president before him has done, when

necessary, and raise the debt ceiling.

 

And when he does it, he will not be able to make any even vaguely realistic

promises to his voters that the national debt will ever go down ever.

 

Because when he signs the increase in the debt ceiling, Donald Trump and

the Republicans in Congress will still be trying to pass this resolution,

this stunning increase in the national debt. 

 

And by that time, the news media will have caught up with what`s in this

resolution.

 

And so Donald Trump supporters will know by then, what is in this

resolution.  And by that time, the mechanisms for repealing Obamacare will

probably not yet be written.

 

But the budgetary outline for the fiscal and political disaster of

increasing the national debt by a trillion dollars a year will be right

there, in print, for professional Republicans in Washington.

 

The weight of the Trump promises landed on them today.  And despite all

their smiles for the camera when taking their oaths of office for the new

Congress, today was the worst day of their legislative lives.

 

And it only gets worse from here.  Coming up, what will happen if the

Republicans do manage to repeal Obamacare?

 

Steven Brill who wrote the definitive book on Obamacare joins us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  They are like the dog who caught the

boss.  They don`t know what to do with it.

 

It has so many good things.  Twenty million people covered.  Twenty one to

twenty six, you get on your parents plan.

 

Your parents would earn in a year, your child has cancer, they can`t deny

you insurance.  Women have to be treated the same, planned parenthood.  All

these things are very popular.

 

They say, oh, we`ll keep those but get rid of ACA, they can`t.  And so,

what do they do?

 

They say we`ll repeal it and two years from now we`ll tell you what we`ll

replace it with. 

 

Oh, they have nothing to replace.

 

MADDOW:  But they do have –

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Joining us now is Steven Brill; journalist and author of

“America`s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Background Deals and the Fight to

Fix Our Broken Healthcare System”.

 

Steven, talk about money, politics and background deals.  The year that we

have coming on putting together this budget reconciliation bill, in which

the Obamacare repeal will live or die.

 

STEVEN BRILL, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR:  Right –

 

O`DONNELL:  That`s going to be another one of these years of back room

deals. 

 

BRILL:  It is, except, I don`t think the deals are going to happen.  I

think we`re going to get to 2020 with the replacement still not there and

maybe they`ll extend the time to get the replacement.

 

You know, it is sort of amazing, and you and I have talked about this that

the law passed in 2010 from the moment it passed, they said it should be

repealed or replaced.

 

They still don`t have their replacement and I`ll bet you right here that

ten years after the law passed they will not have a replacement.

 

And the reason they won`t have a replacement is that Obamacare is the

Republican health reform plan.

 

The Democrats tried all of their plans, they tried single payer.  They`ve

been trying plans since the Truman administration.

 

But the Clinton administration tried it and Obama finally gave up and said,

all right, let`s do Mitt Romney`s heritage society Republican plan.

 

So, that`s why they don`t have an alternative plan because Obamacare is

their plan.

 

O`DONNELL:  Kellyanne Conway, which is – it`s risky to even mention her

because we know she doesn`t speak for Donald Trump, no one does.

 

But she did say today on “MORNING JOE”, “we don`t want anyone who currently

has insurance to not have insurance.”

 

BRILL:  Right –

 

O`DONNELL:  So, not one person currently covered under Obamacare can lose

their insurance and the only way to do that –

 

BRILL:  Well –

 

O`DONNELL:  Is to preserve Obamacare.

 

BRILL:  OK, but here`s the problem, you are taking her literally as well as

taking her seriously.  

 

O`DONNELL:  No, I`m taking her as saying something that they are saying –

 

BRILL:  I –

 

O`DONNELL:  And will not be able to live up to. 

 

BRILL:  Sure, but just like what you said about the debt, I guaranteed you

that Donald Trump runs for president, and for re-election saying he`ll

reduce the debt and he reduced the debt –

 

O`DONNELL:  When it will have gone up by $4 trillion –  

 

BRILL:  Because that – you know, that`s the real fake news we live in –

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes –

 

BRILL:  It`s the false equivalency of someone saying, well, actually the

debt went up a little bit.

 

They will say that everybody is getting the same health insurance.  They

will say that Medicaid hasn`t been cut or Medicare hasn`t been cut.

 

But it`s up to the press really to dig into this stuff –  

 

O`DONNELL:  So he – yes, so actually –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

What you`re saying, he`d say something like Medicaid hasn`t been cut, we

just put it back to the way it was –

 

BRILL:  Yes, we –

 

O`DONNELL:  Before Obamacare.

 

BRILL:  Or which gave it to the state so the states can improve it and the

states really know how to do this. 

 

And they can raise the money to do it.  We`re not cutting it. 

 

O`DONNELL:  So, you expect Donald Trump basically to lie his way around the

negative outcomes of – but what about the members of Congress? – 

 

BRILL:  I think – I think with Kellyanne Conways –

 

O`DONNELL:  Have to live with that –

 

BRILL:  Of the world will see everybody has the opportunity to get the same

or better insurance.

 

But if the states didn`t deliver on it or if the charitable organizations

didn`t deliver on it, or if these high-risk plans we set up didn`t deliver

on it, well, we`re still working on it, that`s not our fault. 

 

O`DONNELL:  But think about the Republican Senators who will be approached

by the big hospitals, especially research hospitals –

 

BRILL:  Exactly –

 

O`DONNELL:  In their states, that they care about, and that they –

 

BRILL:  Right –

 

O`DONNELL:  Know they`re going to spend some time in themselves, at some

point –

 

BRILL:  Right –

 

O`DONNELL:  In their lives –

 

BRILL:  Right –

 

O`DONNELL:  Which is one of the reasons they care about –

 

BRILL:  Everybody cares about –

 

O`DONNELL:  Them a lot –

 

BRILL:  Hospitals –

 

O`DONNELL:  Care about them a lot –

 

BRILL:  For that reason –

 

O`DONNELL:  I have seen the way hospitals –

 

BRILL:  As you know –

 

O`DONNELL:  Lobby in Washington and they are very effective.  They`re going

to come and say what you`re doing is going to kill us.  It`s going to kill

us –

 

BRILL:  Yes –

 

O`DONNELL:  And those people will not be able to come up with the kind of

spin that Donald Trump does. 

 

BRILL:  Well, that`s right. 

 

O`DONNELL:  The people who have to vote on this. 

 

BRILL:  Remember, Obamacare passed because it pleased the hospital lobby,

the medical device lobby, the drug lobby, the insurance lobby.

 

So, all of those interests are not going to let it be repealed easily.  And

it`s not going to be repealed.

 

It will be repealed on paper but I predict to you that there will not be

anything different until least after the congressional elections and

they`ll probably punt until after the presidential – 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, so, you`re betting that the best version of repeal they

will do will be one of these things where they say we`ll repeal it with an

effective date way down the line –

 

BRILL:  I bet –

 

O`DONNELL:  In the future – 

 

BRILL:  Yes, and we`re working on this plan and don`t worry it`s going to

be great.

 

O`DONNELL:  But then, the Republican voters who wanted this repeal really

going to fall for that card trick?

 

That we repeal it today but it doesn`t take effect for several years? – 

 

BRILL:  They`re not going to fall for it.  But I think the real danger is

that the Democratic Party instead of having a meeting in Washington

tomorrow or to meet in Kentucky and Ohio and see some of the people that I

met when I was doing my book.

 

Who are Trump voters, who are really scared by this now, because they

didn`t quite take him seriously.

 

But now they keep reading in the newspapers that this thing has been

repealed.

 

And they lose on this.  They lose big time.  I`ll bet you that more people

helped buy Obamacare voted for Trump than voted for Clinton. 

 

O`DONNELL:  The advantage of it being in a reconciliation bill is you only

need 50 votes plus the vice president`s vote –

 

BRILL:  Right –

 

O`DONNELL:  In the United States Senate.  The disadvantage is a

reconciliation bill has so many things in it.

 

Including defense spending, all –

 

BRILL:  Yes –

 

O`DONNELL:  Sorts of spending in it. 

 

BRILL:  It`s a new –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

But there`s a lot more reasons to object to it –

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes –

 

BRILL:  Than just Obamacare –

 

O`DONNELL:  That`s right –

 

BRILL:  It`s not a stand-alone bill.  We`ve got to cut it there for

tonight, we`re going to be talking about it all year.  Steven Brill, thank

you very much –

 

BRILL:  Sure enough –

 

O`DONNELL:  For joining us tonight, really appreciate it.  Coming up, the

gangster, the really bad guy who was with Donald Trump, he`s right there

with Donald Trump on new year`s eve.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Throughout most of the history of the government of the United

States, there has been no such thing as congressional ethics.

 

Meaning there was no real policing authority for congressional ethics. 

 

When Congress moved to impeach President Richard Nixon in 1974, we had no

idea how ethical or unethical the house members were who were conducting

the president`s impeachment hearings because there were no house – there

was no House Ethics Committee.

 

There was no Senate Ethics Committee.  The House Ethics Committee was

invented three years after the Nixon impeachment hearings.

 

The Senate Ethics Committee was created a year after that.  And so, all of

the giants of the House of Representatives and the Senate throughout

history that you`ve read about from John Adams who was in the House of

course to Daniel Webster to Lyndon Johnson, Everett Dirksen.

 

They all lived in an ethics free zone.  Since the ethics committees were

invented, we have only become more and more concerned with congressional

ethics.

 

And so, in 2008 when the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives,

they created another layer, the Office of Congressional Ethics.

 

And yesterday Republicans tried to turn back the clock to 2007.  They were

smart enough not to get caught abolishing the Office of Congressional

Ethics entirely.

 

But they did dramatically reduce its powers and its relevance in a secret

vote conducted in a room full of Republicans last night with the door

closed.

 

Paul Ryan and others in the leadership were opposed to this idea, but the

Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte pushed for a vote and he

won with a vote of 119 to 74.

 

And today, Republicans unanimously changed their minds and realized it was

a very bad idea after hearing from some outraged Republican constituents

and after this tweet from Donald Trump.

 

“With all the Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the

weakening of the Independent Ethics watch dog as unfair as it may be, their

number one act and priority?

 

Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater

importance.”

 

There is a possibility that Republicans were going to reverse themselves on

this without the Trump tweet, but the Trump tweet certainly removes all

doubt about it.

 

And the good news for Paul Ryan`s leadership in this story is that, after

allowing the rebels to have their way last night, the rebels and their

leader last night Chairman Goodlatte were humiliated today.

 

And the next time that the rebels or Bob Goodlatte tried to challenge the

leadership of Paul Ryan, they`re all going to remember what happened this

time.

 

Joining us now is Leo Wise; he was the first staff director and chief

counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics when it was first

established.

 

Also joining us Julian Epstein; the former chief minority counsel of the

House Judiciary Committee and a former majority staff director of the House

Government Operations Committee. 

 

Leo Wise, tell us what you feel the congressional – why this new layer of

policing of congressional ethics was necessary in 2008?

 

What was inadequate at that point or considered inadequate at that point

about the House Ethics Committee?

 

LEO WISE, FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR & CHIEF COUNSEL, OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL

ETHICS:  Well, I think it was two things. 

 

There was a sense that with the scandals related to Jack Abramoff and the

members of Congress that were ensnared with him that the house wasn`t

acting.

 

And these stories were playing out in the press, sometimes in the courts

and it wasn`t clear if members were being held accountable in the

institution where they served.

 

So, the Office of Congressional Ethics were set up to really throw sunlight

onto the Ethics process and open a window that through which the public

could see whether the institution was investigating these allegations and

then making decisions about the facts once they were presented.

 

O`DONNELL:  And what is the record of it so far? I mean, how many cases has

it – has it covered and reported on?

 

WISE:  It`s covered and reported on dozens of cases in a non-partisan and

professional way.

 

It declines to pursue cases more often than it pursues them.  It weeds out

unfounded accusations and then it puts together very robust fact records

that are presented to the ethics committee.

 

And then ultimately to the public when these reports become public so the

citizens everywhere can make their own judgments about their own elected

officials and how the institution is holding them accountable. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Julian Epstein, one of the weaknesses of the congressional of

ethics committee system both in the House and Senate is the inside secret

anyway that no one wants to be on the ethics committee.

 

I`ve never known a member of Congress, House or Senate who wanted to be on

the ethics committee.

 

Who wanted the job of investigating his or her colleagues.  It is the most

undesirable task in the building.

 

And you would think that the 2008 move, which in a certain sense, relieved

the ethics committee in a certain kind of way.

 

You could look at it as it relieves the ethics committee of certain kinds

of pressures, puts them in a place outside of member influence and maybe

that would actually be a better life for the people on the ethics

committee, who actually don`t want this burden.

 

JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF MINORITY COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: 

Well, you would think that would be the point of view of most members,

including most of the members who do pretty much engage very ethically in

their –

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes –

 

EPSTEIN:  Day-to-day business –  

 

O`DONNELL:  Most wouldn`t do, absolutely, yes.   

 

EPSTEIN:  Most of them do, but there are several that don`t like this idea

of an independent agency kind of monitoring them on ethics issues.

 

And I think Leo is exactly right.  It wasn`t just a Jack Abramoff issue, it

was the Mark Foley pedophilia scandal.  And democrats came to power 2006 on

the culture of corruption.  In the Abramoff case we had 21 public officials

that were convicted of bribery and like charges. 

 

And the ethics committee kind of sat on the sidelines during the - during

most of that process.  So, it was a big embarrassment to the ethics

committee.  But just to further underscore Leo`s point, any effective

investigatory agency like an inspector`s general has to have essentially

three things.  It`s going to have the ability to compel testimony, it`s got

to have independence, independence in terms of when to initiate an

investigation, when to refer an investigation or criminal procedures and it

has to be able to use other tools like whistle-blowers. 

 

The Office of Congressional Ethics already doesn`t have the most important

of those three tools.  It doesn`t have the ability to compel congressional

testimony or documents.  And what the republicans tried to do yesterday in

an incredibly (INAUDIBLE) move that is going to have spillover effects for

Donald Trump was that they tried to get rid of the other two essential

things the Office of Congressional Ethics has. 

 

The independence, the independence in terms of when to initiate

investigation and when, if they find something that might be criminally

wrong or ethically wrong, when they can refer you to congress or to a

criminal prosecutor.  The third – so they don`t have the first, the

ability to compel.  The congressional republicans tried to take away the

second, which is the independence and they tried to take away the third

tool that the office needs, which is the ability to use tools like whistle-

blowers. 

 

So, it was an effective neutering of this agency and the republicans have

now poked this hornets nest of ethics and they found out that there`s a

huge grassroots movement in favor of draining the swamp, in favor of

ethical conduct and this is going to have big spillover effects for Donald

Trump right now who has a whole much bigger mess of ethics issues as we

discussed last week on the show or two weeks ago on the show.  He is

getting payments from China, he`s got entanglement with Russian interest,

he`s got - he`s been accused of promoting his daughter`s apparel business

with the Japanese. 

 

All of the issues with India, with Turkey going on down the line.  So, this

has had, you know – this has been a very, very revealing thing that will

have very significant spillover effects for Donald Trump.

 

O`DONNELL:  Leo Wise. Quickly. before we go, were you aware of a ground

swell among republicans of this kind of complaint that they wanted to

weaken it? 

 

WISE:  No.  I mean when I was there, there wasn`t anything like that.  You

know, the office did its job.  It did it professionally and in a

nonpartisan way.  There were certain members that were unhappy that their

conduct was being questioned but at the end of the day, facts are facts. 

And what this attempted to do was make those facts not known.  Didn`t

change anybody`s conduct but to take away the ability to see what people

were doing and then to hold them accountable. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Leo Wise and Julian Epstein, thank you both for joining us. 

Appreciate it.

 

EPSTEIN:  Thank you Lawrence. 

 

WISE:  Thank you. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, we have some breaking news, Donald Trump tweeted

about an intelligence briefing tonight and immediately intelligence

officials said that the Donald Trump tweet is not true. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Tonight`s breaking news, Donald Trump tweeted this little

earlier tonight.  “The intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking

was delayed until Friday.  Perhaps more time needed to build a case.  Very

strange.”  NBC`s Ken Dilanian is reporting that a senior intelligence

official says that the briefing with CIA, NSA and FBI heads has always been

scheduled for Friday.  The early report that the briefing was to occur

Wednesday apparently was wrong. 

 

The intelligence chiefs were not scheduled to be in New York City on

Wednesday.  The senior intelligence official called Trump tweet disturbing

and adversarial.  He added he is calling out the men and women of the

intelligence community the way he called out Lockheed and Boeing but these

are public servants.  Donald trump will learn more he says about Russia

hacking from the McCain hearing which is scheduled for Thursday. 

 

Also today the confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson as Secretary Of State

was set for January 11th, where he will face questions about his ties with

Vladimir Putin, Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker says that Tillerson

does not have to turn over his tax returns as the foreign relations

committee does not usually get tax returns from secretary of state

nominees.  Joining us now David Corn Washington bureau chief for Mother

Jones and an MSNBC political analyst.

 

Also with us Elise Jordan former senior policy advisor to Senator Rand

Paul`s presidential campaign and an MSNBC political analyst.  Elise to the

breaking news of the night, Donald Trump, first of all, apparently getting

it wrong that there ever was a Wednesday scheduled meeting, but then using

the fact that this meeting is now Friday tries to use that to attack the

integrity of the intelligence services that will be reporting to him. 

 

ELISE JORDAN, FMR. SR. ADVISOR, RAND PAUL CAMPAIGN:  He`s going to war with

our intelligence agencies and I think it is really disturbing.  I think

that if he has problems with their analysis, if he wants to go in, approach

the organization with skepticism that is his agenda but he should do it

behind closed doors.  Any problems that he has with the analysis it doesn`t

need to be aired to the world.  It hurts our spy craft and it is

irresponsible and puts our men and women abroad their mission in question I

think. 

 

I think it`s really troubling the way this has been unfolding. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And David Corn it`s that phrase we get used to, we`ve never

seen anything like it.  And what`s so fascinating about it, is he puts

himself in a direct, and unnecessary battle with the head of the FBI, head

of CIA, head of NSA, no reason to have this battle. 

 

DAVID CORN, CHIEF OF THE WASHINGTON BUREAU FOR MOTHER JONES:  Well, one of

your great producers on the show just said to me, it`s amazing, isn`t it? 

And I said actually at this point it`s not amazing.  And I think we have to

get used to the fact that Donald Trump says things and tweet things that

are more often false than not.  That show that he is impulsive, he could

have easily checked with his scheduler and said, was it Wednesday, Friday? 

 

Why did they move but then he attributes the darkest motives to it when he

has no reason to.  We do know he is sort of – has a liking for conspiracy

theories and just like yesterday, or the day before when he said, you know,

what I know something about hacking that you don`t know and I might tell

you on Tuesday maybe Wednesday.  Well you know what that`s not going to

happen either.  So you have a guy who`s a serial fabricator who is

adversarial basically everything, but most of all to the truth. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And Elise, what he doesn`t seem to understand and apparently no

one who has any influence over his tweeting understands is how confirmation

hearings work.  Everything is relevant in confirmation hearing.  When

Tillerson has his hearing for Secretary of State he is going to be asked,

as I suggested on twitter this weekend, did you advise Donald Trump on this

tweet when he said ” great move on delay by V. Putin.  I always knew he was

very smart.”  Can we get that tweet up on the screen? 

 

That one, that went up on - over the New Year`s weekend.  Did you advise

Donald Trump on that tweet will be question one, question two, when he says

no which he better say, do you agree with that tweet.  It`s going to be

impossible for Donald Trump`s secretary of state to agree with that tweet

or what he tweeted tonight. 

 

JORDAN:  Well that`s why what he is doing right now makes no sense because

he is making it more complicated for his own nominees that he wants to sail

through their confirmation hearings.  Right now this situation is so

politicized.  I personally think that there needs to be some evidence, if

the charges are as serious as what the intelligence community has

suggested.  I think that it might be a time that we reveal some of our

sourcing that we actually show evidence and make the case, if it is what

they say. 

 

If not, it has been over-politicized and Donald Trump is partially to blame

for that because of his posture towards Putin.  He needs to stop acting so

juvenile over twitter and saying I want to be – he previously said he

wanted to be best friends with Putin.  You know, just recently he was

calling him very smart.   It`s just - it`s unnecessary and while we need to

have a strong relationship with Russia we need to project strength and

right now not what he is showing is weakness. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And David Corn Rex Tillerson should be also be asked on January

11th, do you believe Donald Trump or do you believe the director of the

FBI, the  CIA that they were not scheduled for Wednesday, they were

scheduled for Friday?  And also do you believe the implied corruption about

their agencies in Donald Trump`s tweet? 

 

CORN:  Yes.  Do you take at face value the intelligence of establishment

judgment that Russia hacked, meddled in our elections?  Do you believe that

or not?  Or do you believe what Donald Trump and his supporters are saying

that it`s all trumped up and made up?  That question should be put to Mike

Pompeo who is going to be head of the CIA.  Elise is a hundred percent

right that this is causing trouble for Trump and his nominees but it just

gets to the basic problem here. 

 

The guy is impulsive.  He doesn`t think before he tweets.  He doesn`t

check.  And as we`ve seen time and time again, his aides have no idea what

he is doing.  As a guy who is in charge of the nuke - or who will be in

charge of the nuclear arsenal in a pretty dangerous world in which things

can go wrong very quickly, this is probably the most worrisome thing about

the Trump presidency. 

 

O`DONNELL:  If senate staffers on the confirmation committees still know

what they are doing and how to do this, they should be writing questions

tonight using Donald Trump`s tweets.  Elise Jordan and David Corn, thank

you both for joining us tonight.  Really appreciate it. 

 

JORDAN:  Thank you. 

 

CORN:  Thank you. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, Donald Trump says he will hold a press conference

next week.  It is the same press conference that he promised to have last

month.  And how about this for a first question, why did you spend New

Year`s Eve with a known felon and mob associate? 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump has once again promised a press conference for

next week which does not mean he`s going to have a press conference next

week.  But if he does he should be asked to explain what he was doing with

Joey No Socks on new Year`s Eve.  The felon and mob associate standing next

to him right there.  That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump once again rescheduled his long awaited news

conference on how he will avoid conflicts of interest with his businesses.

Tweeting tonight, he said I will be having a general news conference on

January 11th in NYC. Thank You.  This new conference will come just one day

after President Obama`s farewell address in Chicago next week.  Among the

many questions Donald Trump might have to answer during that news

conference is why he spent his New Year`s Eve with this guy – Joseph

Cinque also known as Joey No Socks, a convicted felon with mob ties.

 

Joseph Cinque runs the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences which gives

out star diamond awards in hospitality and has given multiple awards to

Trump`s hotels, golf courses and restaurants.  In May 2015 Donald Trump was

even listed as the Ambassador extraordinaire for Cinque `s company.  But

just one year later, when the associated press asked Donald Trump about his

ties to Joey No Socks, Donald Trump denied knowing him well, saying if a

guy is going to give you an award you take it.  You don`t tend to look up

his whole life story. Joining us David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer prize winning

journalist who founded d.c. report.org, a non profit news organization that

will cover the Trump Administration and has looked up Donald Trump`s life

story and Joey No Socks life story.   David, tell us what we need to know

about this guy.

 

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, JOURNALIST:  Well Joey No Socks decided to change his

life a bit and go in to the business of selling awards with Donald Trump on

his board at one time and his board at a majority of either Trump family

members or retainers after a hit on him that failed.  And he is one of many

 

O`DONNELL:  Whoa, whoa, you mean an attempted murder of Joey No Socks?

 

JOHNSTON:  Oh yes.

 

O`DONNELL:  And so that`s  what got Joey No Socks to think I should be in a

less dangerous line of work?

 

JOHNSTON:  Exactly, exactly and so art thievery and selling clothing out of

Central Park South apartment and when he decided to hang out with Muffet

and Biff, he also decided to take up loafers without socks.  But he is one,

Lawrence, of a number of mob-connected people.  Donald was posing a week

ago with Don King, who stomped to death one of his employees over a $600

dispute in the `60s.  Now he was pardoned later but the fact is he killed

the man. 

 

We don`t know what other connections Donald has.  In this case, it was so

brazen, Joey No Socks has been coming to the Mar-A-Lago Christmas Eve party

or New Year`s eve party every year by his account for more than decade.

Donald Trump doesn`t know who he is.  He was with him in Scotland. Donald

doesn`t know who he is.  That`s nonsense.  Of course Donald knows who he

is.  But unlike everybody else he doesn`t do background checks when he

doesn`t want to know about him.  That`s how Felix Sater the son of the

refuted - son of the Russian mob boss in New York ends up working closely

with Donald and traveling all over with him an then Donald said wouldn`t

know if he was in the same room. Donald just makes the stuff up and

journalists are not holding him accountable

 

O`DONNELL:  All right, quick break.  We`re going to be right back with

David on why Donald Trump kicked someone off of his golf course last week. 

Someone Donald Trump knows very well.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Harry Hurt III a Trump biographer told MSNBC tonight about

Donald Trump kicking him off a Trump golf  course over the holiday weekend.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HARRY HURT III TRUMP BIOGRAPHER:  And I went up to him and I simply said

congratulations sir.  I tipped my hat.  I extended my hand.  We shook hands

and then he went into a exploitive filled (INAUDIBLE) tribe about the

content of my book.  He then said that he thought it was inappropriate for

me to be playing at golf course.  And he asked me to leave and I said that

I would.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Up next David Cay Johnston will tell us exactly what Donald

Trump hates about Harry Hurt.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  We`re back with David Cay Johnston.  So David, why did Donald

Trump kick Harry Hurt off of his golf course this weekend?  He wrote a book

about Donald Trump and I guess Donald Trump doesn`t like most of the books

you people have written about him and I guest you`d probably run the same

risk if he saw you on one of the Trump golf course.

 

JOHNSTON:  Well Trump was actually very cordial to Harry just before he

announced he was running for President when they ran in to each other at

the same course.  But Donald doesn`t like Harry`s book because Harry is the

one who in his meticulously careful reporting revealed that Ivana Trump

said that her husband roughed her up and raped her.  Donald`s lawyer said

you can`t rape your wife in New York.  That`s not true.  We have marital

rape in New York.  He dug up a lot of other very unsavory facts from the

public record he has gone through and Donald of course doesn`t want you to

know about that.  He doesn`t want you to know that he had a fight with

Marla where the doors were knocked off the hinges of their hotel suite,

knocked of the hinges and other things that Harry documented carefully,

thoroughly and accurately.

 

O`DONNELL:  And so I was - I thought well I kind of understand why Trump

would go after him but what surprises me is he had a pleasant encounter

with Trump at the beginning of the campaign.

 

JOHNSTON:  Because back then, Donald needed to start his calm and hide his

vindictiveness.  And now that he`s won the election you`re going to see

this vindictiveness come out.  Remember Donald is a man who said he gets

pleasure from destroying the lives of other people.  You refuse a favor for

him he will go out of his way to destroy your life.  You say something on

daytime television like Rosie O`Donnell did and he will attack you in

public in forum after forum.  Donald is petty.  He`s vindictive.  This is a

good example and we will see more of this.

 

O`DONNELL:  David Cay Johnston who wrote one of the books on Donald Trump. 

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate.

 

JOHNSTON:  Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL:  MSNBC`s live coverage continues into “THE 11TH HOUR”.  That`s

next.

 

 

 

 

END   

 

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