The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 1/24/2017

Guests:
April Ryan, Howard Dean, Rick Wilson, Cecile Richards, Greisa Martinez, Chad Griffin
Transcript:

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL

Date: January 24, 2017

Guest: April Ryan, Howard Dean, Rick Wilson, Cecile Richards, Greisa

Martinez, Chad Griffin

 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us tonight though, we will see

you again tomorrow for that.

 

Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening,

Lawrence.   

 

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel, and thanks for

telling people what`s coming up in this hour.

 

And I just want to note right here, the reason all three are appearing

together is we wanted them to, but they – more importantly they wanted to. 

 

MADDOW:  Oh, wow. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Neither – none of them wanted to come on alone.  They all

wanted to appear as a group because they believe that the dialogue requires

this fuller range of discussion that we`ll be able to have with all three

of them. 

 

MADDOW:  That`s a big deal itself in terms of the way the left is

organizing right now, in terms of the way the anti-Trump movement is

shaping up.  That`s a big deal.  Thanks, Lawrence –  

 

O`DONNELL:  Thanks, Rachel.  Well, it was a very tough day at the White

House, because that`s what happens whenever the White House is caught in a

lie.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Does the president believe that millions voted

illegally in this election?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The president does believe that, this is a well

debunked conspiracy theory. 

 

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  He continues to maintain that

believe based on studies and evidence that people presented to him. 

 

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: 

I`ve seen no evidence to that effect. 

 

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA:  I am begging the president share

with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it. 

 

SPICER:  He stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally

during the campaign. 

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  You`ve got dead people

voting.  They woke up from the dead and they went and voted. 

 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT:  The great political and Democratic

crisis we face now in this country is not voter fraud, it is voter

suppression. 

 

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE:  It`s all

about having lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.  That`s what rubs

this man.  He won this core –

 

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  There`s something wrong with the

person –

 

STEELE:  OK –

 

CORN:  Who can`t see beyond –

 

STEELE:  OK –

 

CORN:  His own egocentric need. 

 

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST:  He is focused on the size of his

crowd, the size of his ratings, the size of his hands, the size of – well,

everything.

 

And instead of the CIA, he should be talking to a psychiatrist because –

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  The Trump White House woke up this morning to the toughest

headline on a “New York Times” front page since the Nixon White House.

 

That headline ended in the word “lie”.  That headline said “meeting with

top lawmakers, Trump repeats an election lie.”

 

And there it is on page one of the “New York Times” accusing the president

of the United States of lying and lying to congressional leaders.

 

Leaders of the house, Democrat and Republican leaders in the Senate,

Democrat and Republican.

 

The friendlier version of that headline was in the “Wall Street Journal”. 

Here`s the way the “Wall Street Journal” put it.

 

“Donald Trump repeats unsupported claim that voter fraud skewed election

tally.”

 

An unsupported claim.  Well, let`s take a look at what support the White

House press secretary was able to give to that claim in the White House

press briefing today.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Does the president believe that millions voted

illegally in this election?

 

And what evidence do you have of widespread voter fraud in this election if

that`s the case? 

 

SPICER:  The president does believe that.  He has stated that before, I

think he stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally

during the campaign. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  People rioting today said there is no evidence.  The

National Association of Secretaries of State say that they don`t agree with

the president`s investments.

 

What evidence do you have? 

 

SPICER:  As I said, I think the president just believed that for a while

based on studies and information he has.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  So, the president believes it.  What do you do about a

president who believes something that isn`t true?

 

Well, for one thing, in the White House press briefing room, you keep

asking questions about it, here`s more.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Three to five million people voted illegally, that is

a scandal of astronomical proportions.

 

Doesn`t he want to restore Americans faith in their ballot system? Wouldn`t

he want an investigation of it?

 

SPICER:  Well, I – you know, this is – you – as I have noted several

times now, he`s believed this for a long time and I think he won fairly

overwhelmingly, so he`s not.

 

And look, we`re – 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I`m asking you why not investigate something –

 

SPICER:  Well –

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That isn`t – 

 

SPICER:  Maybe we will – 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The biggest scandal in American electoral history. 

Three to five million people voting illegally?

 

SPICER:  And I think we`ll see where we go from here.  But right now, the

focus that the president has is on putting Americans back to work.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Three to five million criminals out there, criminals.  The kind

of people Donald Trump says he`s going to go after.

 

He says he`s going to go after criminals on day one.  Three to five million

criminals out there and what`s Donald Trump doing about it?

 

There were more questions.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I just want to be clear about this investigation. 

Because it easily – usually open the door for one.

 

Have you discussed with the president of possibly –  

 

SPICER:  Which investigation are you referring to? 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Of possibly investigating this voter fraud?

 

SPICER:  No, I didn`t, I did not – no, I did not.   

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You said it`s possible. 

 

SPICER:  No, I – of course, anything is possible.  I – no, I think it`s

on point.  Look, I was asked a question.

 

There is no investigation.  It`s – I said it was possible.  Anything is

possible.  It was a hypothetical question.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Joining us now, April Ryan who was in the room today, White

House correspondent and Washington Bureau chief for “American Urban Radio

Networks, the author of “At Mama`s Knee”.

 

Also with us, Rick Wilson; Republican strategist, contributor to the “Daily

Beast”.

 

And Howard Dean; former DNC Chairman and former governor of Vermont, and an

Msnbc political analyst.

 

April, take us inside that room today.  It was something to watch, I have

to say from where we were sitting.

 

But what was it like where you were?

 

APRIL RYAN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS:  It was

very interesting.  It really devolved.  It was – there was an anticipation

of the possibility of another day like yesterday.

 

But the issue of voter fraud kept coming up.  And Sean, ultimately wound up

saying that, you know, he won.  This president won, so really, what`s the

point of having an investigation into this?

 

But really, I mean, I`m thinking about this voter fraud issue and then some

of the last words former President Barack Obama said in that same briefing

room just last week.

 

Saying voting rights is one of the major pieces that`s still on the table.

 

And I mean, this is real.  Donald Trump is talking about this, whether he

read it – well, President Donald Trump is talking about this.

 

Whether he studied it or read it or not he keeps saying this.  So, there is

an issue here that has to be dealt with in the White House and this White

House cannot run away from it. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And Howard Dean, hear the Republicans in Congress who are not

only not supporting Donald Trump in what the “New York Times” calls a lie.

 

But they are – and they`re also watching his favorability numbers sinking

like no other inaugurated president in history.

 

And this guy is coming to them with an agenda, with a big governing agenda.

 

Some of which they disagree with, some of which they agree with.  It looks

like today was a bad day, not just in the White House.

 

But also a bad day on Capitol Hill when you look at the way Paul Ryan and

others treated this story. 

 

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR:  Well, every day is a bad day when

you have a president who says things that aren`t true.

 

I mean, I think if you did a study or a poll on how many people believe the

president tells the truth, you would get very bad numbers, probably worse

than his approval numbers.

 

And that`s a problem for the Republicans because it eventually tarnishes

the entire Republican brand.  You know, things – unfortunately for the

president, things are going to get worse, not better.

 

Because as things get tougher and tougher, and he runs into controversy,

you know, he`s only in the first week.

 

It is just really an untenable situation as a president who either

deliberately lies or can`t tell the difference between the truth and a

falsehood, and he tells one every single day.

 

O`DONNELL:  Rick Wilson, to the point that Howard Dean just mentioned.  I

have to say in my own anecdotal experience of direct conversations with

people who voted for Trump.

 

They almost all believe exactly this.  That the – that the margin – that

Hillary Clinton`s vote margin was all about illegal aliens voting in

California and Nevada.

 

They get into specific theories about it as they talk to you about it.  Is

that what you hear from them?

 

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I do, but Lawrence, remember these are

also people that believe that Hillary Clinton runs an international child

cannibalism ring.

 

They are completely divorced from reality.  They are utterly – and they

are utterly divorced from the facts.

 

You know, these are people that do believe there`s a secretive conspiracy

for 5 million illegals to vote, but don`t believe that Russia could try to

influence our elections.

 

And so, this is something that it plays in the narrative of Donald Trump

wanting a separate hermetic seat bubble of news and information and

knowledge that his people share amongst themselves. 

 

It doesn`t have to be relevant to the facts or anything, any empirical fact

of any sort.

 

It`s just – their comfort zone is to be able to blame anything on the –

on the – on the mystical externalities of things like 5 million illegals

or pizzagate or any of these other cookie theories that they have come to

adopt.

 

There is no proof of it.  Believe me, if there were proof of it, Republican

secretaries of state of which the majority of the secretaries of state in

this country are Republicans.

 

I think it`s 38 or 39 would be out there beating the drum and saying, hey,

hold on, stop this.  Because these are people dedicated to the integrity of

our elections in this country.

 

They would require conspiracy with such depth and scope and granularity

that even “Breitbart” couldn`t cover it with enough breathlessness.  So –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Let`s just do a little map here.  Donald Trump is saying it

could be 3 million, it could be 5 million.

 

The presumption –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

The presumption in Donald Trump`s dream is that 100 percent of them voted

for him.  And not – and all of the illegal voters voted for him, and no

one voted for anyone else.

 

And that`s why he would have had the total vote count.  I want to listen to

this extraordinary defense that Kellyanne Conway provided today, this

morning on “Fox News” for Sean Spicer.

 

And what is extraordinary about the defense is here`s a White House staffer

defending another White House staffer and blaming the president of the

United States for trafficking in falsehoods.

 

Let`s listen to this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP:  He talked about the fact that

he was given misinformation early on.

 

But that we –

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right –

 

CONWAY:  Will try to tell the truth every time – you know, and always be

truthful.

 

But I also think that he tried to break news to the president, and to push

back on some of these falsehoods, and this is what I call presumptively

negative coverage.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  April, that`s Kellyanne Conway saying that Sean Spicer tried to

break news to the president and to push back on some of these falsehoods.

 

In a conversation with the president, he`s pushing back the president on

falsehoods according to Kellyanne Conway and apparently failing in that

mission.

 

RYAN:  Sean is in a very tough position.  And I`m trying to – as a

reporter, trying to figure all of this out and how it plays out.

 

Now, I believe what happened, I believe that President Trump is someone, as

Sean has said, that President Trump is someone who feels and he emotes and

his feelings have been, I guess hurt by some of the reports that have been

happening.

 

And the president has been on the table, emotional, very upset.  And then

in the meantime, maybe Sean got on the table with him for a moment.

 

And now he has to understand that this president, while he is on the table,

he has to look through and see what`s real and see how to press this

forward to make this president look presidential and make the situation

look presidential.

 

You know, I can see what Kellyanne is saying about breaking news to the

president and trying to push back.

 

I mean, but it`s a dance that they`re trying to navigate through.  And you

can see it play out in that briefing room.

 

Today, especially, how Sean went through the room and tried to – he hit

and moved on to people and then they just abruptly just left in 45 minutes.

 

It was getting hot in there.  So, they`re still trying to navigate the

waters and figure it out themselves.

 

And I – it`s baffling right now.

 

O`DONNELL:  Rick Wilson, you`ve worked for politicians, I have.  There`s an

answer when the politician insists that you go out there and tell a lie.

 

And the answer is a very simple two-word answer, “I resign”.  It`s a very -

-

 

WILSON:  Yes –

 

O`DONNELL:  And it`s not a very difficult moment.  It shouldn`t be a

difficult moment for anyone.  It`s a very simple sentence “I resign”.

 

I`m hearing a lot of sympathy about – oh, Sean Spicer is in a really tough

spot.  It doesn`t look like a tough spot to me –

 

RYAN:  No –

 

O`DONNELL:  If you know who you are.

 

WILSON:  Look, these are guys who are sort of morally capitulated to Trump

and Trumpism.

 

And I feel – I feel that Sean Spicer on Saturday was almost over acting to

prove a point.

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes –

 

WILSON:  It`s sort of this equivalent of blinking out the word hostage or

torturing Morse code with his eyes.

 

This is – these guys know what they`re doing.  They – but they`ve

accepted that Trump requires a level of obedience and filthy and insane

behavior.

 

Then they`re going to stay on this roller coaster as long as they can.  But

you`re right.  When a president is asked – tells a press secretary to lie,

it`s see you, I`ve got to go, boss.

 

You know, a press secretary can come out and say many things.  He can say I

have nothing for you on that.

 

I`ll get back to you.  I`ll talk to someone else about that.  There are a

million ways to walk around a problematic question, but just a flat out

lying, just saying, you know, the sky is bright green.

 

Just saying the moon is made of cheese, just saying there were 47 billion

people on the mall, none of that is true.

 

And Spicer knew it and he`s been – he`s under the gun for it now. And the

Washington press corps is having a really tough time navigating sort of

where they`re going to be in this behavior.

 

I do think it`s laudable that the times and other folks are now outright

using the word lie to describe the things that the White House does. 

 

And generally, you can tell when Kellyanne Conway or Sean Spicer`s mouth is

moving, the word lie can be in the headline at this point. 

 

RYAN:  But Lawrence, I want to –

 

O`DONNELL:  April Ryan, get it – I want to give a quick last word on this

 

RYAN:  Yes –

 

O`DONNELL:  Because you are a veteran of that –

 

RYAN:  Yes –

 

O`DONNELL:  Press briefing room and know a lot more about it –

 

RYAN:  I`m not sympathetic and –

 

O`DONNELL:  And how it works than any of us.

 

RYAN:  Yes, I`m not sympathetic to Sean or the situation, but try to see

what`s going on.

 

And what they`re telling me from this administration is that they got bad

numbers early on.  But still – and that`s the problem with the immediate

CPs.  They needed to wait.

 

They should have waited before they went out with that knee-jerk reaction

and the emotions from the president and all of that day from Friday as well

as what happened Saturday.

 

There`s no sympathy, I`m just trying to figure it out to see what`s going

on.  So, I can accurately report to my constituency, I guess, or my

listeners or viewers. 

 

O`DONNELL:  April, you`ve been doing a great job and we had your questions

tonight cued up and ready to go here to what you did in the briefing room.

 

But we`ve run out of time because we got some breaking news coming in right

now.

 

And I`m going to need you all to stay in place for the next segment. 

Because Donald Trump has just tweeted about things that are going to happen

tomorrow. 

 

He said, “big day planned on national security tomorrow.  Among many other

things, we will build the wall.” 

 

The “New York Times” has much more detail now about what Donald Trump has

planned for tomorrow.

 

And it does look like it`s going to be a big day.  And later, as Rachel

told you, three of the leaders who are vowing to join a resistance against

Donald Trump`s policies will join us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO:  President Trump said he`s working with you

on a replacement plan for the ACA which is nearly finished and will be

revealed after your confirmation.  Is that true?

 

REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA:  It`s true that he said that, yes.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, did not that he`s ever done this before, but did

the president lie?

 

I know we don`t use the word “lie” here because we`re polite when

presidents say statements that aren`t true, but did he lie to the public

about working with you?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I haven`t had conversations with the president about

healthcare, yes. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Which wasn`t quite the answer.  

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  We have breaking news tonight.  Within the hour, Donald Trump

tweeted “big day planned on national security tomorrow.  Among many other

things, we will build the wall.”

 

And the “New York Times” has just reported “President Trump will order the

construction of a Mexican border wall on Wednesday.

 

White House officials said and is mulling plans to stop Syrian refugees

from entering the country.

 

And to slash immigration of refugees from terror-prone nations, perhaps as

early as this week.”

 

Back with us, April Ryan, Howard Dean and Rick Wilson.  And Howard Dean, on

the border wall, the reporting seems to indicate that he – Donald Trump

will issue an executive order possibly tomorrow to shift federal funds to

the creation of that wall.

 

To change whatever they`re targeted –

 

WILSON:  Right –

 

O`DONNELL:  At now, and target them to the wall. 

 

DEAN:  Well, this is one of the things I think a lot of the groups that are

opposing Trump`s tendency towards authoritarian as we`re going to have to

deal with.

 

Because he`s going to do a lot of this.  The remedy for this is in the

course. 

 

I think there is a big question about whether any president gets to divert

funds that have been appropriated for one purpose to another without

congressional action.

 

There`s a big – as President Obama found out when he tried to allow people

to – more people to stay in the country and was shut down by a judge in

Texas, a federal judge.

 

The president can`t change immigration policy many times without an act of

Congress as well.

 

So, we need to develop capacity with really smart lawyers who are going to

begin to oppose this administration when they overreach.

 

Which of course, having been in office four days, Trump has managed to do

on multiple occasions. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Rick Wilson, this looks like a strong move to change the

subject for tomorrow.

 

WILSON:  I think it is a strong move on their part.  They need to get away

from the dumpster fire that today`s news cycle was for them.

 

And again, as Governor Dean mentioned, the question here is, is this

showmanship and politics because, well, I think their cover is the secure

Fence Act of 2006 as the authorization.

 

I`m not sure how much latitude he has on the appropriations right now –

 

O`DONNELL:  Right –

 

WILSON:  To move those things into building a wall that`s going to cost

probably $50 billion.

 

RYAN:  Yes –

 

WILSON:  You know, if it`s going to span from the Pacific to the Gulf,

we`re not talking about stringing fence and centers.

 

We`re talking about billions and billions of dollars.  And those moneys

just aren`t there and they certainly aren`t off inappropriate for this. 

 

O`DONNELL:  April Ryan, was there any hint that the White House, what

budget they might be moving that money from?

 

Whether that would be somewhere in the homeland security budget.

 

RYAN:  We haven`t heard anything, and I guess, we have to anticipate where

it`s going to come from tomorrow.

 

And of course, he`s going to say things to kind of take the focus off of

the money, the funding and where it`s going to come from.

 

The ways and the means to pay for this.  But what he is going to probably

do is talk about more so the kinds of jobs that it would bring to this

country to build this wall.

 

And the problem is though, again, where is the money going to come from to

have 2,000 miles of a wall stop the piecing of the wall with fences and

what have you.

 

A solid 2,000 mile wall with a pretty door.  So, people are going to be

very upset about a price tag that we are going to have to pay for. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And Howard Dean, let`s remember, there was never supposed to be

a price tag.

 

That was going to be a check from Mexico to pay for that. 

 

DEAN:  Yes, I mean, look, this president just lives in a different world

than most normal people live in.

 

And he`s going to say things – and I truly sometimes wonder if he can tell

the difference between his own fiction and what the real facts are.

 

And eventually, it`s already caught up with him.  His numbers are terrible.

 

I heard Rick`s description of the people who believe this.  That`s actually

a very small number.

 

A lot of Americans I think who elected Donald Trump voted for him not

because they believed his BS, but because they really wanted change.

 

And they thought he was a better prospect of getting the change they

wanted.

 

If he can`t deliver on stuff, if all this is six months from now is fluff

and misstatements and nonsense and made up stuff at press conferences, his

numbers are going to be much worse than they are today. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And Rick Wilson, the big part of the wall chant, the part that

got almost, I think bigger than build the wall was the – when he would say

to his audience, who`s going to pay for it? 

 

WILSON:  Right.  And so, what we`re going to end up with is either an

attempt for him to seize remittances which is going to require

congressional action from my understanding.

 

Or it`s going to have to have some sort of diplomatic breakthrough with

Mexico which looks pretty unlikely right now.

 

Particularly, as you know, he`s attacking them on multiple fronts and

turning a relatively friendly southern neighbor into one that feels like

we`ve got a hostile agenda against them. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And April Ryan, on the Syrian refugees, this is a relatively

small program – United States participation – this program.

 

It`s smaller than most of the other major countries that have been –

 

RYAN:  Right –

 

O`DONNELL:  Involved, and yet, he wants to get that apparently down to

zero. 

 

RYAN:  Right, and it is very interesting.  This is something that this –

the former White House, the former Obama administration fought vehemently

against.

 

You know, they said, you know, the numbers are small and the people that

were going to come in were vetted and screened tremendously.

 

It took several years to screen them, and some –

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes –

 

RYAN:  Instances, and they were very against this.  And now this is

definitely something that could be a reality.

 

The numbers are small but it changes the dynamic of this nation and who we

bring in and bring us – you`re tired, weary, you`re hungry. 

 

It kind of changes that and those who are persecuted.  It changes that

dynamic and we`re going into a new era. 

 

O`DONNELL:  April Ryan, Howard Dean, Rick Wilson, thank you all –

 

DEAN:  Thank you –

 

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

 

RYAN:  Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, Cecile Richards and two other leaders of advocacy

organizations who are planning to resist the policies of President Trump.  

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  I will be making

my decision.  This week we`ll be announcing.  Next week we have outstanding

candidates and we will pick a truly great Supreme Court Justice.  But I`ll

be announcing it sometime  next week.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  After a year of the Republicans Senate ignoring President Obama

choice Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, it turns out the

Republican senate is now ready to sit down and do their work of considering

a Supreme Court nominee.  NBC`s Pete Williams reports tonight that three

Federal Court of Appeals Judges appointed by George W. Bush are the leading

contenders to become Donald Trump`s Supreme Court nominee. They are Neil

Gorsuch, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Oxford University and a

former Supreme Court Clerk.  He`s sided with hobby lobby in the company`s

case against Obamacare`s contraceptive mandate. 

 

Also in the final three is Thomas Hardiman, a graduate of Georgetown

University who`s known for opinions favoring gun rights and William Pryor,

former Alabama Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General under Jeff

Sessions.  He is a vocal opponent of Roe v. Wade.  Joining us now se Cecile

Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  Also

joining us Chad Griffin, the President of the Human Rights Campaign.  And

Greisa Martinez, the Advocacy Director for United We Dream and a DOCA

Beneficiary.  Cecile your reaction to this short list for the next Supreme

Court nominee?

 

CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA: 

Well it makes me really grateful for the two women that President Obama put

on the Supreme Court, (INAUDIBLE) Maria Sotomayor and Alena Kagen. We`ll be

looking of course at all the nominees for the Supreme Court because as we

know verse Roe vs. Wade hangs in the balance.  The right of women that

they`ve had for more than four years in this country which is safe and

legal abortion is going to be a very important issue.  And so we look

forward to scrutinizing the record of anyone who is put up for either

Supreme Court or any of the Federal openings.

 

O`DONNELL:  Greisa Martinez, if you had to rank these three tonight, is it

possible to distinguish between them in terms of which one would be – I

don`t know what to call it for you but maybe the least objectionable?

 

GREISA MARTINEZ, ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, UNITED WE DREAM:  No, there isn`t.

These are – as sort of a lot of Donald Trump`s nominees are unacceptable

to communities like myself because they present a clear and present danger

to my way of life, the way and life of women and people of color in this

country.   And so we`re going to continue to see what they come up with but

we know that there`s no good news here.

 

O`DONNELL:  Chad Griffin, this is what I`ve have always said is what

presidential elections are about even when you get down to those very rare

years when it doesn`t feel like there`s a big difference between the

Democrats and Republican.  There`s always a big difference on who will end

up on the Supreme Court. What`s your early read of this three

possibilities?

 

CHAD GRIFFIN, PRESIDENT, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN:  Well, look, I think you

can tell from Greisa;`s and Cecile`s reaction there`s not a lot of hope. 

And there`s not a lot of hope for two reasons that I would highlight in

addition to what my colleagues said before me.  Number one is Donald Trump

committed to choosing a Supreme Court nominee from a list that was created

by some of the grandest opponents of equality and justice in this country

today.  A right wing activist group gave him their list so that`s who he is

picking from.  That`s the starting point.  And I think the second reason

that you don`t hear a lot of hope from us, Lawrence, is because Donald

Trump committed to appointing the justice in the mold of (INAUDIBLE) and

Scalia.  That`s bad for immigrants.  That`s bad for people of color.  And

that`s bad for LGBTQ people.  That`s bad for women and on and on and on.

 

O`DONNELL:  And Cecile we are talking about someone who will take the seat

vacated when Anton Scalia died. And so this particular nominee is unlikely

to change the dynamics of what we saw when Scalia was still on the court.

 

RICHARDS:  No, that`s true.  And we won a very important Supreme Court case

just last year. I think though what you – we`ve have seen repeatedly and

it is interesting Lawrence actually after this election the strongest

public support for Roe vs. Wade ever in our history.  It`s 70 percent in

this country.  And so I think it is really important that when President

Trump makes a nomination and the senate looks at these nominees, it is

really important that we think about judicial precedence and we think about

also the millions of women that marched this week – this weekend across

every single state in America, including many foreign countries. 

 

It`s clear that women do not want to go backwards, that we want equal

rights and they will have a lot of blowback for any appointee who wants to

turn back the clock on women`s rights, particularly legal abortion.

 

O`DONNELL:  Well it looks like we`re days away according to the President,

from having one name in front of us and we`ll have more to say about that

then. Greisa, you are aware of the President`s tweet saying he will take

actions not just on the southern border but on immigration, possibly more

generally.  What executive orders are you anticipating that could be coming

down from President Trump possibly tomorrow?

 

MARTINEZ:  Yes, I mean I just want to make clear that just like any abuser

Donald Trump is using the executive orders and the timing of them to

continue to keep our communities in fear and in perpetual anxiety.  What we

know is we don`t know a lot. That we know what he promised in his campaign

trail to enact a mass deportation machine to keep refugees out of the

country and make ensure women are not able to choose.  He has moved on some

of those things already and unfortunately he communicated his viewpoints of

what will happen next through Twitter today.  And so I think that for me I

know that I am going to be standing with people on this column, other

people in fierce opposition to Donald Trump whatever executive orders come

underway.   But to tell you the truth, as adoptive beneficiary I am afraid

of what will happen to my community.  I`m afraid of what`s going to happen

to my mother that is undocumented in Dallas, Texas.  But I know the people

in this interview with me and people all across the country will stand up

against him.

 

O`DONNELL:  Have you –  Greisa have you gotten any indication whether he

would issue an executive order targeting DOCA?

 

MARTINEZ:  Yes, I mean I think that he said this over and over again for a

year and a half during his campaign.  And the fact that he has not come out

clearly in his administration of what he is going to do about it tells me

just about how cruel this person must be to keep the lives of almost a

million people sort of hanging in the balance. And what we are demanding of

Donald Trump is to be clear what he will do with the program, what he`s

going to do with our families, what he`s going to do with Muslim

immigrants, what he`s going to do about women.  And so that we can continue

to put our plan in to action and ensure that we are presenting a unified

front and ensuring the spirits and the power of the women that came out to

march this Saturday is clear and it`s forceful.

 

O`DONNELL:  Chad Griffin, are you aware of anyone in the Trump

Administration or the Trump family for that matter, since there`s not a

real sharp line between the two, who could be sympathetic to some of your

concerns, Ivanka Trump or anyone close to the President?

 

GRIFFIN:  well, there`s often talk about those in the Trump family that

might have LGBTQ friends or colleagues or a question of whether the

President does himself. But what is important to look at is what he

promised to do on the campaign and what he has done day in and out since he

has been President.  He, first of all, chose the Vice President that has

been the number one enemy to equality. If you look at the cabinet choices

he`s made, he has chosen people who have stood in direct opposition to the

rights of women, to the rights of immigrants, to the rights of LGBTQ

people. He put someone in charge of HUD, therefore in charge of enforcing

fair housing laws that doesn`t believe that LGBTQ people exist or at the

Department of Justice, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of our nation to

enforce our hate crimes laws.  This man spent his entire career trying to

stop and block our hate crime laws in this country. So if there are folks

like Ivanka or others we`d like them to stand up.  Make their voices heard,

but what is happening right now is that Mike Pence and others are making

the decisions. Personnel is policy in this government.  Make no mistake

about it. It is time for those who are allies in this administration to

stand up and to speak out.

 

O`DONNELL:  All right. I`d like you to please all stay. We`re going to

squeeze in a quick break here.  And we will be right back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEAN SPICER, WHITEHOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  On the DOCA piece I think the

President has been clear he will prioritize the areas dealing with the

immigration system, both dealing the wall and addressing people in the

country illegally. First and foremost, the President has been very clear we

need to direct agencies to focus on those who are in this country illegally

and have a record that – a criminal record or pose a threat to the

American people.  That`s where the priority is going to be.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  We`re back with Cecile Richards, Chad Griffin and Greisa

Martinez.  And Greisa when I hear Sean Spicer talk that way about the

deferred action for childhood arrivals, the so called DOCA piece, it sounds

like their initial concentration and possibly only concentration on

deportation is going to be the so called criminal class that they believe

they can identify.  He kind of deliberately avoids any real threat to DOCA

beneficiaries like yourself when he is given that opportunity.

 

 MARTINEZ:  Right, one thing needs to be clear is that the Trump strategy

is to take the word criminal and put it as an umbrella on all 11 million

people.  And so what we believe is that an attack on one of us is an attack

on all of us.  Athough he might be seeming like he`s backing away on his

threats on DOCA, I don`t believe him for one minute that he`s going to keep

people like myself in safety.  I don`t believe him in one minute that he`s

going to consider my mother who I consider a hero as someone who needs to

be saved in this country.  He calls her a criminal. I call her a hero.  And

what we know from the Trump Administration is that they like to play games

with words.  And so we`ve already seen him in action in the last couple of

days.  I think that I will not know that I`m safe until it is clear and it

is on paper and it is public. And I will continue to fight for the 11

million people that are still undocumented in this country.

 

O`DONNELL:  Today was a day of action around the country.  People resisting

Trump policies, visiting the local state offices of their Senators and

Washington representatives, urging them to oppose the Trump agenda in

Washington and of course that follows the biggest, just most massive

inauguration protest in the history of the inauguration process that we saw

in Washington and around the world on Saturday. And Cecile, I just want to

talk you for a moment about – when we`re talking about putting this show

together tonight, you Chad and Greisa suggested you all wanted to be on

together.  And could you talk for a moment about – and why we are not

doing a one-on-one Cecile Richards with you, concentrating on your issues

involving women`s reproductive rights and why you think this should be this

broader conversation. 

 

RICHARDS:  Well all of us I think – in fact I think I talked to Chad

probably the first person I talked to the morning of the – after the

election because we`ve worked together so hard on these issues.  And I`m

really honored to be on this panel with Chad and Greisa because our issues

do overlap.  And I just look at it even from the 2.5 million patients that

come to Planned Parenthood every year. 

 

They are LGBT people, they are immigrants, they are women and all of our

communities are scared about what might happen to them.  And they know that

we have to stand together.  I think it`s really important.  And that`s what

we saw at this march I believe this weekend which were people coming from

all different walks of life, standing together and saying we have

solidarity. 

 

One of the things that you mentioned was I think it is really important not

to forget as we were discussing the way forward is that there`s a whole

other branch of government.  That`s U.S. Congress that we have to focus on. 

The things that they have already pledged to do, you know, Paul Ryan,

practically the first day saying that they were going to defund Planned

Parenthood, take away people`s healthcare, roll back rights for women. 

These are things that it`s not enough to be concerned about what the White

House is going to be doing. 

 

We have to make sure that every single person that marches on Saturday is

going to visit their member of congress and their senator when they`re all

back in home the third week of February.  Because these are people who are

maybe voting in this policies whether it`s on immigration, LGBT rights or

women`s rights. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Chad, the same question to you.  I`d like to hear you on why

you want this discussion to be broader than the one you and I would just

have one on one? 

 

GRIFFIN:  When so many ways it started during the campaign when, you know,

Donald Trump, as he was attacking, you know, women and demeaning women and

attacking people of color, and attacking immigrants, yet was pretending to

be a friend to the LGBT community when he read the letters LGBTQ off a

teleprompter.  And our response to that was I think he doesn`t know our

community. 

 

We`re as diverse as the fabric of this nation.  We are women, we are

immigrants in fact we are 250,000 of the undocumented folks in this country

today.  We are people of color.  We are Muslims.  And so an attack on any

one of us is an attack on all of us.  And our job, together, is to hold

Donald Trump accountable.  He is not the king. 

 

He is not the supreme leader.  He`s the president of the United States. 

That`s what he ran to be, and our job is to hold him accountable to that

commitment he made to be the president of all Americans.  But so far he has

not taken a single step to suggest that that`s the president that he`s

going to be.  So, now as president of the United States, he actually has a

boss.  He has a boss.  The tables have flipped. 

 

He now has a boss that is the American people.  And the American people are

here to hold him accountable and all of our members, Ceciles and Greisas,

the millions of people that are part of our organization we are going to

hold him accountable and we`re going to hold the congress accountable.  The

senators that should be standing up, democrat and republican alike. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Chad Griffin, Cecile Richards and Greisa Martinez, thank you

all very much for joining us tonight.  I Really appreciate it. 

 

GRIFFIN:  Thank you, Lawrence. 

 

RICHARDS:  Thank you Lawrence. 

 

MARTINEZ:  Thank you. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, President Obama blocked the construction of a

pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota and

today, an investor in that pipeline did everything he could to get that

construction restarted.  That investor in that pipeline is now the

president of the United States. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  This is with

respect to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Dakota Access

Pipeline again subject to terms in conditions to be negotiated by us.  OK. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  You have never seen anything like that before.  That was the

president of the United States signing a document in the Oval office

publicly that is designed to increase the value of an investment he has

made in the Dakota Access Pipeline.  That you`ve never seen before.  These

protests are the breaking news of the night against that action the

president took today. 

 

That`s an – you see protest in New York City, Washington, Seattle, the

protest at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota has

continued although it is much smaller group there than it was there up

until the time when President Obama issued an order to stop the

construction of that Pipeline.  The president`s order today does not

automatically resume the construction of the pipeline but it urges an

expedited process to try to get the construction of that pipeline

restarted. 

 

Today the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Chairman Dave

Archambault issued this statement, “President Trump is legally required to

honor treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process. 

American`s know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted toward our nation and

without our consent the existing pipeline route risk infringing on our

treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million

Americans downstream.” 

 

We`ll be right back. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, UNITED STATES SENATOR:  We`re about to repeal Obamacare

without one democratic vote.  This will be a partisan exercise under

reconciliation, it will not be a bipartisan effort.  And what we have after

the repeal is Trumpcare.  Whatever is left after the dust settles is

Trumpcare.  Now I know the president likes to pay close attention to what

he puts his name on. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JOHNS CUSACK, ACTOR:  Top five side ones, track ones.  Jim Jones, Clash

from the clash. 

 

JACK BLACK, ACTOR:  Yes.  Yes. 

 

CUSACK:  Let`s get it on Marvin Gaye from Let`s get in on.  Nirvana, Smells

Like Teen Spirit off of Nevermind. 

 

BLACK:  Oh, no Rob, that`s no obvious enough not at all.  How about point

of no return on point of no return, Lewis so you could get up. 

 

CUSACK:  Shut up.  Shut up. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  OK.  I don`t often quote music lyrics on this show maybe I

don`t know if I ever have before last night.  When I quoted Bob Dylan I was

talking about the Women`s March on Saturday and one of – a Dylan lyric

that came to mind that I kind of punctuated at the end of my piece with and

that Dylan lyric that came to mind was “because something is happening here

but you don`t know what it is.” And I just said that in the – at the end

of my – what I had to say about the march. 

 

And boy I got hit on Twitter by so many of you people going real Jack Black

on me.  Saying no, no Steven Stills wrote that.  OK, here`s the Bob Dylan

lyric by Bob Dylan. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BOB DYLAN, ARTIST:  No, something is happening here but you don`t know what

it is. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  And that`s what I said and here`s what Steven Stills wrote a

year after Bob Dylan wrote that. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

STEVEN STILLS, ARTIST:  There`s something happening here.  What it is ain`t

exactly clear.  There`s a man with a gun

 

 

 

END   

 

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