The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 1/25/2017

Jason Kander, Eugene Robinson, Kevin de Leon, Richard Stengel

Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Date: January 25, 2017
Guests: Jason Kander, Eugene Robinson, Kevin de Leon, Richard Stengel

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Five thousand Americans tonight are – reiterated
that sentiment in his first full day in office.

Unprompted, he brought it up again. And now the Iraqi Prime Minister is
fielding questions about it from the Iraqi press corps.

And all the while, more than 5,000 Americans tonight are in Iraq, as this
now takes hold because of our new president.

Deputy Pentagon spokesman who was in “The Post” until last week when the
Obama administration put out this statement this week, saying, “the White
House needs to clearly say the U.S. isn`t going to take Iraq`s oil.

Every moment that statement stands, puts our troops at greater risk.” But
it was not an error by the White House spokesman.

It is the policy of the United States now under this new president, and
that really seriously changes the risk environment in which our troops are
operating right now.

This is not hypothetical. This is happening. And as this builds and
builds in Iraq, I think the White House is going to have to explain pretty
soon how they`re going to fix this.

Or why they don`t care about the target that this has just put on U.S.
soldiers serving abroad in what is already a very dangerous place.

Serious stuff. That`s for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow.

Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening,
Lawrence, I`m sorry –


MADDOW: I went long into –


MADDOW: Your –

O`DONNELL: Please –

MADDOW: First minute –

O`DONNELL: You know, every time I see that video of that reporter asking
about – when she gets to the spot of saying I don`t understand how you
take the oil.

And you see that shock, that deadly serious shock and how fully she means
that question of how would you take the oil? And there is no answer to it.

MADDOW: No, and you think about, you know, Iraqis watching that social
media compilation of Trump talking about that.

You think of American soldiers among their Iraqi counterparts right now in
Iraq having to explain what our country stands for.

It`s just incredibly dangerous.

O`DONNELL: I don`t know how they do it.


O`DONNELL: Rachel, thank you very much.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence –

O`DONNELL: Thank you –

MADDOW: Appreciate it.

O`DONNELL: We have new protests right now tonight in New York City and
other cities against Donald Trump.

Protesters are carrying signs saying “resist”. The biggest such sign was
hung today from a crane in Washington D.C.

And today, Donald Trump announced that he is going to launch an
investigation into all those criminals who have died and not taken
themselves off the voting rolls.


JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: It seems like a weird fight.
The election that I won was rigged! I mean –

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: There is no evidence of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We live right now with a White House that puts out
alternative facts. He is just making stuff up.

haven`t seen evidence of this kind of widespread numbers that we`ve been
hearing about.

REPRESENTATIVES: To be so insecure as to declare that 3 or 5 million
Americans voted illegally is really strange.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Half the people in this country illegally of voting
age voted.

That`s as high a percentage, Kellyanne, as people here legally voting. The
numbers are just so far out of imagination.

PELOSI: I frankly feel very sad about the president making this claim. I
felt sorry for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you won, move on.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is a lot of people that
are dead that are on rolls.

People that are on the rolls in two different states.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: His daughter Tiffany is registered
in two states. Steve Bannon is registered in two states.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I want them to investigate all the people
who don`t get the chance to vote.

KIMMEL: I`m a 100 percent convinced that if given the choice, Donald Trump
would rather have won the popular vote and lost the actual election than
the other way around.



O`DONNELL: Another day, another strange plot twist in the presidency of
Donald Trump.

Today, the president announced that he is going to launch a major
investigation of some people very close to him, including his Chief
Strategist Steve Bannon, his nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.

And in the strangest plot twist of all, his youngest daughter Tiffany

The president tweeted: “I will be asking for a major investigation into
voter fraud including those registered to vote in two states.

Those who are illegal, and even those registered to vote who are dead, and
many for a long time.

Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures. We already
have results of the investigation.

In the three cases I mentioned, Tiffany Trump is registered to vote in two
states, Pennsylvania and New York.

Trump`s nominee for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is registered to vote
in two states, California and New York.

And Steve Bannon was registered to vote in two states, Florida and New
York, until today.

In fact, when the president tweeted at 7:10 a.m. today that he was going to
have an investigation of “those registered to vote in two states”, Steve
Bannon was still registered to vote in two states.

His name finally came off the rolls in Florida during business hours today.
Today. Now imagine you`re working for a presidential candidate who rants
about voter fraud.

And which in his mind includes anyone who is registered to vote in two
states. Now imagine if you`re Steve Bannon and you remember, you`re
registered to vote in Florida.

And you remember, you registered to vote in New York. I remember all three
times that I have registered to vote in three different states

And I never once unregistered to vote in any state ever. I might still be
registered to vote in Massachusetts. I don`t know.

So, I`ve surely been on the voting rolls in two states for a while, at
least twice.

But if I was working for a politician who talked about that stuff all the
time, I`d make sure I wasn`t still registered in both of those places.

Today, not yesterday, not last week, not last month, not last year. Today,
Steve Bannon got his name off the voting rolls in Florida just today.

So, who now is going to approach Tiffany Trump carrying what badge to
question her about being registered to vote in two states?

We don`t know. We have no more specifics on who will actually conduct this

But one thing Donald Trump already knows without any investigation at all
of illegal voters and without any exit polls of those millions of illegal
voters he imagines.

The one thing he knows for sure about them is who they voted for.


investigation to find out and then the next time – and I will say this.

Of those votes cast, none of them come to me. None of them come to me.

They would all be for the other side. None of them come to me. But when
you look at the people that are registered, dead, illegal, and two states,
and some cases maybe three states?

We have a lot to look into.


O`DONNELL: So, we`re going to investigate voter fraud in all 50 states,

Or just the crucial swing states that decide the electoral college? Or
should we investigate just the biggest states that always vote for the


SPICER: You look at California and New York, I`m not sure that those
statements were – we didn`t look at those two states in particular.

There are big states, very populous states in urban areas where you would
have spent more time campaigning.

But he played the game according to the rules of the game which is
electoral strategy.

That being said, I think when you look at where a lot of potential – of
the – a lot of these issues could have occurred in bigger states, that`s
where I think we`re going to look.


O`DONNELL: The White House Press Secretary gave the same emphasis the
president did to exactly what they`re looking for in this criminal


SPICER: There is a lot of people that are dead, they`re on rolls. There
are people that are voting in two – or that are on the rolls in two
different states, sometimes in three different states.


O`DONNELL: That`s it. That`s what they want to investigate. The
perfectly legal condition of being dead and on the voting rolls.

Donald Trump and Sean Spicer apparently do not know that people die in
November. People die the day before the election. Some of them die on the
way to vote.

They die the month before the election, six months before the election, a
year before the election. And no one knows that those people are dead. No
one at the voting – voting rolls know that – knows that.

And the loved ones of those people do not in the first moment think, I`ve
got to get mom`s name off the voting rolls.

Have any of you ever done that when your mother died? And you think, oh,
I`ve got to make sure she is not on the voting rolls.

Was that anywhere on your list of thoughts after your mother or father

Grandmother? Grandfather? Do you know anyone who moved to a new state,
registered to vote, and then went through the process of unregistering to
vote in the previous state? I know.

And so, yes, people stay registered in their previous states, sometimes for
years, and it is completely harmless.

No one votes in their name, and eventually when you don`t show up to vote
long enough, your name gets taken off the rolls.

Different states have different time periods for that. But eventually
you`ll disappear from the rolls.

In the meantime, no crime has been committed, no harm has been done to our
Democratic process.

Paul Ryan knows this. And the speaker of the house is very eager to echo
Donald Trump whenever he can to back him up whenever he can.

But when he can`t, he can`t. And tonight, Greta Van Susteren asked Speaker
Paul Ryan about Donald Trump`s fevered dreams of voter fraud.

And he said this.


RYAN: I`m sure there is some fraud. We passed photo ID in Wisconsin
because of our concerns about this a few years ago.

But if he believes that there is a problem to be looked at, the right thing
to do is to get an investigation to get the facts.

I haven`t seen evidence of this kind of widespread numbers that we`ve been
hearing about.


O`DONNELL: The Republican House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Chairman Jason Chaffetz is in the same uncomfortable boat as Paul Ryan.

He is eager to echo Donald Trump whenever he can, eager to back him up
whenever he can. But when it`s impossible, even Jason Chaffetz just gives
up. Tonight, Chairman Chaffetz said “I don`t see any evidence.

But the president has a 100,000 people at the Department of Justice. And
if he wants to have an investigation, have at it.

I just don`t see any evidence of it. The Oversight Committee is not
planning to do anything with it.”

So, there is Jason Chaffetz saying people being registered in more than one
state is not evidence of voter fraud.

There is Jason Chaffetz saying “dead people on the voter rolls is not
evidence of voter fraud.”

In other words, everything Donald Trump says is evidence of voter fraud is
not evidence of voter fraud.

We could fill the rest of this program with members of Congress in both
parties saying there is no evidence of voter fraud.

But a presidential investigation is coming, and suspects like Tiffany Trump
had better be ready.

Joining us now, Eugene Robinson; Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer for
“The Washington Post”, and an Msnbc political analyst.

Also with us Jason Kander; Missouri`s former Secretary of State. And
Charlie Sykes; editor-in-chief of “Right Wisconsin”, a co-host of “Wnyc`s”
“Indivisible”, and an Msnbc contributor.

And Secretary Kander, I just want to go straight to you because as a
Secretary of State, the 50 secretaries of state in the country are the
people directly in charge of voting in their states.

What`s your reaction to everything you`ve been hearing about this from the
Trump White House?

on what you just played the clips of Paul Ryan, for instance.

The only rational response, the only responsible response to this is the
president is lying.

This is something that the president made up in a lie that he told himself
that he needed to hear about his loss of the popular vote.

That is all that is happening right now. And the reason that somebody like
Paul Ryan responds in the way he does.

Where he doesn`t call it a lie is because if you are part of the political
party that for years has been telling the lie that says there`s so much
voter fraud, we have to take actions that suppress the vote.

Then it`s very helpful if the president of the United States makes things
like this happen.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Nancy Pelosi had to say about this.


PELOSI: He wants to investigate something that can clearly be proven to be

But he wants – resists any investigation of the Russian disruption of our
election and any connection to his campaign.

I have prayed for him. But then I prayed for the United States of America.


O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, I – you know, I don`t often believe a lot of
what politicians say about their prayer habits, but that sounded



ROBINSON: It did. I mean, that sounded like a rather desperate prayer at

You know, this is – this is really – we`ve never seen a situation like
this. This is a president`s fixation, obsession, insecurity, whatever.

This mixture of psychological factor really that cause him to be unable to
believe that he lost the popular vote.

That more people voted for Hillary Clinton, therefore there must have been
all this fraud.

And when Donald Trump, you know, real estate tycoon says crazy things, as
he did for years on his Twitter feed and in public, kind of nobody pays
attention or the “New York Post” puts it in page 6.

When the president of the United States says crazy things, he can launch an

He can make members of Congress react as if there were something there.
This is – this is a really crazy situation.

And it`s frustrating, but for those of us in the media, do you pay
attention to the crazy stuff like this?

Meanwhile, there`s a lot of substantive stuff going on as well. It`s like
drinking from two fire hoses at this point.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it is. Charlie Sykes –


O`DONNELL: An amazing –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Report in the “New York Times” now about the source of Donald
Trump`s thinking on this.

There were –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Three staff people who remain unnamed, who reported to the
times what Donald Trump said when he said this to the congressional
leaders, which is what got this whole story started.

He told the story of what he called a famous golfer named Bernhard Langer
who apparently was briefly famous at some time long ago.

And that he was standing in line, Mr. Langer in Florida waiting to vote for
Donald Trump, and then he saw other people voting clearly who were illegals
and shouldn`t be allowed to vote.

And then Bernhard Langer himself was turned away from voting. And it`s
just a completely outrageous thing that happened to Bernhard Langer.

And that`s the story he told to the congressional leaders. And the “New
York Times” has discovered Bernhard Langer does indeed live in Florida.

He is a citizen of Germany, he does not vote in the United States of
America. And that is the source of Donald Trump – the only source he
cited to the congressional leaders.

SYKES: You remember what you asked Anthony Weiner when you had him on?


What is wrong with you? I agree with Eugene Robinson here. This does not
help advance any sort of agenda.

This is – this is this obsession, this crazy obsession that is – has no
basis in fact whatsoever.

And you know that Paul Ryan is doing everything possible to be joined at
the hip with Donald Trump.

And yet there is this recognition that this is crazy. And also, it is
politically stupid.

You know, we`re talking about the fire hoses. Today is a day that he is
talking about his signature issues and what does he do?

And so this – I marked this down to just an obsession and it`s just lack
of control.

But also that story, you know, once again raises the question. This is the
president of the United States.

Where does he get his information?

O`DONNELL: Where is that?

SYKES: How does he – how does he evaluate information? This is a man who
talks to Alex Jones, who goes –


SYKES: On info wars and that is a level of crazy and scary all by itself.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and Gene, this – I think Charlie`s – that`s exactly the
point of the Bernhard Langer story is –


O`DONNELL: The ability to separate fact from fiction. Which has –


O`DONNELL: Always been a problem for Donald Trump. And now it is a
problem for the world because the –

ROBINSON: Exactly –

O`DONNELL: President of the United States demonstrates an inability to
separate fact from fiction.

ROBINSON: Exactly. And so the world is reduced to hoping that there are
people around Donald Trump, and people in Congress, people that are
government who know how to react to this stuff, and who don`t.

You know, who don`t do inappropriate and perhaps dangerous things based on
this sort of government by anecdote –


ROBINSON: Often wrong anecdote that Donald Trump seems determined to

I will correct one thing you said, Lawrence. Bernhard Langer is a great
golfer. He plays on the senior tour now. And he was great on the PGA tour
as well.

His daughter told the “New York Times” that he doesn`t really know Donald
Trump. But maybe he`s met him once. So, she doesn`t know where this story
came from.

O`DONNELL: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. That`s my entire
knowledge of golf.


Jason Kander, to this point of being able to separate fact from fiction,
here is somebody who is getting intelligence briefings.

Here is somebody in a position where the flaws in separating facts from
fiction have led us to war in the 21st century.

This is the thing at the center of all of this that is so worrisome, that
he can hear a story from somebody at Mar-a-Lago about Bernhard Langer, and
that does it.

That`s the official record for him.

KANDER: Well, what ends up happening is that you have a president who is
making claims that undermine our democracy.

And then saying he wants to investigate it instead of actually
investigating attempts by a foreign adversary to undermine our democracy.

I mean, if you`re Vladimir Putin, you`re watching this and thinking, that`s
exactly what I would want him to do.

Whether he is doing it for that reason or not. I mean, it looks great to

The other thing I`d add about the “New York Times” story is, it turns out
that in the anecdote even, that the two folks who this guy claimed were
going to vote actually got a provisional ballot.

Which for all we know means that they weren`t allowed to vote. So, this
whole story is an example of the system working.

O`DONNELL: And Charlie, I would –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Love anyone working in the White House now for –

SYKES: Sure –

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump to tell me of the time when a loved one of theirs

SYKES: All right –

O`DONNELL: And they after all – after they did everything they had to do
in response to that, they then went and made sure that, that loved one was
removed from the voting rolls.

There`s a kind of inhumanity, and –

SYKES: Right –

O`DONNELL: There`s a kind of – a kind of lack of comprehension about how
life works when you move from one state to another –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: When your mother dies, when your grandmother dies. These –
the president and Sean Spicer don`t seem to –

SYKES: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Understand what happens in those situations –

SYKES: You know, I thought that was a very powerful point. Because first
of all – I mean, we can argue about whether or not there is voter fraud
here or there.

But it`s not when people die in this particular way. I mean, I – when you
were talking about that, I thought about when my mother died suddenly when
she was 87 years old, you know, a few years ago, but you know, back in

And as you were pointing that out, it never entered my mind –

O`DONNELL: Right –

SYKES: To go in and take her name off the voting roll. I don`t know
whether it`s on to this day –

O`DONNELL: Right –

SYKES: And again, as you point out, this is not things people think about.

It is basically – this is part of the process of human life, and to try to
gin this up into this massive scandal, it`s just – it is silly and

O`DONNELL: I for one would be delighted to discover that my mother was
still on the voting rolls in Massachusetts.

SYKES: All right –

O`DONNELL: And she would be delighted to still be on the voting rolls in

Charlie Sykes, Eugene Robinson, thank you both for joining us, really
appreciate it.

Jason Kander, we`re going to need you later, please stick around.

Coming up, we have breaking news. The president of Mexico has just
responded to Donald Trump`s plan for the border wall.


O`DONNELL: Breaking news at this hour. The president of Mexico has just
responded to Donald Trump`s plan to build the wall, saying very forcefully,
Mexico will not pay for that wall.

We have fresh video of what the president of Mexico has just said. We will
bring that to you next.


O`DONNELL: In breaking news tonight, the president of Mexico has just
issued a video saying that Mexico will not pay for the wall Donald Trump
wants to build.

Let`s take a look at what the president of Mexico had to say. This video
just in.




O`DONNELL: That video just in from Mexico. President of Mexico saying
absolutely no way that the president will – that Mexico will pay for that

Also tonight, breaking news from the “Associated Press”. The “Associated
Press” reporting a senior government official says “Mexico`s president is
considering cancelling next week`s visit to Washington following President
Donald Trump`s order to begin construction of a wall between the two


TRUMP: A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the
United States of America gets back control of its borders, gets back its

The Secretary of Homeland Security, working with myself and my staff will
begin immediate construction of a border wall.



O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s promise that Mexico will pay for the wall has
become complicated and convoluted.

He now says that Mexico will reimburse the United States after the United
States pays for the wall.

Here is Donald Trump – here is Donald Trump`s response earlier today.


TRUMP: He has to say that. He has to say that. But I am just telling you
there will be a payment.

It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.


O`DONNELL: That was Donald Trump responding to the point that Mexico will
not pay for the wall.

He is saying that the president of Mexico, as he just said, has to say

Tonight with Greta Van Susteren, Paul Ryan also suggested that the payment
for the wall could be complicated.


RYAN: We`re going pay for it and front the money up. But I do think that
there are various ways of – as you know, and I know, your follow-up
question is, is Mexico going to pay for the wall?

There are a lot of different ways of getting Mexico to contribute to doing
this. And there are different ways of defining how exactly they pay for


O`DONNELL: A lot of different ways of getting Mexico to contribute to
doing this.

There are different ways of defining how to pay for it. Now try that the
next time you`re splitting a bill at a restaurant.

And you put up nothing, and you say to your fellow diners, there are
different ways of defining how to pay for this.

And you claim to pay for dinner with your conviviality, wit, and general
good cheer.

Here is how complicated paying for the wall was during the Trump campaign.


TRUMP: Who is going to pay for it?!


TRUMP: One hundred percent.


O`DONNELL: The president signed an executive order today to restrict
funding to what he called sanctuary cities that do not extend full
cooperation to federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

The biggest cities that would be targeted in the Trump order are in

Today, Kevin de Leon; the leader of the California Senate tweeted: “cutting
off funds for cities that refuse destructive deportation programs is

See you in court.” Joining us now Kevin de Leon; California State Senate

Also with us Rick Stengel, the former Undersecretary of State and an Msnbc

Senator de Leon, you have hired the former Attorney General Eric Holder to
represent California in such matters.

What do you see in the executive order about sanctuary cities that you`ll
be legally challenging?

clear here. What President Trump did today was unconstitutional.

And quite frankly, it`s Un-American. And California as a state, as the
golden state, we won`t stand idly and allow him to separate mothers,
separate and break up families, separate children from their mothers and
mothers from their children.

You`re absolutely right. We hired us legal outside counsel. The former
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

We are at this very hour, looking at all the legal options that are before

But the reality is this, is that the federal government and Donald J. Trump
cannot commandeer and enforce local municipalities, local police agencies,
local governments and the state of California to do his work.

So, the California will not be a cog in the Trump deportation machine. He
has threatened us by withholding dollars.

But I want to put this in context because when he threatens the state of
California by withholding dollars, precious dollars that we need, he is
actually threatening senior citizens who are in the early signs with
dementia or Alzheimer`s.

Young children who have or on spectrum who have autism or Asperger`s.

He is actually threatening the very people, U.S. citizens, Californians and

And when he threatens California, he actually threatens the economy of
United States of America because we`re 13 percent of the overall GDP of the

O`DONNELL: Mr. Secretary, this notion of Mexico paying for the wall was
always childish.

Now that`s being admitted by Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, and they`re saying
no, we`ll pay for it.

And now they`re getting into this game of there are some creative ways in
which Mexico can then reimburse us for the wall.

Ways that are so creative they can`t even describe them.


RICHARD STENGEL, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: Well, he is trying to have it every
which way.

And he will have some explanation eventually that exonerates him from
having said that.

But I want to go to what the senator was saying. Because the rule that the
senator will exploit to say that this is unconstitutional is the 10th

The 10th Amendment, beloved of conservatives. Bob Dole as you remember
used to carry a copy of the 10th Amendment in his breast pocket.

And the 10th Amendment says that the federal government cannot coerce or
commandeer the states or localities to do these kinds of actions.

And this is the thing that has been celebrated by conservatives and even by
Donald Trump.

And he is using the over- weaning power of the Federal Government to do
something which the American people don`t actually want.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Yes, and recent Supreme Court decisions
indicate that the Federal Government can`t force the states to do these
things. Senator, the striking things about this includes the very simple
mathematical fact that California contributes more money to the Federal
Treasury than any other state in the union. And it does not get back as
much as it contributes. And so the notion that there would be some – that
the Federal Government then – would then restrict the flow to California,
which is already a very generous donor state to the Federal Government is
doubly ironic.

You`re absolutely right. We send for every dollar we send to Washington,
D.C., we actually get back 78 cents on the dollar. Ironically speaking, we
actually subsidize other states, red states, states that overwhelmingly
voted for Donald J. Trump. We subsidize their roads, their programs. And
I do find it quite ironic. So when his withholding dollars from California
he`s withholding our tax dollars that belong to the people of California.
And I really want to underscore this because we`re talking about political
blackmail. We`re talking about political vengeance. And this is not a
monarchy. And I know he fancies himself as a king. But this is a republic.
And we do things in a democratic way where we engage and we dialogue and we
debate. And hopefully the strongest ideas win. But to politically
blackmail a state like California, the fifth largest economy in the entire
world, and to maliciously with strong intent go out of his way to actually
harm the people of California. I can tell you this. This is very un-
American. And Californians are not going to stand by it. And well
frankly, we`ll see him in a court of law.

O`DONNELL: And Richard Stengel the law seems at this stage to be very
heavily on the side of the states.

STENGEL: I think, you know, as the senator says, let the courts decide. I
mean, this is something that the constitutional speaks to. This is
something that the Supreme Court has speaks to. This is something that
conservatives like Justice Scalia have supported all along. So I think it
will be interesting to see it play out.

O`DONNELL: And it will take a while. Rick Stengel and Senator De Leon,
thank you both very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

DE LEON: Thank you , :Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what Donald Trump doesn`t want us talking about.
That`s next.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s addition of what Donald Trump doesn`t want
us to talk about.


KATIE COURIC, REPORTER: So you think that the potential that he may be
impeached is high?

HUGH HEWITT, Conservative Radio Host: I think they would occur after
midterms, and only if the house flips the democrats. So the potential is
there, yes. If he abused power, if you do anything – you don`t have a lot
of good will in a reservoir. He is beginning his presidency successfully
in my view with a very few bold initiatives but with the highest negatives
of any incoming President since Gallup kept track that says to me thin ice.
Move carefully.

O`DONNELL: That was Katie Couric`s interview of conservative radio host
Hugh Hewitt yesterday. There are new reports of Donald Trump profiting
from the Presidency very directly, including one from CNBC that reported
that Donald Trump`s Mar-A-Lago (ph) Resort in Florida doubled its
initiation fee to $200,000 after Donald Trump`s election. Joining us now
David Corn, the Washington Bureau Chief from Mother Jones and an MSNBC
Political Analyst. And David, Mother Jones also has reports that are
building up this giant category of Trumpian profiteering from the

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: We could spend all night talking
about the conflicts of interest that remain. Today in Mother Jones we
reported that at the inauguration, Trump gave VIP treatment to foreign
business partners who are working on deals or have done deals with him in
Indonesia and in Dubai. One of them posted on Instagram or Facebook a
video of her riding in a car or bus along the inaugural parade route, there
it is right there, during the inaugural parade. I don`t know how they got
this special, you know, privilege to do this. But apparently if you do
deals with Donald Trump and his family, this is what you get. You get a
ride along the parade route. I think right behind Donald Trump. So
they`re selling access. They`re selling, you know, boosting the price of
Mar-A-Lago (ph). They`re expanding the hotels. He`s still in violation of
the emoluments clause. The GSA contract should be voided that he signed
for the Post Office. He hasn`t given us a list of the banks he owes money
to which he promised during the campaign. He`s appointed two ethics
advisers, which he promised to do. One is a long-time GOP lawyer. The
other is a Trump organization lawyer. This is all absurd, ridiculous. And
we don`t need to the take our lead from our friend Hugh Hewitt. Any ethics
adviser, anyone who works this seriously says this should not stand.

O`DONNELL: And David, I think for sanctuary cities who are worried about
Donald Trump, it might not be as scary as they think especially if you have
a Trump property in that city.

CORN: Yes.

O`DONNELL: The CEO of Trump Hotels at a panel discussion yesterday said
there are 26 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and we are in five. I don`t
see any reason that we couldn`t be in all of them eventually. Those are
mostly sanctuary cities that Trump Hotels want to move into. I guarantee
you the cities that Donald Trump wants to get his hotels into will not
suffer the restriction of one dime of Federal Funding.

CORN: And we still have a situation where the President of the United
States owes hundreds of millions of dollars to overseas banks that have
regulatory interest in the United States that are not resolved. And he is
not, you know, he can`t recluse himself. But he is not getting rid of this
conflict. And don`t forget, Jared Kushner violating the anti-nepotism law.
It`s everywhere you turn. You see on the Whitehouse website, you know,
pages that are basically promoting Ivanka Trump`s products. It`s really
kind of nuts. And we reported on this before the election. And people are
catching up now. But he better hope the Democrats never come close to
gaining control of Congress.

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump knows right now what the chances are of him
getting a permit to operate or open a hotel in a sanctuary city that he is
trying to restrict funding from as President. He knows those chances are
zero. I have a feeling this whole sanctuary cities threat may evaporate
without seeing anything happen. But we`ll have to watch it.

CORN: Well, he is the only guy I think who looks at the Presidency as a
stepping stone to greater business opportunities.

O`DONNELL: Yes, David Corn, thank you very much for joining us tonight,
appreciates it.

CORN: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, action taken, very important action taken because
Donald Trump is now in charge of our nuclear weapons. There are members of
Congress who want to take action to control that. That`s coming up


O`DONNELL: So how do you feel tonight and every night about Donald Trump
having unrestricted authority to use nuclear weapons at any moment?


to say you know what? We`re better off if Japan protects itself against
this maniac in North Korea. We`re better off, frankly, if South Korea is
going to start to protect itself.

ANDERSON COOPER, REPORTER: Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons?

TRUMP: Saudi Arabia, absolutely.

COOPER: You would be fine with them having nuclear weapons?

TRUMP: No, not nuclear weapons. But they have to protect themselves or
they have to pay us. It`s going to happen anyway. So it`s only a question
of time. They`re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them
entirely. But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you
have so many countries – Russia, that have them. Now, wouldn`t you rather
in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has
nuclear weapons? And they do have them. They absolutely do have them.


O`DONNELL: And now he has the biscuit. Donald Trump has what every
President has had before him during the nuclear age, a card with codes
necessary for launching nuclear weapons. That card is supposed to be in
his pocket at all times. I say supposed to be because this is Donald
Trump. We now have a President who for the first time in history we cannot
be sure is always actually in possession of the biscuit because he`s Donald
Trump. That card with the nuclear codes, the biscuit, is the most
important thing that is passed from one president to another.

There are reports that Donald Trump is still using his personal cell phone,
which is unsecured and a wildly reckless way for a president to
communicate. So Donald Trump`s respect and understanding of the national
security issues that are now his responsibility are not as clear as some
might like them to be. Two people who feel that way are Senator Ed Markey
of Massachusetts and Congressman Ted Lieu of California.

They have just introduced a bill that limits the president`s use of nuclear
weapons. It is titled Restricting first use of Nuclear Weapons Act of
2017. And the bill states the president may not use the armed forces of
the United States to conduct a first use nuclear strike unless such strike
is conducted pursuant to a declaration of war by congress that expressly
authorizes such strike. All presidents during the nuclear age have
implicitly had authority to order first use nuclear attacks.

They didn`t have to wait for missiles to be headed at this country before
launching nuclear weapons. The idea of limiting first strike by American
presidents has been debated long before Donald Trump ever decided to run
for president. But on January 20th, when the biscuit passed from President
Obama to President Trump, the issue immediately took on new urgency. The
congressman who has introduced this bill will join us next.



East we`re not using a nuclear weapon?

that, I would never take any of my cards off the table.

MATHEWS: How about Europe, we won`t use in Europe?

TRUMP: I`m not going to take it off the table.

MATHEWS: You might use it in Europe?

TRUMP: No, I don`t think so.

MATHEWS: Just say it. I`ll never use a nuclear weapon on Europe.

TRUMP: I am not taking cards off the table. I`m not going to use nukes.


TRUMP: But I`m not taking any cards off the table.


O`DONNEL: Joining us now, democratic congressman Ted Lieu of California,
the co-author of the Restricting First use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017.
Congressman Lieu thanks for joining us tonight. Now I know you introduced
this bill last year in the previous congress before you knew who the next
president was going to be. So you were as eager to restrict a President
Clinton as a President Trump?

TED LIEU, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN: Yes, Lawrence. That`s correct. And
thank you for pointing that out. But let me first say this. America, we
have a problem. Our president believes in conspiracy theories, believes in
alternative facts, and has anger control issues as reported by The
Washington Post.

And now his hands are on the nuclear trigger. That should scare us all.
It`s why we reintroduced as legislation to restrict his ability to launch a
nuclear first strike.

O`DONNEL: In the nuclear age with intercontinental ballistic missile
capacity it`s hard to think of a more unstable person who has had this.
Because it really would be in the Soviet Union, Russia, China, or the
United States for all practical purposes, France, the U.K, they have this
capacity. We`ve never once, never once worried about who that person is
who has this.

LIEU: That`s correct. We always trusted our commander in chief to be the
check on the use of those weapons in terms of knowledge, temperament,
control. We don`t have those checks and balances now anymore. And keep in
mind as a current launch approval process is the judicial branch and the
legislative branch are completely taken out of it. It relies solely on one
person, and that`s the president.

And now people are realizing he may be unhinged.

O`DONNEL: As I reported on this program, on an incoming nuclear attack
from China or the Soviet Union, currently the only possible origins of such
an attack on us, the president could have as little as six minutes to make
a retaliation decision before that strike hit us. How could we expect to
tie a president`s hands in that situation and say you can`t do it without a
declaration of war?

LIEU: I served in the U.S. Military. I believe in any country`s ability
for self-defense, including our ability for our inherent right to self-
defense. So this bill does not affect our ability to respond if there were
a nuclear strike launched against us. This is talking about a premeditated
nuclear first strike by the American president, if for example, Donald
Trump simply wants to go off and launch nuclear weapons. This is what it`s
designed to do.

And it`s based on the constitution. The framers gave the greatest power
they knew at the time to the congress, the power to declare war. They
never would authorize one person to have the ability to destroy the world
in less than one hour by launching hundreds of nuclear weapons.

O`DONNEL: Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you very much for joining us tonight
on this incredibly important issue. Impossible to describe how important
it is. Really appreciate you being here.

LIEU: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNEL: Coming up, will Donald Trump bring back torture? He seems to
want to.



O`DONNEL: I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the
highest level of intelligence. And I asked them the question. Does it
work? Does torture work? And the answer was yes, absolutely.



O`DONNEL: The Washington Post reports that the White House may be
reviewing its policies for handling terror suspects. The post says an
executive order drafted by the Trump administration calls for policy review
that could authorize the CIA to reopen black site prisons overseas and
potentially restart an interrogation program that was dismantled in 2009
after using methods widely condemned as torture. Here is what White House
press secretary Sean Spicer said today about that executive draft order.


document. I have no idea where it came from. But it is not a White House


O`DONNEL: Jason Kander is back with us. He is a former army captain who
served as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan. And Jason, I just wanted
to read to you what Senator John McCain said about this today in his
statement. He said the president can sign whatever executive orders he
likes, but the law is the law, and we`re not bringing back torture in the
United States of America. What`s your reaction to this?

I`m really thankful that there are people like Senator McCain, people in
the intelligence community and I hope people in the president`s cabinet who
understand that torture doesn`t work. That it`s counterproductive. It`s
not consistent with American values.

And that`s why no matter what the president may want the say to his base, I
guess, this I would think not going to happen.

O`DONNEL: One reason why the videos of torture that the CIA actually had
were destroyed was to eliminate a possible legal liability for the people
who conducted that torture. And everybody in this field knows that. And
so two reactions strike me if the order were to come down from a Trump
presidency to start torture, first, who would do that? Who would take that
risk, even with a presidential order to face possible legal jeopardy?

And then – and who would refuse that order coming down the chain of the
command from the president?

KANDER: Well, in the military, within the chain of command, you have an
obligation under the uniform code of military justice not to obey an
illegal order. So that`s exactly where this would fall. But in my
opinion, we don`t even need to get that far in the conversation because
even if you are somebody who doesn`t agree about the law on this, this
doesn`t work. When you talk to folks in the American intelligence
community, I still have friends who are still working in intelligence.

The overwhelming opinion is that this would not work. It`s very similar
actually to the consensus on global warming. I would imagine the same
amount of people in the intelligence community who think torture works is
about the amount of people in the scientific people who don`t believe in
global warming.

O`DONNEL: Jason Kander, thank you very much for your unique perspective on
this tonight. Really appreciate it.

KANDER: Thank you.