The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donell, transcript 3/6/2017

Christopher Dickey, Josh Marshall, Naveed Jamali, David Corn


Date: March 6, 2017

Guest: Christopher Dickey, Josh Marshall, Naveed Jamali, David Corn

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC:  Can Blumenthal do that – Trump and Russia.  Can

Blumenthal do that? Can he and his fellow Democrats actually hang this

nomination on that question?


Will Republicans join them in support on this? I told you it`s going to be

must-see TV.  We will find out tomorrow, 10:00 a.m. Eastern.


That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time

your THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence. 




MADDOW:  Indeed. 




MADDOW:  Oh – 


O`DONNELL:  I mean, thanks a lot, Rachel.


MADDOW:  What?


O`DONNELL:  I was planning to sleep late tomorrow –




O`DONNELL:  Now look what you`ve done, 10:00 I have to be up. 


MADDOW:  You know we`ve got our 9:30 coffee date, anyway – come on. 


O`DONNELL:  I`ll get you the usual. 


MADDOW:  All right, thanks dear.   


O`DONNELL:  Thanks Rachel. 




Well, in breaking healthcare news tonight, the Republicans healthcare plan

is going public on Capitol Hill and already four Republican senators are

opposed to it.


And after a weekend of reckless tweeting that once again brought Donald

Trump`s mental health into question, he is facing a new crisis in North

Korea and luckily President Trump is doing what President Obama told him to





UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Grandpa shuffled out of his room and got into his

Twitter again. 




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would describe him as not being a happy camper.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The president firmly believes that the Obama

administration may have tapped into the phones at Trump Tower.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We`re living in a period of insanity quite obviously.



There was no such wiretap activity.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  A former head of “Breitbart” appears to be handing

the president some fake news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Obama`s team used the pretext of Russian interference

in the election to justify wiretaps. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The president cannot order a wiretap.


MARK LEVIN, RADIO HOST:  To surveil members of the Trump campaign.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC:  That`s a voice to be believed. 



you who think that he`s crazy like a fox, no, he`s just – no, I don`t

think – he`s not a fox, OK?


JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST:  The relevant question isn`t so

much what did the president know and when did he know it? As it is, is the

president physically capable of knowing things at all?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The president of the United States put his own

reputation, the reputation of his predecessor and the reputation of his

nation at risk.




O`DONNELL:  The president of the United States has no idea what to do.  He

is in over his head.  He knows it.  The world knows it.


It could not be more obvious and instead of busily convening urgent

meetings to try to figure out what to do, he wanders the White House and

the beach house he retreats to every weekend at taxpayers` expense and he

angrily tweets.


Those angry tweets are surely meant among other things to unburden himself

of some of the anger he must direct at himself for having no idea what to



In their first meeting in November, President Obama told President-elect

Trump that the most urgent and dangerous issue he would face on the first

day of his presidency would be the North Korean nuclear and missile



In his presidency so far, Donald Trump has spent more minutes tweeting than

he has spent on the North Korean crisis.


And last night it happened again, North Korea has once again tested the

United States` tolerance for its developing weapons program.


North Korea challenged the United States and the president of the United

States has said nothing because he has absolutely no idea what to say. 





Japan has a problem with that.  I mean, they have a big problem with that.


Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North

Korea.  Maybe they would be –  


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  With nukes? – 


TRUMP:  Better off – including with nukes, yes, including with nukes. 




O`DONNELL:  The most ignorant presidential candidate in history who has now

become the most ignorant president in history.


That`s what he had to say as a candidate.  Tonight, Nbc News has learned

the United States has begun shipping a controversial anti-missile system to

South Korea according to U.S. officials, the system called THAAD which

stands for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.


It`s an anti-missile system designed to counter a threat like that from

North Korea.  President Obama had previously indicated to South Korea that

the United States might deliver the THAAD system to South Korea.


Something he no doubt mentioned to Donald Trump when he was explaining the

North Korea issue to him.  The Japanese Prime Minister had a phone

conversation with Donald Trump today about North Korea`s latest provocation

and we only know this because the Japanese Prime Minister has told us.


The president of the United States still has not said one word about this

conversation.  What you are about to hear from the president of the United

States is coming to you not from the president himself, not from anyone in

the White House, but from the Prime Minister of Japan.


Shinzo Abe said in Tokyo today, “I just had a phone conversation with

President Trump and we both agreed that the latest missile launch by North

Korea was a clear violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution and a

challenge towards the region and to the international community.


Furthermore, we confirmed that the threat has reached a new level.  And

from President Trump, the president said that the United States is with

Japan 100 percent.


And he asked that I share this remark with the Japanese public.  He also

added that he wanted us to believe in him and in the United States 100



No one in Japan believes in Donald Trump a 100 percent.  No one in the

United States believes in Donald Trump a 100 percent.  There`s plenty of

evidence that no one in his family believes in Donald Trump a 100 percent.


How could anyone in Japan believe in Donald Trump even 1 percent after he

expressed his admiration for someone who he says is a maniac but someone to

whom Trump believes he has to give credit.


Because like so many homicidal dictators before him, he figured out how to

maintain a hereditary dictatorship. 




TRUMP:  If you look at North Korea, this guy, this – me – I mean, he`s

like a maniac, OK? And you got to give him credit.


How many young guys – he was like 26 or 25 when his father died.  Take

over these tough generals and all of a sudden – you know, it`s pretty

amazing when you think of it.


He goes in and he takes over, he`s the boss.  It`s incredible. 




O`DONNELL:  Yes, how many young guys take over their father`s business?

Become the boss.  Donald Trump does love bosses.


And to listen to him, it sounds like the more people the boss kills in

Russia or North Korea, the more the boss impresses Donald Trump.


Donald Trump has no idea what to do.  And so he tweets.  The press corps

that was so convinced that Donald Trump had become presidential on Tuesday

night because he spent an hour sluggishly and oh so obviously reading a

teleprompter filled with words that were not his own.


That same press corps, that so embarrassingly fell for that performance

Tuesday night was shocked.


I mean just shocked that Donald Trump woke up Saturday morning and started

tweeting shear madness.


Didn`t they know Donald Trump was going to do that to them? If you fall for

saying on a Tuesday that Donald Trump is presidential because he read a

teleprompter, don`t you know that the clock is ticking on when he will

unleash his madness in a way that will make you regret every word you left

hanging out there about this utterly unpresidential man?


You didn`t know that? Six-thirty-five a.m. Saturday morning: Terrible. 

Just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before

the victory.”  Nothing found.


This is McCarthyism.  Oh, no, this is McCarthyism.  Congressman and Trump

supporter Steve King tweeting: “Donald Trump needs to purge leftists from

executive branch before disloyal and illegal treasonous acts sink us.”


A word of warning to Congressman King.  Senator Joe McCarthy was censured

by the Senate and died a disgraced alcoholic.


So be careful, Congressman King.  What Donald Trump described in his tweet

Saturday morning was not McCarthyism.


It was a nightmare.  I mean, literally a nightmare that a 70-year-old man

had in the middle of the night as the pressures of his job sink him deeper

and deeper into an angry realization that he does not know what to do.


That Trump tweet was a fevered dream.  Donald Trump is only dangerous

because he is president and radio host Mark Levin is only dangerous because

Donald Trump is president.




LEVIN:  We have a prior administration, Barack Obama and his surrogates who

were supporting Hillary Clinton and their party, the Democrat Party.


Who were using the instant mentalities of the federal government,

intelligence activities to surveil members of the Trump campaign.




O`DONNELL:  Attorney Mark Levin learned his radio skills substitute-hosting

for Rush Limbaugh.


In right-wing talk radio, the money is where the madness lies and that`s

where Limbaugh and Levin go every day.


And Mark Levin is now dangerous because he has the attention of the

president of the United States who apparently believes Mark Levin the way

he wants the Japanese to believe him 100 percent.


The president doesn`t believe the FBI, the president doesn`t believe the

intelligence professionals in the United States government.


The most dangerous president in history, the most dangerous elected leader

in the world has now come full circle in his political career all the way

back to where he began.


He is lying about President Barack Obama again.




TRUMP:  I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot

believe what they`re finding. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You have people now down there –


TRUMP:  Absolutely –


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Searching, I mean in Hawaii?


TRUMP:  Absolutely, and they cannot believe what they`re finding.




O`DONNELL:  Donald Trump got away with that lie and learned everything he

needed to know about the political media in the process. 


How soft they can be in interviews.  How he could exploit their politeness

by talking over them, by talking fast.


He knew all he had to do was fill up the interview space with words and at

the end of the allotted minutes, he could leave unscathed.


And so he did it for years.  And not one Trump interviewer ever shut him

down on the president`s birth certificate.


Then the most obvious lie told in American politics as long as anyone could

remember, he got away with it.


And when Trump said he didn`t want to talk about it anymore, his

interviewers obeyed.  They had to obey to get the next Trump interview.


Which was the objective of every Trump interview, to book Donald Trump

again, to get the next Trump interview to keep those ratings up.


Where was the political news media`s shock over Donald Trump`s first lie

about President Obama which they steadfastly refused to call a lie while we

called it a lie here on this program every time he said it?


Better late than never.  There may be no other sanity-preserving way to

look at the news media`s 2017 reaction to Donald Trump`s lies now that he`s



Those of us who made the mistake of believing the American news media was

designed to prevent a pathological liar from becoming president have

watched with mixed feelings as so many reporters and commentators have

finally risen in resistance to the lies of Donald Trump now that he is



Better late than never.  The right thing to say to the new arrivals in the

American and American journalism in the resistance to Donald Trump`s lies

is, welcome, reinforcements are always welcome.


The first four years of this fight was a very lonely one.  On the side of

calling a lie a lie.  When Donald Trump officially became a presidential

candidate, the first reinforcements arrived but we were still a small



And now every honest journalist is awake to the threat and that is very

good news.  The right thing to say is reinforcements are always welcome.


But the right thing to say isn`t always easy to say especially when you

have to say it a year too late.


Joining us now Josh Marshall; founder and editor of “Talking Points Memo”

and Christopher Dickey; world news editor for “The Daily Beast” and an

Msnbc contributor.


Christopher, the explosion out of Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, once again, calls

into question everything about the Trump presidency.


From competence to madness, to where is the staff that should be protecting

America from this wildness?


To how does the cabinet work in a presidency with this kind of madness in

it? I mean, this tweet goes to the jurisdiction of the Attorney General.


This tweet goes to the jurisdiction of the director of the CIA.  It goes to

the direction of people who`ve already been confirmed into their jobs, and

they are all completely silent about this tweet.



are.  I mean, we know that the FBI Director, Mr. Comey decided that he

wanted the Justice Department to push back on this which it hasn`t done

yet, of course.


But I think it may not be quite as complicated as all that where Trump is

concerned.  He`s doing what a lot of liars do.


He`s saying exactly the thing that he`s accused of.  He`s pushing on to

other people.  So, of course, he`s in a position where they`re looking at -

- everybody`s looking at his Russian connections.


So he wants to say that anybody who`s looking at those Russian connections

must be bugging him.


They must have been tapping his phone.  But I bet you, there were some

phones tapped.  In fact we know that for instance the Russian ambassador`s

phone calls were tapped.


That`s why Mike Flynn is no longer the national security adviser.  Sure

there were taps going on.  They were tapping the Russians and Trump`s

people are talking to the Russians and that`s what they (INAUDIBLE) the

fact that he wants to cover up.


He wants to make this a plot by Obama against him rather than – rather

than a plot and collusion with the Russians to win the election. 


O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to some Republican reaction to this from Marco

Rubio and others.




SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA:  I have no insight into what exactly he`s

referring to.  And I`d imagine the president and the White House in the

days to come will outline further what was behind that accusation. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You never know when you turn a corner, what you may or

may not see.  But thus far, I have not seen anything directly that would

support what the president has said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, clearly the executive branch of government spying

on a political party or the candidate, it would be very troubling.


But, you know, at this point, there`s no proof of that.




O`DONNELL:  And Josh, now there are other Republicans saying, well, let`s

have an investigation about it.


Let`s put our investigative resources on the latest middle-of-the-night

fevered dream by the president.



everything Chris, you just said is right.  I think the bigger picture that

I see is Donald Trump sees this debacle that his presidency is 40 or 45

days in, whatever we are.


And he`s thinking, why is it going so badly? And why do people still not

like me?


DICKEY:  Yes –


MARSHALL:  Which is based on the things that motivate him.  So, you have

the toadies around him, Steve Bannon and all these different people,

saying, well, it`s the deep state.


That`s why it`s going so badly.  Because as improbable as it may sound,

Barack Obama is still somehow controlling things and he`s making – he`s

making your presidency go badly.


And the CIA and the FBI is filled with liberals who are also making things

go terribly for you.  And they`re coming up with – I mean, I saw Dana

Rohrabacher a couple of days, was talking about the military industrial



And they`re talking about the deep state which, of course, used to exist in

Turkey, but in the U.S., it`s always been something that`s sort of a part

of – a critique from a sectarian left.


So they`re just grasping but they each need to come up with something to

explain here`s why it`s going badly.


It`s not because you had no idea what you were doing and we are – were –

it`s just a disaster.  So and that is a kind of a dangerous toxic situation

because you start seeing it escalating, well, we need to have a purge

because – 


O`DONNELL:  Yes – 


MARSHALL:  The deep state is what`s causing –


O`DONNELL:  Yes, that`s Steve tweeting –


MARSHALL:  Yes, exactly –


O`DONNELL:  Purge, yes – 


MARSHALL:  Exactly.  So, you`ve got this – you`ve got a pretty dangerous

dynamic going on –


O`DONNELL:  So – but there`s a real – there`s a really interesting

question in the center of what you just said.  There`s a presumption in

everything you just said.


That Donald Trump thinks the presidency is going badly.  I wish we could be

sure of that, that he recognizes that this is going badly.


What if he doesn`t? And here`s a reason to suspect he doesn`t think it`s

going badly because we have reports that Sunday morning, he was absolutely

thrilled that the news media had exploded in outrage over his insane tweet

about Barack Obama wiretapping Trump Tower.


He thought this is absolutely great.  So a weekend that the rest of the

world thinks is terrible for Trump coverage, he seems to think it`s great

for Trump coverage. 


DICKEY:  Lawrence, what`s his favorite word? Ratings is his favorite word. 

You used it when you were announcing the way the press dealt with him

originally, and that`s what he really cares about.


You know, it`s – on the idea of just spell my name right.  As long as he`s

getting ratings, as long as he`s getting the attention, I think you`re

right, he thinks his presidency is going pretty well.


What I wonder about is how about the people he`s brought into the cabinet?

Some of them pretty capable.


Remember Rex Tillerson? Where the hell is he? What is he doing? His State

Department is a complete shamble and he`s virtually disappeared.


Mattis, we think he`s probably a pretty good general and maybe a good

Secretary of Defense.


Is he going to put up with this for much longer? Is this a cabinet that can

withstand the lunacy of this president?


I don`t think so.  And are they the deep state? He appointed them.


O`DONNELL:  Josh, in the last completely unhinged presidency which was the

end of the Nixon presidency –


MARSHALL:  Oh, yes –


O`DONNELL:  We had Henry Kissinger –


MARSHALL:  Was very faster than before –


O`DONNELL:  Yes, Henry Kissinger in the White House –




O`DONNELL:  With Nixon –




O`DONNELL:  In the middle of the night –




O`DONNELL:  Nixon drunk staring at portraits of former presidents and

talking to them.


But Kissinger communicating to the outside world, communicating to the

major media, “I`ve got everything under control” in effect.


And to a great extent, “New York Times”, “Washington Post”, outlets like

that, believe in that, accepting that.


There`s no one – is there anyone, I should say in the Trump White House

who could possibly play that Kissingerian role to the outside world, to a

“New York Times”, to a “Washington Post” and say don`t worry, here`s how

it`s being stabilized inside?


MARSHALL:  I think the answer is no. 


O`DONNELL:  Right. 


MARSHALL:  I mean, because the people who have that kind of access are

people who have virtually no experience of doing this kind of job.


And to the extent that they have experience or some sense of wherewithal,

there are people who like the disruption, who like the chaos.  People like

Steve Bannon –




O`DONNELL:  It`s all they know. 


MARSHALL:  Well, it`s all they know and it`s actually what they want.  So,

no, I don`t think there`s anything like that.


And at least, I mean, by the time you get to late 1973, 1974, you know,

Nixon is really kind of come apart.


O`DONNELL:  Right –


MARSHALL:  But he may have started off as a bad guy, but he started off as

a very competent bad guy.  And he had people around him –


O`DONNELL:  And very steady –


MARSHALL:  Exactly –




MARSHALL:  And you just have – you just have nothing like that.  I mean,

when he – when I saw the tweets about President Obama, you know, in the

Nixon movie with Anthony Hopkins, they portrayed that moment where he sort

of, like, railing at the portrait of John F. Kennedy.


You know, the president who – his great opponent who everybody loved and

whose kind of adulation he desired.


That struck me as kind of similar with Obama.  He`s kind of railing at the

guy who – why can`t people love –




MARSHALL:  Me like Obama? Like they – 


O`DONNELL:  Without the drunkenness –


MARSHALL:  Love Obama –


O`DONNELL:  OK, Chris –


DICKEY:  But he`s going to find lots of people who still love him.  There

are still plenty of people out there who love him and who will believe

everything he says about Obama – 


O`DONNELL:  A president needs a majority, he`s not close to that.  Josh

Marshall and Christopher Dickey, thank you both for joining us tonight,

really appreciate it.


Coming up, top lawmaker is of course worried about Donald Trump`s ability

to discern fact from fiction.  Welcome to that club.


And we have breaking news.  The House Republicans have released their

healthcare plan and they only lost four Republican senators so far.




O`DONNELL:  You must remember this.




TRUMP:  Everybody`s got to be covered.




O`DONNELL:  The House Republican plan to replace Obamacare breaks every one

of Donald Trump`s promises.  That`s coming up.






CLAPPER:  Or the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as

DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president –

the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You would be told this. 


CLAPPER:  I would know that. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If there was a FISA Court order –




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  On something like this.


CLAPPER:  Something like this, absolutely. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And at this point, you can`t confirm or deny whether

that exists? 


CLAPPER:  I can deny it. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There is no FISA Court order?


CLAPPER:  Not to my knowledge. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of anything at Trump Tower? 






O`DONNELL:  That was the big interview over the weekend.  Joining us now is

Naveed Jamali; a former FBI intelligence operative and author of “How to

Catch a Russian Spy”.


He works as a double agent for the FBI against Russian military

intelligence.  Also joining us David Corn, the Washington Bureau chief for

“Mother Jones” and a double agent for Msnbc.




Naveed, I meant to say a political analyst for Msnbc.  That`s his cover. 

Naveed, you`ve heard it all now.


From the Trump tweet that began the weekend to what Clapper had to say

yesterday, all of the White House spokespeoples` muddled responses to this,

translate it all into what you`re thinking tonight. 



DNI, Clapper`s response was very narrowly focused.  And I took it to mean

literally that he was denying that there was a wiretap on Donald Trump.


I think that his response leaves in play everything else we`ve suspected

from Manafort to Roger Stone to the fact that, look, we know that there is

an intelligence investigation with regards to what the actual Russians did

in regards to the election.


So, to me, it`s 1 percent of the 99 percent of what we`re waiting to hear,

which is what exactly the Russians do? Who did they talk to? Was there a



The DNI didn`t shoot down any of those theories –  




O`DONNELL:  OK, Naveed, let me just –


JAMALI:  Yes –


O`DONNELL:  Let me just make sure – you`re saying that what Clapper said

clearly was that there was no wiretap which is the most old-fashioned

possible term for what we`re talking about on Trump Tower on Donald Trump. 


JAMALI:  Correct –  


O`DONNELL:  But you`re saying he distinctly left open the possibility that

there was deliberate and authorized electronic surveillance of people like

Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and others around Donald Trump, possibly General

Flynn, who were known to have some kind of contacts with Russian



JAMALI:  That is exactly it, Lawrence.  I mean, I think again, he did

mention title 3 which is investigations.


What he did not mention was title 10 and title 50 which covers espionage,

which covers intelligence collections.


We know that we are listening to the Russians as we saw with Michael Flynn. 

So, it`s very possible that within the, you know, the sort of pedestrian

collection of information that we may have swept up information on Flynn,

on Manafort.


It`s so – he not addressing that to me is a very clear sign that, you

know, that door is still very much open. 


O`DONNELL:  David Corn, your reading of where it stands now.



multiple investigations going forward.  We know that the House and Senate

Intelligence Committees are investigating.


We also know they`re led by Republicans who were not happy to be looking at

the Trump-Russian connection.


And so, I always question whether anybody can do a good job if they`re not

enthusiastic about it.


And we know they`ve been part of the White House spin efforts in the past

to sort of push back on some of the stories about the Trump-Russian



We know that the FBI has been mounting some sort of investigation, maybe

counter-intelligence, probably counter-intelligence, maybe not necessarily



We also know that House and Senate members have not gotten the information

they want from the FBI on what those investigations entail.


That`s going to have to come out through the House and Senate

investigations or select committee investigation or an independent

investigation if those other investigations don`t function properly.


So, there`s still – there`s a lot to be learned.  A lot to go on.  We do

know that the Trump campaign has routinely lied in dealing with this issue.


Put aside the crazy, you know, false tweets Trump put out this weekend in

some – you know, act of derangement.


The Trump campaign has said again and again and again, there`s not been any

contacts during the campaign between people associated with the Trump

campaign and Russians.


Well, we know from the “Washington Post” reporting on Michael Flynn that

his conversations with the Russian ambassador began before the election.


So then and there, you have blowing out, you know, this story that the

Trump team has told.


We don`t know what those conversations entailed but I think that`d be a key

part of any investigation.


You know, Carter Page, J.D. Gordon, foreign policy advisors to Trump were

talking to Russians.  We know Paul Manafort was caught talking to Russians

intelligence whether you realize it or not.


So everything the Trump campaign has basically said to us up until this,

you know, orgasmic tweet fest about Obama being the one to blame, has been

untrue and it`s going to continue to be untrue. 


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR:  This morning, General Michael Hayden,

former director of the CIA and the NSA, was asked to speculate about the

madness of these tweets this weekend and speculating about the madness of a

president is not easy and it`s not common and none of us –


CORN:  Right. 


O`DONNELL:  – have practiced doing it because we`ve never been asked about

it before.  General Hayden`s best guess was, as he put it, the president of

the united states put his own reputation, the reputation of his predecessor

and the reputation of his nation at risk, in order, as he put it, to

manipulate the news cycle.  Naveed, when you see this kind of behavior out

of president Trump, is there a professional lens that you can use to look

at it and try to divine motivation? 


NAVEED JAMALI, AMERICAN AUTHOR:  It`s crazy. I wish – I don`t know exactly

how to bring logic into this. I mean –


O`DONNELL:  Right. 


JAMALI:  Whether it`s a distraction, whether it`s just someone who truly

believes something that is really based on vapor, I don`t know.  What I do

know, though, is that, look, we`ve heard it time and time again.  President

Obama, you know, you cannot executive order 12 triple 3. The intelligence

community cannot collect intelligence on U.S. Persons.  You need a warrant. 


And if such a warrant exists, you know, the president as in his position

can find out about it, he doesn`t need to go onto twitter to do so.  This

whole thing, I don`t know exactly how to bring logic or reason to it. 


O`DONNELL:  Well, if you could, you`d be the first one.  Naveed Jamali and

David Corn, thank you very much for joining us tonight. 


CORN:  Sure thing.


O`DONNELL:  Coming up, the breaking legislative news of the night.  House

republicans have released their overall plan to replace the Affordable Care

Act.  And they have only lost the support of four republican senators

already.  And Donald Trump`s support is in question after he spoke to a

republican senator who is not so sure about this plan.  It`s coming up. 




O`DONNELL:  Breaking news.  The repeal of the Affordable Care Act is in

trouble.  The house republicans have revealed the essence of their repeal

and replace bill.  It gets rid of the mandate to purchase health insurance

and introduces a new system of tax credits to encourage people to buy

insurance and help some.  Here`s what Donald Trump actually promised about






covered.  This is an unrepublican thing for me to say because a lot of

times they say, no, no, they`ll lower it 25 percent, they can`t afford

private.  But –


SCOTT PELLEY, CBS ANCHOR:  Universal health care. 


TRUMP:  I am going to take care of everybody.  What my plan is, is that I

want to take care of everybody. I`m not going to leave the lower 20 percent

that can`t afford insurance. 


DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS ANCHOR:  So no one who has this health insurance

through Obamacare will lose it or end up with anything less? 


TRUMP:  You know what when you say we want no one, we want the answer to be

no one.  Obamacare is collapsing and we must act decisively to protect all





O`DONNELL:  Joining us now, Steven Brill, wrote the definitive book on

Obamacare “America`s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics and Backroom Deals and

the fight to fix our broken Healthcare System”, he`s also an MSNBC

contributor.  And so Steven, here`s a soft ball for you, how does this plan

stack up to the Donald Trump that we just heard? 


STEVEN BRILL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Well it doesn`t do anything like it but

the first thing to understand about this plan is that it is exactly what

the president said they were not going to do which is repeal immediately

and replace later.  This, basically nothing really happens in this

suggestive law until 2018 and the really bad stuff doesn`t happen until

2020.  To get to your question –


O`DONNELL:  Give me an example of what happens in 2018, what happens in



BRILL:  Well what happens right now is the mandates go away.  That`s

basically pretty much all. 


O`DONNELL:  Right. 


BRILL:  And the taxes go away. 


O`DONNELL:  The revenue that the bill collects goes away. 


BRILL:  All the revenue the bill collected will go away.  The subsidies on

the Obamacare exchanges continue exactly as they are now only they`re going

to go up because premiums are going to continue to go up and they`re going

to go up especially higher because without the mandate, young people won`t

sign up which will make the risk pool riskier. 


O`DONNELL:  But – but Steven that`s the socialism in it.  Those subsidies

are the socialism in this thing.  We got to get that out of there right

away if Republicans, don`t we? 


BRILL:  Well they don`t get it out – they don`t get it out there right

away which blows a big hole in the deficit.  You get rid of all the taxes

that pay for the subsidies but you keep the subsidies until guess when? 

After the 2018 congressional elections supposedly in 2020, now, it could be

it slides past 2020 so they don`t even take the hit on the subsidies until

after the presidential election. 


So they have not repealed Obamacare until the earliest, some parts of it

2018, the really nitty-gritty stuff in 20.  That`s when they roll back

Medicaid –


O`DONNELL:  Even with them leaving that much of it in place temporarily,

they`re losing four republican senators as of tonight who say they`re off

this thing if you don`t maintain the Medicaid expansion that President

Obama put in Obamacare.  You have Rand Paul saying today that he had a

conversation with the president about the bill and the president doesn`t

sound committed to anything in it.  He sounds flexible. 


And that`s exactly what the president cannot sound like if the republicans

are trying to get you to vote for this thing.


BRILL:  Well he`s a little distracted. So give him a break.


O`DONNELL:  I guess so. 


BRILL:  But the simple fact is that none of this really happens until later

on except the end of all the taxes that pay for the subsidies.  So if

you`re worried about the deficit, this is a disaster.  If you`re –


O`DONNELL:  Republicans have given up that whole deficit. 


BRILL:   – a conservative that wants to repeal Obamacare, this is not what

they`re going to like and they lost the four senators because they`re not

stupid and they don`t think their constituents are stupid.  So if you tell

people you`re going to lose all that Medicaid in 2020 no senator is going

to like that including the republican senator from West Virginia, the

republican senator from Ohio, et cetera. 


O`DONNELL:  We`re going to have to break it there for now.  Steve please

stay with us.  We have other things to talk about coming up. 


BRILL:  Sure. 


O`DONNELL:  And also coming up, a poignant letter from a man begging that

he and his family not be deported. 




O`DONNELL:  In 1905, a man wrote this letter to the regent Prince of

Bavaria begging not to be deported.  Most serene, most powerful prince

regent, most gracious regent and lord, I was born in Kallstadt on March

14th, 1869.  My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers.  They

strictly held me to everything good, to diligence and piety, to regular

attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high



After my confirmation in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I

immigrated in 1885 in my 16th year.  In America I carried on my business

with diligence, discretion and prudence.  God`s blessing was with me and I

became rich.  I obtained American citizenship in 1892.  In 1902, I met my

current wife.  Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York and I

went with my dear family back to Kalstadt.


The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen.  My

old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law and her

granddaughter around her.  She knows now that I will take care of her in

her old age.  But we are confronted all at once as if by a lightning strike

from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry has

decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria.  We

were paralyzed with fright.  Our happy family life was tarnished.


My wife has been overcome by anxiety and my lovely child has become sick. 

Why should we be deported?  This is very, very hard for a family.  What

will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a

decree?  Not to mention the great material losses it would incur?  I would

like to become a Bavarian citizen again.


 In this urgent situation, I have no other recourse but to turn to our

adored, noble, wise and just sovereign lord, our exulted ruler his royal

highness highest of all who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled

so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and is

deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will,

himself, in mercy dane to allow this applicant to stay in the most gracious

Kingdom of Brandvaia.  Your most humble and obedient. Frederick Trump.


Donald Trump`s grandfather describing the horrors of deportation.  In a

letter we believe Donald Trump has never read.  Unfortunately for Frederick

Trump, he was deported.  He resumed his life in the United States where

unfortunately for the world his grandson is now President.  Today Donald

Trump issued a new Executive Order on banning entry to the United States

from six countries.


He removed Iraq from the original list of seven countries n his first

executive banned entry from.  The new executive order will be in effect in

ten days.  It has been rewritten in attempts to conform to all of the

judicial opinions that found the original order possibly unconstitutional. 

The Cabinet Members charged with enforcing the new executive order made

short statements to the press today that contained no detail and they

refused to take a single question about this new very complex, very

important government policy they will be enforcing that will affect the

lives of millions of people.


They were not prepared to answer a single question about it. Fredrick

Trump`s grandson continues his anti-family deportation campaign.  Here is

video from last week of an undocumented immigrant arrested on his way to

drop off his daughter at school because, you know, the best way to find

those murderous, gangster immigrants that Donald Trump is always talking

about is when they`re dropping their daughters off at school.




O`DONNELL:  The question that will not go away, is he crazy?




JOHN GARTNER, AUTHO:  if we could construct a psychiatric Frankenstein

monster we could not create a leader more dangerously mentally ill than

Donald Trump. He`s a paranoid psychopathic narcissist who`s divorced from

reality and lashes out impulsively at his imagined enemies.




O`DONNELL:   that was psychologist John Gartner on this program. The

challenge to the world now, how to deal with the President of the United

States who appears to be unstable?





O`DONNELL:  And now this from the senior democrat on the house intelligence

committee. “We must accept possibility that put us does not know fact from

fiction, right from wrong.  That while claims are not strategic, but

worse.” How much worse? that`s next.






LANCE DODES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Lying in the way that he does it,

repeated, dangerous lying, makes him unfit and is a sign of serious mental

disturbance. And to the extent he doesn`t know reality, and I agree, by the

way, I don`t think he does know reality, clearly, he doesn`t have a clear

grasp of it because he changes it.  He makes up reality to suit his

internal needs.




O`DONNEL:  That was former Harvard Medical School Professor Lance Dodes.

We`re joined now by Indira Lakshmanan and Steve Brill is back with us. 

Indira, the question that won`t go away, and how does the media deal with

this question?  That`s the first stage of it because the world has to

figure out how to deal with this question



right, Lawrence, to point out that this is not a new question.  This is a

question that surfaced last year even among journalists who had been at one

point boosters of Donald Trump or at least had given him favorable

interviews.  Let`s not forget Joe Scarborough got a lot of ink for at the

time saying Donald Trump was unhinged and questioning his sanity.


And there were reams and reams of articles written last year questioning

whether he was a textbook narcissist or sociopath.  I mean, I think the

larger question here, we`re not, you know, we`re journalists, we`re not

psychologists or psychiatrists.  I think the more important question is his

grip on reality. And I think the really important thing journalists have to

do is interrogate the facts.  If he`s going to between 3:30 and 4:00 in the

morning putting out a five-tweet storm about Watergate, making allegations

about what would be a felony if Obama had done it, and, you know, we now

find out that James Comey of the FBI actually tried to get the justice

Department to deny it.


And we know that DNI Clapper said no, that never happened, so I think the

journalists have to ask the question, OK, what is the proof, Mr. President? 

What is the proof that you are going to attach to these allegations that

you`re making?  And the worrisome thing, he seems to be depending on these

conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones of Infowars and Mark Levin who you

were showing earlier in the show.  And, you know, people being picked up in

Breitbart News.


And that is worrisome if the President is relying not on intelligence

briefings from professionals but on right-wing media sites with conspiracy

theorists.  It`s like the Birther thing.  We have to go back to that. Maybe

that wasn`t some clever political trick.  Maybe he truly believed that.


O`DONNEL:  Steve, we went through the entire election year.  I was unable

to book psychologists, psychiatrists on the show because they have a

previous rule they`re not supposed to diagnose in public.  Some of them

just broke that rule, saying there`s a higher authority rule here which

must be conformed here, the duty to warn, warn people they could be harmed

by someone who they see as damaged and that has what brought out the

psychiatrists and psychologists


BRILL:  Well I think that`s right.  You know as a journalist and reporter I

have two reactions to this discussion.  One is remember the book the final



O`DONNEL:  Yes.  Yes.


BRILL:  The great Woodward and Bernstein book that`s when we found out

Nixon was talking to –


O`DONNEL:  Talking to the portraits, drunk in the Whitehouse late at night. 



BRILL:   well, we need Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to be doing that but

not waiting for a book.  That stuff has to be going on.  You want to know

what the conversation was on Saturday morning when the first of the

President`s aides, you know, spoke to him said, hey, I saw you tweeted

something, what was that about?


O`DONNEL:  So you just raised a fascinating ethical dilemma which is the

Woodward and Bernstein model was we work for the Washington Post.  We

collect this information.  It doesn`t become public until the book comes

out a year or two years later. You`re saying if there`s an obligation if

you find that material now to reveal it?


BRILL:  Well yes but in fairness to them, I assume they didn`t get a lot of

their information until Nixon was on his helicopter and gone.


O`DONNEL:  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.


BRILL:   The second reaction, the only way this is going to be addressed

and needs to be addressed is if the Republicans don`t look away.  They

continue to look away. They`re the ones with the credibility. They`re the

ones in the room a lot of the time. Nixon left when Barry Goldwater and

other Republicans went to the Whitehouse and said you got to go.  These

republicans have to start talking about the 25th amendment.


O`DONNEL:  Yes. It always has to come from the president`s party and the

25th Amendment we`ve discussed on this show before.  It`s fascinating and

we`ll do it again.  Indira Lakshmanan and Steven Brill, thank you both for

joining us tonight.






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