The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 4/5/2017
Show: The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Date: April 5, 2017
Guest: David Corn, Max Boot, Naveed Jamali, Ana Marie Cox, Lisa Bloom, Wendy Walsh
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: We only believe their authentic wear, somebody who
had access to those memos decided to feed them out to us and the outside
world to try to get an explanation of what`s going on.
EPA won`t answer our questions about those memos at all. We only believe
their authentic, we can`t prove it because they won`t authenticate them.
The question now is now that the senators are asking, will the EPA own up
to this process that they didn`t want to discuss publicly? Will they tell
these senators what they are doing?
Even though they keep giving us the run-around. Watch this space. That
does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now, it`s time for
THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening, Rachel. The latest
breaking news from “New York Times” is that Steve Bannon had to be pushed
That he resisted the move, and at one point threatened to quit if the move
went forward. We came this close, Rachel. We came this close –
To the quitting story.
MADDOW: Threaten me again, big guy.
O`DONNELL: Surely, something can get the quitting story going again.
Surely, there can be another wave of offending Steve Bannon to get him to
get that close to quitting.
MADDOW: I wish that I could believe anything they say about themselves.
Any White House official ever quoted –
O`DONNELL: OK –
MADDOW: About anything in the White House –
O`DONNELL: But every once in a while –
MADDOW: I would love to believe it.
O`DONNELL: And once in a while, this may be one of those moments where I
want to believe this!
O`DONNELL: I want to believe he was pushed out and then almost quit and
then realized – oh, but wait, then what do I do?
MADDOW: Yes, you know what? It makes – it`s more logically possible than
he was there to baby-sit –
O`DONNELL: Oh, that –
MADDOW: Mike Flynn.
O`DONNELL: Oh, please, that –
MADDOW: Who left 51 days ago –
O`DONNELL: Rachel, I can`t even watch you say it. I can`t –
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: I can`t – it pains me to hear you say Spicer-like things like
that. It`s just –
MADDOW: I`m going to invent a macro so that whenever you Google anything
that was said by a White House official, it gets translated –
O`DONNELL: Oh, yes –
MADDOW: Into a language you don`t know. That none of us knows that we
stop getting distracted by their –
O`DONNELL: Perfect –
MADDOW: By their talking.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
O`DONNELL: Well, last night, in the last 24 hours, we`ve gotten 40 –
45,850 retweets of the tweet that I asked you to help me with last night
when I tweeted, “hey, Bill O`Reilly, please sue me too because I believe
And retweet if you agree. Almost 46,000 of you have done that. Wendy
Walsh is going to join us tonight, she`s going to tell us the story of what
she experienced with Bill O`Reilly.
That sexual harassment story that she told first to the “New York Times”
this weekend. And she is able to talk only because – only because she has
not sued Bill O`Reilly.
Therefore she does not have a multimillion-dollar settlement that then
requires her to remain silent.
And so because she has not sued Bill O`Reilly, one of Bill O`Reilly`s
lawyers threatened to sue her. And that`s what that tweet was about.
And so you sent that message to Bill O`Reilly and to his lawyers. We will
have that story, Wendy Walsh will join us later. But first, is Rex
Tillerson going to be the first one out the door of the Trump cabinet, and
should he be?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The world is a mess.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get nervous any time I hear the president talk
about foreign affairs.
TRUMP: That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. My
attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Is it just a lot of words?
TRUMP: I don`t change. Well, I do change and I am flexible. And I`m
proud of that flexibility.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: I don`t think anybody has any clue
what he meant today.
TRUMP: I`m not saying I`m doing anything one way or the other.
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: How many more
children have to die before Russia cares? If Russia had been fulfilling its
responsibility, there would not even be any chemical weapons left for the
Syrian regime to use.
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: The president of the United States
accused the former national security adviser to President Obama of
committing a crime today and didn`t produce any evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s just a lying – I mean, it`s just that simple.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now around the world, people are looking at the
White House and feeling completely at a loss of how to deal with this, what
to make of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t you want God to show up and say I was just
kidding about like everything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wish that he would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Men, women, children and babies got gassed in Syria this week
because last week the Trump administration gave the signal that, that was
OK with President Trump.
That`s the signal that they gave. The Trump administration is populated by
the worst amateurs in the history of American government, very much
including the most untrained and inept Secretary of State in modern
Having the boss of Exxon become Secretary of State was a cartoonish notion
of Republican governance until now. And last week Rex Tillerson said the
most dangerous and irresponsible thing that he could have said given the
state of the world today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About President Assad, should he stay or should he
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the status and the longer term,
longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: “Decided by the Syrian people.” That is a dramatic turn from
the Obama administration position that Assad must go. Decided by the
By which Rex Tillerson means the nearly 5 million people who have fled the
country to save their lives, does he mean it should be decided by the 6.5
million people who have fled their homes in Syria but are somewhere still
in and around Syria?
People who presumably would need absentee ballots in the fantasy election,
that the horrifyingly dim Rex Tillerson was imagining last week.
You saw in that comment why Rex Tillerson doesn`t like to speak publicly.
Rex Tillerson is as clueless as Donald Trump.
The difference is that Rex Tillerson knows that. Rex Tillerson is just
smart enough to know where his ignorance begins, which is everywhere in the
world unless it`s about making a deal to extract oil.
The news media has been far too patient with the silence of Rex Tillerson.
And apparently far too busy to have spent much time on the objectively
immoral idiocy that did come out of his mouth last week – “decided by the
Last week, that statement included all of the people who were gassed this
week and killed. But now it doesn`t.
President Assad doesn`t have to worry about how those people would vote in
Rex Tillerson`s imaginary Syrian election that would be decided by the
What is so profoundly immoral about what Rex Tillerson had to say last week
is that he has been so lazy in his approach to his new job.
So lazy that he might not have understood that President Assad would take
that statement as America`s official OK that he can now do whatever he
wants because the United States is perfectly OK with this murderous madman
remaining as the president of Syria.
Now let`s just hope – I really mean this – let`s just hope that Rex
Tillerson is too much of an amateur to have understood that what he said in
diplomatic speak was code language for unleash the gas.
Because if Rex Tillerson did understand what he was saying, then he would
be a war criminal. Everything Donald Trump has ever said about President
Assad has been a signal for Assad to go on killing as many people as he
felt like killing that day any way he wanted to kill them, with or without
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`ve been looking at the different players, and I`ve been watching
Assad, and I`ve been pretty good at this stuff over the years because deals
And I`m looking at Assad and saying maybe he is better than the kind of
people that we`re supposed to be backing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He was looking at the different players, players who were
trying to kill each other. And he decided that he would come down on the
side of President Assad and cheer him on in his killing spree.
Someone in the Trump administration has found a way to explain at least
some of this to Donald Trump. Which is why he said things like this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little
babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal that people were shocked to
hear what gas it was, that crosses many lines, beyond the red line. Many
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Of course, no questioner could get Donald Trump to say what he
would do about those crossed lines. Instead, he just talked about his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don`t have
to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I
Well, I do change and I am flexible and I`m proud of that flexibility. And
I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me.
Big impact. That was a horrible thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Big impact? We have no idea what the big impact was. Changed
him? We have no idea how it changed him. He is as lost as Rex Tillerson.
Neither one of them have any idea what to do or say about this. Trump
voters were told that this kind of thing would magically stop happening in
the world on January 20th when Donald Trump took the oath of office.
The world has noticed that Donald Trump is president. And in Syria, that
means the return of chemical weapons.
And it means that Donald Trump`s best friend during the campaign, Vladimir
Putin continues to do everything he can to preserve Assad`s position in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: Look at those pictures. We cannot close our eyes to those
pictures. We know that yesterday`s attack bears all the hallmarks of the
Assad regime`s use of chemical weapons.
Russia cannot escape responsibility for this. In fact, if Russia had been
fulfilling its responsibility, there would not even be any chemical weapons
left for the Syrian regime to use.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now there, there is an ambassador to the United Nations who
understood at least today that she does not work for the president of the
United States, she works for the United States.
Nikki Haley said more wise and helpful things at the United Nations today
than Donald Trump has in his entire life. And clearly more than our
Secretary of State ever will.
If you`ve been watching presidential administrations for a while, you might
be ready to bet as am I, that Rex Tillerson is going to be the first person
out the door in the Trump cabinet.
It`s not that he`s not as smart as Rick Perry, who will be able to outlast
him at the Energy Department.
It`s that Rex Tillerson`s in the job where you cannot escape crisis. And
Rex Tillerson is lost in that job that is surrounded by crisis every day.
He actually issued a statement about the crisis with North Korea, saying
“the United States has spoken enough about North Korea, we have no further
And that statement now goes straight to the top of the stack of stupidest
things ever said by a Secretary of State. And most secretaries of state
don`t have any entries in these stupidest things ever said.
As long as Rex Tillerson is Secretary of State and is advising the
president, we will be watching the morally blind leading the morally blind.
Joining us now, David Corn; Washington Bureau chief for “Mother Jones” and
an Msnbc political analyst. Also with us Max Boot; senior fellow for
national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former
defense policy adviser for Romney 2012.
David Corn, Rachel has been watching how Rex Tillerson has basically never
been saying a word. He famously did not bring the press with him on that
foreign trip where he brought just one reporter and he stayed very quiet.
And now when we look back at it, we might just hope for as long as he is
there, maybe him saying nothing is better than him inviting president
Assad, as he did last week, to do whatever he wants because that is of
course up to the Syrian people.
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Well, I think Rex
Tillerson`s biggest problem is Donald Trump.
There is no policy. I mean, if you want to be a little bit sympathetic to
Rex Tillerson, and I know you don`t want to be, Lawrence, but if you do,
you`d say, what should he be saying when the boss isn`t saying anything?
That press conference today, what did Trump do? He made it about himself.
What are you going to do to deal with this – you know, crime against
It`s a tough issue. I`m not sure I know what I would advise. What would
you do, Mr. President? Let me talk about myself now.
I`m flexible. This does – let me tell you how this has impacted me,
because I didn`t know there were such things going on in Syria.
I mean, the amount of ignorance, arrogance, hubris and egotism displayed in
really about 35, 40 seconds set a presidential record already into this
So I feel almost a little sympathy for Rex Tillerson because he doesn`t
know what to say. Nikki Haley decided to say what she said on her own, but
none of that is integrated with what the White House will or won`t do.
So, you know, it`s all – everybody is freelancing and the guy at the
charge only cares about one thing, himself.
O`DONNELL: And Max, when you have a president who doesn`t have a position,
which is not common on most issues.
The strong people in an administration do have a position, and they step
forward. Especially because no one is telling them not to.
And that`s what you saw at the United Nations today. You saw a U.N.
ambassador who stood up and said this is what I think, and this is what –
this is what I believe the United States should represent here, and she
didn`t have to check with Rex Tillerson – she – apparently.
I mean, Rex – why can`t Rex Tillerson sound like Nikki Haley?
MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AT THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN
RELATIONS: Well, I think, Lawrence, there is no question. I mean, I
wouldn`t be quite so hard on Tillerson as you have been.
But I will say that he`s got a steep learning curve. He clearly doesn`t
know the job. And anybody who thinks that being CEO of Exxon Mobil
translates into being Secretary of State has had a rude awakening.
But I think the fundamental problem, I think you just put your finger on
it, there is no foreign policy in this administration.
It is not clear who speaks for the United States government. And so you
have people like Nikki Haley who gives a very eloquent statement. But is
she really speaking for the United States government?
The weird thing here is that even Donald Trump; the president of the United
States may not necessarily speak for the United States government.
I mean, at any previous administration when you have the president say
something, that`s it. That`s the law. That`s the policy.
The president is the final word. But in this administration, Donald Trump
says stuff all the time and then he doesn`t act on it. He doesn`t follow
So is the stuff that he says actually going to be implemented? Like today,
for example, where he said that Syria had finally crossed some kind of
Which is, you know, I`m sitting here saying, wait a sec, this is –
O`DONNELL: The other line –
BOOT: This is like a ten thousandth atrocity which has been committed by
Assad. This is not the first use of poisoned gas.
This is not the first time the kids have been killed. Donald Trump has
always been OK with this in the past, but now they`ve crossed some kind of
Well, OK, so what are you going to do about it? And there is no clear
indication of that, maybe they`ll do something, maybe they don`t.
But I`ve never seen, Lawrence, an administration where the words of the
principles and of the president himself are so divorced from the actual
policy and actions which just are not there.
O`DONNELL: David, what I thought I saw Nikki Haley doing today as a very
smart political operative, she was putting up – just placing the frame
around this story.
And one of the frames she was placing around it is this is Russia. This is
Russia at work –
CORN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: This is Vladimir Putin at work.
O`DONNELL: And she – and it`s now up to Donald Trump to go contradict her
on that. Donald Trump wouldn`t dare mention Vladimir Putin today in
relation to Syria.
But Nikki Haley did a flawless job of framing this in terms of Vladimir
Putin`s support for all of this that Assad does.
CORN: You`re right but I think I`ll disagree with you a little bit. It`s
not about whether Donald Trump contradicts her or not.
You know, I can see him or more importantly, I can see Putin looking at
that and saying let her say what she wants to say.
She doesn`t have power. She`s not Donald Trump. If Donald Trump – it`s
not about contradicting her, if he doesn`t back her up, if he doesn`t say
the same thing and if he doesn`t take any action to marginalize Putin and
to point out this is one of the reasons why someone like Max Boot and
myself who for years have not agreed on anything can agree on this, you
know, then it really doesn`t matter what Nikki Haley says other than she
has bragging rights.
She can say she took a good line, she can write this in her book, she can
write op-eds but if – you know, Donald Trump doesn`t follow suit, Putin
will look at this and say I see where power is, I don`t care what an
ambassador of the U.N. says.
O`DONNELL: I think any former ambassador of the U.N. will tell you that
the way it works in that building is it does indeed matter what the U.S.
ambassador says every time the U.S. ambassador speaks. Now what we`re
talking about is something –
CORN: I would hope so –
O`DONNELL: Else, which is the question of what does it mean in terms of
what the United States is going to do next. That`s a different issue, it`s
always been a different issue –
CORN: Right –
O`DONNELL: In fact.
BOOT: But right now, there`s an almost complete divorce between the
rhetoric of the president and the actual policy.
And you have all of these freelancers in the administration running around
like Nikki Haley where you wonder if the president cleared off on her words
But you also have these powerful players like today for example where you
saw this inside the beltway intrigue with Steve Bannon being demoted from
his position at the National Security Council.
But nevertheless, retaining his security clearance, retaining his entree to
the Oval Office and so presumably free to pursue his own policy.
And then none of this even touches somebody like Jared Kushner who is the
shadow Secretary of State. I mean, it`s stunning –
O`DONNELL: He doesn`t speak to anyone.
BOOT: He doesn`t speak to anybody, but he supposedly –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
BOOT: Has the portfolio of Canada, Mexico, the Middle East, China – oh,
and reorganizing government.
He is supposed to be doing all of this stuff. So what is Rex Tillerson
supposed to be doing? What is H.R. McMaster supposed to be doing?
You have all these people who report directly to the president who are not
in the organizational chart, who are not in the normal national security
process, but they have tremendous power.
I mean, who has more power in this White House than the president`s son-in-
law? He probably has more power than any previous adviser going back 50
And he is probably less qualified to exercise that power than any previous
adviser going back 50 years. So, I think I do feel to some extent for
people like Rex Tillerson and others because they`re in a very tough
Because they clearly been out-maneuvered by these people inside the White
House who are jockeying for power. That`s where the real struggle is going
And increasingly, Rex Tillerson feels like he`s very peripheral to it. He
is not at the center of the decision making.
O`DONNELL: Got to take a break here –
CORN: You know, I think –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, David, quickly.
CORN: Quick point. Is you know, they`re jockeying for power, but they`re
not fighting over policy. Often they fight over policy in White Houses.
But in this case, it`s just –
O`DONNELL: It sounded like –
CORN: It gets the most influence –
O`DONNELL: It sounded like Nikki Haley was fighting over policy today.
We`re going to have to take a break here. David Corn, Max Boot, thank you
both for joining us, really appreciate it, thank you.
CORN: Sure thing.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump took his distraction strategy to a new
level today, accusing someone else of committing a crime.
Not Barack Obama this time, but someone close to Barack Obama. And the
president who boldly bragged about sexual assault on video and audiotape is
now defending Bill O`Reilly, saying that Bill O`Reilly did nothing wrong.
And you know what? That may be true. Donald Trump probably thinks there is
nothing wrong with sexual harassment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES: The White House has made – has made fools of their
allies. They cook up some intelligence. They bring the chairman of the
committee – has a very distinguished position which he has tarnished.
They use him as a tool to tell him what they have cooked up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We have some breaking news at this hour. Donald Trump is
saying that “the Russia story is a total hoax”. He told that in a “New
York Times” interview today.
Today, a spokesperson for former national security adviser Susan Rice
issued a statement saying “I`m not going to dignify the president`s
ludicrous charge with a comment.”
Unfortunately, I cannot be so careful with my dignity.” And so we will now
comment on the president`s ludicrous charge of the day.
President Trump said this about Susan Rice in an interview with the “New
York Times”. I think it`s one of the biggest stories.
“The Russia story is a total hoax. There has been absolutely nothing
coming out of that. But what you know what various things led into it was
the story that we`re talking about, the Susan Rice.”
That`s hard stuff to read. This isn`t really English. “What`s happened is
terrible. I think it`s truly one of the big stories of our time.”
When asked if he thinks Susan Rice committed a crime, the president of the
United States said “I can`t comment on that” – oh, no, wait, he said “do I
think? Yes, I think.”
Joining us now, Ana Marie Cox; “MTV News” senior political correspondent
and host of the podcast “With Friends Like These”.
Also joining us is Naveed Jamali; a former FBI intelligence operative and
Msnbc contributor and author of “How to Catch a Russian Spy”.
Earlier today, he testified at the House Intelligence Committee members
hearing on Russian influence on the campaign.
And Naveed, I just want to go to that. It was a close-door hearing, but
you can reveal to us your part, what you had to say in that hearing
according to their rules. Isn`t that the way it works?
NAVEED JAMALI, FORMER FBI INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVE: Yes, that`s exactly
O`DONNELL: So –
JAMALI: Lawrence, you know –
O`DONNELL: Tell us about that.
JAMALI: Well, first of all, I`m sort of flabbergasted that while I was
talking about Russia, the statement by the president comes out saying that
there – this whole thing is a hoax. It`s –
O`DONNELL: Well, not just that it`s a hoax, but he has – he has tried in
his head and convicted Susan Rice in his head –
JAMALI: Yes, that too –
O`DONNELL: Of a crime that he refuses to specify.
JAMALI: Look, what I was talking about today was very specifically that,
you know, when it comes to how Russians target U.S. persons, and more
importantly, which is a story that I lived.
I worked undercover over three years for the FBI against the Russians in
New York. What I told the hissy(ph) members was that I see echoes in 2016
to what the Russians did with me.
And I thought that this from a tactical standpoint, understanding how the
Russians operate, how they recruit people, why they recruit people, how
that works is something that is of huge interest.
Especially when you look at this, that this is a threat that is ongoing,
and it`s not just Russia that was emboldened by 2016.
It`s China, it`s Iran, and that was essentially the emphasis of my brief.
And I think it was well received. But it is frustrating to have this talk
on either hand, the president making these comments about Rice and Russia
as a whole.
O`DONNELL: Ana, the – I kind of love the reply that I`m not going to
dignify it, not going to dignify the accusation with a comment.
And yet, here we are stuck again. A mad man says something that everyone
knows he is making up as he says it.
He says it to the “New York Times”. A mad man is president of the United
States, and so here we are.
ANA MARIE COX, MTV NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It sort of leaves
us who talk for a living speechless. We are dignifying it with a response,
which is unfortunate.
I mean, that`s what I keep thinking about as you talked to Naveed which is
that we have to talk about this. We shouldn`t even have to be talking
about this –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
COX: We should be talking about Russia, we should be talking about the
emoluments clause. We should be talking about Jared Kushner`s immense
portfolio that he did nothing to deserve.
We should be – there`s so many –
O`DONNELL: But what we are talking about within this is –
COX: Yes –
O`DONNELL: The lie the president told today –
COX: Right –
O`DONNELL: To try to deal with the fact that he and his administration,
his transition team, his campaign are being investigated for their possible
connections to Russia during the election and how that might have
influenced the election –
COX: Right, and more than that, how they were manipulated –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
COX: Right? Which is what Naveed was talking about. Which is that, you
know, we also had testimony to the effect that the Russians explicitly
target Trump with conspiracy theories when they know he is online, right?
This sort of sounds like – it sort of could be something like that. I
mean, what is – it`s astonishing. And it`s astonishing, you know, we sort
of we – we need to talk about this in order to draw it back to the
And we need to talk about this because this is something your first guest
talked about too. It means something that we cannot trust the president of
the United States.
That, that has ramifications for our democracy. That internationally and
domestically, that we cannot take him at his word.
And I don`t know if we`ve quite figured out as a country how to grapple
with that quite frankly.
O`DONNELL: Naveed, every serious intelligence community professional that
I`ve heard talked about this including Michael Hayden have said, slow down.
Unmasking names in these reports is Susan Rice`s job. She is supposed to
She is only allowed to do that if the agency involved thinks that should it
be done. It`s not up to her if the name gets unmasked. We have all been
taught these rules this week, which most of us didn`t know last week. And
we haven`t been able to find anyone with real intelligence experience who
has a problem with this. At the same time, people like Lindsey Graham and
other republicans who have been pretty good on this issue of the Russian
interference, as soon as they heard the two words “Susan Rice,” they were
And nothing but nothing had taken them off the scent until they heard the
words “Susan Rice.” and suddenly they think that needs to be investigated.
NAVEED JAMALI, AMERICAN AUTHOR: Yes. This is such a smoke and mirror,
such deflection. You know, it goes back to even executive order12333. At
the core of this, Lawrence, the U.S. Intelligence committee does not
collect on U.S. Persons. The fact that our president doesn`t understand
that, and yet keeps looking for more creative ways to bring this claim
back, whether it`s first President Obama, now it`s Susan Rice. I mean it
is – it is absurd.
There is just no evidence of this. And, look, it`s not just Susan Rice,
just to be clear that would have had to do this there is a whole host of
people that go in and actually make the change. For them to agree to an
illegal order like that, it just would never happen. And yet we have this
president that in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, in fact of all
the doctrine and laws that prohibit this, continues to make these claims.
It is, you know, and then of course no mention of Russia.
Nothing about Russia and it`s – I don`t know exactly how we address this
other than to say exactly what you`ve been saying which is this is crazy.
O`DONNELL: Quickly, before we go, lock her up, Hillary Clinton. They`ve
never said lock him up. Even after President Obama was accused of a crime
by president Trump, no one said lock him up. I got a call today from a
friend who said Susan Rice, they want to go after her. Is it because she
is a woman? Having “lock her up” as an echo to all of this.
And I said I`m going to ask Ana Marie Cox.
COX: Well there does seem to be a certain pattern. And it`s true. I mean
I think that it may have to do with the Trump`s conceptions of power. I
think that he assumes that men are powerful and that he – when he sees a
woman in power, he is immediately suspicious. She didn`t earn it. He also
had the same problem with not really believing Obama earned his power, what
with the birther stuff.
I always have trouble with words on your show, centering myself. But I do
think that he is innately suspicious of women who have power. He thinks
they don`t deserve it and through some nefarious means, theory.
O`DONNELL: So – so stuff – stuff was your sensor word.
O`DONNELL: But, yes OK. Naveed Jamali, thank you very much for joining
us. Ana Marie, we`re going to need you for a later segment here. Coming
up, Donald Trump of course no surprise defended Bill O`Reilly on the sexual
harassment charges today, saying Bill O`Reilly didn`t do anything wrong.
O`DONNELL: Donald trump is an admitted sexual assaulter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I will use some
tic tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I`m automatically
attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It`s like a magnet.
You just kiss. And when you`re a star, they let you do it. You can do
BILLY BUSH, AMERICAN TELEVISION AND RADIO HOST: Whatever you want?
TRUMP: Grab them by the [BLEEP].
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: When 12 women emerged during the presidential campaign to say
that Donald Trump had assaulted them, he immediately tried to scare them
into backing down the way he always used to try to scare people before he
got nuclear weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total
fabrication, the events never happened, never. All of these liars will be
sued after the election is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And so that`s what Bill O`Reilly`s – that`s what Bill O`Reilly
did when Wendy Walsh told her story of sexual harassment by Bill O`Reilly.
He threatened to sue her for defamation. Today the president came down on
the side of Bill O`Reilly. The president of course was not in the room
during any of those encounters, which Wendy Walsh will be telling us about.
She is going to join us later. And Donald Trump wasn`t there for any of
the encounters for which FOX News and Bill O`Reilly have paid $13 million
in settlements to people who were left alone in a room with Bill O`Reilly.
But today in “The New York Times,” Donald Trump said, I don`t think bill
did anything wrong. And that sounds like an absolutely true statement from
the president of the United States who seemingly believes that sexual
assault is a sport and not a crime.
The president believes all of the worst things described by Bill O`Reilly`s
accusers are not wrong. Donald trump doesn`t think there is anything wrong
with sexual harassment or sexual assault. And so today an admitted sexual
assaulter comes to the defense of a sexual harasser, and the defender did
it surrounded by all of his enablers in the Oval Office. Ana Marie Cox is
back with us.
And so when the president says I don`t think Bill O`Reilly did anything
wrong, he is telling the truth, isn`t he?
COX: He probably is. You know, it`s actually sexual violence awareness
and prevention month in April.
O`DONNELL: Which was announced –
COX: Yes, what, you know, I think he didn`t realize there`s a prevention
part of the title. I think he just thinks that sexual Assault Awareness
Month that it`s sort of like Black History Month where you promote it, you
know. I just want the say so between one and three and one and five women
is sexually harassed in the workplace. Only one in four actually report
it. And I also want to say that for people like me who have been through
it to one degree or another, seeing this happen sort of in real time is
I don`t like the word triggering. I like the word enraging. And I just
want the say for people out there who may have gone through this, there is
help. There are people you could talk to. RAINN has the National Sexual
Assault hotline which is 1800-656-HOPE. And you can go online to rain.org
and they have an anonymous chat where you can be in touch with people who
know what it`s like and who can talk you through it.
You don`t have to go through this alone.
O`DONNELL: 1-800-656-HOPE. And Wendy Walsh today, today called the FOX
News hotline to report Bill O`Reilly. She is going to show us some of the
video of that. And – and we smile because the alternative is we need
Kleenex, and this is TV.
O`DONNELL: Yes, yes no I – I find it absolutely enraging. And this –
this just vile defense of his that this happens to everybody who is well-
known, who has a lot of money. Ok. Show me all the complaints against
Sean Hannity. Show me all the complaints against Tucker Carlson.
O`DONNELL: I never heard a word about any of that.
COX: Yes. You know apparently that one in three or one in five women that
experience sexual assault in the workplace they all work for Bill O`Reilly,
every single one of them.
O`DONNELL: Yes, every one of them.
COX: So –
O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox, thank you for that. 1-800-656-HOPE. Thank you
for that. Coming up, Wendy Walsh will join us. She did not take a
financial settlement from Bill O`Reilly. And that means she is free to
O`DONNELL: The honor roll of companies who have pulled their ads from Bill
O`Reilly`s show now includes Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Glaxo Smithkline,
Allstate, Lexus, TrueCar, Coldwell Bank or I`m just flying through some of
these names. Everybody should take a look at this though. Subaru is up
there, of course Subaru is up there. CarFax, Southern New Hampshire
University, OK. Let`s keep that up. I`m not going read every one of them.
Keep that up and then report some of the story here.
The financial times reports today that Federal prosecutors are looking into
whether tens of millions of dollars in settlements for Roger Ailes, Bill
O`Reilly and others were concealed from shareholders of 21st Century Fox.
Two former Fox News Executives claim to the times “multiple women
negotiated confidential settlements with Fox News over sexual harassment
allegations.” And they claim the payments were moved around different Fox
The financial times reports that “budgetary squeezes raised suspicions
among executives that money generated by Fox News was being used to pay off
women who had complained of harassment.” Fox News would be generating
millions of dollars a year and making record profits. One executive
recalls and suddenly we wouldn`t be allowed to travel or buy supplies. It
Obviously they were moving the money out of the supply budget and the
travel budget. For the third night in a row tonight, Bill O`Reilly did not
say one word. He is running scared from this subject. And earlier today,
Bill O`Reilly`s boss Rupert Murdoch had nothing to say.
Let`s watch him say nothing. Go to that video. Let`s see this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: How concerned are you sir about the Bill O`Reilly situation?
RUPERT MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN OF FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Not at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: There is Rupert Murdoch saying nothing. Put those companies
back up while I just read the rest of what a have in front of me here. Put
those companies back up. Can we get them back up there? OK, there.
Wendy Walsh says that she was sexually harassed by Bill O`Reilly but she
did not sue him which means nothing prevents hers from telling her story of
how Bill O`Reilly harassed her. Yesterday one of Bill O`Reilly`s lawyers
threatened to sue Wendy Walsh for defamation of Mr. O`Reilly`s character.
And so it was last night that I tweeted hey, Bill O`Reilly, please sue me
too because I Believe Wendy Walsh. And more than 46,000 of you now have
retweeted that in support of Wendy Walsh. Wendy Walsh and her lawyer Lisa
Bloom will join us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, TELEVISION HOST: So here`s the deal. If somebody is paying
you a wage, you owe that company an allegiance. If you don`t like what`s
going on, go to the workplace or leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And tonight Wendy Walsh did just that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Could you give me the primary reason for your report.
WENDY WALSH, AUTHOR: Yes. In 2013 I experienced sexual harassment as a
job applicant at fox news channel by an employee named Mr. Bill O`Reilly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Wendy Walsh, psychologist and radio host who
used to appear on Fox News also with us Lisa Bloom who is Wendy`s attorney.
Wendy, how did that phone call go today?
WALSH: Well I was surprised it was really professional. I think it was an
outside agency because she didn`t recognize the name Bill O`Reilly and
didn`t know about The O`Reilly Factor and had me spell out everything
She was very neutral. So I like that. If somebody else is calling in they
don`t want to feel judge. They just want the story told and somebody to
get the facts down to begin an investigation.
O`DONNELL: Wendy, I want you to tell us the story. But let me quickly
check with Lisa on the legal point because I was struck, Lisa, that
O`Reilly`s lawyer would threaten to sue Wendy but that is a common
intimidation tactic. He has threatened to sue me. I begged him to Because
I would love to get him in a deposition and that`s why I begged him to sue
me again within this story about Wendy because I know he won`t and I`m sure
he won`t sue Wendy. He won`t dare but give me your legal reading of that.
BLOOM: Well good for you Lawrence and we`re so proud of you for doing
that. Of course Wendy`s in a very different situation and when she got that
scary lawyer`s letter, you know, look she`s single mom. She`s not a
wealthy and powerful person and she found it very scary and intimidating.
She immediately sent it to me. I responded don`t you dare ever contact her
directly again. I represent her and, you know, silence after that.
O`DONNELL: Let me just clarify I meant that Donald Trump threatened to sue
me. Somehow I blur those two guys, O`Reilly and Trump. Wendy, tell us
what happened with you and Bill O`Reilly.
WALSH: Well I was invited in January of `13 to come on the show. I was
told by the segment producer he had seen me on TV and wanted me on his
show. And three weeks after appearing and often, you know, these sort of
segments that you make special for you. They`re regular or kind of an
audition to become a contributor
And three weeks into it that was proved true when his executive assistant
sent me an e-mail inviting me to have dinner with him at the Bel-Air Hotel
saying would be in Los Angeles. I was really excited because I wanted to
talk about my career prospects at Fox News. I didn`t have to bring them up
because at the beginning of the dinner he brought it up telling me that
Roger Ailes – sorry, I didn`t even know who Roger Ailes at that point –
was a friend of his.
And then one of them would like to sign off on me as contributor or paid
contributor. And then we talked about everything else during the dinner.
I`m a relationship expert, psychologist. People confide to me in all kinds
of things. And I will leave all that conversation to private and this is
not relevant here.
And then at the end of the dinner he said let`s get out of here. So I
assumed we were going to the bar to finish a conversation about my career
prospects. And when we walked passed the hostess I turned left towards the
bar and he turned right towards the suites, the rooms. And we didn`t even
realize we were walking away from each other until the moment later we
turned and it was kind of awkward.
And I said I think the bar is this way and he said no, come on, come back
to my suite. And I said I`m sorry. I can`t do that. And he said what, do
you think I`m going to attack you or something?
And I said, you know, trying to save I don`t want the big boss mad at me so
I said Bill, you know, we`re both raising teen age girl. I think it`s
important that we model good choices. He sighed and said OK. And we went
into the bar and admittedly it was very busy.
It was the night before the academy awards. We had a bad table beside the
piano. We couldn`t hear well and he immediately became angry, hostile and
insulting to me. And you could see – I mean this whole bar experience
lasted maybe 15 minutes I mean enough for me to get a glass of soda water
and him to complain about the price of it.
And then I left. And so then I spent a few months trying hard to save the
relationship, sending flattering emails. This is what victims of sexual
harassment do all the time. We think well I`ll let him know I`m not
threat. I`ll let him know I`m not litigious.
I`ll get the job he promised me and I watched him grow colder, more,
avoidant, more withdrawn onset. There was no chit chat on the commercial
break anymore and the last time I saw him I happened to be in New York,
book tour. And I sat down onset and he totally ignored me except to look
up from his script and say when are you leaving. And have the executive
producer David Tabacoff call me and say we`re putting your segment on hold.
And they didn`t ever bring it back.
O`DONNELL: Wendy, did it come from out of nowhere that moment you felt
this is the moment? Does that surprise you or as the evening wore on were
you getting clues he might want to go in that direction?
WALSH: I actually didn`t and I`m a psychologist. I`m usually pretty good
at this. I mean he said a few things like you`re a very beautiful woman.
But I work in television business. It`s a visual medium.
It`s something I`ve heard before. He wasn`t overly flirtatious. He talked
to me as adults do often even business dinners about the things we care
about most, our own relationships, our families, our children and so again
I just thought it was a somewhat pleasant and somewhat intimate, though not
sexual business dinner and I really – I mean marched towards the bar
thinking he was walking right beside me. That`s where we were going. I
never thought the invitation to his bedroom.
O`DONNELL: OK, quick break and we`re going to be right back with more
O`DONNELL: We`re back with Wendy Walsh and her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Today
in the Oval Office, President of the United States said I don`t think Bill
did anything wrong. Your reaction to that?
BLOOM: It`s so disgusting. I feel like President Trump is making our
entire country a hostile environment for working women. He shows such
utter disregard for half of the population even though he`s supposed to be
the President for all of us. You know he stands by Bill O`Reilly who has
had six women, according to the New York Times, complain of sexual
Two of them according to the New York Times have recordings about some
things I may not even be able to say on your show, really vile, sexually,
explicit stuff. In Wendy`s case, he`s accused of depriving her a job to
which she was otherwise entitled and this President of ours stands behind
bill O`Reilly. It`s disgusting.
O`DONNELL: Wendy, the President apparently read this exhaustive New York
Times report that includes your story. You were one of the few people in
the article who was able to fully tell her story because you haven`t
entered into a highly paid legal agreement not to. And then today the
President of the United States said I don`t think Bill did anything wrong.
How did that make you feel?
WALSH: Well, I think that really this national discourse that we`re having
here is training a small group of men of a certain generation who believe
in traditional gender roles to the point that women are sexual objects no
matter where they appear in their eye line even in the work place. And I
believe they are peers in that sense. So that`s, you know, he wouldn`t
He wouldn`t understand that by the time I got to the bar and I was shaking,
worrying about how to save my job, I had to listen to mr. Bill O`Reilly say
oh and you can forget about all the career advice I gave you. You`re on
your own which was clearly him saying it`s over now.
O`DONNELL: Wendy Walsh thank you very much for joining us tonight.
WALSH: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And I really admire the way you have handled yourself through
this and that decision to tell The New York Times the story and as you`ve
said publicly already because you know so many other women cannot. And
Lisa Bloom, thank you very for joining us again tonight for and all your
previous appearances with us here (Lisa), really appreciate it.
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