The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 6/29/2017 Sen. leaves for recess w/o GOP Agreement

Neera Tanden, Jennifer Haberkorn,, Rex Tillerson, Wendy Sherman, Frank Rich

Date: June 29, 2017
Guest: Neera Tanden, Jennifer Haberkorn„ Rex Tillerson, Wendy Sherman,
Frank Rich

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Dumps. Friday night after – that does it for us
tonight, thank you for being with us on this fine Thursday, we`ll be back
tomorrow night on what promises to be an excellent night for Friday night
news dumps.

Friday night after close of business is always a great time to dump bad
news or at least embarrassing news. But Friday night before a holiday

Come on! You`re guaranteed to get good stuff. That does it for us tonight,
now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening,

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening, Rachel. You`re –
so you`re just inviting them? Tomorrow night would be – it would be
convenient for you if they were to do that tomorrow night? I mean –

MADDOW: Let us just be aware of the fact that it is inevitable that it was

O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s going to be a big night for that, and what it`s not
going to be, you`re not going to have a tense night wondering if Mitch
McConnell is going to emerge from his office and reveal the health care
plan that the 50 Senate Republicans have agreed on. They just quit. They
just gave up and went home.

MADDOW: Yes. And you know, they went home without this thing passed
because they don`t want to face their constituents yelling at them about
this thing they just voted for during this recess.

I think the whole reason they were OK to let it die this week is because
they didn`t want to face a recess at home that was made miserable by their
own constituents.

If they do try to bring it back, I`m sure it will be some time well in
advance of the next time they`re all due home in their home state offices.

O`DONNELL: We shall see. Rachel –


O`DONNELL: Have fun with the big news dump tomorrow night.

MADDOW: I appreciate it –


MADDOW: I really do my friend, thank you –

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Well, Frank Rich is here with us tonight to tell us
how a presidency ends. That`s the title of his new article comparing the
Donald Trump situation and where it stands on the timeline of the Watergate
investigation of President Nixon and the parallels are just stunning.

And a surprise move. President Trump promised a big surprise about health
care. The surprise is the Senate has given up.

But first, President Trump once again, in no surprise at all, reveals to us
this morning in a couple of tweets exactly who he really is.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think it`s inappropriate. I
think it`s wrong.

very clear that when he gets attacked, he`s going to hit back.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Today, the president dropped a
truly massive, inappropriate, and unpresidential mess into the parties` lap
at exactly the wrong time.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The president`s tweet was completely

REPRESENTATIVES: I think it`s so blatantly sexist, I don`t even know
there`s any question about it.

SANDERS: Look, the American people elected a fighter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t attack women. We`re half of his

What we`re trying to do around here is improve the tone and the civility of
the debates, and this obviously doesn`t help do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a man who just lacks the character to control
his impulses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As America has seen, he is never going to pivot. He`s
never going to be presidential. This is who Donald Trump is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is another example of the president stepping on
his own message and his own agenda right at a critical moment.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC: I asked leader McConnell earlier during a photo spray
about this health care bill, he just laughed a little bit, wouldn`t answer
my question about where the votes are.

COLLINS: The bill needs a lot more than tweaking or tinkering around the


O`DONNELL: In order to distract a news media attention from his failing
health care bill in the Senate, which today completely gave up on trying to
find a passable version of the bill and simply left town on recess.

In order to distract from all of that, President Trump fired off some
tweets this morning that he knew would do the trick.

He also knew his tweets would get in the way of coverage of the new edition
of the Trump travel ban that went into effect at 8:00 p.m. tonight at U.S.

The new Trump travel ban seems to defy the Supreme Court order that allows
anyone with bona fide family connections to the United States to enter the

Under the Trump execution of the Supreme Court order, being a grandparent
is not a bona fide family connection. Being a grandchild is not a bona
fide family connection.

Uncles, aunts, cousins are not family according to Donald Trump and his
administration. Tonight, Hawaii`s Attorney General is already challenging
the new Trump travel ban in court, saying that it violates the Supreme
Court guidelines that allowed some of the travel ban to go into effect.

America paused to consider today what, if anything, we learned about the
president when he attacked his old friends, Joe Scarborough and Mika
Brzezinski on Twitter.

We did not learn that there is no such thing as a friend for life for
Donald Trump. We already knew that. He turns on his friends. We`ve seen
him do it many times before very publicly.

We already knew that the president is a supremely hateful and venomous
person. I`ve been saying so since Donald Trump first opened his mouth
about President Obama`s birth certificate.

But most people in the media took a very long time to catch on to that.
Most people in the media laughed along with Donald Trump too often and
laughed along when he said this about Rosie O`Donnell.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You call women you don`t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs
and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account –

O`DONNELL: Only Rosie O`Donnell.


KELLY: No, it wasn`t.


Your Twitter account –



TRUMP: Thank you.

KELLY: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O`Donnell.

TRUMP: Yes, I`m sure it was.


O`DONNELL: A 100 percent of the media`s reaction to that moment surged
into a defense of Megyn Kelly for asking the question that provoked that
exchange and more of that exchange.

But sadly, I was the only person who I heard – and I hope I wasn`t the
only one who did it. But I was the only one who objected to Donald Trump
saying that Rosie O`Donnell deserved it.

Everyone seemed to let that slide, and it was in a way the most important
thing that he said. He was saying that there are women who deserve to be
compared to animals.

And he presumed that we all agree on that, and his audience certainly
agreed on that. They all clapped for him. And the name that he was
absolutely sure everyone would agree on is Rosie O`Donnell.

And if you didn`t see the problem in that part of his answer about Rosie
O`Donnell deserving it, then I guess you could maybe be a bit surprised by
what happened today.

You could be surprised that Donald Trump decided today that Mika Brzezinski
deserved it. That today was the day Mika Brzezinski deserved it.

Today was the day to talk about her blood. If you objected to his attack
on Megyn Kelly and you never said a word about Rosie O`Donnell, then you
actually inadvertently helped confirm to Donald Trump that there are women
who deserve it.

And so we learned nothing about Donald Trump today when he tweeted, “I
heard poorly-rated “MORNING JOE” speaks badly of me. Don`t watch anymore.

Then how come low IQ, crazy Mika, along with psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago
three nights in a row around new year`s eve and insisted on joining me.

She was bleeding badly from a face lift. I said no.” Here`s a picture of
Mika Brzezinski at Mar-a-Lago at that time. Only Donald Trump could see
her blood because when Donald Trump sees women he hates, that`s what he


asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And you know, could see there
was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.


O`DONNELL: In the poisoned mind of Donald Trump, there`s nothing more
disgusting than blood. Banning grandparents to come to the United States
to see their grandchildren is not more disgusting than blood to Donald

Ripping health care coverage away from 22 million people is not more
disgusting to Donald Trump. Making it impossible for those people without
health insurance to have necessary blood tests is not more disgusting than
blood itself to Donald Trump.

Because Donald Trump is an uneducable child who is unable to cherish blood
as a life-giving force no matter how many lives are saved by blood

Donald Trump is a boastful, self-confessed, sexual assaulter of women. And
when you heard him make that boast to Billy Bush on the “Access Hollywood”
bus, you could hear that he expected full agreement with his boasting about
his right to sexually assault women.

They are his to grab in any way he wants, that`s what you heard him say.
That`s a feeling that comes from hatred of women.

The only women Donald Trump doesn`t hate are the ones who claim to love him
and the ones who claim everything he does is just perfect.


SANDERS: And I think that the president has been attacked mercilessly on
personal accounts by members on that program. And I think he`s been very
clear that when he gets attacked, he`s going to hit back.

I think the American people elected somebody who is tough, who`s smart, and
who`s a fighter. And that`s Donald Trump. And I don`t think that it`s a
surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire.


O`DONNELL: Fights fire with fire. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
But Donald Trump and his spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders; the daughter
of a Christian preacher do not believe in the old testament prescription of
an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.


SANDERS: Again, I`m – I think I`ve been pretty clear that when the
president gets hit, he`s going to hit back harder, which is what he did
here today.


O`DONNELL: Hit back harder. That`s not an eye for an eye, a tooth for a
tooth. The president`s wife seems to believe ten eyes for an eye, ten
teeth for a tooth. Melania Trump`s press secretary put out this statement

“As the first lady has stated publicly, when her husband gets attacked, he
will punch back ten times harder.” Melania Trump has never publicly
claimed to be a biblical scholar.

The Huckabee family does claim biblical authority for virtually everything
they say and do.


SANDERS: When it comes to role models as a person of faith, I think we all
have one perfect role model, and when I`m asked that question, I point to
God, I point to my faith. And that`s where I would tell my kids to look.


O`DONNELL: If she tells her kids to look at what Jesus would say about
Donald Trump`s behavior today, the kids will find what all of us who
studied Jesus Christ`s words found when we were children.

“Turn the other cheek”. “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, then turn
them the other cheek also.” An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

If we kept that up, there would be no eyes, and there would be no teeth,
and none of us would be left standing. And that was Jesus Christ`s most
important rewrite of the old testament concept of revenge.

That we had to get past revenge. Another failure of the news media in the
coverage of this kind of controversy has been the media`s willingness to
completely overlook the extreme immorality in the Donald Trump public rule
that if someone hits you, you hit back harder.

And that`s not just immoral, that`s against the law. There are people in
prison tonight because someone hit them in a bar fight, and they hit back

They hit back so hard that they were accused of assault and battery or in
some cases murder. Even though someone hit them first.

And so from the White House podium today, the official spokesperson
advocated the criminal notion that if someone hits you, you should hit back
harder even though both the law forbids it and her religion forbids it and
Jesus Christ himself taught her that that is wrong.

But it worked. The tweets worked. No one in the White House press
briefing room asked why President Trump thinks family does not include
grandparents or grandchildren or uncles or cousins. It worked.

Joining us now, Wendy Sherman; a former U.S. undersecretary of state for
political affairs and senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group.

She is also an Nbc News and Msnbc global affairs contributor. Also with
us, Annie Karni; White House reporter for “Politico”, and Ana Marie Cox;
host of the podcast, “With Friends like These”.

Ambassador Sherman, I want to begin with the travel ban because the Hawaii
Attorney General has already gone to court fighting this as a violation of
the Supreme Court`s prescription of how to execute the partial ban that the
Supreme Court said could go forward while they were deciding the entire

I`d like to get your reaction to both how the Trump administration decided
to implement it tonight and Hawaii`s challenge.

AFFAIRS: Well, I completely agree with you, Lawrence.

When I heard these rules, I`m a grandparent myself about to spend the 4th
of July with my two little grandsons. And I thought if I could not be part
of their family, I would just give up.

It is just astonishing to me, stepchildren are included, and of course I
would want them to be considered part of family. But so would I want
grandparents and parents.

And quite frankly, the president is about to go off to Poland, to Germany,
to France. His numbers in Europe are as low as George Bush`s were at the
end of eight years.

Donald Trump has gotten there just at the beginning of his presidency. And
quite frankly, his colleagues are going to look upon him and we`ll get to
the tweet in a moment.

I`m sure, but they`re going to look upon him as someone who does not
understand how people need to be kept together and what solidarity is all
about and what family is all about for someone who says he represents
people who need to keep their families together and be able to put food on
their table and send their kids to school.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, your reaction to what the president delivered to the
country today in those tweets and the White House dealing with it.

the disproportionate response is a part of it, and I`m really glad you
messed that up – you brought that up.

The other part of it is how nonsensical it was. You know, he was – he was
the butt of some joking by, you know, the “MORNING JOE” folks, right?

Like there was some like ribbing of him, and he went after Mika when this
incredibly grotesque and personal and like it was a non-sequitur, you know?

And it was – and to his mind, it says so much about him. To his mind,
that is the worst insult you can make about a person and especially a woman
is having to do with her looks and having to do with something about blood.

And I think we might know why Melania spent so much time in New York now,
I`m going to be looking for red tint on the south lawn once a month.

I don`t know if – you know, what kind of, you know, strictures he follows,
if it`s a particular religion or if he`s just grossed out about it.

But I think – I think we knew how he thinks about women. He is as we`ve
observed before, he is like a child in many ways.

And he`s like a little male child in the way that he just thinks girls are
gross, you know? And well, it`s fitting, though, because I think he`s
pretty gross too. So –

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Senator Susan Collins said about this


COLLINS: The president`s tweet was completely inappropriate, and I think
he needs to better appreciate the roles played by the three branches of
government and by the media.

And we`re not going to agree, we`re not always going to get along, but
there`s no need for such uncivil language.


O`DONNELL: Annie Karni, on a day when the White House is theoretically
hoping to get Susan Collins to join the health care bill, what she`s on
television talking about is the president`s latest hateful tweet.

a lot of Republicans and Trump supporters expressing concern about what
this would mean for some of the female undecided senators if it puts them
in a tougher position to support this health care bill, I think that`s
jumping a little too far.

I think these senators will make their decisions based on the merits of the
health care bill. I don`t see why their reaction, their personal disgust
that the tweet would affect their vote.

But I do think to add to Ana Marie`s point, I think another thing we saw
today was not only your point about ten eyes for an eye, but this is a
president targeting a talk show host.

I think it shows that maybe Trump doesn`t completely understand the
position he is now in. He is not a Manhattan real estate guy mixing it up
on Twitter. He`s not a candidate anymore.

This is the president of the United States, when we – when the American
people elected a fighter, I think they thought he would be targeting, you
know, the leader of North Korea, not a morning show host.

And it also brought back – you know, you played in your intro the Megyn
Kelly comment from the debate. The “Access Hollywood”, it brings back the
worst moments of his campaign.

The reasons why Hillary Clinton won 54 percent of the female vote, and
those aren`t helpful for him overall, but I`m not sure that it will have a
direct impact on the health care vote.

O`DONNELL: Ambassador Sherman, your reaction to this as someone who has
worked in the White House in terms of going in there for meetings with the
president in serious situations when you`re pouring over carefully every
word the president is going to have to say about something crucially

To see something like this flying out of the White House to start the day
in the White House?

SHERMAN: Well, it`s astonishing. And I think one of the things we`re all
missing here is he`s the commander-in-chief, and we know that we`ve had
issues as women have been integrated into the military around sexual
harassment and sexual violence.

We`ve seen and so as commander-in-chief, he sets the role model, he sets
the tone. He sets what behavior is appropriate for those young men and
young women who are working together to protect our country.

Likewise, he is about, as I said, to go off to all of these foreign
leaders, he has to claim the dignity of the presidency of the United

That is us. This is who we are. And, you know, to mention another
network, “Fox News” ultimately got rid of some of its greatest stars over
sexual harassment.

They understood that their viewership would not put up with such an
approach to the dignity of life and to the dignity of the presidency of the
United States.

That`s not who we are as a people, and when the president of the United
States goes to meet in Poland, in Germany, in France, and France on
Bastille Day to celebrate the 100th anniversary of when American troops
came on board to help out in World War I, he represents all of us.

And I certainly hope he claims the dignity of the United States. Someone
quipped to me today, and I thought it was absolutely true. If he can`t
take the heat, he should get off of the golf course.

O`DONNELL: Ana, we know one thing about this. It`s going to happen again.
We will be here having this kind of conversation again about some other
woman or possibly Mika again or Megyn Kelly again or we don`t.

But we know we`re going to be back to this subject.

COX: You know, I wish that that wasn`t the case. I wish we just had a
macro for this. Can we just tape one segment maybe and just play it over
and over and over because there are more important things to talk about.

This healthcare bill, this abomination of a healthcare bill on this, so it
might pass. And this is also, I should say, a national security issue like
the ambassador pointed out, that he keeps doing this.

He`s showing such a short temper and showing such extreme reactions to such
minor, trivial problems. This is something that foreign powers can look at
and can try to manipulate as he goes off, gets off the golf course every
once in a while to go overseas.

You know, I`m not one of those people who say we shouldn`t pay any
attention at all to his tweets because they`re presidential statements, and
we should pay attention to what the president says.

I do think this, however, is more of an indication of the kind of – it`s
an indication of how he thinks, to the degree he thinks at all, and I guess
it`s important then.

And it`s important also in the way that it binds us together when we
protest it. I feel each time he does this, I feel a little bit more
solidarity with all the other women out there who have known men like this
in their life and our resistance to him is where we will find the strength
to carry on.

So, you know, go for it, Donald. You know, your vulgarity will only make
us stronger.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox, Annie Karni, thank you both for joining us
tonight. Ambassador Sherman, please stay with us. Coming up, the Senate
adjourned a day early. They just quit. They gave up.

No deal on a health care bill. Remember Mitch McConnell saying, you know,
maybe Friday? That doesn`t mean it is dead, but boy, it`s in trouble.

And later, Jared Kushner`s war, it`s now an open war with Secretary of
State Rex Tillerson. And Rex Tillerson, I`m not sure how much of this he
can take.


O`DONNELL: Today, Mitch McConnell stopped pretending that there was
anything left to negotiate this week in the Senate health care bill.

The situation was so hopeless that he simply recessed the Senate and let
all the senators fly off to their home states. This came after leaked
reports yesterday that sounded false at the time and have been proven false
today, that Senator McConnell might have another version of his bill ready
by tomorrow, Friday.

Earlier today, Msnbc`s Kasie Hunt asked Mitch McConnell how the
negotiations were going and how it looked for tomorrow.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. leader, are you going to get to 50 votes on
health care by tomorrow?


Is that a no?


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Neera Tanden; President of the Center for
American Progress, she was one of the designers of the Affordable Care Act.

And with us, Jennifer Haberkorn; senior health care reporter for
“Politico”. Neera, it felt to me as I was watching the Senate that Mitch
McConnell didn`t have any moves left this week, and it turns out before
sunset tonight, he made it official. Just gave up.

counted Mitch McConnell out, and I think – you know, it is relatively
complicated to do a health care bill, hard to put pieces together in 24, 48
hours when it sort of blows up.

But I think one thing that we have to learn from what happened with the
House is that it seems to peter out. He does have the ability to pull this
up at any time.

So he could sort of say he`s putting it aside, and then two weeks from now,
bring it up and just push it – put it on the floor, and we need –
Democrats have no ability to stop him.

So I really think it`s important that, you know, people who are concerned
about this bill, and we get more bad news tonight.

You know, over 20 years, this would be a 30 percent, 35 percent cut to the
Medicaid program. And so i think it`s really incumbent upon us not to –
you know, not to sort of be lulled into silence.

That during the next ten days, Republican senators have to hear from their
constituents that this bill is a disaster. Even, you know, a few billion
here, a few billion there for opioids or other issues are not going to
really change the fact that this is a gutting of health care for millions
of Americans.

O`DONNELL: Jennifer, the input from constituents that Neera is talking
about is exactly what Senate leadership fears in these kind of situations.

And it`s exactly why traditionally they schedule these big votes before a
recess, because they don`t want to deal with the senators who come back
from that recess having heard all of the complaints about the controversial

That`s why Mitch McConnell always picked this week to get it done. So he
knows he`s only going to have more difficult people to deal with when they
come back from the recess.

recess will never make this easier. It will just –

O`DONNELL: Right –

HABERKORN: Make it harder.


HABERKORN: Because lawmakers are at home. And you know, Democratic
activists have said go to their 4th of July parades, go to their barbecues
and tell them you don`t want this repealed.

Like Neera was saying. And you know, lawmakers are going to come back, and
then we have a whole month before the next recess.

McConnell and Republican leaders want to vote right after that 4th of July
break. But realistically, you know, there`s not going to be a vote for
several weeks because lawmakers, you know, particularly the ones who are on
the fence on this bill, know they have some leverage.

They know they have some time. And they are not going to, you know, give
up their vote easily because they know they have that time.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Senator Susan Collins said about the bill


COLLINS: The only change that I expect will be in the bill is $45 billion
to help treat people with an opioid or heroin addiction.

That obviously is an improvement in the earlier draft, but it doesn`t go
nearly far enough. Now, there may be a host of other changes, we really
don`t know at this point.

No draft has been handed out, no outline has been provided to us.


O`DONNELL: So Neera, there`s Susan Collins saying she hasn`t even heard of
anything that Mitch McConnell might be considering that could get her vote.

TANDEN: Yes, so I think that the reality of this bill is that Republicans
have not just repealed the Affordable Care Act or changed the Affordable
Care Act.

They have also fundamentally altered and you know, really tried to end the
entitlement of the Medicaid program. And so that`s the real challenge for
these states in which the Medicaid program has really provided health care
for large parts of the population.

This bill actually goes after a lot of the people who voted for Donald
Trump, people who live in rural communities, use Medicaid, rural hospitals
are really hit hard by this bill.

And it`s hard to undo that with a few billion dollars here and a few
billion dollars there. And I give credit to Senator Collins for
recognizing that.

Senator Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Alaska gets really hit by this. And
again, they are going to do 50 billion here or 50 billion there, but this
is a bill – this is a bill that takes hundreds of billions of dollars out
of the Medicaid program, so far to pass a tax cut for the very wealthy.

Some people want to address that challenge, and kind of deal with –

here or 50 billion there, but this is a bill that takes hundreds of
billions of dollars out of the Medicaid program. So far to pass a tax cut
for the very wealthy. Some people want to address that challenge so to kind
of deal with some of these tax cuts.

But they still – they really just can`t make up the amount of money to not
make this a giant transfer of wealth from low-income people to high-income
people or reverse Robin Hood. And that`s a real challenge not for the
senators but for the American people, who approve of this bill by 12
percent or 16 percent. You know, most of America is rejecting this bill
because it`s not a health care bill. It`s a transfer of wealth from people
who need it the most to people who need it the least.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: But, Jennifer, the way health care
consumers are going to evaluate it is what does it do to my healthcare.

republicans want to frame this as can we reduce premiums? And of course
there`s ways to do that and, you know, Senator Ted Cruz in particular has
made it his mission in this process to reduce premiums. But a lot of
democratic supporters of the ACA say it`s easy to reduce premiums.

You can do that, but you might not have great insurance with a low-cost
premium. So there are republicans who are trying to balance that out. You
know, Neera kind of mentioned that one of the things they want to do is
keep Obamacare`s tax on high-income earners. So one of the things kind of
floating around as part of this new draft that Mitch McConnell is working
on, and they would take some of that money and apply it to lower income
people, who under this original draft of the senate bill would see their
health care costs go up tremendously.

So you would have this situation, you know, which quite honestly does not
look good politically, impose high taxes and at the same time give low-
income people a lot of new health care costs.

O`DONNELL: Yes, the easiest way to reduce premiums in any form of
insurance, whether it`s homeowners insurance or car insurance, anything, is
just reduce – just raise the deductible. Just make the deductible much,
much higher.


O`DONNELL: You can get the premium down as low as you want, but the actual
cost of interactions with the health care system will end up being much,
much higher under those kinds of systems. Neera Tanden and Jennifer
Haberkorn thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

TANDEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Up next, how much more of Jared Kushner can Rex
Tillerson take?


O`DONNELL: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is mad as hell, and he can`t
take Jared Kushner anymore. A close associate of Rex Tillerson told the
American conservative, quote, Rex put two and two together and concluded
that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of
the White House family quarters. Politico is reporting that Rex Tillerson
blew up in a meeting with Jared Kushner and Reince Priebus, and other White
House officials last Friday.

Quote, the normally laconic Texan unloaded on Johnny DeStefano know, the
head of the presidential personnel office for torpedoing proposed nominees
to senior state department posts and for questioning his judgment.
Tillerson also complained that the White House was leaking damaging
information about him to the news media according to a person familiar with
the meeting.

Above all, he made clear that he did not want DeStefano`s office to have
any role in staffing and expressed frustration that anybody would know
better than he about who should work in his department. The episode
reportedly stunned White House officials with Jared Kushner telling
Tillerson`s Chief of Staff that it was completely unprofessional.

Here`s Rex Tillerson today.


REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, are you satisfied with the pace of staffing
positions in the state department?

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: No. I`d like it to go faster. Thank

O`DONNELL: A close associate of Rex Tillerson told the American
conservative Rex is just exhausted. He can`t get any of his appointments
approved and is running around the world cleaning up after a president
whose primary foreign policy adviser is a 36-year-old amateur. Back with us
now, Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Ambassador Sherman, there are reports from
inside your old department of people going back and visiting who worked
there in the past, and they see the furniture out in the hallways, empty
offices, nothing happening, phones ringing with no people there to answer
them, reports of foreign ambassadors saying they can`t make contact with
the state department, so they`re going straight to the national security

What`s your sense of what`s happening between Rex Tillerson and the State
Department and what is apparently the freelancing of Jared Kushner in the
White House?

think the freelancing of Jared Kushner should come as a surprise to anyone
since the president anointed him as the Middle East envoy and the head of
almost everything else. At the same time, Secretary Tillerson, I believe,
made some mistakes at the beginning by saying he wasn`t going to appoint
anyone until he decided on a major reorganization.

That telegraphed to people that he had accepted the president`s desire for
a 31 percent budget cut, that he wanted a hiring freeze and for him to
reduce the force. He announced that there wouldn`t be any incoming foreign
service officers for the next two years. So I understand Secretary
Tillerson`s frustration with the White House, but I also understand the
people inside the State Department`s frustration with Secretary Tillerson.

In addition, Lawrence, he`s about to go off to a meeting with Vladimir
Putin. He`s having a meeting tomorrow with Moon Jae-In. He`s going to be
meeting with Angela Merkel. All of these leaders, all of the policies
around this take a team, and we don`t have anybody in place. There is no
ambassador in Poland. There is no ambassador in Germany. There is no
ambassador in France.

O`DONNELL: There`s a controversy also between Jared Kushner and Rex
Tillerson about Qatar and the president accusing Qatar of basically being a
terrorist oriented government. Tillerson trying to make peace there and
Tillerson believes that it was a foreign ambassador that actually wrote
words that the president spoke about Qatar.

SHERMAN: Well, indeed we know that there are some ambassadors who have a
very strong relationship with Jared Kushner. That`s been reported in the
newspapers and that he listens very carefully to them. We know that
Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Mattis tried to settle down and work with
the Kuwaitis for rapprochement between Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and

At the same time that the President of the United States was declaring that
he stirred on the side of Saudi Arabia now, there are no completely clean
hands in this mess, which is what it is. But without a doubt, we do not
need further conflict in the Middle East, and this should be sorted out,
and it should be sorted out by a strong Secretary of State and a strong
Department of State.

O`DONNELL: Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thank you very much for joining us

SHERMAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Frank Rich has written the definitive piece on how a
presidency ends, comparing the investigation of Richard Nixon to the
investigation of Donald Trump. And Frank Rich shows that the Trump
presidency is running right on schedule. Not the four-year schedule. The
Nixon schedule. Frank Rich will join us.


O`DONNELL: Today the House Intelligence Committee indicated that it`s not
satisfied with President Trump`s statement about not possessing any
recordings of his conversations with James Comey.


our questions. It was a tweet essentially from the president memorialized
in a letter that basically said that the president wasn`t aware of tapes,
didn`t have possession of tapes. That didn`t answer the broader question of
whether the white house was aware of any recordings.


O`DONNELL: The House Intelligence committee sent a letter to the White
House that it, quote, will consider using compulsory process. That was
their phrase, compulsory process, to obtain full answers about any possible
recordings of the president`s conversations with James Comey. That may mean
issuing subpoenas for any such recordings to the Whitehouse.

It was also reported today that the house intelligence committee wants to
interview Donald Trump`s personal bodyguard turned Whitehouse aide, Keith
Schiller, who the President had deliver – gave him the job of delivering
to James Comey the letter informing the FBI Director that the President had
fired him. Frank rich has written an important new cover story for New York
Magazine entitled “how a presidency ends.”

Frank Rich compares the pace of the special prosecutor`s investigation of
Richard Nixon to the special prosecutor`s investigation of Donald Trump,
and he reminds us how long it took for the investigation of a bungled
burglary at the Watergate office complex to turn into the Watergate
investigation, which ultimately led to the end of the Nixon presidency.
Frank Rich`s advice to people hoping to see the trump presidency end the
same way as the Nixon presidency is simply,


O`DONNELL: Let others wallow in Watergate. We are going to do our job.
That is what President Nixon said to in July 1973. And 13 months later this
and 13 months later this happened.


RICHARD NIXON, 37TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I shall resign the presidency
effective at noon tomorrow.


O`DONNELL: What schedule is the Trump Presidency on? Is it on the four-
year schedule or the Nixon schedule? Joining us now, Frank Rich, writer at
large for New York Magazine. He`s also executive producer of HBO`s of VP,
is the writer of the New York cover story how the presidency ends. Frank,
I love this because –


O`DONNELL: Those of us of a certain age who believe we remember have
forgotten so much of the texture of how long different things took, the
rhythms, when it felt like nothing was happening. When it suddenly felt
like a lot was happening. And it`s all here.

RICH: Thanks. you know, I think one reason why misremember the movie Of
All the President Men. When William Bernstein break the story then towards
the end you have that montage of all the resignations and events happening.
And it seems like it happened in a snap process . That quote that you read
of Nixons, July of `73. By then there had been two months of the legendary
Senate Watergate Gate hearings, what did you know when did you hear it? Sam
Ervin Hearings.

John Mitchell the Attorney General had been indicted. There had been one
scandal after another. And yet even then there was no sign Nixon was
leaving office. He had only 22 percent for the Gallup Poll that he should
get out. So it was another 13 months of further events. So we`re – we`re
around July of `73 now.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.

RICH: Let`s see what happens over the 13 months between now and late next

O`DONNELL: You rely as anyone must on Elizabeth Drew who wrote the
Washington Journal. It was her collected dispatches of the whole Watergate
investigation. And wonderful quotes from Liz Drew`s work here.

And she is describing what the news cycle was like. You quote her saying
the news is coming too fast, faster and harder than anyone expected. It`s
almost impossible to absorb. And she goes on about Spiro Agnew the Vice
President having to plead on charges of bribery and tax fraud. And she says
end it`s by saying at the end of the day someone says it`s like someone
being drunk. And I read that, yes, that`s what it feels like now.

RICH: That`s what it feels that now. And it feels like now in the day of
internet. But it felt like that in the day of evening papers and evening
news. And with that comes certain impatience. We feel that, you know,
Watergate can be built in the day if Trump deserves to be removed from
office or to be driven from office which is what happened with Nixon is it
should happen tomorrow or yesterday but doesn`t work that way.

One reason it doesn`t work that way is because the Republicans. We have in
fantasy now that Republicans back then were so much – the establishment so
much more noble than Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. no there were uses too.
They criticized Nixon very gently. They talked off the record not for
attribution to journalists. . But they didn`t get with the program until it
was almost too late. And Nixon was going to go anyway.

O`DONNELL: Yes. You had smoking guns. You also point out let`s remember
Nixon`s support was actually bipartisan because in those days we had
Democratic Senators from places like Mississippi and Alabama. And they were
staunch Nixon supporters.

RICH: Exactly. Right now people say well there is a republican congress
that will protect trump or there is a Democratic Congress that could have
taken out Nixon. But that`s just apples and oranges because actually the
votes supporting Nixon included a lot of Democrats, Southern Conservative
Democrats who would later migrate to the Republican Party but had not yet

O`DONNELL: So this is one of the things that surprised me and makes
perfect sense when you read it here. You actually make the case that the
party dynamics aren`t that different from what they were for Nixon where we
have been saying gee these Republicans are so weak compared to Barry
Goldwater and those guys who told Nixon he had to leave. But they only
told Nixon he had to leave when they heard the smoking gun tape.

RICH: And literally when there was a statement of resignation written by
Ray Price, a statement resignation on Nixon`s desk. And it was political
theater when Barry Goldwater and the party leaders went to Whitehouse and
said it`s time for you to go. He was packing his bags

O`DONNELL: And there was talk. There public speculation about resignation
already in the media.

RICH: There was and even sew he was such a quixotic personality as the way
Trump is that the family was pushing him to stay. There was, you know,
they thought he could turn on a dime and change. But in the end he
realized he wouldn`t win a trial in the senate. He never was impeached.
People forget that too.\


RICH: He left.

O`DONNELL: He got out before the vote. You make a point that Nixon is
smarter than Trump and much less self destructive publicly.

RICH: Right. I mean one thing Nixon is was a lawyer. He was a crafty
lawyer. He used to lecture the staff the cover-up would be worse than the
crime because had hounded Alger Hiss during the UAC Committees to get him
out a Soviet Spy – accusing him of being a Soviet Spy.

He badgered Alger Hiss he never got that conviction but Hiss was convicted
of the cover-up, the perjury. He knew that. Trump doesn`t even know the
rule of law he is violating.

O`DONNELL: Anyone who is telling you that impeachment is impossible or
resignation is impossible or Trump will hang in there and last forger you
have got to read Frank Rich`s cover story how a presidency ends. It is
really a stunning parallel to Watergate. Frank, thank you very much.

RICH: Thank You.

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.


O`DONNELL: Policy Wong Steven Colbert watched closely what was happening
in Washington on the Senate Health Care Bill. And he summed it up this way.


STEPHEN COLBERT, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: They`ve suffered some setbacks this
week because there is one major flaw to the legislation. And I don`t want
to get to wonky. But it`s a hot pile of garbage.


O`DONNELL: Steven Colbert gets tonight`s Last Word. The 11th hour with
Brian Williams is next.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, 11TH HOUR ANCHOR: Tonight the backlash after the President
unleashes a hit jobs on the brains and physical appearance of an anchor on
this network as the Whitehouse defends the boss many of the President
fellow Republicans are saying –


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