The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell 8/17/17 The Russia investigation & connections
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: August 17, 2017
Guest: Bill D. Moyers, Stephen Harper, Jennifer Rubin
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Programming note. There have been a few Fridays
this Summer when I have not been here and we have shown other stuff at this
hour on a Friday night.
Tomorrow is not one of those Fridays. I will be here with bells on
tomorrow night, so I will see you then. Now, though, it is time for THE
LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening, Rachel, I am very
proud to announce that I have Bill Moyers joining us tonight.
We`ve been trying to get him for a long time. And as you know, on his
website, he has a timeline of the Russia investigation that is invaluable
with 400 data points, built the way prosecutors build their timelines.
MADDOW: I was looking at that today, and the amazing thing about it is
that they don`t just lay everything out linearly.
If you`re curious about where one person appears in the story and who else
they`re connected to, you can sort the entire timeline by individual
characters in the drama.
It`s the most useful thing that I have ever seen anybody lay out online
about the whole story.
O`DONNELL: And you know what it is? It`s a great homework device –
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: For Rachel Maddow viewers so that they can stay right up to
speed with where we are right now.
MADDOW: It also helps you cheat on the test because that`s where the
teacher is learning stuff too.
O`DONNELL: That`s exactly right, thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, on this 210th day of the Trump presidency, no one in the
United States and possibly no one in the world was surprised when the
president`s response to an apparent terrorist attack in Barcelona was to
The president is not presidential enough to step up to a microphone and say
something articulate and supportive to and about the people of Spain and
Barcelona, and so the president did what any child could do, he tweeted.
Twitter is the least dignified form of presidential communication, and it
is therefore this president`s favorite form of communication.
Nothing says, I don`t really care about you enough to actually interrupt my
vacation more clearly than a tweet.
The president`s first tweet was the laziest possible string of words an
American president could ever come up with in reaction to such an event.
He said, “the United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain,
and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough and strong. We love
His next tweet was a pathological lie. It was a lie he has been caught
telling before. He was told publicly that it was a lie the first time he
told this lie.
But because his lying is pathological, because it cannot be controlled, he
had the urge to tell this lie again today and so he did, and no one could
“Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when
caught. There was no more radical Islamic terror for 35 years.”
Number one, General Pershing was never in a war with Islamic terrorism. He
was in a war in the Philippines where some of the people he was fighting
against were Muslim.
Most soldiers in every 20th century war have been members of a religion.
Most of the wars that they fought in had nothing to do with their
Here is Donald Trump in the full grip of his pathology, during the
presidential campaign, telling his big lie about General Pershing.
The lie that he knows is a lie but that has – but that his pathology
demands that he tell. Now, as you watch him, as you watch him telling this
lie during the campaign, you can see that he has no control over himself,
that this lie has control over Donald Trump.
The lie controls him. He doesn`t control the lies. That is the sickness
that you`re watching. That is the pathological condition that Donald Trump
suffers from every day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And he caught 50 terrorists
who did tremendous damage and killed many people.
And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men, and he dipped 50 bullets
in pig`s blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50
people, and they shot 49 of those people.
And the 50th person, he said, you go back to your people, and you tell them
what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn`t a problem, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: General Kelly, the new White House Chief of Staff knows that
every word of that is a lie, but that new White House Chief of Staff could
not stop the president of the United States from tweeting about that today.
General Pershing never did anything with pig`s blood. The idea that the
only thing you would have to do to stop Muslim combatants in their tracks
is expose them to pig`s blood is the kind of infantile idea that takes up
the space in Donald Trump`s brain where facts are supposed to live.
General Pershing was fighting against people in the Philippines who did not
want the United States to rule the Philippines, and they were willing to
die in that fight against the United States.
Only the childish mind of Donald Trump could believe that those fighters
who were willing to die for what they believed in could have been stopped
by pig`s blood.
We know Donald Trump is susceptible to lies like that that swirl around the
internet. His weakness of mind leaves him open to that.
It is identical to the weakness of mind that leaves people open to Nazi
lies on the internet and white supremacist lies on the internet.
Thirteen people were killed in that attack today in Barcelona when a van
ran over people. Tonight, Spanish authorities report that four suspects
were killed in a raid, and one suspect was injured.
Earlier today, two suspects were arrested. And so the president of the
United States` advice to Spain, his official presidential advice to Spain
today, was to use pig`s blood on the suspects who have been apprehended by
the authorities in Spain, and that will stop all terrorist attacks in Spain
for 25 years.
That is what came out of the sick mind of the president of the United
States today. The world knows that we have a very sick man in the American
It is impossible to hide that, the world knows it. Most people in America
know it and most Republicans don`t admit it.
And because Republicans control the House and the Senate, we all know that
only Republicans have the power to take the steps necessary to limit and
control this president and, if necessary, remove him.
And they have already done some of that limiting and controlling. Mitch
McConnell made sure that this president would not be allowed to do any
recess appointments during the Senate`s August recess.
The House and Senate have passed a sanctions bill that they forced the
president to sign that limits the president`s ability to remove sanctions
The Republican Senate refused to pass the health care bill that Donald
Trump supported no matter what Donald Trump said about it.
And no matter what he said about the Republican senators who opposed that
bill. Republican Senator Jeff Flake has not just said that his party`s
embrace of Trumpism was a mistake, he has written a book about it.
And today the Republican Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN), CHAIRMAN, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: The
president has not yet – has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability
nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be
And we need for him to be successful. Our nation needs for him to be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Forget about the last line there about we need the president to
be successful. That`s just something that politicians like Senator Corker
say so that the Trump voters won`t think he`s attacking the president too
There was no Republican senator who thought that they needed Barack Obama
to be successful in the presidency. They never said that.
This country doesn`t need Donald Trump to be successful in the presidency.
This country needs Donald Trump to be contained in the presidency, to be
restricted in the presidency.
That is what the sanctions bill did, and that is what Mitch McConnell did
when he made sure that he left the Senate technically in session during the
August recess so there could be no recess appointments by the president,
who the Republican majority leader clearly does not trust or respect.
And why should he? He is the only Republican majority leader who has been
attacked by a new Republican president in that president`s first six
The important thing that Senator Corker said today is that this president
does not have the stability to be president.
Senator Corker said it in the most polite way he possibly could, but he
edged the Republican Party one tiny step closer to the 25th Amendment,
which provides for the removal of an unstable president.
The hardest thing about working in government in Washington is how much
patience it takes. It took 45 years of patience to significantly expand
government subsidized health insurance beyond Medicare and Medicaid, and it
takes just a huge amount of patience to wait and wait for the political
party in power in Congress to recognize what`s wrong with the president who
is in that same political party.
That takes so much patience. And so what Senator Corker said today is a
breakthrough. It is a major breakthrough.
Donald Trump doesn`t have the stability or the competence to be president.
Senator Corker said that seven months into the Trump presidency.
He could have easily said it seven months into the Trump presidential
campaign or seven weeks into that campaign or seven days into the Trump
He could have said it seven minutes into the Trump presidential campaign.
Here`s Donald Trump in minute two of his campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they`re not sending their best.
They`re not sending you. They`re not sending you.
They`re sending people that have lots of problems, and they`re bringing
those problems with us. They`re bringing drugs.
They`re bringing crime. They`re rapists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Corker voted for Donald Trump for president. He voted
for a man who he now admits does not have the stability or the competence
to be president.
If you are waiting to hear Bob Corker say that about the president`s
stability, if you were waiting for that, you need an awful lot of patience
to get to this point where a supposedly reasonable man like Bob Corker
finally stated the obvious.
And the only reason it took this long is that Bob Corker is a Republican.
That`s the only thing that held him back from telling the truth about
Republican Donald Trump`s instability and incompetence.
When Republican senators take a step like this, it may be that the best
thing to do, the most encouraging thing to do is to just praise them for
speaking the truth and encourage them to continue to tell the truth about
But some of us always have to wonder would we be here tonight? Would Donald
Trump be president if otherwise reasonable people like Bob Corker had not
enabled the Trump candidacy, the Trump nomination?
Would we be here tonight if Republicans like Senator Bob Corker had not
allowed their party`s apparatus to deliver Donald Trump to the White House?
Politically, the smartest thing for Democrats to do when Bob Corker says
something like this is to just privately thank him for speaking his mind
and encourage him to continue to do so and never, ever remind him that he
was part of the party that allowed this to happen to this country and to
Senator Corker is a southern Republican senator from Tennessee who is
troubled by Donald Trump`s reaction to the murder of Heather Heyer in
Charlottesville that was encouraged by a white supremacists mob.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORKER: He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the
character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what
has made this nation great and what it is today.
And he`s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who
understands that. And without the things that I just mentioned happening,
our nation is going to go through a great peril.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Corker is a wise master of diplomatic language. He
chooses his words more carefully than Donald Trump would ever be able to
He just assigned to the president of the United States great peril. This
presidency is a great peril to the United States, and at least one
Republican senator is now willing to say that publicly.
And that is a very important moment in the timeline of the Trump
presidency. We got here because Donald Trump told the truth.
We got here because Donald Trump spoke from his poisoned heart and told the
world that he really does think that Nazi white supremacists and people
protesting Nazi white supremacists are equally to blame for everything that
happened in Charlottesville.
When Donald Trump lies, as he does every day about pig`s blood or whatever
he`s lying about that day, he humiliates himself.
He humiliates his family, he humiliates everyone working in his White House
and in his administration.
And when he tells the truth, he does even more damage to himself and his
presidency because the more Donald Trump reveals about the truth of who he
really is and what he really thinks, the more Republicans like Senator Bob
Corker just can`t stand him.
And so we`re now at the point where every time Donald Trump opens his
mouth, he moves one step closer to his own destruction either by lying or
telling the truth about what he really thinks.
Joining us now, John Heilemann; national affairs analyst for Nbc News and
Msnbc, and Ayesha Rascoe; White House correspondent for “Reuters”.
And John, Bob Corker we all know considered one of the real reasonable men
of the Senate especially on the Republican side.
As reasonable comment delivered as you get. This was in Senate terms, in
Washington political terms, a very big turn for Bob Corker.
JOHN HEILEMANN, NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, NBC NEWS: Certainly true,
Lawrence. And you know, Bob Corker is someone who spent time with Donald
Trump in 2016.
There was some talk about the possibility of Bob Corker ending up in the
Trump administration in a cabinet position.
People floated his idea, hailed his name as a potential Secretary of State
for Donald Trump. They were chummy, they appeared together in Tennessee
and other places.
And now he`s saying these things which, by the older standards of the
Senate as you know well, the kinds of things that no senator would say
about a sitting president of his own party except in very extreme
It`s worth noting, not to take anything away from Senator Corker, but just
to note the political reality.
Senator Corker is up for re-election in 2018. There`s talk that he may run
for the governorship of Tennessee rather than seek re-election although I
believe he has filed his papers to seek re-election in 2018.
So he is one of those Republican senators whose political future is to some
extent – immediate political future is to some extent tied up with Donald
And I don`t mean to say that he`s making crude political calculations, but
these are the kinds of senators, not just the moderate, cautious ones,
temperate ones, who we want to pay attention to.
But we want to look at those who are going to be on the ballot in this
midterm election. This is where we`re going to see the ice break and
Senator Corker`s words today I think are an important sign that the ice,
which has already started to break, is breaking in more dramatic ways every
O`DONNELL: Ayesha, people have been asking me all year when are
Republicans going to start moving away from him?
And I`ve always – I always use the same word every time. You have to be
patient, you have to be patient, you have to be patient.
Time moves much more slowly for them than it does for the spectators out
there who are watching this.
And Senator Corker was – as John mentioned, one of the people considered
for Secretary of State.
He took himself – he`s one of the people who took himself out of
consideration for that before the president could make any kind of decision
He is the one who looked at this and said, I don`t want to be a part of
AYESHA RASCOE, REUTERS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, but he has
been – Senator Corker has been, for the most part, very supportive of the
He has criticized him in the past, and even now he`s saying – he`s still
kind of leaving out this door, maybe they can make some radical changes.
It`s time for self-reflection. But as you said with President Trump, it
doesn`t seem that he`s the type of person that does a lot of self-
reflection, and it`s not clear what changes could be made.
They brought in General Kelly, they thought that he was going to bring in
discipline. But it seems like all of the people who are supposed to be
moderating forces on President Trump have been unsuccessful.
There was an idea that Ivanka, Jared, Melania, they all – that they would
be moderating forces, none of that has happened.
President Trump has continued to be – to do what he wants and to say what
he wants, and it seems like that`s what Senator Corker was trying to say
today. What he`s trying to come to terms with.
O`DONNELL: And of course, President Trump attacked Lindsey Graham again
today. He doesn`t seem to understand that these are the votes he needs for
anything he actually wants to pass through Congress.
He didn`t like what Lindsey Graham said about his comments on
Charlottesville, so the president tweeted, “publicity-seeking Lindsey
Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the
KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and people like Miss Heyer.
Such a disgusting lie. He just can`t forget his election trouncing. The
people of South Carolina will remember Lindsey Graham, of course, showed
the president how to conduct a dialogue in Twitter if you`re a United
States senator or president.”
He said, “Mr. President, like most I seek to move our nation, my state, and
our party forward toward the light, not back to the darkness.
For the sake of our nation, as our president, please fix this. History is
watching us all.”
And John, it`s hard to imagine this toothpaste getting back in the tube.
These senators – someone like Lindsey Graham is making such a separation
now from Donald Trump.
HEILEMANN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: But on legislative agendas, he`s still absolutely on board with
the Trump agenda, which is fundamentally a classic Republican agenda.
HEILEMANN: Well, it`s hard to know at this point, Lawrence, what the trump
agenda is because though, as far as anybody can tell, the White House is
not doing very much on the legislative front.
There`s still obviously some talk about tax reform. I think that for
Republicans in the Senate, they are increasingly – they want to get tax
reform done because that`s not part of the Trump agenda, that`s been part
of their agenda for a long time.
They want to get corporate tax reform done. They`ve wanted that for years
and decades to try to get that work done.
And look, those people like Bob Corker and others who are up for re-
election in 2018, they need to have something to run on regardless of
whether – what the fate of Donald Trump is, whether he ends up still being
president at the end of 2018 or whether he`s had – met some other fate.
But the – apart from that, apart from the question of tax reform, which is
not really tax reform anymore, no one really thinks there`s going to be tax
reform, there might just be a tax cut.
Apart from that, it`s – I don`t think anyone in the Republican Party could
tell you what the Trump agenda is at this point because literally nothing
O`DONNELL: I want to listen to another southern Republican senator,
Richard Burr, North Carolina, speaking about how the president has handled
the Charlottesville situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: This was a horrific act. It`s
domestic terrorism. The United States shouldn`t put up with white
supremacists or any group that – sole intent is to have a conflict and to
produce harm on anybody.
I think the president`s misguided in his last statements. I think that the
commander-in-chief should be very specific about our way forward, not
embracing what they did or who did it at all.
So I disagree with him on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ayesha, any other senators saying the president is misguided
would have been tweet-bombed by the president.
But this is the senator who is overseeing the Senate Intelligence Committee
investigation of President Trump and his campaign.
RASCOE: Yes, so he is – I think that President Trump has been a bit more
cautious with some members of Congress.
But he hasn`t been very cautious about going against others. I mean,
Lindsey Graham going against Jeff Flake, people like that, these are people
who could – who sit on the Judiciary Committee, so they could have a very
big impact if impeachment proceedings ever come up.
So right now, I think Trump has held – or President Trump has held his
fire on Burr, but he could get very upset, and he hasn`t shown really this
idea of kind of self-preservation to even try to be nice to the Republicans
in Congress who hold his fate.
He seems to lash out at anyone who really questions him. I think right now
what you`re seeing in the way that these Republicans are coming at him is
that this could be a turning point.
This could be a point where people are actually saying, look, he`s gone too
far. We`ve seen this before, and usually the Republicans come back to him
or say that, you know, he made a mistake but we`ll move ahead because we
have these other agenda items.
But this could be a point where people are really trying to separate
O`DONNELL: Ayesha Rascoe and John Heilemann, thank you both for joining us
tonight, really appreciate it.
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
RASCOE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Bill Moyers is a southerner who worked for a
southern president and has a few things to say about Donald Trump`s
reaction to what happened in Charlottesville.
And the special prosecutor`s investigation of possible Russian collusion
with the Donald Trump campaign. Bill Moyers will join us for an exclusive
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now
lose his status? Are we going to take down – excuse me? Are we going to
take down – are we going to take down statues to George – how about
What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? Do you like him? OK, good. Are we
going to take down the statue because he was a major slave owner.
Now are we going to take down his statue? So you know what? It`s fine.
You`re changing history, you`re changing culture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: This morning President Trump tweeted, “sad to see the history
and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our
beautiful statues and monuments.
You can`t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E. Lee,
Stonewall Jackson, who`s next? Washington, Jefferson, so foolish.
Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns, and parks
will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced.”
Of course, every confederate statue could be replaced by a statue to a
soldier or a distinguished general who actually fought in battle for the
United States of America instead of against the United States of America.
There are hundreds of war heroes on the union side of the civil war or
World War II who have never been recognized with statues in the United
Veteran journalist Bill Moyers is a son of the south. He was born in
Oklahoma, he grew up in Marshall, Texas.
He later worked in politics and government, serving both in the Kennedy and
He was a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson. When the president
signed the Civil Rights Act in July of 1964, on the day Donald Trump was
inaugurated, Bill Moyers said this about Donald Trump`s original political
lie, the lie about President Obama`s birth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MOYERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He rode to power on the
wings of a dark lie, one of the most malignant and ugly lies in American
history. We must never forget it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Bill Moyers, Peabody award-winning journalist,
he served as President Johnson`s press secretary from 1965 to 1967.
Bill, there are so many things I want to cover with you, but I want to just
start with – you`re someone who had that job, Press Secretary.
You stood at that podium in that briefing room. What is it like for you
when you watch what happens in that room now, that room that was a sacred
place for you?
MOYERS: Well, it was a sacred place, but we committed a lot of sins –
O`DONNELL: Sure –
MOYERS: In that sacred place. We were not perfect. Now, I was not a
perfect press secretary, Lyndon Johnson was not a perfect president when it
came to disposing to the press.
But he never asked me to lie. Sometimes I lied, I`m sure in contradicting
something that he had said or I had said.
But when I became press secretary against my will, my father sent me a
telegram everyday (INAUDIBLE), he sent me a telegram saying, Bill, tell the
truth if you can, but if you can`t tell the truth, don`t tell a lie.
O`DONNELL: Yes –
MOYERS: And that`s what I tried –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
MOYERS: To do. But as I`ve often joked, our credibility was so bad, we
couldn`t believe our own –
O`DONNELL: All right –
MOYERS: Leaks. Today, it`s – I must say we were better than they were by
any means, but we made an effort not to deliberately deceive the public.
And now it`s just one lie coming out after another. i don`t believe they
have the capacity or the freedom under this president to speak the truth.
O`DONNELL: You struggled with the first presidency in the modern age that
was embattled in an unpopular war, which is what made all of your struggles
in that briefing room were pretty much all about that.
This is – this is a different struggle that we`re seeing. This is a
president who is the struggle. The White House staff struggle is with the
MOYERS: You know, Lawrence, during the campaign last year, I kept thinking
that Donald Trump has given a big bullhorn to some of the most malevolent
furies in American life.
I`ve now decided he is the malevolent fury. Somebody said today he has to
get away from himself – he can`t get away from himself.
This man does not seem to me to have what we would normally think of as a
soul. He has an open sore.
Everything antagonizes him. He`s constantly at war with everybody, and he
degrades everything around him.
He is the malevolent fury that is attempting to provide a return to many of
the practices and behaviors that we have spent 250 years overcoming.
O`DONNELL: You worked for a southern president who signed the Civil Rights
Act and knew politically when he was doing it and said –
MOYERS: He said –
O`DONNELL: Privately to you, no doubt, what this would cost him
BILL D. MOYERS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: He said that evening, I think we`ve
just delivered the south to the Republican Party for my lifetime and yours.
What he meant by that is that for 100 years, the Democrats had been the
protector of slavery, the defender of slavery and of white power. Now with
the vote coming, the Democrats would move away from that, and the
Republicans would fill the gap.
There would be a white flight to the Republican Party, and there was. The
Republican Party became the party that promotes racism and white power in
American politics today.
DONNELL: The President went from a couple days ago saying, confederate
monuments are a local decision. Local communities should decide whether
they want them or not want them. Now, today, he`s decided they are absolute
national treasures. We must never touch them, and we can never possibly
build any statues as beautiful as those again to replace them
MOYERS: The paradox is – I mean we`ve done that at the University of
Texas. the confederate statues have been moved to a museum as in fact they
should have been. But the paradox in what the President is saying is most
of the statues we`re talking about were built – constructed, erected after
1,900, around the time that Jim Crow Laws, the laws of enforcing
segregation were established. And the terrorism that became Jim Crow was
beginning to be enacted against blacks.
It was not to honor the soldiers of the Civil War. It was to remind blacks
and whites that the force of the state would still be used to subjugate
them to a different form of slavery. All of those could come down without
affecting history at all. And you could put them in the museums where
teachers could explain why they were put up in the early part of the 1900s.
DONNELL: But just that erraticism on his part from a couple days ago,
it`s a local matter, which is kind of a relatively safe political thing to
say, to now coming out to say and saying, oh, no, no. they must all be
saved. I mean how is the country supposed to follow a President like that?
MOYERS: By looking at the consistency of his inconsistency. This is a man
who is unable to finish a sentence in the way he obviously intended it when
he started. Lyndon Johnson was a man of contradictions. Lyndon Johnson
could be as perplexing as Donald Trump was.
But Lyndon Johnson knew what he was doing. He knew government. He loved
government. he knew how to make it work, and he also knew that if you
continually contradicted yourself the way Trump is doing, as Johnson would
do later in Vietnam, you`re destroying yourself.
And I think that`s what`s happening with Donald Trump is he`s destroying
himself except with that one-third of the e electorate that thinks he can
do no harm.
DONNELL: I want to take a look at some stunning magazine covers that came
out today from around the world. We have the Economist, which shows Donald
Trump basically blowing into a bullhorn that looks like a Klu Klux Klan
hood. Time Magazine came out with one today that puts him in the position
of giving sort of a Hitler salute with the American flag. We have a couple
of others. But these are things – this is a kind of coverage we have
never seen in this country.
MOYERS: Right. The saddest part to me of Charlottesville, other than the
death and the injury that occurred, was the fact that there`s – in fact I
saw this on NBC News last night, the Nightly News. There`s a synagogue
there, the Beth Israel Synagogue, about 40 or 50 people come regularly to
worship. And during the troubles down there last weekend, three men armed
with automatic rifles stood across from the synagogue eyeing it
Parades of young men came by with swastikas, and they`d say there`s the
synagogue. Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil, his comes from the Rabbi Zimmerman, who
told this story on NBC last night. and they were carrying the swastika, the
Nazi flag, and I cannot understand how anyone today can march or salute –
march under or salute the Nazi flag without recognizing what the Nazi
regime did to Europe, to the world, and particularly to six-plus million
Jews who were rounded up, murdered, sent to concentration camps, starved to
death, buried alive. That`s what that swastika flag means to those Jewish
congregates in that synagogue who watched them come by, saluting Adolf
DONNELL: And before we go to this break I just want to get a word in you,
as a southerner to southerners about these confederate monuments, I mean
they watch people like me, northerners from Boston who couldn`t care less
about these monuments talk about them and warrant to see them being
removed. What would you say as a southerner to southerners about these
monuments and what they mean now?
MOYERS: That is not your heritage. Your heritage is different from what
happened under slavery. Your heritage now – all of you are free.
lightweight white and black are free. You said it very well when you began
George Washington risked his life to lead an army whose mission was to
create the United States of America. Thomas Jefferson risked his life by
writing the declaration. Both were slave owners. George Washington freed
his slaves, Jefferson didn`t. But they – the statues are commemorating men
who fought in and led armies designed to destroy the United States of
And I would say to everybody today, the civil war failed. It did not
destroy this union. But the losers kept fighting until they`re still
Let them go. You lost the war. Let`s move on.
DONNELL: We`re going to be right back with more from Bill Moyers.
DONNELL: There are more than 400 data points in a timeline of the
Trump/Russia investigation assembled by Attorney Stephen Harper. The
Timeline is published in full on Bill Moyers` website. Joining the
discussion is Stephen Harper, an attorney, author and adjunct professor at
North Western University, creator of that Timeline.
Bill Moyers is back with us. Stephen Harper, please tell us how you went
to work on assembling this timeline and why you did it. And I can just
thank you right off the top. . it is the greatest tool that we journalists
have to work with every day as we stare at this story.
STEPHEN HARPER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, thanks, Lawrence. And thanks for
having me on. I have to tell you whether this started back in February as
24 entries, if you had told me six months later I was going to have more
than 400, I`m not sure I would have continued it. But every week in terms
I`ve gone about it, that`s the way you have to go about it.
You have to go about it with a laser-like focus, and I say that because
what it really has become is an effort to try to create some sense of order
out of the chaos that I don`t have to tell you comes out of Trump and his
team on a minute-by-minute basis. And every time we get to anything close
to Trump and Russia, the chaos amplified. And I`ve believed from the very
beginning, when I first did the first 24 entries in what became this
massive timeline, that the key to a lot of this was thinking about it in a
way that drew some links, that created some themes that I thought were
getting lost in the daily chaos of – at that time we were talking about
crowd sizes at the inauguration for goodness sake.
So that`s sort of how – that`s how it got started, and it, in the process,
has been an iterative process every week with an extraordinary staff that
Bill has and his team. I just kept at it, and I tried to do it in the same
way as Rachel said in the opening to your show, in the same way that as a
trial lawyer, I would think about trying to synthesize and collect
evidence, reliable evidence, verifiable evidence, and put it in some sort
of way and see what came of it. And the facts tell the story
DONNELL: As Rachel said at the beginning of the show, we really urge
everyone to go to Bill Moyers` website to take a look at this. It`s an
extraordinary piece of work. And Bill, there`s going to be some new
The New York Times reporting that they have – that there is a Ukrainian
hacker who is now cooperating with the special prosecutor`s investigation.
The Times says it is the first known instance of a living witness emerging
from the mass of technical detail that has developed so far.
And so we have that. We have Dana Rohrabacher meeting with Julian Assange,
Julian Assange insisting to him today, oh, no, the Russians had nothing to
do with this.
HARPER: Yes, nice. Yes, in those two stories, Lawrence, you`ve really put
the challenge in what the timeline hoped to accomplish. You know, I sort of
think of it as micro, macro, and cover-up. The micro is the almost daily
deluge we get of different kinds of Trump/Russia stories and you can drill
down on any one of them. And they can become interesting in and of
themselves. The problem is without some sort of framework – ask this is
what I referred to as sort of the macro view.
If you don`t draw back from time to time, you can lose the themes. But if
you`re able to drill down ask then occasionally back up and see where an
event fits in the larger picture of the timeline, even though you may not
learn about the facts relevant to that event until a month or a year later,
then you have a way to think about it.
MOYER: Steve Harper was one of the most accomplished litigators in the
country until he retired and teaches at Northwestern Law School and has
written a wonderful book about his father`s fight with Jimmy Hoffa. But he
came to me with this and we recognized immediately at billmoyer.com that
this was unique. And today, an assistant prosecutor of Watergate says this
is the most useful timeline he`s found.
There are three reasons to pay attention to it. One of course we all know
is the propaganda campaign the Russians manipulated to influence the minds
of voters in this country against Hillary Clinton. The second reason is the
money trail, and it`s clear to both Steve and me there`s a powerful money
trail here. The third reason people say to me, why are you so concerned
about the Russians?
Here`s the reason why. I worked at the Whitehouse as you said. to my
knowledge, this is the first time that conspirators of a foreign country
have penetrated the Whitehouse, gained an ally in a National Security
Adviser to the President, influenced the thinking of the Vice President,
and made a fool out of the American President.
I mean it`s important when Russian conspirators can penetrate the
Whitehouse that way. You see this coming clearer and clearer in Steve
DONNELL: Bill Moyers gets the last word on the timeline for tonight. Bill
thank you very much for joining for us.
HARPER: Thank you Lawrence.
DONNELL: Appreciate you being here. Steven Harper, thank you for your
work. We`re all using it every day. Go to billmoyers.com. Look at that
timeline. You`re going to learn a lot.
Coming up, the author of Donald Trump`s Art of the Deal. the guy who wrote
Donald Trump`s autobiography for him, knows him very well, does not believe
Donald Trump will serve out four years as President.
DONNELL: Donald Trump`s autobiography was of course not written by Donald
Trump because Donald Trump cannot write English language sentences. The
actual author was Tony Schwartz. To do the job, Tony Schwartz spent a year
and a half with Donald Trump, almost every waking moment of the day. He got
to know him very well, which is why when Donald Trump became a serious
candidate for President with a real chance of winning, Tony Schwartz went
public to tell the world that Donald Trump is a sick, pathological liar who
needs to be stopped.
As Tony Schwartz has recently watched the pressure close in on Donald Trump
in what has become his lonely, dysfunctional presidency, Tony Schwartz has
predicted that Donald Trump simply will not be able to survive four years
in office like this. This week, Tony Schwartz tweeted, the circle is
closing at blinding speed. Trump is going to resign and declare victory
before Mueller and Congress leave him no choice.
Trump`s Presidency is effectively over, would be amazed if he survives till
the end of the year. More likely resigns by fall if not sooner. Trump must
be isolated, resistance every day. The end is near but must keep pressure
high. Tony Schwartz has also said that Donald Trump is capable of trying to
launch a nuclear war with North Korea in order to save himself from a
When we come back, is Tony Schwartz right about Donald Trump`s inability to
endure four years of this? That`s next
DONNELL: Today`s New York Times is an op ed by a Trump voter who regrets
that. Julius Crine, Founder and Editor of Veteran Affairs, writes after
more than 200 days in office Mr. Trump`s behavior grows only more
reprehensible. How many more days in office can Donald Trump endure?
Joining us now Jennifer Rubin, an opinion writer at the Washington Post.
Jennifer, Tony Schwartz`s new theory that Trump won`t last the year might
be encouraging to people in the resistance. What do you make of it?
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER WASHINGTON POST: I would like to believe
its true, but I don`t think the time line is right. He posits that if the
special prosecutor is down his throat, Trump might leave before that, and
that might be right. But I don`t see Robert Mueller and his attorneys as
fine as they are - are going to be at that point in the next few weeks or
months. So that has to play out over time. I would also like to think that
if the party ever unmasked, abandoned him, if his cabinet on NAS ever
abandoned him, that would make a difference.
I don`t think it would. I think the normal things that compel Presidents
to leave, the Republicans who troupe to the Whitehouse to tell Richard
Nixon the jig was up. Those won`t affect someone like Donald Trump. So and
I think he will be faced with an ultimatum. Either some legal or financial
peril or the presidency, and at that point, he will duck out, and as we
know from his entire life, Donald Trump always ducks out.
When the bankruptcy comes, he always slips away. When the lawsuit on his
discriminatory practices in New York comes down his throat, eventually he
settles. This man does not have a stomach for a real confrontation. He is a
coward at heart, and he`ll abandon ship. The question is how fast that can
happen and how much damage he is going to do in the meantime. And that
greatly concerns most of us, a lot of us.
DONNELL: I don`t know what to make about the predictions of how long
Donald Trump can take this, but I believe Tony Schwartz has real insight
into how much agony Donald Trump is going through every minute of the day
in this job.
RUBIN: Right. I do think so, and I think what we saw on Tuesday and what
we have seen in other instances and that he literally explodes. He
DONNELL: Yes. Yes.
RUBIN: He has no control over himself, and no matter what he has told
people or what he said to an aide or an adviser five minutes or five
seconds ago. When he gets the urge, he simply is out of control, and that
must be, in some sense, extremely scary for him. He obvious knows that
people – at this point, don`t like him. He obviously feels the weight of
aggression. He convinces himself, this is the media.
He convinces himself this isn`t real, and at some point, because he keeps
going back to the New York Times and back to the media, he must understand
how badly he is – what a bad situation he is, and how badly he needs that
personal approval he is no longer getting.
DONNELL: Jennifer Rubin, thanks for joining us tonight. Tonight`s last
word is next.
DONNELL: Tonight, Al Gore gets the last word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: If you had to give Trump one piece of advice, what would it be?
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Resign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is resign. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams
BRIAN WILLIAMS, 11th Hour ANCHOR: Tonight a ranking Republican Senator
choosing his words
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