The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 9/7/17 Trump Jr. appears before Senate
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: September 7, 2017
Guest: Jonathan Capehart, Ron Klain, Bill Karins, Ted Deutch
Hurricane Irma; debt limit; Florida; Federal Emergency Management Agency>
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Bit by bit, the army corps has been – wait, they
probably don`t even have a day because Hurricane Irma is on its way.
Bit by bit the army corps has been discharging water from Lake Okeechobee
and nearby rivers trying to make space for the eight or ten inches of
rainfall that Irma might bring.
But that could drive the lake`s water level by three to four feet if they
get even less than a foot of rain.
That would push Herbert Hoover Dike to its absolute limit. The Florida
governor has ordered mandatory evacuations for a half dozen towns around
the lake`s southern edge.
That`s on the advice of the army corps. Those mandatory evacuations start
tomorrow morning. There`s a lot to watch tonight, that is just one of the
crucial infrastructure elements here that`s going to be under profound
stress by what`s about to hit southern Florida and what continues to tear
through the Caribbean tonight.
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, I`m so glad
you mentioned the army corps of engineers.
They have enormous responsibilities around this country and around the
world. And responsibilities that most of us just ignore, pay no attention
to most of the time.
Usually because they`re doing their job so well.
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: They have some failures as everyone does, but what they`re up
against as this thing approaches and what they`ll be up against after this
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Is just possibly incalculable at this moment.
MADDOW: Yes, and the complexity of the decisions they`ve got to face, you
know, how much water to let into the rivers, how much rainfall to
anticipate, how much stress you`re going to put on those levees.
How many people to move out, how fast on the roads that are already
clogged. I mean, these are incredibly difficult decisions for local and
federal officials at times like this when something this big is bearing
down on them.
O`DONNELL: And I don`t mean to use this event as a political moment, but
it is worth using it as an instructive moment that when people run for
office in this government, attacking this government, these are the people
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: This is the work that they`re attacking. This is the work that
they`re pretending is unnecessary or that they`re pretending is easy.
MADDOW: Yes, and this is not a time – I mean, anybody who is looking at
the size of that storm bearing down through the Caribbean right now and
thinking that this is something that people should be able to deal with in
terms of their own bootstraps probably should be kept out of electoral
O`DONNELL: Yes, and we`ve got more than just that to talk about tonight –
MADDOW: Indeed –
O`DONNELL: Including as you know all of these developments in the
investigation today, including Donald Junior down there at the Judiciary
Committee. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence, appreciate it, man.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Tonight, we are tracking what could turn out to be
the worst or one of the worst hurricanes ever to hit the United States.
Category 5 is the most dangerous designation for a hurricane, and Hurricane
Irma at the moment hitting Turks and Caicos Islands is category 5.
It is a category 5 hurricane. The storm is more than 370 miles wide with
winds up to 175 miles an hour.
Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall, which is to say crash into
Florida on Sunday. The National Weather Service`s ability to precisely
track the hurricane can save lives and save money.
Accurate warnings can be issued about who needs to evacuate, and almost as
importantly, who doesn`t need to evacuate.
What businesses need to close down and what businesses don`t need to close
down. This is crucial, life-saving information and crucial information
for the economy of the East Coast of the United States.
Which is why Democrats objected so loudly when the Trump-proposed budget
cut funding to the National Weather Service and cut funding to FEMA.
Even today, with potentially more destructive power than Hurricane Harvey
headed our way, 17 Republicans in the Senate voted against Hurricane Harvey
relief funding, including Senator Lindsey Graham whose state of South
Carolina has been hit hard by hurricanes before and may be hit hard by
Most of the time on this program, we concentrate our discussions on
government. We take government seriously, including who is running the
government, and we do that because we know how important the government is.
We know lives are at stake, and we know it can be unpredictable when we
will need government to save lives.
It has become popular over the last few decades in Republican politics
especially to mock government, to attack government, to attack the
Donald Trump got elected president by attacking American government and the
people who work in it.
And he could never stop talking about how easy it is to govern, how easy it
would be for him to make the decisions, make the deals, get the job done
as president of the United States.
And now tonight, even Donald Trump knows that government is a deadly
serious business, an especially deadly serious business in Florida tonight.
And that government`s ability to respond to the hurricane on its way to
Florida can save lives, including possibly lives in and around Donald
Trump`s properties in Florida.
Luckily for the Americans lives who are at stake as this deadly hurricane
approaches, it is not Donald Trump who they can – who they will be relying
It is the professionals in government who will do their best to save them
from the dangers of this storm, to rescue them if necessary, to protect
The elected officials who run for office with an expressed hatred of
government will actually have nothing to do with how this natural disaster
The career professionals at the National Weather Service, the career
professionals at FEMA, the career professionals in the national government
are the people we will rely on when Irma hits Florida.
And they are the very same people who politicians will continue to attack
when they attack government in order to be elected to that government.
And they are the people whose jobs those politicians will propose cutting
when a hurricane isn`t headed toward this country.
At least, nine people in the Caribbean have already been killed as
Hurricane Irma mowed down islands like Barbuda.
Anyone with relatives, friends or loved ones in the Caribbean knows the
horrors of hurricanes. The 6 million people in the Miami area could suffer
a direct hit by Hurricane Irma.
Floridians have been warned. Mass evacuations are under way, but there are
always people who cannot afford to evacuate, who don`t have the ability to
evacuate, who need help to evacuate.
And as if Irma wasn`t enough to worry about, another hurricane Jose has now
reached Category 3 status as it tracks across the Atlantic behind Irma.
A double hit of hurricanes on the East Coast is almost unthinkable. And if
you aren`t busy evacuating or trying to evacuate now, all you can do is
wait to see what happens when Irma reaches Florida Sunday morning.
We will have more on tracking the hurricane later in this program. In
Washington today, Donald Trump Jr. submitted to five hours of questioning
from the Senate Judiciary Committee staff about his meeting in Trump Tower
on June 9th, 2016, with four Russians and a British escort of those
Russians along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.
All we really know about that Judiciary Committee session today is what
Donald Trump Jr. said in his prepared opening remarks to the committee
which have been made public.
It is a 1,776-word statement, and it is the tip of the iceberg, of the
thousands and thousands and thousands of words that were said today in
those five hours.
Opening statements for congressional testimony are usually the least
interesting part of the testimony.
Donald Trump Junior`s statement glossed over many details of the meeting
including who was actually in the room.
He referred to only seven of the eight people in the room and named only
six of them. You can be sure that during the questioning, Donald Trump Jr.
was pressed repeatedly on exactly who was in that room and exactly who did
what in that room and exactly who said exactly what in that room.
It is very likely that the committee staff`s questioning provoked more than
one version of an answer to various points that were raised today.
Donald Trump Junior`s opening statement says he does not recall any phone
conversations with Emin Agalarov; a Russian singer who helped arrange that
meeting but was not present at that meeting.
But Donald Trump Junior`s phone records indicate that he had three phone
calls with Emin Agalarov on June 6th and June 7th when the meeting was
You can be absolutely sure that more than one of the Senate committee staff
who questioned Donald Trump Jr. today repeatedly questioned him about those
phone calls from every possible angle.
If Donald Trump Jr. was speaking slowly, it would take him only 15 minutes
to tell the committee the word-for-word story that he tells in his opening
If he just sat there and read every word of it, 15 minutes maximum. But he
was in the room for five hours, five hours.
That tells you how unimportant his opening statement was, compared to
everything else that was said in that room that we don`t know about.
And so as you read articles and reports about what Donald Trump Jr. said in
that room, remember, those are based only on the first 15 minutes of what
happened in that room.
Those reports leave out nearly five hours of material that the transcript
of that meeting will contain. But the opening statement was not nothing.
The opening statement tells us what Donald Trump Jr. wanted us to know
about, about that meeting, and it tells us what Donald Trump Jr. doesn`t
want us to know about that meeting.
The opening statement also shows us possible conflicts with Donald Trump
Junior`s earlier public statements about the meeting.
For example, Congressman Adam Schiff, after reading that statement,
Congressman Adam Schiff, he`s part of the House Intelligence Committee`s
investigation, he said today, “this statement contains a notable omission,
in that it no longer mentions that President Trump knew nothing of the
meeting or these events.
Raising questions about whether then-candidate Trump was, in fact,
knowledgeable about the meeting in advance.”
Joining us now, Mieke Eoyang; former House Intelligence Committee`s staff
member, and Ron Klain; former chief of staff to vice presidents Joe Biden
and Al Gore and a former senior aide to President Obama.
And he is also – this is important tonight, former chief counsel of the
Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ron, I want to start with you with your Judiciary Committee experience.
Take us in that room, we know that the staff asked all the questions.
There were about five senators, mostly Democrats who visited the room for
some periods of time during the questioning.
But what do you see in the Donald Trump Jr. statement, and what do you
expect was going on during those five hours?
RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO JOE BIDEN & AL GORE: Yes, you know, I
think the hot air on Capitol Hill today was a Category 5 cover-up from
Donald Trump Jr.
And I say Category 5 cover-up because today`s story is the fifth different
story he`s told about the Trump Tower meeting.
Last Summer, he said it was – showed a lack of moral compass on the
Clinton campaign to suggest that he might have worked with the Russians.
In March, he said he had never met with Russians. When that was proven
untrue, he and his father cooked up the statement that said that the
meeting was about adoption policy.
And then when the e-mails came out that showed that the meeting was really
set up because the Russian government wanted to help the Trump campaign and
Donald Trump Jr. said, I love that, he said the meeting was about DNC
And finally today, he said it was about trying to assess the fitness of
Hillary Clinton to be president.
So I think what happened in that room today was rigorous questioning by the
professional staff and a lot of Democratic senators popping in and out to
test his credibility.
And what you heard at the end of it was those senators saying, hey, we want
this guy back here in open session for the public to see this, for open
And that shows they were not persuaded by the credibility of Donald Trump
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Senator Richard Blumenthal said. He was
one of the senators who was in that room during some of the questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: There is no basis right now to
conclude whether there was collusion or not or whether there was
obstruction of justice or not.
And that is the remaining area of the investigation that needs to be fully
explored. We are ways from drawing any conclusions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Mieke, the senator obviously not willing to reveal anything of
what actually went on in that room.
MIEKE EOYANG, VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL SECURITY PROGRAM, THIRD WAY: That`s
right. In fact, the Senate Judiciary Committee is playing a game of
prisoner`s dilemma with the various people who were involved in this Trump
They don`t want them to know what the others are saying and will interview
them separately and then compare stories.
So this is really a fact-gathering mission. They have a lot of information
to get through. And remember, they talked to Jared Kushner already about
that meeting earlier this Summer.
So they have his testimony in closed session to compare it to.
O`DONNELL: And they also have a sense of Donald Trump Junior`s credibility
going into that room. Well, let`s listen to what he said to Sean Hannity
on July 11th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: I just want the truth to get out
there. And you know, that`s part of why I released all the stuff today.
As far as this incident is concerned, this is all of it. This is
everything. This is everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And Ron Klain –
KLAIN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Every day after that for several days, there was much more
every day that was revealed, including much more about the e-mails that set
up that meeting.
It was not everything when he said that to Sean Hannity. He knew it was
not everything. That is video of Donald Trump Jr. not telling the truth
about this story.
KLAIN: And not the only video, Lawrence. As I said, he`s changed his
story on this five times. And one of those times was, as we now know, a
statement written on Air Force One by the president of the United States
that could only be described as an effort to mislead the American people,
perhaps to try to mislead Bob Mueller, perhaps to try to mislead these
And so there are a lot of hard questions to be asked, and I think when you
heard the Democratic senators say at the end of the session today, you
know, we want this in open session.
We want to question him. We want people to see what he looks like when
he`s being questioned, that`s a big tell, Lawrence.
They tried to keep it close to the vest, but it`s a big tell that they
don`t think he`s telling the truth and they think that in a public session,
the American people would also have question about Don Junior`s
O`DONNELL: And Mieke, such an important point that Ron is making is that
when senators say they really want to hear from someone in public, it is
because they believe there will be something communicated by this witness
in more than just the words the witness says.
EOYANG: Yes, that`s true. They want the American people to see this
person`s demeanor, to be able to assess whether or not they think he`s
Now, remember, these senators have seen him in closed session. And one of
the senators, Senator Coons, after the meeting posted the statutory
reference to lying to Congress, which is a criminal statute.
It says if you lie to Congress, you can go to jail. So he was very
concerned after this meeting that perhaps they had been lied to.
Now, they have the opportunity to see all the different stories that have
been told over this period of time, but this story, there are criminal
consequences for telling a lie.
O`DONNELL: Yes, Ron, big difference between this and being on Sean
Hannity. And these are the moments that not everyone`s ready for it to put
I`m sure you`ve seen witnesses at the Judiciary –
KLAIN: Right –
O`DONNELL: Committee in different times who don`t really understand how
they have to present themselves in situations like this.
KLAIN: Yes, and of course, if you keep changing your story, it`s hard to
keep your story straight. And I think Don Junior has that problem as well.
As well as the problem of trying to protect his father, the president,
which clearly he`s doing potentially or be thrown under the bus by his
brother-in-law, one of the president`s closest advisors.
So this is a very complicated situation, and I think we are still many
weeks or months away from all the truth coming out.
O`DONNELL: And Mieke, there are strong indications that the special
prosecutor is pursuing the information about public statements that were
made about this meeting by Donald Trump Jr. and the president`s involvement
in those statements.
We know that the president was out of the country at the time. There was a
small group with him that were on Air Force One as they were working on
And their indication that the special prosecutor wants to talk to those
people who worked on the statement and wants to know about the president`s
What do you make of that particular line of investigation?
EOYANG: I think it shows that Mueller is serious in this obstruction of
justice investigation, and he`s talking to all the people involved.
And the question is whether or not you think all the people will maintain
the same story. The same is true of this Trump Tower meeting.
Now, there were a few people in that meeting that the Trump organization
can`t control. For one, this translator who has worked for the U.S.
If that person is forthcoming about what he remembers in the meetings to
the Mueller or to the congressional investigators, he may tell a story
that`s very different than what you`re hearing orchestrated by the
president on Air Force One.
O`DONNELL: Mieke Eoyang, thank you very much for joining us tonight,
really appreciate it.
EOYANG: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Ron, we`re going to talk to you in another segment, please
stick around. Coming up, Russian ad buying during the 2016 election.
They were able to buy those ads online, and that may be the tip of the
iceberg of what we know about that.
And President Trump sent out a tweet today because he was taking dictation
from Nancy Pelosi.
O`DONNELL: Today a “New York Times” investigation reveals some of the
ways Russian hackers used social media to influence the 2016 election.
On Twitter as on Facebook, Russian fingerprints are on hundreds or
thousands of fake accounts that regularly posted anti-Clinton messages.
Today`s “Times” piece follows last night`s report that Facebook says it
sold ads during the U.S. presidential campaign to a Russian troll farm with
a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence
Committee says he thinks this new reporting is just the tip of the iceberg
of what happened there and says we may need a new law that would make
political ads on social media as transparent as the ones on television.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Under the internet, you know, we`re not
even able as the American public to look at the type of ads that these
Russians were posting on some of these pages and some of these sites.
And I think we need to revisit that perhaps from a legal standpoint as
well. Americans, we`ve got a first amendment, we need to protect it.
But they ought to be able to know if content is being sponsored by foreign
governments and also they ought to be able to look at that content no
matter who is sponsoring it if it`s in a political context.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Ken Vogel of the “New York Times” and Issie
Lapowsky; the senior writer at “WIRED”, she has reported extensively on
Trump campaign`s use of social media platforms during the 2016 election.
And Issie, you`ve been on this case as is your jurisdiction at “WIRED”.
This is – this is their turf. This is an incredibly difficult arena.
China(ph) trying to regulate in some sense advertising online is a very
different proposition than on television.
ISSIE LAPOWSKY, SENIOR WRITER, WIRED: It is. It`s a much easier thing
actually for people who might like to slip disinformation or false
What you find is digital ads are actually regulated more like campaign
buttons or bumper stickers, which when you think about it is absolutely
absurd because the reach of a campaign button or bumper sticker has
nothing on the reach of a Facebook post or a Facebook ad.
And so the other big issue is that the campaigns are the ones that are
really responsible if they violate campaign law.
The onus does not fall on these platforms. And so I think that`s what a lot
of regulators are looking at now. How do we ensure that digital platforms
like Facebook are just as responsible as television networks and radio
O`DONNELL: Ken, can it be simply a matter of disclosure the way if you see
a political ad on television, it says it`s paid for by – and sometimes
that`s a candidate, and sometimes it`s an organization that you`re not
quite sure what that organization is because it`s some kind of Super PAC
that doesn`t really want you to know exactly what it is.
KEN VOGEL, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, that`s exactly right, Lawrence. Once you
get into the disclosure, there are ways to circumvent disclosure.
We see it all the time in those examples that you cited where a Super PAC
that does have to disclose its donors is funded by an LLC or a 501C4 that
doesn`t have to disclose its donors.
You know, particularly with the internet, with the regulation of political
advertising on the internet, the rules that the Federal Election Commission
passed on this date back to 2006, Facebook was two years old, didn`t have
nearly the reach that it has today.
Twitter was like two months old when these laws were enacted. They just
did not envision any of this stuff.
So there is room to try to increase the disclosure or some of the
regulations about how money that is – that is spent on internet
advertising is regulated.
But there are – you know, there are these sort of hurdles that you run
into that are not unique to the internet, and that is following the money
through all the way to its origination point is complicated.
And we`ve seen that with TV. We`ll see that, I think, if there is a move
to regulate the internet in a more aggressive way.
And there are in fact all those moves. A Federal Election Commission
member named Ellen Weintraub just today called on the FEC next week at its
public meeting to open up a discussion about increased rule-making on this.
Expect a lot of resistance from the Republican members of that commission.
O`DONNELL: So Issie, Facebook came forward and said, look, this is what we
found. We got rid of these accounts. We got rid of fraudulent accounts.
Twitter tries to get rid of fraudulent accounts, they both say they try to
do this. But Twitter told the “New York Times”, “we as a company should
not be the arbiter of truth.”
So there is a conceptual resistance within the companies to what the
government might want them to try to do here.
O`DONNELL: Yes, absolutely. You see that happen every time Facebook or
Twitter are faced with one of these free speech conversations.
We saw that a couple weeks ago with the Charlottesville debate, and what do
you do with these white supremacists who are running rampant on these
They always say that we should not be the ones to determine who is and
isn`t allowed to voice their views, whether they happen to be factual or
But I think that if these platforms don`t take a more proactive stance,
then like Ken said, regulators are going to force them to be defensive.
And we all know that tech companies do not like regulation in any form,
especially when it comes to monitoring speech on their platform.
O`DONNELL: And Ken, another thing they don`t like is getting rid of users
because they are judged – the value of their stocks are judged daily on
the basis of traffic users, how many Twitter users are there, what are they
doing, where are they in the world?
VOGEL: Yes, and that`s a great point. And you know, getting back to the
regulatory sort of perspective on this, even if there are these bots that
are out there that are spreading disinformation, where is the legal
Is the legal liability on the – you know, if these bots are funded by,
say, a foreign government, well, you could argue that the payments from
that foreign government to set up the bots, maybe is that an illegal
campaign – illegal foreign campaign expenditure in the U.S.?
Because the actual social media platforms are free to post on, and that is
one of the problems that regulators are facing, that there is no
expenditure to actually place these ads.
The only ones that the only internet advertising that is regulated is when
there is a payment by a campaign or a Super PAC to put an ad on another
media outlet or another website that`s not owned by the people who are
doing the content.
You see with Facebook and with Twitter that it doesn`t require paid
advertising in order to have a huge impact.
So that`s another potential impediment for regulation here.
O`DONNELL: Ken Vogel and Issie Lapowsky, thank you both for joining us
tonight, really appreciate it.
LAPOWSKY: Thank you.
VOGEL: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, why is Nancy Pelosi Donald Trump`s new best friend,
or is she? Does Donald Trump even know who his friends are?
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: So now Donald Trump takes dictation from
Nancy Pelosi. And that is how we got this Tweet today. For all of those
DACA that are concerned about your status during this six-month period, you
have nothing to worry about. No action, exclamation point. And here`s now
Nancy Pelosi said that that happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, MINORITY LEADER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF
Representatives: I said thanks for calling. This is what we – people
really need reassurance from you, Mr. President, that the six-month period
is not a period of roundup. But is just DACA is frozen and that these
people will not be vulnerable. And I was reporting to my colleagues.
I said this is what I asked the President to do, and boom, boom, boom. The
tweet appeared. So that was good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Politico reports today that after getting scathing reviews from
Republicans for surrendering to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in the Oval
Office on Hurricane Harvey Relief and the schedule for raising the debt
ceiling, today the President had jovial phone calls with Pelosi and
Schumer. Donald Trump told Pelosi her coverage was better even than his.
The press has been incredible, Trump said.
Steve Bannon`s Breitbart ran this headline about Nancy Pelosi today.
Conservatives furious after Trump cuts debt ceiling deal with Nancy Pelosi,
Chuck Schumer, that`s Steve Bannon`s Breitbart furious. As we reported
last night, the deal Trump agreed to with Pelosi and Schumer could derail
the entire Republican Legislative Agenda, including tax cuts, and there is
not yet any indication that the President understands that that`s what he
Today the Senate voted on the Schumer/Pelosi/Trump deal. It passed with 80
votes including all Democrats. 17 Republican Senators voted against it
including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a state that has been hit with
hurricanes before and will be hit again. He said he voted against the
Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill and the debt ceiling increase because the bill
did not also contain increases in military spending. Joining us now is
Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for the Washington Post and an MSNBC
Contributor, and back with us is Ron Klain.
And Jonathan, so South Carolina, which could be hit by the next hurricane
or the hurricane after that, their Senator stood up there today and said,
no, I`m voting against hurricane relief because you don`t have other things
in here totally unrelated to hurricane relief that I would like to have.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it looks like Senator Graham
and those other no votes are standing on principle here, I guess, at a time
when they think that there`s no principle at all happening anywhere in this
town. What happened yesterday in the Oval Office between the President, the
Senate Minority Leader, the House Minority Leader, as I wrote in my piece
today, nothing has made me laugh with such joy in politics since Election
The idea that the President of the United States actually did the right
thing but not for the right reason, meaning that it was the right thing to
do but because Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said, no, we don`t want to go
with the Republican plan, this is what he want, and he goes for it is
stunning. Republicans are right to be angry, and I think that while I`m
chuckling now, my chuckles will disappear rather quickly. I`m sure the
President will do something. I mean fresh hell Friday is tomorrow.
But this three-month extension brings this necessary argument over debt
ceiling and budget and everything in December. Congress likes a deadline.
But I think we might go through hell trying to get through that next
O`DONNELL: And, Ron, we talk about the President`s incompetence. We talk
about the President`s ignorance. We talk about his complete lack of a
strategic understanding of how the job works.
This is the example of all of that in one. He has apparently absolutely no
comprehension that this deal is the best thing that could possibly have
happened to the Democrats legislatively, enabling them and empowering them
90 days down the road, and that it disempowers Republicans on every single
thing that`s in the Trump agenda.
RON KLAIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Lawrence. You know, you ran one of the
most powerful staffs on Capitol Hill. And you know that these savvy
Capitol Hill insiders, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, got the better of
Donald Trump on this budget and debt deal. He may know a lot about the art
of the deal. They know about the smart way to deal, and they got the best
And the most important fact there is the Republicans and Trump`s own
Treasury Secretary wanted a deal to push out the debt ceiling for 18 months
and basically make the Democrats irrelevant for the rest of the Congress.
And what Schumer and Pelosi saw was if they kept Trump on a short leash, a
90-day debt ceiling extension, he would have to come back and deal with
them again and again and again.
And so for the first time Democrats on Capitol Hill have leverage. They
have power. They`re part of the conversation. they`ve now got to find a
way to use that leverage and use that power.
But they have bargained their way back into relevance. And I think that
really shows how smart and savvy these two senior leaders are.
O`DONNELL: And, Jonathan, Donald Trump, I`m sure, did not pick up one job
approval point in any poll from any democrat supporting voter out there
CAPEHART: oh, no, not at all. I think – I mean come on. The last seven
months have been a horror show for Democrats in particular. But for any
American who looks for moral authority from the Oval Office, who looks to a
President to condemn hate and to condemn Nazis and White Supremacists who
are tearing at the fabric of this country. So the idea that President Trump
is going to get major kudos from Democrats because he blundered his way
into doing something that Democrats like is laughable.
But you know what? What the President doesn`t realize is House Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he is facing
two of the savviest people on Capitol Hill. Remember, Nancy Pelosi got
Obamacare through her chamber with not a single Republican vote. And it`s
a point of pride for her that she was able to keep her caucus together in
order to push through this enormous and very difficult thing that we`re
still dealing with now.
Senator Chuck Schumer, people must remember, you know, he comes out of New
York. He is a very good – not good – brilliant political mind out of New
York City politics. Remember, he was, if I`m not mistaken – Ron, correct
me if I`m wrong. He was the head of the DSCC, the senate campaign committee
in 2006 when the Democrats retook the senate back then.
So Donald Trump doesn`t know who he`s dealing with sitting there in the
Oval Office. He knows now.
O`DONNELL: Yes. The rich kid from Queens got beaten by the kid from
Brooklyn on that one. And, Ron, the President in this situation seems to
have been acting out of personal pique. It seem he doesn`t like Paul Ryan.
Steve Bannon has won that war in Donald Trump`s mind.
He doesn`t like Mitch McConnell. Steve Bannon has won that war in Donald
Trump`s mind. And it seems like he just wanted to show them in the room, in
the moment, that he has the ability and the power to simply side with these
guys instead of him.
Of course they knew he had that power. It never occurred to them probably
that he was wild enough to use it in a way harmful to himself.
KLAIN: Yes. You Know, I think pretty much if you know the way that a first
grade playground works, you can understand how the Trump Oval Office works.
and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer went in there and smiled at him and
talked him up and flattered him, and he went along with it
And he just showed them. He showed Paul Ryan. He showed Mitch McConnell,
and he showed them all the way to bringing these two Democratic Leaders
back into the game, giving them leverage, and setting up an end of the year
conflagration of legislation where the Democrats will be key players.
That is something I don`t think Jonathan or I could have imagine the a few
weeks ago, and it is why he is laughing tonight and why Democrats on
Capitol Hill are laughing tonight, one of our rare laughs in seven months
of a lot of non-laughing times.
O`DONNELL: And of course Donald Trump has said hateful things about Nancy
Pelosi. He has said even more hateful things about Chuck Schumer, and he
will again, the clock is ticking on that. We don`t know when, but he
definitely will. ron Klain, Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for joining
KLAIN: Thanks, Lawrence.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump was briefed today on what could become the worst
natural disaster in U.S. history. Think about that. This hurricane bearing
down on this country could be the worst natural disaster we have ever been
hit with, the latest on the hurricane coming up.
O`DONNELL: NBC Meteorologist Bill Karins is at the MSNBC Weather Center.
Bill, what`s the latest on Hurricane Irma?
BILL KARINS, NBC METEOROLOGIST: Good evening, Lawrence. There`s no good
information coming out. A lot of the evening models continue.
The worse case scenario into Florida and our thoughts are with the Turks
and Caicos. Look at the eye of the hurricane just breaking the islands
here for the last four straight hours in that northern portion of the eye
wall. They never got the calm of the eye.
So let`s go show you the wider view. And one thing to notice, look how
much wider and bigger the storm got. The cloud field just really expanding,
the storm is breathing. It`s not really showing any signs of weakening
And that`s more bad news. As I said, I don`t have anything good to report
for the State of Florida. 175-mile-per-hour winds continues, there`s 55
miles West, South West of Grand Turk Island. Next it will be into the
Southern Bahamas. And then we`ll take that slow trip towards Florida.
So we`re waiting for a new update from the hurricane center. We`ll be
getting that shortly. I want to show you that forecast path. It does take
it 2:00 P.M. near Miami as a Category 4, then straight up through the State
You couldn`t ask for a worth path than this. We do have hurricane watches
that have been issued as you`d expect for Florida. These will be expanded
in the next probably 15 minutes to include almost the entire state.
They`ll probably go north all the way to Jacksonville. We`ll find that out
officially shortly. And of course we continue to watch our models. These
are the things that give us the guidance in the Hurricane Center of where
the storm is going to go and if we need to take any little tweaks to that
I don`t think they`re going to make hardly any changes whatever so the
current forecast because all of these lines head up straight towards Miami.
Look how clustered they are here. This is excellent agreement that at 8:00
A.M. Sunday the eye of the storm should be somewhere here South of Miami or
maybe even over the top of Miami.
And then that will all head northwards during the day on Sunday. We`re
talking about major destruction, Category 4, maybe even Cat 5 and some of
the most highly congested populated areas of Southeast Florida, Lawrence.
You know, we talked about how Harvey was one of the worst billion dollar
disasters in our country. If this takes this path, this could double what
O`DONNELL: Bill Karins thank you very much for the latest, really
appreciate that. I know you`re going to have a long night. Thank You, Bill.
Coming up, the House of Representatives will vote tomorrow on the
Pelosi/Schumer/Trump deal for Hurricane Relief Funding and increasing the
debt ceiling. A member of Congress in the track of the hurricane will join
O`DONNELL: As we reported earlier today, the Senate passed a $15 billion
Hurricane Relief Package for Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas and
Louisiana. According to Bloomberg/ FEMA is spending about $155,000 a
minute in Texas and Louisiana and is now preparing to respond to Hurricane
Irma in Florida. But the Senate Passed Relief Package will cover just a
fraction of the estimated $180 billion in damage in Texas and Louisiana.
Of course, it doesn`t include any federal aid for Hurricane Irma that could
hit South Florida on Sunday.
Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch whose district is in
Florida under the Hurricane Watch. Congressman Deutsche, your district is
a coastal district, Fort Lauderdale, just north of Miami. What is your
judgment about the federal government`s preparedness to handle what`s
TED DEUTCH, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN: Well, Lawrence, I`ve spoken with FEMA
officials, and I know that they`re prepared to respond. They`ve got
millions of gallons of water. They`ve got millions of meals.
There are cots and blankets and generators that are all positioned, ready
to be put into place when needed. That`s going to be an important step
after the storm. But it will be just the very first step of what is going
to be a massive, likely, based on the track we`ve seen, a massive response
that`s going to be necessary to this devastating storm.
O`DONNELL: And when you get – when you try to do your own coordinating
with the Federal Government on this, are you getting the kind of
responsiveness that you hoped for?
DEUTCH: Well, we`ve had repeated conversations with FEMA, and yes, the
concern was with all of the attention, necessary attention to the really
awful situation in Texas, that there might be some difficulty in responding
to Florida. But I was at the Emergency Operation Center earlier today. And
the coordination between the Federal Government, the State Government,
Local Governments and the nonprofit sector is very impressive. It`s what
you would expect it to be.
But it`s really hard to know how we`re going to be able to respond to what
looks like, based on the footage that you`re actually showing now from
where the storm`s been, what looks to be the potential for a catastrophic
O`DONNELL: Congressman, what are your personal plans for Sunday? Have
you decided yet where you should be on Sunday when this hits?
DEUTCH: well, I came home from Washington this morning, and I decided
that I was going to be in the district for this storm. I`m taking care of
my house and my family. And we`re ready to go.
I`ve spent the time going out and visiting with and talking with local
elected officials. But after the storm, there`s going to be the need for an
immediate response. And I wanted to be here to be able to work with the
local officials to help provide that.
O`DONNELL: As we all know, not everyone can jump in a car and start
driving. Some people, even if they want to evacuate, have their own
problems, difficulties, and challenges trying to evacuate. What is in
place to help people evacuate who don`t have the wherewithal to evacuate
DEUTCH: Well, the local governments have gone to great lengths to ensure
that people who need assistance evacuating, can get it, that people with
special needs will have places to go, to make sure that people with pets
will have shelters that they can go to. It`s really important for people to
pay attention to, where I am, Broward County and Palm Beach County, but
it`s true in Miami-Dade and all throughout South Florida, to pay close
attention to what the local government officials are saying. They can help
provide that assistance.
But Lawrence, I would say to the people down here who live in areas that
have mandatory evacuations, that have been announced, they cannot wait
until Saturday morning and think that they`re going to be able to simply
head on out and go to a shelter. They need to leave, and they need to leave
their homes tomorrow so that they can be in a shelter. One other thing I
think that`s really important, if this comes through, we`re going to lose
It`s very important people have all of the information they`re going to
need written down for them, or on their phones, on their devices so that
after the storm, they`ll have the resources. They`ll know where to turn to
try to get the assistance that they`re going to need after the storm passes
O`DONNELL: Congressman Ted Deutch, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. And this network will continue to help you get those messages out
to the people who need to hear it. Thank you very much, Congressman.
DEUTCH: Appreciate it. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, five former Presidents of the United States launched
the one America appeal to support victims of Hurricane Harvey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, 42ND U.S. PRESIDENT: Hurricane Harvey brought terrible
destruction. But it also brought out the best in humanity.
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: As former Presidents, we wanted to help
our fellow Americans begin to recover.
JIMMY CARTER, 39TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Our friends in Texas, including
President Bush, 41 and 43, are doing just that.
GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: People are hurting down here. But as
one Texan put it, we`ve got more love in Texas than water.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, 41ST U.S. PRESIDENT: We love you, Texas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Carter get
tonight`s Last Words. The 11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.
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