The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 9/25/17 Jimmy Kimmel thanks Sen. Collins

John Heilemann, Jason Johnson, Julie Rovner

Date: September 25, 2017
Guest: John Heilemann, Jason Johnson, Julie Rovner

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Will need the full support of the U.S. government –
making basically just an urgent plea for more help and attention, “we will
need the full support of the U.S. government. People cannot forget we are
U.S. citizens.”

Dispatches from reporters across the island today paint a picture of many
areas of Puerto Rico that are still utterly cut off.

Many places on the island that have yet to see any aid or any assistance
whatsoever. And as I say, this is the sixth night of this thus far.

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, and it`s
good to know that the president spent the entire weekend concentrating on
how to help Puerto Rico –


O`DONNELL: Right? I mean, it`s really good that we could see that
presidential attention being paid to it.

And Rachel, Puerto Rico doesn`t have as you know an elected – a member of
Congress with voting rights.

MADDOW: Right.

O`DONNELL: A member of the United States Senate with a voting rights, they
don`t have that. They rely on the kindness of United States senators who
just – who take an interest in it which is almost random.

New York senators historically have taken a stronger interest than others,
but to get their voices heard when they need it in Washington is not easy.

MADDOW: No, and it`s interesting where there are concentrations of Puerto
Rican population Diaspora in the United States – you`re starting to see
local officials like where I live out in western Massachusetts, there`s a
lot of Puerto Rican communities out there and used to local officials and
state officials in Massachusetts taking an interest.

You see Governor Cuomo of New York taking an interest because the large
numbers of Puerto Ricans people and people of Puerto Rican descent who live
in New York, it`s become this hopscotch thing depending on where the Puerto
Rican Diaspora is in – is in this country.

But in terms of the U.S. federal response to taking care of this problem,
we`re really far into this for there to be 40 percent of households with
running water and zero percent power.

That`s – this response is – something is not working here.

O`DONNELL: And the whole world is watching, and Puerto Rico historically
has had an image issue with the world.

Fidel Castro used to taunt Puerto Rico, calling it – telling them you`re
just a colony, you`re just an American colony and they would insist, no, we
have our rights, we have citizenship and this is what we want.

We want commonwealth, we don`t want statehood and all that. And Castro
would always say, when you need them they won`t be there, and so there`s so
much at stake here.

MADDOW: There`s so much at stake, and honestly I feel like the tip – the
actual logistical ways in which things have broken down in Puerto Rico,
particularly the lack of power and communications has made it hard to tell
the story.


MADDOW: As well as hard to – making it hard for the response thus far,
but the response this far is absolutely inadequate.

O`DONNELL: Thank you Rachel –

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Bill Moyers will join us, he was working in Lyndon Johnson`s
White House when Mohammed Ali defied the draft and was convicted of a
federal crime because of it.

Bill Moyers will tell us what President Johnson had to say publicly about
that, and what President Johnson had to say publicly about other protests
by athletes at that time including at the Olympics in 1968.

And once again tonight, NFL players stood in solidarity against President
Trump`s comments, and we have learned just how widespread the use of
private e-mail is and has been in the Trump White House.

And maybe that – maybe that`s the story the president doesn`t want us
talking about.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a dire situation in Puerto Rico.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Everything is destroyed, she

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Distraught residents are calling on the federal
government, begging them to step up its response.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What message is the president sending by emphasizing
sports right now and not a big crisis affecting so many –


of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son
of a bitch off the field right now, out, he`s fired.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re not SOBs, they`re smart, thoughtful guys, they
really are.

much to ask to stand for our national anthem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No! Pass the Medicaid, save our liberty!

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: This proposal is about as
popular as prolonged root canal work.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The last-ditch Republican effort to repeal Obamacare
apparently dead tonight.

TRUMP: By the way, rocket man should have been handled a long time ago.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now the foreign minister of North Korea is saying
President Trump`s weakened threats are in fact a declaration of war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are at such a high level of potential escalation to
full-blown war because of the relative inexperience of the leader in
Pyongyang and the leader in Washington.

TRUMP: Little rocket man, we`re going to do it because we really have no


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight in the war between Donald Trump
and the NFL. At tonight`s Monday night football game, the teams and
coaches once again took a stand against the president`s comments about
firing NFL players who dare to exercise their first amendment rights during
the playing of the national anthem.

And this war of presidential words versus protests symbolism is happening
at a time when it may be that we have never been closer to nuclear war.

North Korea says they believe we have declared war on them. They think the
president of the United States has declared war on them.

At the same time, the president has an unprecedented disaster as Rachel was
just talking about. An unprecedented disaster to deal with in the island
territories of the United States and the Caribbean.

Puerto Rico`s economy was already in disastrous condition and now the
island has been wiped out. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have
always had the guarantee that if anything like this happens they have an
advantage that other Caribbean islands don`t.

They have the full support of the United States of America. They have
always believed that they could count on the commander-in-chief commanding
the resources and aid that the islands need until now.

This weekend, the president`s attention was not devoted to the deadly
disaster that hit the American citizens on our Caribbean islands, he was
too busy talking about football, talking about knees and flags.


TRUMP: Wouldn`t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody
disrespects our flag to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right
now, out, he`s fired.


He`s fired! When people like yourselves turn on television and you see
those people taking the knee when they`re playing our great national anthem


O`DONNELL: The president is also very angry about the NFL`s lack of
respect for the beauty of the violence of the game.


TRUMP: You know, today if you hit too hard, right? They hit too hard, 15
yards throw him out of the game.

They had that last week, I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys just
really beautiful tackle – boom, 15 yards, the referee gets on television,
his wife is sitting at home, she`s so proud of him, they`re ruining the
game, right?


O`DONNELL: The president was not content to say that the referee is
ruining the game by enforcing the NFL rules.

He had to extend that attack on NFL referees to say that the referees are
doing that to impress their wives.

He felt the need to squeeze in that bit of misogyny, that bit of blame the
woman somehow for what happens on an NFL field.

The president spoke of the lost glory of the violence of the NFL the day
after it was revealed that former Patriots tight-end, 27-year-old Aaron
Hernandez had the kind of brain damage that had previously only been seen
in NFL players in their 60s.

The “New York Times” reported, quote, “the brain damage was so severe that
scientists all but gasped.” Here`s a picture of Aaron Hernandez in the
courtroom where he was found guilty of murder.

We don`t have a picture of Aaron Hernandez in the prison cell where he
killed himself. But we do know that on his Sundays in prison in Walpole,
Massachusetts, he could hear the roar of the crowd at the Patriots games in
nearby Foxborough.

In the president of the United States – if the president of the United
States was going to speak about football on Friday, you could expect it to
be possibly something in reaction to the Aaron Hernandez autopsy findings,
something about the public health crisis facing football, the concussion

You might expect the president to say something to worried parents not sure
whether they should allow their kids to play football now that we know the
younger the brain, the higher the risk of damage during the normal patterns
of contact in football.

But this president wanted to make the violence of football a Trump campaign
agenda, a Trump agenda item, put it right up there with building the wall.

Violence in football? Donald Trump is in favor. There is beauty in
football. Most of it is in the halftime show, but there is genuine
athletic beauty in pass plays, especially the long pass plays.

We have some of them recorded in our brains for the rest of our lives.
Some of them are miraculously beautiful.

Doug Flutie`s name will live forever in football on the basis of exactly
one pass play because it was so dramatic with one second left on the clock
and so very beautiful.

I`ve heard a lot of words to describe the hitting in football, the tackling
including from my high school football coach, but beautiful wasn`t one of

This president of the United States thinks the violence is one of the
beautiful things about football.

And that is the president of the United States who has brought us closer to
nuclear war with his rhetoric than any president in history.

There`s a straight line from Donald Trump`s violence in football rhetoric
to his rocket man rhetoric. The president may have said those things
because he knew that reporting by “Politico” was about to reveal that his
son-in-law Jared Kushner did something that Trump voters were taught to
believe you should be locked up for.

Under the headline, Kushner used private e-mail to conduct White House
business. And that has led to the breaking news report tonight that Trump
used private e-mail to conduct White House business – Ivanka Trump.

The “New York Times” is reporting that at least six of President Trump`s
closest advisors occasionally used private e-mail addresses to discuss
White House matters current and former officials said on Monday.

The officials include Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller,
economic adviser Gary Cohen and of course Ivanka Trump.

If the president knew that those reports were coming, he might do or say
something to get the American news media talking about something else.

It worked. But it might be a surprise tonight to the president that the
NFL including the owners and coaches are standing so strongly against his

Tonight, the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones linked arms and knelt
before the national anthem in what they say was a statement of equality and

The Cowboys who are playing the Arizona Cardinals in Arizona were booed by
the crowd. Joining us now, John Heilemann; national affairs analyst for
Nbc News and Msnbc.

And Jason Johnson; politics editor at the Root.Com and an Msnbc
contributor. And John, we now do fairly have the headline, “Trump uses
private e-mail in the White House – Ivanka Trump.”

- you knew this was coming, right?

O`DONNELL: I didn`t know this was coming –

HEILEMANN: You knew it was coming –

O`DONNELL: I did not know, I could not have –

HEILEMANN: You know –

O`DONNELL: Predicted for you the Trump White House will be found in a
widespread pattern –


O`DONNELL: To be using private e-mail after the “lock her up” campaign.

HEILEMANN: It speaks to the profound cynicism of so many of the things
that were said on the campaign trail. Just like it speaks – this is the
other – this is the straight line I`d like to draw.

The straight line –


HEILEMANN: Between the cynicism of the way issues were deployed in the
campaign that Trump did not really have been able to believe in.

And certainly that he was not carrying – having made a case of them, he
would not carry in and then say we`ll now do policy in a different way than
our opponent did.

That cynicism, the same cynicism on display of this attack on Steph Curry
and on Colin Kaepernick and on the NFL and these players were protesting.

The cynicism is staggering and the hypocrisy is staggering. I can`t tell
in this instance whether what`s worse, the race baiting, the profound
attack on the value of free speech in the – what he did on Friday night.

The cynicism of it, the hypocrisy of it or the stupidity of it because –
and this is the last thing I`ll say, although been talking about this all
night, the stupidity of it in this sense.

What you just showed – there`s sometimes when biting culture wars works
for Republicans. It`s – well, Republicans –


HEILEMANN: Have fought a lot of culture wars and have won them –


HEILEMANN: But you know what you can`t win a culture war on? When you`re
fighting with the NFL –


HEILEMANN: Because the NFL is America`s religion, it`s its past time, it`s
its game, it`s the heart of popular culture in America, and if you`re going
to wage war on the NFL which I`m sure Trump didn`t realize he was about to
do, you`re going to lose that war.

O`DONNELL: Jason, go ahead.

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, ROOT.COM: Well, yes, I mean, part of the
issue here is that, you know, there`s always – and then you were hearing
this from “Espn”, you were hearing this from “Fox”, there`s a confusion
about who actually watches football.

You know, Colin Kaepernick had the number one selling jersey in the country
last year, and that wasn`t just because a bunch of liberals bought it.

People who watch the NFL are all over the political spectrum. So there`s
assumption that you can just dog-whistle and say all this racist stuff and
the base of the NFL will rally around you completely ignores the actual
diversity of the people who watch the show.

But I think, Lawrence, and you mentioned this at the beginning and I think
this is sort of a key thing.

To sort of quote, you know, Kanye West from 10-12 years ago, “Donald Trump
doesn`t care about Puerto Rican people.”

The fact that he could spend his whole weekend arguing about football and
ignoring the fact that you got hundreds of thousands of American citizens
who are without power and will be without power for months is a reflection
of his despicable focus on only those racial and cultural things that lead
to his anger and his base and not what actually matters to people in this

O`DONNELL: John, do you have a guess about when – and I mean a guess
about when Donald Trump discovered that Puerto Rico is part of the United
States of America?

I mean, is that something you think he knew before running for president or
before inauguration?

HEILEMANN: Your question supposes that he knows it now.


HEILEMANN: I mean, it`s not clear to me that –

O`DONNELL: I think he knows it now.

HEILEMANN: Probably –


HEILEMANN: I would – you know, I don`t have a guess, I don`t have a
speculation, but I mean his – you know, there`s a – there are so many
instances in which he is learning things –


HEILEMANN: Basic, fundamental things that we see as revelations to him
every day –


HEILEMANN: I do think that this thing about the NFL is really important
point because what you see, Trump`s playbook now is if you were a football
team that had the kind of playbook that Trump had, you would be – you
would lose every regular –


HEILEMANN: Season game because –


HEILEMANN: It`s so predictable now, right? –


HEILEMANN: When there`s going to be – that there`s trouble on some other
front, you go to the playbook, right? The playbook is launch a culture war.

John Podhoretz wrote this thing on Twitter over the weekend, “we are Pavlov
– Trump is Pavlov, we are the dogs.”

He knows exactly what he`s going to get or at least he thinks he did.
Again, in this instance though, when he`s misunderstood and this is an
important thing is that a lot of what he`s playing to is generational.

It`s not just racial.

JOHNSON: Right –

HEILEMANN: There is a racial component –


HEILEMANN: But of course for sure, obviously –


HEILEMANN: Race baiting like crazy. But it`s old white men, right?
Because the –


HEILEMANN: Truth is that a lot of these NFL fans who – a lot of these NFL
players and owners were now standing against Trump are just – they`re just
– they`re white.

But they`re young whites who have a different set of attitudes than the
kind of things appeal to when he talks about the violence.

When he talks about the inappropriateness of these athletes and what
they`re doing. He`s talking to old white men, men like him who have a kind
of crazy nostalgic view about what the country was like and what sports
were like back when they were kids.

O`DONNELL: And Jason, you obviously have the surprise of one of the old
white men Bob Kraft, Patriots owner, who`s been a real Trump devotee,
actually turning against him to the extent that he was willing to say he
was disappointed in what the president said.

But it strikes me that this is happening when it`s happening. That this
particular weekend occurs when you have this crisis in Puerto Rico which is
a matter of extreme presidential attention in which presidential attention
can make all the difference.

And we also are in this – astonishing, inching toward confrontation with
North Korea because of the president of the United States rhetoric.

Also because of what North Korea is doing, but for the very first time the
rhetoric of the president of the United States is part of what`s moving us

JOHNSON: And Lawrence, this speaks to what has always been one of the most
damaging things about this president.

Because he`s president of the United States, we have to actually pay
attention to what he says, but he has no focus and no real notion of
priorities outside of those things that feed his own ego.

You`ve got Republicans trying to work on repealing health care. You have a
potential war with North Korea.

You have a crisis for American citizens in Puerto Rico, and these are not
things that are receiving the bulk of his time, the bulk of his attention
and the bulk of what this government seems to be concerned with.

But I also say this, and I think this is really important to understand
about what we saw on Sunday.

That was just a bunch of rich guys arguing with each other. Look, when Bob
Kraft takes a knee or Jerry Jones takes a knee, they don`t care about
police brutality.

Jerry Jones went and hired a guy – you know, a hardee(ph) last year who
was beating women to death. Most of these owners don`t care about any of
these moral issues.

They were protesting because they didn`t like another rich guy telling them
how to run their businesses.

So we`ve got to make sure that we also stay focused on the fact that the
players who will be doing this all along, they were the ones speaking up
for justice.

The people doing it now think a lot of them are just followers.

O`DONNELL: Jason Johnson gets the last word on this tonight, Jason, thank
you very much for joining us.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, more than a 100 people were arrested today at a
Senate Finance Committee hearing and I personally believe that in the
history of the United States Senate Finance Committee, those are the very
firsts arrests ever.

And Bill Moyers is here tonight to talk about President Trump and his
reaction to protests – first amendment protected protests.


O`DONNELL: Jimmy Kimmel has spoken out once again tonight on the taping of
his show. We have just obtained some of that tape and we`re trying to turn
it around for you, we will have it in a couple of minutes.

Even before Republican Senator Susan Collins announced her opposition to
the Republican health care bill late this afternoon, President Trump
sounded like he had already given up this morning when he said this.


TRUMP: McCain votes against and we have others, a couple of others that
are going to vote, looks like Susan Collins and some others will vote

We`ve got – as I told you, we have 52 votes and we can`t lose any votes, I
mean, practically. So we`re going to lose two or three votes and that`s
the end of that.


O`DONNELL: And that`s the end of that, he sounds ready to move on. Susan
Collins is the third Republican senator to announce her opposition to the
Republican health care bill.

Susan Collins joins John McCain and Rand Paul in opposing the Graham-
Cassidy bill, meaning that as of tonight it does not have enough votes to
pass the Senate.

Senator Collins announced her decision after the Congressional Budget
Office released a preliminary report today, stating that millions would
lose health insurance as a result of the Graham-Cassidy bill.

The CBO cannot give a specific number until it finishes its complete
analysis of the bill which would take several weeks if it does complete it.

In its preliminary report, the CBO says “the number of people with
comprehensive health insurance that covers high cost medical events would
be reduced by millions.”

And that is CBO`s official declaration that this legislation fails the
Jimmy Kimmel test that any family in America would be able to get the high
cost health care that Jimmy Kimmel`s son Billy needed when he was born this
year with a health condition.

Susan Collins tonight said this.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I wanted to wait until the CBO analysis
came out. And it found as I expected would be the case, that it would have
a negative impact on millions of Americans who are now insured.

I have to do what I think is right. I have to do what I think is right for
the people of Maine and the people of this country. And that is what has
led me to my decision today.


O`DONNELL: Jimmy Kimmel tweeted, “thank you Senator Collins for putting
people ahead of party, we are all in your debt.”

And as I said, we`re going to have more from Jimmy Kimmel`s tape from his
show tonight, we`re going to have that for you in a moment.

Senator Collins` statement came after hundreds of disability rights
protesters went to Capitol Hill today and interrupted the Senate Finance
Committee`s hearing on the Republican health care bill.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want a hearing –


If you want a hearing you better shut up.


OK, the committee is in recess, the committee will be in recess until we
get order.



O`DONNELL: There has never been anything like that in the 201-year history
in the United States Senate Committee on Finance.

In fact, that may be the only real protest that`s ever happened in that
committee room. Here now is the Jimmy Kimmel – some of the Jimmy Kimmel
tape that will be on his program later tonight.


JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: This weekend, I was in three
cities over the weekend and also at a charity event on Saturday night.
I met so many people who came up to me, strangers, almost every one of them
was a stranger – wanting to tell me that the Affordable Care Act that our
president and half our senators are so desperately trying to kill saved or
drastically improved their lives, members of their families` lives and/or
their children`s lives.

They came up to me, they said, “Mr. Fallon, thank you for speaking out.


And I just let it go because I talked to probably 200 people and I heard
these stories over and over again.

I saw pictures of children who are not well, people got teared-up, quite a
few of these people told me they`re Republicans, Republican people, not
politicians, there`s a very big difference.


O`DONNELL: John Heilemann is still with us, and joining us now is Julie
Rovner; chief Washington correspondent at “Kaiser Health News”.

And Julie, I was actually at that Saturday charity event that Jimmy Kimmel
mentioned with him. And it was astonishing to see the response he got

But I have to say, Julie, I wasn`t surprised because I have never seen
someone outside the Senate affect a Senate debate the way Jimmy Kimmel did
in a week.

really had an amazing impact. You know, and I think we`ve been hearing
that a lot of the advocates are tired.

I mean, they`ve been doing this, this bill keeps coming back to life and
everybody keeps saying, oh, you`ve got to go start calling and going again.

And I think this time, you know, people are starting to flag a little bit,
they thought it was over in July.

And I think Jimmy Kimmel really did sort of shine a spotlight on it and
kind of help rouse some of the people, you know, back up to realize that
this is something that really could have happened.

O`DONNELL: And Julie, you spent the day trying to cover this Senate
Finance Committee hearing. It was unlike any that the committee has ever
had before with that protest.

But it was also unlike any because it`s a serious legislative committee and
this was not as serious as John McCain would call it, “a regular order
attempt to consider a real health care bill by that committee.”

ROVNER: You know, I watched the hearings that the Senate Health Committee
earlier this month where they were trying to put together a bipartisan

And many – it was many of the same senators and yet those were serious –
they were serious discussions to get to a serious conclusion.

Today`s hearings were really about members of each party basically, you
know, reiterating their talking points, there was not much accomplished.

So I think at the hearing nobody heard anything that they hadn`t heard 50
times before.

O`DONNELL: John, I can tell you that those members of the Senate Finance
Committee who were – who are planning to vote for this are running scared

They`ve never seen anything like that in that room and following the week
of Jimmy Kimmel, I can`t say for sure how much that affected Orrin Hatch;
the chairman of the committee and some of the other Republicans.

But what they witnessed in that room today was the most powerful message
they`ve received on this.

HEILEMANN: There`s – I can`t imagine that`s not true. As you say, it`s
not only that there`s nobody arrested in the 200-year history of the

But you usually don`t see that kind of thing at the Senate –

O`DONNELL: Right –

HEILEMANN: Finance committee. And although, they`re not all brilliant men
and women, they`re not all –

O`DONNELL: You`re talking about the members of the Finance Committee?

HEILEMANN: I`m saying they`re not all –

O`DONNELL: Not all –

HEILEMANN: Not all –


HEILEMANN: But that is –

O`DONNELL: I`ll accept that.

HEILEMANN: But it is a savvy committee though –

O`DONNELL: It is –

HEILEMANN: And those – and so I think even for the – a lot of those
Republican members who word if they had to would vote for this.

They have been reading the wind and weather on this –

O`DONNELL: Right –

HEILEMANN: For some of them per day. So most of them went into this
hearing knowing this thing is dead before the hearing took place.

And then they walked out thinking, man, that`s really dead. So, look, you
see what`s happening here, the whole thing is just unraveling at this

Not only you got these hard “nos” that we`ve seen, although I`m not sure
Rand Paul is really a hard “no” –

O`DONNELL: Right –

HEILEMANN: Where he could probably be moved. But you got Ted Cruz out
there, you got Mike Lee out there who are not on the side of the bill.

You still got Murkowski, you got a probably really 10, 12 Republican
senators who are really not fully for the bill, either hard “nos” or maybe
“no”, given everything else that`s wrong with this bill.

The substantive defects, the procedural defects and the deadline?


HEILEMANN: Sayonara –

O`DONNELL: And as we`ve all seen, and Julie, you`ve seen them covering
this over the years. There are two things that are absolutely necessary to
pass a major health care bill in the Senate or in the Congress and that is
enthusiasm and party discipline.


O`DONNELL: And you don`t have either one of those things, there`s no
enthusiasm for this bill.

ROVNER: This has been, you know, sort of the dirty little secret of this
entire process, which is that the Republicans are just as divided over
health care as the Democrats are –


ROVNER: In fact, in some ways, the Republicans are more divided over
healthcare than the Democrats are.

And what the sponsor of this bill doesn`t have to discover is that every
time they try to move it sort of more moderate to pick up the Collins and
the Murkowskis than they irritate the Rand Pauls and the Ted Cruzs, and if
they move it back that way, they can`t get the moderates.

It`s very hard to get – you know, 50 votes for something even if you`re
only having 50 in the Senate when you only have 52 Republicans.

O`DONNELL: And John, the president – we heard him this morning on a radio
show –


O`DONNELL: You know, as in that walk away mode that he has –


O`DONNELL: As he did the very first time when it went down in the House
the first time, he just said, that`s it, forget it.

HEILEMANN: Yes, and then he came back.

O`DONNELL: And then he came back –


O`DONNELL: And he`s back in the walk-away mode it sounds.

HEILEMANN: Well at least for now. And you know maybe tomorrow he`ll see
some political upside of beading up on Republicans who he considers are
feckless and ridiculous for not being able to pass something as he said I
thought I would get to the Whitehouse and take the Oval Office and a bill
on the desk the first day.

Have you not been paying attention to the healthcare debate through your
entire adult life? Anybody who thought that was just completely out to
lunch. So he may find it in the best interest at some point shortly to
start agitating again for a health care bill and beat up on Republicans.
But I can`t believe at this point that in his heart of heart he doesn`t
know that the – whatever the politics of this now are is not about passing
a bill anymore. It`s going to be about trying to gain political benefit by
who to blame, who to beat up, who to kick while they`re down.

O`DONNELL: Julie, does Mitch McConnell have to prove that he`s really
trying even if it`s a losing vote?

JULIE ROVNER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s what I`m trying to figure out.
He certainly doesn`t have to and what he said pulling the bill in July is
that if someone were to come to him with 50 votes he would bring the bill
back up. They clearly don`t have 50 votes. Senator Graham said he hopes
they have vote anyway.

It`s complicated to have to do with budget reconciliation. I think they`re
going to vote a Rama. I don`t think he could pull it after one vote so I
think we`ll know more tomorrow about what Senator McConnell wants to do.

O`DONNELL: In a normal universe he would never bring a bill to a vote
that was going to lose but this is not a normal universe. And if he doesn`t
bring it to a vote then the bill dies in his hands and he`s trying to get
that thing out of his hands and have it die in the Senate floor. John
Heilemann, JULIE ROVNER, thank you both for joining us tonight. Really
appreciate it.

HEILEMANN: Thank you Lawrence.

ROVNER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the President was, of course, busy Tweeting about
football players and knees this weekend while Puerto Rico was struggling
through an astonishing disaster. The likes of which the island has not seen
and what should have been happening inside the Whitehouse. Bill Moyers who
worked in Lyndon Johnson`s Whitehouse will join us next and tell us.


O`DONNELL: In 1968 at the Olympics in Mexico City, this happened. Tommy
Smith, the first place winner in the men`s 200 meter race with third place
winner John Carlos raised their fists in what had become the symbol of the
black power movement and the President of the United States Lyndon Johnson
said nothing. That came after Mohammed Ali`s 1966 defiance of the draft
which got him convicted of a federal crime and the President of the united
states Lyndon Johnson said nothing.

And in 1971 when Ali won the case on appeal, the President of the United
States Richard Nixon said nothing. In 1972, after his major league playing
days were over, baseball`s first black player Jackie Robinson said in his
autobiography, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the
flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world. Bill Moyers is a
Peabody award winning journalist, served as the White House Press Secretary
in the Johnson Administration from 1965 to 1967 and we have the honor of
bill joining us now.


O`DONNELL: Bill, thank you very much. Thank you for being here and so take
us back to this – you were in the Whitehouse when Mohammed Ali defied the
draft. Vietnam was the biggest issue in the country at the time in terms of
the tensions of the country which was just almost coming out of but not
quite coming out of the tensions in the civil rights movement and still
very active.

MOYERS: He was – he was – let`s say protocol conscious in terms of
attacking dissenters, publicly or people who disagreed with him. Privately
he often said very harsh things about them, particularly as the war in
Vietnam escalated and as it then became a quagmire.


MOYERS: He felt they were communists on the left. He said privately, I
don`t know if he thought it and would say privately on telephone tapes,
communists stirring up trouble. They don`t want us to win in Vietnam and
rarely did the public who hostility – did the hostility become publicly.
The Vietnam series quoted as being very harsh about protesters outside of
the White House and draft dodgers. And that was one of the rare times that
he said in it a way that more than a few people in the room could hear it.

O`DONNELL: And this is a President who had two son-in-laws, sons-in-law
serving in Vietnam.

MOYERS: I think the presence there is what finally triggered his deep
resignation to the fact that he had to get out.

O`DONNELL: yeah, yeah. That actual part of his move which was really
executed in 1968 where he really started moving Johnson started moving
toward trying to get peace talks was a matter of what he was hearing from
his sons-in-law?

MOYERS: I don`t know if it was what he was hearing but I wasn`t there in
`68. I left in `65. He and Lucy, his youngest daughter after the boys went
to Vietnam they would go to midnight mass in the local Catholic Church. She
was a catholic and they would feel and sense the danger. When that danger
is that close, affects any President to lose young men in war and when it`s
your own as it was Roosevelt and the war is made very personal.

O`DONNELL: And we have no record of anyone in the Trump family ever
serving in one of our wars. And this is a president who talks about that
the soldiers have given their lives for the flag. These soldiers – it is
for our fallen soldiers that we are standing and behaving as we do in the
national anthem.

MOYERS: Some Presidents feel more deeply than others do and some people
– some Presidents build a guard between them and the consequences of their
decisions. Johnson tried that but he could not do it. He did not like war.

He did not like going to war but after he went to war he pursued it with a
passion. And – but he never was unconscious of the fact that people were
suffering. I don`t say that out of loyalty to him. I just saw him. I just
knew it was wearing on his spirit that he was doing what he didn`t want to
do and did it anyway, fighting this war and with young men whom he drafted.

We drafted about 2.2 million, maybe 2.5 million young men in that period.
And only 25 percent of them wound up in combat but he was aware as he said
when he escalated the war in July of 1965, he was kind of spoke to mothers
about the need for their sacrifice. It was that kind of rationalization
that tore at him.

O`DONNELL: And when you see this President who managed to get himself a
doctor`s note to keep himself out of the draft, talking about lecturing as
he was this weekend about what the national anthem is supposed to mean to
everyone else, and doing so as you say without any concern that President
Johnson and predecessors had about measuring their words.

MOYERS: Well, this – this is an alien in the Whitehouse. We have never
had this kind of President. We have had bad presidents. We have had vulgar
men in the presidency. But we`ve never had someone who suffers from the
kind of malignant – all politicians narcissistic. But some of the
malignancy of politicians, the presidents do not spread down into the
country and the culture.

This one is happening very fast. It`s almost a campaign to chill free
speech. There`s an opt to use it to divide and polarize the country. He`s
turned the Oval Office I`m sorry to say into a mush pit of bodily and
verbal rhetorical conflict. He is a very angry man and all the weekend he
was angry at – in Alabama and Hillary Clinton again. He was angry at the
football players. He was angry at North Korea and his anger`s getting the
best of him.

O`DONNELL: Just quickly before we go. Lyndon Johnson or any previous
president, I imagine the reaction of this President of the United States
just call this dangerous dictator in North Korea Rocket Man.

MOYERS: That`s far more dangerous than when`s happening with the NFL.
He`s brought the NFL to its knees effectively in reverence toward the
ideals he`s betrayed but the issue of Korea is the deadliest issued we
faced in a long time.

O`DONNELL: Bill Moyers, thank you for joining us. It`s a real honor to
have you. Thank you Bill.

Coming up, North Korea reacts to President Trump`s Twitter threats and name



there shooting rockets all over the place. By the way, Rocket Man should
have been handled a long time ago.


O`DONNELL: This week, President Trump Tweeted just heard Foreign
Minister of North Korea speak at U.N.. If he echoes thoughts of little
Rocket Man they won`t be around much longer. Today, North Korea`s Foreign
Minister said that Tweet was a declaration of war and said that North Korea
has every right to make counter measures. Including, shooting down American
Military Planes if they are outside of North Korea`s Air Space. Here`s how
the Whitehouse responded.


North Korea. Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd. It`s never
appropriate for a country to shoot down another country`s aircraft when it
is over international waters. Our goal is still the same. We continue to
seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


O`DONNELL: But president trump sounds tired of peace.


TRUMP: Other people like to say, oh, we want peace. They have been saying
for now 25 years, oh, we want peace. We want peace. And then he goes just
and keeps going, going, going. There`s the President of the United States
making it clear he doesn`t understand why for 25 years people have been
saying we want peace with North Korea. David Frum joins us next on the
North Korea crisis.



TRUMP: Little Rocket Man, we`re going to do it because we really have no
choice. We really have no choice.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, David Frum, Senior Editor for the Atlantic.
and David, for the President of the United States in a confrontation,
crisis, whatever we want to call this with North Korea, to stay we have no


O`DONNELL: Is just the most inconceivable choice of Presidential language
prior to now, of course.

FRUM: I was involved with President Bush`s axis of evil speech a long time
ago now. One of the things, people say a lot of things about the speech.
One of the things I invite people to go back and read it and you`ll see no
threats. The idea of provocatively reaching out and making a threat to
somebody, a vague threat, a nonspecific threat, a threat not connected with
anything the other party can do to mitigate the threat, a threat, by the
way, that is empty, we`re not going do anything to honor it, that is a
dangerous thing.

O`DONNELL: And I`m so glad you mentioned the axis of evil speech, David,
because that would be if we were looking at our presidential history the
previous kind of strongest comment by the president directly about North
Korea then of course this president goes to the U.N. Says we`re going to
totally destroy North Korea, goes to the U.N. and calls him rocket man
which then provoked North Korea at the U.N. to respond to the totally
destroying and to say that they will visit things upon Donald Trump that he
can`t imagine. And actually use the Trump phrase of suicide mission.
Foreign minister said at the U.N. On Saturday, none other than Trump,
himself, is on a suicide mission. So they`ve – they`re now using trump`s
language which sounds like North Korean language.

FRUM: Well, the axis of evil speech was delivered in 2002, four years
before North Korea became a nuclear power and marker of the United States`
unsuccessful attempt to prevent North Korea from becoming a nuclear power.
Once they`re a nuclear weapon state, different things are in order. The
later part of the bush administration had to deal diplomatically with North
Korea because they were a nuclear weapon state. The Obama Administration
followed a policy of sanctions and isolation that is more or less the same
policy that Donald Trump is carrying out now, but he`s doing it – this –
the Obama policy, but with his new provocative rhetoric that leads people
to think there`s something there. It`s strong talk, but it`s the same

O`DONNELL: and David, the most recent lock her up rhetoric at a Trump
rally was actually Friday in Alabama. And now we know, as we hit here
tonight, that Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon,
all using private e-mail while working in the Whitehouse.

FRUM: You know, if you`ve campaigned against your opponent accusing your
opponent of being mean to animals, you`re going to make sure to the white
house staff, look, everybody here, nobody be photographed being mean to
animals because that was our central message. But in the political story
that we`re all reading tonight, note that when this advice was given to the
white house staff, they literally laughed.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and so this is also a test, isn`t it, of a Trump voter,
and how serious the trump voter was about the need to lock someone up for
using private e-mail.

FRUM: look, there are some differences, I mean, Hillary Clinton used a
private e-mail exclusively and that`s a different thing, but it`s not so
different that you get then a lifetime pass to do some of the behaviors you
condemned as, you know, not inappropriate or not insecure, but actually
felonious. I mean the knock on what Hillary Clinton was doing was she was
probably trying to defeat Foya requests and she was exposing her
communications, important public communications, to some risk. That was
turned into a felony, a criminal event. And the trump people repeat it. I
mean, it invites all of us to marvel at their cynicism and to think, you
know, this last election, not sure it was entirely on the level.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. To put it mildly. DAVID FRUM, thank you very much for
joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

FRUM: Thank You.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have more of what Jimmy Kimmel has to say
tonight. We`re going to show you that next.


O`DONNELL: Here`s more of what Jimmy Kimmel has to say on his show


JIMMY KIMMEL, TELEVISION HOST: All day today, the Senate Finance Committee
was holding hearing – had a hearing on this bill. There were protests in
the hallways. There were heated exchanges, the whole thing. At the end o
the day just about an hour and a half ago, one of the two key Republican
holdouts, Susan Collins, a senator from Maine said she would not support
Graham/Cassidy which means this bill is almost certainly dead or at the
very least, it`s on life support which isn`t covered. So, we will – that`s
great news. Thank you, Senator Collins.


O`DONNELL: And once again, Jimmy Kimmel gets tonight`s last word. The
11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.


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