Trump mocks “liddle” Sen. Corker Transcript 10/10/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: October 10, 2017
Guest: David Frum, Ron Klain, Wendy Sherman, Charlie Cook, Barbara McQuade
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel, another
extraordinary and moving hour of television.
I want to update you on the Weinstein company during your hour, issued a
statement saying – this is from the remaining board members, a bunch of
them have quit but there`s a group left.
And they said “these alleged actions and are antithetical to human decency.
These allegations come as an utter surprise to the board. Any suggestion
that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false.”
And boy, Rachel, the reporting in the “New York Times” and Ronan Farrow`s
extraordinary reporting indicate that the knowledge was very widespread in
MADDOW: Well, and the – I mean, the fact that, you know, we now have to
parse what was a joke, what was a rumor, what was witnessed, what was known
about, what was covered up, I mean, that level of – the level of
complicity and knowledge is quite a number line here in terms of how close
other people were to the story and how breakable it was before it finally
made its way into print.
So this is a story that obviously is a story about Harvey Weinstein, but
it`s also a story about everybody who had contact with these allegations
from when they started, and why it took this long for it all to come out.
O`DONNELL: And there was massive cover-up system built within the company
and aiding and abetting system built within the company, even bigger than
the descriptions of what we roughly know about how things worked in “Fox
MADDOW: And the thing that I find – that makes me want to do additional
reporting on this, and actually, specifically makes me want to talk to the
reporters who have now broken this story is I`m looking forward tomorrow
night talking to Jodi Kantor to hear about whether or not the “Times” also
experienced during their reporting some of what Ronan described here in
terms of the threats he said he got and that his sources got.
These women coming forward even now, people from inside the company coming
forward even now, getting incredible pressure and him getting incredible
pressure as a reporter to not do this.
That means the system for shutting this stuff down has been operating as
recently as this week. And so if the “New Yorker” and the “Times” had to
fight that in their own way in order to get this stuff published, that
means that this isn`t stuff like – you know, I heard about this years ago
and let it slide.
That means that the cover-up is still active. And that`s a different type
of culpability in terms of people who are saying they had no idea.
O`DONNELL: And the “New York Times” knows how to work its way through
these kinds of threats. And when you`re a reporter for the “Times”, you
have a massive protection system around you.
There is a point in this process where Ronan Farrow is essentially a
freelancer bringing this into the “New Yorker”, and he was under very
Thanks to him being on your show, I got a chance to shake his hand in the
hallway and talk to him a bit on the way out of the building.
And the threat that he was under the legal threat, the Weinstein money will
bury you in court threat, even if – even if this never gets to court.
Just the threat of suing someone is so financially frightening in a
situation like that.
MADDOW: Yes, and imagine being – getting that threat as somebody who is
bringing it to light, but then compound that by imagine being one of the
women who is helping bringing this to light, who is in the industry and who
is talking about something that happened to them personally, who already
dealt with the physical threat of what she alleges happening to her.
And then imagine those legal threats on top of that, in terms – the kinds
of pressure that these women are under for coming forward.
I mean, I don`t care how famous some of these actors are, who are coming
forward. The amount of pressure they had to endure, the amount of stress
and the bravery that it takes for them to speak out even now, even
alongside all these other women making similar allegations, it`s almost
And I just – I mean, this – the bravery of these women to come out right
now, it`s just – it`s really something.
O`DONNELL: And this is in direct service to women who are entering this
business right now this year. Think of the college graduates who have come
out of their colleges this year who have headed off to companies similar to
the Weinstein company and places like that in Hollywood, in New York,
They now have this document. And Ronan`s reporting is so invaluable
because it puts them in the room with the –
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Person like this as they read it. And they read – they can
identify with the choices that these women make in the room and some of the
heroic choices Rosanna Arquette, for example, who basically smacks down
Harvey Weinstein and gets out of that room.
There is so much for young women entering the workforce to study in Ronan`s
MADDOW: Yes, and – but the Rosanna Arquette piece is also – you know,
illustrative for the opposite reason. I know, one of the things she is
coming out about is saying, listen, yes, I got away and I said no, and I
smacked this down as best I could and then my career, I paid for it –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
MADDOW: Forever after. And yes, I paid a major price for it and that`s
part of what it cost me to stand up and do it.
I mean, for me, one of the heartbreaking things about this, particularly in
the follow-up story in the “Times” today is to read the stories of these
women who were 22, 23, 24 and entering the industry, and promising talents
and wanted this.
This was their dream and this was what they were pursuing, that`s why they
got into the room with Harvey Weinstein in the first place.
They thought it was an opportunity, and not only were they abused
allegedly or harassed allegedly or attacked allegedly, these – what the
end result for them is that they got out of the industry –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
MADDOW: They left, they became – they dropped that dream and did
something else when they realized that this is what it took in order to get
ahead in that particular part of American life and American culture.
And that`s on everybody, whoever knew about it and tolerated it.
O`DONNELL: Well, I`ll be watching tomorrow night as I was watching
tonight, Rachel, really –
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence –
O`DONNELL: Extraordinary evening, thank you Rachel –
MADDOW: Appreciate it, my friend. thanks –
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Well, for two whole days and nights, President
Trump mysteriously held his fire against Republican Senator Bob Corker
after a Twitter fight with Corker on Sunday morning in which Senator Corker
got the last word on Donald Trump with this tweet.
“It`s a shame the White House has become an adult day-care center. someone
obviously missed their shift this morning.”
And Donald Trump did not fire back at Bob Corker. Someone in the White
House must have been urging the president to do something he`s never done.
Just put the phone down and walkway from a Twitter fight, and he did for
two whole days and nights. Possibly the most difficult days and nights of
the presidency for Donald Trump.
Adult day-care center? Bob Corker says Donald Trump is in adult day care
and Donald Trump says nothing?
Until finally this morning Donald Trump couldn`t take it any longer, and
with two days of agonizing over how to respond to adult day care, Donald
Trump came up with this.
The failing “New York Times” set little Bob Corker up by recording his
conversation, was made to sound a fool, and that`s what I am dealing with.”
It was a historic tweet for Trump not just because it took him two full
days to come up with an attack tweet against someone who had hit him hard,
but because for reasons Trump scholars could not figure out today, the
insult-spelling of little has changed in the Trump language.
Little Marco was always simply little Marco. Little Marco Rubio, the
lightweight no show senator from Florida is set to be the puppet of the
special interest Koch brothers.
Watch little with two Ts, little Marco is now of course a vote Donald Trump
has been able to rely on in the Senate even when it comes to taking away
health care coverage for 20 million people.
It might be that in what Bob Corker believes is the unstable mind of Donald
Trump, the word “little” as an insult belongs to Senator Marco Rubio
Trump might need it again as soon as Senator Rubio stands in opposition to
the president on something – on anything.
And so changing the Ts in little to Ds might make a certain sense to Donald
Trump, but no one has yet offered a credible theory about the apostrophe.
The apostrophe at the end of the word “little”. But there had to be a very
good reason for changing the spelling of that word and putting an
apostrophe at the end.
Because the president of the United States took 48 hours of presidential
time to think about it.
And there is no indication that the president was thinking about anything
else during that time period.
And of course, as with most Donald Trump tweets, the president had no idea
what he was talking about.
Recording Senator Corker`s conversation with the “New York Times” was
Senator Corker`s idea and the “New York Times” idea.
Here is – here is Bob Corker telling the “New York Times” that he is
having his staff record the conversation.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I know they are recording it –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes –
CORKER: And I hope you are too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The “Times” released that audio after Donald Trump tweeted his
lie about Bob Corker being tricked into being recorded in that
Donald Trump did not tweet anything about what Senator Corker actually told
the “New York Times” including “we could be heading toward World War III,
thanks to Donald Trump.
And I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it`s a
situation of trying to contain him.
And he concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our
nation.” And “the president has us on the path to World War III.”
Donald Trump apparently believes that height really is the measure of a
man, that is because Donald Trump is himself over 6 feet tall and a simple
The “New York Times” reported today “in labeling Mr. Corker little, the
president was evidently returning to a theme he considered Mr. Corker for
Secretary of State during the transition after last year`s election.
But was reported to have told associates that Mr. Corker at 5 foot 7 was
too short to be the nation`s top diplomat.
Well, our first Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson was 6 feet 2 inches
tall, which nicely matched the height of his boss George Washington who was
also 6 foot 2.
But Thomas Jefferson did not think that his height set a mandatory
precedent for future Secretaries of State.
When Jefferson`s turn came to choose a Secretary of State, President
Jefferson chose James Madison who was 5 feet, 4 inches tall, three inches
shorter than Bob Corker.
And of course Donald Trump has no idea how tall James Madison was or
anything else about James Madison other than he might be the guy who
Madison Avenue is named after which of course he is.
Multiple reports indicate that President Trump was fuming about Bob Corker
for days after the senator said this about Secretary of State Rex
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORKER: I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff
Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Corker said that right after Rex Tillerson was reported
to have referred to the president as a moron in a meeting of senior
administration staff at the Pentagon.
The president talked about being called a moron in an interview published
by “Forbes” today. The questioner said there are reports out today over
the last couple of days about him calling you a moron privately as he
talked, reached out to you about that, do you believe that?
Do you believe that he said that? Trump said, “well, we may – we may have
to if he did that, which he says he didn`t by the way.
He said he didn`t and they announced with the State Department that he
didn`t, I think it`s fake news.
But if he did that, I guess we`ll have to compare IQ tests, and I can tell
you who is going to win.”
Of course with any Trump answer that is five sentences long like that one,
there is bound to be at least one lie and of course Rex Tillerson never
said that he didn`t call the president a moron.
That`s a very important part of this story. Rex Tillerson has had many
opportunities to say that he did not call the president a moron.
And it is true that this State Department spokesperson said that Rex
Tillerson did not call the president a moron.
But she was not in the room when Rex Tillerson reportedly called the
president a moron. And no one who was in that room has gone public and
insisted that Rex Tillerson did not call the president a moron.
And perhaps more importantly, no one in Washington, no one in that room, no
one in the Trump administration has bothered to even attempt to defend the
president against the accusation that he is a moron until today.
It fell to President Trump himself to defend his intelligence against the
accusation that he is a moron and he did that with that Trumpian self-
contradictory answer that he gave to the moron question.
At first the Trump position is, he says he didn`t, by the way, he says he
didn`t. And then the president goes on to say, but if he did, that`s how
confident the president is that Rex Tillerson did not call him a moron.
He is so confident that Rex Tillerson did not call him a moron that he
immediately entertained the possibility that Rex Tillerson did call him a
And he entertains that possibility to the point that he comes up with a
plan to prove that Rex Tillerson is wrong and that Donald Trump is not a
He says “if he did that, I guess we`ll have to compare IQ tests.” In his
meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger today in the Oval
Office, the president did not challenge Kissinger to an IQ test, not just
because the world knows that the 94-year-old former Harvard professor and
Secretary of State would beat Donald Trump in an IQ test in his sleep, but
because presidents just don`t challenge people to IQ contests.
That`s easy to forget during the Trump administration. And at least one
compartment of Donald Trump`s brain seems to know that because look at what
he said with Henry Kissinger sitting right beside him.
When he was asked about his boast that he has a higher IQ than Rex
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you undercut the Secretary of State today with
the IQ comment?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I didn`t undercut
anybody, I don`t believe in undercutting people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I don`t believe in undercutting people”, says the man whose
true religion is undercutting people.
The man who called the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
today “little Bob Corker”.
That is what pathological lying looks like. I don`t believe in
undercutting people on the day when he publicly undercuts people.
There is not a person in the world who does not know that Donald Trump is
lying when he says “I do not believe in undercutting people.”
And Donald Trump knows that you know he`s lying but he cannot stop himself.
You have never seen that before in a president.
You`ve never seen a president who publicly proves he`s telling a lie on the
very same day he`s telling that lie.
And that is why Senator Corker believes this president does not have the
stability or the competence. Those were his words, stability or the
competence to fulfill the duties of the presidency and as a result, we are
on the path to World War III.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, is Senator Corker right that you`re
putting the U.S. on the path to World War III?
TRUMP: We were on the wrong path before, all you have to do is take a
look. If you look over the last 25 years through numerous administrations,
we were on a path to a very big problem, a problem like this world has
We`re on the right path right now, believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: “Believe me”. In the same interview session where the
president offered the lie “I don`t believe in undercutting people.”
When he was asked if he was putting the United States on the path to World
War III, he gave an answer that was a meaningless jumble of words without a
hint of knowledge, wisdom or reassurance, ending with the two words
The only people who can believe Donald Trump at this point are the people
who believed him when he first started lying about President Obama`s birth.
And according to the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob
Corker, what`s at stake now in the president`s lying, thanks to the
president who publicly begs to be believed in one breath while telling
provable lies in the next breath is nothing less than World War III.
Joining us now are Ron Klain; former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe
Biden and Al Gore and a former senior aide to President Obama.
Also with us David Frum; senior editor for “The Atlantic”. And David Frum,
I want to go to you on this point of Bob Corker warning the world that this
president is risking putting us on the path to World War III.
The president has asked about it today and the answer contains absolutely
nothing that is even relevant to the question.
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: So you flipped us all out
tonight, and I`m a little flipped out.
I would just point out that along with – we recently mourned the loss of
Monty Hall. Along with the door number one behind which is World War III,
there is a door number two which presents another according to Bob Corker,
not quite as immediately terrifying but still troubling alternative.
Which is Bob Corker said the thing that is saving us from World War III is
that the senior officials of the Trump White House, the Secretary of
Defense, Secretary of State, the Chief of Staff, are not doing what the
They are repressing him and containing him and that`s our salvation. And
obviously that`s a palace coup like that is a better alternative than World
But it`s not constitutional. It`s not the way the American system of
government is supposed to work. It`s not supposed to be that the president
makes decisions and the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense say
don`t think so.
So we have the risk of war that you so powerfully depicted. We also have
the ongoing reality of the government of the United States defying
presidential authority to cope with him and setting in motion some anti-
O`DONNELL: And Ron Klain, we have the “Wall Street Journal” –
conservative “Wall Street Journal” editorial board coming out – an
editorial saying of course Bob Corker is right.
We have the “Washington Post” coming out with an editorial saying of course
Bob Corker is right, and that leaves Washington with the question of what
can we possibly do if this depends simply on the mood management of the
president of the United States to avoid World War III?
RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO JOE BIDEN & AL GORE: Yes, I mean,
David`s very scary night tonight.
And – you know, but this is the feud between Bob Corker and Donald Trump
is just what every parent sees in the back seat of their minivan every day
between two 10-year-olds when they`re fighting over who is going to day
care and who is too short and who is not tall and all these things, other
than the fact that one of those 10-year-olds is equipped with nuclear
And this is not a new concern. I mean, you`ll remember, Lawrence, that
last year during the campaign, for the first time ever, men and women who
operate nuclear silos signed a statement saying they were scared that
Donald Trump would become the commander-in-chief and might order them to
fire nuclear weapons.
So this is a concern that we knew about during the campaign, that we`re
seeing bubble to the surface. And I agree with David, the antidote to that
which is a constitutional crisis where senior civilian officials, where
military officials refuse to follow the president`s orders.
It looks like the good scenario at this point in time.
O`DONNELL: And go ahead David –
FRUM: They`re not refusing, they`re just – they`re not refusing to
follow, they`re just are saying – they`re developing a lot of hearing
And they`re trying to prevent it coming to the point where the president
gives the order. And that is – that is the thing that Bob Corker talked
about was Anthony Scaramucci back in July complained about this, he said
there are people inside the Trump White House who see it as their job to
protect the United States from Donald Trump.
And God bless them and thank them for their service, but it is not the
constitutional way to run the government of the United States.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Republican Charlie Dent said about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We`ve had a lot of these emperor –
and the emperor has no clothes moments.
And I`m glad that Senator Corker has brought voice to this. We are
concerned – my colleagues, my Republican colleagues in the House I know
and Senate are concerned by much of the dysfunction and disorder and chaos
at the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, there are real cracks in the wall now.
KLAIN: There are cracks, Lawrence, and I think the question is will other
people step up and say what Bob Corker says.
Said a version what John McCain said when he voted against the health care
bill, and the Republicans who speak out against this president.
There are cracks, but they`re only cracks. And I think the question is
will this come undone in time to save the rest of us from the rest of the
And I – you know, I hope that other people of good conscience will follow
Senator Corker`s lead, will follow Congressman Dent`s lead and call this
out and stand up to President Trump and point out what`s really going on
here, which is a horrible crisis of our constitution and our presidency.
O`DONNELL: And David, Bob Corker has been very careful to not go out
against Donald Trump and until he found the spot where he felt he simply
He actually supported Donald Trump at many turns in the road here. He has
been reported to be very friendly with President Trump prior –
KLAIN: Yes –
O`DONNELL: To August, anyway of this year. So he built his credibility
among republicans as someone who wasn`t for their taste in Washington
anyway, just quickly or reflexively anti-Trump.
It took him a ways – a while to get here. But now that he is here, we
have never heard more condemning language from the United States senator
about the president of the United States.
KLAIN: Look, Bob Corker is no hero of conscience. But I think as the
story unfolds, what you`ll hear is – I mean, there`s a kind of sick,
perverse dynamic which is the people who really are heroes of conscience –
well, they don`t matter because they speak up early.
The people who are somewhat less heroic, but a little bit more heroic than
those who speak – you hear from the next.
The tipping point is always the people who are the biggest opportunists.
When you lose the opportunists, then you`re really in trouble.
And so what you`ll have are Republicans of ever worse character standing up
later and later. And I think if that`s what it takes to save us from the
Monty Python alternatives of curtain number one, World War III.
Curtain number two, palace intrigue and palace coups, that`s what it takes.
O`DONNELL: Line of the night when you lose the opportunists – beautifully
put. Ron Klain, David Frum, thank you both for joining us tonight, really
FRUM: Thank you –
KLAIN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the president versus the Iran deal. What will the
president do? When will he do it? Ambassador Wendy Sherman will join us.
She helped negotiate the Iran deal that the president is now threatening.
Wendy Sherman says the president is playing with fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) –
TRUMP: You`re going to see very soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In tweets over the weekend, the president blamed Senator Bob
Corker for the Iran deal.
If you listen to the Trump White House, you would never know that Senator
Corker voted against the Iran deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Senator Corker worked
with Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration to pave the way for that
legislation and basically rolled out the red carpet for the Iran deal.
I mean, those are pretty factual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In an op-ed in the “New York Times” today, as the president
moves towards decertifying the Iran deal, former Undersecretary of State
Wendy Sherman who participated in the negotiations on the Iran deal said
“the president and the Republican-controlled Congress are not only playing
with fire, they are lighting it themselves.”
Joining us now, Ambassador Wendy Sherman who is Nbc News and Msnbc global
Ambassador Sherman, tell us the essential points you`re making in the “New
York Times” today. What is their version of playing with fire?
WENDY SHERMAN, SENIOR COUNSELOR, ALBRIGHT STONEBRIDGE GROUP: Well, it`s
very interesting, Lawrence. What the president is going to do is say that
he is not going to certify that Iran is complying with the deal, even
though the International Atomic Energy Agency has certified eight times
that they have complied completely.
And all of our partners in the negotiation, including our European partners
believe that Iran is complying with the deal.
Then he is going to toss it to Congress and abdicate responsibility and say
to the Congress, well, now you`ve got under the review legislation that the
president was talking about that Senator Corker helped design.
You`re going to have 60 days whether to snap back sanctions and blow up the
entire nuclear deal.
The president is going to say it`s not in our vital national security
interests, and they`re not staying with the spirit of the deal.
What he`s really saying is that somehow or other, allowing Iran to go back
to seeking nuclear weapons is in our vital national security interests.
And that just seems absurd on its face. In addition, quite frankly, I
think the thing that he is really upset with about Senator Corker is the
review legislation which was meant to hold an administration I think
probably, thinking would be a Clinton administration`s feet to the fire.
Every 90 days, the president has to say this deal is working. And the
president of the United States today has said so many times it`s a bad deal
that having to do this every 90 days is driving him completely mad and
that`s what he is really mad with Bob Corker about.
O`DONNELL: The president apparently had a phone call with the United
Kingdom`s Prime Minister Theresa May tonight. And that is the British read-
out of that phone call. The prime minister reaffirmed the UK`s strong
commitment to the deal alongside our European partners, saying it was
vitally important for regional security. The Prime Minister stressed that
it was important that the deal was carefully monitored and properly
SHERMAN: I couldn`t agree with her more. I would say, you know, the
President is going to talk about all the actions that Iran is taking to
destabilize the Middle East. And there is no question that Iran is really
involved and engaged in the line behavior in the Middle East.
But we have lots of tools to deal with that. We have sanctions on Iran for
virtually every activity that Congress just passed additional sanctions
against Iran. We can work with our partners. We can preserve the security
We can attend to the concern, legitimate concerns of the Gulf Countries.
But we don`t need to urge North Korea, it`s all the same, melding together
we don`t have to urge Iran to going back to seeking nuclear weapons to do
that. That`s just absurd.
O`DONNELL: Quickly before we go, do you have a sense if this is thrown to
Congress that voting might be different? For example, Senators have had
some time to watch this deal in action. And some Senators who are opposed
to it in the past could be in favor of continuing it now?
SHERMAN: Indeed. We`ve seen Senator Schumer and Senator Cardin who are
Democrat who voted against it say the deal should stay in place. We`ve seen
the Republican Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce say
he thinks the deal should stay in place. Jeff Flake said now may not be the
time to decertify this deal.
So we`ve got plenty of people who understand that we are doing what we`re
supposed to do, which is stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon, which
could project even more power into the region and deter us from the actions
we need to take with our allies and our partners.
O`DONNELL: Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thank you very much for joining us
SHERMAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the polls for President Trump get worse and worse
and worse. And now he is losing the crucial swing states that won him the
Electoral College. And that could all mean big wins for Democrats in the
elections next year. And later, the games the Trump team is playing with
Robert Mueller`s investigation.
O`DONNELL: 67 percent. That is the astronomical disapproval rating
President Trump has in the latest ap poll. 67 percent. That`s what the
Trump chaos Presidency has earned. And that was before Trump ally Steve
Bannon promised even more chaos in the Republican Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN BANNON, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Remember, I said I`m
going after the Republican establishment. And we`re going to go after them.
We`re going to challenge as a coalition -
SEAN HANNITY, AUTHOR: Give me the states there.
BANNON: There`s a coalition coming together that`s going to challenge
every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: There are very few political analysts who are even capable of
tracking all House and Senate elections, and there might be only one who is
consistently good at it. The Analyst we all turn to for questions of what`s
going to happen in Congressional Election series of course Charlie Cook,
Editor and Publisher of the Cook Political Report.
And now Charlie Cook believes that Donald Trump and the Republicans have
made Democratic control of the House and Senate within reach in the next
election. He writes, the party needs to sublimate its divisions, get
mainstream Republicans to the polls and persuade the Trump base to cast
ballot for non-Trump Republicans. That`s a tall order and it`s why last
week`s news reduced the odds of the GOP retaining its majority from a good
bet to even money.
Joining us now is Charlie Cook. Charlie, what about this week`s news of
Steve Bannon trying to bring chaos to the Republican reelection campaigns
of all the Senators running for reelection except Ted Cruz?
CHARLIE COOK, REPORTER: You know, this is all just so terribly self-
destructive. I mean it was as if they`re trying to lose at least their
majority in the house, if not the Senate. And, you know, I kind of wonder,
what are these people thinking? I mean you know, how much fun would it be
for President Trump to hand over the power to subpoena to House Democrats?
I mean, are they thinking about this? I`m just sort of baffled when I watch
some of this behavior. And, you know, how in the world does Steve Bannon
think the President`s agenda would get through if Republicans lose one,
two, or even the three Senate seats that would tip the Senate over. And
that`s entirely possible when there, you know, it`s like a cannibalization
going after Jeff Flake in Arizona and Dean Heller in Nevada and now going
after other people. Wow. I`m just standing back and watching in disbelief.
O`DONNELL: The – have we ever seen a President come back in a year from a
67 percent disapproval rating? He`s got less than a year, really, when you
consider voting in the next Congressional Elections to get that disapproval
rating into some kind of manageable territory for his party.
COOK: Well, that 67 is a little hard to disprove than other polls. But
just take last week`s Gallup Poll, for example. It was 38 approve and 56
disapprove. The average for Presidents, newly elected Presidents at this
point is 62 percent approve and President Trump has a 38 percent approve.
And you look at his numbers among Republicans.
He got 88 percent of the Republican vote. He`s got about 82 percent
approval rating among Republicans. OK, that`s fine. But he got 46 percent
of the independent vote. Now his approval rating, the Gallup is 31 percent
among independents and 9 percent among Democrats.
This is not a recipe for being able to hold on to Congress. When you think
of why do parties have disastrous midterm elections and four of the last
six midterm, the party in the Whitehouse lost their majorities either in
the House, the Senate or both. It`s a President with low approval ratings.
It`s a divided, you know, they`re a party being badly divided or it`s
having a Congress that hasn`t delivered much.
Well, those are the – you know, it`s check, check, check for all three of
those boxes this time. So this is looking I mean look, we got 13 months.
But gosh, this is what it looks like when the wheels start coming off a
O`DONNELL: You published some stunning numbers in analyzing midterms since
1966, showing that if the President`s approval number is under 50 percent,
that means that his party will lose an average of 40 seats in the house and
lose an average of five senate seats. If the president`s approval is under
50, you didn`t even publish a number, Charlie, for what happens if it`s
COOK: Yes, well, this is new territory here. But yes, and now the thing is
there are some factors that would partially mid gate it. Congressional
District Boundaries since the 2011 redistricting benefit republicans Some,
and natural population patterns where Democratic vote is concentrated in
urban areas but let`s just say take that 40 number. OK, knock it down by
25 percent to 30.
That`s still losing the House. I mean anything 24 or over is losing
majority in the House. So even with the district boundaries and population
patterns, the chances of Republicans losing 24 or more are going up and but
you`re right. I mean when a President has approval rating of 50 or over,
they`ve typically either picked up seats or just lost a dozen or 15 seats.
But when it`s under 50, it starts getting really awful and 38, good gosh.
O`DONNELL: the race is on. . Charlie Cook, thank you very much for
COOK: Thank you Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Thank you. Coming up, some Trump
advisers are telling the President to attack the special prosecutor. Other
Trump advisers are telling him to charm the special prosecutor. What is a
President to do?
O`DONNELL: Tonight The Associated Press is reporting that President Trump
is being advised to go on the attack against Russia Investigations Special
Prosecutor Robert Mueller. The AP Reports that long-time friends and allies
are pushing Trump to fight back citing concerns that his lawyers are naive
to the existential threat facing the President. Trump supporters and
associates inside and outside the Whitehouse see the conciliatory path as
risky to the maverick President`s tenure.
Instead they want the street fighting Tweeter to criticize Mueller with
abandon because, you know, that always works with Special Prosecutors.
President Trump spoke to Forbes Magazine about the Russia Investigation in
a new interview. He says the Senate Intelligence Committee has found, “that
there has been absolutely no collusion. They just said that yesterday, two
days ago, Senate there has been no collusion.” It would have been really
big news if that happened, right?
It didn`t. Here is what the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BURR, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The issue of
collusion is still open that we continue to investigate both intelligence
and witnesses. And that we`re not in a position where we will come to any
type of temporary finding on that until we`ve completed the process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And there are some new developments in the House Investigation.
Congressman Devin Nunes, the Republican Chair of the House Intelligence
Committee who recused himself from the Russia Investigation has suddenly
subpoenaed the partners of Fusion GPS, the firm that produced the Trump
Russia Dossier. Those subpoenas were issued without consulting any of the
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee
Coming up, with the issue of collusion still open, as Chairman Burr just
said, what could the Special Prosecutor`s next move be? And how will Donald
Trump and his lawyers deal with the Special Prosecutor?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC SWALWELL, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: We`re going in the wrong direction,
and we are at risk of having a flat earth report come out of the house
intelligence committee. If we have a report on the senate side with one set
of findings and then a bizarro report out of the House Republican side, I
think that helps the Russians perpetuate their narrative that this was just
something that was made up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Barbara McQuade, former Federal Prosecutor and
Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. She is now an NBC News and
MSNBC Legal Contributor. Professor McQuade we just heard Eric Swalwell
indicate that there are problems with the House Intelligence Committee
Investigation with the recues Chairman suddenly issuing subpoenas without
consulting the Democrats. The Senate Intelligence Committee seems to be
working much more smoothly. But then, quietly, with no one taking the
temperature on a daily basis is the Special Prosecutor, who is unaffected
by all of this.
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I`m sure, Robert Mueller – this
is his M.O. quietly about your business, keep your head down. No media is
good media, just do your work.
And I so I think the fact that things are quiet is just the way Robert
Mueller likes it. I have no doubt he is keeping that team of 16 lawyers
very busy around the clock chasing down every lead and getting their arms
around this investigation.
O`DONNELL: And what do you make of these reports this week? First there
was a report indicating that the Trump legal team has decided to go on the
charm offensive with the Special Prosecutor and then you have these
advisers outside of the team telling the President, no, no, no, you`ve got
to be in an angry Twitter war with the Special Prosecutor. It seems to me
that neither one of these approaches will make any difference with real
MCQUADE: Yes, I think whenever you`re a high-profile public figure like
President Trump, you have to really fight the battle on two fronts. There
is the legal battle, of course, and then there`s also the battle that`s
being fought in the court of public opinion. And you have to kind of figure
out how you want to play that. But with respect to the legal battle, I
agree with you. I don`t think any of this is going to matter to Robert
He`s going to get what he wants to get one way or another. If you can make
witnesses available voluntarily, you can provide requested documents
voluntarily, or you can fight Robert Mueller and require him to use
subpoenas and litigate them in court. But ultimately he will get what he
wants and really will only dictate the pace of the investigation. And I
think it`s in the interest of the American people to speed things along.
And certainly if you`re Donald Trump and you believe you`ve done nothing
wrong and you want that exoneration that he`s been asking for he too should
want things to move quickly. And so cooperation would be the best strategy
to get there.
O`DONNELL: We have a report in Politico tonight saying that Trump Campaign
Adviser Carter Page said he will not testify to the Senate Intelligence
Committee. Now this is someone who is available to just about every TV talk
show who would invite him on, and he became kind of a stranger and stranger
witness for himself on television. Do you think he might be getting legal
advice that now is the time to start being quiet?
MCQUADE: It could be you know if Robert Mueller, for example, wants to use
him as a witness, and if he wants to cut a deal with Robert Mueller, for
example, in exchange for leniency, he would testify against others who have
committed more egregious misconduct than he has then he doesn`t want to do
anything that might blow that deal by talk to others. So that could be one
potential reason he wouldn`t want to be talking to other committees or even
O`DONNELL: Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuaid, thank you for joining us
tonight, really appreciate it.
MCQUADE: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.
O`DONNELL: Jon Stewart returned to late night TV last night with his
friend Stephen Colbert.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: What the (INAUDIBLE) is wrong with this guy? W hat
is wrong? Why would you – you`ll find out? You`ll find out. A cliffhanger
surrounded by military people. You`ll find out.
Will Trump give humanity the rose? Will civilization make it to the fantasy
suite? And calm before the storm, is that what he was saying, calm before
How the (INAUDIBLE)? Calm before the storm? How is all this not the storm?
This is all the storm. And what kind of a sociopath would use that
terminology while people are still literally cleaning up from storms?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jon Stewart gets tonight`s last word. The 11th Hour With Brian
Williams” is next.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the