NYC Terror Attack Transcript 10/31/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: October 31, 2017
Guest: Graeme Wood, Hassan Hassan
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And, of course, when those deadlines move, that means they don`t have a
bill. It`s as simple as that.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Yes, the report from “Axios” tonight who
broke that news suggests they didn`t come up with a way to pay for their
O`DONNELL: Yes, not even close. And some of the ways they thought of are
politically radioactive, like eliminating the deductibility of state and
local taxes which functions as double taxation in states, especially the
states the higher the taxes, the worst that is.
And so, they`ve got a revolt on their hands. They don`t have a solution.
I`ve been waiting for this. If they went forward on schedule, that would
mean they`ve got something of a working solution.
MADDOW: Yes. And when you pull stuff – I mean, the good news is that –
the good news for them is they have now learned to pull stuff before they
put up their own stuff and it fails, which looks better. But, you know, if
Nancy Pelosi were running this show, the Republicans really hated Nancy
Pelosi. But if there was one thing she was good at is getting her ducks in
a row before deadline day.
O`DONNELL: As was just about everyone before Nancy Pelosi for that matter.
Yes, that`s the way it was supposed to work.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, Donald Trump got more bad news, very bad news from Robert
Mueller today, the special prosecutor, the day after Robert Mueller
revealed three indictments in the first guilty plea in his investigation.
We will have all of that news as well as a close look at the person, the
new person in the Trump campaign who we learned today is also talking to
the special prosecutor and has actually testified to the special
prosecutor`s grand jury. That`s coming up.
But first, here in New York City, eight people are dead and several more
injured in what authorities are calling an act of terror this afternoon. A
suspect drove a rented pickup truck down a bike path in lower Manhattan
just after 3:00 p.m., ramming pedestrians and cyclists before crashing into
a school bus. The truck traveled a distance of nearly a mile along the
West Side Highway between Houston and Chambers Street before crashing.
Here is how one of the eyewitnesses described the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I looked down, and I see a truck going down towards
Chambers Street. And I`m saying what`s going on? So as I go down more, I
see two – he is in the bike lane, clearly in the bike lane. And I see
when I go down, I see two gentlemen lying right there in the bike lane with
tire marks across their body. And you can tell that they`re not here no
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Law enforcement officials tell NBC news that the driver shouted
“Allahu Akbar”, which is Arabic for “god is great”, as he got out of that
crashed truck there you see him doing that and walking with a pellet gun
and a paint ball gun.
He was then shot in the abdomen by a police officer and taken to Bellevue
Hospital. The suspect has been identified as a 29-year-old immigrant from
Uzbekistan who came to the United States in 2010. A note was reportedly
found in the truck claiming he did this for ISIS.
Here is what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Let me be clear. Based on the
information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror. And a
particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at
people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now from the scene in Lower Manhattan is NBC`s Ron
Ron, the police will have no problem getting eyewitnesses to this event.
We`ve already seen some hand-held video that people have made in the
aftermath, and plenty of eyewitnesses seem to be available.
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And they`re asking tonight for
more video, more images, more to come forward because they want to piece
together every single moment of this terrible incident. Remember, the
crime scene is about a mile long, along the West Side Highway, along that
bike path. And they`re trying to determine exactly where this act of
violence started and how it was carried out along the way.
The crime scene is there behind me, a couple of blocks away. It`s still
very active. The investigators are there. They`re probably going to be
there through the night and tomorrow morning trying to piece all this
together. They`re, of course, also trying to learn everything they can
about the suspect, this 29-year-old man from Uzbekistan who has been in
this country for a few years.
The green card, a truck driver`s license, we don`t know much about him
other than he apparently rented this truck from a Home Depot this afternoon
around 2:00 in New Jersey and drove through the tunnel, came here to New
York city about an hour later and carried out this dastardly act.
Why he did it? Unclear. There is this indication that he left a note of
some sort or some writings suggesting he was inspired by ISIS. Whether
that`s true or not, or whether that was a real motivation or not is
And, of course, authorities are trying to determine how to prevent this
from happening again. Tonight on the streets of this city, there has been
a very noticeable increase in police activity. There are Halloween parties
in numerous neighborhoods around town, including one very large one, a
traditional party in Greenwich Village that is not far from here, a couple
of miles from here where the police presence was visibly much stronger.
The police have said that they will be out in force, and that tourists and
residents should expect to see that and not be alarmed by that.
Remember, this is not the kind of attack that police were not expecting.
In recent years since we`ve seen these attacks in Nice and other places in
Europe, the authority here is in New York have been blocking major
intersection with big trucks full of sand and dirt at major events like the
Thanksgiving Day parade.
There have been large patrols of officers at events like this when they
thought there might be a truck attack. The police have even gone to truck
rental agencies around the area at different occasions and warned managers
to be on the lookout for people renting trucks that might be doing
something like this. So that speaks to how difficult it is to prevent
these sort of things from happening.
But the bottom line is that the authorities will get to the bottom of this.
New Yorkers will go on as best they can. In the hours since the attack,
we`ve noticed the city has come back to life. And people of course are
stunned and saddened by what happened, but they`re not – life is not
Halloween festivities went on through the night and will continue going on
tomorrow, life will, I`m sure, as the authorities continue to try to get to
the bottom of this and to try to do everything they can to prevent it from
happening again – Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: NBC`s Ron Allen from the scene in Lower Manhattan, thank you
for joining us, Ron. Really appreciate it.
We`re joined now by WNBC chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst.
Jonathan, this occurs in close proximity to the World Trade Center.
Deadliest terror attack in New York City since 9/11.
JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Sayfullo Saipov is the
suspect. They say he drove that van, as Ron said around 2:00 into New York
City. And that he was targeting not only pedestrians and bikers along that
path, but he also targeted a school bus that he saw according to police
that was filled with disabled children. And he smashed the vehicle
broadside right into the side of that school bus, injuring at least three
of the disabled children on that van. And that`s what eventually stopped
Then he got out with those two guns and began shouting and running through
the highway traffic with the paint ball gun, as you described until police
officers who happened to be on the scene opened fire, shooting him in the
midsection. He was taken to Bellevue Medical Center where he was – they
tried to question him.
The initial feedback we got now is he refused to say anything. They`re
still working on that. In the meantime, they`re searching his house in
Paterson, New Jersey. His driver`s license also shows he had a residence
in Tampa Bay, Florida. The FBI and the NYPD tracking that as well.
So, you`ve got active FBI police investigations in connection with this
going on in three states now – New York, where the attack happened, New
Jersey, where the suspect is from, and rented the vehicle, and Tampa Bay,
Florida, where he also spent some time.
We`re told he is married, that he has children, perhaps three children.
That he has been very religious and has become more religious over time,
although right next door to his house is an area mosque. And people who
spoke with my colleague Brian Thompson said he was not seen very often
So, unclear in terms of where or how he became radicalized, whether it was
online. They`ll search his computers. They`ll search his phone.
But again, a note in the van according to law enforcement officials
praising ISIS, saying he was doing this for ISIS. And that is why so early
on they knew this attack was an act of terror versus if you remember a few
months back a car drove through Times Square that was a case of alcohol,
drugs, somebody who was apparently crazy driving a vehicle the wrong way
along the sidewalk.
But you know how crowded that jogging path is Lower Manhattan. That`s
right near the Holland Tunnel. It`s right near Ground Zero, right near
Stuyvesant High Schools and some other schools. This could have been much
You`ve got eight dead, 11 wounded. But those bike paths are very crowded
on a beautiful Halloween afternoon at 3:00. This is a terrible incident.
It could have been much worse.
O`DONNELL: Do we know if he was living with his family in New Jersey?
Because as the day progressed, there was some confusion about is he a
Florida resident, is he a New Jersey resident?
DIENST: Our understanding is he has been spending time in both places.
But that the family, at least according to residents who have seen him,
they have seen him around with his wife and with his children, that she
wears full garb, burqa most of the time when she is out of the house, and
the children, that he is very religious.
But he is not on any warning signs. There is no threats. There was no
indication this attack is coming. He was not on any sort of watch list.
He immigrated. He won some sort of lottery to obtain a green card to come
here, and he did back in 2010, flew to New York through John F. Kennedy
Airport. Spent time in this area, in Paterson, which is a working class
immigrant city, then worked as a truck driver. His only run-ins in the law
were the traffic infractions, a couple in Pennsylvania, perhaps out in Ohio
as well, and spending time in Florida.
I don`t have clarity yet on the Tampa connection except he spent some time
living and perhaps working down there. Most of the information we`re
having right now is from what has taken place up here in New York.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Dienst, I know it`s been an incredibly busy day for
you here at the local news desk. Nobody works these cases like you do. We
really appreciate you joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
DIENST: Thank you for having me.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
We`re joined now by Jim Cavanaugh, a retired ATF special agent in charge
and now an MSNBC law enforcement analyst.
Jim, what do you make of this case as you read it so far?
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: One mad dog, Lawrence. One
mad dog terrorist. He we know his motive. It was on the note. He said he
was doing it for ISIS. And, of course, his behavior, his copycat behavior
of all these other vehicle attacks jumping out, trying to attack with the
fake guns, screaming “Allahu Akbar”.
It`s textbook. It`s right out of al Qaeda`s book early from their
“Inspire” magazine and is` subsequent urgings of their followers.
The key for investigators is, was there agents of influence here
domestically that touched him? Was there aiders and abettors that helped
him? Or is it just radicalization from the internet? I think those are
the big questions they`ll be facing tonight.
O`DONNELL: And, Jim, how did they proceed from what they have now? I
mean, we seem to have from Jonathan Dienst now a better understanding of
his residential pattern over these two different addresses that we`ve been
hearing about. But if he is not talking, where do the investigators go
CAVANAUG: Well, they go to his computer, his phone, his house, his papers.
I believe he`ll be talking, Lawrence, you know, I could be wrong on that,
but I think he`ll be singing like he is on a Broadway play.
He thought he was going to die when he jumped out of those – the vehicle
with the guns. This was martyrdom for him. He knew – he might try to
carjack another vehicle and kill more people that could have been an
attempt. But he knew it was going to end with a confrontation with law
enforcement and he was going to die or get shot. And that`s what he
Living is the unexpected for him. He really doesn`t have a plan for
living. He is telling you in his note what he wants to do. He is
screaming it out what he wants to do. And when he is caught, he`ll be
blaring it out to the detectives what he wanted to do because he is proud
of his cowardly murderous act.
You know, it could have been worse. It`s awful for these eight families,
these eight New York families and all the injured. It`s absolutely awful.
But this guy could have also had a dump truck. He was a truck driver. And
he could have crushed that school bus. He could have kept going through
the city. And those trucks are very hard to stop. We talk about this
often in law enforcement. Those huge trucks, to stop those things from
moving. You remember Nice, France was 86 killed.
When you get these huge vehicles, this guy had a smaller vehicle. And it
rammed that bus and it disabled it and he got out.
It`s horrible for the families. It`s horrible for New York. But they`re
tough. And we just got to do smarter, better on all these things.
We need more bollards, we need to do simple things, block those bike paths.
If you look at Nice today, Lawrence, if you look at Nice today in the
Promenade and Brussels, and you look at those, even London Bridge, you`ll
see bollards there now. Any pedestrian mall, any place pedestrians are
going to gather strictly for pedestrians or bicycles should be blocked.
Bollards, big rocks, whatever you got to do. It`s simple but it needs to
O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We
really appreciate it.
CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Lawrence.
Coming up, terrorists have reportedly been encouraging Halloween attacks
before today`s incident in New York. An ISIS expert will join us next.
Plus, a look at another person from the Trump campaign who we learned today
is talking with special prosecutor Robert Mueller and has already testified
to Robert Mueller`s grand jury.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: The new terrorist tactic, which they`ve
called for publicly, are these lone wolves who commit an act of terror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today`s terrorist attack in New York City is the deadliest in
the city since 9/11. It is also the latest in a series of deadly vehicle
attacks across the West, including the 2016 attack in N Nice in the south
of France where 86 people were killed after a truck went into crowds at a
Bastille Day celebration, and attack in Barcelona this summer where 14
people were killed.
Vehicle attacks are encouraged by ISIS now.
Here is what “New York Times” reporter Rukmini Callimachi who covers
Islamic extremism told Chris Hayes tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Just yesterday, ISIS put out a
series of posters that were translated in four different languages that
called for attacks on Halloween. It was issued in French, in Russian, in
German, and in English.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: A few minutes ago, president Trump tweeted I have just ordered
homeland security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Being
politically correct is fine, but not for this.
Joining us Graeme Wood, national correspondent for “The Atlantic” and
author of “The Way of Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State.” Also
with us, Hassan Hassan, co-author of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror”, and
a senior fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.
And, Graeme, the president is saying I just ordered homeland security to
step up our already extreme vetting program. I thought he already did
GRAEME WOOD, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: Yes, that has been –
the line consistently has been let`s try to make sure that our ability to
vet people who are coming in is stronger and stronger and stronger. Of
course, this suspect seems to have come in long before 2010. And I really
doubt that anything would have been found in 2010 that would have prevented
O`DONNELL: Hassan Hassan, is the president saying tonight that there is a
form of vetting that of better vetting in his mind that he is deciding to
do now, that the administration was not doing before today?
HASSAN HASSAN, CO-AUTHOR, “ISIS: INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR”: Just like
Graeme raham said, I think it`s extremely to know and identify people of
such profile. I think it`s really hard to do it. It`s random usually.
I heard – I read a report where a friend of his says he was a normal
person. He liked the U.S. and he was like a smiley person.
And this sort of information about people who commit such terror acts are
common. So, I don`t think the government would have been able to do
anything to prevent the coming of such a person. It`s such a random thing.
O`DONNELL: We`re getting a terrible detail reported to us just now about
of the eight victims who were killed in this attack, five of them were from
Argentina, and, Graeme, that would indicate that this was a tourist group
of some kind. And that`s a tourist area where they were attacked today,
which coincides with the attack in Nice. That seems to be something that
this kind of attack aims for is that sort of area.
WOOD: Yes, that`s the exact M.O. of ISIS style attacks, these truck
attacks is to find an area where large numbers of people are gathering and
then completely indiscriminately attack them. And it really shows how
little preparation was put into this. And how little care was put into
actually finding American victims.
He was just trying to kill anyone he could find. And he found a place that
was fairly densely populated and took the shot when he could.
O`DONNELL: And, Hassan Hassan, what – the decision window for something
like this could be years. It could be months. When you look at what
happened today, it could be rather impulsive. All that required was to
rent a pickup truck and drive down to that section of Manhattan. That`s a
decision that could have been made this morning.
HASSAN: Exactly. And I think one of the reasons why ISIS encourages such
attacks is because they don`t need a lot for preparation, and also because
they don`t need – it can be done on impulse. Someone driving and feels
like it and does it, or something like that. So, it doesn`t need a lot of
planning. It`s designed to be really sort of lone act or attack so a
person can do it on their own.
They don`t need training. They don`t need to be directed by ISIS,
certainly because of the delay and we haven`t heard from ISIS saying
anything about the attacker. We saw – we heard about him leaving a note
So, it sounds like he did it on his own. He thought it about it, and he
did it without communicating with anyone about his dimension.
O`DONNELL: And, Graeme, will ISIS claim this even if there was no
communication with them once they are aware of this note?
WOOD: I think it`s likely. If the note does indeed say he was doing this
for ISIS, that`s all it takes in is` eyes. They`re saying you don`t need
to communicate with us. You shouldn`t even communicate with us. Just do
it. And give some indication that it`s for us. If so, it`s an ISIS
O`DONNELL: And, Hassan, what does it mean that ISIS is not succeeding on
the ground in Iraq and Syria at this point. This is not a good period for
them. They are losing ground.
Does that increase the likelihood of this kind of attack here?
HASSAN: No. I think this attack is a reminder of two things. Is has just
lost its second capital in Syria, the main capital, the first city that it
controlled in 2014, Raqqah. And this attack happened soon after that.
That indicates that people are not even – either they`re not paying
attention, or because of an – a point I keep saying which is that the –
whatever ISIS does on the ground no longer affects its appeal outside. So,
people still act in ISIS` name, even though ISIS is retreating on the
The reason is because ISIS has become if you like a mature organization, a
full-fledged international terrorist organization that people can join
because they think of it as a sort of a cause they can mobilize behind or
O`DONNELL: Graeme, what do you see as a relationship between what`s
happening in ISIS in Iraq and Syria and what we will see in terror here?
WOOD: I think the most important thing to note is the most dangerous
attacks will be returnees from Syria, people who have been battle-hardened
who have the tactical abilities and the ability to plan. The fact that we
no longer have spaces in Syria where they can shelter and plan like that, I
think it`s a major victory.
So, the types of horrible attack as we see today with eight people dead,
that`s tragic. But it`s not as bad as it could be if some of the more
competent killers were able to return. So, I would hope that we see only
these – and I use this word advisedly, smaller attacks in the future.
O`DONNELL: Graeme Wood and Hassan Hassan, thank you both for joining us
tonight. Really appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up, today, Donald Trump got more bad news from special prosecutor
Robert Mueller. There is someone who`s testifying to the grand jury
already that Donald Trump is not going to be happy about.
O`DONNELL: More bad news today from special prosecutor Robert Mueller`s
investigation – bad news for President Trump, who will be forced to
withdraw the nomination of one of his favorite nominees for an
undersecretary position. Now that that nominee has been reported to be
cooperating with the special prosecutor`s investigation of Donald Trump and
Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and who knows who else.
And that was one of the big lessons of yesterday. We do not know who
Robert Mueller is zeroing in on. We have no idea how many people Robert
Mueller is targeting and who they are. The big news yesterday that Robert
Mueller had indicted Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates was
expected. But the news that Mueller had already arrested and got a guilty
plea from George Papadopoulos was the big surprise.
The message there to Donald Trump and the rest of us from Robert Mueller
was, you have no idea whose next. You have no idea who is next to be
arrested. You have no idea whose next to be indicted you. You have you no
idea who is next to plead guilty. You have no idea who is next to be
charged with conspiracy against the United States, which is what Paul
Manafort is charged with.
Donald Trump`s new nightmare tonight is this guy. That is failed Iowa
politician and former radio talk show host Sam Clovis who is the completely
unqualified Trump nominee to be the Department of Agriculture`s
undersecretary for research, education, and economics. That job is
commonly referred to as chief scientist of the Agriculture Department.
Congress has specifically expressed the preference that the job be filled
by a scientist which it usually has been, and which Sam Clovis most
definitely is not. What Sam Clovis is, especially in relation to Donald
Trump is untrustworthy. Sam Clovis abandoned the Rick Perry campaign to
join the Trump campaign.
You could say betrayed Rick Perry to join Donald Trump. And after he did
that, leaked e-mails showed Sam Clovis attacking Donald Trump in Iowa when
he was working for Rick Perry before he joined the Donald Trump campaign.
Clovis said in those e-mails that Trump`s comments reveal no foundation in
Christ, which is a big deal. In another e-mail, Clovis objected angrily to
Donald Trump`s insulting John Senator John McCain for having been captured
during the Vietnam War.
Clovis wrote Mr. Trump`s comments were insulting to me as a veteran and as
a person whose families sacrificed for 25 years as I missed anniversaries,
birthdays, holidays, Christmases and Easters. I was offended by a man who
sought and gained four student deferments to avoid the draft and has never
served this nation a day, not a day in any fashion or way that was Sam
Clovis before Donald Trump started paying him to say Donald Trump is great.
Yesterday the Special Prosecutor revealed more of Sam Clovis` e-mails,
including this one.
After several weeks of further communications regarding a potential off the
record meeting with Russian officials on or about August 15th, 2016, the
campaign supervisor told defendant Papadopoulos that I would encourage you
and another foreign policy adviser to the campaign to make the trip if it
is feasible. That campaign supervisor was Sam Clovis. He was encouraging
George Padopoulos to make the trip to Russia to collude with Russians to
help Donald Trump win the Presidential election.
Sam Clovis` confirmation hearing is scheduled for next week. It will never
happen. Donald Trump is going to withdraw Sam Clovis` nomination. Sam
Clovis is not ever going to be subjected to questioning by the Agriculture
Committee about his dealings with George Papadopoulos or his dealings with
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. It would be the most dramatic
confirmation hearing of the year. Imagine these democratic Senators getting
a chance to question Sam Clovis.
Debbie Stabenow would go first on the Democratic side. Pat Leahy would be
second. If Sam Clovis was still standing after Senator Stabenow`s question,
it would be Pat Leahy would deliver the knockout. That`s how east it would
Donald Trump doesn`t have to worry about what Sam Clovis would testify in
his confirmation hearing because Donald Trump whether he knows it tonight
or not is going to make sure that that confirmation hearing never happens.
Donald Trump does have to worry about what Sam Clovis has already testified
to Robert Mueller`s Grand Jury. We`ll have more on the investigation next
with Barbara McQuade, Jonathan Capehart, and Ezra Klein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Is the president still comfortable with him, Sam Clovis serving
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS,WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I`m not aware that any
change would be necessary at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Whitehouse Press Secretary today before NBC News
reported that Sam Clovis has already been questioned last week by Robert
Mueller`s team and testified before the Grand Jury investigating that case.
Joining us now Ezra Klein, editor at large at Vox and host of the podcast
the Ezra Klein Show also with us former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade,
Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. She is an MSNBC News and
MSNBC Legal Contributor. And Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for the
Washington Post and MSNBC Contributor is joining us. Ezra, I`m sorry that
we`re not going to have that senate confirmation hearing next week in the
Agriculture Committee. It is inconceivable to me that this nominee will be
submitted for questioning by that committee now.
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I was looking forward to that particular
hearing. Yeah. So this is a growing disaster for the Trump Administration.
And I think that the particular nature of the disaster revolves around
uncertainty. We don`t know And Donald Trump doesn`t know what Bob Mueller
knows. We don`t know who Bob Mueller has talked to and Trump doesn`t know
that either. We don`t know who the people Bob Mueller is talking to have
talked to and what they`re telling Bob Mueller.
And within way that bureaucracies and large systems of people begin to
collapse is when they can`t trust each other. The Trump Administration
already had a very, very serious problem with leaks. It already had a very
serious problem with infighting.
Now what it has is a serious problem with people flipping potentially or at
least testifying on the people they`ve been working with, talking to, or
were working with previously. It is very hard to run an effective
Executive Branch under those circumstances.
O`DONNELL: Barbara McQuade, the message that I got from the special
prosecutor yesterday was you don`t know what I`m doing, and you don`t know
what I`m doing next. It seems to me that`s exactly the message he wanted to
deliver to us.
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, I think that`s right. And
I think Robert Mueller has the reputation for being airtight. I know there
have been leaks. But I suspect those are coming out of defense camps or
maybe Congressional Committees, and not Robert Mueller`s team. But I think
he also sent a message about a couple of other things.
One, I will prosecute people who lie to me, two, if you cooperate, you will
get a deal and three, Paul Manafort, we know a lot of people in the inner
circle. We`ve identified them by title but not by name. You know who they
are too. And if you want the cooperate to now is the time.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, the Sam Clovis part of this story is really
striking. That Donald Trump could let someone like this rise so high,
especially after he learned about those e-mails, after he hired Clovis.
But he believed he need Clovis for the Iowa Campaign. Clovis is an expert
on Iowa politics. But here he is now stuck with this undersecretary nominee
who he can`t possibly let go into a confirmation hearing.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. I mean, hiring Sam Clovis
despite those e-mails shows a man who is going to do anything possible to
win the Iowa caucuses. But as we`re seeing right now, when you`re pulling
in people out of a fit of desperation, they can come back and bite you.
What`s really interesting here is that we`re now 48 hours into Mueller`s
And everyone had heard about this indictment that was going to come down.
And everyone figured it was Manafort or Michael Flynn. What no one knew
and what no one expected was the guilty plea by George Papadopoulos. And
then today we find out that Sam Clovis not – Sam Clovis is not only the
campaign official that`s obliquely referenced in one of the documents
yesterday but has already spoken to the Grand Jury in the Mueller
If you`re in the Whitehouse right now, as previously said, and you now find
out that George Papadopoulos and now Sam Clovis are two people who have
talked to the grand jury. one has already pleaded guilty, as Ezra said,
this already adds a – I don`t know, a frisson of freak-out in the west
wing about who is next, what`s possibly going to happen next, and Mueller
as previously said is not someone to be trifled with.
O`DONNELL: And Ezra, Sam Clovis is someone who the president is of course
going to have a lot of trouble distancing himself from. I guess we`ll wait
for tomorrow. Surely tomorrow the Whitehouse will act as if they don`t know
who he is and try to destroy all pictures of him being anywhere in Donald
Trump`s presence. I mean, this one is going to be an awful lot harder to
erase from Trump Campaign history as they`re trying to do with
KLEIN: They tried to distance themselves from Paul Manafort.
O`DONNELL: that`s right.
KLEIN: The guy who served for a very limited time and a very limited
capacity. He was a campaign chair. There`s was another period when they
tried to distance - I mean there is nobody they`ve not been willing to try
to distance from no matter how close into the inner circle. So I don`t
think that the boundary here for the Trump Campaign is making credible
statements about what is going on. I don`t think the binding constraint is
saying something that actually holds up to anyone.
I think the real question is did Clovis know anything, right? Do other
people their talking to who does know what and what do they actually know
about it. The thing that is tricky here is in the midst of these, you have
to keep running the administration and you have to figure out what you
know. You to do the internal work to find out what might Bob Mueller know,
what do you need to be prepared for.
Donald Trump and the people he has assembled around him are not really
capable of doing that in a calm, systemic way that doesn`t scare people,
that doesn`t scare the staff, That actually gets honest answers out of
people. And that`s going to be a real problem. They`re not going to be
capable of doing the preparatory work to be ahead of this that they need to
do to not end up in a completely reactive state at all times.
O`DONNELL: Barbara, we saw the release documents today basically for Paul
Manafort and his associate Rick Gates. Manafort is facing 15 years, 8
months in prison. Gates is facing 12 years, 7 months in prison. and the
prosecutor`s mentioned that, mentioned the heaviness of the potential
prison sentence as one of the reasons contributing to several other reasons
why these guys might be flight risks. And it seems to me the message in
that filing being released to other potential defendants here is this is
how it`s going to go for you this. is what it`s going to feel like if you
find yourself in the Manafort position.
MCQUADE: Yeah, I think that`s right. Of course, they have an obligation
to advise the court of all of those factors like the strength of the
evidence, the potential penalties and other reasons that might give an
incentive to Manafort and Gates to flee. But I also think they put it in a
written pleading. It is out there.
And so it served the additional purpose of putting others on notice. But
these are serious charges, and that other charges may await others who
don`t cooperate. It`s really interesting that if that report is true that
Sam Clovis has testified before the Grand Jury, he may have done so under
immunity if he went forward and actually testified. And may have testified
truthfully, which also should have people to have some concerns if he has
some information that could be damaging to doing them
O`DONNELL: Barbara, just underline that point again, the possibility of
immunity. If the President is watching, I want to give him a chance to
think about that tonight, that having someone like Sam Clovis, who is
implicated in these e-mails with Papadopoulos, that having him testify to
the grand jury at this stage would be something that his lawyer would
advice him against doing without certain kinds of protections.
MCQUADE: I think that`s right. I think it`s most likely that his lawyer
would advise him to invoke his fifth amendment privilege against testifying
if he were called to testify before a grand jury, and then the only way
that that gets cast aside is if the prosecutor says we`ll grant you
immunity, and then you can get a compulsion order from the court requiring
someone to testify. And the exchange is that none of those statements can
be used against you.
They can be used against others, however, and can be used to develop other
leads in the investigation. So it suggests to me that it`s quite probable
that he did testify and that he shared information. And if he has
information that is damaging to other members of the campaign, they are
likely very concerned about that.
O`DONNELL: And so, Jonathan Capehart, Senator Stabenow`s staff taking
notes this evening during the broadcast have just written down her first
question to Sam Clovis in the confirmation hearing that will never happen.
Do you currently have an immunity agreement with the special prosecutor?
CAPEHART: And let`s just say, because, you know, the new normal is not
normal, let`s say the Clovis nomination does go through and Senator
Stabenow does get to ask that question. There will be a collective holding
of breath in Washington, and especially in the White House to hear what
that answer is. And i think in all of this, in everything that we`ve been
discussing and everything that has happened since yesterday morning, what
we`re seeing is an administration and a president that has treated the
constitution as a flimsy piece of paper and something that they could
ignore or just willfully plow their way through with Mueller and his
And what we`ve seen so far, they are hitting up against the wall that
really is the constitution.
O`DONNELL: I just want the leave this note for the president and Sam
Clovis tonight, because they`re first timers at this. They might not
realize this. But no nominee in history has ever made it through a senate
confirmation hearing claiming the fifth amendment. Ezra Klein, Barbara
McQuade and Jonathan Capehart, thank you all for joining us tonight. Really
MCQUADE: Thank you, Lawrence.
KLEIN: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, New York City`s massive Halloween parade is actually
going on as planned tonight in Greenwich Village, just blocks away, very,
very close to where today`s attack took place. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS GOMEZ, CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT, NYPD: We will proceed with the parade
and certainly we`ve added more resources, more police officers. There`s
also heavy weapons scenes being deployed throughout the city at key iconic
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today`s deadly terror attack in New York City took place just
hours before one of the city`s major public events. The annual Halloween
parade in Greenwich Village. The Foreign Ministry of Argentina tonight is
saying that five friends from Argentina who reunited in New York City to
celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation were among
the eight killed this afternoon.
The government of Belgium says that one of its citizens was also among the
eight killed in that attack. Joining us now, Christine Quinn, former
speaker of the New York City Council. And it`s not surprising to discover
that there were tourists among the victims since that is a very, very
popular tourist area where the attack took place today.
CHRISTINE QUINN, FMR SPEAKER OF THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: Yes, no, not
surprising at all. I mean it – it`s tragic that tourists and New Yorkers
and lives were lost, but the Hudson river park, that bikeway walkway,
they`re beautiful spots and it`s exactly the kind of a place I would tell a
tourist to go, you know, heading down south to see the new world trade
towers. So it`s a place that you would put on people`s list.
So it`s not surprising. But, you know, what`s really important to know as
well as that path being a tourist attraction, there`s a public school to
just to the east of where this attack occurred is Borough Manhattan
Community College. Right across the street is a public school. And this is
now a very residential neighborhood so anyone from any walk of life could
have been on that walkway when this attack occurred.
O`DONNELL: And tell us about the city`s decision to allow the Greenwich
Village Halloween parade to go forward tonight. What`s it like when the
city has to make a decision like that?
QUINN: Well, look, I - I don`t envy the mayor or the governor, for having
to make that tough of a decision, but I got to tell you, I didn`t for one
second think we were canceling the parade nor did I think the mayor or
governor that thought for one second. If you cancel the parade when
something like this happens, you send a message to the terrorists that
we`ve surrendered, that we`ve left go of our way of life and they control
We`re never going to do that in New York, never. And I don`t think we`re
ever going to do that in the United States. We`ve suffered the worst
terrorist attack in the history of the world in New York City. And we
didn`t let that cause us to miss a beat. We`re not going to let this to
cause us to miss a beat. And earlier this evening I was in Greenwich
Village and you couldn`t get through the streets, they were packed with so
many parents and so many children trick-or-treating.
We`re New York and no one is going to set us on our heels. The parade went
on. I have no doubt the marathon will go on and we`ll have a glorious
Thanksgiving Day parade as well. We have the best police department in the
world. We saw that today when they took the terrorist down. They were out
in force at the parade, as they would have been, anyway, and it was a safe,
wonderful night for all because that`s what we`re going to maintain in this
O`DONNELL: Your words have been mirrored by what you`re sharing the screen
with which is images of video of the parade in Greenwich Village tonight,
and it does look exactly as it would have looked if this event had not
QUINN: You know, the terrorists think that they will ultimately beat us by
filling us with an endless amount of fear and that fear will paralyze us
and that that fear will cause us to go internally into our homes and
internally into ourselves and kind of rob us of who we are as human beings
and Americans, and that`s never going to happen. It didn`t happen in the
darkest days after September 11th, and it won`t ever happen in this city.
And you saw joy and happiness and fun and silliness on parade on Sixth
Avenue tonight, and that`s who we are, and that`s what we do in face fear
and terror is we stand up and we forge on and particularly events like
Halloween that are about our children, we`re never going to let our
children miss out on something because someone is trying to tell us that
our way of life and our democracy isn`t worth it. And those children
learned an important lesson tonight, when bad things happen, we unite, we
stand together and we push on because we`re New York, the greatest city in
the world and no matter how many times they try to bring us down, it`s
never going to happen.
O`DONNELL: Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Thank you
very much for joining us tonight.
QUINN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And speaking for New York here tonight. Really appreciate it.
QUINN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: Here`s New York`s Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: New York is an international symbol of
freedom and democracy. That`s what we are. And we are proud of it. That
also makes us a target for those people who oppose those concepts. And
we`ve lived with this before. We felt the pain before. We feel the pain
today. But we go forward together and we go forward stronger than ever,
we`re not going to let them win.
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 content.