Sessions to appear before House Transcript 11/13/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O’DONNELL
Date: November 13, 2017
Guest: Neera Tanden, Mieke Eoyang
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. From Miami –
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Ooh.
O’DONNELL: That’s where I am tonight at the Miami book fair. And, hi from
MADDOW: Hi from Northampton? Northampton, Massachusetts?
O’DONNELL: OK. You might be – you might be wondering why I’m saying hi
MADDOW: Yes, I am. Yes.
O’DONNELL: I was asked to say that. I was asked to say that today when I
was on the Bill Newman radio show in Northampton, Massachusetts, phoning in
to the radio show. Of course, you are a big local hero there. I was on
the show, of course, talking about my new book “Playing with Fire”.
And I’m one of those do anything to sell a book guys and so when he asked
me to say hi to Rachel Maddow from Northampton, I said, I will say that
tonight on TV.
MADDOW: And may many book sales follow. Bill Newman is a great guy. He’s
a local ACLU hero in western Massachusetts. I’ve known him for a very long
time and anything that comes from Northampton is good as far as I’m
concerned. Well done, my friend.
O’DONNELL: He loves you and they love you up there.
MADDOW: Thanks, man.
O’DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, Donald Trump Jr.’s secret communication with WikiLeaks about material
stolen from the Democratic Party became public today. A new stress test
for the Trump administration and the Trump campaign in facing the special
prosecutor’s investigation. And that happened on the same day that Roy
Moore faced another stress test when he heard from the fifth accuser, the
fifth woman, number five, to come forward to say Roy Moore sexually
assaulted her when she was 16 years old.
And she came forward today because, she said, of the courage shown by the
first four women who accused Roy Moore.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I think he should step
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This afternoon, another woman came forward with
allegations that Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a minor.
ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: This is absolutely false. I
never did what she said I did.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Nobody can say that we believe his denial
more than we believe the women.
MCCONNELL: I believe the women, yes.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: It’s why I believe that it was appropriate
for me to withdraw my endorsement.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I just think there’s no good
outcome for Mr. Moore. And if you win, you lose, because you are coming to
a body people are calling for your expulsion.
FLAKE: You know, at some point, at some point they can say it’s time to
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Donald Trump Jr. secretly corresponded with
the organization WikiLeaks during the campaign and for months afterward.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This latest revelation raises more
questions about the level of communication between the Trump campaign and
agents of Russia.
TRUMP: I believe that President Putin really feels and he feels strongly
that he did not meddle in our election.
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I don’t believe Putin at all. They did
meddle. He was responsible for it.
TRUMP: This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove.
O’DONNELL: And now, there are five – five accusers of Roy Moore, a fifth
accuser of Roy Moore emerged this afternoon. And this time, the woman
appeared before cameras and told her own story in her own words about what
she says Roy Moore did to her when she was 16 years old.
Three hours before the newest accuser told her story, Senate Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell decided he had already heard enough and read enough
about the accusations against Roy Moore and Roy Moore’s self contradictory
defense offered on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you believe these allegations to believe true?
MCCONNELL: I believe the women, yes.
REPORTER: Before you go, Roy Moore, is the latest there, are you calling
for him to step down from that Senate race?
MCCONNELL: I did. I think he should step aside.
REPORTER: Are you encouraging a write-in campaign for Senator Strange?
MCCONNELL: That’s an option. We’re looking at. Whether or not there is
someone who could mount a write-in campaign successfully.
REPORTER: Would it be Senator Strange, do you think?
MCCONNELL: We’ll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Mitch McConnell was the leader of the Senate Republicans who
today stepped out of the “if true” group into the “Roy Moore must drop out
Every Republican senator who endorsed Roy Moore has withdrawn their
endorsement of Roy Moore with the exception of Rand Paul who just returned
to Capitol Hill today after recovering from injuries. Senator Jeff Flake
today became the first Republican senator to say he would actually vote for
a Democrat over Roy Moore. Just to be clear, he said if the choice is
between Roy Moore and a Democrat, I would run to the polling place to vote
for the Democrat. Jeff Flake said that after the fifth accuser spoke.
Beverly Young Johnson was 16 years old when she was working in the Old
Hickory House restaurant and Roy Moore was a regular customer. She said he
came in almost every night and would stay until closing time.
Another waitress who worked at another restaurant said this today. She
said, he watched us girls quite openly. His eyes crawled over our shirts
and backsides. He was so open about it that I would try and handle his
order as quickly as possible. When you didn’t smile and flirt back with
him, give him an opening, he became rude and demanding.
Beverly Young Nelson would have been lucky if the worst she experienced
from Roy Moore was him being rude and demanding. At first, she wasn’t
bothered by Roy Moore’s attention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEVERLY YOUNG NELSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: He was much older than I was. I
knew that he was the district attorney in Etowah County. I did not
understand what that meant but I did know that he was an important person
and I always treated him with respect. When he was at the restaurant, he
would speak to me and would sometimes pull the ends of my long hair as I
walked by him.
He would compliment me on my looks and I did not think anything of it. I
did nothing to encourage his flirtatious behavior. I was accustomed to men
flirting with me because I was a well-developed and complete – competed in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: She brought her school yearbook to work one day and she says
when Roy Moore noticed it, he asked if he could write in her yearbook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: He wrote in my yearbook as follows: to a sweeter, more beautiful
girl, I could not say merry Christmas, Christmas 1977, love, Roy Moore, Old
Hickory House. And he signed it Roy Moore, D.A.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: We will show you a picture of that page with his signature
coming up in the program here.
Today, Roy Moore claimed that he did not know Beverly Young Nelson. But he
did not deny that that was his handwriting in her yearbook. He did not
deny that that was his signature and if that was a trial, handwriting
experts would have by now confirmed whether or not that is Roy Moore’s
And so, the most incriminating evidence so far in the case against Roy
Moore is what you just saw on the screen, his own handwriting.
We are now going to present the part of Beverly Young Nelson’s story which
was obviously so difficult for her to tell today and is very difficult to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: My boyfriend was late. And Mr. Moore exited the restaurant at the
same time as I did. He noticed that my boyfriend was not there and he
offered me a ride home.
I trusted Mr. Moore because he was the district attorney. I thought that
he was simply doing something nice. He stopped the car and he parked his
car in between the dumpster and the back of the restaurant where there were
no lights. There it was dark and it was deserted.
I was alarmed and I immediately asked him what he was doing. And instead
of answering my questions, Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me. He
put his hand on my breasts. I tried to open my car door to leave but he
reached over and he locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him
off while yelling at him to stop. But instead of stopping, he began
squeezing my neck attempting to force my head on to his crotch.
I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow
him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified.
He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to
rape me. I was twisting and I was struggle and I was begging him to stop.
I had tears running down my face.
At some point – at some point, he gave up. And then looked at me and he
told me – he said, you’re just a child. And he said, I am the district
attorney of Etowah County and if you tell anyone about this no one will
ever believe you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: No one will ever believe you.
Roy Moore was wrong. Mitch McConnell believes her.
Republican Senator Cory Gardner who runs the Republican Senate Campaign
Committee in the business of electing Republican senators today said this:
I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage
and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he
should not run for office. If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate
should vote to expel him because he does not meet the ethical and moral
requirements of the United States senate.
The president of the United States, a self-confessed sexual assaulter, has
said nothing today about Roy Moore, nothing about the latest accuser of Roy
Moore. An accuser who claims he sexually assaulted her in his car.
Today, Beverly Young Nelson tried to remove any suggestion of political
partisanship from her accusation and she did it in language that no one
will appreciate more than Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: My husband and I supported Donald Trump for president. This has
nothing whatsoever to do with the Republicans or the Democrats. It has
everything to do with Mr. Moore’s sexual assault when I was a teenager.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: So is Donald Trump’s attack machine run by Steve Bannon going
to attack a Trump voter who’s telling her story about Roy Moore?
Beverly Young Nelson said she decided to speak after reading the accounts
of the four women who spoke to “The Washington Post” about what Roy Moore
did to them when they were teenage girls, including the sexual assault that
Leigh Corfman described when she was 14 years old. Beverly Young Johnson
said she thought she was Roy Moore’s only victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: I would probably have taken what Mr. Moore did to me to my grave
had it not been for the courage of four other women that were willing to
speak out about their experiences with Mr. Moore. Their courage has
inspired me to overcome my fear. Mr. Moore attacked me when I was a child.
I did nothing to deserve this sexual attack. I was frightened by his
position and his power and I am coming forward today to let Mr. Moore – I
want Mr. Moore to know he no longer has any power over me and I no longer
live in fear of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Courage creates more courage. It always does. Courage creates
more courage and now courage creates more unanswerable accusations against
Joining us now, Wendy Sherman, former undersecretary of state for political
affairs. She is now a MSNBC global affairs contributor. Also with us,
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. And Maria
Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Ambassador Sherman, I want do give you the floor. I don’t pretend to
be able to guide this discussion. I think better than you can all guide
Wendy Sherman, please go first for us.
AMB. WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS:
Thanks very much, Lawrence.
You know, I have listened to that clip several times today and every time I
want to break down and cry. I really want to affirm the courage of Beverly
Young Johnson and of all the women who have come forward. Not just in the
case of Roy Moore who absolutely how would not be in the U.S. Senate or any
public office whatsoever. He actually probably ought to have been in jail
some years ago for taking a 14-year-old out and assaulting her, her coming
close to assaulting her. Hard to know what happened.
But, clearly, a traumatic event in Ms. Corfman’s life. So, indeed, I want
to say what you said. This is tremendous courage.
And I don’t often thank Senator McConnell. I am a Democrat but I want to
thank him for saying, I believe the women.
Twenty-six years ago when I was doing politics, not national security,
which happened right after 26 years ago, I spent the weekend with Anita
Hill helping her to navigate the U.S. Senate in what was an incredibly
depressing weekend with much of the same themes where people said, well,
you know, Clarence Thomas was going to be a Supreme Court justice. So, a
Judiciary Committee of all white men sat in judgment not of Clarence Thomas
but of Anita Hill, and we all started to wear pins saying “I believe Anita
Hill”. I still believe her today. I believe these women.
And I am very grateful that finally men in power as well as women in power
are beginning to say that they believe these women because after all at the
end of the day this is about power. Who has it, who will share it, who is
acknowledged, who is affirmed, whose voices are heard. This is
unfortunately a story that has gone on for centuries and each time we have
a situation like this, we hope it will change the tide. We will have a new
And I hope that the Republicans not only in the Senate but in Alabama
understand this and I’m glad that AL.com put out an editorial saying today
what needs to be said. Roy Moore does not belong in the U.S. Senate. He
does not belong anywhere in real life.
O’DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar, your reaction to what Beverly Nelson Young
had to say today?
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, “VOTO LATINO”: I think it’s devastating but
also highlights that the Republican Party has a lot of – has to bear a lot
of the burden of this, because we had the exact same allegations literally
a year ago, Lawrence, on this show with woman after woman coming after
saying, look, Donald Trump groped me. Donald Trump crossed the line. He
sexually harassed me.
And at that time, when the Republican Party could have said, yes, this is
not OK, we stand and we believe the women, they decided to send in a sexual
predator to the White House. Now, they have bigger problem on their hands
because you have a party that – where people feel that they can have a
political career based on what they saw as a pathway to higher leadership
office and that is the danger.
It is great that Mitch McConnell came out today but they need to do more.
They need to show more. They need to believe the women, because it’s not
one. The reason that Roy Moore may not remember Beverly is because there’s
so many other women that are hiding in the shadows that are afraid to come
forward and it’s time to have an honest, frank conversation of what
leadership truly means and that means making sure that women are safe in
the workplace, that little girls are safe where they are, and that the
community comes forward.
The fact that the Alabama paper came out saying that, yes, it was known
that the district attorney would literally go around the mall and at high
school games trying to date young girls, that should have literally the
whole community should have come out in protest. But instead, they decided
to elect him year after year.
O’DONNELL: And, Neera Tanden, your reaction to what Beverly Young Nelson
had to say today, the fifth accuser now to go public?
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, I want to
also say that I applaud her courage and that her statements are really
heart breaking. You can hear the fear of a teenager who looked to a person
to be a trusted law enforcement official. I mean, he was a district
attorney. That’s why she got in the car to get a ride home and instead he
decided to assault her.
And, you know, I think what we really have to think about is all of the
women, all the young women, all the girls who have faced situations like
this, and what is the message Alabama would is end to them if after all of
this, they vote for Roy Moore? So, I would really say to the people of
Alabama, to the women of Alabama, that this really shouldn’t be a choice.
Public office is not, you know, is not for people like Roy Moore. Maria
Teresa is right. He should not be reelected in the past. But he should
not be elected to the highest office, one of the highest offices in the
And so, you know, they face a choice of a person who prosecuted, you know,
illegal behavior and also – I mean, there are four people, four women,
four young girls that Doug Jones had to oversee and they were the
Birmingham girls, the girls who were murdered in the Birmingham church and
he got justice for them. And he’s running against Roy Moore and his record
with these women and it could not be a starker choice for the people of
KUMAR: Lawrence, can I add something?
O’DONNELL: Go ahead, yes. Please?
KUMAR: Lawrence, I actually think that what we’re seeing is actually
Senator Flake coming out becoming the moral compass of the Republican
Party. He was very front-and-center every single time that Donald Trump
basically went after one community after the next. And once again he made
it very clear that we as a country have to have principles.
The fact that he’s saying, look, at this point, the choice between a
pedophile and a Republican, there shouldn’t be no choice, because this is
about party, about having a moral compass, about being purposeful and
having true leadership. And once again, I think Senator Flake is
demonstrating what it means to be above party and be for your country.
O’DONNELL: Ambassador Sherman, as we know, it is hard to come up with what
we would call evidence in cases that are this old. But I want to put up on
the screen, this love note that Roy Moore wrote in Beverly Young Nelson’s
yearbook. I want the audience to be able to take a long look at that.
He signs it love. He signs his name and he puts D.A., he puts his title
right there. He puts the name of the restaurant in it. He claims now to
not know about that restaurant.
And when you’re looking at evidence to see something like that, in a case
like this, a love note from a man and his mid-30s to a 16-year-old girl,
that’s about as strong a piece of evidence to expect to say this many
SHERMAN: It is a strong piece of evidence and I would say Roy Moore’s own
words is evidence. When he says that he generally didn’t date young girls,
but generally he would always ask their mothers for permission to date
I am a mother of a daughter who is now a mother herself and I cringed when
I listened to that comment. It really quite frankly just creeped me out.
That someone would say that they would ask the mother if they could date
This is really pedophilia. This is sexual assault. This is something
where we’re supposed to be a country with values and norms that we want the
world to embrace though sometimes the president doesn’t seem that way. We’
get to that later today, I know.
But all over the world, girls face assault. Everything from people who are
just creeps to rape, to sexual assault, to child marriage, these are issues
which we have to put out in the open and as I said at the beginning,
Lawrence, at the end of the day, this is about power. I know that lots of
people feel powerless. But when you feel powerless, the way to gain power
is not to assault a child.
O’DONNELL: And, Neera, quickly before our break here, we have a report
today from “The New Yorker” that people saying Roy Moore was banned from
the mall where he was meeting these girls and reportedly trying to flirt
with them in a harassing way and that it was common knowledge that this was
TANDEN: I mean, I think when you just listen to the evidence of the last
week, it’s not one piece of evidence. There’s story after story. We have
five women now who knows how many more will come forward? Roy Moore
himself just said yesterday or over the weekend that there will likely be
more stories. He knows his record. He knows what he did and I’m sure
there will be more, not fewer stories in the days and weeks to come.
O’DONNELL: Neera and Maria Teresa, thank you both for joining us tonight.
Really appreciate it.
KUMAR: Thank you, Lawrence.
O’DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump Jr.’s secret communications with
WikiLeaks at the height of the presidential campaign.
And we will take another look at Roy Moore and his opponent Doug Jones and
Alabama history and what has brought us to this point tonight.
O’DONNELL: We learned today that Donald Trump Jr. had secret
communications with WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign about stolen
e-mails from Democrats that WikiLeaks had obtained possibly through Russian
sources. And we know this because “The Atlantic” broke the news today
about Donald Trump JR.’s Twitter private messages quoting from those
messages extensively. And after “The Atlantic” broke the story of Donald
Trump Jr.’s messages, Donald Trump Jr. then released what he says are all
of the Twitter private messages between him and WikiLeaks.
Donald Trump Jr. knows that those twitter private messages have all been
handed over to congressional investigating committees by his lawyers and
so, he knows that they are out of his custody and they’re going to be
become public in full eventually. And so, once “The Atlantic” broke the
story today Donald Trump Jr. decided in consultation with lawyers and
guidance to put what he says are all of the messages out there right now.
Here is what candidate Trump said about WikiLeaks when WikiLeaks started
publishing material stolen from the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now, this just came out. This just came out. WikiLeaks! I love
WikiLeaks. And I said, write a couple of them down. We have to go back to
WikiLeaks. Oh, WikiLeaks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: That’s Donald Trump using the stolen information in his
In one case, Donald Trump Jr. appeared to take direction from WikiLeaks.
Two days after candidate Trump praised WikiLeaks, the group sent a link to
its – of – to its hacked e-mails. They sent a link to Donald Trump Jr.
of those hacked e-mails. They said, hey, Donald, great to see you and your
dad talking about our publications, strongly suggest your dad tweets this
link if he mentions us.
And 15 minutes after that, candidate Trump tweeted: Very little pick-up by
the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So
dishonest. Rigged system.
And two days later, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the link that WikiLeaks
requested. For those who have the time to read about all the corruption
and hypocrisy, all the WikiLeaks e-mails are right here.
Joining us now, Natasha Bertrand, political correspondent at “Business
Insider”. She’s been closely following the Russia involvement in the 2016
Also with us, Mieke Eoyang, a former House Intelligence Committee staff
member, and vice president for the national security program at Third Way.
And, Mieke, what are the legal implications of what we learned today about
Donald Trump Jr.’s direct communication with WikiLeaks?
MIEKE EOYANG, STAFF MEMBER, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: So, one
of the challenges here is that it points to strong circumstantial evidence
of coordination and collusion with the Trump campaign. But communications
with WikiLeaks and Don Jr. as a private citizen are not by themselves
However, if Don Jr. had lied about them either to the congressional
investigators or to the Special Counsel Mueller’s team, then he is in some
criminal jeopardy for not telling them the truth.
O’DONNELL: And Natasha Bertrand, clearly Donald Trump Jr. and his lawyers
decided once this story broke today, we might as well put them all out
there because they’re all going to be made public eventually and we would
like to control the timing of that.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Right. And
this is clearly the same calculation that they made after the news broke
that Donald Trump Jr. had met with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower on
June ninth of last year, after The New York Times reported or told Donald
Trump Jr. that they were going to publish the e-mails that led up to that
meeting, Donald Trump Jr. then went ahead and just published them all on
his Twitter page.
So there’s definitely this pattern of him getting caught not having told
the whole truth about his contacts with Russians during the campaign and
then needing to play catch up afterwards. And I think that it’s really
important to view this WikiLeaks extrapolation through the lens of the
past, you know, evidence that we’ve seen of potential collusion between the
campaign and Moscow.
We saw the Papadopoulos, this young Trump campaign adviser, in the very
beginning of 2016, the spring, he had actually been told of potential dirt
on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of e-mails, which of course
were then released by WikiLeaks in July. And then of course we saw this
meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer and Paul Manafort
at Trump Tower on June ninth.
So this outreach by WikiLeaks and Trump Jr.’s response did not occur in a
vacuum and I think that’s a very important thing to keep in mind.
O’DONNELL: And Mieke, we’re seeing constant suggestions in these messages
by WikiLeaks about how they can help the Trump campaign. Julian Assange
and WikiLeaks have claimed to be impartial in this matter. And this is
completely blown away by their messages. They’re obviously completely on
the Trump side.
And there’s one message saying hi Don, if your father loses, we think it is
much more interesting if he does not concede and spends time challenging
the media and other types of rigging the – that occurred as he has implied
that he might do. There are many messages that keep going on in this way.
And so Mieke, this claim that WikiLeaks wasn’t fully supportive of the
Trump campaign exclusively is blown away by these messages.
EOYAN: That’s absolutely right. And what’s interesting about that tweet,
it is just straight out of Vladimir Putin’s playbook. It’s a tweet that is
designed to create division in the United States, to cast doubt on our
system of government, this is what Putin and the Kremlin have been trying
to do to the United States with all these fake news stories, with these
advertisements that they were trying to push.
They were trying to drive Americans apart from each other. And they had an
open channel to Donald Trump Jr. and to the Trump campaign, who were
fomenting and encouraging this kind of division among people and really
making it much more difficult for us to come together as a nation.
O’DONNELL: Natasha Bertrand and Mieke Eoyan, thank you both very much for
joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
EOYAN: Thank you.
BERTRAND: Thank you.
O’DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump’s latest defense of his friend,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you once and for all, definitively, sir, yes or
no state whether or not you believe that President Putin and or Russia
interfered in the election?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I said, I’m surprised
that there’s any conflict on this.. What I said there is that I believe he
believes that, and that’s very important for somebody to believe. I
believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election.
As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as
currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel
agencies, our intelligence agencies, I’ve worked with them very strongly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: That was the President Saturday in Vietnam and he continued
rambling on with that answer but he never added anything to the answer,
other than a jumble of words. But those words never included the statement
Russia interfered in our election, which is what our intelligence agency –
agencies say that Russia did.
Ambassador Wendy Sherman is back with us. Ambassador Sherman, your
reaction to the President’s answer on the – the Russian and –
interference in the election and any other aspects of the Asia trip you
think we should highlight.
AMBASSADOR WENDY SHERMAN, SENIOR FELLOW, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL’S BELFER
CENTER FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Oh, I think the Russia part
of the trip was very important. There was no question in my mind that he
was going to see Vladimir Putin. How long he met with Putin is unknown to
us, because of course the pool (ph) reporters were not allowed in or the
pool (ph) video, so we don’t know exactly what happened.
There’re either two things I believe are happening here, to use the
President’s favorite words these days. Either the President is staggering
– staggeringly na‹ve and totally out of his depth, thinking that he is
negotiating with another developer for a high rise and it’s a transactional
approach and he can just, you know, sort of go toe to toe with the guy
without really getting anywhere.
Or he’s been corrupted by Russia. You know, all of these segments connect
in many ways, Lawrence. Because what Mieke Eoyan said in the last segment
about how Putin has been trying to divide America is exactly right. It’s
not that you can’t work with Russia. One can. I certainly did on the Iran
negotiation, I have done on other issues around the world.
But you have to know who the Russians are. Why the President would believe
Vladimir Putin, who said there were no green men in Eastern Ukraine, Assad
did not do a chemical weapons attack on his own people, we had nothing to
do with the downing of the Malaysian airplane over Ukraine. If you believe
that, I can get you to believe a lot of different things that simply are
And I think the meeting with Putin and what the President said after, not
only disavowing the fact that Russia did indeed meddle in our election, but
he really was taken for a ride by virtually every other leader who
understood that the way to get to the President of the United States was
through pomp and circumstance. And the circumstances for the United States
security are not so good as a result.
O’DONNELL: I have to get a quick reaction from you from Philippine
President Duterte saying to the press that U.R. spies and Donald Trump just
laughing about that.
SHERMAN: Indeed, Donald Trump laughing about it, listening to a song by
Duterte where he basically said I fall in love you, the whole thing would
have been comical if it was not so outrageous.
This is a dictator who has murdered without any jurist prudence 7,000-
13,000 people because of a drug war which is very serious but there is no
rule of law currently in the Philippines and for him to say that
journalists will do OK as long as they do what I need them to do or they
could be assassinated and for President Trump not to speak of human rights,
for Sarah Huckabee Sanders to say it was mentioned briefly and for Duterte
to say it wasn’t mentioned at all goes right back to the beginning of your
show tonight. If we do not stand up for values that we believe are
important to who we are as the United States of America we undermine our
very security by doing just that.
O’DONNEL: Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thank you very much for joining us
tonight, really appreciate it.
SHERMAN: Thank you Lawrence.
O’DONNEL: Coming up a conservative syndicated columnist George F. Will
says that democrat Doug Jones is worthy of election to the Alabama senate
seat and republican Roy Moore is not. George Will has jut returned from
Alabama, he will join us next.
O’DONNELL: In his column today under the “Washington Post” headline, Roy
Moore is an embarrassment, Doug Jones deserves to win. Conservative
columnist, George F. Will, begins with this.
“But for the bomb, the four would be in the 60s, probably grandmothers.
Three were 14 and one was 11 in 1963 when the blast killed them in the 16th
Street Baptist Church, which is four blocks from the law office of Doug
Jones, who was then nine.”
The four girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church
were, Addie Mae Collins age 14, Cynthia Wesley age 14, Carole Robertson age
14 and Denise McNair age 12. A few years ago I visited the Birmingham
Civil Rights Institute which has extraordinary exhibitions telling the
story of that terrible time.
I saw the shoes that Denise McNair was wearing when she was killed in the
bombing. I walked across the street from the institute and saw where the
bomb was placed at the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Four Ku Klux Klan members placed 19 sticks of dynamite under the church
steps, just steps away from where the four girls were changing out of their
choir robes in the church basement.
One of the bombers was tried and found guilty 14 years later. Another died
before he was ever charged in the bombing. In 2001 and 2002, Doug Jones,
was as federal prosecutor in Alabama who successfully prosecuted two of the
remaining 16th Street Baptist Church bombers.
Today, Doug Jones is the Democrat running for Senate in Alabama and there
are some Republicans actually saying that, even if Roy Moore is guilty of
everything that he is accused of doing, it is better that Roy Moore go to
the United States Senate instead of a Democrat.
Today, Doug Jones released this statement about the woman who have accused
Roy Moore. “We applaud the courage of these women. Roy Moore will be held
accountable by the people of Alabama for his actions.”
Up next, “Washington Post” columnist, George F. Will on Roy Moore, Doug
Jones and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), N.C.: I suggest it be best for him, the state,
his family, the GOP and the country if he stepped aside. I just think
there’s no good outcome for Mr. Moore.
If you win, you lose, because you’re coming to a body where people are
already calling for your expulsion. For the good of yourself, your family,
and your state, steps aside.
O’DONNEL: Joining us now, George F. Will, Pulitzer prize winning
journalist for the Washington Post, and an MSNBC political analyst. And
George, as we’re all concentrating on Roy Moore and every new development
and every new accusation, you flew down to Alabama to Birmingham, you met
with Doug Jones, the kind of the forgotten man of this story.
The Democrat running for that same seat that Roy Moore is running for.
What did you pick up about Doug Jones that the national news media hasn’t
caught onto yet?
GEORGE WILL, CONTRIBUTOR, MSNBC: Well it is interesting that he was born
13 days before the Brown versus Board of Education decision, he’s lived a
life involved in the civil rights struggle.
His success, and what is, we should remember, a binary choice. It’s Moore
or Jones. His strength in there must depend on African American turnout.
Now, that’s hard to gauge turn out, and on election that occurs midway
between Thanksgiving and December, ad Christmas on December 12th.
So we’re all in uncharted territory here, but as you say, he’s kind of the
forgotten man. There’s Moore with his lurid details dominating the news
cycles, and then there’s this afterthought, but the afterthought, I think,
if it is a binary choice and if they proceed with the election as state law
requires, he will be the next senator.
O’DONNELL: And what is your reaction to republicans, some of them in
Alabama, saying that Roy Moore, as a republican, is preferable to anyone
with the word democrat beside their name?
WILL: Well, Alabama has it’s fair share of extremists and obsessives, such
as those being quoted. But, Lawrence, the last acceptable bigotry in this
country is contempt for the south.
And I think that the contempt being shown for Alabama, people accepting as
documentary evidence the hostile caricatures of southerners, it’s just
It’s a big, complicated state, with a big, complicated history, and that’s
one reason why it will be healthy for this to go forward and let Alabama
choose and show what the majority of Alabamans look like.
And I have a feeling that Alabama will pleasantly surprise a lot of people.
O’DONNEL: George, when I began working in the United States Senate, which
to me, doesn’t seem all that long ago, both of the Alabama senators were
democrats. What has changed since the early 1990’s that makes it so
difficult for the democrat?
WILL: Well, the move to the republican party was relatively swift and
absolutely decisive. It hasn’t been since 1994 that a democratic candidate
for the senate even got 40 percent of the vote.
The last person elected as a democrat was Senator Shelby in 1992, and he
promptly changed to the Republican Party immediately after republicans took
charge of congress, and had seniority to offer him two years later.
So there has been a sense in which being a democrat is simply not socially
acceptable, but compared to what - if Mr. Moore is a standard of what is
the alternative to being a democrat, if he’s a standard of what is socially
acceptable. This is an easy choice, again, as long as it’s a binary
O’DONNEL: And what did you find with Alabamans when you got a chance to
talk to them, how - how closely are they following this, are they waiting
for more shoes to drop?
WILL: Well, they’re waiting for the Auburn, Alabama game, and there are
lots of distractions in the air down there, and they’re like most Americans
everywhere. They’re not really obsessed by politics, but people are paying
attention, and it’s a state, I think, like all Americans is capable of
And this is not a shining moment for the state. They’re proud people down
there, they don’t like being told what to do, which is why it’s probably
not all together helpful when Mitch McConnell says - starts giving advice
to Mr. Moore, telling him to get out, although it - I mean, what McConnell
says is perfectly sensible.
But if the Alabamans are left alone to make up their minds, I think they
deserve some - the benefit of the doubt, and a modicum of trust.
O’DONNEL: George F. Will, thank you for joining us with your reporting
from Alabama, really appreciate it, George.
WILL: Glad to be with you.
O’DONNEL: Tonight’s last word is next.
O’DONNEL: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear at 10:00
am Eastern before the house judiciary committee for an oversight hearing,
but he is sure to be asked about George Papadopoulos and Carter Paige, both
of whom have said, under oath, that they told Jeff Sessions about their
contacts with Russians during the Trump campaign.
That’s tonight’s last word, the
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