Reaction to Trump’s support of Moore Trasncript 11/22/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

Guests:
Tim Miller, Indira Lakshmanan, David Jolly
Transcript:

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: November 22, 2017
Guest: Tim Miller, Indira Lakshmanan, David Jolly


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. And I am, of
course, eternally grateful for you saying “good evening” to me every night
that we do this together.

You know, the really name of the show should be riding the Rachel wave with
Lawrence O`Donnell. That`s what I`m doing at 10:00.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That`s absurd, my friend. But thank you for
saying so, my dear.

O`DONNELL: Get out of that building and start the day off, start the
vacation right now. Thank you.

MADDOW: I`m pre-full. I`m already thinking about it. Thank you, dear.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, President Trump`s hometown newspaper “The New York Daily News” hates
Donald Trump. OK? They hate Donald Trump. And so, this was their front
page headline today which was predictable for “The New York Daily News.”
I`m with perv. Trump endorsed accused kid molester Moore.

Now, Donald Trump`s other hometown tabloid newspaper, “The New York Ppost,”
loves Donald Trump. “The New York Post” is owned by Rupert Murdoch and the
paper is under a clear editorial order to love everything Donald Trump says
and does – until today.

When even the Trump worshipping “The New York Post” ran basically the same
headline as “The Daily News,” I`m with the perv, Trump backs Roy Moore.

Donald Trump is unique among American politics. He is the only one who`s
admitted and boasted about his preferred methods of sexual assault. He did
that on the famous “Access Hollywood” video grabbing women any way he
wanted including the most sexually assaultive way of grabbing a woman.

So, it was no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump has sided with the perv
as the New York tabloids put it because in Trump world, nothing is more
forgivable or understandable or even worthy of boasting about than sexual
assault.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Mr. President, is an accused child molester better than a
Democrat? Is an accused child molester –

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, he denies it. Look,
he denies it. I mean, if you look at what is really going on, and you look
at the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies
it. He says it didn`t happen and, you know, you have to listen to him,
also. You`re talking about – he said 40 years ago this did not happen so,
you know?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: With the special election in Alabama only 20 days away, Roy
Moore has not dared to have a public event since last Thursday. The
campaign announced today that the communications director resigned, which
brings the campaign staff down to six people.

Last night an interview on a conservative radio show, Roy Moore did his
best imitation of Donald Trump.

I guess we don`t have it. That was Roy Moore – let`s see if I can find it
here. That was Roy Moore saying: I have great regard for women. I regard
women`s rights. I regard women`s rights.

That, of course, was just as much of a lie as this was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Roy Moore followed Donald Trump`s example to threaten to sue
his accusers, a threat that is every bit as much a lie when Roy Moore says
it as when Donald Trump said it during the presidential campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you plan to pursue any legal action with defamation
against any of these people, “The Washington Post” or anybody regardless?
Because some people believe that shows that you`re serious about proving
your innocence.

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: We`re talking about “The
Washington Post.” We`re talking about the women involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who is emerging as the
conscience of the Republican Senate, said this today.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I think the president made a big mistake
there. I think that he should distance himself from Roy Moore, even if it
means losing that seat. If the choice is between Roy Moore and the
Democrat, I would vote for the Democrat if I lived in Alabama. To paint
somebody else as more evil somehow because he has a more liberal philosophy
than somebody who may have been a child predator, I just – I don`t think
that`s right. And even if you lose a vote in the Senate among Republicans,
that`s better than being the party of Roy Moore.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: After President Trump re-endorsed Roy Moore yesterday,
Republican strategist Tim Miller tweeted, I just donated to a Democrat for
the first time in my life. If any of you all want to do so, as well.
Enough is enough.

In an article posted today, Tim Miller wrote: Roy Moore is worse than
abuser of children. He is an abuser of children who is also a hateful
bigot. This man deserves no quarter, no support, no cover and no seat in
the United States Senate and he never did. In this election, it is not a
close call.

Abstention is not an option. Roy Moore is a disgraceful, bigoted, deviant,
beneath our collective contempt.

Joining us now, Tim Miller, Republican strategist, former communications
director for Jeb Bush 2016. Also with us, Indira Lakshmanan, a columnist
for “The Boston Globe”, and she`s also with the Poynter Institute for Media
Studies, and David Jolly, former Republican congressman from Florida, is
with us.

Tim Miller, you reaction to the president`s re-endorsing of Roy Moore.
Clearly, we understand through your tweet that you actually went to the
point of contributing, but what`s your argument to Republicans who say I am
going to write in a different Republican name than Roy Moore on that
ballot?

TIM MILLER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, JEB 2016: Well, Lawrence, on
this night in 1963, John F. Kennedy was do give a speech where the purpose
of the speech was to say that our duties is not nearly to the preservation
– not merely the preservation of political power. And that is all Donald
Trump cares about, is his short-term political power and that`s why it was
so disgusting when yesterday or two days ago, he came out and gave Roy
Moore a clearly somebody that engaged in child molestation cover.

And so, my message to Republicans in Alabama is this. You know, look much
everybody has a personal option. If you feel like you need to abstain, I
understand that. But the reality is it will only be Doug Jones or Roy
Moore in the U.S. Senate.

And Roy Moore is a child molester. One who on multiple occasions abused
young women, as young as the age of 14 and he spent his entire career
trying to undermine gay and lesbian Alabamans and Americans who just wanted
to be with the person that they loved and all Roy Moore dedicated his
entire career to was trying to prevent them from doing that while he was
trying to court or date as he said 14-year-old girls.

This is a sick person. And so, for me, if the option is Doug Jones, who I
don`t really know that much about and seems like a perfect replacement
level Democrat, or Roy Moore, a pedophile, it isn`t really a tough call.

O`DONNELL: To show how much the model of the Roy Moore defense so far in
the campaign mirrors the Trump defense in the presidential campaign, we`ve
seen Roy Moore`s wife come out and defend him just as Melania Trump did in
the campaign, when Melania Trump called all of the accusers of Donald Trump
liars.

Let`s listen to what Melania Trump said during the campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: I believe my husband. I believe my husband.
This was all organized from the opposition. And we – the details that
they – did they ever check the background of these women? They don`t have
any facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Indira Lakshmanan, that is basically what Roy Moore`s wife is
doing these days in that campaign.

INDIRA LAKSHMANAN, COLUMNIST, BOSTON GLOBE: Yes. I don`t think it`s
really getting her very far insofar as I think the people who believe Roy
Moore continue to believe him and his wife just sort of bolsters that, but
people who don`t believe them, I don`t think she`s convincing anybody.

Look, Roy Moore is at the point in the campaign where he`s lost Republicans
like Tim Miller and, by the way, that was an excellent column and I really
– you know, exhort all of your viewers to read that column.

MILLER: Thank you.

LAKSHMANAN: He just went through point by point. You know, he`s lost John
Rogers who is his communications director. He lost Representative Joe
Barton who basically was himself exposed today for having sent out a nude
selfie and wanted to separate himself from Roy Moore by saying, well, I
just want to point out, this was a consensual, adult relationship. It
wasn`t with a child. I mean, essentially, that`s the low bar now that
we`re talking about in the sexual assault and sexual harassment cases.

So, he`s lost a large wing of the GOP. And if we`re really just down to
Republicans in Alabama thinking that this is better than having a Democrat
– I mean, I think we just go back to your covers that you showed of I`m
with perv. It`s extremely disturbing but I disagree with one of the
earlier clips you were showing, you know, Jeff Flake when he says the
president should do this, should not back Roy Moore, the reason he has to
back Roy Moore is because if he doesn`t then, of course, his own actions
come into question. He`s saying Roy Moore denies it.

The implication is I Donald Trump denied everything I was accused of doing
with more than a dozen women and you should therefore believe both of us.

O`DONNELL: And, David Jolly, we have actual breaking news at this hour
about your former colleague, Representative Joe Barton, who Indira was
talking about. “The Washington Post” moments ago has added to that story
with the headline, congressman told woman he would report her to capitol
police if she exposed his secret sex life, and that is a story about
Congressman Joe Barton telling this woman who had these photographs that he
is now very embarrassed about, that he would engage the capitol police to
stop her from spreading any information about him.

And, David, this seems like something that`s going to be headed to the
ethics committee and the House of Representatives.

DAVID JOLLY (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Lawrence, and you know this,
there`s so much more that is going to break from Capitol Hill and the
coming weeks as a result of women rightfully coming forward.

And I don`t want to speak specifically to a case I don`t know a lot about
but I know this. Listen, Congress is a place where a lot of different
types of people get elected. There are some very good people, but there`s
some very bad people. There are some creepy people. There are some
freaks, some people you wonder how in the world did they first get elected
and people that behave badly.

One of the things John Boehner did is run them out of office, but the
reality is, we`re going to see a lot more come of this. You know, what Tim
did in his column and Jeff Flake has done is very important, because what
they`re doing is giving Republicans permission to distance themselves from
fellow Republicans and it`s very important in races like Roy Moore, to give
permission to Republicans to vote for a Democrat, to vote for Doug Jones
and honor the principle of country over party.

Republicans right now need permission to criticize their own just as
Democrats do, as well. As we learn more from Capitol Hill.

O`DONNELL: Just want to –

MILLER: If I could add to that, Lawrence. Just briefly.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Tim.

MILLER: Yes, look. Here`s the thing. That is Republican seat again in
three years, right? This is Alabama. And so, hopefully the Republicans in
three years we can nominate a decent person and there are plenty of decent
Republicans in Alabama.

So, I don`t think that voters in Alabama need to worry that this is going
to – they`re going to lose this seat to, you know, pro-choice Democrats
forever. This is a short-term choice between two people and the important
voters in this election are people basically like me and Representative
Jolly, college-educated Republicans who are trying to decide between just
abstaining and voting for Doug Jones, that can be the difference of whether
a bigoted child molesters is in the Senate or not, and that`s why Doug
Jones is the clear answer.

O`DONNELL: I want to bring you and our viewers up to date about this
“Washington Post” breaking news story about Congressman Barton, I just want
to read the lead of this article. It says, Representative Joe Barton who
apologized Wednesday for a lewd photo of him on the internet told the woman
to whom he had sent sexually explicit photos, videos and messages to report
her to the capitol police if she exposed his behavior according to a
recording reviewed by “The Washington Post.” The woman spoke to “The Post”
after the lewd photo was published Tuesday by an anonymous Twitter account.
She shared a secretly recorded phone conversation she had with Barton in
2015 in which he warned her against using the explicit materials, quote, in
a way that would negatively affect my career.

And so, Indira, here we have a recording of Barton saying that he would use
the capitol police to try to prevent her from doing anything that would
negatively affect my career. And when you look back at the Anthony Weiner
case, Nancy Pelosi forced him to resign from the House of Representatives
basically for material like this. That was years before Anthony Weiner
committed a crime for which he is now serving time.

LAKSHMANAN: Right. And you point out, Lawrence, that, obviously, this
seems to have a criminal aspect to it, threatening someone. It`s not quite
extortion but something like blackmail, threatening someone with legal
action.

I mean, look, one thing you point out Nancy Pelosi. Democrats have been
quick it seems to me in pushing for ethics investigations of Democrats in
Congress like Al Franken, like John Conyers who`ve been accused of sexual
inappropriate behavior and harassment. We have not seen the same solid
front from Republicans calling for investigations of GOP people.

I mean, I do think for the great part most Republicans in Congress have
really stood against Roy Moore, which is important. But again, as Tim
points out and David points out, we are talking about someone alleged to
have assaulted children, I mean, girl teenagers. So again, that is a low
bar.

I just want to say one thing about Roy Moore who continues just today with
threatening legal action of his own against supposed libel, against the
press, against the women who are making these accusations and this really
is not real. That`s not a real threat. That`s a dog whistle to his
supporters trying to say, you know, I`m innocent. You know? I`m going to
go after them. And its threat to these women in the same way that
Representative Barton was threatening women.

This guy is trying to say, don`t come after me because I could do legal
action against you. Don`t forget, the president himself Donald Trump
before he was president used threats of legal action many times against the
media and didn`t actually go through with them. It`s incredibly hard, the
standard for libel in this country is very hard. Ever since, you know,
“The New York Times”/Sullivan case and the Supreme Court. So I think it`s
nothing more than trying to protect himself. It is not real.

O`DONNELL: Here`s more from “The Washington Post” report and remember now,
they`re reporting from an audio tape that they have heard of this
conversation. The woman says to Congressman Barton, how would you use the
capitol police? What would you tell the capitol police?

Congressman Barton says, I would tell them I had a three-year undercover
relationship with you over the Internet that was heavily sexual and that I
had met you twice while married and had sex with you on two different
occasions and that I exchanged inappropriate photographs and videos with
you that I wouldn`t like to be seen made public, that you still apparently
had all of those and were in a position to use them in a way that would
negatively affect my career. That`s the truth.

David Jolly, when you hear that and in the congressman`s own voice and you
consider that Nancy Pelosi told Anthony Weiner he had to go, is this a
situation of Paul Ryan comes in and does the same thing that Nancy Pelosi
did?

JOLLY: It may be. And, Lawrence, listen. There`s a difference between
fallibility and criminality. And we are all fallible in our own ways. I
certainly am myself.

But we are seeing two things emerge from the national conversation and I
think there are very two themes that have emerged. One is we are beginning
to see different degrees of offenses. And they`re all wrong. Every single
one of them is wrong, right?

But there`s a difference between the predatory nature of it, Donald Trump
and a Roy Moore and the behavior of, say, an Al Franken and still wrong but
a different degree of sexual harassment or sexual assault. And that is
important because as the number of cases emerge, we need to be able to
assess who are the different degrees of criminality and fallibility.

The other thing, though, that we`re seeing and this is probably most
important, we are seeing a variance of responses. We are seeing Roy Moore
and as Indira said, yell fake news and attack the victims and attack the
credibility of the women, but we`re also seeing people like Al Franken
saying it was wrong, I admit it, I shouldn`t have done it, I`m asking for
forgiveness, I want to say to the women, thank you for coming forward and I
accept an investigation into myself.

We need to see that emerge in the national culture, men accepting
responsibility. That theme is very important. Joe Barton has a choice
tonight. Does he own this or not?

O`DONNELL: David Jolly and Tim Miller, thank you very much for joining us.

Indira, please stay with us.

Coming up, before hitting the golf course this morning, the president used
his precious time to attack the father of a college basketball player on
twitter proving that presidential time is no longer precious.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We are continuing our breaking news coverage of a “Washington
Post” report coming out minutes ago under the headline congressman told
woman he would report her to capitol police if she exposed his secret sex
life. That congressman is Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton.

Joining the conversation now, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning
opinion writer for “The Washington Post” and MSNBC political analyst, and
Indira Lakshmanan, columnist for “The Boston Globe”, is still with us.

And, Eugene, this is an extraordinary report in your newspaper.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

O`DONNELL: The day began with a report that Congressman Barton had some
photographs out there of his genitalia that had been revealed online. And
I just want to re-read the lead of “The Washington Post” article so the
audience can process this. It says that Representative Joe Barton who
apologized on Wednesday for a lewd photo of him that circulated on the
Internet told a woman whom he had sent sexually explicit – had sent
sexually explicit videos and messages that he would report her to the
capitol police if she exposed his behavior, according to an audio recording
reviewed by “The Washington Post.”

And, Gene, the quotes that we`ve been reading from the recording are truly
explosive. There is a recording here and I think we can trust that “The
Washington Post” got this dialogue right.

ROBINSON: Yes. I`m sure. Story says that our reporter heard the tape,
and so, I`m sure – I`m sure that it`s right.

There`s a context here that I`m not entirely clear on. I`ve read the story
quickly. And so, it`s clear that Representative Barton on the tape makes a
threat to go to the capitol police and to start an investigation. It`s not
clear what the antecedent is. It`s not clear what happened before that.

Is she indeed threatening to expose a relationship and his – is she
threatening that she will do that if he doesn`t do something else? I`m not
clear on that part of the story.

O`DONNELL: That is –

ROBINSON: Exactly who`s extorting whom here?

O`DONNELL: That is something that Congressman Barton alleges in his
comments to “The Washington Post.” I`m going to read what the congressman
said.

He said, the woman admitted that we had a consensual relationship, Barton
said, when I ended that relationship she threatened to publicly share my
private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation, as the
transcript reflects. I offered to take the matter to the capitol police to
open an investigation. Today, the capitol police reached out to me and
offered to launch an investigation and I have accepted, because of the
pending investigation, we will have no further comment.

And, Indira, that says to me there`s absolutely no avoidance of a House
Ethics Committee investigation, also.

LAKSHMANAN: Right. I mean, that could be headed off by a possible
resignation. I mean, Representative Barton had already said earlier today
before this even came out when all we were dealing with at that point was a
nude selfie, we had said that he would step back and take time to consider
his actions and everything which to me sounded like somebody who was sort
of giving in and potentially backing out of his seat.

I mean, I do want to stress again he was trying to distinguish himself from
these far worse allegations against Roy Moore, you know, essentially saying
at least I`m not a pedophile. This was an adult, consensual relationship.

But it is interesting and I think you`re absolutely right that it opens up
an ethics investigation if he doesn`t step down before that himself.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: Lawrence, I thought by the way that we had established with
Anthony Weiner that if you`re a member of the U.S. Congress, it is a very,
very bad idea to have pictures of your genitalia on – you know, on the
Internet, have them – send them by electronic means to anyone. And one
would think that most members of Congress had learned that lesson.

O`DONNELL: And, Anthony Weiner was sending pictures to people, adults who
were engaged in this communication with him. So. it – and the crime that
Anthony Weiner is currently serving time for is something he committed
years after Nancy Pelosi forced him to resign.

ROBINSON: Correct.

O`DONNELL: “The Washington Post” reports that the woman said she never had
any intention to use the materials to retaliate against Barton and I just
want to read once again what apparently the capitol police will find out in
this investigation, if they speak to Congressman Barton, because he said on
tape to the woman in this phone call, she said to him, what would you say
to the capitol police if you get them to intervene?

And he said this. I would tell them that I had a three-year undercover
relationship with you over the Internet that was heavily sexual and that I
had met you twice while married and had sex with you on two different
occasions and that I exchanged inappropriate photographs and videos with
you that I wouldn`t like to be seen made public. That you still apparently
had all of those and were in a position to use them in a way that would
negatively affect my career. That`s the truth.

And, Gene, if that`s the truth and that`s what he wants to tell the House
Ethics Committee, I don`t know how he holds on to the seat.

ROBINSON: Yes. I think it puts him in a difficult position. I think both
of these people frankly will find themselves in difficult position. I
don`t know where this woman is. I assume she might be in Texas. Texas has
a law against what is commonly known as revenge porn. So, she could face
some legal difficulties. Certainly authorities will want to know how those
– that photograph came into the public eye.

But Representative Barton will certainly be subject to an investigation.
And I think it`s very difficult for him to stay.

O`DONNELL: We`ve got to get a break here.

Indira Lakshmanan, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate
it.

LAKSHMANAN: Thanks, Lawrence. Happy Thanksgiving.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. You, too.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Nothing has provoked less original
thought than the most thought provoking event in the politics of the 21st
century, the election of Donald Trump as President of the United states.
What passes for thought in the pundit class is usually simply an exchange
of cliches, especially if those cliches were used as effective sounding
explainers of any previous election.

And the one thing on which all pundit cliches are based is an assumption
about the fundamental decency of the American voter and not just some
American voters offer most American voters but the fundamental decency of
all American voters. And so it is inconceivable in the conventional wisdom
of pundit world, for example, that racists could elect a President of the
United States.

And since most members of the pundit class in the 21st century have grown
up without personally witnessing at close range anything they recognize as
racist and since they live in places like New York and Washington, D.C. At
great distances from the voters in the states that tip the Electoral
College one way or the other, they live in fear of sounding elitist
attributing any negative or nasty motivation to any American voter
anywhere.

And so, you`ve heard a lot about those White voters who tip the Electoral
College to Donald Trump in places they were hoping Donald Trump would bring
back the steel mills and other jobs that have gone the way of the
blacksmith in those towns. The latest entry in the explainers of the Trump
vote may be the most important yet. It is Adam Serwer`s Article in the
Atlantic entitled the nationalist`s delusion. This mandatory reading for
anyone to know how we got to here.

Adam Serwer writes, a majority of white voters backed a candidate who
assured them that they will never have to share this country with people of
color as equals. That is the reality that all Americans will have to deal
with and one that most of the country has yet to confront. Joining us now,
Adam Serwer, senior editor for the Atlantic. Also back with us, Eugene
Robinson. Adam, make the case for us as quickly as you can, the case this
has been largely ignored by most of the analysis of the Trump vote.

ADAM SERWER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look. I just want to say a lot of
these people that I spoke to genuinely struggling. But the solutions that
Trump was offering, essentially solutions offers to use state violence
against religious and ethnic minorities.

These solutions wouldn`t have appealed to them if they had not possessed
some level of racial animosity. They wouldn`t have made sense which is why
so many people voted for the other candidate. But it`s also impossible to
explain Donald Trump`s victory, you know, without that ideological lens.

O`DONNELL: And whenever this comes up, gene, if you say anything about the
racism that exists within the Trump vote, you`re immediately accused of
calling all Trump voters racist.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Exactly.

O`DONNELL: But in an election where he came in second distant second in the
3 million voters and managed to squeak out the Electoral College, every
little vote counted and to take away racially motivated votes, Donald Trump
wouldn`t be President.

ROBINSON: There`s no way he would be President if you took away racially
motivated votes. You know Lawrence, as you know, I didn`t grow up in
Manhattan. I grew up in South Carolina and South Carolina is where Lee
Atwater was from.

Architect of the Republican Party`s Southern Strategy which began in 1968
which essentially was a naked appeal to unreconstructed Southern White
Racism that brought Southern Whites into the Republican Party where they
have remained since. It was an extraordinary political move by then
President Richard Nixon and it has proved enduring. And so, the idea that
race plays a major factor in our elections or presidential elections isn`t
new to those of us who know that history. But clearly it is new to some
people. They have managed to conveniently forget it.

O`DONNELL: Adam, your piece is possibly the most thorough explainer of the
Trump vote and it also -

SERWER: Thank you, lawrence.

O`DONNELL: – seems to explain why Trump voters stick with Donald Trump
even when he fails at some of the policy things he promised to do or just
ignores some of the policy promises that he made as a candidate.

SERWER: Well, yeah. I mean, I think it`s really interesting. to the Extent
trump pursued a Muslim ban, a crackdown on immigration that has not simply
gone after criminals but gone after, you know, dads taking the kids to
school. You know, he`s pulled back on policing the police. I mean, to a
large extent, Trump has, you know, and he`s engaged in these big culture
war type conflicts with, say, black professional athletes or other, you
know, prominent black public figures.

I mean, I think in some ways Trump is running the administration he
promised or at least in the ways that mattered a lot to the people who
voted for him.

O`DONNELL: But, Gene, in another recent examination of the Trump voters
and attitude toward him today in Pennsylvania, these were people who were
saying they never expected him to bring back the steel jobs but, boy, they
really do love it taking on the NFL players.

ROBINSON: Yeah. Yeah, wis – which is extraordinary. But there it is. I
mean, he drove a cultural wedge. And race was a big part of that. I think
it`s very clear. He drew a line and said, you know, we want to go back to
America the way it was and that to a lot of people meant when it was a
whiter America.

And when it wasn`t – it was a less Latino America, when it seemed simpler.
That appeal obviously doesn`t connect with African-American voters or
Latino voters but connected with a lot of white voters.

O`DONNELL: Adam, you stress how important Trump`s birtherism attacks on
President Obama were in establishing his credentials in many ways with the
voters. Y ou say birtherism was not simply racism but nationalism, a
statement of values and a definition of who belongs in America by bracing
the conspiracy theory of Obama`s faith and foreign birth. Trump was also
endorsing a definition of being American that excluded the first black
President.

SERWER: yeah. I mean, look. I think birtherism is sort of – in a way
it`s this incredibly complex statement of what the ideal American is not
supposed to be an it`s not supposed to be, you know, a black man when`s is
son of a Muslim immigrant whose name is Barack Obama. A key aspect of this
is Trump proposed discriminatory policies and called himself the least
racist person you have ever met. I think the combination of two things is
really important, both, you know, saying I want to pursue this racist
policy and also being outraged at any possible suggestion he would be
discriminating.

O`DONNELL: Gene, going forward from here, there`s the question of how
Trump opponents, how Democrats campaign against this and with a solid
democratic campaign it seems conceivable that you could isolate this kind
of support in such a way that the Democrats could get the electoral college
votes they need.

ROBINSON: I think it`s entirely possible, Lawrence. You know? Obviously
we don`t know what will happen between now and the next election but keep
in mind Barack Obama did win both the electoral and the popular vote twice
by much larger margins than Donald Trump won and, of course, Donald Trump
lost the popular vote.

So you know, I see this as a reaction to the fact that the country is
changing and the country will continue to change. the country will continue
to change demographically and culturally and that arc of history is against
this sort of backward looking and in some respects out rightly racist point
of view that Trump projects for his voters. IT`S moving away from that and
I – will continue to.

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson and Adam Serwer, thank you very much for
joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Thank you.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, President George W. Bush`s former ethics lawyer say
that is Kellyanne Conway has broken the law again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: the former Director of the United States Office of Government
Ethics Walter Shaub, is accusing Kellyanne Conway of violating the Hatch
Act. And has filed an ethics complaint against her because of an interview
she did on Fox New. The Hatch Act prohibits Federal officials from
attempting to influence the outcome of an election through the position
while on duty or on government property, tied to their official capacity.
This is – and I`m about to submit to you Kellyanne Conway on video, which
is something I don`t usually put you through but this is exhibit A i the
case against Kellyanne Conway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: And Doug Jones in Alabama,
folks don`t be fooled. He`ll be a vote against tax cuts. He`s weak on
crime. weak on borders. He`s strong on raising your taxes. He`s terrible
for property owners.

BRIAN KILMEADE, CO-HOST, FOX AND FRIENDS: So vote Roy Moore.

CONWAY: And Doug Jones is doctorial a liberal and why he is not saying
anything and why the media are trying to boost him.

KILMEADE: Right. So vote Roy Moore?

CONWAY: I`m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this
tax – tax bill through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: A Whitehouse spokesperson defended Conway to Politico saying
Ms. Conway did not advocate for or against the election of a candidate and
specifically declined to encourage Alabamans to vote a certain way. She was
speaking about issues and support for the President`s agenda. President
George W. Bush`s Chief Ethics Lawyer Richard Painter says this is the
second time that Kellyanne Conway has broken the law. Richard painter joins
us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Richard Painter, Professor of Law at
University of Minnesota. He was the Chief Ethics Lawyer for President
George W. Bush. He`s the Vice Chair of the Citizen`s for Responsibility and
Ethics and Government. And, Professor Painter, Kellyanne Conway said to
voters, don`t be fooled. Doug Jones, he`ll vote to raise taxes. He`s weak
on crime. He`s weak on borders.

The Whitehouse says she did not advocate voting for or against any
candidate. How do you see this?

RICHARD PAINTER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well that`s just absolute nonsense.
She repeatedly said negative things about Mr. Jones who`s the Democratic
candidate for Senator down there in Alabama. She was telling voters not to
vote for Doug Jones. And she was talking positively about Roy Moore and
saying that they needed Roy Moore`s vote in the Senate to get tax reform
through.

We know what was going on. She was advocating for the defeat of Doug Jones
and for the election of Roy Moore to United States Senate. She was doing
it on the Whitehouse lawn in an official capacity interview. That`s a
violation of the Hatch Act.

It`s been around since 1939, makes it very clear that a United States
government employee in the executive branch may not use his or her official
position to advocate for or against a candidate in a partisan election. The
only exception is the President of the United States and the Vice
President. Every other executive branch employee is under the Hatch Act.
The presumptive penalty is firing for violation of the Hatch Act. That is
a clear violation. It`s her second problem with the law.

We already have the violation Office of government Ethics Regulations a few
months ago when she was showing interest for Ivanka clothing and jewelry on
Fox and Friends. And the Office of Government Ethics found she had
violated those regulations. This is a lot more serious.

The Hatch Act is lot more serious than showing Ivanka Clothing on the
television. It`s a serious violation. In the Bush Whitehouse we would have
fired somebody on the spot for that.

O`DONNELL: And so how is the – how is it enforced? How is the Hatch Act
enforced?

PAINTER: At the office of Special Counsel we`ll investigate, Walter
Shaub„ the former Director of the Office of Government Ethics has failed a
complaint with the Office of Special Counsel. They will investigate.

But in this case we see the violation right there on camera. You just
played it. Everyone can see it. I don`t see there`s very much to
investigate. She violated the Hatch Act. It`s cut and dry on this one.

O`DONNELL: And does this end up in court, or how is it finally
adjudicated?

PAINTER: No, the Special Counsel would come to its conclusions, I would
hope relatively quickly because it`s quite clear, and then they would
inform the President. And it`s up to the President to discipline an
employee here. The Office of Special Counsel could make a recommendation,
could pressure the President to take disciplinary action.

But it`s going to be very hard, if President Trump does not want to enforce
the law, and here we have a second offense by a senior employee within less
than a year, and if he doesn`t want to enforce the law and fire employees
who are not abiding by the law, then Congress is going to have to take it
up with him. And this is going be yet one more instance in which he has
shown he`s not fit to be President.

He can`t supervise the people working for him. he can`t get them to follow
the law, And as I say this has happened before with Kellyanne Conway. And
the Whitehouse didn`t do anything. As a matter of fact they wrote a letter
to the Office of Government of Ethics saying the rules don`t apply to the
Whitehouse staff which is absolutely false. It`s a very, very troubling
situation.

O`DONNELL: Well it seems with the Whitehouse statement being put out
tonight, saying what she said was perfectly legal, that probably will be
Donald Trump`s view of it when the case gets to him if it does. Professor
Richard Painter, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it

PAINTER: Thank you

O`DONNELL: And tonight`s last word is a very special last word about
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy who on this date in 1963 was assassinated
in Dallas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: On this day in 1963 the word Kennedy changed its meaning from
sunny optimism to tragedy. The day began with America`s youngest elected
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy waving to supporters in the Texas sun.
And it ended with the images of the assassinated President`s widow grieving
and bloodstained. I described what that moment felt like in my new book
Playing with Fire, the 1968 election and Transformation of American
Politics:

In the Kennedy`s hometown of Boston it felt as if the world stopped. I was
in St. Brenden`s Elementary school in Boston when the Nuns got the news
that the President has been killed, the first catholic President, something
the older Nuns never expected to see. Now they had outlived the 46 year old
Irish Catholic boy who had made them so proud.

The sisters of St. Joseph were the strongest women I knew. But this was
too much for them to bear. They simply couldn`t carry on. They closed
school early and sent us home.

We had never seen them cry before. We were all crying when the nuns got us
into our lines to march us out to the sidewalk. Everyone we saw was crying.
Every driver stopped at every traffic light. men carrying tool bags were
cry, men carrying briefcases were crying, Boston cops were crying, subway
cars were filled with people crying who had left work early to go home and
cry with their families and watch the Kennedy family`s ordeal unfold on TV.

We watched Bobby holding his brother`s widows hands that night when she
arrived back in Washington still wearing her pink bloodstained clothes. We
watched him holding her hand at Arlington National Cemetery. Nothing could
ever happen in this world to make us forget those images which were only
four years old in 1967 when Bobby`s audiences started chanting run, Bobby,
run.

After Bobby Kennedy did decide to run for president in 1968 he worried he
might provoke another copycat assassin going for another Kennedy. Jackie
Kennedy was worried for Bobby too. Do you know what I think will happen to
Bobby, she asked? Arthur Schlesinger waited for her to answer her own
question. The same thing that happened to Jack. That`s tonight`s Last
Word. The 11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAND WILLIAMS, 11TH HOUR ANCHOR: We have news on the Russia front
tonight. For starters, what really happened in that Oval Office meeting
with donald Trump, the two Sergeis and only Russian media on hand? New
details from Vanity Fair tonight on that controversial encounter. Plus a
one time business associate of Mike Flynn now a reported subject of the
Mueller Investigation. The reporter who broke that story with us tonight.


END

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