Senate votes to begin debate on tax bill Transcript 11/29/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: November 29, 2017
Guest: Ron Klain, Daniel Dale, Lance Dodes, Lawrence Summers
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
Rachel, you know, I was in Philadelphia last night and you have a bunch of
fans there and you know your name comes up whenever I`m on these book
events, talking about the book.
And let me just tell you if you get to Philadelphia, you will have crowds
around the corner. You are loved there.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: You know, I used to live in Philly. I
had a very good time living a mostly feral existence in West Philadelphia
at a time in my life. So, when I go back I`ll probably have to wear a
O`DONNELL: I don`t want to scare you, Rachel, but there are people who
remember that. They remember that, and they come to my little book thing
and so, I`ve got some stories.
MADDOW: All right. Witness protection is calling. Got to go.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, today, the president went to Missouri to insult a
senator. Actually, his mission was to try to convince the senator to vote
for his tax bill. But when you send Donald Trump to do a president`s job,
do not be surprised if he has no idea what to do or what to say.
This afternoon, the Senate voted 52-48 along party lines to proceed with
consideration of the Republican tax bill. That`s a procedural vote that
moves it forward. The motion needed just a simple majority to pass.
The Senate will now begin a period of debate lasting up to 20 hours, then
the Senate will begin a series of votes on amendments before the
legislation then moves to a vote on Senate passage. After that, the Senate
bill will have to be reconciled with the bill from the House of
Representatives in a conference committee so we could have several weeks
ahead of us in this process.
The president went to St. Charles, Missouri, today to try to put pressure
on Missouri`s Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to vote for the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Claire McCaskill –
have you ever heard of her? – is doing you a tremendous disservice. She
wants your taxes to go up.
She`s weak on crime. She`s weak on borders. She`s weak on illegal
immigration, and she`s weak on the military. Other than that I think she`s
doing a fantastic job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, Donald Trump tries to get Claire McCaskill`s vote by lying
about her, by lying that she wants taxes to go up. She does not. And then
he lies that she`s weak on crime.
Claire McCaskill is a former prosecutor who specialized in among other
things sex crimes – the kind of thing Donald Trump`s candidate for Senate
in Alabama is accused of doing with a fourteen-year-old girl. And there is
no politician in Washington who is weaker on crime than Donald Trump,
especially when it comes to sex crimes. He is the only politician in
Washington who is trying to elect a man accused of sex crimes with a 14-
year-old girl to the United States Senate. That`s weak on crime.
Claire McCaskill is not weak on borders or weak on illegal immigration.
She is not weak on the military as Donald Trump accused her of being in his
string of lies, and she is strong on resisting the lies and the policies of
Donald Trump. That string of lies was supposed to persuade Claire
McCaskill to vote for the worst tax legislation in history.
She voted against the Trump tax bill in the Senate Finance Committee
already and that was not a politically easy thing to do in a state where
Donald Trump won 57-38.
The most ignorant president in history is the most ignorant person in
Washington about his own tax bill and how a bill becomes a law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The big day will be either tomorrow or the next day. I would say
do it now. We`re ready. I said to the Republicans, I don`t need to tell
you, these are good people, they really want to and I know they get hit
hard, the senators, the congressmen, but they`re all working hard.
It`s not so easy. It`s complicated stuff. It`s not so easy, but we had an
incredible session yesterday and I think we`re there.
That`s why I said, let`s do – can we do the vote today? What do I know?
I`m a business guy, can we do the vote now?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: What do I know? I`m a business guy. Very well put. What does
he know? He doesn`t know much?
And so, he is the first president in history who actually promised not to
veto his own bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If they sent it to my desk, I promise all of the people in this
room, my friends, so many friends in this room it`s a great state – I
promise you I will sign it. I promise. I will not veto that bill. There
will be no veto.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: You can rewind that at home and show the kids presidential
history being made right there, the very first president who actually
thinks he has to promise not to veto his own bill.
Donald Trump is the first president in the lifetimes of most Americans who
is trying to pass tax legislation without first having publicly revealed
his own tax returns, so that voters can judge just how much the president
is acting in his own interest. The president addressed that question today
and he began with one of those repeated Trump phrases that always means the
words after this will be lies, and that Trump catchphrase is of course –
in all fairness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In all fairness, this is going to cost me a fortune this thing.
Believe me. Believe me. Believe me. This is not good for me. Me, it`s
not – so I have some very wealthy friends not so happy with me, but that`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Ron Klain former chief of staff to Vice
President Joe Biden and Al Gore, and a former senior aide to President
Obama. Also with us, Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for “The
Toronto Star”. And Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer
for “The Washington Post” and an MSNBC political analyst.
And, Ron Klain, I just want to talk about the politics of today`s event.
It was located in Missouri because there`s a Democratic senator in Missouri
who you would normally, in normal political conditions, have a very good
chance of getting to vote for tax cuts. And as we`ve seen in all previous
Republican tax cut drives, they always pick up Democratic votes. There are
always senators in states that are – that tend to lean toward Republicans
House members who could easily be unseated by a Republican, they always
tend to go and vote for the Republican tax cut bill. And so far, not one
Democrat and Claire McCaskill does not seem troubled by Donald Trump`s
visit there today.
RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Nor should she.
Look, this isn`t a Republican tax bill. Republican tax bill like George
Bush passed 15 years ago gave 20 percent of the benefits to the top 1
percent. This gives 62 percent of the benefits from the top 1 percent.
This is the kind of tax bill that they pass in a Latin-American regime to
benefit the great ruler and his family and, of course, it will. Trump will
and his family will probably benefit a billion dollars from this bill. We
don`t know exactly how much, we haven`t seen his tax returns. His richest
friends, all the benefits go to them. There`s no pressure on Claire
McCaskill to vote for this piece of garbage, and Donald Trump going to
Missouri and insulting her certainly isn`t going to help that effort at
O`DONNELL: And we have a new poll out on this Republican tax plan. Do you
support the Republican tax plan? Support 28.9 percent, oppose, 49.4
percent, and don`t know, 21.7 percent.
And, Gene Robinson, that`s the kind of poll it`s very easy for politicians
to read. It`s awfully hard to put pressure on a senator to vote for that.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it`s impossible basically.
You can`t – you can`t do it.
Look, this bill is popular only among rich Republican donors. That`s who
loves this bill and because they love it and because they control the purse
strings, Republicans are going to vote for it. But there`s no reason any
So, Claire McCaskill is not moved by the president`s visit. Joe Manchin,
another sort of more conservative Democrat from West Virginia, somebody
would think you might have a chance to pick off on a bill like this, it`s
not going to happen.
And, you know, I think my friend Ron Klain – actually, that was a slur
against banana republics. I mean, they passed better tax bill. I covered
banana republics. They have better tax policy than this.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what the president said today about the half of the
country, 49.4 percent of the country that opposes the tax plan.
The only people who don`t like the tax cut bill are the people who that
don`t understand it or the obstructionist Democrats that know how really
good it is and do not want the credit and success to go to the Republicans.
And, Daniel Dale, that`s a guy who has twenty eight point nine percent
support for his idea.
DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE TORONTO STAR: Yes. Well, in
saying that he`s insulting many of his own voters because many of them
don`t like it either. You know, I do as you know a lot of fact checking of
Trump, and people ask me a lot, do facts still matter? Does truth still
I think what you see in the polling of this bill, you saw in the polling of
their repeal and replace plan for Obamacare, is that on policy matters,
facts are getting through. So, no matter how much Trump calls a health
bill or tax bill wonderful the best ever fantastic for everyone, going to
put money in your pocket, you know, people just aren`t buying it. They`re
seeing through his nonsense and that and the nonsense coming from much of
the Republican leadership.
O`DONNELL: I want to get to some of the other extraordinary things that
the president said in this speech today which leave people wondering about
exactly how his mind works. We`re going to have more on that later in the
And here is his assessment of his first months in office and how much he
has accomplished in his first months in office. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will tell you this in a non-braggadocios way, there has never
been a 10-month president that has accomplished what we have accomplished.
That I can tell you, that I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, Ron, that`s absolutely true, there`s never 10-month
president who has accomplished less.
KLAIN: You know, in all fairness, Lawrence, I have to say that there`s a
lot of truth to that. I don`t know any 10-month president who`s had David
Duke praised his tweets. I don`t know any 10-month president who had
Theresa May today tell him he was destabilizing Western Europe.
So, there are extraordinary accomplishments of this Trump presidency, but
what there aren`t, are jobs created, aren`t passing bills to actually
improve health care of the country, there`s no infrastructure plan like he
promised. The things he said he would do he hasn`t done, the craziness he
has done, and that is an extraordinary record for ten months, in all
And, Gene, there`s an insult to the audience`s intelligence in that kind of
ROBINSON: Yes, there is. And look, he loves to preach to the choir. He
loves to preach to his base and there, you know, much of his base knows
what the facts are but might want to stick with him anyhow for various
reasons and we could go into them and in another segment.
So, but he loves to speak to the people who were with him hell or high
water. That`s not a majority of Americans. That`s maybe 30 percent. You
know, it`s just a solid base and you don`t govern the country that way and
you don`t get legislation – meaningful legislation passed that way. You
don`t build consensus that way.
And that`s why he has so few accomplishments – basically between few and
O`DONNELL: And so, the speechwriters today made the mistake of putting the
word rocket in the middle of a passage that the president was supposed to
read about how the tax cuts are the rocket fuel of the American economy,
and because they were dealing with the fragile unfocused mind of Donald
Trump, look what happened when he discovered that word rocket in front of
him. Let`s watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Small business groups across our nation, retailers, restaurants,
manufacturers, grocers, contractors, support this plan – we have
tremendous support for this plan, tremendous, because these massive tax
cuts will be rocket fuel –
Little rocket man. Rocket fuel for the American economy.
He is a sick puppy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Daniel Dale, the sick puppy at the microphone is someone who
the White House speechwriters cannot trust with the word rocket in the
teleprompter. They didn`t they know that before today?
DALE: They need a list of bans – banned words –
O`DONNELL: But so great to watch him, you can see him on the screen there
where he discovers the word rocket in the teleprompter, and you watched the
mind stop right there, incapable of going through the rest of the sentence.
DALE: He was having a lot of fun in that moment, Lawrence.
I think honestly what in all seriousness, what this shows is that, you
know, he cannot get himself to care as much as any other president has ever
cared about the things that president care about. So, he goes to make his
speech the purpose of which is to sell a tax plan. But he wants to talk
about everything else. He wants to insult Claire McCaskill. He wants to
talk her into a Korea. He wants to tout a currently imaginary welfare
reform plan that no one really knows anything about.
And so, he cannot stay focused for the length of time necessary to make a
thorough, comprehensive, cogent pitch for the policy that his aides want
him to be selling.
O`DONNELL: Ron, that`s such an important point. I mean, when you hear
people talking so boringly in the past about presidents staying on message,
your politicians staying on message, and when they`re out there selling
legislation, they`re carefully choosing every word.
And Daniel makes the point that I think is quite valid that Donald Trump
doesn`t have the patience for that, he absolutely demonstrably does not
care, he actually does not care enough about passing this bill to
discipline his language even for one speech.
KLAIN: Yes, we got to hope that the White House speech writers don`t put
the phrase red button in any of those speeches any time soon. Look, I
think – you made this point earlier Lawrence he doesn`t care and more
troublingly in some ways, he doesn`t really know what`s in this tax bill.
That`s why he`s so ineffective selling it. You can`t sell something if you
don`t know what you`re selling and he knows in general, it`s a good deal
for the rich people. He knows in general it`s a good deal for
corporations, and his friends.
But there`s so many things shoved in there, so many special interest
provisions, he doesn`t know what`s there. And I think that`s going to be
his undoing and trying to sell this thing, as the details come out, as it
works its way through the process, people will come out against it, he
won`t be able to defend that and I don`t think he will be able to get it
all the way to the finish line.
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain and Daniel Dale, thank you both for joining us
KLAIN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the president is now lying about things that he has
already admitted to, denying things he`s already admitted to publicly –
which has psychiatrists wondering what this lying is about. What are we
learning about his mind now?
And later, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers is breaking a
tradition, a precedent of former treasury secretaries never criticizing the
current treasury secretary, and he is doing that because he believes this
tax legislation is the worst tax bill he`s ever seen. Professor Summers
will join us.
O`DONNELL: “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” have new reports
about the mind of Donald Trump which is filled with things that are not
true, that he spews both publicly and privately, leaving people in the
White House to wonder how his mind actually works, if we can use the word
According to “The Times” and “Washington Post”, people who are close to the
president don`t know what he believes and doesn`t believe. But they do
know that he constantly says things that are provably untrue and one of the
things that he has recently been going back to is the “Access Hollywood”
video which shows him bragging about his preferred methods of sexual
According to new reports on the president`s mental state, the president is
privately telling people that the Access Hollywood video is fake – meaning
the voice you hear on this video speaking as Donald Trump is not Donald
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And when you`re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH, TV HOST: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You can do anything.
BUSH: Yes, those legs, all I can see is the legs.
TRUMP: Oh, it looks good.
BUSH: Come on, shorty.
TRUMP: Oh, nice legs, huh?
BUSH: Get out of the way, honey. Oh, that`s` good legs. Go ahead.
BUSH: It`s always good if you don`t fall out of the bus. Like Ford,
Gerald Ford, remember?
BUSH: Down below, pull the handle.
TRUMP: Hello. How are you? Hi. Good seeing you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No word on whether Donald Trump believes that that was Donald
Trump who got out of that bus.
None of the people around Donald Trump who heard him say this would dare to
tell him afterwards that they actually heard him very clearly speaking on
the “Access Hollywood” video and that they saw and heard him apologize for
every word he said on the “Access Hollywood” video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I said it. I was wrong and I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: “The Times” reports in January, shortly before his
inauguration, Mr. Trump told a Republican senator that he wanted to
investigate the recording that had been – that had him boasting about
grabbing women`s genitals. We don`t think that was my voice, Mr. Trump
told the senator, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
Conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May was outraged by the
president`s erratic behavior today when the president retweeted unverified
videos posted by the leader of a British extremist group called Britain
First. Prime Minister Theresa May said, it is wrong for the president to
have done this.
To consider what else is wrong with the president, joining us now is Dr.
Lance Dodes of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He`s a
former assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
And back with us is Eugene Robinson.
Dr. Dodes, what are we seeing here in these new stories about the president
telling people things that they absolutely know to be true that are on
video, where they hear his voice, that`s fake, that`s not me, even after he
publicly apologized for every word of it?
DR. LANCE DODES, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, well, I think it`s another example of
his being close to psychosis when he is stressed, when he says things like
this which are not in his interest he would be better off saying I`m sorry,
that was a mistake, and let it go.
But when he goes back and then denies reality, people have trouble
understanding that. The simple explanation for it which people don`t want
to hear is that he`s not in control of himself. This is what we mean when
we say that somebody is becoming psychotic or is briefly psychotic. So,
all of his delusional ideas come up when he is stressed in some way, and
then he loses track of reality because it doesn`t fit what he needs to
The problem has been that we think of people as psychotic people as being
folks who think that they are Napoleon and that`s easy to tell. And if
you`re not that, people think you`re not psychotic. But unfortunately, the
world is more complicated, and people like Donald Trump are on the border
and they slip into delusional thinking when stressed. An extremely
dangerous thing naturally for anybody, especially somebody who has been so
wantonly discon – unconcerned about the welfare of others and willing to
do anything to promote himself.
So, he`s an enormous present danger to us from the standpoint of creating a
nuclear war and even from the standpoint of doing what he can to destroy
democracy, as well as attacking ethnic groups the way he`s done.
O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, Dr. Dodes just said something right at the
beginning of that that`s so important. He said that it`s not in his
interest, it is not in Donald Trump`s interest to say anything that brings
up the “Access Hollywood” video again.
And here we are running it because of things that Donald Trump himself has
said, and any other politician would understand exactly what the doctor
said, you don`t – he wouldn`t need a psychiatrist to tell him it is not in
your interest to do this. And so, that`s where this becomes so
fascinating, is the president is constantly doing things against his own
interest and we`ve just heard from the doctors because he has no control
ROBINSON: Yes, you know, look, as you know, Lawrence, I`ve written about
Donald Trump`s mental health several times. I write about it again
tomorrow. I`m a layman. I don`t have Dr. Dodes` expertise certainly,
though I have been buttonholed and cornered and emailed by psychiatrists
and psychologists for months, giving me their assessment of his mental
Here`s what I wonder. I wonder if at some point, the sort of old New York
playboy Donald Trump who was in the tabloids would call up page six in the
guise of some imaginary PR guy, but who was in on the joke that this Donald
Trump who created this sort of fake reality, but was in on the joke and
knew that he was doing it, did he at some point lose that awareness, that
he at some point start believing in the fake reality that he creates?
And so, was he able to actually convince himself that that`s not him in the
bus? Actually convinced himself that that President Obama was not born in
Hawaii, actually convinced himself of ridiculous things. And that`s a
really dangerous thing for the president of United States to be living in
this sort of fantasy world.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Dodes, that goes straight back to you to react to what Gene
just had to say. What is that that were seeing?
DODES: Well, again, I – it`s – once you start out with the idea – what
the understanding that this is a very sick man. He is truly very sick.
Then nothing is surprising. And all of these delusional thoughts are not
And, you know, those of us who`ve been saying this for a long time have
been able to correctly predict the things that have happened. And going
forward, I will not be surprised by anything, if he were to try to dissolve
the Constitution, that wouldn`t shock me, fire the Supreme Court, wage
nuclear war on North Korea – these things might seem shocking but they`re
consistent. He has always been consistent in this.
Once you understand that he is about him and it`s a very deeply disturbed
issue he needs to not just that he wants to, he needs to, he`s not clever
at all, he has to protect himself from what he sees as a existential threat
by denying reality. Once you understand that, everything else follows and
it`s extremely dangerous.
O`DONNELL: So, Gene, let`s see if us amateurs can then apply what we just
learned to this – which is, this report from “The New York Times” saying
Mr. Trump has used closed-door conversations to question the authenticity
of President Barack Obama`s birth certificates. So, does he need to never
O`DONNELL: Is that a reality he needs and is that what he`s reaching for
in that moment?
ROBINSON: Well, that`s clearly a reality for Donald Trump and there are a
hundred examples from just from his presidency really of things when he`s
presented with facts. You know, he says something and it is demonstrated
that is simply not true, the crowd size, for example, at the inauguration
and he has to be – he has to be shown to be right.
So, he had to send poor Sean Spicer out to lie to everyone in his first
appearance before the press and insist that black was white, because Donald
Trump said black was white, and he has to be right. He has this need and
it`s very deep-seated.
I think that the doctor is right that it`s not cleverness or deception from
his point of view. It`s something that he needs.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Dodes, I get the feeling that when you dip into any viewing
of political pundits on these shows, talking about what Donald Trump did
today, that you are probably feeling that the analysis is missing the point
whenever it`s not turning on the notion that this is a very sick man.
DODES: Well, I think that`s true. It`s not that what they`re saying isn`t
so. I mean, that many observers have accurately said that he`s ill.
But yes, I think that if – not just the commentators, but the Congress
needs to understand all those people who are now supporting Donald Trump
are kidding themselves if they think that this is not extremely incapable,
disordered, sick individual. They`re kidding themselves.
And no one wants this seems to want to accept that. It`s – someone else
pointed out that the worst possible case for America is to have somebody
who is not grossly psychotic, which everyone would know and throw him out.
But close enough with a veneer to get by.
That`s Donald Trump. He`s like the classic, you know, he`s like the
classic villain in the James Bond movies or any other literature. He`s
villainous because of his Sociopathy and Psychopathy but with a tremendous
veneer which he is extremely good at. And people keep on looking at the
O`DONNELL: Dr. Lance Dodes thank you very much for joining us once again.
It`s important to have your input. Eugene Robinson thank you as always for
joining us, really appreciate it
O`DONNELL: Coming Up, Donald Trump`s lies are offensive to a lot of
people. To my next guest here on this program, Donald Trump`s lies about
tax cuts and economics are personal. I want you to hear from what I believe
is the best source we can possibly hear from about the Trump Tax Cuts.
O`DONNELL: Former Treasury Secretaries have a tradition of not
criticizing the current treasury secretary. Until now Harvard Economics
Professor Lawrence Summers was Bill Clinton`s Treasury Secretary after
first being confirmed by the Senate as a Clinton under Secretary of the
Treasury. And in the interest of full disclosure I should note that I was
the Chief of Staff of the Senate Finance Committee when the first vote was
taken in committee on Professor Summer`s first Senate confirmation.
Between the Clinton Administration and Obama Administration, Lawrence
Summers served five years as President of the Harvard University. Then he
served as the Director of the National Economic Council for President
Obama. The lies that the Trump Administration has put out about its tax
bill are as offensive to Larry Summers as any lies that Donald Trump has
ever told because for Larry Summers, economics is a deeply personal pursuit
and for all good economists.
Its a pursuit of the fruit. For Larry Summers, economics is in his blood.
He was born into the profession. His brother Robert was an economist. His
mother Anita is an economist and a professor at the University of
Pennsylvania as his Father was. His uncle on his father`s side, Paul
Samuelson won the Nobel Prize in economics. Another uncle on his mother
side Kenneth Arrow also won the Nobel Prize in Economics. Larry Summers
received his doctorate in economic from Harvard University in 1982 and
became one of the youngest tenured Professors in Harvard`s history.
All of this goes through my mind whenever I listen to Lawrence Summers
talking about economics and I wanted you to know all of that because I want
you to know what are you seeing when Larry Summers joins us next. And why
I think he is the person who we most want to hear from about tax
Professor Summers has decided to break the tradition of former Treasury
Secretaries not criticizing the current Treasury Secretary because he is
trying to do everything he can to stop Congress from passing the worst tax
legislation he has ever seen. Larry Summers joins us next.
O`DONNELL: Here`s more of the President today talking about his tax cut
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Our focus is on helping the folks
who work in the maim rooms and the machine shops of America the plumbers,
the carpenters the cops the teachers, the truck drivers the pipe fitters
the people that like me best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Harvard Economics Professor Lawrence Summers.
Professor Summers how does this tax bill help the plumbers the carpenters
the cops, teachers, pipe fitters?
LAWRENCE SUMMERS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTTO: The assertion is nonsense this tax
bill will principally benefit those in the top 1 percent of the population.
Take the proposal in the house bill to eliminate the estate tax.
That even affects only two out of every thousand Americans, the wealthiest
two. Take the corporate tax provisions, those primarily affect those who
own large amounts of corporate stock. Look at the structure of these bills.
It`s quite remarkable. The provisions that benefit the wealthy, like the
estate tax, are phased in and grow over time. The provisions that benefit
regular people, they start out OK and they phase out over time. This is a
bill that`s designed to reward a very small fraction of a population, a
fraction of the population that has been very supportive of I have to say
it, the Republican Party if Congress. This is not a bill that is well
calculated, to help the American economy and certainly not to help the
American middle class.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the man in your old job Secretary Treasury
Steven Mnuchen talking about this tax cut bills effect on the deficit and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHEN, SECRETARY TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES: Not only will
this tax plan pay for itself, but it will pay down debt that. Pay for
itself comes from that projected economic growth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Your reaction with what the secretary just said.
SUMMERS: Not something that a serious person would say. Not something
that a person who had any familiarity with the experience of the tax cuts
in 1981, the tax cuts at other moments would say. not something that anyone
who had any awareness of the economic modeling done over many years by the
treasury`s non-partisan career staff would say, not something supported by
evidence of or by logic.
I don`t know whether the Treasury Secretary believes what he is saying or
whether he just believes it`s politically necessary to make these
assertions. And I don`t know which is worse in terms of my confidence in
the way the economy is being managed.
O`DONNELL: There`s a tradition for former Treasury Secretaries to meet
with the new treasury Secretary and have some informal time together. It`s
usually a very supportive kind of discussion. Have you had a meeting like
that with Steve Mnuchin?
SUMMERS: There was a group of Treasury Secretaries that came together and
that was not an occasion for confrontational dialogue. Several of us did
note that one of the most important assets that the country has in the
financial arena is the correct of the Treasury Secretary and so one of the
most important aspects of the job is choosing your words very carefully. So
you don`t squander the asset that is your credibility.
I have to say, given the assertions that have been made about the tax cut
paying for itself, given the assertions that Secretary Mnuchin has made
about the appropriateness of the president`s behavior with respect to
Charlottesville and NFL players kneeling, given the comments he`s made
about the desirability of the President`s protectionist trade policies. I
don`t think he has acted in a way that was consistent with the advice we
gave to preserve credibility. And if there comes and I think there likely
will some time over a few years, a moment when the Treasury Secretary`s
credibility as he makes an economic or financial assertion is important I
think people will look at him and see a man that believes in lab curve. See
assertions beyond those that George Bush once labeled as voodoo economics.
That`s got to be a concern as we look at our economic and financial future
O`DONNELL: You make an important point about Treasury Secretaries and
their words. And one of the requirements in living by that is to be very
careful not to comment on many things. You get as Treasury Secretary, there
are questions thrown at you all day about things that don`t have with your
job. That`s one of the areas you don`t want to avoid comment on. And it
seems like Secretary Mnuchin has a similar inclination to the President in
being willing to speak on extracurricular matters.
SUMMERS: I was very surprised to see comments on NFL players in the
national anthem. I was even more surprised to see a defense of the
President`s handling of Charlottesville when it seemed to me the president
pretty clearly was at least missing an opportunity to reject neo-Nazis.
O`DONNELL: Professor Lawrence Summers, I still take notes when you speak.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
SUMMERS: Very good to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming Up, what did you do on Giving Tuesday? I hope
you helped with the KIND Fund. Thank you. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: And lots of big news that broke inside this building, the news
of Matt Lauer being fired. First a few personal words of Matt Lauer. I have
known Matt Lauer only as someone I would run into occasionally at large NBC
events. I`ve never had his phone number. I don`t know where he lives.
I`ve never had a one-on-one meeting with him or discussion with him. So I
don`t have anything or any particular insight I can add to any of the
information you already know about Matt Lauer, if you`ve been following
this story today.
Tonight the list of complaints of sexual misconduct against Matt Lauer is
growing. According to the New York Times NBC received at least two more
complaints related to Mr. Lauer according to a person briefed on the
network`s handling of the matter. This morning NBC announced Matt Lauer was
fired after a female colleague made a detailed complaint Monday night
accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavioral. An NBC spokesperson said,
we can say unequivocally prior to Monday night current NBC News management
was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer conduct So far no
comment from Matt Lauer. NBC`S Stephanie Gosk has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC REPORTER: the allegation of inappropriate sexual
conduct was made Monday night. Matt Laur anchor of NBC`s Today Show for 20
years was fired. In a statement NBC News Chairman Andy Lack shared few
specifics about the accusation. But wrote, it represented after serious
review, a clear violation of our company`s standards while it is the first
complaint of his behavior in the over 20 years he`s been at NBC news, we
were also presented with reason to believe this may not have any an
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, TODAY SHOW HOST: This is a sad morning here at today and
at NBC News.
GOSK: On the Today Show this morning his co-anchors reacted to the news.
GUTHRIE: For the moment all we can say we are heartbroken. I`m heartbroken
for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by
many, many people here. And I`m heartbroken for the brave colleague who
came forward to tell her story and any others women who have their own
stories to tell.
MATT LAUER: I`m Matt Lauer in Olympic Park in Sochi.
GOSK: The alleged misconduct began at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi and
continued after according to an MSNBC Spokesperson. The lawyer for had the
accuser had this to say in Part I am in awe of the courage my client showed
to be the first to raise a complaint. And to do so without making any
demands other than the company do the right thing.
Today Variety Magazine published a report laying out a pattern of alleged
sexual misconduct by Lauer including exposing himself to an employee in his
office and inviting women employed by NBC late at night to his hotel room
while covering the Olympics. Three unnamed women tell Variety they were
sexually harassed. Their accounts Variety says corroborated by friends or
The magazine also reports that several women made complaints to Executives
at NBC which were ignored. In September Lauer interviewed Bill O`Reilly
who had just been fired from Fox News over allegations of sexual
Lauer: So doesn`t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were
given some information or given some evidence that simply made it
impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?
BILL O`REILLY, FMR. FOX NEWS REPORTER: that`s a false assumption.
LAUER: But you don`t let your number one guy go unless you have
information that you think makes him -
O`REILLY: that`s not true.
GOSK: For NBC News the star anchor`s departure is an enormous loss. Lauer
has been the face of the network during pivotal events, interviewing the
world`s most influential people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was NBC`s Stephanie Gosk reporting. And in the last hour
she had a very important conversation with Rachel Maddow about she is
conducting her reporting here at NBC. She is not relying on NBC sources.
She is using every resource she can as a reporter outside of NBC as well as
NBC to find out everything she can to report as honestly as she can about
what is happening in this case. Tonight`s Last Word is next
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Last Word. On Giving Tuesday we suggested
one way to combine your giving with your Christmas shopping and holiday
gift shopping was to give to the KIND Fund, Kids in Need of Desks which
provides desks for kids in schools in Malawi that don`t have desks and also
provide scholarships for girls to attend high school in Malawi.
And you could contribute to that and then UNICEF through its partnership
here with us at MSNBC would send a notification to anyone on your gift list
that a donation has been made in their names and so many of you did that.
And many of you Tweeted about it.
And I`m going to read some of your Tweets now. This is from Kim Beasley.
She says Lawrence, this year I decided to increase my giving to the KIND
Fund on Giving Tuesday. I encourage my friends near and far to do the same.
Helping kids to attend school and be able to sit in a desk, it causes me to
do the happy dance. I would do the happy dance if we had more time. Also
Charlene Barnaba tweeted, we totally take something like our kids having
desks in school for granted that basic necessity is not afforded to many
students in Malawi. Lawrence through the KIND fund is bringing joy to
these kids with desks, Giving Tuesday. Thank you very much for doing that.
The totals we have raised just this week, just having first mentioned it at
close to 11:00 P.M. on Monday night. It`s the last 48 hours basically,
total for this week $183,623 bringing the total amount we have raised since
we began the KIND Fund when this program began to $14,619,000,092. Thank
you very much.
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