Trump, Hope Hicks, sexual harassment Transcript 1/5/18 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: January 4, 2018
Guest: Natasha Bertrand, Kurt Andersen
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And as I watching the storm coverage of Boston today where Boston basically
went underwater basically, one of the items of – my neighborhood mentioned
by Bill Foray (ph) who runs the local newspaper in Dorchester was, where
you could order delivered pizza today. How you could stay alive by
ordering delivered pizza.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: It`s the only time a humane idea to have
things delivered by drones.
O`DONNELL: Big thing I wanted to know and asked Bill to go out and measure
and I want to know exactly how many inches of snow fell on Grayson Street
in Dorchester, which is the street I grew up on, by a storm named Grayson.
O`DONNELL: Come on. We`ve got to know. Was Grayson Street hurt by this?
MADDOW: Well, with this storm, though, it`s like you have to worry about
snow. You also have to worry about how much of the tide came down Grayson
Street in Dorchester.
O`DONNELL: Well, Grayson Street is on a hill, so it was safe from the
flooding. But, Rachel, this “New York Times” story has since been
corroborated by the “A.P.” during your hour. They have come out and said
they found exactly the same thing about the president`s reaction to the
Sessions recusal and trying to prevent it. They`re actively trying to
O`DONNELL: Which adds to this issue, the frame, anyway, of the issue of
obstruction of justice, actually saying he`s supposed to be there to
protect me. This attorney general.
MADDOW: Yes. And, you know, we talked with Chuck Rosenberg. He`s the
former chief of staff of the FBI about this earlier this hour and he made
an important point. I asked him, you know, I don`t know enough about how
recusal and just governed by, you know, mores and norms as opposed to laws.
I don`t know if you could potentially obstruct justice by trying to
influence somebody`s decision to recuse themselves from your case and he
essentially said that it`s a gray area. And if you did it with the
intention, if you took that action, you lobbied for the recusal with the
intention of keeping somebody in place who would be loyal to you to protect
you from prosecution, then, yes, this might look like another element of
obstruction of justice for which the president might personally be liable.
I mean, all of these legal niceties to be worked out by people at a higher
pay grade than us, but this is – if this is corroborated information now,
this is serious stuff for the White House.
O`DONNELL: Well, the president had the obvious, ongoing intention to tell
his attorney general what to do in relation to this investigation. And so,
to urge him not to recuse himself is to urge him to remain in place, so I,
the president, continue to tell him what to do and might be telling him to
do is obstruct justice in effect.
MADDOW: Yes. And if the president is on the record in some provable way
saying the reason I want this recusal and expect this recusal and will be
angry if I don`t get this recusal is because I want him unrecused so I
don`t get prosecuted, well, that – if that can be proven and corroborated,
if here are contemporaneous notes from people in the White House who will
testify that they saw the president say that and explain his line of
thinking that way, that – that is how you build an obstruction of justice
case against anybody up to and including the president of the United
O`DONNELL: We`ll find out what the special prosecutor knows. Thank you,
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, tonight`s breaking news from “The New York Times”
intersects with the breaking news being made on virtually every page of
Michael Wolff`s new book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
Tonight, “The New York Times” is reporting new details about the special
prosecutor`s investigation of possible obstruction of justice by President
Trump while Michael Wolff`s book reports that the spokesperson for Trump`s
legal team resigned because he believed that he had become a witness to a
likely obstruction of justice committed by the president on Air Force One.
“The New York Times” is reporting tonight, quote, President Trump gave firm
instructions in March to the White House`s top lawyer, stop the Attorney
General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in the Justice Department`s
Don McGahn, the White House counsel, then urged Jeff Sessions not to recuse
himself but then relented when Jeff Sessions told him that on the advice of
career Justice Department officials, Jeff Sessions had already decided but
not yet announced that he would, indeed, recuse himself. When McGahn
reported that to the president, “The Times” says, quote, the president
erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he
needed his attorney general to protect him. Mr. Trump then asked, where`s
my Roy Cohn?
Roy Cohn was the disgraced lawyer who worked for the disgraced alcoholic
Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s who terrorized Washington
with false accusations of communist activity in the government. Roy Cohn
then went on to a life of continued disgrace and dishonor in New York City
as a criminal lawyer representing such clients as mafia kingpin John Gotti
and real estate kingpin Donald Trump. Roy Cohn was disbarred and banned
from practicing law in 1968. And that, that is who Donald Trump wishes was
still at his side tonight in the White House.
“The New York Times” is reporting tonight that special prosecutor Robert
Mueller has substantiated the claims that former FBI Director James Comey,
quote, made in a series of memos describing troubling interactions with the
president before he was fired in May. The special counsel received
handwritten notes from Mr. Trump`s former chief of staff Reince Priebus
showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he called Mr. Comey
to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation.
“The New York Times” has also learned that four days before Mr. Comey was
fired, one of Mr. Session`s aides asked a congressional staff member
whether he had damaging information about Mr. Comey, part of an apparent
effort to undermine the FBI director. The attorney general wanted one
negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey, according to a
person with knowledge of the meeting.
Before firing Mr. Comey, the president spent a weekend working on a letter
the president intended to send to Mr. Comey, the letter was never sent.
But the special prosecutor has obtained a copy of that letter. “The Times”
is reporting tonight that the first sentence of that letter said that the
Russia investigation had been, quote, fabricated and politically motivated.
After the president fired James Comey, “The New York Times” reported that
the president had asked James Comey to shut down the FBI investigation of
Michael Flynn in the day after “The Times” reported that, Deputy Attorney
General Rod Rosenstein acting in the place of recused Attorney General Jeff
Sessions announced the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor.
According to “The Times,” quote, Mr. Trump erupted at Mr. Sessions upon
hearing the news in an oval office meeting. The president said the
attorney general had been disloyal for recusing himself from the Russia
investigation and he told Mr. Sessions to resign. Mr. Sessions sent his
resignation letter to the president the following day and Mr. Trump
rejected it, sending it back with a handwritten note at the top, not
accepted, the note said.
Tonight`s “New York Times” reporting intersects with Michael Wolff`s new
book on a central point in the investigation of obstruction of justice and
that is the president`s role last summer in telling White House employees
what to say to “The New York Times” when “The Times” discovered that Donald
Trump Jr. had a meeting in Trump tower in the presidential campaign with
Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton, a meeting that was
attended by the president`s son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman
From Air Force One, President Trump dictated what the response to “The New
York Times” should be. Tonight, “The New York Times” is reporting, quote:
Mr. Mueller has also been examining a false statement that the president
dictated on Air Force One in July in response to an article in “The Times”
about a meeting the Trump campaign officials had with Russians in 2016.
“The Times” goes on to quote portions of Michael Wolff`s book and his
version of that meeting. Here`s how Michael Wolff describes the Air Force
One meeting led by the president on what to say to “The New York Times”:
Included in the discussion on the plane were the president, Hope Hicks,
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and their spokesperson Josh Raffel. Ivanka,
according to the later recollection of her team, would shortly leave the
meeting, take a pill and go to sleep. Jared, in the telling of his team,
might have been there but he was not taking a pencil to anything. The
meeting would shortly receive the special counsel`s close scrutiny with the
relevant question being whether one or more federal employees had induced
other federal employees to lie.
An aggrieved, unyielding and threatening president dominated the
discussion, pushing into line his daughter and her husband, Hicks and
Raffel. The president insisted the meeting at Trump Tower was purely and
simply about Russia adoption policy. That`s what was discussed, period.
It was a real-time example of denial and cover-up.
The persistent Trump idea that it is not a crime to lie to the media as at
best reckless and itself regarded by the legal team as at best reckless and
in itself potentially actionable, an explicit attempt to throw sand into
the investigation`s gears, Mark Corallo, the spokesperson for the Trump
legal team, was instructed not to speak to the press, indeed, not to even
answer his phone. Later that week, Corallo seen no good outcome and
privately confiding that he believed the meeting on Air Force One
represented a likely obstruction of justice quit.
Joining us now, Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist and an MSNBC political
analyst, Natasha Bertrand, a political correspondent at “Business Insider”,
and Matt miller, former chief spokesman for the Justice Department and
MSNBC justice and security analyst.
And on Monday night, Michael Wolff will join us on this program in his
first primetime cable news interview about this book and so, we will be
able to go over all – much more of the details in it.
But, Matt Miller, I want to get your reaction to what you`re reading in
“The New York Times” tonight as it intersects with Michael Wolff`s book
about that meeting that Mark Corallo upon reflection decided to quit
because he felt he had possibly gotten too close to an obstruction of
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I think what
we`re learning tonight is that the obstruction case is much more advanced
than we know. One of the things that`s always most difficult in these
cases is proving intent and with the president, it`s his own words. He
comes out and tells you exactly what he was intending to do and makes the
case that much stronger.
You know, we saw this last year when he explained, you know, two days after
firing James Comey, he explained to Lester Holt, that really it was all
about the Russia investigation and now we see it again when – you know,
his urging Jeff Sessions not to recuse, you could come up with some
plausible, legitimate reason why he was urging that. You know, it should
have been meddling and come up with some idea that, you know, he just
thought that the attorney general needed to be in charge of the
department`s most important investigation.
But Trump, can`t seem to help himself, tells all of his aides in a roomful
of witnesses, no, what he really wants is an attorney general who would
protect him. The way that Roy Cohn would or the way he thought that RFK
protected his brother, a way that he mistakenly thought that my former boss
Eric Holder committed or protected President Obama.
It is Trump`s own mouth, his own confession in front of roomful of
witnesses that may end up sealing his case for obstruction of justice. And
I think with respect to the meeting on the plane, look, Trump is right it`s
not a crime to lie to the press. But if the president has obstructed
justice and if people around him have entered into a conspiracy to
obstruction justice, any action that he takes that furthers that he
conspiracy is something that will be used in court or in the impeachment
context, using it in an impeachment proceeding to prove that case and
concealing the truth of that meeting in Trump Tower in 2016 seems to be
exactly what they`re trying to do and it looks like we have very clear
evidence and I would expect that Mark Corallo hasn`t been in to see Bob
Mueller`s team already, he`s going to hear from him in a very near future.
O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, your reaction to this reporting tonight on the
president, including this concept that what he needs in the White House is
his own Roy Cohn, a disgraced, disbarred lawyer who was accused of crimes
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It seems remarkable just a couple
of days into the New Year when we`re looking at the speed of stories
unraveling that`s happening around this president, around the Oval Office.
Specifically, Lawrence, this week began with what I would call an outburst
of digital McCarthy-ism, the insinuation that the Department of Justice,
the intelligence communities work together in a conspiracy against the
This is exactly the type of allegations and insinuations that McCarthy
made. And, of course, it is also autocratic in intent because at the heart
of every autocracy is this notion of conspiracy, the insidious Fifth Column
working against the people who can only be protected by their leader who
needs extrajudicial powers and it`s OK to violate democratic norms to put
down the conspiracy. It`s frightening, frankly.
Again, we see that with the actions on the airplane, of course, whether it
was a crime or not, the special counsel will determine but we know that the
president of the United States was engaged in premeditatedly lying to the
American people and in every instance as is always the case since they made
the first representations denying that there was any involvement with
Russians, every instance the administration has been found to be lying on
all of these issues.
And, of course, we see in this book the chaos, the incompetence, the
recklessness, the unpreparedness for duties and responsibilities around the
most powerful person of the world of this entire menagerie around him. And
truly, when you looking at this majestic comportment in this majestic
place, the West Wing of the White House, they couldn`t be more vile than if
they`re monkeys hurling excrement at each other in a cage.
O`DONNELL: “The New York Times” reporting tonight comes after an article
Michael Wolff published in “The Hollywood Reporter” today explaining how he
got access to the Trump White House and adding some more detail about what
he picked up there. And yet, it is – one thing he wrote this morning I
think is – makes a lot more sense as you read “The New York Times” article
tonight when you see the president`s reaction in “The New York Times”
article to his attacks on Jeff Sessions and so forth, what Michael Wolff
wrote this morning was – this is about people in the White House, no one
expected him to survive Mueller. Whatever the substance of the Russia
collusion, Trump in the estimation of his senior staff did not have the
discipline to navigate a tough investigation, nor the credibility to
attract the caliber of lawyers he would need to help him.
And, Natasha, in the accounts of “The New York Times” tonight, that is
certainly someone who does not have the discipline to survive a close
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Another thing
that Wolff wrote is that Trump had recently been urging Fox News to levy
attacks on Mueller, to essentially serve as his surrogate and attack
Mueller where he could not.
But, look, I think this is all indicative of why James Comey never came out
and said you are not under investigation because by that point by the time
that he actually had spoken to Trump and by the time that he testified
before Congress, Trump had already asked him to drop the investigation into
Michael Flynn. Trump had already asked him for his loyalty. So, these
were all things that James Comey was considering potentially most likely
when he was debating whether or not to publicly exonerate Trump, because he
probably knew that sometime in the near future, he might be under
investigation of obstruction of justice, because he thinks that he had been
requesting for months at the time.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and, Matt, if and we`ll never know the sequence of this,
if the president was not under investigation before, he asked James Comey
to drop the Flynn investigation, the very act of asking the FBI director to
drop the Flynn investigation probably apparently put the president under
investigation as of that moment. The FBI director immediately rushed off
to write notes that he needed to record of that actual conversation.
MILLER: Yes. Look, I – James Comey testified he took the notes because
he thought that some point his integrity would be questioned, people would
wonder what happened in those meetings, that he would need to have a
contemporaneous account of that. I believe him but I have also thought
that he was also after hearing these inappropriate requests from the
president starting to build a case, starting to build an obstruction case
of the president that very moment.
And that, you know, one of the questions people asked of Jim Comey is,
well, why didn`t you do something more, why didn`t you tell the president
to stop? Why – you know, why didn`t you go to the boss which he did
I think that, you know, he had a witness incriminating himself, committing
criminal acts or potentially criminal acts and he wanted to record those
and let him keep going and get as much of it as he could down and, of
course, we now know that those initial conversations with James Comey were
just the tip of the iceberg when you look at the other interventions with
the intelligence community, to try to get them to intervene with the FBI.
We now know that he had White House counsel go and intervene with the
attorney general directly. Those means with Comey were one of many acts
and what, you know, might end up as, you know, broad conspiracy by the
president, and maybe other people inside the administration, including the
attorney general to obstruct justice.
O`DONNELL: Natasha, quick last word on “The New York Times” reporting
BERTRAND: I just think that it means that Mueller still has a lot of work
to do. The obstruction case is obviously building and Trump does not seem
to be taking it seriously enough. As Wolff wrote in his piece for “The
Hollywood Reporter” this morning, Trump doesn`t seem to have the discipline
or the awareness to realize how dangerous this is for his presidency.
BERTRAND: He`s so hyper-focused on the collusion question that he doesn`t
seem to understand that the obstruction question is arguably more
O`DONNELL: Yes, it looks like the dangerous one.
Natasha Bertrand and Matt Miller, thank you for joining us tonight.
Steve, please stick around.
Coming up, Michael Wolff`s new book catches Donald Trump in the act of
committing sexual harassment and we will have Michael Wolff on this program
on Monday night for a full discussion of his book, how he got access to the
Trump White House and more of the details. It really is every page,
there`s virtually every page there`s something explosive on it. We have so
far covered only the tip of the iceberg of what is in “Fire and Fury:
Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff.
Michael Wolff will be here Monday night.
O`DONNELL: The daughter will bring down the father. Michael Wolff quotes
Steve Bannon saying exactly that about Ivanka Trump in an article that
Michael Wolff wrote today in “The Hollywood Reporter” explaining how he got
access to the Trump White House to write his new book “Fire and Fury:
Inside the Trump White House”.
Michael Wolff who will join us here on this program Monday night describes
the factions in the Trump White House this way: Jared and Ivanka were
against Priebus and Bannon, trying to push both men out. Bannon was
against Jared and Ivanka and Priebus practicing what everybody thought were
dark arts against them. Priebus, everybody`s punching bag, just tried to
survive another day.
By late spring, the larger political landscape seems to become almost
irrelevant with everyone focused on the more lethal battles within the
White House itself, this included screaming fights in the halls and in
front of a bemused Trump in the Oval Office when he was not the one
Today, President Trump, the Trump staff, and the Trump lawyers did
everything they possibly could to sell more copies of Michael Wolff`s new
book, including the utterly empty threat to sue Steve Bannon for things he
said in the book, to sue Michael Wolff for writing the book and to sue the
book`s publisher for publishing the book.
The cease and desist letter by Donald Trump`s lawyers is the most legally
empty such letter I have ever read. The most naive question of the day has
been, will Donald Trump really sue Steve Bannon or Michael Wolff or the
Speaking as someone who Donald Trump has threatened to sue, I can report to
America with 100 percent confidence that Donald Trump will not dare to sue
Michael Wolff or the publisher or Steve Bannon.
The president`s empty legal threat was greeted by the publisher`s
announcement that they`re speeding up the publication of the book so that
it will be available for you to purchase tomorrow instead of next week.
Sam Nunberg, the campaign staffer who worked with Donald Trump the longest
and knew him better than any other campaign staffer is quoted in Michael
Wolff`s book as saying this about Donald Trump: He`s just an f-ing fool.
Today, Chuck Todd asked Sam Nunberg if he said that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: I don`t remember exactly saying that
but those are certainly sentiments I have said sometimes. In terms of my
language, I mean, you have hung out with me before. You know, I`m a
colorful guy and I`m in New York and I can tell you, too, I`ve been sued by
him and I`m sure he said much worse about me. With that said, as you know,
I`m a supporter of his and he`s very, very difficult person to work for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Bunch of words there and you can take that as, yes, I said
that. You can take that as confirmation that Michael Wolff did, indeed,
accurately quote Sam Nunberg.
Joining the discussion, Kurt Andersen, author of “Fantasyland: How America
Went Haywire.” He`s host of “Studio 360”. And Steve Schmidt is back with
And, Kurt, you have been studying the man named Trump for longer than rest
KURT ANDERSEN, AUTHOR, “FANTASY LAND: HOW AMERICA WENT HAYWIRE”: Back when
he threatened to sue me.
O`DONNELL: Back when he threatened to sue you. You were a pioneer in
getting journalists threatened to be sued by Trump.
Is this the Trump that you know as you read it in Michael Wolff`s book?
ANDERSEN: Well, I didn`t know just – he didn`t seem as incomprehensibly
out of control and stupid as he seems from Michael`s book. I mean, for
starters, Michael is depicting this White House that is just a madhouse of
chaos and incompetence. And, of course, that team letting Michael Wolff in
there is a symptom of that very thing.
All you have to do is read what this man has written over the last couple
of decades to know he`s probably not going to be a friendly journalist.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Steve Schmidt, Michael Wolff again writing just in
today`s “Hollywood Reporter”, there`s so much to cover with what he`s
revealing and that`s why Monday night when he joins us with the book, we`ll
be able to get into more detail in the book. But just on what Michael
wrote today in “Hollywood Reporter”, he said about Trump`s staff advisers
and family, my indelible impression of talking to them and observing them
through much of the first year of the presidency is that they all 100
percent came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.
SCHMIDT: This conspiracy of silence in the West Wing of the White House
where from top to bottom they all know, this is an open secret in
Washington, D.C. His manifest on fitness for the office, the worry that
people have about his unfitness, the danger that they understand it poses,
and yet, for their self interest, for their seat of power, they have not
communicated it to the American people who certainly our republic, our
government of the people, by the people, for the people.
They don`t work for the president. They serve at his pleasure. They work
for the American people. And they`ve sworn an oath to preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution of the United States.
And we see this terrible behavior that something out of a reality show as
opposed to the decorum you would expect around the most powerful seat of
executive power in the world. And it is a remarkable moment to see it.
And when`s clear about the book, do you think ever, Lawrence, for just one
instance, one day, anyone around that West Wing and that Oval Office said,
we are the trustees of a great inheritance? And our obligation is to
secure a stronger country for the next generation of Americans, to make
life better for the American people, to advance American ideals in the
For one second, do you think that that thought has crossed any of these
people`s minds? It is despicable and outrageous. This is an important
book because it levels fundamental questions that have to be answered about
this commander-in-chief`s fitness and we have seen his recklessness, his
slurring of words, we`ve seen him in action over a year and it`s time that
this conversation I think come more into the public.
O`DONNELL: And, Kurt, about the credibility of the book, it has withstood
all challenges. There have been no real challenges for the last 24 hours.
You have experienced in book publishing, you used to be the boss and the
editor of “New York Magazine” where the excerpt was published yesterday.
You know there`s a layer of lawyers at the book publishers that examines
this. There`s another layer of lawyers at “New York Magazine”. My
experience with the magazine lawyers is they`re more strict than the book
lawyers, so it had to pass through both of those layers to get to
ANDERSEN: Absolutely. As somebody that – another book I published this
last fall, a parody without a (INAUDIBLE) of Donald Trump`s Memoir and the
lawyering on that was intense. So imagine a nonfiction book for starters.
And yes, indeed, 7,000-word excerpt in New York Magazine was no doubt
lawyered by the magazine`s lawyers and fact checked by the magazine`s fact
Checkers. So I don`t think the credibility has been significantly
And there`s a lot of – what I take to be kind of sour grapes envy on the
part of some journalists saying we all knew that. Well to me that`s the
problem. If you all knew that and understandably because you`re a beat
reporter you can`t sort of go for the jugular as Michael could with this
book because he doesn`t have to maintain relationships.
You should be welcoming the fact that this guy – this thing you All knew,
that he is deranged, a child, a dope, an idiot, pick whatever member of his
Administration you wish, who all used those phrases and worse to describe
their Commander in Chief. Everybody knew this? We reported this between
the Lines. But this guy just comes out and says it. Well that`s not much
of a criticism in my book.
O`DONNELL: And Steve, apparently Michael Wolff book created one big change
in the Whitehouse, the new rule of banning of personal cell phones.
Clearly an attempt to stop the leaking that makes Michael Wolff`s book
possible and makes virtually every other report in the Washington Post and
the New York times possible.
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, of course. Won`t stop the leaking
at the end of the day because we`ve seen for over a year the nature of the
staff in the West Wing of the Whitehouse. But, you know, there`s clearly no
conversations taking place in this Whitehouse about what`s happening in
Iran, the situation in North Korea. The provocations the President made
towards Pakistan publicly. Not that the substance of his criticisms is
wrong but should be delivered privately.
The world is boiling. here at the beginning of 2018. And the whole country
is trapped in this dystopian dysfunctional reality show metastasized into a
horror movie soap opera that plays out every day on the TVs. It is quite
extraordinary but it`s also quite dangerous. The qualities of character
that we`re seeing, the recklessness, the incompetence, the malfeasance, the
self interest, in the most powerful office in the world, presents great
danger to this country and frankly to free people`s everywhere.
O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, Kurt Anderson thank you for joining the
discussion tonight, really appreciate it Coming up, according to Michael
Wolff`s new book Ivanka Trump expects to be the first woman president
O`DONNELL: As we discussed earlier this hour, Michael Wolff`s book Fire
and Fury describes a scene on Air Force One when Donald Trump was telling
Whitehouse staff how to lie to the New York Times about Donald Trump Jr.`s
Meeting with Russians in Trump Tower during the campaign which provoked one
member of the Trump Legal team to quit because he thought this meeting
could be obstruction Of justice. Another passage in the Michael Wolff book
describes a violation of New York State Law, sexual harassment law.
Shortly after Corey Lewandowski with whom Hope Hicks had an on and off
romantic relationship was fired in June 2016 for clashing with Trump family
members, Hicks sat in Trump Tower with Trump and his sons worrying about
Lewandowski`s treatment in the press and wondering aloud how she might help
him. Trump who otherwise seemed to treat Hicks in a protective and even
paternal way looked up and said, why? You`ve already done enough for him.
You`re the best piece – he`ll ever have sending Hicks running from the
That is textbook sexual Harassment according to New York State Law. Joining
us now, Zerlina Maxwell, the Director of Progressive Programming for Series
at XM Radio. She was formerly with the Hillary Clinton Presidential
Campaign as Director of Progressive Media there. And Zerlina this book is
filled with details that no one`s getting to because so many of them are so
ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right.
O`DONNELL: But just something like that, You know, you turn the pages of
The book and watch now President Trump as Candidate Trump break the law on
sexual harassment with his own staff.
MAXWELL: And certainly I think we`re seeing it in a new light because
having a national reckoning right now around the issue of sexual
harassment. So were understanding this in a more comprehensive way. So
superior cannot comment on a subordinate`s appearance or sexualize them in
this particular way. It is a violation of state law. But that goes to show
how Donald Trumps sees women.
He value women based on their appearance particularly when women don`t
challenge him in a political sense. So, for example, with Mika Brzezinski
she criticized him. Immediately he attacks her appearance. MEGYN KELLY,
immediately attacks appearance when challenged at a debate and so that`s
his M.O. and he always devalues women commenting on how they look.
O`DONNELL: Another passage in Michael Wolff`s book describes the
Ivanka/Jared pact and this is on which one of them gets to be President
first. Jared and Ivanka had made an earnest deal between themselves. If
sometime in the future the time came she`d be the one to run for President
or the first one of them to take the shot. The first woman President Ivanka
entertained would not be Hillary Clinton. It would be Ivanka Trump.
MAXWELL: That`s hilarious mainly because Ivanka has no qualifications or
experience. Now she`s in the Whitehouse now and based on no qualifications
and experience to be there doing who knows what.
O`DONNELL: her father doesn`t have qualifications to be there.
MAXWELL: Exactly so perhaps her delusions are based on the delusions of
her father who was able to eke out an Electoral College win without any
experience. But I don`t think that Ivanka Trump will have the same
experience and here`s why. She is a woman.
And so the sexism that Hillary Clinton had to deal with trying to be the
highest person – in the highest position in the country she`s going to
face that same sexism because when you challenge men and their position in
authority that`s when you face sexism.
It`s not when you play the game of the Donald Trump`s of the world. Ivanka
has not faced that yet and she will if she tries to go for the top job.
O`DONNELL: The President is quoted in the book as calling his wife a
trophy wife including referring to her as a trophy wife to her face with
her in the room. This kind of thing permeates the book so with the
treatment of Hope Hicks got is not that different from the treatment that
Mrs. Trump gets.
MAXWELL: Right. No. And that`s Donald Trump. It`s Trump being Trump. It
is not surprising to anyone paying attention, particularly someone like me
a feminist and cares very much about the equality of women and the fact
that they should be able to be valued for their smarts and their ability on
the job. With Donald Trump it`s not that way. He owned a beauty pageant
And those people objectified and sexualized in a very particular way. He
walking in on underage beauty contestants and he valued women on how they
looked and literally scored them. And they wore a crown based on how
pretty they were. So that`s the world of Donald Trump comes from.
And that`s just going to be consistent even though he`s the President.
He`s not going to change. And it`s very unfortunate because women are more
than half of the country and should be valued because of the contributions
that we bring to society and in the workplace and not based solely on the
physical appearance. It`s not 1950 anymore.
O`DONNELL: Well it may be in Trump World. Zerlina Maxwell, thank you very
MAXWELL: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: For joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Coming up, Mitch
McConnell has been hoping to break STEVE BANNON`S spell over Donald Trump.
And it looks like Mitch McConnell has gotten his wish now that Trump and
Bannon are each saying that the other has lost his mind.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ]
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Steve Bannon in the new book Is reported to have said
that the contact that is took place, the meetings between Trump associates
and Russians were potentially treasonous, At least unpatriotic. Do you
agree with Steve Bannon?
MITCH MCCONNELL, UNITED STATES SENATOR: I like to associate myself with
what the President said about Steve Bannon yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is Mitch McConnell`s Kentucky gentlemanly way of saying he
agrees with Donald Trump that Steve Bannon lost his Mind. Pulitzer Prize
winning Author George F. Will joins the discussion next
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Steve Bannon betray you, Mr. President? Any words
about Steve Bannon?
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I don`t know. He called me a great
man last night. So you know he obviously changed his tune pretty quick.
Thank you all very much. I don`t talk to him. I don`t talk to him. I
don`t talk to him. That`s just a misnomer.
O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now, George F. Will, a Pulitzer Prize
Winning Journalist for the Washington Post and MSNBC Political Analyst.
George, Mitch McConnell was trying to find a way to break the spell that
Steve Bannon seemed to have break the President. As of tonight it seems
like the spell is broken.
GEORGE F. WILL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And broken by Steve Bannon. STEVE
Bannon, who`s sort of the – in politics with the New York Mets of 1962
were in baseball. That is, new parameters and ways of losing you`ve never
seen before. He`s been too busy racking up losses to have red Mitch
He should. The title of the memoir is a long game. And Mitch McConnell
plays a long game. In this case he knew he would wait them out and your
enemies will in fullness of time are up to destroy themselves. I think it
was Napoleon who said when your enemy is destroying himself, do not
Interfere. And Mr. Trump`s boon companion from happier days, Mr. Bannon, is
fulfilling that prophecy.
O`DONNELL: And we all know that among the most behaviorally conservative
people in America are Washington politicians, and they are verbally
conservative. They are very, very careful in what they say and what they
do, often to the point of boredom. But no one has ever gotten in trouble
in Washington from being boring. And here we`re discovering the two most
colorful people in the Whitehouse, Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, have
created this public explosion.
And the man who personifies the boring class of Washington, Mitch
McConnell, seems to be the winner of where we are tonight, in terms of how
Republicans move forward tomorrow in Washington.
WILL: Yes and sometimes it does pay off to be gray in Washington
(INAUDIBLE) in your suit. To tell you a personal story someone – National
Review, the Conservative Magazine once wrote that one of the things that
Makes Mitch McConnell good at his job is he doesn`t want another job. One
of the few senators who doesn`t, while shaving in the morning, see a
President in the mirror. And they said he can`t be President because he
has the dower demeanor of George Will rather unkind to both of us perhaps.
But they had a point. Mitch McConnell knows what he`s doing, and he`s a man
of the Senate, an institutional man, a man who was before he was a Senator
and became a senator, winning in 1984, before that he was on the Senate
Staff. And he worked for one of the great starts at the time John Sherman
Cooper from Kentucky. So here you have a man of institutional loyalties
and sensibilities up against a man whose job as he sees it, Mr. Bannon sees
it, is to wreck Institutions.
O`DONNELL: Do incumbent Republican Senators and incumbent Republican House
Members breathe easy to longer fearing primary challenges from Steve
WILL: Well there`s an old saying in politics is you know there`s only two
ways to run, scared or unopposed. I assume they have the normal prudential
fear. But certainly the idea that this is a man who could conjure potent
opponents out of thin air, that seems to have sort of evaporated. He`s a
little bit like the Wizard of Oz behind the screen.
O`DONNELL: You predicted that Steve Bannon was going to lead the
Republicans to defeat in the Alabama Senate Race. He did. Doug Jones is now
the new Democratic Senator from Alabama. That – it wasn`t clear to me
whether that would be lesson enough about where Steve Bannon was leading
people. But it seems tonight Republicans might now understand he`s not the
one to follow.
WILL: Well as Mr. McConnell said it`s quite a remarkable achievement to
elect a Democratic Senator in the State of Alabama, the Reddest state in
union arguably. So I do think that people in Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming,
all Kinds of places where people more or less associated with or at that
point wanting to be associated with Mr. Bannon were threatening to enter
Republican Primaries. I think tonight it doesn`t look like such a wonderful
thing to be joined at the hip with Mr. Bannon.
O`DONNELL: We have seen Presidents abandon advisers in the past and then
call them in months later, years later when they discover that no one else
around them gives them satisfactory advice. Can you imagine the return of
Bannon to the Trump advisory circle?
WILL: Well I can because of what the President said today. He called me a
great man last night.
WILL: Well I`d say he`s three quarters on the way back in the door.
O`DONNELL: George F. Will, thank you very much for joining us tonight,
really appreciate it.
WILL: Glad to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.
O`DONNELL: Breaking news, during the commercial break, Donald Trump
tweeted I authorized zero access to Whitehouse, actually turned him down
many times for author of phony book, exclamation Point. I never spoke to
him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don`t
Look at this guy`s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve. It
looks like Steve Bannon has a new nickname from the President, Sloppy
Steve. You will hear Michael Wolff`s response to that tweet, and to the
other criticism coming his way from the Trump Whitehouse Monday night at
this hour on this program when Michael Wolff, the author of this book, Fire
and Fury, inside the trump Whitehouse, joins us on this program Monday
night for what will be his first cable news Primetime interview on Monday
Obviously between now and then the questions and challenges about this book
from Donald Trump himself and from the Whitehouse staff and possibly from
People mentioned in this book, quoted in this book, might continue to
mount. But so far, as of tonight, there is no serious challenge to the
contents of this book.
Steve Bannon has not come forward and denied a single word that this book
quotes him as saying about the President, about Jared Kushner, about Ivanka
Trump, about everyone in That Whitehouse. That is tonight`s last word, the
11th hour starts now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking tonight in the New York Times, how the
President tried to stop attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing
himself in the Russia investigation. Now it`s now in the hands of Robert
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