Angelica Villalobos Interview Transcript 1/23/18 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

Guests:
Harry Litman, David Leonhardt, Eugene Robinson, Angelica Villalobos
Transcript:

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: January 23, 2018
Guest: Harry Litman, David Leonhardt, Eugene Robinson, Angelica Villalobos


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. Will I see you in
Davos this weekend?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: No, no.

O`DONNELL: OK, because I want to work on remodeling my kitchen. And
that`s the place.

MADDOW: I just want to know, who is going to be there to answer the phone
at the White House? They`re bringing the entire cabinet and the entire
White House staff.

O`DONNELL: Well, there is no government shutdown. So they will have
someone to answer.

Rachel, I was so glad to see you interviewing Senator Schumer tonight,
because if you couldn`t do it tonight, and if I had to do the Schumer
interview, it would have been so short. It would have been me saying,
well, I get it. I see why you did what you did. And that would be it,
because I`ve been in that room in the majority leader`s office in the
Senate in the middle of the night trying to figure out these strategies.

And I know there is no good choice. And when I see the not good choice
that the leader picks, it`s usually kind of a toss-up, 50-50, one way or
the other. So, I really – I really don`t have any questions for Senator
Schumer. But it`s fascinating to see him responding to all of that doubt
out there.

MADDOW: Yes. Exactly.

O`DONNELL: And all that negative fire he has been taking from his own
side.

MADDOW: And to see him making the case, listen, we are better off than we
were. Nobody can tell. It doesn`t look like that. But I swear there was
rhyme behind this reason.

I mean, he has a case to make against a Democratic base and a lot of
liberal activist groups in particular who are really mad about how that
went down. I think it`s mostly because the Democratic strategy raised
hopes that something could happen via the shutdown. That definitely didn`t
happen.

He is making the case that things are better off than they were. The proof
will be in the pudding on that. But he`s definitely got a very angry
Democratic core base to take on and persuade of his side on this.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And as I was watching it from the strategic and tactical
standpoint, the parliamentary standpoint, I didn`t see any better moves for
the leader. I did see many better opportunities at better messaging.

MADDOW: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Because I do think the message that came out from the
Democratic side was, as usual, kind of chaotic. And there are many, many
different voices saying many, many different things about what they were
trying to accomplish, thereby giving the impression that only the victory
coming out of this would have been getting DACA, which I don`t think was
ever possible in the tactical spot they were in. And there was a better
way of playing the message side of it for sure.

MADDOW: And if you raise that prospect, via messaging or the way that
you`re talking about your stand, and then people don`t see you deliver on
that, that is going to be something that gives you a deeper hole to dig out
of than where you started.

He is trying to make the case that we`re closer to a DACA solution because
of what just happened over the last few days. Again, that`s something that
he doesn`t have to just argue, he now has to prove in order to make that
case. And he`s the one who can deliver on it if that`s true.

O`DONNELL: Well, one way they`re closer is they did get one hostage out of
the building. They got CHIP out of the hostage taking game that was being
played. So, now, there is just one hostage left. That makes it
strategically in the Senate, that makes that a little bit easier to do.

MADDOW: Yes.

O`DONNELL: But as he said, there is no guarantee. It`s going to be I
think a big surprise if they can pull this off.

MADDOW: Yes, no way to run a government.

O`DONNELL: That`s right.

MADDOW: As we say. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

Well, tonight, the special prosecutor`s investigation is moving closer,
much closer to the president of the United States. “The New York Times” is
confirming something that has long been suspected that former FBI Director
James Comey met with the special prosecutor`s team for an interview last
year, and “The Washington Post” is reporting that the special prosecutor is
now negotiating the terms of an interview with the president of the United
States.

And Roger Stone is convinced that the pot of the United States is going to
commit perjury. And no one in politics knows Donald Trump better than
Roger Stone. Of all the political gadflies in and around the Trump
presidential campaign, none of them knew Donald Trump longer than Roger
Stone. Roger Stone met Donald Trump 39 years in 1979. Roger Stone`s
specialty in Republican politics has always been dirty tricks, which he
began learning at a very young age from the man in Republican politics then
known as Tricky Dick, Richard Nixon, whose own dirty tricks eventually
destroyed his presidency and forced him to resign on the verge of being
impeached in 1974.

Roger Stone was introduced to Donald Trump by an even dirtier trick master
than Roger Stone, Republican lawyer Roy Cohn, who was eventually publicly
disgraced by being disbarred and charged with crimes before he died in
1986.

President Trump has complained that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who we
learned today was interviewed by the special prosecutor just last week, has
never tried to protect Donald Trump the way Roy Cohn did when he was Donald
Trump`s lawyer. “The New York Times” recently quoted president Trump as
saying in frustration, where is my Roy Cohn? By which he apparently meant
why don`t I have an attorney general like Roy Cohn who will violate any
rule and break any law to protect me?

Roger Stone is Roy Cohn without a law degree. So, he`s never been
disbarred for any of his dirty tricks. But he was effectively banned from
major Republican politics in the 1990s when it was discovered that he and
his then wife were advertising in swingers` magazines to find like-minded
couples to hook up with.

And yes, before the Internet took over our lives, that sort of thing was
actually done through magazines. And no, I`m not going to show you the
photos of Roger Stone in those swinger magazines because, as you know,
that`s what Google is for. When the photos of Mr. and Mrs. Rogers Stone in
swingers magazines became public, everyone in Washington suddenly realized
that Roger Stone was living a much more exciting life than we thought he
was, and that those photos were basically Roger Stone`s political obituary.

But Donald Trump, who still hasn`t said one word of denial about reports in
“The Wall Street Journal” that he arranged to pay off a porn star to keep
quiet about an affair they had is not the kind of guy to be troubled by
Roger Stone`s lifestyle. It may be that of all the political types around
Donald Trump for the last couple of years, none of them have a better view,
a better understanding of who Donald Trump really is than Roger Stone. Not
just because Roger Stone has known Donald Trump the longest time, but
because Roger Stone is almost as unusual as Donald Trump.

And he is unusual in ways that are very similar to Donald Trump. They
share a variety of proclivities from the political to the personal. Roger
Stone was the Donald Trump of politics before Donald Trump entered
politics. Roger Stone thinks like Donald Trump. Roger Stone has always
told lies with ease and confidence. So he is rarely worth listening to.

But tonight, “The Washington Post” has decided to give Roger Stone the last
word in its breaking news report that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is,
quote, seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his
decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI director
James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with his plans.

“The Post” goes on the report that the Trump legal team is negotiating the
terms for the president`s interview with the special prosecutor`s team.
Roger Stone thinks that is sheer madness. “The Washington Post” ends its
report tonight with this. Roger Stone, a long-time informal adviser to
President Trump said he should try to avoid an interview at all costs,
saying agreeing to such a session would be a suicide mission.

I find it to be a death wish. Why would you walk into a perjury trap?
Stone said. The president would be very poorly advised to give Mueller an
interview. End of story.

Of course, a perjury trap can only be a perjury trap, if you choose to
commit perjury. And that is what Roger Stone is apparently convinced the
president will do. Roger Stone`s 39 years of hanging out with Donald Trump
make him 100 percent confident that Donald Trump will commit perjury in an
interview with the special prosecutor.

Roger Stone thinks it`s a suicide mission. It`s a death wish. Roger Stone
thinks the president of the United States will fall into a perjury trap.
And Roger Stone knows the real Donald Trump much better than Trump`s
Washington lawyers do.

Joining us now Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney and deputy assistant
attorney general under President Clinton. He is now a professor at the
University of California, San Diego. And Matt Miller, former spokesman for
Attorney General Eric Holder and an MSNBC contributor.

And, Harry Litman, people refer to these things, they talk about it as a
perjury trap. And as I said, it`s only a perjury trap if you commit
perjury.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: That`s true. But he really is walking
into it. It`s clear why Stone thinks it`s a suicide mission.

Look, first he`s told lie after lie and shifting series of lies about the
basic reasons for the firing of Comey. And he is going to be fed each of
those one by one. And he can`t possibly reconcile them all. That`s one.

But the other big point here is Flynn is cooperating. Flynn knows exactly
what happened, and Trump does not know what Flynn said. So, he would, if
he comes out with anything that`s different from what the witnesses have
already told the grand jury, he is completely exposed for perjury.

His basic option to avoid perjury is to cop to obstruction, not a very
attractive choice.

O`DONNELL: And, Matt Miller, when the president does finally do this
interview, he now knows that James Comey has already been interviewed and
that he, the president, had one-on-one conversations with James Comey that
he will be asked about. He knows that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions,
has already been interviewed for several hours, and that they have material
about the president from Jeff Sessions. He knows they have information
from Flynn. The president knows they have information from Michael Flynn
about the president.

In other words, Matt, when the president goes into this, he knows that the
special prosecutor knows, already knows an awful lot about what Donald
Trump has said in conversations with those people.

MATT MILLER, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR A.G. ERIC HOLDER: Yes, that`s right.
And by the time he does this interview, the special counsel will have
talked to Steve Bannon, his former top aide. And he has talked already to
former chief of staff Reince Priebus.

Everyone that was around Trump at the time he made the decision to fire Jim
Comey, and that everyone that was around him in the period leading up to
that decision, when he was complaining about the Russia investigation.
From all the reporting we know, he was repeatedly inside the White House
complaining and venting and wanting that investigation ended. Everything
he said to all of those staffers of his, Bob Mueller knows all of that.

So when Donald Trump goes, in if he denies any of those conversations,
look, he will have walked into this perjury trap that you laid out.

The problem is, and I think Roger Stone is right to be worried, and I think
it`s clear that his attorneys are worried, when is the last time you`ve
seen Donald Trump in a public appearance get through an entire interview or
through a press conference without telling a lie? He seems
constitutionally incapable at many points of telling the truth. And, you
know, there had not been a lot of consequences for him when he does that
publicly, when he is talking to a reporter. There will be huge
consequences for him if he does it in an interview with Bob Mueller.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the president today when he was asked about the
news that just emerged today that the attorney general has been speaking –
interviewed by the special prosecutor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Mr. President, are you concerned about what the attorney general
told the special counsel?

TRUMP: No, I`m not at all, Kristen. Not at all.

REPORTER: Did you talk to him about it?

TRUMP: No, I didn`t, but I`m not at all concerned. Thank you all very
much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Harry Litman, interesting question there. Kristen Welker asked
him. Did you talk to him about it, meaning did you talk to Jeff Sessions
about talking to the special prosecutor? And the president says, no, I
didn`t. And we certainly know by the president`s history in this arena
that he would have talked to him. And things would have had to change a
lot to constrict his behavior to not talk to the attorney general about
this.

LITMAN: That`s true, although he`s probably under a complete tight leash
not to talk to other witnesses. That`s how you can get into even further
trouble with obstruction.

But on Sessions, there is two points that need to be made. First, Sessions
is a big witness here. He is in the February 14th meeting with Comey. He
is emasculated by Trump for not recusing himself. He is button holed by
Comey after who tells him don`t let the president near me in that way.
That`s one point.

The second point, there is this major disconnect with Trump. Everything he
is saying in the press conferences, no collusion, no collusion. But he
seems not to have realized that Mueller is coming at him like a freight
train on the obstruction charges. And there he`s got a clean and strong
case. If his lawyers haven`t figured that out, it`s time they do it.

O`DONNELL: And, Matt Miller, there is a new poll out, CNN poll saying if
Trump is asked by Mueller should he testify under oath? It`s overwhelming,
78 percent yes. And you can`t get that poll up to 78 percent without
including a lot of Trump voters who are saying yes, the president should
testify under oath to the special prosecutor.

MILLER: Yes, it`s a heartening result after the attacks we`ve seen on the
special prosecutor, on the FBI, really on the rule of law itself, to see
that still an overwhelming majority of voters think that the president
ought to participate in this interview.

Look, he only has one way out of this interview, and that`s to take the
Fifth Amendment which I think obviously is politically untenable. It ought
to be evident for the president to take the Fifth Amendment. You know,
every American has that right adds a private citizen. I think we should
ask more of that from a president.

So, if he does decline this – so, barring taking the Fifth, if he declines
this interview, I think what we`ll see in short order from the special
prosecutor is a grand jury subpoena. The president will have to comply
with that, unless he is willing to just completely provoke a constitutional
crisis by refusing a lawful court order. He is going to be forced to
testify at some point in this investigation.

O`DONNELL: Harry –

LITMAN: That seems right, although that`s a big unless, unless he is
willing to provoke a constitutional crisis. A lot of reasons to think that
he would be willing to provoke a constitutional crisis. And there are ways
he can sort of make a mess and push things down the road. I`m sorry,
Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: I`ll just, we can leave it there any other politician would be
worried about what would happen if he took the Fifth Amendment. When
Donald Trump is in that room, he is going to be more worried about his
future in this possible criminal investigation than his future as a
politician. If the Fifth Amendment means one term for Donald Trump, he`ll
take it.

Harry Litman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Matt Miller,
please stay with us.

Coming up, we have more breaking news. After firing James Comey as the FBI
director, the president reportedly asked the new acting FBI Director Andrew
McCabe who he voted for for president.

And later, it`s really all about real people, not just tactics on the
Senate floor. A Dreamer who asked Paul Ryan if she is going to be deported
will join us. And you will see the answer that Paul Ryan gave her when she
asked that question.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: – FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation of
Michael Flynn, which James Comey did not do, President Trump then fired the
FBI director. Since then, the president has not stopped tampering with his
next two FBI directors.

The president was asked about that today after a story in “Axios” reported
that the current FBI director threatened to resign after facing pressure
from the Trump administration to get rid of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Did Christopher Wray threaten to resign?

TRUMP: No, he didn`t at all. He didn`t. He did not even a little bit.
Nope. And he is going to do a good job.

REPORTER: Are you concerned about this new relationship with the FBI?

TRUMP: Let`s see how it all works out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Shortly after the president said that today, word began to leak
out of the Justice Department about how it`s all working out. “The
Washington Post” is reporting that two new officials will join the FBI,
both replacing people who served under James Comey.

Former U.S. Attorney Dana Boente who briefly served as acting attorney
general after Sally Yates was fired will be the FBI`s new general counsel
replace James Baker. And Zachary Harmon will become the FBI director`s new
chief of staff, replacing Jim Rybicki, who was the chief of staff under
James Comey.

The most important news about the FBIJ came later today in a stunning
report from “The Washington Post” what the president said shortly after he
fired FBI Director James Comey. Between the Comey firing and Senate
confirmation of Christopher Wray as the next FBI director, the FBI`s deputy
director served as the acting director of the FBI.

Soon after he became the acting director, Andrew McCabe was summoned to the
oval office for what “The Washington Post” reports was a get-to-know-you
meeting. There is no indication in “The Washington Post” report that
anyone other than the president and the acting Director McCabe were in the
Oval Office for this meeting, which did not go well.

“The Post” reports the two men exchanged pleasantries, but before long
Trump, according to several current around former officials asked Andrew
McCabe a pointed question. Whom did he vote for in the 2016 election?
McCabe said he didn`t vote. Trump, the official said, also vented his
anger at McCabe over the several hundred thousand dollars in donations his
wife, a Democrat, received for her failed 2015 Virginia state Senate bid
from a political action committee controlled by a close friend of Hillary
Clinton.

McCabe, who has spent more than two decades at the bureau, found the
conversation with Trump disturbing, said one former U.S. official inside
the FBI. Officials familiar with the exchange expressed frustration that a
civil servant, even a very senior agent in the number two position would be
asked how he voted and criticized for his wife`s political leanings by the
president. One person said the Trump-McCabe conversation is of interest to
special counsel Robert Mueller.

Joining us now, Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter for “The Daily Beast” and
MSNBC contributor, and back with us, Matt Miller.

And, Matt, what would be the special prosecutor`s interest in that exchange
with Andrew McCabe about how he voted in the presidential election?

MILLER: I think the interesting thing about this exchange is you have to
remember the context in which it occurred. This is right after Jim Comey
was fired. And, Andrew McCabe was essentially there meeting the president
in a job interview. He was up for the position of acting director. The
administration interviewed him and several other candidates for that
position. And he was potentially in line to be nominated to be the full-
time director.

So, the president is sending a very clear signal to him in that meeting,
just as he did in his first meetings with Jim Comey after taking office
they expect you to be loyal to me. I want to know that you`re someone that
has my back, someone that supported me in the election. I`m going to let
you know that I disagreed with the fact that your wife was supported by an
ally of Hillary Clinton.

He was telling the FBI director very clearly I think if you want to get
this job, I expect you to be loyal to me. Not to the Constitution, not to
the rule of law, but to me, Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: And, Betsy, it`s very clear as we see in this sequence Donald
Trump has gone through three FBI directors so far. One acting director,
two directors. That he has no inhibitions apparently still about tampering
with the FBI director.

BETSY WOODRUFF, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. And it`s really extraordinary
just how much the senior ranks of the Justice Department have been roiled
during the Trump presidency. Jim Comey was fired, of course. Rod
Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, reportedly threatens to resign
over pressure that President Trump and the White House put on him. Chuck
Rosenberg, now a contributor to this network, stepped down as head of the
Drug Enforcement Administration which is part of the Department of Justice
after saying publicly that he was concerned that president Trump appeared
to condone police misconduct. And, of course, now, we have Chris Wray
reportedly threatening to resign as well.

That`s an entire spate of incredibly powerful people with extraordinary
amounts of responsibility either being forced out of their jobs or
threatening to leave their jobs because of one reason, and the one reason
is President Donald Trump. It`s having a dramatic behind-the-scenes effect
on the way the Department of Justice as an institution works.

But that said, what makes this whole situation even more unusual is that it
points to a slight ham-handedness in Trump`s firing of James Comey. Anyone
who is familiar with the way that leadership of the FBI works could have
told you Comey and McCabe were close. Firing Comey and replacing him with
McCabe would be like firing Comey and replacing him with Comey.

On top of that, Chris Wray is very much part of this same cohort of
experienced federal law enforcement officials that almost came of age in
the wake of 9/11. Chris Wray was in the Justice Department while Bob
Mueller was heading the FBI as that institution turned into primarily a
counterterrorism institution.

These guys all know each other. They`ve known each other for years.
They`re close. They get along.

The idea that Chris Wray would let Donald Trump bully him into firing
someone who he`s known, who is part of that circle, just strains credulity,
and it all points to the fact that Trump just doesn`t seem to know how to
make the FBI become loyal to him as much as that clearly seems to be his
goal.

O`DONNELL: And, Matt, you begin to think as you listen to the way the
president talks about this that if you are a Democrat or married to a
Democrat, you can`t possibly be a fair FBI agent or officer at the same
time. And then when you tell the president that Robert Mueller is a
Republican, then apparently even being a Republican isn`t good enough.

MILLER: Yes, look. What Donald Trump wants is not an adherence to the
rule of law. He doesn`t want someone what is in that job that is going to
call balls and strikes based on how they see them. He wants someone that
is going to call balls and strikes in his favor.

I think – you know, Betsy makes a really good point about this ethos among
people like Chris Wray, people like Bob Mueller, people who have come up in
the Department of Justice. For people who have never worked there, it`s
kind of hard to describe how ingrained this culture of independence is.
So, for all of them to see what Donald Trump does on a daily basis – to
have any one of these officials threatened to resign and protest in a
normal administration would be a huge occurrence. But we`ve seen it from
just about every senior official in the justice department in this
administration,.

And it still, none of it is ever enough for Donald Trump, and none of it
ever backs him down. We still see him on almost a daily basis going after
the FBI on Twitter, complaining about the attorney general, sometimes
complaining about the deputy attorney general. He will not be satisfied
until this Justice Department has, one, shut down the investigation into
him, and two, launched investigations into his political opponents.
Anything short of that, he is going to continue to rail publicly and
privately about this department.

O`DONNELL: Matt Miller and Betsy Woodruff, thank you both for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it.

WOODRUFF: Sure thing.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, where did the $130,000 come from? The $130,000 used
to pay off the porn star who says she had an affair with that guy in the
picture.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say to those Dreamers who are worried
that you won`t keep your word and a bring a bill to the floor? A lot could
go wrong between now and then.

MITCH MCCONNELL, United States SENATOR: I intend to keep my word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Here is what the Democratic Leader of
the Senate Chuck Schumer told Rachel about that tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: large residential washers and
washing machine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Let`s see. Chuck Schumer said I realize sometimes he`s broken
his word before. But he said on the floor we will definitely get a vote on
February 8th. And I think the control room now has Chuck Schumer actually
saying what I was just telling you Chuck Schumer said. Let`s listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK SCHUMER, UNITED STATES SENATOR: I realize sometimes he`s broken his
word before. But he said on the floor we will definitely get a vote on
February 8th of a bipartisan bill on Dreamers that has my OK. So it will
be a very good bill. And the thing about McConnell`s promise, he didn`t
just make it to me, he made it to 10 Republican members of his caucus. A
leader is very, very reluctant to break a promise to members of his caucus
so now we have a chance to get 60 votes for Dreamers in the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: A new NBC Poll today shows that a combined 56 percent of
Americans believe that the President or Republicans in Congress are to
blame for the shutdown, while 39 percent believe Democrats are to blame for
the shutdown. Joining us David Leonhardt, an op-ed columnist for the New
York Times. Also joining us Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning
opinion writer for the Washington Post and an MSNBC Political Analyst. And
David, the Democrats came out of this with a six-year deal on CHIP and the
Republicans came out of it with a new deadline of February 8th where they
go through the whole thing again.

DAVID LEONHARDT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I mean I think you said a
version of this at the top of the show. I think the Democrats` mistake
here is letting anyone think they actually had the ability to use a
shutdown threat to solve the Dreamers problem. They don`t.

We saw this repeatedly when Republicans were in the minority and we had a
Democratic President that if the minority party says we will shut down the
government unless you give us what we want, if the majority party gives in
to that, the majority party is essentially saying to the minority party,
you can do whatever you want. You just have to threaten to shut down the
government and we`ll give in. And so the notion I think that has become
common among some progressives that Democrats folded here is wrong.

The problem was the Senate giving the sense that they could actually
succeed. They couldn`t. I`m actually less worried about whether McConnell
gives them a vote and I`m more worried what Paul Ryan does and whether he
will allow a vote on the Dreamers in the House.

O`DONNELL: And Gene, Chuck Schumer says this is one step at a time. This
is let`s get that vote in the Senate without the vote in the senate, we
won`t be able to put any pressure on the House.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s true. And they probably are 60
votes in the Senate I think for the Dreamers. You know the Democrats`
problem, as David said essentially is that they are in the minority. And
you don`t get to - you don`t get to run the Senate if you`re in the
minority. That said, it`s a whole lot easier to get it through the Senate
than it is to get it through the House.

And what will Paul Ryan do if he just would allow a vote on a clean Dream
Act in the House? It might well pass. But that will be with Democrats and
moderate Republicans. That would not have the support of a majority, the
majority, the Hastert Rule.

And that`s what he use to and probably has to keep his job. So you know
the one thing we ought to keep in mind though in terms of the political
ramifications of the shutdown is everything has a shelf life of about three
days these days.

O`DONNELL: That`s right. Yes.

ROBINSON: So it will be so forgotten.

O`DONNELL: What shutdown? What are you talking about?

ROBINSON: Yes, exactly. By next month it will seem like it was years ago.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and I think Chuck Schumer didn`t get into this tonight.
But there was a big dynamic change when Mitch McConnell announced that he
was going to move the date, which was a concession by McConnell to move the
date up a week from the 16th to the 8th. Lindsey Graham immediately
announced that that would be OK with him and he would vote for this. And
what that meant was that Chuck Schumer was facing the possibility, in fact,
the absolute fact that all of the Republicans who supported the Schumer
side of this were going to immediately defect to the Republican side. And
then, David, you would have nothing but a Democratic partisan vote alone to
take full responsibility for shutting down the government.

LEONHARDT: That`s right. Matt Glassman, a political scientist had a nice
line. He said DACA unites the Democrats. That`s the Dreamers. Unites the
Democrats and divides the Republicans. A shutdown unites the Republicans
and divides the Democrats. So if you are out there and you were horrified
by the possibility that these young Dreamers were going to be deported,
what you should be rooting for is that the Dreamers issue is kept separate
from the shutdown issue because if it`s connected, I don`t think it`s going
to get solved.

O`DONNELL: david leonhardt thank you very much for joining Gene Robinson
could you please stick around because I need someone -

ROBINSON: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL Who will join me in the discussion of the President and the porn
star and you`re nominated for that.

ROBINSON: Somebody`s got to do it. somebody got to do it Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a quick break. Gather your
thoughts gene. We`re going to be right back

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: And now the latest on the President and the adult film
actress. Citizens for responsibility and ethics, a watchdog group in
Washington tweeted President Trump is accused of paying $130,000 in hush
money to porn star Stormy Daniels to hide an affair a month before the
election in what is probably just a coincidence, the Trump campaign
transferred $130,000 to the Trump businesses a month after the election.
Here is right-wing Christian conservative Tony Perkins explaining why right
wing Christian conservatives seem to have no problem with this kind of
thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY PERKINS, RIGHT-WING CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE: Evangelicals did not
vote for Donald Trump based on his moral qualifications. But based upon
what he said he was going to do and who he was surrounding himself with.
Evangelical support is not unconditional. If the President were to all of
the sudden revert back to some of that behavior as President, the
evangelical support will not be there for him. So it`s basically – we
kind of gave him, all right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson.

ROBINSON: Whoa.

O`DONNELL: Is back with us. Gene, please don`t use any golf terminology,
because I really don`t understand that stuff. So this $130,000, if that
came out of Trump businesses to make that payment. That is a campaign
finance violation.

ROBINSON: Yes.

O`DONNELL: And it`s also a campaign violation if it came out of Donald
Trump`s pocket because he didn`t report it as a campaign contribution.

ROBINSON: That`s Correct. So, you know, it is that old phrase, never said
by deep throat, follow the money. It is the money here that could
potentially be a violation of law. And so we`re going to have to find out
more about that. Step back for a second. If at any other time in American
history we learned that the President had paid hush money to a porn star to
keep an affair quiet, it would be front-page news above the fold every day.

And now it just seems like, you know, another thing. One does wonder how
many do-overs, I won`t use the phrase, the term Mulligan`s. But how many
do-overs the Family Research Council is willing to give Trump, though. You
have the Access Hollywood tape. You have his entire life to sort of give
him a do-over on. And including stuff – well, I don`t know about sex
stuff. But what he is saying and doing in the Whitehouse certainly does not
comport with what I think of as the values of the evangelical community.

O`DONNELL: And, Gene, as we know, the Trump Twitter finger is always
ready to go to deny any accusation against him. Not one word of denial
from Donald Trump or the Trump Whitehouse about any aspect of this story.

ROBINSON: Yes. And someone must have gotten to him and said don`t say a
word. And imagine – well, I`m projecting here. But one thing he could be
worried about is that if he, you know, a Tweet that would obviously
criticize Stormy Daniels and defame her in some way, you know, might
essentially open him up to a lawsuit. If he says she is lying, he can say
she has – he has defamed her and sue him and then she`d have discovery and
we`d learn a whole lot of stuff that he probably doesn`t want us to learn.

O`DONNELL: And there is an unexplained cancellation for Melania Trump on
the trip to Davos. She has decided not to go. And today, gene, America
might not know this, but this is Donald Trump`s wedding anniversary, his
third wedding anniversary, by which I mean his third wife. His wedding
anniversary with his third wife and he hasn`t tweeted a word about that
either or said a word about that publicly or made any communication that we
know of with his wife about that. And it just might be that it`s too
stormy a week for that.

ROBINSON: You know, who knows? I think it is wrong and absurd for people
to make the assumption that Melania Trump is some sort of mannequin who is
or android who is like cool with all the stuff that Donald Trump does and
has done. Why would you assume that? Why would you assume that she
wouldn`t have, you know, just normal reactions and I imagine this week her
reactions might have been rather acute.

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

ROBINSON: Happy to be here, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a Dreamer who got a chance to ask Paul Ryan if she
is going to be deported will join us. And you will see what paul ryan said
to her when he answered that question. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: It`s about people, the lives of real people. And it`s easy to
lose sight of that when there is so much talk about politicians and the
blame game, about who won and who caved. but legislation is always about
people. And those people are never in the room when the big deals are
getting done to pass legislation.

When congressional leaders closed the door to try to negotiate a deal on
legislation to continue the DACA program, there were no DACA beneficiaries
in the room. There is no one in the Whitehouse who is related to a DACA
beneficiary. We heard from the Trump Administrations Homeland Security
Secretary who testified under oath that she has never met or spoken to a
DACA Beneficiary.

All of the Democratic Party legislative leaders have had meetings with DACA
beneficiaries and their families. And we know that Paul Ryan has spoken to
at least one DACA beneficiary because he did it on TV. When Angelica
Villalobos stood up at a CNN Town Hall a year ago a TV show a year ago and
asked Speaker Ryan if she should be deported as she stood there with her
10-year-old daughter Destiny. Angelica and Destiny will join us in a
moment. But first let`s listen to how Paul Ryan answered her question one
year ago

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELICA VILLALOBOS, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: Thank you, speaker Ryan. I
am undocumented. As you mentioned, I live in the state of Oklahoma. I`m
here with one of my daughters Destiny.

I`ve been in the United States for 21 years. I am protected from
deportation because of the DACA program. To be protected I applied, went
through a background check and paid nearly $1,000 in visa. It`s clear if
DACA gets repealed, my daughter will lose her mother – I`m sorry – she
will lose her mother, and I want you to know that DACA has helped me. Do
you think that I should be deported and many families in my situation
should?

PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: No. Angelica, first of all,
I can see that you love your daughter, and you`re a nice person who has a
great future ahead of you, and I hope your future is here. What we have to
do is find a way to make sure you can get right with the law. And we`ve got
to do this in a good way so that the rug doesn`t get pulled out from under
you and your family gets separated. That`s the way we feel and that is
exactly what our new incoming President has stated that he wants to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And nine months after Paul Ryan said to Angelica, I hope your
future is here, the President pulled the rug out from under DACA
beneficiaries by ordering an end to the program on march 5th of this year.
Angelica Villalobos and her daughter Destiny will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: If you`re worried, you know, about some deportation force knocking
on your door this year, don`t worry about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Angelica Villalobos and her daughter Destiny.
And it`s been a year since you heard Paul Ryan tell you not to be worried
about that knock on the door. Are you worried about that knock on the door
tonight?

VILLALOBOS: Definitely.

O`DONNELL: And when you watched what happened in the United States Senate
over the weekend in this ongoing fight for DACA, realizing that the fight
is now going to resume with a February 8th deadline, March 5th being the
deadline for the program, what is your – how optimistic are you, how
pessimistic are you about this outcome?

VILLALOBOS: You know, us being Mexican, I can tell you that I – hope is
the last thing that we lose, so I`m definitely hoping that something will
get done. As far as like, how do I feel when I see things happening like
it did this weekend where you know literally it looks like it`s playing a
game. So it`s very scary at times because you don`t know what to expect
from, you know, Congress, and obviously they think it`s a game by, you
know, making us choose whether we want one thing or the other.

O`DONNELL: Destiny, you`re 10 years old. You`re in the fifth grade.
You`re learning an awful lot about politics and government for a fifth
grader. If you could talk to Paul Ryan again tonight, or President Trump,
what would you tell them about your mother`s situation?

DESTINY VILLALOBOS: I would ask them why like, Paul Ryan, as I`ve heard my
mother say many times, like, he said not to worry, but right now he`s not
doing anything.

O`DONNELL: Angelica, it seems a little worse than not doing anything on
Paul Ryan`s side. He has members of the House of Representatives on his
side saying they absolutely do not want to make any steps on DACA during
this budget deadline.

VILLALOBOS: Well, when you think about it, I mean, he did say that we
should not be worrying, that they do not have the deportation force coming
out and knocking on our door. But it is happening. It has happened in the
last year since I you know got to ask him the question.

I think that he needs to really think about what he said, because
technically he made a promise. He said that I should not be worried about
it, which this is not the case. and by him obstructing to bring the
D.R.E.A.M. Act to the floor for a vote, I mean I think definitely he is
not, you know, meeting up to – he`s not meeting the promises that he made.

O`DONNELL: Destiny, do you and your family talk about what might happen
if DACA expires and they do try to deport your mother?

DESTINY VILLALOBOS: Well, we try not to but it always ends up coming up at
some point.

O`DONNELL: Angelica, is there a family plan, a plan B if something like
this happens?

VILLALOBOS: Definitely there is. I hope it doesn`t come to that. But we
have talked about my oldest daughter will be 18 in August, and, you know,
we talked about making her the legal guardian of the children in case
something were to happen to me and their dad. you know, pretty much make
her grow up at 18 and take care of what us as parents should be taking care
of, and she needs to only worry about school. But right now we`re thinking
about her moving to college this next fall and also thinking about whether
she will need to stay in the state to take care of her sisters.

O`DONNELL: Destiny, has any of this experience given you any thoughts
about what you may want to do when you grow up?

DESTINY VILLALOBOS: No, not really.

O`DONNELL: Fifth grade, you have plenty of time to figure it out.
Angelica and Destiny Villalobos, thank you very much for joining us
tonight, really appreciate you being here.

VILLALOBOS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Angelica and Destiny Villalobos gets tonight Last
Word. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.

END

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