Cohn resigns, Conway violates ethics. TRANSCRIPT: 03/06/2018. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: March 6, 2018
Guest: Robert Reich, Eric Swalwell, Neera Tanden, Jennifer Rubin, McKay Coppins
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
What makes you think I have more details on the Stormy Daniels story?
Actually, we will go into it. But not much more than what you said.
One of the big mysteries of it, is why does Donald Trump never say a word
about this? Why does he never deny anything that Stormy Daniels says about
him, including today?
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: And even the initial denials from the
initial carefully worded denials from his lawyer were so full of holes that
when he eventually completely changed his story, he did so without having
to backtrack completely on his earlier denials. They have never really
tried to shoot this down. They think they`re just hoping people won`t
O`DONNELL: And it`s just a spectacular organization, Trump world all the
way through, because whether it`s the White House where everything is chaos
and a mess, or trying to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, they manage to
mess that up in ways that you just couldn`t see coming.
MADDOW: You think there is probably a good way to do that, that they
hadn`t figured that out.
O`DONNELL: Well – and if anyone would know the good way to do that. You
would expect the Trump team would know the good way, the way that works.
MADDOW: Yes, they`d be the pros, you know? Anyway, thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Thank you, Rachel.
Well, a prominent member of the White House staff was actually found guilty
of breaking the law today. And that`s a sentence that you hear once a
decade maybe, at best. It`s supposed to be shocking. In the United
States, it`s actually supposed to be earth-shattering news that someone
working in the White House has broken the law.
But today it`s a story that is drowning. It`s disappearing amidst all the
other White House madness, including the resignation today of Gary Cohn as
President Trump`s chief economic adviser. That`s the announced
resignation. And the aftermath of yesterday`s media madness from former
Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg, who in one report is now blaming his
public defiance of the special prosecutor yesterday on drugs and alcohol.
The latest Nunberg update indicates that he will indeed obey the subpoena
compelling him to testify to a grand jury on Friday, after which he will
immediately seek treatment.
We don`t know who will be left working in the White House on Friday,
because we never know and because the Trump White House staffers have a
habit of announcing their resignations which might or might not be
resignations, it might or might not be firings , and then hanging around
the office for days or weeks.
The Hope Hicks resignation or firing, whatever that was, was announced last
week. But there is no indication of when she will actually vacate the
office of director of communications, just as there is no indication of
exactly when Gary Cohn will actually really finally leave his job in the
White House. Might be too weeks from now.
And given what we know about the ethical standards of the Trump White
House, which are the lowest since the Nixon White House, Kellyanne Conway
will still be at her desk in the White House on Friday. But will probably
still be doing absolutely nothing for the American taxpayers who pay her
salary because she has no actual governing duties in the White House. And
Kellyanne Conway will probably continue to break the law.
The U.S. office of special counsel polices among other things the official
conduct of federal government employees. It is a permanent office that has
nothing to do with the current special prosecutor Robert Mueller who is
investigating the Trump White House. The Office of Special Counsel
announced today that they, quote, sent an investigative report to President
Donald Trump finding that counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway
violated the Hatch Act in television interviews. In those two TV
interviews, Kellyanne Conway, who was appearing in her official capacity,
urged the defeat of Democratic candidate for Senate in Alabama Doug Jones,
and that is a clear violation of the Hatch Act, which as the special
counsel puts it, quote, restricts employees from using their official
government position for partisan political purposes, including by trying to
influence partisan elections.
The White House reaction today to the Office of Special Counsel`s 11-page
report detailing and proving that Kellyanne Conway violated the law was
simply to say we don`t believe it. This is the second time a White House
employee has been found in violation of the Hatch Act. The first was Dan
Scavino, the White House director of social media. The Office of Special
Counsel is not empowered to discipline White House staffers who violate the
Hatch Act. That discipline is left to the president. And, of course,
President Trump has no discipline himself and imposes no discipline on
anyone else working in the chaos White House.
The Trump White House has staffers who break the law and get caught and
nothing happens to them. It has a communications director who co-wrote
hugely complimentary White House statements about her boyfriend after her
boyfriend was exposed as having been accused of domestic violence by both
of his previous wives.
It has a chief of staff who bombastically and angrily lied about a black
woman member of Congress, got caught in those lies, and refused to
apologize for those lies. And after lying about Congresswoman Frederica
Wilson, said he had nothing to apologize for, and no member of the White
House staff has ever been caught publicly lying more wildly, more
recklessly than John Kelly did in that case.
But it`s the Trump White House, and working in the Trump White House means
never having to say you`re sorry. Not for lying. Not for lying about a
woman. Not for lying about a black woman member of Congress. And so from
the top down, from Donald Trump through John Kelly and his predecessor
Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon and the director of social
media, all the way down to Kellyanne Conway, who has never known function
in the White House, the whole team participates in and contributes to lying
and chaos every single day because Donald Trump attacks and hires the very
worst people for those jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have the most dedicated
people. I have the best people. I have the best people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was one of the many lies that Trump voters fell for, even
when he was surrounded on the presidential campaign by the least
professional, least experienced presidential campaign operatives in
history. Today, now that he has proven the opposite, Donald Trump tried
telling that lie again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I read where oh, gee, maybe people don`t want the work for Trump.
Believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House. They all want a
piece of that Oval Office. They want a piece of the West Wing. And not
only in terms of it looks great on their resume, it`s just a great place to
So many people want to come in. I have a choice of anybody. I could take
any position in the White House, and I`ll have a choice of the ten top
people having to do with that position. Everybody wants to be there. And
they love this White House because we have energy like rarely before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Tim O`Brien, the executive editor of “Bloomberg
View” and the author of “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald.” He is
an MSNBC contributor. Also joining us, McKay Coppins, staff writer for
“The Atlantic” magazine and author of “The Wilderness: Deep Inside the
Republican Party`s Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the
And, McKay, you`re one of the first people who introduced me in a sense to
Sam Nunberg. I first read about him in your reporting long before this
week. But you have written what I think is the definitive piece on what
Sam Nunberg was up to yesterday. And in my reading of it, if I was to give
the short executive summary of it, it seems you were saying this is just
the way he is.
MCKAY COPPINS, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I think that`s basically right.
As he was undertaking this manic media blitz yesterday, there were all
these theories what was happening. And was he suffering from some kind of
personal breakdown? Was he – you know, did he have some kind of
calculated angle that he was playing? You know, there were obviously a lot
of reports about alcohol abuse or drugs or was he drinking?
But the thing about Sam Nunberg, I`ve known him for many years. I`ve been
kind of dealing with him in various ways as a journalist. This is really
what he is like. This is his M.O.
He kind of studied under the tutelage of Roger Stone, the notorious
Republican operative, and has always seen politics in some sense as
performance art for its own sake, as Roger Stone once said. He really
loves the attention. He loves the political stunts, the showmanship. And
when I talked to Nunberg last night, he was out essentially celebrating his
day of nonstop media attention.
He thought it was a great day for him.
O`DONNELL: And, McKay, I don`t want to dwell on Sam Nunberg too much other
than to illustrate just how Donald Trump, in fact, doesn`t have the best
people and will continue to not have the best people in the White House.
But he kept complaining yesterday about this subpoena is so oppressive
because he kept saying “I have a life.” and he kept saying “I have other
work to do.”
Two questions. Does he in fact have a life? And does he have any other
work to do at all? Is anyone paying him to do anything?
COPPINS: I bet he`s getting paid from someone somewhere to do something.
I don`t know. I know he spends a lot of time talking to D.C. reporters and
trying to settle scores with the various rivalries that he or Roger Stone
or Steve Bannon have. I don`t know what job he is doing on any given day.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien and McKay, I want to take a look at something that
is a copyrighted feature of the “RACHEL MADDOW SHOW,” and this is Rachel`s
giant big board of the Trump administration departures which appears
sometimes every night, sometimes every other night, but with a great deal
of frequency. And there is obviously every week there is something added
And, Tim, we have never seen – we have never seen a graphic like that in
any White House at this point. That`s kind of what that looks like at the
end of four years.
TIM O`BRIEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: The other thing to remember, Lawrence, is
that he hasn`t filled a large chunk of federal positions. So the fact that
they`ve got all of this outflow when they haven`t even managed the inflow
at this point really makes you wonder whose hand is on the rudder on the
ship of state.
I think the other thing that has come up with the Sam Nunberg event is it
is this reminder that Trump actually doesn`t always attract the best
people. In fact, he has rarely stocked his company or his administration
with A-list talent. He really can`t afford to have people like Gary Cohn
head for the exits because we now have a long list that includes people
like Carter Page and Anthony Scaramucci and Sebastian Gorka, and a whole
host of rodeo clowns who have been this constellation of advisers
They don`t give him good advice. They`re hitching their wagons to his
star, usually I think for their own short-term needs. They get the
attention they`re looking for. And then they`re either incompetent and he
needs to fire them, or they move on.
And the ones who stay engaged with him, like Michael Cohen, also aren`t
offering top flight advice. We have – in Michael Cohen, we have Trump`s
personal lawyer who apparently set out to help the president mask an
alleged sexual relationship with a porn star. And he fails actually to
keep it covered up. He makes various mistakes in the way he incorporates
the LLC and handles the financial transactions.
So, the president now has a scandal unrelated to Mueller, but equally
(AUDIO GAP) problematic for him legally because yet another one of his
advisers has let him down.
O`DONNELL: Apparently, Donald Trump is trying to switch this imagery from
what Jimmy Breslin`s famous book title called “The Gang that Couldn`t Shoot
Straight” into Doris Kearns Goodwin`s concept of Abraham Lincoln`s “Team of
Rivals” in the cabinet.
Let`s listen to how the president talked about all the energy you get from
all of these rivals in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s got tremendous energy. It`s tough. I like conflict. I like
having two people with different points of view, and I certainly have that,
and then I make a decision.
But I like watching it. I like seeing it. And I think it`s the best way
to go. I like different points of view.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: McKay Coppins, he likes watching it. He likes seeing it. I
wonder how much he liked seeing the Sam Nunberg version of the team of
rivals on TV yesterday.
COPPINS: I can`t imagine he enjoyed that.
But actually I have heard from people inside this administration who have
(AUDIO GAP) this president process information is not by reading (ph).
(AUDIO GAP). But by obviously watches cable news. But also, what he likes
to do is take two aides or staffers or allies and put them in a room and
have them argue with each other about an issue. And then he basically kind
of goes on his own gut instinct about who won the debate. And that`s often
how he makes decisions and processes information.
So, it`s not necessarily, you know, a terrible idea to stock his team with
a team of rivals. The problem is that the rivals have to be ultimately
competent and able to get on the same page when the president makes a
decision. And we haven`t seen that happening at all over the past year.
O`DONNELL: And, Tim, there is a TV quality to what McKay just described.
I mean, that really is the old “Crossfire” format on the CNN show that I
know Donald Trump remembers. And so that`s basically he is kind of booking
a cable news show in the room with him.
O`BRIEN: Well, and that`s how he ran the Trump Organization. But we
should remember the Trump Organization was a boutique tiny operation. It
was not a Fortune 500 company. He had a small – a handful of people who
had been with him for decades. And he ran that tiny thing by the seat of
his pants. It was not the federal government of the United States.
He`s the president of the United States. He`s clothed in immense power.
He has millions of people working for him. He`s got the nuclear arsenal at
Chaos theory doesn`t work when you`re the president of the United States.
And it`s ridiculous to think that he is going to get positive outcomes of
this. He had no experience running a large bureaucracy before he came to
the federal government. And he`s never built strong teams. An inability
to manage sophisticated processes and manage highly talented teams who
actually are giving you advice you listen to and high-end feedback are not
– they`ve never been part and parcel of his own resume, and they certainly
haven`t been hallmarks of this White House.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, thank you for your valuable perspective on the
history of Trump world and how things have worked and how they work today.
And, McKay Coppins, thank you for your invaluable contribution to our
understanding of the Nunberg affair. Really appreciate you joining us
COPPINS: Thank you.
O`BRIEN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump`s utter ignorance about tariffs and his
belief the trade wars are easy to win is not just an economic issue, it`s a
national security issue. Robert Reich will tell us what the president
needs to know about a trade war.
And later, Stormy Daniels is back in Donald Trump`s life. This time,
Stormy Daniels is suing the president of the United States. And the
president still hasn`t denied a single thing that Stormy Daniels has ever
said about him.
O`DONNELL: Congress gave the president the unilateral power to increase
tariffs only in defense of national security. That is the theory by which
president Trump plans to put a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10
percent on imported aluminum. But tonight “The Washington Post” is
reporting Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
privately warned senior trade officials on Tuesday that President Trump`s
proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum could endanger the U.S. national
security relationship with allies, according to five people familiar with
So much for the Trump national security justification for unilaterally
raising those tariffs, Trump`s action is actually threatening national
security, according to his own secretary of defense. A Congress that is
alert to trying to deal with an out-of-control president could quickly
remedy this situation if the Republican leadership went into high speed
legislative mode and simply removed the president`s authority to do this.
They would have to do it by a 2/3 vote in the House and the Senate in order
to override the expected presidential veto.
But they`re not even trying to do that because, of course, the Republican
leadership is afraid of Donald Trump. “The Washington Post” reports that
Paul Ryan has told Republican members in closed door meeting not to bully
Trump on the decision. He said it could backfire and make things even
worse. Bloomberg reports that during an oval office meeting today on trade
policy, president Trump asked for an update on the legal paperwork that
will make the tariffs official and discussed the timing of the signing of
the tariffs order. He then sought confirmation that everyone, especially
Gary Cohn, was willing to stand behind him.
According to one source, with knowledge of the exchange, Trump specifically
asked Cohn, we`re all on the same team, right? He then asked if Cohn was
going to support the president on the issue. Cohn didn`t answer, the
Just a few hours later, the White House announced Cohn was gone. According
to “Politico” during an Oval Office meeting earlier this year, Gary Cohn
told Trump that the tariff would cost more jobs than they would save, and
presented evidence that President George W. Bush`s 2002 steel tariffs
failed to achieve their goal. The president rejected Cohn`s arguments.
The president told people present at the meeting that he was deeply
skeptical of economists, adding that anybody can find an economist to echo
their world view, according to two people familiar with the deliberations.
Once again today, the president offered the childish view that there is a
form of war that only hurts one side in that war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, when we`re behind on every single country, trade wars
aren`t so bad. You understand what I mean by that? When we`re down by $30
billion, $40 billion, $60 billion, $100 billion, the trade war hurts them.
It doesn`t hurt us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It`s called a trade war, not a trade massacre. It`s called a
trade war because it inflicts casualties and grievous losses on both sides.
In a brief press conference today with the prime minister of Sweden, Donald
Trump showed no awareness whatsoever that because Sweden is part of the
European Union, we do not actually have a trading relationship directly
with Sweden because all trade agreements with Sweden are governed by the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As far as our relationship with Sweden, it`s going to be only
stronger, only better, both in a military sense and a trading sense, and
That would be like the European Union pretending that they have a trading
relationship with Rhode Island that is fantastic, but they have a terrible
trading relationship with the United States of America.
Joining us now, Robert Reich, who was the labor secretary under President
Clinton. He is currently a professor of public policy at the University of
California at Berkeley. His new book is “The Common Good.”
Also with us, Jennifer Rubin, a conservative opinion writer at “The
Washington Post” and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Professor Reich, it seems the president has fallen into the belief
that there is a kind of war in which the damage only hurts one side.
ROBERT REICH, AUTHOR, “THE COMMON GOOD”: Lawrence, this is the fallacy of
zero sum thinking that pervades Donald Trump`s brain and much of the White
House. The idea that international relations are a matter of either they
win or we win and there is no win-win possibility. This is dangerous
thinking. It`s dangerous thinking in terms of foreign policy, with regard
to military policy. It`s extremely dangerous with regard to trade policy
because that`s not how the world actually works.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer, we have Paul Ryan telling his Republican members who
by the way have the constitutional authority to prevent the president from
doing this if they act quickly, Paul Ryan telling his Republican members
oh, be quiet about this, be muted in what you say about it. Don`t bully
Donald Trump because that will just make things worse.
JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, my. Paul Ryan being spineless.
Isn`t that surprise? No, it`s not a surprise. They have never stood up to
And, of course, Bob is exactly right. This is what Trump has done. He has
bob and I bring on economics. But he is absolutely right.
You know, the way Trump talks, he has no idea what he is talking about.
When he says we`re behind or we have lost billions of dollars, what is he
talking about? This is not a budget deficit. This is just the difference
between inputs and outputs.
By the way, those dollars that we sent overseas turn around and come back
to the United States in the form of investment. And many Americans now are
employed by foreign companies that have set up businesses, plants in the
United States. So, it`s a complete lack of understanding.
And I am told by people who know that this has been explained to him again
and again, and he just doesn`t want to deal with reality. So he makes up
this very bizarre kind of mano-a-mano analysis of economics which is
completely wrong. And, by the way, Gary Cohn`s exactly right. A recent
study by an independent trade economist group suggests that about 146,000
jobs on net will be lost because of this.
O`DONNELL: And, Professor Reich, it`s a very common notion that Donald
Trump has. It`s common among people who have never studied economics and
don`t really know much about it, that you can find an economist, a trained
economist to say anything about any issue. What that ignores, if it`s
possible, is that there is a consensus. There is an overwhelming consensus
on certain subjects as there is, say, with climate scientists on the
subject of climate change.
On this subject, there is an overwhelming consensus in the economics
profession of what happens if you start a trade war.
REICH: There is an overwhelming consensus, Lawrence, based on history. We
know for example that in 1930, Congress through the Smoot-Hawley tariff
started a trade war that made the great depression worse. As Daniel
Patrick Moynihan, professor and late senator said, and he said repeatedly,
everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
And the fact that you have here an economic consensus that trade is
essentially good – now the rules of the game with trade, there is some
contention as to exactly whether a trade treaty ought to have this much of
labor protection or this much environmental protection within it. We can
dispute the details. But the overall reality that trade is basically a
positive sum game is absolutely undisputed around the world and among
economists and here is the thing that really worries me and I think it
should worry a lot of people.
If we have somebody in the White House, a president of the United States
who is also commander in chief, who is that illiterate, that ignorant about
fundamentals that is basically science. I mean, we`re talking about just
reality, history and reality. Then what are we to do? If nobody is going
to stand up to him, if even people in his own party, Republicans who have
responsibility to the public are not willing to say this is wrong, stop it,
change the rules. We are going to take authority back from you.
If that`s not going to be the reaction among Republicans, it`s as if we had
a mad king. And all his court years and all the ministers around him
refused to stand up to him because he was mad king. That just makes things
O`DONNELL: And, Jennifer, we have Defense Secretary Mattis who seems to be
making the right argument here. But is he making to it the right people?
He is making the argument to the Trump administration trade officials.
There is no reporting that he is making that argument about national
security directly to the president.
RUBIN: We don`t know. And he may have. And Trump may have ignored him in
But it`s absolutely the case that trade inextricably bound up with
international security. That`s why you had seven or eight former secretary
of defense who are in favor of TPP which was also shelved.
This is not the time where we want to have economic warfare with our
neighbors. And, by the way, the number one source of our steel from
foreign sources is Canada. So, unless Canada has suddenly become an enemy
of the United States, and it may be under this president. He is capable of
this sort of thing, there is no national security threat. If Canada is not
going to go to war with the United States and withhold steel from us. So
the whole thing is preposterous.
Listen, if you wanted to say China is doing X, Y, and Z, there is evidence
that they are dumping in this, this, and this regard, you could actually
have an intelligent conversation. But with Trump, that`s impossible. He
takes everything to a level of lunacy and non-fact that it makes this kind
of conversation impossible.
O`DONNELL: And even the steelworkers union says this tariff should
absolutely not be applied to Canada.
O`DONNELL: Professor Robert Reich, thank you very much for joining us.
Really appreciate it.
Jennifer, please stay with us.
REICH: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer, please stay with us. Thank you. Someone tipped off
a Trump lawyer about secret testimony given to the House Intelligence
Committee. The Daily Beast is reporting that some people working on the
Committee Investigation may be trying to covertly assist the Trump inner
circle. A member of that Committee, Congressman Eric Swalwell joins us
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But are you worried about Russia trying to meddle in
the midterm elections?
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: No. because we`ll counteract
whatever they do. We`ll counteract it very strongly. And we are having
strong backup systems. And we`ve been working actually – we haven`t been
given credit for this. But we`ve actually been working very hard on the
`18 election and the `20 election coming up. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: President Trump doesn`t seem worried today about what the
Russians might do in future American elections. And he is certainly not at
all worried what they did do in the 2016 election. Today the daily beast
reports Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen received inside info from a Russia
According to the Daily Beast, someone leaked information about witness
testimony before the House Intelligence Committee to Michael Cohen`s
attorney December 2017, and the leak suggests that some people working on
the committee investigation may be trying to covertly assist one of the
President`s closest allies when the President`s inner circle is extensively
a focus of the probe. Joining us Congressman Eric Swalwell, a Democrat
from California. He`s a member of that that committee, the House
Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it.
ERIC SWALWELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good Evening, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to this idea that the committee is
leaking somehow, and leaking directly to people like Michael Cohen and
SWALWELL: You know Lawrence first it makes me really nervous when I hear
the President say we`re working on the 2018 and 20 election. I don`t know
what he is working on, but it`s not defending our democracy. So if it`s
something else, God knows what that will look like.
O`DONNELL: Well let me – let`s actually stop over that for a second.
We`ll come back to the investigation. I was really struck by what he was
saying as we were leading into this introduction to you.
What was he talking about? Here he is saying that he is not worried at all
because we`ll counteract whatever they do. We`ll counteract it very
strongly. We are having strong backup systems. What did any of that mean
SWALWELL: Well, it meant nothing because every person who has come before
Congress, from Jeff Sessions to Mike Rogers to Director Pompeo has said
that they`ve receive nod directives from the President. The State
Department Has spent zero dollars to counter what Russia is doing. All we
know is that Russia intends to attack us again.
So they are working to obstruct our investigation. That is a work in
progress that we see every day. And going back you know to your earlier
question, this isn`t – this report and the daily beast, I`m familiar with
it. I can`t say too much other than the report last week about House
Intelligence Committee members on the Republican side leaking Mark Warner`s
text was concerning, and it wasn`t denied by the Republicans.
Also, we have read a number of times for the first time in the Washington
Examiner witnesses who were coming before our committee when we haven`t
even been told. They`ve gotten the jump on us. So we owe to it the American
people to take this investigation seriously, and if we`re going to work to
protect the ballot box in 2018 and 2020, we should impose the sanctions
that are already in place. We should devote resources to every state and
county election board. And we should certainly understand who attacked us
so that we defend against it again.
O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to this story in the New York
Times, the breaking story that Rachel Maddow devoted a significant amount
of time to it. And that is this George Nader, this adviser to the Emirati
Government with ties to the trump world. he is – George Nader cooperating
with the Special Counsel`s Investigation. Is that an area of investigation
that your committee is headed toward?
SWALWELL: Yes. And Lawrence, I`m also concerned about Erik Prince. You
can read his transcript before the House Intelligence Committee. I don`t
think he was forthcoming. if this story is true, I don`t think he was
fortcoming about his relationship with Mr. Nader and who Mr. Prince was
meeting with in the Seychelles.
Remember, he went there, he met with a Prince from the UAE and he also met
with a Russian banker. But I don`t remember Mr. Nader`s role being
described. I`m also concerned this goes to a larger issue of Trump family
members trading on their relationships with foreign governments to fleece
themselves and their businesses.
O`DONNELL: And we also find in the – the special prosecutor might find
in his investigation a money trail of foreign money through Mr. Nader going
into the Trump campaign.
SWALWELL: Well, yes. And I meant to enrich themselves and their
businesses. But what we want to know, of course, and the only way to find
fought money was going into the Trump campaign is to be willing to subpoena
these records. Our investigation goes like this, Lawrence. You sit in a
chair. We ask you a question, and then we say well, that`s interesting.
We have no way of testing if you`re telling us the truth or not because
we`re not going to subpoena your telephone logs. We`re not going to
subpoena your chat records. We`re not going to subpoena your bank records.
We don`t know Erik Prince if what you did in the Seychelles is what you say
you did because we`re not going to go after your travel records. All things
we have access to, but we don`t want to know. That`s the Republican
Intelligence Committee investigation so far.
O`DONNELL: And of course the Special Prosecutor`s Investigation is
operating in exactly the opposite way with all of that subpoena power for
everything they need. Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much for
joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight about the actress who calls
herself Stormy Daniels, and the President who calls himself, like, really
smart. Apparently Donald Trump is not smart enough to avoid being sued by
Stormy Daniels. That`s right. Stormy Daniels versus Donald Trump is coming
to a courtroom near you. If you`re lucky enough to live in Los Angeles.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight on what has officially become
the case of Stormy Daniels versus the President of the United States. NBC
News is reporting Donald trump never signed the nondisclosure agreement
that his lawyer arranged with adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to
a lawsuit filed by Daniels in Los Angeles. Tuesday and obtained by NBC
News. The suit alleges that her agreement not to disclose her intimate
relationship with Trump is not valid because while both Daniels and Trump`s
attorneys Michael Cohen signed it, Trump never did.
According to the lawsuit, Daniels and Trump had an intimate relationship
that lasted from summer 2006, well into the year 2007. Now Donald Trump
married his third and current wife Melania in 2005. The third Mrs. Trump
then gave birth to the President`s third son in March of 2006, just a few
months before Stormy Daniels says her affair with Donald Trump began. The
President`s Criminal Defense Lawyer John Dowd, whose day job is defending
the President from the Special Prosecutor`s Investigation declined to
comment today on the Stormy Daniels lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.
It is not clear what lawyer will actually defend Donald Trump in that civil
lawsuit. The President has never denied having an extramarital affair with
Stormy Daniels. The President is usually quick to deny any accusations of
any questionable behavior with any woman, including many women who have
credibly accused him of sexual assault and sexual harassment. But so far
Stormy Daniels is the one woman who Donald Trump does not dare to
contradict or condemn.
Donald Trump`s personal Lawyer Michael Cohen has managed to make an utter
mess of the $130,000 settlement he believed he reached with Stormy Daniels
12 days before the 2016 Presidential Election to buy her silence about her
relationship with Donald Trump. That $130,000 payment was actually flagged
as a suspicious transaction by Michael Cohen`s bank and reported to the
treasury department. Nothing about the project to buy Stormy Daniels`
silence has worked according to the plan, and now Stormy Daniels is ready
to tell her story under oath in court. And we patiently await Donald
Trump`s under oath testimony about Stormy Daniels.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news at this hour. Reuters is reporting that
Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, will visit
Mexico tomorrow and meet with the Mexican President, the Foreign Ministry
said in a statement. We`re joined now by Neera Tanden, the President of the
center for American Progress And Jennifer Rubin is back with us.
And Neera it is Jared to the rescue running down to Mexico to try to
apparently salvage what negotiations adjustments to NAFTA. But certainly
one of the big subjects is going to be putting a giant Tariff on any steel
imported from Mexico?
NEERA TANDEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I`ll say there was a whole – I mean it
was like a mini-scandal. It feels like it was just last week that the
Mexican President`s visit is cancelled because of controversy around the
wall. And I`m sure tariffs help add to that.
I don`t know. I don`t feel a lot of reassurance with the idea of Jared
Kushner. He doesn`t have top security clearance. And negotiating with the
Mexican President that maybe other people are reassured by Jared Kushner`s
travels to Mexico.
O`DONNELL: Let`s check if Jennifer Rubin is. Jennifer, Gary cons out and
there`s Jared to the rescue trying to hold on to the map, the talks and
apparently say what to the Mexican President about steele?
JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Who knows? You know the Mexicans
imagine do not like negotiating NAFTA with a gun to their head namely the
tariffs. So you know this would be a joke if it weren`t real life. But of
course what we have is not only a never ending cavalcade of advisers and
kind of misfits there. But of course anybody with an ounce of common sense
of an ounce of understanding of economics quickly goes out the door because
they can`t possibly win an argument in this Whitehouse.
So listen Gary Cohn`s doesn`t get many points in my book when he stayed for
neo-Nazis but left when tariffs came into the picture. Be that as it may
the people who are left behind are going to be worse. And anyone who
replaces those people will be even worse. So we are in this never ending
downward spiral of dysfunction, and frankly I don`t think Jared should be
going anywhere talking to any foreign government unless we know a heck of a
lot more about his finances.
O`DONNELL: And Jennifer what every one knows about in these foreign
governments is whoever is arriving today to represent the Trump
Administration might not be working in the Trump Administration tomorrow,
including Jared Kushner now, whose job has been seriously threatened in the
last several weeks.
RUBIN: No one speaks for Trump. Not even trump speaks for Trump because
whatever he says in that moment has no resonance a day or a week or a
minute later. So who did these people talk to and who do they rely on.
It`s not clear at all nor is it clear thatthe United States should be
sending someone who is so easily manipulated by foreign governments. And
so obviously in financial strains that goodness knows what he`ll be offered
when he goes around the globe.
O`DONNELL: And Neera to that point, Jared Kushner is under investigation
for basically exactly these kinds of meetings in which representatives of
foreign governments and their allies within their own commercial fields and
their own countries are capable of dangling possibilities in front of Jared
Kushner that could compromise his judgment on behalf of the United States.
TANDEN: Yes, I mean let`s be really clear about what`s being
investigated. He`s being investigated for taking what amounts to bribes.
I mean, they`re loans, but he`s in desperate financial shape, so they`re a
form of bribes. That could influence American policy. It still doesn`t make
any sense what America did, going after Qatar in the Middle East.
And it`s possibly explained by the business interests of Jared Kushner,
which you know, let`s step back and recognize that this isn`t just like
violating numerous laws, this is really how third world dictatorships are -
- countries in places around the globe that don`t have a strong democracy
function, that you can buy off the – like son in law of the President.
That`s not American rule of law. And I think we should be highly suspicious
of any travel Jared Kushner takes to any part of the globe.
He has no expertise to talk about any of these issues, and he has a big red
letter overrunning him right now which is a special counsel investigation
into this business practices. If I were the Mexicans, I wouldn`t be
welcoming his visit. He`s tainted.
O`DONNELL: And Neera from the start, Jared was the one that was supposed
to fix everything with Mexico, but it`s the wall that prevents anything
from being fixed. We remember the President begging in that phone call that
we got a report on. Please stop embarrassing Donald Trump. Jared Kushner
is going to have that wall in the room with him tomorrow.
TANDEN: He has the wall, he has tariffs, he has the fact that the
President has a terrible record and immigration. That he still lies about
immigration. He lies about people coming across the border, criminal
He has a whole agenda here which is frankly racist toward Mexicans. You
can`t just negotiate around that. Donald trump hasn`t done anything to make
the negotiations any easier. But the idea you`re sending in Jared Kushner
to address these problems, I think is you know it`s frankly ridiculous.
O`DONNELL: Neera Tanden and Jennifer Rubin thank you both for joining us,
really appreciate it.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Nunberg took over cable news like a car chase.
He was on MSNBC at 2:45, at CNN at 3:30 and CNN again at 4:00. I believe
at 5:00 he called into HGTV, to incriminate himself on flip or flop. I`m
pretty sure after Mueller gets through with him, it`s going to be flip.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s last work. And coming up next
it`s Kornacki Night, Steve Kornacki analyzes tonight`s election results in
Texas in the 11th Hour. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.
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