Stormy speaks on alleged affair. TRANSCRIPT: 03/26/2018. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O’DONNELL
Date: March 26, 2018
Guest: Jennifer Rubin, Tim O’Brien, David Frum
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: (AUDIO GAP) cross out the part in my
script where I talk about the ratings last night.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “ALL IN”: Sorry.
O’DONNELL: You know how much that hurts the man in the White House.
MADDOW: Well, apparently, he just doesn’t notice the scandal at all. He’s
never said anything about Ms. Daniels or the lawyer or anything. He’s just
doesn’t – it hasn’t crossed his – he’s very busy. He hasn’t crossed his
O’DONNELL: Well, you know, it might not be a big enough news story to get
Donald Trump’s attention. So, that might be what the silence is about.
MADDOW: He’s a big picture kind of guy, I know what you mean.
O’DONNELL: You know who’s not silent about this, my first guess Michael
Avenatti. I’m going to get to him as soon as possible.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O’DONNELL: Good night, Rachel.
MADDOW: Good night. Bye.
O’DONNELL: Well, Stormy Daniels really hurt President Trump badly last
night and she hurt him in the worst way, the way it pains him the most.
And no, it wasn’t when she said she was not physically attracted to Donald
Trump. And it wasn’t when she describes spanking Donald Trump and how like
a little boy, he became more compliant after the spanking.
That wasn’t the worst part of Stormy Daniels appearance on “60 Minutes”
last night for Donald Trump. The worst part for the president was that, as
Rachel just said, Stormy Daniels got a great rating and she actually beat
Donald Trump. She beat him in the ratings, 22 million people watched
Stormy Daniels on “60 Minutes” last night, and that’s more than the 20
million who watched Donald Trump on “60 Minutes” after he won the
Donald Trump already suffered the pain of getting a smaller “60 Minutes”
audience as president-elect than Barack Obama did, as president-elect, in
2008. President-elect Obama got 25 million people to tune in to his
appearance on “60 Minutes”.
Stormy Daniels beat Donald Trump again today. She beat him in a new poll
that shows 62 percent believe Stormy Daniels and 21 percent believe the
president of the United States. The poll actually included more than just
Stormy Daniels versus Donald Trump. It combined Stormy Daniels with former
Playboy model Karen McDougal in a question about do you believe the women
or do you believe the president of the United States?
And so, the team of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal beat Donald Trump 62
to 21. And today, Stormy Daniels’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti who will join
us in a moment amended her lawsuit to include the accusation of defamation
against Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. Donald Trump is still
maintaining his terrified silence about Stormy Daniels.
He has never directly personally denied having a sexual relationship with
Stormy Daniels. The first time Stormy Daniels talked about her affair with
Donald Trump was 2011, in a long interview with “In Touch” magazine, which
the magazine did not public. “In Touch” magazine released the full
transcript of that interview two months ago. Everything that Stormy
Daniels said last night in the “60 Minutes” interview was consistent with
something she had already said in the “In Touch” magazine in 2011,
including the comparison to Donald Trump’s daughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: He’s like, wow, you – you are special.
You remind me of my daughter. You know, he’s like you’re smart, beautiful,
and a woman to be reckoned with and I like you. I like you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: The president’s daughter was also involved in the story Stormy
Daniels told about a magazine. It was this edition of “Forbes” magazine
with Donald Trump and his daughter and son on the cover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIELS: I was like someone should take that magazine and spank you with
it. I’ll never forget the look on his face.
ANDERSON COOPER, 60 MINUTES: What was that look?
DANIELS: Just – I don’t think he was ever spoken to like that,
especially, you know, a young woman who looked like me. I said, you know,
give me that. I remember him saying, you wouldn’t. Hand it over. And so,
he did. And I was like turn around, drop them.
COOPER: You told Donald Trump to turn around and take off his pants?
COOPER: And did he?
DANIELS: Yes. So, he turned around, pulled his pants down, he had under
wear on, I gave him a couple swats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: What was new in this “60 Minutes” interview was Stormy Daniels
description of an alleged threat in 2011 after she had told her story to
“In Touch” magazine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIELS: I was in a parking lot going to a fitness class with my infant
daughter, taking the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag,
you know, getting all the stuff out, and a guy walked up on me and said to
me, leave Trump alone, forget the story. And then he leaned around and
looked at my daughter and said, a beautiful little girl, it would be a
shame if something happened to her mom, and then he was gone.
COOPER: You took it as a direct threat?
DANIELS: Absolutely. I was rattled. I remembered going into the workout
class and my hands were shaking so bad I was afraid I was going to drop
COOPER: Did you ever see him again?
But I – if I did, I would know it right away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: This was apparently just too stormy a day for the White House
press secretary. And so, the White House press secretary decided to let
the deputy press secretary handle the briefing for a change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Did he watch the interview last night? Did you ask him about
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: You know, I’m not going to
get into what the president may or may not have seen, I’ll say he’s
consistently denied these allegations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Of course, the president has not consistently denied these
allegations. The president has never, let me repeat, never denied the
allegations from Stormy Daniels about him.
Joining us now, Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels. Also
joining us, Tim O’Brien, the executive editor of “Bloomberg View” and the
author of “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald”, and Jennifer Rubin, a
conservative opinion writer at “The Washington Post.”
And, Michael, I just want to go to this point about denial from Donald
Trump. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve been looking at all of this, I’ve
never heard him ever say a word about Stormy Daniels from 2011 forward from
when that was first – she first did that interview in “In Touch” magazine.
Am I missing something? Has the president of the United States ever denied
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS’ ATTORNEY: No, he hasn’t. And the reason
is pretty simple. And that is because she’s telling the truth.
I mean, you know, it’s three to one. For every American that doesn’t
believe her, there’s three that believe her. I mean, you just saw the
I mean, this is a woman, what you see is what you get, OK? The American
people saw that last night, right? This is someone that’s very comfortable
in her skin. She doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not.
She speaks openly and honestly. She spoke openly and honestly to Anderson
Cooper. She faced a lot of tough questions. And I am highly confident
that the poll numbers are even understated.
I mean, these – people believe her. She tells a credible story.
Now, where is the president? Where is Michael Cohen? I don’t understand
We’ve had politicians over the course of our history consistently deny
allegations that are untrue. They step up to the podium, they speak into
the microphone and they are counted.
Mr. Trump, nowhere to be found. This is the guy that will tweet on the
most mundane topic known to mankind, but for some reason, he’s not willing
to step up to the podium and deny these allegations. I think it’s pretty
clear who’s telling the truth.
O’DONNELL: And he directly attacked every woman who came out publicly with
an acquisition about him during the campaign. So, his habit is to always
attack, in fact, anyone who says anything negative about him.
And the fact that he’s never gone after Stormy Daniels, to me, is very
telling. But, Michael Avenatti, I saw you on HARDBALL on Friday night, say
that you were firing a warning shot. You know, warning shots are supposed
to miss the person, but you were firing the warning shot right at the
president of the United States by name and he does not dare say a word
about Michael Avenatti.
AVENATTI: You know, I can’t explain it. I mean, Lawrence, I’m harmless.
I’m just a Midwestern guy –
O’DONNELL: It seems like the president of the United States is very afraid
of you. Afraid to the point of silence.
AVENATTI: I grew up in the Midwest, there are a lot of lawyers more
talented than I am. You know, we want people to tell the truth and step up
and we want the facts to be laid bare for the American people. And I’m
astounded that I’m even still here talking about this because we thought
this would be over weeks ago. And yet, these guys are doubling and
tripling down now. They’re threatening my client, they’re going to sue her
for $20 million, they’re going to continue to try to intimidate her.
They don’t get it. I mean, that’s not going to work. We’re not going
away. I’m a young man. During that interview you referenced, I was asked
how long I was in for it, I’m in it for the long haul. I’m in until I take
my last breath if necessary. We’re going to take to the bottom of this.
It’s really simple. We don’t understand why the president and Mr. Cohen
won’t stand up and answer some basic questions, did he know about the
agreement? Did the affair take place? Which quite honestly at this point
is kind of an afterthought, the second question. Did he facilitate the
payment? And did he sign the agreement? I mean, it’s really – in 140
characters, he could probably cover that, maybe 280 characters.
O’DONNELL: Now, you said you’re surprised this story is alive. Haven’t
you done everything you could to keep the story alive, including your
tweets and provocative tweets indicating as last week’s tweets seem to
indicate, there could be images that we might see on “60 Minutes”?
AVENATTI: I don’t think we’ve used every tool in the tool box by any
stress of the imagination. And the beauty of this whole thing is, we
haven’t had to because of the response or lack thereof by Mr. Cohen and Mr.
Trump in the White House. I mean, every trap we’ve laid –
O’DONNELL: You’ve said that – yes, go ahead and say it. Every trap –
AVENATTI: What’s amazing to me is this –
O’DONNELL: I want to know what the traps are. But go ahead.
AVENATTI: Well, look, over the last 18 years of my practice, I’ve had the
good fortune of litigating against some of the top legal minds in the
country. We’re talking people that are really good chess players, really
know their stuff, OK? People that challenge you.
These folks are playing tic-tac-toe. It’s astounding to me. Every time we
lay a trap, they step into it.
O’DONNELL: OK, trap one, trap two, trap three. Let’s take some traps.
AVENATTI: Well, I’m not going to lay out every trap we’ve laid, but for
instance, the most recent removal to federal court –
AVENATTI: That was a –
O’DONNELL: Everyone says that’s bad for you.
AVENATTI: Well, no, that was a catastrophic mistake on their part, and the
reason why it is, is because – and I don’t to get too far down into the
weeds, but under the Federal Arbitration Act, which is what the federal
court is going to apply when determining whether to send the case to
arbitration, we get expedited discovery relating to whether there was an
actual agreement and we are entitled to a trial on that issue.
O’DONNELL: So, you get discovery, you get Donald Trump under oath in a
deposition discovery, just on the matter of was there an agreement?
AVENATTI: Oh, boy.
O’DONNELL: OK, that’s trap. That sounds like a trap to me.
AVENATTI: So, we laid that trap, and they stepped right in the center of
it. I mean, there’s been some other examples of this. But again, I don’t
understand what’s so complicated about this. If they claim this didn’t
happen, I mean, isn’t it interesting that every time they want to somewhat
address this, they always send the deputy, the deputy guy always steps up
to the podium.
O’DONNELL: Why – what’s – the president Trump’s lawyer on this is Mr.
Harder (ph) in California, we have not heard one public word from him, have
we? We just hear from these other people who have the title lawyer because
they passed the bar, but they are not actually lawyers engaged in the case.
AVENATTI: You’re absolutely correct about that. Look, let us not go – I
mean, you know, we had bill Clinton who stepped up to the podium and asked
a question and he was unequivocal he did not have sexual relations with
that woman, Monica Lewinsky, and, of course, that turned out to be false.
We had Gary Hart and the monkey business. We have John Edwards. We have
Anthony Weiner. I mean, the list goes on and on. I don’t understand, this
is a guy that makes snap decisions, snap comments at the drop of a hat. We
heard crickets for weeks.
That tells you everything you need to know about this. It is true, it is
100 percent true. And the reason why the president will not step up and
deny it because he knows what’s going to happen if he does. And that is
we’re going to file a lawsuit, defamation against him, and we’re going to
prove that it actually happened.
O’DONNELL: You’re sitting beside, as you know, Tim O’Brien, who has
experience with litigation with Donald Trump. He’s been sued by Donald
Trump. He only threatened to sue me. I didn’t get as lucky as Tim and
actually get the lawsuit.
So, Tim, you’ve seen Donald Trump in the world of litigation. And with
you, those were the days when he stupidly stumbled into unwinnable
litigation, trying to sue you for libel, which you easily won. But today
is a whole different story and he’s got different issues to protect.
It seems to me as I watch this thing, the way for Donald Trump to make
Michael Avenatti in effect disappear is to just say have Cohen say, there
is no confidentiality agreement and just completely cave on the suit that
Michael has brought trying to void the confidentiality agreement.
It’s gone anyway. She’s on “60 Minutes”, it’s gone. The toothpaste is out
of the tube. Drop this confidentiality agreement and the case is over.
TIM O’BRIEN, AUTHOR, “TRUMP NATION”: Yes, but they’ve gone so far down the
rabbit hole on. Michael is exactly right. They planted a number of legal
traps for him and he can’t put it into reverse now. He’s potentially –
O’DONNELL: It’s civil. As you know, you can quit at any time in a civil
O’BRIEN: Yes, but that’s not Trump. That’s not even in his DNA. You
know, every – he has lawyers who aren’t really lawyers, they’re thugs and
they weaponize the legal system to go after opponents. And if opponents
fight back, as Stormy Daniels has, as I did in my case, he actually ends up
folding disastrously but it’s too late at that point.
And the problem he has in addition to that is he’s not intellectually or
emotionally disciplined. These aren’t smart people. They’re not tactical
and they’re not well-versed in the realities of the legal world and it’s
going to haunt them.
O’DONNELL: And what you’re saying Michael Cohen is not smarter than Donald
Trump and that’s a big problem for Donald Trump.
O’BRIEN: Yes, right, they’re both on the same level in terms of I.Q.
O’DONNELL: Let’s get Jennifer in here for a second.
Jennifer, I want to get your reaction to what you saw on “60 Minutes” last
night. Are you in the 62 percent who believe Stormy Daniels perhaps and
where you think we are in this story now?
JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I’m definitely in the 62 percent.
Listen, I admire her as a woman who made her life in film but I don’t think
she’s that good an actress. I think it’s very hard to come across as she
did with the inflection, with the body language. You know when someone is
telling you something that’s true. And I think that was evident to most
everyone watching, with exception of the real Kool-Aid drinkers of Donald
I think it does raise a couple issues. One is, you know, it’s very
interesting what Time just said, Trump doesn’t have real lawyers. He
doesn’t have real lawyers in this case. He doesn’t have real lawyers in
the Russia investigation.
And so, when he is confronted with a real lawyer, and Michael Avenatti is a
real lawyer –
AVENATTI: Thank you.
RUBIN: – he sort of flummoxed. He just thinks he can make people go away
by bullying them. And, frankly, when you have the law, when you have the
facts in your side, people just don’t go away.
And I think he’s trapped. He doesn’t know what Michael and Stormy have.
They’ve very carefully dribbled the information out. And I think at this
point, he’s afraid to say something for fear of being directly
And I think he is just stunned. I think it’s quite an accomplishment
however that even Sarah Huckabee Sanders is too embarrassed to come out to
try to spin this. So the poor deputy does have to go out. You know, Sarah
has standards and she’s not going to stoop this low.
And it just shows you how effective Michael and Stormy have been that you
cannot get someone who’s a practice lawyer who will lie and tell you the
sky is orange on any given day to get out there and lie because even she I
think is afraid of looking ridiculous at this point.
O’DONNELL: Michael, let me game out one thing for you, the thing I just
suggested, Michael Cohen, the other side, Attorney Harder tomorrow, they
just cave. They say we are dropping the case. We’re out of this. There
is no confidentiality agreement. We’re gone.
And the White House, president makes a – they make a statement for him
saying in order to get rid of this nuisance, he has dropped all of the
litigation and dropped this – any interest in this so-called agreement,
which was Michael Cohen’s agreement had nothing to do with the president
anyway. Just get out of it by noon time tomorrow.
You just disappear at this point, don’t you?
AVENATTI: No. It’s too late. In light of the First Amendment complaint
that we filed earlier today, we have an affirmative claim now for
O’DONNELL: Because today changed the case into a new case –
AVENATTI: Right. You know, it’s not as if we woke up this morning and
just decided, you know, maybe today we’ll file a First Amendment claim. I
mean, this is – look, we’re chess players, all right? So, that doesn’t
But I want to go back to something you said because I think it’s important,
OK? I’ve had the good fortune of representing some clients along the way
that have had considerable means, OK? And one thing you notice about
people who have had considerable means or wealth or have had success, two
things are true, one of two things, either, A, they’re really, really
smart, OK, or B, they’re not that smart but along the way, they surround
themselves with people that are really, really smart, OK?
It’s highly unusual to find somebody that’s 50, 60, 70 years old that has
money that has not, along the way, acquired legal advisers and attorneys at
the top of their game, OK? Normally, that’s the standard. They surround
themselves with these people so they don’t find themselves in these
situations relating to NDAs and things like that. This president didn’t do
that at any point in time, which is astounding.
O’BRIEN: They’re all C-minuses.
O’DONNELL: We’re going to have to take a break here.
Michael Avenatti, thank you very much for joining us, I know you have a
very busy day. Tim O’Brien, Jennifer Rubin, thank you for joining this
Coming up, by all accounts, special prosecutor Robert Mueller has
assembled, a real A-team to work on his investigation. And the president
of the United States as of tonight does not have a criminal defense lawyer.
Good luck with that.
And breaking news tonight, Donald Trump reportedly hopes that Rob Porter
can come back to work at the White House. You remember that Rob Porter was
forced out of his job at the White House after both of his former wives
publicly accused him of spousal abuse.
O’DONNELL: The president of the United States is being investigated for
the possible crime of obstruction of justice and other possible legal
violations involving his presidential campaign and the president as of
tonight does not have a criminal defense lawyer.
Last week, Donald Trump decided to hire Joe diGenova, who’s conspiracy
theories about the special prosecutor’s investigation impressed Donald
Trump when he saw diGenova on Fox News. The decision to hire diGenova
apparently provoked Donald Trump’s criminal defense lawyer John Dowd to
quit last week.
John Dowd is a real, live practicing criminal defense lawyer. Joe diGenova
is not. He’s a lawyer who’s comfortable talking on TV, on Fox News, but
does not have much recent experience in real courtrooms with real
experience. So, when President Trump met with Joe diGenova and his wife,
Victor Toensing, to discuss both of them joining his criminal defense team,
it didn’t go well.
Report says after meeting with the husband and wife team on Thursday, after
diGenova’s hiring had been announced, a person who spoke to the president
said Trump was less impressed with diGenova than he had been while watching
the former U.S. attorney on television. Big surprise. Guy’s smarter on
Fox than he is in real life.
And so, the only remaining member of the Trump defense team is Jay Sekulow.
And Jay Sekulow announced that Joe diGenova and his wife would not be
joining the Trump criminal defense team. Jay Sekulow has absolutely no
experience in criminal investigations and criminal law and has been
functioning primarily as a spokesperson for the Trump criminal defense team
which does not have a criminal defense lawyer.
Joining us now, David Frum, senior editor for “The Atlantic” and author of
“The New York Times” bestseller “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the
American Republic”, and Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant Watergate special
prosecutor and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Jill, have you ever seen a high profile suspect, I think it’s fair to
call him, in the obstruction of justice case, suddenly lose a criminal
defense lawyer and be sitting there with nothing but a spokesperson for the
JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It’s a sad state of affairs to have no
criminal defense lawyer that will represent you. And despite your tweets
saying everyone wants to represent me, no one will turn me down, that seems
to be case and two lawyers in Chicago recently turned him down, too. So,
he needs to have some legitimate lawyer who will know how the system works,
and while I’m not defending diGenova, because as a conspiracy theorist, he
was ridiculous, but he was a U.S. attorney, so he supervised all these
investigations, criminal and civil, and possibly had some skills. He did
have a terrible conflict. He should have never met with the president,
that was wrong of him because it was completely unethical when they
represented Mark Corallo for them to even talk to the president about being
his lawyer. But he needs a lawyer. He definitely needs a lawyer and I
hope he will get one soon.
O’DONNELL: And Mark Corallo was the spokesperson for the Trump criminal
defense team and he is known to be a cooperating witness for the special
And, David Frum, it’s just stunning that didn’t prevent – it shows you
really how ill-equipped somebody like Joe diGenova was to come close to
being engaged in any of this that he didn’t mention that kind of conflict
DAVID FRUM, THE ATLANTIC: The lawyer the president wanted was the lawyer
you would want or I would want in a similar situation. That was Ted Olson,
head of the Office of Legal Counsel under Ronald Reagan, solicitor general
of the United States under George W. Bush, the winner of more Supreme Court
cases than probably can be tallied, let alone remembered. That’s who you
Ted Olson turned the president down, and didn’t just turn him down, but the
head of Ted Olson’s firm turned the president down in a tweet within
minutes of the announcement in the “New York Times” that the president was
looking at Ted Olson. It could not have been more of a rebuff.
Ted Olson is a strong Republican, I don’t think he’s a Trump kind of guy,
but he’s a person with strong Republican loyalties and would have wanted to
help the Republican president if he possibly could. But I think was
dismayed partly by the president’s discipline, he’s a bad client, partly by
the president’s notorious reputation for not paying his bills. But above
all, as he said to Andrea Mitchell, on this network, but by just the chaos
and mayhem in the White House, he’s a former solicitor general of the
United States. He knows how you argue cases, and he’s not going anywhere
near the story.
O’DONNELL: And, Jill, prior to now there has never been a moment where the
president of the United States needed a lawyer, needed an outside lawyer,
and every lawyer in the country didn’t want to do it because it was the
most prestigious choice that could possibly be made, the president is in
trouble, he needs a defense lawyer, who does he turn to.
I remember in the Watergate investigation, the Boston legal community was
very, very proud when Richard Nixon turned to James St. Claire from 100-
year-old law firm of Hale and Dorr, the most prestigious law firm in Boston
who James St. Claire was a lecturer on trial tactics at the Harvard Law
And everyone had an even higher estimation of James St. Claire because the
president needed a defense lawyer and turned to James St. Claire.
WINE-BANKS: You know, one thing I would point out is in Watergate, the
president and all the president’s men had very first class lawyers. Their
legal representation was excellent.
There was one lawyer who became a defendant in the case. He was less
experienced and got sort of hoodwinked by the White House. He was
impressed, I think, by being part of the Oval Office team and started
behaving in a way that was illegal and got caught, and then ended up a
So, it’s a warning that defendants – or lawyers who are turning down
representing the president may say to themselves, I don’t want to get
caught in the web that is being spun here. I want to protect my own
reputation, no case is worth it.
So, I look at that defendant and say, lawyers are right to turn them down
and there are many, many good lawyers in the country. But the president
isn’t listening to them, he’s ignoring their advice. And while they say
that a lawyer who represents him or herself has a fool for a client, I
would say in this case the president representing himself may also have a
fool for a client.
O’DONNELL: Jill Wine-Banks gets the last word on the President Trump’s
lawyers tonight. And, David Frum, thank you for joining this discussion.
FRUM: Thank you.
WINE-BANKS: Thank you.
O’DONNELL: Coming up, “The New York Times” reports tonight that Donald
Trump is still talking to accused domestic abuser Rob Porter and hopes he
can get Rob Porter back working in the White House.
And later, a day of inspiration and hope in Washington. What we saw at the
March for Our Lives in Washington on Saturday.
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Tonight the New York Times is
reporting that Donald Trump just can’t quit Rob Porter. According to the
Times the President is still in touch with Rob Porter, the White House Aide
who was forced out of his job after the Trump White House realized it could
not continue to defend Rob Porter against accusations by both of his former
wives against spousal abuse. According to the Times the President keeps
phoning rob porter and asking for his advice. That part of the New York
Times report will probably serve Rob Porter well as he looks for work as a
lobbyist for businesses and countries that are seeking exemptions from the
President’s new tariffs.
The President has speculated about him returning to the white house even
though she cannot get a security clearance. So imagine one day to your
surprise you have to suddenly deal with questions about the President
rehiring the guy who was run out of The White House because of accusations
that he abused both of his former wives. Republicans are beginning to
realize they are always going to have to answer for something new and crazy
from the Trump White House. Here’s republican Congressman Ryan Costello
with Casey Hunt last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN COSTELLO, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN: We’re talking about porn stars
and the President rather than tax policy and what we need to get done by
the end of the year or what should have been in omnibus. I’ll give you
another example, I have a bill to bring back cost sharing reductions and
create a plan for two years which will reduce health insurance costs for 9
million Americans that don’t get a subsidy, wasn’t included in the omni.
And it’s very difficult to get that message out because we’re talking about
Stormy Daniels, or it was McCabe or Rex Tillerson and where we heard the
news he was fired and just one thing after another. It is deeply
frustrating. I will say that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: When we come back, why Donald Trump can’t quit Rob Porter and
why some Republicans want to quit Donald Trump on the campaign trail.
O’DONNELL: Tonight the New York Times is reporting the President’s calls
with Rob Porter have increased in the last few weeks as the number of
people he is close to in the White House has dwindled because of the large
number of staff departures. Jennifer Rubin and Tim O’Brien are back with
us. And Jennifer a large number of those departures have been fired by
JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. We were just talking about
Donald Trump not being able to get lawyers to work for him. It turns out he
can’t get staff to work for him either. What a surprise. People don’t want
to work for a liar. People don’t want to for someone who constantly
undercuts them. People don’t want to work for someone who makes rash,
unfounded, illogical decisions.
So he’s getting to the bottom of the barrel, and it wasn’t that full to
begin with. You remember at the beginning of the administration, a great
number of Republicans who criticized him were on the blacklist and didn’t
want to go in and weren’t going to be allowed to serve. So he started with
a mediocre talent pole and then as we have progressed through the first 16
months or horror we have see one after another, they get fired or they quit
or they’re forced to quit.
And so he’s busy calling back the people who have been let go. And what’s
so bizarre, Lawrence, he doesn’t seem to realize what would be wrong with
rehiring Rob Porter as if he forgot why he had to fire him in the first
place or he doesn’t care or understand why people wouldn’t want someone who
abused two wives working in the White House. So nothing the President makes
sense and it’s no doubt the quality people that want to for him.
O’DONNELL: And Tim obviously the President is unimpressed by what Jenny
Willoughby and Colbie Holderness had to say about Rob Porter, their
experiences when they were married to him especially Jenny Willoughby,
because her story was out there and the White House was still defending Rob
Porter against Jenny Willoughby accusations. But it’s the photograph. In
fact let’s put that up. The photograph of Colbie Holderness, that
photograph. The black eye photograph is what changed the story and made
Rob Porter indefensible. And Tim, if you put Rob Porter back in that White
House, that photograph is coming back on TV and the Republican Congressman
running for reelection is going to have to answer to that photograph.
TIM O’BRIEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes becomes part of direct solicitations
and phone campaigns at a moment when the President is also under fire from
Stormy Daniels. if Donald trump had the maturity of somebody older than
seven years old, if had strategic discipline, if he was intellectually and
emotionally disciplined, of course, he wouldn’t do these things but
everything over the last couple weeks is a measure of a couple things,
One he lacks the managerial ability to run strong teams because he lacks
the confidence to bring strong advisers on board. The other thing it shows
is how lonely he is. He doesn’t have close friendships. He only knows
people who float around his desk in the Oval Office. And when the disappear
even if he’s the one that drive them out the door he then suddenly misses
them because he has no one he can really confide in.
O’DONNELL: And Jennifer even if Rob Porter doesn’t come back to the White
House this story in the New York Times functions as basically an
advertisement for him that’s worth millions of dollars as a lobbyist. The
President is calling him up and asking him about tariff policy.
RUBIN: Right. Right. It’s one of the unfortunate realities in the world
we live is Rob Porter will do fine for himself. He will land someplace. He
will be wealthy. He will be famous once again. And you’re right, he gets
his name back in the press and back in circulation.
But its interesting Tim said something about him being lonely. One of the
things that drives Donald Trump crazy is all of these leaks but what
happens is Donald Trump during his executive time he gets on the phone and
starts talking to people because he is lonely and those people go and blab
to the media. So he doesn’t have anyone he can confide in because as Tim
said he doesn’t have real close relationships.
And the people he talks to don’t have close relationship with him, don’t
have enough respect or concern for him to keep the confidential
conversations. So wind up being blab. And I have to say this is karma at
work. No one deserves this more than Donald Trump. No one deserves to
have people turn on him like Donald Trump, a man with no loyalties.
O’DONNELL: Jennifer Rubin gets the last world on the leaker in Chieft
tonight. Jennifer thank you. Tim O’Brien thank you for joining us. Up
next, could you do it? Could you do what those kids did on the stage in
Washington on Saturday? Could you do it when you were a junior in high
school or when you were 11 years old? Well they did. And it made a lot of
us wonder what they’ll be doing when they’re our age. that’s next
O’DONNELL: All of us who stood there on Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday,
and everyone watching on television, were in the grip of the speakers and
performers who took the stage on the March for our Lives in Washington D.C.
One of the most extraordinary features of the march in Washington was that
no adults were allowed to speak on that stage, just students, high school
students, and elementary school students. And we all at some point wondered
could we do that? Could we step up to that microphone and look out at
800,000 people and a huge bank of television cameras say something
important when we were in the 11th grade or when we were 11 years old.
For most of us, the answer was no and so we watched those young speakers in
awe. And at some point most of us no doubt wondered where are they going?
Where are they going to be in their lives 20 years from now, 30 years from
now, 40 years from now? If they have taken these tragedies that have been
cruelly visited upon them and turned them into such eloquence and
leadership while still in high school, in elementary school, where will
that strength take them in adulthood.
On Saturday I had a same feeling I had in college when I saw a young navy
veteran dressed in his fatigues speak in Washington about his experience in
Vietnam. He was a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He
testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was 27 years old,
an unemployed Vietnam veteran who became the most eloquent speaker the
United States Senate ever heard on Vietnam.
38 years later he became the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee. The name of that veteran was John Kerry. As those Senators
watched him testify that day and America watched him testify on television,
many of us saw what we thought then was a future United States Senator,
possibly a future President. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had that
same feeling about the speakers I listened to on Saturday in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, FMR. UNITED STATES SENATOR: we could come back to this country
and we could be quiet. We could hold our silence. We could not tell what
went on in Vietnam. But we feel because of what threatens this country, the
fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds or red coats but the crimes
we’re committing would threaten it and we have to speak out.
DAVID HOGG, ACTIVIST: When politicians send us thoughts and prayers with
no action we say no more.
NAOMI WADLER, ACRIVIST: My friends and I might still be 11 and might
still be in elementary school but we know life isn’t equal for everyone and
we know what is right and wrong.
KERRY We watched the United States falsification of body counts. In fact,
the glorification of body counts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of this country now see past the lies.
EMA GONZALEZ, ACTIVIST: 6 minutes and 20 seconds with an AR 15 and my
friend carmen would never complain to me about piano practice. Aaron would
never call Keira Ms. Sunshine. Alec Schachter would never walk into his
school with Ryan. Scott Beigel would never joke around at Cameron at camp.
Helen Ramsey would never hang around after school with Max.
Gina Montalto would never wave to her friends Liam at lunch. Joaquin Oliv
basketball with Sam or Dylan. Elena Patty would never. Cara Loughran would
never, Chris Hickson would never. Luke Hoyer would never. Martin Duque
Anguiano would never. Peter Wang would never Alyssa Alhadeff would never.
Jaime Guttenberg would never. Meadow Pollack would never.
SAMANTHA FUENTES, ACTIVIST: Never did I think I would be herded like
cattle by a shadow of bullets that left me scared and rattled. Forced to
huddle among those lost their last living breaths on a day that was
designated for loves and laugh. I never got to say good bye.
I could barely see out my eyes because I was crying tears and blood at the
same time, barricaded behind those filing cabinets and book cases that day
taught me one thing and one thing only, regardless of how much money you
pay or how much you pray, if you don’t change anything today, your children
will no longer stay. So when do we say enough is enough?
KELLY: I’m here as one member of a group of 1,000, which is a small
representation of a very much larger group of veterans in this country.
WADLER: I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American
girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper.
Whose stories don’t lead on the evening news.
DELANEY TARR: I’m here for every person that has died at the hands of gun
violence and for the many more whose lives were irreparably changed because
ZION KELLY: I’m here to represent the hundreds of thousands of students
who live every day in constant paranoia and fear on their way to and from
HOGG: 96 people die every day from guns in our country.
KELLY: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do
you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
HOGG: We can and we will change the world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: since the time that I came out here it has been 6
minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon
abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free
for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FUENTES: Our mission is simple and unbeatable. Keep the guns out of the
hands of the wrong people and keep them in the hand of the safe and
reasonable. So either can you join us or be on the side of history who
prioritized their guns over the lives of others!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: David Frum is back with us and David after all of that, there
Senator Marco Rubio tweeted a falsehood about what they said on Saturday.
He said that they wanted to ban guns, just ban all guns was what he
characterized this as. So their own senator couldn’t reply to them in a
DAVID FRUM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think to my mind what is going on at this
march is the waking up of the famous reformist conscience of America. not
just as a legislative matter but as a social matter. Maybe it’s the
difference in the temperance movement and prohibition that the way you get
Americans to live safer lives is not by banning alcohol, it’s by persuading
them all to drink more sensibly. In the same way this movement could reach
into a lot of hearts to say the gun problem may not be legislation, it may
be just each family personally deciding you want to take care of the kids
in your house don’t have a weapon in the house.
O’DONNELL: David, the response to this in Washington has been distress
ably predictable on the Republican side and including a stalls image that
Emma Gonzalez was ripping up the constitution when she was ripping up a
target shooting target. I’m having any trouble finding any honest responses
from the opposition to what happened on that stage on Saturday.
FRUM: The image that stayed with me from the march was the image of the
patriot’s plane ferrying people to the march. It’s the patriots. So when
amoral corporations, which are very risk averse suddenly decide this thing
that used to be too risky isn’t too risky anymore, in fact, maybe this is
the side we want to be on, that’s what cultural change looks like. It’s not
the heroes that make cultural change. It’s the opportunist.
O’DONNELL: And Bob Kraft, who owns that plane essentially, is friends with
the Presidents, this rich patriotric senator said yes, let’s associate with
this I think it’s a hugely important point. And the things were seeing
with these other corporations wanting to disassociate from the NRA. These
are all things that have been achieved by those kids since Valentines Day.
FRUM: Look mothers against drunk driving made a difference not just by
changing the laws. But by getting shows like Dean Martin that use to think
drunk driving was funny off the air. If you change people’s minds, you
change legislation after.
O’DONNELL: And David, where are we going from here politically? Where do
you see this issue? We heard a lot of talk on Saturday about voter
registration. Can enough happen in voter registration to affect the 2018
FRUM: As I said I think what you’re seeing, the typical voter doesn’t
separate issues one from another. That there is this mood that the country
is prosperous. The country is more or less as it much peace as it’s been
since 9/11 but there’s a feeling there’s something morally wrong in this
country. It’s a remarkable thing in a time of comparative peace and
outright prosperity for people to feel there’s something morally wrong.
It’s like a backwards 1998. In 1998 the party of the President benefited
but this time the party of the president looks like in a lot of trouble.
O’DONNELL: Yes. There was a moral line drawn on that stage on Saturday
and it really felt like there was only one side to be on. David Frum gets
tonight’s last word. Thank you very much for joining u s David.
FRUM: Thank you.
I really appreciate it. Coming up two former counterintelligence agents
will join Brian Williams with their reaction to the Russia threats of
retaliation after 60 Russians were kicked out of the United States tonight
by the Trump Administration. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.
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