Giuliani causes troubles for Trump. TRANSCRIPT: 05/18/2018. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O’DONNELL
Date: May 18, 2018
Guest: Emily Jane Fox; Michael Avenatti; Rome Shubert
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Now it’s time for the LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE
O’DONNELL. Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And we are going to have Chris Jansing reporting live from Texas later in
our hour here.
O’DONNELL: And Rachel, you broke my concentration again tonight when I was
trying to prepare to the show. You had to go back to Nixon’s enemy list
and I had to turn up the volume. So extraordinary. That was just a
perfect guided tour through that period and what Nixon was up to. And you
know, I – as you know, I had a book come out last year about the ‘68 race,
Nixon is obviously the winner of it and a big character. And I developed
really big sympathies for Nixon at different points in his life, especially
in his child and his brothers died from tuberculosis. And it is all sorts
of ways you can be sympathetic to Richard Nixon and then you hear him on
that tape tonight. And that’s a criminal on the tape tonight.
MADDOW: Yes. And you know, even if you just focus in on what he was being
impeached for. He was in the act of – he was in the middle of being
impeached when he resigned. And because the impeachment didn’t go all the
way through, we don’t think of him as having been forced from office
because of this specific things.
But the articles of impeachment laid it out very, very clearly. And if you
just go through them one by one, the evidence for his guilt of those things
that the articles of impeachment charge him for, each of them is laid out
on those tapes. And you hear him not confessing but actually committing
the crimes on those tapes. And it is a blessing to history we can see not
only, you know, accounts of what he did, but we can actually see him doing
it in real time by hearing him on those recordings.
O’DONNELL: And it is a cold and heartless criminal voice you are hearing
on that tape especially the one you played tonight, Rachel. That is as
gold as it gets. And Republican senators, upon hearing that and the other
material went up to the White House to tell him, if you don’t resign, not
only will the house impeach you but when the case comes to the Senate, we
are going to find you guilty. It’s going to get more than a two-thirds
vote in the Senate to remove you from office.
MADDOW: Yes. And the House Republicans that were Nixon partisans that had
thus far resisted the tide that was starting to push Nixon out of office,
once they heard the tapes even in the Nixon partisans in the House said we
give up. He has to go.
O’DONNELL: And while that dramatic hearing moment when John Dean just
offers up the enemies list, I had completely forgotten that until you
played that tonight. That was a more dramatic moment than anything I
remember about that.
MADDOW: Well, the fact – the thing I didn’t remember until we started
going through the archives and listening the tapes today is that he wasn’t
asked about it. The committee didn’t know about it. The committee made a
demand of documents. He had told them the stuff he that was going to
bring. They were asking about other stuff and then he just says, by the
way, do you want the enemy list that I brought with me?
Nobody had any idea it was coming. The room erupts. The senator
questioning him as senator (INAUDIBLE) has no idea what to say in response.
It’s nervous laughter. Sam Dash comes in and says yes, we would please
like a copy of that, sir. It’s just a truly shocking moment. And it was
shocking not just because the President had a list of enemies but because
the reason they had a list of enemies was to use the power of the federal
government to go ruin those people’s lives and destroys them. And that the
resonates with the “Washington Post” reporting on –.
O’DONNELL: And just to put it in 2018 context. It would be as if
Kellyanne Conway is in a hearing like that and without being asked a
question about it, she volunteers to offer a Senate committee a document
that the President ordered to make – to compose, which is incredibly
incriminating of the President.
John Dean was in the thick of all of this stuff. He was in the thick of
all of this criminality just months before he became this highly
cooperating witness right there on TV.
MADDOW: Yes. I mean, this is – I think like – so it’s – like imagine
it’s Don McGahn sitting there in a committee hearing and he volunteers, you
know, you guys haven’t asked me about this, but you know that the President
personally intervened with the postmaster general to double the shipping
rates on Amazon because he doesn’t like Jeff bay sew and “the Washington
Post”? Do you want me to tell you about that, too? And whoever the modern
equivalent of Sam Dash says, yes sir, we please like that documentation. I
mean, that’s – that’s worth reminiscing to that episode.
O’DONNELL: It is exactly that. John Dean had the same job.
Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O’DONNELL: I just can’t take this anymore. I know a lot of you have said
that today, but I just can’t take this anymore. That’s what Michael Cohen
said. That’s what former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is telling friends
according to a report in “Vanity Fair” by our first guest tonight, Emily
Jane FOX. And one of the things he can’t take anymore is Michael Avenatti,
who will also be one of our first guests tonight.
Emily Jane FOX reports Cohen according to two people familiar with his
thinking, has vacillated between fuming over Avenatti’s involvement in the
matter and feeling browbeaten by the barrage of headlines. Isn’t he
supposed to be representing a porn star? One person said in reaction to
the news. Soon after Avenatti tweeted out the document. The document
Michael Avenatti tweeted out contained a list of banking transactions that
Michael Cohen engaged in using the essential consultants LLC that Michael
Cohen used to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000 during the Presidential campaign
to stop talking about having had sex with Donald Trump years earlier.
Today Michael Cohen’s lawyers asked a federal judge in New York City to bar
Michael Avenatti from the courtroom in the Michael Cohen case because
Michael Avenatti publically released those private bank records of Michael
Cohen’s. In their submission to federal judge Kimba Woods, Michael Cohen’s
lawyers said Mr. Avenatti’s deliberate public dissemination of confident
nonpublic information speaks to his character and lack of fitness to appear
before this court as well as his craving to create a carnival atmosphere in
this case. Mr. Avenatti’s conduct in publishing confidential nonpublic
bank records without concern for the lawfulness of their disclosure or
their accuracy was inappropriate and was intended to unfairly prejudice Mr.
Joining us now with his response, attorney Michael Avenatti and also with
us, “Vanity Fair’s” Emily Jane FOX who is now an MSNBC contributor.
Michael Avenatti, what’s your response to Michael Cohen’s lawyers today
seeking to have you in effect barred from the courtroom in the Michael
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS’ LAWYER: Well, Lawrence, good evening.
I mean, of course, they want to bar me from the courtroom in the proceeding
because we have made considerable inroads over the last eight weeks. We’
have disclosed some very damaging, accurate information relating to Michael
Cohen and his activities.
And we are not going anywhere, Lawrence. Regardless of what happens by way
of this motion before the honorable judge Kimba Woods, who you know and I
know, and she is an exceptional judge. Regardless of what happens,
Lawrence, we are not going anywhere. My client is not going anywhere. And
I’m not going anywhere. We are going to see to it that the truth about
what happened here is laid bare for the American people and the evidence is
laid bare for the American people.
Michael Cohen and his attorneys don’t like us because we speak the truth.
They don’t like us because we disclose accurate information about the
shenanigans and the illegal acts that have occurred over the last two years
plus between Michael Cohen and Mr. Trump. It’s that clear. It’s obvious
why they want to take us off the playing field, because we are kicking a
lot of butt, Lawrence.
O’DONNELL: What happens if you are not allowed to appear in this case in
New York? It isn’t central to the case you presented that’s in federal
court in California now?
AVENATTI: No, it’s not central to that case. It has nothing to do with
that particular case. We sought to intervene as it relates to some
documents that we want to make sure are protected by way of the proceedings
in the southern district of New York. So in the event we were not able to
proceed, it wouldn’t have a drastic impact on our abilities.
The biggest problem, Lawrence, for Michael Cohen and his attorneys is as
follows. In light of what has happened over the last eight weeks and in
light of our appearance in the press and in light of the fact that we are
constantly proven right and we are constantly proven as truth sayers,
people every day are passing additional, highly valuable information to us
relating to Michael Cohen and his conduct, as well as that of Mr. Trump.
And that is a serious, serious problem for Michael Cohen and Mr. Trump.
And that problem is not going to be alleviated, Lawrence, by some filing by
Michael Cohen’s lawyers whining about the fact we’re speaking the truth.
O’DONNELL: You tweeted something about Michael Cohen’s attorney tonight,
about an hour before coming on the program. You said, why is Mr. Cohen’s
attorney, Mr. Ryan representing Mr. Cohen at the same time that he is
working for Qatar? Especially in light of the Qatar bribery allegations
revealed earlier this week? Are they paying Michael Cohen’s legal bills?
No wonder he is trying to keep me out of the case! Could you expand on
AVENATTI: Well, Lawrence, you know, I don’t know how many times I have
said it over the last eight weeks. You can’t make this stuff up. We now
have discovered that Mr. Steven Ryan who is the lead criminal defense
lawyer for Mr. Cohen in southern district of New York, he also serves as a
lobbyist for his law firm, (INAUDIBLE). And in 2017, he was individually
retained to provide services to the government of Qatar. And, of course,
your viewers will probably recall that we blew the lid on the relationship
of Michael Cohen and a number of Qatari nationals last week. We showed the
photos and video and there were press reports in numerous press outlets
that Michael Cohen sought money from the Qatari nationals, was selling
access to the President of the United States.
Now we have Michael Cohen’s attorney also working for the Qataris. I think
it’s probably a complete conflict of interest, especially if those payments
are at the center of the Mueller probe or may find their way into the
criminal action in the southern district of New York. And if that’s the
case, I don’t know how Mr. Ryan stays in the case. The last thing he
should be worried about is me and my ethics. He needs to worry about him
and his ethics.
O’DONNELL: I’m just going to make a note here, having worked in the Senate
and lived a life outside of the Senate. I know an awful lot of criminal
litigators and an awful lot of lobbyist. I have never known one who has
also been the other. I have never hears of a criminal litigator ever
working as a lobbyist.
Emily Jane FOX you have really strong context in Michael Cohen’s camp we
have been relying on your reporting, what’s going on there as I did earlier
as I was read what you reported earlier this week. Is Michael Cohen
watching tonight right now? Is he watching Michael Avenatti right now?
EMILY JANE FOX, STAFF WRITER, VANITY FAIR: FOX, SENIOR REPORTER, VANITY
FAIR: I don’t know if he is watching right now. I know that he has –
it’s been impossible to avoid Michael Avenatti over the last several
months. And so, I know that he has seen him on television. He has caught
some of what he is saying, a lot of what he is saying.
And part of the frustration that he’s been feeling is at the advice of
counsel he is not speaking up. He is staying quiet and he has stayed
completely fine (ph) throughout this entire thing. So you have Michael
Avenatti who has able to come on tonight and talk about his positions and
Michael Cohen has to be completely silence.
O’DONNELL: Where are Michael Cohen’s lawyers? They’ve been invited on
FOX: Their strategy, whatever they have determined that is what they want
to do. That they want to play it out in the actual courtroom rather than
the court of public opinion.
O’DONNELL: And when Michael Cohen says I can’t take this anymore, Michael
Avenatti is part of what he’s talking about?
FOX: Yes. The inability for him to speak about what he believes are his
truths while Michael Avenatti is out there speaking about his truths.
O’DONNELL: You know, we have all seen Michael Cohen on TV at different
O’DONNELL: It’s hard to remember seeing a more ignorant lawyer on
television in the history of television. He was the one who very proudly
declared to America that it is impossible to rape your wife, something
Donald Trump’s first wife accused him of. The notion, I don’t think
there’s a person out there who has seen Michael Avenatti on television as a
lawyer, whether you are rooting for Donald Trump or not, and who has also
seen Michael Cohen on television in any capacity as a campaign commentator
in any capacity. I don’t think there’s a single person who would say that
Michael Cohen could survive 60 seconds on television with Michael Avenatti?
Does Michael Cohen think he can answer Michael Avenatti on TV?
FOX: I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t know what he
thinks. I do know that he is frustrated by the inability to get out there
and try and speak his message. But there are number of things frustrating
him. It is not just Michael Avenatti. It is not just his inability to
come out and speak his truth. It’s the fact that he has Rudy Giuliani
going on television. It is the fact that President Trump went on
television and making his legal case harder. It is the fact that he has
legal bills that who knows how are going to be paid. So there are a number
of things that are frustrating him. Those are just numbers on that list.
O’DONNELL: Michael Avenatti, you are talking tonight about how his legal
bills might be getting paid. I mean, one of the things you are suggesting
in your tweet about attorney Ryan, this very, very strange combination of
roles as a lobbyist for a foreign country and a critical defense lawyer for
a possible criminal defendant in New York City, that perhaps that lobbying
money is somehow helping Michael Cohen?
AVENATTI: Well, that’s right, Lawrence. You know, there’s been a lot of
people on the far right that have been delving into how my fees are being
paid and we have been very, very transparent as far as how my legal fees
and expenses have been paid and are being paid. I don’t know how we could
be more transparent.
You know, it is very interesting. We haven’t heard anything about how
Michael Cohen’s legal fees are being paid. And in light of this disclosure
relating to the lobbying activities of Mr. Ryan, I find it very, very
curious at best.
And I agree with you, I have never heard this combination of lobbying on
behalf of a foreign government that appears to have been engaged in a
bribery scream or at least an attempted bribery scheme of concerning an
incoming administration. I have never heard such a thing.
But I want to go back to something you just touch on and that Emily touched
on. Let’s be clear about something. There’s a lot of lawyers in America.
There are probably too many lawyers in America. They could find somebody
to come on television and present arguments on behalf of Michael Cohen if
they truly wanted to. They had a guy by the name of David Schwartz many
weeks ago. He came on national television and lied to the American public
on your network and CNN when he said the President knew nothing about the
agreement, had never reimbursed the agreement, et cetera, et cetera.
We now know those were absolute lies. That was Michael Cohen’s handpicked
attorney to go on television to represent him. It’s obvious why they don’t
want to go on television because they don’t know what to say and they don’t
want to say the truth. It is that simple.
O’DONNELL: Emily, what about the guy who used to run around on these
shows, never on this one, fighting with Michael Avenatti on CNN and other
shows? He was speaking for Michael Cohen, chosen by Michael Cohen, as
Michael Avenatti says. What happened to him?
FOX: My sense is that everyone in Cohen land is not getting on television
right now. That that is part of their –.
O’DONNELL: But does Michael Cohen know that guy he did send out on
television was the worst failure he would have possibly sent on TV as a TV
FOX: I don’t know that he knows that.
O’DONNELL: Does he think Rudy Giuliani is hurting him on TV?
FOX: From my reporting from people familiar with it, he thought Rudy
Giuliani getting on television and making things more complicating for him
was incredibly frustrating and he could not understand why he got on not
only once, but two, three, and four and five times and continue to make
things more complicated.
O’DONNELL: And now, Michael Cohen and I have an area of agreement. I know
it is bound to happen.
Emily Jane FOX, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
And Michael Avenatti, please hang around because Rudy Giuliani can’t stop
talking about you. Even when he is asked questions that have nothing to do
with you, he can’t stop talking about you as he did this morning on TV.
And I just want to see if you have any reaction to Rudy Giuliani’s latest
So we are going to take a break and come back and talk to Michael.
O’DONNELL: Rudy Giuliani did something on TV this morning that we haven’t
seen before. I have never seen it. He didn’t like CNN running an old
Charlie Rose interview video that showed Rudy Giuliani saying something
completely different in 1998 than what he was saying this morning. And so
Giuliani objected so vehemently that CNN I think wisely decided that it
would be more entertaining to watch Giuliani’s objection to the video than
watching the actual video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here’s Charlie rose with you in the interview. You
tell me what you meant.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP’S LAWYER: Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don’t want to hear it?
GIULIANI: It’s not even relevant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the President is asked to testify, subpoenaed to
GIULIANI: That’s unfair. That’s the reason people don’t come on the show.
You have the promoting with Aleksandr Torshin (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does that have to do with this?
GIULIANI: Because they are all trying to bring Trump into that and he is
not involve in it, Chris.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look. Avenatti has been getting fed information that’s
run to be more true than not, mostly about Michael Cohen, OK. What he is
doing on TV, that his business and the people who put him on.
O’DONNELL: He has Avenatti on the brain. What have you done to him,
Michael Avenatti, that he cannot get through an interview that isn’t about
you without railing against you?
AVENATTI: You know, Lawrence, a close friend of mine called me after that
interview and said, you know, Michael, you are living rent free in Rudy
Giuliani’s head. And I had to laugh because guess what, he is absolutely
right. I am living rent free in his head. And they don’t even know which
way is up.
Lawrence, it gets worse and worse by the week. I thought that his
performance on this week with George Stephanopoulos, a week or two ago, I
thought that was bad. This performance this morning made that look like a
stellar legal performance on behalf of a client.
What I witnessed this morning when I saw this interview is a guy that’s
completely disheveled, disoriented. I mean, I don’t know that you could
have a worse performance than Rudy Giuliani’s this morning.
Here’s the question, is this the best they can do? This is the best the
President of the United States can do for legal representation with all of
the lawyers in America? Are you kidding me?
O’DONNELL: I for one, by the way, just wanted to give a professional
commendation to the CNN control room for staying on Rudy, instead of the
old video they are going to show. But now we will show you what CNN could
not show you this morning because Rudy Giuliani was entertainingly arguing
This is what Rudy Giuliani said 20 years ago after saying once again this
morning his position this morning was remember, the President cannot be
subpoenaed to testify. Here he is 20 years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the President is asked to testify, subpoenaed to
testify before a grand jury and says, no, not going to do it –
GIULIANI: You got to do it. I mean, you don’t have a choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Michael Avenatti, you don’t have a choice. That’s a very
different response than what we were hearing from him this morning.
AVENATTI: I agree with – I agree with the 20-year-ago Mr. Giuliani. I
agree he was absolutely right. And you know what, I agreed with a lot of
things that Mr. Giuliani said 20 years ago. I thought I knew Mr. Giuliani.
The guy that we are seeing lately, he is no Mr. Giuliani.
O’DONNELL: We are going to widen our discussion now with former federal
prosecutor, Paul Butler and Jonathan Alter is also with us.
Paul Butler, Rudy Giuliani was a lot calmer 20 years ago when he was being
asked legal questions on TV. What has happened?
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the whole world is learning what
African-American and Latino residents of New York have been saying about
Giuliani for years, he’s erratic, does not respect the rule of law, and he
puts politics over principles. So in this interview we also have learned
that he’s a bad lawyer. He makes damaging admissions about his client.
O’DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, your reaction to the two Rudys, 20 years ago
and this morning.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Just before 9/11 when he became
America’s mayor. He had completely lost his credibility in New York City.
And he was widely detested by people in both parties –
O’DONNELL: Including his wife who had kicked him out of Gracie Mansion,
the mayor’s residence because he was having an affair with his press
ALTER: Right. So his credibility was shot a long time ago. But I
actually don’t completely agree with everybody that he is doing the
President harm right now. I think Trump right now is able to tweet but
doesn’t go on TV very much with his message because he doesn’t want to
answer questions. So Giuliani is out there propagandizing for him. And
unfortunately, I think he is even within the base and maybe some people
weren’t paying very much attention.
He is normalizing this banana Republican behavior. And of course it is
when he said in this interview that if the President does it, it’s not
obstruction of justice. That is like when Nixon said to David Frost, if
the President breaks the law, he is not breaking the law. So it tends to
work its way into people’s heads that, you know, there’s not a case to be
made that it’s not obstruction of justice if the President does it, which
is a nefarious idea. And just by his presence over and over again on
television, he does have the effect of normalizing that part of the debate.
O’DONNELL: So the President tweeted this morning complaining that the FBI,
as he put it, had an FBI representative implanted into my campaign for
President. Rudy Giuliani then in that interview this morning said he
doesn’t know if that happened, and the President doesn’t know if that
happened. “New York Times” has clarifying reporting on it tonight saying
that the FBI did use, as an informant, a person they describe as an
academic who was living in London who had conversations with people that
the FBI was interested in, reported on those conversations. And Michael
Avenatti for Rudy Giuliani to be out there leaning heavily on this idea
that the FBI was somehow spying illegitimately on the Trump campaign. And
then at the same time admitting that we actually don’t know what they did,
all in the same conversation?
AVENATTI: Lawrence, this is a consistent pattern of what we have seen from
Mr. Giuliani. It wasn’t too long ago that he talked about stormtroopers
and made Nazi references when describing the fine men and women of the FBI
that put their lives on the line every day for each of us so that we can
live free here in the United States and be safe.
I mean, this guy is unhinged. He will hesitate to say basically nothing.
He will say whatever he thinks he needs to say. This constant attack on
law enforcement really has no place in this dialogue. The guy needs to –
he needs to be replaced, Lawrence. I mean, this is the best they can do?
O’DONNELL: Let’s listen to this morning’s version of the stormtrooper
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You called them stormtrooper’s.
GIULIANI: They are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going into Michael Cohen. That’s what you called them.
GIULIANI: They invaded the attorney/client privilege.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stormtroopers? Nazi foot shoulders.
GIULIANI: You don’t go into a man’s house in the morning for a taste of 10
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had a warrant.
GIULIANI: Of course, they had a warrant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know better than to call these –
GIULIANI: I don’t know better, Chris. I know to say it. They are. And
stick with it and accept it and own it. You are stormtroopers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Paul Butler, he is calling the FBI agents who he used to work
with and who you used to work with, stormtroopers.
BUTLER: You know, it’s so inflammatory. It’s just outrageous. And this
is from a man who purports to be in favor of law and order and respect the
But to Jonathan’s point there is a kind of seepage here. So now, the
Republicans apparently have been affected with the same idea that they need
the identity of this informant. So if his name is stated, that compromises
not only this criminal investigation but national security not only for
this case because if it becomes part of politics to reveal who is helping
the United States, then nobody is going to want to help the United States.
O’DONNELL: Let’s listen to what Giuliani said about a possible subpoena to
the President, what he would want the President to do. What he would want
to do if the President is subpoenaed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: I go right to the attorney general. I would say, Jeff, you
know, put on big boy pants and you go take it away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he is recused from this.
GIULIANI: Then I go to Rod Rosenstein and I say you want to try the big
boy pants for size, you put them on. You get rid of the subpoena. He
would have to do it or he have to quit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Michael Avenatti your reaction to that?
AVENATTI: I hope everybody on the other side of this case has their big
boy pants on Lawrence because we are not going anywhere. That’s my
reaction to that.
O’DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, Rudy Giuliani is describing what would have
been perceived as obstruction of justice during the Nixon era.
ALTER: Yes. I mean, it’s big boy pants on fire. You know, liar, liar
pants on fire. I mean, he is pretty much – everything that he’s saying is
at odds not only with what he used to be when he would take people out in
handcuffs out of wall street firms when he was a prosecutor and signed off
on many, many, you know, home invasions as he calls it by stormtroopers
that happened to be working for him then.
But when he starts to make an argument that, you know, it’s only ten-year-
old information that they were using, that they were somehow breaking the
law by just engaging in normal law enforcement activities, totally proper,
signed off by a judge and then he starts to go after basic subpoenas. He
is attacking the rule of law in the same way that Donald Trump is.
But Giuliani knows better. He is a lawyer and former prosecutor so it his
hypocrisy even - all the more outrageous.
O’DONNELL: And Paul Butler, there is not a criminal jurisdiction - federal
jurisdiction in the country that has not at some point sent a lawyer to
jail – sent a lawyer to prison for breaking the law.
BUTLER: Yes. And Lawrence, the President said that he wanted a TV lawyer,
someone to make his case on TV. He has gotten a bad TV lawyer, who is
undermining his case. But at the end of the day it’s not TV audiences who
are going to judge the President. It may be the congress, in the event of
impeachment, and after he leaves office, it might be a federal prosecutor.
O’DONNELL: Michael Avenatti, are you doing things specifically to taunt
Rudy Giuliani now that you know how easy it is to do?
AVENATTI: Well, we are not taunting him, Lawrence. We are just
responding. We haven’t taken the offensive against him. But every time he
comes out and wants to engage in name calling, et cetera, you know, we
But Lawrence, I’m going to make another invitation, another request, Mr.
Giuliani you and I should go on any program, let’s debate this case and the
facts and really what went on here for the American people. I really wish
you would agree to do that sooner rather than later.
I keep asking for that Lawrence, but he refuses to go on any media outlet.
I will go on FOX, your network, any network, he refuses to debate me or get
on the panel with me and talk about this case. And I think that should
tell you everything you need to know.
O’DONNELL: And let me just add this to your invitation to Rudy Giuliani.
10:00 p.m. any night of the week right here. And here’s my promise to
Michael Avenatti and to Rudy Giuliani, I won’t say a word. I will just sit
here and guide us in and out of the commercials and just leave it to you
guys for the hour. I will stay out of it. I will not touch the scale one
way or the other.
ALTER: Super bowl ratings.
O’DONNELL: Michael Avenatti, Paul Butler thank you for joining us on this
Friday night. Really appreciate it. Jonathan Alter is going to stick with
And when we come back we are going to discuss the difference between Donald
Trump’s enemy list and Richard Nixon’s enemies list. And the biggest
difference is that Donald Trump’s enemies list is public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there a part of you that was like this isn’t real?
This would not happen in my school?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, there wasn’t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why so?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It’s been happening everywhere. I felt - I have
always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too. So I
don’t know. I wasn’t surprised. I was just scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Eventually this time was 93 days. That’s how long it has been
since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in
Parkland, Florida. Today at Santa Fe high school, about 30 miles outside
of Houston, Texas, nine students and one teacher were killed and another
ten people injured after a shooter opened fire. The suspected shooter is a
17-year-old high school junior who police say was armed with a shotgun and
.38 revolver. Tonight he is in solitary confinement and charged with
Law enforcement say they say they found four pipe bombs in the school and
other explosive devices in a car and the suspected shooter’s house. Texas
governor Greg Abbott say in a press conference today that there were no red
flag warnings. That was not true.
On the suspect’s computer and cell phone, law enforcement found his plans
to commit the shooting and then kill himself.
16-year-old Rome Shubert survived being shot in the head this morning and
is recovering tonight at his home with his family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROME SHUBERT, SANTA FE SHOOTING VICTIM: It came in this way, through the
back of my head and then exited right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How lucky do you feel?
SHUBERT: The doctor said that if it would have been any up, any down, any
left, any right, I would have been paralyzed or killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When The doctor tells you something like that, what do
SHUBERT: I think probably about the luckiest guy alive right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Joining us now from Santa Fe, Texas, MSNBC Chris Jansing who is
with Rome Shubert at his home.
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, I just
talked to Rome’s mom, she’s an ICU nurse. She finds out her son has been
shot in the head. She knows what the statics are. She knows how desperate
the situation might be and she’s driving there. And you can imagine what’s
going through her head. And yet here he is, Rome Shubert on his front
Your mom also told me she cried for hours this afternoon. I think partly
out of relief, partly out of grief at what happened to your high school.
How are you doing?
SHUBERT: I’m doing pretty well. So I’m better than I did earlier.
JANSING: You have an entry wound on the side of your neck an exit wound.
Let’s go back to that moment. When did you realize, you are in art class,
it’s the first period of the day, when did you realize something was very
SHUBERT: Normal day just started out. And then a bang, my ears start
ringing, another loud bang, a loud bang follows that one. I didn’t know
what it was. (INAUDIBLE) is going crazy. Had no idea what was going on.
I jumped under the desk, and flipped it up in front of me. IA lot of more
– more loud bangs. Just kind of freaking out at that point. Everybody
was yelling and like scrambling. Peeked around, some more loud bangs and I
was kind of freaking out at that point.
I look over at the door. And I guess he had walked out for a little while.
And I ran out the door, jumped over the wall, started running to the
parking lot. Had no idea I was even shot until I looked down at my shirt,
dripping blood everywhere. Running fine. I was talking. I had no idea
that it even went in and out.
JANSING: Do you think you were in a state of shock at that point?
SHUBERT: Definitely. Adrenaline was running so fast. I mean, the wall is
seven-foot, and I just put my arms on it and lifted myself over and threw
my legs over. Probably couldn’t do that if I was just - if I didn’t have
that much adrenaline running.
JANSING: Let me go back to the room because you said you could hear the
loud bangs, your ears were ringing. When did you realize these are gun
shots? Somebody is shooting at us?
SHUBERT: Yes. Well, the first one I was like – I really didn’t know what
the first one was. The second one goes off. Now, I wasn’t sure. Now I
realized I peeked a little bit and saw a pistol in his hand.
JANSING: You actually saw the gun?
SHUBERT: I did. I saw a pistol in his hand. And once I was on the
ground, I saw the pistol – a charcoal gray pistol, and then I did notice a
shotgun on his shoulder.
JANSING: You had never seen him before? You didn’t get a good look at his
JANSING: What happened the minute he went out of the room. Were you the
only one who took off? Was there a mass exodus of people running for their
SHUBERT: There was quite a few people who went out the door with us. I
didn’t physically see him run out, but when everybody said – or the people
next to the door, they had a clear line and they said, let’s go now. So it
was like, this could be my only chance to get out alive so I’m going now.
I mean, there could be no other chance for me to get out.
So, I went. And a couple people followed me. I seen a couple people try
to scale the wall, a couple people couldn’t get over. I mean, there was
sort of a gate and it had some places to put your feet to get over, and I
noticed a couple people got out that way. It was just crazy.
JANSING: You scale this wall, something as you say you probably couldn’t
do under any other circumstances. So, then somebody sees you, that you are
bleeding, and you feel that you are bleeding?
JANSING: Are you surprised by that?
SHUBERT: I’m definitely surprised because I was just checking on my
friend, and he said, I’m all right. You go. You go. I had no idea he
ended up had been shot in the leg. But a friend comes up to me and said I
got a lot of blood, do you think somebody got hit in front of me? He was
like, no, no, you got shot. You got shot in the head. There’s a lot of
blood coming your neck. So I immediately took my shirt off, put it into my
neck and held the pressure to it and just took off.
JANSING: That’s the son of an ICU nurse. You know what to do. Your
girlfriend can’t reach you. You left your phone in there. Your mom can’t
reach you. The phone is still in that room where you were shot.
Eventually, you get into an ambulance, you get to the hospital, you still
in fact have your bracelet on. What was that reunion like when you saw
SHUBERT: Kind of a sense of relief. Made my emotions kind of settle down
a little bit that they were there and they knew I was OK. Seeing them like
that is just – I never thought I’d have to go through this. Just the odds
– odds are very slim.
JANSING: Your mom said I could tell you something that you don’t know.
The baseball coach, we have a baseball prodigy here. He is a pitcher, star
pitcher for the high school team. Your team has a big game. And the coach
suggested maybe they wouldn’t play because of everything that’s happened.
And do you know what they said? We are playing this game for Rome and we
are going to show the world that we are not going to let a shooter stop us.
SHUBERT: I like to hear that, definitely. I definitely wanted them to
keep playing this series. I wouldn’t want something like this. Come back
stronger than ever. Just filled off of this and just grind everybody in
the ground and just show then that we are way stronger than this.
JANSING: What’s next for you? Will you be able to sleep tonight, do you
SHUBERT: Yes, I’m pretty tired right now. Might be a little different
sleeping at night. I have to sit up a little bit straighter. But
definitely just glad that I’m here.
JANSING: The doctor said that much it could have been rally bad.
SHUBERT: If bullet would have been anywhere up, down, diagonal, side to
side, that I could have been paralyzed or killed.
JANSING: We are glad you are here. You are safe. We are going to be
rooting for your team.
Rome, thank you so much.
SHUBERT: Thank you.
JANSING: We do appreciate you taking the time.
You and I, Lawrence, have sat next to each other at mass shootings. The
first one I covered was Columbine. Since then 214,000 students have been
exposed to gun violence in their schools.
Rome, is one of the 425 casualties – Lawrence.
O’DONNELL: Chris Jansing, thank you very much.
And please thank Rome Shubert. I know he doesn’t have sound from me there
in the porch. But please, thank him very much for telling us and sharing
his story with us. Really appreciate it. Thank you, Chris.
O’DONNELL: We will be right back.
O’DONNELL: Donald Trump hates Jeff Bezos and has been very public about
hating Jeff Bezos. And that’s the only way in which the Trump enemies list
differs from the Richard Nixon famous enemies list.
Nixon kept his list private because he was a smart enough lawyer to know
that what he was doing with his enemies list could get him impeached and it
would have if Richard Nixon didn’t resign before he was on his way to being
impeached by the House of Representatives.
Jeff Bezos has one thing in common with one of Richard Nixon’s biggest
enemies, Jeff Bezos owns a newspaper, “the Washington Post.” The fact that
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is currently the richest man in the
world must infuriate Donald Trump who has always felt the need to lie about
the size of his own fortune, the richest man in the world has never lied
And now “the Washington Post” is reporting tonight that Donald Trump has
met secretly with the postmaster general to try to force the post office to
raise rates on Amazon. This is obviously President Trump’s ways of
striking back at “the Washington Post’s” honest coverage of the Trump
presidency because there is nothing that Donald Trump hates more than
honest coverage of his presidency.
Richard Nixon kept his hatred of the “Washington Post” as private as he
could, but the White House tapes captured it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want it clearly
understood that from now on, ever, no reporter from “the Washington Post”
is ever to be in the White House. Is that clear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
NIXON: Unless it’s a press conference.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir, at the briefings here.
NIXON: Never in the White House. No reporter from “the Washington Post”
is ever to be in the White House again. And no photographer either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Jonathan Alter is back with us.
Jonathan, this attempt that Donald Trump has been secretly making with the
postmaster general is so desperately misguided. Apparently, he has now
learned, we hope he has learned in these multiple meetings, the postmaster
general cannot set the rates. There’s nothing the postmaster general can
do about the rates.
ALTER: Right. It’s done by the postal regulatory commission. It’s sort
of like, you know, bringing in the head of the SEC and telling him to bring
a securities fraud case against a particular company or bringing in the
head of the FCC and telling him, you know, take away NBC’s license.
This isn’t the way our government works. It’s the way it works in the
Philippines maybe now or Venezuela or Hungary or whether there are
strongmen around the world. That’s what Trump wants to be. He wants to be
able to carry out his personal vendettas and use the power of his office to
punish his enemies.
He is mad at Jeff Bezos because in 2015, after Trump lied about him, Bezos
tweeted #sendTrumpintospace, and that infuriated Trump, and he’s been
trying to get him ever since. It’s not going to be successful. It is
grounds for impeachment. Article two of the impeachment articles against
Richard Nixon went to his using the IRS to punish his enemies. They
consider that an impeachable offense in 1974. So, you know, if this ever
does come to impeachment, this could be an issue again.
O’DONNELL: Well, the postmaster general doesn’t control the rates. The
postmaster general by the way, Megan Brennan, she began her career in the
postal service as a letter carrier in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is, as
a personal story, one of the post office’s most successful personal stories
climbing that ladder. But her appointment is controlled by a board.
O’DONNELL: The President does appoint the people to that board. So if
President Trump has said to her in these meetings, if you don’t get this
done, if you don’t persuade them to raise the rates, I will replace enough
of them to get rid of you. Then we’re in criminal territory.
ALTER: Well, and he can do that because there are seven vacancies now on
the postal board of governors, which determines what this kind of step
child of an agency – it’s sort of like Amtrak. It’s not a conventional
agency of government, the U.S. postal service. But the board of governors,
when he names new members, they can vote her out and then, you know, go to
work on maybe trying to break the contract that Amazon has with the postal
service, which by the way, the postal service makes money on. When Trump
says they lose money on Amazon, that’s a lie. It’s factually inaccurate.
And Gary Cohn, you know, one of the many reasons he quit is because he
tried to explain the facts to President Obama about the U.S. postal
service. He didn’t want to hear about it because it’s a personal vendetta.
O’DONNELL: And when the President’s lawyers are trying to argue to a judge
perhaps that he does not have the time to comply with a subpoena from the
special prosecutor or a Michael Avenatti subpoena in a civil case, what the
President has been doing with his time by way of playing golf becomes kind
of relevant. And the amount of time this President has devoted to the
postmaster general and postage rates sets a record for American Presidents.
I don’t know how far back you would have to go to find a President who
actually met with the postmaster general.
ALTER: You know, it used to be back in the days of FDR when Jim Farley was
his top political adviser and the postmaster general, there was a lot of
patronage that the postmaster general had, and it really was a political
office. But those days are long gone. That ended in the early 1970s. So
he’s kind of living off what maybe his father told him about the way the
post office works, and he’s – you know, he can spend his time trying to do
this. But if he does take this kind of action that you are talking about,
it would be a clear abuse of power.
O’DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
O’DONNELL: Tonight’s LAST WORD is next.
O’DONNELL: In tonight’s LAST WORD, Stephen Colbert reminds us that the
British aren’t all as formal as the royal family. Using Trump family
friend Rob Goldstone as an example.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Goldstone told the committee that the oligarch
son insisted he helped set up a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. to pass along
dirt on Hillary Clinton, overriding Goldstone’s own warnings that the
meeting would be a bad idea. And if he thought the meeting was a bad idea,
you know it was a bad idea because here are just a few thing he thought
were good ideas. This hat. This hat. This hat, not to mention these
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can’t get it off!
When you are watching the royal wedding this weekend and thinking about how
classy the British are, on behalf of the patriots who died at Lexington and
Concord, I want you to remember Rob Goldstone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Stephen Colbert gets tonight’s Last Word and this week’s Last
Coming up, “Washington Post” reporter Robert Costa joins Brian Williams
with the breaking news about the FBI informant who met with three Trump
advisors during the campaign. THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS starts
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