6 days to midterms. TRANSCRIPT: 10/31/2018, The Last Word w Lawrence O’Donnell.
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: October 31, 2018
Guest: Stuart Stevens, Tasha Nelson
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Let me guess. That`s – that looks like
Rachel Maddow, right?
O`DONNELL: That looks like – how am I doing on the anchorman thing
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Pretty good. You`ve got the gravitas
thing. You`ve got the chiseled jaw.
O`DONNELL: I`ve got to say, the whole gravitas thing with anchorman has
been seriously undermined by the simple fact that the occupation anchorman
is played in the movies by Will Ferrell. And I`m sorry, but gravitas is
not the Ferrell brand. It is –
MADDOW: Well –
O`DONNELL: It`s not.
MADDOW: It`s an off – well, no. OK. That`s fair enough.
But I think, you know, when it comes to like middle-aged, potbellied,
overworked lesbian cable news host, I defy anybody – I defy anybody to be
O`DONNELL: I thought I was at the end of that sentence that began with
middle-aged potbelly. I – whoa, Rachel, I thought how can she be so
hurtful on Halloween?
So, hey, Rachel, where`s the party? Where are you off to? Where am I
meeting you after 11:00?
MADDOW: I`ll send you an e-mail.
O`DONNELL: Text me.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Ah, Halloween, it`s unlike any other night around here. And this one is
like any other Halloween for Donald Trump before in his life because on
this Halloween, Donald Trump is running scared. Donald Trump has plenty to
be scared about. And so he is running scared, with a hugely successful
prosecutor investigating him.
Robert Mueller`s batting average as a special prosecutor is 1,000. Every
single person Robert Mueller has charged with crimes has pleaded guilty or
been found guilty or, in the case of Paul Manafort, both found guilty and
pleaded guilty. The only defendants Robert Mueller has charged who are not
now under his control are in Russia, the Russian military officers who
Vladimir Putin ordered to attack our democracy by attacking our 2016
presidential election in what Robert Mueller says was a conspiracy against
the United States of America to benefit the presidential candidacy of
Donald Trump. That is plenty to be worried about right now for Donald
With Donald Trump already an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal case in
Manhattan that Robert Mueller started and then sent up to the federal
prosecutors in Manhattan, who got guilty pleas from Donald Trump`s personal
lawyer, Michael Cohen, who knows an awful lot about Donald Trump, and he`s
telling all of it to federal prosecutors. So Donald Trump has a lot to be
Donald Trump should also be scared about New York state prosecutors who are
investigating him and his family as possible partners in crime. But Donald
Trump has something else to be scared of this week, something even more
immediate than a special prosecutor bearing down on him every day. Donald
Trump is obviously scared of who is going to be in charge of the
impeachment process in the House of Representatives after next Tuesday`s
election. And at this time, at this time on Wednesday night next week, we
And Donald Trump will know. And are the Democrats going to be in control
of the impeachment process if Robert Mueller delivers a report to Congress
showing that President Trump has committed impeachable crimes? We will
know the answer to that at this time next week.
If the Democrats win the House of Representatives on Tuesday night, Donald
Trump is going to be more terrified than he has ever been in his life, and
Robert Mueller is going to be instantly more empowered knowing that a
Democratic House of Representatives will not ignore his report the way a
Republican House of Representatives would try to and probably succeed in
And today we learned more about the roadmap of Robert Mueller`s
investigation that we will discuss later in this hour, including the
possibility that the president of the United States is already under
subpoena by the special prosecutor and is secretly fighting that subpoena
in court. We will get to that later. There is something else at stake in
next week`s election for Donald Trump and the country, and this one – this
one`s huge. It`s the thing that is always at stake in our elections, but
Donald Trump doesn`t care about this one nearly as much as he cares about
what the election means for the investigations of Donald Trump and his
That other thing that is at stake is nothing less than the governing of the
United States of America. If the Democrats win the House of
Representatives, Donald Trump will no longer be in control of the federal
government. Donald Trump will no longer be able to pass a single piece of
legislation through the House of Representatives, not one. And that means
no legislation in the United States Senate, even if it is controlled by the
Republicans, will ever become law because it won`t be able to get through
the House of Representatives.
All Trump dreams of passing any legislation die on Tuesday night if the
Democrats win the House of Representatives. If the Republicans manage to
hold on to control of the Senate, they will still be able to squeak through
Trump confirmations, but they won`t be so eager to do that because they
will have seen how Donald Trump lost the House of Representatives for
Republicans, and the surviving Republicans in the Senate will know that
they`re next in the 2020 elections because many more vulnerable Republicans
will be up for re-election in the Senate then.
And so, if the Democrats win the House of Representatives, which is
something that probably won`t be decided until the final votes are counted
in the California congressional districts late Tuesday night, then
everything changes. Everything changes in the life of Donald Trump, and
Donald Trump is scared of every one of those changes. And that`s why
Donald Trump is running scared this week.
Donald Trump is running scared as a campaigner desperately trying to re-
elect a Republican House of Representatives and a Republican Senate because
he knows his own political future depends on it. Not just his political
future, his future as an unindicted co-conspirator, his future as possibly
the next impeached president of the United States. Everything is riding on
Tuesday`s vote for Donald Trump, and that is why he is running scared, and
running scared means trying to make his voters scared.
Donald Trump was supposed to be out there now urging his voters to not get
tired of winning. They were going to get so tired of winning. All of
Donald Trump`s big wins. Donald Trump promised his voters that they were
going to get tired of winning because they were going to win the fight to
reduce and eliminate our national debt. The $19 trillion national debt
that Donald Trump talked about in every appearance as a candidate for
president is now over $21 trillion because Donald Trump has not decreased
the national debt, not one penny.
Instead, Donald Trump has created, through his tax cuts for the super rich,
the single biggest one-year increase in the national debt in history. And
Donald Trump was the self-proclaimed king of debt in his businesses. He
warned us. He loved not paying those debts.
And now, he is the king of debt in government, and he`s not going to pay
those debts either. Taxpayers are eventually going to pay those debts, and
that doesn`t feel like winning for Trump voters. And so, Donald Trump
can`t talk about the national debt now, not one word about it. And Donald
Trump does not campaign as the triumphant winner of a giant tax cut for the
super rich because most of Donald Trump`s supporters didn`t get in on that
tax cut. They can`t feel it. And for many of them, it was actually a huge
tax increase, in many cases, the biggest tax increase of their lives.
If you`re a middle class homeowner in New Jersey, in New York, in
California, and many other states where your financial planning has always
depended on the deductibility of state income taxes and property taxes, you
can no longer do that. You don`t have those deductions anymore. Donald
Trump took that away.
And the loss of those deductions means an increase in your annual tax bill
of tens of thousands of dollars. And if you`re one of America`s regular
rich people like, you know, a millionaire, a person who makes a million or
a couple of million dollars a year, you got a huge tax increase of hundreds
of thousands of dollars a year because of what Donald Trump did to the
deductibility of state income taxes and property taxes. That`s why I never
call the Trump tax cut a tax cut for the rich. It was a tax increase for
the rich and a tax cut only for the super rich.
And the super rich do not show up for Trump rallies. They just whisper
what they want directly to Donald Trump on the phone late at night, that
unsecured iPhone that Donald Trump likes to use to talk to his super rich
friends while the Chinese and the Russians and any foreign intelligence
agency that wants to can listen in. The Trump victims who are sitting
there at the Trump rallies in their red hats, having gotten nothing from
the Trump government do not feel like they are winning, and Donald Trump
And so because he can`t make them feel like they are winning, he needs to
make them feel scared. That`s the play Donald Trump sitting there at the
Trump rallies in their red hats, having gotten nothing from the Trump
government do not feel like they are winning, and Donald Trump knows that.
And so because he can`t make them feel like they are winning, he needs to
make them feel scared. That`s the play Donald Trump knows how to run.
Make them feel scared. The Mexicans are coming and they`re rapists.
That was his very first message to the very first voters who listened to
him on his very first day as a presidential candidate. And now they`re
coming again. They`re coming in what Donald Trump calls an invasion of our
Never mind that the people walking toward our southern border have no
military equipment for this invasion. Never mind that some of them are
barefoot. Some of them can`t walk because they`re babies and they haven`t
learned to walk yet. Some are toddlers. Some are grandparents. Some are
Donald Trump convinced a mass murderer in Pennsylvania that all of those
people are dangerous invaders, all of them – the babies, the toddlers, the
mothers, the grandmothers. Donald Trump convinced a mass murder in
Pennsylvania that they had to be stopped. And the mass murderer`s idea
about how to stop it was to go into a synagogue and kill Jews.
As he was firing his assault weapon, he screamed “all Jews must die.” he
didn`t get all Jews, but he got all he could – 11. And while he was at
it, he wounded four police officers. And the mass murderer did that, did
all of that because Donald Trump told him there was an invasion coming, and
it had to be stopped. That`s what the mass murderer said on social media
before going into the synagogue.
Donald Trump got that Pennsylvania voter scared, really scared. Voting
wasn`t good enough for him anymore. He was so scared he had to kill. He
didn`t go into the synagogue because he was tired of winning. He went into
the synagogue because of what Donald Trump called an invasion, an invasion.
Donald Trump decided he needed to come up with something other than the
word invasion after the mass murder of Jews in Pittsburgh, and so he turned
to the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship and pretended
that it is not written irrevocably into the United States Constitution.
And some of the news media fell for that and helped him deliver that lie
directly to his voters, that Donald Trump with the stroke of a pen can get
rid of a provision of the United States Constitution. It is an out and out
lie told by a man who is running scared – running scared about what
happens to him when the votes are counted on Tuesday night, especially
those final votes in California that will determine who will control the
House of Representatives.
And now, Donald Trump is adding another lie to his big invasion lie because
Donald Trump`s voters don`t feel like they`re winning. And the new lie is
that he is going to send 5,000 troops to the southern border to stop the
invasion. But the Trump voters don`t know that federal law prevents the
U.S. military from enforcing domestic law on U.S. soil. And, yes, they`re
going to stand on U.S. soil if they go down there, where they will not be
able to do anything.
Military can`t do any law enforcement inside the United States. That`s why
we have and pay for 17,000 police departments in this country. That`s why
we have federal law enforcement agents. The United States military is not
allowed to do the job of domestic law enforcement, and so Donald Trump will
waste $50 million, $100 million to send a group of unarmed U.S. soldiers to
the southern border to do nothing because they are legally prevented from
If Donald Trump follows through on this political stunt, it would be a
group of soldiers smaller than half, way less than half of the Chicago
Police Department. And the territory that they are supposed to cover is a
lot bigger than Chicago, over 2,000 miles of terrain that is very difficult
to patrol, and they won`t be allowed to use their weapons in any way, for
any purpose. They won`t be allowed to do anything if they are sent to the
southern border for that stunt.
Donald Trump is hoping that that stunt will feel like winning for Trump
voters because Trump voters know they certainly aren`t winning the wall
that Donald Trump promised them. Trump voters know they didn`t win the
money to build the wall from Mexico. He promised them Mexico would pay for
the wall. He led them in chants that Mexico would pay for the wall, and
Mexico is not paying a penny. And that sure doesn`t feel like winning.
And Donald Trump has not gotten a penny out of a Republican-controlled
Congress to build one foot of the new Trump wall, not one foot of Trump
wall. And that doesn`t feel like winning for Trump voters. And so there`s
not a word at Trump rallies now about Mexico paying for the wall.
Those people in the red hats are not tired of winning. And so Donald Trump
has to keep them scared. And if that means we see the words and ideas of
Donald Trump in another mass murderer`s final social media posting before
going in for the kill, then that`s the price Donald Trump seems willing to
pay for keeping his voters scared. Have we now seen America`s last mass
murderer to use Donald Trump`s language and ideas in his final social media
posting before he kills as the mass murderer in Pittsburgh did? We don`t
But we do know tonight that no matter how scared Donald Trump gets, his
sane supporters – most of his supporters, no matter how scared he gets
them to feel tonight, none of them, not one of them are as scared as Donald
Trump, who is running scared. More scared than he has ever been in his
Joining our discussion now, Stuart Stephens, Republican political
consultant. He served as the chief strategist for Mitt Romney`s 2012
presidential campaign. And Jason Johnson, the politics editor at
theroot.com and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Jason, my – what I`m seeing is that the Trump voters have no reason
to feel tired of winning. And so Donald Trump wants to give them that
other feeling, which is scared, which is terror, which is fear of what`s
happening out there. That`s what he believes he activated them with in the
beginning of his presidential campaign, and that`s what he needs them to
JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM: Right. And if you`re running for president of
the United States, making people afraid works perfectly fine. But if
you`re trying to galvanize people at the state by state level, it doesn`t
work that way. I don`t know if when the president shows up in Cleveland
next week and he tries to tell them there`s a horrible caravan of barefoot
women and children seeking asylum in the United States, if that`s
necessarily going to help Mike DeWine. I don`t know if when he goes down
to Florida and pulls that same line, if that`s going to help Ron DeSantis.
I mean, the problem is the president of the United States only has one
beat. He`s the guy who knows one chord on the guitar and that`s all he
knows. If you can`t frighten people into voting for you, you have to
actually offer something. And a president who is obsessed with his own ego
and his own power and his own future never has anything to offer because
he`s empty on the inside.
I predict this right now, Lawrence. The moment after the midterms end, if
– if the Democrats end up taking the House, in classic Donald Trump
phraseology, he will come out and say, you know, a lot of people don`t know
this, but the president usually does lose seats in his first midterm
election. He will completely blame everybody else in history rather than
take responsibility for the fact that he couldn`t frighten the American
public into keeping his party in power.
O`DONNELL: Stuart, it seems like everything we`re hearing from Donald
Trump about troops and birthright citizenship, these are all just stunts.
They`re obvious stunts, and they are stunts being played in the last week
of an election campaign. And I can`t see any other reason for them other
than Donald Trump can`t think of anything else to say.
STUART STEVENS, ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT 2014 FORMER SENIOR STRATEGIST: Well,
I think that`s true. The Donald Trump of 2016 was just a gateway drug to
the Donald Trump of 2018.
STEVENS: Nothing has changed. I mean you and Jason both were right.
You know, as someone who has worked in Republican campaigns, it`s
incredibly depressing because at the end, yes, campaigns get negative.
They get nasty. And, yes, we can all admit honestly there`s some element
to every campaign that is scaring the other side about the possibility.
But there has to be some unifying theme that uplifts people, that makes
people want to vote other than fear, or it is just incredibly a race to the
And I think it`s a very good point that was made about how is this going to
help governors and these statewide offices out there that are just so
important? They need somebody out there who is presenting a big picture
that they can point to and say, we want to be like that. And I think
there`s just a limited utility to trying to make everybody afraid of some
folks walking around Mexico.
O`DONNELL: And, Stuart, as someone who has worked on Republican campaigns,
when you see this kind of campaigning by the president at this stage of the
campaign, does that tell you that the Republicans and the White House are
reading this as a likely win for Democrats, and so that`s why we`re seeing
this style of campaigning we`re seeing?
STEVENS: Well, guessing what the White House is thinking is probably
always a loser`s game.
O`DONNELL: Thinking is a big word for what goes on in there, I guess.
STEVENS: You know, I just go back to Mark Cuban`s line, what was it? That
Donald Trump is the guy at the bar at closing time that will say anything.
And I think that`s what we`re seeing here.
It almost literally is throwing stuff up against a wall to see what sticks.
I mean, to pull birthright citizenship out, it`s just really extraordinary.
And to end up here you are, what, right before the election, and you`re in
a fight with the speaker of the house. That`s just not any kind of
unified, positive message that people can look to and feel good about the
O`DONNELL: Yes, Jason, when is the last time we saw a president trying to
get his party re-elected to control the House of Representatives, and his
party`s speaker of the house of representatives has to, in the final week
of the campaign, publicly, sharply disagree with the president on a huge
issue like birthright citizenship, and then the president fights back,
spins a 24-hour news cycle in a fight with the Republican speaker, whose
members he`s supposed to be trying to re-elect?
JOHNSON: Especially in a state where the Republican governor, Scott
Walker, is in a tight race. And the president`s there, you know, insulting
people like Paul Ryan.
I mean, there`s another element to this. Paul Ryan, because he knows he`s
retiring, he`s not going to be held responsible for this. He`s the freest
man in Washington, D.C. right now. He`s (INAUDIBLE) for himself because he
knows he`s basically out of the job soon he doesn`t want to do this.
But what it reflects is that this president has never been – he has always
been overrated as a galvanizer. He is a great galvanizer of voters for
him. He is not able to sprinkle that magic on anybody else.
I was just speaking to one of my colleagues in Cleveland. You know, Trump
has sort of bogarted his way into giving a rally in Cleveland next week.
Republicans there are terrified because they think if he shows up in
Cleveland, it`s going to galvanize the urban voters to reminded, oh, my
gosh, there`s a white nationalist here, I should probably get to the polls.
The president is – he`s not just a bull in a china shop. He`s got muddy
shoes on your couch everywhere he goes. And for some reason, he thinks
he`s redesigning the room.
And that`s what Republicans are going to have to face because if they lose
big next week, it is because of this president, not what they`re looking at
the local level.
O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, quickly before we get on a break here, one of
the strategic uses of a president is you use the president where he can
help you, and you don`t send him anywhere where he can hurt you. That
doesn`t seem to have been mastered by Trump world.
STEVENS: No. I think Donald Trump goes where he thinks he can get a crowd
and he`ll enjoy it.
STEVENS: I don`t think it has any part of a larger strategy. This is
about Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, Jason Johnson, thank you very much for starting
us off tonight.
And when we come back, a woman who has been a Republican-leaning voter is
not voting Republican this time because they have threatened to take away
the health care that her 7-year-old son needs to live. She will tell her
story here next.
And it is possible tonight that special counsel Robert Mueller has already
subpoenaed the president of the United States, and that subpoena is being
fought secretly. That report comes on a day when we have finally seen the
roadmap of the special prosecutor in the Nixon – what turned out to be the
Nixon impeachment case. How will that roadmap guide Robert Mueller? All
that`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Tasha Nelson (ph) describes her 7-year-old son Jack as a
soccer-playing Cub Scout with a passion for science. He`s also a kid with
what health insurance calls a pre-existing medical condition. He has
When he was 3 years old, he was on 18 medications taking 38 pills a day.
Now one of the 14 medications that Jack needs to live costs over $13,000 a
year. Jack`s mom, Tasha Nelson, describes herself as a swing voter who
leaned Republican. That was until the Republicans voted to repeal the
Affordable Care Act.
Tasha and her son Jack`s lives changed when President Barack Obama signed
the Affordable Care Act. She says, it wasn`t until the full protection of
the ACA took effect in January of 2014 that I felt safe. For the first
time since Jack was born, insurance companies couldn`t discriminate against
him by withholding coverage. What my son truly needs are politicians who
will commit to protecting access to health care for him and for everyone.
Republicans now realize that ripping health insurance and health care away
from kids like Jack is cruel and inhuman and, oh, by the way, a political
And so, they are lying about what they have tried to do and what they want
to do. And the worst pathological liar in the history of American politics
tweeted this today. Republicans will protect people with pre-existing
conditions far better than the Dems.
People with pre-existing conditions and moms with 7-year-old soccer-playing
Cub Scouts with pre-existing conditions know better. They know the
Republicans have tried to hurt them and believe they will try to hurt them
again. And so in this election, they are literally fighting for their
lives. And Tasha Nelson is fighting for the life of her son, Jack.
And joining us now is Tasha Nelson.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight, and I`m very sorry that Jack
has to endure what he`s had to endure medically and the chores that have
landed on you as a mother and now also as someone who is trying to save the
health care and health insurance system that you`re living under and that
millions of other Americans are living under.
Tell us about how you`ve moved as a voter over time because of this issue.
TASHA NELSON, LITTLE LOBBYISTS: Well, I`ve always been what I consider a
moderate. I have always voted dependent on issues important to me for
whichever candidate was going the direction I felt was important at the
time. As we age, as we grow, our issues change. Before I was a mother, I
had a different set of concerns than I do now, for example.
And then last year, the ACA came under fire, and I realized that we could
be essentially going back in time to the time when my son could be excluded
from coverage so that insurers could profit.
O`DONNELL: And when the Republicans talk about any attempt they might make
to preserve health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, they
do not – they do not make any attempt to control the cost of that health
insurance. And so they would say to you, here is your health insurance for
your son with pre-existing conditions, and it would not be of a concern to
them if that health insurance policy cost $100,000 a year.
NELSON: Right. In addition, the Republican bill that`s on the Senate
floor, the Tillis bill, it allows you to get a policy if you have a pre-
existing condition. What it does not do is keep the insurer from charging
you more for your policy or require them to cover the condition that you
have. So you`ll be paying a higher premium at a ridiculous rate for an
insurance that will not cover your diagnosis.
O`DONNELL: You know, I`m struck by what I`ve read about what Jack himself
knows about his situation, and I see this note that we have that he wrote
some of it in his own hand, and you helped by writing some of what he said
in your hand. And this note was his, my health care wish for 2018. This
is something he handed to a United States senator when you were visiting
one of the Senate office buildings, and his health care wish for 2018 is
simply, I don`t die. And then you asked him what he means and he said, I`m
scared I`ll get super duper sick and go to the hospital and they will say I
Tasha, it`s – I can`t imagine what it`s like to be a 7-year-old or to have
a 7-year-old who has those worries.
NELSON: He was six when he wrote that. We delivered that last Christmas
to Senator Tim Kaine who was gracious enough to sit with Jack and read it
to jack and asked him questions about what he meant, which was wonderful.
Because I think a lot of adults don`t realize that a child this young can
understand their own morbidity and mortality, and he does. He understands
his disease on a cellular level and has since he was very young. He
swallowed his first pills when he was two. He took five at a time at that
These kids live in hospitals. Last year, he spent over a month
hospitalized over the course of the year. And he saw other kids with CF in
the hospital who were far sicker than him and he correlated that with how
sick he could get.
O`DONNELL: And Tasha, before we go, you`re going to be voting in Virginia
this year in Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock`s district. She`s
running for re-election. How are you going to vote in that race?
NELSON: I`m voting Jennifer Wexton. Jennifer Wexton will support
healthcare and protect people with pre-existing conditions. I am now a
healthcare voter. I`m not a Republican or a Democrat. If you vote against
healthcare, I vote against you.
O`DONNELL: Tasha Nelson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I
really appreciate it.
NELSON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, more lying by Republicans about their healthcare
policy. What they have done, what they have tried to do, and what they
promised to do.
O`DONNELL: A new “Fox News” poll shows that Obamacare is far more popular
than Donald Trump or the Republican Congress. And so Donald Trump and the
Republican Congress are lying about what they have tried to do to Obamacare
and what they have actually done to Obamacare, the damage they have done.
Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act was the very first federal legal
protection for healthcare patients with pre-existing conditions and the
Republican House and Senate repeatedly voted to repeal it completely and
not replace it with anything. They cast those votes several times. They
are now attacking the Affordable Care Act in courts.
Donald Trump himself is trying to destroy Obamacare in a federal court
joined by Republican Attorneys general around the country. And now that
the polling shows that that is a big political mistake, the solution to
their political problem is to lie and to pretend that they are supporters
now of the principles of Obamacare, especially protecting patients with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They have spent the
last eight years obsessed with trying to undermine, sabotage, repeal that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now Andy Slavitt, the former acting
administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under President
Obama. And Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden
and Algora, a former senior aide to President Obama.
Andy Slavitt, I couldn`t have predicted that the way out of this
predicament, prior to the age of Trump, is to simply completely lie about
every vote you ever cast as a member of the House of Representatives. But
in the age of Trump just outright lying about the votes you`ve casted
apparently is the way Republicans thinks it works now.
ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ADMINISTRATOR MEDICAID AND MEDICARE CENTERS: Yes.
Well, Republicans care about protecting pre-existing condition protections
just about as much as Democrats care about cutting taxes for the wealthy,
which is not in their playbook. The problem that they have is that you
have Tonia and you have 130 million Americans like her, all of them with
pre-existing conditions and that math doesn`t make them feel very good.
And so you have a little bit of what is the odd, you even your shuffle
where odd years when people don`t vote, they really vote their policies,
and then you get to even years. And all of a sudden they see that math,
they can read a poll like anybody else, as you said, Lawrence, and they
have the audacity to look at Tonia in the eye and tell her that they`re
really not doing what they`ve done over 70 times over the last few years.
And I don`t think Tonia nor do I think Jack really buys it.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to how it`s going for Republican candidates as
they describe their lives out there as candidates to Sean Hannity on “Fox
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY: Would you vote to repeal Obamacare, the vote that John
McCain decided to change his mind on?
MARTHA MCSALLY: Well, Sean, I did vote to repeal and replace Obamacare on
that House Bill. I`m getting my ass kicked for it right now because it`s
being misconstrued by the Democrats. They`re trying to, you know, invoke
fear in people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, are you misconstruing a vote to repeal Obamacare in
the House of Representatives and replace it with nothing?
KLAIN: Look, Lawrence, Donald Trump did only four things in 2017. He cut
taxes from super-rich people, he golfed, he lied on Twitter and he got rid
of the Affordable Care Act. I mean that`s all he did for the entire year.
And then when they finally passed the bill to repeal the Affordable Care
Act to the House, he held a beer blast in the Rose Garden to celebrate the
fact that they had gotten rid of the Affordable Care Act.
So I mean this was their central mission in the first year of the Trump
presidency. And they are changing course on it. They are lying about it,
not because they really care about Jack and the story that Tasha told.
Those stories were all known to them when they voted to repeal the
Affordable Care Act 70 times. They`re changing their story now because
election day is coming and the consequences are coming and the politics are
clear and it`s just too late for that.
O`DONNELL: The provision that Tasha Nelson is so concerned about in
Obamacare, the protections for patients with pre-existing conditions is one
of the things that survives. But Andy Slavitt, talk about the things that
the Republicans have actually succeeded in damaging the Affordable Care Act
with as they did in their giant tax cut bill for the superrich. They
included a provision within the tax bill that hurts the structure of the
Affordable Care Act.
SLAVITT: Well, depending on how you do the math, they`ve increased
people`s premiums by, you know, between 5 percent and 10 percent this year.
I think probably on the higher side. They are suing now to make not only
pre-existing condition protections illegal but also the lifetime limits
that people count on to make them illegal. And they`ve just now, this last
week, made illegal for states to offer insurance that doesn`t cover
prescription drugs, doesn`t cover cancer treatments, doesn`t cover
hospitalizations, doesn`t cover mental health.
And remember, Lawrence, we just saw a study which showed that 42 percent of
Americans who get cancer lose their life savings within two years. And
what we see now is an administration and a Congress and the Republicans in
Congress that are spending all their effort and energy to cut as much of
healthcare as possible to pay for that tax cut that we talked about that
they did last year.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to one Democratic ad that`s taking on this issue,
which polling shows is the most important issue to voters in this campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will Hurd says all the right things, but in Washington
what he does is completely different. The truth is he voted eight times to
take away healthcare from 13 million Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He voted to make most of us pay higher health insurance
premiums. Why? Maybe it`s the $130,000 Glenn Grothman got from the
ELIZABETH PANNILL FLETCHER (D), TEXAS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: John
Culberson voted to let insurance companies charge people 50 and over five
times more than younger people to discriminate against people with pre-
JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Now, the threat is
Patrick Morrisey`s lawsuit to take away healthcare from people with pre-
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ron Klain, the Democrats certainly realize the polling
indicates that this is the number one issue, and this is what they`re
trying to make their number one issue as they run.
KLAIN: Yes, Lawrence, there really is a kind of very cosmic sense of
justice about this. The Democrats put their careers on the line in 2010 to
pass the Affordable Care Act. Many Democrats lost their seats because of
it, Democrats lost control of the Congress because of it. And now eight
years later, it`s quite possible that defending this law is what will give
Democrats control of the Congress once again to protect healthcare.
The Republicans say they`re going to protect healthcare on the campaign
stump. But just two weeks ago, Mitch McConnell said that if the
Republicans hold control of both chambers, they will take a step at
repealing the Affordable Care Act in its entirety again. So the safety of
healthcare for people like Tasha`s family, for Jack is on it line in this
election, very much directly.
O`DONNELL: And Mitch McConnell has said if they control the Congress, they
will absolutely cut Medicare and Social Security in order to try to pay for
the giant hole in the deficit and the national debt created by the Mitch
McConnell and Donald Trump tax cuts for the superrich. There is a lot at
stake Tuesday night.
Andy Slavitt and Ron Klain, thank you both for joining our discussion
And when we come back, a former federal prosecutor now has a theory based
on real information that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller might have
already subpoenaed the president of the United States to testify in front
of a grand jury. We will examine the evidence next.
O`DONNELL: Is the president of the United States already under subpoena
from Robert Mueller right now tonight? Has the president already been
subpoenaed to testify by the special prosecutor, and is the president
secretly fighting that subpoena in federal court? Those questions are
raised by important new reporting and analysis by Nelson Cunningham, a
former federal prosecutor who served under U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani in
New York City before Rudy Giuliani embarked on his political career.
In an article and political magazine, he reports that court records
indicate someone is apparently fighting a subpoena issued by Robert Mueller
and that fight is taking place under judicial secrecy at this stage. “At
every level, this matter has commanded the immediate and close attention of
the judges involved suggesting that no ordinary witness and no ordinary
issue is involved. We do know from “Politico`s” reporting that it involves
the special counsel and that the action here was filed the day after Rudy
Giuliani noted publicly we`re pretty much finished with our memorandum
opposing a subpoena.” Because of this article today, Donald Trump was
asked if he has been subpoenaed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Have you received a subpoena at all from Robert Mueller?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: For what it`s worth, a pathological liar told a reporter today
he has not been subpoenaed. After our break, Former Federal Prosecutor
Mimi Rocah will consider the possibility that the president of the United
States is already fighting a Robert Mueller subpoena and what that might
mean for Robert Mueller`s roadmap ahead.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what one of the president`s lawyers said they would do
if Donald Trump received a subpoena from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEKULOW: I think, look, if you get a subpoena, you file what`s called a
motion to quash. That will be argued at the district court. Then it would
go to the court of appeals. Then it would go to the Supreme Court of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The question tonight is, has the president already received
that secret subpoena to testify to the grand jury and are his lawyers
already secretly fighting it in court?
Joining us now is Mimi Rocah, former federal prosecutor and a former
assistant U.S. attorney in New York City. She`s also an MSNBC legal
Mimi, the secrecy aspect, I assume is because this is a grand jury process,
it`s a subpoena to testify to a grand jury, their proceedings are secret.
So is that why the appeal of such a subpoena would be conducted in this
ROCAH: Yes, Lawrence. So anything really connected with the grand jury is
supposed to be sealed and secret. The proceedings, what goes on inside the
grand jury. There are certain exceptions to that. The one sort of person
who could reveal whether or not they`ve received a subpoena would be the
witness him or herself, as we`ve seen happen in the course of the Mueller
O`DONNELL: So according to the reporting that we`re looking at, this fight
is occurring at the court of appeals level right now in Washington, D.C.
and occurring in a secret way but there are enough public records to
indicate that this activity is taking place without names being named.
If it goes to the supreme court, if the president loses in the appeals
court, it would go to the supreme court, as his lawyer said. Now, wouldn`t
it have to become public at the supreme court? Richard Nixon`s supreme
court fight over a subpoena was very public.
ROCAH: It could be. I think at that point it would be hard for it not to
become public. I mean, again, the sort of substance of it would never
become public, but the legal arguments about it if Trump chose to reveal
that he had been subpoenaed could become public at that point, yes.
O`DONNELL: And the – as it happens coincidentally today, the national
archives released what they call the Watergate roadmap. It`s the report by
Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski to send evidence against Richard Nixon to
the House of Representatives in 1974. The legal – people sued for its
And so Robert Mueller now has that. Lawyers always love to see people
who`ve kind of gone down a path, they`re going down before they have so
they can find possible road markers and precedents. I assume this document
will be very useful to Robert Mueller.
ROCAH: Well, I would think so. I mean it sounds from the way that roadmap
was written like it is something that would be sort of in the spirit of how
Mueller might do his report. In other words, it was done in the voice of
the grand jury so it sort of invoked the authority and the legal and moral
authority of the grand jury. And it was very factual, here are the facts
and not sort of putting a lot of spin or argument or analysis on it.
And I think at the end of the day, that`s the kind of report that Mueller
would be likely to write anyway given sort of what we know about him as a
prosecutor and as a person, and that will carry the most weight because we
need people to look at facts and evidence. That is what is sorely missing
in this sort of debate that goes on where Rudy Giuliani puts his spin on
things on TV.
And Mueller will try to get people I think to focus on the facts and the
evidence, whatever that is.
O`DONNELL: Mimi Rocah, thank you again for your legal expertise again
tonight. Really appreciate it.
Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s last word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST. LATE NIGHT WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: To combat one of
the things he wants you to be afraid of, Trump has announced a plan to
deploy 5,200 troops to the Southern border. The Pentagon has a powerful
name for this mission, “Operation Faithful Patriot,” which beat out their
second choice, “Operation Loyal Eagle Freedom Boner.” Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Yes. Stephen Colbert gets to say words on TV that I can`t say
on TV. And Stephen Colbert gets tonight`s last word.
“THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS” starts now.
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