Federal workers could miss first paycheck. TRANSCRIPT: 1/7/2019, The Last Word w. Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: January 7, 2019
Guest: David Frum, Adam Reilly
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And we now know exactly how far behind you I am.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “ALL IN”: What do you mean?
O`DONNELL: I mean six years. I mean you were on “The Simpsons” in 2013,
and I was on “The Simpson`s” last night.
O`DONNELL: And that is – that is how far behind Rachel Maddow I am, six
Hey, Rachel, tomorrow night.
MADDOW: That was so good.
O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night – we`re going to leave that picture up later in
Tomorrow night, how much time do you want? Because apparently the
president`s going to steal about eight minutes of your show, maybe a little
MADDOW: And Democratic rebuttal maybe.
O`DONNELL: And Democratic rebuttal. They want equal time, which I hope
they get. So I want you to have as much time as you need and I got some
space here at 10:00.
MADDOW: I`ll be fine.
O`DONNELL: Don`t worry about the bell going off at 10:00 tomorrow night.
MADDOW: I`ll be fine. I`ll be fine.
O`DONNELL: OK. Totally up to you.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, we are here tonight because of the failing memory of an old man.
Seventy years old is old for a presidential candidate, at least we always
thought it was, and Donald Trump`s ability to retain information was never
good and obviously was getting much worse when he was contemplating his run
for president, and so, according to a “New York Times” report this weekend,
the wall, the wall was just a way to help Donald Trump`s failing memory.
“The Times” reports as Mr. Trump began exploring a presidential run in
2014, his political advisers landed on the idea of a border wall as a
pneumonic device of sorts as a way to make sure their candidate would
remember to talk about getting tough on immigration, which was to be a
signature issue of his nascent campaign.
How do we get him to continue to talk about immigration? Sam Nunberg, one
of Mr. Trump`s early political advisers recalled telling Roger Stone,
another adviser. We`re going to get him to talk about he`s going to build
And so, the 70-year-old builder running for president was able to remember
that there was something he wanted to build, and his supporters turned that
into a chant, and he told them who would pay for it. Mexico will pay for
the wall, and because of that lie from that man with that failing memory,
we are now in the 17th day of a partial shutdown of the American government
because the Mexican government will not pay for the wall that president
Trump now wants American taxpayers to pay for.
Today, the president of the United States requested time on all major
broadcast television networks tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. to lie to the
American people and the world.
The White House requested about eight minutes of time from the
entertainment networks to invade their primetime schedules with an address
by President Trump from the oval office. The networks thought about it,
was not an easy decision, and they granted that time to the president, and
now, the Democratic congressional leaders, Senator Chuck Schumer and Nancy
Pelosi have requested equal time to respond to the president.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, expects one
thing from the president`s speech. I expect the president to lie to the
American people. Why do I expect this? Because he has been lying to the
Kind of logical, the president is going to lie. The president intends to
tell the world why we need a Trump wall on the southern border and why the
government must remain partially shutdown and unfunded until Congress
agrees to pay for the wall that Donald Trump promised Mexico would pay for.
Donald Trump will lie tomorrow night about terrorists entering this country
across the southern border. We just don`t know yet exactly which version
of that big lie he will tell.
The official Trump White House lie as told by the White House press
secretary is that 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country
illegally at the southern border. That is an invented number. NBC News
has reported today that U.S. customs and border protection encountered only
six immigrants at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border in the first
half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal government list of
known or suspected terrorists according to CBP data provided to Congress in
May 2018 and obtained by NBC News. Six.
The total number of people encountered at our borders in a typical year
whose names appear on the federal government`s list of so-called known or
suspected terrorists is about 2,000. In 2017, there were 2,554, and almost
all of them are being encountered at airports. Airports are by far the
most vulnerable point of entry in the United States for known or suspected
terrorists, and President Trump has not done one thing in response to that
known threat and has not said one thing in response to that known threat.
The president will lie about that tomorrow and pretend that there is a much
bigger terrorist threat at our southern border. The president will
probably drop his lie that former presidents have told him they wished they
had built a wall on the southern border. Every living former president has
now publicly denied any such conversation with Donald Trump, and today,
Jimmy Carter joined that group in a written statement saying, I have not
discussed the border wall with President Trump and do not support him on
Here`s a lie that the president might tell tomorrow night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I may declare a national
emergency dependent on what`s going to happen over the next few days.
REPORTER: So you don`t need congressional approval to build the wall?
TRUMP: No, we could use – absolutely, we can call a national emergency
because of the security of our country, absolutely. We can do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is absolutely a lie, the president does not have that
power in this situation, and if he issued an order like that, it would be
challenged in court immediately, the way his Muslim ban was challenged in
the first week of his presidency, and federal judges would stop the
president`s illegal order as quickly as they stop his Muslim ban.
The president got very good legal advice on that matter this morning from
Fox News senior legal analyst, former judge, Andrew Napolitano.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA BARTIROMO, FBN HOST: The president said he`s threatening he will
declare a national emergency to build that wall. Can he do that?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FORMER JUDGE: In a word, no. That`s not me saying no
because the Supreme Court said no when Harry Truman attempted to do that,
when he – there was a steel strike during the Korean War. He asked the
Congress to authorize him to seize the steel mills and operate them against
the strikers` wishes, and produce steel for our troops who desperately
needed it in the Korean War. The Supreme Court said no, you can`t do that.
Congress can do it. Congress can pay for the steel mills and operate them,
but the president can`t do it on his own. Stated differently, the Supreme
Court has made it very clear even in times of emergency, the president of
the United States of America cannot spend money unless it`s been authorized
by the Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion now, Maria Teresa Kumar, the
president and CEO of Voto Latino. Also joining us, Jason Johnson, politics
editor at TheRoot.com, and Tim O`Brien, the executive editor of Bloomberg
Opinion. All three are MSNBC contributors.
And, Maria Teresa, we have a report from “Politico” tonight indicating that
the president and the White House are worried about Republican members of
the House now peeling off and voting for the Democratic bill if Nancy
Pelosi, if and when Nancy Pelosi brings it to a vote again. I shouldn`t
call it the Democratic bill. This is a bill that passed the United States
Senate unanimously in a voice vote, no senators challenging it, Democrats
and Republicans supporting it.
“Politico” is reporting that a senior House GOP aide said that Kevin
McCarthy, the Republican leader and his top lieutenants believe 15 to 25
Republicans will vote with Democrats this week, possibly even more, and,
Maria Teresa, starting to calculate what is the number at which that could
grow to override a possible presidential veto?
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT AND CEO, VOTO LATINO: Well, you just hit the
nail on the head. We just elected a whole new Congress that came into the
House that were sworn in because the American people said I don`t care what
your shenanigans are, Mr. President. I don`t care that you keep trying to
basically make these individuals, these caravan of individuals coming to
our southern border and trying to scare us and making the midterm elections
all about building a wall and about refugees and seeking asylum. Instead,
what the American people said is that they were going to vote in a new
Congress for new blood.
Behind closed doors, a lot of the Republicans are basically making
calculations not only for their immediate future but for their future in
2020, and they want to continue having these positions of power. They
also, what I`m hearing bind closed doors, also folks are saying that they
are finally feeling that they are free to actually do the governing that
they`ve chosen as public servants, and that`s one of the things I think
that is going to be very difficult for McCarthy, because McCarthy has been
trying to keep the Freedom Caucus alive as much as possible.
And if Nancy Pelosi is able to bring in so many Republicans, not only
(INAUDIBLE) the Republican leadership and Trump are far much more troubled
than they could have imagined.
O`DONNELL: And, Jason, on that first test vote, seven Republicans moved
over to the Democratic side. The Republicans now fearing as many as 25,
possibly more. The magic number is 55. If 55 Republicans move over, then
you can override the veto, and, of course, if that kind of number – if
that kind of movement is happening in the House, Mitch McConnell will not
be able to block a vote in the Senate or already there were a couple of
Republican senators saying we should vote on this.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: Right. Lawrence in a couple
of weeks, the Republicans are going to have to fold. They don`t really
have a choice. Not every agency has run out of money yet, but you`re going
to have several more agencies running out of money over the next three or
four days. You`re going to have small towns in Midwestern and western
states where the only employer is the department of interior or forestry or
federal marshals, as more and more people start missing paychecks, as we
start going into later parts of January or early parts of February, I don`t
think it will take that long, the Republicans are going to fold.
And so, the question is not going to be if this eventually is going to get
stopped. The government shutdown is going to end. The question is going
to be, how do the Republicans prepare to explain their betrayal to
Because all of this, most Republicans don`t think this is a good idea.
It`s impractical. The wall has – there`s no functional historical or
economic justification for having this kind of a wall, ask they`ve only
done it out of loyalty to this president. When they stab him in the back
and vote for what`s right, they`re going to have some explaining to do.
O`DONNELL: All reporting is indicating the Trump White House had no plan,
no strategic plan for a government shutdown and Donald Trump certainly
didn`t have one.
And, Tim O`Brien, you are the least surprised person in the world to hear
O`DONNELL: Because you, many reasons, you know Donald Trump better than
any of us, you`ve been sued by him for your book about him. You crushed
him in that lawsuit about your book, and your piece today is headlined
“Trump was never a great deal maker and the shutdown proves it.” And that
is one of the great ironies of the guy who had his phony best selling book
entitled “The Art of the Deal”. Every business person I know in New York
says that no one knows less about the deal than Donald Trump.
TIM O`BRIEN, AUTHOR, “TRUMPNATION”: Yes, Lawrence, are we surprised at
this point that the White House had no plan, had no plan for how to deal
with this? There`s not a crisis on the southern border. There`s a crisis
in the Trump presidency, and the crisis is that he is inept. He has boxed
himself into a corner around the budget negotiation, and he`s constantly
pushing the limits of how extreme he can get to try to claw back federal
funds so he can build a wall that nobody in his party supports, and no one
in the opposition supports, and everyone else holds all the cards.
He made a very crucial mistake early on in December when he said to Schumer
and Pelosi that he`d be happy to take on responsibility for the shutdown,
and anybody who`s been in Washington, any politician who`s been in
Washington for any length of time knows that voters grow very weary very
quickly of government shutdowns, and the person who has that saddled around
their neck doesn`t come off very well. Newt Gingrich learned this in 1995
and `96 at the hands of Bill Clinton.
Donald Trump because he is not a student of that history, because he is not
steeped in policy, and because he`s inept went out on his own and said,
I`ll take on responsibility for the shutdown. He`s left himself without
any negotiating leverage, and the Democrats can just sit by and watch this
spin for a certain period of time while the effects of the shutdown land at
his feet. And as you noted, this is not a new problem. During his
business career, he was a serial bankruptcy artist, he was routinely taken
to the cleaners by other deal makers who were more informed, more patient,
and more mature than he is, and those sort of things have come home to
roost in this negotiation.
O`DONNELL: And no one in the history of American government shutdowns has
gotten the language of the situation worse than Donald Trump. We saw him
say in the Oval Office, I will do the shutdown. I`ll take responsibility
for it. I won`t blame you. He couldn`t have gotten that worse.
Now he`s out there actually pretending that he understands something about
the federal government workers who are on their way to missing their first
paycheck at the end of the week, and this is where he`s going to – there`s
not a single Trump supporter out there who thinks Donald Trump has any idea
what it`s like to be a government worker missing a government paycheck.
Let`s listen to the way Donald Trump talked about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can relate, and I`m sure that the people that are on the
receiving end will make adjustments. They always do, and they`ll make
adjustments. People understand exactly what`s going on, but many of those
people that won`t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100
percent with what I`m doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, he can relate to TSA agents not receiving their
KUMAR: Let`s be absolutely clear. A trust fund baby president has no idea
what the average American has when it comes to trying to put food on the
table, getting up in the morning, trying to make ends meet, having to make
sure not only they`re paying their bills but they`re also meeting their
medical obligations. It`s nonsense.
And for every single federal employee right now who is furloughed or for
those individuals that are working to keep us safe, whether it`s the TSA
agents or those meat inspectors in rural America so that we can have safe
meat to eat at our table, I want to thank you because you`re doing above
and beyond the call of duty, something that this president not only has
neglected to do but has demured his own service for them.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, my favorite line in there after I can relate, the
absurdity of that, Donald Trump says they will make arrangements. They`ll
just make arrangements. Government workers whose living from paycheck to
paycheck who are running out of money.
Donald Trump`s arrangement was always to just go to his father and say,
hey, my casinos are going bankrupt, could you please pay millions of
dollars into my casinos?
O`BRIEN: Please show up with a lawyer and give me $3 million because
everyone can do that.
And what does he mean by making arrangements, that they won`t pay their
rent? That they won`t get medical treatment for their kids? That they
won`t buy groceries. Those aren`t things people make arrangements for.
Those are hardcore sacrifices that imperiled people financially.
And he`s absolutely not in touch with any of that, and he`s never been
particularly sympathetic to the plight of working class people when he ran
his casinos in Atlantic City, he stiffed his vendors. He has plowed willy-
nilly through his blue collar work force at his casinos. He is not someone
who has any kind of personal or professional knowledge of the challenges
that working class folks face.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, Maria Teresa Kumar, and Jason Johnson, thank you
all for starting us off tonight.
And when we come back, Americans are feeling the effects of the Trump
shutdown. There is much more to come including the first missing paycheck
for federal workers this Friday.
And a presidential candidate went to Iowa this weekend and took questions
from reporters and from voters, and guess who asked the best questions?
That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump being Donald Trump means that Donald Trump will
want to set the record for government shutdowns, even if his shutdown is
only a partial shutdown of government departments and agencies that have
not already been fully funded for the year by Congress. And to set that
record, Donald Trump has to keep the shutdown going until Saturday, which
will be the 22nd day of the Trump shutdown.
The shutdown that Donald Trump told Democrats he would never blame them for
because he would take full responsibility for the shutdown. President
Trump has scheduled a trip to the southern border on Thursday with the full
expectation and probably the desire that the shutdown is still a shutdown,
but the big problem looming for President Trump and Republicans in Congress
if they do set a record with this shutdown is that 800,000 federal workers
will miss their first payday on Friday. Federal workers get their
paychecks twice a month and Friday is their first payday of the shutdown.
In government shutdowns, nonessential workers are not allowed to report for
work because it is illegal for the government to force them to work for no
pay, but the government is forcing TSA agents to do that because their work
is considered essential. There have been multiple reports of TSA agents
calling in sick, in effect refusing to work for no pay.
Joining our discussion now, David Frum, senior editor for “The Atlantic”,
and Jason Johnson is back with us.
And, David, this shutdown as it approaches the first missing paycheck
payday on Friday is already seeing reports of increasing defections among
House Republicans. “Politico” report tonight indicating easily as many as
25 could vote for the bill if Nancy Pelosi brings it back up.
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, Jason said in the last
segment, what the president must now be looking for is an exit, some kind
of face saving exit. Some way he can blame this on somebody else. And one
of the things Republicans in Congress need to be very careful of is that
they will do in a pinch, the president would prefer to blame Democrats but
he`s ready to blame them. If this national emergency project is exposed as
illegal, it doesn`t have to work, it just has to create enough of a facade
that the president can later say I was ready to fight until the end, but
Mitch McConnell, he sold out and move the blame to him.
O`DONNELL: And, Jason Johnson, maybe the national emergency ploy that he
tries would – it would immediately be stopped by federal courts.
O`DONNELL: Maybe that`s his way out, as David`s saying, he`s got to find a
thing where he says I tried and somebody else stopped me.
JOHNSON: One thing we know about Donald Trump, Lawrence, is he never lacks
for people to blame. It could be the Democrats, it could be the liberals
on the court, even though those happen to be people who are appointed by
It can be anyone he wants to blame. I suspect at one point, once we start
hearing more stories about people missing paychecks and possibly be evicted
from their homes, he`ll blame landowners, he`ll say, hey, your landlord
should have been more reasonable. There`s never going to be a point in any
of this crisis where Donald Trump will take responsibility for anything,
but I think that the problem is this. At some point, he can only beat on
his own party so many times. The Democrats don`t care. They control the
But at some point the Republicans will revolt. They don`t like the idea
that they`re going to be taking this from both sides. They`re getting
angry calls from their constituents and they`re going to get angry calls
from President Trump. That`s not going to work, and he`s going to destroy
whatever kind of loyalty he still has.
O`DONNELL: David –
FRUM: Here`s the pressure that`s going to be on Republicans. The money,
if this crazy scheme does somehow go forward, the president has to take his
emergency funds for the wall from another military project. What project
would that be? Something in somebody`s district, and Republicans are much
more likely to have military facilities in their districts than Democrats
O`DONNELL: But it`s my suspicion, David, just legally that the whole thing
would be shut down before one dollar of the defense budget was spent in
this direction, that the courts would step in and shut it down that
FRUM: As Jason said, that gives the president then, well, these liberal
judges. I would have loved to do it. He needs to look tough in his own
mind, and he needs to cover his retreat. He got himself into a
Remember earlier, he was saying I want Nancy Pelosi to get me out of the
predicament. Who does he think Nancy Pelosi is, his dad? That`s not her
job. That`s his dad`s job.
O`DONNELL: And, Jason, we see the president. We see Nancy Pelosi that`s
doing something that`s very simple. She`s just saying the word no. That`s
all she`s giving the president.
Meantime, the president is publicly negotiating with himself in all sorts
of ways, including what is this wall? Is it concrete, is it not concrete?
He publicly negotiated a way concrete with himself without Nancy Pelosi
saying another word.
JOHNSON: Yes, the president`s negotiation skills are terrible. He`s going
to be left naked at the poker table every time he goes up against Nancy
Pelosi. She doesn`t have to give him anything anymore. Watching the
president negotiating with himself, it`s like arguing with somebody over a
text message and they don`t respond and they just keep going and going and
The president keeps changing, first the wall was brick, now it`s stone and
that was Styrofoam, I don`t know what it`s going to be made up next. At
the end of the day, he`s not going to get a wall. Something I think that`s
important to think about, not just those Republicans, not when doing by the
president, getting calls from their constituents.
You`ve got to look at Republicans who have seats on the border. They know,
they saw this during the Bush administration when a fence was built, the
kind of lawsuits that are going to come from trying to build this wall, the
eminent domain fights. You thought the Bundy Ranch was bad? You will have
a revolution at the border if the president tries to get this done.
And Republicans in Texas and Arizona, they know that, and they`re privately
trying to tell the president or at least Mitch McConnell, you`ve got to get
him away from this. We can`t take this kind of fight.
O`DONNELL: And, David, the problems are more than Donald Trump ever
imagined. Normally as we understand it, in a shutdown like this, the
Internal Revenue Service is not allowed to process tax returns and mail out
refund checks, and so, the Trump administration apparently has been trying
to figure out how do we mail out the refund checks even though we have a
shutdown, and there`s no agency of government more condemned as
nonessential than the IRS by Donald Trump and Republicans generally, and so
they would have to deem all IRS workers essential, bring them all back to
work, and somehow get them working on refunds.
FRUM: And he`s going to have a problem, an immigration problem, which is,
look, the immigration surge that has bothered the president a lot of the
president`s supporters, are these tens of thousands of Central American
border crossers who seek asylum, who present themselves at the U.S. border
and say I want to be released into the country pending a hearing, and I`m
coming with a minor so I can`t be detained.
That problem won`t change, because what the wall does not do is change the
rules about asylum. The border crossers and Central Americans don`t come
to deserted places. What they want to do is turn themselves into an
authority to get their asylum hearing they maybe will never show up for.
So, they`re going to – even if there`s a wall, assuming the wall has a
gate of some kind and crossings, that`s where the border crossers are going
to go and the asylum problem will reproduce itself just encased in a lot of
O`DONNELL: David Frum, Jason Johnson, thank you for joining us tonight.
We really appreciate it.
And when we come back, Elizabeth Warren went to Iowa this weekend and
finally got a chance to talk to voters instead of just reporters about her
presidential campaign, and it seems voters liked what they heard. You`ll
hear Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail, and the voters who questioned
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to roll back the tax cuts that
Donald Trump gave –
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: For the billionaires and the big
corporations? You bet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Elizabeth Warren is still technically in the
exploratory stage of her presidential candidacy. But in Iowa this weekend,
she ran like a full-on presidential candidate in the thick of the campaign.
She took questions from Iowa voters and she took questions from reporters.
Guess who asked the best questions? Reporters asked questions about the
process of campaigning and not about the policies she would pursue as
president. Here is a sample of political reporters` questions for
Elizabeth Warren in Iowa this weekend.
What`s been your reaction to the very quick jump that you make comparisons
between your campaign and Hillary Clinton`s? How important is this
jumpstart here in Iowa for you? Can you just talk us through how and
whether you talk, think to yourself about the fact that you`re a female
candidate, how you plan on talking about that on the trail, or is it just
not an issue?
Here`s another question. Congresswoman Talib used some profanity and
suggested the president used some profanity, suggested the president should
be impeached, a lot of people think that`s not appropriate discourse for
elected leaders. What`s your opinion on that? Do Democrats need to
Those are the reporters` questions. Not one, not one about what would you
do as president of the United States. Now, here`s a typical question a
voter asked Senator Warren.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m wondering how you feel about Title 10 funding
being taken away from certain family planning clinics such as planned
WARREN: Bad. I believe that women should have access to the full range of
health care services. This is health care. OK? Health care for everyone.
And that means we have to make the resources available.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: When a voter named Molly asked a question, it wasn`t about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOLLY: I would like you to tell us a little bit about your – what you
have done in the Senate that would make you a good president.
WARREN: Oh, what a great question, Molly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And it was a great question. And one of the stories that
Senator Warren told in her long response to that question was how she has
helped lower the cost of hearing aids for the 44 million people in America
who suffer hearing loss.
And it`s a bipartisan story about how she first engaged the help of
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and worked, as she put it under the radar
to get more Republican support for her bill to change federal regulations
that have helped keep the cost of hearing aids much too expensive for most
people with hearing difficulty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So I talk to a lot of people. I get the bill written up that it
would take to do this. And then I called Chuck Grassley. And Chuck said,
“Huh, that sounds like a fine idea.”
I called another Republican and another Republican and another Republican.
Kept this all under the radar screen. No headlines on it. And we found a
bill that was moving. Hooked our Hearing Aid Bill onto it, and starting
next year hearing aids are going to be available over the counter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, that`s a story about how things really do get done in the
United States Senate. The most uncomfortable question Senator Warren faced
did not come from a reporter but from an old friend of hers and a former
student of hers.
A woman named Katherine who won one of the lottery slots to ask Senator
Warren a question was actually a student of Professor Warren 35 years ago
at the University of Texas Law School. She asked the kind of question that
tests a candidate`s ability to handle a crowd and to handle disagreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATHERINE: You really have an important message. You support the families
and you support health care having just had a son die from cancer.
WARREN: I know.
KATHERINE: And in January alone of this year, the hospital bill was
$200,000, but he passed away in September. I truly see the need for health
care for all. It`s just ridiculous otherwise.
KATHERINE: I am in favor of your antitrust enforcement, giving people
greater voices in the corporations. But I feel if you support abortion,
your entire message is lost. Something I don`t want to see happen.
WARREN: No, no, no, no, no. So I think we`re there. OK on the question?
Is that OK, Katherine?
So Katherine and I have had this conversation off and on for a very long
time. And it`s kind of amazing that you got the card to come up here and
ask a question because it is an ongoing conversation.
Katherine and I knew each other in law school. And for me, this is a
question about the role of law. I know that these are very hard personal
I think the role of government here is to back out. I think a woman makes
a decision with her family, her priest, her doctor, the people the woman
chooses. And I think that`s what respects all of us the most.
And thank you, Katherine. It`s good to see you again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Up next, more on Senator Warren`s first weekend campaigning
with someone who was there and got voters` reactions.
O`DONNELL: Boston Reporter Adam Reilly has seen Elizabeth Warren campaign
many times in Massachusetts. But this weekend was the first time he saw
her campaign for president in Iowa and he got these reactions from Iowa
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMILIANO MARTINEZ, IOWA CITY: I think the room was full of chills. And I
think that was something that was pretty special.
JOANNE WILKINSON, URBANDALE: I loved her, everything I think she said.
MARY SLATTERY, DES MONES: To me, she didn`t come off as being extreme
right. To me, she came out as being pragmatic for the people, for the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And joining our discussion now, Adam Reilley, a reporter for
“WGBH News” covering Senator Warren`s presidential campaign. He followed
her to Iowa this weekend.
Adam, you`ve seen Elizabeth Warren, I assume, campaign many times in
Massachusetts. What was different, if anything, about seeing her campaign
ADAM REILLY, REPORTER, WGBH NEWS: I think the level of enthusiasm that she
generated. Going back to her first run against Scott Brown, people were
very excited about her but there`s, I think, an intensity that comes when
you`ve got your eye on the presidency that ratchets everything up.
I recall positive responses in that race against Brown. For example, I do
not recall people talking about having chills when they watched her speak
or how Warren had mysteriously obtained a mind meld with them.
Now, maybe some of that is just because she happens to be the first big-
name candidate out of the gate in Iowa. But I think some of it is part of,
you know, linked to her growth as a campaigner and her rise in prominence
O`DONNELL: You know, Adam, I saw her early in her Senate campaign, her
Senate career, make an appearance in California before the California
Democratic Party. And it was a rock star reception. And I saw a
performance on that stage that I was really struck by.
And it seems to be something that the Washington Media either hasn`t seen
or ignores, and that is that Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail has
been elected to the Senate twice because she is a very good campaigner.
REILLY: She is an outstanding campaigner. As you know from having watched
a lot of people seek the presidency, not everyone who goes for that job
feeds off their interactions with the public. She definitely does.
She draws energy from them. She also energizes them and it creates a sort
of virtuous cycle that leaves everyone feeling exhilarated afterwards.
She did something which I think is worth describing just briefly. In Iowa,
at these five stops in three days, every time she had an event more people
wanted to attend than were able to get into the venue.
So every time, she would go and greet the overflow crowd first. She would
tell them how happy she was that they were there, how sorry she was that
they couldn`t get in. Then she`d give a mini stump speech and take
unscripted, unvetted questions. And if she had time, she would take
pictures with them.
It sounds like something of a no-brainer when you describe it, but not
every candidate who seeks the presidency does that. I recall Hillary
Clinton at the last election cycle walking at a distance from the masses of
people who turned out to cheer her on and sort of waving to them from afar,
and that was that.
And I think Warren`s approach is going to play incredibly well in venues
like Iowa, in New Hampshire that put a premium on retail politicking.
O`DONNELL: And Adam, it seems to me when I see her in Iowa that she`s got
two big advantages going for her. One is that she`s from Oklahoma. This
is not alien territory for her. This is not the typical Massachusetts
politician going out to Iowa.
And you can feel that Midwest, that Oklahoma kind of connection that she
makes. And also, it turns out this being a teacher, this being a professor
for all this time makes – seems to make her very comfortable in
interactions with questions audience which is to say in her previous
experience, student questions in the middle of her lectures.
REILLY: I think you`re right on both counts. And she brought up her
Oklahoma roots at every stop. That`s a key part of her stump speech. It`s
one of the ways that she`s trying to convince people that she is able to or
will be able if she is in the field to appeal to Moderate and even
She also makes a point of saying that she has three brothers. And then she
pauses for effect and says one of them is a Democrat. When the audience
figures out what she means, they all laugh. And she talked again and again
about how Republicans and Democrats are united around fundamental values
when it comes to things like education and health care.
So she`s clearly working on that part of her pitch as I think a way of
reassuring people that she can get the voters the Democrats feel they
didn`t get in 2016.
O`DONNELL: Adam, are you going to be following the Warren campaign around
REILLY: Possibly not every step of the way but I think I`ll be checking in
with her frequently, yes. And certainly, when she`s up here in New
Hampshire, I`ll be keeping tabs on her. And my hunch is after this weekend
that I`ll be seeing her in other spots as well.
And as you pointed out, it sounds like this campaign, it`s not official
yet, but it sounds like a done deal when you watch her.
O`DONNELL: It sure does. Adam Reilly, I need to hear from you more. Adam
Reilly who`s been watching Elizabeth Warren campaign for a long time and
saw her doing it this weekend. Thank you for joining us tonight.
And when we come back, where is President Trump getting Vladimir Putin`s
talking points? David Frum has an idea. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Historians have more than enough evidence to conclude that
Donald Trump is buy in order of magnitude the most ignorant person ever to
occupy the presidency of the United States and the least intelligent. And
that combination means that when new information is inserted into the Trump
brain, the Trump brain has very little processing power to analyze that
And so the Trump brain tends to do one of two things. Reject that new
information or accept that new information. One of the most fascinating
falsehoods now apparently residing comfortably in the Trump brain is the
big lie inserted there by someone about the Soviet Union`s invasion of
Afghanistan and the defeat of the Soviet Union suffered in its 10 years of
war in Afghanistan.
Vladimir Putin wants the world to believe a lie about that chapter of
Soviet history. And that lie is now best recited for American audiences by
possibly the only American who believes it, Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were
going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is it was a
tough fight and literally they went bankrupt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Literally, they did not go bankrupt. They lost a war and were
driven out of Afghanistan. But in the process essentially created Al Qaeda
and Donald Trump is now saying that the Soviet Union was right to do that.
There has been much speculation by David Frum and by Rachel Maddow about
how the president came to believe this extremely dangerous fairytale.
Vladimir Putin told an Austrian news agency last June that he and president
Trump “regularly talk over the phone.” Surely, Vladimir Putin has all of
those phone calls recorded and transcribed.
It is standard procedure for the president of the United States to have all
of his phone calls with foreign leaders transcribed. If those transcripts
exist, will they show Vladimir Putin planting this big lie into the mind of
the most ignorant president in history?
Back with us, David Frum. David, there is some possibility that the
special prosecutor might try to subpoena transcripts of the president`s
phone calls with Vladimir Putin. And if those subpoenas succeed, we might
learn some answers about this?
DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: We might. Apparently, there`s
something like a dozen officially recorded phone calls between President
Trump and President Putin over the past two years. And there may be some
kind of transcript there.
But remember the casual approach the president`s had to telephone security.
He`s had at many points in the past his own smartphone, which he has used
without any particular security to it. We don`t know whether he`s got that
phone right now.
John Kelly made it a real project to take the phone away from him but those
projects tend not to succeed. So there may be many phone calls we don`t
O`DONNELL: And Mick Mulvaney was asked about this, the new acting White
House Chief of Staff, Jake
Tapper asked him yesterday where did he get that idea from? And Mulvaney`s
answer was, “I think that idea is born out of frustration.”
Mulvaney made no attempt to defend the truthfulness of the idea at all.
Just saying that the president is frustrated, therefore, he`s telling this
FRUM: Right. And it is a lie that Vladimir Putin in recent days has been
particularly anxious to affirm. The Russians are now trying to re-identify
more and more with the Soviet Union and even to defend the Afghanistan War
which is a very unpopular war inside the former Soviet Union.
Now, of course, not all those who fought in Afghanistan were Russians.
Many belonged to the other Soviet Republics. And Vladimir Putin is also,
who has said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest
geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century. He has – he is very anxious to
blame that war for a failure that was much more inherent in the evil of the
Soviet system itself.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Chuck Rosenberg said about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER FBI SENIOR OFFICIAL: The president of the United
States is echoing directly the line of the Kremlin on a whole bunch of
things. And so whether or not it results in an indictment, whether or not
it`s something we ultimately can see, touch, feel, and hear, this is
something that U.S. intelligence officials have to understand. Why is the
president saying what he`s saying?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And David, U.S. Intelligence officials have different methods
than the special prosecutor about how to find this out.
FRUM: Well, Rachel Maddow made a fabulous point in her presentation on
this where she reminded everyone that in the very beginning of the Trump
administration that the Trump administration was accepting crazy Soviet
propaganda, Russian propaganda I should say, accusing Poland, our NATO
ally, of meddling inside Belarus. That was completely false.
But, again, that somehow got into the president`s head. And there are
other examples, too, where he says things that no one except an RT viewer
and the president of Russia would believe.
O`DONNELL: David Frum, thank you for joining us tonight.
FRUM: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: If you were watching Jeff Bridges get his lifetime achievement
award last night at the Golden Globes, then you missed my lifetime
achievement award last night which occurred on “The Simpsons” where I
appeared as an animated character with my voice. There I am.
And that occurred exactly, what did we say? 2013, six years, six years
after Rachel Maddow appeared on “The Simpsons.” And I think there`s
There`s Rachel six years ago on “The Simpsons.”
There I am last night. I was brilliantly written by Michael Price who got
the animated version of me.
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the