Trump signs bill to fund government. TRANSCRIPT: 1/25/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Craig Unger; Tim O`Brien; Neera Tanden

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: All right, now it`s time for The Last Word. Joy Reid

in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Joy.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel. And Julia is leaving? Oh my



MADDOW:  I know. And I can barely hold it to together. I can – I literally

cannot imagine doing the show without Julia.


REID:  Julia is a linchpin (ph) of show and as somebody who has had the

honor of sitting in there, your team is so awesome that, you know, and I

did nick one member of your team. I am pretty honest (ph) for my team

because I know how valuable these folks are, yes, all right.


MADDOW:  And just also somebody who`s been here just from – kind of –

through the whole thing, it`s really something –




REID:  But isn`t it amazing how long – do you also – you think about how

ingrained your show is, how long it`s been here.  And when people leave

it`s painful but then you realized, oh my God I`m blossoming this new



MADDOW:  I hope so.


REID:  And this person has all these opportunities and you get to be a part

of it.


MADDOW:  I fully expect to be working in the long run for everybody who has

ever worked for me.


REID:  Will they just hire us one day, Rachel, that`s all we ask.




MADDOW:  You and I will join together.


REID:  Yes.


MADDOW:  And perform some sort of like slightly washed up older news people

you used to respect club, and we job-share.


REID:  I am totally here to job-share with you, Rachel.  We will do this.


MADDOW:  Thanks, Joy, much appreciated my friend.


REID:  OK.  Thank you, have a good one. All right, well thank you all for

being with us tonight as well. I`m Joy Reid in for Lawrence O`Donnell.


Years from now when people asked, what the longest government shutdown in

U.S. history was all about, what will be said? The short answer of course

is the wall. The 35-day shutdown over the wall, which caused immeasurable

suffering to hundreds of thousands of Americans ended today.


The same day that Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump adviser who

invented the idea of building the wall as a trick to remind Donald Trump to

talk tough on immigration at his campaign rallies, was taken into custody

in the early morning hours by more than two dozen federal employees working

without pay, armed FBI agents and indicted by Robert Mueller.


Donald Trump`s terrible Friday started with that news and ended with him

violating one of Roger Stone`s cardinal rules of politics, never admit






today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the

federal government.


As everyone knows, I have a very powerful alternative but I didn`t want to

use it at this time.




REID:  You know, Donald Trump put a brave face on that but that is what

total abject defeat sounds like. That is what complete surrender to Nancy

Pelosi sounds like.





Democrats on both sides of the Capitol for their unity. That was very, very

important in these discussions. It`s sad though that it`s taken this long

to come to an obvious conclusion. I quote Lincoln all the time, public

sentiment is everything. With it, you can accomplish almost anything. And

we thank the public for weighing in so strongly.




REID: Thirty-five days of a shutdown and Donald Trump got nothing. 800,000

federal workers got the financial hardship of two missed paychecks. Another

1.2 million federal contractors will never be made whole. Members of the

coast guard were forced to go to food banks. Local law enforcement

agencies, sorry, law enforcement agencies were begging for money to enable

them just to do their jobs.


Today airlines began grounding flights as air traffic controllers called in

sick and all for nothing. Tonight the President signed the legislation he

vowed not to sign after it passed in the Senate and the House. It will fund

the government for 21 days but just because Donald Trump got nothing

doesn`t mean the situation is the same as it was 35 days ago.


Nancy Pelosi took on Trump and beat him. The Democratic Caucus stayed

united and it`s starting to sound like the Republican Caucus is changing





PELOSI:  This is good news. This is long-awaited news. In fairness, Mr.

President, this never should have happened




REID:  And of course Trump`s base feels betrayed. Conservative commentator

Ann Coulter, who prior to the shutdown was enjoying the power to order the

President of the United States around, tweeted, “good news for George

Herbert Walker Bush, as of today he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to

serve as President of the United States.”


One headline for right-wing media outlet Breitbart News read, Government

Open, And Border, No Walls, Still no S-O-T-U. Tonight Donald Trump took to

Twitter to try and claim defeat is not defeat with a vague threat about

what could happen when the temporary funding runs out in 21 days. “This was

in no way a concession. If no deal is done, it`s off to the races!”


Joining us now is Tim O`Brien, executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion and

MSNBC Contributor. Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American

Progress and Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning

opinion writer for The Washington Post and he`s also an MSNBC political



And Eugene, I`m actually going to start with you on this, just to give us

kind of your big picture of what we saw today. You saw a President probably

at his weakest moment.




REID:  If you split screened Donald Trump and Roger Stone, it would be hard

to tell which of them was getting indicted. Because Roger Stone looked

jubilant, throwing up his hands like Nixon and Donald Trump looked

completely deflated.


ROBINSON:  He was deflated. He was – he couldn`t even convince himself of

what he was saying. He said, well, we have a deal. That`s not a deal, it

was a capitulation. It was the deal he clearly (ph) – the exact deal with

no alteration, no variation whatsoever that he could have had 35 days ago.

It was the – it was basically the deal that he had agreed to and then

reneged on back in December.


It was not a deal. It was a surrender and, you know, one thing that has

struck me – there`s a fabulous story in The Washington Post posted tonight

by my colleagues – my colleague, Phil Rucker, and others about the sort of

the inside tick-tock of this capitulation. And one thing that comes through

is what terrible advice Donald Trump was getting, not that you can tell him



But – and people like Jared Kushner completely misread the political

situation, completely misread the Democratic Caucus. They all misread Nancy

Pelosi. It`s not like she`s an unknown quantity. She`s been around for a

long time.


Everybody in Washington knows who she is and how she operates and could

know what to expect but they had no clue. They had been here two years and

they had no clue of how to do this negotiation and they paid the price.


REID:  You know, Tim O`Brien, as somebody who has been a biographer of

Donald Trump, A, they could have just watched television which is what

Donald Trump does all day to know what the temperature was. It`s shocking

that they wouldn`t know the Democrats were not going to give Donald Trump a

wall, it`s not happening.


But it was interesting to see that split screen where Roger Stone seemed

like having the time of his life even though he was just indicted and

Donald Trump looks completely the air was sucked out of him. What do you

think is going through his mind right now?


TIM O`BRIEN, AUTHOR, “TRUMPNATION”:  I don`t think – Donald Trump never

stays down for very long. So, I don`t think Donald Trump operating in the

public eye in a defeated or deflated mode is something that`s going to

continue very long. And I think the question we have to ask then is what`s

the net result is going to be when he reinflates.


And I think what it`s going to be I suspect is he will try to invoke

national emergency powers in southern border to try to do a wall that way.

I think he`s going to get a lot of pressure from Republicans not to do

that. I don`t know that he`ll listen to them. He`s going to have to go

through a weekend now which he`s being spoken of his being emasculated,

being beaten by a woman. He`s got Ann Coulter calling him a wimp.


REID: Yes.


O`BRIEN:  All of this gets to his sense of his own manhood and masculinity.

And he never does well in that situation, so I think he`s going to lash



REID:  Yes, I mean a former administration official about reopening the

government called it a total cave unless he calls National Security

Emergency when he doesn`t get the wall funded in the next three weeks. And

this was Donald Trump saying sort of the same thing in the Rose Garden

today. Take a listen.




TRUMP:  So let me be very clear, we really have no choice but to build a

powerful wall or steel barrier. If we don`t get a fair deal from Congress,

the government will either shutdown on February 15th again or I will use

the powers afforded to me under the laws and the constitution of the United

States to address this emergency.




REID:  Neera Tanden, I don`t think any – I haven`t spoken to anybody today

who believes that the government will shut down again, that Mitch McConnell

will go along with this again. He loves to have the saying about there`s no

education in the second kick of a mule. Apparently, he said that to his

caucus. I don`t think anybody believes Donald Trump is going to shut – be

able to shut the government down again.


What about this idea of him trying to save face by promising – escalating

the promises now to his base, that now he`s going to invoke a national

emergency, your thoughts?



do that and I think that would really just kick it to the courts. And you

know, numerous legal experts say it would be unconstitutional. There is

clear Supreme Court precedent for that. Obviously, the national emergency

was also an issue that was ridiculed by his base, so it does create some

wedge issues.


But, I really think just to step back for one second about where we are, I

think one of the reasons why Donald Trump so misjudged Nancy Pelosi and the

Democrats and essentially the political situation, is because he`s been

dealing with a Republican Congress for two years that just did his bidding.

And this today, in my view, was really the first moment where the work that

everyone did to elect the House Democratic majority really stopped Trump in

his tracks


REID: Yes.


TANDEN: And it was a full-frontal defeat because he just misjudged but

also, you know, she has a strong caucus, not a bare majority caucus, a

strong majority along – and her strength in her caucus strengthens

Schumer`s hand in his caucus. And so I think he just met the wall and it

was Nancy Pelosi`s spine.


REID: Yes, I mean, The Washington Post has a piece that talks about the

prisoner – the prisoner of his own impulse inside Trump`s cave and what

they say is the Trump and Pelosi had not spoken since their January 9th

session in which the President stormed out of the White House situation



In a private meeting with some columnists earlier this week, Pelosi was

asked why she thought Trump had not created a more potent nickname for her

than Nancy. She replied, according to a senior democratic aide, some people

think that`s because he understands the power of the speaker.


You know, Tim, is he teachable in the sense he really didn`t clearly know

what the Speaker of the House does and didn`t understand the power relative

to the power of his office? Is there any side that maybe either (ph) he

doesn`t understand it but his team now understands it and in some way they

will govern themselves accordingly?


O`BRIEN:  Well, he`s team`s come to it belatedly. Donald Trump has probably

the most inept administration ever to occupy the White House. So, this

isn`t just a Donald Trump problem. Jared Kushner has really yet to earn his

junior G-man badge and they`re sending him to be the envoy to the Middle

East. They got him working on immigration policy. They`ve got him

negotiating on the wall and he`s in over his head.


There is no one around this President who is competent enough to address

the myriad numbers of policies that come in front of them, to stand up the

President and tell him to listen when he should because Trump ultimately

never listens to anybody. And what you have now in this event is, as Neera

said, it`s the first sort of landmark failure.




REID:  Right.


O`BRIEN:  For this team in which they`re exposed, their incompetence is

exposed. It`s also Donald Trump revealed as an inept dealmaker. A guy who

came to Washington with a base believing that he was a very competent

businessman who could get things done in Washington, even though his track

record as a businessman was just as abysmal as his deal. He just got plowed

under by Nancy Pelosi on and that`s all come home to roost.


REID:  And for his party too, you know, it strikes me, Eugene, because all

really that`s come out of this is that Donald Trump, his cabinet and even

his daughter-in-law have been revealed to be incredibly callous individual

people. The Republican Party looked completely weak. They wouldn`t vote for

the same thing they voted for before until a weakened President gave them



And Lindsay Graham, who styled himself the new bestie of Donald Trump and

Trump whisperer, he`s got nothing for all of his obsequiousness. And he put

himself out on a limb on January 2nd saying this about these wall

negotiations. Let`s listen to Lindsey Graham




SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA:  If he gives in now, that`s the

end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective president. That`s probably

the end of his presidency.




REID:  Eugene –




TANDEN:  Let`s hope. Let`s hope.


ROBINSON: Well – I mean, from Lindsey`s lips to God`s ear maybe he need to

come in here (ph), maybe it is the end of his presidency, who knows. You

know but that`s a – it`s a very interesting question.  So you know, you

gave the Mitch Mcconnell line that every southern senator uses, frankly,

but there`s no way – there being no education in the second kick of a



So here`s my question, how many Republican senators felt the mule kick of

this shutdown and will want to avoid repeating the experience? And I don`t

know the answer to that yet. We do know that there was an extremely tense

Republican Senators lunch, I believe, it was yesterday in which that voices

were raised. Senator Ron Johnson and Mitch McConnell sort of snarling at

each other over – over the debacle of the shutdown.


You had a number of Republican Senators, I think six, six or seven who

voted for the Democratic bill to open the government without wall funding.

You had, according to The Post story posted tonight, you had Mitch

McConnell calling the President saying, look, my senators are in revolt. I

can`t hold this. This is – you`re going – you`re going to have to give



So, has that changed? Is there another change in Washington not just Nancy

Pelosi as another power center but is there a change in the Republican

Senate and I`m not – I`m not sure of the answer but we`ll see.


REID:  And you know and you`re right, he didn`t even give (ph) the State of

the Union. You know, there are some theories out there that maybe he

decided, you know, he would give in, so that he could have his TV show.

Nancy Pelosi said, uh-uh, we`re not doing that either until the government

is fully open. He didn`t even get the TV show back.


TANDEN:  Yes, I mean, I think he`ll get it eventually but it`s going to be

on her terms and not his. And just to follow up on what was just said, I

think the really important thing that we have to recognize here is the

psychological damage to Trump`s base. I think as Tim said, the wall was a

central promise for Trump to his base.


The idea that he is a strong negotiator, he set this whole thing up to go

mano-a-mano against Democrats and he failed. And I think the one question

is how this will move into the future. Republicans really were hurt by

following him and these poll numbers have been terrible.


You have a number of Republicans who are up in 2020, Joni Ernst, Tillis,

others who voted – who voted one way, voted against themselves and then

voted the other way. I mean these people just voted against – yesterday

voted against a bill that they voted for today.


REID: Yes.


TANDEN: So I think, you know – I think a lot of people are going to wonder

whether following trump like they have in lockstep makes sense when it`s

been such a political disaster over the last several weeks.


REID:  Well, Tim, I`ll ask you that then because Donald Trump is not

accustomed, number one to no and also to have to admit failure, so he did

have to admit failure. I wonder if – does he wind up getting abandoned

here because he has delivered nothing but failure at the hands of a woman

no less.


O`BRIEN:  At the hands of the woman. You know, he actually didn`t admit

failure. He had the bizarre statement of saying we don`t build medieval

walls, we build smart walls. And there is no money in this interim bill for

a wall at all.


REDI:  Right.


O`BRIEN:  So he wasn`t really admitting defeat, he was telling a narrative

that he could stomach in the Rose Garden when he`s going to go home now –

he go home and count his marbles and figure out how he`s going to have to

come back at this group.


What he`s done along the way is he`s frayed his base, he`s frayed the GOP.

He has done reputational damage to the country. He is – he`s caused

logistical, financial and reputational damage across the board. It`s going

to be very hard for him to come back from.


REID:  Yes, indeed. It`s quite, it`s been quite a 35-day spectacle. Neera

Tanden, Eugene Robinson, Tim O`Brien, thank you all very much. I appreciate



And coming up, who are the top Trump campaign officials mentioned in the

Roger Stone indictment some theories next. And some of the greatest damage

caused by the Trump shutdown will be done to Trump and Republicans because

of their own comments about the pain the shutdown caused.




REID:  For the first time in the year plus since we`ve been watching the

Special Counsel investigation, Robert Mueller issued an indictment that

made a direct connection between the Trump presidential campaign and

attempts to coordinate with the foreign entity that was in possession of e-

mails stolen from the Democratic campaign and the Democratic National

Committee by Russian intelligence, in other words, collusion.


The indictment against longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone includes one

count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to

Congress and one count of witness tampering. But perhaps more importantly,

the indictment tells a story that anyone connected with the trump campaign

will not enjoy. You may want to get your pencils out for this.


On page three of the indictment against Roger Stone prosecutors say, by, in

or around June, in July 2016, Stone informed senior Trump campaign

officials that he had information indicating organization one, also known

as WikiLeaks, had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton



Senior campaign officials, plural, make of note of that. It also says

“after the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC e-mails by WikiLeaks, a

senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any

additional releases and what other damaging information WikiLeaks had

regarding the Clinton campaign.  A senior Trump campaign official was

directed, was directed double underline that.


And one more, Stone exchanged written communications including by text

message and e-mail. The indictment cites several of the written

communications Roger Stone had including this text he sent to a supporter

involved with the Trump campaign.  “Yes, want to talk on a secure line. Got



So, what does this indictment tell us about what Robert Mueller knows? Well

joining me now is Paul Butler, a law professor at Georgetown University, a

former federal prosecutor and Betsy Woodruff, a politics reporter for The

Daily Beast.  Both are MSNBC contributors.


So Paul, I want to get your reaction to the indictment and the story that

it tells both about the active collusion and the search for Hillary Clinton

e-mail material from WikiLeaks by Roger Stone and this weird back and forth

he has with the intermediary, the person who is identified as person two.

That he`s not only using to sort of get this information but then later

threatening about being honest about it.


PAUL BUTLER, FMR, FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. So, the indictment tells us that

Roger Stone was the Trump campaign adviser on hacked e-mails. I don`t know

if that`s his official title but that`s the work that he did. And the most

revealing allegation is how receptive high-up people in the Trump

administration were to this information, which they knew had been stolen by



So Joy, we have people at the very top level of the Trump campaign being

opened and interested in illegal conduct by Russia to help install Donald

Trump in the oval office


REID:  Right in the indictment, there`s a portion of it where it reads,

shortly after organization one is released, an associate of the high-

ranking Trump campaign official sent a text message to Stone that read,

well done.


Betsy, you know, Roger Stone has testified and tried to say, yes but he had

no e-mails, text messages, et cetera, which obviously he did because now

Robert Mueller has them. But that he was just guessing about what was going

to come out from WikiLeaks. What does this indictment say about that?



clear or the indictment alleges, I should say, that Stone engaged in a

fairly complex, sleight of hand to try to cloud – cloud the window when it

came to understanding who he believed to be his intermediary with



My understanding is that person two, who you mentioned earlier, is Randy

Credico, a very lefty New York comedian. Credico has hosted a radio show

for quite some time. He interviewed Julian Assange in 2016 and the

indictment says person two hosted a radio show and he interviewed Assange.

So, we can assume with a high degree of confidence that Credico is person

number two.


We can also assume with very high confidence that Jerome Corsi is person

number one that in the indictment Mueller alleges that Stone tried to

communicate to Congress that his intermediary to Wikileaks or the person he

was talking about WikiLeaks the most with was Randy Credico.


When, in fact, according to the indictment, in fact Jerome Corsi who at the

time was affiliated with WikiLeaks, who was one of the early propagators of

the birther conspiracy theory, was actually the person who had the most

overlap in terms of his connection with WikiLeaks and then with Roger



I don`t have a great sense of the significance of why Roger Stone would

have tried to mislead Congress on this point but clearly it was significant

to him. If not, he wouldn`t have, assuming the facts in the indictment are

correct if not, he wouldn`t have risked the potential jail time to try to

engage in that type of sleight of hand. So, that`s a big thing we`re

watching for future revelations for Mueller`s team is how the Corsi,

Credico, Stone story kind of plays itself all the way out.


REID:  Right and now Credico and Jerome Corsi or Roger Stone I`d say and

Jerome Corsi are sort of on opposite sides now in terms of their stories.

Paul, you have in the indictment a pretty straightforward narrative,

already (ph) a little bit are on or about the same day, September 18th,



Stone e-mailed person two, who may be Randy Credico, in an article with

allegations against then candidate Clinton related to her service (ph) as

the Secretary of State. Stone stated, please ask the head of organization

one, presumably Julian Assange, for any state or HRC e-mail from August 10

through August 30, particularly on August 20, 2011, that mentioned the

subject of the article or confirmed this narrative.


As a prosecutor, is that just Roger Stone realizing that WikiLeaks has

stuff anyway and just say, hey, if you`re already releasing things, here

are some of our orders, we`re just placing a few orders. Or is that a

conspiracy to commit a crime?


BUTLER:  Well, that`s the question that Robert Mueller has to be centered

on right now. And so what we know is that even though Stone is indicted

that the investigation of him continues. And I think it`s clear that

Mueller would love for Roger Stone to flip, to turn state`s evidence. We

see that in part based on how the raid was conducted.


Now, of course, there was legal reason to have security because there was

concern about destruction of evidence, maybe officers` safety. But joy, 29

armed FBI agents, 17 squad cars, a squad team, a 6:00 a.m. raid, that`s

extra. And I think what Mueller was doing was sending a message to Roger



If this is how the criminal justice system treats people who are presumed

to be innocent, imagine what happens if you`re convicted of a crime. You do

(ph) Paul Manafort, he`s sitting in solitary confinement right now. If you

don`t want that result, you are looking right now at jail for the rest of

your life, you better think about making a deal with us.


REID:  Interesting and Betsy, you know, the other thing was, you know,

Roger Stone and Randy Credico, if you believe that he`s person two was

telling him per the indictment, why don`t you just change your testimony to

the truth? Any reporting on why Roger Stone persisted in not updating or

revising his testimony to the congressional committees that were

investigating this rather than lying?


WOODRUFF: That`s one of the big open questions and part of the reason it`s

such an important one is that Roger Stone was pretty adamant, according to

the indictment in trying to push Randy Credico to reiterate to Congress

Roger Stone`s version of events rather than saying what Credico himself

believed to be true.


I`ve communicated with Credico extensively for the last year or so one as

I`ve been covering this story. Lots of talks on the record that one thing

that I gleaned in conversations prior to this indictment is that Credico

seems to be concerned about Stone and views that he has potentially has

some security issues that would be analogous to the concerns that Michael

Cohen has telegraphed. That`s something to keep an eye on as well.


REID:  Wow.


BUTLER: Yes but Joy, it just makes no sense why Roger Stone wouldn`t come

clean. Again, this is a very open-and-shut case. He claimed that he didn`t

have any communications with the Russians. Mueller has texts and e-mails

from Stone out of the WhatsApp (ph). So again, it`s really easy to prove.

What it suggests is that Roger Stone is one of those people who is more

afraid of incurring Donald Trump`s wrath than the he is going to jail for

the rest of his life.


REID:  Yes.  And he`s already said he will not bear false witness against

Donald Trump, very interesting case. Paul Butler and Betsy Woodruff, thanks

both of you. I appreciate it.


And coming up, Nancy Pelosi expressed shock today at some of the people

surrounding the President. Another of those people who is in court today

tied to the Russia probe. That is next.


And later, the lasting damage that the Trump shutdown has done to the

Republican Party, the Trump campaign, and the country.






JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR:  I expect that probably within the next

60 days, you`re going to have a fair number of indictments.




BRENNAN:  A significant number of indictments.




REID:  Former CIA Director John Brennan made that prediction, a significant

number of indictments by Robert Mueller in the next 60 days 20 minutes

after a dozen armed FBI agents arrested former Trump campaign official and

longtime ally Roger Stone at Stone`s home in Florida.


Meanwhile, on the same day Roger Stone was being booked in federal court,

shackled at his wrists and ankles, Trump`s former campaign chairman turned

convicted felon Paul Manafort appeared in court for a hearing in which

Mueller team prosecutors told the judge Manafort should not get credit for

cooperating, which will be a factor in his sentencing.


Roger Stone is now the sixth Trump associate to be indicted or convicted. 

Predictably, today the White House claimed Roger Stone, one of the

president`s oldest friends and advisers has absolutely nothing to do with

Donald Trump.





relationship with Trump has been so interconnected that it`s hard to define

what`s Roger and what`s Donald, but it will be clearly a Trump presidency I

think it`s influenced by Stone philosophy




REID:  Joining us now is Craig Ungar, author of “House of Trump, House of

Putin, The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia”.  And back

with us, Tim O`Brien.


OK.  Craig, I`m going to start with you on this.  I want to play one more

little bite from this great documentary “Get Me Roger Stone” which I highly

recommend people watch in addition to reading your book.  And here is

Manafort talking about Roger Stone and their co-relationship with Trump.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did Roger recommend you for the job?


MANAFORT:  Roger was one of the two or three people who strongly

recommended me, yes.  Even after Roger stopped being the principal

political adviser to Trump, he continued to be a very important adviser and

is to this day.




REID:  And now we find out that not only did Roger Stone come up with build

the wall, that was his idea but he`s laid the firm for Donald Trump`s kind

of entire theme, all the themes, the underlying themes of his campaign and

at least per the indictment was also attempting to funnel the hacked e-

mails, the WikiLeaks-obtained e-mails to the campaign.



to remember that Trump`s relationship with Roger Stone goes back roughly 40

years to 1980 when Stone and Manafort were part of the Reagan team.  And he

was very much – they both learned at the knee – both Manafort and Stone

learned at the knee of Richard Nixon and Roy Cohn who is sort of the dark,

satanic prince of that era.


He was the icon of McCarthyism back in the `50s and often describes the

essence of pure evil.  And Stone learned at his feet and they worked

together in the early `80s.  And he`s been a powerful, powerful influence

on Trump.


REID:  You know it`s interesting because one of the things this documentary

kind of hints at is that, you know, that Roger Stone loves Richard Nixon

and was sort of looking for another Nixon.  Got sort of bored with Bob Dole

and other people they didn`t think were the right sort of guy to do Nixon

one better.


And that he thought Nixon should just fought it out until the end and not

resign.  And Trump was his new Nixon.  Is that what we`re watching here,

Roger Stone sort of dream of a perfect post-Nixonian Republican president

just kind of blowing up in all our faces?


O`BRIEN:  I don`t think that Roger Stone is a deep philosophic thinker

about politics, Joy.  I think we have to recognize that a lot of these

people are off their rockers and they`re not particularly bright.  Roger

Stone has left an enormous paper trail behind him through e-mail, texts,

conversations, public statements on radio and media.


REID:  Yes.


O`BRIEN:  He incriminated himself.  He essentially self-emulated.  And for

all of the language they use, invoking the mob and the family.  The old

school mobsters knew not to do that stuff.  They knew to keep their mouth



REID:  Yes.


O`BRIEN:  And that`s really not Roger.  He`s also – he also is an

anarchist.  And I think the people who latch on to Trump latch on to his

enormous ability to create chaos.  And that`s why Trump is appealing to

people like Roger Stone.


REID:  Yes.  I mean if you look at just the number of people, you know –

there is the book “Everything Trump Touches Dies.  Look at all the number

of people who have gone down here.  Associates indicted or pleaded guilty,

Papadopoulos, Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Roger

Stone, to say nothing of the three businesses, and Russians, and everybody. 

It`s all sort of falling apart.


But to Tim`s point, Craig, they are invoking mob language.  It is

extraordinary to read that Roger Stone was texting and e-mailing threats to

Randy Credico that you better not be a rat and literally writing be this

character in “The Godfather”.


UNGER:  Right.


REID:  What is this weird sort of mob-like thing happening?


UNGER:  Roger is very weird.  He revels in the sleaze.  And he and Manafort

were known as the torture`s lobby.  They delighted in representing Saddam

Hussein or -


REID:  Mabuto and all the – yes.


UNGER:  Exactly.  And they both sort of bound.  And Roger has this

wonderful tattoo of Richard Nixon`s head on his back.  When I interviewed

him in 2008, he was promoting to me Trump as a presidential candidate.


And, of course, he immediately starts with stories of being in a strip club

with various escorts.  He played a role in taking down Elliot Spitzer when

he was governor.  He loves to be known as a dirty trickster.  He revels in

that.  He walks into rooms and says, “Is there anyone here I can spin

before reporters?”


REID:  Well, I guess, the $50,000 question or $50 million question is will

he turn on Trump?  I`ll give you each of you the chance to answer that

question.  When it comes to it, all the showmanship and doing the Nixon,

you know, fingers up and showing his stomach which is weird.  He was like -

- Nixon was sort of well-dressed when he did it, to do the kind of thing.


But he does all of that showmanship today, looking buoyant, but in the end,

when faced with real jail time, will he turn on Donald Trump?


O`BRIEN:  I suspect he will but I could be proven wrong.  Roger Stone has

spent the better part of the last year and a half thumbing his nose at the

law and the law arrived at his front door this morning armed with battering

rams and they took him into custody.


You know, one of the things I was talking to David Corn, who wrote a very

insightful piece today about this indictment, there is a missing element in

this indictment.  They did not charge him with the conspiracy against the

United States.


For everything that he was involved with, they`ve got him on obstruction,

they`ve got tampering with witnesses, they got him with lying to federal

officials, but they didn`t get him on the big charge, essentially being an

agent for the Russian government to undermine the 2016 election.  Why not?


It`s possible that Mueller is keeping that – Mueller`s team is keeping

that card in their back pocket.  And they`re going to say to him, there is

more we can do to you and we won`t do it if you cooperate.


REID:  Interesting.  Will he cooperate?


UNGER:  I don`t know.  But to your point, Roger had a tweet in 2014, just

as a siege of Madison Square was happening in Ukraine and he said where is

Paul Manafort today?  Is he loading gold bullion on to planes.  He the

knows game going on.


REID:  He knows the game.  Craig Unger, Tim O`Brien, again, thank you for

joining us.


And coming up, the damage done by the Trump shutdown to his own party and

the country.




FAYE SMITH, FURLOUGHED WORKER:  President Trump, no disrespect, Ms. Nancy

is not going to give you that wall.  Mr. Trump, you need to stop holding us

hostage.  We need to go back to work.  You`re worried about the wall, you

better worry about what`s going on right here.






REPORTER:  Speaker Pelosi, did the president underestimate you politically

and can you assure the public that there weren`t be another impasse in

three weeks?


REP. NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  I can`t assure the public on

anything that the president will do, but I do have to say I`m optimistic. 

I can`t characterize the president`s evaluation of me.


REPORTER:  Do you think that he thought he could get what he wanted?


CHUCK SCHUMER:  I think he thought no one should ever underestimate the

speaker as Donald Trump has learned.




REID:  Who can say what Donald Trump has learned from his and his party`s

failed showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats? 

Perhaps, one lesson might be that he shouldn`t be listening to anyone

presumably on his side.


Donald Trump was pushed to this fight by immigration hardliners, a minority

of the minority in the House, and by conservative media personalities like

Ann Coulter who have literally nothing to lose from the government shutdown

or, frankly, from Donald Trump`s humiliation and failure.  Nothing.


Also, a bad idea, entrusting the negotiations with Democrats to Trump`s

son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose genius advice to his father-in-law

reportedly was to dig in.  Jared believed that he could crack the Senate

Democratic Caucus and get an immigration deal.


“Politico” reported that after the vote to re-open the government and fund

the wall failed in the Senate, Jared was surprised it got only one

Democratic vote, Joe Manchin, who represents a state that voted 68 percent

for Trump.  Lesson learned, don`t send Jared.


See, there is this thing that those of us who are parents` inevitability

confront, and it`s what you might call the crying child scenario or that

thing where your child wigs out in a store.  The question, do you intervene

and say pick up the child or give him the candy that they`re demanding or

do you just let them cry it out?


The point is that if you choose to intervene, what the child learns is that

their behavior controls your behavior whereas if you let them cry it out,

they eventually learn to calm themselves.  And while clearly, Donald Trump

is a 72-year-old adult and not a child, much the same rule applies in this

case where Speaker Nancy Pelosi simply said no and then made Trump self-

calm and face reality.


You`re not getting the candy bar.  No wall.  No.  Of course, Donald Trump`s

35-day executive temper tantrum to force Congress to give him American tax

money for the border wall Mexico was supposed to pay for was far more

serious than a supermarket wig out.  Real people suffered, ultimately for

no reason.


And today, Donald Trump faced reality, entered the Rose Garden looking

somber and defeated, he swallowed his pride and announced that the

government will re-open for three weeks with no money for his border wall.  

As some dejected Trump aides reportedly told “Politico”, “President Nancy

Pelosi, she runs the country now.”  Well, not quite.  But clearly, Donald

Trump has met his match.


When we come back, Neera Tanden will join us to discuss Nancy Pelosi`s

winning strategy over Donald Trump to end the government shutdown.




REID:  After Donald Trump`s Rose Garden capitulation on the shutdown, Nancy

Pelosi was asked an all too familiar question.




REPORTER:  Are you no longer ruling out any money for the wall?  Are you

now open for money for the wall?


PELOSI:  Have I not been clear on a wall?


REPORTER:  You have not been clear.


PELOSI:  No, I have been very clear on the wall.




REID:  Guys, no.  She`s not going to give the kid a candy bar after they

freak out in the checkout supermarket line or the checkout line.  No. 

Polling shows that after a month of Trump stunts, Americans are not

confused.  Sixty percent of Americans believe Trump – that blame Trump for

the shutdown.





government for border security so I will take the mantle.   will be the one

to shut it down.  I`m not going to blame you for it.




REID:  OK.  Neera Tanden, putting aside the fact that the media still

hasn`t caught up with the “No,” even Donald Trump hasn`t figured it out.  I

don`t know why they`re still asking her this question.  But anyhow, let`s

move on.


There is a “Washington Post” piece that talks about the way this went down. 

And here`s a piece of it.  Trump repeatedly predicted to advisors that

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would cave and surmise that she had a problem

with the more liberal members of her caucus but she held firm and her

members stayed united.  Why are they so loyal, Trump asked in one staff

meeting, complaining that Democrats so often stick together while

Republicans sometimes break apart, according to attendees.


First of all, anyone who study Democrats for four seconds, they`ll say

Democrats never stick together.  So what do you – is my parenting analogy

too much here that essentially Nancy Pelosi let Trump cry it out?



absolutely right.  She said herself, she`s a mother and grandmother and

she`s seen children with temper tantrums and she wasn`t going to succumb to

the temper tantrum.


And the other point that she made is that if you let the temper tantrum

rule the day, then you`re going to face multiple temper tantrums.  And

there`s going to be a debt limit debate, there`s going to be other times

where he can close the government down for whatever hostage taking he would

like.  And she said finally and totally and absolutely no.


And I also think we`re at the beginning of a presidential debate.  The

Democrats are running for president, the fact that that`s taking place at a

time when Donald Trump has had his lowest approval ratings, I think she and

the Democrats are setting up not just the next few weeks, but the next two



REID:  Yes.  It might be showing the country what it looks like – what

female leadership looks like which might actually be good for a couple of

these candidates.


TANDEN:  Or rational leadership.


REID:  There you go.  I have to show you this Eric Holder shade tweet.  I

have to read it to you real quick.  And he says, “Can I hear now from all

those who opposed Nancy Pelosi becoming speaker?  Lesson learned, never buy

into the conservative hype and baseless attacks.  Be strong, damn it.”


Are Seth Molten and team Ryan feeling a little egg, I mean, running down

their faces today?


TANDEN:  I think every single Democrat who underestimated Nance Pelosi

maybe could owe her an apology for sure.  But I think also the truth is

this is a good example of having a woman with decades of experience,

someone who actually knows how the game is played, who understands the

levers of power.


A lot of people have shunned experience over the last several years.  And

she has demonstrated that experience also creates knowledge and wisdom,

something she deployed every single day against a president who has



REID:  Yes.  And I think it also reminded the country of the potential

power of the speakership.  The speaker is a powerful job.


TANDEN:  Absolutely.


REID:  We`re just – we weren`t accustomed to people actually exercising

that power.


Neera Tanden, thank you for joining is tonight.


Tonight`s last word is next.




REID:  Time now for tonight`s last word




PELOSI:  I can`t assure the public on anything that the president will do,

but I do have to say I`m optimistic.  I see every challenge or every crisis

as an opportunity, an opportunity to do the right thing for the American

people.  And our caucus, the beauty of it is the mix.


And I always say when people say to me, “Oh, you`re so good at organizing a

caucus.”  No, I don`t.  Our values unify us.  And the fact is that our

diversity is our strength.  The differences in so many different ways

including differences of opinion, that`s our strength but our unity is our

power.  And that is what may be the president underestimated.




REID:  Well, join me, weekend mornings at 10:00 a.m. for my show, “A.M.



That is tonight`s last word.






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