Trump’s poll numbers take a hit. TRANSCRIPT: 1/28/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Elizabeth Warren, John Brennan; Chelsey Sullenberger

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  That`s correct.  From Washington tonight.


And, Rachel, it`s so fascinating to hear Senator Blumenthal say that,

because he`s a former attorney general of Connecticut.  He`s a careful

speaker in these kinds of spots.  And he`s talking about the possibility of

more criminal charges and the word`s Donald Trump Jr. are right there in

the middle of what he said.  He knew he was saying that. 


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Yes, and you know, the question that I had

asked him, I asked him kind of a long compound question, but the point of

it was has the special counsel been asked for or obtained official

transcripts of other witnesses who have spoken before your committee and he

was like, I cannot talk about us and the special counsel, but let me tell

you I was there behind closed doors in this testimony. 


And if people are getting in criminal trouble for lying to Congress, Donald

Trump Jr. is one of them that may be in trouble for that.  Just very

straightforward, very blunt. 


O`DONNELL:  And, Rachel, in addition to Senator Elizabeth Warren, in her

very, very first, MSNBC appearance as a presidential candidate at 10:00

p.m., she – we also – at 10:00 p.m., I was going to say that really

quietly, Captain Sully Sullenberger is going to be here.  He really was

outraged at what he saw happening to the air traffic system during the shut

down, and he`s going to tell us that it`s really not over.  There`s some

damage.  There`s some costs that were incurred in that shut down that we`re

going to continue to live with for a while to put it mildly in our air

traffic system. 


MADDOW:  Get to it my friend, thank you. 


O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel. 


Well, America got the bill for the government shut down today, $11 billion. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that that is how much the economy

lost during the longest shut down in history.  The person who caused the

shut down told “The Wall Street Journal” today he just might do it again. 

President Trump told “The Wall Street Journal” there was what he called a

50/50 chance that he would shut down the government again on February 15th,

when the government funding, the current government funding runs out. 


Now that the shut down is at least temporarily over, speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi invited President Trump to deliver the State of the Union

Address next Tuesday evening, and the presidential campaign was officially

joined this weekend by another campaigner, California Senator Kamala

Harris, made it official yesterday before a crowd of over 20,000 in

Oakland, California. 


We are joined tonight by presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator,

senior senator, Elizabeth Warren. 


Senator, thank you very much for joining us. 


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  Thank you.  I`m delighted to be



O`DONNELL:  So, Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m., there`s a speech going on on

the capitol.  Will you be there? 


WARREN:  You bet.  I`m going to hear it.  I think that`s my responsibility

is to be there, to see it in person, straight back at that guy. 


O`DONNELL:  What should – after the longest shut down in history, what

should the president of the United States have to say about that in his

State of the Union Address? 


WARREN:  Look, what he should have to say is that he`s sorry but the

chances of that happening are somewhere south of zero.  I spent today with

federal workers who were a combination of delighted to be back at work and

really angry about how they have been treated.  I talked to one worker who

said she opened up her e-mail and she had 1,200 unread e-mails.  She said I

won`t be able to get all my e-mails caught up in three weeks. 


I talked to another federal worker who is the primary bred winner for her

family.  She has three little kids, and she talked about what it meant not

to get her paychecks that her work colleagues who were out of work were

actually calling her and sending money over.  That she couldn`t make her

rent and as she put it, her landlord was saying, look, what am I going to

do?  I got to make payments on the building. 


It was just one tale after another of harm, and for what?  So that the

president could have a big national tantrum?  This is not how we should

treat federal workers and they should not be a bargaining chip in a

Republican political game. 


O`DONNELL:  Well, he seems to have introduced the possibility that they

will be a bargaining chip again on February 15th when this funding runs

out.  But there were reports over the weekend that your Republican Senate

colleagues sent the message to the White House.  There will be over 70

votes the next time Chuck Schumer tries to bring up that bill that Nancy

Pelosi sent over.  The Republicans apparently were going to stampede in

favor of it.  They were going to reopen the government if the president



WARREN:  Well, all I can say is I sure hope so, because that is our

responsibility is to keep the government open and functioning, keep people

who are working, paid for their work, and to keep people able to do their

jobs and getting paid for that as well.  And the same for federal

contractors and the same for all the people who, you know, run the food

trucks and the restaurants outside where federal work is going on. 


It really is the case.  This is an injury.  This is – you know, it`s the

classic shooting yourself in the foot, and part of the cost, yes, it`s

economic, yes, it`s what it does to federal workers, it`s also what it does

to faith in government, both here at home and around the world. 


The whole rest of the world watched and said you can`t keep your act

together any better than that, to the president of the United States of

America, you can`t even keep the wheels on enough to keep this thing moving

forward?  So I really hope that it`s just more bluster when he says that he

may shut it down again in three weeks.  I don`t know.  But I know this, the

American people, Democrats, Republicans, and independents do not want our

federal workers shut out of their jobs, and they do not want to force them

to show up to work and not get paid. 


O`DONNELL:  How much Trump wall funding are you willing to vote for in the

next budget bill that comes through the Senate? 


WARREN:  Look, none. 


O`DONNELL:  Zero? 






WARREN:  Look, I just think the wall makes no sense at all.  It is not

about border security.  I`m in favor of border security.  We can negotiate

about border security. 


The wall is a monument to hate and division.  That`s what it`s about.  It`s

a symbol.  It`s a way of trying to divide people, turn people against each

other, and that`s not who we are as a country. 


We want security.  We can have that conversation, but not just ugliness. 


O`DONNELL:  The acting attorney general, Whitaker, said that the Mueller

report, he used language that it could be ready soon that the investigation

could be over soon.  You have a bipartisan bill now developing in the

Senate with Chuck Grassley, and I think it`s Senator Blumenthal to

basically make sure that the Mueller report is public. 


WARREN:  Yes. 


O`DONNELL:  Do you support that?  Do you believe that`s going to have

majority support? 


WARREN:  Yes, look, I support it whether it has majority support, I`m not

sure yet, and of course the problem always is if Mitch McConnell won`t

bring it up for a vote, we can`t get it voted on.  I believe we have to

protect Mueller.  I still think we should be protecting Mueller, but I

absolutely think that report has got to be made public.  That`s how we`ll

know what the right next steps are. 


O`DONNELL:  There`s an old Governor Mario Cuomo saying that you campaign in

poetry and you govern in prose.  You seem to be governing or campaigning in

prose also.  What Cuomo meant was the campaign is filled with general good

sounding lines but not that much specific, not that much policy. 


You seem to be coming in policy first, front loading this campaign with

policy, you were frontloading before you announced in the last six months,

the latest of the Warren proposal of trying to tax wealth, not just wealth,

but what we call super wealth, wealth accumulation above $50 million.  This

has gotten more attention than any policy yet announced by anyone in this

campaign, and a lot of it is some pretty heavy attacks on you. 


WARREN:  Yes. 


O`DONNELL:  But what is your case for this wealth tax, which is not a form

of taxation the federal government has tried before. 


WARREN:  That`s right.  It is new, except, do keep in mind, let`s just talk

a little fairness here.  Middle class America has been paying a wealth tax

forever.  It`s called a property tax on their principle accumulation of

wealth, which is their home. 


O`DONNELL:  Yes, state taxation.  They absolutely do tax wealthy. 


WARREN:  And all this one says is let`s do it at the federal level, and how

about we`ll also tax your diamonds and your yachts and your art collection

and all of those other ways that people accumulate wealth because for me,

there`s a fundamental fairness question here. 


Think of two people, one of them inherited just gobs of everything, and

enjoys it all.  The second one is a public schoolteacher, doesn`t have a

penny in the bank, who`s just made it through college.  Let`s just say both

of them earn $50,000 a year in their respective work.  They would pay

exactly the same in taxes even though their economic circumstances are

widely different. 


And in fact, the fact that we don`t tax wealth is one more way in which the

system has been rigged by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful,

so here`s what we know projected this year is the tippy top, the 1/10 of 1

percent will pay in total taxes about 3.2 percent of their total wealth. 

That`s the whole thing all in.  The 99 percent will pay more than double

that, about 7.2 percent of their total wealth. 


So part of what this is about is just to say the playing field looks like

this.  Could we just make it look a little bit more like this?  Could we

just level the playing field a little bit and then here`s the key part. 

This would produce revenue about 2 3/4 trillion dollars over the next ten



How about we invest that in child care so that hardworking families get

some relief?  How about we invest that in reducing the student loan debt

burden so young people who are trying to get a start in life, who want to

do start-ups and want to try to buy homes and can`t do it because of

student loans get some relief?  How about we invest that in a green new

deal, to help protect this planet?  How about we invest it in the things

that help us build a future?


That`s good for our economy, and that`s what the wealth tax is all about. 


O`DONNELL:  It`s being challenged on enforceability which I have to say

when I was staff director of the Senate Finance Committee, that`s one of

the first ways I looked at tax policy, can you enforce, whether you think

it`s a good idea or not. 


So, you mentioned someone`s collection of diamonds or art or other things

that can be worth we know hundreds of millions of dollars.  What would you

– what would you propose as an enforceability for putting a value on

someone`s art collection or whatever it is that you subject this tax to? 


WARREN:  So do keep in mind, we do this anyway when the ultra wealthy die,

so it`s not like we don`t know how to value this stuff.  We value this

stuff all the time.  And frankly, they value it for purposes of insurance,

sometimes using it as collateral, people do valuations, the key parts to

this proposal says no matter where the property is held, so moving it to

Switzerland is not going to change whether or not you`re subject to. 


And in fact, that`s an interesting part of how the law is changing around

the world, so we`re getting many more reciprocal tax agreements where

wealth is located and reports so it`s much more visible.  The second part

about the proposal is built right into the proposal, is much higher

auditing so that the ultra wealthy. 


O`DONNELL:  You need more IRS personnel. 


WARREN:  That`s right.  W need them generally, but the ultra wealthy on

this tax, remember, this is the 75,000 richest families in America, for

those folks, there`s going to be a stepped up audit procedure.  You keep

checking it on a regular basis.  You have this much last year and you don`t

have this much this year.  What happened?  But remember on this, yes, it`s

going to take a little paperwork, it`s going to take getting people to do

the valuations. 


But at the end of the day, it`s about saying we`ve got to be more equitable

in the distribution of what it takes to run this country and how this

country builds opportunity and I`ll throw in one more, about how we think

about democracy.  You know, part of what I keep talking about a lot is

Washington works great if you`re rich.  Look at the tax code.  Washington

works great if you already can hire an army of lobbyists and an army of

lawyers and an army of bought and paid for experts, it`s just not working

for anyone else.  We can`t give up on that. 


We`ve got to say we`re willing to say that those who have the most got to

pay, 2 percent a year more so that we can take some of that wealth and

build opportunity for the rest of our kids.  You said, I talk a lot as a

wonk, and you`re right.  I totally get it.  But understand, this is about

big structural change and it comes out of an understanding. 


My daddy ended up as a janitor, but his daughter got a chance to become a

public schoolteacher, a college professor and a United States senator. 

Because of investments that taxpayers made.  I got to go to a college that

cost $50 a semester because of the investments that taxpayers made.  That`s

what created opportunity in this country. 


Today, those opportunities are shrinking up.  The road is getting rockier

for hard working families and, for people of color, the road is rockier

than ever.  That`s not – it`s not right, and it`s not sustainable, but

here`s the best part, in a democracy, we build a movement, we make the

change.  We`re the ones who can make this government work again for the



O`DONNELL:  There`s a lot of criticism of this coming from the right and

coming from Rupert Murdoch`s own “Wall Street Journal.”  That`s respectable

and we`re going to have plenty of time to discuss that.  That`s going to

follow you throughout the campaign. 


The first criticism I would like you to consider is coming from a synthetic

critic who appreciates what you`re after, a “Washington Post” editorial

saying why not tax the income on the wealth, which is something we already

know how to do, why not tax the income on the wealth and make it a higher

tax, whatever that is, instead of trying to go into this evaluation game on

the wealth which we`re not sure we know how to do? 


WARREN:  Because then you just get people to distort over to things that

don`t produce income.  Diamonds don`t produce income.  Art work doesn`t

produce.  A yacht with an IMAX theater does not produce income. 


And the distortions are not what we`re looking for.  Tax planning is not

what we`re looking for.  And besides, this really is about rigging the

game.  This really is about the fact that wealth has so, so shifted in this

country.  That top 1/10 of 1 percent that would be subject to this tax,

they now own about the same wealth as 90 percent of America. 


And the way that happened is not just they worked harder or they got

luckier, it`s that they kept for 30 years now going to Washington saying

could you just change the rules just a little bit for us, just give it a

little, and they come back the next year and say couldn`t you just, right

over here, could you just, and then maybe just a little bit more and a

little bit more.  Until the wealth just kept flowing in their direction. 


A wealth tax stops and acknowledges that, and says you guys scooped up all

the wealth and scooped up all the opportunity.  You got to put a little bit

back in the kitty for everybody else so that their kids get a chance too. 


O`DONNELL:  Senator Elizabeth Warren, I could go on and on.  This is the

Senate Finance Committee hearing that I always wanted to have and we never

did.  Thank you for starting this debate.  We`re going to be covering it

for quite a while and please come back and join us again.  We appreciate



WARREN:  I will.  Thank you so much for having me. 


O`DONNELL:  Really appreciate it. 


Coming up, former CIA Director John Brennan got in a Twitter fight with

Donald Trump this weekend in which he called the Trump team your cabal of

unprincipled, unethical, dishonest and sycophantic cronies.  John Brennan

will join us with his reaction to the acting attorney general`s comments

today that the Mueller investigation is close to being completed. 


And Captain Sully Sullenberger will join us with a description of just how

dangerous the shut down was for air travel and what another shut down could

do for the safety of air travel in America.  The first time that Captain

Sully joined this program, it was in the days before last November`s





O`DONNELL:  If you could have a moment with the president of the United

States, if you could have a minute with him, what would you want to tell

him about the way he does his job? 


CAPT. SULLY SULLENBERGER:  I don`t think he`s either capable or willing to

change.  I think he is remarkably incurious and doesn`t value learning. 




O`DONNELL:  Captain Sully will join us for an exclusive interview coming





O`DONNELL:  New polling from NBC News confirms that President Trump was the

big loser of the Trump shutdown.  According to the poll, 50 percent blamed

President Trump for the shut down, with 37 percent blaming congressional

Democrats, that is presumably the same 37 percent who seem to support

President Trump in everything he does and says. 


There is a devastating number in that poll for the president especially a

president seeking reelection, and that is 63 percent say the country is now

off on the wrong track with only 28 percent saying it is heading in the

right direction and now with Democratic presidential candidates in official

campaign mode against President Donald Trump, the president today decided

to threaten possibly another shut down. 


Joining our discussion now, John Harwood, editor at large for CNBC, and

Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for the “Washington Post” and an MSNBC



Jonathan Capehart, I want to start with you.  The president – the country

comes out of this horrible shut down after air traffic started to get scary

on Friday at LaGuardia airport and elsewhere.  Here he is right away saying

February 15th when this current funding bill runs out, there could be

another one. 



not be surprising, I sent out a tweet Saturday or Sunday, probably Saturday

saying if you think we`re not going to be in another shut down in three

weeks, you know, you got to be kidding.  This movie is on a loop.  So I

wouldn`t be surprised if we are in that situation again.  It would require

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to stop being in hiding and to make

sure that the president doesn`t do it again. 


But again, as we have been talking about for two years, this is a president

for whom the normal rules of play, the normal rules of governing are

unknown to him.  So he very well might want to shut down the government

despite the fact, as you opened the show with the fact that what is it, the

Congressional Budget Office said $11 billion was lost to the economy as a

result of the shut down, but president doesn`t care about that, at all. 


O`DONNELL:  And Captain Sullenberger is going to be on later in the show

talking about not only what the shut down already did and the air traffic

system is going to struggle to recover from what already happened but

another one is something that is beyond comprehension, and here`s the big

reason why it might never happen. 


This is “Axios” reporting over the weekend saying that the mood at the

Senate Republican lunch on Thursday, day before the shut down ends

resembled the mood that must have been on the union lines at 4:00 p.m. at

the first bull run, and the message coming out of that lunch to the

president was it`s over, there will be 70 votes within 48 hours, meaning

there will be 70 votes at least on the Senate floor for that Democrat bill

reopening and funding the government.  Those 70 votes are still there if

Donald Trump tries this again. 


JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC EDITOR AT LARGE:  And, Lawrence, this is why I disagree

with Jonathan.  I think Republicans have had their hands on that stove for

35 days.  They`ve got third-degree burns, and I do not think they`re going

back there.  I think what President Trump is trying to do and Mick

Mulvaney, and others speaking on his behalf, trying to act tough, we didn`t

back down.  We might do it again. 


I think they`re preparing to take some sort of executive action in the

absence of money for this wall whether it`s with DOD funds or in some other

mechanism to re-purpose existing funds, I do in the think there`s going to

be any stomach in the Republican Party to do it again. 


O`DONNELL:  Jonathan, the presidential campaign is underway.  It`s only

days old and we are seeing dynamics that you wouldn`t expect to develop for

many, many months, first of all, California`s junior senator announces that

she`s running for president.  She gets what would have been a record

setting crowd at any other time, and so far the record, over 20,000 for

this campaign. 


We saw crowds like that for Bernie Sanders last time, and then you have

Elizabeth Warren who seems to be at this point the policy leader of the

campaign.  She starts talking about the taxation and it becomes the hot

subject, and everybody in the press wants on to that subject.  A

presidential candidate setting an agenda like that at this stage of the

game is something we`re not used to. 


CAPEHART:  True.  But also because there`s such an absence of policy from

the White House, there is a void there.  You know, she wants to nerd out,

and that`s going to be, meaning Senator Warren wants to nerd out, and

that`s the field she`s going to play on.  There`s a populace that`s out

there that`s hungry for ideas. 


People complain about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and how she is on Capitol

Hill.  But when she went on “60 Minutes”, she brought out her own tax plan,

and we were talking about a tax plan of a 20 something-year-old.  So, now,

we`re talking about Senator Warren for whom this is her life`s work, and

now she`s running for president, and she`s putting real ideas on the table

for all of us to debate, but for all the other candidates to actually

respond to. 


O`DONNELL:  Yes, and John, we know when taxation gets on the table like

this, you`re going to see people coming from every direction to attack it. 

One of the risks in a presidential campaign is putting any kind of tax

proposal out there.  People try to historically try to avoid it.  They

would love to get through the campaign without talking about taxes.  Here`s

where it begins for Democrats. 


HARWOOD:  That`s right.  And I think there`s going to be a lot of policy on

the table.  You mentioned Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Elizabeth Warren has

got tax plan.  Kamala Harris has put out a big cut in the earned income tax

credit, financed by rolling back the tax cuts. 


But I think you put exactly the right question to Elizabeth Warren, and

it`s the question for the entire Democratic field, where`s the poetry?  Who

can capture the poetry?  Who can inspire people?  It`s one of the things

that Beto O`Rourke did in his campaign for the Senate from Texas,

unsuccessful, maybe he will run now.  But you`re going to have a tremendous

amount of Democratic wonkery and pent up desire for Democratic ideas, but

who can inspire, who can capture hope, positivity, I think that`s going to

be where the advantage lies in this race. 


CAPEHART:  Well, just, first, before I say what I`m going to say, matter of

full disclosure, my husband worked on Senator Harris`s lunch yesterday. 






CAPEHART:  Anyone watching that speech, though, objectively speaking, that

was poetry.  That was hope.  That was joyful warrior. 


HARWOOD:  That`s what made it so promising. 


CAPEHART:  Right, right.  And so I do think we`re seeing the poetry.  The

question is who`s going to follow up that poetry. 


O`DONNELL:  It`s going to be a great campaign on the Democratic side.  It`s

going to be one of the most interesting campaign on the Democratic side we

have seen in a while. 


John Harwood and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both.  We appreciate it. 


And when we come back, I`ll leave it to you to figure out what Roger Stone

meant when he answered a question today about possibly cooperating with

Robert Mueller, and there is no doubt about what former CIA Director John

Brennan means when he talks about the cabal of unprincipled, unethical,

dishonest, and sycophantic cronies who work for Donald Trump.  John Brennan

joins us next. 




O`DONNELL:  This weekend, former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted this to

President Trump after the president complained about the indictment of his

oldest political adviser, Roger Stone.  “Your cabal of unprincipled,

unethical, dishonest, and sycophantic cronies is being methodically brought

to justice.  We all know where this trail leads.  If your utter

incompetence is not enough to run you out of office, your increasingly

obvious political corruption surely will.”


John Brennan will join us in a moment.  Today, acting Attorney General

Matthew Whitaker said the two most important things he has said publicly

since becoming the acting attorney general.  Here is the first.




MATTHEW WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I`ve been fully briefed on the

investigation, and, you know, I look forward to Director Mueller delivering

the final report.




O`DONNELL:  We did not know that Matthew Whitaker had been fully briefed on

the investigation until he said that today.  And then he said this.




WHITAKER:  Right now, you know, the investigation is, I think, close to

being completed.  And I hope that we can get the report from Director

Mueller as soon as possible.




O`DONNELL:  Close to being completed.  There has been plenty of rumor in

the news media that the special prosecutor`s investigation is close to

being completed but there`s the acting attorney general who has been fully

briefed on the investigation saying publicly that it is close to being



Matthew Whitaker`s comments come after Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller`s

office had Roger Stone arrested Friday morning and indicted on seven

counts, including witness tampering, obstruction of justice and making

false statements to Congress.


Robert Mueller has now accused six Trump advisers or associates of lying

multiple times to federal officials.  Roger Stone is possibly the most

attention-craving political operative in history.  And so today, he basked

in the attention that his arrest and indictment have earned him.




REPORTER:  Are you willing to cut a deal with Mueller to avoid getting the

case to trial.


ROGER STONE, LONG-TIME TRUMP ASSOCIATE:  I don`t answer hypothetical

questions.  I have no intention of doing so, however.




O`DONNELL:  So what does that mean?  He has no intention of cooperating

with Robert Mueller.  That`s not exactly a vow to never cooperate with

Robert Mueller.


Tonight, Congressman Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee

confirmed that former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen will testify

before his committee in a closed-door hearing on February 8.


And joining us now is John Brennan, former director of the CIA.  He`s a

senior national security intelligence analyst for MSNBC and NBC News.  I

want to get, first of all, your reaction since you in the CIA have dealt

with analyzing human responses to things, sometimes through surveillance,

sometimes through direct interrogation.


What is your reaction to seeing Roger Stone out there today when he`s asked

about will you cooperate with Robert Mueller and he, first of all, says

he`s not going to answer the question, then he kind of does and says I have

no intention of doing it?


JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA:  well, I think like many in the Trump

orbit, he tends to talk in order to distract and continues to deny, deny,

deny.  And clearly, he`s trying to conceal the truth, but I think the

reason why he`s lying is because he knows that he has done things wrong,

which is what liars do.


And so, therefore, I think Roger Stone is going to continue to stay on this

track, and maybe be hoping that he`s going to be able to get Donald Trump

to give him a pardon at some point.


O`DONNELL:  Once the shutdown was over, Nancy Pelosi started to get focused

on the Roger Stone arrest and therefore the Russia investigation.  And she

tweeted this weekend, and this is not something Nancy Pelosi does much of,

commenting in this area.  She said, “What does Putin have on Donald Trump

politically, personally or financially?”


Do you think this country`s going to get the answer to all three of those

if there is something that Putin has on Donald Trump politically,

personally, and financially?


BRENNAN:  Well, I certainly hope so.  And I believe that Bob Mueller has

been masterful in terms of how he has pulled together these indictments.  I

think we have to think about it as a multi-act play.  And I do think we are

coming closer to the final act where he is building up to the indictments

that are going to be, I think, the most profound, and the ones that are

going to try it together.


But if you think of this also as mixing metaphors here but almost three

dimensional.  One dimension is all the things that Russia has done to try

to influence our election.  And I think we cannot lose sight of that

because we`re going to be having future elections and I`m hoping that

Robert Mueller`s report and the indictments are going to give us more

insight about what we can do to prevent it.


Secondly, it`s what individuals did to either advance their own interests

or advance the interests of Donald Trump.  And thirdly, what the campaign

as a whole was doing together as part of any type of collusion or even

criminal conspiracy.  And this is what Robert Mueller, I think, has a

responsibility and there`s nobody better to do this to inform the attorney

general, the Congress, the American people about what, in fact, people were

doing in 2016 to abets Russia`s interests.


O`DONNELL:  Do you have a sense of the weight of the Roger Stone

indictment?  Is this just a nutty guy, which he has been his entire life, a

nutty guy who was just behaving crazily and testifying to Congress and so

he`s indicted.  It really isn`t anything central to Trump world.


BRENNAN: No.  I think it`s central but I don`t think we`ve heard the last

of what Roger Stone could be indicted for.  And I think that indictment was

pretty rich in terms of the details there.  Doesn`t mean that he couldn`t

be indicted for conspiracy, criminal conspiracy.


He was indicted for misleading statements and lying.  But I do think that

there are other things here that, again, Robert Mueller and his team are

pulling together that is going to give us greater insight into just how

involved and how deliberate this effort was and the part of individuals who

were working very closely with Mr. Trump.


And so I do think that the next series of indictments or indictments that

are going to be coming out are going to give us, in fact, those final clues

and maybe that final act.


O`DONNELL:  Now, you referred to the next series of indictments, why do you

believe there will be a next series of indictments?


BRENNAN:  Whether it`s one indictment that`s going to include the

indictments of many people or it`s going to come out together.  But I do

think that Robert Mueller is going to try to bring this to some type of

closure in the coming months.  And I would find it very hard to believe

that other indictments are not going to come down, again, based on my

reading of all the details in those indictments.


So I think, again, masterful, it was an art and a science in terms of what

was included and I think there are a lot of clues there.


O`DONNELL:  Is it also based on what you learned before you left the CIA?


BRENNAN:  Well, I knew before I left the CIA that Russia was quite actively

involved.  And that`s why we were trying to prevent that type of

interference.  And so there are a lot of things that I have learned since I

left the government in January of 2017.


And so I put that together with my experience about what the Russians have

done, and what was going on in 2016, and I just feel as though there`s a

lot more that`s going to be coming out that hopefully will give us as full

a picture as possible about what actually happened.


O`DONNELL:  John Brennan, thank you very much for joining us.


BRENNAN:  Thanks, Lawrence.


O`DONNELL:  Really, really appreciate it.


And when we come back, Captain Sully Sullenberger will join us on an

exclusive interview on the dangers to air travel caused by the Trump

shutdown.  And how long it will take for the air travel system to actually

recover from the Trump shutdown.




O`DONNELL:  On Thursday night, the night before President Trump ended the

Trump shutdown, guests on this program discussed the danger that the Trump

shutdown represented for the safety of air travel in this country.





to work under the stressful situation because they know very well if they

don`t come, the airplanes stay on the ground.  And maybe we will avoid

casualty by doing that and loss of life, but we are going to have massive

catastrophic economic pressure on this country.  There will be massive job

loss and no one will get away unscathed.




O`DONNELL:  The next morning, LaGuardia Airport in New York City was forced

to restrict air traffic and temporarily stop all incoming flights.  It was

shortly after the announcement of air traffic restrictions that word began

to leak from the White House that Donald Trump was going to end the



The most famous pilot ever to take off from LaGuardia Airport is Captain

Chesley Sullenberger.  The day before Donald Trump ended his shutdown,

Captain Sully Sullenberger tweeted this, “Like the air traffic controllers

and pilots` unions, I`m very concerned about threats to safety caused by

the shutdown.  Our air traffic controllers deserve to be paid.  The

traveling public and American people deserve better.  This shutdown must



Captain Sully Sullenberger knows something about leadership.  He knows

something about the kind of leadership that can prevent disasters like the

Trump shutdown.  Captain Sully Sullenberger will join us after this break.







traffic controllers` main job is to prevent planes from hitting each other.




GILBERT:  That is giving them turns, giving them climbs and descents to

miss other planes.  They need to be focused on doing that job a hundred

percent of the time.  They shouldn`t be driving for Uber before their

shift.  They shouldn`t be waiting tables.  They should be getting rested. 

The fatigue matters.  The stress matters.




O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now, Captain Sully Sullenberger, the

pilot of U.S. Air flight 1549 that landed on the Hudson River safely.  He`s

also an aviation safety expert.  Captain Sullenberger, I know you are a

reluctant public commenter and it takes a lot to get you moving.


You tweeted last week, the day before Donald Trump ended the shutdown.  We

have those aviation experts on Thursday night.  And I have to say when I

left that show, after hearing Trish Gilbert talk about air traffic

controllers trying to prevent the planes from hitting each other.




O`DONNELL:  – and others, I thought, how many more nights of this can

President Trump watch?  How many more can, politically, can the Republicans

endure?  So it is my feeling just as a matter of political leverage cause

and effect that it is the aviation industry, really, that put the ultimate

external pressure to end that shutdown.


SULLENBERGER:  Yes.  It`s because it`s important to all of us.  So many of

us fly.  You know I`ve been on the other end of the microphone from air

traffic controllers for almost 52 years now.  Pilots and air traffic

controllers work closely together in this carefully choreographed aerial

ballet that we have to get right a hundred percent of the time.


So what they do matters.  They are the most dedicated, the most

professional group you can imagine.  And they have a lot of stress already. 

So adding the stress and the uncertainty of this shutdown to them is just



O`DONNELL:  I want to talk to you about leadership and what it means to you

and what you see, what the lessons America should take about leadership

from this kind of shut down situation.  When you`re piloting an aircraft,

you are responsible for everyone on that aircraft.  You have to make

calculations of risk.  You have to say this is the risk I`m going to have

to accept under these circumstances or I will not accept any risk for

whatever reason, we`re not going to take this plane off the ground.


Some information comes your way.  There was a massive amount of risk, not

just to the flying public but to the public in general, certainly horrible

personal risks to government employees, government contractors whose income

is cut off for more than a month.  I didn`t feel that calculation of risk

being made by the people who brought us this shutdown.


SULLENBERGER:  Absolutely not.  This shutdown was a reckless political act

that put millions of Americans at risk unnecessarily.  You just have to

realize that when we go open an airline, what we`re doing is pushing a tube

filled with hundreds of people through the upper atmosphere.


And air traffic controllers have to make sure that they don`t hit each

other and they`re separated – they`re separating vehicles that carry

hundreds of people at several hundreds of miles per hour bilaterally a few

miles and vertically a thousand feet and there`s no room for distraction. 

So we also feel like a terrible obligation, an intense obligation to get

this right every single time.


That`s also a factor of leadership, and of empathy, of humanity, knowing

what`s at stake and caring for the welfare of others.  Every captain, air

traffic controllers, too, have that responsibility at the forefront of

their mind.


When they`re distracted during a shutdown, and they`re worrying about

paying their rent and not a hundred percent focused they have to have every

single time, then they begin to mistakes that they usually don`t make and

they wonder why am I doing that and it`s because of this unnecessary

shutdown, this stress test that we`re putting our entire system and our

institutions through.


O`DONNELL:  How quickly does the aviation system recover from that kind of



SULLENBERGER:  Not right away.  You see, some of these short-term effects

also have long-term consequences.  Here are just a few examples.  The FAA

Academy in Oklahoma City is a facility that trains air traffic controllers. 

During the shutdown, classes were disbanded and will have to be

reconstituted.  Most air traffic facilities in this country are already

understaffed and so they`re not going to get a replacement and new

controllers as soon as they need to.


Many controllers are already eligible for retirement.  I wonder now if

after this disruption and the lack of pay if they`re going to say maybe I

should retire now rather than wait.  The maintenance that runway has done

by just a fourth staff if they weren`t working can`t be done.


O`DONNELL:  Maintenance of the air traffic control equipment?


SULLENBERGER:  Maintenance of air traffic control equipment during the

shutdown was not done.  So if air traffic control equipment broke, it was

going to stay broken until the shutdown ended and they got to it.


Just one more example is the FA maintenance inspectors who look at airline

service difficult reports and find pieces of equipment on airplanes that

need to be replaced and if they need to issue a safety alert about it, that

work wasn`t being recorded and safety alerts were not being issued.


At every level, this multiple layer safety net that we have is not in

place.  We have to have that in place to avoid catastrophe.


O`DONNELL:  The president is the only player in this story who has already

threatened the possibility of another shutdown.  No one else involved on

any side of it.  Even Republican members of Congress are talking that way.


But today, the president said there is a 50-50 chance that he just might do

this again if he`s not satisfied with what Congress presents him by

February 15.  What would you say that another shutdown – what would you

say the damage and risk would be in that?


SULLENBERGER:  No leader can afford to be blind to risk.  Part of being a

leader means that you have a full and accurate appreciation of the risk and

you can judge them, what`s reasonable and what`s not.  It simply wouldn`t

be not only a failure of government but a failure of leadership to do that



O`DONNELL:  Captain Sullenberger, a real pleasure to have you here.  Really

an honor to have you on the show.


SULLENBERGER:  Thank you, Lawrence.


O`DONNELL:  Really appreciate it.


SULLENBERGER:  Good to see you again.


O`DONNELL:  Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.




O`DONNELL:  Tonight`s LAST WORD goes to Steve Martin in his triumphant

return to “Saturday Night Live.”





side of the story is the man you look at and instantly think, I trust this

guy.  Please welcome Roger Stone.



couple of days.  I`m loving the ride.  Go, Nixon.


MOFFAT:  Thank you for your time, Mr. Stone.


MARTIN:  Pardon me?


MOFFAT:  I said thank you.


MARTIN:  Oh, no, that wasn`t a question.  I was saying that to the

president.  Pardon me.


MOFFAT:  Well, I`m sure he appreciates your loyalty and your



MARTIN:  I`m just a normal and straightforward guy.




O`DONNELL:  Here`s something I`ve always wanted to say, Steve Martin gets

tonight`s LAST WORD.


“THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts now.







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