Roger Stone pleads not guilty. TRANSCRIPT: 1/29/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Wicked cold, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: Yes.
O`DONNELL: That is wicked cold.
O`DONNELL: And let`s remember that these are postal workers who have
braved very serious cold in the past. It really takes something to stop
MADDOW: Yes, if you`ve been delivering the mail in North Dakota in
February your whole life and their like you know what, this is actually an
emergency, not this time, these are tough folks. And so, this is serious
O`DONNELL: We wish them warmth.
MADDOW: Yes, my friend. Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, the plot thickened today in the mystery of Donald Trump and Vladimir
“The Financial Times” reported late today that Donald Trump sat down for a
fifth – for a meeting that was at least 15 minutes long with Vladimir
Putin at the G-20 Summit in November after President Trump publicly
announced that he canceled a one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin at that
same summit because of recent Russian aggression against Ukraine.
President Trump did not have an American translator or a staff note taker
with him in that meeting. Vladimir Putin did have his translator present,
and so only the Russians really know what was said in that meeting.
“The Financial Times” report came at the end of what was an already
historic day in the Senate Intelligence Committee on this very subject,
when the leaders of America`s intelligence agencies refused to publicly
answer the question – does the president of the United States` secret
discussions with Vladimir Putin put the United States at a disadvantage in
dealing with Russia?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: According to press reports, Donald Trump met
privately with Vladimir Putin and no one in the U.S. government has the
full story about what was discussed. Director Haspel and Director Coats,
would this put you in a disadvantaged position in terms of understanding
Russia`s efforts to advance its agenda against the United States? Question
for you two and then I`m out of time. Thank you for letting me have a
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, Senator, clearly, this
is a sensitive issue and it`s an issue we ought to talk about this
afternoon. I look forward to discussing that in a closed session.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The hearing also made history when the heads of the
intelligence agencies in the Trump administration completely disagreed with
President Trump on a series of national security issues. President Trump
said, quote, there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. And
here is what his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Director
of the CIA Gina Haspel said about that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATS: We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain it`s WMD
capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and
production capabilities because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons
as critical to regime survival.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: What would you say it current state of
the threat from North Korea?
GINA HASPEL, CIA DIRECTOR: The regime is committed to developing a long-
range nuclear missile that would pose a direct threat to the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And, of course, President Trump famously claims that he has
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have won against ISIS.
We`ve beaten them, and we`ve beaten them badly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, the director of national intelligence said that ISIS
still has thousands of fighters and is resurging.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATS: While ISIS is nearing territorial defeat in Iraq and Syria, the
group has returned to its guerilla warfare roots while continuing to plot
attacks and directed supporters worldwide. ISIS is intent on resurging and
still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And when discussing the deal with Iran negotiated by the Obama
administration that prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the
Trump administration officials sounded like Obama administration officials.
Even though President Trump broke that deal with Iran, the Trump
administration officials say that Iran is still complying with the Obama
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATS: We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking activities we judge
necessary to produce the nuclear device.
SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Since our departure from the deal, they have
abided by the terms you say they`re considering. But at the current moment
HASPEL: Yes, they`re making some preparations that would increase their
ability to take a step back if they make that decision. So, at the moment,
technically, they`re in compliance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In the hours of testimony about the intelligence services
annual report on the worldwide threat assessment, the Trump administration
officials did not support President Trump`s argument that we need a wall on
the southern border for national security. The Trump administration
intelligence officials did not say one word about a wall. And even more
importantly from a political perspective on the future prospects of such a
wall ever being built, none of the Republican senators on the committee
asked a single question about any threat to the United States at our
And one of the members of the committee is the senior senator from Texas,
John Cornyn, who represents the single largest section of the southern
border in the United States Senate. Not one word. Not one word about a
wall or a national security threat at our southern border.
Leading off our discussion now is Ambassador Wendy Sherman, an MSNBC global
affairs contributor. And John McLaughlin is with us. He`s a former acting
director of the CIA and MSNBC national security analyst.
Ambassador Sherman, I want to start with you, and really I leave it to you
to pick what of what we learned today in that hearing do you think deserves
the most important concentration tonight.
WENDY SHERMAN, MSNBC GLOBAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think there are
two things, Lawrence. One, of course, is that the intelligence community
is completely at odds with the president of the United States. We don`t
rely on the intelligence community to define policy, which I`m sure John
But we do think that their data, their assessments, their facts are
important to constructing policy. And clearly, the president from January
22nd right after the inauguration when he really denigrated the CIA,
visiting the wall of the fallen CIA agents, we know that the president
really won`t pay any attention to these assessments because facts don`t
But secondly, within this analysis, the intelligence community told us that
Russia and China are aligning their interests and working more and more
together, that the United States government does not have a comprehensive
strategy for dealing with Russian interference of the U.S. election, which
they expect to be front and center again in 2020. Both of these things are
of great concern. And in the strategy that Director Coats put out earlier
this week, he indeed said that the retreat by the West and by implication
the United States from the world community and from the global community
has left a vacuum that is being filled by our enemies and our adversaries.
O`DONNELL: John McLaughlin, was it ever conceivable to you prior to the
Trump presidency that you could have the heads of these intelligence
agencies testifying to the United States Senate and not being able to say a
simple no publicly to the question, does the president of the United States
put the United States at a disadvantage in dealing with Russia because of
his secret communications with Russia?
JOHN MCLAUGLIN, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, I don`t think that
could have happened in any other time or any other administration. And as
Wendy pointed out, this was a remarkable hearing in many respects. I was
proud of this community. I always call these people the fact witnesses.
In other words, at a time when facts are debatable and truth is challenged,
these are the people that are supposed to come in and say here`s what you
can believe, here`s the way it works.
There`s another dimension to this that occurred to me. I`ve been thinking
about it all day because the fact there was such a gulf between the
president and these people on key issues is one thing.
There`s another thing that was a little remarkable here. These people had
their act together. It was coherent.
They clearly worked together well. They knew their facts. They had
nuance. They were prepared to say what they thought. It all made sense.
That`s a rather rare thing in this government these days. And I think that
is kind of a greater than the sum of the parts aspect to this hearing
O`DONNELL: And, Wendy Sherman, one thing I was struck by when Dan Coats
took that question of is the president putting us at a disadvantage, it
seemed to be something he was ready for. It seemed to be something he
anticipated. He clearly wasn`t happy to have to deal with it at all, but
he clearly knew what he was going to have to say. And that was one where
he was going to have to say, I can`t answer you publicly, we`re going to
have to wait for the closed session.
SHERMAN: Yes, it made me think, Lawrence, of the Aspen Security Conference
which I attended over the summer and Andrea Mitchell of NBC and MSNBC
interviewed Coats and asked him about the Helsinki Summit with Vladimir
Putin. And clearly, Coats probably got in some trouble because he said he
wouldn`t have approached the media in quite the way the president did. And
then Andrea broke the news to him that the president had invited Putin to
the White House. And quite frankly, Director Coats was gobsmacked, and my
guess is he got a little bit in trouble for that as well.
So, I think today, he was trying to be very careful in not trying to go too
far here. But clearly his feeling about all of this was evident. He
doesn`t believe what the president believes. He`s very concerned about
what`s happening with Russia, and he wanted to talk with the members about
this in private.
O`DONNELL: And, John McLaughlin, you don`t have to be in the intelligence
community to know is was not defeated. That was I don`t think a surprise
to anyone. To hear all you have to do is have access to a newspaper to
know that, that there are thousands of members of ISIS and that they are
resurging in certain ways.
The North Korea information was an intelligence assessment that most, you
know, people are not in a position to make. We don`t really know what`s
going on in North Korea, and there`s Donald Trump`s administration saying
there`s been no appreciable progress with North Korea. Not only that, but
the regime`s own definition of its survival turns on the North Korean
regime retaining nuclear weapons.
MCLAUGHLIN: Right, and we know even from publicly available information,
Lawrence, they continue to enrich uranium. We know one of the think tanks
in Washington have a credible report they are modernizing the base that
would be a base from which an ICBM would be launched towards the United
States. So, it`s evident that program is not going as the president has
And there`s another thing that`s buried in this report that I don`t think
anyone has noticed yet. If you look at the foreword of the written
statement, in very careful language, the director of national intelligence
says many of our allies are pulling away from us because of concerns about
our security policies and our trade policies. It`s carefully phrased so it
doesn`t jump out at you.
But can you imagine if that were to be said in any other administration, it
would be a headline item.
MCLAUGHLIN: The chief intelligence officer of the United States talking
about diminishing fidelity among our allies because of our policies.
O`DONNELL: And that would be considered an emergency, not anything that
we`ve seen at the southern border.
Wendy Sherman, I want to talk about the Iran deal. You helped negotiate
that deal. You were in the room with Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz,
working on it as an undersecretary of state every day of those
negotiations. And there you heard Trump administration officials sounding
I think something very close to what we would have heard from Hillary
Clinton administration officials at this point. Only they would have had
an Iran deal still in place.
Here is a Trump administration official saying even though Donald Trump
tore up the American end of the deal, Iran is still complying.
SHERMAN: Indeed. And the International Atomic Energy Agency which
monitors this deal has said in many reports now that they have been
complying with the deal.
But one other point about Iran. The president and his administration has
tried to put maximum pressure on Iran by leaving the deal and increasing
sanctions, trying to enforce those sanctions, working with others.
But in fact, the behavior in the region that we are all very concerned
about has not improved, it`s actually gotten worse, because the really hard
hard-liners of Iran feel they`ve won, that they`ve proved that the United
States was not to be trusted or respected. And they feel that they can now
act with impunity in the Middle East. So, in fact, the president`s
withdrawal and his actions have made us less safe, not more safe.
O`DONNELL: John McLaughlin, to the point where we led with tonight, which
is this late report today that there`s been another secret meeting of
Donald Trump sitting down with Vladimir Putin, no Americans present, no one
who could translate except the Russian translator who works for Vladimir
Putin, this comes after a day where the intelligence agencies were already
exposed to trying to deal with this, and they said we can`t talk about it
publicly, have to talk about it in private session. It turns out there`s
even more to talk about in that private session than the senators knew when
they were questioning the intelligence officials today.
MCLAUGHLIN: You know, if I could be a fly on the wall or if I could talk
to the Russian translator, I think what I would want to know most is what
is it that Putin says? What is it that is so persuasive about him that
enables the president to say with a straight face, they didn`t do anything,
I believe him. I don`t why they wouldn`t.
Is it a personality from a KGB officer, that they`re good at this, or does
he have some sort of logical presentation that refutes the facts? Does
Trump present him the facts? We have no idea what that dialogue is really
like. It may just be that they`re, you know, kindred souls or something.
O`DONNELL: But the other part is, we don`t actually have any idea
what they talk about. I mean, we don`t know what they talk about.
MCLAUGHLIN: No. Let`s take at face value what the president has said a
number of times, that it would be good to have a better relationship with
Russia. I mean, I can`t dispute that. That`s true.
But how you get there is the important point, and in my experience dealing
with Russia, the most important thing you can do with them is to tell them
what you know and what you think, and when you know they`re not telling you
the truth, they won`t acknowledge it, but they know you know changes the
dynamic. I just don`t think that`s going on here. So, I think this is KGB
officer who`s got a lot of influence over his partner.
O`DONNELL: Wendy Sherman, a quick last word on these private Trump-Putin
conversations that remain absolutely secret and no one in the American
government actually knows what`s said.
SHERMAN: Incredibly dangerous. President Putin understands English.
Donald Trump doesn`t understand Russian. We have no idea really how the
translation`s going back and forth.
And many of us believe, John, would probably know this better than I that
the Russians have a complete transcript of everything that went on in that
meeting. They`re quite cognizant of it, they`re making use of it, and our
government hasn`t a clue.
O`DONNELL: Former acting CIA director, Russians have a transcript.
MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, sure, you bet.
We`re going to have to leave it there. Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Director
John McLaughlin, thank you both for joining us tonight. We really
And when we come back, one of the charges against Roger Stone tell us about
who else might possibly face indictment by Robert Mueller`s prosecutors.
And Donald Trump is a fraud. That is the headline of a “Washington Post”
op-ed piece today that says Nancy Pelosi`s victory over Donald Trump in the
shutdown should be considered the final proof that everything Donald Trump
claimed to be as a presidential candidate was a fraud.
And freshman Congresswoman Lucy McBath will join us tonight. She first
appeared on this program as a grieving mother who lost her son in a burst
of racist gun violence. And seven years of activism later, she will join
us in her first appearance as a member of Congress.
O`DONNELL: Today, Roger Stone`s dream came true. Well, one of his dreams
anyway. He was at the center of a throng of reporters and photographers
desperately trying to get a word from him. It was the moment Roger Stone
has craved his entire life, the movie star moment, the center of attention.
But there was something in this brief shining moment that was never in
Roger Stone`s dream of what this would be like. Above the din could be
heard the chant, “lock him up”.
Roger Stone then made his way into federal court in Washington, D.C. where
he pleaded not guilty to the seven-count indictment that is being
prosecuted by Robert Mueller`s office. Roger Stone has been charged with
lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
In a report of Roger Stone`s plea today, “The Washington Post” included
this interesting line. Asked Tuesday whether he would consider pardoning
Stone, President Trump told “The Washington Post,” I have not given it any
Last night on this program, former CIA Director John Brennan said that
based on his experience as CIA director and analyzing the evidence that has
emerged since he left the CIA, he believes that Robert Mueller will bring
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: 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 final –
O`DONNELL: Now, you refer 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 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Mimi Rocah, former federal
prosecutor, and Jennifer Rubin, opinion writer at “The Washington Post”.
They are both MSNBC contributors.
And, Mimi, I want to start with you. What do you see at this point in the
Roger Stone case? You`ve written a long piece about it today, about what
you think the possibilities are.
MIMI ROCAH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Sure. So I think that as John
Brennan said, there are a lot of hints in the Stone indictment that there
is more to come. For example, that famous paragraph 12 that everyone`s
talked about where, you know, it talks about someone higher up, and it
talks in this very passive voice, directing a high level campaign person to
get Stone to find out more about the WikiLeaks e-mails. Well, why was that
in there? That detail did not need to be in there in this pretty
straightforward obstruction and witness tampering indictment against Stone.
The detail about the fact that the DNC made public, the fact that it had
been hacked by Russia specifically, that`s paragraph two of the indictment.
There`s a lot of detail in there that seems to – Mueller seems to be
trying to tell us something, though I don`t think we know yet what that is.
And then, there are other things that have come out even just today. I
thought it was interesting that when Stone was arraigned apparently in
court on his indictment, the case was designated as a, quote, complex case.
That`s a technical designation that means that the volume and type of
discovery and evidence in this case is so complex that the parties in the
court are going to need extra time to sort of sort through it before a
trial date can be set. Well, this indictment on its face is pretty
straightforward indictment. I mean, I`m not saying there`s not other
But frankly, what`s laid out in the indictment could almost be a trial in
and of itself. You know, he lied to Congress and here are the e-mails and
texts to prove it. So the fact this is designated a complex case hints to
me that there`s more depth in what`s underlying this indictment and
foreshadows more to come.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to listen to something Roger Stone said after he
was arraigned today in federal court. And I don`t like to play a video of
people who are lifetime liars like Roger Stone. He is as pathological a
liar as anyone`s ever seen in politics. He`s a minor player in politics.
All senior campaigns have shunned for many, many decades.
So, the audience should be warned that, of course, every word Roger Stone
says here is not true, including the nutty concept that this is legal
lynching. No lynching is legal. But let`s listen to the madness of Roger
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, TRUMP FRIEND AND ADVISER: This is a lynching. This is legal
lynching of me because I appear on Infowars. Because I`m friends with Alex
Jones. Because I support Donald Trump and I supported him for president
and I still support him, because I helped take down the evil queen, the
foul-mouthed, short-tempered, self-centered kleptocrat, Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Rubin, if you`re looking for logic in the madness of
Roger Stone, it can only be he`s looking for a relatively short prison
sentence or a pardon from Donald Trump so that he can then get one of these
online shows like the one he appeared on today.
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s the only
logical explanation. And I think he better hope for the pardon because I
don`t think he`s going to end up with a short sentence, to be quite frank
about it. You know, Mimi said something interesting. You can see the
outlines of other potential charges.
And one of the questions in this case in my mind has always been, will
Mueller ever indict WikiLeaks? And that is left as a hanging question I
think with this and other inquiries. And, of course, we now have multiple
instances of his lying to Congress. And Jackie Speier and others have been
saying he`s not the only one.
So to the extent that people were aligning their testimony to lie to
Congress, there are others out there, Donald Trump, Jr., being I think the
most popular name that you hear coming up, that is going to be one of them.
So both on the obstruction front as well as on the collusion front, you can
see the tentacles of this case extending to many other individuals.
O`DONNELL: And, Mimi, it`s always been hard for me personally following
the Stone situation because I know him to be a lifetime buffoon, an
absolute abject buffoon who no one in politics took seriously. And so,
it`s always been hard for me to believe he`s at the center of anything even
interesting in a political campaign. But if there`s a campaign where Roger
Stone could be in the center of something, it is the most buffoonish
presidential campaign in history, of course, the Trump campaign.
And so, this is the only place in politics where it is possible that Roger
Stone leads to something very serious.
ROCAH: Yes, and look, this is serious. I mean, I`ve said this before,
but, you know, the obstruction and the witness tampering in and of itself
should be taken very seriously, first of all. But underneath that, the why
are they lying, not just Stone but so many people around the president
lying about the Russians over and over and risking criminal prosecution. I
mean, even if you`re a buffoon, presumably, you don`t want to go to jail
and you know that if you repeatedly lie to Congress while you`re e-mailing
the person that you`re lying and saying, you know, that you`re not talking
to, which is what Stone did, you`re going to likely face prison time.
So, this is – it does seem very serious, and it does seem much more
complicated. Again, what`s underlying this indictment I think there is
still a complicated story here. And we`ve gotten a big piece of it. We
got a big piece of it from the Michael Cohen plea. We got a big piece in
the Stone indictment, but there`s still a lot to tell in this story.
And remember, we haven`t yet seen the fruits of the Michael Cohen
cooperation, of the Michael Flynn cooperation. We know they met for I
think 19 times I think it was. We have not fully seen that yet. And so,
that`s another sign or reason why I think a lot of us are saying there`s
still more to come.
O`DONNELL: Mimi Rocah and Jennifer Rubin, thank you for joining us on this
And also tonight, Trump is a fraud, so said the headline of an op-ed piece
written by a former speechwriter of George W. Bush. And new polls indicate
that even some Trump voters are catching onto the fraud.
And later, we will be joined by Congresswoman Lucy McBath.
O`DONNELL: Trump is a fraud. That is the headline of a “Washington Post”
op-ed piece today, and it is also the conclusion of another “Washington
Post” op-ed piece today on the same page. Under the headline, Trump is a
fraud, Michael Gerson who was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush
says that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s defeat of Donald Trump in the
government shutdown should be the final proof that Donald Trump is a fraud.
Michael Gerson writes, “The president was elected in part by giving his
supporters an imprecision of business acumen. This was, in fact, the image
carefully cultivated by book publishers and TV producers and by Trump
himself as a presidential candidate who claimed to be a peerless
negotiator, an unrivaled businessman, and an excellent manager.
He lost the most visible and important confrontation of his presidency in
negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the government shutdown.
Michael Gerson goes onto catalog claims by candidate Trump that had been
proven untrue including the claim of being a self-made billionaire and the
claim that he hires the best people.
Gerson writes, no one can reasonably claim to believe in Trump`s brand as
it was sold in 2016. We have plumbed the shallows of his boasts. They are
refuted lies. And whatever else the president may be, he is a fraud.
Catherine Rampell`s op-ed piece which ran just above Michael Gerson`s in
the “Washington Post” op-ed piece – op-ed page stresses the complete
collapse of candidate Trump`s promises to coal miners about the coal
industry. Donald Trump has blamed Obama administration regulations for
decline in coal production.
But Catherine Rampell points out that the decline in coal production is now
predicted to be much more severe than it was during the Obama
administration with U.S. coal consumption hitting its lowest point in 39
years during President Trump`s second year in office.
Catherine Rampell writes, Trump promises a vision of an industry from
decades ago and then struggles to understand why he can`t turn back the
clock. She notes that the American steel industry is producing about as
much steel today as they did 30 years ago just with fewer than half the
workers, thanks to productivity gains.
So the steel jobs are not coming back to the United States because they are
already here. And most of those steel jobs are now held by machines. The
voting public is catching onto the fraud. For example, Donald Trump
campaigned relentlessly on the size of the national debt, which he said he
would eliminate as president of the United States. And, of course, the
Trump tax cuts have dramatically increased the budget deficit and the
And so according to a new “Washington Post” poll, on inauguration day, 50
percent believed that Donald Trump would do a good job on the federal
budget deficit. And now 33 percent believe that Donald Trump is doing a
good job on the federal budget deficit which, of course, has gotten much,
much worse under President Trump.
The verdict is in on that piece of the Trump fraud. We will have more on
the fraud of Donald Trump after a break with Austan Goolsbee and Jennifer
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: U.S. Steel just announced
that they`re building six new steel mills.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: U.S. Steel did not announce that they were building six new
steel mills because they`re not building six new steel mills. Yet another
piece of the fraud of Donald Trump.
Joining our discussion now, Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the Council
of Economic Advisers for President Obama. He`s currently a professor for
economics at the University of Chicago. And Jennifer Rubin is back with
Austan Goolsbee, there is so much to talk about in what Michael Gerson
calls Donald Trump is a fraud. But I would like to talk about some of this
economic data that I`ve just been reviewing. And it`s hard to think of any
area there where he hasn`t made fraudulent claims.
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Look, I
agree with that. But you remember in the campaign, we had the conversation
and I said we needed to start following what I called the Trump Policy
Directive, which is we should not spend any more time talking about Trump`s
policy ideas that he spent coming up with them. And at the end of this
sentence, we`ve already violated the directive.
O`DONNELL: That`s right.
GOOLSBEE: Look, he`s – throughout the campaign, it was totally obvious
that what he was saying was complete nonsense. It was a – it`s a fraud
wrapped in quackery inside of a bamboozle. I mean there`s – the things
that he promised were self-contradictory and now there were people that
wanted to believe.
And I think, now, as various parts of what has been a strong economy start
to slow down, we start to see some yellow lights, people even talking about
the dreaded “R” word of recession, I think a lot of those people that
wanted to believe are by the end of his term going to be acting like they
never knew him, they had nothing to do with him. Just like no one
remembers having voted for Richard Nixon.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer, when I saw the headline in “The Post” today, on the
op-ed page, Trump is a fraud, I thought – first of all, I thought, well,
you know, I`ve been saying that since 2011 about everything, starting with
the birth certificate. And I`ve always thought that for decades before
observing him in New York life.
But I did think, oh, this is an important piece. It`s, first of all,
elegantly written, as Michael Gerson`s material always is. But historians
are going to need this –
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: – 50 years from now. They`re going to need to see the present
tense reading of just how much fraud there was. And I think columnists
like you and Michael Gerson and others actually need to continue filing
these things for history.
RUBIN: Yes. In fact, we often have this internal debate. Should we keep
writing the same thing that he lied, he lied? And the answer is yes.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes, historians are going to need it. Yes.
RUBIN: They`re going to need it and it`s good to remind voters because
they forget. I mean the absolute ignorance, the man has still not learned
the meaning of trade deficit. He still thinks that we owe China a check
of, you know, billions and billions of dollars. His understanding of basic
economics is nonexistent.
And then there`s the thing he just makes up, whether it`s on immigration,
whether it`s on trade, whether it`s on the biggest recovery effort which is
patently untrue. He`s been lying his whole life. This is no different
than Trump Hill.
Instead of selling admission to his university, he sold votes and he conned
people out of their votes. So this is not new, but it does become more and
more troubling. Because for a while, frankly, he could coast on the record
of Barack Obama who handed him a very good economy. And it continued on
sort of in cruise control. Every president gets to sort of reap the
benefits or carry the burdens of the president before.
But now Trump is making decisions and oh, my gosh, things are going off the
deep end, whether it`s shutting down the government, losing billions of
dollars, whether it`s starting trade wars, whether it`s running up a huge
debt. These are things that he does, that he won`t acknowledge, that
actually have real-life ramifications.
And I think it`s different for some of these Trump voters when it`s their
paycheck that they`ve missed now two times in a row when it`s their small
business that isn`t being patronized by government workers. Suddenly, all
this becomes much more personal than somebody else`s child at the border,
than somebody else`s livelihood, or somebody else`s sense of being the
secretary of bigotry when it comes –
GOOLSBEE: Look, I absolutely think that`s right. That`s deeply
insightful. That`s exactly right, that it`s one thing if you`re running a
casino and whatever and you told your investors something that was puffery
and it wasn`t exactly right. He`s the president of the United States. He
promised these people when they cut taxes for big corporations and very
high-income people by $2 trillion, he promised the average family was going
to get $4,000 higher income.
And people are going to look around and they`re going to be like, “Woah,
wait a minute, #where`smy$4000? and I think this is just going to keep
building up. And the more you write about the lies, the puffery, the
things that are completely not true, the more that just closes in, the
window just closes and closes. And finally, like I say, they`re going to
pretend they never met him, they don`t know him, and they`re going to say
“I hated that guy from the beginning.”
O`DONNELL: Austan, before you go, let me ask you a campaign question for
the Democrats running. They – most of them have some developing and very
clear economic policies that they`re advocating. Elizabeth Warren`s tax
policy. Others, I`m sure are going to be coming forward with more and more
economic policy arguments.
But how much time – you were in the Obama campaign. Strategically, as an
economic advisor in a campaign if you were now, how much time would you say
a candidate should devote to pointing out the fraud of Donald Trump when it
comes to promising more coal jobs, promising more steel jobs?
GOOLSBEE: I don`t know. Look, I`m just the policy guy. What do you ask
me about message? But I think some effort on that is absolutely warranted.
To just say here`s what he told you four years ago, he was going to give
you. Did he? Or do you” – and I think that`s – as the economy, if it
slows down, I think that message is going to resonate with a lot of people.
Because they`re going to say, “Yes. Wait a minute, he said he was going to
change everything and drain the swamp, return the coal jobs, give everyone
health care for less money, never cut Medicare and Medicaid. He violated
all those promises.”
O`DONNELL: Austan Goolsbee and Jennifer Rubin, thank you for joining us
tonight. I appreciate it.
And when we come back, Lucy MacBath who first appeared on this program
seven years ago as a grieving mother who lost her son to gun violence will
join us tonight as a freshman member of Congress.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted, “Next Tuesday night,
Donald Trump will be the warm-up act for the real deal, Stacey Abrams.”
Senator Schumer has invited Stacey Abrams to deliver the Democratic
response to President Trump`s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Stacey Abrams came in a very close second in the Georgia campaign for
governor last November and in the process, won the hearts of Democrats
nationwide. Her surprisingly strong campaign in a Republican state helped
drive turnout for other Democrats on the ballot.
And one of those winning Democrats in a Republican congressional district
was Lucy McBath, who in the last seven years has gone from flight attendant
to a nationally prominent gun safety advocate after her son, Jordan Davis,
was murdered at a Florida gas station sitting in the backseat of a parked
car because a white man with a gun decided that the black kids in that car
were playing their music too loud.
Lucy McBath`s first national television interview occurred under those
tragic circumstances here on this program where she appeared for the first
time as a grieving mother in a recurring American nightmare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LUCY MCBATH (D), GEORGIA: We`re not saying that you don`t have a
right to bear arms because we can`t choose for you what you choose to do.
But there needs to be accountability, there needs to be responsibility.
You need to understand the means by which you can bear arms and protect
yourself. And that is something that really has to be addressed.
People are operating in fear. People are afraid to walk out of their
homes. And I know that`s not what God intended for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Lucy McBath will join us next.
O`DONNELL: Here is freshman Congresswoman Lucy McBath introducing her
first bill in the House of Representatives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCBATH: Seven years ago, my son was violently torn from my life, a victim
of gun violence, a victim of a person who had a gun who should never have
received one. Today, I join my colleagues and former Congresswoman Gabby
Giffords to prevent more families from facing the horror and heartbreak
brought by gun violence. I am honored to co-sponsor this bipartisan
legislation for my son Jordan and for the safety of every family in this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And joining us now is Representative Lucy McBath, Democratic
Congresswoman from Georgia`s sixth district. First of all,
MCBATH: Thank you so much.
O`DONNELL: It is so great to have you back on this program. What was that
like, to be standing in the well of the House of Representatives and
standing up to introduce your first bill and speaking for your son Jordan
at the same time?
MCBATH: Well, it was very surreal. I`ve been, you know, there in the
gallery before watching other legislators put forth legislation and
amendments and continuing resolutions. But actually to be there myself as
a policymaker, when I`ve come to Washington so many times before as an
advocate for safer gun laws, to actually be the policymaker was – I think
my son would be so proud in all the work that I`ve done with gun violence
victims and survivors around the country. I think I just felt the weight
of all that on my shoulders.
O`DONNELL: I`m sure you did. Democrats, since around 1994, have been kind
of running away from guns in campaigns and running away from the issue
because they felt they were hurt by it in the early `90s. And when they –
the first time they lost the House of Representatives in 40 years, they
attributed part of that to the NRA and guns.
You not only took it on in the campaign, you did it in a Republican
district. This was Newt Gingrich`s district that you won this campaign in.
It was a squeaker, it was close, but you didn`t shy away from this issue.
How did you appeal – you had to appeal to Republican voters. How did you
MCBATH: Well, I think that as a mother, there are families all over the
country, and most specifically in my district, that they`re very concerned
about their children coming home and talking about their lockdown drills.
And that I think that every person that I appealed to understood that that
could also be their plight as well, that there are no safe spaces in the
country, that gun violence is apparently everywhere, and that I, as a
victim, could speak great credibility as to wanting to really keep them
safe and why it`s important to do so.
O`DONNELL: What advice do you have for Democrats, especially Democrats now
running for president, about how to speak to Republican voters? Because
you had to convert Republican voters in your district, some Republican
voters, to vote Democrat. Probably some of them for the first time in
MCBATH: Well, basically, I just told my story. I had been a single mother
so I understood when we had that recession after September 11 and I took a
hefty pay cut. So I could speak very credibly to the fact that I had to
decide what I could and could not afford to do anymore and still be able to
make it every day.
Having been a two-time breast cancer survivor, I understand what it means
to make sure that people have affordable health care, and that people with
pre-existing conditions like myself have the ability to have, you know,
good treatment without the high cost of that treatment. So my own lived
experiences afforded me to be the face of the very thing that people in my
district and around the nation are concerned about every single day.
O`DONNELL: How do you do it? And by this I mean, how do you deal with the
grief, which I`m sure is still there, of the loss of your son, something
you didn`t want to live to, you didn`t want to be here – none of us do.
And how do you live with that every day going forward?
MCBATH: I live with my grief by making sure that I`m fighting as hard as I
can for the people that I live and work among every single day. For me,
that is how I manage my grief. To put myself forth for the sake of others,
which is exactly what I was trying to teach my son to do as a human being.
And so giving of myself, giving of my time and my talent, all of my
treasure, trying to make sure that I am making democracy better for those
people that are really counting on democracy working for them.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Lucy McBath, thank you very much for joining us
tonight, and I am not among those who are surprised that you are here now.
It makes perfect sense to me.
MCBATH: Thank you so much.
O`DONNELL: The Honorable Lucy McBath gets tonight`s “last word.” “The 11th
Hour with Brian Williams” starts now.
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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