Roger Stone pleads not guilty. TRANSCRIPT: 1/29/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Austan Goolsbee; Jennifer Rubin; Lucy McBath
Transcript:

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Wicked cold, Rachel. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”:  Yes.

 

O`DONNELL:  That is wicked cold. 

 

MADDOW:  Yes.

 

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

that. 

 

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

thing. 

 

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

Putin. 

 

“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

response. 

 

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

destroyed ISIS. 

 

(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

administration`s deal. 

 

(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

southern border. 

 

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

will discuss. 

 

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

matter. 

 

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

today. 

 

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

indicated. 

 

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.

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

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. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes.

 

We`re going to have to leave it there.  Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Director

John McLaughlin, thank you both for joining us tonight.  We really

appreciate.

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

thought. 

 

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

more indictments. 

 

(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

evidence. 

 

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

Stone. 

 

(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

tonight. 

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

national debt.

 

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

Rubin.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(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

us.

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

country.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  And joining us now is Representative Lucy McBath, Democratic

Congresswoman from Georgia`s sixth district.  First of all,

congratulations.

 

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

do that?

 

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

their lives.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

END   

 

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