Trump lashes out at FBI Director Wray. TRANSCRIPT: 5/13/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
I was handed that story about, oh, I don`t know, 35 minutes ago when it
broke. And, of course, I`m watching you on TV knowing you don`t know the
story has just broken. And the way I read things now is I`m holding my
hands and thinking, oh, gee, Rachel really deserves another half an hour.
O`DONNELL: I should just let her take a half an hour of this real estate
just to react to the story since you were leading – I mean, they`re
basically referring to what James Baker told you Friday night in that “New
York Times” article. And so, this is really moving now.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I mean – and remember, we`ve got the Judiciary
Committee in the Senate led by Lindsey Graham who now says what he`s going
to investigate is the start of the Russia investigation, and maybe Hillary
Clinton`s e-mails. We`ve got Jeff Sessions having already appointed a U.S.
attorney named Huber in Utah to look at the origins of the Russia
investigation. We`ve got the inspector general at the Justice Department
looking at the origins of that investigation.
And now, Attorney General Barr fresh off of pounding his chest in Congress
and saying we need to stop using the Justice Department for political
purposes. Now, he too has appointed somebody else yet another U.S.
attorney to look into the origins of that investigation. Meanwhile, we
have no idea what the results were of that investigation. We have the no
idea what the findings were of the counterintelligence investigation into
Russia and its potential links with the Trump campaign. None of that ended
in the Mueller reports.
But this whole idea the president is going to demand investigations of the
investigators, of his political enemies it`s not the dystopic future
anymore. We`re living through it.
O`DONNELL: And we got lucky in our booking tonight because we have Mimi
Rocah ready to start off our discussion anyway. But she knows all the
players, and we`re just talking about this newest investigator, this new
U.S. attorney who`s coming into the picture and his past records and how
meticulous he is.
He`s not quick. That`s one of the points Mimi is going to make. He`s one
of the people who led the investigation of the FBI misbehavior and crimes
in Boston in the “Whitey” Bulger case.
O`DONNELL: So, he`s been through this kind of thing before.
MADDOW: He was also the guy who looked whether or not Trump administration
– excuse me, George W. Bush administration officials should potentially be
prosecuted for the torture scandal of the Bush administration. And took a
very long time, and was very controversial when it came out early in
Obama`s tenure. So, he`s been through the wars in terms of being right in
the middle of very provocative, very controversial stuff. But his
appointment itself to me is the huge news here regardless of what he
eventually does with his appointment.
O`DONNELL: So, Rachel, before you go –
O`DONNELL: – on Memorial Day when you`re in the canoe, you know where I
MADDOW: Not in the canoe?
O`DONNELL: I won`t be in the canoe on Memorial Day. I`m going to have to
leave the canoe early on Memorial Day.
O`DONNELL: To go to Spartanburg, South Carolina, where the very next day,
I will hoisting at 10:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC a live town hall with
presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
MADDOW: Yay, that`s going to be amazing.
O`DONNELL: Right in the heart – that`s Trump country. That is the Trump
section of South Carolina. It`s going to be a really interesting world and
environment in which to be doing that. And so that`s my –
MADDOW: That`s the day after Memorial Day, Tuesday of that –
O`DONNELL: Tuesday – it says here, Tuesday, May 28th.
MADDOW: I might just take my canoe down there.
O`DONNELL: You know, the tickets are going to be available, and we`re
going to tell people how to get tickets. But I`ve got one for you, a
handwritten ticket I just put out.
MADDOW: I will paddle my way there.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence. Congratulations on that.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Thanks.
Well, one thing I won`t be doing on memorial day weekend is playing golf
because I don`t like golf. I wouldn`t go so far as to say I hate golf.
It`s more that I just don`t care about golf and I don`t understand why
anyone else cares about golf.
That`s what I would have said to you last week before spending the weekend
with Rick Reilly`s brilliant new book “Commander in Cheat: How Golf
Explains Trump”. This book does what great writing can do. It can change
the way you think. Change the way you see things.
It hasn`t changed the way I see Donald Trump, but it has changed the way I
see golf and what is important about golf. And prior to this book, I never
would have put the word important in the same sentence as golf.
On this program, we have tried several ways to explain Donald Trump,
including the psychiatric. It turns out golf explains as much about Donald
Trump as any other frame you can use to study Donald Trump. And so, at the
end of this hour, we`re going to do something we have never done before on
this program. We`re going to talk about golf.
And if you are among the more than 90 percent of Americans who never play
golf, you`re going to discover a valuable new way of understanding the
president of the United States and you`re going to laugh out loud when Rick
Reilly joins us tonight, because this book includes lines liking “this guy
cheats like a mafia accountant” and many other very funny lines about the
president who wants to be king of golf.
Rick Reilly explains the importance of the president cheating at golf this
way. He says: If you`ll cheat to win at golf – if you`ll cheat to win at
golf, is it that much further to cheat to win an election? To turn a
congressional vote? To stop an investigation?
We learned in the Mueller report that the Donald Trump tried to stop Robert
Mueller`s investigation by firing him. White House counsel Don McGahn
testified under oath that the president repeatedly ordered him to fire
And now, President Trump is trying to retroactively fire Don McGahn. On
Saturday, the president tweeted: I was not going to fire Bob Mueller and
did not fire Bob Mueller. Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better
chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!
That tweet followed Friday night reporting “The Wall Street Journal” and
“New York Times” that Don McGahn refused a request from the Trump White
House to say that in his opinion, the president did not obstruct justice
when he ordered Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller.
“The New York Times” reports that the White House asked Don McGahn to issue
a public statement before the redacted Mueller report was publicly released
but after the White House had already obtained a copy of the redacted
Mueller report and knew exactly what the Mueller report said about Don
McGahn`s testimony that the president ordered him to fire Robert Mueller.
The White House asked Don McGahn to be issue a statement saying he didn`t
think that was obstruction of justice again right after the Mueller report
was made public. Don McGahn has been subpoenaed by the House Judiciary
Committee to testify about all of this next week but the White House is
trying to block that testimony on the grounds of executive privilege and it
is unclear what Don McGahn who is now a private citizen will do next week
in response to that subpoena.
NBC`s Hallie Jackson asked the president about Don McGahn today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Should Don McGahn be held in
contempt of Congress?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t know anything about
what`s going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Yesterday, President Trump attacked FBI Director Christopher
Wray who the president appointed to the job after he fired Comey. The
president tweeted, the FBI has no leadership – the director is protecting
the same gang that tried to overthrow the president through an illegal
That is, of course, not true. No one attempted to overthrow throw the
president through an illegal. That has never happened in American history.
Donald Trump is one of the very few presidents who has been the subject of
a criminal investigation by a special prosecutor work within the Justice
Department. That is a legal and constitutional process.
The reason for the president`s sudden attack on his own appointed FBI
director is that the FBI director disagreed with what has become the Trump
way of describing the FBI, a description that has been echoed by the
president`s new Attorney General William Barr.
Here is FBI Director Christopher Wray refusing to say the Trump magic word
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): When FBI agents conduct investigations against
alleged mobsters, suspected terrorists, other criminals, do you believe
that they`re engaging in spying when they`re following FBI investigative
policies and procedures?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Well, that`s not the term I would use.
SHAHEEN: Do you have any evidence that any illegal surveillance into the
campaigns or individuals associated with the campaigns by the FBI occurred?
WRAY: I don`t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was last week. And then this weekend, Christopher Wray
becomes Donald Trump`s newest attack target. Donald Trump may be on the
verge of becoming only the fourth president in history to be the subject of
impeachment proceedings according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman
Yesterday, Chairman Schiff noted that the Trump administration is refusing
to comply with every single investigative inquiry that the House of
Representatives has made across multiple committees and jurisdiction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It`s certainly true these additional acts of
obstruction, the president having obstructed the Justice Department
investigation now obstructing Congress does add weight to impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Mimi Rocah, former federal
prosecutor, and Jennifer Rubin, opinion writer at “The Washington Post.”
Both are MSNBC contributors.
And, Mimi, let me go back to what Rachel and I were discussing at the very
beginning of this, and that is the report tonight that Attorney General
Barr has an appointed the top U.S. attorney in Connecticut John Durham to
do what is yet another investigation of the beginnings of the investigation
of Russian interference in the election.
MIMI ROCAH, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: An investigation that we still don`t know
the full results of, right? We`re going back and investigating the
investigators of an investigation that we will still do not know the full
results of. That`s one of the main problems here I see. Let`s wait until
we see the results that have investigation before we open yet another one.
But also, as Rachel said, I mean, we can`t trust it, right? Like this
isn`t about Durham. This isn`t about what kind of prosecutor he is or
isn`t. By all accounts, he`s investigated both Republican administrations,
you know, Democrat. He seems to be a career prosecutor.
But we can`t trust it because of who is ordering the investigation. And it
is an order. This came from Trump. We have no way to separate Trump`s
calls over the past two years for investigating the investigators and what
has now happened.
And the fact that Bill Barr has come across in these past few months shown
himself to be such a partisan tool really for Trump – again, there`s no
faith that this has been independently vetted by the Department of Justice
and there`s some real basis for it, that it`s something other than now a
political investigation with the Department of Justice being used.
O`DONNELL: Well, knowing John Durham`s work as you do, is it possible that
this is William Barr`s way of satisfying the boss of saying to the
president, OK, I`ve got someone doing exactly what you want and now he has
this careful prosecutor who might end up taking a very long time who has no
independent status. This is just something that`s happening along with the
job that he has – has day job of being the U.S. attorney of Connecticut?
ROCAH: Yes. Look, that is possible. And he is meticulous, and his
investigations in the past, I don`t think he`s ever worked quickly in these
sort of big investigations he`s done before. So, this is unlikely to be
over before the next election.
That could be a good thing but it also is going to allow Trump to be out
there saying, you know, there`s this cloud over the investigation still.
But yes, at the end of the day, the same with the inspector general. I
mean, we`re still waiting on that report. And it is likely to be something
that will have a little bit, that will satisfy everybody but will not be
sort of the big about bombshell that Trump has been waiting for.
And so, you know, we need this had to play out. But I think this is just
another layer to too much, and we can`t trust the way it was done is the
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Rubin, these are moments when trust matters, when
credibility matters I should say. Trust is a different level, but basic
credibility which William Barr sacrificed a while ago.
JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s right. And I think for reasons
that aren`t entirely clear to me, he`s decided to go down in history as
Mimi has said as a toady. He is front and center, of course.
He was found in contempt of Congress by with the Judiciary Committee. He
is refusing to appear before the Judiciary Committee because he doesn`t
want to be questioned by an actual lawyer. He has now taken up the
The mere fact of it takes us one step away from our rule of law and
democratic principles. It was very interesting that the president today
was meeting with Viktor Orban, who is the leader of Hungary. He must have
been asking him for tips or maybe offering tips because this is out of the
strongman`s playbook that you disable the press, you dispute and ruin their
credibility. You use powers that are supposed to be used under strict
guidance, strict conditions for your own personal purposes. You use the
investigative tools to turn them on your enemies.
This is textbook kind of autocracy. I am very much warming to my old idea
of a number of weeks ago that if they`re not ready to impeach Mr. Trump,
maybe they should start with Mr. Barr. And he is behaving in ways that are
completely inappropriate for an attorney general and it will be very
interesting to see what happens if in fact the entire House votes him as a
someone who is in contempt of Congress and then what happens beyond there.
But he`s behaving in ways that I think are really unprecedented in DOJ
history and I feel for the people who work there. There is a cloud hanging
over them. And they are led by someone who does not have the credibility,
who seems too willing, too anxious to do the president`s bidding. For all
those professionals at the Justice Department, I`m sure they`re keeping
their nose to the grindstone and trying to be professional.
But they must be aware that there`s something rotten in the Justice
O`DONNELL: Mimi Rocah, you have this question of what is Don McGahn going
to do. Is he going to subpoena to testify to the Judiciary Committee? The
White House is saying, no, no, we don`t want him testifying, that`s all
executive privilege, which is a difficult argument for them to make since
he`s already talked about it.
But then the president comes out and publicly attacks Don McGahn. I mean,
that in effect is pushing Don McGahn toward the Judiciary Committee.
ROCAH: Well, maybe. You know, I think that`s in part what happened with
for example, Michael Cohen. I think Trump alienated him in some of his
statements so much that it pushed him more and more to the government that
the didn`t totally work out for Michael the way he expected it to or hoped
that it would.
But yes, I think that is a possibility. But I also think – I mean, I
think and that I think people could disagree with this, reasonable
prosecutors could disagree. But I think that what Trump is doing publicly
with McGahn in my mind is attempts at witness intimidation.
He is trying to show him I can hurt your reputation. He`s already pulled
his business from his law firm. He`s starting now with the oh, you know,
he wasn`t such a great White House counsel and, you know, there`s criminal
statute that deals with that, whether it`s criminal or not, we can be
looking at this two years from now and saying did he intimidate or try too
tamper with Don McGahn.
It`s certainly not something the president should be doing. It`s certainly
would qualify as impeachable conduct. He`s not executing the laws fairly
as president should because he is clearly speaking out and trying to I
think signal to McGahn if you go there, and you say what it says in that
report, you know, there is going to be trouble for you.
O`DONNELL: And, Jennifer Rubin, the FBI Director Christopher Wray is now
on the president`s attack list.
RUBIN: Correct. He made the unpardonable sin of telling truth and
contradicting the president I guess in that regard. He`s with a whole
bunch of other aides by refusing to use the “S” word, the spying rule, he
has made it a little bit more difficult for president Trump to lie.
But going back toing what we were talking about McGahn, this has gotten
very meta as they say. We are talking about intimidating a witness who is
himself a witness to obstruction of justice by the same person who is now
trying to intimidate him. So, you can`t get more Trump than this.
And my sources tell me that Don McGahn very much wants to do this. He
realizes that there are legal concerns that he has a firm whose reputation
is at issue, but my understanding is that he very much wants to be, if you
will, the John Dean and to come and tell his story honestly. And that`s
exactly why Trump is having a meltdown trying to prevent that.
In the end, I think Don McGahn will be testify.
O`DONNELL: Mimi Rocah, Jennifer Rubin, thank you very much for starting us
And when we come back it, turns out Don McGahn testifying to Congress isn`t
the only thing that Donald Trump doesn`t know anything about. Robert Reich
will join us on the Trump trade war which is getting worse and had a very,
very bad day today for American consumers. You are paying the Trump
tariffs. Not China.
O`DONNELL: In the first half of the 20th century, the world began too
figure out that trade wars have no winners, only losers. The basic
principles of this were well-known by the time Donald Trump was supposed to
be studying things like this in college but apparently he wasn`t paying
attention when the subject of tariffs came up.
Trump tariffs are now getting credit for today`s very bad day for the stock
market after China announced that it will retaliate against the Trump
tariffs and the president responded to that by, of course, threatening even
more destructive tariffs. Today`s very bad day in the Trump trade war came
the day after the president`s top economic adviser publicly admitted that
China does not pay one penny of the Trump tariffs.
Countries do not pay tariffs. Consumers who buy imported products pay
tariffs. Only Americans pay the Trump tariffs. And Donald Trump`s top
economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow who has been as opposed to tariffs his
entire professional life finally had to admit yesterday what the Trump
tariffs are doing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: It`s a tariff on goods coming into the
country, the Chinese aren`t paying.
LARRY KUDLOW, TRUMP`S TOP ECONOMIC ADVISER: No, but the Chinese will
suffer GDP losses and so forth with respect to a diminishing export market
and goods they may need.
WALLACE: They may suffer consequences but it`s U.S. businesses and U.S.
consumers who pay, correct?
KUDLOW: Yes, to some extent. I don`t disagree with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Every time the president opens his mouth about tariffs, he adds
to economic illiteracy in America. And so, we prefer to avoid showing the
president talking about tariffs. What we`re going to show you two pieces
of video to demonstrate how even the president`s talking points about
tariffs have been somewhat tempered by the reality that China does not pay
one penny of the tariffs, the Trump tariffs.
First, we`ll listen to the way the president said it on Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So our country can take in $120 billion a year in tariffs paid for
mostly by China by the way, not by us. A lot of people try and steer it in
a different direction. Ultimately, it`s paid for largely by China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Paid for mostly by China. That`s Thursday where the president
is for the first time admitting that the tariffs are not paid entirely by
China. He`s saying they`re paid mostly by China which means someone else
is paying those tariffs.
So that`s a baby step. That was a baby step toward the truth and then
today, the president very carefully avoided saying that China pays the
tariffs. Now, listen carefully to the way the president said it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`re taking in right now hundreds of billions of dollars.
Billions of dollars of tariffs and those tariffs are going to be
tremendously, if you look at what we`ve done thus far with China, we`ve
never taken in ten cents until I got elected. Now we`re taking in billions
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He didn`t say who he was taking those billions from.
Joining us now is Robert Reich, former secretary of labor in the Clinton
administration and he`s a professor of public policy at the University of
California at Berkeley. His latest book, “The Common Good” was recently
released in paperback.
And, Professor Reich, it is finally getting through to the news media
certainly and maybe even to the White House who pays the Trump tariffs.
ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: Well, this is a trade war, and in
any trade war, the casualties, Lawrence, are consumers. And in this
particular trade war between the largest and second largest economies in
the world, American consumers are already paying dearly.
It`s a hidden tax but a tariff is a tax. And the tax is a tariff. And you
just can`t avoid it. And Donald Trump can`t avoid it.
O`DONNELL: And the – it`s basically a sales tax in the actual forms of
it, it`s paid at the port in the United States by the company that is
importing those goods, the company then raises the price of that goods,
those goods when sold to us to basically pay for the tariffs.
REICH: Exactly. And this is not something new. I mean, we have known how
tariffs worked for approximately 130 years economists, not only economists
but politicians. In 1930, Congressmen Smoot and Hawley tried a very, very
big experiment in international trade and that was a tariff that plunged us
into a deeper depression than we were already in.
O`DONNELL: And the history of this was been known for white awhile. Larry
Kudlow himself opposed the tariffs of all kinds every day of his
professional life until he had to go to work for Donald Trump.
REICH: He did. And Larry, you know, I`ve debated Larry on television for
years. He is a friend, despite the fact we don`t see eye to eye. But we
do see eye to eye on tariffs.
And I have talked to him over the last you`re in fact as recently as three
months ago, he was very worried about this. I don`t think I`m giving away
anything by saying this. He was worried Trump would do what Donald Trump
Let me just say one other thing, and that is that I have worked for or
advised a lot of presidents and in fact, there are Republicans, as well
Democrat, presidents who don`t understand economics generally get a lesson
from their economic advisers.
Presidents who don`t understand economics don`t spout off and repeatedly
say economic lies. I mean, this is basically – this is the dangerous and
we`re in a very, very dangerous territory right now.
O`DONNELL: Very slow learner in the White House.
Professor Robert Reich, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really
REICH: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, Democratic presidential candidate Seth
Moulton in tonight`s “Contenders” interview.
O`DONNELL: Here`s a thought experiment. What could get Donald Trump to
drop Mike Pence s as his running mate for re-election at the Republican
What if the Democratic nominee for president has no military experience,
which is true of almost all of the Democratic candidates? But that
democratic nominee chooses a running mate with military experience. Would
Donald Trump want to have military experience on the ticket with him?
Would he push out Mike Pence and replace him with Mike Pompeo who is a West
That`s why you have to look at the field of 21 Democratic candidates for
president and pick two, pick two, pick your favorite for president and pick
one for vice president. Pick one who you think adds something to the
ticket. That`s why you have to give all of the candidates a good look no
matter where they are in the polls.
Congressman Seth Moulton is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard
Business School and he is a decorated combat veteran, a marine who served
four tours of duty in Iraq. Congressman Seth Moulton is now a candidate
If he ends up on the Democratic ticket, might he actually knock Mike Pence
off the Republican ticket? That is not a question for Seth Moulton. That
is a question for you voters to consider as you strategically evaluate
everyone in the Democratic field of candidates.
Joining us now is Congressman Seth Moulton, democratic member of the House
of Representatives from Massachusetts and a candidate for president. You
are running for president. You are not running for vice president.
And so I want to ask you as I`ve been asking all of the candidates what
they would actually do sitting in the White House in that job. And I want
to begin tonight by showing you something that the current occupant of the
job said today about Iran. Let`s listen to what the president said about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are we going to war with Iran? Are you seeking regime change
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ll see what happens with
Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake, if they do
I`m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, they will
suffer greatly. We`ll see what happens with Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: If you were asked the question are we going to war with Iran,
sitting in the Oval Office, what would you say?
SETH MOULTON, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, I fought
Iranians before on the ground in Iraq, 2004. It was bloody. We won.
And I`d fight Iran again if necessary but this is not necessary. Sending
120,000 troops into the Middle East because of provocations from Iran, I
mean we had provocations back in September. They attacked the Baghdad
Embassy. Secretary Mattis who has fought Iranians, he said no, we`re not
going to get into a war.
This is chicken hawks in the administration. I mean, if you still had a
definition of chicken hawks in the dictionary, it would be John Bolton and
Donald Trump. And by the way, I think we all know who is the hawk and who
is the chicken.
I don`t think that Trump even has control over his national security
adviser right now. He`s trying to drag us into a war with Iran just like
he did 15 years ago in Iraq.
O`DONNELL: Talk about what it was like to serve in a war that you opposed
and what did that teach you that you would bring to the Oval Office?
MOULTON: That you shouldn`t go into war until unless it`s absolutely
necessary. I`ve seen marines hurt and killed by Iraqis, by Iranians. You
don`t fight unless you absolutely have to.
And I just don`t think people in this administration understand that. And
Donald Trump, you know, got out of fighting in his war.
Think about the contrast between Donald Trump and John F. Kennedy. John F.
Kennedy used his father`s connections to get medically cleared to go to
war. Donald Trump used his father`s connections to lie about bone spurs so
he wouldn`t have to serve.
And there`s not – it wasn`t like there`s an empty seat in Vietnam because
Trump didn`t go. Someone went in his place. I`d like to meet that
American patriot who took Donald Trump`s place in Vietnam.
O`DONNELL: Someone who was processed through the draft board in Queens
where Donald Trump`s draft was deferred through that.
MOULTON: And that`s the point. Like that`s why I kept going back to Iraq.
I didn`t agree with the war. In fact, I was an outspoken critic of it, but
I didn`t want anyone to go in my place.
And I knew that every single day in Iraq being there on the ground on the
frontlines. I was able to affect how that war was fought much more so than
being back home and you know, that`s what`s veterans are all about.
They don`t go to war because marines are soldiers. We don`t go to war
because we think it`s perfect, that this is a perfect war. We go because
we don`t want people to go in our place. We want to make it a little
That`s serving the country. That`s service. That`s true patriotism. Not
warmongering, not fearmongering like this commander in chief is doing.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has another war going that`s going very badly, the
Trump trade war with the Trump tariffs. As president, would you repeal the
MOULTON: Yes, but we do have to confront China and this is something
that`s important. I mean China is a national security threat. It`s an
economic threat to the United States.
I mean China is literally stealing our business ideas, our military secrets
every day through the Internet. That is really costing American jobs.
The irony of this administration is that he`s appropriate – he`s allocated
more money to build a southern border wall, a Fifth Century B.C. technology
than cybersecurity for the entire country. We need to turn that around.
I mean think about China, China debated building a wall like 3,000 years
ago, right. They`re past that. They`re now saying that they`re going to
lead the world in artificial intelligence. What`s our response? Nothing
from this administration.
They`re attacking us through the Internet, stealing American jobs. What`s
our response? Nothing from the administration.
So we need to be smart and tough on China. But starting a trade war that
just hurts American farmers? Hurts American consumers? Puts a tax on all
If you shop at Walmart, you`re going to be paying more in the next few
weeks because of Trump`s tariffs. That`s hurting American families.
That`s not helping us with China. That`s hurting us.
O`DONNELL: Would you join, as President Obama wanted to do, join the
TransPacific Partnership as a way of isolating China in the Pacific trade
MOULTON: I was very skeptical of the TPP because I didn`t think it went
far enough to protect for labor and environmental protections. But what
Trump has done is just completely pulled out. He doesn`t have a seat at
the table anymore.
You`ve got to have a seat at the table. You`ve got to be in the
negotiation because otherwise, China sets the rules for the Pacific.
Trump is very good at tearing things down. He`s disparaged NATO trying to
tear that apart. He`s pulled us out of Paris.
Think about all the countries that followed President Obama into the Paris
Accords. Do you know how many have followed Trump out of them? None.
President Obama got Russia and China even to agree to come together to
prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Trump just pulls out without a
plan. No one follows but now Iran is threatening to become a nuclear
power, which we cannot let happen.
So Trump is great at tearing things down but he has no idea how to build
things. So the same thing here at home. He`s tried for years, to take
health care away from millions of Americans to repeal Obamacare without any
plan to replace it.
What`s your plan, Mr. President? We need to show America how we`re going
to fix these things and both at home with health care and I have a plan to
bring health care to Americans without forcing them on to a government
But also abroad, how we strengthen our alliances and build a Pacific
version of the NATO – of NATO to contain China and North Korea, how we
strengthen alliances like NATO and modernize them when Russia is not
attacking us with tanks but through the Internet. How we bring a new
generation of leaders into American national security to make America safe
and strong inning this new world of threats.
I think it`s time for those of us who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan to
step in for those who sent us there.
O`DONNELL: What is your health care plan?
MOULTON: So I`m the only candidate in this race who actually gets single
payer health care because I made a commitment to continue going to the VA
when I was elected to Congress. I said as long as my fellow veteran go in
there, I will go there too because we know it`s a broken system.
And I`ll tell you, I`ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. There are
some things the VA does well. Like they negotiate prescription drug care
prices. Medicare could learn a lesson from that. Medicare doesn`t do
that. So VA prescription –
O`DONNELL: Well, Medicare is prevented by law from doing that.
MOULTON: Correct. Yes, correct.
O`DONNELL: Would you change that law?
MOULTON: Absolutely. But I would also not force Americans on to a
government plan designed in 1963 if they don`t want to give up their
private health care plan. And why? Because I think competition is good.
I think competition is –
O`DONNELL: So you`d open Medicare to people who want to –
MOULTON: Exactly. This is exactly what President Obama called for in a
public option. A public option that competes against private options.
And you know what, if it competes them out of business, then so be it. But
the point is competition brings down prices for everybody.
And think about the U.S. Postal Service. I mean does anyone – if the next
president went to Congress and said we are going to put UPS and FedEx out
of business so they no longer compete with the U.S. postal system, is there
any American who thinks that that would be good, that that would improve
efficiency or lower prices? No.
I mean just in the same way that competition is good for delivering
packages, competition is good for delivering health care. And I say that
knowing what it`s like to get single-payer health care, to sit in VA
waiting rooms where people have literally died waiting to get care.
The first time I got surgery at the VA, they sent me home with the wrong
medications. So we have to do better than that. And I think that`s what
the American people want.
O`DONNELL: Let me ask you about impeachment. If you were serving in the
White House and there was a report showing that you had asked the White
House counsel to fire the prosecutor who was investigating you, would you
expect to be impeached?
O`DONNELL: Do you think this president should be impeached?
MOULTON: I think we absolutely need to have that debate in Congress. And
the right thing to do –
O`DONNELL: When we have that debate in Congress, are you going to say yes
MOULTON: I mean you can tell where I`m leaning here, but the right thing
to do, the right Constitutional duty for us in Congress is to have that
debate before Congress, before the American people. Get all the facts
including the full Mueller report. We don`t even have that yet.
And then you have a vote. But I think our party made a mistake by not
starting that debate. I called for this debate, I voted for it, last year
because we should be having this discussion.
And there are a lot of people who argue that, oh, it`s political. It`s
bad. It`s not the right time. Politically, it`s bad for the 2020
election. How about putting the Constitution and the country first? How
about doing what`s right regardless of what the politics are?
And that`s what we do. I swore an oath to protect and defend the
Constitution of the United States. Not my political party, you know, not
my political future.
It`s the same oath I swore as a United States marine officer. We`ve got to
uphold that oath and holding the administration accountable is in the
Constitution. That`s our constitutional duty.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Seth Moulton, presidential candidate. Seth
Moulton, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
MOULTON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, a book about golf that I love and I have
never liked golf until I read this book because it explains Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has said that he thinks golf should be a pastime
for the rich. And that one of the reasons you should want to become rich
is so you can afford an expensive membership at a country club and then go
out there and play golf with rich people. Or as Donald Trump prefers,
cheat at golf.
But as Rick Reilly`s bestselling new book “Commander in Cheat, How Golf
Explains Trump” taught me this weekend, golf was a game invented in
Scotland by shepherds, not by rich people. And that 90 percent of golfers
in America play mostly at private golf courses and that most of them do not
cheat because as the great golfer Ben Crenshaw said, golf is a game with a
PG Woodhouse once wrote, “To find a man`s true character, play golf with
him.” Rick Reilly has played golf with Donald Trump and he has spoken to
many other people who have played golf with Donald Trump and none of them
liked the true character of the man when they played golf with him.
Adam Levine, a 15-year-old boy who beat Donald Trump at golf 12 years ago
remembers he didn`t even say congratulations or good match. He`s a total
a-hole with no character. That was one time when Donald Trump could not
cheat his way to a win.
Rick Reilly says that Donald Trump lies so much about golf, that “Trump`s
nose has grown so long, he could putt with it.” There are many ways to be
offended by Donald Trump, Rick Reilly says, he`s offended as a golfer.
Rick Reilly learned the game from his father. Everyone in the Reilly clan
golfs, including Rick Reilly`s 91-year-old aunt. “We have a giant nine-
hole family tournament every year, the Reilly roundup. And everyone wears
a yellow shirt just like the one we buried my dad in.”
For the Reilly`s, golf is a test of skill and a test of character. Rick
Reilly quotes a psychiatrist in his book explaining why Donald Trump has to
cheat at golf, why it is part of his narcissistic personality disorder.
We will read you that statement by Harvard Medical School Psychiatry
Professor Lance Dodes when Rick Reilly joins us after this final commercial
break and Rick Reilly will explain to you how golf became such a popular
recreation for presidents, even presidents who didn`t play much golf before
moving into the White House and he`ll explain why President Woodrow Wilson
painted his golf balls black. And while he`s at it, Rick Reilly will tell
you how golf explains Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Lance Dodes is a Harvard Medical School professor of
psychiatry, is one of the co-authors of the bestseller “The Dangerous Case
of Donald Trump.” Professor Dodes has appeared on this program discussing
this book and the president`s personality disorder.
And in Rick Reilly`s bestselling new book “Commander in Cheat, How Golf
Explains Trump”, Professor Dodes explains why Donald Trump cheats at golf
because he has to. He needs to be the best at everything. He can`t stand
not winning, not being the best. It had to have started very early in his
To him, not being the best is like fingernails on the blackboard to you.
He can`t live with it. He exaggerates his golf scores and his handicap for
the same reason. He exaggerates everything. He has to.
He exhibits all the traits of a narcissistic personality disorder.
People with this disorder have no conscience about it. He has no sense of
morality about things. He lacks empathy toward others. He is a very ill
man. He doesn`t get that other people have rights and feelings. Other
people just don`t matter to him.
Joining us now is Rick Reilly, “New York Times” bestselling author of
“Commander in Cheat, How Golf Explains Trump.” Rick, thank you very much
for joining us tonight. Really appreciate you being here.
And I just wanted to give the audience a quick taste of the kind of
cheating Donald Trump engages in when he`s out there on the golf course.
RICK REILLY: OK. It`s incredible. I mean he kicks the ball so much that
the caddies call him Pele. He`ll kick your ball in the bunker.
He`s been known to fake a bunker shot as though he was actually hitting the
ball but the ball was in his right hand. And then he reaches in the hole
and pretends he holed it.
He`s been known – if he`s on your team, he`ll kick your ball into a better
position and a lot of guys are like what are you doing? I can`t – and
they put it back.
Some guys when they`re on his team and he cheats the whole way around, win,
and they go out to the parking lot and give the money back. I mean I just
– Lawrence, I can`t tell you how strange this is in the world of golf for
a guy to – it would be like if you walked into the Sistine Chapel, sat
your lazy boy down, smoked a cigar, and did your laundry.
It`s just – we don`t do this in golf. And there is no reason for him to
be such a cheater in golf. He`s over 70-years-old. He`s about a 10
handicap. That`s pretty good.
There is no reason he`s got to lie and say he`s a three. There is no
reason he`s got to say I`ve won 20 club championships when I can`t prove
that he`s won any.
He`s won club championships that he didn`t even play in. Sometimes he
wasn`t even in the same state. Sometimes he walks into a clubhouse, sees
the other guy`s name on the wall, and goes, ah, I beat that guy all the
time, make me the club champion for that year.
And they`re like, what? They got to pull this guy`s name down and put his
I mean I don`t know about politics. I`m just a sportswriter but I`ve been
covering golf for 40 years and you don`t do this. You don`t drive your
cart on greens. You don`t cheat your friends.
It`s a game where it`s the easiest game to cheat at because you`re 200
yards over there, Lawrence, and I`m 200 yards over here and I trust you`re
not going to throw it out of the woods and you trust me that I`m not going
to pick it out of the water.
And yet there is a whole group of guys who play with him, one time he hits
it in the water, they see the splash but Trump is always 200 yards ahead in
his super go-cart. And by the time they get to the fairway, it`s back on
the fairway. It`s not in the pond anymore.
And they said, “Donald, what the hell? We`re playing a money game.” And
he goes, “It must have been the tide.”
O`DONNELL: Rick, you`ve done a brilliant job on this book of explaining
this to people like me who know nothing about golf and have never cared
about golf. And you also did a great job of conveying the culture of golf
and the honor of golf and the way it`s supposed to be.
You did that through your father who I feel like I know now. And so it`s
really a kind of a beautiful book. It`s also very, very funny when it
comes to the details of what Donald Trump does.
Talk for a minute about the golf and the presidency and why it has become
something that presidents are drawn to, even some who didn`t play much golf
before they became president.
REILLY: Yes. I think of our last, I don`t know, only three haven`t played
president – haven`t played golf since golf became a thing in America. And
it`s because all those problems, they just wait right beneath where you`re
sleeping and you kind of get out.
And the Secret Service kind of likes golf because they can control the
territory. And so almost everybody but Carter didn`t play it. Truman
didn`t play it.
Woodrow Wilson entered the White House not having played it and his doctor
said if you don`t start playing golf, you`re going to have a heart attack.
And so Wilson started playing it every day. He would play nine holes, rain
or shine, snow or sun, and be back at his desk by 9:30.
In fact, he did play in the snow and that`s why he painted his golf balls
black. Eisenhower used to walk the halls of Congress and the White House
with a six iron so he could practice his swing. In fact, he`s the guy that
built a putting green outside the Oval Office because it relaxed him so
much. And that sometimes he`d forget to take off his golf spikes and it
used to be you could lean down and feel the golf holes.
O`DONNELL: Rick Reilly, this is the great Father`s Day book. Father`s Day
is coming up. It`s great if your father plays golf, it`s great if your
father does not play golf. This is really an amazing, really a beautiful
book, Rick. And you really made me a convert at least to the understanding
of golf. I`m still not going to go out on the golf course.
Rick Reilly, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate
O`DONNELL: “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the