First Democratic debates shun Trump. TRANSCRIPT: 6/28/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Neera Tanden, J.A. Moore; Wendy Sherman, Neal Katyal




a basic human right and I will fight for basic human rights –






RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Senator Elizabeth Warren saying, you know, you

can say that me saying I`m for Medicare for all and I want to do away with

private insurance is a liability for me, here`s why – let me explain to

you why I`m for it. Let me bring the house down while explaining to you

while I`m for it.


Anyway, I know this is an unpopular take on how these debate things go.

Everybody wants theirs to be winners and losers and it`s clear and some

people definitely suffered for their participation. Every single one of

those 20 candidates had something to bank on and build on for the future.


And the next debate is pretty soon and not all of them are going to qualify

so they are all going to need to build on something. Anyway, thanks for

watching the last two nights. Thanks for watching tonight. See you again on

Monday. Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O`Donnell.


Good evening Lawrence.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel. And I have to tell

you, my favorite post debate moment last night was when we got you on the

air in our coverage and Brian asked you how did you think it went? And what

I thought I was watching was someone asking a boxer and after 15 rounds,

how do you think it went. And the person in that stadium who knows the

least about how it went is the boxer because they are just in too close.


MADDOW:  Exactly. I was like oh, sure. I can talk about that. Just give me

a second and three beers. Yes, I had no ability to comment on what I had

just been through.


O`DONNELL:  Well, this is what I love about the last hour because I was

dying to see what it was like for you once you could digest it and once you

could actually put it together like this. And I was absolutely certain that

where you were sitting last night in realtime was the worst place to be.




O`DONNELL:  To try to figure that out.


MADDOW:  Well, the thing is like going back to the transcript today to pull

these clips, I`m like, I remember all of these things happening, but

watching the tape again in order to sort of confirm my shaky memories about

what was happening, you know.


The reason I wanted to go through the debate this way is that the thing

that resonated for me is that I do feel like I learned something about

every single one of these candidates. I did get to hear them all in their

own words talking about the things they most wanted to talk about. And

every single one of them had at least one good moment.


And I think that`s sort of incredible for 20 candidates over four hours.

That everybody had something that they can build on, bank on, take the

donors, take the voters and try to use to get into the next debate. I

definitely didn`t expect that.


I certainly expected some people to washout or just be basically completely

upset about the process at this point, but everybody had a moment, at least



O`DONNELL:  Yes, and my favorite tweet that I have seen that actually I

hope we can print it so that I can use it in this hour, was someone in my

twitter feed saying that, you know, he went into the debates not so sure.

He came out of it thinking he really likes Senator Warren, really likes

Senator Harris. Those are his two favorites.


Really grateful to Bernie sanders for pushing the agenda in the direction

it has gone over the last four years. What I found interesting about it is

he came out of the debate with two favorites. And that I think is a very

common reaction that I`m getting from a bunch of people, is that they

decided that they weren`t going to have to pick one person and they`ve

actually now come out with two or a handful. And it`s not the same ones

they went in with.


MADDOW:  And it`s ones who they were looking for to see campaign in future

events and they`re looking forward to seeing them side by side at future

debates because they want to see how they interact and how they contend

with one another. I mean, I think that Democrats have now sized up the



The field is now going to compete with itself for a long time and I think

everybody on the stage did something to make their own case for why they

should be in that competition. I don`t feel like this is a, you know, kid

gloves thing. I don`t feel like they are all being nice to each other.

That`s not happening.


They are starting to fight with each other, but they are all still showing

their stripes and I mean, I`m exhausted and totally fried, but I think this

is an exciting part of the primary.


O`DONNELL:  Great job, Rachel. You have earned your weekend.


MADDOW:  Thank you.


O`DONNELL:  Thank you. There she goes. The nap starts now. Well, President

Trump lost a big case in the Supreme Court yesterday when the court denied

the Trump administration the right to include a question about citizenship

in the census.


The Census Bureau says that it has to start printing next year`s census

next week. That`s the normal lead time on a printing project that big, six

months. And so, President Trump is now asking Trump administration lawyers

if he can delay the census, something that has never occurred in the

history of the country.


Neal Katyal who has argued several cases before the United States Supreme

Court has an answer for President Trump tonight and he will give us that

answer at the end of this hour.


The president spent the day in Japan today at the G20 Summit where he

disgraced himself once again with Vladimir Putin and how warmly welcomed

the murderous dictator of Saudi Arabia and then sent one of the love tweets

to the murderous dictator of North Korea.


Former Undersecretary of State, Wendy Sherman, will join us with her

analysis of what appears to be Donald Trump`s new public invitation for

Vladimir Putin to please interfere in our election again and try to help

Donald Trump win the Electoral College again.


But we begin tonight with the debates. Now, debate winners do not

necessarily win elections. Let`s just start with that. Just ask John Kerry

who won every debate against George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton, who won

every debate against Donald Trump.


So let`s keep that in mind as we now discuss who won or performed the best

in the two nights of Democratic presidential debates right here on MSNBC.

We will get the most important verdict on that question next week when

polling starts to come out that will show which candidates gained support

or which candidates lost support as a result of the debates.


And it is entirely possible that there won`t be any immediate movement in

the polls because of the debates. But the general consensus among media

observers and Democratic presidential campaign veterans tonight is that

Senator Elizabeth Warren outscored her opponents on night one and Senator

Kamala Harris outscored her opponents on night two.


Count me among those who are not even slightly surprised by both of those

outcomes. I have been watching Elizabeth Warren closely since she began her

career as a politician, running for Senate in my home state if

Massachusetts. And I have been watching Kamala Harris demonstrate her

skills since she was the district attorney of San Francisco.


I was introduced to her by a California friend who told me I want you to

meet the first black woman president. And as I said on this program at the

time, I believed Kamala Harris was on the presidential track as soon as I

saw her campaigning state-wide in California for attorney general nine

years ago.


And as soon as Barbara Boxer announced that she would not run for re-

election in 2016, I was sure that Kamala Harris would run for that Senate

seat and win it, which she did. And when Donald Trump won the Electoral

College on the same night that Kamala Harris was elected to the senate, I

was certain that Senator Harris would be running to take that presidency

away from Donald Trump.


But to do that, Senator Harris and the rest of the Democrats now know that

they have to take the Democratic nomination away from the frontrunner in

the polls, Joe Biden. And so last night, Kamala Harris launched the most

forceful challenge to Joe Biden on the issue of race.


The debate turned in that direction after Mayor Pete Buttigieg explained

how he has handled the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police

officer in South Bend, Indiana. With others candidates interrupting their

way into that discussion, Kamala Harris finally said as the only black

person on the stage, I would like to speak on to the issue of race, and

then this happened.





and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us her parents couldn`t play

with us because we were black. And I will say also that in this campaign,

we have also heard and I`m going to now direct this at Vice President



I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit

yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe and

it is personal and it was actually very – it was hurtful to hear you talk

about the reputations of two United States senators who built their

reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.


And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose bussing.

And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the

second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed to school

every day. And that little girl was me.




O`DONNELL:  Senator Harris finished her answer, got thunderous applause

when she finished her comments and then, Joe Biden responded.




JOE BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It`s a mischaracterization of my

position across the board. I did not praise racists. That is not true,

number one. Number two, if we want to have this campaign litigated on who

supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I`m happy to do that.


I was a public defender. I didn`t become a prosecutor. I came out and I

left a good law firm to become a public defender when in fact my city was

in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King, number one.


Now number two, as the U.S. – excuse me - as the Vice President of the

United States, I work with a man who, in fact, we worked very hard to see

to it we dealt with these issues in a major, major way.


So the bottom line here is, look, everything I have done in my career, I

ran because of civil rights. I continue to think we have to make

fundamental changes in civil rights and those civil rights by the way

include not just African-Americans but the LGBT community.


HARIS:  But Vice President Biden, do you agree today – do y ou agree today

that you were wrong to oppose bussing in America then?




HARRIS:  Do you agree?


BIDEN:  No, I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is bussing

ordered by the Department of Education. That`s what I opposed. I did not

oppose –


HARRIS:  Well, there is a failure of states to integrate public schools in

America. I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley, California

public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education.


BIDEN:  Because your city council made that decision. It was a local

decision. The federal government must –


HARRIS:  So that`s where the federal government must step in. That`s why we

have the Voting Rights Act and the Federal Rights Act.




O`DONNELL:  The morning after, and Gayle King asked Kamala Harris about

that exchange.




GAYLE KING, CBS NEWS HOST:  Senator Harris, we just heard Ed O`Keefe say

you`re being accused of delivering a low blow last night. What do you say

to that?


HARRIS:  You know, Gayle, it was about just speaking truth. And as I`ve

said many times, I have a great deal of respect for Joe Biden. He has

served our country over many years in a very noble way, but he and I

disagree on that. And it is a debate. This is a campaign where we should be

discussing issues and there will be contrast.




O`DONNELL:  Today, Joe Biden was in Chicago speaking to Jesse Jackson`s

organization, the Rainbow Push Coalition and he began with what everyone

saw last night.




BIDEN:  Before I start, I would like to say something about the debate we

had last night. And I heard and I listened to and I respect Senator Harris.

But you know, we all know that 30 seconds to 60 seconds on a campaign

debate exchange can`t do justice to a lifetime committed to civil rights.


I want to be absolutely clear about my record and position and racial

justice including bussing. I never, never, never, ever opposed voluntary

bussing and as a program that Senator Harris participated in and it made a

difference in her life.


I did support federal action to address root causes in segregation in our

schools and our communities including taking on the banks and red line and

then trying to change the way in which neighborhoods were segregated. I

have always been in favor of using federal authority to overcome state

initiated segregation.


In fact, I cast the deciding vote in 1974 against and amendment called the

Gurney Amendment which would have banned the right of the federal courts to

be able to use bussing as a remedy.




O`DONNELL:  Leading off our discussion tonight, Neera Tanden, president of

the Center for American Progress, Jonathan Alter, columnist for “The Daily

Beast” and MSNBC political analyst, and Maria Teresa Kumar, president and

CEO of Voter Latino and an MSNBC contributor.


And Neera, as the only one among us who has worked on a presidential

campaign – you were working on Hillary Clinton`s last campaign – I want

to get your reaction to that exchange last night.



prep for Hillary Clinton in her primaries 12 years ago. And I thought

Senator Harris had a surgical strike. It was obviously something she

prepared for. She delivered very well. She – it wasn`t just a clinical

attack. She used her personal story incredibly effectively.


And I was surprised that the vice president wasn`t better prepared given

this was a story over a week ago. In the exchange yesterday, there

obviously he responded today, and I do think most people think that he has

a record on civil rights and he will have to articulate that case as the

debate goes on.


But I thought Kamala Harris was incredibly effective and incredible. She

has been making the case that she can prosecute Trump. Yesterday, she

demonstrated that she can prosecute Trump.


O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what Joe Biden said today about what he and the

Obama administration did in areas of concern. It`s the kind of thing that

you would have expected him to try to say, actually – say last night. He

was talking about what the Department of Justice did during their time.

Let`s listen to this.




BIDEN:  Our Department of Justice investigated police discrimination abuse

including Ferguson. Now, Obama-Biden administration, we commuted more

sentences than the president did, than the 13 previous presidents combined.

We passed the support –






O`DONNELL:  Maria Teresa, I think we can now see that the prepared speech

is going to be Joe Biden`s strength in this campaign and who knows what his

future is in the debate format.



interesting. The debate was interesting for me because he didn`t bring up

as much energy as I expected him and he seemed very defensive. But let`s be

clear. Joe Biden has had – he has an incredible stuff and moved – and has

incredible legacy in the American space.


But I think the challenge here and what we saw with Kamala Harris last

night was that she was able to really demonstrate and crystallize what the

segregation of policies impacted, that it wasn`t something in our past, but

it was something present in our future and she was part of that present.


And it was able to demonstrate that even the Democratic Party is at odds

sometimes when it comes to seeking justice in face of compromise. And that

is one of the reasons why we have to figure out how do we put our racist

past to bed and we have to have these conversations.


And surprising that the vice president, he just was not prepared. And I

think that because he and her have always had such a close relationship,

working relationship and friendship. He was surprised that she was able to

come out with him in such a strategic matter, but she was able to stand and

say yes. Not only could I take this down (inaudible). I can also have a

conversation and make sure that Trump is put on notice.


O`DONNELL:  Let`s listen to what Joe Biden said today in Chicago, Barack

Obama`s adopted hometown about working with President Obama.




BIDEN:  I say to Chicagoans and everyone, my president gets much too little

credit for all that he did. He was one of the great presidents of the

United States of America. And I`m tired of hearing about what he didn`t do.

But here`s what he did. Everything that landed on his desk, I watched him.

I watched him.


I sat with him every single morning and I watched him, for hundreds of

hours, and I want to tell you, Chicago, you had a great, great man out here

and he`s still a great man and still has a lot to offer.




O`DONNELL:  Jonathan Alter, there he was in your hometown of Chicago today.

Is that the best Biden kind of hitch yield on in this subject area, just

stressing that association with Barack Obama?


JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, it certainly helps, you

know. Obama is hugely popular in the Democratic Party and it helps him

protect his base among African-American voters, which is a significant

base. And that`s what Harris is trying to erode here and that`s what Booker

was trying to erode by bringing this up.


I think the question that Democrats have to ask is what is the damage that

could be done in beating Trump if some of these disputes move from issues

to personal character questions, which if you are saying, you know, I don`t

believe you are a racist, you are about to unload a critique that basically

says, well, I think you kind of were a little bit racist in this way.


What is the effect of that on the nominee if Biden were to become the

nominee and what is the effect on the debates if they move in this more

personal direction? Also, it has the effect of changing the way we

understand issues.


So, there is a reason that court ordered bussing hasn`t been used in this

country in more than 40 years in any significant way because it was a

failure and both black and white parents didn`t like it. They liked the

local bussing that Harris benefitted from where Biden called voluntary



But court ordered forced bussing just basically turned all of education

into a big toxic racial issue and people got tired of that. So we have to

ask ourselves, do we want to go back to saying that that`s a good remedy

for this country? I don`t think so and I don`t think that`s what anybody

intends. So, this was just being used as a kind of symbolic issue.


O`DONNELL:  I want you to assume – as soon as I heard Kamala Harris say

the word bussing last night, I knew exactly where she was going because in

preparation for doing the town hall with her, I read her book. And Neera,

this goes to debate prep for the Biden team because all they had to do –

al they had to do was get to page 11 to know this was coming.


Because here is the passage on page 11 of Kamala Harris` book, “I would

walk to the corner and get on the bus to Thousand Oaks Elementary School. I

only learned later that we were part of a national experiment in

desegregation, with working class black children from the flatlands being

bussed in one direction and wealthier white children from the Berkeley

Hills bussed in the other.


At the time, all I knew was that the big yellow bus was the way I got to

school. Looking at the photo of my first grade class reminds me of how

wonderful it was to grow up in such a diverse environment because the

students came from all over the area. We were a varied bunch. Some grew up

in public housing and others were the children of professors.


I remember celebrating varied cultural holidays at school and learning to

count to 10 in several languages. I remember parents including my mom

volunteering in the classroom to lead science and arts projects with the

kids.” And it goes on. And Neera, that is a major success story in the

history of bussing.


TANDEN:  It is and I wanted to respond to Jonathan because I also worry. I

think a lot of Democrats worry about whether these debates become too

personal, too character-based. I think there is a lot of overhang from 2016

where it seemed like some of the charges became more about character than

about policy.


But I think this is an area in which I think people are also trying to see

who can go toe to toe with Donald Trump who is going to attack and attack

dirty in many different ways. And I think the challenge for the vice

president is that he has – I don`t dispute and I don`t think most

Americans dispute that he has a strong record on civil rights issues

particularly in the last decade.


And obviously, I think a lot of people in the African-American community

remember and know vividly how he worked side by side with Barack Obama. I

think the question for the vice president is that he has to demonstrate

that he is – people believe he is the best person to go up against Trump.

A lot of people believe that. That`s why he has been leading in the polls,

one of the reasons.


He has got to demonstrate that in debate after debate. And I think that`s

the challenge for him. I don`t think this is really about civil rights

issues. It was a discussion of those issues, but it was Kamala

demonstrating that she is tough enough to take on Trump.


And I think the vice president had some (inaudible). Now, it`s a long road.

Barack Obama didn`t do so well in his first debates and I`m here to tell

you he won the election, he won the primary after that. So, it`s a long,

long road from here. The vice president has a lot of opportunity.


KUMAR:  You`re like from the future, Neera.


O`DONNELL:  So we got my favorite tweet of the day which I`m going to read

to you. This is Greg Young. And it`s not for me. It`s not about the

candidates he mentions. It`s about the concept he`s talking about.


He said, “I followed it all pretty closely and I`m still a Warren fan and

grateful to Sanders for waking people up in 2016 and 40 years of

consistency, but Harris now has my support, too. It`s good to have choices

and debate over policy along with strong candidates.” Maria Teresa, that`s

the reaction that the party is hoping voters have to these debates.


KUMAR:  We had what, 23 million people in the first night and 16 million

last night. I mean, Americans are tuning in and they`re tuning in early.

This is actually incredibly early. And it`s because they are curious. They

recognize there is something off with this country, but it`s not enough to

go after Donald Trump.


You actually have to come in and think boldly because the reason a lot of

folks initially voted for Donald Trump was because they never recovered

economically. So the fact that we have 20 people on stage debating ideas

and giving people, you know, the information that they need that, what sets

them apart, what`s the pathway to the future.


That`s what Americans are looking for. And then they are also looking for

who can deliver on that promise. Who can go toe to toe with Donald Trump

with grace? Who is not (inaudible) on becoming the nominee on character

assassination, but more importantly on policy, thinking big and broadly and



O`DONNELL:  Maria Teresa Kumar, Jonathan Alter, Neera Tanden, thank you for

starting us off tonight. Really appreciate it.


KUMAR:  Thanks so much.


O`DONNELL:  And later in the hour, President Trump laughed it up once again

with Vladimir Putin today and laughed about Russia attacking the American

elections. And later in this hour, the Supreme Court ruled against the

president on the census question and now the president is looking for ways

to violate the constitutional mandate to hold a census next year.






HARRIS:  And I will ensure that this microphone that the president of the

United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about reflecting

the values of our country and not about locking children up, separating

them from their parents, and I have to just say, that we have to think

about this issue in terms of real people.


A mother who pays a coyote to transport her child through their country of

origin, through the entire country of Mexico facing unknown peril to come

here, why would that mother do that? I will tell you, because she has

decided for that child to remain where they are is worse. But what does

Donald Trump do? He says go back to where you came from. That is not

reflective of our America and our values and it`s get to end.




O`DONNELL:  We invited representatives of the Biden campaign and the Harris

campaign to join us tonight. The Biden campaign could not provide us with a

representative of the campaign, but we do have a representative of the

Harris campaign. Here, J.A Moore is the South Carolina co-chair for Kamala

Harris presidential campaign, and he is a South Carolina state



Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Representative Moore. And I

wanted to get your reaction to what you saw and what you saw the vice

president doing in the debate last night. Did you come away with that

debate with the feeling that any candidate on that stage would not be able

to fully endorse and support any other candidate on that stage who might

win the nomination?



Lawrence, I want to first thank you so much for having me. I had the

privilege last night of hosting a watch party at Howe`s (ph) Barbershop.

So, we were in my district in Goose Creek, South Carolina. And it was so

nice to have such a great group of people watching the debate.


We were so encouraged and excited to hear Senator Harris just really show

that she is the only person that was on the debate stage both nights that

can defeat Donald Trump. But no, I think this is – it`s important to show

contrast and I think that`s what we saw last night.


So no, I believe that Vice President Biden and Bernie Sanders and everyone

else that was on the debate stage last night will have no problem endorsing

Senator Harris when she is the nominee.


O`DONNELL:  And in Senator Harris` own campaign, Joe Biden has been helpful

in the past. And she never voiced any criticism about Joe Biden before –

the nature of last night before last night.


MOORE:  That may be correct, but see, I can`t speak for Senator Harris, but

what I will say is that the vice president`s comments about known

segregationist senators which is out of step and out of touch with the

American people. That`s the days of the past.


It reminds me a lot of former senator that we had here, Strom Thurmond. 

And you have to remember, Lawrence, here in South Carolina, this was a

pivotal point in the civil rights movement, Briggs v. Elliot. And that

dealt directly with bussing African-American students. And that was the

predecessor to Brown versus the Board of Education.


O`DONNELL:  And going forward, do you think this issue is now settled or do

you expect Senator Harris to continue to be in her terms, in effect,

prosecuting this.


MOORE: Well, here`s what I believe. I believe that Senator Harris proved

last night that she is the only candidate that can prosecute a case against

Donald Trump. And she mentioned earlier when she first announced that she

was running for President that she will speak truth to power. And that`s

what we saw last night. And so what I believe that Senator Harris would do

moving forward in the campaign is what she has already done. Listen to

American people and let our voices drive her agenda. And she is doing a

fantastic job of that.


O`DONNELL: South Carolina Representative JA Moore, thank you very much for

joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.


MOORE: Thank you so much, Lawrence. Thank you.


O`DONNELL: And when we come back, President Trump joked with Vladimir Putin

today about what they call - what they both jokingly called fake news. And

he also shared a friendly moment or more with the Saudi Arabian murderous

dictator. That`s coming up.




O`DONNELL: Tonight President Trump replied to what he calls his beautiful

letters from North Korea`s dictator with a tweet. “After some very

important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will

be leaving Japan for South Korea with President Moon. While there, if

Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the border of

the demilitarized zone just to shake his hand and say hello.”


The President`s public affection for foreign leaders clearly seems to

depend entirely on how murderous they are. He used the word “love” to

describe his relationship with the most murderous dictator on earth, Kim

Jong-un, who starves people to death in North Korea, tortures people to

death in North Korea, and who tortured 22-year-old American citizen, Otto

Warmbier, to the point where his life could not be saved when Otto Warmbier

was finally allowed to return to his parents in the United States.


And knowing that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the

execution and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Today Donald Trump called the murderous crown prince “a friend of mine.”


And then there was Vladimir Putin, the former KGB agent turned President of

Russia, who is suspect number one in the murder of several journalists and

others inside and outside of Russia. Today Donald Trump joked around with

Vladimir Putin publicly and obviously had no intention of threatening

Vladimir Putin about interfering in our next election.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, will you tell Russia not to meddle in

the 2020 election?




Don`t meddle in the election, President. Don`t meddle in the election.




O`DONNELL: Putin`s translator correctly translated that to please meddle in

the election and please help me win. You now have a right to believe that

Donald Trump believes he cannot win the Electoral College without the help

that he got from Russia last time.


British Prime Minister Theresa May told Vladimir Putin what a real

President of the United States would have told Putin. According to the

British government, Prime Minister May told Vladimir Putin to stop Russia`s

irresponsible and destabilizing activity that threatens the U.K. and its

allies, including hostile interventions in other countries, disinformation

and cyber attacks. And she told Putin that his country`s use of the deadly

nerve agent on British soil was “a truly despicable act.”


Today, in an interview with Jon Meacham, Former President Jimmy Carter said

that the Russian interference in our election to help Donald Trump makes

Donald Trump an illegitimate President.





the Russians did interfere in election. And I think the interference,

although not yet quantified, if fully investigated, would show that Trump

didn`t actually win the election in 2016, he lost the election, and he was

put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.


JON MEACHAM, HISTORIAN: So do you believe President Trump is an

illegitimate President?




CARTER: Based on what I just said, which I can`t retract–




CARTER: –I would say, yes.






O`DONNELL: Former Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman joins us next with

her analysis of Donald Trump`s admiration for murderous dictators.




O`DONNELL: Here is President Trump today joking with the man who is

suspected of murdering reporters about how much both of them hate the news





TRUMP: Fake news, it`s your term, isn`t it? You don`t have that problem in

Russia. We have that problem. You don`t have that problem.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: Yes, yes, we have. We have it too.

It`s the same.




O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Former

Under Secretary of State in the Obama administration and an MSNBC Global

Affairs Contributor.


And Ambassador Sherman, I just want to get your reaction to what we just

saw in that video. There is a very smiling and happy Vladimir Putin joking

about how much he hates the news media along with Donald Trump.



On a day, Lawrence, when five wonderful journalists lost their lives at the

Capital Gazette in Annapolis on this day a year ago, it just reminds us how

Vladimir Putin sees the world, and it`s his world and anybody who stands in

the way has to get out of the way. And that Donald Trump aligns himself

with these autocrats, with these dictators, really is about his being a

bully, someone who`s really quite weak, quite insecure, and he thinks that

if he sort of struts around and, quite frankly, if he sexually assaults

women, if he struts around as a leader that he is not, if he in fact speaks

with a strong voice and a very weak stick that somehow he`s going to get

the job done. And it is really disgraceful to have someone like this as the

President of the United States.


O`DONNELL: He said a very strange thing for a President to say today about

Kim Jong-un. And of course, everything he says is a strange thing for a

President to say, but I mean this one thing in particular. He was talking

about basically this tweet that he put out saying he`s hoping to see him

when he goes to South Korea if he goes up to the border and they can shake

hands at the DMZ. But when he was talking about it, he said “I don`t know

where he is right now. He may not be in North Korea.” Is it possible that

Kim Jong-un would leave North Korea and the President of the United States

would not know about that?


SHERMAN: It would be unlikely for him not to know about that. We do have

some means to know about his movements and not totally. But yes, the whole

statement was bizarre and that point in particular. The President, I

thought, also in those comments said this is really a border that they have

at the DMZ.


And it made me think back to 1987 when President Reagan, who was not a

president who I voted for in that election, went to Berlin and said, “Mr.

Gorbachev, tear down this wall” because Ronald Reagan understood that

freedom, democracy, human rights tolerance, multiculturalism were part and

parcel of who we were.


And Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the Financial Times before the G20

saying that in fact that Western liberalism was obsolete, that the populist

right was the way to go. And the President of the United States, on the

other end of this day, is saying that the demilitarized zone, which is

actually the most heavily fortified zone in the world with thousands of

land mines, is exactly the kind of border he was saying he`d like to have

with Mexico.


O`DONNELL: Vladimir Putin also said to the Financial Times - he said that

“Russia has been accused and, strange as it may seem, it is still being

accused, despite the Mueller report, of mythical interference in the U.S.

election.” So there is Vladimir Putin apparently saying the Mueller report

acquits Russia, when the Mueller report in fact indicts 25 Russians, all of

them working for Vladimir Putin in their interference mission.


SHERMAN: Well, between Vladimir Putin`s statements and Donald Trump`s

joking around, he basically is begging Putin to do it again. And I think

that you`re raising up Prime Minister May and her drawing a line with

Vladimir Putin is what the President absolutely should be doing if he`s

really the President of the United States because no one should interfere

with our elections. Putin wouldn`t want us interfering in his. And clearly

we don`t because he does it all by himself. He wins with 98% of the vote

every single time.


O`DONNELL: Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thank you very much for joining us

tonight. Really appreciate it.


SHERMAN: Thank you.


O`DONNELL: And when we come back, President Trump lost a big one in the

Supreme Court over the census. Neal Katyal will join us.




O`DONNELL: There were two important decisions by the United States Supreme

Court yesterday that could affect voting in America. In one case, the

Supreme Court upheld the rights of state governments to gerrymander their

Congressional districts for political purposes, something that both parties

have done to varying degrees but has most recently been raised to a new

level of sophistication by Republican legislatures using computerized

analysis of voting data.


Writing for the minority in the dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said “The

partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy turning

upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from

the people.” Chief Justice John Roberts switched sides in the other big

case and wrote the majority opinion denying the Trump administration the

right to insert a question about citizenship in the census.


The Census Bureau says that it has a printing deadline for the next census

of Monday of next week, July 1st, that has provoked the President of the

United States to call for delaying the census, which would be grossly

unconstitutional. The President tweeted, “I have asked the lawyers if they

can delay the census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme

Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and

decisive decision on this very critical matter.”


Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal has an answer to President

Trump`s question for the lawyers, and Neal Katyal will join us next.




O`DONNELL: In Chief Justice John Roberts` opinion denying the Trump

administration the right to insert a citizenship question in the census,

the Chief Justice wrote that executive branch officials must “offer genuine

justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by

courts and the interested public. Accepting contrived reasons would defeat

the purpose of the enterprise.”


Joining our discussion now is Neal Katyal, who is the former Acting U.S.

Solicitor General and an MSNBC legal contributor. He has argued 39 cases

before the United States Supreme Court. Most lawyers don`t ever get to

argue one. Neal, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really

appreciate it.




O`DONNELL: And you`re reading of the census decision?


KATYAL: Well, I think it`s quite a resounding victory for the challengers.

And I should say that I represented the United States House of

Representatives in this case. Now, before doing that, some years ago, I

represented the Presidency, President Obama and Congress. And I can tell

you, Lawrence, that when you`re standing up before the Supreme Court and

telling the Supreme Court the President believes X or did - made this

decision because of reason Y, it`s really hard to lose that case. You

really almost have to try to lose it. It`s kind of like failing a class at

Yale. You`ve really got to try.


And here that`s what happened. It`s a remarkable opinion by the Chief

Justice, which basically said President Trump`s reasons were contrived. I

mean, that`s pretty powerful language. And here is what he meant, the Trump

administration said we`re adding this citizenship question to enforce the

Voting Rights Act.


Now, I`m not sure the President has even heard of the Voting Rights Act. He

certainly never brought any enforcement action under it. So it seemed

implausible on its face. And the evidence at the trial really showed this

was a bogus reason. And so what the Chief Justice is essentially saying is,

look, Mr. President, you can lie to the American people, I`m not going to

get involved in that, but don`t you dare lie to the federal judiciary.


 O`DONNELL: Is there - now the President is tweeting, can we delay the



KATYAL: Yes. So the - two problems with that. Number one, his own lawyers

and the U.S. Solicitor General have come to the Supreme Court before and

said we can`t delay the census. They then used that to try and bypass the

Court of Appeals and race their case to the Supreme Court. Now that that

gambit has failed, they`re trying to say, oh, the President is trying to

say maybe we can delay the census. There`s one problem with that. It`s

called Article One of the Constitution. So you don`t have to go very far. I

know we have a President who doesn`t like to read and certainly not read

the Constitution. But literally, it`s page one of the Constitution. The

census has to take place every 10 years. That`s 2020. And it`s been true

since 1790, we`ve always had a census then. So he can try that. it would be

blatantly unconstitutional.


O`DONNELL: And it can sound quite reasonable to people that there`d be a

question about citizenship on the census. Are you United States citizen?

But in that same provision of the Constitution that you mentioned, which I

happen to have in front of me, page one as we now call it, it says that the

census is to count persons. It could have said count citizens, but it says

it`s to count persons.


KATYAL: Yes, absolutely. And then the other important thing is that the

Census Bureau itself has said if you add the citizenship question, you`re

going to get massive undercounting to the tune of 8%, and that

undercounting is going to be minorities. And we now know because of some

recently discovered documents that there has been a Republican plot all

along to add the citizenship question, not because of the Voting Rights Act

but because they wanted to suppress the number of minorities who would fill

out the census.


And this is not just like some random survey. This is really important. The

census is what decides how many people are sent to the Congress from a

particular district and how many Electoral College votes they get and how

much federal spending they get for all sorts of social programs. It`s a

big, big deal.


O`DONNELL: And what is the theory of the undercount? The citizenship

question would produce an undercount, why?


KATYAL: Because if you`re illegal, if you`re undocumented, you`re going to

obviously be afraid to answer questions from a government official. And so

one of the whole things is if you say, “Oh, I`m not a citizen,” then

they`re worried that - these folks are worried, “Well, then maybe the ICE

or others are going to come knocking.”


O`DONNELL: Yes, that is the thing about census takers. They are not there

anything other than data. And it`s hard to believe that all the government

wants to know is the basic data. They don`t even really care what the name

is at that point.


KATYAL: Exactly.


O`DONNELL: Yes. Neal Katyal, thank you very much for joining us. I really

appreciate it.


That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts








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